Mom-scale victories at 4 months old

Week 16 (2)

In Weight Watchers, we often talk about “non-scale victories.”

NSVs are those little moments which serve to remind you why you’re pushing so hard and making tough choices every day. They’re related to weight loss, of course, but not directly; as you might guess by the name, they’re triumphs apart from any number on the scale.

Fitting back into your favorite pair of jeans, for example. Running your first mile. Making healthy choices at the all-you-can-eat smorgasbord. Buying a smaller size. Foregoing cake for fresh fruit.

NSVs come in all shapes and sizes, and each is deeply personal. Though my weight loss has taken a back seat while I struggle to regain my sanity with a 4-month-old, I’ve been thinking about these little accomplishments . . . and how they relate to motherhood.

Oliver has his first cold, which started with the sniffles last Friday. My husband called me at work, worried about all the congestion, and we contemplated taking him to the doctor immediately . . . because, you know, the window of opportunity was closing. Everyone knows a kid has to get sick at 5 p.m. on a Friday, right? Just before the weekend — when the shuttered doctor’s offices just taunt you.

He didn’t seem too bad, though — and we didn’t want to be alarmists. No fever. No odd behavior. Taking his bottles normally. Laughing and smiling as usual. Just a little stuffy with an occasional cough.

My darling boy bounced back quickly . . . though I still took the afternoon off Monday to cart him to the doctor’s office. He seemed to be recovering well from whatever bug he’d developed, but better safe than sorry. (#firsttimeparents, I know.)

As we debated whether Oliver was truly sick or just “not feeling well,” we checked in with his day care provider for guidelines. That was my first Mom-Scale Victory: proactively making that phone call and planning ahead to Monday morning. Because he has had no fever or vomiting, we were cleared to bring him in. But she thanked me for calling her first — you know, just to double-check. And I felt like a mom-boss.

Having a sick baby has definitely been our first introduction to the Working Parent Juggle. And it’s going to be an interesting one. We have a few things going for us: Spencer and I both work locally, a real rarity in the D.C. area; we have friends and family nearby for back-up; we have an understanding day care provider who wants to work with us and help find solutions.


Did I want to be home with my sick baby? I did. Especially when I woke up with a sore throat that quickly progressed to my own runny-nose, splitting-head illness that made everything that much more exciting on Monday. I thought getting up with an infant was hard when I was “just” sleep-deprived. Now I’m sleep-deprived, sick as a dog and completely dead on my feet.

But the show must go on.

Week 16 (4)

My mom once told me that some days are just “fighting the war.” She has had a hellish work commute for more than three decades, and she still excelled at raising two daughters with my dad (who worked from home, but also made terrible drives for work).

They say you can only truly appreciate your parents when you become an adult — and a parent yourself. While I’d like to hope I acknowledged their sacrifices before now, can I just say: wow. Yes.

Fighting the war, indeed.

Getting Ollie to his doctor’s appointment on Monday was another Mom-Scale Victory. I’ve never taken him out in public alone, and I had to ready his stroller and get everything hooked in by myself. While I’ve taken him out in his car seat plenty, I have yet to run errands without Spencer. This isn’t intentional; I just haven’t needed to.

But on Monday? It was time. After creating an elaborate plan that included Spence calling the doctor’s office as soon as they opened at 8 a.m. and me consulting my boss for a half-day when I ran in the door, we secured an afternoon sick appointment. I would meet my deadlines by noon and head back to the sitter. I would take Oliver by myself.

I was nervous about it, but I didn’t let myself entertain that anxiety. After getting through his prematurity, his NICU stay, those early and tough weeks at home . . . well, I figure it can’t compare to that insanity. This was just wheeling a sleepy baby up to a third-floor doctor’s office alone, you know?

Preemie parents feel a special rush of pleasure when others can’t single out our little ones as being early. Oliver was born four months ago today weighing 3 pounds, 9 ounces, and at his appointment on Monday? Our chunky man weighed 15 pounds on the dot.

“He’s a 32-weeker?” the doctor crowed, eyebrows shooting up. I quickly guessed that her terminology marked her as a preemie parent, too, and I was right: her own son was born at 33 weeks. “You’re kidding me.”

“I’m not,” I glowed. “He’s a 32-weeker.”

Here’s a Mom-Scale Victory: I didn’t immediately launch into Ollie’s whole story. For months, I took any and every opportunity to talk about our son’s dramatic entrance into the world. “Preeclampsia” was always on my lips, and I found myself wanting to talk about the trauma as a way to . . . relieve it? Comfort myself? Find support?

I don’t know. But as spring gave way to summer and summer heads toward fall, my favorite season, I do find myself healing.

I have set-backs. I have bad days. I still cry. But all in all? I am getting better.

I mean, aside from the cold.

That’s going to linger just to torment me.

Week 16 (6)

At 4 months old (2 months adjusted), Oliver . . .

• Is beginning to grasp and tug on objects, especially his favorite blanket;
• Looks for and recognizes us in a crowd;
• Can hold his head up mostly unassisted;
• No longer despises tummy time;
• Still loves his ceiling fans;
• Smiles frequently and with reckless abandon;
• “Dances” (limbs flailing) to “Everything is Awesome”;
• “Talks” constantly, cooing and oohing while making eye contact. (“I hear you, baby,” I say, and he seems to nod in agreement.)

