Now is the Best

Although yesterday’s birthday post was brief, that was due more to the fact that it was past 11 (my bedtime) than to the number of things I had to say.  I’ve actually been thinking a ton about my small boy.

All my life, I’ve wanted babies.  Babies, babies, babies.  The kind that stay cuddled up in your arms, eat nothing but milk, and make small, precious noises.  I wanted to be pregnant, feel the baby kick, wash tiny baby clothes, knit tiny baby sweaters, and have an unstoppable urge to wrap things like burritos.  So when I got pregnant, I was thrilled.  It was a pretty simple pregnancy, and I enjoyed the HECK out of it.  I still miss it.

And when Theo was born, of course I loved him to bits.  I did the whole staring at him in disbelief, taking naps with him snuggled on my chest, the sleepless nights, and all things newborn.  But if I’m being 100% honest, I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I thought I would.  I’m pretty sure that a lot of that was due to hormones and sleep deprivation (it’s hard to enjoy much of anything when you can hardly stay awake during it).  But as Theo got older, it started getting better.  Each new phase seems better than the last–he’s doing more things, with purpose, being more of a small person, and I LOVE watching it.  I love it in a way that I can’t remember loving his tiny-ness (although, let’s face it, he was never that tiny…) or the newborn fog.  We got him a ring-stacking toy for his birthday, and although he’s not very good at it, he is so absolutely determined and patient.  I actually get a real thrill watching him, hoping, cheering him on.

I love the way he’ll set any sock he finds on the nearest available foot, and he somehow learned where his head is, though we never taught him.  He stubbornly refuses to learn Mama and Papa (which we tirelessly try to teach him).  I can see things happening in that little-boy head, and it’s breath-taking.

I used to be really disappointed that I wasn’t enjoying being a mom as much as I always imagined I would.  And I didn’t–at first.  But now, I’m accepting the fact that yes, I enjoy the small boy things more than I enjoyed the baby things, and while it’s not what I expected, it’s absolutely fine.

It’s almost like how I always thought I’d like strong cheese–and be sophisticated and all that.  And now that I’ve tried it–many times, in many different forms, I hate it.  And it’s a bit disappointing, not liking something that I thought I’d really like.  However, I’ve discovered that I do really like strong mustard and green olives, which I previously didn’t think I’d like.  That kind of cushions the blow, and reminds me that  for every thing that I don’t love, there’s something I do.

As much as I was disappointed over the fact that I didn’t enjoy every minute of the newborn phase–nor am I likely to next time, I’m reassured, realizing that this early-toddler phase–a point where I assumed I’d mourn his babiness, his dependency, and other things I’d never get back–is really awesome.  My days are happier, faster, and chock full of laughter (from both of us).  I’m happier, I feel like I’m a better mom than I’ve ever felt before, and I’m kept on my toes–never knowing when he’ll completely blow my mind next.  Now is the best.

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A treat for reading my last post

Theo is sleeping late today (thank goodness!) which gives me a little bit of time with TWO hands on my COMPUTER!  Things are not exactly getting better (5 am is not a suitable bedtime) but an hour up and about without a baby attached to my boob?  I’ll take it.

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Sporting baby clothes worn by Andreas and his siblings

Sporting baby clothes worn by Andreas and his siblings

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My boys

My boys

First cloth diaper

First cloth diaper

The first weeks

I said in my last post that I would update as nap times allowed. And I have. In short, my newborn hates to sleep. He’s typically awake for a good 7 to 8 hour stretch daily (between 7 pm and 3 am, unfortunately) and it’s really killing me. I feel a strange smouldering rage towards whoever it was that made it common knowledge that newborns sleep an average of 16 to 20 hours a day, because to that, I say: Pa-hah!

It’s rare that I have the use of both hands, which is why my posting and writing back to people is severely limited. Even now, Theo has one of my arms trapped under his huge head, but with a strategically placed Kindle, I’m able to update.

There’s another reason I wasn’t so eager to write, and that is, plain and simple, because I’m having a hard time. A really hard time. It started with the crazy blood loss and consequent weakness, then rolled into ravaged nipples which made nursing a nightmare, then a breast infection, followed by low supply and a consequently hungry, screaming baby. Things are more ”normal” now, though Theo is really quite fussy, especially late at night when it’s hardest to handle.

The truth is, that none of this is how I ever pictured it. I find myself jealous of Andreas, who gets to play his video games and live a lot of his life like he did before. I find myself doing one of four things at any given moment: feeding the baby, trapped under a sleeping baby, trying desperately to sleep while the baby sleeps, or taking a really fast shower and praying that the baby doesn’t wake up while I’m in there.

There are good moments, of course, and I love our little Theo, but this is harder than I ever imagined. It’s hard not to get run down and depressed. It’s hard to not freak out when I realize that Andreas is going back to work next week. I’m not so much worried about being alone during the day, but of having to spend the dark hours between 11pm and 3 am alone. I’m having trouble seeing through the newborn fog to a time when things are better.

This is all incredibly hard to admit to, and if it wasn’t half past midnight, I probably wouldn’t have the courage to post it, but I want to remember this for myself, to look back on and remind myself that it did get better (hopefully) but also to share with someone else who maybe isn’t having the easiest time in these fast few weeks when we’re supposed to be falling madly in love with our precious babies, but we’re instead just longing for a bit of rest and an escape from the guilt of not feeling like everything is perfect and life is now complete.

I can’t do the whole picture thing on the Kindle, so instead of cute pictures (I know, I know, that’s why you’re here in the first place. I’ll get around to it soon.) I’ll end on a positive note. When I lay in bed in the early morning, after laying Theo down between Andreas and me after he eats, I just stare at the two of them, thinking, in those few seconds before I black out into that deep, sleep-deprived sleep, how lucky I am to have them both, and how Theo has his eyes.