Baby Deke is my whole world. Charlotte, Finn, Graham and Shawn are also my whole world. My world is crowded. So while Deacon receives love and attention from many sources, he doesn’t get my undivided attention as much as I think he should.
Abandoning breastfeeding meant losing that personal baby-and-me time that would otherwise occupy a large chunk of my day. I’m usually the one to feed Deacon his bottles, and I like it that way, but he finishes a bottle in a few minutes. Bottle-feeding sessions are concentrated and efficient, not long, slow and sleepy like breastfeeding sessions. While there are many things I don’t miss about breastfeeding (the pain and frustration, for instance), I do miss the physical closeness that comes with it. With bottles, literally anyone can feed Deke. This does come in handy when he’s hungry on the go. Big sister can feed him while I drive, so I have to be grateful for that.
I’m also grateful to have Deacon with me at night. I may be singing a different tune a month from now, but today, I’m OK with keeping Deke in my room and waking up at night to take care of him. I like the reminder that he’s still a newborn and dependent upon me.
In between feeding and sleeping, Deke is fulfilling the role of fourth child by letting me drag him around, here, there and everywhere. Deacon has been hiking a couple of times, he’s been known to gather around a campfire for s’mores, and he visits pools, playgrounds and splash pads regularly. He’s been to a parade, a fireworks show, a birthday party, the gym, the planetarium, stores, baseball games, restaurants … He did a trip to the lake and a cross-country flight. Deke has packed quite a bit into the last eight weeks.
Friends are always commenting on how much I get out, considering how small my baby is. There are a few reasons for that. First, my house is royally messy—getting out means escaping that chaos rather than trying to get organized with four little people vying for my attention. Second, since I am bottle-feeding, the newborn phase isn’t as taxing as it might be. And third, life can’t stop for the other three kids just because they have a baby brother. I could keep them all home and stick them in front of the TV while I focus on baby (which is pretty much what I did for the first few weeks), or I can bring baby along as we continue our adventures. With school starting next week, I won’t have a choice, so at least he’ll be used to going with the flow.
I am very fortunate to have a baby who doesn’t mind coming along for the ride. He’s usually happy when the car is moving or when I’m walking around with him in my front carrier. I’m also thankful that he lets me know when he’s not content. No one likes the sound of a shrill baby cry—it’s meant to grate on our nerves so we can’t ignore it—but I’m so glad Deke has a way to let me know when he needs my attention. As easy-going as he is, Deke has to tell me when he’s hungry, hurting, or in need of comfort, and crying is his way of doing so. Believe it or not, I’m grateful for that!