Today was Sam’s one-month checkup. I can’t believe that he’s been ours for an entire month. It seems like he was born just a blink ago, and yet it seems like he’s been ours forever. Here are some things I’ve learned so far as a new mom.
1. Always, always book an eight o’clock doctor’s appointment. I have trouble getting out the door with Sam and making it to my destination (a park, Ben’s store) on time. Thankfully I had Ben’s help this morning. We showed up with two minutes to spare and no one else in the office. No lines, less germs, very friendly faces. Early morning beats late afternoon every time.
2. I keep repeating the phrase, “I’ve turned into a crazy person.” Now, I don’t really mean this, but I’m certainly leaning toward the neurotic, first-time parent side of the scale. Are my hands winter-dry and bleeding from washing and purelling them before I pick up Sam? Yes. Do I worry he’s not getting enough to eat? Yup. Do I worry that he isn’t alert enough? Awake enough? Yes and yes. Do I worry his stool looks a little too orange, a little too yellow, a smidge browner than yesterday, a tiny bit avocado-ey today? Yes. Do I worry that I’ll smash in one of his cranial soft spots while dressing him in his my favorite onesie? Absolutely. Do I silently judge smokers when I pass them with my stroller and smugly think, “Baby poisoner”? You betcha. But. BUT. I have yet to shield him in a custom-made, germ-free bubble, so I’ve got that going for me.
I love being Sam’s mom. I still love being Ben’s wife. I laugh and am thankful each day. I also cry a lot, randomly, which Ben reassures me is normal. After one month of motherhood, I’ve learned that I need to relax a little and stop telling people I’m crazy.
3. This morning, as we drove to the doctor’s office, I was nervous that he wouldn’t weigh enough or that he’d have an impromptu case of jaundice (see #2) and I cannot tell you how relieved I was when the medical assistant told me that he weighed in at ten pounds, eight ounces — nearly three pounds more than his birth weight! I felt so proud ,and isn’t it a strange thing to be proud of someone who cannot wipe himself?
4. Ben has definitely earned this mug, which I bought him last week. Many times I’ve thought about how hard it’d be to be a single parent; I couldn’t do it and I’m thankful to have, in my opinion, the best husband in the world. It’s just been this week, four weeks into the game, that I’ve started doing the middle of the night changing and feeding on my own. Not once has Ben complained, and more than once he has said, “Any time you want to wake me, go ahead.” Since I’m not working and he is, me taking over the night sessions seems perfectly reasonable, and maybe it will change once I’m back at school, but in the meantime I’ve started to give him a bit more uninterrupted sleep so he can help customers find the latest Tony Hillerman novels.
Ben’s also been introducing Sam to Frederick Buechner. You can never start too early.
5. Sam is funny. Maybe he doesn’t know it, but he is. He makes this face after he’s fed like he‘s just won the milk lottery. He purses his lips, arches his back, and exudes the contentment of a rich, fat lady reclining on a chaise lounger. This comes close to capturing it:
Also, he loves for us to change his diaper, and then — while he’s strapped into the changing table as Ben and I wash our hands — release a loud, gurgly poo in his fresh new diaper.
6. It really does take a village to raise a child. Maybe even a small city. I’m not sure I could’ve survived without lots of prayer, or family and friends whose advice and encouragement I’ve needed and gladly received on a daily basis. No man is an island, and no mother is lost at sea when she knows the people I do.