Twenty Things I’ve Learned in the First Month

​Leon is one month old today! I would say “it’s gone by so fast,” which it has mostly, aside from the occasional middle-of-the-night screaming fit.

Honestly, a typical one-month-old still has more or less the personality of a house plant, but I’ve done my best to learn what Leon’s given us. We know he hates diaper changes with a fiery passion, and he loves being held and carried (but only in an upright position — no laying down for this alert little man). Our mornings are usually spent walking in a circle around the house (in fact, I’m walking him around as I write this on my phone). On nice days, we’ve gone for a walk in the afternoon.

So far Leon’s met Minh’s mom and her husband, our friend Amanda, and my dad and brother. Until this past weekend, he had only been to doctor’s offices, but my dad, my brother, and I took him out to get frozen yogurt and groceries during their recent visit to Texas. Aside from the NICU, Leon has been without us for a total of one hour, when Minh and I went to get Twisted Root and gelato while my dad and brother babysat.

I’ve probably learned more in the past 31 days than any other single month in my life, save maybe my first month at college. These first few weeks were quite the boot camp, but I’m hoping I can take what I’ve learned and use it to make me a better person and a better mom for my boy. Here’s what I’ve figured out so far:

  1. I’ve learned that after a couple weeks of adjustment, I can survive on less sleep than I ever thought I could — and still feel more rested than I did when I was pregnant.
  2. I’ve learned that having my one-day-old son taken from me and put in the NICU for an indefinite period of time is enough to push me to my breaking point.
  3. I’ve learned that babies are slippery as hell when wet (no, I didn’t drop him).
  4. I’ve learned that how frustrated or overwhelmed I feel on any given day is directly related to how sleepy I am.
  5. I’ve learned that Minh and I would quickly become one of those couples who, without flinching, can joke about the texture of a projectile shart or discuss our concerns regarding the consistency of a recent spitup.
  6. I’ve learned that my needs come second — I no longer have the luxury of taking a shower or laying down for a long nap whenever I want. And that’s still an adjustment.
  7. I’ve learned that a soundly sleeping baby won’t wake for anything. So no guilt about dropping guacamole in his hair; he didn’t even know.
  8. I’ve learned that I would come to have strong opinions about various brands of diapers and even go so far as to hoard the “good” diapers around the house so Minh is stuck using more of the “bad” diapers.
  9. I’ve learned that it is, in fact, logistically possible to go to the bathroom with a tiny human strapped to my chest.
  10. I’ve learned that Amazon Prime is the closest thing to a literal angel.
  11. I’ve learned that I’d get pretty darn efficient at changing the diaper of a kicking child in the dark (anything to go back to sleep more quickly, honestly).
  12. I’ve learned that despite how modest I may have been before baby, I no longer care if strangers see my boobs.
  13. I’ve learned that I don’t really feel human until I’ve taken a shower.
  14. I’ve learned that babies have a sixth sense and will immediately wake and start fussing right when you’re about to lower them into the bassinet.
  15. I’ve learned that babies also have a sixth sense and will be hungry right as you’re about to take a shit.
  16. I’ve learned that I would care less about my postpartum body than I thought; when the goal of the day is to keep a helpless, needy child content, there’s little mental bandwidth left over for worrying about stretch marks or saggy boobs.
  17. I’ve learned that eating left-handed over a feeding baby is just part of the job sometimes.
  18. I’ve learned that when Leon is crying, remembering that “he’s not giving you a hard time, he’s having a hard time” is key to keeping my sanity late at night. That phrase was probably the most solid advice I received.
  19. I’ve learned that I would be less disgusted than I thought when eating M&Ms and realizing I forgot to wash my hands after the last diaper change.
  20. I’ve learned to appreciate the days as they come —  some days I feel more tired than others, so when I am feeling alert, all I can do is be as productive as possible and enjoy everything for what it is.

Here’s to Leon’s next month (and beyond)!


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