A week into the dumpling’s life, I downloaded one of those tracking apps for babies. If you are not a parent, you might not know these exist, but there are dozens of apps to help you track everything from nursing sessions to baths to sleep.
In the early days, the app was a
life sanity saver. We’d show up to the pediatrician’s office for well baby visits and they would want to know how many wet diapers he’d had in the past 24 hours (answer without app: more than one, fewer than a fifty?? answer with app: seven) or how long he was nursing for on each side (answer without app: hmmm, awhile? answer with app: usually 8-12 minutes). The app was a fantastic reminder that the baby needs to eat again even though it totally feels like I just fed the baby. When he took multiple naps a day and we were firmly beholden to his max wake times, the app again proved invaluable in making sure we helped the dumpling get the sleep he needed. In other words, the app took much of the burden of keeping up with the dumpling’s ever changing schedule of needs, giving me the freedom to remember things like when was the last time I took a shower. Ah, the joys of motherhood.
So, for the past 16 months I have tracked the minute details of the dumpling’s life. Nursing. Then bottles. Then solid food. Naps, catnaps and crap naps and holy-crap-he’s-still-sleeping naps. Nighttime sleep, or lack thereof. Wet diapers, dirty diapers. Pumping sessions, both length and output. Everything that made up his day. Then, slowly, I started dropping one thing or another. I stopped entering his meals when he stopped nursing, for instance. I no longer needed to see how quickly my stash of breastmilk was being depleted, so entering his bottles (“6oz – formula”) felt unnecessary. And though our particular app does allow you to track solid food, trying to quantify how much food he was eating (“3.5oz – veggies”), seemed ridiculous, so I stopped. I was more than happy to stop tracking my pumping sessions – FAIR WELL PUMP! Around this time, I also stopped entering wet diapers. He was old enough that wet diaper output was no longer critically analyzed, thus there was no need to track that information. And so, piece by piece, I stopped recording his day until all that was left was sleep.
For the past week or so, I’ve found myself entering multiple days’ worth of sleep all at once. Trying to recall when, exactly, he went to sleep yesterday or woke up two days ago. All of a sudden, it hit me that I’m to that place again, where it no longer feels necessary to enter “Sleep – 7:25pm – 6:00am” each day. So I’ve stopped.
Why am I telling you about this, you might wonder. I’ll remove the links and widgets from my phone and will not make a note about when, exactly, the dumpling falls asleep tonight. Big deal.
Except it is, to me. My baby isn’t a baby any more. He’s growing so fast and so big. It no longer matters if he’s been awake for 60 minutes versus 70. It no longer means anything if he eats a little or a lot. The only concern I have about the state of his diaper is if it’s actively leaking and/or ridiculously full. And so, just another sunrise, sunset – that’s all.