Month Forty-One

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Dear Husband,

Thank you for being awesome during the labour. It was wonderful to have you there even if you felt like you didn’t really do anything. I didn’t really want to hold your hand or talk to you or watch tv beside you but that not doing anything with you except “being” with you was a great help. And then you were physically there so I could push against you which was also a relief. While it lasted. I know you tried as hard as you could to keep it together when you saw the blood from my tear and you desperately didn’t want to pass out. You did end up on the floor with two midwives attending you to my one but you have to admit, it is a funny story…

Thank you for tag-teaming with me. I know you have been tired and frustrated and worried this month but all those times when you took our daughter so I could take a much needed nap were greatly appreciated. And all those times when you told me I was doing a good job made me feel a little better. You may think that she doesn’t like you very much sometimes or that you’re not being a good dad but all I have to do is look at the two of you together to know that neither is the case. Whenever she has her “rubbish” hours when she doesn’t want to eat or sleep, you can take her and put her on your chest for “daddy cuddles” and she will eventually relax and go to sleep. I know it sometimes takes a while but I guarantee that you can offer her a steady comfort which ultimately relaxes her that I cannot.

Thank you for helping more around the house. Whilst I was in hospital, you made sure that the house was cleaned ready for Genibean and I to come home. Since we have been home, you have tidied more than usual and helped out with the washing up and also bringing the clothes in on occasion. I have a sneaking suspicion that the ant infestation might be just as much of a motivating factor as your desire to help out the mother of your newborn child but I’ll take what I can get.

Thank you for Christmas. Firstly for my present because I know that you think spending that much money on sunglasses is ridiculous but you agreed to it because I wanted them and you wanted to make me happy. And on Christmas day, you were there for me when I was upset and you kept your mouth shut when it was necessary to not make a bigger deal out of a situation that could have been handled better than it was. Who knew I would get that worked up about our four-legged friend being uninvited to my family’s Christmas? I let it go in the end but I do wish that everyone had been straight from the beginning because by the end of the month, I had heard three alternate reasons as to what the issue was with us bringing the fourth member of our family.

Thank you for your patience and forbearance. I know that large groups of people and also the constant presence of people and things to do wears you down. Despite public opinion, you are an introvert at heart and this month has been one thing after another. Not only has it been a huge change for our home and our family, it has also been a change of which others want to be a part. Genibean was born on the 3rd and since coming home on the 8th, I could count on one hand the number of days that we didn’t have guests or some sort of social engagement. And for a couple who previously could count the number of social engagements per month on one hand, this is a massive change. I know you haven’t always wanted to stay or even go places that we have been so I just wanted to say that I noticed.

Thank you for being a terrific dad. I always thought you would be and even if you don’t believe me, I still want to tell you that you’re doing a great job. You have been really quiet a couple of times this month and you eventually told me it was because you’d look at me handling this new situation and think that I totally had all my shit together but feel that you did not. You’d think I was breezing through this significant change in our lives with no difficulty whatsoever whilst you were floundering by comparison. I need you to know however that I am no more sailing through than you are sinking. I don’t know what I’m doing other than what feels right at the time. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring and I don’t know if we’ll ever feel like we’re on top of things again but I know that we love each other and we love her and we will always try to be the best “us” that we can. So as long as we keep loving and trying, things will probably work out. For all of us.

So all up, it’s been a really busy month for us. Full of ups and downs that we’ve had to navigate our way through. At the beginning, Genibean was born which was awesome, then you got something contagious which meant you shouldn’t be anywhere near her which was awful (I told you that if you didn’t look after yourself it would all catch with you!). We got to share our new arrival with lots of family and friends which was fun but we were stretched a little thin in hindsight which wasn’t so much fun as it turned out. We also have a terrific little girl that we wouldn’t swap for all the world but we have joined the ranks of the parents who truly understand the sentiment behind the picture book “Go the f*** to sleep”. Now I’m waiting to see what next month has in store for us.

I must admit, I am a little anxious as to how I will go when day in and day out it is just the little one and I. Even though you may not have physically been doing much this month (you don’t have boobs after all), you have always been there if and when I needed and you have been company. I had a taste of what it will be like when you had a couple of day shifts at the cafe but we haven’t exactly established a routine yet so each day can bring something totally different. I know that you won’t be far away though and you’ll be wishing you were home with us because we are even more of a family now. One with a house and a dog and a kid and everything. Thank you for sharing all of this with me.

