Our first few weeks at home with Walt
Those first few weeks at home with a newborn are like nothing else. For us, it’s been a dreamy, sleepy, milk-stained, love-filled transition to life as a family of four. The recovery from birth has been more intense this time, with more bleeding and pain than after Joan’s birth. I’m also now seeing a woman’s health Physical Therapist for pelvic floor strengthening. The adjustment to night waking has been much easier, though. Walt certainly isn’t waking less than Joan (in fact, my newborns have been identical in terms of how they feed, spit up and mostly refuse to sleep in the bassinet for longer than ten minutes). Moreover, Ben isn’t helping with the night waking this time, as he sleeps with Joan in her room. But even so, it all feels far easier this time around. I’m not worrying whether things are normal or whether I am doing it right, because I now know it all works out; and that, eventually, with time, things get easier. There is so much magic in these early, tiring days and it feels really good to be present for it. Here are some photographs from late October and early November, of life at home with our Walt.
She calls him “Waltie Walt”.
All day and night.
Eggs and greens. Repeat.
Her: painting his toenails. Him: pretending to be pleased about it.
Pretty much always on my chest.
Chicken broth soup.
A picture-perfect babe napping in his bassinet for all of seven minutes.
Coffee and laundry. So much coffee and laundry.
Baked pasta is a beautiful thing.
Some of you have asked how Joan is transitioning, so I thought I’d write a short note here. Walt is astonishingly calm whenever Joan is around, and they honestly seem to just adore each other. One week after Walt was born it was as though Joan understood, and accepted, our new way of life. She incorporates Walt into her thinking and planning without skipping a beat. It’s not as though she’s happy all the time. Her three-year old toddler tantrums continue, and are surely fuelled by big feelings over this change (along with the usual tantrum starters - tiredness, hunger and overwhelm), but life as a foursome feels normal now. For all of us. And I’m surprised by how quickly that has happened. Ben is back at work full-time and I’m figuring out how to be a full-time parent to two while he’s gone. There’s a whole lot of couch-hanging, book-reading, dress-up playing and chocolate-eating going on. Walt mainly naps in the carrier or in my arms, and because of this, I imagine Joan must feel as though I am less available to her. So my main priority when caring for my babes is Joan’s needs. I strive to listen to her, respond, look her in the eye and continue to make her feel as special and heard and important as ever. Of course there’s times when I can’t be fully present with her and need to tend to Walt, and she’s learning how to be patient when that happens. And I’ve found that if I’ve been present with her (and she isn’t tired, hungry, etc), she can do that with ease.