In some ways I am more confident as a mother now that I have three reasons to call myself such. In (many) others, I still have no freaking clue as to what I am doing.
I seem to remember this same feeling shortly after Raegan was born – didn’t I already know how to do this whole mothering thing before this new baby arrived? And didn’t I do it better before? Except maybe those aren’t fair questions because there is no way to compare this time to last time because each time our family is different, so obviously our experiences are different, too. But here’s the deal. Lincoln has me feeling, at times, like I am a complete newbie to this whole parenting gig, and so those questions start to creep in occasionally.
I attribute some of my confusion to the fact that Lincoln is just so different from my first two. Again – how can you really compare? Of course he is different – he is his own person for Pete’s sake! And his pregnancy (that sounds funny – my pregnancy with him? That sounds too wordy…I’m at a loss) was SO different from the first two, why would I even be surprised that his personality now is unique? To be fair, let me clarify that unique does not equate bad or strange or weird – just, unique.
For one, LT’s a sleepy guy. He has been from Day One and we’re at Five Weeks now, so I guess we’re just going to go with it – he snoozes a lot. During the day he pretty much sleeps all the time and even at night, he hasn’t been doing too bad (until he got RL’s head cold, which is a whole different story). But it’s crazy to me because I still have to wake him up every three hours during the day, most days, to make him nurse. I mean, I know he’ll Wake Up for good at some point and then I’ll probably long for the days when he just napped and napped, but the whole thing leaves me wondering, some days, if I’m doing enough with him.
This leads me to my second confusion. I suddenly don’t really know what to do with a baby. I mean, I do, but I don’t. Beyond feed, change, and hold, what is there? He’s obviously too little to play and while I have him around the other kids quite a bit, we’re more in protect than play mode during those interactions. HD & RL love him to pieces, but they do not understand their size/strength compared to LT’s tiny persona, so keeping him in a safe place is more so on my mind than waking him up for full-on play sessions, you know? But because Lincoln is becoming ever so slightly more alert after feedings, I feel like I should be doing more. But more what? Again – why is this so foreign?!
I might be a bit confused about activities for Mr. Lincoln because during those semi-awake/semi-alert periods, he’s not always the happiest guy. I know I said he’s a chill baby and I stand by that to a certain degree, but the fact remains that he is also pretty darn cranky when he’s awake if he’s not in someone’s arms. Even then he can be hard to hang on to and doesn’t always seem content (unless, of course, he’s drifting off back to sleep). So I find myself wondering what on Earth can I do to make him happy during those awake times. What is it that he wants? And why is it that babies don’t come with a manual or being able to speak, huh? I don’t always get it right with my ones that can talk, but at least I can usually get enough of the need de-coded to also get it met for them. With Sweet Baby Boy, I just don’t know yet.
[Slightly random mama soapbox moment: why is that people always say that babies have different cries for different needs? Am I really the only one who just doesn’t understand this? I have never been able to distinguish a diaper cry from a hungry cry and the notion that these books and blogs keep telling me that I should be able to makes me feel like a parenting failure. Kudos to you if you can decipher your babe’s wails in such a way, but seriously, I cannot.]
The nice thing is, Lincoln doesn’t seem to hold any of my confusions against me. What matters to him is that I feed him and change him and hold him and above all, love him. And seeing as he still nestles into my shoulder and likes snoozing on me after he nurses, I think he knows I care (even if I am running a pretty bad case of Mama Brain these days). And really, what more can a mama ask for beyond sweet newborn snuggles? [More sleep and free coffee and babysitters to name a few things, but I digress….]