Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Half Full

Oy. A month of nothing on the blog but gift lists. Which are valuable, but still. I never can seem to sustain long-term actual writing...why is that?

Meanwhile...guess who is six (and a half, now) months old? We're celebrating half a year of our little butterball!

Here he is in Elijah's first Easter outfit. No, they don't actually make spandex khaki pants; that's just me pretending that Jude can still wear 3-6 month clothes. This kid is a tank. He's bigger now than Elijah was at a year. Granted, Elijah was tiny, but still! Jude has plenty of chub (you can pinch the fat on the tops of his feet, for crying out loud!), but he's also just solid. We keep telling Elijah that he better be kind to his little brother, because it may not be long before *he* ends up being the "little" brother :)

I'm glad I've gotten to experience both ends of the baby size spectrum. I have to say, it's fun to have a chubby breastfed baby and know, “MY milk did that—he has grown this big nourished solely from me!” But having had a skinny breastfed baby makes me sensitive. I remember all too well how easy it was to feel defensive and self-conscious when other nursing moms seemed to boast about their big, fat babies while my little guy was healthy and happy, but didn't have three chins or dimples where knuckles should be. Knowing that my milk has produced both a big baby and a small one is good for tempering my pride at Jude's roly-poly thighs.

Though there was definitely a phase when Jude looked just like his older brother, I don't really see it much anymore. (Here's Elijah at six months, if you're curious.) What's especially different is that Jude has his daddy's coloring (I am still holding out hope that his eyes will turn Steve's gorgeous shade of gray-green). Their temperaments seem similar, though...I've had more than one person use the word “chill” to describe Jude. He's such a happy, content, laidback baby.

He's also earned the affectionate nicknames “Slobber Face” or “Drool Monster” because he is a perpetual fountain of saliva.

No teeth yet, but if I don't keep a bib on him, his shirt is guaranteed to look like this:

He recently started the army crawl, and I'm discovering how much harder it is to have a mobile second baby than a mobile firstborn. With Elijah, the only toys we owned were baby toys that were safe for him. Now Elijah's completely un-baby-friendly toys are scattered all over the house, so having Jude on the move is way crazier.

The second baby has also been more difficult in terms of having to deal with the first child's treatment of him. Elijah had more than three years of all the attention, so he's had quite an adjustment, and I've lost count of how many times I've lost my temper in response to his treatment of Jude. On the flip side, he is also really sweet to Jude a lot of the time. (Letting him go in to greet Jude first thing in the morning is a riot; he repeats all the silly things he's heard me say: “Good morning Jude! Are you awake? Are you awake? Tickle, tickle, tickle! Dere's a spot! Get dat fat wolls!") And I love the way Jude just adores his big brother.

I'm still not the mom who cries as she packs up the small clothes; I look forward to the stages to come. The cup of Jude's first year is half full for me, not half empty. But although I've found that the newborn stage is still definitely not my favorite, I have been much more able to enjoy it this time around. Jude is a charmer, with those gummy grins and that entirely kissable face. Even he likes to check out the cute baby in any reflective surface:

I'm trying to soak up moments—to stare at his sleeping face, to hold him a little longer. I love seeing Jude grow and change—but who knows if I'll ever have a tiny baby again? I'm not in a fog of despair like the kind that makes my memories of Elijah's first year a blur, and for that I'm unspeakably grateful.

Yet if I'm perfectly honest, I have to admit that although we got off to an infinitely better start this time around, the babymoon ended pretty quickly. Nursing, which I expected to be much easier the second time, turned out to be nightmarishly worse. And it didn't take long before I found myself struggling with the competing demands of two children and the ways they cross the selfish demands of my own flesh. Many, many times a day I had to remind myself: The newborn stage does not last forever. And God has provided, is providing, and will continue to provide the grace you need.

I'm often discouraged to realize how little has changed in my heart since I first became a mother almost four years ago. It seems that I didn't get less self-centered and more willing to serve sacrificially; my kid just got easier. And so now that I have a demanding baby again, I'm still dealing with the same heart issues that contributed to my struggles last time. But this time, at least one thing is different. I am taking up my shield of faith and trying, however feebly, to fight. I am giving thanks and speaking truth. I am saying little Jude's name and declaring—praying--that This time, I will praise the Lord.


Danielle said...

I've been losing my temper a lot with my boys lately too. They've been more whiny of late, and started arguing with me about obeying. I too can relate to being discouraged. I think I've grown a lot then the next week I've sunk back to old patterns.

Anyway, I'm sorry nursing has been more of a challenge this time around! That's tough!

Jude certainly is a cutie, though, and I agree also that I've enjoyed the newborn stage much more this time around. A lot more, actually! I actually told Josh having Sophia ALMOST makes me want to have another baby, she's been so fun! Almost. ;)

Anna said...

As always, thanks for your honesty. Motherhood certainly reveals selfishness like nothing else. I am the mom to cry when I put the baby clothes away, yet I love my independence too, and am a little fearful of how demanding it's going to be to add Baby Two to the mix.

Jude is adorable. :)

Ali said...

What perfectly adorable pictures! We can't wait to meet Jude this summer. :)

You are right to pick up your shield and put on your armor, but remember this: you are not called to fight, but to stand! Sometimes standing is all a mommy can do. Thankfully God has given us the strength to do just that - stand firm in His promises and trust that He will fight the battle and always emerge victorious! Hallelujah!