Gratefully yours,

Your Loving Wife

* Photo taken at this years Sculptures By The Sea

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Week 4

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Dear Genevieve,

If you keep going the way you have been then you will soon turn into my little ginger ninja. When you were born you had a little mop of dark hair. It looked as though you were going to be closer to my colouring than your dad’s however over the past couple of weeks, your hair has been getting fairer and fairer and in certain light, has a decidedly red tinge to it. I doubt you’ll ever be a flaming redhead, at least naturally, but we’re kind of hoping for a deep auburn. Although whatever colour hair you end up having will be beautiful of course.

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So you’ve been a lot more awake this week, sometimes when we’d prefer you weren’t. You don’t just eat, sleep and poop anymore. You might also spend a good hour or more grizzling at us. You do also have your short windows of gazing around or staring at us but you’re still working out the whole muscle and eye control thing which leaves you frustrated after a while. Or maybe you just have wind.

Apparently I had a lot of wind as a baby too. We do burp you but you will still be expelling gas out one end or the other hours after you’ve been fed. And they’re not little bits of gas either. We think your stomach is probably quite uncomfortable a lot of the time and that’s why it can be hard to settle you. But then again, it could just be week 4. Thankfully, you usually went back down after the late night feeds. Getting you down before that was often tricky -you’re still rubbish in the evenings – but once you’re out for the count, you seem to like to sleep.

You also still like to be held which is great because this week, there was ample opportunity. This week there was Christmas and all five of your grandparents and three of your great grandparents wanted to see you. As did your aunts and some extended family. You got spoilt rotten with seemingly more presents than anyone else and the only time you got put down was when we put you to sleep at night. You did really well with all the attention so thanks for that little girl.

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You and I also had a taste of what it might be like when your dad goes back to work full time as he did a couple of cafe shifts over the weekend. There were a few moments when you were decidedly unhappy, like when I gave you a bath and you screamed the place down, but we managed ok. Of course, I may have to get you used to not sleeping on people for all of your day sleeps or I’ll never get any housework done but I’m sure we’ll work it out.

Alles Liebe,

Lexelah

Week 3

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Dear Genevieve,

Gosh you’re a noisy eater. Do you know that? You practically gulp the milk down along with more air than you need, I’m sure. I’m actually surprised that the sound doesn’t wake your dad up at night but apparently, there are a number of sounds he is able to tune out. Me on the other hand, not so much. It didn’t happen immediately because I remember one night in hospital where I woke to an unfamiliar noise and it took me a couple of seconds to realize “oh crap, that’s my baby and I have to get up and feed now”! It has struck me in the last week or so however that I can now sleep through the garbage truck emptying the bins outside my open bedroom window or through an SMS alert on my phone that sits right beside the bed but as soon as you start to grizzle a bit (you don’t even have to cry), I’m ready to get up to feed you if necessary.

And the feeding seems to be going ok. You don’t always feed for very long though. Sometimes I get about 5 minutes from you on one side and then you are more interested in sleep than you are in me but you’re peeing and putting on weight so it seems that you are fine. When we took you to the drop in clinic at the hospital last week, the nurse said I should be taking every opportunity to feed you because at two days shy of the two week mark, you were still 100 grams below your birth weight. When the community nurse came for the home visit this week however (three days after the clinic visit), you had put on 200 grams which is more than half of what is expected in a full week from what I gather. So I guess you’re ok.

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You still hate the car and the bath and this week, we get to add the pram to that list as well. We took you for a walk past your dad’s work and on the way there were curbs and broken footpaths and you weren’t having a bar of it. When we started out on the smooth, flat asphalt, you seemed ok but after we had jostled and jolted you a bit, you were not happy. Thank God you seem to like the Baby Bjorn though or we’d have trouble taking you anywhere.

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I’m sure that in comparison to some other babies, you actually don’t cry that much but I must admit, we don’t really like to hear it for too long. As a consequence, we hold you a lot. Sparky will often hold you to the point of being busting to go to the loo and both of us have had you sleep on us in bed for a couple of hours between feeds because it seems easier than settling you in the bassinet. Your dad complained that he didn’t sleep very well as a result but then he did it again voluntarily and he has also picked you up whilst you were sleeping this week because he felt like having a daddy cuddle. And the couch.

