Willow fell off the bed. I don’t think I can express the oh-my-god-how-could-I let this happen shock/guilt I feel in that sentence. I was sleeping on a twin bed while visiting Mark’s parents and she was on another twin bed just over a foot away. Mark’s mom had asked whether there was a risk of her falling off the bed and I said no. I placed her on the bed, tightly swaddled, horizontally, thinking if anything, she’d roll to the side. I couldn’t imagine that in her swaddle, she could jujitsu herself downward and off the edge.
She went to sleep at 8 and I went to bed at 10. I put in one earplug, hoping to reduce my reaction to little night noises (like, duh, a thunk which I did not hear). I did hear crying at midnight, so I reached over to grab her. And reached again. And once more, without feeling her. Tired and confused, I turned on the light and saw her on the floor. Luckily, I hadn’t stepped on her. Luckily, the floor was carpeted.
I picked her up quickly as my heart raced with desperate fear and guilt. What if something happened to her? How could I forgive myself? How could I tell if anything was wrong? What if she had a concussion?
The rest of the house was asleep, so there was no one to consult. She had a red mark on her forehead which has now turned into a bruise, but she stopped crying immediately upon being offered the breast and she nursed vigorously. So I could only hope all was OK.
Nevertheless, I held her tightly the rest of the night, which meant I received even less sleep than usual. Three months old and she’s already on the move.
During each of the two nights we spent at Mark’s parents’ place, I put Willow to bed, waited a half hour, then pumped. During that half hour, I had 30 minutes to myself to drink hot tea and to read. I have this at home too, but somehow the time was calmer and more concentrated there. I felt in the moment, enjoyed it and appreciated it.
A big part of it was the quiet. That silence, stillness, calm, peace, ability to concentrate brought to light how noisy our house is. It was beautiful. I mentioned it to Mark and he reminded me that yes, we live in a duplex and have neighbors that play loud rock music. Then we have other neighbors not too far away, traffic, a tenant or two in our house (which makes us conscious of the noise we make too). As I write this, I hear the annoying music playing on Willow’s swing and the creak as it moves back and forth.
In addition to physical silence, there was greater mental silence. I didn’t use the computer for over 48 hours. Being away from messages, news, sites and activities made me feel calmer and more able to focus on my thoughts. And of course, not being in my own house meant I wasn’t surrounded by reminders of things I could/should be doing.
Those were nice little bits of time and now I crave more – some chunks of quiet, concentrated peace.
It used to be a given that if we traveled by car at River’s naptime that he would go to sleep. Not this time. I tried limiting stimuli. I tried distracting him with magazines. We put on Barney music, thinking he’d be lulled to sleep. Finally, I bribed him, telling him that yes, he could have a third cookie if after finishing it he’d close his eyes and rest. No go.
I put in earplugs and told him I was resting. I closed my eyes (though I really wanted to read) and tried to model sleep, thinking he’s soon follow suit. No.
As we neared home and he’d continued to chatter for nearly three hours (why are you driving a car, why is it windy, why do we need gas), my patience was wearing thin.
“Please let me read,” I said to him.
“Please let me chat,” he responded in kind.
We’ve passed that exciting yet bittersweet moment of putting away the newborn clothes and bringing out the size 3 months. It’s when I have to recognize that my baby is growing, this time is slipping past me, I can’t keep her tiny in my arms. At the same time, I marvel that this big, strong, little girl has been made and nourished by me.
During the newborn phase we dressed her almost only in zip-up and snap up sacks and one-piece outfits – whatever was easiest for us was good for her. Now that we have a little more time, I can take the few extra moments to dress her in something that may go over the head, or have two or three matching pieces. She looks better in real-person clothes. It’s even more fun to hold her and to play with her.
I ran across a piece in FitPregnancy about the likelihood of losing car keys. According to the article, memory loss was still apparent into the third month after giving birth. In the third month myself, and still not feeling intellectually up to par, this felt reassuring.
I think I’m coming closer to breaking out of the cocoon of new motherhood. I want to get away for longer periods. I used to leave for up to two hours. Now I often leave for at least two hours. I want to be able to focus on something, to take a hike in the woods, to have a conversation, to read a book, without the timer of the next milking constantly ticking away.