George's First 3 Months
Phew - what a ride. I struggle to comprehend that George is already three months old, and at times wonder where the last 90 days have vanished to. It has been both the quickest and slowest three months of our lives.
When I think back on the past three months, I find that the first six weeks were quite different to the last. Those first weeks felt foggy and hazy, memories shrouded in a fug of newborn madness and our daily actions playing out in survival mode. From roughly week six onwards, life started to have some semblance of normality, the haze lifted. I felt more comfortable making plans, seeing friends and heading out on my own with bubba.
Now at the end of twelve weeks, we have friends over a couple of times a week and can generally bank on George sleeping well from 7pm, giving us our evenings together. This is what people meant by the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’, and I’m so happy to see it.
Celebrate the little wins
One of the hardest things I have had to come to terms with is not getting things done. This ranges from mundane household chores, to the grander plans I have for my maternity leave. Early on, I would get to the end of the day frustrated that I had only been able to accomplish one load of washing and have a shower.
I was discussing this frustration with a fellow new mama who concurred, however had some excellent words of wisdom from her own mother. Taking care of a newborn, keeping them warm and fed and clean, is a day’s worth of accomplishment. You are the sole carer for a tiny, vulnerable human during the daytime. And just because this isn’t a tick-able item on your to-do list, it is The Most Important Thing you now do. I needed to hear that.
I’ve also made a few changes to my approach from those early weeks. First, I worked on a list of all the jobs I want to achieve - everything from the little chores to the trickier projects. Then, I only attempt to do one thing a day, in case George throws me a curved ball. This means only planning one breakfast with a friend, or something like sorting out George’s passport application. I found that if I then achieved more, I felt good about it rather than achieving less and feeling bad.
The Wonder Weeks
The Wonder Weeks are stages in George’s life where his cognitive development resembles a raging disco in his brain. While they are essentially a positive thing, they have brought about periods of hugely disturbed sleep and a fussy little lord of the manor. The first one is due to occur around five weeks after baby’s due date. We had just started seeing an improvement in George’s nighttimes - him doing a four or five hour run - when all of a sudden he needed resettling every hour and a half. He then refused to sleep the following day. Twenty-four hours of broken sleep, after several weeks of broken sleep, utterly destroyed me. And at that point it time, I had not heard of the Wonder Weeks theory. I despaired and cried until I was too tired to cry any more.
The good news is that these episodes pass. And once I learned about the Wonder Weeks - what they meant and what to expect - it got more manageable. I highly recommend their app which explains what the little babes are going through and when to expect the next episode.
And the great news? During these episodes, we start seeing a little person emerge. George began to smile, rewarding us for all our hard work. He began to gurgle and chat, trying to communicate to us without crying. He is entertained by objects, people and faces, and responds to stimulus other than a nipple (although that is still his favourite).
Problem solved (for now)
These three months have been all about problem solving. At first, George hated being swaddled. A couple of weeks ago we tried it again, and he loves it. He falls asleep quicker, and seems to sleep for longer. The whole ‘fourth trimester’ theory really makes sense to us - being cuddled and wrapped up is his favourite thing. One piece of advice would be to never fully discredit anything. Something might work one day and not the next, and we are finding that different tricks work during different phases. It’s a gamble, but it always feels like you have hit the jackpot when something works. Although we’re still in a bit of a shituation with trying to contain those poonamis. Any tips most welcome.
Becoming a mama changes your priorities overnight, at warp speed with the force of a freight train. During my pregnancy, my well-being was the most important thing in our lives. I dictated what we ate (mainly burgers, much to Sam’s delight), my sleep was prioritized and we made sure not to stuff our weekends with too many plans. Our world revolved around moi (how nice).
When George arrived, I felt my entire self being engulfed in this new role. I was recovering, feeding and changing nappies, and any spare moment was for eating or sleeping. I vividly remember putting on my fancy-pants moisturizer for the first time and briefly remembering the ‘old me’. Over the weeks, pieces of my former self returned, and I would delight in realising that something was inspiring me outside of the newborn world. Leaving George with grandparents for just an hour for a coffee was so restorative, and reminded me that there was and will be life outside of motherhood.
Now that I am feeling somewhat normal again, my biggest priority is to try and absorb as much of George as possible. It is what every Mum (who is sleeping properly at least) will tell you - they grow up so fast. His smile, giggle, gurgle and sweet smell have almost a divine-like quality to them, melting me to the core. And while he doesn’t always smell so sweet, and the giggle is swapped for a grizzle, I know I will always wish I spent more time just ‘being’ with him and absorbing him. George, you have turned our world upside down and we could not be more thankful.
With love, Kate (a.k.a. Mum).
(P.S Week one with George is captured here)