Here we are, 5 weeks and 5 days into our sweet baby boy’s life and I feel like I might actually be getting the hang of some of this mom stuff! I always felt like when you became a mom all of a sudden you know everything. Like out comes the baby, in comes the knowledge…simultaneously. Unfortunately, that is not what they put in my IV.
And while I still think that’s what happened with my mom, I’m finding out that having a baby is a learning process.
Sure, some things come easy. Loving your baby more than life itself? Check! Loving your baby’s dad more and more each day as you see them interact in heart-melting ways? Check!
Changing diapers? …sort of check!
Sure, I’ve changed my fair share of diapers in my life. I have younger cousins, I babysat and I worked at schools with young children for the last 5 years. But somehow my tricky little son has peed on me, the couch, himself, his clothes, Uncle Brandon & Auntie Meghan’s bed, and the floor… all in the midst of diaper changes. Right when I think I’ve got everything under control- new diaper ready and in position and a wipe strategically placed to catch any streams that may come from my boy, Jonathan Houdini decides to squirm his way out from under the confines of the wipe and pee. Granted, diaper changes are not his favorite thing in the world. So he’s normally crying a little bit (or a lot) and then there’s the introduction of cool air… but still. You think I’d have this down by now. We’re getting better. Don’t worry, if you invite us over, our son won’t pee on your belongings. Or maybe he will. Sorry, no guarantees.
I don’t want to talk about it. Not because it’s going badly. But I have learned that you can’t talk about your child’s sleep habits without jinxing yourself. The first rule of Sleep Club is you do not talk about Sleep Club. The second rule of Sleep Club is you DO NOT talk about Sleep Club. Seriously. It’s like talking about a perfect game in baseball. You just don’t do it. (Unless it’s the other team’s pitcher, in which case, by all means talk, tweet and text about it to your heart’s content.) What will inevitably happen is that you’ll be like “yeah my kid slept for x-amount of hours last night, we own this whole sleep thing.” And then BAM! The next night, kiss those hours goodbye in the amount of about half. True story.
Another thing I thought would come naturally? Breastfeeding. That is true for some women and their babes, but not for us. Jonathan and I have had some latching issues. The first week we were home from the hospital, he’d scream and cry at the mere sight of me trying to nurse him. I remained calm (at least on the outside), tried different positions, googled and youtubed like a madwoman at all hours of the night… but he still wouldn’t latch on properly. Thankfully we had rented a pump (until insurance went through for ours through the Affordable Care Act) and I was still able to feed him breast milk in addition to what little he may have gotten from our attempts to nurse.
Through determination, experimentation and a little help, we’re able to nurse now. It hasn’t come easily or naturally, but we’re doing it. We’re also still pumping to make sure he gets enough food to keep gaining weight (he lost more than they’d like at the hospital so this was a concern that didn’t help keep the pressure level down). We also supplement occasionally with formula. It’s not how I thought it would be, but little man has the start of a thigh roll so I can say I’m happy with the results. If you’re reading this and having trouble breastfeeding, you are not alone. I’d be happy to share more about what is working for us. I just didn’t want to go into the TMI range for some of the people who read this blog. You’ll find my contact info in the Our Story page.
The concept of time? Ha!
At any given moment, I do not know what day or date it is. My trusty cell phone is the only thing keeping me in tune with these things. I’m sure part of this has to do with the fact that I’m not working and don’t have to be at a certain place at a certain time every day. That said, time management is also something we’re working on. If I tell Stephen I’m leaving the house in 5 minutes, I really mean that I’m leaving the house in 15 minutes. It’s like “Aunt Susan time” (my cousins will know what I mean by that). Somehow feeding the baby, changing him and packing his diaper bag always takes longer than I thought it would.
Diaper bag packing professional? Almost!
Packing a diaper bag. Seems so basic. So easy. Somehow it takes more time than it should. I mean, we’ve got the basics pre-packed: diapers, wipes, extra clothes, extra blanket, burp cloth, changing pad, spare pacifier, spare beanie, emergency formula stash. And yet somehow, adding the few things we don’t just keep in there (Buttpaste, a spare bottle if a feeding is coming up soon, etc.) seems to add at least a few minutes to our departure time. The conversation (either with Stephen or with myself) kind of sounds like:
“What else could he possibly need while we’re gone?”
“Did you pack the kitchen sink? We might need the kitchen sink.”
“You’re right, he might need to wash his hands or take a bath or do some dishes at King Soopers.”
Okay, so maybe I exaggerate a little bit.
Doing things around the house? Getting better!
Now I’ve gotten pretty good at doing things with one hand in the early part of Jonathan’s life. Buttering toast, however, is easier done with two hands. Now that Stephen’s back at work and we don’t have copious amounts of family in town ready and willing to hold the little guy, this mama’s had to figure out things on her own. A few essentials for this mission?
Co-Sleeper: I love our co-sleeper. We have this one. When mama needs to shower, brush her teeth, or get dressed, a sleeping little man will sleep like an angel in his co-sleeper. I move it to the very middle of the bed, just to be safe, but he is unable to get past the little walls. He tends to wake up if he knows I’m in the shower and then I have to speed up the process, but it allows me to take care of some of the basics.
Moby Wrap: Our Moby has been a big help. With Jonathan wrapped onto me, we’ve been able to load and unload the dishwasher, make meals, start laundry, tidy the living room, and eat. It’s been a big help. We’ve had quite a few very productive days. (But let’s be honest, we’ve also had days of non-stop cuddling and playing.)
I’m hoping that we’ll be totally pro at all of these things very soon. But even if we’re not, one look at this face and none of it really matters:
Being his mom is the best thing I could have asked for when we prayed for children. I feel more blessed each day to be married to my best friend, who works tirelessly to allow me to be home with our son. I can’t thank him enough for that precious gift. It’s so exciting to learn how to be parents with him and to see what works for our little family. I just love saying that. Our family.