Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Happy November

Today is November.  Today is Election Day.  Today is Cruz's three-week birthday.  The October that I anticipated more than any other month in my life has come and gone and now, as quickly as I can turn the calendar to the eleventh month of the year, I begin to think of all that is Holidays.  I'm already thinking about sausage and cranberry stuffing, the first snowfall, and sugar cookies.  Thinking about how I might finagle a 5:00 am Black Friday shopping spree with a baby this year.  Thinking about It's a Wonderful Life, a mug of hot cocoa with marshmallows, and a new roll of wrapping paper.  This year, I am blessed to be home with my baby during the upcoming Holiday season and I look forward to lugging that Chicco stroller in and out of mall parking lots, bundling up a growing baby in his sweet little snowsuits, and spending lots of time under the Christmas tree.  I can't wait to hang an extra stocking on the staircase, read Cruz his first Christmas stories, and dance with him to my favorite Christmas music.  And because I'm still getting used to these new shoes of motherhood, I'm hoping this Holiday season can be about the simple things, about soaking in the sweet little moments with a sweet little baby.

But before I get too ahead of myself, let's not forget about November.

I love November for so many reasons.  For Daylight Savings time, curling up under the covers and relishing in the extra hour of sleep that goes along with it.  For movie nights, popcorn nights, sappy Lifetime movies, and thick blankets.  For fall cleaning, tall boots, and new wool scarfs.  For turkey, sweet potato casserole, and Grandma's cranberry jello.  For Christmas lists, Christmas lights, and Christmas shopping. 

I love November for so many reasons.

Especially this one.

It's unbelievable that Cruz is three weeks old, but it's even more unbelievable how quickly Beau and I have melded into our new life as parents.  It's by far the most significant transition and change of our lives; however, you don't have a lot of time to 'practice' before the real thing.  We have so much to learn, but pride ourselves in how far we've come in just three weeks.  Little by little, we're figuring things out.

Things I've Realized Thus Far About Becoming a New Momma...

1.  Parenthood can either drive a husband and wife apart, or bring them closer together.  Beau and I have leaned on one another more in the last three weeks than we have in our last three years of marriage.  A supportive attitude, frequent hugs, and lots of laughter are essential on the new road of parenthood.

2.  Time out of the house takes on a whole new meaning after becoming a mom.  A week after Cruz was born, I went to Target by myself for a total of 20 minutes.  I felt like a fish out of water.  I needed breast pads, eyeliner, and baby hangers, and couldn't get out of there fast enough.  I think I called Beau four different times in the 20 minutes I was gone.  Tonight was my first true 'time away,' from Cruz.  I voted and got my hair did.  To all expectant moms out there...make your first 'time away,' a trip to get pampered.  A pedicure, a hair highlight, or an eyebrow wax.  There's a reason my hospital gives every new mom a gift certificate to the spa.  It makes you feel a little more human, a little more you, and a little less milk machine. 

3.  Motherhood has introduced me to emotions I've never felt, nor knew existed.  For the first time since being home with Cruz, I am eating lunch, by myself, with no one else here to hold Cruz.  I'm eating a plate of leftover spaghetti, staring at my peanut who is happily swinging in his lambie cadillac swing.  Instead of holding and rocking him for an hour after feeding him today, I decided to put him in his swing, do my hair, and eat.  Cruz is perfectly content and looking rather adorable staring into the little mirror directly above his head; however, his mom is feeling guilty for not holding and snuggling with him.  Package feelings of guilt, overwhelming joy, frustration, helplessness, exhaustion, and can't-catch-your-breath happiness with a hormonal, new breast-feeding mom, and you are sure to be on one wild ride.  

4.  Accomplishments take on a whole new form after having a baby.  I used to be doing something every minute of every day.  Going from one place to the next, running errand after errand, and deep cleaning every crack and crevice of our house on a weekly basis.  Now, accomplishments come in the form of whether I can get a shower done by noon, a load of laundry done a day, and figure out something to eat every night.  Accomplishments come in the form of stretches of four or five hours of sleep in a row, a successful tummy time, and a freshly bathed baby.  My to-do list has changed drastically, but little by little, I'm enjoying doing less.

5.  There is nothing in the world more relaxing than rocking a sleeping baby. 

6.  I can't imagine what my parents did when they were up with their babies in the middle of the night.  DVR has saved me from long, sleepless nights and utterly bad daytime TV.

7.  Before Cruz, I went to the bathroom 20 times a day, and ate whenever I felt like it.  After Cruz, I rarely make the time to do either.  I still crave McDonald's milkshakes though.

8.  Never wake a sleeping baby.  Never wake a sleeping baby.  Never wake a sleeping baby.

9.  I may not get as much done during the day; however, I find myself moving a lot faster.  For example, I have Cruz in the routine of taking a pretty good morning nap.  He's consistent, yet, his nap times vary from about an hour to three hours.  Yes, I could sleep during this time; however, find me a new mom that actually follows this rule.  So, I'm in a constant ambush to outbeat the clock.  I shower, throw on makeup, blow dry my hair, shove in something close to breakfast, write a few thank you cards, clean my breast pump, take out the trash, empty the dishwasher, check my email, pay a couple of bills, make the bed, and wander through the house with a clothes basket, loading up burp cloths, dish towels, and baby blankets, all while keeping one ear open for signs of a hungry baby boy.  I'm waiting for the day when his routine changes and I have to shower with a baby on the bathroom floor...

10.  As difficult as it may be to drag myself out of bed for the 3 o'clock feeding, remember that it is peaceful hanging out in the dark with my little man.  When he's 18 and I'm lying in bed wondering where he is at 3 o'clock in the morning someday, I have a feeling it will be anything but peaceful! 

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