On Difficult Transitions

Remy seems to be enjoying his carseat

He looks deceptively happy

We bought Remy a new carseat. Moments after taking this photo, he started screaming bloody murder and didn’t stop for 15 minutes. People sometimes ask me if Remy ever gets fussy or upset or screams his head off like other babies. He does. He becomes frustrated when I won’t let him chew on my court papers or play with the outlets. He becomes confused when we don’t follow the normal bed time routine. He wakes up nine times at night to remind us just who is in charge in this family anyway.

Remy is used to things being a certain way when he is in the car, and it makes sense to me that a change – even an upgrade – must be confusing and scary. Remy’s reaction to the car seat has made me think about all of the other changes that are happening around me. I have friends who have just taken the Bar Exam and are in an exciting but scary and nebulous time. I have friends who are beginning new jobs and new careers. I have never had so many friends pregnant at the same time before – talk about a time of transition!

At first I was really frustrated that Remy didn’t love his car seat. It’s better, I thought. It is plush and tall – he can see out the windows, I reasoned; he can relax in comfort. But then I realized, Remy didn’t know he can see out the windows. He didn’t understand that this car seat is better. He has to experience it for himself. He has to stick all its parts in his mouth and see how they taste. He has to climb up it and discover the trees passing by through the windows. And since he has done those things, he is settling in. He is enjoying a new way of being in the car.

I think I am the same way. Unlike his tiny baby brain, my mind can objectively understand that something is or could be better. But just like Remy, I have to experience it for myself to decide if it is worth the change.

I was reminded of this need in myself when we began to try helping Remy sleep through the night again. When Remy wasn’t gaining weight, our lactation consultant and pediatrician encouraged us to feed him as often as possible, even at night. Thus it came to pass that Remy woke up every three hours and was rewarded with a milkshake and a backrub. Now that he’s on a growth curve (hey, 3% totally counts), he doesn’t really need to be eating so often.

Still, I was hesitant. Right after Remy was born, a good friend said something that has really stuck with me. The first few months are hard, he said, but you will never spend this much time with your child again. After that, I mostly appreciated the many opportunities to be with Remy. The many, many late-night opportunities. There was also the practical matter of milk production. I struggle with keeping up with Remy’s milk demands, especially now that I am working most days. Going so many long hours without feeding him seemed like a terrible idea. And I will be honest: the first night was rough. Really rough. Especially rough because I had left my pump at work. But I’m beginning to see that maybe getting a full night’s sleep could be worth it. It might be an upgrade. I’m stubborn though, so I’ll need to test it out some more and get back to you.

It also turns out that Remy has decided that he can crawl. That he enjoys crawling – revels in it, even. Another difficult transition. One that, I’m sure, will warrant it’s own post shortly.

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