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Things I've Learned....

Little Paul is almost 9 weeks old.  And at risk of sounding cliche, those 9 weeks have been both the hardest and the most wonderful weeks of my life...  Things are settling down now.  We've developed a bit of a schedule.  The spitting up has slowed down (knock on wood) and Little Paul is interacting with us more and more every day.  He hasn't given us a full-blown grin yet but I've caught a bit of a smile from time to time and can't wait until it's directed at me and not at whatever thoughts might be going on in his little head (I have a feeling his thoughts are centered around the following:  boob!  bottle!  boob!)

There are some things I've learned that I'd like to share.  Those of you who are already parents will probably nod your heads and think something like, "oh yes, I remember that....".. And those of you who are soon-to-be parents or who want to be parents will probably think "I'll file that thought away for a later date when I'm in the same situation."  Those of you who don't ever want to be parents might just want to save yourself a few minutes and skip the next part of this entry!

1.  Breastfeeding is hard.  Yes, it's wonderful.  Yes, there's an amazing bond between a mother and her nursing baby.  Yes, your baby will benefit both emotionally and nutritionally from being nursed.  But it's also difficult.  For the first few weeks you're both getting used to the whole situation; you have to figure out what positions work best, how to get the baby to latch on, how to keep the baby awake long enough once he's latched on to actually eat, and how to get him to quickly release your nipple from his mouth when all he really seems to want to do is clamp his gums down on it and shake his head back and forth, much like a wild animal shakes its prey in order to kill it.  And so on top of nursing being hard, it also hurts. (And folks, any advice on that quick release thing would be greatly appreciated!)

2.  Nursing is also time consuming.  In some ways this is good as it forces you to sit down and relax and have a little rest, all while bonding with your baby.  But sometimes, after an hour-long session where the baby keeps falling asleep only to wake up screaming when you remove your breast from his mouth while you resort to watching episodes of "Momma's Boys," you might consider weaning the kid immediately and letting his dad feed him from the bottle from now on so that you can get on with your life.

3.  Pumping?  Also time consuming, although not quite as much.  I use the breast pump a few times a day so that Paul can feed LP in the evenings and so that he can take over some of the feedings on the weekends.  It's tedious, uncomfortable, and rather ridiculous looking.  What have I learned from this??  Splurge on a hands free breast pump bustier.  At least while you sit around hooked up to the milk machine you can check your email and scratch your nose....

4.  You'll come to the realization that you will never again utter the words "I think I might have had TOO MUCH sleep last night."  In fact, you'll be lucky if you ever get to say "I think I got ENOUGH sleep last night."  It's just not going to happen. 

5.  You'll discover that no matter how much you love your husband, there will be times when you can't stand him.  Those times will include the following:
  • 3 a.m. when he's snoring away and you're awake, trying to get a fussy baby to go back to sleep.
  • 5 a.m. when you just got the fussy baby to fall back asleep at 4:30 and you started to doze off again and his alarm clock goes off.  And then he hits snooze.  3 times.
  • When you're fighting because you both need some alone time and you both feel like you should have first dibs on NOT taking care of the baby for a little while.
6.  You'll learn to bite your tongue.  Since I'm home with LP all day there are things that I think I'm better at than Paul is.  Some of those things I might actually BE better at, but some I'm not, and so every day I find myself biting my tongue so that I don't become that person who nags her husband for not diapering the baby EXACTLY the way I would...

7.  Sometimes, you won't bite your tongue.  And this might go over well, and it might not. 

8.  You will feel guilty.  You will feel guilty when you spend a few extra minutes in the shower to condition your hair while the baby sits by himself in his bouncy seat.  You will feel guilty when you put your baby in the swing because you know he'll fall asleep so that you can eat a bagel and stalk people on Facebook.  You will feel guilty when you look forward to spending time away from your baby because you should want to be with him at all times.

9.  You will also feel, at times, like a martyr.  You will feel like you have given up your life and yourself for your baby.  And then you might feel a bit resentful.....   And then you'll feel guilty.

10.  No matter how careful you are about covering your little guy with a washcloth while you're changing him, you will forget from time to time.  And those times when you forget will be the times when he decides to let loose a spray of pee all over himself, you, the changing table, and any dogs who happen to be nearby. Oh, and most likely, they'll also be the times when he's managed to poop not just in his diaper but all up his back.

I like to think that I've learned a lot since November 17.  Obviously though it's just the tip of the iceberg.  Over the next few months I'll have to learn to deal with teething (I say YES! to the old-school remedy of rubbing a little whiskey on the gums- "A little for Baby, a little for Mommy" should get us through teething), to let him fall when he's learning to walk, and to let him "cry it out" so that we can all get some sleep.  As the years go by I'll have to learn to let him skin his knees, how to comfort him when kids tease him, and when to let him be a little more independent.  Eventually, I'll have to learn to let him go, to let him grow up and be a man and go out into the world without me.  For now though, we'll focus on just learning about each other, learning how to be a family, and learning about who this little guy is going to be.

1-5-2009 6-17-44 PM8 by you.


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