There have been moments the past few weeks when I get a sudden feeling of panic that says, "Life is never going to be normal again!"
It's a very disconcerting feeling. I have to remind myself that things don't feel normal when they've changed and feelings are not only not reality, they change quickly. It didn't feel normal at first to live in any of the houses I've moved to, either, but after a while they all came to feel like home. Those all-important three months aren't up yet, which means I need to stay patient, keep doing what needs to be done every day, and wait for "feelings" to wake up to what is now a new normal: there's a baby in the house and routines have changed.
Every time Abby decides to cry for an hour at bedtime (seriously, she is a slow learner!), I wonder how strange and disorienting everything must feel to her. If life seems a little strange and abnormal to me, it's a complete and total change for her. I'm at least used to my surroundings, know what's going on, am familiar with all the people around me...and am used to breathing and eating, for goodness' sake. For Abigail, until five weeks ago she had never really been able to see anything, had never eaten, had never breathed, and didn't even know what it was like to stretch out without walls around her.
The amazing thing is how fast she adapts, all things considered. On Friday, she even began to smile at me in recognition. Five weeks ago, she didn't recognize my face when she saw it, though we'd been the closest of companions for almost ten months.
Of course, she might just be smiling because when I'm around she usually gets fed. This girl gets her enjoyment of food from both sides of the family and her waistline shows the effects. I weighed her for the first time in a few weeks and she's now coming in around 12 pounds (I say "around" because that was two days ago and I'm guessing she's gained even over that time). This means she's rapidly turning into a dumpling with a head, but that's okay. She turns out to be a kid who wants to move and that means as soon as she can crawl, she'll slim down quickly. For the moment, though, she's what Ben calls "a milk junkie" and she looks it. I notice I've switched from calling her "Peanut" to calling her "my little butterball", but since she's still smiling at me I guess she probably forgives the nickname.
In spite of my feeling that everything still isn't normal, certain things are gradually falling back into place. I'm getting the laundry done much more promptly, I've been cooking dinner again, we've gone to church and gotten our grocery shopping done, and Ben and I have gotten a little better at getting Grandma and Abigail taken care of in the morning. It does take us a while to get everything moving, though. I'm often not able to get to making breakfast for us until 10:30 or so, which often makes me feel like half the day's over before we've even gotten started. I'd really like to get us back to getting Grandma's breakfast out at the usual 9:00 and ours either with it or before it, as it used to be before the advent of Abby.
People keep asking us if we're getting any sleep, a question they seem to find deeply amusing though I can't figure out what exactly is so funny about parents of young infants getting a little sleep-deprived - that's a condition that brings sympathy under any other circumstances. We're sleeping pretty well at night and have the kind of schedule that's allowing us to sleep in; but somehow I'm tired a lot anyway. I think Ben is faring pretty well because he's usually sleeping through any midnight-Abigail-nursings, but his back has been sore lately and I think he's actually not getting as deep a sleep as usual. Still, he's wide awake into his usual evening hours while I have to take a nap in the afternoon to stay up with him - and naps and I have not really been on speaking terms since I was Abigail's age. I've wanted to follow the advice to sleep when Abby does, but I notice that I'm having trouble doing so - when she's taking naps it seems like I need to be making Grandma's lunch or answering the phone or getting dinner or so on and so forth. Another thing that I'll hopefully either figure out how to make routine or just won't need for long enough to get that far!
Grandma is still doing really well, and thankfully she really doesn't hear Abigail crying all that much. When she does, she still thinks Abby is in a terrible state and as her mother I should either be doing something about it or letting Grandma hold her so she can make Abigail quiet. This is a little tricky for me, since Grandma has some trouble holding onto Abigail when she's crying (why do babies always squirm when they cry, I wonder?) so I can't really hand Abby off to Grandma and take a break for a bit but have to pretty much stay right there so I can take Abby back when she gets to be too much of a handful after a minute or two. Grandma is pretty firmly convinced that she has the ability to make Abigail be quiet even if I can't, though, which makes for a delicate diplomatic situation. I really appreciate her help - and she's been doing all kinds of stuff like keeping an eye out for laundry that needs folding that I haven't gotten to yet - but how do you explain to your grandmother that if a mother can't get her baby to be quiet, it's probably going to be pretty tough for anyone else to?
Ah well. As I said, thankfully Grandma actually isn't hearing Abby when she cries most of the time. Especially at night when Grandma doesn't wear her hearing aids...
And Grandma says, "I just love that baby so much!"
I say, "Me too, Grandma."
"I bet you do," she says back.
We have this conversation about once a day. Not a bad thing to repeat over and over, eh?
Wife of Benjamin and mother to two wonderful little girls who are getting bigger every day. Enjoys writing down thoughts and discussions we are having within the family and sharing them with whoever is interested in reading.
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