Saturday, August 30, 2008

Three Weeks, 2 Days - This Too Shall Pass

The thing about newborns is this.

They're cute little bundles of chaos.

And I am not a chaos person. I thrive on routine, predictability and at least a little bit of control. It's not so much that I get overwhelmed by the many, many feedings, the fussy, gassy periods or the middle of the night wakings. All those things I expect and know babies just DO. It's that a person like me likes a PLAN - a plan to manage the day (not a schedule, just an order) and a plan for handling each little issue that arises.

But babies don't work in order, and they don't stick to a routine. They do things randomly (it seems like, anyway) and with little to no warning. Peanut's favorite little trick on me is that IF he's done the same thing at the same time for the past three days AND he recognizes in me a tendancy to begin relying on or feeling confident about his doing it again the fourth day, he MUST then not do it on the fourth day. He must do things very differently on the fourth day, so that Mama stays off-kilter and wary. And tired. For that is what tires me out the most - not the getting up 2 or 3 times a night, but the not-knowingness. The inability to predict. The life on the razor's edge.

And I know it doesn't last long. Things get easier and more rhythmic. I remember that. And I tell myself, "Just take it a few minutes at a time. That's the way to handle this period of time without getting tired and frustrated. Accept the reality of now and live in it flexibly." And sometimes I can and do and it's all good. But without warning my brain wanders out into the hours ahead and tries to hatch a plan. After we finish this feeding, he'll drift off to sleep for two hours, like he did yesterday and Thursday. And then I'll take a shower and get Bean ready for the day and we'll have breakfast and then it'll be time for him to wake up again and I'll feed him and then we'll all go for a walk to the playground.

And then I feed him, and in the middle of eating, he gets gassy and needs to poop and he cries and winces and I try to burp him and he can't burp and he keeps wanting to suck to help him poop but that doesn't help and then he gets hiccups from all the sucking and milk and he still can't poop and the "predictable" 30 minute feed runs into an hour, and then an hour and half, with burping and attempts to poop and crying and rooting around angrily and before I know it lunchtime's nearly upon us and we haven't had breakfast.

Or he feeds beautifully but instead of drifting off to sleep he remains wide awake and alert and peaceful as long as I HOLD HIM. If I try to put him down to take a shower or get dressed, he falls apart and wails pitifully, so I'm forced to just sit and hold him, which is fine in theory but still leaves Bean unattended and unfed and still in her pajamas, and me as well. And in less than two weeks I'll be needing to have Bean and me dressed and fed and out the door to get her to preschool by 9:30 AM. And I try not to project into those days (take it a few minutes at a time, I remind myself) but I can't help wanting to work us toward that goal a little bit at a time over the next days. It's my nature to want to have things organized and be prepared for what's ahead.

It's the age-old baby problem. It won't last long. I say, trying to make the simplicity and truth of the statement bring peace to my soul.

I just wish the me-ness of me didn't make behavior so fleeting and normal for my little man so frustrating and leave me feeling so completely out of control and behind.

I wish my own human limitations didn't cause me to sometimes rush away these early days with my tiny baby boy.


Melissa said...

Creepy...I think you somehow tapped into my brain and captured my exact thoughts and feelings from Mookie's first few weeks (and months). :o)
The Air Force says, "Flexibility is the key to air power." But I say, "Flexibility is the key to mama power." :o)
Good luck letting go.

Leigh said...

I can relate to this post. Oh how I relate! I feel the exact same way with Sophie. In fact the very night that I posted my entry about how she was sleeping at night, she of course totally mixed it up and threw the whole routine that I had tentatively expected out the window! I am like you, just taking things one step at a time, which I think I am sort of succeeding at. I don't seem to be wishing away the time like I did with Emily. I haven't been doing the whole, "I wish she was old enough to sleep through the night", or "I wish she was old enough to get into a reliable routine". This time around I know how quickly time really does pass and as this will most likely be my last baby, I am holding onto these moments tightly. Which is something I remind myself of often when Sophie suddenly switches from doing something one way to another way completely differently!!

Rambling On said...

I sooooooooo empathize with this entry. This is my greatest fear with the next one, that I will rush through it (just as I feel I did with Cami), repeating motions, resenting the lack of routine, and not savoring every little minute. The only thing I can say, is I think you are doing the right thing by reminding yourself to slow down. Get some cereal bars (for yourself too), or yogurt, for Alex at breakfast, don't cook, and maybe you can prepack lunch the night before (which actually will come in handy when she starts school...mornings never seem to have enough time). You are doing great, mama!

AlaneM said...

Oh I am so like was very hard for me to just enjoy my kids at that stage. I was forever trying to figure things out & driving myself nuts.
Praying for you girl...

Carrissa said...

Wow. Are you writing my life? HAHA

Might I suggest a baby carrier?
They are an absolute life saver for those times that my baby just wants to be held and is wide awake. I don't have an older child to get ready for preschool, and it does't help with the showering, but it does help get us all dressed and fed in the morning. And fed at other meal times when I just can't put him down!

If you have one use it, if you don't might I suggest a Mei Tai or a ring sling? The ring sling is easier to learn, the mei tai you can put him on your back starting as soon as you get it. This leaves you free-er to help Bean with getting dressed and stuff. :) I put my little one on my back since he was about a month old (when I got my mei tai). Anyway just some suggestions! If you are worried about carrying him at all, I had a csection as well and sometimes the ring sling puts too much pressure on my stomach in the front carry, but thats usually after long periods. I find both comfortable and easy to use. Sorry for the insanely long ramble! Im bad for that .. Take care and God bless!
p.s. You are doing a wonderful job!!

My Lil Family