4 weeks. It’s hard to believe that just four weeks ago our daughter was born. It’s more incredible that I’ve managed not to drop her, bang her into something while walking around breastfeeding her or making food for myself, or spill any of that food on her while desperately trying to get a bite to eat in the middle of one of her needy moments.
It’s been an interesting month in how busy yet how quiet it has been. I haven’t been the best at staying home and recuperating. I’m just not a sit around kind of person and yet, every time I go to do something I can feel the exertion it takes. So I’ve tried to stay inside, let things go, and spend my time healing, but honestly, I’m not good at that at all.
I am loathe to put down our baby. I don’t know exactly how to explain it. When she’s crying, obviously she needs me so I hold her and change her and feed her and burp her and most of the time that consoles her. We’ve only had a few days where she worked herself up so much that it was hard work getting her to calm down. (Last night was one of those.) But when she’s sleeping I love to hold her. Especially when she nuzzles up on my chest like a little chicken and sleeps. So warm and sweet. I could sit in that same place for days and just hold her like that. I listen to her erratic sometimes liquidy breaths wondering if it’s normal or if I need to be worried. I caress her hair and face. I rub her back and enjoy the warmth of our bodies so cozy together. I hate knowing I won’t have these moments much longer as my little bot grows and slowly gets too big to nuzzle between my breasts. Maybe that’s why I hate putting her down, I want to have as many of these moments as possible.
All of those times, the eating, burping, pooing, sleeping times, I know what I’m doing. I dare say I’ve got it pretty well down (we all have bad moments). But then there are the times when she’s simply awake. Awake and not needing anything per say but I feel she needs something! Should I be reading? Should I be singing? Ugh I have the TV on and it’s seeping into her little brain and I don’t want her to be a TV addict. How long for tummy time? How long for leaving her on her back on her play mat? And it’s cold in our home and on the floor, isn’t that bad for her, but I’ve no where else to put the play mat. And there’s really only so much baby stuff that I can take myself! I want to catch up on the shows I haven’t been able to watch. (Ack the tv is on!) I’d like to read my books to her instead of baby books which she seems uninterested in. I’d like to get all the thank you notes and announcements finished finally (it’s getting embarrassingly late for both). And I have important stuff I need to do to, painting umbrellas, doing dishes, job hunting because I’m terrified of what will happen when unemployment runs out.
I have this little bot whose brain I need to fill, I need to teach her how to use her hands and move her feet and get her hand eye coordination going, but I don’t know what I’m supposed to do to teach these things. So the only thing I find myself saying is She’s beautiful… now what?
And then there’s baby wearing. I know you’re all thinking it as you’re reading my frustration here but I’ve tried it and she’s just not having it. She has no interest in being encased in fabric no matter how tight or lose it seems to be. We have the Moby, the Balboa (Dr. Sear’s Sling) and the Bjorn and every time I put her in one, the wailly wailly wailing starts. She turns bright red, and kicks and fusses to let her out. After a few minutes I have to cause I just can’t bear it. Bob909 can at least get her in the Bjorn and after a crying spell she’ll settle down and sleep, but that doesn’t help me and my day very much.
And the Bouncy Chair. Well it’s great but I feel like I’ve abandoned her when I put her in there. I don’t want to ignore my daughter. I don’t want to neglect her. And I think I’m a pretty Free Range Parent type, I want my kid to run around and entertain herself and be creative and all of that, but I feel like it’s my job to at least nurture that creativity here in the first months of her life. It’s up to me to give her ideas from which to create!
Right now, I feel like there’s some secret mother’s society ala the Freemasons where mom’s learn what to do with their newborns. And all those mother’s are holding back the secrets. I know we all have to learn to adjust to our own child’s needs but it seems there must be some information out there somewhere that tells moms to do these things at these ages to stimulate their brains and motor skills.
And then there’s also the secret Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell of the parenting world. It really feels like these are the things no one talks about. I can’t remember reading anyone’s frustrations over not knowing what to do with their baby. Dr. Sear’s’ Baby Book has plenty of information on caregiving but what about parenting. Well, there’s the Attachment Parenting book but that’s not telling me activities to do with her and an idea of how long to do them and how often. It’s not like I’m looking for an operation manual, I’m just looking for some guidance that I can trust. A hint or two in the right direction.
So where’s this information? I can’t help but wonder, is this what gets passed down from mother to daughter? Is that why I don’t know what to do? Because my mom isn’t here to ask and therefore I’m not allowed in this secret mom’s society? I hope not because I’d really like to be let in on the secrets. And of course, if I had my druthers my mom would be here able to help out and give me all the encouragement I need.
So yeah, my daughter, she’s beautiful and healthy and pooping and growing… but, now what?