Sunday, October 19, 2014

Life with Little Man- Lessons I've Learned (So Far)

I’ve been a foster parent for almost a month (what?!) and am a little overdue on an update. As it turns out, having a newborn is somewhat time-consuming. And very exhausting. Who knew??

It is so exhausting, in fact, that when I sat down and started writing this post 2 weeks ago, I fell asleep whilst typing.

True story.

Little Man and I have been pretty busy since then. We have had a lot of guests stop by, started daycare and gone back to work, seen Patty Griffin in concert, and made a trip to Portland for a dear friend’s wedding. (I know- crazy.) Nonetheless, I’m finally coming back to this post.

And I’ve had two cups of coffee today, so hopefully I’ll be able to finish it!

(I cut out some of the intro since it was just notes on surviving two weeks, but it is significant to note that it included this: “As I type this, my head keeps drooping because I’m starting to fall asleep.” Two paragraphs later… Bam. Out. I know myself well.)

Although I am new to the whole “foster mom to a newborn” business, I have learned many important things since Little Man’s arrival. I thought I’d create a list of some of the big ones so I could share them with you all.

1.     All people can be grouped into one of two categories. Category one: people who love/are obsessed with babies. I am constantly stopped by strangers who want to look at Little Man, comment on his hair, ask how old he is, and tell me that he is “so tiny!” At a restaurant in Portland, an entire table of people had a whole conversation about how small and adorable he is. And, to be clear, I was not a part of that group. They just spotted him from across the room and couldn’t help themselves. Understandable. He really is that adorable.  Category two: people who are terrified of babies. Some people respond to Little Man as if I was holding a tarantula- they back up slowly but keep one eye on him- just in case he moves. This response always surprises me, but I have learned that people who don’t have much experience with infants have a crippling fear of breaking them. I really believe everyone falls into one of these categories- no one is neutral about newborns.
2.     Once you have a baby in your home, a lot of things that used to be really important to you- like having your bed made in the morning or showering on a regular basis- don’t even appear on your radar. The list of priorities automatically transforms to this: “1. Baby, 2. Sleep.” Those two things consume the majority of my thoughts these days.
My life right now.
3.     The insecurity parents feel about caring for a newborn fuels an incredible market for an unending variety of baby items. Did you know you can buy what is essentially a baby-bottle Keurig? You can use it to fill up one of the millions of types of bottles with one of the billions of types of formula. You can buy any number of sound machines, blankets, baby toys, DVDs, car accessories, diaper-changing items, etc- all of which will probably help your baby become a genius who sleeps through the night within the first month of life. Next time I head to the baby aisle, I fully expect to see some kind of machine that will burp your baby for you. And if it’s not there, I call dibs on inventing it.
As ridiculous as I find this, I do have to confess that walking through that aisle feeling as if I had no idea what I was doing made me also feel as if I needed to buy every item on every shelf. Insecurity breeds consumerism when it comes to caring for kids.
It is real.
4.     That being said, there are a few items I have become very dependent on in the past few weeks, and I would recommend them to anyone. 1. A baby-wrap/carrier. I use a Moby wrap and a Baby Bjorn, and I thank God for them daily. Especially when traveling, trying to do chores, and spending any time outside of my house. 2. A diaper genie (or other diaper-specific garbage can). Right now I have probably 30 dirty diapers sitting within 10 feet of me, and I cannot smell even a hint of them. It’s either because of the genius genie design or because I’ve gotten used to the smell, but I think it’s the first thing. 3. A swing/bouncy seat/something similar. These things have become invaluable to me because they give me a chance to nap every once in a while.
5.     Babies make really great faces. Little Man seems to be particularly expressive, and I am pretty sure I could stare at him all day. I am concerned he’ll have some serious premature wrinkles, though.
6.     When you have a newborn and people offer to help you with something, it is important to say, “Yes please thank you.” As much as I want to Wonder Woman this business, it is immeasurably helpful to have friends who are willing to pick up food for you or grab some formula so you can avoid hauling a baby to the grocery store. I, like Elizabeth Bennett, can sometimes be a bit prideful; I like to tackle and conquer enormous tasks by myself- or at least think I am able to do so. But living with a newborn has taught me this very important lesson: trying to do everything alone is a sure-fire way to fail. Or pass out on your keyboard at work.
7.     Waking up at 2AM to make a bottle is awful. But having a teeny baby fall asleep on your chest is the best.
8.     There are few bonds like the bond between a dog and its baby. RG still isn’t positive what to think of Little Man, but he gets anxious when he cries and is definitely protective. I’m not sure how aware Little Man is of RG’s existence, but I’m guessing that will change before too long- which will hopefully create a few precious photo-ops.
9.     It is possible to welcome a newborn into your home with 48 hours notice- IF you are surrounded by a lot of incredible people.
10.  I am surrounded by a lot of incredible people. Really and truly. By the time Little Man arrived home, my house looked like I’d been preparing for his arrival for 9 months. By the end of the weekend, we were flooded with baby necessities and baby nice-to-haves. We’ve been surrounded by an incredible amount of love and support, and- now that I’m almost two four weeks in- I can pretty much guarantee this would have been impossible without so many loving and lovely people. #blessed

(But seriously.)


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I admire your journey. You are so right nobettrf feeling than s sleeping baby on your chest


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