As Little Miss placed her hands on my belly, she announced with a toddler’s delight, “Your belly squeezes!”
Ouch. I guess that’s one way of saying it. Week six after delivery and I’m still soft in all the wrong places (is there a right place?). I was happy to get back into my pre-baby jeans at week three, but they were also my fat jeans – you know, the ones you begrudgingly wear after being a little overzealous at the Thanksgiving table -- so it only felt like half a win. The skinny ones are still in my dresser, deprived of daylight since the time I announced my pregnancy about eight months ago.
Needless to say, things are still not quite what they used to be. Nor will they ever be. Before Thumper, we marched steadily to the rhythm of our lives, but now it feels a little discordant as each day presents a new challenge.
This past 4th of July holiday, we hosted a barbecue at our house and I spent most of the time rocking a very fussy baby as the rest of the party relished the lovely weather on our deck. The baby fought sleep, and she refused to be placed anywhere but in our arms. By the end of the day, I was so exhausted from preparing for a party I never got to enjoy and from consoling a fussy infant that I fell asleep with her while she was still nursing. So did she. The next day, she slept all day, when I had no other commitment. Of course.
Such are my days. It’s wonderful staying at home with my kids, but it’s also completely unpredictable, which can be frustrating. And it is also isolating for someone who’s used to participating in the constant whir from the life that takes place outside of our home.
Week six and I am yet to fall into a familiar routine. As a creature of habit, the daily surprises that contribute to this syncopation can be hard on me, but still, these are precious days. It won’t be long before I am consumed by deadlines and commutes and am afforded only a sliver of time with them each day. Now each minute, even when the kids are tyrants, seems like exquisite luxury. l take pleasure in this gentle, unhurried passage of time as I memorize Thumper’s chubby cheeks and the rolls on her thighs, her tentative first smiles and my hilarious conversations with Little Miss who chatters incessantly from the moment she wakes until she goes to bed. Ohmygawd that girl can talk!
It’s these little things that fill my days now, and I didn’t know just how rewarding they can be until I saw my own joy reflecting back at me through my baby’s eyes.
There are great moments of happiness that call for celebrations and Walt Whitman's "barbaric yawp", and then there are these moments of quiet contentment, where we're just living the every day but finding little gems that we pocket along the way or announce over Facebook (or Google+, if you're hip like that).
Today, I’m reveling in the latter. And tomorrow, I'm finally going to try to get back in shape.
* * *
What were your first few weeks like with your newborn? How long does it take you and your family to fall into a comfortable routine? What's your favorite memory from these first six weeks postpartum? And pray tell, what did you do to get back in shape?