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It has turned into an unspoken rule that whoever has you is entitled to sit or lie on the couch whilst the other one has to take one of the single seats. Unfortunately, my campaign to get new couches whilst i was pregnant that would enable both of us to lie down at the same time failed so we still have the 3 seater and the single seats. Plus the addition single seat and your port-a-cot. So given that the puppy is ginormous and already takes up a lot of floor space, our living room is getting a little crowded. You’re definitely worth it though.

Alles Liebe,

Lexelah

Parenting Fails

Helping Baby Teethe

Dear Genevieve,

Every parent has them. Those moments that you think wow, I really shouldn’t have done that or I should have definitely thought about that one before. It doesn’t mean that we don’t love you or that we don’t try our best to protect you and care for you but we’re all still learning here. And we’re tired. Which is not an excuse but sometimes…

You forget to tighten the strap on the capsule in the car. You are always actually in the capsule when we drive anywhere. You are also always clicked into the capsule with the seatbelt. The capsule itself is clipped into the base which was professionally fitted into the car. But just maybe, we may have forgotten to tighten the strap that also secures the capsule to the seat…

You forget stuff like sunscreen and hats. We took you out the other day in 25+ degree weather when the sun was out because we wanted to go for a walk. When we arrived at the reserve however, we changed you into a short sleeved and legless onesie and stuck you in the carrier. It then occurred to us that we probably should have had some kind of sun protection for you. We compromised by throwing a light muslin wrap over you so you weren’t exposed. Sorry…

You drop things on your baby. Apparently I sat on my sister when she came home from the hospital and she’s fine and my mum let me roll off the bed and i survived so I think you’re ok. I did however lean over with the capsule (into which you were strapped at the time) hanging from my hand and my handbag on my shoulder. And as I leant over, the handbag slid down my shoulder and arm and maybe slightly onto your head. At least I had already taken all the heavy stuff out of it. And your dad totally didn’t mean to drop his mobile on you whilst you were sleeping on his chest. It just slipped. It wasn’t far though.

So our apologies if you think you ended up with dodgy parents. I maintain that if this is the worst of it then we’re really not doing that badly but we’ll try to do better. We promise.

Bis dann,

Lexelah

* I would credit the image if I had the faintest idea of who owned it.

Cool Things About Having A Baby

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Dear Genevieve,

There are many cool things about having a baby. The unconditional love thing. The feeling of being truly important and needed etc. Right down to the handy topic of conversation you have with a number of complete strangers. What is apparently pretty high up on your dad’s list however is that he can now legitimately park in the “parents with prams” priority parking spots at the shopping centres and supermarkets. There’s nothing quite like a great parking spot apparently.

Bis dann,

Lexelah

Week 2

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Dear Genevieve,

You are two weeks old today. You have now been at home longer than you were at the hospital but we are not really any closer to getting a routine happening. That’s ok though. One step at a time. This week, I think we got the feeding happening. Yours, not mine. Since coming home, I haven’t had balanced meals prepared for me on schedule by a professional kitchen. Since a combination of too tired and too busy have stopped us preparing the meals I think I needed, I have found myself feeling a little the worse for wear at the end of the day. Breast milk is always prepared at the optimum quality. I get what is left over.

Speaking of milk however, when we left the hospital, they gave me a tin of formula and showed me how to make it up so that I could supplement your feeds if needed. I think that in hospital, I was a little anxious that I would need to rely on it but I went to a breast feeding talk just after I discharged us and it made me a little more comfortable that we could probably manage without the formula – which we did. My milk came in properly and it seems you finally had reward for effort. Thankfully though, you have not been one of those babies this week that needs to feed every hour and a half. I never can quite remember when I actually do feed you though (sorry, I’m not super mum) so I have taken to writing an ongoing memo in my phone.

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I also keep track of the wet and dirty nappies because I knew I’d be asked at some point. Like when I took you back to the hospital for a check up two days shy of the two week point. They wanted to check on you because we’d had trouble establishing feeding at the hospital. You were almost back to your birth weight though. And since this, in conjunction with enough wet nappies, is apparently the indicator of a healthy baby, you are apparently doing just fine. As am I.

