My beautiful boy is 7 weeks old now, the fastest, yet slowest 7 weeks of my life.
I’m sure time only moves in this way when you have a baby. The broken nights’ sleep and seemingly endless, lightless nights and the inconsolable cries during the day make time move at a snail’s pace. Yet the constant inability to get things done, basic things like getting yourself dressed before midday, preparing to go out for a simple walk and when you realise your tiny baby is growing out of his newborn clothes makes time seem like it’s racing by at warp speed and you have that overwhelming need to stop it and get off.
Here we are, in our 8th week as parents, Noah’s 8th week of life and I truly couldn’t be happier, despite the constant state of exhaustion I know it won’t last forever yet it still manages to affect the way you think.
Gone are the dreamy days of a milk drunk baby sleeping away the day only waking to be fed then collapsing into that stupor once more. We have welcomed a new phase. A phase of beautiful alertness, an alertness that sees him locking his eyes on our faces and gracing us with the most beautiful smile we’ve ever seen when he deems fit. Soaking in his surroundings and finding joy in certain things around him. He’s truly captivating, yet the last couple of weeks haven’t been easy to say the least.
N has been particularly fractious. With this new found alertness comes boredom. He rarely naps in the day now and after feeding and a little playtime the wails and screams begin. He’s been fed, changed, entertained, fed some more, nappy checked again. He’s apparently inconsolable for what seems like a large proportion of the day. Nothing seems to pacify him.
We’ve bought bouncers on the advice of other parents; “one that vibrates is a must”, they say; “They absolutely love it”, they say; “he’ll drop off in it in no time”, they say. He HATES it. He lasts five minutes at most til he’s crying once more. We’ve bought an activity mat, another recommendation, another total failure. We’ve tried dummies despite our hatred of the, he spits them out. We’ve tried colic drops despite not being totally convinced it is colic. He just wants to be held, then that becomes boring to him and so starts the squirming and wriggling and flailing head with the onset of more screams. I sing lullabies, read stories, read my twitter and Facebook timelines to him (ok, so that would make anyone cry). Carry out activities that I’ve googled are good for babies of this age. I’ve taken him for long walks that only result in me having to endure the looks on passers bys faces when they hear the screams, screams akin to that a victim in a slasher movie makes. Nothing, nothing seems to work. Now during the day I can cope, to an extent, with this tired as I am and usually I can take him to bed with me and nurse him to sleep and by 3 he’s managed to nod off.
Then the OH comes home and the whole thing starts once more only it’s doubly as fractious as we argue between ourselves over what could be wrong. We misunderstand what each other says in the heat of the situation, taking each remark as a criticism which then makes the whole situation 50 times more stressful. Then I give in and take him to bed at 8.30. I don’t care that I’m making a rod for my own back, it’s the only way of preserving my sanity. My relationship with D has changed beyond anything I could ever have imagined.
People say the first 6 weeks are the hardest after that they find their own routine, well those I would say, in our experience have been the easiest and those weeks have been and gone and no sooner do we seem a glimmer of a routine it all changes again, and now people say 12 weeks then some helpfully say 16-20 weeks. I think forcing a ‘routine’ will help, HA!! I’ve even resorted to buying Gina Ford’s book which I’m currently in the process of reading and have to admit some of her points are quite valid and wish I’d done some of the things she said from birth, but I didn’t. Anyway, the only routine we now follow is N’s apart from his bedtime routine I have decided to carry on being baby led. And as far as his bedtime routine goes it consists of a bath, feeding and hopefully settling. I am very lucky in the fact his nighttime routine is set and has been for a while now. He still wakes three times but feeds, winds and settles within half an hour and reading others’ stories I’m glad he has his unsettled time in the evening but it’s hard to see that when he’s been screaming for hours on end.
It’s frustrating that I can’t calm the one person I should be able to soothe. He’s part of me, how can I not soothe him? The only conclusion I come to in this tired, anxious, overwrought state is he hates me. The love I feel for him isn’t returned. Every time he sees my face he thinks he’s looking into the eyes of a monster, it’s the only answer. The only reason he’s behaving like this.
Then comes my saving grace… In a particularly bad episode before I broke down into floods of tears knowing the OH is out on the road for the night, knowing I’m on my own until he returns the next evening, knowing I have to keep it together, I put him in his car seat and put him in the car. As soon as he was locked in, silence. And so I drove and drove and drove. A 50 mile round trip to North Devon and he was finally asleep… My partner and I have, over this weekend, found this time driving around great for all three of us, N gets to sleep, or atleast have a period of no screaming whilst D and I get to talk like adults. I have found our Holy Grail!
I am currently awaiting the arrival of a Boba Wrap so at least I can walk around the house when N just wants be held. Another purchase, another promise of hope, I’ll keep you updated as to it’s success.
No one tells you how hard it is looking after a baby. You expect the sleepless nights, you expect to be sleep deprived for a few months, you expect the loss of a social life and a change in your relationship and you welcome these. What you can’t comprehend or prepare for is how much it hurts when you can’t seem to calm your beautiful baby, it tears at your heart, at your very soul and when you see your beautiful child’s first tears rolling down his cheeks you want to sob and sob and berate yourself for being so totally and utterly useless. You feel like such a failure and this feeling you don’t expect.
Yet with these seemingly horrific moments have come the most precious ones. Ones like when you can pick him up when he’s grizzly and with that one action you can calm him and when you watch him rouse from sleep and in that moment he opens his eyes, sees your face and rewards your efforts with the most endearing smile that lights up his face it wipes the slate clean once more.
So in hindsight… does he love me? Yes, I think that maybe he might!