Yesterday, October 18th, marked the one-year anniversary of Emmett coming home from the hospital. Those days — 53, to be exact — are starting to become a blur, so I’m taking a moment to remember that period in our life. The daily trips up Burnside, so much pumping and so much washing (hands, bottles and pump parts, electronics), the stressful feeds and watching for Emmett’s breath, counting his weight gain in grams, looking forward to meals and company from our friends after a lonely day in the hospital. Ben and I rarely crossed paths. I took the day shift while he took the evenings, and even though I spent every day there and become a regular at the hospital, I still felt like I was abandoning Emmett each time I walked out. And our dear Milo was so accommodating — I was sad that he was forced to grow up into a big brother so suddenly.
I remember having mixed feelings about taking Emmett home. Yes, we wanted him to come home so badly. No, we weren’t ready to do without the nurses and monitors. I was so tired of pumping in the night and looking forward to nursing, but I knew the nights wouldn’t be as simple as that. Oh–those long, upright nights, months, of Emmett only willing to sleep on our chest. Desperate and guilty, we did anything so the little guy could get bigger.
But here we are! Settled into a family of four. Crazy to think this all happened.
Emmett is really doing awesome. He is our happy, go lucky baby. Seriously, people often want to rub his bald and perfectly round head (which is rare for a preemie!). He goes with the flow, adores all things Milo, and loves to climb and loves to eat. You can already tell their different temperaments — Emmett is often left unattended, may fuss a little but gets over things quickly, and will flash anyone a smile.
Here are two videos showing pretty much anything Milo does will make Emmett laugh. Every morning Milo brings in his narwhal stuffed animal and Emmett gives it the biggest face-plant hug. It’s adorably sweet.
Emmett turned one in August, right before our big trip to Europe, and his actual due date is in three weeks in November. He’s small, of course, but even for his corrected age (of about 11 months), he’s in the 25th percentile. Milo was always in the 90th or higher, so it’ll be interesting to see if Emmett ever catches up. He’s trying to because he is an eating machine! Mealtimes are one of the few moments when he can get really impatient, or even angry that we’re not sharing our food with him. He’s starting to have a preference (fruit and pasta) but still will try and pretty much eat everything.
Emmett seems to be weaning himself. I’m producing (and pumping) less, and at school he’s only drinking 4-8oz total. He makes up by eating a ton at meals. He still likes to nurse, especially early in the morning and before sleeping. My goal was to make it to one year of his due date, and that’s when I plan to stop pumping, and it looks like we’ll have enough frozen breastmilk to last until almost the end of the year.
It’s been an adjustment to go to daycare. We sort of threw him into it the day after we got back from our trip. We knew he’d enjoy the company and is generally very happy, but he hasn’t slept as well. Ben had him quite well-trained over the summer with two naps a day and easily putting him to sleep. But we learned on our trip that Emmett sleeps very well IF he is alone. So now he’s trying to figure out how to nap in a room with seven other infants. He’s usually famished for dinner by 5:15pm and crashes at 7pm. He also is waking up incredibly early, often before 6am. Once in awhile I can nurse him back to sleep, but most of the times, he and I have quality time playing in his room until Milo wakes up around 7am. I snooze back to sleep while Ben takes over.
Having Emmett has been one of the best things that happened to Ben and Milo. Before that, Milo was still a mama’s boy. But just the other day, Milo chose Ben to put him to bed “because Daddy is his favorite grown-up.” Sigh. We’re also so happy that Ben got to have such a long bonding leave and really spend time with Emmett, who is much more comfortable with his daddy than Milo was at that age.
A few developmental things to note:
- Emmett is becoming much more social. He likes to pass toys back and forth, stick out his tongue, and initiates playing peekaboo. He enjoys clapping objects together and putting things in and out of containers.
- He’s working on his fine motor skills. He’s trying to stack objects and gets frustrated when he’s unsuccessful (that’s how I know when he’s tired). He wants to use a spoon. His pincer grasp is much more in control.
- He loves to dance. Ben is fascinated how babies learn this feeling of moving to music on their own, because we certainly don’t break out in dance parties at our house. He likes the piano.
- Emmett is making sounds (ba, ma, ga, da), but it’s not obvious if he’s communicating with us. He definitely points, gets angry and yells when he wants something, maybe is trying to sign “all done”.
- Emmett is less interested in reading than Milo. This is a new territory for us since Milo has been fascinated with books.
We didn’t celebrate his first birthday (second child syndrome), but we did have a few friends over, gave him a cookie, and had him choose an object representing his profession. Watch to find out what he’ll be when he grows up!