Saturday, October 30, 2010

Mothering and multi-tasking

I'm at that stage of newborn with Gabriel...if you have kids or younger siblings you'll remember...nothing gets done.  I mean nothing.  If the family is fed and some laundry is done, and in our case, school is done, well then - all is good.  Forget about extras like plucking eyebrows or vacuuming.  Those things come later, once the baby learns about sleeping in increments that surpass 15 minute spans.  Thing is - ninth time around I'm mostly okay with this.  This time will pass, I'll never get it back, and I'll scarcely remember it when it's gone.  Getting things done is over-rated, and I'm not going to spend my son's tiny days wishing that he were bigger so that the floors could be cleaner.  (I've spent plenty of children's tiny days wishing exactly that, and I'm not going to do it again.)  And yes, *disclaimer*, I do let Gabe sleep on his tummy when I'm in the room and am watching him. 

The one thing I do get  a plentitude of, and that is nursing baby and holding baby time.  Along with cherishing baby time, and melting in his softness when I rub his head time, and rolling his bead-like toes between my fingers time, I've learned that I can do a few other things while sitting and feeding him.

I read.  A lot.  I've read...9 books in 3 weeks.  (Actual novels, not just picture books, people!)

I write.  For sheer pleasure, not for public consumption.  I've written about the days leading up to Gabriel's birth.  I've written down our family's feelings and the emotions surrounding his home-bringing, the reactions the small children had to his's for Gabe but it's also for me.  I don't want to forget.  I love to write - there's so much to record in each day.

And for me, this last one might be the ultimate in multi-tasking.  I've learned that I can also KNIT while feeding the baby.  I'm sure that enterprising or creative mothers have already learned this long ago - but it's a new skill for me.

I'm delighted.  Of course I'm making a sweater for him - it's out of a delightful, light-weight, soft merino blend by Debbie Mum.  

It's coming along quickly, I already have the back and one side of the front finished.

LOVE the wavy texture, the color pathway in this yarn.  I hope to finish the sweater up in the next week or so, then move on to a little hat and booties.  (Not sure I can do DPNs (double pointed needles) though.  It might turn out looking like I was DUI.)

Now for a little dose of reality.  Here's the scene in front of my chair while I am feeding the baby and entertaining myself with a little bit of knitting.  Consider it proof that a mother really can't do it all, nor should she necessarily try.

And the view to my side:


  1. Hey, that looks like the baskets by my chair! lol I am so happy for you and your baby time, Holly. These days certainly go by fast, don't they? *hugs*

  2. Holly, I am so thankful to read this. You are so real, yet so inspiring. I am inspired to not stress about the details and experience life and love with my little ones. Have a blessed day.


  3. You have a thumbsucker, lucky you!!! I always wanted one of those, but never got one. Enjoy your reading and knitting. Yes, the newborn days are wonderful--the cuddling is the best. (And after my first, I let my babies sleep on their tummies. They really seem to like it better, at least mine did.)

    Today my husband was jokingly mad at the kids for the mess on the kitchen floor. I said, well, this is the time in life for a messy house. I said it mostly for myself, as a reminder. The house can be neat when I'm an old lady. ;)

    Enjoy! ((hugs)) Didi

  4. THe older generations did not have the 'sleeping baby' problems we have, because the babies slept on their tummies! Such a shame it is a risk. Of course, many of my friends put their second and third babies on their tummies and had marvellous sleepers! I think because it presses out the gas and helps them to feel full for longer, and stops them 'startling'.

    How do you teach babies to fall asleep by themselves, Holly? Mine is ten months, and I *still* rock her to sleep, ahem! I can't bear the thought of her crying herself to sleep.

    Those early days...I read heaps too! Took soooo long to breastfeed! It is amazing how much can be accomplished with one hand, although HOW do you knit with one hand?!

    Valerie xx

  5. Lovely post, Holly. So much wisdom. Love, love, love that little one...and that last photo totally cracked me up. XOX

  6. I'm learning some of these same lessons myself, through Mearrik. When he comes, I have nothing else to do but hold and love him. It is no hardship - I cherish every second.

    Holly, no one ever told me that when you become a grandparent you love that child as if it came out of your own body. I hold that sweet boy and I look down at him and for a moment or two I am transported back in time and it is like I am holding my own son again. This is the grace and mercy of God to a mother who often wished that she could have just a little of that time back. He is good.

  7. Good post, I read that book too. I think it was pretty good, can't remember. Love hearing about you and the family and new little guy. So glad you are cherishing every moment.
    Karen in In

  8. I visited a little old lady just this past week. Her house was spotless. So you're right--there WILL be time for that someday. Love how you express things, Holly! :) Tina

  9. Val, I...dunno. :) I'm still at the "nurse him to sleep"' stage - and I just do that in the early days. Later on, when the baby is several months old, I generally just start putting them down when they are really sleepy, but not *quite* there. I don't do that too soon, I'm not a big fan of newborns crying themselves "out" about much of anything!

    I will say, though, that with our first child, he WOULD NOT SLEEP - not at all, it seems, at least not for very long at one stretch. I finally was at the end of my rope and a older friend/neighbor of ours (that we completely trusted) said, "Hey, I'll put him to bed for you. You go to my house and watch tv, and I'll get him settled in." I could not stand to let him cry to sleep - he had great endurance,and he didn't want to miss a thing. She, however, didn't mind hearing him cry. It didn't affect her mommy hormones at all. :) So, he was clean and dry and fed, and tired, and she put him to bed and sat right outside of his room so she knew he was fine...and he did eventually go to sleep. She did that for three nights, I think, and I PROMISE you that after that time, he slept GREAT! It sounds strange, doesn't it? But it did work, and he wasn't as psychologically scarred as I was sure he would be! (That was 18 years ago...)

    Now, I think that I try to catch that window between newborn and older baby, where they aren't quite so needy and they are able to put themselves to sleep.

    Actually, I remember Kristen (Walking Circumspectly, remember?) had trouble getting her little boy to sleep. She might have some good advice for you!

    (Long answer! Sorry!)

  10. Oh, p.s., Val. I use both hands. He just tucks into the crook of my arm.

    Anita - I can just imagine. In fact, at 41 I likely have more of a grandmother's view than a mother's view. I'm so thankful you have your little Mearrik to keep all things in perspective. :) He is precious!

    Tina and Didi - See? Clean floors can wait. :) And yes, Didi - I like a thumb sucker too! They learn to comfort themselves.

    Karen, Jenna, Patricia, Andrea - thanks for "enjoying" with me, or at least humoring me while I "remember" it all in writing.

  11. I think it is a common first-born thing! And you read Dr Sears who says your child will be scarred for life if you let him cry...oh, the guilt! I think for me waiting so long for our girl, then the traumatic birth and long recovery has made me sooo protective. She is actually a pretty good sleeper a lot of the time, just can't get herself to sleep by herself. I have read one e-book method that we are going to try soon where you sit in the room until they fall asleep, then gradually move out until they are doing it alone. I think I can handle that! We really need to get on to it as we have a few evening events on soon and I have never left her with anyone!

    Love you, Holly! Thank you for your wisdom. Oh, and next time, I am putting my baby's thumb in his or her mouth until he/she can do it alone! The dummy/pacifer falling out drives me nuts, ha ha!

  12. Oh, Holly. What a precious reminder. I'm good at letting it all slide in the newborn stage...but I seem to get a little crazy a few months in trying to run around and "catch up." Life has slowed me down these last few months though and it's been lovely. I need to always keep that in mind!

  13. I remember those days! They're so awesome, some of the most precious days ever. :)

    Don't worry about housework, right? It's not going anywhere, but babies are.