This past week, our daughter turned three months old.
The notion of the “fourth trimester” totally makes sense now.
We admittedly had kind of a unicorn baby in those first three months, but that doesn’t mean it was easy. The thing is, a little baby doesn’t really do much other than eat, sleep, cry, and fill its diaper. Of course we showered love upon her constantly, but she didn’t really do much.
And then, as we approached that three-month mark, things changed. She started to grab toys and got better at doing it every day. When one of us would walk past her, she’d follow with her head and eyes intently. She reacted more and more to us talking to her by giving giant beaming smiles, little giggles, and her own voice. She realized that being excited means that she should kick her little legs wildly. She figured out how to keep herself content, even if it involves sticking her hand to her mouth. Tummy time stopped being so irritating to her.
Basically, she became a little person. In a fairly short span of time, she went from infant auto-pilot to having the gears in her head turn. It is incredible to watch things change on an almost daily basis.
Change can be hard, though. My wife’s first week back to work after maternity leave was rough on her. Not because of the job itself – she was ready to be working again – but she was less than thrilled about being away from her baby all day after spending the previous 12 weeks with her. It occurred to me that the end of maternity leave is a very jarring, sudden thing, not completely unlike going from being a not-parent to a parent. There’s not a transition to ease into it and everything you had been doing just stops. Fortunately, the listening ears and experiences of other working moms, as well as time, do end up helping.