I have a confession to make. I didn't really think the first month of Kaitlin's life was that hard. Sure, it was difficult adjusting to life with a newborn and my physical recovery from her birth was long and slow. But I mostly thought it was awesome, not hard. I wasn't that tired. Breastfeeding was challenging but we made consistent progress which was reassuring. Brian had a week off of work. My parents came to visit for a week and my sister was here for a few days helping out.
|The many faces of KLC|
|trying to roll over!|
I think I was flying high on adrenalin and endorphins because man oh man, the second month hit me like a ton of bricks.
Don't get me wrong - it was still awesome and amazing and all that warm fuzzy stuff - but it was super hard. I shed more tears this last month than I did during my whole pregnancy. Not getting a full nights sleep was starting to take a toll on me. And the constant crying and not sleeping during the day (which lead to more crying) was starting to wear me down. My in-laws were here for a week (which was awesome!) but other than that we were on our own.
After the first month I thought I had it all figured out. I thought we were well on our way to having a nap routine and getting on a schedule. I had heard about the magical "six week turning point" and was constantly waiting for ours to arrive (which it finally might have, at eight weeks - but don't quote me on that just yet). You already know all about my struggle with day time naps (are you sick of hearing about it yet?) and often times my poor husband would come home from a long, stressful day at work and me and the baby would start crying as he walked through the door. Poor guy.
But through all the tears and frustration have come some amazing moments, a lot of laughter and more love than I could have ever imagined.
A few more things I have learned...
Babies don't nap when you want them to
At least not my baby and at least not at this age. Take the above photo for instance. Kaitlin and I used to go on walks every morning. If she ever fell asleep during our walk (which was few and far between) it wasn't until the last few blocks before we got home. But when we walked in the July 4th Parade - when there were hundreds of other families and kids around - she decided to sleep the whole time. During the most exciting walk of her life (so far)!! I'm going to talk more about naps during my follow up post to The Art of Napping next week, so I'll keep this point short.
Love the small stuff
The small stuff - and the gross stuff. Nothing makes me more proud and happy than when Kaitlin lifts her head up during tummy time. Or when she kicks the hanging monkey on the bouncy seat and her eyes light up at the music and lights playing in front of her. Or when she lets out a really big burp after feeding. Or when she starts farting while giving a big stretch after a good nap. Bowel movements? Hilarious. Cooing and goo-gooing and ga-gaing? Music to my ears. Pooping on the changing table after two new diapers already? You'd thought I had won the lottery. Because all of these small little things are what make our day amazing. There isn't much we can do yet since she is still so young, so I have to love and enjoy the little moments that make up our time together. And some of these "little" moments are building up to great big moments - like when she can sit up by herself, or roll over, or start to say "mama" and "dada". Oh boy, bring on the tissues for those moments!
Sometimes, Less is More
In one of the (many) parenting/sleep books that I have I had an Ah-Ha! moment. Actually I've had a lot of those lately but this one in particular was about trying to calm your baby down. It said something like (and I am super paraphrasing here) - All the bouncing, shh-shing, white noise and rocking is actually stimulating your baby, not relaxing him. DOH! Why didn't I think of that? What do you mean Kaitlin isn't falling asleep while I simultaneously rock/bounce/sing lullabies/white noise is playing? That's not relaxing?? I think in my effort to try and soothe her/get her to sleep I just kept adding technique upon technique, instead of trying one at a time (please tell me I'm not the only one who has done this). So I have taken that lesson and applied it to lots of areas. Sleep being one of them (I now either hum and rock or place her in the crib and hum - seems to work *most* of the time) but also during her awake time. I don't try and jam in 9403890 stimulating activities into the 20 minutes that she is in her calm awake state. I try one thing at a time which allows her to really explore the toy/activity and gives me a chance to really observe her tired signs so we can get her to sleep easier.
There is no love like the kind of love you have for your child
Wow, I felt totally grown up writing that sentence. But seriously, it's true (fellow parents back me up). From the first pink lines on the pregnancy test to the first flutter in my belly. From the first kick in the ribs to the first cry of hers I ever heard. From the first time she looked into my eyes to the first time she grabbed my finger. From the first time she smiled at me and every time after. My life was forever changed that first day we found out we were expecting a baby and it has gotten better and better each and every day. I cannot imagine my life without her, and Brian and I feel incredibly blessed to experience such an awesome love. We still can't believe that she is all ours.