Little O-dogger at 3 months

May 6, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Posted in Little O, Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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In his book The Happiest Baby on the Block, Dr. Harvey Karp suggests that the period from birth to three months is a baby’s “fourth trimester.” Babies under three months are not developed enough to lead  much more than a womb-like existence and, therefore, one should not worry about doing anything other than making them comfortable. Swaddle them, shush them, sway them. Let them nurse and sleep whenever they want. Around three months, they will “wake up,” and then you can start thinking about schedules and the like.

Little O is three months this week, and in the past two weeks he has very much woken up. Unlike his big sister, who never smiled or cooed until at least four or five months, Little O is an Irish charmer. You smile at him, he’ll smile at you. Coo at him and he’ll respond. Maybe because he spends so much time in a carseat, bouncy chair, or swing while his sister holds court, he realizes he has to engage you to get some real attention. Because Little Bug never interacted like this, I am enthralled and, yes, charmed.

After a few nights of experimentation, it is clear that Little O’s internal clock is set to “wake” at 3 a.m. If he goes down at 6:30 p.m. he wakes at 3. If I try to keep him up later or give him a “dream feed” at 10 p.m. (nursing him without waking him up), he’s still up at 3. So, obviously, I’ve reverted to the 6:30 p.m. bedtime. Then, after a few nights of further experimentation of either (a) rocking him with the pacifier at 3 a.m. to see if he’d go back to sleep without milk and (b) feeding him in his room and putting him back in his crib, I decided it was too tiring. So now I bring him in our bed at 3 a.m. and nurse him while we both sleep. I wake up with a stiff neck and sore back, having slept in a weird position to accommodate his little body next to mine, but at least I’ve slept. I’m far less tired than I was a few weeks ago. I’m sure both Dr. Karp and Dr. Weissbluth would argue that I could start to sleep train him now (I’m quite sure he could go all night without eating at this point), but I kind of like waking up with the baby in our bed. After an early morning feed, he sort of slowly wakes up next to me and then, once he realizes he’s awake and that I’m right there, a huge, open-mouthed smile lights up his face. Just because his sister never spent a second in our bed (until a few months ago when, as I’ve mentioned before, she started sneaking in in the middle of the night) doesn’t mean that there’s a correct way to teach kids to sleep, right? Right?!

Here’s what else Mr. O-dog is up to at three months:

He likes to kick kick kick. This child is never still. If you put him in the bouncy seat he wriggles and wriggles. He likes to lie on his back on a blanket on the floor and kick himself around in a 360-degree circle. When I go to his crib at 3 a.m., I’ll often find his head pointing the opposite direction of that in which I lay him down — and he will have kicked off his swaddle blankets. Now, I consider myself a champion swaddler, to a degree that I believe horrifies my mother and mother-in-law (“are you going to put him in that straightjacket?” my mother has said), and I believe that my Germanic swaddling is what helped Little Bug become such a remarkable sleeping baby. Little O will have none of it, however. If he’s not asleep, his little legs are moving.

He gets bathed faaaaaaar less often that his big sister did (again: for Little Buggy we had a bath-book-bottle-bed routing down by six weeks; almost impossible to do with baby #2 with a demanding preschooler running around…). And he has crazy, crazy hair. A tuft on top and wings on the side. My sister made the below comparison:

His hair is definitely going to be curly — as was his father’s (back when his father had hair? Ouch! Sorry, Tim!). My father had curly hair, too, which he kept trimmed short and straightened briefly with a blow-dryer before going to work. On summer weekends, however, my dad would sport a curly fro.

Little O likes to watch his sister run around. He is trying very hard to learn to suck his thumb, but ends up sticking his whole hand in his mouth and gagging. Like his big sister, he likes to spit up unpredictably and voluminously. He loves his bath, but does not like interim between getting out of the tub and putting on dry clothes. When he’s on his changing table wrapped in a towel he shrieks — really the only time he fusses, other than when he’s tired. I can very much “read” his cries — when he’s tired it is a full-out wail; when he’s hungry, his cry sounds more piercing and whiney. When he just wants attention, he doesn’t so much cry as caw like a bird or mew like a wild cat. “Argh! Aaaargh! Argh!” he says. Maybe, actually, he sounds like a pirate.

My little guy is waking up, and as much as I love newborns (I do, I really do. You could hand me another today and I’d be happy!), I am looking forward to seeing how these little three months personality traits develop. Will he ever sleep through the night? Will he walk at nine months like his father? Will he have a head of curly brown hair? Stay tuned…

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  1. This was beautifully written! And yes, it’s weird how one treats kids differently according to their needs. My oldest one (now age 7 1/4) wouldn’t go to sleep without having me sitting by her side and closing her eyes with my hand for more than a year. It took more than 1 hour for her to fall asleep. Then, with my son (now age 4 1/2), I said I wouldn’t do that much fuss, and he could fall asleep by himself at the age of 4 months. Well, and then my youngest one (now age 2 3/4) wouldn’t go to sleep without me nursing her. And she was awake every single hour till I stopped nursing at the age of 10 months. I don’t know how I managed, but it just wouldn’t work doing the same things I did with my son. So I suppose, there are good sleepers and bad sleepers, and parents can’t really do much about changing that… Now, they are all good sleepers…


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