I used to do a LOT during my day. Writing articles, interviewing people, dealing with three websites. I was looking forward to a change of pace having Charlie. But I also thought I’d have time to do stuff. BAHAHAHAHA. Was I deluded. You actually don’t have time to do anything when you’re caring for a newborn. Here’s a typical day in my life right now. Mental.
12-midnight: Give Charlie his first feed of the day. Technically, it’s the last feed of the previous day, but I’m too tired to split hairs. He takes around 30 minutes to drink his bottle and we are both nodding off the whole time.
12.30am: Attempt to burp him. Have no luck. Lay him down for a minute as per nurse’s instructions as it ‘helps wind come up’. Wait.
12.45am: Try to burp him again. Takes ages, and I’m SO tired. Charlie finally does a massive burp that reverberates around the house. For a little guy he sure is loud. I stifle a giggle and pat his back, whispering ‘Good boy, good boy!’ because it’s night and I’m trying to teach him that night is all soft voices, darkness, no lights and sleeeeeeeep, sleep sleep sleep.
1am: Lay a milk-drunk, burped bubba in his cot next to my side of the bed. Tuck his elephant blanket around him. Marvel at how deliciously cute his chubby cheeks are. Assess whether he needs a dummy. Decide he doesn’t. Collapse into bed. Feel sleep overcome me.
1.05am: Wake to a grizzly bubba who’s working up to scream because he wasn’t sleepy enough when I put him down. Stuff dummy in his mouth. Wait til he drops off and starts making the characteristic squeaks, squawks and squeals that signal he is half asleep and moving into deeper sleep. Or something. I haven’t had any time to properly read a baby book.
3am: Wake to Charlie crying. Leap out of bed to warm a bottle, hoping it’ll be warm before he goes into full def-con 4 meltdown. I fail. To quieten him down, he drinks his milk cold. Thankfully he’s too much of a greedy guts to care.
3.40am: Repeat burp process, sway to help him go back to drowsy. Just as I prepare to put him down, I feel the unmistakable plonk of something warm hitting his nappy. It is the start of a Giant Poo. I keep swaying while he continues pooing, knowing that sleep is now another 30 minutes away.
4.10am: Change his pooey nappy, congratulate myself on not getting any of the poo on his feet or the change table, considering how freaking ass tired I am. Prepare to lift him up just as he does a massive wee and needs a whole new nappy change AND an outfit change. Change nappy again. Find new Bonds wondersuit to put him in. Curse Bonds for creating stupid wondersuits with 50-million press studs that never line up at 4am in the morning leaving your baby looking like a monkey dressed him.
4.30am: Sway clean, changed bubba back to drowsy state so he doesn’t go apeshit when I put him in his cot. Heat cot with heat pack so his little head will meet a warm mattress. (Yes, I am nuts.) Put him down, crawl into bed myself praying he doesn’t decide it’s party time.
6.30am: Hear Charlie squawk but let Mr Chick handle him.
8.30am: Wake to sweet sounds of Mr Chick having conversation (largely one-sided) with Charlie and reluctantly drag self from sleep as I know he has to work soon. Make gigantic cup of tea that will likely go cold before I have chance to drink it. Kiss Mr Chick goodbye and settle on couch with Charlie, blanket wrapped around us, to feed him. He’s so pleased to see me he breaks out into a big grin and coos. I tell him I’ve only been away from him for a few hours, but he says he doesn’t care. He tells me I am the best mother in the whole world and he loves me more than all the stars in the sky. He thanks me for selflessly tending to his needs for the past month and promises he will look after me in my old age*.
9am: Play with Charlie’s cute pudgy hands and feet. Tickle his tummy. Mimic his coos and smiles until he starts looking pissed off and yawning. Time for him to sleep again.
9.30-12 noon: Charlie falls asleep on me, and I’m too scared to move for fear he will wake. I should probably nap myself but instead I waste a precious golden two hours of potential sleep for myself by tweeting inanely, scrolling through my Facebook feed and replying to comments on Instagram. Getting very good at one-handed social media.
12.15pm: Bubba wakes. I feed him and he gazes at me adoringly the whole time. I lap it up while cradling his fat foot in my hand. He really is the most divine bundle of gorgeousness on the face of the earth.
1pm: Plonk bubba in his bouncer while I start on tonight’s dinner: Thai chicken balls. I chop herbs and chuck them in a bowl with chicken mince. Charlie starts crying. I abandon dinner to pick him up and soothe him.
1.30pm: Quiet moment when bubba is happy in pram staring into space. Momentarily remember former life and laugh incredulously about how little I have actually achieved in 12 hours. Remind self baby is alive, fed, happy and warm and that is main thing.
2pm: Bubba stops being happy and starts making grizzly nah-nah-nah noise, signalling he is bored of pram. I push it back and forth while watching a cooking show I can’t remember and also manage to boil kettle, make cup of tea and drink it while still hot. Congratulate myself on multi-tasking. Realise am setting the bar low in terms of personal expectations.
