Some parents have “trick babies” – babies that are just so darn easy that you want to have another one right away. I literally cannot imagine a baby that simple – neither of my kids have been that easy. On the other hand, Little Bird does have some characteristics different from Sprout that I now know to be grateful for.
He likes getting his diaper and clothes changed
Getting a fresh diaper and new shirt is one of the great pleasures of Little Bird’s life. He gets giddy when I place him on the changing table, with a big grin stretching across his face. In contrast, Sprout squirmed so badly I was afraid he’d fall off the table.
He doesn’t mind the baby carrier
Sprout tolerated the baby carrier for a maximum of a half-hour a day. When I put him in, he would struggle so hard that the whole process wasn’t usually worth the effort. In addition, he rarely fell asleep in it, only being wiling to nap in my arms for the first three months of his life. While Little Bird doesn’t love the carrier, but doesn’t mind sleeping in it. As a result, you can get substantially more done during his nap than I could with Sprout.
I can put him down for a couple minutes without him crying
During the first three months of Sprout’s life, he’d cry like he was in pain if I put him down for more than 30 seconds. Every time I went to the bathroom, washed my hands, made myself a sandwich, or did anything else requiring both hands, those little cries washed a tsunami of guilt over me. In contrast, Little Bird is pretty entertained by his mobile or placing a rattle in his hand. It’s extremely convenient when you’re trying to get yourself ready and help take care of a three-year-old. In fact, sometimes he prefers to hang out in his pack-and-play instead of being held, a situation that feels very weird to me.
He falls asleep on his own
This is the big one. Sprout didn’t sleep through the night until he was a year and a half old and we had a traumatic cry-it-out period. The advice that you should put the baby down when they’re not quite asleep never worked because he refused to be put down. If he wasn’t dead to the world before I put him down, his eyes would flip open the second he felt the mattress, like some cruel baby doll. In contrast, Little Bird will go to sleep at night in his crib if he’s tired enough. He prefers being in-arms and won’t do it during the day, but it is a skill he has. That’s led to much more continuous sleep much younger than Sprout ever did. Right now, he only wakes once during most nights and actually slept until 5:30 AM the other day! I’m confident that he’ll grow into sleeping through the night consistently once he’s not as hungry.
He smiles easily
Sprout was a stoic baby – not cranky, but not especially joyful. He took a long time to smile and even then, it was only if you coaxed it out of him. It was very hard to judge the difference between genuinely interested/enjoying something and merely tolerating it. That’s one reason I was really anxious during our Disney World trip – I thought he might always be on the edge of melting-down. With Little Bird, there’s no question of how he feels.
This isn’t to say that Little Bird doesn’t have his challenges. He wants his diaper changed the second it’s wet and tends to cry more often for no apparent reason. He’s also more unpredictable than Sprout, with less of a tendency to fall into a rhythm. But with this period in life difficult in so many ways, it’s nice to recognize things I’m grateful for.