Have you ever purchased a piece of furniture from, say, The Evil Empire? You know, one of those dressers that comes with Some Assembly Required? The kind that comes in a long, flat box and is made of particle board, laminate, paste, and hope?
Ever notice the warning on the box that says "Team Lift" or some variation? It usually shows one stick person trying to lift the box, little pain lines radiating from its lower back, a red circle with a line through it around the scene (like some kind of preemptive police tape), and then a happy picture of two stick figures, each lifting one end of the box and carrying it merrily along their way.
You know what? There are things about a baby that are much easier when you team lift.
Take feedings. Sprout's pretty low-key. She sleeps a fair bit (newborns may sleep up to 20 hours a day - nice life, huh??), wakes up when she hungry or needs a clean nappy (this is one of those babies who resents the hell out of being soiled), and is a cuddle bug. Given her druthers (and ours), she'll eat every three hours or so during the day and then sleep for a good chunk of the night. Don't hate us - we both know that could change at any time.
Around dawn, she usually wakes up quite peckish. One person could have their hands full with meeting her needs. Luckily, there are two of us to team lift. Generally, Someone gets Sprout from her crib and hands her off to me for a boob attempt. Meanwhile, he staggers into the kitchen and preps a bottle. He comes back to bed and when she's done with me (which never takes as long as I'd like), he'll either hand me the bottle or take her himself and feed her. When she's sated, she'll go all limp and nestle in for a nap, and we have a couple of hours of cuddle time. Good grief, that's a sweetness that cannot be described.
Another team lift situation occurred a couple of days ago. I was going to photograph it, but wound up lending a helping hand instead. You're probably better off. There was this nappy, see...it was...erm...epic. Sprout isn't a frequent pooper, but she makes up in volume what she lacks in frequency. She has elicited cries of surprise and dismay more than once, and we're expecting her deposits! Suck grand displays of alimentary prowess are not easy to contain or clean up alone...but again, there's two of us. One fetches a warm washcloth for bum wiping (there are some things no baby wipe was built to withstand) while the other cleans the baby. One gets her freshly frosted (Burt's Bees nappy ointment is my beloved go-to, and I call it butt frosting because it's white and smells loverly), nappied, and clothed. Sprout barely has a chance to protest before it's all done. Sometimes it reminds me of calf roping.
It's not all sunshine and roses. With me fairly out of commission (but not entirely, because despite my claims to the contrary I can't sit on my arse all day and do nothing), Someone has to pick up the slack...and he does. That means he's constantly up and down the stairs for laundry, cooking dinner, cleaning cat boxes, and running trash, recycling, and compost out on top of baby care. Sometimes, Sprout fusses. She isn't a cry-for-no-reason baby, but we can't always figure out what's wrong right away. Sometimes it's gas, sometimes it's a wet nappy, once it was the nappy she had on (it was rubbing and chaffing). Those little fits can last a few minutes and are distressing.
Someone offers Sprout comfort until he can't stand it, then passes her to me. I go a few rounds until I'm ready to cry, then he takes over. Eventually, one of us will figure out what's up and deal with it, and Sprout will snuggle up against us and all is right with the Universe.
There will be plenty of times when one of us is alone and having to do all the heavy lifting. It's nice to know we can and will team lift, though, when the opportunity arises.
Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!
"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One
For old quotes, look here.
For old quotes, look here.