"God showed me something small, no bigger than a hazelnut, lying in the palm of my hand… and it was round as a ball. I looked at it with the eye of my understanding and thought: 'What can this be?' And it was generally answered thus: 'It is all that was made.' It was so small I thought it might disappear, but I was answered... everything has being through the love of God." --Julian of Norwich

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Little One, Version 2: Impressions of the first two months

How can I capture for you the past 8 weeks?

There was the first week of pure elation and energy.  The light feeling in my limbs that "I'm not pregnant anymore!"  The urge to go for long walks with my family.  The strange feeling, when I went to the park with just Lucy, that someone was missing, my family wasn't complete without Julianne.  And oh, she is a sweet sleepy baby.  I remember looking at Clint and asking, isn't this supposed to be harder?  She just slept and slept and slept and woke and ate and slept (and still does quite often).  And since what I had to compare to the first time was such a slow-moving, painful recovery, it felt incredible to be up and cooking and cuddling with two girls and feeling strong.

The feeling that everything was a bit familiar, that first week's march through bodily changes in me and babe.  Poos changing color, milk coming in.  Things that were disorienting and a little scary the first time around felt so familiar.  Even the smells.  Breastmilk and mustard-yellow baby poo.  Baby neck.

Oh and there was the love.  There is a lot of love in that first week with a new baby.  I'm one of those moms who just can't get enough of babies.  I know that's not everyone's experience (babies can be hard, man!), but I loved Julianne's early cries, like a little singing bird.  I loved that I could hear how her cry was different from the other babies on the hospital ward.  I loved her looong skinny fingers and toes, her little bow legs, her "leettle bit of hair" (as Lucy would put it, pointing shyly and speaking in the cutest voice imaginable).

Then, week two the exhaustion set in.   The mental fog.  The urge to sleep sitting up, while reading a Richard Scary book to Lucy on the couch and nursing Julianne.  Eyes fluttering closed and lids too heavy to raise again.  Mornings when getting out of bed after sleep in two to three hour intervals feels like some kind of torture.  Days when my bones just drag.  Emotions everywhere.  A short fuse.  Delight coming out of nowhere,  slowing everything and making each second shine with meaning.  Exhaustion making me want to pull my hair out.  Tears... everybody crying in a cascade effect of crazy.  Guilt.  Guilt that I don't have pintrest-worthy planned activities for the long days home with Lucy and Julianne when it feels like Julianne is getting all the attention (I'm not even ON pintrest and I feel pintrest guilt).  Guilt that maybe Lucy will never really like Julianne because she's always the reason I can't play or help or leave yet.  Guilt that my house is a MESS and guilt that I spent too much time cleaning.  Dealing-with-tantrum guilt (there is pretty much no guilt free way for me to deal with a tantrum).

There has been family.  Sweet times visiting my favorite places in this city.  Splurging on Lee's Doughnuts (for them) and A Bread Affair pastries (for me) on Granville Island.  Wandering the market there for treasures.  Walks along the beach and in the neighborhood and other special places.

And there have been friends.  Friends bringing meals planned off my three-page "hospitality for the corn-free diet" Google Doc.  Now that is when you know you have good friends, when they are undaunted by the most daunting task of feeding you, and when you know you can trust what they've cooked for you.  Friends who invite you to stay over for the night when your husband is gone for the weekend and being at home with two girls under three feels completely overwhelming.  (Taking her up on that offer was one of the best decisions I've ever made!)

There have been gifts for Julianne.  And a brand new (to us) zippy red double stroller, just the one I wanted.

Time by myself after everyone is in bed.  Time to watch all three seasons of Call the Midwife (and long for more!)  Time to fix things and sort things and feel inspired about hospitality.  Time to hear Marilynne Robinson give a lecture and to think about her deep thoughts all week.  Time to feel lonely and time to feel loved.   Time to know the satisfaction of a counter wiped down at the end of the day and time to just go to bed, even if everything is a mess because rest and love are more important.

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