Sweet Times

I’m not sure when it happened, but we’ve settled into a nice groove. This stage has been so fun as we get to know our happy go lucky boy and he blossoms into his own particular person. He turned four months a few days ago and I could hardly believe the growth since his three month milestone, physically and in every way. 

I was completely obsessed with him napping independently for awhile, but I finally realized it was pointless to try and “make” him do anything at four months old. Now I have resigned myself to him taking his naps in my arms and I think I might even kind of like it. How much longer will I be able to look down at that sweet face with his petal lips parted slightly, apple-breath hitting my arm, long lashes brushing his soft cheeks? I stifle laughter watching his sleep grins and comfort him with my milk when he wakes too early and needs some coaxing back to his dreams. No, it may not be convenient, but I don’t mind.

I feel needed, vital, and it is such a wonderful thing. I remember all too well how utterly useless I felt in the aftermath of Haven’s death, as though my whole being had become void in her absence. Now I have a purpose and I revel in it while it lasts.
Where night feeds used to be draining, I find myself soaking them in most times now, despite the exhaustion. I smile in the dark as Nahum grips my thumb, getting his fill before hitting the crib again. Danny and I laugh as he pounds the mattress with his tiny heels, squealing with delight. My heart swells watching his pudgy little belly rising and falling on the monitor. When we go to the nursery in the morning, we’re always greeted by the biggest, gummiest smile and his contagious, gasping laughs. All his limbs are going at the same time as though he might burst from the excitement. He is kissed countless times through the day! It’s the surest way to get a smile or a giggle. He anticipates daddy’s bristly kisses with a wide open, drooly mouth. We can’t wait to get kisses back!

I will be the first to admit that the first two months did not find me at my best and I struggled with motherhood and my role as primary caretaker for a tiny human who seemed to be made up entirely of urgent needs. I don’t feel guilt over that, because I believe I was doing my best to survive when we had a lot of challenges right off the bat. But now we are past survival and into the stuff of daily life; it has finally sunk in that he is here and he is ours and our wee family has become a bit more whole.

I’m head over heels for my little son. These are sweet times indeed. 

The Diaper Disaster

I posted this on Facebook the other day and thought I would share it here too! 

…………

I can usually change a diaper in near darkness at night in a couple minutes flat. Amazing how one variable can change it all… 

The Diaper Disaster

Step 1) Open sleeper, open diaper (avoiding windmill legs and while comforting screaming baby). So far, pretty normal. 

Step 2) Is that a little poop? Reach for wipe. No biggie. 

Step 3) Wait, why does my hand feel wet, and my arm, and leg…ahhh! Quickly cover the source. Phew! No harm done, just a little damp.

Step 4) Crap, that was the last diaper. Let’s lay grouchy baby back in the crib while I run downstairs for supplies.

Step 5) Okay, back upstairs, pick up the little Wookie, place him on the change table…why is my sock so wet? Excellent, I have just mopped up a stray pee puddle with my foot.

Step 6) Back at it. New diaper applied, sleeper zipped.

Step 7) Pick up the still screaming infant. Annnd the back of his sleeper is soaked! Guess I didn’t catch the rogue stream as well as I thought. Good thing I have spare jammies right here.

Step 8) Okay, one hand in the sleeper…dammit, that is a leg hole. Okay, rotate, hand in – ANOTHER leg hole! OKAY, sleeper totally rotated, arm in, leg in, other leg in, arm in…are you kidding me?! The sleeper is somehow still on sideways. 

Step 9) Fix sleeper, comfort the wee wailer, who is now clean and dry.

Step 10) Feed the baby. Baby lets out a toot while he’s eating. Ohhh, no you don’t! 😳

Sweet Times

I’m not sure when it happened, but we’ve settled into a nice groove. This stage has been so fun as we get to know our happy go lucky boy and he blossoms into his own particular person. He turned four months a few days ago and I could hardly believe the growth since his three month milestone, physically and in every way. 

I was completely obsessed with him napping independently for awhile, but I finally realized it was pointless to try and “make” him do anything at four months old. Now I have resigned myself to him taking his naps in my arms and I think I might even kind of like it. How much longer will I be able to look down at that sweet face with his petal lips parted slightly, apple-breath hitting my arm, long lashes brushing his soft cheeks? I stifle laughter watching his sleep grins and comfort him with my milk when he wakes too early and needs some coaxing back to his dreams. No, it may not be convenient, but I don’t mind.

