Every Day a New Challenge

One of the catchphrases that you hear when preparing to be a new parent: “Your life will never be the same.” Well duh! I thought. But that line came back into my head yesterday morning, when Jack’s crying woke me up at 6:30 in the morning, and he continued crying, off and on, until I said, “Fuck it” and woke up around 8:15.
While Max often allows me to sleep until 9 or 9:30, sleeping in causes me to feel major guilt. Max wakes up with Jack between 4:30 and 5:30, and usually Max stays awake, at least until I’m awake, even if Jack does go back to sleep. There are a lot of never agains: Never again to sleep in without feeling guilty. Never again to spend an entire day running errands worry-free. Never again to decide that I just don’t feel like being responsible today.
I’m not particularly sad about any of these, but realizing it was a big ol’ bucket of ice water in my brain so early in the morning. Life with Jack is far better than life without Jack. I cannot imagine how I never got anything done when all I was doing was preparing for Jack’s arrival. I’m lucky if I can accomplish two tasks a day, and one of those tasks is usually either dishes or laundry, both of which multiply like fruit flies with the addition of a baby. I’m finally scrapbooking Jason and Paula’s wedding, just in time for them to have a baby.
Jack’s smile, smell, and squeals of glee are well worth the efforts of motherhood. Before Jack, I felt like my arms ached to have a child to love placed there. Now, if my arms ache, it’s because Jack is practicing his swaying. Seriously, watching him drop off to sleep is priceless. I am constantly struck by the fact that he will never be this young again. I see him sleeping in his crib, and where he once was this tiny creature balled up in the middle, he is now a sprawling presence. Then I think of how he’ll look sleeping at age 3, 9, 16. Wild.
I’ve been wanting to record some of Jack’s milestones here, but His Royal Cuteness isn’t so into computer time yet. I’ll record what I can remember.
May 15: The day after Mother’s Day. Jack smiles and belly laughs at our version of peek-a-boo, called “There you are!” The squeals and belly laughs also come out when tickled gently on the tummy, when kissed on the bellybutton (always preceded by the call, “Belly Button!”), and when nuzzled in the stomach by a dog or dragon.
May 18: Jack is scared and cries vociferously when I yell. First, at Max to come and take him out of our bed (where Max left him to see if Jack would sleep). Later, I’m trying to find where my friend is in the small town of Walnut Grove, CA, where cell phone coverage is spotty. I yell into the phone. In his car seat, a formerly sleeping Jack freaks out. I get him calmed down only to yell at another car in road rage. I now control my temper and volume much better than before.
In this week, Jack also started “watching” television. He had always liked the flickering lights, and we started cutting back on what we watched when he did so. One day, I was trying to get him to nap, so I put some TV on as background noise (Jack loves music). His head immediately turned toward the TV and he startled when something loud happened. Now, we only watch Good Eats and The Waltons together.
Jack is also dancing now, especially to the song, “Rockin Robin” one of my personal favorites. (I feel that one ought to embrace the same-name songs, or be forever doomed to snapping.) If he’s lying down or in his bouncer, his little legs start going as soon as he realizes what song it is. If he’s in my arms, he bounces his head. And through it all, he smiles the biggest toothless smile I ever hope to see.
As I mentioned, Jack still does not like his naps, but sleeps through the night from 10 or 11 pm to 4:30 or 5:30 am. (Five hours of sleep straight-through is considered to be “sleeping through the night.”)
May 28: Jack starts teething. Although he has been producing excess saliva for about a month now, on Sunday he started forcibly grabbing our fingers and jamming them into his mouth, sometimes also trying to eat his own fist in the process. He loves to chew on anything rubbery or cloth-like, which means that the dragon smells a lot more like formula now. Also, due to the teething, his dangly octopus is now named Sashimi.
Jack does not like tummy-time, though he can lift his head and slither around a little bit more. Jack does like lying on the floor, especially if he’s in his little “gym” (that Annemarie bought for $5 because I didn’t see the need for one).
That’s all I can remember, and I really need to sleep. Jack will most likely wake up in 4-5 hours. Before I go, a non-Jack-related fact: I have lost 10.2 pounds in 11 weeks of Weight Watchers. I am quite proud of myself, even if that is a mortal sin.
Sleep Sweet Everybody!
PS: Remind me to tell you the one about Twinkle Twinkle…

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