Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

The Baby Ate My Brain

Jackson turns one month old tomorrow. One month. Roughly speaking, that’s about 250 hours of sleep I’ve lost. That’s how I count now, you see — in hours of sleep I’m missing out on. And I’ve missed out on a lot of sleep.

I was complaining about this to my Dad on GChat the other day and he said, “Payback’s a bitch.” Apparently, I was not an easy baby. Nothing about my early months were easy. I was born in the middle of a typhoon for one thing — the biggest typhoon to rock Japan in a couple of decades. I can’t imagine it must have been fun driving to the hospital in that. My mom says I came out screaming, too. She said at one point it was just my head sticking out and I was screaming and screaming. And I didn’t stop screaming for several months.

Jackson seems to take after me, I’m afraid. He’s fidgety like I am. And hot-headed and very impatient. And he zones out when Drew starts talking about the Yankees.

The difference between us is that I am a reasonable person. But he’s a baby, and babies are unreasonable tiny tyrants! You can’t bargain with them, you can’t reason with them, and there’s no bribing them to do what you want either. There’s nothing you can do to convince them to shut up and go to sleep at three in the morning if what they want to do is be wide awake, kicking their little feet and batting their little fists against your chest and and wailing as loudly as possible. And so, my friends, I am sleep deprived. I am so tired, I can barely function. I don’t know what day it is or if I remembered to shower and change my underwear today. I forget words all the time, like that one word… um… you know … starts with a…
Wait, what was I talking about?

Yesterday, I had my follow-up visit with my obgyn — side note: I have never been so excited for a 2 1/2 hour roundtrip subway commute in my life! I actually got to read a book … uninterrupted! — and I asked my doctor for some anti-anxiety medication. I’ve been so on edge, I broke out into hives recently and they haven’t gone away. As I was leaving, I remembered I never got the prescription, so I asked the receptionist if the doctor had left it with her.

“What was it for?” she asked, rifling through some papers on the desk. And I just looked at her blankly. In the seconds between asking if the doctor had left me a prescription and the receptionist asking me what specific prescription I was referring to, I’d totally forgotten what we were talking about.

“Huh?” I asked.

“What did you need?” she said, patiently.

“Umm…” I replied, suddenly aware of that missing spot in my head where my brain used to be. “To make an appointment?”

The appointment I probably need to make is with a shrink — my obgyn did subtly suggest it. I don’t feel depressed or like I have major baby blues or whatever. I just feel … like I’m losing my mind. Like the baby ate my brain and I’m sort of wandering around like a half-dead zombie. I feel like life as I’ve always known it no longer exists … which is true, I guess. It’s like I’m living someone else’s life and I’m waiting for that person to come back and take over so I can get some sleep again and feel halfway human — halfway like me again.

In the meantime: coffee.

119 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Carolynasaurus November 8, 2011, 3:04 pm

    Maybe he just doesn’t speak English. Have you tried reasoning with him in other languages? Dutch perhaps? Or maybe Italian?

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    • avatar

      Rachelgrace53 November 8, 2011, 7:35 pm

      No one wants to reason in Dutch. Have you ever heard it spoken? It’s far more harsh-sounding than any other language. If he only speaks Dutch, perhaps that’s why he’s angry.

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      • avatar

        Jay November 8, 2011, 11:32 pm

        That’s hilarious! :))

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        Lydia November 9, 2011, 3:10 am

        Oi! Dutch can be a beautiful language. Especially when spoken by those in the South of the country, where they have a ‘soft G’ instead of the harsher hard one. If you want to talk harsh languages, German is way worse.

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        rangerchic November 9, 2011, 11:24 am

        My daughter is taking German and it does sound strange. We had a German exchange student and to hear it speak fluently is just um…weird. But I work the Chinese and hear Chinese spoken all the time…another strange one. I’ve always wondered what English sounds like to people who don’t speak it.

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      • avatar

        Lydia November 9, 2011, 2:28 pm

        All languages sound strange when you’re not familiar with them, I think. Dutch is my mother tongue, so I get a little defensive about it. 😉 And even German can sound lovely – although I love it in all its harshness (it’s a great language to shout in!), it has a lot of softer ‘sch’ and ‘ng’ sounds as well. There’s nothing harsh about words like Süß and Mädchen.

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      • avatar

        Dr. Kenneth Noisewater November 9, 2011, 1:39 pm

        Moreso than German?

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  • avatar

    LSS86 November 8, 2011, 3:08 pm

    If you continue to post pictures of Jackson, I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to hold out before telling my bf that we are going to have a baby NOW. All that you just wrote about losing sleep? Yea, I didn’t really hear any of that. Must resist urge to procreate for at least 2-3 more years.

    Oh, and if I end up having a son, I really want to name him Jackson. But my bf won’t let me because one of his friends has a dog named Jackson. Not fair!

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    • avatar

      MissDre November 8, 2011, 3:28 pm

      Ah! I was thinking the exact same thing… I’m already getting ideas of what colour I’m painting my future baby’s room… Frig! Hope my boyfriend can put up with me 🙂

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    • avatar

      GatorGirl November 8, 2011, 4:00 pm

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who is thinking this! I don’t know if I’ll last the three years we’ve discussed waiting!

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      • avatar

        LSS86 November 8, 2011, 4:13 pm

        Yea, my bf and I aren’t even engaged yet, so definitely should not be having children yet. Fortunately, he has some adorable nieces and nephews that I’m in love with, so whenever my uterus starts pining for a child, we just go visit his family.

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    • avatar

      LennyBee November 8, 2011, 4:12 pm

      Me too!! I keep having to remind myself “you are not ready for babies. your relationship is not ready for babies. your relationship is not even ready for talk about babies. bad lennybee. no more thinking about babies.”

