Monday, 6 October 2008

4 weeks, 6 days old - Learning New Skills

Starting to develop new and old skills by being a mum.

Multi-tasking
Now we all know how good us women are at multi-tasking but I am taking it to a new level. Today I was ironing while bouncing Callum in the bouncy seat with my foot, but more than that, last week I was breastfeeding Callum while expressing the other boob, doing stuff on the laptop, watching tv and then I answered my mobile - now I think that is pretty impressive.

In addition to this, you become great at doing stuff with just one hand where you would normally use two. Because you are holding your baby in one hand and he/she will inevitably start crying as soon as you put them down, you will be forced to complete tasks with one hand if you are to get anything done. Making the tea, washing up etc. The most challenging task I have found so far was buttering bread but I managed it, amazingly!

Ambidextrousism
Now I'm pretty sure I've invented a new word here but not sure what else to call it. Linked to the above skill - you'll often find that one of your hands is tied up holding the baby so you need to do lots with only the other hand. This is often your left hand (or whichever is your weakest hand) so you find you get better at using it.

The blind sense/night sight
In these early days, you will be woken up several times during the night for feeding and nappy changes. You will no doubt be tired and sometimes will struggle to keep your eyes open so will learn to do things with your eyes closed and, in extreme cases, while you are still asleep! You will learn to navigate your way around your house with your eyes closed - that is further than just from your bedroom to the bathroom which you probably mastered when you were pregnant. For example, you may now find that you can navigate from your bedroom, downstairs, to the kitchen, to the fridge to get out milk, you will boil the kettle to heat the milk and then make your way back to your room, all with your baby in your arms. You will then probably manage to feed your baby either with your eyes closed or while asleep. Also, you can navigate to the nursery and back - I would recommend opening your eyes for the nappy change though otherwise you could find yourself in all sorts of mess - literally!

You may also find the above skill useful during the day if you are struggling from sleep deprivation.

Acute sense of hearing
Especially in the first couple of weeks when you are home from hospital, you will be able to tune into your babies breathing to stop those panic darts to the cot/moses basket to check their chest is still moving.

Over a little more time you will find you can recognise your baby's cry in a room full of other babies, even if they are crying too. Likewise, you will know you do not need to respond to cries that aren't your baby's. I'm still developing this one at the moment but it is definitely getting there.

Of course, you will also eventually learn the different types of cries which mean different things. Particularly helpful at night when your baby is stirring but doesn't actually wake fully - while sleeping you will know there is no need to wake up for grunting and grizzling which might mean your baby is filling his nappy but you will know the difference between this noise and the preliminary grizzles which occur just before they wake up for feeding.

I am sure there are many more skills I'm going to learn over the coming months and I'll be sure to update you with them as I learn them.

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