Most of yesterday afternoon was so good, it seemed like a miracle. Kung Fu Panda was calm, and though he was still having gas pains, it seemed to pass more quickly, rather than causing him extreme discomfort. But The Gryphon and I knew that night was coming and tried to steel ourselves for the worst. After all, the last several days had been a challenge on the order of a white belt being drilled by an unrelenting master.
"Do you think we're in for another night?" I asked The Gryphon.
"I don't know," he said. We both sighed.
While Kung Fu Panda was still doing well, we began taking naps every time we got him to slumber safely in his crib. Since he was operating on a sleep deficit, too, having worn himself out the night before with fussing over his discomfort, he slept well. Despite the fact that we dreaded the transition to night, very little changed. He had a couple moments of crying over gas pain, but we were able to soothe him, and then he was the same calm baby we'd first gotten to know in the hospital.
Overnight, he slept easily in his crib, albeit for relatively short durations. Still, an hour here, an hour and a half there before being awakened by crying on the baby monitor seemed like heaven. Why? Because once awakened, we were able to identify and address the source of his concern, whether it be a feeding, a diaper change, or just some soothing rubbing to ease gas pain. It felt so good to be capable of helping our baby be that I don't think either of us minded the frequent sleep interruptions.
Earlier this morning, having apparently caught up on his sleep, Kung Fu Panda was bright awake after a feeding. I took the opportunity to tell him, from memory, the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. While I'm certain I messed it up, he didn't seem to mind. I introduced his little toes to "This little piggy," and he seemed to enjoy the toe massage. And then, just because he was still intently gazing at me, I introduced him to his face in the mirror.
By now, I know that he knows his name, since he responds to it regularly (we've made a point of using it when talking to him). So when I faced him towards the mirror, within the 20-inch visual range of newborns, and touched him gently on the chest, saying his name, he peered more closely at the mirror. His eyes got wide as comprehension appeared to take hold. His mouth rounded in an expression I've never seen before but might be the newborn expression for surprise.
I pointed to myself and said, "Mommy," another word we've been repeating in front of him, along with "Daddy," of course. At first, I wasn't sure what he thought of it. Then, I realized he was meeting my eyes in the mirror, with the same wide-eyed expression.
There is so much more to learn, Kung Fu Panda. We're on our way to a white stripe together: Mommy and Daddy in parenting, and you in everything else there is to see and do in this wide world.
A little patience and self-confidence make a huge difference.