Thursday, June 10, 2010

Caring for Baby

Baby Nile is so sweet and wonderful. I am really enjoying being a mom much more than I thought I would. I was so freaked out about having a child, I was afraid I would have post-partum depression. But it has just been a joyful ride so far!

I feel GREAT since having her. SO much better than I felt while I was pregnant. I am just amazed at what the human body can do. Everyone who told me breastfeeding was the miracle transformer was right; I am completely happy with the way my body looks and the energy that I have. I think I look better than before I was pregnant. And pregnancy hormones at first made me break out around month 5 and then ever since then, even now, my skin has been perfectly clear! And my mood has been good, OK, sometimes unnecessarily tender, but that is part of being a mommy I guess. So all of that is a huge part of feeling good post-partum (for me).

Also, going to work has been really good, I have so many good (how many times can I say "good," I need a new adjective here) friends and coworkers there and I think I am the type of person who needs that time away from home, and mental stimulation. So that is what is working for me so far.

I went back to work on May 17, when Nile was two months old. It was a sad day! But after that day it was OK. Neil is doing school full-time online, but he was watching Nile, too. Well, the plan was to have a nanny because I want him to do school and knew that he wouldn't be able to give her 100% attention. He objected to the nanny but gave in.

Well, the nanny started this Monday. I stayed home Monday to show her around and answer any questions, and to kind of see how she does things. She was our friends' nanny for their two little girls and had been with them nearly 4 years before they moved. She had cared for their youngest daughter since the day she was born. So she knows babies.

Well, it was SO HARD to be home all day Monday and have to do my own thing and stay away from Nile. I had to give the nanny her time and space with her. The nanny (can we think of a less awkward name for her, other than her real name?) is so sweet and good with Nile. Nile was making her almost-laugh sounds (I haven't heard her do a full laugh yet) and grinning all day.

Nanny played with her on her Baby Einstein mat. And one time when I was watching her, Nile grabbed one of the things dangling from it. What?! I had no idea she could do that!! Nanny rocked her to sleep and put her down for a nap. When I went to get Nile to feed her, she had the baby blanket over her body in the bassinet. Yikes! I am so paranoid. We only use Sleep Sacks. I didn't want to be a total freak, so I talked it over with Neil. Of course, he thinks the blanket's fine. I need to tell her just to use the Sleep Sack. Anyway.

So Monday was hard and then Tuesday was harder. Nanny arrived (she is not live-in) and was there while I was getting ready for work  and then I had to leave baby Nile with her. I felt this weird, misguided, slight anger (anger isn't the word, but I can't quite capture the feeling in a word) and jealousy toward Nanny for having baby Nile all day! VERY weird, unfamiliar, mommy emotion!! But luckily the feeling went away and I was happy to leave Nile with her after lunch.

I was describing this to one of my coworkers. I was saying how it wasn't bad at all leaving her with Neil, because he is like an extension of me, but it was really hard leaving her with Nanny. He said that makes complete sense, because Neil is family, but Nanny is "the other woman."

And I don't want Nanny to be the other woman in Nile's life, but I think it will be good having her. I come home every day at lunch to feed baby Nile. In the hours between when I leave in the morning---lunch---and when I come home in the evening, baby Nile is getting excellent stimulation, play, singing to, and naps. She is being cuddled, walked around, and allowed to explore. She is getting all this, punctuated by feeding and love and time with her daddy.

(Quick question for those who know babies: What other interactive activities can one do with a 2.5-mo.-old? Other than reading. Right now Nanny spends a lot of time with Nile on the Baby Einstein mat. I don't want either one of them to get bored. Also, the house is very quiet because we don't really use the TV. I don't want the TV or music blaring, but should I have something on or do you think it's fine to have a really quiet house like that? Ideas are welcome, please!)

Nile does sleep a lot. And when Nile is sleeping comes the bonus: Nanny is a housekeeper, too. So she cleans, cooks, shops for groceries, irons, feeds the pets, walks the dog, empties the litterbox (hallelujah!), takes my drycleaning down the block to the cleaners. L-O-V-E it. Really, it is the way to go for me, because when I get home, I am not doing all of those extraneous things that I HATE :) er, that I would otherwise have had to do after work (OK, major props to Neil, he is an amazing "helpmeet"). But it totally gives me 100% quality time with Nile and Neil, which is so wonderful. And I am not stressed about getting other things done around the house. It's working out really well so far.