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  • avatar

    TheOtherMe November 8, 2011, 3:10 pm

    At least your clothes are color coordinated so I think your brain is not broken – yet 😉

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  • avatar

    silver_dragon_girl November 8, 2011, 3:12 pm

    You know, you could take that weekly shrink appointment and maybe go get a manicure, or go see a friend, or even just take a nap uninterrupted. 🙂 Not that therapy isn’t great, but if you feel like you’re losing yourself maybe a little “me time” is in order?

    Also: OMG you match!!!!!! *dies of the cute*

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    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy November 8, 2011, 3:16 pm

      Well, I did get a pedicure on Sunday — first one in a couple of months. And I went for a solo walk last week, which was awesome. And now that the dr has given me the go-ahead to resume all normal activities, I’m going to go to the gym this evening when Drew gets home. I’m hoping to get there at least three times a week, which I think will help a lot — even if I just have time for a half hour workout.

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      • avatar

        silver_dragon_girl November 8, 2011, 3:24 pm

        Good! I’m glad to hear that 🙂

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      • avatar

        rangerchic November 9, 2011, 11:26 am

        I think that will help. I love my gym membership…no kids allowed!!

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  • avatar

    Valerie November 8, 2011, 3:14 pm

    Beautiful photo Wendy! You’re absolutely glowing!

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  • avatar

    honeybeenicki November 8, 2011, 3:22 pm

    To quote the show “Reba” — “Babies are like tiny, angry guests that refuse to leave.”

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    • avatar

      Eljay November 8, 2011, 3:30 pm

      Haaaaaa! Love that!

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  • avatar

    blueskies November 8, 2011, 3:30 pm

    This is why I love your website. It’s so REAL. I am actually relieved to hear you talk about how you wanted an epidural, or how you just really need a good nights sleep. So many other baby blogs and birth experiences are soooo full of fluff and rainbows and sunshine. And although I’m sure there’s lots of that as well (of course!), I’m much more interested in reading about a more human experience! Hang in there, and I hope you keep writing more. It’s also theraputic, right?

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    • avatar

      ForeverYoung November 8, 2011, 8:13 pm

      Could not agree more!! It’s like when I read about how wonderful it is…while i’m looking at the shell of the woman I used to know…I’m even more discouraged about having kids because on top of looking sleep deprived they are living in an alternative reality. Whereas when women are honest about the ups and downs it always sounds more manageable – as weird as that sounds.

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  • avatar

    AKchic November 8, 2011, 3:36 pm

    *hugs*
    All of what you are describing is NORMAL. I know that first time parents sometimes don’t like to hear that their kid isn’t “special”, or that their new-parent experience isn’t “unique” (like their darling child) – but many new moms feel overwhelmed, sleep-deprived, scatterbrained, etc. Call it “Baby Hangover” if you’d like.

    To help with the sleep deprivation, as much as you’d like to get more things done around the house/website, etc – sleep during the day when he sleeps. Even if you only nap once a day when he naps, it’s an extra couple of hours of sleep a day. And trust me – they are needed.

    If you took prenatal vitamins during your pregnancy and have stopped – start taking them again. Maybe even add extra iron to your diet. A lack of iron CAN and DOES make you feel scatterbrained and you will have less energy (plus you’ll feel colder, making you want to cuddle up with a blanket more often).

    Most are against this idea, but if Jackson is having trouble sleeping at night and is sleeping by himself, have you thought about co-sleeping? I’m serious when I say that it is usually easier all around. You’re closer to the baby (meaning whining fits don’t turn into all out screaming fits before you get to him), he’s calmer because he is right next to you and feels/hears the calming heartbeat, is warmer, and can smell you again. They have special co-sleeping platforms to attach to beds if you don’t want him specifically in YOUR bed with you. An added bonus is this: Babies seem to produce a pheremone in their sleep that makes adults want to sleep too. By sleeping with him, you will end up sleeping better as well (once you adjust to having him next to you). I call it “Daddy’s Recliner Syndrome”. It’s why you always see fathers/grandfathers passed out in recliners with a sleeping infant. Baby pheremones.

    In the mean time – it does get better. I swear it does. If needed, carry around a pad of paper and some pens in your diaper bag so you can write notes down as reminders. Refer to it often. It does help. I did it (and still do it) all the time. My notepads are my lifeline sometimes. I started doing it when my oldest was born, and it came in handy after my car accident and I started having REAL memory issues.

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    • avatar

      lk November 8, 2011, 4:34 pm

      Thanks for the reminder – just popped some iron : )

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom November 9, 2011, 4:39 pm

      The co-sleeping helped us tremendously. Some people can’t sleep if they can hear the baby because baby sounds keep them awake. I was the opposite. I could sleep easier if I didn’t have to get out of bed to check the baby and the baby wanted to cuddle and sleep so it worked for us. Ultimately, you try things and stay with what works for you and your baby.

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      • avatar

        AKchic November 9, 2011, 7:18 pm

        Exactly. Parenting can be trial and error for some things. My 1st and 3rd kids were co-sleepers from birth. Trying to get them to sleep on their own was really hard. I couldn’t do it myself, they’d wake up if I tried to shift them. It had to be someone else putting them down.
        My 2nd son refused to sleep with other people. He wouldn’t even feed while being held. I had to lay him on the floor, the couch, or a pillow and sit next to him so he would eat/suck his bottle. If anyone tried to hold him to feed him, he’d refuse to eat.
        My youngest was more easy-going. He slept most nights by himself until he was about 5 months old, then started sleeping with us more often. Now at almost three, I can’t get him out of my bed most nights. We’re working on it though.