2.30pm: Answer call from Telstra about late bill payment, or something. Agree to pay it today and try to get annoying Telstra person off phone due to grizzling baby. Have argument with annoying Telstra person about how I am not able to answer their survey about how they did on the current phone call because baby is crying. Later receive email from annoying Telstra person asking me to answer survey via email about how they did on annoying phone call.
3pm: Take a shower and wash hair with bubba in bouncer in bathroom doorway, watching proceedings with great interest. Eventually he falls asleep, only to wake up for a feed during the one window I have to comb hair. Forget to comb hair. Later, realise uncombed locks have dried into amazing waves. Next day, amazing waves will be unmanageable dreadlocks.
3.30pm: Use foot to bounce Charlie in his bouncer while he snoozes. Watch yet another cooking show, slack-jawed with fatigue. Realise dinner is only half finished. Weigh up options: stop bouncing and have bubba wake up while up to elbows in raw chicken mince, or leave dinner til later. Decide to take a punt and head into kitchen. Bubba wakes while I am up to elbows in raw chicken mince. Put him in pram and put pram next to dishwasher. Realise Charlie has just fallen asleep in 2 seconds flat. Note to self: womb-like water noises puts bubba to sleep.
3.35pm: Dishwasher spin cycle cranks into gear and wakes up baby. Cuddle and play with him while he coos and gazes at me. Feel burst of happiness that temporarily overrides extreme exhaustion. Then, realise I have missed his sleep window which doesn’t sound like much but believe me, it is a problem in Newborn Land.
5.15pm: Previously sweet, gurgling and smiling bubba starts screaming bloody murder for absolutely no discernible reason. Feed him, change his nappy, play meditation CD, work way through songs on Itunes in the hope something will work. End up stripping all his clothes off and letting him kick around in just a nappy. Bubba happy, red face recedes, crying stops. Think he was nudist in former life. Regardless, feel shell-shocked, end up crying myself and feeling like crap mother because I a) have no idea why he does this and b) I have no way of fixing it. With Charlie happily glued to his bouncer, I Google ‘newborn screams in the early evening’ and ‘when does it get easier looking after newborn’. Find shitloads of mum forums where people have googled exact same questions. Start crying again reading comment that mentions there are millions of ‘desperate mums’ just like me going through the same thing. Then I find this hilarious blog on PURPLE crying and end up giggling. Resolve to have more of a sense of humour about weird baby behaviour I cannot change.
6pm: Mr Chick gets home. Tells me about exciting office politics and interesting worky discussions he has had throughout day. I hand him semi-naked baby and tell him my unbelievable news: that I haven’t been to the loo since 7am.
6.15pm: Attempt to finish Thai chicken balls. End up throwing in too many breadcrumbs and completely stuff them up. Realise formerly okay cooking skills have been replaced by new skill: ability to order from Menulog in 30 seconds flat between settling, feed and nappy changing.
6.30-8pm: Convince Charlie to sleep in his bouncer. Attempt adult conversation with husband with one eye on The Project and whatever else vacuous TV we can find that won’t challenge our sleep-deprived brains. Already missing The Bachelor.
8.30pm: Charlie agrees to wear clothes again after guzzling bottle of milk. Mr Chick and I coo over his delicious pudginess as we dress him in easy-to-handle long-sleeved baby sleeping bag, while baby-talking to each other and him along the lines of omg he’s so beautiful what a sweet baby all is forgiven yada yada yada. Charlie rewards us with a coo and a smile. He knows which side his bread is buttered.
9pm: Put sleeping Charlie to bed in his cot. Tuck blankets around him, pat his little head and tiptoe out trying desperately to avoid creaky floorboard. Pray.
9-11pm: Fully realise I should be sleeping and it is ridiculous that I am awake, watching more vacuous TV and drinking wine with husband but so happy am awake, watching more vacuous TV and drinking wine with husband. Tell myself old night owl habits need to change while also feeling like my old self for first time of the day. When Charlie wakes, Mr Chick feeds him and then I take him back to his cot, reluctantly going to bed when he does.
12-midnight-1am: Bubba wakes. Leap out of bed to warm bottle…
* Slight exaggeration, possibly due to sleep deprivation.
Best bits this week:
Charlie looks a LOT like his dad, which is totally cool. Maybe he’ll look more like me down the track. But, while playing with his little fat paws this week I realised they are exact replicas of mine, wonky pinky finger and all. For some reason, that made me very happy. Also, I’m loving watching Charlie whenever his dad is around. His eyes follow him around the room adoringly and if he sits next to us on the couch he’ll just gaze at him. That early morning boy time when I’m asleep is obviously really helping them to get to know one another. So cute.
He has a high-pitched scream that I absolutely dread. Luckily doesn’t do it too much, but still.
Most surprising bits:
The hour-long goo-goo-gaa-gaa conversation we had yesterday, complete with smiles and squeals. I thought he was too young to make all those noises and it was both surprising and awesome.
To all the friends with kids I used to call during witching hour for a chat, before I had kids… I’m sorry. I get it now. And to all my friends and readers with kids, do you remember a week or a month when it started to get a little easier caring for your newborn? A turning point or moment you remember? If so please share…