Gus is one month old already! I can’t believe how fast the time has gone. Here’s what I think so far about this whole parenting business.
Parenting a newborn is both easier and harder than I thought it would be. Some days it feels so natural and easy—even bouts of fussiness are easy to deal with, emotionally if not physically. And other days, I feel like I have no idea what I am doing, nothing seems to work, boredom and frustration are the main themes of the day (both for myself and Gus, I think!). Hopefully the ratio of easy to hard days is in my favour, although the first week had a surprisingly high number of good days. The first week Gus and I were home on our own probably had a majority tough days, but that was at least partially due to being stuck in the house from the ice and snow. Change of scenery definitely helps make a day smoother!
I have never worried as much in my life as I have in these last four weeks! The first night Gus was born, I was so physically exhausted, but it took hours to fall asleep. Part of that was because I was just in awe of him and didn’t want to stop staring, but part of it was the feeling that he would only be okay as long as I had my eyes on him. That feeling hasn’t yet completely gone away. I am sure I will never go completely back to my previous laid-back self, but I do hope that the knot in the pit of my stomach when he is not in my line of vision will go away sometime soon! The first car journey, I was almost sick worrying about what all those horrible other drivers on the road might do to us. Going out of the house in general is not completely okay unless I have the little one firmly in my grasp. No one can be trusted to with my Gus except for me—not even Jon! And every little odd thing Gus does—sleeps too much, doesn’t sleep enough, makes a funny face or noise—is evidence that we have somehow irreparably damaged our precious little boy. Of course, all these thoughts are my emotional brain talking; for the most part, I let my rational side calm me down and convince myself that every is and will be okay. And I have noticed that the frequency and severity of these worries are diminishing slowly but surely (I think!).
It is amazing how much difference a little bit of sleep can make. Evenings are so much harder when I am tired, whether due to not enough sleep or too much activity in the day. And even a small amount can make a huge difference. I remember waking up one morning—a rare day when Gus actually woke up in the morning instead of sleeping till 11—and thinking how I would feel human if I only could get half an hour more of sleep. And other nights, begging him to fall asleep for even a short while so I could replenish my energy a little bit. Most days, both Jon and I get a reasonable amount of sleep of sufficient quality. But the days where we don’t? Worst. day. ever.
Hormones are crazy, crazy things. I feel like I am on an emotional roller coaster, and the above three things are definitely influenced by the hormones. Again, there are fewer days where I feel the influence now than at the beginning, but still find myself crying at the most ridiculous things. The first three weeks, I think there were more days where I cried than not. But now, most days are tear-free, or at least tears are mostly shed over things like television commercials, not about my uselessness as a mother or the myriad dangers that my little one faces and my inability to protect him.
I feel like a one-trick pony in my interactions with Gus. Whenever he is upset, my first reaction is to nurse him. On days when he has been nursing 2 hours straight or he cries while latched on, I feel like maybe I should add some more tools to my parenting belt. And I also wonder if maybe I am comforting him, but not really solving the problem that he was upset about in the first place. And don’t get me started on when he is awake and alert. I have never really known how to interact with babies, but figured it would come to me when I had my own. Yeah, not so much. I am okay for about 10 minutes, talking and singing to him, playing with him. But then I am out of ideas—and tired!—and think, aren’t you ready to nap again? Roll out the all-purpose breast again!
I am pretty sure my house is never going to be put together properly again. Not that it was very tidy or organised before. But now, I consider it a good day if I manage to put a load of laundry in the machine (but rarely take it out and hang it up) and get my lunch dishes into the kitchen (and never clean them) before Jon gets home. I just cannot figure out how to get anything done around the house during the day, and I am too knackered in the evening to do much more than dishes and dinner (and finish that pesky load of laundry!). Gus sleeps pretty well in his crib at night, but during the day, he seems to only want to sleep while being held, and you can only do so much with him in the sling. I’ll sort it out one of these days. Hopefully.
Newborn growth and development is amazing. I love watching Gus grow and change before our very eyes. You can literally watch him get bigger—his little hands and arms get chubbier, clothes fit more tightly than they previously did. The new skills he learns are equally obvious. I could tell as his eyes were focussing more on various objects. This week, he seemed to add a whole host of new sounds to his vocabulary overnight. Really adorable sounds, too :) Exciting times we live in!
It is a cliché, but it is astounding how much you can love someone. And how quickly he captured my heart! One of the reasons he is held so much while sleeping is that I love to just hold him and look at him—could do it for hours. Everything about him is beautiful and wonderful and makes my heart hurt. If I am away from him for too long, I literally feel an ache—and not just in my over-full breasts! And away from him can mean just a couple of hours of other people holding him. He is just so precious to us!
So that is parenthood so far. Things do change quickly, though. Even as I was writing this, I wanted to use the phrase “used to”, but how can there be a used to when we have only been doing this for a month!? We’re ready for month number two!