Friday, 28 August 2009

Why grandparents rock

because they understand the importance of needing an adult conversation, one that doesn't revolve around the color of poop.

because just when you begin doubting your ability to take care of your child, they say, "You know I think you're right Lauren, I think she still is hungry".

Because they are proof that it is possible so survive this. To survive holding someone you love in your arms as they cry while you struggle to find a way to make their pain go away.

I didn't think the grandparents would like their pictures up on the world wide web, so I figured, hey! Why not another picture of the little beast. You can never have too much of those.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Who needs implants when you have breast milk?

Friday, 21 August 2009

Le premier mois avec Mademoiselle Eloise

Eloise –

You are a month old. Ok, actually you are older than a month by 5 days because I’ve been too busy squeezing you in my arms, or wiping your butt, or singing you songs or watching Desperate Housewives while nursing you.

I remember when I was younger adults would tell me how fast time flies and to enjoy being a kid while I could. Of course I thought they were crazy. Being a kid takes forever. Whether it’s waiting for your birthday or waiting to use the bathroom time is often at a slow crawl. It wasn’t until I went into labour that I finally realized what those adults were talking about, ever since then time is like roller skates on crack whizzing by me at neck break speeds. This scares me. Sometimes I hold you in my arms and pull you close, almost willing you to morph back into my body, trying to memorize your funny little face because I am so aware that tomorrow you will be 6 and heading off to big kid school and the day after that you’ll be 12 and asking me about boys and a week after that you’ll be asking me for advice on your mortgage.

You are a lady who likes to keep her parents on their toes. Routine does not suit you, chaos and the element of surprise seem to be your comfort zone. One night you’ll go to sleep at 8:30pm the next night 1am. Some days you’ll take deep long naps, others you will go from 9am to 6pm without shutting your eyes once, seemingly laughing at the baby books that say you need 18 hours of sleep to function. You do however wake up at 4am almost on the dot every night.

You also take ages to finish a meal. Recently you’ve been having a leisurely 3 hour long feed before going to bed. 3 hours is a long time to take to drink a glass of milk. But I am rewarded with these incredible little smiles after you’re all full up. In the past week they have turned into the occasional laugh. A mild breathy chuckle with your eyes closed. I keep on meaning to try and get this laugh on camera but I think part of me doesn’t want to share it with the rest of the world. These little laughs feel like you are rewarding me for patiently sitting there for hours at a time while you gnaw on my breast.

When your father changes your diaper he sings New York New York to you, and despite the fact it sounds like Serge Gainsbourg’s cat is trying miserably to do a Frank Sinatra impression, you adore it. I quickly fell in love with his impossibly thick French accent and it looks like you will not be able to escape his Gallic charms either.

You are growing faster than I would ever have imagined. Becoming stronger, more vocal, more expressive. One day you will be a giant compared to how big you are now. Until then it looks like you’re still going to have to take orders from Mickey.

Je t’aime.


Thursday, 20 August 2009

You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both...

I debated about whether to post my previous entry. It was actually written over a week ago, when emotions were obviously raw, and I haven't felt any where near as fragile since that day. But I decided to post it because it felt like I was withholding the truth. While all my loved up posts about how head over heels I am for Eloise are entirely true, I do not feel that way ALL the time.

Taking care of an infant is hard - not that I nor anyone else didn't already know that. Reading other people's blogs about the sour milk side of baby rearing has helped me, reminded me that when my child hasn't stopped feeding for the past 3 hours and 49 minutes and my nipples are aching and there's a part of me that wants to put her in her crib and walk out the front door without saying a word that I am not alone. And so I wanted to be honest. And be sure to share the bad along with the good. Because maybe a new mother will come across this site and she'll be near breaking point, exhausted and drained, emotionally and physically, and I want her to know that it's ok to feel that way.

I've obviously caused some concern in family, friends, and complete strangers, so I do want to say that I am fine. The good so exceedingly weighs out the bad that I have no doubt in my mind that Eloise and I will come out of this infancy stage all the stronger. We might have bags under our eyes and smell of poop, but our smiles will be genuine, of that I can be sure.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

It's not all rainbows and unicorns

It should have been a good day. Logically it was a good day. Eloise slept for 7 and a half hours straight the night before. From 10pm to 5:30. In her crib. At three weeks old! She woke up and fed, then slept with me in our bed for another hour and a half. Great start to the day.

I then bathed her, by myself for the first time and did not drown her or scald her. She loved being in the water.

And while I didn't get to take a shower myself and I have never eaten a bowl of cereal so fast in my life, we did both manage to get out of the house before 10am. One of our elderly neighbors was passing our house just as Eloise and I were exiting and she ooed and ahhed over how cute she is and then Eloise and I walked her to her bus stop as she held onto the pushchair for support.

We went to the Health Visitor where Eloise was weighed and is gaining nicely (4kg last week, now 4.180kg) and the Health Visitor said she was looking very healthy and very alert for her age.

