Tuesday, June 13, 2017

a new normal.

I guess I'm writing this blog post out of order. It probably should be 1) a birth announcement! 2) Mabel's birth story and then 3) this post. Oh well. I haven't blogged regularly for months so who am I to follow "rules" now.

Mabel is almost 3 weeks old and Tony and I are adjusting to our new normal. (Which, from what I'm told, we will continuously be doing because apparently babies change a lot ;)

As part of my contract with my school, and following Canada's guidelines, I have a year off for maternity leave. (!!!) And following Chinese law, Tony had 2 weeks off.

He went back to work yesterday and so far (ha! 2 days in!), so good. We miss him, sure, but I think I can say for certain that he misses Mabel more. He's messaged me a few times each day asking how Mabel and I are doing and when I reply we're good, I usually try to send a photo or video, to which he replies with heart eyes emojis.* I love seeing this guy be a dad. (Also, we're lucky; we live right beside the school so T gets to come home for lunch and if we need him, he could pop over pretty much anytime.)

I'm not setting high expectations for myself, something I need to continuously remind myself of, which I think will probably be key to not feeling overwhelmed or like I'm a lazy butthead. Yesterday I did 2 loads of laundry (almost—Tony hung them to dry and they're still hanging on the drying racks as I type this), showered (but did not do my hair or make-up and I got dressed in PJs), responded to a few emails, and drank almost an entire cup of coffee. Today, I responded to an email, filled out a form for work, and am drinking my first cup of coffee at 3:40PM.**

When people (mostly Chinese, but a lot of "foreigners" too) find out that I'll be home with Mabel by myself for the year, they gasp and look shocked. Some ask, in disbelief and/or with concern, "You're going to do it all by yourself?"and some come right out and tell me, "You can't! It's impossible!" To the Chinese people, I assure them that it's fairly common of us "Western" moms to stay home alone. And to my fellow foreigners, I assure them that we'll get help when and if we need it.***

I realize I'm just rambling here, but I hope you don't mind because I really would like to get back to blogging regularly, and until I get back into the habit of writing and Mabel (and therefore we) develop more regular sleep patterns, I have a feeling my posts will all be at least somewhat ramble-y. It's just part of my new normal.

Other things that are normal now:

A drying rack almost always up and filled with baby clothes and blankets.

A tube of nipple cream on the coffee table.

A "boppy" pillow on the couch.

Wearing only "nursing-friendly" clothes.

Wearing breast pads 24/7. (Leaking is real, my friends).

A baby rocker in the middle of the living room.

Small piles of clutter everywhere.

Continuously making trips to the garbage can in the stairwell with a dirty diaper.

Getting used to doing things one-handed.

T and I taking turns eating meals.

Eating lukewarm or cold food.

Responding to invitations with, "It depends on the baby." (Also, "It depends on the air quality.")

Taking lots of photos.

Keeping count of wet and dirty diapers.

Lowering my expectations and need for "perfection."

*I received one of these check-in messages while writing this post. Insert my own heart-eye emoji here, because he is the best dad and husband. 

**Of course, this is all in addition to breastfeeding, changing diapers, cleaning spit-up, and cuddling.  

***We do have someone who comes to clean our apartment and do laundry once a week. We've had this in place for years though, and will continue to, until we need to hire someone full-time to look after Mabel when I go back to work. 

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