It doesn’t make much sense to me, but somehow an entire month has passed since our precious baby boy made his way into the world. My entire concept of time has pretty much been turned inside out at this point, but I’m not fighting it anymore (like I was that first week or so after he was born). It just doesn’t seem like he should even be here yet (seems like I should still be pregnant or something), but at the same time it feels as if he’s been here for years. I can’t really remember exactly what I was doing before all of this, as cliche and corny as that may sound. But enough about me, lets talk about Russ.
For one thing, Russ no longer resembles a smushy ball of marshmallow cream the way he did as a newborn. He actually has discernable, unique features and traits now that are really starting to come out, which is amazing to behold. You spend so much time before your baby arrives wondering exactly what they’ll develop into, who they’ll look like, what personality they’ll have – and then you get this newborn that seems like barely formed clay in so many ways. But very quickly, he’s grown out of the “just born” thing and into the “I’m here!” stage. It’s pretty fun to watch, but still quite humbling to realize how quickly he can change.
He’s starting to smile and make little cooing noises that sometimes almost seem to be amused giggles, but without the giggling. It’s strange and kind of hard to describe, but there’s a personality forming there that I just love. He is so into what’s going on around him, so aware, and I am really happy to see that awareness already forming in him. That’s probably one of my biggest pet peeves, to be honest – unaware, oblivious people. You know, the kinds that get in front of you in Walmart, shuffling along at the speed of a snail stampeding through a puddle of peanut butter, talking on their phone, ignoring their (often annoying and undisciplined) kids, and then come screeching to a halt right in front of you while they stop and ponder whatever little thing is running through their mind at that moment. I can’t deal with it!! So I’m really happy to see that Russ is already so in tune with the sights, sounds, and people that are all around him. I hope that as he grows up, that will continue to grow and flourish in him.
Also making an appearance – and this is something I’m really excited about – is Russ’s recognition of music. Not necessarily saying that he actually “recognizes” certains songs/artists (though he might, who knows?), but simply that he hears music and responds to it. He seems to really prefer hard rock and “alternative” (whatever that means these days) over lullabies. Jonathan and I have both lulled him into a deep sleep this past week using pretty hard tunes that would make most babies curl into the fetal position and scream bloody murder. So far, bands he seems to like include Slipknot, The Darkness (gotta love ’em, even if they did only produce one album before disbanding), Nine Inch Nails (Mommy’s so proud), Five Finger Death Punch, and some older groups like Journey, ACDC, etc. I do like a little country music also, so he’s had his fair share of Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Jamey Johnson, and Lady Antebellum – usually in the mornings, when he’s a bit fussy and needs some settling, so I pick him up and we “dance” to the music until he falls asleep. I know that you’re not supposed to fall into the habit of rocking your baby to sleep, yada yada yada, but I don’t buy all this baloney about “spoiling” your baby. He’s a baby, I’ll worry about spoiling him when he’s a bit older than a month. For now, we’re gonna dance.
A friend of mine and I were discussing my phrase “the new normal” the other day, and she managed to put into words a phenomenon that I hadn’t yet been able to really put my finger one – the “new normal” when you become a mom is that there suddenly isn’t a “normal” at all. Everything is constantly changing and evolving, and the only thing that becomes routine about all of this is that you are always, always trying to figure out something. You’re always trying to find your footing, and the minute you think you’ve got it, something else about your baby changes and you’re back to playing catch-up. Not that it bothers me, it’s just that I think I’ve done more “troubleshooting” in the last month of being a mom than I did in the past 3.5 years at my job. And that can really put some things into perspective.
Jonathan and I have agreed that over the last few years when we were both working and just focusing on each other, I discovered that I don’t necessarily handle stress “well.” I handle certain kinds of stress incredibly well, yes – but other kinds (like the kind I often encountered in some situations at work) break me down very quickly.
Of course, that’s about all I can say about that without going too deeply into detail, and I like to keep things relatively vague and impersonal when it comes to discussing work issues. But I’ll leave it at saying this: being up to my wrists in poop, pee, and a yelling infant (and doing it on significantly less sleep than I was getting before, and while trying to recover from giving birth) is definitely easier for me to handle than oh, say, playing corporate politics and guessing what “important” people want me to think, wear, do, or say. I may not have the “potential” or the je ne sais quoi that is necessary to climb the rungs of the corporate ladder – in fact, I’ll go you one better and admit that I definitely don’t possess those qualities. But I can tell you one thing: I’ve got what it takes to be this kid’s momma. He is the biggest, most important, most complex, most challenging, and most rewarding “project” I will ever, ever take on. I have faith in that, even if I don’t always feel like I’m good enough. Most of the best moms I know (including my own) hold the maternal juxtaposition of having faith in their ability to be the best mom possible, while also having insecurity about the job they’re doing. Perhaps that’s what keeps these women on their toes – whatever the case, I’m taking a page from their book. Thank God I have models to look to, especially my own mom and my sister and sisters in law, my mother in law, and a few other choice examples. Don’t really know where I’d turn to without them.
So that wraps up Russ’s first month! New pics are coming, I just have to find the time to sit down with Hubby’s work computer and edit them/resize them (his photo editing program is so much better than mine) – in between doing copious amounts of laundry, trying to stay hydrated while breastfeeding (harder than I thought it would be, oddly enough), realizing for the 8th time this week that I need to do my toenails because they look like crap, etc. But I’ll get to it eventually!