What Difference Does It Make?

Remember that post where I talked about what the first two weeks were like in all their sleep-deprived, anxiety-inducing glory? We barely do. Now that we’ve made it to eleven weeks, almost all the way through the fourth trimester and out of newborn-hood, we’ve entered a completely different world, with new challenges but a whole bunch of new rewards. How does the third month compare?

The sleep

Remember this chart, made using my sleep tracker because if you can’t laugh in the face of extreme sleep deprivation you might actually crawl up the wall?

Nowadays, a night with Scarlett looks much more like this:

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You’ll  notice it’s not a heavenly sea of uninterrupted blue just yet – she typically wakes three times before we arrive at anything I’m willing to call ‘morning’ – but you’ll see that we’re both much more efficient at feeding, and both much better at dropping back to sleep afterwards. Gone are the days of  hair-trigger waking when trying to put her back down after a feed – now she happily drifts back off to sleep in her crib and doesn’t need to be resettled three times. Gone too are the days when I lie awake, subconscious semi-convinced that something terrible will happen if I nod off. We’re both a lot better rested now. If you’re still bleary-eyed in week 2 or 3: this happy state will come (and you might even get the much-rumoured ‘sleeping through’).

The Fear

Yeah, that’s pretty much abated. I mean, not to the degree that we’ve become careless and irresponsible; more that we can now lead a semblance of normal life without winding ourselves up in knots about it. Days in – and daytime trips out – go much more smoothly now we’re into more of a routine. Although we can still be heard asking ‘are we the worst parents in the world?’, nowadays it’s to her, as a joke, when she’s complaining about being placed gently in her car seat, rather than to ourselves, in earnest, at all times of day and night. The Fear might return once she starts crawling around our World of Danger, but for now we are indigestion-free.

The exhaustion

…is abating, now that she doesn’t need to be physically carried around so much, and we’re both totally buff now from the first two months of baby-lifting anyway. The emotional exhaustion has also largely vanished thanks to more sleep and less Fear. Me-time (and we-time) is at the same time increasing, as she’s able to spend some of her alert time playing independently, and doesn’t need constant observation during naps. Actually, she probably never needed constant observation during naps, but you try telling us that ten weeks ago.

The fascinating stuff

While there was plenty of new and interesting and adorable stuff happening in the early weeks, we’re now into the development of some real skills. Scarlett is able to do much more with her body, is engaging with the world through sight and touch, and we have smiles and giggles and gurgles and proto-chattering happening every day. She’s lots of fun to interact with at the moment, and a really rather cheerful personality is emerging which makes waking up in the morning far more fun. Again, we know this might change, but for now we’re in a wondrous and sunny place.

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The weird shit

The outside world seems a bit more normal now, and I’ve finally stopped leaking milk over every surface of our (new) house. I still feel like a walking milk bottle, though, and the things we hear ourselves say are still utterly bats.

We still don’t know how anyone is expected to go back to work after two weeks

That said, doing some work from home now seems much more achievable, and indeed achieved. Next stop: anxiety over whether we’re providing appropriate career models for our youngling. We probably are. We probably aren’t.