before i joined the ranks of parents around the world, i had heard all the cliches.
"you won't be getting any sleep!"
"you should rest now, you won't be able to once the baby is born!"
"you'll never stop doing laundry!"
"it's a full time job!"
"get ready for some dirty diapers!"
"the time when they are so little will be gone so fast!"
but i've realized now that there is a huge difference between hearing something, and understanding it as the truth. i feel like i should have asked questions when these cliches arose; i should have delved deeper. for example:
"why don't you get to sleep?"
"will i not have time to read a book or work at my computer?"
"like how often am i actually washing clothes?"
"why does everyone mention diapers so much?"
"won't every hour feel like it's inching by with a baby?"
and now i know the answers: you don't get to sleep because the baby needs to be fed every few hours. during the day you are a constant sentinel. and when he does sleep, you never know whether it's for twenty minutes or two hours. you might be able to find 5 minute increments and you may even find a way to use two hands but for the most part, the baby just wants to be held. you are washing clothes every other day (that's just the baby's stuff). going through three or more outfits in a day is totally normal - plus burp cloths, towels, sheets etc. diapers feel all consuming because you do it more than ten times a day - and ya, it's kind of gross. surprisingly, although time seems to tick by slowly when you are trying to calm a fussy baby, you are so consumed with keeping it alive and getting to "The Next Thing That Will Calm" that suddenly it's a week later. and then another week, and then another.
speaking of the next thing, holy goodness repetition city yo. i feed this little sniff, and then i change him. then i put new clothes on him, then cuddle or talk or soothe. and then it's time to feed again followed by...you guessed it - more changing! all day long it's this pattern over and over. more specifically it's feed, burp, change, clothe, swaddle, cuddle, sleep. sometimes we fit in an outdoor walk or a period of time the what to expect lady calls "quiet wakefulness" - or as i like to call it "The Time I Can Do All The Things."
it's funny because i like repetitive tasks. when i worked as a server i liked rolling cutlery. when i'm at the gym i like to use the weight machines and do "reps." when i make my stationery, i love creating in bulk. the look and meditative nature of repetition pleases me. but those things have an ultimate goal - i fill the bin with cutlery and go home, i do some thigh crunches and eventually gain muscle, i cut and paste envelopes and when i've created 25 for a custom order, i'm done! but with a baby i have trouble seeing the finish line - because there isn't one. and if there is it's so grandiose and long term i can't really focus on it.
in order not to sound to negative (i'm just working out my feelings ya'll!*) i'm going to share one sweet thing** each time i do a baby post.
the thing: when jackson wakes up, especially in the morning when the sun has come up, and he has slept for just a bit longer than normal, he is sweetness beyond words. i unwrap his swaddle to let out his limbs and he stretches out his whole body in the most adorable way. his face contorts as he yawns and pushes his arms into the air. he's so cute when he does this that i find myself wanting to eat his face. not literally of course, but i want to swallow his cuteness up in such a way that it becomes part of me and i can have it all the time. luckily he's hungry which means he's going to let out a cry anyways - so i use this opportunity to ferciously kiss him all over.
* i'm sorry i just said "ya'll" ya'll
** i can't promise it will only be one thing - he's so cute!