Monday, June 2, 2008

letter to myself from 12 weeks

Dear Just Post-Partum Self,

At twelve weeks Alice is sleeping through the night. You can s
ay she is sleeping through the night as long as you define "sleeping through the night" as sleeping for more than 3 hours at a time somewhere in the vicinity of "nighttime". You have grown accustomed to the lack of sleep and no longer complain about it. You can say you no longer complain about it as long as you define "no longer complain about it" as not mentioning the lack of sleep very often. "Very often" being every three days. Anything more frequent than that puts you back into the camp of "disgruntled" and "cranky" and also "complaining".

You have learned that any time Chip calls for you when he is changing Alice's diaper will NOT result in either a toy surprise or a gift certificate to a spa. Rather, it results in an entirely different sort of toy surprise, the kind found in a DIAPER and Chip wants to show off his daughter's waste management prowess. He is very proud.

You now manage, on a quite regular basis, to actually SHOWER. Frequency is still something of an elusive thing.

You have a frightening knowledge of daytime cooking shows. The Food Network is one of the only things you don't mind watching regularly with the baby because you figure she'll pick up some good cooking skills. You will tell her later that the ability to cook well skipped a generation and she has inherited her kitchen prowess from her Grampy R.

Invest in Lansinoh breast pads. They are more expensive than Gerber, but they work better and are much less noticeable when you're wearing them out in the world. Even with these wonderful doodads, you will leak. And you will leak in front of other people. Be gracious and graceful when Chip quietly calls attention to the wet spots on your blouse. Laugh it off.

Practice Public Nursing with Alice when you're in the quiet oasis of your home. You will find that she's not a fan of having things on her head, and even with limited motor skills, can manage to fling the nursing cover every which way. You will expose yourself in this manner in more than one public place - including but not limited to the Philadelphia Airport and church. Be gracious and graceful as you compose yourself and go about the business of feeding your baby. Laugh it off.

Things that you can eat over the baby while she's nursing: hotdogs, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, ice cream, pulled pork sandwiches, toast, and quesadillas.

Things that you should not eat over the baby while she's nursing: cereal, chocolate cake, pot pie, burritos, and pancakes with maple syrup.

Things that you can consider licking off the baby when you eat them over her while she's nursing and you inevitably drop pieces of them on her person: cereal, chocolate cake, pot pie, burritos, maple syrup.

You will pick the baby's nose. Learn to accept it and it will be better for everyone.

You can't imagine leaving her to go back to work. You don't talk about this much on your blog because things are still in transition. You plan to talk about this more at a later time.

You will find that people will have some kind of weird desire to shake your hand while you're nursing the baby. It isn't a conscious thing on their part, they're just being polite. Try to find ways to look occupied (other than feeding your infant) so you don't have to pull your hand away from your boob, shake hands, and then wait patiently for Chip to come by with some hand sanitizer. People just aren't thinking about where your hands have been, and where they are returning to. Don't bother stashing Purel in your bra. It isn't practical.

You have not avoided the Great Shedding of the Hair that happens to every mother. As much as you might think it simply isn't going to happen to you, it will. And it starts at 11 weeks. You aren't going bald. You really do have that much hair. You will survive and you won't require a wig.

Nothing is more satisfying, more magical, more wonderful than when Alice starts to laugh. It doesn't happen very often at first.

Be patient with Chip. He is tired. He is overworked. He is stressed. He is human. He is also wonderful, kind, sweet, and funny. He possesses all of these qualities even when he is being cranky. Even SuperChip can't be charming 24 hours a day. Tell him you love him. Be grateful for his help. Thank him for killing the spider army that was preparing to invade your house. Notice how hard he is working on the lawn so you and Alice can enjoy it.

Get to know Alice. Tell her you love her. Talk to her. Nothing is more important than this time you're spending with her. It is all worth it.

Be kind to yourself. You're doing the best you can.



Heidi said...

Funny and cute post! Thanks for the laughs. :)

Stacey said...

That is so cute. My sister saw me pick Austin's nose recently and told me that was the grossest thing she's ever seen. (I washed my hands afterwards, geez). I asked her how else I was supposed to get those things out - it's not like he blows it. Nobody gets it until they're a mom too.

wandering nana said...

You're great parents and you're experiencing the same thing that all first time parents have... but, what is the shaking of hands while you were nursing? You must have figured out how to hide the feeding if someone is asking to shake you hand. Hint... you can say "Oh wait, let me remove my hand from my breast feeding child" or keep you eyes on the ground at all times. This was really a funny post. Hang in there, you're doing great.

Pickles & Dimes said...

Oh, those pics at the end just DID ME IN.

This was a beautiful and well-written post. I just absolutely loved it.

Swistle said...

Oh, so funny!

I say, "Oh, sorry, I would, but I..." *trail off with gentle laugh* Same tone as if you were baking and your hands were coated in cookie dough: you know they don't want to shake your hand, but not for an unpleasant reason per se.

tearese said...

That was great, and so true! Right after the baby is born, you're not sure you can handle it, but about this point you start to get the hang of a few things.
In one of my earliest blog posts, I think I talked about how Elora had chocolate on her head because I kept spilling food on her.

Erica said...

This is such a great post! So much of what you wrote really resonated with me. It's just criminal that "sleeping through the night" equals 3-4 hours... when my pediatrian told me that I laughed out loud. What a misnomer. You have such a great attitude about everything, I was a complete mess for at least the first 6 weeks. Everybody kept saying after she was 12 weeks that everything would just fall into place. I kept waiting for that and then one day I realized that it was happening, every day, a little bit at a time. As for the hair falling out, my gosh, I lost SO MUCH hair on the sides of my head and I thought it would never grow back... but it did! Check out this baldy:

From the read of it you are doing an amazing job and your posts are so inspiring! Keep it up! My sister just had her baby on Saturday and I'm going to send her to the Creamery!