How am I doing 3 months postpartum? Overall, great! But I also have challenges. Here are some of my thoughts and feelings I’d like to share.
Honestly, I don’t feel that different after having a baby. I seem to be missing the whole “Wow, my life has changed so much and now I truly know what life is about!” or the “OMG what have I gotten myself into?” How I feel largely depends on the day! The biggest challenge for me is when I’m not at my best, having to put on a happy face anyway – I’ve always been pretty transparent about emotions – because I want Catherine to always see a twinkle in my eye, no matter what. This is huge motivation for me to do what I need to do to be healthy and happy so I can be a strong momma for her. When I’m having a bad moment, it truly breaks my heart when I can’t muster up the heart for an enthusiastic smile for her. So I can’t imagine how people who have children under very difficult circumstances such as poverty, a bad marriage, or illness cope.
The other thing I can say is thank goodness for naps, and moms with babies who aren’t nappers deserve a salute. Naps are when mommies recharge for the next round of play. Catherine has days when she doesn’t want to nap, and today is one of those days – this week, actually. So with this experience fresh on my mind – not yet forgotten after a sweet smile from her – I can honestly say that as I rush around trying to get one thing done and she constantly wakes up the second I put her down, there are days when you don’t just wish she’d take a nap – you just wish she’d take a *$@-ing nap!
In general, I have enough energy and I don’t mind that Catherine keeps me on my toes. In fact, I like it. I like playing with her, changing her diaper, feeding her, and rocking her to sleep all while attempting to prepare dinner and apply mascara. There’s not much difference between this and work, except I’m taking care of my daughter instead of some client’s efforts to sell more of a product (I ask you – which matters more???). Our days are busy and have moments of monotony but mostly they are fun and I definitely fall more and more in love with her every day. I easily love her way more than I love myself. Not even a question. But there are times, like this week, when I’ve started to wonder about my own hopes and dreams. As busy as I am with Catherine, will I ever publish a novel, move to that quaint seaside town, and basically live the complete life I envisioned for myself? I think I can, but the early days are for adjusting and I’ll have to come up with a frame of mind and a strategy if I ever hope to see those kinds of dreams become a reality. I think that’s where a partner can come in. When you’re not alone in your dreams but have a partner who shares your vision and can help you work towards it, it’s easier to imagine those dreams coming true.
Other than those worries that crop up occasionally as a result of major, permanent life changes, things are good. Nothing like people said. People are so different, so every person’s experience with motherhood will be different. I find being a mommy to Catherine comes naturally. But it isn’t without its “days” as I’ve expressed to you above.
The feelings I have are all because I love her. I love her so much that I feel an enormous pressure to do everything right – for her. So I guess what I’m trying to say is, it isn’t the daily tasks that come with caring for a baby that have shocked me – it is the more long-term implications of having a baby. How I’m living my life for someone else in a way, not just myself. That’s a big deal!
Catherine saw the beach for the first time this weekend! She didn’t think too much of it and I had a hard time getting her to nap there, even under a huge shady tent in a playpen with a cool sheet. We managed to get a few shots while there, but with the wind and sun it was pretty difficult to get a good one. I’m hoping I’ll have a water baby…maybe next year!
The hard thing about having a new baby is that, amazing as she is, I don’t have much time to convey that amazingness here (INSERT: I got interrupted at least 10 times while writing this).
It really is hard – I’d love to write thoughtful, well-written paragraphs about how Catherine has and hasn’t changed our lives, but there’s just no time. I can only jot down scrambled little tidbits and post pictures. If I did try to write something decent, I’d just get interrupted before I was halfway through.
But…I still need to write something, so here goes. Here’s a little stream of consciousness about our 3-month-old baby girl.
She loves mickey mouse cartoons. I know. It’s terrible. We actually do not let her watch tv. But on the rare occasions she’s had a carseat meltdown I’ve put Mickey on my iphone and she is instantly mesmerized.
She has a game she plays while breastfeeding. She stops eating, turns her big blue eyes to stare at me expectantly, and the second I smile at her or make a funny face she turns her face back quickly to my boob and lunges for it with a huge grin on her face. She does this over and over again. She’s totally flirting with her mommy and it’s so adorable. She learned this when I caught her eye once while she was eating and smiled at her, and she must have liked the little game because that was all it took and she initiates it on her own now.
She likes to see the world. Whereas before, she was most content with her face cuddled against my chest, now she only wants to do that when she’s sleepy. The rest of the time, she fusses to let us know she wants to be carried “shotgun” as Chris calls it, facing out. Luckily I figured out that the Baby K’tan will do this, so I carry her everywhere with me and she gets a front seat view of whatever adventure we’re getting ourselves into…whether shopping for baby books at Barnes and Noble, or browsing around Target for things we don’t need. I have ordered a couple of other carriers as I feel she’s outgrowing the K’tan, and we’ll see which ones she likes best. Carriers are one of my top favorite baby products. I LOVE having her close to me at all times!
She hangs out with mom in the kitchen. I’m hoping she’ll be a cook like me. She sits in her high chair and watches while I chop vegetables. I talk to her the whole time, telling her what I’m doing and letting her smell the herbs – parsley, basil, thyme – and put her tongue to some of the vegetables and fruits.
She babbles constantly. I wonder if this is a sign she’ll be an extravert. If we’re having a conversation, she talks louder and louder as if she’s saying “hey! hey hey hey! I’m talking too! Listen to me!” When we talk to her, she has a real conversation back with her made up words. She puts so much heart into it, focusing on varying her intonation and volume and trying out news sounds. I don’t need to say how adorable this is to watch.
