Oh, the highs and lows of the newborn period.
It’s a time of extremes, to be sure: extreme elation, fierce protectiveness, awe, intense love, all counterbalanced with a sort of befuddlement, a detachment from the workings of normal life, and a loss of self. There seems to be very little middle ground in this early period of new family life, heavily influenced by fleeting doses of postpartum hormonal Molotov cocktails. We’re reweaving our family tapestry, adding a brilliant new color, but doing so mindfully takes some delicate skill. How do we work this new fiber in harmoniously without obscuring the others, while still honoring the brilliance of the colors already present? With much finesse, we’re learning.
We spent our first week with Errol operating out of our bed. Our bedroom underwent yet another transformation as it morphed from Baby-Birthing Central to Baby-Integrating Central. Subtract a birthing tub, add a rocking chair, a hot pink kid-sized tent, dog pillow, laptop and the transition is almost complete.
Becoming a Big Sister and moving over to share Momma and Daddy’s spotlight has been a challenge. Daddio, in his wisdom, had a magic bag of tricks on the ready to help take the sting out of that transition.
1. Camping. Isadora got to “camp out” each night in her special tent, safe in her own space but still with us in our room. Brilliant.
2. Bed picnics, served up on trays, featuring delicious meals handmade by Daddy and Daughter. Delicious.
Still, the transition has been challenging. I had both forgotten and underestimated the magnitude of adding a family member. And taking to the bed for week, while an enormous luxury, starts to magnify the need for normalcy as the week comes to a close.
So now we’re stalking the Normal life, searching desperately for new family rhythms, figuring out how to again do what we did, where we can, while adding new routines to the mix. Each day brings a bit more clarity, a little more confidence, more familiarity with this little guy, and brings us further from the old “life before baby” to our new orbit. Soon, I know, the transformation will be complete and we’ll hardly remember what life was like before him, much like life pre-children seems to us now a dreamy blur.
This is the paradox of Newborn Time – crawling painfully slow moment to moment while simultaneously flying by, leaving us to mourn the end of the newborn stage before we’ve fully acclimated to it. Pondering these things over the last few days, I’m reminded of how important it is to not lose focus, to ignore the pileup of “normal” chores and grasp as fully as possible this fleeting magical time. Burying my nose in the intoxicating headiness of Him, caressing his whisper-soft skin with my cheeks and my lips, yielding to the almost-imperceptible weight of his milk-drunk head resting on my shoulders, and attuning my ears to the nuances of his decidedly “boy” noises seem to be the best ways to embrace this time.
Slowly, slowly….we’re making our descent from the expansive, soaring heights of New Baby!, where the view is spectacular and mind-boggling, but the air is too thin for a long-term stay. Slowly, slowly, our feet are creeping closer to the ground, connecting with the earth and drawing forth the strength and stability to again reach upward and revisit those magnificent heights while simultaneously remaining planted on the ground. Rooted. Stable.