When Raines was first born, I remember many people telling me to “hang in
there”, because “it will get better”. They’d tell me in a few short months, he would be smiling back at me, cooing, etc. “Just get through the newborn phase” they’d say. I have to be honest — I loved the newborn phase. LOVED it. I thought it was such a tender time – for both of us. I was learning how to be a mom, and Raines was learning
things like…well, pretty fundamental things, actually, like how to transition from awake to sleep, breathe regularly and poop. Each day was very slow, very simple. It was….cozy. Mike had taken time off to take care of me, my parents were in town, and I remember feeling a little like I was living in a bubble. But in a good way. Raines had day and night backwards, so I remember Mike and I watching the Food Network at 2AM, up with Raines, and eating peanut butter and chocolate sauce sundaes. Later, when Raines would be up crying, I remember speed reading “Happiest Baby on the Block” out loud to Mike as he tried to soothe Raines. “Swaddle!! Now on his side! No – his side! HIS side! Suck! Is he sucking on anything? Give him something to suck on! SSSHH in his ear! Louder! Louder!” Ah. Those were the “pre-hairdryer” days.
Heidi, one of my very good friends just gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. Going over to visit brought back all of my newborn memories. Heidi is also a first-time mom, so it was fun to re-live everything. When I arrived, she was carrying baby Charlie around because he’d cry if she put him down. Luckily, I had brought my baby wrap with me — this is the same baby wrap that I, in desperation, overnighted to myself to solve the same problem. I did a hairdryer demonstration. We went for a walk — which was a big deal for Heidi. I remember that feeling. My first walk with Raines was fairly panic inducing. I remember being terrified that he’d cry. The baby wrap helped – walks ended up being one of the best ways to soothe him. I also remember when my cousin Molly would visit with Josef, who was 5 months old when Raines was born. I’d stare at him and think that there was NO WAY Raines would ever be that big. Josef looked like this big brute next to Raines. It cracks me up — the photo above is a pic of Raines looking like a big brute next to little Charlie! He even has his brute – “I’m looking for something to bite” look on his face. We had so much fun that day. I left Heidi’s feeling a little misty.
Why am I so tender about the newborn phase? I can’t figure it out. People were right – now that Raines is so responsive, things are really, really fun. I laugh more times a day than I can count. He makes me so happy. I think the whole deal with the newborn thing…..well, I think it was a time of transition. I was healing – emotionally and physically, and discovering who this new little person was. I was discovering who I was as a mother, and who Mike was as a Dad. I was seeing my own parents as if for the first time. I remember realizing how much they loved me. The whole time just felt so….connected. I felt connected. It was as if time stopped. Each day it was just me and my little boy, my husband and my family. Our family. The lack of sleep, the trouble we had breastfeeding – it’s hard to remember those issues. They were there, but it was just something we dealt with, not dwelled upon. We can thank the dramatic birth for that. Any issue we had – Raines crying all night, poor latching, constant pumping – all paled in comparison to my near-death experience. The memory that remains the most clear was the overall feeling of wholeness, of connectedness, of family.
Today Raines was having trouble napping. He finally feel asleep nursing on the couch. Usually I try to put him back in his bed, but today I decided to let him sleep in my arms. I turned on a chick movie (Ok – I’ll confess, it was “Greek” on ABC Family channel) and we sat there, just the two of us, hunkered down for the afternoon. We haven’t done that since he was a newborn. I watched him sleep, trying to keep myself from waking him up with either my giggling at the show or by kissing his little face. Bliss.