Since I have been open in the past with my struggles when Ali was a newborn and about my fears about doing it all over again, I wanted to honestly share my experiences with Noah as well, even if it forces me to be serious for a post every now and then.  I hope you don’t mind, and I hope that at maybe one or two other Mommies (or future Mommies) can be encouraged by my overly-honest meanderings.

I’ve been intending to write a “check-up” post for several weeks now, and the funny thing is, every time I’ve thought about what I would say, it’s changed drastically.  As quickly as newborn’s little bodies grow and change, so do their habits, issues, difficulties, and joys.

Or, as my repetitive mantra is when I’m in the middle of a difficult moment, “It’s just a phase.  It’s just a phase.  Everything is a phase, both good and bad.”

The first few weeks were SO much easier and more delightful than I expected.  As I mentioned in Noah’s Birth Story, my surprising and immediate bond with him really made the initial transition easy, despite quite a few complicating health factors that I’ve had.  I fell in love with him, and he was immediately attached and responsive to me in a very special and endearing way.

But in the last two weeks, it began to get more difficult.  Noah started to get much more opinionated, in a screaming kind of way.  It wasn’t a lack of milk issue like Ali – he was becoming a picky sleeper.  Although he started sleeping great at night, he was quite insistent that he would ONLY sleep in his bed or pack and play, even though he was still wanting to sleep nearly constantly.  He was easily awakened, would not sleep in his car seat, or if he did fall asleep, he wouldn’t stay asleep when the car stopped.  And, of course, became very unhappy if he got overtired.

And so, on the days when we had to go somewhere, he would end up screaming for most of our outing, which is very wearying and brought back memories of Ali’s unbelievably unhappy months.

After a few days of his screaming, I had allowed myself to get into a place where my perspective was skewed negatively.  Rather that the longsuffering, patient, and loving attitude that I had been blessed with in the early weeks, I found myself thinking thoughts like “I can’t take one more stressful thing”, or “this, too??” – allowing every new challenging moment to make me more and more stressed, instead of just rolling with it and knowing it would get better.

And so, when Noah had a really poor night of sleep last Tuesday night, I found myself, in the middle of the night, in a very desperate place.  I knew my attitude wasn’t right, as I found myself wondering why he wasn’t doing what I “expected” him to do, and feeling a little bit resentful toward him – a feeling I knew all too well from when Ali was a baby.

(It may sound awful for someone to feel resentment towards a baby, but it’s amazing and surprising what feelings a baby can bring out in you – especially in the middle of the night.)

As I nursed him that night, I prayed for God to refresh my perspective and return my mind to a healthy focus.

And then, instead of a scripture passage like usual, the oddest words of wisdom popped into my head…a quote from our beloved Weatherman, James Spann.

First, a bit of background for those of you who don’t live in Alabama.  James Spann is the most famous meteorologist in our state.  Amidst all of the campy local newscasters, Mr. Spann is a distinguished, genuine, brilliant meteorologist that is nationally known and respected.  And so, anytime there is an impending weather event, whether it be a tornado, a hurricane, or snow, we all immediately tune in to James’ weather reports and blog to find out THE forecast.

And, since we’ve had a VERY unusually high amount of snow events in the past two years, I’ve found myself reading his blog and following him on twitter more closely than usual.  And on all of his potential-snow posts (which are addressing a state of people who LOVE our rare snow occurrences), he always has the same disclaimer at the bottom:

Remember – some people will be elated with the amount of snow they get, and some people will be disappointed.

And, with any Alabama snow event, there will ALWAYS be surprises.

That was the quote that popped into my head.

And, when applied to newborns, truer words could not be spoken.

Some things will elate you (like when they randomly sleep through the night at 4.5 weeks old), some things will disappoint you (like when they decide to hate their car seat), and, with any newborn, there will ALWAYS be surprises.

And that last phrase was the biggest perspective changer for me.  I cannot put expectations on a Newborn, or I will just end up frustrated.

No matter how much I like schedules and plans and knowing what to expect when, I must remember that Noah is under two months old!  Even if he’s done the same thing every day for three weeks, I shouldn’t be surprised if, all of a sudden, he does the exact opposite thing tomorrow.  He is absolutely going to do unexpected things, and I should not resent him because of it!

