Our Pud is 6 weeks old. I need to say that again: he’s six. weeks. old.
Where did the time go? My baby is so big, and growing bigger as fast as we can blink our eyes.
I know the first 2 weeks were a constant blur of feedings, diaper disasters, hypervigilance, and lack of sleep that nearly brought on a complete mental collapse somewhere in the middle of week 2. Weeks 3 and 4 were the same, but better… with the added stress and excitement of FINALLY closing on our new house and preparing for B to head back to work.
Week 5, B started work and started living in the new house. Pud and I tried to drive there and get some stuff done but also came home. The drive one way is about 1 hour and 15 minutes, give or take. By the end of the week, Baby Pud and I were exhausted and fits to be tied. It was also a waste of time and energy, except that we missed B terribly. It is doggone near impossible to take care of a little critter and try to clean dust and cobwebs from the previous 40 years in preparation for painting and eventually moving in.
So week 6, Pud and I stayed home most of the week. We did engage in our first playdate with a friend’s 12 week old, visit my former workplace, and make our first solo trip to the grocery. The grandparents pitched in and helped get more cleaning done at our new house, as well as painting the ceiling in several rooms.
I guess it’s easy to have time pass one by so quickly when there’s so much going on. The world keeps moving and keeps demanding that we keep up. Bills still keep coming and demanding to be paid. The dogs still need to be fed, played and worked with, walked and groomed. Dirt, dust, and grime build up so incredibly quickly, so the house demands to be cleaned with some kind of regularity. I struggle with feeling guilty if I sit back and focus on taking care of Pud and me- taking naps with him, staying in pajamas all day, or even just sitting and holding him while he naps. He’s been so congested with the change in weather/seasons and the exposure to all the dust at the new house and outside in our very, very dry and dusty drought conditions. I should absolutely NOT feel like making excuses for sitting and holding my baby upright so he can breathe better.
But I do.
I look around at all the stuff I’m supposed to be getting packed and ready to move. The endless cycle of dishes and laundry to be washed, dried, and put away. The backyard needs to be cleared of the piles of toy stuffing from boisterous games of tug between dogs. The fact that I don’t bring in a paycheck anymore. I feel like I have to prove my worth by being the modern-day version of June Cleaver, but I’m not. The funny thing is, this is pressure I put on myself. B does not expect the things that I do… his sole request is that I focus on taking care of our boy. How blessed I am.
In the first 6 weeks, my greatest accomplishment was developing some kinds of routines with Pud. We have a bedtime routine now. It helps tremendously in allowing my child to get the cues he needs to know that it’s nighttime and he can sleep for longer periods of time. This routine has become the anchor for our daily schedule; he wakes up for feedings at predictable times throughout the night (breastfeeding- every 2-3 hours), and gets enough rest that he wakes up for playtime at a pretty consistent time in the morning.
The bedtime routine did not come immediately. It evolved sometime over weeks 5 and 6, in response to his need to have some downtime and his growing ability to self-soothe. I thought really hard about what I wanted his routine to be, because it has to be replicable no matter where we are (or who’s doing it) and it has to be something we can live with when he’s older. The replicability and portability of his routine is especially important while we are spending time between two houses in the transition phase of moving.
B and I had talked about what we wanted bedtime to look like while watching Supernanny many, many times long before we were ever pregnant. The crucial elements that we talked about are there: bedtime stories, prayers, and making sure his physical needs are met as part of the transition from being awake to going to sleep. A few surprise elements were added in response to what makes Pud feel secure: gentle body massage with lavendar lotion, crib vibration and heartbeat thingy, swaddling up in a swaddler, and singing a bedtime song that I made up.
Two weeks after starting this routine, there are some adjustments being made. The pacifier was once a crucial element in helping Pud be comfortable sleeping (whether in the crib, co-sleeper, or our bed), but it’s becoming far less important to him that he have it in his mouth all night long, so there’s no more waking up and crying because he lost hold of the paci. This is an unbelievably helpful thing. Another change is that he has decided he’s done with the swaddler. He still likes to be swaddled in a blanket and snuggled during the day, but he will not sleep in a swaddler anymore, preferring to sleep on his belly instead. Leave it to my child to go against all the official anti-SIDS recommendations. I keep a close eye on him, but he’s proven to me over the past several nights that he can handle being a belly sleeper- he’s able to control his head to lift and turn it from side to side, and he doesn’t startle himself awake with random limb movements like he does on his back. Takes after his mama, I guess. On that note, I’m off to get ready for him to wake up for his first night feeding and move him to the co-sleeper so that I can lie in my bed next to him and we can fall asleep memorizing each other’s drowsy faces…