One week ago marked six months of motherhood. Six glorious, sleep-deprived, challenging, beautiful months.
In the months of pregnancy people give you lots of advice, whether you want it or not. During that time, you take it all in stride and try to remember the big things while your pregnancy brain is trying to remember to put pants on before you leave for work.
Seriously, some days it was a miracle I got out the door fully clothed.
In the first six months of Drangonling’s life I have learned a plethora of things about myself, about parenting, and about children.
I have learned that despite my track record as a champion procrastinator, resulting in many nights of very little or no sleep in high school and college, I had NO IDEA what tired actually was. In the first two weeks of Dragonling’s life, I very quickly learned that my previous understanding of exhausted would become my daily norm. I now reserve “exhausted” for special occasions when I get less than 3 hours of sleep multiple days in a row.
I have learned that it is possible to function during the day without having completed a single REM cycle during the previous night. Not fun, but possible.
I have learned the art of napping during the day. Before Dragonling, I was always someone who rarely napped because when I did it ended up being three hours and I always had things I needed to do. I reserved naps for when I had nothing that had to be done the rest of the day and when I was sick. Now, I’m just grateful for a few minutes of sleep when I can get them. These day naps are still irritating to me because I usually wake up feeling less rested than before but I still usually take them when I get a chance.
I have learned housework will always come second to baby snuggles. A sink piled full of dishes, four loads of laundry to fold, and a vacuum collecting dust in the corner are just a few of the sights readily available to visitors in my home. I know as soon as we pass the ‘crawling’ milestone that vacuum will be used almost everyday, I wouldn’t want to wear it out too soon.
I have learned that you will have more beds/chairs for your child than you will for the rest of the family combined. I won’t even start counting the toys, how can one tiny person can amass so many things in such a short amount of time is amazing. Especially since they are just as happy playing with a pair of bright socks as a cute stuff toy that makes noise.
I have learned that my child’s bodily functions will be a regular part of at least one conversation my husband I have every day. Having a child will cure you of most discomfort about such topics. After six months, we could (and probably have) had such conversations while eating and not even bat an eye.
I have learned that cloth diapers really do contain the poo better. I find myself saying, after a blow out in a disposable, “If she had been in cloth that wouldn’t have happened.”
I have learned that lots of people think it’s weird that I use cloth diapers. I’m not exactly sure why they have this reaction. Cloth diapers have been around longer than disposables. Plus, with the trend towards sustainable living I’m surprised more people don’t use them. I don’t use cloth all the time but I definitely prefer it.
I have learned how to distinguish what my daughter needs by the sound of her cry. I know that is supposed to happen, but those first few weeks I was sure I would never figure it out. In those first few weeks all the cries sound the same, “Why aren’t you fixing this, you’re supposed to be the one to make it better!” Nothing makes you feel like a failure like a baby crying when you don’t know how to make it better.
I have learned that the sharpest object in the known universe are the slightly-too-long fingernails of an infant. They can peel your face off in mere seconds of tiny rage if her hands are too close to your cheek.
I have learned that fastening a snap, popping knees, squeaky floor boards, and refastening a nursing bra are all causes to wake the Dragonling. However, two cats racing through the house at top speed will not even cause a change in breathing. I will never understand…
The most important thing I have learned in the last six months is that nobody has all the answers. It doesn’t matter if they have one kid or seven, each one is different and will require a different tactic for each step of their development. They will still be happy to tell you what worked for them, even if you didn’t ask, but it does help to ask questions. Every parent has gone through the same major developmental stages, the details may be different but the big picture is generally the same. You never know who will have the right solution for you, maybe no one and then you’ll have to make your own solution but at least you are reaching out when there is the need.