This week Ella turned six months old! Six months. I simply can’t believe it! It was only a few weeks ago that I was blogging about how the time has gone so quickly. I know I’ve said it before, but I’m not only so proud of our little girl, but so proud of both Dan and I for getting through, relatively unscathed! After six months, I (mostly) feel as though we have a handle on things and can work things out when Ella decides to throw us a curve ball.
The first three months were really a blur – my maternal health nurse calls it ‘Mummy Shock’. It’s so true. People told me that after six weeks you feel as though you come out of a fog. However for me, I think that fog actually set in at six weeks and then I found my way at around three months. I guess it is so different for everyone, but for me, I felt that everyone almost expects first time parents to be living under a rock for the first few weeks. Living with a new baby, learning how to be parents, sleepless nights, breast feeding, poo explosions, crying, settling, doing the ‘mummy jig’. This was all expected to turn us into crazy people, and after a while we would see the light and everything would fall into place. You see for the first six weeks, people are around to help, food is cooked, ironing is lovingly completed and the general sympathy scale is pretty high. Not that you need anyone to feel sorry for you, heck it’s the most exciting time in the world! I just mean that people are there to lend a hand in so many ways, and the excitement of having your precious one here helps that adrenaline keep on pumping to get you through the sleepless nights and feelings of exhaustion. Ella was a pretty chilled out kid from the start and generally slept pretty well.
It was after six weeks that I felt my wheels fall off the wagon a little, as I guess we move on and you get used to this new life with this amazing new little person. See for me, it was when Ella became alert, slept less and started to go through ‘wonder weeks’ that I felt my confidence take a bit of a dive. I guess it’s when you have to step up and take the training wheels off that it becomes a little scary. I remember being really worried about rocking Ella to sleep and ‘setting her up’ to fail. Ella had spent the last six weeks falling asleep on us, and to be honest, we loved it so much we didn’t want to give it up. My husband doesn’t get home from work until about 7pm each night, so any bedtime routine didn’t start until then. There was so much information, so many do’s and don’ts that these few weeks really did my head in as I did what all new Mothers should NOT do – Google.
In my line of work (Deputy Principal of a Primary School) I often have to help solve problems with Technology. You can often hear me saying ‘Google is your friend’. In so many ways, it really is. For tid bits of info, online shopping etc it is a girl’s best friend. But once you jump online to find the answer to your parenting problem, coupled together with a lack of confidence, Google can transform you into a walking time bomb! My friend made a comment that made me put everything into perspective – if you want to find the answer you are looking for, there will be a page somewhere that says what you want to read. It’s so true – on so many parenting pages you can find, or not find what you want to read to reassure yourself. Rocking to sleep is fine, or not fine, your baby needs routine, but hold off if you want to. There is so much information out there – too much. Too many conflicting ideas and theories. For new parents it is hard enough to remember to have a shower! Seriously, I have found the best way to look at it all is to take it with a grain of salt. Talk to your friends and family.
Being the eldest children with the first grandchild on both sides of our family, Dan and I have no older siblings to give us valued advice. Our mates have simply gotten us through. And thank the Lord for them all! I remember the turning point for me was one Friday when I had just had lunch with my cousin Lisa (Mother of 1) and my friend Di (Mother of 2) the day before. They had reassured me that what I was doing was fine (ie. doing the Mummy Jig to get Ella to settle) and that things will slowly change if we try one new thing each day. Funnily enough, after I relaxed a little about what I was doing, Ella was able to self settle quite well and learnt to fall asleep whilst being put down awake in the cot. Since then, she has gone through periods of sleeping through the night, and now wakes again (much to her parents dismay). I guess the rule of thumb is to enjoy what you have whilst you have it. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Someone sent me the above picture a while ago, and it is such great advice. Everyday may not be good, but there sure is something good in every day! With kids, nothing stays the same for very long. The old saying ‘this too shall pass’ applies to being a parent in so many ways. I hope that hard times pass quickly, but the great times stay around for a while!
I just hope that she doesn’t grow up too fast.