Littlest of Men

So I didn’t actually want my blog to become All About Baby but here’s the thing—creating a tiny human is more incredible than anything else I’ve done before and also, I’m on maternity leave so there’s not much else going on.

I’ve chosen an official nickname for Paddy (which is already a nickname): Littlest of Men. My mom pointed out today that it was inaccurate because there are smaller baby boys out there but I DON’T CARE. I’ve dubbed him Paddy, Littlest of Men (like an official title). So on the blog he may be Paddy less often and more often Littlest of Men. I mean he is still pretty freakin small, though his two-month appointment is two weeks off so I don’t know how much he weighs now.

On that note I’ve already started nostalgically looking at the tiny newborn-sized clothes that he’s grown out of. Even some of the 1-month stuff is too small and was worn once. He wore the newborn stuff for a good few weeks but now it’s all been relegated to the secondary closet.

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Tiny onesies that are now too small

The Past Week

Paddy was introduced to several new things this week: American grandparents, the stroller, clothes, and Thanksgiving. My parents arrived last Thursday when it was sunny and warm-ish so we took him out for his first walk in the stroller. We started taking him out of his pjs in the morning and putting him into real clothes—a possibility now that he fits into all the one-month size clothes people gave us. And we celebrated Thanksgiving with my friends yesterday, the first time I haven’t helped AT ALL. Paddy was very well behaved but did not want to sleep.

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Paddy at one month with his Nanna-made cheetah lovey (not the most classic of poses but I like this one)

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Paddy with Nanna (he pooped his overalls late in the day and was no longer QUITE as adorably dressed after that)

I actually read a lot of interesting, non-Trump-related stuff this week:

Hey New Teachers, It’s Okay to Cry in Your Car (thanks Dana): My first year I actually not only cried in my car but also on the shoulder of a student’s parent (she was lovely about it)

Actors’ Movie Accents, Rated

Breastfeeding the Microbiome: Breast milk just gets more and more fascinating

My, Myself, and I: About why we capitalize the first person singular in written English

10 Expressions à connaître quand on habite au Texas: I will always remember my non-Texan dad’s reaction the first time he heard me say “fixin’ to”

Comment la France a tué ses villes

Outlander: 5 bonnes raisons de vous y mettre

Week Five Post-Partum

  1. End of paternity leave is tomorrow night (sad).
  2. American grandparents also arrive tomorrow!
  3. Mastitis (OW).
  4. A radio on static makes a decent white noise machine (while you are waiting for your white noise machine to arrive in the mail).
  5. I met with the other mamas from my childbirth classes.
  6. The baby slept over five hours at once at night. After practically not sleeping all day.
  7. The baby is also over 7 pounds and into 1-month clothing.
  8. We received two Sophie the Giraffes (not that we mind).
  9. I’m still looking for good nursing bras in my size (see #3).

The Past Week

Well I really have very little to say since my life consists mostly of baby and avoiding the news out of the US. Paddy may have entered a colicky stage—we’re waiting to see how bad it gets/if it continues—but otherwise he’s in good health. My parents arrive this week for two weeks so he will be swimming in English for a while.

On that note I have just two links to share, nothing new for anyone who follows me on Twitter:

Popular French Names You Just Couldn’t Call a French Child: I could write a whole post about the process of choosing a bicultural, bilingual name with personal and family significance for our baby, but I’d have to talk a lot about all of our full names and I probably shouldn’t do that. Suffice it to say that this article got a lot of it right.

The New York Times: Paris, One Year on

I finished Grace and Frankie and am now working on Call the Midwife. Lots of babies which tugs plenty at my heartstrings. Still up for suggestions for when I finish this one!

Baby Blues

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These bunnies are not blue (well one of them sort of is, literally).

The hormonal let down a few days after childbirth is known as baby blues. It hit me hard several times, and looking back on it now at 24 days it surprises me how sad things made me that I just don’t care much about now.

  1. Nostalgia for my pregnancy: My tummy got flat fast, like within a week, though it’s still very soft (I know, I’m lucky). Yet I found myself missing my pregnant tummy, and missing Paddy being inside it. Silly right? There was something really touching to me about that time that was over, when I knew how to take care of him and protect him and he was a part of me. That feeling lasted a good week and now I couldn’t care less—bring on the stinky cheeses and poorly washed vegetables, I say!
  2. Worry that I wasn’t enjoying the baby: This was the first round of baby blues and in retrospect it doesn’t make much sense to me. Fortunately the midwife set me straight. I was surprised at all the stress over whether he would eat, if he would eat enough, and if he would then go to sleep afterward. Paddy is eating pretty well now (though almost exclusively with a nipple shield) so that stress is over, but the not knowing whether he’ll go to sleep just seems like a part of life now (much more annoying at night or when I want to take a shower of course).
  3. Grief for my life as I knew it being over: This one hit me hard one day as well. I was holding Paddy in my arms after a feed waiting for him to fall asleep and I started crying, thinking that my life was now going to consist entirely of this. It’s not that I now don’t think my life has changed completely—I just don’t really mind, and certainly not to the point of crying. Of course maybe I’ve now jinxed myself and I’ll be in tears again about it tomorrow.

