Updated: Jan 14
Over the past week when friends have asked about postpartum life I've remarked that I wish I was journaling more. My friends, being good friends, have each quickly reminded me that I've been a bit busy.
Newborns, as it turns out, seem to have that effect on people.
I don't do HITT workouts and rarely do interval training but I imagine it feels a bit like life with a newborn. Expect for instead of run, walk, run, walk it's more like feed the baby, blink, feed the baby again. And it's in that blink that you attempt to squish the rest of your life, or what was your life before this tiny human showed up: a nap, a book, a show, a shower, vacuuming the stairs, making out with your husband, a cold cup of tea that you made hours earlier and of course journaling.
When you are living in the blink journaling is the first thing to go.
So instead of long romantic diary entries about early motherhood what I'm left with are scribbles in the margins, breadcrumbs to follow. A list here, the start of an unfinished, middle-of-the-night journal entry there.
A barely legible stream of consciousness voice-to-text note in my phone.
What you are reading now, composed during a series of blinks, is in attempt to follow the breadcrumbs and string together the scribbles into what might be a semi-cohesive thought about what I want to remember. Because for me writing is a way to capture what is happening while it's happening which is probably why "what I want to remember" is what's scribbled on the top of a journal page dated in mid December, just days after getting home from the hospital.
So after one month of getting to know Gavin, and getting to know ourselves, here are some things that I want to remember.
The baby smells like maple syrup because he's Canadian. A story for another time.
"Gavin, it's me, your dad." We really aren't sure why we both feel the need to reintroduce ourselves each time we address him but I am starting to grow worried that his first words won't be mama or dada but instead it's-me-your-mom and it's-me-your-dad.
Gavin, like his mom or it's-me-your-mom, likes routine. Eat, play, sleep. He is nothing if not consistent, especially in the pursuit of eating every 90 minutes. We even made a song about it. Our whole life is a musical now. We hope to release an album.
Like, Tom or it's-me-your-dad, Gavin too is a Calgary Flames fan in that he likes to cheer (read: scream) loudly while they play, especially if they're losing.
Despite living in central Pennsylvania in January we've logged a surprising number of miles together in our Mockingbird stroller (Gavin pushing me of course), confirming that there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes.
Speaking of clothes, Gavin's outgrown his newborn ones and diapers too for that matter. I am certain he grows each time he naps and he naps a lot.
When he's not wearing clothes, Gavin enjoys baths in the kitchen sink or sneaking in a quick pee between diaper changes.
We've logged approximately 5095 minutes, nearly 85 hours, breastfeeding at the time of this writing. Like I said from the start, I've been busy.
Some mornings Tom and Gavin share a blanket on the couch and call themselves "blankey boys." It's almost too cute...almost.
Is there a rule I don't know about where all little boy clothes must have one or more dinosaurs? What is the correlation between dinosaur onesies and future careers in paleontology? Has no one researched this?
I once thought that holding our new baby would be the greatest joy I had ever felt. Little did I know that stepping out of the shower, turning off the bathroom fan, and hearing silence, indicating that the baby is indeed still sleeping, might rival that joy. (Only half kidding.)
I still can't believe we get to keep him.
And while I would never in a million years say that motherhood is easy, I am grateful that loving Gavin feels like the easiest thing I've ever done. What I've observed is that people seem to love to share their trauma around pregnancy, labor and delivery, and the sleepless nights of early motherhood - which are each important stories to share. However, my urge to follow the breadcrumbs and put into words our experience comes from wanting to offer an alternative perspective. Maybe it's that we are wearing rose colored glasses or still in a honeymoon phase that's yet to wear off but Tom and I seem to agree that life with Gavin has been great 90% of the time and filled with more joy, laughs, hugs and fun than we had previously imagined. We realize that is in part to the privileges we hold, paid maternity leave being one of them, that allow it to be that way.
I hope to continue to remember only the joys of early motherhood, not in a toxic positivity way, but rather in one that allows me to hold close to what I choose to remember.
So now rather than wishing I was journaling more, I realize that journaling simply looks and feels different than it did before. I look forward to continuing to scribble when and where I can and then, when the blinks allow, compiling those scribbles wherever feels right - and today, that's here.
Happy one month, Gavin. We love you so much.