Thursday, December 22, 2005

One Month: Lessons I’ve Learned

I can’t believe it’s been a month already. Or should I say, I can’t believe I’ve survived a whole month. My baby cries a lot. She’s fussy (as opposed to fuzzy), and she’s gassy, cranky, and hates getting out of the bathtub. She refuses to sleep sometimes because she’s afraid she’ll miss something. Sometimes I feel like I might go crazy from her screaming, but then I think about her smile, and how her eyes squint up and she gives me that toothless grin, and that makes up for every last second of lost sleep.

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This morning she was screaming again and I was trying to get her to take a nap. I’m afraid that she’ll never be able to get to sleep without someone holding her or me feeding her, so I tried to put her down while she was still awake. She wasn’t having any of it. I thought I’d just let her fuss for a while. The fussing soon turned into full fledged screams, and I started thinking to myself that she probably thought I deserted her, so I ran to her rescue. Her little head was beet red and her eyes her full of tears. It broke my heart.

I’ve learned that I can survive on little sleep. She actually sleeps pretty good when she’s in bed beside me. She knows that her two favorite things (my boobs) are right there. I’ve been trying to get her to stop using my boobs as pacifiers by actually trying to get her to take a pacifier, but so far, no luck there.

I’ve learned that when babies poop, it actually sprays out of their little bums. Not only has she peed on me various times during diaper changes, she’s pooped on me too. Just the other day we were at the mall, and I changed her in the ladies room at JC Penneys, then I took her into the fitting room to feed her. Ten minutes into feeding her I noticed a smear of her lovely mustard yellow poo on my index finger.

I’ve learned that unfortunately, when tensions get high at my house (AKA: when the baby is screaming) that Ryan I and go at each others throats like rabid dogs. All teamwork goes out the window, and it’s frustrating. It mostly happens when we’re tired. Otherwise, he’s wonderful with the baby. He calms her down like nobody’s business. All I’ve got is boobs. He’s actually got magical powers that shuts her up and puts her to sleep.

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I’ve learned that yes, it is true that sometimes when you’re sleep deprived and your baby is screaming that you can go temporarily insane and want to drop the baby and run screaming from your house, as fast as you can, to Mexico or some other country, change your name and never think about your former life again. But if you’re a normal person, you look at that tiny red scrunched up angry face and wonder how you could ever leave it behind, even to go to work in the morning.

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I’ve learned that with my baby, there is no routine, no schedules, nothing that even resembles any type of normalcy. Maybe that’s the case with everyone’s baby. But I’m afraid I’m breaking her by not setting something for her to go by. I’m afraid that we’ve spent the last four weeks doing all the wrong things, like letting her sleep with us, nursing or rocking her to sleep, staying out later than we should and then forgoing her bath, just to have her crying until 3 in the morning.

I’ve learned patience. Because you cannot possibly survive without it. The thing about babies is that they’re very primal creatures, and they depend on you to meet all their needs. Their only form of communication at first is crying, and you have to learn to speak babyese. Is that the hungry cry or the tired cry? I’m still learning that language.

Mostly, I’ve learned that every day, my love for this little primal creature grows more and more. We wake up side by side in the morning, and she turns her face up to look at mine, and I say, "Good morning, my beautiful girl." And she smiles. And my heart swells with the most beautiful love I’ve ever felt.

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