"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." ~e e cummings

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Lessons Learned in These Six Weeks

As we approach Molly's 6-Week Birthday....

Lessons Learned:


After vigorously crossing my fingers for the past three weeks, the answer is now clear: This baby has a milk allergy. Eliminating dairy from my diet worked wonders in terms of her general comfort, so we were sure she was at least sensitive to it. After my accidental ingestion of Max's Cheesy Bunny Crackers (they just hopped in there!) though, it was clear: Yucky dipes and a sad, uncomfortable baby for the next three days could only mean one thing. My diet will be pristine for the next year while I continue to nurse and then we'll try to re-introduce dairy (if we haven't had a need for allergy testing in the meantime).

***

Time is a strange thing when you have a newborn. In some ways, these have been the fastest six weeks in recent memory. Have six whole weeks seriously gone by since my fast-as-lightning labor?? And by the way, where the hell did March go? Yet, at the same time, I can't believe we've known this sweet baby for ONLY six weeks. Surely she's been with us forever. Nothing makes me realize this strange time more than when strangers catch a glimpse (and then can't, of course, look away) of this beauty. "Such a tiny thing! How old is she?" they always ask..."Five weeks," I say, and then I watch as they gasp and marvel in her Brand-Newness. And she is...as sturdy as she is and as much as we've all already gotten to know each other, she is Brand New. (But getting so much bigger by the day....my mom has given me strict instructions to keep this baby tightly swaddled for the next few weeks so she can't get too much bigger before they see her again...)

***

And people are seeing this baby. Finally. We're finally Getting Out. She's doing much better in the car and once we're out, she's found comfort in the Baby Bjorn. I know that people everywhere sing the praises of the Baby Ergo (which we also have...in addition to a sling...we're Baby Wearers, it seems, as none of our kids have ever Loved their carseat) but we can't seem to get a hang of that damn Ergo Infant Insert. We'll try again when she's big enough to Ergo without it, but for now, we're Bjorning.

But it's good to be out. We've been to the post office, Target, and the grocery store. Aren't we fun?

***

It's funny to me how quickly and easily I forget how emotionally exhausting the Newborn Stage is for me. Don't get me wrong, I love love love the sleepy, cuddly, teeny tiny just-born baby. But I stress...about everything...always. And Just-Born Babies? They're sort of little just-unwrapped mysteries for me to worry about. Mysteries that cry. And depend on you, Mommy, for everything. So stress? Yes, I've had that. Every cry, wince, and lately, seriously yucky diaper, has me stressing, worrying, analyzing, googling, and calling my most trusted Doctor Mom Sources for opinions, direction, and support.

It's not that I feel like I don't know what I'm doing (like I felt with Baby #1 and, to some extent, Baby #2), it's that I DO know the enormity of what I'm doing: this is A BABY. A little PERSON. And I (along with Sam, of course, and our Village) am responsible for her healthy, happy, well-adjusted growth and development. In my emotional mind, I think: I can't get this wrong....there is no Do-Over. In my rational mind, I know that I should relax a bit...that millions of babies have been born and have succeeded under harsher circumstances than the ones into which Molly was born--She'll Be Fine.....But that nagging emotional brain then screams, "All the more PRESSURE for PERFECTION."

And I know that, to some extent, that stress and emotional exhaustion will continue for the rest of my life, even once my kids are grown. (You're never *done* parenting, of course...) But it's the mystery of the newborn stage that, as cute as she is, has me looking longingly into the future. And not that far into the future....I feel like, with both of the boys, by three months old, we were In Our Groove: on a predictable schedule, portable, play-with-able, interactive, not so new and worry-inducing, and, STILL tiny and cuddly and perfect. Instead of wishing the time away, though, I'm diligently working to ENJOY these fleeting moments of Brand New Baby, while appreciating the fact that time IS flying, and we'll be in that more settled stage before I know it. (And yes, I did mean "diligently working to enjoy..." There is STRESS in ENJOYMENT when you are me.)

***

But in line with that enjoyment, is finding the beauty in the details...and that beauty is not at all hard to find. Man, is this kid gorgeous:


Her feather-soft hair that, just like Newborn Evan's, sticks straight up in the middle and is getting lighter every day.


Her eyes that twinkle when she finds your face and crinkle when she smiles...that are turning blue, but a deep, soulful blue, unlike Max's crystal blue sparklers.


Her dimple...DIMPLE!....that hides in her right cheek and just barely peeks out when she sticks out her cheeks either in a smile or when deep in thought.

Her hands....her feet...


...her perfectly imperfect belly button...her gorgeous out-to-there lashes...


...her tiny ears that Max can't help himself but try to hold with his sticky, chubby, two-year old fingers.....and her perfect little rosebud mouth...


***

It may take forever to get out the door for preschool drop-off....
It may seem like I haven't left this house in for-EV-er....
I may sleep with one eye open all night while I watch my baby sleep beside me....
My worry lines may be getting a little deeper....
And I may not be winning any beauty pageants with my sloppy ponytail, comfy pants, and while covered in breast milk....

BUT...

Just look at this girl....My littlest Love.

2 comments :

  1. Sarah, I'm sitting at my kitchen table, 8am on a Sunday morning, and in the middle of to-do listing, meandered to your blog. You are such a talented writer, and so well capture the complex intensity of beautiful new babyhood. Brought me to tears. Nice work, and keep at it!
    Kathryn (that kid from 3rd grade + 25 years)

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    1. Thank you, Kathryn, for reading and for the compliment. It was your mom who, 25 years ago, taught me to write--both in meaningful paragraphs and in cursive. :) I hope you and she both are doing well...and thank her for me, next time you see her!

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