Phragments from Phyllis: Changing priorities

  • Posted: 1/31/2013 10:54 AM
    6/1/2013 6:08 PM

It's amazing how your priorities change when there's a baby in the house. In the last month, I have moved from my life being deadline-driven to centering on an infant's sleep schedule.

Just a month ago, I was looking at a weekly deadline for The Star and the paper's content, focused each week on the goal of everything coming together by Tuesday and an opportunity to take a breather on Wednesday after that week's paper has been printed.

But since Dec. 19, I have enjoyed the luxury of spending my weekdays watching my newest grandchild sleep and grow and learn.

As anyone who's ever had a newborn in the house can attest, the baby becomes the center of the universe. Since Dec. 19, Pearce has commanded our attention. Oh, by most standards she is a very good baby. Aside from being pretty small and needing everyone to focus on her growth, she mostly sleeps when you'd hope she would and has been a textbook case.

So it has been fun to watch her grow and begin to learn about her environment.

But the last week or so has brought incredible changes - again, not unlike any other newborn.

Pearce had her 1-month check-up last week. Liz had been religiously feeding the baby every three hours during the day and had been given permission to extend it to four hours at night, since Pearce seemed to be growing nicely. But at the 1-month visit, she admitted to the pediatrician that a couple of times she'd let the baby sleep five hours. He looked at Pearce's growth - now 7.5 pounds (up from her birth weight of 5 pounds 14 ounces) and 20.5 inches (up from 18.5 inches at birth) - and he said, "She's doing so well. Never wake her. She'll wake up when she's hungry."

When Liz asked about recommendations when Pearce is particularly fussy, he showed her how to hold the baby in a way that will often stop the complaining - with one hand on her bottom and the other with palm on the baby's chest, fingers splayed with thumb under one arm, other fingers under the other arm and the forefinger near her neck. The doctor demonstrated and slowly rocked her up and down with her tilted somewhat face down. Pearce immediately stopped fussing. (I keep saying she would like to be a tummy-sleeper.)

The doctor also said Pearce should be beginning to smile soon and to make those precious sounds that only babies can make. And as if on cue, that afternoon, as I held her close (her vision still only allows her to see clearly within about a foot), I smiled at her, and she smiled back. I cooed at her, and she cooed back. What a delight.

Of course, the visit to the doctor wasn't all roses. Pearce got her first shot, and I realized you really can tell the difference between a cry that means "I'm hungry," one that means "I'm wet," and one that means "what are you letting them do to me ... That hurts like h---!" It was decidedly a cry of anguish designed to make all the adults in the room feel really guilty. (Of course, you've never seen a nurse move as fast. She administered the shot and bolted from the room, leaving Mom, Papa and YaYa to deal with the aftermath. Somehow it doesn't seem fair.)

I am now in my last full week with Pearce, and I already know this separation is going to be tough on YaYa. But next week I begin as "nanny" YaYa to Cade and Payton, so my retirement will take on a whole new focus.

Thank God for FaceTime. If Liz and Vince will tolerate it, I plan on getting a daily dose of Pearce-time. That way when I can't be there in person, I can still spend some quality time with this latest gift from God. What a blessing.