Monday, 10 September 2012

Parenthood: day twenty

Almost three weeks! I'd like to say that time seems to be going quickly, but really it just seems like time no longer exists. There is only waking, baby, eating, baby, sleeping, baby, hygiene, and baby. Occasionally there are television, reading, appointments, guests, cat, bills, the outdoors, and this here blog. But time? None of that!

I am frequently reminded of the words of Ford Prefect in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, "Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so." I feel more that a little of Arthur Dent's disorientation that when he learns from Prefect that his world is about to be bulldozed. I could use a copy of the good guide, with its reassuring cover: "Don't panic!"

The lessons at the moment are that nothing works every time, and everything takes time. I suppose those are fairly good general life lessons, but they apply particularly well to babies—my Oliver at least. The swing calms only sometimes; the white noise pretty consistently; driving, well, faster seems better; Dr. Karp's five S's are a last resort, but even then, don't always do the trick; talking, sshing, rocking, cuddling, bouncing, patting, ignoring, walking, strolling, rubbing, changing positions, distracting, eliminating distractions, you get the picture. But also expecting any of these things to work after only a minute or two—or ten—is a big mistake. When Oliver is worked up, it's always over something, and unfortunately it's often the last thing we think of. It doesn't help that babies have a somewhat inefficient mode of communication. It's obvious that baby cries require action, but it's not at all clear what that action should be. But we're learning!

To use a terrible car metaphor (I've been driving everywhere), we're still learning to operate the parental transmission, and experiencing a few stalls. Indeed, I'd say we're still working in first gear. For example, I've had to get used to holding Oliver for ten, twenty, or thirty minutes at a time. Of course I enjoy this time with him, but it engages my complete attention and tires me, physically and sometimes mentally. I'm used to having much more freedom with my time, whether I used that time for anything worthwhile or not. When I'm tired (much more common now :) I become impatient more easily, and am more likely to feel frustrated or trapped if I can't seem to have a moment to myself. But this is life now. I love my boy, I'll do what I need to do, and I'm learning to slow down a little bit to appreciate these moments, just to be with him and not worry about what else is going on or what I could be doing.

I'm glad to be on parental leave until the end of the year, despite taking a pretty significant cut in my income over that time. If I had to return to work after two weeks of leave, we'd all be freaking out, even though I work mainly at home. Also, since Oliver was born eleven days after I started my leave, I would only have had five free days with him and Danijela—yikes! I can hardly imagine. I feel sorry for other new dads who don't have this option, whose partners will take the full allotment of parental leave. Quebec does a little better by new dads than the other provinces, offering a paternity leave of up to five weeks—at seventy percent of their regular income, what! Anyway, we'll make do with fifty-five percent. It's much better than nothing.


Oliver has gained about 140 grams (five ounces) this week and now weighs approximately 4.25 kilos.

He is currently enjoying his first cases of thrush and diaper rash, although they don't seem to be causing him much discomfort.

We've visited two breastfeeding clinics, and got lots of great and overwhelming advice, which I'll try to talk about later.

Danijela worked her first job since the birth yesterday—remarkable! (Our doula repeatedly told us how strong Danijela is, and I can't help but agree.) Her parents came in for the day to help out, but Oliver was no trouble at all, even with bottle feeding. He ate and slept and ate and slept, barely giving his baka and deda (and tetka, too) any time at all to dote on him. I'm missing my folks more and more! We'll see them on Thursday probably.

I've been reading up on cloth diapers. I really went into this blind, and am keen to do things—folding, washing, etc.—a little differently.

Okay, the little Dragon awakes. More later!

No comments:

Creative Commons License
The New Dilettantes by Adam Gorley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License.