It’s been eleven weeks and my baby is still alive. I haven’t even dropped her. One time, I was eating a hot dog with her on my lap and a glob of ketchup landed on her leg. She barely noticed.
Aside from keeping her breathing, it’s the little things that make my days feel successful. I usually don’t have anything to do with these small victories, but I feel victorious nonetheless.
The “sleep-when-she-sleeps” sleep. This advice is offered universally when you’re preparing for baby’s arrival. My mother told me to nap whenever the baby naps, as did my doctor, my pregnancy book and the Internet. Usually, when O goes down for a nap, my thought process goes a little something like this: Okay, I’ll nap too. Right after I finish the laundry. And let the dogs out. And wash bottles. Wait, have I eaten lunch? Okay, I’ll eat lunch first. Then, I’ll finish the laundry, then walk the dogs, then wash the bottles. You get the point. Usually, napping is the last thing on my mind once her eyes close.
However, on occasion, I decide to do it. When she gets settled, spits out that pacifier and starts making her funny sleep faces, I lay down too. I justify why everything else can wait and fall asleep. In a couple of hours, we wake up, snuggle for a few minutes and get on with our day. So what if I don’t have any clean underwear?
The poopy diaper. Just like most adults, Oakley feels great after a big poop. On the same token, she can be real crabby when she’s constipated. She takes a doo doo pretty much every day, but if she misses a day, she wakes up in a bad mood. Therefore, whenever she stops in the middle of playing, purses her lips and grunts, a part of me jumps for joy. The next few smelly minutes are well worth having a happy baby for the next 24 hours.
The clean outfit. O is a barfer. I have been told by everyone of authority (Google included) that this is not a bad thing. I’m even being told by Word right now that “barfer” isn’t a real term. So, there you have it. However, harmless or not, it’s a pain in the ass. After every feeding, if you move the child in any way, she spits up. She has to wear a bib when we go in the car, for an hour after she eats, if we take a walk…basically, she’s only without it when she’s sleeping. Yet, somehow, she manages to miss the bib or spit up during the two minutes that we’re putting on a new one.
If I can manage to get her into her pajamas at a proper time, or end the day without a few hours of naked time (an attempt to avoid the problem altogether), it’s a win in my book.
The milestones. Considering O has a hard time turning her head left, any sign that she’s developing normally is a gift to a worried mommy. When we reached the point where she smiled all the time, I was thrilled. When she started lifting her head (albeit to the right), it was exciting. Now, she’s getting strength in her legs. When we lift her up and put her feet on a hard surface, she stretches those stems out.
Every new milestone is an indication that my baby is growing up and doing so in a timely fashion.
The stretchy smile. As Oakley grows, this becomes more and more frequent. It’s by far my favorite part of the day. When baby girl is happy, and I mean really happy, she stretches her arms as high above her head as she can and smiles so big that her nose crinkles and sometimes she even lets out an excited squeak. All day, I change her diapers, feed her every few hours and keep her clean. But, sometimes, all it takes is a funny face and a sing-song pitch to make her truly ecstatic.
And while I can admit that the fact that I’m acting like a crazy person is what warrants that reaction, I like to think it’s more than that.
It’s as if she’s looking up at me, a mouth full of bubbles and saying, “You’re doing good, mommy.” Ketchup incident excluded.