The Mommy Diaries - bringing up new baby far from home
What to do when family are 3,000 miles away and baby is born?
Of course we have been blessed with visits from family since Colum’s birth, but we certainly missed them during those first few weeks back from the hospital.
The upside is the army of both American-born friends and ex-pats who graced my hospital bed and our front door bearing gifts, advice and babysitting offers. But nothing, I can only imagine, beats having granny around 24-7 for the little things.
It would have warmed our hearts to share our bundle of joy and his little personality with our immediate family. To share his first yawn, cry, first bath and all that good stuff with those who matter the most to us in life. But it was just us (and of course our New York friends).
There were definitely days where John and I sadly looked at each other and repeated all too often, “Pity granny isn’t here to see this.”
The night we brought Colum home from hospital was very special, but also tinged with a spot of sadness. It was December 4, the night before our first year wedding anniversary.
Although I was excited to get Colum settled into his first home it also felt unnerving. John assembled the Christmas tree with the help of Colum’s new “aunty” Marion filling the house with holiday cheer, so why I cried when I walked in the door is beyond me.
Hormones I’ve been told, but it felt deeper than that. I suppose I’d always imagined bringing my first baby home to a house full of family waiting with open arms to take turns holding the new addition.
Instead it was just John and I and a six-day-old baby who relied solely on his “responsible” parents.
After I dried away the tears we settled in and began parenting. We’ve survived 12 weeks -- another clap on the back!
It would have certainly been good, though, to have Colum’s grannies around for advice. It’s the little things I certainly needed help with, the common sense stuff that everyone should know, but I didn’t.
For example, I assumed the numerous baby vests I’d been given as gifts were for the summer season so I stored them away. It wasn’t until my friend Katrina once asked (about two weeks after Colum was home) was Colum wearing a vest under his babygro.
“No,” I said. “Should he be?”
“Oh, each to their own,” she responded, not meaning to interfere.
I wasn’t long jumping on the blower to my own mammy back home to ask should her new grandson be wearing a vest?
“Of course he should,” was the response.
Back to the box and out came the vests. I did wonder to myself why we received so many 0-3 months “summer” vests. I know, I know common sense should have prevailed right!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again -- it doesn’t matter if you are 18 or 38 having your first child, if you haven’t been around babies much it will always be a learning exercise, and I’m proof of that.
My first job in New York was to babysit two adorable New York boys after school. They were six and eight and definitely taught me a thing or two.
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