- Her last feed was 11.30pm the previous night. Little P awakes at 3am for a drowsy feed with both her mummy and daddy (who is on paternity leave). We laugh at her funny face and smelly farts as we burp her. Too oblivious of this fact to be offended, she falls asleep again at 3.40am.
- Little P awakes at 7.30am. M feeds her while I doze and then shower, then she's asleep again at 9am. But she's unsettled by wind so I carry her around the house and she spends some quality time with my parents, who have been visiting for the weekend. She stares intently at them, exploring every feature of their faces. She stares intently at me, particularly fascinated by the contrast of my black hair against my white ti-shirt. I take loads more photos. Her eyelids flutter shut and she's asleep again by 10.30am.
- M has gone for a run in the park. I try to sterilise some bottles and make up a few feeds in advance - I'm not breastfeeding - but the steriliser has already broken. I chat with mum and dad over a late breakfast and transfer some photos of Little P onto CD for them to take home and show all their friends and colleagues.
- M returns from his run only to go back out to Mothercare to replace the steriliser. My parents and I eat the cream cakes M bought back with him from his run and wait for the taxi to arrive to take them to the station.
- My parents have left. It's been a busy week for visitors each and every day from both sides of the family. Now we are beginning week 2 and only one set of visitors are planned for the week (many more are due in week 3 when M goes back to work). We sigh in relief at having our baby truly to ourselves for the first time since she was born.
- I make up feeds with the new steriliser while M starts a load of laundry. By 12pm, Little P is awake and I feed her (with one eye on incoming email on the laptop that seems to be permanently plastered to my side), walk her around the house to burp her and chat with her before she falls asleep again at 1.15pm. I linger over the baby monitor listening to her little sighs, snuffles and meows as she settles down to sleep – truly adorable. We are beginning to distinguish between her cries: she lets out a sequence of long, forlorn mepppp's when she is truly and distressingly hungry, for example; her cries are piercing and high-pitched (enough to draw tears from me) when she’s in genuine pain (for example, when she was being inserted with needles in hospital to test for a variety of things); but when she is simply struggling to settle or she is bored her cries are drier, coarser, more abrupt.
- We eat lunch - M in the garden reading The Economist's Intelligent Life and me in the kitchen reading the parenting posts on my newest addiction Mumsnet. I think to myself, I really do have the time to read a proper novel. But my eyes stray back to baby talk. I forgive myself - after all, it is only week 1.
- M starts sorting out the garden while I am still online on Mumsnet - uh oh. M comments how paternity leave feels like a really good holiday (he's a positive thinker as I am), but we remark on how we may regret this comment if Little P's feeding and sleeping patterns change (which undoubtedly they will).
- She awakes at 4.15pm and feeds very drowsily. I discover the rattle is an effective sleep deterrent and do not hesitate using it when her eyelids flutter and her mouth stops sucking. I am her evil mother. After burping and a wander around the house and garden singing nursery rhymes and chatting to her and doing bicycling movements with her legs, she falls asleep at 5.20pm but then stirs because she is doing a poo and it is all too uncomfortable for her. We finally leave her calmer in her basket after she lets out an almighty fart. What brings me joy these days? Seeing a healthy, grainy Colman's mustard poo in her nappy. Ah, the little things in life that give pleasure... Once it was Paul Auster and Wassily Kandinsky, now it is baby poo.
- By 6pm she is still awake and fretting and as M tries to soothe her, I nip out to the shops. I am incredibly frustrated and begin to think I can't do this baby rearing lark. As I walk I get very anxious thinking about that inevitable time when I will be alone day after day looking after Little P. How on earth will I manage? I also notice how much faster I can walk now I am no longer pregnant and how much more flexible I am now the hard bump has gone. When I return, Little P is still awake and fretting. I feel like running away. As it's 7.15pm already, M feeds her again and she manages to fall asleep at 8.
- Our good friends (and parents also) D and J, come over for dinner bearing a cot and takeaway Turkish food for us. We toast the baby's wondrous new life with some very good red wine. They look at the sleep/food/awake schedule we keep for the baby in a notebook and remark on how good Little P is in sleeping for long chunks and feeding well. They assure me that it is normal for her to have her fretful moments when she cannot go to sleep or feed properly. Of course, in the rational light of day (or night) and after a belly full of Turkish food - I know this. But it is good to have it spelled out to me.
- We talk about garden sheds and combination boilers and laugh at ourselves for having become so domesticated and "middle aged" now we are home owners and parents. "We are becoming our parents!" That's no bad thing, I think. One’s life must grow and expand, even if to accommodate combi-boilers and garden sheds.
- By 11.20pm Little P is awake and feeding again but asleep by midnight.
- Beginning of week 2 mini milestones: focusing on objects in front of her, stretching out her torso and kicking out her limbs, pushing her legs and feet against a surface, turning her eyes and sometimes her head towards a noise outside her line of vision, holding up her neck for a few seconds, gripping things (fingers, the bottle neck) a little more tightly, regaining her birth weight.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Typical day # 1