Random Rants: Baby Time!
Or What I Learned While Watching My Goddaughter.
This week was spring break. The mother of my goddaughter, S, works these insane hours as an EMT basic. She generally has to be at work around 5:45AM, which means that most days, she has to be up at 3AM just to get O, her two month old baby, fed and herself ready before driving 30 minutes to drop her off with her Aunt.
Erin and I haven’t gotten to spend much time with either of them, so I offered to watch O some over spring break. It would let her sleep some more since we live five minutes down the street. This happened Friday and Saturday this week.
It meant insanely early mornings for me (since Erin’s still recovering from surgery, I’m letting her sleep as much as possible. Not to mention, she worked all week ON TOP OF the surgery, so she was very exhausted by the time the week ended). I’m not complaining, though, because it means I got to spend some time “baby time” with O.
And there’s some interesting things that I’ve learned the last two days:
1. Babies are boring, but in the cutest way possible.
I love O and I think she’s adorable and precious. She’s too cute for her own good. But babies don’t do much. O slept a lot, ate a lot and peed a lot, but that was about it. On occasion, she would babble up a storm, and when I’d put her on her belly, she’d hold up her head and try to roll over (what was fun to watch), but other than than, she didn’t do much.
And O sleeps a lot. We’re talking 4-hour power naps, which are awesome. And she didn’t cry much except when she was hungry, and even then it wasn’t that knife-to-your-ear-baby-scream that makes everyone cringe a little. S kept asking me if keeping her for the last two days has “turned me off” from wanting one of my own, but it hasn’t. If anything, it’s made me want kids more. If my babies are as good as O is, I’d have eight. (Okay, that last was an exaggeration. I can’t put 8 kids through college.)
2. Babies are a lot of work on very little sleep.
S wakes O up in the mornings to feed her, but the last two days, she’s needed another feeding when she got here because she didn’t eat enough prior to being dropped off. So at 5AM the last two days, I’ve been baby in one hand, making a bottle with the other. Then feeding, then burping, then changing a diaper, then rocking her and thinking calm, sleepy thoughts at her, praying she’d go back to sleep.
And she would, but by that time, I’d been up for at least an hour. Erin said, jokingly, that it’s “good practice” for when I become a stay-at-home mom. I then reminded her that she better do well in graduate school and make that money so I could be. Then we laughed, and then O fussed about it. At one point, she wouldn’t go back to sleep (because I didn’t know the proper sleeping position that she liked at the time), so I took her downstairs so Erin could sleep without interruption. Erin found me, asleep on the couch, with O asleep in my arms. She took pictures, but I have sleep face and it’s not attractive.
3. Baby time is your time.
This kinda goes a long with number two, but with more sleep (if that’s even possible). You have two options when it comes to babies: do what they want or listen to them scream. If O got fussy, I was all over it thinking about what was the last thing we did and what could she possibly want or need. Usually it was food.
A couple friends, Erin and I all went out for Mexican food this afternoon, and we took O with us since we had her. She slept all the way there and then woke up and got fussy just as our food was brought out. Instead of eating, I held her to calm her down while Erin started to make a bottle. S showed up and took over so we could eat, but baby time is your time.
4. There’s a fine line between nap time and get-stuff-done time.
Whenever we put O down for a nap, there was always the immediate afterwards where Erin and I would sit on the couch and say, “What do you want to do?” Because the options were always something like sleep or clean, sleep or read/blog, sleep or study. We picked sleep. I know, eventually, it’ll get to a point when we’ll have to pick the other thing, but we picked sleep. Best. Decision. Ever.
5. My mother is going to make the absolute BEST grandmother.
I took O over to my parents’ house. My family loves babies, and it’s been a few years since there’s been a baby in the family, and the last baby was my cousin’s baby, so he wasn’t even around very often. My mom wanted to see O, and so did my sister. We went over there, and my mom immediately wanted to hold her. Then my sister did. Then Erin changed her diaper.
Then my mom started in with, “Well, have you been reading to her?” Uhm… No? She’s 2-months-old… “You really should read to her. It helps their development.” I don’t have any books. “Here, we have boxes full of books you can read to her.”