I feel needed, vital, and it is such a wonderful thing. I remember all too well how utterly useless I felt in the aftermath of Haven’s death, as though my whole being had become void in her absence. Now I have a purpose and I revel in it while it lasts.
Where night feeds used to be draining, I find myself soaking them in most times now, despite the exhaustion. I smile in the dark as Nahum grips my thumb, getting his fill before hitting the crib again. Danny and I laugh as he pounds the mattress with his tiny heels, squealing with delight. My heart swells watching his pudgy little belly rising and falling on the monitor. When we go to the nursery in the morning, we’re always greeted by the biggest, gummiest smile and his contagious, gasping laughs. All his limbs are going at the same time as though he might burst from the excitement. He is kissed countless times through the day! It’s the surest way to get a smile or a giggle. He anticipates daddy’s bristly kisses with a wide open, drooly mouth. We can’t wait to get kisses back!

I will be the first to admit that the first two months did not find me at my best and I struggled with motherhood and my role as primary caretaker for a tiny human who seemed to be made up entirely of urgent needs. I don’t feel guilt over that, because I believe I was doing my best to survive when we had a lot of challenges right off the bat. But now we are past survival and into the stuff of daily life; it has finally sunk in that he is here and he is ours and our wee family has become a bit more whole.

I’m head over heels for my little son. These are sweet times indeed. 

Saturday and a Whole Chapter

My super awesome hubs sent me out for some “me time” this morning and, guys, I actually read a whole chapter in that book I mentioned in my last post! Not only that, but I got a giant latte and sat by a lake for an hour. You can do a lot in an hour and a half when you never get alone time. 

What did I DO with all my free time before Nahum? I recall being bored, yet never getting anything done…I sure took that for granted! 

Parenting Expectations v. Reality

Free Time 

One of the baby gifts that I received was a novel for me to read during free time on my mat leave. “What a thoughtful gift!” I said. I tucked it into my newborn survival kit basket along with other useless items like my Sudoku book and journal. HAAAAAA! Want to know how much reading I have done in my “free time”? One page. Yes. A single page. One needs two free hands to read a book, and I am lucky if I have even one most times (I am typing this entire post with only my thumb while trapped under a cranky, sort-of napping baby, if you were wondering). 

I really envisioned myself keeping up this blog at least on a weekly basis, entertaining with cute and meaningful anecdotes about our family adventures. Again, I say HA! 


My Patience

Before having Nahum, I pictured me serenely tending to his every cherubic whimper, avoiding crying fits due to my natural patience, which welled out of unending love.  Surely those other frazzled moms didn’t appreciate their little miracles like I did. How hard could it be to keep one’s cool with a newborn? Well, let me tell you a thing or two about sleep deprivation. The reality is that I didn’t sleep for about 3 days straight, starting the day I went into labour. And that was just the beginning. Add in the breastfeeding agony I experienced, and a newborn that only wanted to sleep ON someone for about 5 weeks…let’s just say I was a wreck only a few days in. I distinctly remember calling my tiny, adorable, screaming human an “arsehole” during more than one middle of the night feed. Mom of the year, here! 
Things I Would Never Do

I’m sure I could write a book on this point. I gave him a pacifier 3 nights in, I bed-shared for 2.5 months, I nearly abandoned breastfeeding because it almost killed me (prior to this, I thought formula was evil), I didn’t let Danny help in the early months because I thought there was a “right” way of doing everything (my way, of course), and I currently allow my baby to nap in my arms (and sometimes attached to my boob) for anywhere between 3-5 hours of every day because it is the only damn way he will sleep longer than 25-35 minutes, making him a cranky mess. I am sure the list of abandoned I-would-nevers will only continue to grow. 
Accepting Help

I thought I would be better at this, but I felt the need to be involved in every moment of Nahum’s day, especially near the start. It didn’t take me long to learn, though. Soon I was almost tossing my little cranky football into the hands of whoever came in the door. “Wanna hold a baby? Okay, good, here you go.” Bottom line: ACCEPT THE HELP. When you get as little of it as me, it is priceless. 
Sleep

I used to look at exhausted parents and wonder what the big deal was. It couldn’t be as bad as they thought it was. Yeahhhhh. Take it from a lifelong sufferer of insomnia, there is no exhaustion like that of new parenthood. Truly. With insomnia, you can still lay in bed, eyes closed, your body resting, even if that rest is incomplete. When you are breastfeeding an infant who struggles to latch, you have to be FULLY AWAKE every time that baby calls, which could be every hour (or less). I remember the first time I got a full two hours of sleep in a row; I was so happy! Same goes for the first dream I had a few weeks in; I had been sleeping such short stretches that I didn’t even dream for a while. Even now on good nights, I only get about 5 hours of very broken sleep since, now that the immediate exhaustion is gone, my motherflipping insomnia is back. 

Difficulty 
I thought it would be easier. It sounds naive but there it is. There is not one easy thing about parenting. I think if I had a baby who slept through the night, I would probably be much better at it all, but someone who is running on empty is, well, running on empty. 

