22 May 2014

My First Day Alone

Matt will be home in about 12 minutes.

That's right - today, 12 days postpartum, my maternity leave ended. I didn't want to be staring down the barrel of a full week on my own, so Matt and I decided that if he went back to work on a Thursday, I'd only have to make it through two "test" days before weekend relief. And it's a holiday weekend, so we get a bonus day. Then the following week is only four days. Lots of starts and stops.

Things must be going well because I'm blogging and he's not even home yet, right? Right! Things are going magnificently! I only had two expectations for today: 1. I won't cry. 2. We'll spend lots of time in prayer. We Matt vacuumed, did dishes, and finished laundry yesterday so I wouldn't even be tempted to push myself. We're planning on a frozen pizza (sale plus coupon!) for dinner. I definitely helped that Abigail was in a very good mood (ie, willing to listen and playing nicely when I needed to nurse), and that Eleanor has decided the Ergo is acceptable (she wasn't so sure the first time I used it).

Although last night I didn't exactly get the sleep I would have liked for my first day alone (we're still trying to figure out the best arrangement anything that works), I managed to roll out of bed by 7am and get both girls and myself dressed and fed with only minimal tears from Eleanor. We said a family prayer for patience and wisdom (me) and focus and discipline (him). I did feel tempted to cry as Matt walked out to the car, Abigail blowing kisses and shouting, "Bye, Daddy!" through the open window, but I held myself together. Once he had driven away, Abigail voluntarily retreated to her room for some independent play, so I strapped Eleanor into the Ergo and very slowly worked my way through a few chores. I unloaded the dishwasher. Abigail still playing, Eleanor still sleeping. I stuffed and put away the clean cloth diapers. Abigail still playing, Eleanor still sleeping. I made a meal plan, hunted through the flyer to find the best coupon plus sale match-ups, and I made a grocery list. Now Eleanor was hungry and Abigail was ready for some attention, so I nursed Eleanor in Abigail's room while reading Abigail some books and playing dress up jewelry. Eleanor willingly did tummy time for a few minutes while I made some lunch, then we all took a short walk around the apartment complex. When we got home, we called Matt to give him an update assure him we were still alive. I put Abigail down for a nap (thank goodness she's back to napping), nursed Eleanor again, and then her and I took a nap on the couch! All three of us napped on my first day alone! It was wonderful!

Typically when Abigail gets up from a nap, she likes to snuggle, but Eleanor was hungry, so we did watch an episode of Blues Clues together on the couch, so I could satisfy both girls at the same time. I really don't want to be dependent on the TV to get through the day, and I definitely don't want Abigail watching it every day, so I do need to figure out an alternative. But today? No TV wasn't an expectation. So while I've identified room for improvement, I'm not beating myself up over it.

After the show we had a brief snack and Abigail headed back into her room for more independent play! So now I'm blogging! It was a slow, peaceful day, for which I am very thankful. It was a weird mix of boring yet my hands were full, though. I was nursing Eleanor with one hand and reading Abigail a book with the other - my attention is completely occupied - but playing with toddler toys and reading toddler books all afternoon is really mind-numbing.

Well, Matt is home, so I'll wrap this up quick. While I am incredibly thankful the first day went so well (and I hope tomorrow is just as boring), I do hope to find a more enriching balance. I suspect it won't happen until Eleanor isn't nursing every two-to-three hours and is able to hold her own head up a bit better.


Sawako said...

I don't know if you meant it that way and please don't take it negatively, but it's very dangerous to sleep with baby on a couch (again, I don't know if that's what you were doing). Couches have lots of spaces where baby could get trapped, which is not the case with a bed set up for co-sleeping.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you did well! You're in a new stage of life, and it's wonderful that you have a wonderful, supportive, understanding husband making the transition with you. I find new baby time is the best time to pick up and/re-examine my Mothers Rule of Life, which it sounds like you are. And don't be afraid to cry! Your hormone crash is still a crazy landslide! Don't feel defeated if you can't get through a long stretch without tears welling up every time you pick up a toy or pour another cup of coffee! ....those words are meant to be encouraging...I don't know if that's how they sound...I'm getting teary-eyed just thinking about "those times." :-)

I've found, regarding sleeping/napping arrangements, that i am generally well attuned to the movements of my baby, even while asleep. We co-slept with the first two, but when number three came along, we had a twin or double bed, and after two nights of trying co-sleeping, I knew I was too exhausted and there wasn't enough space to make it work, so I put him in a Moses basket on the floor next to the bed. I guess that's my way of saying "trust your instincts!" :-). TB

Amelia Bentrup said...

Sounds like you did great job. Two kids is the hardest, in my opinion!

Congrats on surviving your first day!!!

(p.s. Not to be negative, but I also agree that co-sleeping on the couch is generally not considered to be safe...all the "co-sleeping experts" agree on that. I love taking naps with my babies (especially when they are new), but we just cuddle up in bed together. )