I wake up. I hear the restlessness and the babbles coming from the monitor beside me. The beast awakes. It is time for us to face another morning together. How will it go? I never know. But I do know that quickly, the cute little dialogue he’s having will turn to screams. That will be the point of no return. I rush to piece myself together before this happens. Contacts in, robe on, hair in a bun, coffee made: check.
My baby is small. He always has been. He’s my baby after all. But at his 9 month appointment, I was told that his weight had dropped. And the shame enveloped me like a dark cloud. The world stopped for a moment. So much effort put into feeding him for all these months, and it’s not working? Lab work drawn. Thank God there’s nothing seriously wrong. But a low prealbumin level indicates insufficient caloric intake. Aka starvation, my mind tells me. You haven’t been feeding your baby appropriately, and thus he has not grown. You had one job. And you're failing.
I pick him up from his crib and bring him to the kitchen. We make a bottle together and exchange sleepy smiles. We watch the waves roll in from the kitchen window. Time stops again each morning during this moment. We relax in the glider chair with the sun on our faces, and he chugs 8 ounces. Like a champ. It’s hit or miss now whether or not this will satiate him. Sometimes I will go back and give him another 3 ounces. But recently, I’ve been putting him in his happy highchair and feeding him a breakfast other than liquids. Oatmeal with peanut butter. Yogurt with banana. All the fats that this little dude can tolerate, I will allow him to eat. All the while, I do not eat breakfast. I drink coffee. I fix all of his little meals and bottles for the day before we head out the door. But I rarely eat breakfast myself.
He’s better now. The scale says three pounds in a month. We will go back in a few weeks for his one year appointment. I will hold my breath as I lay him on the scale, hoping the number reflects the efforts we’ve both put in. He’s finally in clothing that is on par with his age (12 months) for the first time since he was born. I should’ve been giving him solid breakfast all along. Nothing I can do to change the past, but my guilt remains. My inner dialogue says I should just “go with the flow” and count my blessings that he is happy and healthy. And I do. I always will.
Written as part of the Exhale Creativity #40daysofwritingtheeveryday program.
Aside from a regular mom blog, I've decided to try my hand at creative writing as well. This is my attempt to turn my feelings on ordinary moments, motherhood and life into beautiful small essays to look back on.