One of the biggest realizations I had as a new mom was that milestones are fluid. We are so concerned with the first time our baby accomplishes something, but in most cases that isn’t the whole story.
Jackson rolled from back to front and front to back at 5 months. So you check that off in the baby book (when I remember to record things in it), and I’m sure when I look back I’ll think that was when he rolled, and he progressed gradually from there to sitting and crawling and pulling up. When the doctor asks if he rolls, I can finally say YES. However, my son rolled so mommy would stop blaming herself for not properly teaching him to roll over, and then didn’t roll again for 4 MONTHS. At nine months, Jackson suddenly remembered how to roll and learned to crawl in about two days. So yea, he rolled at 5 months, but it’s complicated.
The same goes for sleep. Both my boys slept through the night at 11 weeks. Go ahead, hate me if you must. But that isn’t the whole story. At the time, I thought I was acing motherhood, and why do people always complain about being tired? I’m getting full nights of sleep and he’s not even three months old! Yea, ok, but then he learned to roll and had two weeks of spotty sleep. Well, once we get through this he will sleep through the night again, right? Then he got a tooth. Or a cold. Or learned to sit up and couldn’t figure out how to lay back down. Then had really bad gas or surprise night poops once he started solids. All the way to present day, when he has suddenly started waking up at 4 and desperately needing to snuggle with Daddy and not return to his own bed. So yes, both boys slept through the night regularly at 11 weeks, but it’s complicated.
Archer has been sick and when he wakes up coughing I nurse him to soothe his throat. When he gets congested and panics, I go in and suction his little button nose, which freaks him out so I have to nurse him to calm him down. And now that he is rolling over, where he would normally wake up and soothe himself back to sleep, he wakes up and rolls over and screams like he’s on fire because he can’t get off his face. Because his brother brings home every germ he can find at school and gives his brother a big open-mouth slobber kiss, he is sleeping through the night a little less than I’d like. Mercifully, I have a fantastic husband who gets up with Jackson after I’ve gotten up once or twice with Archer. I feel so bad for poor little Archie, because there is pretty much nothing I can do but suction his nose, and I am really relishing this stage where he has such simple needs: sleep, change, boob, cuddle.
I am still learning that everything is fluid, and my kids’ accomplishments change day to day. Jackson was rolling one day, and then unable for months. Archie was sleeping, and then he caught three colds and Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease and needs a little extra love in the middle of the night. Jackson would suddenly say a new word, and then refuse to try it for a few weeks after that. I am trying to learn not to be concerned with milestones, because they don’t tend to mean that much anyway. If Jackson rolls over once, but can’t do it for 4 months, does it matter that he did it that one time? If a baby cries in the middle of the night and Mom forgot to turn on the monitor, did it happen? Just kidding, I never forget to turn on the monitor…