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Paige's Parenting Journal

Month One
~ The Witching Hour . . .

You would think that with all the technology and scientific information we have available to us in this day and age, that doctors would be able to figure out how to cure “The Witching Hour”. Maureen has not taken very long to fall into the same pattern that Brigid had of the evening fussies. Poor little thing just wants to cluster nurse like crazy and takes forever to actually fall asleep. We have tried gas drops and some Tylenol to see if it would help, knowing that it probably would not. And it was no surprise to not really see any difference in her behavior. Her witching hour starts at around 6pm and continues until both of us crash from exhaustion at around 10 or 10:30. As long as she is nursing, she is fine. But taking her off to give me a break or to give Brigid some attention results in that pitiful mewing that all newborns seem to have. Both Stuart and Caitlyn are great in taking her so that I can eat without her nursing or get Brig ready for bed. But you can tell that Maureen isn't really happy about the change in arms.

Seems terrible to start out my journal talking about something so negative as the evening fussies. But they are such a prevalent part of my day that I have a hard time getting past them. It is sort of funny . . . everyone talks about the ability of women to block out the pain of childbirth, otherwise there would be no more children. For me, it is the ability to block out this horrible evening period otherwise I would have no more children. I have never thought that it was true colic as all of my babies have been able to be consoled, by nursing, and their crying is not constant, but it is probably pretty close. Of course any mother who has been through true colic is probably laughing right now and saying that I don't know how easy I have had it. But I do really hate this time frame. Fortunately it passes fairly quickly and as soon as Maureen can find her thumb or fingers, hopefully it will get better for her. She will not take a pacifier so she doesn't have any way to suck right now to make herself feel better. Unfortunately for me, being in the car seat seems to make it worse and her crying becomes uncontrollable, and soon, once soccer starts, the poor little girl will be in the car seat every evening.

Other than this annoying little time frame, everything is great. Brigid has adjusted to Maureen’s presence very nicely. Looking back at her behavior through the summer, she actually started having some issues as soon as preschool got out. I should have realized that my type A child needed more structure and that our loose summer was not going to fly with her. And it hasn't. She has had some pretty good tantrums but I really think that it has to do with not having her days planned and structured. Now I know and will not make that same mistake twice. She treats Maureen very well though, always wanting to hold her and cuddle. Problem is she wants to do this when Michael and I are not around and we have had to develop an eagle eye to make sure that Maureen is always in a safe place and Brigid is being watched. Surprisingly she has only asked to nurse twice and both times she was just testing to see what I would say. When I looked at her and asked “Really?” she responded that she was only kidding and that she knew that Maureen was the only one who nursed now. Another hurdle passed . . .

Maureen is growing like a weed. She has been to the doctors twice now and the last time she was only three weeks and already weighed 8 lbs 12 oz. All that nursing is doing something . . . packing on the pounds! I can usually count on one three to four hour stretch a night where she sleeps in her bassinet. The rest of the time she is pretty much in my arms so that I can just switch sides when she needs to nurse and not really wake up. I am already more rested with her than I was with Brigid. She will also take a couple of three hour naps during the day which helps lots as well. All in all she seems to be a pretty laid back and happy baby. She loves her sling and spends quite a bit of time in it. I have figured out that it is so much easier to plop her in it and go do what I need to do than to try and fight her desire to be snuggled against me. So far she has judged several swim meets, been to several dog shows, gone shopping on numerous occasions, been to the barn to groom the horses and done quite a bit of gardening in addition to all the other chores we do around the house.

I have recovered from her birth very quickly, if I do say so myself. It was such a fast and easy birth that there really wasn't much to recover from. I lost my baby belly within a few days and have already dropped all my weight. I am still absolutely exhausted at the end of a day since I rarely get a nap, but I believe that is a permanent condition of motherhood. And not baby blues . . .

Except for the blues associated with the knowledge that Maureen is my last baby. As I laid in the delivery room, I clasped my hands over my stomach, listened to her heartbeat and felt the last movements I would feel as a pregnant woman and I cried. Even today as I think back to that day and the beauty of the time, I feel very sad. I am struggling with the knowledge that I will not be bearing any more children.

I am taking this knowledge and am determined to turn it into good. I will look at this time that I have with her as the most precious time God has given me. I will not rush her or wish any of it away. I will stare at her often and remember every second. I will remember that she is a gift from God and never forget to thank Him for our time together.

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