Parenthood So Far

Lain is QA Approved!So far, mommy, baby, and daddy are doing well.

I am not nearly as tired as I expected to be. That’s partly because we have a reasonably quiet baby. It’s also because a whole lot of the burden has been falling on Clancy despite my best efforts.

I can get up at three in the morning, and I can change her diapers, wipe the gunk out of her eyes, and give her to mommy, but I can’t feed her yet. Breastfeeding has been something of a challenge thus far. At first a real challenge – more on that and my more critical view of “lactivists” in a later post, perhaps – but now that the milk is coming and the baby knows how to extract it, we’re still having a bit of trouble adding some efficiency to the process (c’mon, Lain, it’s feeding time, stop falling asleep!). We haven’t gotten to the point where she accepts any alternate vehicle for the milk (we’re not supposed to use a bottle yet, and the syringe stopped working), so there’s only so much I can do.

Adding to the pressure on Clancy’s end is that she is under some intense pressure to get current on her paperwork for the office. She was planning to knock that out in the weekend prior to Lain’s scheduled c-section (the last thing she wanted to do was spend her first two weeks of maternity leave completing paperwork), but Lain did not abide by this plan. Her plan was sleep, feed, eat, sleep, feed, eat, and so on, but the tasks seem to bleed into one another and it’s been really difficult for her to take time out of her day and do that. I’ve driven her too and from the office, but obviously there’s not much more I can do to help her than that.

Adding to my more marginal pressure is that the landlord’s informed us that we need to vacate the garage so that they can tear it down. We’re sure Lain is going to love all of the demolition and construction noise. So I’ve been spending my spare time cleaning out the garage and moving everything to the basement.

My brother Mitch was in town over the weekend. He wanted to be a part of the event. It was really, really nice having him here. We’re trying to sell him on the prospect of having children (note: he’s not averse in the same way that averse)

My mother-in-law also came up, and is still here, and her help has proven to be invaluable. Both in helping us take care of the baby and in getting the house in more working order.

Aside from all that, there have been a few other stresses. The first was an emergency trip to Umatilla due to concerns about her pulse and circulation. So I learned what a “pediatric cardiologist” is. Everything turned up aces on that, thank heavens. The second trip taught me what a “pediatric orthopaedist” is. She has a bit of a loose hip. Lain is in a harness now (think of it like a cast to re-set a broken arm). It’s entirely curable, but nobody likes to see their newborn in a harness. The last thing is that she has unresponsive tearducts. This typically resolves itself, but it means that we end up wiping a lot of goop from her eyes.

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.


  1. I forgot to put this in there:

    Though I had a heads-up about the tiredness of parenting, one of the things I hadn’t counted on was the extent to which you would be busy all day and yet have comparatively little to show for it. Usually when I have been busy all day, there are things I can point to and say “these are the things I’ve done today!” but so far it’s been busy but with the feeling of treading water rather than actually being productive.

    • How did we not mention that?

      Small infants do lead you to feel like you’re spending all of your time digging a hole and then filling it up again.

      Good to hear things are moving along. What the what on the garage, that is colossally bad timing.

      • Small infants do lead you to feel like you’re spending all of your time digging a hole and then filling it up again.

        Yeah, that about sums it up.

        What the what on the garage, that is colossally bad timing.

        Yeah. Got an email last week saying that it needed to be vacated “soon.” I asked what “soon” meant and they had no idea when they would be coming by to tear it down. Just soon. Fortunately, they didn’t come by before the brother came and we were able to move the movable dishwasher together.

        We thought we’d dodged a bullet with the moving of the house next door and the subsequent road construction being completed. No such luck.

  2. Once my wife started pumping, it helped a lot that I could feed baby girl instead of Mrs. P. having to do so while falling asleep all the time; it was a huge improvement in our lives. Fingers crossed that Lain can accept a bottle soon (and that all the other concerns evaporate as well).

    • Yeah, that’ll be nice. We’re not supposed to bottle-feed for the first couple weeks at least. It’ll be nice when we can.

  3. Doesn’t feed from a bottle, loose hips, unresponsive tear ducts, and yet she’s QA approved? We might have to work on those QA standards!

