Thursday, February 6, 2014

These Ordinary Days

They say those first days home with a new baby are a blur. Certainly, I have trouble remembering Josh's early days. All I know is I had never been that tired and that achy in my life. Labor recovery and a tailbone injury added to sleep deprivation and a fussy baby is not a good recipe for the making of good long-term memories.

This time around, though, things are a little different. This little guy has already done the super newborn sleep crazy thing. He has already done the eating every two hours and the unable-to-be-put-down-ever phase. Before he came home, he was sleeping 6 hours a night in a row. We had really hoped that would stick but apparently uprooting a baby who has bonded with one family causes some interruptions in that type of progress. We're ok with that- if we need to hold him a little more, reassure a little more often, it's worth it. He will eventually be as comfortable here as he ever was there. More so.

But this whole newborn in the house without labor recovery thing? Hello, perk, nice to meet you! Having not been sleep deprived for months leading up to this, having not done the most aerobic workout a person can do leading up to this, not getting used to nursing and all the pain and soreness that comes with that- all these things are pretty golden, I'm not gonna lie.

But the reality of this child actually being home?

It's really quite surreal. When you wish for something long enough, envision hard enough, wait painfully enough, you can never quite imagine what it will actually feel like for that deferred dream to come true. To walk around a corner and see a little baby in your husband's arms and think, oh right, he's here. Forever. We're not babysitting again, we're not practicing on someone, we're not visiting. He is home.

And with the home comes all the normal. The sleep deprivation, the learning of routines, the sore arms from holding a 16 pound baby all the time. The excitement of packages and flowers and meals arriving by delivery and tons of texts and emails and phone calls and rejoicing. The constant laundry and smelly diapers and ordinary days of crying and sleeping and tummy time and spit up. The older brother getting used to sharing parent time with the younger one.

Because that's the thing- the extraordinary moment of the bringing home is quickly moving into ordinary days of new life. And it's not a bad ordinary- it's an ordinary we've wanted for a long time. And if I'm a little loopier, a little more forgetful, if I need grace to remember to reorient my idea of productivity, if I struggle to form normal sentences after talking to only a newborn all day and accidentally ask my 7-year-old if I changed his diaper yet, this is the new normal. The new ordinary here.

And you know what? It's hard and tiring and frustrating and all the other challenging things that life with a new baby are. It's tense conversations between two married and exhausted people, it's short tempers all around and a dog who is not adjusting well to moving even further down the totem pole. It's being trapped inside due to an abnormally frigid winter and slowly going stir crazy.

But the new ordinary is also pretty spectacularly good. It's smiles and coos and laughter and reading and brothers bonding. It's gratefulness and sweetness and treasuring of new memories being made. It's venturing out occasionally with the ergo and slowly meandering through target just to get out of the house and answering questions from random people about who is this little guy strapped to my chest.

It's hard, it's good and it's slowly feeling like reality.

It's life.

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