“Any mother could perform the jobs of several air traffic controllers with ease”. ~Lisa Alther
Ok, so at the end of the school year I decided to say goodbye and adios to all the wonderful people that I spent the past few years working with. I decided that I really wanted to make a career change and the best time to start would be while I was home with my bambino. Well… the clock started ticking and next thing you know Baby A is 4 months. (I promise you that there are very few tasks as hard as job hunting while having a 4 month old). For the first 3 months, babies are adjusting to life outside of the womb. New moms may experience day/night confusion, evening colic… or what I like to refer to as “The Witching Hour.” Dr. Harvey Karp considers the first 3 months as the Fourth Trimester and he’s got really great suggestions on tackling this crazy period for baby and parents.Your baby will also go through a few growth spurts and then, next thing you know you’ve made it through the first 3 months. Hooray! A lot of moms finish their maternity leave around now and are off to work. Your wonderful baby may even start sleeping through the night. AND have some predictable naps. AND then you can start bragging to your friends that you’ve started to get the hang of “this here parenting thing.”
Then WHAM! 4 months approaches and your baby stops sleeping through the night. In fact, your cute, cuddly, little angel seems to have forgotten how to nap and starts waking up every 10…20… 30… minutes. Bedtimes used to provide you with a reasonable stretch but now you’re waking up EVERY FREAKING HOUR.
and then it passes 🙂
Chamomile… My saving grace.
Anyway, I’ve been sending out resumes, tailoring cover letters, and doing phone interviews between naps. I’ve gone to a couple physical interviews and it’s been really nice getting out of the house and having a commute to somewhere. ANYWHERE. lol There are times where I feel like I’m dating again. “I really hope that guy from HR that I spoke to yesterday calls and doesn’t blow me off.” However, mostly it’s nice to remember my worth and how much I really do bring to the table.
I also started drinking chamomile tea and I mean really throwing that stuff back! Atfirst it tasted a lot like liquified flowers, but my grandma gave it to since I can’t have caffeine or hot chocolate. Not only am I calmer but baby A seems calmer. I decided to look up the effects of chamomile on babies and apparently women have been giving .05-1oz to their babies to ease colic and/or teething. While, I’m not ready to start Baby A on “solids” or anything other than milk for right now, this could be a solution for now. In fact, he slept the longest stretch he’s ever slept in months! Could this be wishful thinking? maybe. But a new mom’s gotta cling to something.
Our favorite Babysitter
So, night time sleep has gotten much better. Apparently naps are a big deal. I learned about max wake times, and maximizing sleep from babycenter… I’ve been reading Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and my personal favorite, The Wonder Weeks. We track his night sleep on babybix.com. Am I an expert? Hell, no. But do I have realistic expectations for sleep? Absolutely. I feel like Gollum and naps are “my precious.” It’s kind of ridiculous. What else is ridiculous? How loud my neighbors apparently are. Please stop yelling at everyone across the street. How thin my windows are! I can hear my neighbors shoveling the walk. Needless to say, I get a little paranoid when I hear a noise outside or adjacent to baby A’s bedroom. So, we bought a white noise machine and loop airplane sounds on an mp3 player.
Here’s what I’ve learned:
- Sleeping through the night (STTN) really only means that your baby can sleep a stretch of 5 hours.
- Breastfed babies wake more frequently than formula fed (sometimes every 1-2 hours).
- Babies wake more frequently when they are going through growth spurts or developmental leaps.
- Wonder weeks are mental leaps that are age-linked and predictable. Right before baby learns a new skill like rolling over or recognizing patterns, they tend to get clingy, cranky, and cry more often. (Right now Baby A is going through wonder week 19 (mental leap 4 – The World of Events).
- Most babies younger than 4 months need about 11 hours of night sleep and 15.5 hours of sleep within a 24 hour period.
- Overtiredness is a bitch and may be the reason your kid naps for 20 minutes or seems wired and alert at 1am!
- Sometimes, babies fight you when you try to put them down because they might be ready to put themselves down. (That is my child. He fights me and then I put him down and he talks himself to sleep).
- Apparently, I am an awful parent because the internet suggest putting your baby down, swaddled, and without rocking from day one so that they LOVE sleeping in their crib.
- Pacifiers, boobs, swings, swaddles, whitenoise, etc. are all sleep crutches.
- Finally… parents will do whatever the heck they need to do give the house a good night’s sleep.
I want to involve my husband in the caring of our baby. I don’t want to be one of those moms who nitpicks everything her husband does. But my God… bedtime is a battle every. single. night.
