Powerball is now just over a month old. Five weeks yesterday, to be exact. I’m not entirely sure what else to say about that. To write a one month developmental update seems like a disservice to him (newborns don’t actually do very much) and to write a comparison of his first month versus Bingo’s feels like a disservice to her (her first month was much, much harder). So, what to say of the last month?
Sea and I have both been at home with Powerball, while Bingo continues to go to preschool/childcare every day. Those eightish hours a day, five days a week, feel like luxury. I remember when Bingo was born, having one newborn at home seemed so stressful. Not so now. Instead, Powerball naps and nurses as we wonder at just how easy it is to have a child who can’t yet move independently or tell you in certain terms exactly what you’re doing wrong. Our house has stayed moderately clean, we haven’t succumbed to scurvy, I’ve showered almost enough. This feels like success. (That said, I’m still wearing the same clothes as I was yesterday, having fallen asleep in them at 10pm last night.)
Napping and nursing are pretty much the only things Powerball does, and he does a great deal of both. This isn’t a complaint, at all. Because in spending all of his time napping and nursing, he leaves very little room for crying– one of Bingo’s favourite activities of infancy. Aside from the fact that it’s constant, the nursing is going well. I was shocked to discover that nursing didn’t have to be horribly painful, that my nipples didn’t have to bleed, that a baby doesn’t always lose 15% of their body weight. Who knew?
On the theme of things that hurt less, healing from a vaginal birth with second degree tearing has been a thousand times easier than healing from a c-section following 36ish hours of labour. I’ve been able to move pretty easily from the start and would probably have been hiking across the city within a week if not for a stern lecture from my midwife that included the threat that not listening would result in me peeing every time I laughed by 50. So I waited for the all clear, which came at my three week postpartum visit. Since then, I’ve taken Powerball on a series of adventures that have included several restaurant trips, a conference, a birthday party, and a protest. I’ve now been back on my bike (sans baby) for just over a week, just for short rides between home and Bingo’s preschool. I can’t even tell you how happy I am about this.
Probably connected to all of the above points, while postpartum hormones are still no joke, the crash that I was expecting hasn’t happened. The floods of tears have been minimal and I mostly feel like a more tired, more rumpled version of myself.
Which is a good thing, because– as of this Monday– I’m officially back at work. I have lots and thoughts and feelings about living in a country where I’m entitled to a year of leave and making the choice to take a month of vacation instead: thoughts and feelings that deserve their own post. Logistically, I’m hopeful: I’m mostly working from home. I’ll be nursing when I can and pumping when I can’t. Sea is on leave until March. I care about my job. Still, tomorrow I’ll be away from home/Powerball for the full day and my heart feels a little sore.
There are other challenges, too. Bingo got the stomach flu when Powerball was five days old and showering a vomit covered toddler, while dealing (badly) with a frantic partner, while nursing a hangry baby is an experience that will be seared into my memory until end days. I’m still learning how to deal with a baby with a penis and frequently get caught in a stream of pee. Our washing machine broke, leaving us perpetually buried in a mountain of dirty clothes. The time change was a disaster of epic proportions. I have to remind Bingo not to squeeze her brother’s neck at least once a day.
Still, there’s more good than bad. Bingo loves Powerball more than I can describe. She sings to him, strokes him, and whispers to him with a gentleness that I didn’t think could fit into her wild body. Powerball doesn’t seem to have yet noticed that he’s the neglected second child. Sometimes I get to sleep for two, or even three hours in a row. Our friends and family have shown up in full force, with meals that lasted for weeks. And today, at five weeks and one day, Powerball really began to smile proper, awake smiles.
It’s been a good month.