fatherhood

amelia: two months old.

it’s true what they say. the first couple of months are the hardest. there is this shift that starts to happen in your baby at the two month mark. it’s ever so subtle, barely recognizable to anyone but mom and dad, but it’s there. there starts to be an awareness in your child, of you, of themselves, of the world around them. and this awareness, praise be to God, is what will save you when you think you can’t hold the baby for another hour. because all of a sudden, the baby will want to be put down to play, to swing, to explore.

2 months

we’ve learned a lot since month one. namely, any “program” that claims to work for “any baby” is a crock of shit. i invite anyone who would like to prove me otherwise to come and watch my baby scream while waiting to be put on a feeding schedule, or make herself sick with crying because she can’t put herself down to sleep yet. stick with that program, i dare you. i know that works for some babies. my daughter is not one of those babies. she knows what she wants, when she wants it, and she isn’t going to go quietly into that dark night.

amelia and dad

for example, her latest desire is to suck her thumb. she wants nothing more than to be able to stick her thumb into her mouth to soothe her sucking needs and to put herself to sleep. and yet, because life isn’t fair, she isn’t able to do it. she’s close, so FRUSTRATINGLY close, but she can’t get that thumb in her mouth. it’s to the point that she now rejects the pacifier and our fingers, because she knows she wants her thumb. and you’d think maybe any one of her fingers would be enough, right? WRONG. she gets almost indignant when she puts her fingers in her mouth because she knows they aren’t her thumb.

amelia

i’m so happy that amelia is so self-aware and (i’ll just say it) intelligent that she knows nothing but her thumb will do to soothe, but come on! please throw mom and dad a bone. babies need to nap, and when she can’t suck her thumb, she won’t nap, and when she won’t nap, mom goes crazy. right this moment, she is in her room waking herself up because she hit herself in the face trying to get her thumb in her mouth.

amelia sleeping

all this to say, that even with the craziness, i can see the light at the end of the tunnel. watching amelia grow and change these past couple of months has been the joy of my life, complete with interrupted sleep and long days of no napping.

my love, amelia: your dad and i would change a million diapers for you. even poopy ones. we love you more than life itself. here’s to finding that thumb.

amelia finger

i had to.

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our village.

they say it takes a village to raise a child. i agree and would like to add a second piece to that: it takes a village to keep that child’s parents alive.

Mister Man and i would not be doing as well as we are at this parenting thing were it not for the immense amount of help and support we received from our family and friends since amelia was born. you might think i’m exaggerating when i say this, but i truly believe that our quality of life would have suffered if it weren’t for them. we would be more sleep-deprived, our house would be a mess, and our marriage would have struggled.

instead, because of all the wonderful people in our lives, we were able to stay (fairly) well-rested in the first few weeks. we were fed and had errands run for us and were just generally loved on as much as possible. this let us stay ahead of the curve and be the best parents and spouses we can be. there are no words for how grateful we are to our village for taking care of us the last two months. i would have said this sooner, but only just now feel like we’ve made it to the other side of the newborn days. THANK YOU ALL FOR TAKING CARE OF US!

it goes without saying that our biggest supporters have been our parents, the new grandparents. my mom came and stayed with us for a week after amelia was born and helped keep the house running, my dad and my in-laws have provided lots of time for our naps while they hold the little one, and i can’t count the number of meals that they’ve fed us. there is nothing that we can give to repay the help we received from them. but we wanted to say thank you somehow.

treat cards

ignore the wubbanub, this is our life now.

as small as it seems, i decided that a card with photos of amelia on it would be a good way to say it. in comes treat, a custom greeting card website by shutterfly. i was able to find two adorable thank you cards that i could add photos of amelia to, and send directly to the grandparents if i wanted. i opted to have the cards sent to me first so i could see them in person (not that i’m type-a or anything).

treat cards

 

i love how they turned out, and so did the grandparents. if you have anything to say thank you for, or really any reason to send a card, think about using treat. it’s as easy and as inexpensive as getting a card at a store (maybe more so) and definitely more personal. now that going to target is kind of a production, i have a feeling this may become my go-to for greeting cards…

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amelia: one month old.

so i’ve been a mother for a month now?

yea. that is a real thing. i can’t believe it either.

