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well... this turned into a book | by ethan.john
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well... this turned into a book

I am typing this while sitting under our pergola outside. The sun is nestling itself behind the hill that marks West Seattle Proper. I have a Laphroigh Triple Wood, and Nora is asleep upstairs -- a fact I can prove with the fantastic video monitor that accompanies me. Abbot is sitting under me. Cori is fifteen feet away in the downstairs bath tub and will join me when she is finished.

 

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Saw a post on Reddit yesterday that having a newborn is like being under house arrest for 3 months. Seems like it, sort of. I keep thinking it would be great to have people over for some low-key beers under the pergola but that's actually really tough to do. In the evenings it's mostly impossible because her bedtime routine starts around 6:30 (eat, bath, stories, then Try To Fall Asleep for about 30-40 minutes). On weekends, we have, you know, Stuff To Do during the daylight hours.

 

Come 4-5 months, I'm pretty sure we'll jump on some form of the Cry It Out bandwagon. 3-7 days of 30-40 minutes of crying seems like a small price to pay if it means she'll be able to put herself to sleep. Not gonna lie: I enjoy putting her to sleep when she's being cute about it (which, last week, was most of the time), but if she's not it's really just a chore. And the last couple days, she's really needed things Just So in order to fall asleep: White noise, swaddle, pacifier, etc.

 

During the day, Cori says she's stopped taking her pacifier and the only thing that seems to work is turning on the vacuum cleaner. As a result, our living room is nearly spotless.

 

She's also at this stage where she is really Not Interested in a baby carrier that restricts her ability to see, but her neck control isn't advanced enough to actually make that work.

 

The main problem with this is that when she's overtired, she's cranky and can't fall asleep. She gets a little more Aware every day, but if she's cranky and annoyed at the world, we can't really enjoy her increased awareness.

 

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Speaking of baby carriers, the Moby is clearly the worst baby carrier that we've used. Compared to other carriers, it: is harder to put on; is harder to adjust once put on; provides less head and neck support; is less stable once put on (i.e., over time her position changes more than with other carriers); and provides more thermal insulation (this is generally Bad for us -- worse in the summer, no better in the winter). There are some other nitpicks more specific to our situation: It looks more like a blanket, which means it is more tempting for Abbot, and it is harder to hang up in a closet.

 

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Last night she woke herself up at 3:00 am or so. This was a new behavior: She desperately wanted something to suck on, so she had (through great physical effort) pulled her hand out of her swaddle and gotten her arm wedged in an odd position. This allowed her to suck her hand but I don't think it was comfortable, so she started crying. I go in, re-swaddle, pacifier, and she's out immediatley. Wash rinse repeat every 3-5 minutes for another hour and a half or so and it's time for her to eat again. She eats, then poops and wakes herself up something fierce, then can't fall asleep again until 6am -- probably because the poor thing made herself so crazily overtired.

 

It's easy to lose perspective at 4am, but the reality is that she is just magical. I told Tom yesterday, not in jest, that we have not been bored since she was born. I lean a bit toward the Existential side of the world and have long held that life is purposeless unless we give it purpose (this is the Sisyphian philosophy). From a very objective point of view (ignoring all the incredible joy we derive from her, say, smiling), Nora is the ultimate purpose, and being Busy with her all the time is itself incredibly satisfying.

 

As I have talked about before, it is the Finding not the Find that we like, as a species. This is literally true: It is the process of seeking something out that produces dopamine in our brains, not the actual retrieval of it. Nora is the ultimate journey.

 

This probably sounds clinical to some of you, and it sounds a bit like that to me. But you do spend time evaluating What Have We Done To Our Lives. This is to say: Having a purpose is good. Nora is an incredible purpose.

 

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Things I would have done differently to prepare.

 

1. More freezer meals. Even though we have not eaten these a lot for dinners, they have been invaluable for me: They are ready-made lunches. More variety would have probably made it so that we could have eaten them more for dinner meals as well. Additionally, we only had about a month's worth of food in the freezer. That is not enough: 3 months is probably more along the right lines.

 

2. Plan grocery lists ahead. One thing that has been troublesome for Cori is figuring out what to eat during the day for breakfasts and lunches. It's hard in our sleep-addled state to consider our options when it comes to grocery planning.

 

3. More variety of cloth diapers. Allison was hugely helpful in supplementing our stash, but in the beginning variety is better than quantity just so you can figure out what works, what level of maintenance you can deal with, etc.

 

4. Made a list of more slow-cooker options, probably with regard to potential dietary considerations Cori might have had. Spicy food, dairy, and more are on the list of common No No's for nursing mothers.

 

5. Researched more books for future needs. Sleeping habits has around 6 or 7 major titles and innumerable smaller ones and they only span about the first 6-9 months of life. I have found a few resources for later on -- from around 2 years up until teenagers -- that deal with disciplinary techniques. I have no idea what resources lay in store for other parenting hurdles -- teething, learning to talk, teaching them... you know, EVERYTHING. I'm sure I'll post more on this later: we might have been at least a bit prepared for the first few months (and lol at what "prepared" means here), we I have no idea what to expect later down the road, and damned if there's going to be a lot of time to figure it out.

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Taken on April 13, 2012