In the spirit of my previous “Six truths” post, I thought I’d do a follow-up regarding the first six week of Ethan’s life on the outside!
1. I sleep. Kind of.
This is probably the one that surprised me the most. I was fully expecting to be one of those zombified new parents who couldn’t form a coherent sentence and whose home was in shambles and who looked like death. While I do have my days, it’s way better than I was anticipating. Now, I know that’s partly because I’ve had some help and partly because Ethan is a decent sleeper (knock on wood), but I can’t help but think that my fears were exaggerated and a bit unfounded. All new parents must get some sleep, otherwise we’d all be hospitalized at least twice before the kid hit two months.
I know there are parents out there who really aren’t sleeping, and those who are barely getting by on two hours a night, so please don’t think I’m ignorant of that. Like I said, we’ve had our days/nights. When I imply that I am getting enough sleep, what I really mean is that I am getting enough to function, plus the occasional nap when the stars align just right. I’m definitely not getting enough consecutive sleep – before long, I think Ethan may need to have a sleepover at Gigi’s house so that Mommy and Daddy can get a night of uninterrupted rest. In the meantime, though, we’re handling things fairly well considering what challenges we are facing regarding the amount and frequency of sleep we are getting. So far, so good.
2. I don’t mind sharing.
I really thought I’d be the mom who never even wanted to hand her baby over for a ten-minute snuggle with a relative, but right from the start I have been comfortable sharing Ethan with others. At first I was afraid that this meant I was a bad mother or that we weren’t connecting properly, but then I realized that it was a good thing. It means I’ve accepted the fact that I can’t hold him 24/7 and that I need a break now and then. Not that I didn’t cry my eyes out for half the night when he slept over at my mom’s, because of course I did. And I downed almost an entire bottle of wine trying to calm my nerves (and to make it impossible for me to drive over there at 3:00 AM and take him back). But I had no issue with leaving him for a date night, and I’ve never gotten antsy about letting others spend time with him.
3. I love co-sleeping…sometimes.
I love Adam and I love sharing a bed with him. He’s warm and snuggly and doesn’t mind when I pass out in a way that means I take up half the bed, and that’s because he’s awesome.
That said, Adam has had to work until about 2:00 AM for a few nights since Ethan was born. On those nights, I’ve locked Percy out of the bedroom, prepped a couple of bottles and put them on the nightstand, pulled the diaper pail over to my bedside, and set up a changing station at the foot of the bed. Then I proceeded to make up a space for Ethan and share the bed with him. And it was glorious. We had wonderful snuggle time and I never had to leave the bed to take care of him, which meant I was far more rested by morning than I likely would have been otherwise.
This surprises me because I’m not into co-sleeping as a practice (just personally. I don’t care what others do, and in fact, I think it can be a lovely thing. It just isn’t for me). I know every kid is different, but I once babysat a kid who co-slept with his parents for a couple of years, and trying to get him to go to sleep was a nightmare. I didn’t “breathe like Mommy”, so he freaked out a few times. Obviously, that’s not the case for most kids, but it stuck in my mind and totally turned me off to it as an option. Plus, I’m a little territorial and I like my bed to be my bed. So while I don’t plan to change my mind and suddenly become a co-sleeper, I’m definitely looking forward to the occasional slumber party while Daddy is working late.
4. I’m savvy.
I used to not be able to shop sales because it was too much of a headache to figure out. Now it’s a necessity. And it turns out that I’m pretty good at it. Not only am I savvy in the store, but I’m savvy with my kid. I’ve gotten good at figuring out what his different cries mean, new ways to comfort him when he’s upset, and other weirdo sixth sense Mommy stuff. It’s a little freaky, but it’s pretty cool.
5. I feel like Betty Draper, if she were a happy person.
“Were” a happy person? “Was”? I really should know this. English major fail. This is why I don’t have a degree, folks.
You know how, apart from all her schizo crazy desperate housewife stuff, Betty was always pretty fabulous? She always looked great, kept a spotless house, and cooked fabulous meals for her family? Well, I’m not saying that I actually do all of that, but I’m certainly trying. And what’s more, I’m enjoying it. I’ve already talked about my housewifery, so I won’t go into it much more. But I will say that I never really felt like that at all until Ethan was born. I used to have almost no interest in things like organizing the laundry and making sure the dishes are always current, but now it feels like second nature to me. I might be able to chalk it up to delayed nesting, but I’ll take it. The place looks a lot better than I used to be able to manage.
6. That mushy love stuff is true.
You know all that sappy, Hallmark-y stuff about how you figure out the meaning of life when you look into your baby’s face and your heart grows three sizes and the love you already had for your family just multiplies?
Yeah. It’s all true. I know it sounds sentimental (and it is), but it’s absolutely true. It actually hurts when I think about how much I love Ethan, and I just love looking at my little family and seeing how naturally we all come together. I’m not saying I’ve figured out the mysteries of the universe via motherhood or anything, but I feel like I might be coming a little closer.