I just wanted to drop in with an update about how things are going with us. You’ve probably correctly assumed that we have been crazy busy caring for Dylan the past six weeks, and that is why we haven’t been posting here. I can’t believe Dylan is already six weeks old. While those first couple of days feel foggy and far away in my memory, it also feels like time is passing so fast and I can’t keep up.
We are all doing great. Brian and I are harried and tired, but happy. Dylan has not been a particularly difficult baby as far as we can tell, but neither of us has ever been around other babies so we don’t really know. He cries when he wants something, but is not a bad crier–he settles immediately once he gets what he wants (figuring out what he wants sometimes takes a bit of time, but we are getting pretty good at deciphering his cries). He wakes up a couple times at night to nurse but rarely fusses, so I’m usually only up for about 30 minutes with him each time and then go back to sleep. He’s starting to sleep for longer periods, so I think soon I will be more well rested. I’m just starting to see the emergence of little patterns as far as his sleep goes, and am hoping to start some routines that will help him wind down at night. Right now he doesn’t really settle down for the night until 11 or 12, which is really late for us!
In the past couple of weeks he’s been awake more and he has a great little personality that is really starting to emerge. Just in the last week he has started to smile and giggle in response to stimulation (we’d seen him make smiley faces since birth but he was clearly just moving his face around–there wasn’t an obvious emotion behind most of his expressions). We’ve enjoyed him from the very beginning but now that we can interact with him more it’s becoming a lot more fun. He looks at us and is clearly interested when we talk to him or show him his toys or objects in his surroundings. Just this past weekend he was awake in public for the first time and it was great–he was so content to just look around. He now feels like a little person to us rather than an alien being. We are all, including Cooper, totally enamored with him.
So, things are good–hard but starting to get more manageable. I’m realizing that we need to be more disciplined in terms of priorities and time management in order to make things easier. Like right now, for example–Dylan is sleeping, so I should be taking the opportunity to eat something, start laundry, and/or take a shower, but instead I’m writing a blog post. Probably not the smartest time management decision, but I weighed my options and decided that doing something for my mental/emotional health right now was worth the sacrifice in terms of other things that need to get done. We haven’t had any discernable routines or schedules since Dylan was born–we have really let him run the show–but I think if we can set up some routines for ourselves and stick to them as much as possible it will be helpful. Stuff like eating dinner and going to bed at the same time everyday, that sort of thing. Not scheduling Dylan, but setting up a few anchors in our day so that we don’t feel like we are totally adrift and ruled by the whims of our baby.
Aside from all the love, joy, and laughter, one of the benefits of parenthood is that we are learning and growing so much. I had never changed a diaper before this little guy arrived (and I don’t think Brian had either) and now the diapering is no big deal. Baby poop and spit-up don’t phase me now. I had only ever held a baby one time before Dylan, but quickly figured out how to handle him and now feel like a pro at picking him up, putting him down, changing carrying positions, the whole deal. We’re learning how to read his cues and decipher his cries, which means we don’t feel so helpless or confused anymore. All of these little achievements add up to me and Brian feeling like we can really do this. I’m really surprised and delighted by how confident we are as parents. It’s the most wonderful thing to feel like I can provide my baby with whatever he needs and that I am better at caring for him than anyone else could possibly be. There were moments when I was pregnant when I would think, “Oh, I hope I’m as good a mother as my mother-in-law,” or, “I’m going to have to be taught how to be a mother–I don’t know anything!” and now I realize that my lack of confidence was unfounded. So far, spending time with our baby and getting to know him, and doing whatever comes naturally to meet his needs, is working really well for us.