Elodie is nearly six weeks old now — wow that was fast! Some reflections on our first month as new parents:
- Plans are meaningless. I read voraciously to prepare myself for delivery and sleep training and breastfeeding and parenting.. we scoured reviews on every baby product ever made and peddled to first-time parents.. I was determined to do everything by the book, best practices and all that, and kick ass at it. Now we realize that none of it matters. When the time comes, you just do what you have to do. And it isn’t really that hard. You keep the baby alive, and you love it like you’ve never loved anything before in your life. Boom.
- I had adamantly been against attachment parenting, but now I get it. When you have a baby, you just want to stare at her, all day long. When she cries, you want to make it better. Even if you’re breaking your own rules. Welllllll ok… I admit that sometimes when she starts shrieking it makes me laugh. Which brings me to…
- Elodie shrieks when she pees. I suppose that’s a very shocking sensation when you’re so new at being a human being that you don’t even know where your arms and legs are.
- Visitors can be stressful, and in hindsight we should have listened to other parents on mentally preparing ourselves for this. Our world temporarily shrank to encompass only ten tiny fingers and ten tiny toes, so other normal-people things suddenly became really overwhelming. Note to my future self: give yourself at least a month to want to be social again.
- Related item: a mother’s instinct to keep the baby from being exposed to germs is no joke. Try to touch my baby without asking first, and I *will* punch you in the face.
- The first weeks at home are actually the easiest. Yes I was recovering physically from a very difficult labor, but 1) Elodie slept pretty much all day and all night, 2) Doug was home, and 3) we were both kind of excited. Getting up in the middle of the night was no big deal — in fact, we often both got up, just because. There was a lot of sitting together with the baby asleep in our laps and asking one another “hey do you think she’s hungry? she looks hungry. it’s been 90 minutes. the book says about every two hours. do you think– oh she’s frowning, she must be hungry. let’s feed her.” We spent a lot of time hoping she’d wake up so we could interact with her. Parenting in the first weeks is fun.
- Followup to the previous: 1) Elodie no longer sleeps all day and all night, 2) Doug is not home during the daytime any more, and 3) we are no longer excited about getting up in the middle of the night.
- Elodie is sleeping through the night (5-6 hour stretches at night), and has been since maybe … 4 weeks old? Even before then, she’d only fuss at night to be fed, and then she dropped right back off to sleep. Hearing other people’s stories, I think we got really lucky and have a great baby. She doesn’t cry unless she is hungry or needs to be changed, and she’s otherwise fairly calm and contemplative. I’m terrified to celebrate our good fortune, because I’m told that if you gloat about the first one, then you’ll pay the price dearly when the second one comes around. Karma, I guess.
- Owning a dog and bringing home a baby is a handful. That’s two separate eat/poop schedules to keep track of. Thank goodness there are two of us because sometimes dog and baby decide to do things at the same time ifyouknowwhatimsayin. Oh, ask us about the time that the baby almost projectile pooped onto the dog’s head. That was a screaming good time (literally.) I sincerely don’t know how some families do this with two toddlers, a newborn baby, AND a dog (I’m lookin’ at you, Mimi and Alex.)
- A baby cooing in her sleep is the awesomest thing ever.
- It’s really interesting to see Elodie’s little personality develop, and to see the emotions written plain-as-day on her face… never having spent this much time with a baby before, I’m not sure if Elodie is extra expressive, or if all babies make this many faces. She’s often skeptical or openly shocked about things, and isn’t afraid to throw us a little side-eye when aggravated with us.
- This has been the best month of our lives.
A few snaps from the early days:
A little over a week ago, we celebrated her one month birthday. This is a big deal in the Chinese culture, so we put some new clothes on her and celebrated with a little (cup)cake. Elodie couldn’t have been less excited about the festivities as you can see, but Doug and I will always fondly remember our first month as a family together. Happy one-month birthday, baby girl. We love you so much.