A number of people have commented this week that I (and Sparky too for that matter) seem to be remarkably well adjusted for the parents of a newborn. We only look tired occasionally as opposed to flat out exhausted constantly and we have been entertaining at home as well as getting out and about with you. It probably also helps that when people see you, you are quiet and or sleeping. And you don’t get upset when people other than Sparky or I hold you which suits your grandparents just fine because they are all clearly besotted with you (and reluctant to give you back!). The only times you really crack it are when you’re hungry, when we put you in the bath or when we put you in the car.

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Unlike many babies that I know of, you really hate the car. Or rather, you hate driving. A moving car does not settle you in the slightest which on the upside means we’re not going through a lot of petrol just to get you to sleep. On the downside however, its summer, so we pretty much need to keep the air con on whenever you are in the car. Even when I am trying to breast feed you in a parking lot. This doesn’t mean that we don’t take you out though. I figure that crying doesn’t really hurt you and you’re not loud enough or shrill enough yet to be really annoying. I’m sure you have figured out by now that I am going to be the hard arse parent and Sparky is going to be the softer touch. Every time we go somewhere you practically break his heart…

If you are asleep when we put you in the car then you occasionally stay that way (so clearly there is nothing catastrophic happening during the car rides) but more often than not, you work yourself up into a red faced, sweaty, screaming baby, almost hoarse from crying so hard. Sometimes you cry so hard you start to bleat. Terrible parent that I am, sometimes you even make me laugh. You won’t suck on a dummy or a finger for comfort though and you are practically inconsolable. No amount of singing, talking, wrapping or touching will calm you down. That is until we get you out of the car seat and hold you for a minute or two. Then you’re fine. I’m hoping you get over this sooner rather than later otherwise road trips may be somewhat uncomfortable. I know your dad has his heart set on the wine trip next year.

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And speaking of your dad, this week he has been making up for all the missed daddy cuddles of last week. Which is great because you love being held. Especially during the evening. I heard in the hospital that babies are often great from 5 to 12 in the morning and at their worst from 12 to 5 at night. I think you missed that memo however because you are usually rubbish between about 6 and 11 at night. You won’t settle easily. You won’t feed well and you tend to only sleep on your dad’s chest. Which is why I occasionally use this time to nap so I can cope with the late night feeds. Thankfully there have only been about two of these per night this last week so I have been able to get some sleep as well.

Now I guess we will wait and see what next week has in store.

Alles Liebe,

Lexelah

I Dream Of Boobies

Fun Games For Baby

Dear Genevieve,

Just in case you wanted to know, the whole getting my milk in thing has been an experience. Firstly, because I got hot boobs. That was literally, not figuratively. I didn’t feel hot in my person but to the touch, my boobs were on fire. Sparky thought they were hot too. Although I’m pretty sure he thought that figuratively as well as literally cause they also got bigger! And I got all these blue veins coming out on my chest. It looked kinda odd.

Secondly, just after my milk came in, I started having weird dreams. Ok, so the dreams might have been unrelated to the milk coming in but they started at the same time so it seemed a fair assumption. The dreams weren’t exactly happy ones either and usually had disasters in them, like collapsing buildings. I was always in the disaster but I was never really hurt and I didn’t die. Which was fortunate really. Maybe I was subconsciously worrying about things now that we have you home and that’s why the dreams started or maybe it was my hormones going haywire. Who knows?

I know that after my milk came in, I also dreamed about feeding. On more than one occasion, I dreamed that I was breast feeding you. I could feel the pulling sensation and I was convinced that I had you on my chest. When I would wake up though, I’d pat both my boobs trying to figure out where on earth you were only to fully wake up and realise that you were still sound asleep in the bassinet. I had never even picked you up. And no one was touching my boobs but me!

And I tend to do that a lot now. I don’t always remember what side I last fed you on because I occasionally forget to note it down on the running mobile memo so I sometimes pat myself down to figure out which side seems more full. Of course, sometimes that is just bleedingly obvious. When you have a big feed on one side only and then sleep for ages, I become decidedly lopsided by the time it comes to feed you again. I may also be in notable discomfort. I must admit, I have expressed some milk out on more than one occasion just to even things up!

Bis dann,

Lexelah