Honestly, I’m starting to think baby A hates my husband. And to make matters worse, my husband has decided to take over bedtime routines since I’m with the baby all day. We thought it would be a great way to bond with baby since he is at work all day and only gets to spend time with him an hour or so before bedtime. Well, it’s not working! At what point should I intervene? At what point does crying become “cry it out”?… Marriage and parenting is a delicate balance of humility and pride. A large part of me wants to burst in and grab my little one and calm him down but I know that will destroy my husband’s pride. Ref, put me in the game! urggh… nighttime sucks.
angry baby face
UPDATE: Looking back, I believe that this post was written during a wonder week. I think it was wonder week 8, but who knows, in the beginning they all run together. My husband is now the wizard of putting our son down. It’s amazing. In fact, I’m a little jealous at how well he can do it because he is now waaaay better than I am. lol Nights have gotten so much better now that we make sure that he gets all of his naps, I’ve stopped nursing him to sleep (what was I thinking?!), and is in bed at a reasonable time. No more keeping the baby up for guests and letting him hang out with us on the couch. Hallelujah, we’re all sleeping… better 🙂
Sooooo… I was told my mother in law doesn’t feel welcome because I have never invited her to dinner. Do people in their twenties have dinner parties? Is this a thing? What was the point of the feminist movement if not to get me out of dinner parties? lol
awww… little baby snores.
Yesterday we went to the doctor to get Baby A’s first round of vaccines. I had been warned that mothers often cry and that it would be harder for me than it would be for him. Well… it was hard for everyone. I’ve read one too many blogs that claim that doctors encourage nursing during vaccinations to comfort babies. I offered to nurse while Baby A got his shots and I got a swift “no! he could throw up the medicine.” Dear internet, you are a liar! lol The doctor weighed and checked him out/prodded baby A before the shots so he was super pissed well before the nurse and her tray even showed up.
Actually, it wasn’t that bad. Baby Avery had a little Tylenol from the pediatrician and slept most of the day. Apparently doctor visits take a lot out of this little guy because he’s just so exhausted.
But anyway, we are almost 2 months, woohoo!!!
One of the great things about having a baby is that lots of people will want to shower him/her with love. One of the worse things about having a baby is that lots of people will want to shower him/her with love. Which is why I made the brave/stupid decision to not have help and/or visitors during the first two weeks after Baby A was born. While I don’t recommend this for everyone, if you have overbearing relatives this is a MUST. Anyway, other moms told me that time at the hospital is sacred time. If you want to learn as much as you can AND make lots of mistakes under the watchful eye of trained professionals, keep the guests to a minimum. So, I did the incredibly “rude” thing of not having people come to the hospital.
Dear friends and family. We are so excited to start our family. Please allow us some time to recover and catch our bearing while we rejoice during this new and exciting time. We look forward to inviting you after the next couple of weeks.
Honestly, that was the best decision of my life. There is nothing more humbling than being a first time mom the first few days after you give birth. Those few days were exciting, terrifying, amazing… When you give birth, all modesty goes out the door. My husband saw parts of me he’s never seen (literally and figuratively. lol) Breastfeeding is not innate and it is almost impossible for an exclusively breastfed baby to not lose weight shortly after being born. (I say almost because somewhere in the universe is some lady who knows somebody). Worrying about supply, having nurses check your underwear daily, wearing mesh underwear and humongous pads, being afraid to cough/sneeze too hard, wanting to pee without someone dictating how and when to do it… it’s pretty humbling stuff. Becoming a mom makes you both helpless and powerful all at once. It’s kind of amazing.
so you can imagine my surprise when my mother-in-law was sitting in front of my house JUST as I put my new little baby down inside of his crib at home. There is no bigger hell than having to entertain people you don’t want to entertain while recovering from birth. Waddling down the stairs with stitches and a newborn baby to see a woman who hasn’t been vaccinated carrying a tiny baby with no immunities… definitely not how I had planned on spending my weekend. Said person stayed for 3 hours!!!! Which brings me to a very important life lesson: TIMING IS EVERYTHING.
For the next few weeks we got surprise visitors (ANYWAY). Others waited for us to let them know when was a good time. Some were gracious and called first. Some stayed for relatively short periods of time. Some rescheduled if it wasn’t convenient for us. God bless these people!
If you want to visit a new baby:
- Please ask if there are any vaccines you should get. No seriously, I never realized how big of a deal this was until I had Baby A. While I know that some people refuse to get vaccinated, please keep in mind that that new mom is going to be extremely pissed to have to take her kid to the ER because “Hey, it was just a sore throat” or “My kid’s cold is practically gone.”
- If you bring something, make sure it’s practical/useful. Like lasagna. mmhmmm! I had a friend call to bring us a bag of Boston Market and DVD’s (so we didn’t have to make time to read) of the Happiest Baby on the Block and Dunston Baby Language. They stayed for 10 minutes tops and left. I love them.
- Wash your hands before touching baby. or better yet, don’t touch the baby at all. I don’t know how many hands I had to slap because they scratched my dog, wiped their nose, etc.
- Call to schedule a time and THEN call again before coming. Sometimes plans change. I get it, I’ve got a baby. But if I’m juggling nap time and feedings around your visit, be courteous.
- Be on time. (see above)
- If the baby cries, soothe it or pass it. Seriously, I had a visitor hold my child and giggle as he cried. While a screaming baby may be cute to some, do everyone else a favor and hand him back to mom.
