Four weeks and a day ago, this boy...
I am happy to say that she is doing great! She was so ready to be a big sister, and her maternal nature is flourishing as she has a real live baby to (help) take care of. :) She is so eager to do things for Benjamin: turn on his swing, put on his shoes (although that's a job I'm more successful at than she is) ;-), buckle him in his car seat (another job for Mommy), put a blanket on him when I'm holding him, etc. She does what she can for him, and then I see her doing for her dolls what I do for Benjamin. She is a little mama, for sure!
I haven't seen a hint of animosity from Moriah--or any of the kids--towards Benjamin. They are ALL so loving and affectionate towards him and have so warmly welcomed him into our family. I've heard Josiah and David saying things like, "I just love having a baby brother," and "I'm so glad we have Benjamin." Just yesterday or the day before, Tobin said something like "Benjamin is so gorgeous!" Shav once said, "I would cry if Benjamin died because he's so precious and he's the only baby brother I have!" Moriah can say "Benjamin" perfectly well, but usually calls him "Baby," and she'll say things like "It's OK, Baby! We have a trampoline!" which is supposed to comfort Benjamin when he's fussy but, for some reason, doesn't. ;-) One day she made me melt by saying about Benjamin, "Oh goodness, he loves us!" A little later, she heard Benjamin start to cry as he was lying on my bed, so she climbed up beside him and crooned, "It's OK! You have a friend!" :)
All the kids have taken turns holding him, with David and Tobin probably being the ones to do that the most. When Moriah holds him, it only lasts for a very short time before her attention moves on to something else and she's ready for me to take him. But with the others, they are content to hold him for a while--especially if he's quiet and peaceful. ;-)
When he was one week old, I had him weighed on the baby scales that my Granddad Huffman used to use in his medical practice and my dad got from him. Benjamin had regained his birth weight and one extra ounce, weighing in at 8 pounds, 10 ounces. (All of these photos are from that day, by the way.) By two and a half weeks of age, he was up to 9 pounds, 10 ounces. I plan to have him weighed again tomorrow, when he will officially be one month old, and I'm eager to see how much more he's gained since his last weigh-in. :)
In general, Benjamin sleeps very well, provided certain conditions are met. ;-) In general, his favorite place to sleep is curled up on someone's chest--usually mine, but Jeff has gotten to have some good naps with his littlest son, too. :) Early on, I was grateful enough that he was sleeping that I didn't care too much that he wasn't sleeping well in his own bed; but after a week or so, I was eager for Benjamin to learn that his crib wasn't so bad. As much as I was enjoying cuddling with him while he was sleeping, I also was looking forward to having some time when my arms were free to do other things besides hold him. ;-)
I guess it was eight days after Benjamin was born that I was talking to a friend of mine, Lynette, at a rehearsal of the children's choir, and telling her that Benjamin just did not like to sleep on his back in his crib; and she suggested that he might do a little better if he were more on his side, rather than flat on his back. Aha! The lightbulb turned on in my head, and I remembered how I had done that with some of my other babies, and it had helped them. I tried that, and sure enough, saw improvement with Benjamin--so much so that by Wednesday, September 23, when he was 10 days old, he slept a significant part of the night in his crib. Hooray for babies learning to sleep! And hooray for mommies getting more sleep, too! :)
With none of my babies have I felt very comfortable having them sleep in bed with us, but with Benjamin I figured out that I could position myself on the couch in such a way as to be really quite comfortable. He was on my chest, and I had the Boppy pillow sort of around us, and we were set up in a way that I felt convinced I wouldn't try to roll over and he wouldn't fall off. With him so secure and snuggly on my chest, we both slept pretty well, so even during those days and nights when he wasn't fond of his bed, we were both getting a decent amount of sleep. As a matter of fact, I probably have been getting more sleep in this postpartum period than in any of my other ones because when Benjamin would get fussy in the late evenings, I would hold him and fall asleep with him, rather than staying up to "get stuff done" (the story of my life!). ;-) What's more, I truly enjoyed those times of cuddling with him, especially as I remembered how speedily these newborn days depart; but I will admit that I did get to the point of tears one night as I thought, "When will I EVER get to sleep in my own bed again? It would REALLY be nice to actually be in the same bed as Jeff again someday!!" ;-)
As it is now, Benjamin is still not completely consistent with sleeping well in the crib; but he does it often enough that I get a break (and actually get to sleep on my side in my own bed, rather than on my back on the couch). And anyway, the times when he's fussy in his bed, I really don't mind picking him up and letting him curl up on my chest. He's my little koala. :)
~ his noises (sometimes he grunts like a little pig, sometimes he makes other noises that I can't describe, but they're the quintessential newborn noises that make sentimental mothers ache when their own babies are grown and they hear other infants making those noises!)
~ his startle reflex...he throws his arms open wide, and it makes me ache to pick him up and comfort him
~ his smell, especially after a bath...I just have to hold him close and sniff his head :)
~ his facial expression when he's sleeping, but he's trying to open his eyes, but he just can't do it because his eyelids are so heavy :)
~ the feel of his velvet-soft head...there's nothing like it
~ the way he folds his hands and cuddles on my chest...occasionally he will have his arms out to each side, totally relaxed and limp; but more often, he's all curled up with his arms almost under him...makes me think of how he might have been in the womb :)
~ his smiles and laughs...I know good and well that the early smiles and laughs aren't "real" ones ;-), but I can't help but get a grin on my face when I hear Benjamin make a noise that sounds like a laugh (usually in his sleep) or when I see the corners of his mouth turn up in a smile...and speaking of smiles, I feel like last Tuesday, October 6, I saw for the first time a real smile on his face...it happened again the following day; and then on Saturday, October 10, he had a period of time in which he was such a smiley little guy! it is SO MUCH FUN to see such happy grins on the precious face of an infant who has looked fairly serious for the past three or four weeks!
All of those things aside, however, I guess what I REALLY love the most about Benjamin is that God created him for a very special reason and, in His great love and mercy, gave him to us...
...and he is ours! Thank You, God, for this precious little son!!!!!! :)