TD is one month old, so I’d like to take a moment and reflect on how things have manifested with my new family one month in:
Nights Aren’t So Bad
It’s natural to be anxious about sleep, and there are families that routinely have rough nights. TD isn’t all that bad, though. She wakes up to eat every two or three hours, and then usually goes right back to sleep. On occasion, she changes the routine. On Friday night, for instance, after eating at 12:30am, she decided she wasn’t quite ready to go back to bed. So, rather than try to force her to sleep1, I just took her out of the bedroom and held her for about an hour. It wasn’t the most fun I’ve ever had, but I mean, I have TV and books and stuff. It’s fine. Most nights, though, it’s eat and then right back to sleep. All told, Kathleen and I each get about six to seven hours of sleep a night. Hard to complain too much.
I attribute the success of our nighttime routine to sharing the overnight load. Unfortunately, due to a five-day trip that Kathleen is taking in September, we have to save most of the milk that she pumps. This means that we can’t simply alternate feedings, which I think would be the ideal situation for both of us. However, Kathleen generally goes to sleep at around 9:30pm, while I’m typically up for another 90 minutes or so. Taking the first overnight feeding– which comes anywhere between 10:30pm and 12:30am– gives Kathleen several hours of uninterrupted rest to start the night.
In the instances where TD wants to do some middle-of-the-night party time, I’m often the one taking her off of Kathleen’s hands so she can get back to sleep.
It’s not perfect; Kathleen is often up at 2:00am, 4:00am, and/or 6:00am to feed2. But given the circumstances, it’s a pretty good arrangement. We’re both reasonably rested, and neither of us has needed a nap since the first week we brought TD home.
We’re Not Under House Arrest
While we do have to be careful with TD in the wild for the first two months3, Kathleen and I have been able to go out and about a bit from time to time. Thanks to TD’s proclivity to nap from 4:00pm to 6:00pm, we’ve been able to sneak in a happy hour or two.
We also have some good friends that we enjoy visiting. One family has a newborn just two weeks older than TD. While their family is larger, they welcome us into their home frequently. Moreover, we have a few un-babied friends who don’t mind a little one tagging along at this early stage.
When We Are Home, It’s Manageable
Still, a vast majority of our time is spent at home. Kathleen works in her downstairs office while I futz upstairs making sure TD isn’t losing her mind. We take a daily family walk– Kathleen carries TD while I manage Stanley– and we’re able to pass TD off in the event one of us needs to leave the house to run an errand4.
We’re binge watching Survivor seasons5, which gives us an activity to pass the slow times where TD needs supervision, but isn’t doing much.
My Day-t0-Day Hasn’t Changed That Much (Yet)
TD doesn’t do much outside of wiggle, cry, and sleep. That means that my day-to-day hasn’t really been impacted that much yet6. That means I have time to do the general household maintenance7 that needs to get done.
It also means Kathleen and I can still swing some our of typical weekend activities. This past Saturday, we went up to Sauvie Island8 and load up on cheap veggies, followed by an afternoon of projecting in the kitchen9.
This is pretty status quo Saturday from our pre-baby days.
Onto Month Two
Things are changing rapidly. By the end of this month, TD will be able to hold her head up and smile on purpose10. And she’ll be able to react and interact with a little more purpose as she gains a bit more motor control over her flippity-floppity limbs.
Her eating habits are starting to change, too, taking in more with each feeding. Theoretically, this means she should have fewer nighttime wakings, but on Saturday TD was up from 3:00am until 5:30am, so predict future behaviors at your own risk.
- Which, as a general strategy, is not a good one.
- The schedule isn’t that consistent, but on average, I’d say Kathleen is up 2.5x/night to feed TD.
- A baby’s immune system is essentially useless until Month Three.
- Or to maintain general sanity.
- One of my greatest nerd victories is bestowing my love of Survivor onto Kathleen. At first, she watched more as a courtesy to me, but reasonably quickly she became wrapped up in the show. Season 34 coming up in the spring of ’17 is a season of returning players, and I’m trying to get her up to speed on all the relevant seasons leading up to the premiere in February. That’s a lot of Survivor to watch, and she’s doing it with genuine excitement. It is a lot of fun to be able to share in something that most people find asinine.
- Once she becomes mobile, it changes the entire structure of the day.
- Chores and errands.
- A local farming community about 10 miles west of our house.
- I had an inexplicable urge to make pickles. There are many things about Portland that irritate me, but some things have obviously rubbed off on me.
- During the first 4-6 weeks of life, babies can’t smile out of happiness. Baby smiles at this early stage are due to gas. So while it’s cute to see the corners of her mouth curl upwards, it’s because she’s farting.