America, December 13, 2008
Exhausting, exhilarating, and entertaining
Wow! Now that Hanalei is home, the shock of her birth is starting to set in. The counsel of "nothing will ever be the same" is gaining value as Amy and I shift to the role of parents and I watch the reactions of our friends and family.
I'm surprised that everyone seems to be fixated on numbers, specifically her birth weight and length. Hanalei was 8 pounds 5 ounces, and 21 inches at birth, but what does either number really mean? Does that convey something different than if she were 8 pounds 1 ounce, or 19 inches long?
I'm just happy she's healthy, with 10 fingers and toes, and all the needed bits in between. Now if she could just let Amy and I get needed sleep, the whole family could be much happier. And that lack of sleep is serious!
People always talk about the sleep deprivation of a newborn, and I thought they meant a little less sleep. No big deal, right? Well with a maximum of 2 hours of sleep at any time this week, I've felt more knocked out than the worst jetlag. Seriously. From punishing headaches to general exhaustion, I was whipped.
But now that she's starting to find her rhythm and her parents are adapting to it, Hanalei is a little less disruptive member of the family. She is still making us change our roles. Amy is the mom - the provider for Hanalei. I am not the momma - the maid, cleaning her up when she bequeaths us a diaper load. During the day we share time with her, alternating holding, watching, loving her as the other enjoys independence for a bit.
Amy is also home now, taking a three-month maternity leave to care for Hanalei. As I work from home, we're finding ways to share the house where we can both have our space and I get work done.
Yet I still step away from the office every so often and marvel at this child in our lives. How seemingly quick she's gone from Ziggy the Zygote to a real person. Nine months passed in a flash! Others say her whole childhood will too, but it's hard for me to believe that right now. I am still in awe that she will some day be a whole grown woman.
So parents of young and grown, please feel free to share tips and tricks on newborns. Amy and I can sure use the help.