So in the 12 weeks that have passed since Akira was born what have I learned?
Besides the basics: changing a diaper, breast feeding and other tasks that have to do with a small child quite a lot.
The world seems a bit brighter with a small child. People smile at you when you have a small child. Especially when she’s in the sling and visible. They smile and they are not shy about it like they were while I was pregnant, then I’d get some hidden, shy smiles but with a small child they smile openly and sometimes they walk up to you and strike a conversation.
“Oh she’s comfortable there with her mommy” – or something simple and silly like that.
People ask questions about her and give you random advice. A man told me the other day to watch out because small children easily caught a cold. Other asked me if it was my first child and when I told him yes he smiled inwardly, as if to himself, and said dreamily that there was nothing quite like it. A woman told me matter-of-factly that small children were the best things on earth and added gleefully “followed by small kittens of course”.
I’ve also learned that time is precious. I was, of course, aware of this but when you are taking care of someone the whole day you learn to use those small 10-20 minute breaks to do what you need, want and have to. I still have far to go to master the art of working in 10-20 minute spurts but I’m getting along. It helps to be able to multitask. I can read (light books – that is kilo wise not intellectually), surf the internet, pay the bills, write notes, do crosswords and do other small tasks while breast feeding. I can rock her in her stroller while doing the dishes or while playing Final Fantasy XIII (remember those exercises you did as a kid, doing one thing with one hand while doing something totally different with the other? Well – imagine doing that with your hands and then using your foot for a third task!).
You learn to use your time better – but I have still a way to go. I still haven’t managed to go out to run. Running was the single thing I missed the most while I was pregnant and I still haven’t gone out to run except for small spurts last time me and my little family went strolling in the forest nearby. I will learn to get that in too – and I will eventually learn to pick and choose tasks that have to be done, that I want to do and balance them correctly. I’m getting there.
I’ve learned all about children sizes and about how fast they grow. I’ve learned to trust my gut, despite being a ‘new’ mom I should not doubt my instincts. I went shopping for clothes yesterday as she has just outgrown the first clothes I bought her and we needed a few things. These small clothes are so preciously adorable and it’s so much cheaper to buy a full outfit for her than it is to buy one for myself (although baby clothes aren’t cheep exactly).
I’ve also learned about my family and about the people I know. She has had people from all over give her things and I have got so many wonderfully knitted things for that I feel all warm and fuzzy. She’s got sweaters, hats, quilts and other knitted treasures from all over the world. And she’s using them to keep warm I tell you.
These things have brought to my attention a kind of a blind spot I’ve had in the past. All the women that I know that have had children and I’ve done very little to acknowledge the fact. Mainly because giving gifts scares me a bit – I never know what to get (and these children sizes puzzled me endlessly before).
At least now I’ve learned.
I’ve learned all about different rashes babies get. I’ve learned about the oil like poo they poop as newborns (who knew produced oil-black, licorice like substance the first few days?). I’ve learned that babies are small and not as fragile as you’d think. And I’ve learned about allergies and I’m still learning there. She’s had nettle-rash and she’s still not rid of it but staying off diary products and egg’s isn’t hard. I just hope she gets better for it but although she’s infinitely better (she’s a happy camper and has no rage outbreaks in the evenings as she did for a while) she is still not completely rid of the rash.
I’ve also learned to be prepared because as soon as I think I’ve settled into some routine she goes and changes and it’s everything up in the air again.
But the best of all is getting to know this little girl that is Akira Daniella Valkyrja. She smiles at me as I role my r’s at her and she giggles when I put her pacifier into my mouth and sometimes she makes a sound from the back of her throat as if she’s trying to role her r’s too but doesn’t quite know how to do it. She is only 12 weeks old today and she seems to know very well what she wants and when she wants it.
There are other things I’ve learned and more things I will learn but now she’s waking up and I’ll post this without checking for errors (spelling or other). It’s one of the things I’ve learned – my time is precious.