Day Writing: New Babies
What an exciting time as we look around at all our friends who are expecting their first, or adding another, child. While we certainly haven’t learned it all, here are a few things we’ve picked up on that may make it easier for others as their family grows.
Just because she is now mom doesn’t mean the lady of the operation no longer wants to help outside. One of the toughest aspects of motherhood for many ranch gals is feeling banned to the confines of the house during those early months of a baby’s life. It’s also eye-opening for a husband to pop his head in the door asking for, ‘a few minutes’ of help, and be turned down. However, we’ve learned that if we can set out a rough plan of the next day – yes, I do know that is 12-24 hours out, it really helps. When the kids go down for naps at the same time, I switch that baby monitor on and run for the door. Running is a relative term. My husband has learned to leave the jobs he needs a few minutes of help with in linbo for nap time, or those few precious moments when we get home from feeding when both kids are content or asleep in their carseats.
Speaking of feeding, another thing about parenthood, especially for moms, is that tasks that once brought calm and enjoyment may now cause frazzlement. Over the winter months I typically take both kids to feed cows cake every other day. I’ve always loved feeding cows. But this year, I average around ten minutes when one or the other isn’t whining/crying/screaming/blubbering about something. Nearly every day the toddler manages to spill my coffee, and the baby pitches a royal fit if she can’t be up front looking out the window while we actually feed. With a finicky cake feeder, that doesn’t always happen to her standards. I love them both dearly, and I treasure the time with them doing what we all love, but there have been days feeding with them has nearly given me an eye twitch. I’m told by various sources I will miss it. This stage of life, not the eye twitch.
But, should they both fall asleep on the way home, another parenthood lesson kicks in. That is the burning of diesel fuel to extend nap time. It does not take that many attempts of packing a sleeping baby or toddler to the house from the pickup to realize, in our case at least, that they will wake up around 90 percent of the time. Typically, with a bad attitude. So, if the kids are sleeping, the vehicle stays running.
Something’s going to give when a beloved little person, or second, or third enters the family equation. For many, the house is what gives, and it’s going to be a mess if mom does anything else with her day aside from cleaning it. The mess likely bothers her, too. She has also picked up every single thing strewn about more times than she can count. How is it even possible to evenly space dozens of toys throughout an entire house, pokey side up every time, at one or two years of age? I’ve lost a fair amount of sleep pondering that while waiting for my foot to stop stinging. On the plus side, the odds of being robbed go down significantly during this phase.
Not all pediatricians understand the agriculture lifestyle. It’s best to play it cool and simply answer questions versus supplying a lot of additional information on your child until you know where your doc falls on the subject. When they ask if your one year old’s hand eye coordination is good enough to stack blocks yet, simply answer yes or no. Enthusiastically telling them that he was stacking dried out cow pies six high while waiting for the cows to string in to feed isn’t what most are expecting to hear. Or, when asking if your child eats a balanced diet, listing the various grains regularly consumed and whether the child in question prefers them straight out of the grain bin or run through the grinder mixer is also not what they want to hear. Adding that any bugs consumed are counted as added protein may send them over the edge. No need to overwhelm them before writing a check for an amount you wish you could get for taking a weight on a baby and asking a few questions of its mother.
Certain foods and drinks become areas of magnified significance during pregnancy and nursing. Take coffee, for instance. Some say you should not touch the stuff. Well, I drank a small cup while pregnant and nursing, and I can attest that my children only act like they just inhaled a triple-shot espresso for 10 hours most days.
On the craziest of days, keep in mind that if a man won’t shoot his dog for standing in the gate repeatedly, your child will live to tell the tale as well. He or she will also be a darn good hand, custom raised to your operation, quirks and personal preferences within a few years. Along with that will come the ability to frustrate you as only someone with your DNA is capable of.
And, even on those days, this life is all the more worthwhile because of kids. Enjoy them. As the older generations remind us, they pass quickly and there are never any regrets for taking the time to raise your children.