I’m a planner. A Type A organizer. I don’t just do things on a whim (except impulse purchases … that’s the exception!). I like to know what’s happening when, and hate not being in control of a situation.
Which is why having a totally unpredictable newborn is driving me bonkers.
There, I said it. Having a newborn is HARD.
I know it’s unfair to compare children — especially given the age gap between mine (6 weeks; 35 months). And I know Maya wasn’t born programmed and predictable. It took time and work. But I’m just used to her routine now … she wakes at 7, naps 12:30-2:30/3, goes to bed at 8/8:30 and eats three meals and a snack a day. She uses the bathroom alone and dresses herself (with a little help from us). She’s predictable and self-sufficient. She tells us everything she needs (and then some).
And then there’s my sweet cuddly Ben. Who is so not predictable and so not self-sufficient! OK … I’m exaggerating. Ben shouldn’t be self-sufficient (he’s only six weeks old!) and in fairness to him, he really isn’t really all that unpredictable. He’s been eating about every three hours and following the eat, play, sleep routine for a while now. And at night, he has been sleeping in 4-7 hour stretches depending on the night. So in some ways, he’s getting on a schedule — albeit a loose one (which is fine, given his age).
But every day is a new adventure. Last night, he slept 10:30 PM-5:15 AM (yay!). The previous night? 11:15 PM-7 AM (WHOA YAY!). The night before that? 12 AM-4 AM (MEH). So it’s a gamble. Some days he naps for short spurts after each feeding … other days he is awake for two hours at a clip. It’s hard to plan anything and that’s why maternity leave is such a blessing — it gives us time to fiddle our way through. Because truthfully every day is a different story — similar, but different. And then I’ll go back to work and he will be three months old and hopefully more consistent with his eating/sleeping habits, which daycare will help with, too.
I know I should just savor this newborn phase, which is so very fleeting ... but I think the benefit–and maybe the downside?–of the second child is you know how much fun lies ahead … the fun stages ahead. And it makes you want to rush ahead to that next stage because it is so wonderful and exciting.
The newborn phase involves a lot of rocking and snuggling and sweet baby smell and it’s truly wonderful — don’t get me wrong. But as a second-time mom, I know how awesome those next stages are. Like he’s smiling now and turning to our voices and kind of even laughed at me yesterday when I tickled his belly … but I want to see him interact with Maya and light up with delight when she walks in the room. He’s rolling over belly to back (and has been since three weeks!) … but I want to see him sit up (his head control has been outta control since the hospital on day one). I want to see him clap, dance, crawl, walk, talk.
I know those things will come in due time … as will the predictability. And rationally I know I shouldn’t rush it, especially since he’s likely our last baby. I should savor these moments.
But I’d be lying if I said the unpredictability was easy for me to handle. It isn’t. And in those moments of sheer frustration of knowing he’s been fed, clothed, snuggled, changed, bathed and still fussing for who knows what … I try to remember how quickly these weeks have already flown by, how fast they will continue to fly by, and how sweet and innocent he really is.
Maya was this way at one time, too. And look at her now! Miss Independent (and Little Miss Bossy ;)). Kids grow up so fast, and it’s OK to be frustrated at times — all parents, no matter how much they love and adore their children, get frustrated from time to time.
But it’s also important to bend a little, to adjust my own expectations for my dear little 6.5 week old, 10-lb son. As my dad always says, bend like a willow or break like a tree. Now is the time to bend.
You can just call me Gumby.