And so, as odd as it sounds, my encouragement for the week was a Meteorologist’s tag line.  Some things will elate me, some things will disappoint me, and there will always be surprises.  And since I’ve reset my expectation to be “expect surprises”, I haven’t been nearly as frustrated.

And, because it’s the way God likes to do things, Noah got much happier and began sleeping much better – right AFTER I learned the lesson that I needed to learn.

And, of course, the adorable dimpled smile that’s been peeking out more and more often keeps my heart totally in love with this sweet, surprising little creation.

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38 thoughts on “Checking Up – Seven Weeks.

  1. What wonderful words to remember.

    I’m sure you have seen it, but I greatly recommend adding a copy of The Happiest Baby on the Block to your parenting arsenal. The author does a lovely job of normalizing the newborn crankiness (which, he notes, often peaks at 6-8 weeks) and providing real solutions (and they work). It saved our sanity!

  2. THANK YOU for your honesty about parenting. You are fabulous and funny, and your kids are absolutely the luckiest to have a mom with such a real perspective on life, and the humor to make it all bearable. Please consider this my “come out of hiding” post…I work in Alabama, but live in Florida, so I commute weekly. Odd, yes, but pays the bills in this weird economy.
    Anyway, I thoroughly enjoy your writing, so thanks for putting yourself and your gorgeous family out there :) Stay warm!

  3. Oh, I love this post because it speaks volumes to my life right now. I so see myself rereading this during difficult times (i.e., middle of the night). I thank you for your honesty. I have never looked at James Spann’s disclaimer this way, but it really does work! At times, I find myself resenting my children too especially as newborns. Newborns don’t really mesh well with my OCD and structure-needing style.

    I am so behind in my blogging…I don’t know how you manage everything with a newborn. I may be jealous ;)

  4. I totally get where you are… and I think those words work just as well for older kids, too. I’m constantly reminding myself, “She’s four. You can’t expect her to act like she knows better. She doesn’t.”

  5. With babies all you can expect is the unexpected. And you are right, this too shall pass (the bad and the good, sigh…). If there is a mom out there who has not felt some resentment towards their baby at some time, well then…they are lying. It comes with being human.

  6. Great post! You are much better about being honest about your feelings that I am. I always try to focus on the good and ignore the bad, so I never blog about the “bad” stuff. :P But that’s not healthy. I need to identify it and work towards fixing it like you did here. And I think every mother has feelings of resentment at some point…or many points! Haha:) It’s definitely not ALL lovey dovey kisses. :) Thanks for the reminder to expect those “fun” surprises! :)

  7. Rachel, Thank you so much for writing this post. It was exactly what I needed at this point. I know that sometimes it is hard to let others into your life and let them see the not so pretty side of life, but by doing so you never know how many others are going through the exact same thing. I am right where you are except that Victoria sleeps better when we are out and about then she does at home! Which is great when I need to run errands but not so great when I am tired and just want to stay home. She is my most difficult child out of the three. Maybe it is because I am older, maybe it is because I am running around after two others, or maybe she is just difficult. Either way, just know that you are NOT alone. We are a week behind you and are going through the same thing.

  8. This is such a great post and one that I imagine every mom can relate to. In talking to my mom, m-i-l and grandmothers I’ve noticed that while parents often forget a ton about when their kids were little (my own mom doesn’t even remember when I walked!) everyone remembers how hard those first few months are. Infancy seems to scars us all like battle wounds. But your attitude is so right-on, I think. And at least with the second one you have the perspective to know that this too shall pass. Good luck.

  9. There have been more nights than I can count where I wanted to smother one (or both) of the girls with a pillow… it’s right about the three am mark, when I still haven’t managed to actually go to sleep, and realize that unless something miraculous happens RIGHT THEN I’m going to be facing the morning on practically no sleep. Again.

    The middle of the night is HARD.

    And those dimples really are just the cutest little accessories to that cutest little baby you have there :-)

  10. “it’s amazing and surprising what feelings a baby can bring out in you – especially in the middle of the night”

    Truer words have never been spoken.

    (Well, maybe they have but I like the drama of that statement.)

