Saturday, August 22, 2015

notes on sleep deprivation and parenting a newborn

There are some hard and fast truths about mothering a newborn.  Here are my top 5:

1. The baby will, without warning, suddenly be desperately hungry the second the mother raises a forkful of lunch to her own mouth and will shriek a shrill and ear-piercing shriek until mother abandons her own nourishment and feeds demanding and precious child.  The same phenomenon occurs when mother attempts to go to the bathroom.  Silly mother.

2. The baby will, with precision, time her sleeping patterns to conflict with big sisters' sleeping patterns so that mother will not have a single minute of her day in which someone is not touching her.

3. The baby will want to eat exactly every two hours, except for when she wants to eat every 45 minutes.  Except for when she miraculously goes 6 hours between feedings at night (HALLELUJAH!).  Except for when she actually wants to eat every two hours again.  Mother's body will be completely confused and unable to predict when baby will need to eat and therefore mother will endure her body's delightful attempts to produce the appropriate amount of milk at the appropriate time.

4. The baby will not be satisfied unless the person holding her is uncomfortable.  Mother should not dare sit down.  She must hold baby in an upright, but slightly reclined position and bounce her in a gentle rhythm.  Mother should not attempt to scratch her nose.  Unacceptable.  Duh.

5.  The baby will coo and smile up at mother and mother will forgive baby for all the ways baby has ruined her life because that one smile has miraculous healing powers.


Being that I have very few active brain cells at the moment, I thought it best to write words.  Coherent, non-jibberish words.

Of course, to the sleep-deprived brain, there's really no telling whether the thoughts produced are nonsensical so, sorry about that.

Beatrix is delightful.  People keep asking me if she's a "good baby" and I think what they mean is, "Does she sleep?"  She sleeps, yes.  She sleeps like a baby.  Which is to say, a few hours at a time spread across a 24 hour period.  Which is to say, I don't sleep.  Although last night she went a miraculous 8 hours between feedings and I'm trying so very hard not to count on that sort of behavior more than one night in a row at 5 weeks old.  BUT...then again...she might just be advanced.  A genius, maybe.  She might, you guys.  A genius, I mean.  In fact, I may have completely lost my mind because I decided to home school Lila this year.  HA.  I decided that having a newborn and a non-verbal almost-three-year-old with Down syndrome wasn't enough stress and chaos.  I decided to dedicate my remaining brain cells to teaching my stubborn and wild and willful and active and beautiful and smart and naughty child how to read and write her letters and do math and learn about the world.  We started this week.  It's going...okay.

The first day she asked me if "we have to do this EVERY DAY?!"

The second day I gave her an assignment to work on while I made lunch.  I walked into the kitchen and then turned around a second later to ask her what kind of fruit she wanted and she was lying across the chair on her tummy with her head and arms dangling under the chair.  Yeah.  This was a good decision, thought I.

The third day wasn't so bad.

The fourth day she left a post-it note on my door:

But today she requested school even though we had finished all I'd planned for the week, so she must be enjoying it at least a little bit.

I do think she would have a greater appreciation for home schooling if she had some experience in an elementary classroom.  Having nothing to compare it to, she seems to think I'm an unmerciful drill sergeant, bent on keeping her from twirling all day.  But it's exactly that - her active and kinesthetic wiring - that confirms to me that we made the right choice.  She'd be getting corrected all day long - being told to sit down back in her seat - if she were in school.  And she'd be bored.  She's bored with me because I have to start at the beginning of her books so that I can learn how the different curriculum works and "I know that stuff, MOM."  Fine.  Go write, "I'm a sassy-pants" 15 times in your notebook.  (Just kidding, I didn't make her do that.  But maybe I should...)

Anyway, I'm feeling encouraged (and exhausted) after getting our first week under our belts.  I think it's the right choice for us this year.  At least that's what I'm telling myself when passive-aggressive post-its show up on my bedroom door!

Faith starts preschool next week at her awesome therapy school.  I ordered Lila a new backpack (she'll attend Kindergarten one day a week at the homeschool program where I teach) and Faith will get Lila's littler one.  They both were so excited when Lila's new one came today and they wore their backpacks around the house and played "going to school."  Faith was SO CUTE and proud to get Lila's old one.  I'm not kidding when I say that I almost cried for how cute she was.  Also, I'm hormonal.  But that's neither here nor there.  Except it might be here.

What else? OH!  Faith figured out how to unsnap her onesie know...poop on the floor again.  But her parents, despite their lack of sleep, are persistent problems solvers (who really don't like cleaning poop off the floor and crib) and came up with a solution that seems to be working.  

We bought light-weight footie pajamas, cut the feet off of them and put them on backwards.  The key is that the zipper zips up so she can't reach it to unzip them.  She was so mad the first day we put them on her that she yelled for 45 minutes before falling asleep.  Then, the next day at nap time, I watched her on the monitor give up on trying to get the jammies off and move on to trying to remove her sheets from the mattress.  Sister, Mommy doesn't care if your bed is naked so long as you are not naked.

Faith seems to have a sixth sense that I am even less able than ever to keep up with her now that I have a small human to look after and she's taking full advantage by scaling furniture...

and, you know...doing her toddlerly job of destroying any semblance of order in our house.

The biggest problem is that I can't bring myself to care that this is what their room looks like.  

Not when sweetness like this is happening a foot away:

Bea is smart to keep an eye on the Chinese one.  She's a grabber.

Beatrix will not be short on affection with this bunch.  

Speaking of the littlest girl, she's stirring and is ready to eat so I'll wrap this sleep-deprived rambling up for now.  And then I really should go to bed.  I really, really, really should.