My son will be four months old this weekend. He is doing something new and lovely each day. And every day I feel like we grow more comfortable with one another. Tonight I was carrying him around in his new Ergobaby carrier (the Baby Bjorn one we received as a baby shower gift has become too small for him), he was nuzzling into me, and I felt him really getting comfortable against me. So I talked to him, stroked his head, and rubbed his feet. He made his darling coo sounds in response (that I will ache to hear again when I realize he has finished making them).
We had a great day today. He slept from 10 pm to around 5:45 am, and then from 7 am to 10 am. Some mornings he only sleeps until 8:30 am in his second shift, but that’s because his normal sleep time is 8:00 pm. He then has a morning nap, usually an hour long and around 11:30 or so, and then an afternoon nap (whose time varies, depending on how active we have been during the day). I love that he is in a sleep routine, and Dad and I are in such better spaces since he started sleeping through the night about a week ago. He used to wake up every 3-4 hours, nonstop. Then he went down to two feedings a night, then one, and now none!
But back to our day today. He woke up, giggling and happy to see me, so happy that he convulsed his entire body, throwing his legs and arms around. He does this every morning. I picked him up, and he began grabbing my face; this has been his new expression of curiosity and interest for several days now. A clean diaper or two and six ounces of formula later, we pack in the car (which takes about 45 minutes, from the time I think about going somewhere to actually pulling out of the driveway) and drive to Target for more formula, more formula water, and dog treats. And the baby carrier. Because I realized mid shopping that I could not buy more than that because I could not fit more than that in little guy’s stroller. (I should just call him Little Bean, because that was his nickname when I first found out I was pregnant, even though he is far from little. He’s wearing nine month clothes and probably close to 20 pounds. He’s also extremely long, much too long for the Baby Bjorn carrier.)
He does really well in public spaces. He get quiet and shy, looks out in wide eyed wonder, and then sleeps. He’s only cried once, and that was because he had his most massive blowout to date last weekend in Home Depot. It sure was fun trying to change him in the car.
He knows when we get home, because he comes back to life: cooing, babbling, screeching, and trying to eat his toys, his blankets, and his hands. Today he had all five fingers in his mouth.
He has learned how to express that he wants to be held, and he grips onto our shoulders when we grip onto him. He has also learned to express when he wants to be placed in his crib so he can have some alone time: he really gets into talking to his little ghost creatures, his wubbaNub, and his taggies blanket.
He is really the best baby I could have asked for. If I could have written out a list to God of what I wanted in a child, it would have been Little Bean, and then some.
So why is this entry called “Stress”?
I have been feeling overwhelmed with the mother stuff.
This week has been better because the husband and I talked about it this past weekend and worked some things out:
a. I not only need to keep working so we can maintain our lifestyle, but also so I can maintain my sanity. I need work in order to go from mommy mode into intellectually-stimulating mode (because I am not intellectually stimulated while changing diapers and washing bottles).
b. I need to work away from baby. While I could work from home, working away from home is better for me. I’m too mommy-hawking to really get work done at home, unless L.B. goes away from the home, and I’d rather he stay in the environment where he is most comfortable. I’ve already broken my no-screens rule with L.B. because I have to hold him on my lap while I do school work on the computer; he watches me type, he looks at the screen, and I tell him what I’m doing. (He knows what my phone is too; he knows when it’s picture time and video time. He has taken a selfie.)
I laugh at my pre-motherhood state, my stance of “MY SON SHALL NOT LAY EYES ON A SCREEN UNTIL HE IS TWO YEARS OLD.”
c. I am not a domestic goddess. I do try to keep a clean house, but I am not a cook, and I do not like to cook. So while I have mothering instincts, I do not have housewifing instincts. Because of that, I would go bonkers being a stay-at-home mom (my utmost respect for those women who do that for a living). My husband is more domestic than I am; if anything, it would make more sense for him to be a stay-at-home dad and for me to be the primary breadwinner.
And on top of all this mothering, all this pouring into another human being who really doesn’t give a whole lot back (at least in what really nourishes and rejuvinates me), on top of the hormonal dumps, my hair falling out by the clumpfull, my body looking very still-pregnant and my clothes not really fitting my body very well, on top of going back to work when I probably should have had at least another month off, if not two, we are moving.
You read that right.
Let’s take the most life-altering event of my life, to date, and add on a life-altering event that is so completely opposite what my mothering soul wants to do right now: pack up the nest, everything we own, into hundreds of brown boxes, and transport it all to another place, just to unpack all those hundreds of boxes and rearrange the contents of them into another comfortable nest. And spend a bunch of money to do it.
Talk about timing being funny sometimes.
Last month, we found the perfect home for us in this new season: it is in the best school district of this area, and it is located on a cul-de-sac. Our current home, while amazing in upgrades and features (thanks to the previous owners), is in one of the worst school districts (we obviously moved here believing we would never have children), and it is flanked by two very busy roads (one of them overrun by trash trucks twice a day for several hours; our road is the main thoroughfair to the landfill). It is like living in a fishbowl. We also live across the street from a park, which looks nice on paper, but when you witness drug deals in said park, and when you see homeless people sleeping in said park, and when about ten thousand dogs visit it, and you own a dog who HATES other dogs and BARKS BARKS BARKS, it is the perfect recipe for crime and unrest.
So we put an offer on the house (I won’t even go into the stress of the house hunt; this was the third house we put an offer on), and it was accepted at $7K under asking, which never happens with California real estate. Since going into escrow, the neighborhood has grown about $40K in equity. This house does not have the fine finishes of our current dwelling, however. It was a foreclosure (as most homes have been in this valley), and it’s an investor flip, so things were done to the house, but cheaply. So we are fixing it up. And the stress of that, on top of the stress of moving, and on top of the stress of new parenting, has had me and my husband on auto-pilot for several weeks now.
I don’t even know how we are doing it, and I have no idea how it is all going to come together. And we are a bit nervous, especially since we love the INSIDE of our current home. But what do they say in real estate? Location, location, location. Our new home has that in spades; our current home does not. Everything we see in this current home we can do (over time) to the new home.
This new home will allow Little Bean to grow up in a safe pocket while attending the best schools and going to the same elementary, middle, and high school as his buddies. We want that for him, and this home offers enough to keep us in this valley for possibly the rest of our lives. All discussion of moving out of this valley has ended.
This new home also provides us with some essentials: privacy, minimal road noise, and space. It is a two-story house, and I just realized a few months back that I have always dreamed of owning a two-story. I love the idea of separating private space from guest space.
This will be the home we won’t be afraid to live in because it’s not too nice. Our current home is almost too nice to really live in.
This will be the home where we finally have people over, on a regular basis. I envision having Bible Studies here. I can picture my son’s birthday parties with his friends. I can imagine having a few good girlfriends over for tea or even having a work meeting in the downstairs living room, right by the huge kitchen (which is now dated but that can be fixed up without having to change the footprint too drastically). I can see my husband and his friends enjoying a summer evening playing poker together up in the man-cave/family room, or even outside once we get a portico built (porticoes are almost mandatory when living in the desert).
I will have a library in this home: a real-life library, with wall-to-wall bookshelves, and I will have years to fill those bookshelves with amazing books. I have dreamed about this, and it’s finally coming true.
So the stress, like all of life, is temporary. I’m already finding relief with my son’s sleeping patterns. I will find relief in this new home soon enough. And we will love it back to life.