Sometimes an unexpected bump in the road of life is the best thing that ever happened to you!
Saturday, September 8, 2012
Kicking and Screaming
I didn't get an easy baby. I've heard people brag (and seen the children to know they're telling the truth) about how their babies sleep through the night and never cry. I didn't get one of those. I got a difficult, extremely high maintenance baby. She kicks. She screams. She was kicking before she was even born. All the time during the last several months of pregnancy. Her little legs are constantly going when I try to change or dress her, which makes the tasks close to impossible. She screams when she's hungry, wet/dirty, tired, bored and just for the heck of it. I guess it's to be expected. Admittedly I'm pretty high maintenance myself. Her father was the neediest person on the planet (until I met Michelle -- but she is an innocent baby after all. He was a 32 year old man and far from innocent...) So maybe it's inherited. Mom says I was a difficult baby. I met a woman who said she had a redhaired daughter who kicked her non-stop in utero (like Michelle did with me), screamed as a baby (you try to put her down for a nap and she screams five minutes later, yeah sounds familiar) and was very high maintenance but who was also very bright, very advanced at every stage, talking early etc. So maybe it is a redhead thing to be fiery, fiesty, fussy, but clever. Redheads are unique. I am happy with my little ginger baby. It's just not easy!
I've been reading "What to Expect When You're Expecting" and they claim that newborns sleep most of the time, that a lot of parents complain that the child is only awake a couple of hours a day. They need to add the phrase "unless you have a female redhead. Then she'll almost never sleep! Good luck to you!" Even in the very beginning Michelle barely slept. She constantly needed to be fed, changed and given attention. So clearly Michelle is not a typical, ordinary baby. No one could expect this. Except of course my Mom who said that I was a fussy baby and apparently Nana said my mother was too. We are overly sensitive. We don't like to be hungry, or messy or tired. We like things to be just so and we are pretty vocal about it if they're not. We need to express ourselves. Until she can talk, crying is her only form of communication. So she's just letting me know.
It is a challenge but I try to look at the bright side. For one thing, she's helping me lose weight. She's like my own little ruthless personal trainer. She doesn't let me rest. I can't sit down. Can't stay still. She makes me dance around and carry her constantly. 11 pounds doesn't sound like a lot until you're holding it in your arms all day long. My back and arms aching. But she cries if I put her down. She also keeps me on a strict diet. She barely lets me eat. If I try to buy food, order food or cook food, she cries. And God forbid I try to go to the drive thru! No fast food for me! It still isn't fast enough for Michelle. She's also helping me to save money because she doesn't let me go shopping. I tried going to the mall. I parked at Sears and went in. I made it as far as the baby section and she started to scream. (She can't even let me shop for her!) I had committed the crime of stopping for a moment. Michelle won't have that. She only likes the stroller (and the car) when it's moving. Heaven help you if you stop. She continued to cry on the way home and of course I hit Every. Single. Red. Light!
I forgive her though. I adore her. And there are moments when she doesn't cry. When she's nursing. When she's content in my arms. When she's just alert and happy. When she looks up at me and smiles. Sometimes she almost laughs. When she makes silly faces and does funny things with her hands. When she sleeps like an angel. (Those rare times she does.) When she tries to talk and makes adorable little cooing noises. She actually said her first word already. She said "Hi" quite clearly. I thought it might have been a fluke but she said it again and even held up her hand as though waving "Hi." I wish I had it recorded because no one would ever believe me. Hopefully she does it again when I have witnesses!
I had a nice visit with my Mom the other day. She agreed to watch Michelle while I went to an appointment. She wanted to go to a grocery store nearby with Michelle in the stroller.
