I feel like I’m emerging out of a fog. When they say the first couple months of parenthood is overwhelming, they’re not lying. It was brutal, man. Total survival mode. The other night, the Big Man and I were sitting on our balcony drinking wine and watching the lights of Manhattan when he said, somewhat out of the blue, “I have no idea how people could possibly plan for another baby at this stage.” Uh, excuse? Nobody said nothin’ about birthin no babies right away, I can tell you that much. While I’ve certainly daydreamed about a house full of kids, I’m in no way ready to climb back on the baby train right now. I’m perfectly happy with just one adorable peanut at the moment, thanks much.
“I’m just glad the first three months are over,” I said, draining my glass.
“People say you forget,” he said. “But I remember clearly. How can you forget? It was so stressful and messy, how on Earth can you forget that?”
And yet, that’s precisely it. It was so stressful and so overwhelming and so all consuming that it’s… murky, looking back. Like, I remember the month of February mostly in little bits and pieces, not in one consecutive string of days. Suddenly, I realized just how the human race has survived all these years. It’s because mothers forget this kind of stuff. If I’m already forgetting the most difficult part of becoming a parent so far, it means that I’ll happily charge into the act of having another baby somewhere down the line. And part of that… makes sense?
In any case, between living far from our families, being one of the first of our New York friends to have kids (there was only one mother at my New York baby shower. One!), and the Big Man’s new bar being so much busier than we ever thought it would be, leaving him to work 80-100 hour work weeks, the role of taking care of our cute little bundle fell largely on my shoulders. Much props to the single parent households out there, man. That shit is tough.
But here we are, 18 weeks later, and I feel like my battle scars are fading. The Big Man’s hours have decreased significantly and he’s home more. The peanut and I are in a good groove. She’s a happy, laughing, bubbly, talkative little girl. She loves to gnaw her sore, slowly-teething gums on Sophie the Giraffe, bang away on her Baby Einstein piano and play the same songs ten times in a row, and grab her foot and shake it like a polaroid picture. She also loves nothing more than to roll from her back to her tummy, remember that she hates being on her tummy, and whine at me to roll her back again. Then hit repeat.
To celebrate the end of our first tiny era together, here are the five things that helped get me through those crazy first three months:
Baked Potatoes. No, Tacos Ok, Actually, Sour Cream. For the baked potatoes and the tacos. I dolloped sour cream on everything edible and thanked my lucky stars for weight loss via breastfeeding.
2. GrubHub and Seamless apps. I didn’t go near the stove for weeks. Unless I was baking a potato, of course. And GrubHub and Seamless, the amazing food-delivery apps that let you order your dinner without even speaking to another human, were a must on the days when I hadn’t showered in a week and my eyes had a sort of feral, wild look to them.
3. Stroller walks and white noise machines. Often together. This combo is also referred to as “Baby Ambien” in this house, since when the going got tough, the tough packed the baby into her stroller and walked her to sleep.
4. Real Housewives of Whatever. At the end of a long, long day (say, at 9 pm or so), all I ever wanted to do was crash on the couch with Oreos and a beer and watch women with hair extensions argue with each other in their ridiculous McMansions.
5. Crispbread “sandwiches”. In the early days, I ate ham sandwiches like they were going out of style. Then I got weirded out by the sheer amount of bread I was consuming, and switched to crispbreads with ham and mustard. Bonus is I now add a schmear of cream cheese or ricotta, and top it with things like grape tomatoes, strawberries, and avocado on top. With a side of baked potato and half a cup of sour cream (I joke, I joke. It’s like one-third of a cup.)
6. (Bonus) Skype/Lync/iMeet/Google Hangout. Basically any program that lets me both hear and see my mother speaking so I can retain some sense of sanity.
We’re thankfully, finally, coasting into a simpler time, the peanut and I. Sure, we have teething and sleep regressions and temper tantrums in the immediate future. But I feel more in control, like I got this. Every day is easier, every day is more fun, and she’s got these belly laughs now that I wish I could bottle up and carry around with me. So here’s to the next eighteen years – or eighteen days – or hell, even the next eighteen minutes of naptime. And sour cream. Lots and lots of sour cream.