- Know when to leave. There are times when guests can “make themselves at home”. These are not those times UNLESS you will watch baby while mom or dad sleeps, do laundry, make dinner, be useful. It’s hard keeping a baby alive and entertaining people that aren’t dependents at the same time.
I have said that a lot lately. “I get it now, I get it!”
I feel like there are two (to keep it simple) “me’s” that I continually encounter. There is the “me” that I know myself to be and the me that is growing and changing. One me thinks herself to be mature and reflective, sometimes looking down at the naïvety of the other. And the other, thinks herself young, spontaneous, spunky, and hip, all the while scoffing at how drab and boring the other one has become. Does that make sense or is that just to confusing? lol
Anyway, to be really honest with you, I never put much thought in what it really meant/felt/looked like to be a “wife and mother.” Granted, we did pre-marital counseling but it’s very easy to talk about life changes when they are hypothetical. So, now that I’m finishing my second trimester, I often find a friction between the old me and the new me. Think of tectonic plates shifting and rubbing and that would accurately describe the rumbling of change I’ve been feeling. For example, I used to think that ANYONE could “just do motherhood.” (It’s almost embarrassing to type). I didn’t understand the rush to “put your life on hold.” Women today have so many more opportunities than those of our parents and grandparents so the traditional model need not apply anymore, right? While I still think that you shouldn’t rush into significant life changes, I now know that you can feel that way and NOT devalue those changes. In fact, I have a new-found respect for the roles of wife and mother. I realize that it is not easy being the perfect wife, mainly because she doesn’t exist. I have also learned that there is NOTHING easy about this whole “motherhood thang” either. So much is out of your control in wither role, particularly the latter. Because of this, I am ashamed of how easy I thought it all would be.
Baby A is here!!! I was due Sept. 25 and like clockwork, went into labor on the 25th and had him the next morning. More on that later.
Just know that, whoever said having a baby is like throwing a hand grenade into your marriage wasn’t lying! Sometimes I cannot stand my husband. Other times, I am so in love with him for leaping into new territory with me. But seriously, if he asks me anything after 6:30pm, my patience is nil. lol
I promise I will write more, because everyone says that they are “the best of times. These are the worst of times.” However, I want to include this quote from Kristen Bell, that pretty accurately summarizes my experience with baby A.
My first baby falling asleep on my lap.
On her worries about becoming a mother: “I kept saying to Dax in all sincerity during my pregnancy, ‘I just don’t know how I’m going to like her as much as I like the dogs.’ I was being serious. Because I f–king love my dogs; they are my children. I love people the more i know them, and I didn’t know her. It could’ve been a water bottle in my belly, that’s about how connected I felt to her during my pregnancy. But within about 24 hours after she came out, my hormones reset, and they reprogrammed my feelings about her.”
The main things I’ve learned and the consensus I have gotten from my mom friends are this: Whatever you do, keep communicating with your spouse… even if that communication includes some cuss words. For better or for worse is what you and your partner trained for right? Well, these are “the best of times AND the worst of times.” Remember that the first 3 months are HARD so its ok if you stop dating. In fact, don’t even talk about the status of your relationship during this time. You’re in a tornado babe, just survive! Motherhood is something you progressively grow into, much like maternity jeans 🙂 so it’s ok if you feel out of sorts. The days may feel long, but you will look back several times and be amazed at how much time has passed!
“So you should have your baby on ___ day… it’s my birthday.”
“Don’t have the baby until after I come back from my trip.”
“I’ve got a concert to go to that weekend so you should have your baby then so I don’t have to make another trip.”
For the millionth time, I will not schedule “the big event” around your big event. The joke is officially old. Having a pre-mature birth for the sake of someone’s graduation/wedding/concert/hair appointment?/ birthday/convenienece, etc… Ain’t nobody got time for that.
That is all.
It’s summer vacation, so I’ve been pretty lazy in terms of keeping up appearances. In fact, I looked in the mirror the other day and was like “woah… you’re looking quite different today.” One thing you should know about me is that I pretty much stop trying to look cute when 1) I know that I won’t be running into anyone for a while (i.e. vacations, school breaks, etc). This happens more and more these days, (maybe because I’m 8 months pregnant?) Anyway, I’ve been wearing my hair in pigtails and ever since my best friend from middle school introduced me to “half wigs lol”, I’ve just completely given up on doing my hair. I got my dogs groomed and even they look fresher than I did. lol However, my sister is getting married this weekend!!! agggghhh! So as you can imagine, it is quite imperative that I get myself together.
So I decided that yesterday would be the day I start to take care of myself… again. I came in looking sheepish as it has been almost a year since I’ve seen my stylist. At our last visit she told me to schedule a time to come in and cut my hair. “Here for my haircut!” Anyway, we talked and it was wonderful! So we talked and I learned that her baby is 7 months old and we also went to middle school together. (Who would have though DC could be such a small town? lol) Anyway, after having her rub my head and slowly bring me back into the land of the living, I can honestly say that the woman is a miracle worker. Long story short, a good hair dresser is like a good man/woman, once you find them hold on to them!
(I’ll post pics later)