OK, some more photos because really, how can I choose just one? These were from last Sunday.


Brianna and Byron Putnam said...

I totally LOVED reading this post. I am soooo glad that you are feeling good and looking good haha. I just love you. Okay, so I feel kind of silly but.... how do you pronounce Nile's name? I just need to know for when I'm reading posts.

Did you know that I am a Child Development Specialist now? I work at an Early Intervention agency so I don't see typically developing kids though. I don't really feel like a 'specialist' and am probably not the best but here are some things that will be good to do with Nile.

Tummy time - no matter how much she may hate it, of course
bring her feet up to her mouth (if she isn't already
try to 'take turns' with her sounds... if she makes a sound, copy it, then wait for 10-15 seconds to see if she will do one back - eventually you will get to the point where it will just go back and forth
do lots of consonant chains (b,p,m, and b are usually the first sounds to come) while she is loving to look at your face
Is she rolling? help her get the feelings of it if she isn't already by gently pushing her hips (usually stomach to back comes first - because lots of them hate tummy time haha)
And last for today - there is true VALUE in peek-a-boo :) anticipatory excitement is a huge motivation for little babbies to make movements and sounds!

Anyway, just a few things :) Love you girl!!!

Liz said...

i love reading your mommy adventures, megan!! Seriously, it's so great to write all of your thoughts so baby can read them one day and see what awesome parents she has.

So our house is super quiet too. How about fun music for baby?!

Looking forward to the next post and more photos too!! Nile's a charmer.

M. said...

lets call her McPhee.... or Mpop. You can choose :)
p.s. glad you're doing well!!

mj said...

Cute baby. Love her smiles. I can sort of imagine the nanny thing cuz we have a babysitter come once a week and spend all day with Adele. I have a really hard time staying out of their business but I also really need the time to get some work done.

I'm glad you're happy with your situation. I was really unsure about NOT going back to work and got very tired and sort of depressed the first few months. I love her so much but she was NOT an easy newborn and I spent most of my time walking around with her (her facing out b/c she had to see) and showing her things (inside the house b/c it was so cold outside!) She would just cry if I put her down. It was exhausting! This is just to say either way is hard and takes a bit to get used to. Once you find what works best for you though, it's pretty awesome.

As far as what to do with her: In my brief experience, the age Nile is at is when Adele was first starting to play at all, but there's still not too much you can do since she's still working on her vision. The activity mat and smiling at her and making faces is about it--especially getting down on her level. I think some babies really like mobiles at her age. Probably sometime in the next month or so (I can't remember exactly when) she will start to master binocular vision and after that she will start to get much better at grabbing things and interacting with them. Closer to four months she might dig a jumper or exersaucer or something.

modestmuse said...

Thanks for all the tips, love you too Bri! Nile is pronounced just like the river, thanks for asking! I want to hear more about your Specialty, I knew you were working with the kids. You know a lot about this stuff!

Liz, fun music is a good idea -- you are the perfect person to come up with an awesome playlist. If you think of any good ones, especially int'l type kids music, send ideas my way.

M, wish you were coming to see us in person. Next year! How exactly would I pronoucnce "Mpop"? :)

MJ, thank you for the tips from experience! I'm sorry baby a was a bit challenging -- you handled it amazingly; I know I am lucky Nile is laid back, because I don't think I could handle her being really fussy. That would not be good, especially in the winter when it's so blah anyway. What is an exersaucer?

Sara said...

She's so cute! Nanny was the way to go! So nice for you that she does the housework!!

mj said...

i'm going to attempt links in this comment but i don't know if i can get it to work.
exersaucers are huge monstrosities--well saucers--that babies sit and bounce in and play with all the surrounding toys. There are also jumperoos, which are similar but bouncier and doorway jumpers, which are the bounciest and not for the faint of heart. They also have fewer toys.

Anyway, a good place to stick a baby for a few minutes and let her go to town while you do what you need to do. They are all for kids with solid head control and at least some sitting ability.

Bfiles said...

as a working mom, I totally hear you on this post. It's not easy to leave baby with someone else. I hope you are coming to terms with it. In the beginning I just tried to look at it from the perspective of all the benefits for baby- the socialization and separation from parents are good things. And I always liked to appreciate the fact that my babies were/are loved by many people.