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  • avatar

    Sarah November 8, 2011, 3:36 pm

    Wendy, that lipstick is fabulous on you. I say trust your auto-pilot mode, it makes good make up choices for you :).

    Ok, speaking of babies I have a request of everyone to help me out with a little info. Exactly how easy is it to hurt a baby if a woman is very newly pregnant and a dumb idiot (guess who) decides to give her a run and tight side hug so much so that said pregnant woman has to balance on one foot? I didn’t touch her stomach or make her fall over or anything but I surprised her and she had to balance out. I don’t know what’s the matter with me. I wont say who the pregnant woman is because I don’t want to jinx anything and she’s had problems before and I’m so so so scared I’ve ruined everything. Everyone I’ve talked to said it was no big deal (even her) and I’ve looked online but the best answer I can get from there is like “No it shouldn’t be bad, but still, don’t do it.” I’m really freaking out about it. Did I wreck something? I don’t know what I would do if I did. She’s getting her usual tests and stuff later this week, but I’m making myself sick with worry until I find out that everything is ok.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy November 8, 2011, 3:46 pm

      I fell down some wet stairs when I was five months pregnant and I’ll tell you what my midwife said: the baby is very, very well insulated in there. It would take a lot more than a tight side hug to do any damage, so don’t worry about it.

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    • avatar

      Eljay November 8, 2011, 3:46 pm

      Aaawwww Sarah, I’m sure everything’s fine. It’s good that she didn’t fall down or anything, so I’m going to agree with everyone who’s told you not to worry, but no matter what we all say, you’re going to beat yourself up until you hear from her doctor that everything is ok. Sending good thoughts & prayers your way darlin’.

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    • avatar

      bethany November 8, 2011, 3:47 pm

      I have no actual info to back this up, but my assumption is that you did no harm. Early on in pregnancy the embryo is teeny, and it’s inside the amniotic sac which is filled with fluid. So, it’s like squeezing a waterballoon with a bean inside of it. The bean will move as the balloon chages shape. it’s not like you took a hammer to a bean that was just sitting on a table. Did that make any sense??

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    • avatar

      Matcha November 8, 2011, 3:50 pm

      I think it’ll be fine. Try not to worry too much.

      And you’re totally right, that lipstick Wendy has looks gorgeous on her!

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    • avatar

      Flake November 8, 2011, 3:50 pm

      We tried co-sleeping for a month, from 1-month old t0 2-months old. Nobody could sleep. You shouldn’t worry about it. Depending on how far along she is, the baby is very well protected and cushioned. I have a friend who fell down the stairs when she was about 8 months pregnant. She completely freaked out, but the doctor said that even a direct fall on your stomach is very unlikely to hurt the baby. The only exclusions are a car accident or punches to the stomach.

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      • avatar

        Flake November 8, 2011, 3:51 pm

        Oups…. Ignore the first two sentences

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    • avatar

      Sarah November 8, 2011, 3:58 pm

      Thank you so much, Wendy and everybody. I’ll keep thinking about what you guys are saying to get me through til she gets checked out. It just seems so fragile, doesn’t it?

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      • avatar

        Allison November 8, 2011, 8:14 pm

        At 5 weeks, the baby is about 2 mm in length. This is about the size of a super small seed. I’m not sure what “newly pregnant” means in terms of how far along your friend is, but that gives you an idea of the size of the baby when someone misses their period for the first time basically. So you have the skin, fat, muscle, uterus, beginnings of the placenta & amniotic sac. If a tight hug was enough to cause a miscarriage, the human race literally wouldn’t have survived to this point!

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    • avatar

      LennyBee November 8, 2011, 4:05 pm

      I have no direct pregnancy experience, but my mom told me that with her pregnancies, the first thing to go was her sense of balance, and she was constantly falling on her stomach (including off a curb onto the street once). We’re all fine. I think there’s a lot of cushioning around the baby to protect it from accidental harm.

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    • avatar

      AKchic November 8, 2011, 5:00 pm

      She (and the baby) should be fine. I’ve had plenty of slip/falls on ice, and plenty of hugs, kicks, and jumps on my stomach during pregnancy from other siblings (after miscarriages) and the pregnancies turned out fine.

      Hugging (even hard/wild ones) won’t hurt.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom November 9, 2011, 4:42 pm

      I know you can’t help but worry but a tight squeeze really can’t do much harm. The baby is teensy at that stage and very protected inside the uterus. I think you’d have to do something like rupture the uterus to cause any harm and you obviously didn’t do that.

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  • fast eddie

    fast eddie November 8, 2011, 3:37 pm

    Most of the woes of being a mother will vanish in 25-30 years if your lucky. 🙂

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  • avatar

    Eljay November 8, 2011, 3:39 pm

    I absolutely agree with blueskies. Hang in there Wendy, those of us who know your pain know that it will get better. Those who haven’t yet experienced this joy are getting an honest to goodness REAL look at what a new mom goes through in those first few months. Thank you for so eloquently describing your experiences. For those who are moms, it’s a real head-trip down memory lane, some might only see rainbows & unicorns, and for some it might be birth control!

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  • avatar

    bethany November 8, 2011, 3:42 pm

    I was also a miserable child. I screamed and cried basically non-stop until I was about 6. On the plus side, my mom says that when I hit 18 or so I became really pleasent. 🙂

    One piece of advice- a hotel room can go a long way… If you feel like you really are about to lose it, see if Drew can stay alone with the baby (or hire a professional to help him), and go to a hotel for the night and sleep. You have to remember that you have to take care of yourself in order to take care of him.

    Good luck!!

