The First 3 Weeks
Three weeks have passed since we brought Sia home. While I tend to think of myself as a woman of many talents (.350 batting average of catching grapes in my mouth, cut my own hair, uncanny memory for the details of 24) nothing has given me a run for my money more than navigating the territory of new motherhood.
EMOTIONS ARE RUNNING HIGH, maybe because I just gave birth to a baby. I took a hiatus from electronics and films (highly recommended, don't need childbirth as an excuse). The only thing I could read was Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things, which was so good I read through four hours of labor.
GERMANY IS AWESOME because health insurance automatically includes a Hebamme (midwife) to come over as often as you like to make sure everyone is still alive. Extra bonus if she is your friend and shows up with Thai food.
BABIES LOOK A BIT ROUGHED UP IN THE BEGINNING Sia still resembles a pirate, with one eye forcing itself open and Keith Richards hair circa the Black and Blue era. But that just makes me love her even more, if that was possible.
AMAZED AT THE BIOLOGICAL ENGINEERING OF BREASTFEEDING amongst other miracles of the female body. I've bionically morphed back into the person I was nine months ago, which is truly incredible. Not to mention that an actual person grew in there. Beyond. Women, I salute you!
VISITORS, AND LET ME EMPHASIZE VISITORS Germany is a very family-oriented culture, especially when it’s a holiday which seems to be every other week here. Even though we asked for no gifts since we are leaving in a month, one thing I should mention about Germans is they do not show up empty-handed. Our friends came by with all sorts of Bavarian-themed gifts, from a pretzel-shaped pillow to a Lederhosen-painted onesie. Don't let me get started on the Kuchen!
THE FIRST OUTING IS TERRIFYING We finagled a 10-day old Sia into the car to get her passport photo taken. I was terrified. She slept through the whole thing. She looks like a linebacker, or an Alcatraz-exiled felon, but oh well. USA here we come!
SISTERS ARE AWESOME They just are. If you have one, call her up today and tell her you love her. Adriane came from New York to meet Sia and help out. She’s an expert at all things motherhood- check out her gorgeous parenting shop in Brooklyn. Not only was it winning the sister lottery getting her over here for 5 whole days, she taught me some invaluable baby-whispering tricks: baby-wearing, bouncy-ball soothing, swaddling, cloth diapering, and yes, the art of breastfeeding in a BierGarten.
BE THE (BOUNCY) BALL Babies are sneakier than I expected. You have to get on their level if you think you're going to get them to sleep. If you're not 110% committed to rocking, white-noise making, lullaby-singing or swaddling, they will see right through your half-baked techniques and test all levels of your Zen till you start all over again. PS- just because a baby's eyes are closed DOESN'T MEAN SHE'S SLEEPING. NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO, SHE WILL ALWAYS HATE SHIRTS GOING OVER HER HEAD.
WHEN DID I BECOME AMBIDEXTROUS? In three weeks I've turned into a one-handed dinner-making, white-noise shushing, iron-clad bouncy-balling, Ayurvedic massage-giving, bilingual baby-talking poop expert.
SOMETIMES BABIES DON’T LOVE TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE STAR AS MUCH AS THEY LOVE REDEMPTION SONG. I don't have this figured out yet, but will get to the bottom of it.
Accept the fact that all the things you thought you would do while she was "sleeping all the time" are NOT GOING TO GET DONE, and are not as important as the little moon face who has the hiccups and is working out a gas bubble or fart in your lap. Life is happening now. Enjoy it!