The last two weeks I was so busy enjoying my time with my parents here and doing some last-minute sightseeing in Auckland and Rotorua that I didn’t find the time to write an update about Maria’s sixth week with us. So, I decided to combine week 6 and 7 in one post. I may do this more often from now on or write whenever I think something worth sharing has happened.
Where were we? Oh yeah, the thrush in Maria’s mouth… Unfortunately, the infection didn’t clear up as easily as the doctor had assumed it would. After finishing two bottles of nystatin we saw another doctor this week, who in addition to the nystatin suspension gave me a cream for my breasts to prevent reinfection. To be continued…
Last week, we also got our first home visit from a Plunket nurse. (Plunket is New Zealand’s largest provider of support services for the development, health and wellbeing of children under 5.) She weighed and checked Maria’s length, and we talked a bit about how things with Maria went. One thing I brought up was that she rarely accepts to sleep in her bassinet during the day and wants to be held most of the time. The nurse replied, saying something about how manipulative babies can be and how Maria knows that we will take her if she starts crying. Her advice was to keep her in the bassinet and not take her straight away if she cries.
This went totally against my (and Ahmeds) instincts and so we didn’t follow her advice. How could a baby, who is just discovering that her hands and feet actually belong to her, be manipulative?! For her, crying is just the only way to communicate that she is not happy, whether she feels hungry, cold, hot, in need of a cuddle, or unsafe.
That is not to say that we didn’t try to put her in her bassinet. We do very often, but take her out if she doesn’t settle. This method appears to be working very well for us: In the last few days (since last Sunday, to be precise) we noticed a huge change in Maria. Several times she fell asleep on her own when we tucked her in as soon as she looked tired. Other times she was happy sleeping in the stroller (without us moving it). Wednesday night and yesterday, on the other hand, she was quite unsettled and did not want to sleep in her bassinet again. It doesn’t worry me too much, as I know she will get there. Going one step forward and one back (or two sometimes!) is normal in a child’s development.
Together with this new ability to go to sleep by herself we see another big change. Newborns either sleep, drink or cry – or in my experience at least. This last week, Maria has spent more time awake and happy! That means I can have lunch while having her watching me and listening to my silly stories in her chair, or go for a walk with her laughing at me in the stroller. Hopefully, the day I can cook dinner while she is content is not far away either!
A difficult moment this week was saying goodbye to my parents. They spent a month with us here, and I got so much support from them. Not only do I find it hard not having them here and not knowing when I will see them again, I also feel bad that they cannot enjoy watching Maria develop in the months to come. Living abroad may be interesting and enriching, but being away from family and friends is a very expensive price we pay for this. I am not sure the experience is worth this price…
On the other hand, I am grateful for the marvellous moments we spent together. This last week, we did some more trips to Auckland and Rotorua, where we visited a Maori village. Other days we stayed in Hamilton and went for a walk, some shopping, or – on rainy days – just enjoyed our time at home.
With Maria’s six-week milestone (isn’t every day a milestone for her? She is changing so rapidly!) also came a doctor’s checkup. It went very smooth and all seemed well with her. She is growing very fast: According to the GP she was 61 cm, while at birth she was 50! Not sure it was very accurate though, but I can see her growing by how her newborn clothes are getting snug.
Many of you may wonder if I have already started running again. While I have been feeling physically ready for several weeks, I decided to wait until my parents are gone so as to have something to look forward to. Now that they left I am eager to go out for a run. Not sure yet when it will happen, but I will definitely share it with you once I have gone!
Photo credits: Petri van Beuzekom