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    • avatar

      honeybeenicki November 8, 2011, 4:17 pm

      I’m starting to think my mom was extremely lucky. We were just talking about this the other night (she’s very excited that my husband and I are thinking of having a baby) and she said I slept through the night at 2 weeks. For 12 hours no matter what. That can’t possibly be normal! I know when my friend had her baby and I stayed with her for a few weeks to help her out, there was no more than 1 hour of sleep for anyone at one time. Complete insanity. But he’s 2 now and fantastic 🙂

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      • avatar

        bethany November 8, 2011, 4:26 pm

        I’m 30 and I STILL don’t sleep through the night regularly. Ususally the only way that happens is if I’ve had WAY too much to drink, or I’m on Nyquill! Luckily, I did stop screaming eventually 🙂

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      • avatar

        honeybeenicki November 8, 2011, 4:38 pm

        Well, my mom blames my sleep problems on my time as a baby. She said I got all the sleep I was allotted then, so now I sleep about 3-4 hours a night. I hope I stopped screaming, but I guess you never know!

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray November 8, 2011, 4:53 pm

        Hey, honeybee – I saw the Our America about the polygamists. There was a rerun of it. Loved it! (That was you who mentioned it, right?)

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      • avatar

        honeybeenicki November 8, 2011, 5:07 pm

        Yep, that was me. I thought it was a much better look at polygamy than most specials/shows.

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      • Lyra

        L November 8, 2011, 7:43 pm

        I too slept through the night at 2 weeks! I’ve always been a pretty calm, laid back person so it definitely doesn’t surprise me. It FREAKED my mom out though when she realized she didn’t get up to feed me that first night I slept through the night!! 🙂 I was apparently a really laid back kid too…now that some of my family members are having kids who cry and scream quite frequently when we see them, my parents realize how lucky they were! Ha.

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      • JK

        JK November 9, 2011, 10:26 am

        My eldest slept through the night the very 1st night (at the Hopsital, I jad to wake her up to feed, since the drs had said not to let more than 3-4 hours go by without feeding. She was that way til 5 months, then she started sleeping really badly up to now (she turns 4 in December).
        My youngest started sleeping really well by 2 weeks, at 2 months I changed her to her sister´s room, now for the last couple of weeks she does wake up, probably because of the teething, she´s cut 5 teeth in a month! (she´s 6 1/2 months)

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  • avatar

    Taylor November 8, 2011, 3:43 pm

    Hi Wendy,
    For some (hysterical) commiseration, check out http://dearmisterbaby.blogspot.com/2011/09/communication-ish.html

    You look just lovely!

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  • avatar

    6napkinburger November 8, 2011, 3:44 pm

    Would it be possible for grandma and grandpa to come and give mommy and daddy a night to themselves (dinner, hotel, sleep)?
    Or is one month too young for that?

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    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy November 8, 2011, 3:48 pm

      Well, the only grandparent who lives nearby is 91 and not in shape to babysit. the other grandparents live on a different continent. But they’ll be here for the holidays and maybe they can give up a little relief then. Right, Dad?

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      • avatar

        Wendy's Dad November 9, 2011, 11:03 am

        Wendy, we’re looking forward to it. But what makes you think that you can’t bribe a kid? I bribed one of our kids to stop sucking her thumb. Of course, she was a little older than a baby. I carried so many quarters that I started to walk lopsidedly. I’ll leave it up to you to tell just which kid that was.

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      • JK

        JK November 9, 2011, 1:42 pm

        I toilet trained my eldest in less than a month by using presents, and she´s sleeping a lot more in her own bed since we give her prizes when she does!

        Bribery might not be the best parenting strategy, but it works!!!

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      • avatar

        Auntie J November 11, 2011, 9:59 am

        and you always have Aunt J and Uncle M to take him for a night…..NO PROBLEM!! Hang in there sweetie, it will get better in the sleep department…..and then there will be new issues to deal with! Now you know why everyone says, “It will change your life!”

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    • avatar

      AKchic November 8, 2011, 5:01 pm

      It all depends on the grandparents and the child. My oldest spent his first night away from home at 3 weeks. My youngest is 2 1/2 and has never spent a night away from home.

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  • avatar

    Allison November 8, 2011, 3:55 pm

    Its pretty tough those first 3 months. You probably already know this but be careful of too much coffee if your breastfeeding, it may pass on through to the little guy. Just what you don’t need.
    I had to get medication after my 2nd birth because of pounding headaches (due to blood loss). I truly believe those meds are what turned my little guy into a colicky miserable crier for 6 months.

    It’ll get better though, honest! You won’t be the same as you were..but you will get better. 🙂

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    • avatar

      bethany November 8, 2011, 4:05 pm

      Along with the caffine, I’ve heard to be careful about spicy foods too- My friend ran into a problem with eating Mexican food and breastfeeding.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy November 8, 2011, 5:19 pm

      Well, I had a reduction surgery when i was 19 that damaged some of my milk ducts, so my milk supply now is very low. As a result, Jackson is fed mostly formula and whatever I’m able to squeeze out in my multiple pumping and nursing sessions during the day, which isn;t much. my doctor said that since such a small percentage of his food intake is though my breastmilk (maybe 25%), as long as I don’t pump or nurse directly after drinking coffee — or taking a small dose of anti-anxiety medication when i need it — he’s very unlikely to be affected. That doesn’t stop the barista at my coffee shop from berating me every time I order a NON decaf coffee though…

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      • avatar

        6napkinburger November 8, 2011, 5:32 pm

        dude, you need a different coffee place! yours is mean! getting coffee shouldn’t be so traumatic.

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      • avatar

        AKchic November 8, 2011, 6:19 pm

        “I’m sorry, I ordered a coffee, not unsolicited medical advice from an unqualified medical source”.