I left Nahum with Danny after bedtime last night for a few hours to spend time with friends. One of them was in shock that it was only the third time I had ever left Nahum for any length of time. The thing is, we have no family nearby, and most friends have their own kids to see to. How would I leave? And I swear our bedtime routine is the only reason Nahum sleeps at all at night, so we can’t just cart him around with us either. Between Danny working full time, a baby who only takes meaningful naps in my arms, and bedtime, I am housebound most of the time and that is hard! Friends say I shouldn’t worry so much about naps, but it is easy to say when it isn’t their baby who screams until they are purple when they are overtired. I digress…
Getting Things Done

This one is almost as funny as my expectations about free time. I guess I assumed babies just slept when they were tired. I really thought I would be keeping a tidy house and getting dinner on the table every day. Hi-lar-i-ous. Did I mention that my baby basically only naps in my arms? It’s not for lack of trying other things. Babywearing, the swing, the crib, the car…none of it works. I try every. single. day. On a great day, Nahum takes his first nap in his crib and I manage breakfast alone and get a chore started. On a bad day, which is most of them, I am trapped under a baby for literally hours, and only usually after a lot of nap-fighting, which boils down to screaming. Needless to say, the laundry is heaping, the kitchen is a mess, and everything is coated in dust. Today is a good day; I washed a load of clothing, swept the kitchen, and even managed to eat 3 meals between lap naps!

………..

I came into this with rose coloured glasses, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. When I feel trapped and frustrated, one of Nahum’s big, gummy smiles has a way of making it all okay. These hard days are also precious; he’ll never need me as much as this again, and I dare say I will miss it soon enough. 

You Never Forget

Two days ago, I had Nahum napping for a little while in his swing (I usually let him do that once a day so I can get a thing or two done while still keeping an eye on him). The doorbell rang and I answered it, talking for about 20 minutes with the inspector who had come to look at our renovations (swing still in sight). As soon as he had gone, I went to check on Nahum. Something about the light on his skin sparked a worry in me; I though he looked pale. “I’m being silly,” I thought. I touched his arm and it was cool. Panicked, I lifted his arm and it was limp, flopping back into his lap. I lost my mind in that moment. The poor guy was so out of sorts when I yanked him out of the swing, convinced he was gone. He blinked up at me, sleepy, while I covered him in kisses and held him close. My stomach was in my shoes and my heart was beating out of my chest.

Somehow, I haven’t found myself being over cautious or worrying more than is normal with Nahum, but this experience was terrifying. His cool skin and sleeping face were Haven’s all of a sudden. You just never forget holding your baby who has died. I don’t think I could survive doing so again.

Edit: Just a note to say Nahum was totally fine! It was just my overactive imagination and awful memories that made me so afraid. :) 

The Things I Miss

I have always been shy about my singing voice, even though I love to sing. I’m really not sure when that set in or why, but I remember feeling very exposed as a child when someone caught me singing. Then I married someone with an excellent voice, who can pick out and sing all kinds of harmonies, who writes songs, who knows music quite well…and I became self conscious about him hearing it too, though he has always encouraged me to sing with him. 

I remember being pregnant with Haven and singing all the time to her. I sang as I washed all of her little clothes, as I organized her room, and throughout the day. I knew she could hear my voice in there, and I knew even my self consciousness would not get in the way of me singing to her when she came. Even now, I find some of my favourites from then to be a bit haunting, because I associate those songs with her and that time.

In my pregnancy with Nahum, it took me a long time to feel connected to him as a person. To let myself attach was frightening, because I felt the closer I allowed myself to get to him, the greater the agony when he was taken away, and I really did believe he would die until I saw him being held up in front of me when he came out. To be honest, I did very little bonding with him until that moment; I didn’t sing much to him other than a couple songs here and there toward the end. Now that he is here, though, I sing to him every day. Some of our favorites include Nature Boy (Nat King Cole), The Skye Boat Song (Stevenson’s lyrics), Ode to a Broken Heart (The Once), You’re My Best Friend (Queen), 1234 (Feist), You Are My Sunshine, and He Knows My Name and Amazing Grace (I sang these two to him a fair bit while pregnant, so I figure he might remember them). Well, and you know, the classics too! Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, ABC, and Patty-Cake. 

After our songs this morning, he curled up in my arms with his nummy, little hand reached up to touch the skin on my chest (he always does this, so sweet!), and fell asleep. Looking down at him, I suddenly had a familiar pang in my heart. I feel it when I remember that I missed countless moments like this with Haven. Which songs would have been our favourites? Would she be singing them to Nahum now? I remember her Auntie Nancy rocking her in the hospital; she told me afterward that she had been singing her a song. Knowing that still breaks my heart. I was almost afraid to touch her when they gave her to me, and I hadn’t thought to sing to her then.

Today might be a weepy one.