The month of 1.
There are so many mom-related things that I don’t know, that I feel clueless about. Especially at 3 o’clock in the morning when I haven’t yet slept a wink. And then, there are so many mom-related things that I know, that I thought I wouldn’t know. I never thought I would know how to soothe my own baby. I didn’t know I would have ‘the touch’ or ‘the rock’ – the ability to calm Cade down. Don’t be fooled, there are days and nights where I don’t have that ability, but for the most part it’s there. It’s there because I calmed him for 9 months, I kept him warm, nurtured, and fed. We’re just getting to know each other yet we’ve been close friends for 10 months now. Just when I think one day I have it figured out and am feeling on top of the world, the little dude goes and changes plans on me. How dare he!
It’s so funny how things change. I might even go as far as saying that I used to be a ‘know-it-all’ before I was a momma. I had ideas in my head that I was adamant about. I never thought I could really handle crying. How pathetic is that? Of course babies are going to cry. We talk, babies cry – it’s their talk. It’s how it goes. I also remember having conversations with people about sleeping plans for babies. I remember taking the stand – “Well my baby is never going to sleep in the bed with us. Nope, not happening. I don’t want to create habits and my bed is not the family bed.” I don’t know what I thought. Was I going to let my 1 month old baby cry and cry and fuss and fuss? Uhm, probably not. Did I even consider that babies get sick? Cade has a cold right now but is significantly better than a week ago. He is stuffy and congested and I feel bad for the little stinker, not likely that I am not going to let him fuss and cry in his basinette, especially when he is all stuffy sounding. I’m pretty sure he got it from me. Of course he has to get sick from me rather than getting more antibodies to prevent the sick. Boourns. Sickness is new to him. he was nice and cozy and protected in the womb, and now he’s sick. Darn rights he is going to fuss. I fuss too at first encounters with scary things.
So. This has been a trying month with our little guy. First he got a diaper rash. Ish. I say ‘ish’ because it wasn’t really a diaper rash it was more of a bacterial infection which I am not really sure how he got it as he change him frequently, used vaseline. I’m thinking it may have been from the wipes as the “rash” started out as a skin irritation of sorts – very painful looking bum he had! A doctor that was on call in our clinic one evening prescribed a cream for an overgrowth of yeast, however after 5 days of the cream not working, we took him back to our own doctor, who disagreed and did not think it was yeast. She prescribed another cream and voila, he has a perfect looking little bum again! So first the ish-rash-ish, and then he got sick. Not cool hearing a little boy all stuffy-sounding, congested and subsequently miserable. Well but of course, don’t you get miserable when you’re sick? We picked up a humidifier and pediatric saline drops to hopefully soothe his nasal passages and help the little stinker breathe better. He’s healing and we’re (slowly) (starting) to get more sleep.
We’ve had somewhat of a fussy little lad on our hands the past week. Just overall unhappiness it appears – always needing to be in mom’s or dad’s arms. And that’s all fine and dandy because we love love absolutely love to cuddle and nurture and love Cade. However, when I can barely grab a bite to eat or take a poo without him crying and screaming, yikes. For one, I hate hearing him cry and I feel so helpless when he’s feeling so helpless. And two, a girl’s gotta eat. And poop. But that’s another story. (Post-partum pooping is exhausting.)
I think his fussiness is due to being sick, but I guess we shall see come healthier days. There were several nights in the past week where we were up from 11PM – 4AM trying to get Cade to sleep. He’d be upset because he was hungry. So we’d feed him. Then he’d be upset again. Change diaper. Still upset. Burp. Still upset. Cuddles hugs and kisses. Still upset. There was absolutely no chance of him sleeping in his basinette unless we were to let him cry and cry and cry, which I just couldn’t bring myself to do. Not at 1 month old and not at 3AM. So then the next day I decided to google sleeping/calming ideas. There are so many, too many, and they are all conflictual with each other! Sleep train. No way DO NOT sleep train. Let baby cry it out – but not until they are 4 or 5 months old. Do NOT let baby cry it out you will create a needy insecure monster. Don’t let your baby get too used to being held and cuddled or you will never be able to put him down and you will not get anything down and your house will be a disaster and what will your guests think by golly? Cuddle and hug and kiss your baby as MUCH as possible for the first year especially as this is creating secure, healthy attachments and allows baby to feel safe.
Well, WTF? I thought I knew it all! I thought I wasn’t going to let my baby sleep with me. (Fail.) I thought it was okay to let my baby cry as long as they had sufficient hugs, a dry diaper, and a full belly. (Fail.) I don’t think that I was or am naive. Maybe a little too idealistic? Perhaps? I do like to think that the mind is extremely powerful and I can (to a degree) obtain a reaction or result that I’d like to obtain, however that’s not always the case with a wee little lad with an agenda of his own. Buuuuut we’re learning. We’re figuring it out. We’re getting to know each other, albeit slowly, kind of? Some days quicker than others. Some days I feel like a mommy-whiz, I’ve got this shit covered, in other words! Some days I feel like a useless pile of poo who cannot even meet my own son’s needs. (Gasp!)
The first month has been trying. The first month has been wonderful. I never thought I’d get 3 hours of sleep in a night and wake up the next day feeling amazing and want to share the greatness of being a mommy to everyone I know. Who woulda thunk it. The whole lack of sleep thing is difficult to get used to, obviously. Sleep is invaluable. You cannot do anything to physically, emotionally, mentally prepare yourself for lack of sleep, I don’t think. I’m not trying to be a scary fear tactic monster, but when I was pregnant a lot of people would tell me to get lots of rest “because soon I wouldn’t be getting any.” Well dudes, I’ll tell you, if I could have banked up my sleep and saved it to put towards these first few months (who am I kidding, these first few years, maybe!) I totally would’ve. No question. But you can’t bank sleep. One day maybe we will have evolved to that point but we’re not there yet. It’s amazing how I have adapted to the amount of sleep that I’m NOT getting. Some days are a lot harder than others. It is a lot harder to deal with new mom things when I am completely exhausted. I cry more when I am completely exhausted. Add an upset, crying baby to that exhaustion and I’m spent.
I am a lot more calm and composed of a mommy than I thought I’d be. Not that I thought I’d be a disastrous wrecking ball, but I thought I would be a bit more anxious and a bit more stressed about all things baby. I have more patience than I ever knew existed within me. It’s kind of beautiful actually! Sometimes I look at myself parenting my son and think, hey, you’re a pretty good mommy. Sometimes I bury my face in my hands and cry and say that I can’t do this and I am so tired and god is tomorrow going to be HARD. That’s usually at 3AM when I haven’t yet slept. But still – there are more times where I praise myself than slaughter myself, thankfully. I’d tell you to be worried if it were the opposite.
I am loving being a mom. I am loving this new role in my life. I am loving co-parenting our son Cade, with my wonderful partner Kyle. I truly feel that we have an ‘equal parenting relationship’ which is so important for Cade, for all of us. Kyle is extremely supportive to me and gives me encouragement and positive words every single day. He stresses the importance for me to have me time. He changes a lot of diapers and wipes away a lot of tears. He gives a lot of hugs and kisses, to Cade, Lily and I. I feel like we have so naturally slipped into being parents and still having our own identities which is so important. Lily has been an amazing pooch and she is so in love with Cade. She is in love and obsessed. She is his protector and always has to be near him or things that have his scent (his play mat, his chair, his blankets, his car seat). I am sincerely and SEVERELY loving my life. It’s hella hard, probably the hardest thing I’ve done, but it’s so so worth it. Every time I look at my little guy makes me realize that even more. Okay, maybe not when he’s screaming bloody murder. But still.