Saturday, September 23, 2006

Baby Dinosaur

My chubalicious newborn baby is so heavy she's given me chronic arm, back, and neck pain from carrying, nursing, and shouldering her a million times a day. At least, that's my current theory. I'm totally sore, and I can't blame it on my resumed workouts. I'm not working out THAT hard. Seriously, I'm back to downing way too much Advil with my way too much Diet Coke, and best I can figure, if my five-week-old didn't weigh God only knows how much, and if I didn't spend most of every night alternately wrestling her wily mouth into place to nurse--we play this little game where she pops on and off the nipple furiously, in an attempt to both drink milk and avoid getting drowned by it, yelling and grunting all the while like a baby dinosaur--and then swinging her onto my shoulder to burp and spit up all over my neck, maybe I wouldn't feel like a candidate for joint replacement. Julia was way lighter than this at the same age, and I don't remember having any of these aches and pains then. Of course, I'm also older, and I have a feeling I've reached that point in life where you actually do start to feel two years older when you're, well, two years older.

I still think lack of sleep has a lot to do with it, too, though. Lately, during the night, when Genevieve wakes up to nurse, I experience that awful sensation of collapsing time--you know, when you feel as though you've only been asleep a minute or two, when in fact it's been a couple of hours and it is indeed time for the next feeding? It's so eerie--and so torturous. My eyes snap awake and I could swear I JUST put Genevieve down. Then I peer at the clock in the dark and sure enough, it reads two hours after the last time she awakened me, so I drag myself out of bed to get her from the bassinet and we start the process again. In the morning I have that dizzy feeling you get when four hours of sleep a night just isn't remotely enough. This is the part of breastfeeding that challenges me the most. Later, when I'm sleeping more and the relentless physical neediness of the newborn months has abated a little bit, nursing becomes so easy and satisfying, such a warm part of motherhood to me. But in the beginning, as much as I love nursing my babies, the sheer fatigue of nighttime feedings is enough to just about do me in. Genevieve has started to space out her feedings some nights--oh wonderful stretches of three hours!--but she's not reliable yet. She still has plenty of nights--and days--when she seems to be storing up food for the winter, and her internal hunger alarm goes off with exhausting frequency.

But boy, she's cute! She smiles a lot now, and makes little cooing, gurgling sounds in your direction if you're lucky. When she's falling asleep after eating, her eyes roll back in her head and she grins in her dreams. She's got this little lime-green hat that makes her look like an elf. She's got a navy-blue velvet BabyGap jacket with argyle trim that makes her look like a baby millionaire. And the other night I got her to settle down and fall asleep ONLY by rocking her next to the CD player and putting two Justin Roberts lullabies on repeat, so she's got good taste, too. So anyway, I guess what I'm saying is, she's worth the aches and pains. But I bet you knew that, didn't you.


donna said...

We play that same nursing game too! And yes, I'm more tired this time around than with my first. Probably due to her getting up more frequently at night than he did at her age - and having two kids instead of one. Once you get the first kid to sleep, the second is ready for some attention! Plus Hubby is working longer hours this time around. But who can complain when everyone is happy and healthy? Not us, for sure!

Shan said...

You are so right....two healthy kids, two happy parents...we're blessed, aren't we?!