Hormones are weird, y’all.

The Unknown

What’s there to say about this past night? I really, really, really thought Hillary would win. As did so many other people.

Paddy was surprisingly adorable last night as I watched Grace and Frankie (thanks for the recommendation CRose). I got up with him at 3 when there was no news yet, and at 5 when everything started crumbling. It took me his full feeding to realize what was going to happen and I went and woke up Papa in tears saying “Il va gagner.” J was as they say in French “dans les vapes” and thought I was AGAIN crying about the not sleeping baby who was actually STILL being adorable and almost fully asleep already. As soon as I said “No, I’m talking about the election,” he got up and turned on the TV. We watched for about half an hour before going back to bed. Paddy slept miraculously from 6 to 9—not something he typically does—and I was very unsure I would be able to take advantage of it and get some sleep, but I did.

Waking up at 9 I managed to not wake him before getting a shower in, even though all I wanted to see was his little face. I am so glad I’m not at work today, fielding questions from well-meaning or just curious colleagues. I don’t know what I’d say to them, or to the students. I keep reminding myself nobody has died, there could be worse news than this. I remember how awful we all felt at Macalester in 2004 when Bush was re-elected—but this is the true unknown, whereas with Bush we knew what we were getting. I can’t even really imagine a Trump presidency. I hope he’ll just surround himself with advisors and do as little actual presidenting as possible.

Here’s the new song I’m singing to Paddy these days:

 

“Only Love”
You may live alone and close your eyes
Some folks do
You may dream a dream that’s twice your size
All night through
When the morning comes who’s to tell your dreams to
Only you

Only love, love only, only love
Will do
Only love, love only, only love
Comes true
Nothing else, you see, there nothing else
Only love, only love

I have known a love within my heart
One or two
Where one love would end and one would start
I never knew
If love should come your way you’ll learn to say
I love you, I love you

Only love, love only, only love
Will do
Only love, love only, only love
Comes true
Nothing else, you see, there nothing else
Only love, only love

-The wonderful John Prine

The Past Week with Baby

The past week has been pretty rough in terms of sleeping at night, with the exception being maybe every third night when Paddy lets us get some sleep. J’s back at work till Friday so I try to do most of the nighttime care and I can’t wait till we can share it again—or, even better, till my parents are here at the end of November. But I know these weeks will go by both too slowly and too quickly so I don’t want to wish them away too fast. I already can’t believe he’s two and a half weeks old! It feels like just yesterday we were still at the maternity ward wishing they would let us go home.

I managed to get our birth announcements sent out last week. J took a picture using an Instagram filter the day after Paddy was born and it turned out so cute that we just used that one, despite the hospital background. I ordered stamps from la Poste’s website to avoid going out to buy them, and asked my sister-in-law to put them in the mailbox. I’m happy we did it because there were people who we had forgotten to call and otherwise would not yet have known Paddy was here. (I don’t think the American ones have arrived yet though.)

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Paddy’s birth announcement photo, sporting a nursing cushion and hospital bed rail

We took Paddy out for the first time together last weekend to see J’s grandma, and the following day to see his cousin. Then I finally left the house with him by myself to go to the post office and the pharmacy. This felt huge! It’s a little chilly to take him out in the stroller for the moment and I have yet to get up the courage to put him in the baby carrier wrap—part of me really thinks he will fall out. So far now I’m only taking him to places with parking close enough that carrying the car seat indoors is not too difficult.

I’m posting this early even though it hasn’t quite been a week since the last one, because tomorrow is election day in the States and it will feel weird to write about anything else. I haven’t found enough interesting links to make a list. I did however finish watching season 2 of Outlander and sighhhhhh. I miss it already and am SO excited about season 3, but since I watch it on Netflix I’ll probably have to wait like five years to see it. I’m trying out the Crown to take its place but so far it seems to be a bit of a slog despite the fancy accents. Any suggestions for tv shows available on French Netflix would be welcome—not too scary (so not the Walking Dead), please, because I watch in the middle of the night!