Posts tagged ‘Mass’

July 25, 2011

So, What Do You Do All Day?

Because I’m as young as I am, it’s bewildering when a pregnant friend asks me some question about having a newborn at home.  Although it never feels that way, I know that all of my mommy friends are older than I am, and it sometimes feels strange to be the go-to gal for baby questions.  It’s understood, of course, that I don’t have all the answers, but I know very well that it’s more comforting to get an answer from someone you know than to look something up in a big, fat baby book (not that I don’t keep one around for questions in the middle of the night!).

One question I’ve had a lot of trouble with until now—really a question expectant mothers and non-pregnant friends alike ask me—is what my day looks like.  I feel terrible when an eight- or nine-month pregnant friend asks me that, and here I have a baby on the verge of walking and I still can’t pin down what exactly it is that we do all day.

I’ve wanted to pull together some sort of play-by-play for an average day for a while now, and wouldn’t you know that right as I felt ready to start typing, Jacob’s nap schedule changed!  (For the better, I might add—two naps instead of two or three, but longer ones.  Hooray for both of us!)  Be that as it may, I’m still going to attempt a “day in the life” of Lindsay and Jacob.  Bear in mind that never, on any given day, can I expect all of this to happen.  There is always a change in the plan (ha ha), even when I try to anticipate one.  Such is life with a baby!

Disclaimer:  I didn’t feel like we had a “routine” until Jacob was about eight months old.  And by “routine” I mean 1) he slept at regular intervals for regular durations, and 2) (less important, in my book) he ate three big-boy meals at regular times throughout the day.  I’m still not sure how often he nurses; some days he wants more milk than other days, and I always offer it a couple of times when he’s not interested.

6:30am – I wake up to sounds of Jacob playing in his crib.  If the day starts before 6:30, I change his diaper, try to nurse him, and then if he doesn’t look sleepy, I toss a couple of toys in the crib with him and go back to bed.  Keep in mind, he’s already been up to eat at about 1am and 4am, give or take.

 7am – After a diaper change and a quick nursing session, we go out to the living room to play.  I eat breakfast while watching the morning news, and Jacob plays around me.

7:30am – Jacob has his breakfast.  I would have us both eat at once, but for a couple of reasons—wanting to watch the news, my morning prayer time, and my needing to finish eating an hour before I receive the Eucharist at Mass—this works better.

8am – More playing.  Sometime in the next hour, we’ll both get dressed.

9am – Morning Mass.  Jacob smiles at his best friend on the planet, the lady who sits behind us.  I try to be prayerful while doing the aerobics it takes to keep Jacob happy when he would perhaps prefer to be playing.

9:30am – Quick stop at the grocery store on the way home, for whatever we need for lunch or dinner (or my random baking adventures) that day.

10:00am – Back at home, Jacob nurses again while I pray for him to take a nap.  Sometime between now and noon, he will take a one-cycle (forty minute) nap, and I will get some work done in the other room.  Sometimes this means he’s in his crib for two hours, quietly playing before or after.  Once he starts to sound upset (and I really miss him), I get him, check diaper and desire to nurse again, then head out to the living room.

Noon – Sometime around noon we have lunch together.  Preparing lunch often involves me using my legs to hold the doors of the cabinets containing the cleaning supplies and trash closed.  I would put child-proofers in, but we’re moving in a week, and it’s not worth it.  We’ll be more diligent in the next place (although I think they’re already installed there—score).

12:30pm – We’ll play in the living room, and wherever else Jacob is interested.  Most of our playing these days is Jacob cruising around, checking everything out, while I supervise.  I’ll sometimes email or write while I watch him, and sometimes I’ll read aloud to him.  Two birds, right?

2:30pm – Crankypants makes an appearance and it’s time for another nap (after nursing).  Depending on whether I gauge sleepy levels appropriately (and honestly, on whether I’m patient enough to wait for him to really need a nap), this can be a replay of the earlier nap, i.e. some time spent playing in the crib before it gets quiet and I peek in to see a sweetly sleeping bear.

4:30pm – Jacob gets up again, and we do the diaper and nurse check.   Since it’s finally starting to cool down, we’ll go out to the park for a walk.  This is as much for me as it is for him.  I’m sure he’d rather be playing now, too, but I’m constantly relearning how important exercise is to my mental and physical well-being.  Chasing him around just doesn’t burn enough calories yet!

5:30pm – Back home, Jacob has dinner (too early for mine).  We’ll talk, or sometimes I’ll read to him.  Who doesn’t love good dinner theater, right?

6pm – Bathtime!  Jacob likes to hang out in the bathroom while I run his bath.  He’s interested in the pipes behind the sink.  So far he hasn’t broken anything, but I’m not about to give him even a toy wrench to play with in there.  No floods, please!  After Jacob’s clean, we splash for a while, until the eye-rubbing really gets going.

6:30pm – After he’s out of the bath, we dry him off, spread goop on him for his eczema, and get him into his jammies.  Crankypants may make a return if this takes too long, especially once he’s lying down.  But we persevere, and before you know it, we’re on our way to the rocking chair to nurse one more time.

