Trial and Error

Newsflash: kids don’t come with an instruction manual.

How many times have we heard this? And despite understanding this, nothing makes that statement more real than having a newborn. I’ve been second mommy to two wonderful girls for the past 6 years. They’re now 10 and almost 17 (gasp), and I’ve been “figuring it out” every step of the way. They have very different personalities, and I’ve been able to learn them and what does and doesn’t work for each over that time. So why does life with Itsy feel so different?

Well, Itsy can’t talk yet. She makes sounds (which are adorable), but there aren’t yet words for her to communicate what she is thinking or feeling. When I met the girls, they were already able to do that. So now, I really do just have to “figure it out.”

Today marks 8 weeks on this mommy journey with Itsy. (Side note, I can’t wait until she turns two months next week and I can stop expressing her age in weeks). Each day, I’ve learned something new about Itsy. For example, she’s a loud sleeper. She grunts and moves in her sleep, and I used to think she was waking up, but no, she’s just a busy, loud sleeper. I’m guessing that will make her a wild sleeper later, but we shall see. She also likes to see everything and can mimic some things I do. I was showing her the sign for milk yesterday, and it seemed like she was imitating me, only she was hitting herself in the chin in the process. It was funny.

But sometimes the figuring it out gets hard. Like when she’s crying and we can’t figure out why. Or how all the books/experts/parents tell you you will learn your child’s cry, and they still sounded the same to me. Are you hungry? Wet? In pain? I dunno, they all sound the same. But then, over the past week or so, they did start to sound different. And now I’m starting to get the needed responses right. It’s all just a matter of trial and error.

Isn’t our life like that? Try things out, and figure if it works for you, or not. That requires going out of your comfort zone, sometimes feeling helpless and lost. But in those moments of discomfort, you find what can become familiarity, and ultimately discover your real purpose, your true path. Hmmm, I hadn’t really thought about it that way before. Maybe there are some “trial and error” things I need to explore in other parts of my life. How about you?

Six Week Reflections

I gave birth to our youngest daughter, who I will refer to on this blog as Itsy, exactly 6 weeks ago, on July 30, 2014. She came two weeks before my due date, induced because of her size (5 lbs, 0.2 oz). There’s a whole story to her birth, but I will save that for another time.

As I was thinking about this week’s blog post (during one of our middle of the night feedings), I had this overwhelming desire to do some sort of list. I’ve never been one to ignore my writing desires, so here are my 10 things I’ve learned in Itsy’s first 6 weeks of life:

10. While you should, in fact, say no to drugs, I said yes to the epidural and, from the moment that nice anesthesiologist administered it, I knew it was the right decision. Suddenly, I felt a cool sensation and all the pain just went away, it was like I was relaxing on the beach on a breezy summer day, only I was in the hospital in the Labor & Delivery rooms experiencing regular contractions. So, kind of like the beach, but not so much.

9. I learned why drugs are bad the next day when I started itching all over like a druggie going through rehab. We had visitors and all i wanted to do was tear off my clothes and roll around on sandpaper or anything that would make that itching stop.

8. The Game Show Network plays the same shows (and repeats episodes) between 2 and 6 am, in case you cared.

7. Lactation consultants manhandle your baby when they show you how to latch on, but they should come with a warning that says “don’t try this at home, or anywhere else for that matter.” You ever try to football hold a 5lb baby while nursing? I thought I was either squeezing her soft spot or she would slip through the opening in the hospital bed and end up on the floor. I will stick to cradle hold, thank you.

6. They send you home with the tiniest creature you’ve ever known, and they figure you know what you’re doing. Either that or they’re laughing as you walk away saying, “Poor kid.” Some days I’m still amazed they let me keep her.

5. Itsy may be little, but she has tons of personality. From the beginning, she made it known she knows what she does and does not want. You ever see a baby a couple days old purse her lips together when she was full? Amazing.

4. Google is simultaneously your friend and your enemy. You find yourself looking up everything about caring for your child, and with every search, you discover you’re doing it wrong, oh but wait, Dr. Sears says you’re doing it right, but, ummm, who is this famous Dr. Sears?

3. The best advice comes from other mothers who have been there, done that. Especially the ones that have done it recently or are currently in the same boat as you.

2. In spite of my pre-baby 8 solid hours of sleep requirement, I can, in fact, function off of anywhere from 3 to 7 hours of sleep. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself. Do they allow naps at work?

1. Being a mother is one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Even when Itsy has her “party all night” days/nights, she gives me this smile while looking into my eyes and it all becomes worth it. Until she poops in the tub during bath time. 😉

Any lessons from the trenches you want to share? Share them in the comments below!