Immediate Joys and Challenges

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The latest addition to our family joined us a month and two days ago. Yes, already. And already, she has gained two and half pounds, grown 6 cms, and is already learning when it's time for nighttime sleep (read: she starts screaming like crazy at around 8:30 pm to be prepared for bed). This month has gone by quick and fast. 

Newborns, no matter how many you've had, are hard (right, Genie?). I am grateful, however, that her "difficulty level" falls within my acceptable range of newborn care capability... I am happy that I am not completely losing my mind (I warned my kids before Maya was born that they are going to see their mother at her absolute grumpiest).

But here, just a few highlights from this past month...

Immediate Challenges of Having Maya on the Outside

  • The morning COLLISION. This is crazy. My weekday mornings are currently like this: I have to wake Sofia, my 6-year old, to get ready for school, make her lunch and get her out the door, which happens to also be the time that my newborn also wants to wake up and nurse. WHICH ALSO HAPPENS TO BE when my 3-year old son wants to wake up and wants something too. It's currently akin to waking up in the middle of a tornado. Thank THE LORD that my mother is around. 
  •  Baby acne. Yes, this is real. You know how we have this perception about how beautiful baby's skin is? Well then, Maya has teenage skin. Apparently in 40% of babies, they are afflicted with clogged pores due to my left over hormones running around in her body. The worst thing? There's nothing I can do about it. And what's worse-r? Just when I thought that it was getting better, evidently baby acne turns into severely dry skin when it begins to heal. Maya's ears started cracking as the skin started flaking. How am I supposed to just leave this alone? I am not the type that is good at just sitting on my hands.
  • Getting out of my pyjamas before 3 pm. I wish I could say it was because I am lounging around, napping, relaxing and the like, but it's not. It's just moving from thing to thing to thing – not that all of it's stressful or anything like that, it's just that the days are really full. After I get Sofia off to school, I have to get Joaquin his breakfast, and then I tidy up the kitchen, and then I get some time in with God (reading my Bible and praying a bit), and then feed Maya again probably, change her diaper and settle her back to sleep, and then start preparing lunch, and then eat it (which wouldn't take so long if I wasn't having lunch with a 3-year old), and then clean up the lunch mess, and then do some other chore, and then feed Maya again, change her diaper and settle her back to sleep, and then check and reply to some email... you get the picture. Basically, if I don't get changed BEFORE I leave my bedroom first thing in the morning, chances are my husband will catch me in my pyjamas when he returns home from work. 

Immediate Joys of Having Maya on the Outside
  • I can now breathe, eat, sleep, and paint my toenails. The last month of pregnancy was really not fun. It wasn't horrible (I hesitate to complain at all because I am completely aware of many women who are very, very sick the entire duration of their pregnancies), but I was really uncomfortable in my body. During the last week of my pregnancy, I couldn't eat much and had stomach aches which then impacted how well I could sleep which was already pretty dismal, and was pretty much just miserable. I felt like I was just dragging my body anywhere I went. 
  •  Sibling love
I have heard of siblings becoming jealous when the new baby comes home. I have heard that they can hurt the baby when you're not looking. I think that this is one positive thing about having a larger gap between my older two children and Maya – they're just so excited to have her as part of the family. Joaquin does start to act out if we haven't spent much one-on-one time with him, understandably, but there is no ill feeling towards Maya. Both Sofia and him ask to hold her every day. At least every half hour or so, they stop whatever they're doing to kiss her. I am particularly touched by how much Joaquin thinks of ways to be helpful with her, such as helping to buckle the carseat in and pulling her as close as possible so all three of them can fit in the back of our wagon, insisting on pushing the stroller, and running over to comfort her if she is crying and I haven't yet picked her up. It's really been so amazing to watch the both of them step up and grow up a little to help me with caring for her. 

  • Finally getting to meet her. I am always amazed that babies are born with their own personalities and preferences, right out of the womb. Right from the get-go, Maya needs to sleep with her hands by her face, to the point where I could never swaddle her completely and if I tried to, she'd cry until I freed her hands. Another really weird...errrrr...UNIQUE thing is that she'll cry if she farted and it resulted in a little bit of poo in her diaper, but won't care if there is a full load in there. It's been incredibly fun getting to know her. 
I could write tons more in both columns but this is already very long, but all in all, it has been a really nice month. My husband took the first week off to spend with us altogether, and then my mother took the next two weeks off to help me (especially getting my daughter to school and back in this horridly freezing cold weather). That kind of support makes all the difference, for which I am ridiculously grateful. And since I have had so much support, it has allowed me to just enjoy her, not rush to what's up next on my to-list, and made space for me to really get to know her, which in turn has made it easier to care for her.

Now that Maya's starting to settle into a routine a bit, it is becoming a little easier to figure out how to get a few things done and schedule in a little bit of "me" time. But for now, I'm learning to not stress out if all the things on my list don't get done and focus on the most important task of all of us learning to be a part of this family of, now, five.

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