Baby Charissa is 11 days old today, and my life has never been changed so quickly. Even getting married didn't turn my world upside down the same way having a baby has. But I have enjoyed it immensely! I've learned so much in the last 11 days, experienced new things, and been completely overwhelmed with love. Let me share with you the highlights from my brief parenting life.
- Love isn't based on what you do - it's who you belong to. I loved my daughter before she was born, and now that I've seen her I love her even more. And nothing she does makes me love her. I love her because she's my daughter. Just like how God loves me because I am His child, despite the fact that I can't do anything to make Him love me. But this is reassuring because both Charissa and I cannot do anything to change the way we are loved.
- Singing hymns can calm the wild beast. When all else fails, Charissa loves to hear her parents sing hymns and praise songs. I am reminded of Saul and how he had David play the harp for him when his spirit was in unrest. I am hoping the similarities end there because I'd rather Charissa not throw a spear at me one day.
- Squeaks can be the sweetest sound. Since she's too young for talking, or even cooing, Charissa communicates her happiness in little squeaks. I've found that the tiniest little squeak can make my heart melt.
- A feeling of helplessness overwhelms you. Last night Charissa was crying her little heart out and I couldn't figure out what was wrong with her. She had been fed, she was dry, she wasn't sick, she was in comfortable clothing and yet she still wailed. After about 45 minutes of her screaming I began to cry. There was nothing I could do for her, and yet I would have done anything for her to make her happy. She's so small and fragile and I just long to protect her, but I know I can't do that forever. I've been praying that I entrust my daughter to God because He is infinitely wiser and more capable of caring for her than I.
- Baby kisses make me smile. Now I know that an 11 day old baby cannot really kiss, but sometimes when I have her up by my face she puts her mouth on my cheek and it makes me laugh. She loves her mommy and she's trying to show it!
- Phantom crying will haunt you. There are moments when Charissa is sleeping soundly but I hear crying in my head and I turn to go check on her, only to realize that I'm just imagining it. Sometimes I think that she's crying softly, but still just in my head. Whenever she is crying it's always quite robust so I don't know why I ever think the tiny cries I hear in my head are actually her.
- A distinct baby smell will permeate everything. Now I'm not saying that everything will smell like poop, but there is a distinct baby smell that will get on your clothes, your hands, your furniture, the air ... and you'll learn to love it.
- Forget the schedule. Everyone says to get the baby on a schedule as soon as possible, and I completely agree. But when your schedule requires a 4:00 feeding and your baby is still asleep and you try to wake her up for an hour, what are you supposed to do? It's nearly impossible to wake a sleeping infant, so you just have to flow with it. As long as she is happy and eats farther apart that every 2.5 hours, I'm ok with it (although Charissa usually waits about 3.5 hours between meals in the day and 4-5 hours at night). I'm sure when she's a little older we'll get on a regular schedule, but for now we're not going to try to add the pressure of a schedule to learning how to be a family.
- Small bodies require large equipment. It's amazing how a 7.5 pound baby necessitates so much stuff. The crib, the changing table, the diaper champ, the rocker, the swing, the bouncy seat, the high chair, the bathing tub, the toys ... and then there's all the clothes, towels, blankets, hats, burp clothes, and pillows! Our once very neat and organized house has been consumed with little pink things.
- All the stories you've heard about explosive poop are true. The first day Charissa was at home her Nana was changing her diaper when Charissa decided she wasn't quite done. Let's just say that there was a load of laundry done immediately. And that the walls had to be cleaned.
Oh the joys of parenting! And we've just begun! I'm so excited to see how Charissa grows up and changes our lives even further.