So this time around is different, which should be obvious- or in the words of a good friend, "No shit, Sherlock". Speaking of which the BBC Sherlock is so fantastic! I was holding up hope that the American version would at least be decent to help me deal with the long wait for new episodes with Benedict but unfortunately the first episode didn't hook me but I will give it another chance. What was I saying? Oh yeah this time is different, so different.
I never thought that something like colic could really have affected me so much but it did. I think if you have a "normal" baby you maybe can't imagine what it is like to have a baby who really cries all the time. Who never lets you put him down, who genuinely seems unhappy with life and most certainly with you, is like. But I can let you in on a little secret, it sucks.
Sure you tell yourself it is all worth it, and thank the stars the baby is cute, and he'll outgrow it - which of course is all true but you know what? Bonding is a whole lot easier when you can look in your baby's eyes and they aren't all scrunched up with tears clinging to their cheeks due to screaming. The first weeks are a whole lot more enjoyable when you can hand the baby to a relative or a friend and eat something in peace, let alone being able to put the baby down in the first place.
This time around I got that "normal" baby, and let me tell you, it is awesome. Sure he still cries sometimes, especially if he has to wait to be fed- but those are the breaks of not being the first, he also gets lots of sloppy kisses from his brother to make up for it. I love that I am not at the limits of exhaustion because this time I do get sleep. Ferdi does 3 hour stretches at night next to me in bed, and a few 1-2+ hour naps during the day... and normally not on me! Normally in his bassinet, sometimes in the car, stroller, or in the wrap. Until 4 months Teddy never did any sleep not on me and his normal stretch was 90 minutes so this is pretty much life changing for me.
Ferdi looks around when he is awake, sure he sometimes cries, but often not. Once again this was a complete shock. I honestly did not think baby's could be awake without crying. Obviously I saw that other people's babies did this but I kind of just couldn't accept that could be possible as it was so different from my reality. Ferdi also gave me his first smile at 4 weeks he hasn't smiled much since then but it was a fantastic little smile to see.
My midwife mentioned that she thought it was too bad that our first baby was such a challenge since our midwife at the time was no support at all but honestly I think it was such an important experience. First of all because nothing seems particularly difficult in comparison but also because it allowed me to quickly realize that we can decide how our children effect us. I don't need to take on my children's emotions, and I can still be perfectly happy even if they are not. I'm responsible for loving them, giving them a good home, and helping the learn the skills to be independent, all the other stuff comes down to them.
You might be wondering how this relates to colic and newborns but it does. Basically I could have been miserable those first 4 months with Teddy wondering what I was doing so wrong to make him so sad. But I wasn't (well OK I was but I was really, really, tired) however I did quickly realize that I wasn't to blame for his lack of lust for the world. I wasn't doing anything wrong, and I couldn't do any more then I was. The same is true this time around. When Ferdi has a rough day and decides to cry for awhile during the witching hours, I rock him and get on with my night. I don't worry whether I ate something wrong, or if his onesie is itchy, or he doesn't like the music playing. Not because I don't care for his comfort- I do. But because I realize that all these things are probably not a problem or he would have started crying much earlier. Babies cry, as I learned all so well the first time around, and the best thing I can do is simply love him and get on with my day.
An author I like, Dr. Marc Weissbluth says of the first weeks, "Try not to think of doing things to or for the baby. Instead, take time to enjoy doing things with your baby." That is what I have been doing these past almost 6 weeks. I have been doing things with Ferdi and Teddy and my lovely husband and enjoying myself immensely. This time is wonderful and beautiful and I feel so lucky to get to experience it with both my children. I can genuinely say that I am happy right now, if not a little tired.