Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The New Normal

Asher is six weeks old today. It's a bit of a milestone, I guess. It seems like six weeks is an arbitrary cut-off for a lot of things. The one that is most on my mind right now is the end of maternity leave. I'm not returning to work for another 2 weeks, but since most of my patients have to go back at the six-week mark, my own return seems more imminent. And now that we're at this point, I'm realizing how awful it is to send women back to work when they have a six-week-old infant at home.

Asher is starting to be fun but also starting to be more of a handful. He is very interactive and curious. We spend most of his awake time walking around the house looking at things. Most of the time I'm not quite sure what he is looking at because none of it would be remotely interesting to me. The Ergo carrier is my faithful companion, as some days it is the only thing that allows me to get anything done; I pop Asher in it and go about my business, while he looks at things and eventually falls asleep. Just in the last couple of days, he also has started getting interested in faces, and he will hold eye contact for minutes. He throws out random smiles increasingly, which are the most beautiful thing ever, the way his whole face lights up and his eyes smile along. We feel like he's teasing us since we have yet to see something that we could definitively call a "social smile."

Along with his increased wakefulness and interest has also come a nasty tendency to fight sleep. Suddenly, our sweet, easy baby who never cried protests a lot more. We spent the 4th of July trying to get him to nap, which made for exhausted parents and not a very fun holiday. Apparently, this is a common challenge for parents of previously quiet, easy babies at this age. One book I read suggested that he might be old enough for the cry-it-out technique, though only for a few minutes at a time. Neither Crockett nor I has the emotional fortitude to do it quite yet, and he seems just a little too young still, so instead, we're learning new ways to get him quiet and sleepy.

But as I was saying before, a big part of my mind is looking forward to returning to work in a couple of weeks, so we're trying to figure out what our normal routine will be. I can't imagine having to jump back into work right now, considering Asher's new-found fussiness. I'm relieved to have a little time to work out the kinks.

Today Asher's nanny, Anne, came to stay with him for the morning. I had hoped to run the morning similar to what I'll have to do on work days, but the ability to sleep in a little thanks to extra help from Daddy was too tempting after an exhausting day yesterday. Anne will be back tomorrow, so we'll try again. So far, Anne is doing great. We are thrilled to have found a nanny with extensive experience with young infants, which seems a rarity. She is extremely attentive, and, most importantly, she was not at all nervous when I told her that Asher was going through a fussy phase.

Meanwhile, I used the time to go running for the first time since September. It was not a pretty sight, and I'm sure I will be horribly sore tomorrow, but it feels good to get back in the groove. I have no idea how I will squeeze exercise into my days once I go back to work, but when there's a will, there's a way.

The rest of the Marki clan also seems to be moving ahead with "normal life." We are relieved that my father's prostate surgery went smoothly and his recovery has been uneventful. He is getting bored at home and ready to head back to the office. "Grandma" is back to cooking too much food for holiday dinners, and we had excellent pulled pork last night to celebrate Independence Day. Aunt Robin and Uncle Chris are settling into married life in their new house.

So life goes on....

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