The Pregonaut

A non-breeder's journey into the unknown

She’s Beautiful, Now What? February 12, 2010

Filed under: Space Detritus — anditron @ 8:18 pm

P21201114 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?


9 Responses to “She’s Beautiful, Now What?”

  1. Catey Says:

    Oooh. I’ve got this one!

    I’ve got two boys, one 3 yrs. old the other seven months. When the younger was born, I couldn’t believe how night and day different my babies are. This one’s clingy. Like Velcro. Sometimes I believe he latches on just to be ON, if that makes any sense. We even have to sleep touching. He is the stuff Dr. Sears’ books are made of.

    But, seriously, my first son, other than breastfeeding wasn’t particularly cuddly or needy. He’d speak up when he had immediate needs, but sometimes (often) he preferred the swing to actually being held. I can vividly recall my hurt feelings when he’d cry if I tried to take him out of the swing/bouncy chair. He loved the stroller, wanted nothing to do with the Bjorn. He LIKED tummy time and as a result was crawling by six months. Just like us, there are many many personality types in babies. I’ve totally been there with the “now what do I do with him” feelings. In fact, if I complained other mothers would look at me like I was nuts. That’s just the way he was. I remember how worried I was we weren’t connecting enough, that we’d lose our bond if we weren’t together 24/7 but he’s grown into a very intelligent, active, and LOVING child. I wouldn’t worry about it. But the fact that you are worrying about it just means you are a kickass mommy.

    • anditron Says:

      Thanks for the encouraging words, they definitely help. The hard part is she wants to be held, she loves being held, she just isn’t a fan of any of the carriers so far. She’ll let me wear her a little now that I had someone show me how to use the Moby but really she hates being hot and confined. As for the What do I do part, I’ve stopped putting pressure on myself to be those “moms” and am working hard to just be her mom. So I’m slowly getting used to reading to her and making up songs and heck, just rocking out to my music with her and doing as Ariel said and tell her what I’m doing as I do it.

  2. Ariel Says:

    A few weeks down the road (Tavi’s at 10 weeks now) it’s exciting because there are actually activities he seems to like. Laying on the floor while I wiggle his legs and sing to him, propping up on a pillow while I hold up each piece of laundry and talk to him about colors and shapes and garments and fashion as I fold them, sitting on my leg while I bounce it — now that he can actually smile a bit, he lets me know that these are the things he likes.

    But those first few weeks, holding him close and petting him was about the only thing we could DO together. And for those first couple months? I think that’s enough. 🙂

    • anditron Says:

      I think it definitely gets easier as they start having reactions and are able to smile. She’s getting there. I took your suggestion of just telling her as I do stuff. It’s kind of hard to do your laundry trick tho with a predominantly black wardrobe 😛

  3. Megan Says:

    What a wonderful blog! Thanks for sharing!!

    I’m sure that I’ll be wondering the same things in three months time, so I’m probably not the best to give advice, but that’s never stopped me yet.

    Holding your baby when you and she feel like it is great. Probably can’t do too much of that. Enjoy this special time!!

    But putting your baby in a bouncy chair or on a mat is also great, as long as she’s not miserable and it’s not for hours and hours at a time. Make sure to take care of you, whether that means eating a real meal, reading books that interest you, watching your TV shows, etc. Don’t feel guilty for not giving your baby 100% of your attention 100% of the time. She doesn’t need it and better not get used to it!!

    One great piece of advice I got – if you’re worried about being a good parent, you already are!

    • anditron Says:

      welcome and thanks for the great advice and encouragement. Every little bit helps and we’re getting there. It definitely helps to have her react to what I’m doing a bit more and I know it’ll really get exciting for me soon.

  4. Nicole Says:

    I’ve had the same guilty feeling. I am lucky enough to have my mommy to advise me, and the best advice she has given is this: if you aren’t happy, baby isn’t happy. Meaning if you need to just set her down for a few and take a break, by all means do it. It won’t kill her and when you come back to pick her up and are refreshed and happy, it will make her happy too.

    Other than that, just spend lots of time with her! One thing I’ve tried is singing to the baby when I’m holding her – she’s very musical, it seems to really calm her down and make her happy. And I’m pretty sure music of any form is very beneficial for their little brains. 🙂

    • anditron Says:

      You’re spot on about the happy mom= happy baby. And yes, the singing thing is her favorite (sadly the Winnie the Pooh chorus over and over is the magic elixir for her cries) but now that she’ll let me wear her a little while painting she likes me to have my iPod on and loves when some good oontzy tunes come on and I dance with her.

  5. stacy Says:

    I know this is an old post and your daughter is 3 months but as a mom to a 13 month old, I can say — GO OUT! I really miss going to cafe’s, meeting other moms at coffee shops, window shopping (indoors or out), and all those other languid activities where you can breastfeed when she gets hungry and pop her in the stroller/wrap when she gets tired…. ah, life was so great then!!!! Now we have mealtimes and nap times, and she doesn’t want to be held but she’s not yet walking and and if I put her down then it’s like –” AHH! What’s THAT in your mouth!! And NO! Not that sharp pointy object in your eye! And don’t pull things off the grocery shelves!!” so, seriously. Don’t worry about developing her brain and coming up with activities — just go and do what YOU want because the opportunity will be lost and gone for a long. long time…. Or do your Crafts! I always fretted about letting her lie on the mat or in the swing while I did anything personal and not housework-related (because somehow I could justify leaving her so I could do dishes but not to sew?! why!? I don’t know.)

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