family, gratitude, parenthood, single mom by choice, SMC

learning the ropes

My mom just left for the airport after 5 weeks of baby waiting, organizing, cooking, organizing more, cleaning, baby welcoming, changing, and holding. And my dad was here for the first 3 weeks too, doing household fixes, running errands, chauffeuring, problem-solving. I’m so grateful for their help. And we will be going to Michigan for a big part of the summer in July/August–but first I wanted to experience just being me and E for a month, so that we know we can do it. So we’re forced to figure it out and not be dependent on the (awesome) help of family.

E is in a Mimi swaddle and napping deeply as only she (so far) can get him to do after patiently rocking with him for 20+ minutes. The washing machine and dryer are both running, everything else is folded and put away, all is quiet, and I have a stocked fridge and an inventory list of freezer meals. I know we can do this. It just feels a bit like going over a cliff after so so so much wonderful help and delightful company.

I find myself over and over thinking back to the words of midwife SS at UCSF in the deep and dark hours of labor, “You can totally do this. You already ARE doing this.” My new mantra for single motherhood. We already are doing this! And we’ll keep doing it, and that will be our new life, and all will be well.

I’m also not alone. At all. My sister is coming straight back here after the airport. L is right downstairs. My homebirth friends, my SMC friends, my old longtime friends have made themselves available for support, especially this weekend. I have meals coming today and tomorrow! Checks arriving in the mail! Love and checking-in emails flowing in!

E is doing awesome. I measured him this morning and he’s just about 24 inches, which is 2 feet. And he’s not even 3 weeks old. I bought him orange Zutano booties yesterday and the 6 months size fits him perfectly. He’s a great communicator–his five-alarm cry goes from 0 to 100 and tells me he’s hungry, and thank goodness I always have a solution for that. His tired I-can’t-settle-down cry says, Please rock me in the rocker like Mimi so I can go down for a deep nap. And his little vampire ah-ah-ah-ah cry is just a complaint–I’m bored with this situation and would like a change of scenery, please. His eye contact is intense and I could be in a love eyelock with him for hours. Some days his eyes lean blue, some days brown. He’s got a little case of baby acne which seems to change hour to hour and, according to my book, is perfectly timed at 3-4 weeks. He can sleep with me in the bed, waking to feed every 3 hours, for up to 12 hours.

Still lots to figure out and yet we figured a lot out!! When we took him to the pediatrician on Day 3, it was comical–and I recognize that it is likely a free-for-all no matter who you are. It’s the first time you’re leaving the house. We checked all the carefully-folded 0-3 month clothes and nothing fit. We realized there were no long sleeve jackets/sweatshirts. He ended up in too-big pajamas with the feet hanging below his feet and a too-big hooded sweatshirt (which now fits him) and a too-small hat. I got out the Baby Bjorn about 15 minutes before we had to be there (thankfully it’s only a block away!) and it was all straps and I heroically got him into it and to the appointment on time.

We’ve since pulled out and laundered the clothes that fit and we’re back to having plenty. I got out the Moby wrap and watched 2 videos on how to tie it, but the first two times his head was totally not supported or covered and I walked around holding it up. Yesterday (after getting a walkthrough from C) I mastered it–even the ladies at Day One commented how secure he looked. But a second time later in the day it was too loose and he was riding low. These things take practice!

The strollers are another major area of figuring out. After a walkthrough from another C who generously gave me her BOB, I took the carseat down to pop it in and it just didn’t fit securely–we took it over the Stroller Spa (3 blocks away) and she recommended I remove a bar, which I did, and it still wasn’t secure, so now the Stroller Spa is working on it and also cleaning it so we’ll have a gleaming and safety-checked stroller on Monday. The Snap N Go (thanks to J) also seems not totally secure (although more so) so that one is next.

We figured out that the Naty brand of diapers frankly do not work on this boy, after he wet his clothes 4 times in one day. Back to Pampers. Probably will try a service when we get back from Michigan, but disposables are pretty darn convenient.

I’m still figuring out how to co-sleep and get the temperature right. I have the covers up to my waist and wake up cold while he is warm. So I’m experimenting with different garments to wear to bed and are also easy to nurse in–a tall order! Trying to keep the baby from overheating in his swaddle and me from being too cold w/o covers on half my body while varying the heat and how much my bedroom door is open…we’ll figure it out through trial and error but if anyone has ideas, let me know!

I hear E waking up. We’ll take it easy these first few days. We are totally going to nail this!

Thanks again, Mimi and Chacha!!! And all my helpers and lovebugs. xo

E swaddle

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7 thoughts on “learning the ropes”

  1. I cannot get over that sweet little love bug! He looks so much older than his tender weeks in that picture, all snuggled up on his side. I can’t wait to come visit and hold him while you shower. Love your mantra: you are already doing this. xoxo

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