The only thing that is constant is change.
~Heraclitus, Greek philosopher, around 500 B.C.
The quote above is a concept I think of often. It most often springs to mind as solace for myself, or for someone else, when going through bad times. But it's good to remember that the same precept applies when good things are happening in our lives.
A variant translation I've seen of this quotation is "Everything flows, nothing stands still." As new parents, MM and I are seeing this idea in action with our sons. These days it seems that every day they are changing in big and in small ways.
After seemingly being "stuck" in the newborn phase forever due to their premature birth, AJ & MJ now are developing rapidly. Nearly every day there is something new that one of them can do that he didn't do before. Not only are they acquiring new skills constantly, their patterns and behavior are also changing. In addition to smiling and laughing more, they are more aware of what is going on around them. While they are getting better at grasping toys (and hair and each other), they are also having more episodes of fussiness at times (perhaps due to frustration at not being able to grab all they'd like, when they'd like to?).
In addition, along with these obvious changes in behavior, they are changing their routines. For the past month or more, they have been on an every-four-hours feeding schedule during the day. Their routine looked something like this for each four-hour block:
- first 20-30 minutes eating
- next 10-15 minutes in bouncy chair (to let food settle)
- tummy time for 10 minutes
- on their backs for stories and songs for 10-15 minutes
- Bu.mbo chairs for 5-10 minutes
- swings until sleepy (usually 5-15 minutes), and then sleep until just before the next feeding.
In addition to the (renewed) unpredictability of their sleep, they are crying to be held more during the day. (This is something they have always done in the evenings, MJ more than AJ, but had not previously done in the daytime.) And when they want to be held, they now notice if Brother is also being held, and they don't like it. Yikes. Poor MM.
As of Sunday, MJ is now rolling over (tummy to back and back to tummy), so they are now sleeping separate cribs. They have slept an hour-and-a-half to two hours later each morning the past two nights, and I think it may be due to no longer bumping into one another in the early morning hours. (When they were sleeping in the same crib, they'd always move themselves together, no matter how far apart we placed them.)
With their reduced napping during the day, I'm not surprised they are sleeping longer at night. And it's not a bad thing, it's just a change. (Though I will confess, it does make me a little sad, as I used to be able to spend some one-on-one time with each of them most mornings before going to work, and now I don't really get to. Ah well.)
I often consciously stop and remind myself to enjoy this time in their lives. I waited such a long time to be a mother, and AJ & MJ are the only children I will ever have. When they want to be held and rocked and my back and arms are aching, or I am running through the many undone items on my to-do list for that day, I remind myself that there will come a day, all too soon, when my boys don't want to be held or cuddled by their momma. When they will go to sleep on their own, when they will be embarassed or chagrined by my desire to hug them tightly and cover them with kisses.
I think, especially as first-time parents, that it is natural to look forward to "the next thing" your child will do, the next phase of development. When they can babble, you want them to form words. When they can roll over, you want to see them crawl. Once they are crawling, you want them to walk. And so on and so on.
But I try to remember that, as exciting as each new step in their development is, it is also a step along a path that will eventually lead them out of babyhood, out of childhood, and out of our home. So while I am thrilled to see them growing and developing normally, as I know this is what they should be doing (and we would both be alarmed if they weren't doing the many new things they are doing around the time when they should be doing them), I am also a little sad at each new milestone.
Meanwhile, we endeavor to go with the flow and embrace the opportunity we have been given to love and nurture these little boys.