        Repeat as necessary, substituting “coffee” for whatever it is you needed/asked for/ordered. It works wonders. If it doesn’t, speak to the management.

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      • Jess

        Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com November 9, 2011, 12:39 pm

        Seriously?! Even as an outsider (aka non-mom), I find it infuriating the way the scare tactics and eyebrow-raising seem to run rampant among some parents. Is it ANYONE’s business if you are drinking coffee? Wow, that barista has nerve.

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      • avatar

        sammy November 9, 2011, 1:51 pm

        Not only is a little coffee okay, but a beer once in a while can also help with milk production.

        It will get better. we’re at 3 and counting. You will get more sleep than you do now and you will get more used to getting less sleep than you did before.

        Welcome to parenthood. The pay stinks, but it’s the best job you’ll ever have.

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  • avatar

    Eagle Eye November 8, 2011, 4:02 pm

    Hah, yeah, some babies are easy, I was not…. my mom always tells stories that she would take me out with her friends who also had infants and I would lie there turn beet red, hold my breath and then let out the most bloodcurdling scream…the other baby just kind of laid there and smiled…

    Lets just say when it turned out that I am a rather tightly wound individual, no one was surprised?

    Although my sister was easier, my mother’s theory is that the womb is comfier the second time around!

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  • avatar

    GatorGirl November 8, 2011, 4:06 pm

    Wendy I love the title of this post! It so acurately discribes this new baby stage. You’re writing is so beautiful and honest even in this sleep deprived state!

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  • avatar

    Addie Pray November 8, 2011, 4:52 pm

    You look smokin’, Wendy! Just remember that when you’re feeling tired. I don’t know if that will help.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy November 8, 2011, 5:21 pm

      Go on, now.

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    • avatar

      GingerLaine November 8, 2011, 7:58 pm

      I have to agree. Wendy, you look freakin’ gorgeous. It was my first thought when DearWendy.com loaded. 🙂

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    • avatar

      ForeverYoung November 8, 2011, 8:21 pm

      Totally agree… I thought you just looked good when you were pregnant because of all the extra hormones in your body but holy smokes you look even more amazing now. I would give up a limb for your skin and all around glow.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Wendy November 9, 2011, 8:54 am

        Thanks, you guys. That’s nice to hear when I’m less than confident in my postpartum body.

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  • avatar

    XanderTaylor November 8, 2011, 6:03 pm

    What you are going through is perfectly normal – and trust me, not everyone has family close by. The 1st year of sleep deprivation is the hardest. After that you get use to it. Actually, after the 1st 6 months things tend to settle down a bit. My babies were very small & required feedings of their own choice every 2 hours – and they were both colicky, so I know what you are going through. I remember sitting on the floor in the master bedroom holding my 1st child & sobbing because she wouldn’t stop crying. I burned out a vacuum cleaner motor sometime over the 1st few months – I would put her in her swing & let the vacuum run while I tried to get a few minutes sleep on the couch. It will get easier.

    You must be a natural beauty because you look awesome in this picture.

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  • avatar

    Rachelgrace53 November 8, 2011, 7:41 pm

    This article is amazing. I especially like the visual of you as a zombie. Cheers!

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    • avatar

      Rachelgrace53 November 8, 2011, 7:41 pm

      Oh, and also, this brain-eaten thing happens to me and I have no such excuse like a baby.

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  • avatar

    Calliopedork November 8, 2011, 11:00 pm

    Stop with the matching, the cuteness is driving me crazy. You look amazing and judging from your still great writing he is only nibbling on your brain.

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    • BriarRose

      BriarRose November 9, 2011, 8:46 am

      Only nibbling on your brain….hilarious!!

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  • avatar

    Odradek November 9, 2011, 8:11 am

    As I am sure people have told you, three months is a huge turning point. The baby generally gets easier and you will have adjusted to some of the huge changes. I think most moms feel like crazy people for at least the first three months (sometimes longer, first year? forever). But it keeps getting better. Every month after three, I have thought – wow this is amazing. The first three months I thought, why is my hair so dirty? why is the only thing involve feeding someone else? i loved my baby, but motherhood did not seem like the awesomest thing ever. Now (21 months) there isn’t a day that she doesn’t make brighter. And, yeah, the sleeping 10-12 hours straight thing probably makes me more able to appreciate the wonderfulness. I kind of wish with the next one I could rent her out for the first three months to people who love that new baby smell. And get her back when s/he’s a little more human.

    And judgy baristas should be shipped off to another place. Like hell.

    The first three months is about survival and you do whatever works for you.

    And you do look amazing. How did you do that?

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    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy November 9, 2011, 8:47 am

      Thank you for saying that. People have been saying to me, “Isn’t motherhood fantastic?!” and I feel so guilty when I can’t answer them honestly, because my honest answer right now is, “Um, not really.” Don’t get me wrong; I love my baby. I love him so much. And I’m happy and I’m very excited about the future and watching him grow up and teaching and learning and all the wonderful things I know are in store (along with lots of not-so-wonderful things, I’m sure). But the truth is, I actually don’t love mothering a newborn (and I didn’t expect I would.). It’s very tedious, exhausting … and dare I say, kind of boring. I am very much looking forward to that three-month turning point. Just two more more months to go!!

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      • JK

        JK November 9, 2011, 10:22 am

        3 months on is really when parenting becomes more fun, when you can start really interacting with your baby (and before teething starts). But before you know it you´ll be missing this stage!

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      • Jess

        Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com November 9, 2011, 12:48 pm

        And again, I applaud your honesty. There is NOTHING wrong with telling the truth about new motherhood. Have you read any of Ayellet Waldman’s articles or books about the “bad mother/good mother” archetypes in society? It is great stuff.

