Friday, April 26, 2013

Lessons of Parenting: Remember to Laugh

     Sometimes it’s all you CAN do.

     It was a weekday afternoon and Cam was at work. Tessa and I had been having a fairly uneventful day. She had finished eating and I was changing her. I had just taken off her dirty diaper and was cleaning her up when she let out a burp. I looked up to her face in time to see her spitting up. I grabbed a cloth and was wiping her face when I looked back down and saw that she was peeing AND pooping at the same time (remember she was diaperless at this point!). I had just started cleaning up THAT mess when, of course, the doorbell rang. I probably wouldn’t have answered it, but we were expecting a delivery so I wanted to get the door so we wouldn’t have to go pick up our package later. I put Tessa on a blanket on the floor (I incorrectly assumed it was safe to do so as I thought she had just fully emptied out both ends – rookie mistake) and went to get the door. I had to sign a couple things so it took a few minutes longer than expected, and when I got back upstairs, Tessa was laying in another puddle of pee on the floor. I looked at the spit up/pee/poop-covered change table, the pee-soaked blanket and floor, and my baby staring innocently up at me and started laughing.

     I’ll admit that this kind of reaction isn’t always typical for me. I’m one of those people who has a tendency to take things a little too seriously at times, and often get frustrated or annoyed if something doesn’t go the way I would like it to. And there have been many moments and even whole days sometimes where I've felt like doing this:

     For the most part, though, I’ve found that my immediate response to incidents like this one has been to just laugh. Mostly because there’s nothing else I CAN do, but also because I’ve realized that getting upset does absolutely nothing except ruin my day and rob me of enjoying these precious (although sometimes challenging and frustrating) moments with my baby. That’s not to say that I don’t still get annoyed or upset by things that happen during our days – I definitely do (and it very much depends on the kind of day we're having!). It’s not always easy to find the humor, especially on those days when it seems like everything is going wrong. I’ve learned though, that little inconveniences like a messy change table or a baby who needs an extra bath are just that – inconveniences, not tragedies.

     Besides, how could you really be upset at a face like this??

Friday, April 19, 2013

Slow Down, Baby Girl!

     I know babies grow fast, but this week especially, I feel like Tessa is changing so quickly and learning so many new things all at once.

These two pictures were taken 5 days apart:

Still a bit wobbly

5 days later...sitting like a pro
     Also in the past two weeks, she's been cooing and babbling like crazy, has given us a few little giggles, and is showing a lot of interest in toys and is grabbing everything and picking things up. And twice, she's taken her soother out of her mouth and put it back in all by herself!

     It's so amazing getting to watch a tiny person grow and change right before your eyes!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Lessons of Parenting: This Too Shall Pass…

     I started writing this post last week, then had a REALLY cranky baby on Thursday and got hit with a cold on the weekend so I haven’t had time to finish it yet. I should be napping because I’m exhausted, but of course, today is one of those days when Tessa decides not to nap for more than half an hour at a time, so I thought it would be a good time to finish this. It’s funny, when I started writing this post, I had no idea how perfect the timing would end up being. I’ve needed to hear this phrase over and over these past few days.

     “This too shall pass….” My mom often uses this line, and the first time I talked to my brother and sister-in-law (parents of a 2 ½-year-old) after Tessa was born and asked what advice they might have for us newbies, this was what my sister-in-law said. And at just 3 months into my parenting journey, I’ve already seen how true this is, and I’m finding it helpful for keeping things in perspective.

     Tessa started out life as a terrible napper. Most days I could not get her to nap for more than 20-40 minutes at a time, and then, of course, by 3pm she would be completely exhausted and CRANKY! On those days, I often felt like a bad mother, and that it was my fault that she was so tired and grumpy (not true, I know, but I couldn’t help but feel that way). This is slowly working itself out and over the past 3 weeks, she’s (most days) been going down for her naps without a fight and I can usually count on 1 long and 2 shorter naps each day. And I didn’t do anything but wait it out.

     So, now that I’m in the middle of another rough patch (having a cold and a baby is a lovely combination!), I’m reminding myself that, like our naptime struggles, it won’t last forever. Yes, I’m exhausted. Yes, I feel like I got hit by a bus. And no, I’m not particularly “enjoying every moment” right now. And even if I can’t get a nap in today, I know we’ll be ok, that this temporary exhaustion and frustration is part of the parenting package, and it, too, will pass. And at the end of the day, this beautiful little girl...

...makes it all worthwhile.

Now, if you'll excuse me, we're going to go try and sleep!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

First Impressions

     Our first days at home with Tessa had been a bit of a blur for me up until a few weeks ago. I think that may be a pretty common phenomenon among new moms, between caring for a newborn, adjusting to life at home and a new role, and just enjoying our babies, never mind the sleep deprivation and emotional roller coaster that having a new baby causes. It’s no wonder I haven’t had time to stop and think and process the experiences of our first few days at home as a family of three. But now that things have settled down, some of those first impressions and early memories have been coming back and I've had a chance to reflect on them a little bit.

     A few nights ago, as I was feeding Tessa at 4am, a memory from our first few hours at home came to me. It was her first feeding after we arrived home. We had had a lot of difficulty with breastfeeding in the hospital. Tessa lost more weight than the doctor and nurses were comfortable with, which led to us having to spend an extra night in the hospital and supplement her with formula (not what I had planned or wanted, but what needed to happen for my baby to gain weight and be healthy!!). Every feed while we were in the hospital was very stressful for me. It felt like nothing we tried was working, and it seemed like every nurse (as great and as helpful as they were) had a different opinion or technique for us to try, so I was completely overwhelmed. Things started to turn around by the morning of the third day of our hospital stay, and we introduced Tessa to a bottle so we could take her home. We finally got home late that afternoon, and Tessa wanted to eat almost right away. I got settled on the couch, prepared for another difficult nursing session, and to my complete amazement, she latched on like a pro and had a full feed. My first thought was that she just didn’t like having an audience while she ate. But I think in that moment I realized for the first time what it must feel like to be a mom. Sheer joy and relief that my baby was eating without a problem. Frustration over all we had been through when it seemed that the solution was simply coming home where it was quiet and I was more relaxed and comfortable (it wasn’t, by the way!). Overwhelming pride and love for my little girl for no other reason except that she was eating. And anxiety and worry that this might just be a fluke and we’d be back where we started with the next feed. All those emotions, all at the same time. Welcome to motherhood!

     (By the way - Tessa and I were referred to the new Lethbridge Breastfeeding Clinic (can't say enough good things about them!!) and after just 1 or 2 appointments we were back to exclusive breastfeeding. Tessa is growing like crazy and doing amazing! So proud of her!)

6 days old
2.5 months

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