Yep, my son will be a month-old tomorrow. It is unbelievable how much he has already grown and how much he and I have learned together. I am in awe of my little man. One month seemed pretty far off when we brought him home the first day. But, the time has flown by; it has been an amazing, yet challenging first month. Here is what I have learned in my first month:
1. Sleep? What is Sleep?
They tell you that you will be tired, fatigued and exhausted the first few weeks. Those wise people who write books and teach classes aren't kidding. When your baby arrives home, he has his days and nights all mixed up, you are trying to figure out how to take care of a new human being, and he is trying to figure out what it means to be a human being. Sleep does not come easy. You get sleep when you can...and in the first week, that means you may choose between grabbing a bite or grabbing a nap. Thank goodness the baby is starting to get day and night straightened out so we are getting a lot more sleep during the evening. I think we should be right on schedule when I go back to work (I am crossing my fingers right now and doing a small prayer that this is our reality).
Sidenote: Babies have day and night mixed up because of a woman's activity while the baby is in the womb. During the day, we move around and so the baby sleeps, lulled by the movement. During the evening, we rest and so the baby starts moving about. The baby keeps the same schedule when he or she is out of the womb.
2. The Crying Game
I don't mean that quirky film. I am talking about the game that the baby plays with us everyday called, "Guess Why I'm Crying." Is it a bowel movement? Does he want to be held? Is he hungry? Is he overtired? I believe we finally have cracked the code, but sometimes the baby will throw new curve balls our way. It feels a bit like a heroes journey...you know, the one that Joseph Campbell talked about in his mythology book. Everyday, a new challenge is given to us in order to unlock the next path of our journey with our little one. The reward...a smile, a coo, a sleeping child in my arms. I had a dream one evening of the baby standing by a bridge, asking me, "What is your quest?" I woke up before he asked me about the velocity of a swallow.
3. Fairy Milkmother
Every breastfeeding gal should have a fairy milkmother, aka a lactation consultant. Without mine, I am pretty sure I would have been in a crying pile on my living room floor, feeding my baby formula, having given up on breastfeeding. Breastfeeding may be natural and rewarding, but boy...when you are new to the concept, it is pretty complex. I had so many questions and unknowns to face the first two weeks...and I read books and took classes beforehand. Happily, breastfeeding is going great and our little boy is growing stupendously. I am so glad I stuck with it; for him and for me.
4. NASCAR Pit-Style Diaper Changes
They are possible. My husband and I have mastered the pit-style diaper change for those late night wet diapers. We are fast and light-fingered so we don't wake up our sweet sleeping child. We are thinking about timing our team take on diaper-changing to see what our personal best may be. And, yes, we do give each other a high five when we have completed a successful pit. You would too.
5. Bellagio Water Show
It is true what they say about baby boys and their talent for creating their own water show when you change their diaper. Just when you think you have mastered the diaper change and you will never get sprayed in the stomach or hand again...the baby proves you wrong. We are slowly mastering the art of squelching a Bellagio-style water show in the nursery. It is just another part of the heroes journey discussed above. And, really...every single time, it makes me laugh, especially when my son looks so proud of himself afterward.
I am amazed everyday by the wonder that is my son. Watching him mimick a smile, holding his head up, listening to him make new sounds, seeing him grow, having him hold my finger with his little hand. He is a miracle. I enjoy every moment with him...exhausted or well-rested. I love being a mom. And, I never knew I would feel this way.
I look forward to the next month, the next day and the next minute with joy and anticipation. We have embarked on a new journey and I am so very blessed that this new journey includes our son.
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