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        AKchic November 9, 2011, 1:24 pm

        Don’t feel guilty if you aren’t enjoying everything right now. I’ll tell you a secret that most mothers won’t admit to:

        We didn’t enjoy the first few months either. Most don’t. We are expected to, therefore we lie through our teeth and say we do because society expects us all to be “Supermom” and fulfill our biological imperative as well as our newly earned male-centric duties that we’ve usurped (working outside of the house). All while magically snapping back to pre-baby weight, looking like we just stepped out of a salon, and having our mental faculties in perfect order. Hormones need not apply.

        You are human and you are allowed to feel overwhelmed, tired, drained, emotional, etc. You don’t have to fake happy emotions for everyone. It’s called “being human”. It’s all anyone can expect of us.

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        RG November 9, 2011, 2:54 pm

        It took me three weeks to get used to my daughter’s presence after she was born. As a first-time mom, I didn’t know how to interpret her crying, and couldn’t tell whether she needed a clean diaper. She’ll be two months old on Sunday, and I’m amazed at the strides she’s taken – she does sleep six or seven hours every night, and she talks, laughs, coos, and smiles. But you’re right, Wendy – those first two weeks were rough, and I cried because I wasn’t getting enough sleep, amongst other things, and got hit with postpartum depression pretty hard. I was so relieved when the first month passed and I realized that I’d actually survived intact!

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom November 9, 2011, 4:56 pm

        When he gives you the first big, toothless grin it makes a huge difference. With my kids things got easier at about 8 weeks which is when they were finally sleeping through the night, or at least 6 hours straight between feedings. It is labor intensive and exhausting but also very rewarding when the child begins to develop their motor skills and you get to see them roll over or crawl or stand. It really does get better even if it is a blurry, mind foggy time right now.

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      Lydia November 9, 2011, 10:58 am

      This is what all my friends with kids have told me too. At first, it’s just hard and boring, but as the baby grows, develops a personality and starts giving you reactions that aren’t screaming, the fun starts. So hang in there Wendy!

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    • BriarRose

      BriarRose November 9, 2011, 2:17 pm

      I didn’t feel somewhat in control of my life again until my daughter was about 8 months. I’m not saying that to scare you, just to reassure you that it’s perfectly normal. Right now is about surviving, taking care of yourself and that baby, figuring things out. I feel like I say it every time, but don’t be too hard on yourself. I wish someone had said that to me.

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    mcj2011 November 9, 2011, 10:10 am

    You look beautiful & Jackson is so cute!

    I call it baby brains, sadly even years after giving birth I still have them.

    We co-slept with my boys, b/c I too had fidgety not great sleeping boys, who also had acid reflux. It’s great but if I can advise anything get them out at like 1. My kids who are now 5 and almost 4 are still coming into my bed after a couple of hours of sleep in their beds and my husband and I have are playing musical beds.

    Not sleeping comes with the territory but suddenly you notice you don’t need quite as much sleep as you used to. Definitely make time for yourself and nap or relax when he does.

    Good luck!

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    lets_be_honest November 9, 2011, 11:23 am

    I wish you wrote these baby-related essays/articles when I was pregnant or caring for my newborn years ago. There was nothing honest like this out there and reading all the parenting magazines did little to show reality or lessen the mommy-guilt. All the best!

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    rangerchic November 9, 2011, 11:37 am

    Yeah there was nothing in the baby books/magazines that seemed real. I remember the cramps I had after my second child…No One told me about those. They hurt like hell…almost as bad as labor (I know everyone is different so maybe not everyone experiences those…I didn’t have them as bad after my first child either).
    I also remember reading an article years ago how women literally lose brain cells from mothering. I don’t know how much truth there is to that but I think it is very real 🙂

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    • JK

      JK November 9, 2011, 11:49 am

      Yeah, those pains are awful!!! And the say they get worse with each successive kid.

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      AKchic November 9, 2011, 7:24 pm

      *hug*

      Yes, the cramping. Not everyone gets them, but many do. Sometimes they do get worse after each kid, sometimes it’s hit and miss. I had some cramping after my second son, no cramping after my third, and I have sporadic cramping after my fourth.

      I actually wrote up a detailed list of things to expect during pregnancy and afterwards for a friend of mine and ended up posting it on my livejournal years ago. I should dig it up and repost it.

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    LSS86 November 9, 2011, 12:12 pm

    After reading all the comments, apparently we have a new application for “it gets better.”

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  • Jess

    Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com November 9, 2011, 12:35 pm

    Wendy, once again, the pure honesty of your posts about life as a new mom are greatly appreciated!

    I haven’t been in your shoes but something you said reminded me of a story my mom told me. I was her first child and she said that while she didn’t feel depressed or hopeless, she felt all those things you described. Like life as she knew it was over. Like suddenly she was a mom and nothing else but a mom.

    She said that a memorable aspect of this postpartum period was that she would find herself constantly looking out the front window of the house waiting for someone to show up even though no one was expected. She said it was a semi-conscious thought that, at any minute, someone was going to show up to relieve her. Quite a coping mechanism!

    I remember her also saying that in that first month or so, she refused just about everyone who wanted to see baby me (except my dad). She said she had this weird martyristic feeling that I was her responsibility and that she needed to do it all on her own even if it killed her.

    Strange stuff, these hormones.

    I’m glad you are getting some support –there are so many forms –pill!, husband, new moms club, therapy, pedicures, all of the above.

    And again, thanks for sharing with us. Probably goes without saying, but you have a strong cheering section here and we are all rooting for you and baby Jackson to sleep more!