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i am writing this at the tail end of amelia’s morning nap time. i use the term “nap time” loosely, because i feel like that leads you to believe she has a set time in the morning when she sleeps, which is not the case at all. she likes to be up and hanging out from her morning feeding (around 5-7am) until late morning (around 10am-12pm), which can be a little tiring for mom. although if she isn’t gassy, she’s quite a lot of fun! we like to look up at the ceiling together, her favorite spot is the corner of the dining room ceiling.

our darling daughter has been pretty wonderful so far. she eats like a champ, which i am so thankful for, i haven’t had any issues nursing her at all. she sleeps at night with almost no fussing, and has had a couple nights where she goes five hours in between feedings. do you know what it feels like to get four hours of sleep in a row when you’re only used to two?? heaven, it feels like heaven.

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our only challenge has been that her little tummy is growing so fast and working so hard, that she has had some troubles with gassiness the past week or so. there is nothing worse than feeling gas bubbles running through your baby’s tiny body and not being able to do anything to help her feel better. we have started giving her a warm bath in the morning, which helps, and dad and i have both learned some moves that make her feel better, but if it’s a bad day, there is nothing that helps until she has cried herself into an exhausted sleep. i’m confident that she’ll grow out of this in the next couple of weeks, but until then, we will wear a circle into the living room carpet while pacing with her, and keep the baby gas-ex company in business.

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i think my favorite part of the last month has been amelia learning to focus on our faces. one day last week, she started to really LOOK at her dad and me, instead of just looking near our faces. it’s the coolest thing to watch her develop and grow and discover things around her. the day she starts to find her hands and feet is going to be the craziest/best/awesomest!

we have a crazy week ahead of us, because one of my best friends is getting married on saturday and i’m in the wedding! so amelia will get to go to her first salon visit while mommy gets her nails done, and she’ll get to hang out while we get ready the day of the wedding. i predict she is going to be quite the party animal, and will get pretty milk drunk, so i’ll have to keep an eye on her.

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things we never thought we’d say.

when you become a parent for the first time, you know things are going to change. you know there are sleepless nights ahead, and that your main focus is no longer on yourself. you even expect to become somewhat of a hermit as opposed to your normal, social self.

what you don’t expect is for the topics of all your conversations to revolve SO MUCH around your baby. and because all your baby does is eat, sleep and poop, you start talking about things that generally aren’t considered to be part of polite conversation. so that naturally leads to certain things being said between mom and dad that we never thought we would say. just for fun, here are a few things Mister Man and i have said to each other in the three weeks(!) that Amelia has been with us:

“i just got pooped on and i didn’t even yell. be proud of me!”

“did you hear how loud that fart was?? that was amazing!”

“those four hours of sleep felt SO GOOD. i can really tell the difference between three and four.”

“she’s so advanced, i can’t believe her umbilical cord fell off after just 7 days!”

“do you realize that our pillow talk now revolves around our daughter’s bowel movements?”

“should we use the natural gas drops or the regular ones?”

“it was so nice to go outside today…i haven’t been out of the house in three days.”

MM: (said in pinky’s voice from ‘pinky and the brain’) what should we do tonight erin? me: (said in brain’s voice from ‘pinky and the brain’) same thing we do every night pinky…bathe the child, try to get the child to sleep, watch an episode of ‘sleepy hollow’ and go to bed.”

so yea. that’s our life now. i’m sure it’ll get a little less ridiculous eventually, but for now we are the lamest. and we kind of love it if we’re being honest.

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and now, i’d like to introduce you to one of my newest sponsors. meet martha kate, of leaving perfection, learning grace. i just started to read martha’s blog, and my goodness, if you want some thoughtful reading in your blogroll, hers is one you need to check out. i wanted martha kate to introduce herself to all of you in her own words, so here she is!

My blog is all about learning to live a life filled with grace and leaving perfection in the dust. It’s about my journey through eating disorder recovery and everything else in between. 

i  asked her to share her favorite part of my favorite season (fall!) with us to get to know her a little better too: I LOVE comfy sweaters, cozy scarfs, riding boots and mocha drinks, all which signal fall is here!!

leaving perfection learning grace

isn’t she ADORABLE?? you can find martha kate at her blog, leaving perfection, learning grace, and also on twitterfacebook, pinterest and instagram (personal and blog). head over to get to know her and tell her that erin sent you.