He is . . . a baby. No longer a newborn, but an infant. A child. One with adorably round cheeks and the cutest little giggle; a baby who loves to grasp our fingers and gleefully watches us move about the room, the center of our little universe.

Though I sometimes feel like a heaping mess of a person – a bedraggled wife; a weary mother — I often remind myself of just how far we’ve come. For two glorious nights in a row before he got sick, Oliver slept for six (!) hours. At night. In a row.

And he seems to know us. Really know us. Not just as the tall people things with the milk, I think (though there’s that, too) — but as Mama and Daddy.

Four months after his birth, my Mom-Scale Victories include never being late to work in the two months I’ve been back at it; finding a way to make the overnight shifts work with Spence; managing to almost finish a book over the course of the last month; and getting more comfortable taking Oliver out with us on day trips. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it — and important. Our duo has had to learn to be a trio, but we’re doing it.

In the month to come, we’ll take baby’s first plane ride and head north to introduce Ollie to his New York family. I’m insanely nervous about the flight, only because I’m worried he’ll have a total meltdown — and I’ve been known to get ugly when people stare at me. Or us. But I guess that just comes with the territory, and I’ll have to learn to ignore it. We are, after all, just doing the best we can.

And my last Mom-Scale Victory for today? I got this post written on four hours of broken sleep with a head so fuzzy and clogged by illness and medication, it’s really a wonder that I’m upright.

Just makin’ it work.

26 thoughts on “Mom-scale victories at 4 months old

  1. First, Oliver is ADORABLE!

    Reading this post brought back memories of when my girls were babies. When they got sick. When I questioned myself on everything.

    You’re doing a wonderful job and all the right things. And don’t worry too much about that flight. I discovered that the youngest babies usually do the best on planes. Just have a bottle or pacifier ready for takeoff and landing (for when his ears pop, although most of the time infants don’t even react to it for some reason.)

    Enjoy these moments. They go by fast!


  2. I love this! We’re all about the NSVs on MyFitnessPal too… but MOM-scale victories… even better! 😉

    Oliver just melts my heart! I love his cheeks… they remind me of Caleb’s! He really is a thriving and growing little man. You could never guess from his photos that he was born early. Go, Oliver (and Mom and Dad)! I think at four months, Caleb was about 18 pounds so they were very close in size and Caleb was born late! That is just incredible, Meg!

    It strikes me too, all the time, that Caleb isn’t a newborn anymore either. He looks like a little boy now instead of a baby. Where does the time go?


  3. Loved that post. You’re a true Mommy. Great. I had twins and for some reason, they both loved to do things the same way and at the same time. Teething, sniffling, crawling, pulling on the same bottle. (I wouldn’t have changed that time for the world). Oliver doesn’t know that if I were close to those adorable cheeks, I would have to get some sugar. Thanks for sharing. Oh, by the way, my twins are 34 years old now.


  4. Fighting the war, one day at a time. That is such a great way of thinking about it. Today it is getting to work without spit-up on your shirt, tomorrow it will be figuring out how you are going to get your kids to two different parts of the city at the same time. Every day is battle, but every day provides some small victory that keeps us going. Hang in there! Every day gets just a bit easier.


  5. I love the last photo…he actually looks wise…but I don’t get his age…is he 4 months old or 6 months old…what do you count from?


    • Thanks, Patty! I’m using his actual age here: 4 months. If you adjust for his prematurity, he would only be 2 months old. I tend to toggle back and forth but, in the end, I feel most comfortable with his true age based on his April birth.


  6. He looks handsome and very healthy. Yay! Baby’s first cold is always rough. I’m glad his congestion cleared up over the weekend. When my nephew had his first cold, he was wheezing a bit and breathed loudly. Felt so bad for him and there wasn’t much we could do. When my little one had a bad, stuffed up nose, her doc told me to use saline to squeeze quickly into her nose to loosen up the mucus. Their godmum used an electric mucus sucker for babies. It was funny because it played music while doing it, not like my baby godson cared at all. Get well and take care of yourself.


  7. I love his smile in that first picture! He is simply adorable. And congrats on tackling the big first solo outing–it’s so scary at first, but soon you’ll be a pro. And 4 months!! Would you believe me if I told you that each month just keeps getting better and better?


  8. I think you’ve coined a new term and I LOVE it. I remember how I patted myself on the back with every ‘first’: getting down our third floor walkup and front steps (this was my big concern in the early days) going to the grocery store, the list goes on. We must celebrate these accomplishments! I think you’re doing a great job. And I know you will find a new normal before long, especially with more sleep. It’s different for everyone but I remember that 6 months was a huge turning point for me. I can’t believe Ollie is 15 pounds! His smile is amazing. Love this kid!


  9. You are doing GREAT, Meg! And it sounds like Oliver is, too. As you said, you’re making this work in a way that works for your family.

    I know I tend to mostly lurk, but these posts are so nostalgic for me as I think back to the early days with my 34 weekers (boy/girl twins). Those days were so, so hard, but we made it through. You will too.


  10. Yay! Your little guy is so precious. How many hours a day do you spend just looking at those cutie cheeks?!?

    I hope the cold gets out of your house for good soon!


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