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    fred November 9, 2011, 1:06 pm

    Read the book Baby-wise. You and your husband will thank us later.

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    George November 9, 2011, 1:09 pm

    Hang in there – the first 6 months suck but before you know it they are running around on the playground completely ignoring you, and you will feel that rejection too like nothing else in the world. Being a parent is a freaky thing.

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    Starhawk November 9, 2011, 1:13 pm

    As someone who nodded out during business meetings at that point in my daughters life I totally agree with your Dad.

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    West November 9, 2011, 1:13 pm

    I’m with your da.

    Pre-delivery – “I love babies, they are sooooo cute”
    Post-delivery – “Oh god, oh god, oh god, MAKE IT STOP!”

    heh.

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    ken November 9, 2011, 1:19 pm

    I used to listen to Radio Amsterdam on the short wave. Dutch is German with a French accent.

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      Lydia November 9, 2011, 2:31 pm

      Wow, you must not have heard much French in your life.

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    David H Dennis November 9, 2011, 1:23 pm

    I’m really confused.

    Here Wendy is telling us motherhood is basically torture and misery, 24×7, and not only are you guys saying it’s OK, you’re eager to become mothers yourselves! I read the exact same words, and they told me being a mother is just an awful experience and should be avoided at all costs!

    Motherhood is also horrendously expensive, ruins your sex life, stresses your relationship with your guy (because it ruins your sex life) and so on and on.

    Why on earth would anyone have even the tiniest desire to do this? From my end it sounds like all pain, no gain.

    And yet Wendy in that picture is beaming beautifully as though she’s just found the secret of life or something, which makes me even more confused …

    D

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    • JK

      JK November 9, 2011, 1:40 pm

      Motherhood is expensive, tiring, makes you nervous, makes you cry, but it is also the most amazing, fulfilling experience. There is nothing like your baby smiling at you, recognizing your voice, or holding onto you. Or being able to calm them just by being you.

      That said, generalizations are horrible, I have 2 kids, a good relationship with my husband, and a great sex life.

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        David H Dennis November 9, 2011, 2:00 pm

        The reading of numerous other information sources made me think the sex life goes south when the parents simply have no time for it.

        I’m glad to hear that at least two people (you and the other respondent) think otherwise!

        How do you manage things?

        D

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      • JK

        JK November 9, 2011, 2:27 pm

        Patience! I do admit that things are actually easier with the 2nd baby, with the 1st I at least was a lot more nervous.
        Also, it´s important to actually be a wife apart from just a mom (a theme that has appeared in other DW letters).
        ANd I would guess luck has something to do with it, as well.:D

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      lets_be_honest November 9, 2011, 1:45 pm

      Hard work ‘pays off.’ Babies are hard work. I’m lost as to how you missed the gain part of all pain, no gain. In fact, she said the total opposite. All pain, all gain would be more accurate.
      Also, I think a lot of people, including myself, disagree with your assumption that sex ends when baby comes.

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    • avatar

      AKchic November 9, 2011, 7:38 pm

      David,
      If a child ruins a person’s sex life, nobody would have more than one. Period. I’ve got four. I have never once said that the option of more is off the table. Although, physically, I’m pretty sure that it’s doubtful. I’ll find that out next week.

      The emotions of a mother of a newborn are boiled down to this: frazzled. Intellectually, we all know that raising a child to become a successful member of society is a rewarding experience. Emotionally though, those first few hormonally-fueled, sleep-deprived mess. We ride a hormone roller-coaster for 40 weeks (ideally) and then get pumped with more hormones (naturally-occuring) to be able to push out the baby. For some, we get the added bonus of medications during delivery, medications afterwards to deal with bleeding, pain, stitches, infections, whatever. Recovery brings more hormones. Then, since we’re not pregnant anymore, we have to stop producing the pregnancy hormones and we detox. Detox is never fun, irregardless of circumstance. New hormones kick in to supply our milk on top of the detox of pregnancy hormones. Regular hormones start working. Hormone overdrive, underdrive, and then the baby’s sleep schedule (or lack thereof). Family members constantly wanting pictures, to come over, to hassle you about who’s seeing the baby more, petty jealousies flaring, etc. This is what we deal with for the first few weeks, whether we want to or not.

      It is worth it though. The first smile, the first word, the snuggles, the first “I lub you”, the games, the songs, the walks, etc. I wouldn’t trade any of the time I spend with my boys for anything. Yes, I’d even be willing to endure my abusive marriage with my 1st husband again, knowing that the outcome would be me having my son. Of course, I’d still walk away from that marriage – with my sons, just like I did the last time.
      akchic@hotmail.com – look me up on facebook if you’d like. I’ll friend you and show you some beautiful pictures of my sons. I give that offer to all of you.

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    Patrik November 9, 2011, 1:40 pm

    Over the next few years you’ll learn how much of life you can actually live quite happily while sleep deprived. Parenthood is the ultimate subjugation of not your just your own ego, but your biological needs. Just remember: You’re doing a great job, and you’ll get used to it. And a few decades from now you’ll utter those words too I’m sure: Payback’s a bitch.

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    TheOldMan November 9, 2011, 1:46 pm

    It gets better after about 6-8 weeks when they sleep though the night, well 23:00 through 06:00 at least. After about a year or two, you forget about the lack of sleep and end up making more of them. We did that until we ran out of bedrooms. Good luck!

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      Jeannette November 9, 2011, 2:14 pm

      We got bunkbeds and kept going. They have ’em now with full-sized beds on the bottom (you can fit three in, sideways!), twin on top.

