a day in the life of a new mom

one of jared’s old friends from philadelphia visited us today. she brought her almost-two-year-old with her. as is so often the case with children, we could not convince this little girl that charlotte isn’t really a friendly cat & did not want to be friends. we wound up having to shut charlotte in the bedroom to give her some peace.

unfortunately, we forgot to let her out again when we all left to go to the park. (ramona’s first trip to the park! obviously she was too young to play, but it was still kind of nice to go to a kid space with an actual kid in tow.) when we got home, we discovered that charlotte had peed on the bed. this is just what all parents of a six-week-old need, right? i observed that she had very definitively peed on my side, which may have been why jared handled the situation so gracefully.

so now we know how to get cat pee out of a mattress (more or less). soak up as much of the pee as you can. then douse the affected area in a 50/50 mixture of water & vinegar. soak that up & cover the area in baking soda. then rub in a mixture of a quarter-cup hydrogen peroxide mixed with a teaspoon of dish soap. let that soak for fifteen minutes & then soak it up. allow to dry. hope for the best. add a new mattress to your long-term purchases list. you’ll probably be wanting a king-size bed anyway if ramona is going to continue to be the queen of the co-sleeping babies.

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ramona is six weeks old now & has been home with us for about two & a half weeks. we have a pretty decent system going so far. jared is on his fellowship year & has kind of given himself permission not to worry too much about work (writing his dissertation) while KU is on winter break. so we trade off baby care throughout the day based on who happens to be the most motivated to deal with her when she starts hollering for a snack or a diaper change or whatever. i do all the bathing because it’s easiest to just get in the tub with her & i think that embarrasses jared on some level. plus i am more tolerant of her screams, & she likes to scream when she has a bath. i’ve noticed that, contrary to the advice of the NICU nurses, ramona prefers a hot bath. she screams less when the water is warmer. but she’s still not a fan. 

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i’m not going to pretend this baby lark is easy, because it’s NOT. but i will say that the house has never been cleaner, i have never had better hygiene, i’ve never been more frugal, i’ve never eaten more responsibly, & i have possibly never been a snappier dresser. for now. i’m sure most, if not all, of this will go out the window once this little lady can scoot herself around the house, & hence get into the litterbox or the milk crate full of random hacksaws in under five seconds.

for nights, we take turns getting up with her when she starts yelling. i am exclusively pumping rather than breastfeeding (a story for another day), so either one of us can give her a bottle. jared will take, say, the 11pm bottle, i’ll get up at 1:30am with her, he’ll handle 4:30am, etc. we try to go to bed at around 9pm & get up at 7am (depending on how snack-y ramona is feeling). this enables each of us to get pretty close to seven or eight hours of sleep, depending on how difficult it is to get ramona settled back down once she’s had a meal, or how many times she wakes up in the night. i also get up an extra time or two to pump. i use the time to catch up on facebook or read “the new york times” online, hence keeping up with my friends & current events. obviously this is going to be a hell of a lot more challenging once ramona figures out what a computer is & wants to smash her tiny fists all over it.

i’ve decided that we can keep the household chaos to a minimum if we both try to put in thirty minutes a day of housework. seriously, just thirty minutes each keeps things looking good! i do a quick sweep for clutter & then do laundry if it’s laundry day. (i do laundry every other day, since we’re cloth diapering.) wash some dishes, wipe down some counters, put away clothes, maybe take out the trash. ramona is usually either sleeping or with jared when i do this, but i’ve been known to clean while wearing her in the ergo, & this will probably become a necessity as she has more & longer wakeful periods.

having a baby means you have a lot of doctor appointments. & visitors. so i’ve had a lot of incentive to get dressed. when i was pregnant, i thought i’d spend the first six months of ramona’s life lounging around in pajamas, breastfeeding around the clock, enjoying the hell out of having such a great excuse to never have to put on real pants. instead, not being pregnant anymore is a huge relief & i don’t WANT to lay around in pajamas all day. i MISS having an entire closet to choose from instead of one sad drawer of maternity clothes. i’ve been wearing stuff i haven’t worn in years because it seemed too fancy or the fit was weird or i knew jared didn’t like it. (i have this cool shawl with big knit roses all over it, & jared hates it, so i didn’t wear it for the longest time. but now–fuck it. i’ll wear what i want!) i don’t really care about a wonky fit anymore either. it’s just such a relief not have an enormous pregnant belly.

& of course, being an ex-punk means i have kind of a weird relationship with showering. i used to try to do it every other day, just because i have long hair & it starts to look kind of obvious if it gets too dirty. but now i shower every day because it’s such a relief to get my aching back under some hot water on a daily basis. whatever back pain i thought i lived with before i had this baby, it was nothing compared to this. i may as well have been experiencing a massage by angels 24 hours a day. now my shoulders go numb on a regular basis, sometimes i can’t move my arms because i’m in too much pain. my arthritis is back & making up for lost time. i figure a lot of it is the milk-making. i might be a good candidate for formula-feeding, just because lactating causes me so much agony. but i am going to try to stick with the pumping for as long as i have a supply & ramona is interested. i’d like to do it at least until she is a year old (adjusted for gestational age, so more like fourteen months). we’ll see…

basically, i have found that it’s truly amazing, how much you can accomplish in a day when you simply don’t have time to procrastinate. if you have a ten-minute window between putting the baby down for a nap & your next pump session, & you still have to pay the utility bills, clean the litterbox, balance your checkbook, & make a grocery list, somehow you find a way to get it done. maybe it’s not the most exciting life, & i can pretty much guarantee that it’s going to be completely different in a month, but hopefully we will continue to find a way to make this thing work for us.

long story short: don’t even think about calling or texting me after 9pm until ramona is a sophomore in high school.

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(ps–i really hate the wordpress redesign. if i wanted a tumblr, i’d get a tumblr. this is just sad, like the time friendster tried to entice people back by offering games.)

 

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