We got the letter from the doctor's saying all of Eloise's blood tests have come back normal. I managed to even do a load of laundry and hang it up to dry, which is impressive considering the day before I couldn't figure out how to open the washing machine door.

What is even more impressive with all that we accomplished is that I also managed to get in over 2 hours of crying as well. Me. Not Eloise. Though she joined in at times.

Crying because Eloise had thrown-up on me for the 10th time in under 2 hours. Crying because Eloise did not take a nap until 5pm. Crying because I worry that I'm not doing enough for my daughter. Crying at the weight of everything I should be doing and just can't manage. The house is a mess. I see a pile of dust in a corner of a room and I cry while Eloise breastfeeds. I look down at the giant size of my belly and I cry for all the exercise I don't have time for. I cry because I haven't been able to take the photos I need for the birth announcement. I cry because the Health Visitor looked so worried when I told her I had no family in this country. I cry because my only companion during the day for the next 8 months can't even look at me when I say her name. And then at night, when 3 hours after putting her to bed she is finally asleep, I cry, because I am so worried tomorrow will be the same, or worse. And I realize I am dreading the next day with my child. And I cry even harder at the shame of feeling this way.

So, as I said, logically this should have been a very good day. Emotionally? Still working on that.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Just you and me babe

Our first day alone. The last of the grandparents had left, the Frenchman went to work, no expected visitors until later that evening.

We finally made it out of the house for a quick walk in the afternoon. I took her through the university campus while a light blanket of drizzle cooled my face. I went back and forth between two emotions. I either kept waiting for someone to take her from me, kindly laugh and tell me - Ok kid. Play time is over. Hand the baby over to an adult now. Or I wanted to shout to everyone who crossed our path - Do you see this incredible little being snuggled in her pushchair? Do you? Because I MADE HER. She came out of my body. And now she is here. In front of me. SMILING.

I am occasionally struck with the idea that no matter what else I accomplish in my life, be it an amazing career, a beautiful house, fabulous world travels, world peace, I will have accomplished her. And nothing else will compare.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Hi Eloise. Do you like me? Yes or No...

She slept next to me in our bed. Her hand accidentally grazed my arm in her sleep. My heart leaped into my throat like a school girl with a crush. A big giant crush on my 3 week old daughter. And then my boobs wet themselves.*

*My mom gave me the "boobs wet themselves" line. Actually I think her exact words were "oh great, my boobs just peed their pants". She's going to be such a fun grandmother.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Those first steps can wait

When I was pregnant I used to complain about the injustice of human infants - other animals give birth to walking talking offspring. Take the Giraffe. They give birth standing up, the baby giraffe plops onto the ground, shakes itself off and boom - is off running with her mom. Where as we humans give birth to a very rudimentary version of ourselves. Half baked if you will. A little being that cannot survive on its own.

But now I understand why. The shock of going from feeling her inside me for the last 6 or so months of the gestation period to her living on the outside is already so great. Feeling her drift to sleep when I walked to work, or kick my side quickly when I spent too long in bed, or her little punches when I ate something that she didn't like. And then all of a sudden she's out. And she's breathing and pooping and crying all by herself. And I am so grateful that I get to spend hours of my day with her held against my stomach, her little mouth tightly around my breast. Or that she needs me to rock her to sleep when she's feeling fussy. Or that it is my job to keep her clean and bathe her and entertain her.

Because if she came out of me with the ability to walk away it would break my heart.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Want to prevent your teenage daughter from having sex? Have her read this post.

I have now been discharged by the midwife. She said that Eloise and I were both doing so well, that she didn't need to check up on us anymore. This is fabulous news, because she has seen tons of babies and tons of new mothers, and so I value her opinion over most when she insinuates that she doesn't think I'm the type of person to accidentaly sit on my child while trying to get a better view of the Jeremy Kyle show or try and feed Eloise peanuts from across the room when she's demonstrating that adorable rooting reflex.

On her last visit, I mentioned that my stitches were hurting more rather than the lessening of pain I was expecting (something about Time and Wounds...). And so I found myself lying on my side, staring at the back of my futon with my underpants around my ankles and my big white ass in my midwife's face - you know, something to remember me by.

And then she said probably the most horrific thing I have ever heard while having my lower half exposed so freely.

"I see why it's more painful" she said, inches from my nether region "the stitches have disolved but what is left is like a giant paper cut."

A giant paper cut. IN MY VAGINA.

I bet that unprotected sex you were thinking about having isn't looking so hot right now is it?

Thursday, 6 August 2009

No, I haven't gobbled her up...yet.

Did you people know it was August 6th? As in my kid is now 19 days old. As in I've spent 19 days of my life without a good night's sleep. Actually I shouldn't complain in the sleep department. While I am still struggling to perfect the art of the nap with Miss Eloise, she does give me at least 4 and a half hours of sleep at night in a row and often more. In fact last night we slept from midnight to 5:30am.

The in-laws are in town loving on the baby. Next week I promise more posts. Like all the bloody details of how Eloise came into this world and how suddenly becoming someone's only source of nutrients is going.

Until then, here's some baby cuteness to keep you going.