(Sub-sub-title: Pretty's Attempt to Post More Often than Once per Month) (Sub-sub-sub-title: I Always Forget Which Words to Capitalize in a Title)
Show of hands, dolls - who notices a distinct difference between this 2 month shot Master P & our first one a mere one
And so it has been at Pretty HQ since around week six of the first Year of Our Lord AB (After Baby), when the "ZOMG This Newborn is Cute & All But Will Also Surely Be the End of Me" phase went out and the kinder, gentler, smiling & cooing era began. Not to say that Master P won't still be the end of me - I imagine most parents, this one included, flirt with the fantasy of escaping to a nice hotel, alone (as so aptly noted by blogfriend Privilege), at least once a day. However, just around the time his personality started emerging and sleep times lengthened, this all started to feel a bit more manageable.
By "manageable", I don't mean "easy". Not to complain - stop laughing - but despite the myriad and vaguely ominous warnings from other sleep-deprived new parents, I truly underestimated just how difficult being on call 24 hours a day for a little tyrant is. "They're just a little sleep-deprived", I'd think to myself when receiving such advice, "After all, I've passed two bar exams. I've pulled all nighters. What could be so difficult about watching a fluffy cute baby all day?"
Yes, yes - I can hear you veteran parents laughing now, and I'm here to
At times, it was miserable. New parents tend to gloss this over, so enamored are they with their unicorns and rainbows ball of perfection baby smooshiness. Far be it from me to squelch their perkiness, but let me restate - it was occasionally miserable. There were a few 3 am moments during Master P's first month when I - yes, Pretty, the very picture of icy cool deportment - cried longer and louder than the wee dictator wailing away in my arms, desperate for sleep, desperate to figure out what he needed, just . . . desperate. Be it baby blues or sheer exhaustion, there were days when I literally counted the minutes until the next day, feeling like an utter parenting failure, praying that surely I'd get more of a grip on this baby thing if I could just make it to tomorrow.
And then he smiled. And made some funny gurgling noises. And cried a bit less every day. We figured out a suspected reflux issue was a fixable nursing one. And he started sleeping a somewhat acceptable duration of time most nights. Whatever mystical switch was pulled, sometime around six weeks Master P & I started getting the hang of things.
Though we're in a far happier stage now - or "a place of yes", as our Bravo TV court jesters would put it - another parenting thing I'd been warned about but didn't fully appreciate PB is the loss of "me" time (or as Bravo TV would say, uh, "me time"). Recovering introvert that I am, I still require daily time alone with solitary pursuits like books and, apparently, too much reality tv. I'd forgotten that part & parcel with this newborn business is the loss of personal space - spiritually and literally. This is a first-world sort of navel-gazing problem to have, but it's real and has been challenging nonetheless.
Week by week, however, the "me" time slowly increases. Master P gradually sleeps more and more soundly, and I get an extra minute or two each week to revel in the personal time I used to take for granted. It's far, far less than what I used to think I required, but I find myself savoring every page I get to read, every five minutes I get to brainlessly dawdle around the internet, before he awakens.
The aspiring parents amongst you will gloss over this with the same dismissive, "Oh, she's just whining, give me a baby already!" wave of the mental hand I did, and I don't blame you. For those of us where babies are part of our DNA, something we've always wanted, I think it's meant to work this way. God knows if we objectively looked at this baby business no sane one amongst us would volunteer for it.
Because I love nothing more than to give unsolicited advice, despite being wholly unqualified to do so, here are a few things I have gleaned from these first two three months:
- When people offer to bring meals or help you in any way with your darling babe, say yes immediately. Don't think twice or demurely turn them down to be polite, as so many of us were taught to do. You will not have free hands to cook, clean, or do any other sorts of domestic drudgery, and for once in your adult life, other people will actually offer to do it for you, for free. Take them up on it & enjoy the look of surprise on the person's face that you did.
- Don't feel guilty if you feel frustrated with the baby or don't immediately have a head-over-heels reaction to his/her birth. Some people fall hopelessly in love immediately with their wee tyrants, whereas my reaction began somewhere around the "Holy overwhelmed, this is awesome and all, but did I do that??" end of the spectrum and has incrementally but surely moved towards the Crazyinlovetown, population 1.
- I'd been told this one, but didn't believe it: it's ok to put your crying babe down in a safe place for a few minutes while you take a few minutes of sanity-saving whine/wine break (ie, bawl in the closet) for yourself. Really. Be on the lookout for the postpartum depression, of course, but absent that, taking the occasional pause is essential. If you just can't bear to put baby down, enlist a partner or family member to pitch in while you walk away and clear your head (preferably out of earshot of the crying) for a minute. The baby won't break. Pinky swear.
- Breastfeeding is *much* trickier than advertised, despite what the Boob Brigade might have you believe. Yes, yes - there are many health & emotional benefits to it blah blah blah, but what the Brazilian supermodels forget to mention is that it is hardly an intuitive exercise, and it's one that many struggle with if they're able to do it at all. Take a nursing class (with your partner, assuming there's one in the picture) pre-baby, and keep a lactation consultant's number and a healthy dose of patience on speed dial should you choose to try nursing - and yes, Booby Brigadiers, it is actually a choice.
- Just you wait until your wee one smiles at you intentionally for the first time. I count myself amongst the tragically cynical, and even I was reduced to a blubbering pile of goo the first time Master P cheerfully flashed his gums in my direction. He smiles with his entire body, and I'm afraid to report that I'm helpless in his presence when it happens. This bit only gets better.
And with that, I'm off to enjoy an afternoon of football with Master P & the AH ... there's a phrase I never thought I'd utter five years ago, but much to my Type A Minus surprise, I'm finding the unexpected is mostly a happy surprise nowadays.