Yesterday afternoon we attended my office holiday party at the home of the newsroom's managing editor. Not only was I looking forward to the adult interaction, but I knew it would feel good to hang out with my friends and coworkers whom I hadn't seen in a month.
Allison, of course, was a hot commodity. She was passed around from one set of arms to another -- so much so that one person joked that I hadn't held her at all. Which, frankly, wasn't far from the truth.
Although everyone was meeting Alli for the first time, it wasn't their first glimpse. Some of my coworkers read my blog and kept remarking how much smaller she looks in person.
The other most common response in regard to this site was that it seems like I'm overwhelmed with the responsibilities of motherhood. Sure, I'd be lying if I said it was a breeze, but I wouldn't trade it in for anything.
When I gave it more thought, I realized that this site is my outlet right now. Well, I've always used my blog for that, but now more than ever. Not only is it a great release, but any complaints or frustrations are greeted with understanding comments, notes of encouragement and advice. Even the best psychiatrists in the world can't offer that type of daily support.
Plus, I don't have much time to write right now. I've been meaning to get around to updating about how the only reason my breast pump wasn't working was because I assembled it wrong. Apparently I'm the stupid piece of shit, not the equipment. Granted, I still can't get more than two measly ounces per sitting, but it's a start. And it allowed Jerry to bottle feed her for the first time this weekend. In return, I had the luxury of sleeping a few extra hours.
The other thing I walked away with from the party was advice from two very experienced mothers -- they have eight children between them. I mentioned that Alli only sleeps while she's being held. Both recommended putting her in her crib, closing the door and letting her cry it out. They said it would be tough at first, but self-soothing is an invaluable lesson for a child to learn and would help all of us immensely in the long run.
Jerry and I discussed it on the drive home and agreed to give it a try. After all, we had been trying the "never let her cry" method for three weeks and it was exhausting both of us. When I got her ready for bed and fed her for the last time before placing her in her crib, I was teary just at the thought of her sobbing uncontrollably.
When I closed the door and she started to cry, I cried right along with her and retreated to the furthest place in the house in hopes of finding the strength to resist running in and soothing her to sleep.
Much to my surprise, she stopped after only 30 minutes and slept very soundly for three hours. I slept well, too. It was strange not having her in the bassinet right next to me, but it afforded me a deeper sleep because I wasn't stirring at every coo, cough and squeak.
This morning she tried out her new bouncy swing for the first time. Our neighbors are letting us borrow it and she seems to really like the up and down motion.
So, like her swing, there are a lot of ups and downs right now, but I'd happily give up ever going to the mall again just to watch her wake up every morning.