Sleeping (mostly?) through the night. Smiling and laughing at all of our ridiculous antics. Growing like a weed, and surpassing medical expectations of where he “should” be — as a preemie — at this point in his journey.
My friends, we’ve reached a golden time. Oliver is 5 months old!
We moved him into his own crib about a month ago, a milestone we did not take lightly. From the time he came home from the hospital, Ollie “slept” (that’s a generous term for the all-night grunting, kicking, squirming and snoring, honestly) in a co-sleeper bassinet next to our bed.
Given his premature arrival and issues with apnea in the NICU (he would forget to breathe, basically, and require stimulation by nursing staff, who monitored his breathing constantly), this arrangement worked well. It was necessary. I was already a nervous wreck; having him in a different room would have been . . . well. Not good.
But by mid-August, just as he passed the four month mark, we started seeing signs that he was ready. Ollie was almost too big for the bassinet, for one; at 17 pounds with long limbs, he was constantly bumping into the sides. This kid loves to stretch, so he was constantly waking himself up. And he just seemed . . . uncomfortable. Fidgety.
We started putting him the “big” crib in his nursery for naps on the weekends, watching to see how he responded and whether that helped with the fussiness. It did. And so, on a random Friday evening, our babe was placed in his very own room for the first time.
His nursery became a haven while he was hospitalized. Because he was two months early and I’d been feeling ill for a while, we’d done nothing before he was born but paint the walls. As we waited for him to come home, we poured our energy into getting this space ready for him. But for the first four months of his life? He was really only in there for diaper changes and occasional reading in the comfy chair in the corner.
It’s a totally different experience, having Ollie in his own room. Spencer and I can actually put him down for the night around 9 p.m. and go to sleep together, as opposed to the weird hybrid evenings we endured for months. (Spence took the “midnight” shift, which would really mean he was up until 2 a.m., and I would take over starting around 3 a.m. each day.)
It hasn’t been perfect. After sleeping for eight- or nine-hour stretches for weeks in his crib, Ollie is back to a nightly feeding around 1:30 a.m. each day. But his dad and I take turns, dutifully rising in the dark to tend to him, and it’s not nearly as soul-crushing as it was back in June.
We have no teeth yet, but Oliver has started showing signs of teething. A friend with a 4-year-old and a 4-month-old recently told me that her doctor said all mothers of 4-month-olds think their children are teething (and they’re not), but that remains to be seen. We have many telltale signs: excessive drooling; screaming/crying for no apparent reason; biting on absolutely everything, including Mom and Dad’s fingers; inability to be soothed.
But that could be . . . infant stuff? I don’t know. Either way, we’re working through it. It’s not constant, thankfully, so it’s all right.
Oliver has always been a joy, our sweet baby man, but more and more of his personality is starting to come through . . . and I find myself giggling at all the silly stuff he does, especially now that he has taken to holding a conversation with his hand in his mouth.
I joked about that with Spencer, his little baby “language” with fingers stuffed against his gums, and my husband immediately laughed. He knew exactly what I was talking about.
“Goy goy goy,” Spence mimicked.
“That’s it!” I shouted, never piecing together that Ollie says exactly that all day long. “Goy goy goy.”
He hasn’t been weighed since his four month appointment, so I’m going to go out on a limb and say he’s close to 19 or 20 pounds at this point. It definitely feels like it when you’re hauling that kid upstairs! He can still wear 6-9 month clothing, but the stretch of a few of those onesies is being put to the test. Ollie also wears size 3 diapers, and our chunky man is holding his head up very well.
We’ve started thinking about the fall, my favorite time of year, and all the places we want to take Ollie! They’re just for us, I know, as Mr. Man will never remember pumpkin patches or hay rides or corn mazes later on. But I want those photo ops — bright blue sky; smiling and red-cheeked baby — for our memory books. We’re headed to the county fair tomorrow, where I will unabashedly nosh on funnel cake and remind a jealous Oliver that he can try some next year.
I’ve been swept up in so many memories lately. Last September, I was anxiously waiting to take a pregnancy test, wondering and hoping but also fearful and unsure. We couldn’t quite picture our lives as parents, though we were excited to see. To find out.
I rode the Ferris wheel with my sister, looking out at a sea of people while the excited calls of children from the Scrambler carried on the first cool breeze of fall. Spencer and I were just one week away from getting the news that would change our lives forever.
September will hold those memories now, too — a beautiful conglomeration of change, what fall has also symbolized for me. Fresh pencils and homeroom schedules; crisp back-to-school clothes, making new friends. My sister’s wedding on a beautiful day in early fall, and planning for our own November wedding — now almost two years ago.
I’ll also savor those weeks of knowing without quite knowing: the time I had a hunch, a glowing premonition, but had to wait (im)patiently to be sure. And by late September, learning that Baby J — later, sweet baby Oliver — was on his way.
The path has not been easy, and the year that followed the night I clutched a pregnancy test with shaky hands has been as frenetic and stomach-dropping as a carnival ride.
But it’s been thrilling, too. The biggest, craziest thrill of our lives.
So many milestones will be coming for us soon: starting solid foods in October; getting better at rolling over, hopefully, then crawling; starting to “talk” in some fashion, even if it’s just more sophisticated and hilarious Ollie Talk.
We’re so excited.
And hanging on.