I heard through the grapevine that all I write about anymore is Brooklynn. And when I looked back at the past two months of posting I found, well, that statement is true. And honestly, it pretty accurately reflects what our life feels like for the majority of the day. All baby, all the time.
And I shouldn’t say “we” or “our” quite so easily, because I get a break by going to work each day for the majority of the day and Rhiannon stays at home by herself with a small child incapable of communicating displeasure or unhappiness by any other means other than cries, wails, and screams. There have been a couple of days where I have barely to set foot in the door only to have a crying child put in my arms and be told to take care of her, and even then, Rhiannon’s break is usually spent in the kitchen making supper.
I’m sure if I had to, I could care for a baby during the day by myself, but I don’t know that I could do it as well or make it look as easy as Rhiannon does.
Rhiannon and I knew things would be a little different going into this whole “child-rearing” thing, and in some way, I knew that we were getting ourselves into an experience that would change our lives forever. I don’t know about her, but I was in no way ready for the magnitude of that life change.
I wasn’t ready for the time it takes to simply care for a baby.
It takes up to an hour for her to eat and burp and eat, and this is for less than a cup of liquid, and when she spits half of it up on herself and the person feeding her and requires a change of clothing and additional food, it doesn’t help matters.
There are times when Brooklynn knows she’s tired and we know she’s tired and I imagine the neighbors on all sides of our house and across the street know she’s tired and she won’t settle down and go to sleep. Call me crazy, but had I always assumed that babies slept when they were sleepy. (And if you’ve ever had children, you just called me crazy. Thanks.)
There are also times when she should be tired and she’s not, like after eating at 3:30 in the morning. Up to this point, this has been Rhiannon’s domain, but as we fast approach the time when she will be returning to work, I imagine I will help out a little more often in the dead of the night.
Now, I don’t intend any of these as complaints, but rather statements of fact. Facts of which I was blissfully (and woefully) unaware prior to July, 2009. As much as I read and researched babies, it never really made enough of an impact to prepare me for a new life in the house.
I compare trying to tell an expecting parent what their life will be like a little like throwing pebbles against the window to try and wake a sound sleeper wearing ear plugs. If I could just find a way to get the “What to expect when you’re expecting” type books to have the impact of an atomic bomb, maybe I could give people some idea of the change they will experience.
The biggest thing Rhiannon and I didn’t want to have happen going into this was to unalterably change who we are as people. We didn’t want to lose our identities as individuals and exist only as parents of someone. Do we have hope, dreams, and aspirations for our daughter? Of course. Does this mean we have pushed all of our own goals and desires aside? Well…
Right now, there are days when it feels like it.
Both of us have known people who vanished when they had kids. They didn’t go out, they didn’t have visitors, they didn’t exist outside of their family. I see how that would be easy to do. It’s probably easier than working to maintain your own identity, but neither Rhiannon nor I want to lose ourselves.
We’re going to be playing some volleyball again this fall, and in order to both play together, we have to ensure that someone can watch the baby, and drop her off and pick her up afterward, and still get everything prepared for the next day without the evening at home to do it. Yes, it would be easier to just stay home.
And so, when I write about all Brooklynn, all the time, that’s because it’s our life. But we’re working on finding a balance. I have no idea how successful we’ll be. I also know that both of us are very aware of not short-changing our daughter of all the love, affection, and attention she deserves by pursuing our own interests. We made the decision to bring her into the world, and as a result, we deal with the consequences of that decision on a daily basis.
And I would make the same decision to have her every day, without hesitation. We’re just working out the details.