    No, just totally kidding. My middle one was born premature, with not yet fully developed lungs (had to spend some time in NICU in an oxygen tent), a hole in her heart, a tendency to stop breathing (carrying a baby and an attached monitor all the time really sucks), and never really learned to take milk from the bottle, and and yet she’s totally QA approved, too, now a bright and perfectly healthy 11 year old who gets good grades, swims, runs cross country, and is now taking up diving.

    So as unpleasant as it is for a parent to see those problems in their newborns, don’t let it stress you too much. Odds are Lain is going to be an awesome toddler and then turn out to be a great kid, a great teen, and a fine adult.

    And she’s a really cute baby, dad. Take pride (but not too much) in showing her off.

    • I do have to confess to being predisposed to approval on this particular widget.

      Really, though, after facing down the prospect of a heart/circulatory defect, the four-hour* trip to Umatilla and possible flight out to the west coast for infant surgery (I forgot to link to the story here), everything else is small peanut.

      * – Not that four hours is that long of a drive, but it becomes one when it’s your first extended trip with a possibly sick infant.

        • Out here, you get used to it. All of the pretty scenery helps. As does the complete lack of traffic outside a few “urban zones.”

      • I remember how distressing it was to be told that our new-born had a collapsed lung and a hole in her heart. Both repaired themselves without any need for surgery, which was a huge relief.

        The best bit of advice I got from our doctor, who was the best doctor I’ve ever had, was not to react like some folks and always treat her as “the sickly child,” and get over-protective, but to let her live as robustly as any other kid.

        You know, I absolutely would not want another kid at this point in my life, but I’m feeling a bit of jealousy that you’ve got a newborn baby girl. Enjoy it to the fullest!

  4. Do you have good sleeping chairs? Watching my friends with babies, I noticed that those who had good sleeping chairs (lean back, close eyes, zonk) were somewhat more existentially happy than those who did not.

    But that may be putting the cart before the horse because maybe existentially happy people are more likely to want a sleeping chair in their house.

    Assuming a dynamic where the chair contributes to happiness rather than the other way around: you should get a good sleeping chair.

    • We have two laz-E boys, which previously felt like an extravagance (though we got them both used), but have turned out to be really helpful. The perfect sitting position for feeding, and comfortable enough to sleep on.

    • Rocking chair! Hoo-boy, a good rocking chair, preferably one with low-ish arms so you don’t accidentally bonk sleeping baby’s head while cradling/holding a bottle/trying to sit down (not that I ever did this. I’ve heard…stories).

  5. Hi! New reader here, found you from MamaPear Designs. Not a lactavist, just a mom. haha.

    A little advice that I’ve learned that may be helpful: for the tear ducts, try massage/rub them gently with a warm washcloth a couple times a day. Also, while it may sound gross, putting breast milk in Lain’s eyes may help with it as well. My son had clogged tear ducts after birth too, and they fixed themselves in about 2 weeks after I started the tear duct massaging.

    Also, for waking Lain up a bit to feed longer, try undressing her piece by piece, and if that doesn’t work, a warm washcloth on her feet might do the trick.

    Good luck! It might be a long journey, but it’s worth every second.

    • Hi Rachelle, thanks for stopping by! MamaPear linked to me?

      I’ll be sure to pass it along about the massaging. We’ll also try the warm washcloth for longer feeding.

  6. As has been mentioned already, tear duct massage may help. It has to be done outward-to-inward, toward the nasal bridge.

    I think I’ve already shared my view of the demands placed on Clancy by her work. I have not softened them after reading this.

    And I look forward to your post on “lactivists.” I feel… strongly about them. But since I’ve written my share of flame bait over at BT, maybe I’ll just let you tackle that one.

    One bleary-eyed parent of a newborn to another, I hope you get some sleep. And I’m delighted things are going well for all of you.

    • I just asked Clancy, who was getting the two week wellcheck (Lain is up four ounces ! Yay!) and she’s already on top of the tear-duct massage.

      I’ll reserve comment on the work situation, except to say that your sympathy is appreciated.

      We’ll see if I can carve out a piece (or two) on lactivism.

      • “Lactivists” is a good word for them. When we checked into the maternity ward for the birth of our second, I asked the nurses to please keep them away from us.

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