The week-by-week pregnancy book that sits by our toilet has remained closed since I was somewhere in the mid 20 weeks of this pregnancy. I’ll be 35 weeks in two days. I’ve mentioned it before, when you’ve got a kid on the outside you just don’t have time to think much about the one on the inside. But I’m realizing there’s another thing going on. When you are a parent you only have enough room in your brain for the stage you kid is at today. I didn’t believe my friends when they told me I’d forget about hating pregnancy and my terrible delivery. But they were right. Turns out I’ve also forgotten what it is like to parent a newborn. I’m not talking about forgetting the lack of sleep and all that jazz, I’m talking about the nuts and bolts.
When my sister had her second in May she couldn’t figure out why his diapers kept leaking pee all over the place. She didn’t remember it happening with her first son. After a couple of days she called and told me she knew what the problem was, they weren’t changing his diaper enough. Seems simple enough, but when you have a toddler that is going through maybe 5 or 6 diapers a day that becomes your baseline (she was changing the baby more than 6 times a day, just not the upwards of 15 times it seems newborns need). Her reasoning seemed perfectly sound, I would have done the same exact thing. Over the last few months she’s called me time and time again with reminders of what it means to have a newborn. And I recently realized I haven’t remembered a single thing she’s told me on my own.
Let me start this story by saying my sweet little nephew is perfectly fine and healthy. A few weeks ago her whole family got sick. Her husband didn’t touch the baby and she wore a face mask while nursing him to try and protect him. But the little guy still caught it and spiked a fever which led to a middle of the night call to the pediatricians. The on-call doc told her she needed to take the baby in to the ER immediately. The good news was the doctors at the ER chose not to do a spinal tap because everyone in the house was ill, so it made sense that the little guy got it, they released him after some blood tests and his fever didn’t spike again. When she called me the next morning to let me know what happened it already seemed he was on the mend. As she was giving me the play by play she mentioned his fever was 100.8. I was flabbergasted. I couldn’t believe she had to take him to the ER for a temp so low. She gently reminded me that fever is really bad in babies under 3 months and that if it is higher than 100.5 the doctor needs to be called immediately.
I felt like such an idiot for forgetting something so very important. And I really worried about what my poor New Guy was in for. If I forget to change his diaper enough and he gets pee on his clothes it’s not a huge deal. But the big stuff? If I can’t remember the important stuff he’s in big trouble. My brain can barely keep up will everything it needs to remember to meet T’s needs, I’m really worried about caring for both little guys at one time. Thankfully I have my sister to remind me what to do, because judging from her experience (and she is a great mom along with being one of the most responsible people I know) it doesn’t all come rushing back. I need to dig out the book I got about the baby’s first year. Been meaning to do it since my nephew’s trip to the ER, and it still hasn’t happened. I feel pretty secure that I’ll be a more relaxed mom for my New Guy, and yes women have been having multiple children for a kabillion years and it all works out. But I still worry about being an attentive mom to both the boys. My head is full of almost-two-year-old information. How do I make room for newborn info without sacrificing space for T?
Here’s another quick question for the parents out there: What do your kids call adults who are family friends? Z and I are having a disagrement over how to handle this issue. He grew up calling adults by their first names. I grew up calling them Mr./Mrs. Last Name. Now, I do have major authority issues. I’m 34 years old and I still can’t refer to those family friends as anything other than Mr. and Mrs. And I don’t want that for T. I proposed that he refer to adults as Mr./Ms. First Name as a compromise. I just feel like kids should show some respect to adults. Am I being hopelessly old fashioned? Z is against anything but first names and the last thing I suggested was asking the adult what they preferred and going with that. What do you guys do? My endgame is not teaching him to blindly respect all adults, rather I’d like him to approach adults with respect as a starting point. He can draw his own conclusions from there as he matures. I’m just not sure how to make that plan a reality.