Monday, March 18, 2013

Lessons learned

Lesson 1: The best place to get dirty is in the shower.
We've gotten in the habit of family showers. All three of us jump in and we have it down to an art. I clean up with hot water while Dan and Jax hang out, then we turn down pressure and temp and the boys jump under the water to clean the baby. We hand off the baby, Dan turns the pressure and temp back up and he gets clean while Jackson gets a snack. Then the boys get out first, dry off, get dressed, and play while I do the same and do all of my bedtime preps. Then Jax and I nurse while Dan and Wally have cuddle time. It's a random routine, but it works for our family and our fur baby and actual baby enjoy it each time. Now, Dan and I have each taken our turn being peed on in the shower. Sometimes it's before we've gotten clean, sometimes after. Either way we're already in the shower. There's been blowout diapers, golden showers, and vomit sessions that lead to repeat bathing for one or all of us. Dan has been pooped on, and I've put my hand in a blowout. But never, I mean never, did I expect what happened the other night. As we're finishing up the shower, Jax is just nursing away and Dan is cleaning up. Jax has been really gassy lately, and I'm not sure if anyone has ever had gas in the shower--- but it's like heavier than the steam or something because it just seems to sit right at nose level. So Jax will have gas in the shower and it smells so awful! Well, not this time. Nope. He shot out poop all over the shower! Breastfed babies have soft, mustard or green colored poops and this came out like a cannon. It actually made noise, as he filled up my hand and arm. It was on the shower wall, the curtain, the tub, my hand, my arm, everywhere. And it smelled awful. Dan of course is just laughing at me as I am saying, "turn down the temperature so I can put him under! Oh my gosh this is so gross! Dan, it's not funny. I can't believe he just had butt cannon all over. gross. Stop laughing and help!" Needless to say, the best place to get dirty is when you're already in the shower. We finished up and the boys jumped out like normal while I did a repeat body clean and cleaned the shower, wall, tub and curtain. What a night. 

Lesson 2: Murphy's Law is real.
If it CAN go wrong, it will. If you schedule an appointment/ errand for baby's naptime expecting him to sleep through it, he will inevitable be awake and fussy the whole time. If you throw in the laundry, you will of course immediately dirty something that could've gone in with that load. If you put clean sheets/ clothes/ diapers on a baby- he will dirty them all together. If you plan to have time to yourself, your child and/or puppy will be particularly needy. It's a wonderful life, but such a mess! 

Lesson 3: Breastmilk is amazing.
Warning: Do not read on if you won't want to about unconventional benefits of bf. I thought I knew all the perks of breastfeeding. Flat tummy, big boobs, healthy baby, no period, better smelling poops. But then, I learn more. Breastmilk is a living thing, not just something babies eat. It's full of immune boosters, healthy bacteria, and lots of other beneficial components that cannot be duplicated in formula. Formula feeding is adequate for nutrition when necessary, but I would strongly urge any new mother to at least try bf- even for a few days, the benefits for your child are irreplaceable. So, unconventional benefits: those immune booster in breastmilk can have healing properties. I'd heard of applying breastmilk to cuts, rashes, acne, etc to help clear up skin. I've even heard of using the milk to treat soreness related to early bf. But I had never heard of breastmilk as a natural antibiotic. Lately Jackson has had a cold, and Sunday night it spread to his eye- yes his eye. Apparently it's quite common in little ones. It can either be the congestion clogging the tear duct, congestion backing up from the sinuses, or the virus/ bacteria that caused the cold can actually move into the eye and wreak havoc. Poor Jackson had Quasimodo eye that was swollen, red, and crusted shut with green goup. At his 2am feeding I was reading more about this eye irritation when I cam across a recommendation: Put breastmilk in his eye. Say what? Yes, according to this recommendation the immunoglobulin A in breastmilk helps combat the infection. Also, it recommended massaging the undereye/ tearduct to possibly unclog it. I figure he eats it, it can't hurt. And he had an appointment scheduled for the am. His eye was just so crusty and gross, poor baby. So I tried it. I dropped some on the outside of his eye to wipe away the dried goop, and dropped some into his eye to flush out the green. I did this a few times during his feeding. Then at 6am, his eye looked amazing so I did it again! By his 9am appointment you could barely tell a difference in the two eyes!!! AMAZING. Of course now I look like two different people. 1. A mom who goes in for every little thing. and 2.  A crazy woman who uses breastmilk to treat eye infections. I feel like such a hippy, crazy mom. But, if it's working and not harming him, how can I not offer to help? We got antibiotic eye drops to administer a few times per day, but I am torn given the amazing transformation mama's milk has already done. We'll end up using the doctor prescribed treatment, but I can't help but wonder if the breastmilk made a difference. 

Lesson 4: I cannot do it all.
"When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways." 1 Corinthians 13:11. This verse is so fitting for comparing pre-baby and post-baby life. The verse discusses the maturity we experience as believers when we grow in the Word, well, it also applies as we've grown as parents. Pre-baby, pre-marriage I would occasionally be overwhelmed with the balance of housework, work, and relaxation time but felt like I generally had it together. I had lots of leisure time to organize and re-organize closets, shop, cook for fun, keep up the laundry, etc. Then came our puppy Wally, and leisure time went down. Then came my husband, which brought twice the workload for groceries, cooking, and laundry- but thankfully twice the help too! Now, with baby, it is all but impossible to do it all. We've managed to work out system so far of rotating chores and taking care of Jackson. I know look back to my days of living husband, baby and puppy free and wonder where my freetime and extra money went in those days? Now, all of my decisions are based on those factors. The biggest adjustment for me is to let the housework go. Now our house is not messy by any means, but I am an organized quasi-neat freak and leaving the dishes in the sink has taken some work to allow to happen. Again, before I thought like a child- now I think like a mom. I can do the dishes, or go spend a few minutes with my husband before the baby wakes up. I can vacuum the house or play with my baby. Your scale for problem solving and reasoning totally shifts. My priorities have shifted to mom duties, wife duties, house duties, then work duties. However, as we all know too well, often time life doesn't go by our priorities. Occasionally they get juggled around, and that still bothers me. If housework it put off too long, I have a cleaning spree and get anxiety about it. It's a work in progress and I have a helpful, understanding, patient husband by my side to help through it all. Without his partnership there is no way I could do any of this! 

Lesson 5: What's right for your family may not be right for all families.
Some of us are stay at home moms; some of us work twice as hard as career women and moms. Some of us are organic and all natural; some of us are just happy to get some fruits and veggies on the table. Some of us are conventional, doctor's orders types; some of us have more natural remedies. Some of us have our babies sleep with us, others aren't even in the same room. We are all different, but one thing unites us as parents: we want the best for our children. The most interesting thing to me is realizing that not only is every family different, but even in the family what works for one child may not work for them all. Granted, I am mommy to an only child, but I can read the dynamics in our adult families and see the differences between us all that make us all the same. 

Lesson 6: Good friends are like priceless.
I cannot imagine doing any of this without my girlfriends. My single, married, parent and non parent friends all have such different perspectives on things that I cannot imagine ever not having their support! Of all of them, friends that are in the same stage of life have been the most valuable recently. My married friends have been great for support and insight! Parent friend of kiddos the same age are great for support and encouragement. Friends with older kiddos are great for insight in to the future and for sharing lessons learned. And my favorite: single, non parent friends are great for reminding me to let loose while I can give them insight into the future. Such a wonderful circle of balances- I love all of them and thank God for sending them to me. 

These are just some of the lessons learned. I know more will come, but thought I'd share for those of you looking at this stage of life as something for your future, something from your past, or something you're in now. 

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