We're into Month 2 of Life with Baby Jane, and I'm starting to realize all of those cliches about parenting being the most rewarding and most challenging thing you'll ever do are, in fact, true. Baby Jane is a tremendous joy. I love spending time with her (even if our conversations are mostly one-way at this point), and watching how quickly she grows and changes is truly amazing. Yet there are times---when she's been crying inconsolably for what feels like hours, or when she's going through a growth spurt and it seems like I've spent my entire day feeding her (like today)---that I contemplate running away from home and forgetting to leave a forwarding address. Oddly, though, I'm finding that I don't miss my "old life" as much as I'd thought I would. (Talk to me in a month or two and I might have a different answer.)
Well, that's not entirely true. There are some days when I think back fondly on the freedom I used to have to go where I wanted, when I wanted, without checking in with anyone. Now, I rarely leave the house without Baby Jane, and I have to think of ten thousand things (when did she last eat? will I have to feed her while we're out? is there a suitable place to feed her? is the diaper bag packed with all the necessary stuff? do I need to take the stroller, or the front carrier?). Or, if I do leave the house without her, I have to worry about how long I'm gone, if I'll need to pump while I'm out, if there's enough milk in the freezer for her, etc. It's amazing how many logistical questions are tied up in the whole breastfeeding thing.
The "unschedule" largely continues, although at least there are some "trends" in the unschedule so that it's not entirely random. For instance, we can mostly predict her feeding times at this point, when she'll wake up at night, and when she'll be fussy. But we still can't predict when she'll be awake during the day, which makes it hard for me to plan on when I'll be able to squeeze in some work. (Maybe that's part of the reason that my attention span for work stuff is about 20 minutes at this point. Not really conducive to getting stuff done.) And we've only had a handful of nights where both Mr. Jane and I ate dinner at the same time; usually one of us eats while the other paces around with Baby Jane (see "fussy period" above).
The day-to-day stuff, though...that's the really neat part, watching her develop. She smiles intermittently. She has an elaborate wake-up routine. She has all these little vocalizations---little hums is the best way to describe them. She grasps at things. She is beginning to suck on her fingers to soothe herself, although at this point she mostly tries to shove all of her fingers into her mouth at once (the "more is better" philosophy?). She sometimes tracks objects and follows voices. And the faces, especially when she's sleeping, are hysterical. Minor things, you could say, yet I'm totally fascinated by them, because every day there's something new and different, and it's all contributing to the formation of this little girl, my little girl.
Some days, it still feels like I'm babysitting someone else's child, like it still hasn't fully sunk in that I'm a parent and this is my kid. Some days, Mr. Jane and I have entire conversations about poop. Some days, it's a victory if I get to brush my teeth before noon, or get a shower in. Some days, I wonder if I will ever get to see a movie in the theaters again.
But I wouldn't trade this experience for anything.