Michael is two. He celebrated his second birthday on February eight. There was cake, presents, and one set of grandparents had come over to celebrate with us. It's now however, a month and a half later only, that I am ready to close off a chapter, the chapter of Michael's baby years.
The day after Michael was born, I praised God for fulfilling my wishes and giving me a baby that slept better than his older brother. Joseph had driven me to the brink of insanity with almost a full year of extreme sleep deprivation. All parents sacrifice sleep. Joseph was extreme.
Michael seemed to sleep better, be more content those first few days in the hospital. But two or three days after our release the screaming started. Colic. I think Michael was a medium case.. three to five hours of screaming every day in the evening, and another two or three in the morning with the only thing that helped was him being carried one specific way, high up on my shoulder. Colic wrecks you, especially when you have other children that need care and the only way to talk to them is in a shout to raise above the endless sound of screaming. We did of course everything that desperate parents do: gas drops, baby massage, eliminating just about everything from my diet as I nursed him, but in the end we just had to go through it.
Luckily.. colic and it's screaming ends after a hundred days. We had a few days in which things seemed to abate, in which we could recognize something of a smiley personality, and then the screaming started again. Teething. Pain killers, orajel.. whatever... hours of screaming every day.. No matter what the different reasons were, from gas discomfort to teething, to growing to just general crankiness... Michael screamed... and screamed. Even when he was past a year... there were hours every day that he just... screamed. Up until a few months ago, every day after nap time there was was a half hour to an hour and a half of screaming interval. Each time we had turned a corner, something new would happen, from a slight cold to a tooth wanting to come through, a change in the weather.. and the screaming would start up again.
We went to the doctor of course, but nothing was really 'wrong' with Michael. He ate well, grew well, wetted and filled the appropriate amount of diapers. He was tested once for a speech delay since he was not babbling. His only two modes it seemed were screaming and silent. But on the day of the evaluation he decided to spit out the required amount of words (2 or 3), and from then on slowly gathered some. According to the doctor Michael was just 'sensitive' and probably frustrated because he could not express himself. He would grow out of it.
He did. Shortly after his second birthday, I finally concluded we were indeed, at the end of our personal journey through screaming hell. Of course Michael still screams now and again. He is a two year old, he gets cranky, has meltdowns and falls down and hurts himself. Then he cries. Loudly and gets comforted by mommy who holds him. But the hour long, inconsolable crying for no conceivable reason is gone. Maybe it is because at two, he has rounded the corner to expressing himself in words? Maybe an endless round of discomforts has ended, I do not know.
I do know that I want to scream at the people who ask me when I am going to have another baby. I do not of course. I do not scream. I even am gracious, or try to be. But with Michael having rounded the magical corner of two years old, people start to comment on the 'next one'. Especially those people who know, approving or disapproving, that we use NFP. I am not ready for a next one. My husband is not ready for a next one. God's will be done in all. We shall see what the future brings. But for now.. please give me this time to enjoy my baby. I have always interacted with him, tears in my eyes from frustrated mental exhuastion and an almost desperate desire for silence and all. I have rubbed tummies, played cars, and held him through endless hours of crying.
But now... I get to enjoy his personality, his babbling, him. I get to see the slightly crooked smile, the mischief, somewhat more sly than his bolder older brother's. He is my silly bug. His brother is my puddle duck. And finally... finally.. he is happy and content. He runs, laughs, plays, cuddles.. plays with others once a week at the nursery in church. He runs for his brother, his mommy, he is attached, loving, happy. Let me treasure him.