Celebrating A Milestone This St. Patrick’s Day
How is our child a third of a year old already? Time please slow down! *Said every parent ever.* As fast as time is speeding by, Andy and I are continuing to enjoy every moment. Read on to learn more about our fourth month with our favorite little human.
Alden went through his fourth leap early, and at the beginning of the month was immediately putting everything in his mouth and turning to look at us when we called his name. After reading horror story after horror story on Instagram about leap four, I was seriously dreading this phase. Knock on wood as I type this, but we’re almost through the fourth leap and it hasn’t been that bad at all. He had a few days towards the beginning during which he didn’t want to nap and woke up several times a night, but after that it was smooth sailing. We no longer wake him up for a “dream feed” and instead, just let him wake us up when he’s really hungry. Usually this translates to him sleeping straight from 7:30 pm to 4:30 am and then back to sleep until 6:30 am (Or sometimes – get this – straight through the entire night!). We feel extraordinarily lucky.
A few days before his four-month birthday we were immensely excited to hear him utter his first word – “Hi!” He mimicked this word back to Andy and I repeatedly one morning and it was probably one of the greatest moments in our lives. Listening to him laugh more and more each day has also been nothing short of magical.
He’s also become quite the little Beethoven and loves pounding on the keys of our Yamaha upright and listening to just about any kind of music.
Rolling over? No problem what-so-ever, Mom and Dad. He’s been pretty adept at rolling for a while now, but this month we really saw this skill come to full terms. He can roll every which way and practices it frequently. He’s also started rolling himself over in his crib so that he can sleep on his stomach. It’s honestly such a relief to have him at this level of physical strength. As a parent, it makes sleeping at night so much easier, knowing that he’s strong enough to roll himself however he needs to be.
We’re also very much in the hit everything and/or stick it in our mouth phase. If you’re not a parent, this may sound annoying. But if you are a parent, then you know it’s actually downright adorable.
Alden started daycare about halfway through month four. Thankfully, my mother-in-law is a licensed daycare provider who only lives five minutes up the road! I won’t lie to you – it was really, really hard making the decision to send him to daycare, but Andy and I can take lots of comfort knowing he’s being cared for by a family member. It has also helped that I have been able to break up my maternity leave and have only been working full-time three days a week. I have a few short weeks left and am enjoying the extra bonding time immensely!
This month, Alden also celebrated his first St. Patrick’s Day (right on his four-month milestone)!
We also had some warm weather (finally!) and took some of our first real stroller walks around town. They were short, and he wasn’t really sure what to make of them. But we all appreciated the fresh air! We also celebrated his daddy’s birthday.
Being consistent with my workouts and eating healthy most of the time (let’s be honest, I really haven’t been that strict – babies are tiring and chocolate tastes good) is paying off. I’m definitely feeling my strength starting to return and am continuously able to button different pairs of pre-pregnancy pants (It’s the little things in life). I still have about 9 pounds to lose to get back to where I was a year ago, but if I’m being totally honest, the weight doesn’t bother me nearly as much as I thought it would. I’m a health-centric person. As long as I’m doing the things that make me feel good both mentally and physically, then I’m in a good place and I’m happy.
I’ve also finally smartened up as a new mother and have started going to bed much, much earlier. My once 11:30 pm bedtime has turned into 9:30 pm (sometimes later, but before 10:30 pm is the goal). I know the kid is going to sleep from 7:30 pm to at least 3 am. If I’m not also sleeping for most of that, well – that’s on me.
Looking back on my fourth month postpartum, the thing that stands out to me most was the mental battle of getting ready to return to work and send Alden to daycare – “The Fifth Trimester.” Thinking about this transition brought on a lot of anxiety and more than once (OK, just about every day) I thought about quitting my full-time job and freelancing full time. In the end, Andy and I decided that this wasn’t truly feasible at this moment in time and I did my best to not focus on the negatives. Instead, I shifted focus to the positives. Both of us working full-time will allow us to take more family vacations and enjoy more financial stability. Daycare at Grandma’s means more time creating bonds with other family members (including his cousin who also attends daycare there). There were/are many other reasons, but I won’t go on and on. I will say that reading “The Fifth Trimester” by Laura Smith Brody was immensely helpful as I prepared for my transition. I highly recommend it for women planning to work after having a baby!
Lessons Learned During the Fourth Month of Motherhood
- Your child noticeably grows up more every day.
- So does your love for them (How is that even possible?).
- Don’t worry too much about the dreaded fourth leap – it might not be that bad, after all.
- Some time spent away from your child is good (and healthy) for both of you.
- Going back to work after maternity leave is difficult but not impossible.