(I wrote this over a period of several days, which is apparently the only way I can find time to write a long blog post right now. Please excuse any temporal/tense weirdnesses or contradictions in the following text!
Also, in the interest of getting this posted ever, I'm not inserting photos this time. But feel free to check out our July set of Kai photos.)
Three weeks today since we've come home, and dare I say we've achieved some kind of new routine?
Our days look something like this:
Kai wakes up around 7 AM, generally. He eats, then Colin proves himself BEST DAD EVER and takes him downstairs for an hour or two while I catch up on the sleep sacrificed to feedings and newborn wakefulness.
Eventually I'm up (usually the next time Kai needs to eat corresponds with me feeling rested and ready for the day), and we all potter about eating breakfast. If I'm lucky, I manage to dash around the corner to Remedy for some coffee. For the last few days Kai has been hitting a three week growth spurt pretty hard, which means he's eating a LOT. Often he seems to be fighting an internal battle between EAT EAT EAT and being very sleepy, which is kind of hilarious to watch. He often wakes up from sleeping and immediately FREAKS OUT, as if he's thinking: "DAMMIT people! I am STARVING! Why weren't you feeding me TEN MINUTES AGO?"
This feeding frenzy also means I eat a LOT. The other night we had dinner, and an hour afterwards I was making myself Second Dinner out of leftovers from the fridge. Heh. It's nice regaining my stomach capacity post-pregnancy, that's for sure.
So far, Colin's been home every day. He's going to start leaving the house for work again tomorrow (ETA: I meant Friday, which is now today - the little guy and I are home alone!). Lately he's been able to slowly ramp up his involvement with his team, which is nice because it lets me practice what it'll be like to be On My Own with the wee one for full days.
That being said: having Colin home for the first month has been absolutely indispensable. I wish that everyone could have that luxury of full-time support from their partner for the first few weeks. I understand much more now how postpartum depression can be so common - I would imagine that if one were suddenly thrust into this new situation, PLUS had to do it all by oneself, that it could be a very isolating, frustrating experience. Moreover, it's given Colin time to bond with Kai right from the start.
During the daytime our routine is pretty free-form. Colin works, and when Kai's asleep I try to work on projects like tie-dying baby clothes or puttering outside. Emphasis on TRY - it's hard to decide how to spend the sleeping baby downtime. Get Chores Done, Do Fun Projects, or Relax, Veg Out and Read Cooking Blogs? Oh, and also showering. Heh. Hard choices, friends.
When Kai is awake, I help him engage in his other major activities and interests, which include:
*Eating eating eating eating.
*Looking at stuff. Favorites include his high-contrast mobile, the baby in the mirror, his black and white book, our bookshelves (they're black with lots of light-colored books), the super-simple ikea clock in our bathroom, the skylight in our TV room's ceiling, and sometimes our faces. He's gradually getting more and more interested in faces, but as Colin said yesterday, we're still no bookshelves, you know? Watching him gaze at something with that extremely intent, slightly furrowed brow expression is pretty enthralling (and reminds me a lot of the look children have in a Montessori classroom when they're in deep flow concentration).
*Sitting on our chests like a frog. Especially Colin's chest. Oh man, is he ever into sitting on his dad.
*(Baby TMI alert:) Peeing and pooping in a bowl or the sink. For the past couple of weeks we've been trying to pay attention to when he signals a need to relieve himself, and then un-diapering him and holding him over an appropriate receptacle. Most of the time, he goes! So far we're catching a lot of his pees, and virtually all of his major poops. Go figure, the kid doesn't want to sit in his own waste. Newborns: capable of WAY more than they're given credit for. (True of most children, in fact.) Learn more about this wacky idea at the wikipedia page for Elimination Communication: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elimination_communication
Anyway, back to our day. Sometime in the evening we finally realize that we need to consider dinner. At first that was mainly a lot of freezer food I prepared before Kai was born, but we've been cooking a lot more lately. We acquired a Sous Vide Supreme last week, which is AWESOME because it means we can drop in a vacuum sealed hunk of meat, let it sit for a few hours, and then have a delicious perfectly cooked dinner whenever we're ready to eat it. (Wikipedia on sous vide cooking here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sous-vide) Salmon cooked sous vide is a revelation, friends. No joke. Best salmon EVER. London broil is tender like filet mignon, and soft cooked eggs end up custard-like and glorious.
On the other hand, some aspects of cooking are more tricky now. Instead of me being able to head into the kitchen to cook while Colin keeps working or whatever, two people have to be on duty: one to cook, and one to take care of Kai's needs. Moreover, if I'm trying to make something, I have to be ready to drop what I'm doing and return to feed Kai should he require that service. Consequently dinner has more strategy involved these days, and we're still figuring out exactly how that works.
Usually we begin winding down for the night sometime between 8 and 9, and Kai has pretty regularly been going into his longer sleep periods somewhere between 8:30 and 9:30. (+/- half an hour or so - and, uh, yeah, I have a spreadsheet. SHUT UP.) We try to go to sleep as soon as he's down, which has been a super strategy so far. He's pretty good at sleeping at night - so far he tends to do a couple of 2-4 hour chunks interrupted by eating, then shorter bits until 7-ish when he wakes up more thoroughly.
He also tends to have at least one period (sometimes two) per night where he's awake for about an hour and not eating - just trying to look at stuff and flail his limbs and practice making exciting sounds and other important baby business. I gather you can't do too much about the timing of this when they're tiny like this except keep things quiet, dark, and super boring until they eventually get the message that the party is not happening right now and they may as well go back to sleep. (I'm also given to understand that this message may not be received until they're a few months old or more - oh well.)
And then, we wake up to do it all again. Except no two days are the same, even if they are flowing together. He's growing and changing a little bit every day - two days from now he'll be one month old exactly. We can practically see him getting bigger. At this rate, I'm pretty sure that next week, he'll be going to elementary school, and the month after that will be college. Sigh.