Gotta keep this brief. Because I have to keep everything brief these days. Except for holding an often fussy baby while he negotiates sleep. There is nothing brief at all about that task right now.
Wilfred is 5 weeks old. Which means that this new iteration of me is 5 weeks old as well. I like thinking of myself this way. It helps me maintain some perspective and remember that this is just another season of life not something that will last forever. None of it does. And thank god because no way anybody could do this newborn-postpartum shtick indefinitely. Just saying.
Everything I thought to be true about myself as a parent before Wilfred arrived has turned out to be mostly false. A giant illusion on the part of my own ego. OK, not everything, but A LOT of things. I wasn’t getting better at parenting and figuring shit out with my second kid. Nope. Not by a long shot. I had an exceptionally easy second child. I can see now that Eider was a unicorn and the ease of his babydom had nothing to do with any increase in proficiency on my end and everything to do with what a rare jewel of a baby that kid was. It’s probably not even that Wilfred is that fussy, but more that he is a third kid who is very much expected to be what is needed by the group in the moment and he is simply not having it.
I mean, his wake window seems to be about 35 minutes. 35 MINUTES. That means that anything past that and he is overtired and mad and just try getting him to fall asleep easily. Go on. TRY.
He sleeps in arms a fair amount and has what appears to be the same hair trigger as Maple when I try to lay him down. Not entirely but often. He’s down now. He must be because I am using two hands to type which is a massive indicator that I am not holding a baby. But, that said, I am getting quite good at doing many things with just one hand, while bouncing, maybe even with some kind of white noise machine strapped to my body. Pretty cool. But my back is broken. And my left scapula feels like it is mostly detaching from the rest of my body. And I remember this feeling. It can go away for years but when its back, much like pregnancy, you are very much like: oh yeah right! You! Anyhow, in the moment who gives a shit about my body because MY BABY IS ASLEEP! Mom instinct to the max over here right now people.
Not complaining. Not really. More just trying to make light of what often feels quite heavy and oppressive. Again, reminding myself of the season of things. And I love my little guy. His very existence thrills me.
I do want to mention a few things that are really helping me out right now. Not that it is about things, at all, and it is easy to get bogged down in the intense narrative of consumerism that is a new baby. But there are some helpful things for sure and I want to let you know what those have been for us.
Swaddles. This guy loves to be held, so he loves to be squeezed and if you are even gonna think about lying him down he sure as shit better be swaddled. This one is quick and easy and amazing, but kinda hot. This one is great because its nice and light and stretchy.
White noise machine. Holy fuck an absolute life saver for us. I have an app on my phone, a machine in our room by his bassinet and I just got another one to hook to his carseat. We use it all the time and it is loud. The sleep consultant I spoke with said it’s 80 decibels in the womb. Loud.
Pacifiers. Not consistently but way more than Maple and Eider ever took one so I am going to go with it. So far, we like these ones the most.
Sheep Skin. OK, this may seem like WTF extravagant but it has come in handy for us big time. He actually loves to lay on that, it keeps him cool- which I wouldn’t have thought at all- and it is made to handle pee without becoming stinky and gross. Which leads to my favorite thing:
Elimination Communication. I didn’t do this with Maple or Eider and I always felt a little bad about it because I could see the ways in which I was teaching them to go potty in a diaper and wouldn’t it have made a lot more sense to teach them to go in an actual potty from the very beginning? I have only been easing into it for sure but it’s totally rewarding and fun. I think I am probably catching about a quarter to a third of all pees and poos and it is so fun to start reading his cues and watch how he is beginning to read mine as well. I feel very connected to him when this happens. Even if I do possibly get peed on a bit more than I would otherwise. But that is what the wooly is for…
OK. That’s it. There is SO much more to say but I need to take advantage of this moment and spend some time with my big boy. Maybe bake a cake…. Because showering can wait and this dried spit-up in my hair has almost stopped smelling like cheese so I’m all good.