I enjoy the whole evening routine, some gentle tv, a bath, fresh clothes, bottle of milk and a story. When I grew up I was also taught by my catholic parents to say a prayer to give thanks for the good things and ask for help with the bad and difficult things.
I’m very conscious of our daughters relationship with religion, and although we agree in having her baptised, that’s as far as our “forced” religious introductions go.
I like the concept of nighttime prayers though, and have found myself thinking of three good things that happened during the day, partly to help myself think about the positives from the day, however small, and partly to encourage her to finish the day with happy thoughts and not dwell on the missed opportunities or unfortunate events.
Now baby is crawling with purpose, she’s started to pull herself up on toys and most frustratingly, in her cot.
This wouldn’t be a problem if she could lower herself back down, but she hasn’t learnt that yet so gets herself upright, stands tall gnawing at the bars and then gets tired but can’t sit down. The only thing she can do is scream for help until we come and guide her down, and the cycle repeats until she’s eventually too knackered to stand and eventually falls asleep slumped in the corner..!
So yesterday was Friday the 13th. Wifey was tired and went to be at 9, I stayed up and watched a french film I’d recorded ages ago (District 13, a good action flic) and went to bed about 11.
Wifey slept until 9am the next day. TWELVE HOURS. She woke very briefly at 6 to ask me to do the first feed but went straight back off and got the longest nights sleep in about 6 months.
I wonder how long this will last?!
Time does fly past when you’re a new dad, I haven’t blogged for over a week and that won’t do.
This morning I was thinking about the little noises baby is making and it made me wonder what her voice will sound like? Something integral to who a person is, how they will be perceived and recognised is yet to develop. That’s a bit weird.
In other less random updates, things have been rather settled. baby is getting good amounts of sleep at night, and once put to bed at between 9:30 and 11 she usually sleeps until about three or four, then after a change and feed, again until seven or eight. Last night she went to bed at 10 and didn’t wake until 6 – amazing! Wifey was actually worried there was something wrong as she hadn’t been woken up earlier but baby fed well and Wifey was back in bed as I left for work – success!
The sleep has been good for me for a few weeks now, I rarely properly wake up when baby wakes at night, the only trouble I’ve had is getting to sleep (I’ve always struggled with insomnia). Work pressures have been building and I find it hard not having any evening downtime to clear my head. I had a chat with Wifey about this, (or rather she had a chat with me). Although I’m quite aware I’m not having a lot of fun yet, I thought I’d been managing OK but Wifey has been worried about my apparently quite obvious unhappiness.
I’m trying to make a few changes – making the most of time with baby when she’s in a cheerful mood after the evening feed, and I hope to start going to the gym again soon to get some downtime and also reverse the extra pounds I’ve been piling on since baby arrived (caffeine doesn’t agree with me so I had/have to rely on sugar to keep me going through the exhaustive days!). Problem is finding the energy after a day at work when you’re knackered and hugely out of shape!
But Wifey is right, I do need to take better care of myself so i just need to bite the bullet. The first few sessions are always the worst…
During the week I cover the 5:00 – 6:40 morning shift for nappy changes and feeds. Every day so far our little baby has woken us up just after 5am – 5:02, 5:04, 5:03 – the accuracy is uncanny.
This is the only consitent routine in her whole existance, and it’s damn frustrating that it results in me clawing my way out of bed to deal with poo, wee and hungry screams!
I’m desperately hoping she sleeps a little longer tomorrow as a Friday treat, but I fear she enjoys showing who’s in charge too much…
This morning’s post made for some grim reading. But baby as been rather more challenging recently and stretched our already weary minds further into the previous unknown reaches of sleep deprivation.
So I thought I’d write a counter post of the things I cling to to keep me sane.
- I love wifey Although I have rather mixed feelings about baby right now, I love wifey more than ever and know she can’t do this by herself. I need to be there for her to share the pain and tolerate the invasion into our lives. Our relationship is built on trust and balance and I have to pull my weight to support her.
- It will get better One piece of consistent advice is that it will get better, that the first weeks and months are the hardest until they sleep through the night. Every baby is different and we’ve had a lot of conflicting advice but that seems pretty consistent across the board.
- We’re in it for the long run We didn’t decide to have a baby so we could have a baby, we decided because we wanted to bring a new life into the world and teach and show it the wonders of the world. Sometimes it’s hard to look beyond the sleepless nights but there is a whole lifetime ahead for this little one, and so much for us to show her and for her to explore. That’s exciting and still excites me.
Still sanity level two as I’m writing this at 03:47 and desperately hoping baby is drifting off to sleep after a good length feed…
I’m three weeks in to parenthood and I’ve got to say, this isn’t what I expected.
I’m not actually a Nickleback fan, but I’ve had a line from “This is how you remind me” above circling in my head for a few days now – “Are we having fun yet?”
I expected the sleep loss, I expected the mood swings, I expected the exhaustion and I expected the relentless care that the baby would need.
I didn’t expect the lack of balance to these feelings though.
Charlie Brooker described his newborn daughter as a “screaming pet rock” and I can heavily relate. Baby does little more than sleep, cry, scream, eat, fill nappies and vomit (ordered by frequency). Every difficulty is the end of their world and is treated as such. Your whole life is now spent caring for them and making their life as comfortable as possible, but the screams and looks of utter despair from them as you prepare a bottle or change their nappy gives me no gratitude.
Even rare moments of activities you used to enjoy don’t give the same pleasure, as you’re so aware that it’s baby’s prerogative to ruin anything at any time with screams of red faced raging hopelessness.
She does occasionally just lay awake, looking at her new world in wonder, and I’ve seen hints of a smile a few times now. But these moments are rare and far between and give little consolation to the sleepless nights and desperate screams which have plagued the last three week.
They say it gets better. I hope so, because I’m not having fun yet.
I’ve been back at work a few days now and trying to get the balancing act of working office professional by day and sleepless new father by night.
All in all I must say that I believe I have the better deal when making the unavoidable comparison to wifey at home. Work is hard, exhausting, and challenging, but it’s good to have a bit of control over my time – to be tested mental instead of just by endurance and to have conversations that aren’t about sterilising bottles or how many times baby has had their clothes changed.
Compared to the relentless demands of our little one who is growing more alert, sleeping less and becoming grumpy more, I know where I’d rather be.
But I’ve only been doing it a few days, I’m sure I’ll be more worn down over time. We have a rota for the working week – I cover baby duties from when I get home to 11:00 at night, and from 5:00 to 6:30 in the morning before I need to shower and leave for work. So far it’s worked out OK, we’ve had some good and bad night but they even out, and I find the situation a lot easier to manage having these clear boundaries.
I’ve still had some “crashes” following my initial meltdown but they’re getting more manageable. I described it to a colleague as a mourning process for my old childless life. We made this decision to ruin our lives in the nicest possible way 9 months ago and have to work through the transition into becoming a family.