In the past few weeks she has discovered how to
escape a swaddle
and talk to birds!
I also have learned quite a few things. Here is a highlight of the things that I have learned over the past 8 weeks:
1. I will always bring a new mom food. Or, a seasoned mom with a new baby. Doesn't matter. It is so impossible those first few weeks to eat well, or eat at all. The stress of that is compounded by the sleeplessness and the fact that you're responsible for feeding another person, who wants to eat around the clock...ugh, it's miserable. And anyway, bringing someone food is such an easy way to bless them, I must must must make this a habit in the future.
2. Whoever coined the phrase "There is no use crying over spilt milk" was clearly a male. I'll never forget the night I had just put Clementine down after a solid hour of feeding her and I heard what sounded like rushing water. I thought, that's weird. And it kept going. I looked up and over at my precious little baby to find that she was projectile vomiting more liquid than I knew her tiny body could even hold. I jumped out of bed suuuuuper panicked and picked her up, getting wet in the process. And what did she start to do? Smile. She was smiling at me. Once I realized she was fine, it hit me. All. That. Wasted. Milk. An hour of work...and it didn't even go down the drain.
3. I will always suggest getting a swing. Remember a few blog posts ago when I was complaining about the well-intentioned advice of parents? Well for goodness sakes, I can't believe in all the earfuls I got that no one ever told me I should get a swing! A few weeks ago when she was the peak of her fussiness (to-date) and I was at the peak of my sleep deprivation, all the sudden folks were coming out of the woodwork saying "Well just put her in her swing. What? You don't have a swing? I can't believe you don't have a swing." Umm...THAT is the kind of the advice that is golden. (PS, she has a swing now, and she sleeps now.)
4. Never, ever tell a new mom that she will "just know" what her baby's cries mean. This was easily the most damaging piece of advice I've been given. It resulted in many sleepless nights of holding my baby and looking into her crying face and feeling like a terrible person/mother for not "just knowing" what was wrong. Sure, now that I'm 8 weeks in, there are times when I know what she's crying about. She's crying cause it's almost her naptime, or she's crying cause she wants a different moving object to look at but she grows and changes every week and I know we will continue to encounter things together, she and I, and neither of us will know what she's crying about. Every baby is different, so it's hard to say. My baby doesn't cry when she's hungry and she doesn't cry when her diaper is dirty but she does cry when she's tired....I know this now but she didn't come with an instruction manual. If I ever try to encourage a mother with that kind of advice it's going to be "AFTER AWHILE you'll know what she wants....some of the time." Thankfully a few moms were careful about their wording of this kind of advice but the majority weren't, and I'll be the first to admit being a new mom = being incredibly insecure.
5. On that note, I plan to always be very careful with the advice I give to a new mom. It's so easy to give advice when you're not the one that is sleep deprived. Clearly, one day I will forget what it feels like to have a newborn. It seems that most people around me have. So I just want to write this down now and remind myself as much as I need to to be very careful with what kind of advice I give a mom with a newborn. I don't think it's the goal of the first few weeks of having a new baby to pass with flying colors so much as it is just to survive. I hope that one day, after many hours of uninterupted sleep, eating to my hearts content, and seeing the outside sun, I never look down my well-rested nose at a mom with a newborn and, drawing from my well of knowing-it-all-ness, have something stupid to say like "Oh you should be doing X because then one day Y." No, I hope the only thing I'll have to say is "What can I do to make your day easier right now?"
I'm writing all of this down more for myself than anyone. The more sleep Clementine gets and the more sleep I get, the more I can see how easy it is to forget how hard being a new mom can be. And all the sudden when she has a bad day and the stress is back in full force, wanting to remember all of these things in the future is even more on my heart.