I Think It's Over

I think that "the hardest part" might finally be over (knock on wood.) In fact, I've been thinking this for a few weeks, but didn't want to say it out loud for fear of jinxing myself once again.  But I think it's finally time to admit it - EH is no longer in that fussy, unpredictable newborn stage.  He's an infant now.

The change started sometime around his 10th week of life.  It was around then that he and I finally started to understand each other.  I could tell when he needed a nap, knew when he needed to eat, and he knew when to throw out one of his charming smiles in my direction just when I needed it.  He started sleeping longer at night. The non-stop crying periods finally stopped.  I could elicit a smile out of him by talking to him the right way, and I even got him to make a sound that sounded a lot like "hiiiii." It was so cute.

DH is ecstatic about this change.  While I accepted the challenges of those early weeks as being a normal part of a new mom on maternity leave, DH struggled with it, mostly - I think - because he wasn't around to understand EH and his chaotic schedule as well as I did.  (Don't get me wrong, it sucked for me too.  But I expected it to suck - I think DH was caught off guard by just how hard it was.)  Of course, DH loved EH back then, but he loves him so much more now.  He isn't shy about admitting just how much he disliked those early weeks, that "hardest part."  

It's true - we enjoy him so much more now.  He's such a good baby, and people notice that and say that to us all the time these days. We get sleep now, albeit not nearly as much as we (or at least I) used to, before baby.  EH has fallen into a sleep schedule, and goes to sleep at night with hardly any fussing at all.  I should use the term "night" lightly, since lately he's been asleep and out for the night sometime between 5 and 5:30 p.m. the past few nights. That means that on most days, I don't even get to see him in the evenings, because I don't get home until 5:30 on a good day, and even later on a bad one.

That's probably the hardest part of this whole transition back to work - now that he's finally at an age and point where we can really enjoy him, I'm no longer around to get that enjoyment.  I see him for about 45 minutes to an hour in the middle of the night, usually around our 2:30 a.m. snack-time rendevous, and then again at 6:30 in the morning when I wake him up for the day and feed him.  Then I pack him into the car at 7:10 a.m. and he's off to day care.  The past couple of nights he's been sound asleep before 5:30 p.m., and some nights the only reason I get to see him was because I had to wake him up to take his antibiotic.  Our time together lately is limited to less than 2 hours per day, and even that is mostly functional in nature - meal time.

Now that's he big enough to hug and snuggle with, I have no time for hugging and snuggling.  In the middle of the night I'm anxious to get back to sleep, and in the morning I have to rush him out of the door as soon as he's done eating or else I'll be late for work.  It's not really quality time at all, and I'm hoping that sooner rather than later he'll need just a little less sleep so that I can at least see him in the evenings.  I know that the time change this past weekend really messed him up, since previously he was going to sleep between 6 and 6:30 p.m. and now it's 5 or 5:30 p.m.  But the crazy thing is, he still sleeps until about 2:30 a.m. (almost 9 hours straight!) and then sleeps again until 6:30 a.m. when WE have to wake him up!!! Who knows how long he'd sleep if we let him go as long as he wanted (we haven't been able to test that yet because we've been away every weekend since I went back to work.)

So its sad, this "not being able to see" him part.  After spending every single minute of every single day with him for so long, caring for him, and loving him, I think I'm going through baby withdrawal.  A lot of mom's have talked about their going back to work as a "break" of sorts for them, finally free of having to worry about their little one all day long.  But not me.  Work is still just work and not much has changed but my baby is growing and changing every single day.  My fear that he was going to "grow up without me?"  It's happening.  Because of course that's what happens - or at least that's what it feels like is happening - when you rarely get to see your little one.

So the "hardest part?"  Well, even though the challenge of having a brand spanking new baby is over - and don't get me wrong, I am sooo thanful for that! - the hardest part now is finding (or making) time to spend with him. Playing with him.  Watching him grow and trying to take a minute to document it all (I haven't taken a picture of him with our new camera in weeks!)  Yep, that's the hardest part now - and it's really not bad at all.


Suzi said...

Re: "the hardest part"...
Consider this. The hardest part isn't truely the "newborn" stage. Instead, it's YOUR shift into parenthood. Our shift (via Maria) was equally difficult, especially since she was only 3 lbs, and her food intake had to be CRAZILY monitored. She had sleep issues for the first 2 months as well. This all made me TERRIFIED for when #2 came along. However, #2 was MUCH easier. Not so much b/c SHE, herself, was easier. But instead b/c we were already somewhat adjusted. Knew was to expect. Or, maybe, knew that we had to expect the unexpected. I'm not sure. Regardless...take comfort in that now that you've completed "Intro to Parenthood 101", that specific "hardest part" (the shift into parenthood), in and of itself, will NEVER have to happen again. Once a parent, always a parent. :)

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