6:45pm – I sing hymns and oldies while Jacob nurses.  This is the longest nursing session of the day, and probably my favorite.  He gets sleepier and sleepier, but hopefully he doesn’t totally conk out.  If he does, he’ll be up in another two hours to finish whatever he didn’t get to eat.  If he just gets drowsy, once he’s finished, I’ll pick him up and snuggle him for a few minutes.  Then I’ll lay him in his bed, tell him I love him about a thousand times, and leave the room.  Once I clean up the bathroom and the dining room, I’m trying to take a few minutes of prayer before I jump into the adult evening routine.

It’s a busy, but fun day.  Working other things in is always a challenge, but things pretty much always work out for the best—whether it’s a trip to the park, lunch with a friend in Manhattan, or a deadline I need to meet.

Rereading this before I post it, I realize this would have sounded totally overwhelming to me a year ago.  But getting to this point, this routine, this knowledge Jacob and I have of each other was a gradual process.  Nothing with a baby happens instantly, and if you give things their own time, they will fall into place seemingly on their own.


Mothering lesson of the day:  Trust in God, trust in time, trust in yourself.

January 28, 2011

All the Single Ladies

This week, with John out of town on business, I went to New Jersey to spend some time with our families.  It’s a blessing that John’s and my parents live so close to each other, and that we are such a short distance away.


It’s always wonderful to spend time with what I guess we’d now consider our extended family: first of all for their company and endless love for Jacob, and second because there are lots of people to hold Jacob, change his diaper, help him to sleep, etc.  It struck me, though, how different things would be were John not around and I was raising Jacob on my own. (Grammar check on those verb tenses, anyone?)


This was the first time I’d made the trip to NJ with Jacob on my own, and it was different not having John around, most tangibly in terms of carrying things.  That giant kid plus a car seat is a heavy set.  Usually John carries him the short distances we have to go, so this time around I did more of that.  Not that I didn’t have offers of help all the time, but still I was more aware of John’s absence (and the consequently increasing strength in my upper arms).


I found myself wondering, not for the first time, how single moms do it. I admire and respect the women that make it work.  I don’t have a full time job apart from caring for the little man, and I can barely imagine adding more to a day.


Yet one thing I’ve learned from motherhood is that if something has to happen, and you, as the mother, have the ability to make that thing happen, then it can and (most of the time) it will.  Before I had Jacob, yes, it seemed impossible to get up three times in the middle of the night to feed and diaper a baby, then get up later that morning and care for him all day.  But if it needs to be done, mama’s going to get it done.


This year, I’ve resolved to have greater discipline in how I spend my days, making each moment, each action count a little bit more, and not wasting time on things that aren’t really important.  This was inspired, in part, by homilies I heard last November on All Souls’ Day and All Saints’ Day.  The commentaries offered insight as to how our actions—good or bad—have consequences for the whole Church.  Realizing you’re accountable to more than yourself can motivate incredible works.


Having a child makes this all the more relevant, and in some ways, easier than it would be otherwise.  In my experience, doing the right thing is much easier to do when someone else is depending on me.  I think that’s the beauty of motherhood, whether you’re doing it alone or with a partner.  It exhausts you, sure, but it brings out the truest parts of you and asks you to be a better person, every day.  This is a welcome challenge, and one I’m grateful to have been offered.

December 31, 2010

Another Year Over, a New One Just Begun

Since senior year of college, I have been going to Mass just about every day.  It’s always a beautiful way to start the day, but some days in particular—like today—are made even more special when they begin at church.


Today is the last day of 2010, a year that began with realizing I was pregnant with our first child in a Manhattan Verizon Wireless and that is ending with a squealing little boy wriggling beside a spindly Christmas tree in our Brooklyn apartment.  This has certainly been the Year of Jacob.  What a wild and wonderful ride it’s been, and thank God for all we have to look forward to with him in the year to come.


New Year’s Eve is generally not my favorite holiday, because it involves staying up late and unnecessary pressures to make huge lifestyle changes literally overnight.


At the same time, it’s an obvious opportunity to reflect on the past year and make resolutions for the year to come.  Doing so in a prayerful community and with a focus on the Eucharist challenged me to be more intentional and more honest about my objectives for 2011.


For example, yesterday I was thinking I’d resolve to read, write, pray, and exercise a half hour each every single day of this new year.


Yeah, okay.


In reality, this is too regimented for me, and I’ll feel like I’ve failed before I’ve had a chance to begin.  Resolving, rather, to be more disciplined and more charitable in what I think, say, and do is a more achievable goal, because it’s both more flexible and has a greater purpose in its objective.  While it may seem unwieldy, this resolution’s adaptability is more suited to the kind of life I have right now with the little guy.  I hope that with this in mind, and with a generous helping of God’s grace, I will become a better mother, a better wife, a better Christian woman.


What hadn’t struck me until today was that the end of a calendar just overlaps with the beginning of a new liturgical year.  Advent, the season before Christmas, marks the start of the Church’s year, and gets us in the mindset of making changes to welcome new beginnings before the calendar page turns.  After having worked through a period of true preparation, and while we are still officially in the Christmas season, what better time than this to push aside the darkness of our old lives and find joy in the light of a new beginning?


The gospel reading today was from the beginning of the Gospel according to John—those puzzling and almost circuitous verses about the Word of God made flesh and come to dwell among us.  It was read carefully and slowly, and gave me a renewed sense of joy and gratitude in the beautiful traditions of the faith and how they influence my life.


My prayer tonight is gratitude for the year past and hope for the year ahead.  May God bless us all in 2011!

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