Then she continued, “Have you given her tummy time?” Tummy time? “Yes, where you put her on her belly and let her practice pushing herself up and holding up her head. It helps her muscles grow stronger. Helps her development. Here, let me show you.”
So we put her on a blanket and let her root around on the floor for awhile, all sitting around her in a circle. I asked my mom, “Is this what you would do with us? Just sit around and watch us root around?”
My mom said, “Of course not. I would put you in a play pen so you could root around without me having to watch you all the time and then I’d go do laundry or something.”
My mom has this way of being able to give advice and explain stuff without sounding like an insufferable know-it-all. She can tell you stuff and not make you feel like an idiot for not knowing that stuff. It’s a gift, and not everyone has it. Sometimes, I think that gift wasn’t given to me, but then other times… maybe it was.
6. Animals have feelings too.
Bentley is the beagle/hound/terrier that Erin brought with her into our family. He was brought to the vet after someone hit him on the street. The vet fixed him up, but no one ever claimed him, so Erin adopted. He’s been a welcomed addition to our family, but he get jealous. Erin was playing with O, tickling her belly, and Bentley came up and placed his head on O’s belly to get the attention from Erin that she was giving to O.
Both of our dogs (Bentley and Yukon) get jealous easily, and bringing in a new member to the family can be difficult on them too. I’m glad they’re getting the opportunity to get use to babies with O so that when we have our own in a few years it won’t be as great a transition. We have quite a zoo as is (two dogs, five cats, two rats, and a ferret), and we don’t plan on taking in anymore animals for a long time.
With kids coming into the picture in a few years, we don’t want to add any more responsibility to our list than we already have. Babies will be the first priority, obviously, but we want to make sure that all of our pets get adequate attention as well. It’s not easy balancing baby duties and pets, so I’m glad that when that time comes for Erin and I, that we’ll have the support of each other. It’s really very nice being able to have someone I can count on to help me out and we work really well together.
7. Pack n’ Plays are amazing.
When I have kids, I want one. They are amazing. You just unfold them and you have a play pen/portable crib for the baby. My mom borrowed her neighbor’s pack n’ play for us so that we would have somewhere for O to sleep. It had lights and music and was this pretty brown color with pink accents. It had wheels to help you move it around.
The downside? It took one person to set it up for use… but two to take it down to transport it. That was complicated. And you know what else is complicated? Car seat buttons. I swear, you have to push those things with every bit of strength you have, and even then it might not be enough to get the handle to budge.
8. The best type of baby time is the temporary baby time.
I loved having O for the two days we had her. I’ll love having her some over the summer on the really early days that S has to work. I love playing with O, rocking her, making faces at her, watching her smile, changing her diapers, feeding her. I loved every bit of everything that we did. I loved carrying her around and putting her in the car seat in the car to go driving with her. I loved taking her to my parents and showing her off. I loved taking her out to lunch with her.
I loved trying to figure out what she needed when she was fussy because it’s like a puzzle I have to solve. I loved listening to all the sounds she made throughout the day.
But you know what else I loved? Giving her back to her momma. There’s a saying that the best part of having kids is having grandkids so that you can have all the perks of having a baby, but then you get to give them back at the end of the day.
I love children, and O is probably the most well behaved baby on the planet (seriously, she was fussy once and cried once over the two days we had her). But I can wait to have my own, even though I really want to have kids… like… yesterday.
Erin is 27, and I’m 28. She’s in graduate school (started this week), and I’m trying to get my +30 for work (almost half way done). We want to travel to Europe. We want to get married and have a ceremony and whole weekend party. We want to enjoy planning all that and experiencing it all together without having to worry about babies on top of it. We want to be able to focus on school and education so that we’ll be better prepared (because Erin’s graduate classes are no joke).
So even though we could have kids right now if we wanted to because we’re technically “ready” (whatever that means), we’re choosing to wait because there is stuff we want to do first. Kids for us will happen when it’s time for it to happen, which is probably in about two years. But until then, I have my goddaughter, O, to have my baby fix, and I’m going to enjoy every moment of it.