Our little budgie turned 3 weeks old yesterday! How is that possible? There are moments when Mike and I look at each other and can’t believe that we’re actually parents, and other moments when it seems impossible that Natalie has only been in our lives (in the physical, out-here, real world sense) for 3 weeks. She’s looking awfully cute these days, as you might imagine:
All of that cuteness has warranted about a thousand nicknames, from budgie to milk face to Natifuss to hunny-pot-snuffle-face-shnookum-sweetie-pie-bunny-bear, and on and on. Every day Mike and I find ourselves wanting to just eat up her little face and the only thing to stop us from devouring our own daughter is to call her all sorts of adorable nicknames.
In the past week, Natalie met her Great Aunt Barbara, who came to visit from Rhode Island and got to see the little munchkin in all of pooping, peeing, puking, and burping glory. Yes, MooHoo held nothing back on that particular visit and managed to pee all over me while she nursed, pooped out the side of her diaper, spit up in her hair, and showed off her best belching skills. Something I did not realize about babies until I had one is that their gas is not relative to their size in the least; Natalie’s burps and toots could put any grown baked-bean-loving man to shame.
Our little one continues to explore the world around her, and can very easily become entranced by her favorite toys. Our friends Tylea and Pat gifted us with a jungle-themed playmat, and the little giraffe and monkey hanging toys that came with that set are some of Natalie’s favorites. Here’s a picture of her mesmerized by the brightly colored giraffe:
We are amazed at how much Natalie has grown in the past 3 weeks. Her next doctor’s appointment is in a week and a half, and we’re getting awfully excited to see how much she weighs and how long she is now. This picture does some justice to how big our “little” baby is!
So far, we’ve been having a wonderful time figuring out how to be parents. The hardest part, predictably, is the lack of sleep. Natalie generally sleeps for 3 hour blocks at night, sometimes surprising us with a heavenly 4 hour stretch, and often switching to 2 hour blocks after 3am. We’ve been trying to keep up with a bedtime “routine,” even though she is really too young to establish much routine at this point. We’re hoping that if we get in the habit of doing the same things each night (bathtime, nursing, storytime, music), by the time she starts to recognize these cues it will become easier to get her to sleep. We’ll see… many nights we’re left at the end of all our soothing and bedtime habits with a wide-eyed baby who wants nothing to do with sleep:
As tough as the middle of the night feedings and changings have been, I have actually come to appreciate Natalie’s usual early-morning fit of wakefulness, often sometime around 4am. Even though I’m exhausted, she is usually her snuggliest at this hour, and we have had some very special moments of me rocking her and smelling her sweet milky breath while she struggles to get back to sleep. As tiring as it is, I do love when she wants to cuddle, even that early in the morning.
I’ve been lucky to have help from my mom in this transition, so I’ve really only had a couple of truly solo days at home with the baby. When my mom comes down I get the benefits of a baby-sitter who not only loves my baby, but also sends me off to nap and brings me supper. Not bad, eh?
Yesterday I decided to brave the outside world alone with Natalie for the first time, and took her shopping in the afternoon. The pictures below show how un-thrilled she was to be bundled up and dragged around Rockland for the day….
The afternoon actually went pretty well, aside from one rather epic screaming fit in the TJ Maxx parking lot. After rocking her in the back seat and watching passersby look confusedly at the wailing sounds from inside my car, I was able to get her to settle down and finally fall asleep while I got my shopping done. This was definitely my most productive day as it included a) a shower; b) my first time driving since Natalie was born; c) an actual phone call; d) a delicious French vanilla iced coffee. This is in stark contrast to the rest of my days this past week, which mostly included pajamas, maybe writing an email, and perhaps checking my voicemail if I felt super motivated. As I get the hang of life with baby I’m hoping to see a few more of these productive days, although there is something quite wonderful about sleeping off and on all day with Natalie and ignoring all other adult responsibilities…