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what to expect after baby.

we’ve all heard of what to expect when you’re expecting, the quintessential “get ready for baby” book, right? well, where is the book that tells you what to expect once you’re done expecting? there are a lot of things that no one thinks to tell you about the dizzying time after baby is born, and things that you don’t believe until you get there, and a little manual might be helpful!

we all know to expect no sleep and to have your world revolve around the baby, but here are the most unexpected lessons i found out in the first few weeks of being a mom. it’s by no means a complete list, but i’m sleep deprived right now and these are the ones that stuck out to me, so you’ll look past that i’m sure.

for anyone that has had babies already/has a lot of experience with babies and new moms, what would you add to the list?

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what to expect after

1. “sleep when the baby sleeps” is not just an urban legend.

you MUST take at least one nap when the baby naps, every day. i say this because it’s true, it’s not just something people say to be funny when you have a baby. keep in mind, you are only ever getting 2-4 hour chunks of sleep at a time for the first few months of your baby’s life. and sometimes the best hours of sleep are during your baby’s daytime napping hours. those extra two hours of sleep (even if it’s a light sleep) will serve you better than any load of laundry or sinkful of dishes.

2. you will cry for no reason at all.

i was talking to my mom about something funny she and Mister Man had talked about during one of the aforementioned naps, and all of a sudden, tears started pouring out of my eyes. i wasn’t feeling particularly happy or sad or emotional in any way, and yet there they were. same thing happened when i gave my husband a hug after dinner one night. waterworks every where. there are a lot of hormones running around in your body, and sometimes they need somewhere to go. tears happen to work well.

3. squirt bottles and ibuprofen will be your best friends.

if you have a vaginal birth, this is true. the squirt bottle and i have remained inseparable these past two weeks. trust me on this, it’s the best thing to happen to a bathroom since toilet paper. also, ibuprofen. i was lucky enough to not be very sore in the days following the birth, but i had a couple of stitches down there, and the ibuprofen helps you do things like sit down and get up with so much less annoyance.

4. you WILL learn your own baby’s needs.

one of the things i was terrified of the entire pregnancy was being able to know what my baby would need and when. for some reason the thought of knowing how much they should eat and being able to hear them when they cried at night seemed so daunting to me…i was more scared of that than the actual labor part! let me put you at ease right now: all of the instinct will just come to you the second that baby comes out. i used to be the heaviest sleeper in the world, like sleep through a hurricane heavy. now, if amelia squeaks in her sleep in her own room, i can hear it immediately and will wake from a dead sleep. and as far as the other stuff goes, give it two days and you will already be able to tell the difference between her “i’m gassy” cry and her “i’m wet” cry.

5. there will be too many people at your house.

they will all be people you love and it will be wonderful and terrible all at the same time. being surrounded by love and care and amazing people is the best, especially when you feel so full of feelings you could burst! but then the fatigue sets in, and you realize how much energy it takes to be around people all the time. so make sure that you take care of yourself and try to spread the visits out over the first few weeks. be especially protective of your weekends as you learn your new schedule.

6. you will want to hold your little one ALL.THE.TIME.

and you should hold them as much as your heart desires. but you also need to nap sometimes, and eat sometimes, and shower sometimes. so in the end, putting them down (especially when they’re asleep) can be good for both of you. letting them nap in their crib or bassinet helps them get used to being there at night, and it helps them learn to sleep outside of someone’s arms. so even if it’s just one nap a day, try to put them down for just a bit and take care of yourself in the process.

7. you will learn to eat as fast as humanly possible.

because the baby waits for no boob to be done eating. in the two weeks amelia has been here, i think that every single dinner Mister Man and i have sat down to eat together has been interrupted or postponed by her. and that’s totally okay, i am happier than happy to feed my little beauty, but it’s the new normal which is hard to get used to. and so whenever i sit down to eat now, i scarf my food down like there’s no tomorrow, because i never know when i’m going to get the chance to do it again!

amelia 3 days old

8. you will wonder how you ever found yourself in this situation.

this amazing, surreal, wonderful, awe-inspiring situation. i look at our daughter every day, multiple times a day, completely stunned by the fact that she is ours. she is ours to care for, to love, to cherish and to adore forever. and how can anybody possibly be this lucky? the only answer is that there is a God, and He is so much more generous than you ever knew was possible. so when you find yourself wondering how you got here, say a quick prayer of thanks for however it happened.

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