Good morning and Happy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend. Mine was productive and ended in the best possible way - with lots of kisses.
I missed that toothy grin so, so much.
Now that Little Miss is one, I thought I would do a few posts to wrap up this year, starting with a little summary post about what surprised me during my first year of motherhood.
When I was pregnant I tried to prepare myself for being a mom by reading books and articles and by talking to other moms. So, I knew a lot of stuff, but there were still some things that surprised me.
Here they are, in no particular order:
The need to comfort ANY upset baby. Of course I have never liked to see/hear a baby upset. However, once I had Ina this was taken to a whole new level. It wasn't that hearing a crying baby just bothered me. I physically felt like I needed to comfort him/her.
It wasn't a small need. It was like I need to go to the bathroom after 4 cups of coffee type need.
Three specific instances stand out to me. First, Ina was less than a month old and my mom came over to watch her while I ran to the grocery store. I thought it would be a little break, but there was a crying baby at the store. I couldn't even see it - I just heard it and I was so uncomfortable that I had to leave after just getting a few things.
Second, on my road trip to Texas over the summer, we stopped at a restaurant and there was a baby who was so obviously upset and didn't feel well. His parents (who were probably exhausted and had already tried everything) weren't doing much to help. My arms literally ached to hold this baby and make him feel better. I had to hold on to the bottom of my chair so I wouldn't snatch that baby and take him in my car.
Third, we were watching a TV show and a teenage girl gave birth to a baby with downs syndrome and said she didn't want it. I cried for hours over a fake baby and I rarely cry.
Daymares. Or at least that is what I would call them - they are like nightmares and day dreams combined. These are the worst.
During Ina's first 4 months of life they were almost constant. I would be looking at Ina laying in her rocker, and then all of a sudden I would having a vision of her rocker falling over, or her blanket smothering her, or the dog biting her head off.
Don't worry - these weren't hallucinations - I knew I was just imagining them, but I still didn't like it. Did this happen to anyone else?
Less attention for Dad. Don't get me wrong - many women warned me about this and I thought I was doing an alright job. However, one night Dan told me that he felt like I didn't care about anything but Ina. He said specifically, "if it doesn't have anything to do with her, it doesn't matter to you."
He was right. I didn't. And I couldn't help it. I tried, I really did. But paying any less attention to her seemed just as impossible as going outside and picking my car up over my head.
That was early in Ina's life, and as she needed me for less things, my need to constantly be there for her lessened. A little.
Weekends are a lot like weekdays. This one is really weird to explain, but before Ina I would so look forward to the weekend because it meant I didn't have any responsibilities. Now, of course I still look forward to the weekends because I get to spend more time with her, but I have just as much, if not more, responsibilities at home than I do at work. Does that make sense?
Nursing is harder to stop than it is to start. I know that some women might hate me for saying this, but nursing Ina was relatively easy and not painful at all. Of course, we had a few days where she needed some assistance, but after a week or so she was a pro.
The same cannot be said for weening.
I suppose the weening process started when Ina started eating food with every meal. We took it slow - 4 feedings a day for a month, then 3 for a month, then 2, etc. A few weeks ago we started giving her cow's milk in preparation for complete cutoff, which happened this weekend when she went to visit her grandparents.
Ina was fine. I was not. It was physically painful at first, which I somewhat expected. However, what I didn't expect was how emotionally painful it would be for me when I saw her again. I guess I didn't realize how much I valued the nutrition, love, and comfort I could provide her. I realize that I was obviously not ready to quit, but now that we have gone 5 days it seems pretty silly to start again.
The love is unlike anything I have ever felt before. Before Ina was born, I thought I knew what unconditional love was. But now I know I had no idea. I am absolutely crazy about that girl in every possible way and I will be no matter what she does.
There were times, in my more serious moments, when I have wondered why God created this world, why he created us. Now I know.
A few other things that need less explanation:
- I thought I had skipped the hair-loss experience, but about a month ago I starting losing mine in chunks.
- Having a schedule is very important, especially when it comes to nap time and bedtime.
- Relaxing is hard.
- I have not felt really clean in a year.
- Hearing Ina laugh can make the worst day instantly better and has been known to stop a fight between her parents.
- As it turns out, the world doesn't revolve around me.
- Not talking about your daughter on date night is almost impossible.