Friday, October 29, 2010

On repeat

The first six to eight weeks with a newborn are undoubtedly special. However, to keep things real, there's also a feeling of extreme repetition as you feed, change, burp and rock your baby. I like to refer to this phase as " Groundhog Day" in honor of the Bill Murray classic.

For me, I feel it the most in the blissful, yet nerve wracking, moment that comes when you reunite with your pillow after a late night feeding. Just as you settle in, you hear a shuffle from the bassinet. Your heart starts to pound in your ears as you wonder if the baby is waking back up.

"Breathe deeply, fall asleep" is what you instruct your body to... before you can finish your thought you hear the cry. You're standing back up. Again.

When Eliza arrived, I didn't believe that my life would ever feel mine again. It never really is after becoming a Mother, but to be in a position to make and keep a schedule of your own was a feeling that I had pretty much kissed good-bye. Time passed and I was surprised when I'd catch snippets of my former life resurfacing.

Suddenly, life resumes to its new level of normal. And then, you see a picture taken of your baby back when they were a few weeks old. You want to cry at how much they've changed. The second time around (or third) it's easier. You know that the feelings of solitary confinement will pass. You learn to cherish the unique, heaven inspired moments that come with having a newborn while living through the less appealing duties.

This phase we're in has me thinking. Life has compelled me into a place of limbo. I'm feeling rushed to find that new level of normal while dealing with a major life adjustment. I now have three children and, as I mention in nearly every single post, live 1900 miles away from our parental safety nets. As I try to find balance, I've mentally made note of a few things that have aided me through the feelings of deja-vu.

How to avoid Groundhog's Day in October:

By Alison Flegal

1. Focus on other children: Your social life may be extinct, but theirs isn't. Keeping up with preschool, birthday parties and scheduling an in-house play date for your toddler will give you something more than a "should-do." You now have a "have-to" on your plate. Good luck. Keep things spicy by reserving one morning for school pictures... throw in an alert newborn, subtract the help of adults and you've definitely given yourself a challenge.
Eliza at a pony themed birthday party yesterday.
Michelle dropped off her younger two for a play-date with Henry
and accompanied our oldest set to the party.
Thanks to Nanna Teresa for looking after Lottie
so I could watch the boys.

2. Celebrate a holiday other than Groundhog Day
Carve pumpkins, bake pumpkin spice cookies, decorate. Do your best to resist the bag of Halloween candy that's hiding upstairs in your bedroom closet. Even though it's 2:00 a.m. and you're up nursing and feeling rather famished yourself; a kit kat probably isn't the best idea. However, if you succumb to temptation, have another and then forgive yourself.

3. Line up visitors. Don't take a pain pill prior to said visit. You'll seem zombie like. (This new Mom has been off her pain meds for quite awhile thank you very much... alright, alright. I ran out.) .

4. Schedule your sweats, gauchos, pajama pants into your weekly laundry rotation. Who knows when it's physically feasible, or emotionally safe, to try on your regular jeans. Besides, the thought of your well-used maternity pants triggers your gag reflex.

5. And finally... remember that they grow up.
It's not about you at all. Find one on one time with your kids and spouse. If you find that your toddler is acting out and suggesting that the new baby should live in the garage... He's really not a toad. Like you, he is a little overwhelmed. He misses you.
Make sure he gets that one on one time. You need it as much as he does. Provide him a day of normalcy - as best you know how.
He may not believe you right now, but you just gave him another best friend.


Kara said...

I LOVED this post! I'm not a mom but I think your insight is fantastic. Thanks!

Chris and Annalisa said...

LOVED this post. Such good perspective coming to a mom who's starting to think about repeating the cycle. :)

Karen said...

I love her pink!! That's so fun. You are inspiring to me. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I could have used those when we had our second. I hope when it's time for #3 to come home that we will be better. (Not announcing.) I wish time could pause a little more during those beginning days, but then I guess you'd never feel like you get out of them!

Ali said...

Thank you everyone for your words of welcome to Lottie and supportive thoughts. They provide me with a boost of happy throughout my day.

The Tate Family said...

That pounding of your heart in the middle of the night when you hear your baby shift....could that be anymore classic? Holy cow, I am scared to death to dip into baby #3 territory, but you also seem to be amazing at it! Congrats once again, she is Eliza's twin!

-erika :) said...

Haha, Ali, I can so relate to this post! Your little Lottie is a doll! You enjoy those zombie filled 2am, and then 3am, and then 4am... feedings, changings... Next things you know they are big!

Audra said...

You are so sweet! I remember those newborn days and I miss them. My baby is a toad as well and I want a tiny newborn to snuggle and kiss. I love that you said you gave him another best friend. You always make me tear up!

Michelle said...

I think you look great and seem like you are doing so good with all three. You seem so on top of things and happy. Your only problem is friends that give you a scare of strep.