24 hours a day: the life of a new mama (and papa)
Not every day is just like this day, but it’s all pretty similar. And of course, a lot more goes on than I mention. Before I gave birth, I was completely (let me stress that, completely) oblivious to the fact that motherhood is very, very different from anything I’ve ever done. Now, you may think that’s odd, since I’ve been a baby catcher, a doula, and always been comfortable around babies.
But alas, when your life is flipped upside down, and suddenly 24 hour stretches become the new normal, you realize you don’t know squat about the “real world” of mothering.
I’m learning, and it’s fun, so that’s good. I find myself adjusting bit by bit to this new calling. It’s hilarious: a heck of a lot funnier than I thought it would be. It’s energizing: I have a lot more energy than I thought I would (but I blame that on my placenta pills). It’s just oozing with love and giddiness, and finally, it’s the best thing I’ve ever done with my time. I thought taking care of those weird Nano pets when I was 10 was cool. Then it was my sweet puppy, Toby when I was 16. And other people’s children, and kids in Sunday school.
But nothing compares to raising your own flesh and blood.
Here’s how it goes:
8:00am-Florence is usually in bed with me, once papa Jay leaves for work. She poops or farts and it’s always really loud. I usually wake up to that, and find myself laughing every time. Then I fall back asleep until she wakes later on, usually around 8:30am. I am no longer overcome with guilt for not changing her poopy diaper immediately after she lets it rip.
9:00am-Her diaper is changed, probably two times by now. She’s dressed in her “clothes”, because she only has a few sleepers, and my mum always told me “Sleepers are for sleeping, dress baby girls in real clothes!” Flo has also eaten at this point. I’m going to skip over all those times I nourish my little one, because that would be redundant.
9:10am-She’s spit up all over her onesie, so I change her. There is one white onesie in particular that never makes it past the morning, so I’ve given up putting it on her. I’m so glad I didn’t buy her a fancy Kigurumi onesie to match mine, it would have been ruined by now! The first time she spit up, or rather, projectile vomited all over the place, I cried. I Googled it right away, and found out it’s normal, of course. Her temperature was fine, everything was normal, except my reaction. Then again, that was probably normal too…
10:30am-I finally have time for my first morning coffee. She usually wants to feed just as I’m switching on the espresso machine. But I don’t care, because I get so giddy thinking about that steaming cup of glory waiting for me after she’s been tended to.
11:00am-She’s eaten many times already, and now I’m just starting to think about breakfast. I eat a piece of fruit, or un-toasted bread, or a bowl of yogurt. By this time, the coffee has gone straight to my head, since I have an empty stomach, so I’m feeling great.
12:00pm-If I haven’t showered by now, I usually do before I do anything else. Caked on milk, spit up and other baby goo doesn’t sit well with me. And plus, I read in Robin Lim’s awesome hippy dippy book, “After the Baby’s Birth”, that water is healing, soothing and new mothers need to shower, let’s be honest. I don’t like stinking. Florence is usually sleeping or happily staring into space while I drag her bassinet into our tiny bathroom and shower with the curtain half open. I wonder if I’ll ever stop doing this…
2:00pm-The midday exhaustion hits at this point. I can barely keep my eyes open…until I think about having another cup of coffee. This is a highlight of my day. Of course, being with my baby tops the list…of course, but this really, really helps. Also, I remember it’s time to eat. Something.
4:00pm-I don’t know where the day has gone, but it’s gone. I may have taken a walk, done housework with Flo in the Moby, ran one errand…anything but take a nap.
5:30pm-Usually Jay is home from work, and I pass Florence off to him. Then I stand there, not sure what to do. Perhaps I’ll pull a meal from the freezer (thank YOU all you generous, lovely people for dropping off food: we would be starving without it) or collapse on the couch and watch the two of them bond.
8:00pm-Sometimes Flo has a bath. Like her mama, she is usually splattered with milk and spit up. Often she gets milk in her eyes and ears because of my firehose letdown so a bath is necessary. I’m not sure about the whole bedtime routine thing. I don’t think she gives a crap about any routine I try to implement. I look at the clock again and sigh. She often wants to fall asleep at this point, but if she does, then she wakes up at the ungodly hour of midnight, and is at her fussiest. I don’t know why, but midnight to 2:00am is the WORST time to get up. Ever. I don’t mind anything before or after that period.
10:00pm-I fall into bed exhausted but so blessed. What a great day–poo explosions and all. This is fun. I even like the daily load of laundry. What is wrong with me?
Midnight-1:00am-Florence wakes up for a feed and a fuss and often her last diaper change of the night, unless she wakes me up with a poo. Then it’s off to papa, which goes a little something like this: “Jay. JAY.” Poke, prod, kick. “Jay. Diaper. She needs.”
….5-15 minutes later. “Jay, her diaper.“
He’s pretty great at getting up to change her, but it does take a little effort sometimes. We’re still working on actively burping her or getting rid of her gas. Usually he’ll just prop her up on his legs and half close his eyes while I lie there watching them, trying very hard not to roll my eyes. I have to learn to let him learn, but I am so not that type of person. He is just amazing.
3:00-4:00am-ish-Feed. Burp. Perhaps a repeat while I blow on her face to keep her awake so she’ll have a good feed. Someone blow on my face!!! I don’t really mind these night feeds, because she is all mine, and warm and hungry and so precious.
6:00am-ish-I am thrilled the night is over and morning is coming! Because that mean I can stop pretending I’m getting enough sleep and just have a coffee! I love mornings, I really do. This is when I get to cuddle with my darling baby and watch her eyes roam the dawn filled room. Sometimes Jay will be up too and we’ll look at each other with a dreamy look in our eyes. This is the magic hour.