one month of Lilly
How has it been a month already?
This month has flown by. Maybe that’s no surprise given that I’ve been on call for 30 minutes every 2-2.5 hours. It’s like: feed the baby, ponder whether I’d rather spend the next 1-1.5 hours holding the baby, showering, on the internets, or eating. Surprisingly, the internet loses out almost every time. Also surprisingly, I’ve managed to shower (almost) every day since we’ve been home from the hospital.
An hour is a remarkably short unit of time. That’s parenting truth number 1.
Other parenting truths we’ve uncovered:
- Just because the baby is sleeping through the night, doesn’t mean we are. I still wake up in a panic at least 6 times/night, turn on the nightlight, and reach over to make sure Lilly is breathing. I’ve caught Jason reaching over me to check on her, so I know I’m not alone here.
- How did people parent before the internet? Honestly. Baby is whining? Google search it. Problems breastfeeding? Google search. How long should my baby sleep? Google search. What is newborn poop supposed to look like? Google search. Best way to clean baby poop off of the carseat? Google search. Am I a bad parent if _______? Google search.
- Although, the downside to having Google raise our child is that there’s often TOO MUCH CONFLICTING information, and then we have to just go with what we think is right anyways. There seems to be little to no universal consensus on what needs to be done to make these little humans grow into awesome bigger humans. So we guess and then stalk the internet for official proof that we are right! and therefore the best. parents. ever. You know, because if it’s on the internet, it’s gotta be true.
- Want the baby to wake up and begin to cry hysterically? Hook me up with a hot meal. Within 30 seconds of setting it down in front of me, I’ve got an awake and very hungry baby – regardless of the time of day. Sometimes she even impresses us by predicting the arrival of a meal by up to a minute or two in advance!
- On a related note, I’ve been gaining some major speed-eating skillz. I might start looking for competitions to enter, but I suspect that some second- and third- time moms might have me beat.
- And re: laundry. How many times have I read how much more laundry you have to do once baby comes along? And, after washing all blankets, sheets, clothing, etc needed for her first few months in just two loads prior to our girl’s birth, I thought you all were kidding me. BUT YOU WERE NOT. Because in addition to soiling her little onesies with all types of bodily fluids, she also likes to christen Jason and I with it, as well as just about any other surface in the house. Add that to the fact that my wardrobe consists of 5 t-shirts and 4 shorts/skirts and that means I’m washing daily just so that I have something to wear. And it’s fine. I actually like doing laundry. I am just still surprised that such a little creature can create so much dirty laundry.
And, I thought I’d give a shout-out to some things that have made parenting better/more awesome this month. I’m typically a believer in less-is-more, and I really think these little humans come out needing little more than food and a place to defecate (and, I guess if you birth the little human in a hospital, you’re gonna want a car seat to bring it home in). But, if you’re going to go all out and get gear, you might as well pick up these things:
- This black and white picture book was given to us at a baby shower, and it blows Lilly’s mind. Her eyes get huge and she can stare at it for a pretty long time without getting bored. Also? Having a running commentary on the types of jokes that Mr. Zebra tells (some days his jokes are REALLY off-color) and why exactly we call him Mr. Zebra when he’s wearing a bow in his ear anyways is great entertainment for Jason and I. Crucial since we’ve spent pretty much every moment of the last month together and are rapidly running out of things to discuss.
- Also, the colors and shapes in this book are mind-blowing to my newborn and anyone on LSD (I’m guessing – we’ve not yet tried that). This was another sweet shower gift, one that comes highly recommended from Lilly’s cousins. I typically sit and describe the shapes and colors to her, which gives us something to talk about other than our usual repertoire of her eating/pooping needs, what the doggies are doing, and how much mommy or daddy love her (this girl has heard “mommy/daddy loves you!” about 42 gazillion times since she was born).
- My Brest Friend. An unfortunate name for a really useful product. During the first few days/weeks, I felt like I needed 8 hands to nurse the baby. This pillow is a game-changer. It made it incredibly easy to hold the baby in the correct position for nursing while freeing up my hands to help her latch correctly. I think it saved me a TON of frustration (a few of my friends mentioned how frustrated with nursing they’d become before picking up this pillow, and I can believe it). As a bonus, Michelle Duggar has one and endorses her Brest Friend… she’s got like a million kids, so clearly she must know what she’s doing. Or something like that.
- A nightlight. This one is for me more than the baby. We have this one, and it’s push button ease is awesome for all of those times that I wake up in a panic at 3 a.m. needing to see if she’s still alive.
- The swaddle. Pure sleeping magic. Although it might be a little counter-intuitive to wrap your newborn in a straight jacket, it’s really quite amazing. We wrap her in it before her last feeding of the day and our little Houdini-in-training sleeps for 8 hours. At least. (Note that I can’t promise you a full night sleep if you buy one of these, but I really really think it’s a big part of our ability to get a full night’s sleep. What I want to know is: how big do these things go? Like, can I still wrap her in it at age 4? And maybe they can make these for dogs? Because there’s nothing more maddening than when your kid is letting you sleep through the night but your wimpy 75-lb-afraid-of-storms dog wakes you up in the middle of the night with his panting…).
- Two weeks of hibernation. Seriously, I think this was the best thing we’ve done: hibernating for 2 weeks post-baby, and telling ourselves that it was okay to just sit and hold the baby. The first weeks were so tiring, and we really needed the time to adjust to being a family of 3. Luckily, our friends & families have been wonderful — helping us with cleaning the house, bringing us dinner, entertaining Lilly while we showered. Honestly, I’ve decided that one of the best things to give new parents is a hot meal & a good scrubbing of their toilets, and I’ll be gifting this to all of our (local) new parent friends in the future.
We’ve only started using some of the other wonderful baby gear that’s been sitting up in her closet now that she’s a little older than a month, so I’ll have to update you on all of that once we determine it’s usefulness… But, really, for the first few weeks, there wasn’t much that we actually needed.
And finally, an update on all of the skillz our little human has acquired in her first month of life. It’s been remarkable watching Lilly grow from a tiny little blob of a newborn into something more closely resembling a human!
- Hand-sucking. The girl can pretty reliably get her hand or arm close to her face and suck. It’s cute, and a good way to determine exactly how hungry she is without having to listen to her cry.
- She can stare & track moving objects with her eyes. Her favorite objects to track are the doggies – she loves watching them walk across the room or chase after each other.
- Head-holding up. Not quite perfect yet, but this one is most definitely building some serious neck muscles.
- Nursing. I didn’t realize that this was something that had to be taught, but I’m feeling incredibly fortunate that both of us have caught our stride with this whole feeding business. It’s still a bit painful, but I feel confident that it’ll get better over time, and I’m glad that the girl is thriving.
- AND, the piece de resistance: SMILES! I first saw her smile in response to my smiles on her 1 month birthday, but Jason assures me that she smiled at him a few days earlier. And then I got mad. At Jason for not telling me that she did such a cool trick! And at Lilly for not smiling at me first after I spent 9 months + 2 weeks growing her AND another month feeding her. What’s that all about? Huh, Lil?