4 months with James

James in his swing

“It gets better.” I remember reading this time and again during our first two weeks with James, when I was googling things like, “death by sleep deprivation.” It gave me hope then, it really did. Still, I wondered when we could expect Better to show up. Six weeks, three months…they seemed so far away from where we were.

james bundled up in his carseat

But today, four months in, it was true. It’s as if I just woke up one day, around his 12 week mark, and everything was just…better. Our life as a little family of three felt natural, good. All of the initial fears I had—they had evaporated. I think about all the lost nights of sleep, the hours I spent crying and desperately searching for a way to comfort my inconsolable newborn, the grief I held onto for a past life—and it all seems so insignificant now, even with just a few months’ perspective.

James on the changing table

Sometimes I’ll catch myself complaining and laugh, recognizing that I might as well be complaining about having to pay taxes after winning Powerball. Because the truth is, we hit the jackpot with James. Not a day goes by when Daniel and I don’t look at each other and ask, “How did we get so lucky?” It is so easy to give everything I have to him because he is so easy to love. Even if he’s hysterically crying, once I make eye contact with him, he’ll pause and smile. And that wide, gummy smile is this blindingly bright, tingling and warm sunlight falling all over you.

You do lose a lot when you become a parent—mostly freedom, time, and sleep—and in the beginning, it’s jarring. But then you begin to realize that you’ve gained so much more than you ever had. And it just keeps getting better.

james smiling at dad

My Favorite Moments

I know it’s not ideal for James, and as I’m sure some would argue, for me either, but I hold him for all of his naps during the day. He won’t really sleep otherwise. All told, it amounts to about 5 hours a day, together in the quiet dark of his nursery. There are definitely times when I want to get up and do something as basic as go to the bathroom, but I want him to get good rest more. And these are some of my favorite moments. Lots of times, before falling asleep, he’ll stare up at me and smile so much that he distracts himself from sleep. It’s the sweetest thing. Or he’ll start doing these long coos, in different pitches and tones, almost as if he’s trying to talk to me. I coo back, of course, and sometimes we’ll stay like that for ten minutes, just smiling and cooing.

holding james during his nap

I love holding him, snuggling with him, smelling his head, and hearing all the tiny noises he makes when he dreams. Someday he will nap on his own, I trust that. Someday I won’t get to hold him like this, to be this close and still with him, and it makes me weepy just to think it.

James stretching

Month 1 Highlights

– He met DeeDee
– First real bath. He loved it
– Auntie Rachel began coming over once a week to stay overnight and give us a full night’s sleep
James in his stroller

– First walk around the neighborhood in his stroller
– First real smile. I was holding him and my mom walked in, smiled at him and said “Hi!” He grinned from ear to ear. He loves her.

Month 2 Highlights

– Began cooing and attempting to mimic the sounds we’d make to him
– We went apple picking at a local farm. I wore James in my Lillebabe carrier and he slept the whole time…until we woke him up for pictures in the pumpkin patch
– We dressed him up as a skunk for Halloween
– 2 month check-up at the pediatrician. 14.5 pounds, 85th percentile for height and weight. 100th percentile for head circumference (makes sense given how large Daniel’s and my heads are). First set of vaccinations. He bawled. I cried. He was uncomfortable for the whole night afterward, crying on and off for hours.

James teething

Month 3 Highlights

– First laugh

James on his play mat

You turn your back for 30 seconds and this is what happens

– Began rolling over from his tummy to his back
– We implemented a schedule, with a structured bedtime routine
(bath, bottle, books, bed).

James in the tub

– During bath time, we started letting the faucet run into his tub and watched as he scooted his bum forward and lifted his little feet into the stream.
– First Thanksgiving!

Month 4 Highlights

– First Hanukkah!
– Made Christmas cookies with his aunts, Rachel and Kate

James dressed as an elf

James on Christmas morning

James and his first present

– First Christmas!

James in red plaid hoodie

– First New Year!

James in warm booties

– He’s been cooing and babbling for months but this week he started screeching nonstop and it brings him so much joy.

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13 thoughts on “4 months with James

  1. Bethany

    Ahhhh he’s so fricken cute! I’m so glad everything has gotten easier. I’m expecting my first in 7 weeks and your posts have been so helpful for me to anticipate how things are going to be for us!

    Reply
  2. Jen

    He is SUCH a cutie!!! My son would also not nap well unless I was holding him, so I held him so he could get good sleep. I’d read books, or look at articles online, while he was sacked out, but otherwise just…sit. It was wonderful. We transitioned him to napping in his crib when he was older, and I had to go back to work, but I have zero regrets about those early days. I’m glad you’re able to treasure those special moments with your beautiful boy!

    Reply
  3. Paolina

    My daughter will be two in April and on the weekends I still hold her for naps! Weekdays are crazy and we get an hour or so of family time in the morning and 2-3 more at night so it’s nice to have that extra time to bond on the weekends. And besides, they’ll only be small enough to hold for naps for so long! You have a beautiful family!

    Reply
  4. Laxmi

    I’ve been reading your blog for a long time and I’m a big fan of your writing. What a beautiful little family you have made for yourself. Best wishes to your little boy!

    Reply
  5. Caitlin Spaulding

    Totally with you on the naps! I did that with Charlie pretty much until he was two and even now we sneak in the cuddle naps every once in a while- it’s worth every inconvenience to feel like you are taking advantage of all that cuddle time because we know how quickly the time passes! James is so cute and really- it just keeps getting better and better! Enjoy!!

    Reply
  6. Laura

    I was only able to have one child, who is now approaching 30. When he was born it was the same for me, he wanted to nurse every hour and was a fussy baby. I was so exhausted, was a zombie and was pretty sure I wasn’t cut out for this mommy business. But I will never forget the time he was 4-6 months old. What a golden age of him being out of the infant stage, his little personality started to sparkle, he recognized people and loved to eat and laugh. Suddenly he was happy most of the time and an absolute joy to be around. I have always thought this was one of the best times in a babie’s life. And if baby is happy, mommy is happy too! Enjoy each and every moment.

    Reply
  7. lisa

    JAMES! He is healthy, Happy and most importantly LOVED. I knew you would be a wonderful Mommy <3. God Bless your family Andie. Enjoy the "moments"… Love, Leelee

    Reply
  8. Kathy

    I absolutely love reading your posts about James. It makes my heart happy! My son Ethan is about a month younger than him, so I get a little glimpse into my future. It is so damn true – it does get better. And when they smile and coo at you, it makes all the insanely hard times worth it.

    Reply
  9. Beth

    Mine was the same for naps until I went back to work, and now he is 9.5 months and never wants to snuggle. Enjoy those quiet moments together :)

    Reply
  10. Mimi

    James is adorable! My daughter wouldn’t sleep for naps unless I held her and you know what she’s 21 months old and lays down on her own for naps. I don’t regret holding her and I loved every second of it, even when I had to pee or got thirsty ;). I held her for naps for about almost a year (I can’t remember how long exactly) and she turned out just fine! Follow your mama heart. I love how honest and transparent you are, The first year of motherhood was so hard but so wonderful and amazing and soooooo full of love. Best of luck!!!!

    Reply
  11. Alyssa

    I had a preemie who was in the Nic-U for more than 8 weeks, and when she came home I also never wanted to put her down. Which meant that by the time I was ready for her to nap on her own – she had other ideas. She basically took every nap on me for a year and a bit and I both loved it and also sometimes worried I would never get her to sleep on her own. She is 2.5 now and naps on her own, sleeps in her crib every night etc. I sometimes want to pick her back up for a nap since I totally miss those snuggles.

    Reply

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