She has strong opinions on what she wants. She’s a very chill and happy baby but boy when she wants or doesn’t want something she knows how to let us know. I love this quality. I can tell the difference between her cries. There’s the melodramatic “non-cry” which is more her complaining in a very loud voice so I know just how pathetic it is that I haven’t already fed her 5 seconds ago! It’s funny and slightly embarrassing as I rush to the dressing room at Macy’s with her yelling dramatically her woes of not being fed as salesladies look our way surprised and smile a little at the drama of it all. But then there are actual cries when she’s overtired or the worst, when I was showering and she woke up and I didn’t get to her soon enough, and I see tears on her cheeks – that breaks my heart. Or her loud, sudden, traumatized cry because a loud ambulance rushed up on our bumper and woke her from her sleep and scared her. Poor baby!!!
She HATES tummy time. We’re so behind. She has good head control, but she isn’t pushing up yet and she isn’t rolling over. She just lays there defeated from the get go. I’m not as on top of it as I should be because who wants to spoil her baby’s good mood by making her do something she hates?
She likes books. And I am SUPER excited to try my best to nurture a love of reading. I read to her almost daily. I’ve already decided that for every single holiday Chris and I will buy her a very nice book and if she likes this when she’s older, we’ll continue to do it until we die. Upon which time she will have an awesome library. I bought her her first book already, for her first Halloween. It’s called The Monsters’ Monster. I chose it because it teaches a lesson – that no one likes a meanie and that sometimes it’s liberating to just be kind –
– but more importantly because I like the way it’s written. I like reading books to Catherine that have some poetry to them. I like fun rhymes and stories that flow. So many books don’t pay careful attention to the art of writing. They seem to just slap a story down. These books end up feeling cumbersome and boring to read. Whereas the well-written ones just flow and are a pleasure to read out loud. (By the way, this is my same approach to a keynote presentation. lol) Anyway, I’m rambling!
Chris and I are amazing by just how cute we think our daughter is. I mean, neither of us are bad looking but did we really create something so perfect? Look at her skin, it’s so smooth and soft. It makes my own look so rough! Look at her huge blue eyes and her perfect pink mouth and her soft brownish blond hair and her fat cheeks that I could kiss forever!
Speaking of Chris – he has a very special relationship with her. The way he talks to her and interacts with her would make any mom melt. He is very protective but at the same time like most dads has a more laid back approach than me. And he kids with her and I think she will probably develop a very nice sense of humor because of him.
I spend a lot of time talking to her (obviously, we’re together 24/7) and working with her on words and sounds. I do tend to favor the sound “ma” I must say. One day she was lying on the bed and I was folding laundry and putting it away. Each time I left her sight she called out “mamamamama” until I came back. I know she didn’t know what she was saying, she was just complaining when I left. But I was excited nonetheless.
She’s laughing now. She started this about 2 weeks ago. Here’s how it happened. She was lying on the bed. I disappeared and called “Where’s Mommy???” Then I reappeared and said “Here’s Mommy!!” and she burst into giggles. It brought tears to my eyes. She did this over and over again. Now Chris does a great job of getting her to laugh, better than me. He dips her a little and she laughs for him. She’s got a very serious little face at times, but with mommy and daddy she is almost constantly smiling. Even when she’s crying, we can “call her bluff” (as Chris says) and make her crack a grin. Each time we walk up to her crib where she’s been sleeping her face just lights up with the biggest grin. From her photos, you’d think she was a very serious baby! You wouldn’t know she is nearly always smiling when with us. But as soon as I get out the camera, she focuses intently on it with a serious look on her face.
She has always been a great sleeper and fell into a perfect eat, play, nap schedule naturally, HOWEVER, she has recently become more difficult to put down – and stay down – for her naps. I haven’t figured out what to do yet to get her back on a schedule. Right now, I’m finding it hard to get anything done during the day. We’ll figure something out. At least she was kind to us and began sleeping through the night early on. Thank you my dear for that! Rocking her to sleep is one of my greatest pleasures – but not when I’ve done it 5 times in a row.
Chris and I feel we are so lucky. She’s really awesome and has been as perfect a baby as we could have hoped for. I don’t mean to make motherhood seem easy. As you’ll see in another post there are plenty of my own personal challenges that come with it. It’s life changing in some ways, and not so in others.
Well, that was my disjointed and incomplete account of Catherine at 3 months! Bottom line – the one thing that IS certain about having a baby is the love we feel for her – it’s enormous!
Had a great breakfast with Ms. Lorene. Catherine had a growth spurt the past couple days and as a result ate CONSTANTLY, didn’t seem to get full, missed naps, and didn’t sleep through the night. Well, you can see in her pictures that she truly did grow so much in just two days!!
We love Lorene and I’m so glad we’ve gotten to spend some good time with her and Catherine has gotten plenty of snuggles from her.
We’ve been having so much fun visiting Grandpa and Grandma Cobb in Mississippi! But we are also very homesick for our Chris, who has been traveling for work. Staying home alone can sometimes get lonely…staying home with my Meeks the schnauzer is not quite as lonely…but being apart from your partner with a baby is extra lonely! We miss our Chris!
Chris and I have made some strong and wonderful memories going out to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at some of our favorite places in Atlanta over and over and over again. We try to branch out every so often, but we always go back to that select group of restaurants that, time after time, gives us the same delicious food, perfectly poured drinks, relaxing atmosphere, and reliable service that make us love them.
So naturally, we’ve been gradually taking Catherine to all of these places. One of the best things about parenthood is introducing her to all the things we love, and making her a part of the new memories we’ll make!
Here are a few of our very favorites.
Brunch at Flying Biscuit (just plain stuff-your-face scrumptious)