I arrived at my sister's house late Saturday night. I was supposed to be there Friday afternoon, but a bunch of last-minute stuff came up that threw my plans off. Once I had done everything I could on Saturday, however, my awesome husband shoved me out the door (figuratively, of course) amidst promises that he would take care of everything else (which he did).
The thing that struck me most vividly about living with a five-week-old baby for a week was how irreversibly a baby re-centers your life. And you'd think that would be a bad thing, but it's really just different. For one week, I got to see what it's like to have a baby at the center of my universe, and what really amazed me was how much life still continued to move along pretty much normally around that new center. And I'll stop there before I start to wax too poetical. I'll admit that I got off easy, because I didn't have to get up for thrice nightly feedings, and my sister insisted that I shouldn't have to be on diaper duty all week. But I really enjoyed the rhythm of living with Alana and Eric and Nicholas for that time. And Alana took lots of pictures of us for me to post on my blog.
I won't go into a detailed blow-by-blow of the entire week. We ate three meals a day and evening snacks at night, Nicholas eating approximately twice as often as us. I did as much of the cooking as I could, vacuumed, did dishes, went grocery shopping and stacked firewood. While Alana nursed, I read. When Nicholas was fussy, I walked around with him and let him look at the world to keep him entertained.
When his neck got tired of twisting around to see what there was to see, I held him on my chest until he fell asleep (exhausted, no doubt, from the strain of trying to read the words on my shirt).
Sometimes, he would sleep soundly, and I would rest him on my knees and send Alana to bed while he napped and I read (or just stared at him).
Sometimes, I would entertain him by reading him his dinosaur book,
and sometimes, he would entertain me with his Dr. Evil impersonation.
Other times, we would just hang out and let mommy do housework unencumbered.
During the week I was there, I learned to tell his hungry cries from his bored cries, and he learned how to stick his tongue out for me when I encouraged him with laughter. (Sadly, there are no pictures of this, which is odd, since he did stick his tongue out an awful lot.) Alana and I both swear we saw him smile real smiles, not just the gassy ones. While I was there, Nick discovered his hands, and by the end of the week, he had developed a really strong grip.
We took walks with Nick and Eli (Nicholas' big, hairy, canine brother). We visited Alana's Taiko group to show Neko-chan off to Alana's second family. One night, Tim and Allison (a friend from college and his girlfriend) came to visit me and we played Settlers of Catan while Alana and Nick napped. We picked a whole bunch of tomatoes from Alana's garden and made sauce. We talked, we laughed, and we splurged and ate ice cream almost every night.
As I was looking over the pictures that Alana sent to me (and over them, and over them, and over them), I realized that not only was I enjoying how adorable my nephew looked in those pictures, but I was also enjoying how I looked in those pictures. I haven't liked very many pictures of myself in the past few years - I always seem to look old or tired (to me, of course, everyone else always seems to think I look fine). But since I quit my job at the law office, I have had several people tell me how much happier I look. And a week at my sister's, a week that for all intents and purposes should have seemed routine and boring, a week of living simply on a schedule driven by the needs of an infant, that week seems to have been the icing on the cake. I look at these pictures, and I like the way I look because I look happy.