Some people call a baby’s first three months of life ‘the fourth trimester’–these are the times that try mens’ souls. I must have baby amnesia about how hard it was at this time with Elena; all Jenny remembers is that at two months suddenly everything got better, from which she infers that we must have been having a hard time before that. The first glimmer of hope I can see is that Roman now has multiple modes of communication.
Roman cries with great fervor and volume. Many times he cries because he’s hungry–it’s easy to figure out when that’s the cause with a quick look at the clock. But there are also several hours in the early evening that we call his ‘crying time,’ when he cries inconsolably for no particular reason. If we’re lucky, we can get him to sleep through part of this time, like when I took him for a vigorous walk in the stroller one day. Other times, we take him in our arms and suffer through as well as we can, thinking of better times ahead.
Roman’s expressive smiles are one sign of those better times to come. When he’s well-rested and has a full tummy and clean diaper, he’s very generous with smiles to all of us, including his big sister. His whole face lights up, and when he’s really feeling happy his whole body starts to wiggle. Just in the past day or two he’s demonstrated pre-laughter. He gets a big smile when I tickle him and starts to breathe differently, although so far his squeals are mostly noiseless.
After smile time we practice talking. He has started to coo, and likes it when we imitate him in our response. He also likes to hear us make different sounds, and tries to repeat them back to us, but only has limited success. To me it looks like he’s trying to summon the right noises from deep inside, but can’t quite figure out how to get them out. All that hard work tires him out quickly, but when he’s tired like that he usually goes to sleep with only a mercifully small amount of fussing.
I read about a study into how people deal with traumatic experiences. The researchers found that writing about traumatic experiences helped those who had been through the events to have a increased well-being. Times are sometimes tough with baby Roman, but finding time to write about things does give me distance and perspective to cope.