"Are you sure you're up for that?!" I asked incredulously. I had warned her how ugly a trip through a grocery store can be. Mom decided to brave it anyway. Maybe she'd be lucky and Michelle would be good for her. When I went to find them I saw Mom, holding Michelle in her arms, feeding her a bottle in the middle of the store. I smiled. It was cute. It had only been an hour since her last feeding but she had started to fuss in the store and my Mom couldn't settle her down. Luckily I had given Mom a bottle of my breast milk just in case. I guess I should start pumping more and have a bottle on hand when I go out as well. I don't feel comfortable breastfeeding in public. Especially with my nipple shield. It would be rather awkward. Even when she's just had a feeding and shouldn't be hungry for a while, you just never know when she's going to fuss and only milk will console her. Someone asked if I had a soother for her. "Just me," I replied, "I'm her soother." A 5'7" walking nipple. I was against the idea initially but I may weaken one of these days and get a pacifier (to pacify her!) if I get desperate enough. Sometimes you think you'd try anything if it would work. I just don't want to interfere with her breastfeeding, as I've heard that a soother can. Sometimes she may not be hungry but just want comfort. It's hard to say.
At least the milk is free but I'm spending a lot on diapers and wipes. I go through an insane amount. I can't believe so much waste can come out of one little person! She eats a lot though. During the day it seems to be every 2 hours or less. She's 5 weeks old and already wearing 3 month old clothes. Even some of those are a little snug on her. I guess I'll be into the 3-6M outfits next. Recently, I met someone with a 7 week old and he was half the size of Michelle at 5 weeks. He looked like a newborn. Much smaller than Michelle was at birth. Mind you he was only 5 lbs when he was born. She is a big girl. I've already reorganized her dresser, removing all the 0-3 clothes that she's outgrown and moving everything up one drawer. She's going through clothes so fast. I'm wishing I'd gotten more things in bigger sizes. And she doesn't seem to like sleepers with feet. She kicks so much she ends up getting her foot caught in the leg and she must be tall/long even for the 3M size because they seem too short/snug on her legs.
Time is really flying. I can't believe we're into September already. Next month it will be Halloween. She's too young to go out anyway and I have to give out treats for the kids. I guess when I start bringing her out I'll have to go early and try to be back to give out treats at the door. I don't want to be one of those houses in darkness when the kids come around but as a single parent what do you do about Halloween?! You can't be at the door and taking your child around too! In November is my Mom's birthday and anniversary. Not to mention the anniversary of the day I found out I was pregnant unexpectedly. I can't believe it's been almost a year already. Gone in a flash. Then we're into December -- Christmas! Baby's first Christmas! It's surreal. At least the whole family will be together this Christmas. I often have to work but have this year off obviously on maternity leave. My brother and his wife alternate years (one year with Barb's Mom and the next with our Mom). Last year it was Barb's turn so Mike couldn't be there on the 25th and I had to work anyway so we celebrated a fake Christmas on an alternate day. This year it's my Mom's turn and I'm off work so all of us will be there. Mom will be in her glory having all her kids and seven grandchildren together. It will be an adventure having the whole gang in one room! It will be a circus! Absolute chaos with so many kids running around. It will be the best Christmas ever though for me. My first Christmas with my baby.
I saw a commercial the other day that said something like "they're your children forever but they're only babies for the first year." It made me think. These days are precious. One day I will probably look back longingly and miss this time when she was so small (well, big for her age but still a tiny human!) I will forget the frustration, the exhaustion, the sleeplessness, the humiliation of a screaming baby in public. I will remember the joys of having my baby. Her tiny fingers and toes (I finally got up the nerve to cut her nails while she was sleeping. So relieved I managed it!)Snuggling with her at night. Having her fall asleep in my arms. Singing to her. Having her flash me one of those killer smiles. I am not taking any of it for granted. I am cherishing these moments. I am taking lots of pictures because I know they grow so fast (she is certainly growing fast!)
I don't have an easy baby but I have a sweet, funny, extraordinary baby. I am blessed and I am going to enjoy it as long as it lasts. Even on the most difficult of days. Even when she's kicking and screaming. A year will fly by before I know it.