We’ve been home with Avery for over 2 weeks now. He is the focus of our attention, the dictator of our every move, and the love of our life!
We had family visit and help the first couple days, but since then, we’ve been on our own. This parenting thing is new to us, but we’re getting the hang of it. Aside from the 5 doctors visits we had the first week he was home (testing for Jaundice), Avery has been a happy and healthy little guy… eating, sleeping, and messing his diapers. Although we took a birthing class and read the ‘What to Expect’ book, nothing could have truly prepared us for this adventure!
The saying is true. A baby changes everything. For those of you who don’t have kids yet and want some advice/warning, and those parents that want a good laugh, here’s a list of the things we didn’t realize would be such a big change before Avery became Boss of the Ratnam Residence.
1. Sleep. What’s that? Since Avery was born, I have not slept more than 3 hours at a time. I knew coming into this that of coarse little ones need lots of attention – what I didn’t expect was how hard it would be to adjust to HIS sleeping schedule. ‘Sleep when the baby sleeps’ so many wise women told me. That’s easy to say, but when I’ve been sleeping 7-8 hours every evening for all my life, it’s ridiculously hard to break that pattern. Not to mention, I’m a horrible ‘napper.’ It takes me a long time to fall asleep, so if I have a 2-hour window to nap, I’ll really only get 1 1/2 hours of sleep because it’ll take me at least 30 minutes to fall asleep.
Vinay went back to work a week after Avery was born, so I let him sleep through the night, so he has enough rest to work a full day. That leaves me and Avery to tackle the night shift. At first, nights were really hard. Now, I’ve learned to take a nap when Vinay gets home or steal one during the day. It’s still hard waking up 4 times a night and only sleeping 1-3 hours at a time, but I’m getting used to it. I find it helpful to turn on the TV and feed Avery in the living room so the infomercials at 2am keep me awake so I don’t doze off. It’s also nice that a couple Boston News stations start broadcasting at 4:30am. Knowing the people on the screen are wide awake and working at that hour make getting up a little easier.
Since Avery was born, I feel like I do twice as many dishes as I used to! In addition to the normal dish ware from meals, there are lots of bottles that need cleaning about two times a day. Although it only takes an additional 15 minutes to clean a bunch of bottles, it seems like such an added task because Avery only sleeps so much, so when he does, I have to squeeze in cleaning his bottles, preparing new ones, feeding myself, showering, working on my homework, and other household chores.
The towering rack of baby bottles:
3. Laundry. While thinking about what to expect before Avery came, another thing that never crossed my mind was laundry. You would think that adding a little person’s clothes to two big people’s clothes wouldn’t make that much more laundry. Wrong! Our little man typically wears a diaper, onesie, pants/outfit, mittens, socks, a hat, and a swaddle blanket. We learned the hard way that, when changing a diaper, we have to watch out because little boys like to tinkle… and when they do, everything gets wet!
Avery’s Laundry Hamper:
4. Showering. A simple task, yes, when you only have yourself to worry about. At home alone with a little one, there is nobody to watch him or listen for him to cry while I shower. Solution? When Avery falls asleep for the first time in the morning, I wheel his bassinet (Thanks Peter!) into the hallway outside the bathroom. I leave the bathroom door open, and can see the bassinet from the shower, and most importantly, I can hear if he cries.
Avery chilling in his bassinet:
5. Intimacy. When Avery entered this world, Vinay and my focus turned from each other to Avery. This continued when we got home, and we had friends and family stopping by to meet him and to help out. In the mix of everything, Vinay and I felt a little disconnected. I was focused on taking care of Avery while Vinay tackled the household chores and repairs. After everyone left, it was just us three and we soon felt much more connected. We realized we really needed this time alone together, to bond, to relax and reflect and just spend time together.
6. Schedule. While at the hospital, there was a log of what Avery ate and when he had a dirty diaper. We continued this log when we got home. Never did we think we’d be writing down our baby’s every move. It’s very helpful though. This way we can make sure Avery is eating frequently and his digestive system is working well. It’s also nice so when we trade off, the other one can just look in the book.
Avery’s log book:
More to come soon…