The Hard Things

I have one friend who shares “the hard things” on her Facebook page. She usually asks for prayers or guidance at the same time. I assume it’s just part of her outgoing and open personality. That makes 0.003% of my online friends. Most of my friends in real life are the same though, only sharing with a select few people, the difficulties they face.

We don’t talk about the hard things.

There are some things we can’t say. Knowing how much to share with others is like a game of Jenga or dominoes.. The smallest detail might be the one to unravel it all. We bottle them up, because if you let one thing out, the whole facade of who we are would crumble.

This all came to mind after chatting with an old co-worker about her baby, born just a few short weeks ago. She mentioned how her daughter was quite fussy, didn’t sleep well and really cried a lot. Her words took me right back to when my little was that age. I don’t remember all that much besides wishing I could sleep and wondering if other babies were like he was/is. I had a horrid time with day/night confusion and the fussiness that has still yet to fade away. Family and close friends all said he’ll “grow out of it,” but I have a feeling I could wait forever for that to happen. He’s just intense. He has been since the moment he was born. In the early weeks, it baffled me how someone so, so quiet during pregnancy could be so much once he was here.

I don’t really remember, because it’s all a blur now, but I don’t think I really talked about it. At least not in full detail. That was the first thing out of my co-workers mouth, as I commiserated with her. She said I always made the best of everything, that she never would have guessed I was struggling. I didn’t want to talk about it. There are several reasons, really, with the first that comes to mind being that talking doesn’t always help. If I mentioned his reflux or general fussiness, I heard a lot of suggestions I had already heard before, or advice to just wait it out because time apparently fixes everything. I’m not saying some of it wasn’t helpful, but I wish someone would have leveled with me, or listened to me. Those who let me complain like being a sleep-deprived, new mom was something they had never heard before, made making the effort to reach out worth it. They made me feel less unprepared, more capable of living with four to eight hours of sleep a week in those early weeks.

Being a new mom is hard regardless of your baby’s temperament, but for moms out there with “spirited” or intense babies, I feel your pain. It is a unique kind of distress, wondering what you’re doing wrong, why they won’t stop crying, what you’ve done to upset them this time… but the truth is, if they have been fed, have a clean diaper, aren’t too hot or too cold and are in a safe place, you’re doing everything you can.

It is unbelievably hard sometimes, and equally as worth it.

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Searching for Normal

It’s been a hard day for no particular reason at all.. Elliott actually slept really well last night. Settled by 11pm and pulled out two, three hour blocks of sleep in a row. That’s a major accomplishment for a mostly, formerly day/night confused baby.. He’s slowly getting the hang of things.

There’s almost an anxiety knowing tomorrow will be mostly the same as today, and I’m not sure if it makes me a “bad mom” to admit that. It’s all the same though. Feed baby, change baby, talk to baby, tummy time, nap time, attempt to put baby in swing/bouncer/bassinet so that I can eat or clean and wait for the 5-10 minutes to pass before he’s screaming his head off to be picked up again. This all seemed so much easier when my mom was here. It was easier when she was here, and it would be easier if my husband were here. Someone to take turns holding him when he just wants to cuddle, someone to help with errands (even sometimes) or to help keep the house picked up. I’m searching for normal, searching for a routine even though I know the bumble butt is too young for routines..

It’s hard not feeling like I’m not enough, not doing enough. Not taking enough pictures, or reading him enough books or just remembering enough. Where did the past almost six weeks go? Is it okay that for the most part I hardly remember any of it? How can I possibly share this experience with my husband in any way, if I can’t remember what happened last week? I have just been so tired and caught up in the whirlwind of it all..

I’m sure I will look back in a few weeks, or months and be able to tell myself that I was doing alright…but for today it’s hard to not feel like I’m failing.

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One Month Old

ElliottOneMonth1Hey Baby Bee,

You are a whole month old today. We made it through our first night alone together, and I didn’t get a wink of sleep. Held your little hands during newborn screening tests, and felt you melt into my chest after they poked and prodded you. Was the moment I felt like your mom.

After we got home, we made it through the worst of your day/night confusion, which I still claim no one warned me about. So many sleepless nights (for me) when you were so new, and refused to be put down in your bassinet. Lots and lots of scrunchy, munchy newborn snuggles. When my chest was your only home; the only place you felt safe. It feels like just yesterday..

My birthday came and went in a sleep-deprived blur. Christmas too, except the vivid memory of you hating your Christmas outfit and screaming when I tried to take your picture under the lights of the tree. “Elliott’s tree,” as grandma called it when she showed you the lights.

Trips to the grocery store and other stores would be a whole lot easier if you didn’t hate your carseat so much, but I know it’s just because you want to be close. Which is why I bought a baby k’tan and moby wrap and ergo baby carrier. You are a babywearing fan, and it amuses me to see the funny looks I get while “wearing” you.. As if putting a carseat on top of a shopping cart makes more sense.

We slept right through the ball dropping on New Years, but I promise you got plenty of kisses to make up for that one. On your cheeks and forehead and tiny little nose.  I smiled at you when you woke up on the first day of a new year and told you that was the year you’ll get to meet your daddy.. And you let out your “crocodile” cry in response. (The one that means I don’t care what you’re doing, you have five seconds to pick me up before I start screaming.) That day will matter to you when it gets here, even if you’re still too young to understand now.

Baby bootcamp, as my momma friends call it, helped you learn to be okay in your bassinet and okay in your cosleeper… Not all the time, but enough for me to eat dinner or start some laundry. Tummy time is something you still aren’t sure of, but you’re pretty good at it, and rolled over from tummy to back at just three weeks old. Grandma says it won’t be long before you’re rolling front to back either. You went from absolutely hating bath time, to loving it. But you still hate getting nakie for diaper changes, that is for sure, and you protest by trying to pee on me every chance you get! I’m getting better at predicting that now, but that’s not to say I haven’t had to change my clothes a few times..

You really have changed so much in a month. Grew a few inches, put on a couple pounds. Your hair grew longer, eyelashes doubled in length, and your eyebrows finally started showing a little color. You sleep on your own sometimes swaddled in a blanket or your woombie, and you’re getting better at recognizing mine and grandma’s voices mid screaming fit. I’ve learned your hungry cry, just woke up alone cry, middle of your sleep cry, and carseat cry, which quicky escalates into what we call your velociraptor cry.. You have quite the set of lungs, something you have reminded me since the moment you were born.

You are so loved my little bumble butt. They always say, to the moon and back, but that isn’t far enough..

Love,

Mom