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    Roux November 9, 2011, 2:20 pm

    He’s just an infant and you are supposed to be a loving mother. Get a grip. I could handle an infant with my hands tied behind my back. They eat, they sleep, they poop and sometimes they fuss. What’s the big deal? Let him fuss for awhile he’ll get tired of it.

    BTW I’m a Dad of four.

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      Lydia November 9, 2011, 2:30 pm

      Wow, harsh much?

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      lets_be_honest November 9, 2011, 2:36 pm

      The likelihood of you being able to handle anything, let alone a baby, with your hands tied behind your back is about as likely as you having raised 4 children alone. Guessing mom did all the work, otherwise you would have a clue.

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    Brian Epps November 9, 2011, 2:36 pm

    Just wait a couple of years. Many years ago I was a salesman at RadioShack. Every Christmas we had grandparents by the score coming in to buy the loudest, most obnoxious electronic toys for their grand-kids. One old fellow (he was as old then as I am now) even called them vengeance toys.

    The most popular were the ones with no volume control and a very hard to open (screwed in) battery compartment.

    Come to think of it, my granddaughter is two and a half this Christmas. I may have to check out the old haunts while Christmas shopping.

    In all seriousness, though, find help and get some SLEEP! I was lucky, and my daughter is too, that Grandma and Grandpa are close enough to call in for help when it gets overwhelming. I’m always happy to take care of the grand-babies when my little girl needs to get in a break, and I make sure she knows we are there for her any time.

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    Bobbi November 9, 2011, 3:37 pm

    Not my fault at all, but my 3 girls, brilliant sleepers. My 2 boys were tyrants about sleep, neither one slept for more than 1.5 hours while nursing (12 months and 14 months) respectively. Well past when they started solid food,etc. The result I never slept more than 1.5 hours interrupted for a total of 26 months of my life. There is a reason sleep deprivation is considered torture, and REM sleep is a dear and precious thing.
    It has been 4 years since the youngest was done nursing, my skin finally cleared up, my weight has stabilized, I can sort of remember a name after an introduction, but still cannot function without substantial list making. I really miss my long gone ability to remember a phone number, but am grateful I can recall which route to take to a destination – with enough sleep deprivation I start to make wrong turns then have to back track.
    Good luck to you, remember this too shall pass, and you get several fun years of play time before school starts. Then you starting writing bigger and bigger cheques for extra curricular activities, clothes and electronics, while salting away college funds and trying to have supper at a consistent hour around activities.

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    JohnEK November 9, 2011, 3:58 pm

    Wendy-

    It gets better, and it gets worse. Father of 3 girls (6,3,8mo) who is very involved (we split the night feedings, one night on one night off to allow for sleep). It does get better – the main turning point for me is when the baby learns to giggle at you when you tickle them. Best sound ever.

    At least now the baby stays where you leave them – my 8mo is starting to get really mobile when we let her do free-range baby. 🙂

    A little advice – don’t get hung up on comparing what you do to others, or worrying about if your baby is developing fast enough – all babies are individuals and do things their own way — your doctor will let you know if they are really out of the norm.

    Just make sure you both support each other – your husband is your only true ally, the kids – while they take over your life for a while – are only rentals – they will wander off eventually.

    And that, Dennis, is why through all the work/fear/sleep deprivation/poop/pee/etc… being a parent is the most rewarding job you can do – at the end of the process you have a well-reared human being who can do amazing things while you just watch. And you created that person from scratch!

    One last comment, I always wondered how my mom could know what I was doing before I did it. Now with my own kids, I know – I can see the wheels going inside the heads of my daughters and know what they are thinking – before they do it. Spooky!

    -John

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    EdN November 9, 2011, 4:16 pm

    When my daughter complained about my grandson vomiting all over her during a road trip my reaction was “There IS a God!”

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    Steve November 9, 2011, 5:57 pm

    You think you’re sleep deprived? Try twins!

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    Denver November 9, 2011, 7:42 pm

    I will never understand the need for some parents to give their child a surname.

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      Lydia November 10, 2011, 2:27 am

      I will never understand the need for some people to go around judging other people’s life choices that do not in any way affect them.

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    peter jackson November 10, 2011, 12:49 am

    You’re probably too tired to read this, so I’ll shout:

    SLEEP WHEN THE BABY SLEEPS.

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    kali November 10, 2011, 5:47 pm

    If you can write like you do and dress to match your darling son, you are not in need of a shrink (in my non-professional opinion) however, ‘baby brain’ is a known condition and it can last up to a year after the birth. I have a former co-worker who, while admittedly a bit on the ditzy side prior to the birth of her adorable son, is still in a baby brain fog now, a couple months shy of his second birthday. On the other hand, another co-worker snapped out of her baby brain fog after only three months. But she was always much sharper than co-worker #1 any way. Sleep deprivation is still an issue for her though and that also hampers coherent thought processes and kills memory.

    Give it some time… you’ll be fine. I promise.

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    Auntie J November 11, 2011, 10:18 am

    You are doing great Wendy!! and all of what you said is 100% normal. Remember that I told you M hated the first 3 months! I am looking forward to seeing you this weekend but don’t be insulted if we tell you and Andrew to go out to lunch or something and leave Jackson with us…..or maybe we can take Jackson out and you can take a nap, whichever you prefer. Also, if you ever need, I can come by on a Tuesday without the kids and watch Jackson for a while, let you get out on your own (or again, stay in and relax). Just ask whenever you need to….seriously!

    About the “sleeping through the night”……one of my biggest let downs (but also a relief) was finding out that this can mean that they sleep 5-6 hours only at first and people consider that through the night…..eventually they will get what we adults consider to be really through the night but not sure when that actually happens.

    Hugs to you! and yes, you look fabulous!

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