  11. Rachel – if it makes you feel any better, I have been VERY impressed at how despite all your trials throughout Noah’s birth, the holidays, having another child at home to raise, your crazy tooth extravaganza, the Alabama weather lately :), and the lack of sleep – that you have managed to muster up even SOME ounce of humor to live to write about it. Being that this is my first child, I don’t have anything to compare this whole parenting thing to, but it certainly has helped reading about someone who is going through the same things at the same time. Thank you for sharing, and being raw – not trying to sound like “the perfect parent” it certainly makes us newbies feel better. And as always, thank you for giving us some really great reads while feeding/rocking/cuddling/ doing other such mommy jobs :) Always a treat!

  12. Wow Rachel, thank you for being so honest! It’s nice to hear other Mamas aren’t always together all the time! When your going through one of those crazy times, it’s nice to know your not the only one. As always thanks for sharing! ~Trish

  13. Thank you so much for sharing this. I needed this reminder as I’m preparing for baby #2. It’s not always roses, but it is always worth it!

  14. Great Post. I had the exact opposite experience with Jenna. She was SOOO easy. only cried when hungry, wet or tired. Slept amazingly anywhere, anytime. I am so worried about Liam being the exact opposite of Jenna and crushing my expectations of him as well. But I will def take this post to heart and remember that you never know what you’ll get with a newborn. Good Ole James, always there when you need him :-)

  15. Thanks for posting about these rough times. The hardest part of my son’s infancy was how ALONE I felt. I remember wanting this child for so long, and then when inevitably it was hard, I felt bad complaining. It helps to read that other moms go through this too. And things change literally every single week, which is good and bad! Good luck with those sleep issues!

    1. I definitely felt that way with Ali, but haven’t felt that way with Noah at all – I guess since Ali’s at home with me. In fact, I’ve found myself wanting to stay home MORE often than I did even just a few months ago. (I’ve always been the cabin-fever-I-gotta-get-out-of-the-house type). So you may find that those feelings don’t come back with a second child!

  16. I wish I had the mental capacity to tell you how familiar those scenarios are/were to me. Instead, I’m giving you a big hug for catching that little reminder which tends to be so very elusive to moms of littles :)

  17. I love that line… “Some things will elate me, some things will disappoint me, and there will always be surprises.”
    I definitely needed this!! Davis has been up MANY, MANY times the last 2 nights and at 4.5 months I honestly expected better sleep than this!
    I can second the Happiest Baby on the Block recommendation although I think you should get the DVD rather than the book b/c he demonstrates all his methods that you just won’t be able to get from the book. You can actually see some on youtube if you wanna check it out. Swaddling, turning baby on his side, and swaying worked like a CHARM for us.

  18. I so understand where you are! My second is 16 months old and still doesn’t sleep well. There are many times in the middle of the night that I don’t think I am at my best. When you actually catch yourself telling a baby “For pity’s sake, it is sleep time. Go to sleep”, you know you aren’t at your best!

    For going out of the house, I highly recommend a sling! My daughter hated the car seat but would snuggle into a sling and hang out for hours. I like the Peanut Shell ones made out of a single layer of fleece. Very comfortable and easy to wear!

  19. Very true – I like this weatherman and I agree with him. I’ll have to remember this if our plans for a second (yes, true) work out. BTW, thanks for your comment on my questioning only having one post. I must say I really echo how you felt. Happy to see that all is going well with your fam.

  20. Thank you so much Rachel! This was great reminder as I get ready for baby #3 (due in just a couple of weeks now). This baby has already thrown a “surprise” my way in that my soon to be middle child is already having jealousy issues that are frustrating me more and more each day. When she was born, my oldest accepted her without question and everything was wonderful. Now that Hannah has had me all to herself this past year while her big sister is at school, and she knows big changes are coming, she has gotten incredibly clingy, touchy-feely and in my face every waking moment. I have had to remind myself that it is my attitude that needs changing and not to expect the same things from my very different children. I love reading your blog even though I don’t comment regularly! Thanks!

  21. I loved the honesty in this post. Part of the reason I put off having children was that I was really worried that I would resent them and I didn’t think that would be fair. One thing I’m always pointing out to my sister who just had a baby 6 wks after me is our positive/negative emotions snowball so focus on the positive and you’ll see more positive things.

    And thank you James Spann for your words of wisdom he he.

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