I guess it's not really the same as the 7 Year Itch because it's not that I question my decision to have a kid, or question my relationship with E. (which I guess is what the 7 Year Itch is all about in marriage). I'm still loving E. and loving being a mum...but it's different now. The end of the 3rd month marks the completion of what some call the "fourth trimester," a time where your baby needs you just as much as she did in the womb. She's helpless, adorable, and all-consuming. But at the end of the fourth trimester, a new milestone is reached, the honeymoon is over, and this means several things:
- First of all, Ebba's diapers have had to be sized up to the next size! While I adore her bigger, chubbier baby bum, I miss the teeny peanut bum of yore. There's a bit of bittersweet finality to this simple change. Those diapers will never be snapped on their smallest setting again -- at least not for Ebba.
- There is time for reflection and, maybe just in my case, regret. It's my theory that when people get sad about their "baby growing up," it's not that they necessarily miss the days when she was a teensy baby, it's that they miss their chances to do things exactly perfectly in those days. At milestones like three months, one can look back and go, "oh I didn't carry her enough, I didn't work hard enough on her feeding...did I sing to her enough? cuddle her enough?" It's absolutely counter-productive, because dwelling on these things in the past necessarily means that you'll be missing things in the present, so at the next "blah" milestone, you'll just look back and be like "was I too hung up on the past? Did I miss something amazing?..." and then the cycle just continues.
- This probably goes with the above, but I'll give it a separate point. At three months, since that precious "fourth trimester" is over, it seems like things should be coming to a certain balance now. Things should be on a schedule, routines should be established, you should understand your baby's hunger/sleep/boredom cues 100%, etc etc. I know I'm being too hard on myself, but I still have no idea when Ebba needs to do what! It makes planning for the day a bit of a bitch. Okay...this is probably a slight exaggeration. She has a pretty set bedtime, and a very set bedtime routine. We also have some established morning and nap routines. But her nap lengths and times vary like crazy...and shouldn't they be more concrete now? And sometimes when she's tired, I still try to shove a bottle or boob at her and get a look like "wtf, mummy!?" Or when she's hungry and I try to rock her to sleep and she starts screaming "neeeeej, neeeej!" which is Swedish for "no," but baby for, "I'm hungry, bitch!"
- Again, an offshoot of the previous point, but deserving of its own space, I think: At three months we have to give up that "I'm a new mum" excuse. The baby is no longer a newborn, we are no longer new mums. It's both exciting and terrifying. Previously, if the house was a mess or I arrive late to something, I could just say "well, I have a teensy babe at home." But now, she's not so teensy!
- Ebba is more demanding. I'm not sure if this is true of all 3-month-olds, but I've noticed Ebba needs me more -- not in the way I mentioned above as in the fourth trimester helplessness. No, now she needs me to perform. The days of placing her in her swing for a quick spare moment are dwindling. Now her angry grunts translate to: "sing another song, mummy!" or "I wasn't done with that book, mummy!" or "Keep dancing, mummy!" While this is super exciting because it means an increase in her awareness and interaction, sometimes mummy just needs to rush to the bathroom and can't stay and sing or read or dance! :) Perhaps I should hire E. a jester for those moments.
There are lots of positives to Ebba's new milestone too, of course! I don't mean to be a negative nelly. It's been fantastic watching Ebba learn to roll over (we're almost there on the back to front!!) and smile and giggle and follow a conversation with her eyes. And it's nice that she's sleeping longer and doesn't wake us up 7 times a night (only 6 now, haha). But, well, my baby's growing up! *sad face*
So, other mums, have you encountered the Three Month Blahs with your little bundle? How did you handle it?
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