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Parenthood, Young Married Mom

October 25, 2010

On Life with a Newborn

These past couple of weeks I’ve had a bunch of opportunities to see folks from all aspects of my life and to introduce them to Jacob.  Most people—men and women alike—will take a few moments to peer into the little guy’s face or to hold him and then ask how I’m doing.  The answer is always, “very well, thank you,” as I’m sleeping well enough, have fit myself into a real pair of jeans, and have been out and about nearly every day.


But as with anything involving a newborn, there have been at least a couple of surprises.


Now first of all, thank goodness that we have been blessed with a baby who is relatively easy to care for.  Jacob is peaceful, strong, intentional in his crying, and open to just about anyone snuggling with him.  As long as I’m not exhausted from staying up too late or getting up too early, caring for this little man is easier than I expected (so far).


Yet with a baby who seems to be this low-maintenance, I am often fooled into believing that I have it more together than I really do. Take simple hygiene, for instance.  Especially in his earlier weeks, I managed to take a shower almost every day, and without too much of a protest on his end (sleeping babies protest very little).  As any mother or anyone recovering from a physical trial of some sort knows, keeping yourself clean and getting dressed go a long way in helping you to feel “human” when your body isn’t one-hundred percent back to normal.  Managing to get a shower in those first weeks made me feel triumphant, like I’d somehow beaten the system.


Over a couple of days, however, I started to notice that while my hair was clean and I was wearing fresh clothes each day (at least for the brief moments between getting dressed and scooping up the Peanut), something else was seriously lacking: namely, dental hygiene.  Proud of never having a cavity, I am a strong proponent of brushing and flossing one’s teeth.  So when I realized I simply wasn’t brushing my own teeth in the morning, I was appalled.


The problem is that I get up at a couple of times that could be considered “morning” (and sometimes stay in my pajamas until the early afternoon, waiting for the right moment to take the aforementioned shower) so there isn’t a clear choice as to when to go through what used to be my morning routine.  The before-bed things—getting changed, brushing my teeth, and taking out my contacts if they’d ever found their way in—are much easier because John does the same things about the same time.  But in the morning, I’m on my own.


So now my measure of a productive day is whether or not I brushed my teeth.  And as long as we start keeping score after one pm, today was a win.

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