I'm still here. Are you?
Aside from that whole "giving birth with no pain meds to a live baby" vs. "adopting a beautiful 3-day old baby on one hour's notice" thing, there are 4 major differences between my daughter's and my son's babyhoods so far.
I adore this part of the journey. Absolutely adore it. Even during nights like last night where the little bugger Would.Not.Stop.Nibbling.On.Me.And.Let.Me.Sleep. She wasn't hungry after awhile; she just wanted to use me as her own personal human pacifier. Even on nights like that, being able to feed this child from my own body is a truly amazing and humbling miracle. It feels good and it's fun. I'm producing enough milk now that the only time she gets formula is when the Mister or our nanny are out with her and haven't brought a bottle of thawed breast milk. Otherwise, it's all mama's milk all the time. I love the feeling of being able to pick the baby up and know that I have enough to make her happy.
I often think that the Boy would have benefitted a lot from being able to nurse. It might have grounded him a bit, provided him with some comfort when he most needed it, not to mention being so much better for his belly than the iron-heavy cow's-milk-based formula we fed the poor lactose-intolerant kid at first. Maybe he wouldn't have been so colicky. Maybe he might have learned to self-soothe. But, of course, that wasn't our journey.
2. Cloth Diapers.
Until last week, the beautiful BumGenius AIOs that I got on a major sale while I was pregnant sat all sparkly-clean in a drawer, mocking my prenatal enthusiasm in the haze of exhaustion that is post-natal reality. I was too tired and stressed to make the jump from the familiarity of disposables to the mysterious world of cloth diapers. And then the Girl experienced a serious bout of green poop plus a nasty diaper rash that wouldn't go away. I'm pretty sure that the GP is related to the beginnings of teething. But all the magic potions at my disposal wouldn't make that rash disappear. It didn't seem to be yeasty and I hadn't made any sudden changes in my diet that would account for the sudden GP and rash. So I thought "well, maybe something soft will help" and put one of the BG CDs on her at the next diaper change. I swear, the Girl looked up me with the biggest grin as if to say "thank you! That feels so much better!" And within 3 days, the rash was gone. The GP is still around -- like I said, I think it's related to teething. (Please don't tell me I should cut out dairy; I'll cry.)
Both our nanny and the Mister have expressed pleasure with the ease of the BGs, and we're all delighted that there have been exactly ZERO blowouts since we started the CDs. Zero, after 4 months of one to three blowouts per day! Woo-hoo!
I was nervous about washing them and whether that would become a time-consuming chore, but so far it's been not bad at all. I'm washing every other evening, and the covers air dry overnight. Frequent washing means that we don't have to deal with the smell of dirty diapers moldering in the diaper pail (that nasty plastic monstrosity that we call the "poo tower'" -- we used it for the Boy but decided it was too gross an experience to repeat).
Of course we're still in the easy stages in terms of the, er, consistency of what comes out of the hind end of the baby and I may get frustrated (or, perhaps, grossed out) when she starts eating solids. But for now, count me in the camp of the converted. I may start using cloth wipes next.
Pink pink pink pink pink and did I mention pink? Good grief, it's hard to find girls' clothing that doesn't involve some shade of pink or pastel. But you know what? She looks good in it.
4. Been There, Done That.
There is something to be said for having parented an infant once, particularly having parented a challenging infant like our Squeaker. Now that he's a kid with his own clear personality, I look back and really understand why he was the way he was. I wonder what I'll be thinking when I look back on my daughter's infancy?
She's so mellow most of the time. I worry that we're not giving her enough individual attention, that she spends too much time in her swing or her vibrating chair. I worry I worry I worry. Practically the definition of parenthood, right there.
But I also know from experience that we can only do the best we can do, and that all of this will pass in the blink of an eye and I'll be wondering why I wasted time doing dishes or laundry. Except that the reality is that we have to do dishes and laundry. Life has to go on. I'd love to spend my daughter's childhood sitting still and watching her every breath, but pretty soon I'd be bored and cranky and so would she.
So the best I can do is try to make sure the kids are fed and warm and safe and loved, that the dishes get done, that they have clean clothes to wear, that the bills are paid so they have a roof over their heads. I keep going to work and I get better and better at compartmentalizing my life so that less time is spent on transitions and more time spent in the meat of things. And I watch as my daughter learns how to laugh and keep reminding myself that I've got to get that on video, quick, before this phase is gone and she's moved on to something new.