Aside from my own little tantrum late on Christmas Eve night, when we still had a few more hours of hosting to go and my lack of sleep was getting to me, it all went quite nicely. We ended up skipping the broccoli and my chocolate almond torte, as babysitting took more time than I thought. Did you know babies eat every few hours? And every feeding comes with a proper burping and cuddling and change, meaning that each go-round takes about an hour and a half, too? Luckily he's fantastically cute and coo-y and the sweetest little thing ever. Much more worthy of our time than silly broccoli or desserts.
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On the evening of the 23rd, my brother and his wife checked into their Soho hotel and then headed downtown to our apartment, laden down with all the baby's accoutrements. After a quick primer on his likes and dislikes and schedules, we shooed them out to their fancy steak dinner and settled in for our first night with our nephew/godson.
Cut to an hour later, near midnight, when we were (nay, I was) fretting over what to do since he had slept right through his feeding. Do we wake him up? Wait it out? Go to sleep and hope his cries will wake us up? While I ran through all the options and debated messaging my brother and mom, the baby woke right up and began cawing for something to fill his round little belly.
Amazingly, R was a complete natural with the baby. While I became quite frantic and anxious ahead of that first feeding—as in, rushing around and slipping and sliding across the floor in an effort to hurry the milk heating process while gathering the changing supplies and trying to quiet the baby—R told me to relax, then took the baby and gently laid his huge hand on his tummy and the baby stilled and looked up at him wide-eyed. It was a scene heart-melting-enough to make me fall in love with him all over again.
We managed the first feeding just fine, burped him, changed his diaper (whew, just wet), swaddled him up and laid him in his travel bassinet. Then we tiptoed to bed and fell in just after 12:30AM....to be awoken promptly at 2AM for his second feeding. R and I both sprang up at the first squawk. R was on comforting duty, while I went for the milk and the heating pan. Back to bed a little after 2:30AM, and up again at 5, and then at 7.
For the 7AM feeding I closed the door behind me when I jumped up, so R could sleep in, since he still had quite a bit of cooking to do for dinner. Of course that's the feeding that took an hour and involved a VERY dirty diaper, which required me to create a fort of sorts to keep the baby immobile on the couch while I ran (again) for wipes galore to stop the fountain of goo emanating from him.
By morning, we were glad my mom was planning to come by in the afternoon. Our first night waking up every 2-3 hours had made us lethargic and red-eyed. We even brought the baby into bed with us after his 9AM feeding so we could at least get some semblance of rest for a few hours before we got up out of bed to start our Christmas Eve morning.
First to-do once we were upright again: lighting candles. Second? Turning on some Handel hymns. Third? Brewing butter tea for me, espresso for R, and warming up a slice of my satsuma-polenta-almond cake.
By 6PM everyone was here and hungry, so we sat down to dinner together. But first, another tradition I forgot to mention: every year my mom places one present at each place setting. For the adults it was usually chocolate or some sweet, for my brother and I, it was always an ornament that had something to do with our year (like, a golden retriever the year I got one). This way, by the time we left home we each had our own set of ornaments to decorate our trees with. I always loved this ritual. This year, though, the only one to get an ornament was the baby, who received a darling Snoopy one (my brother's favorite).
We were back at our apartment by 12:30AM, opened a few presents over plates of sweets and tea, and by 1:30AM everyone was on their way home. I did another quick clean up, set up the couch for my mom—who wanted some time with the baby, so stayed over on feeding/changing duty—and we were all alseep by 2AM.
When I woke up at 7AM I helped my mom with his morning feeding and change and then tucked him into bed between R and myself for another baby-coo-soundtracked sleep. Best morning nap ever. My brother and his wife came over a little after noon and we all got into a car and headed out to Long Island for Christmas Day with my mother's side of the family. When we finally arrived back home late that night, R and I agreed we'd have a low-key anniversary, which was lovely and intimate and restful.
Today I'm relaxing at home. A bit of knitting, much drinking of tea, and a bit of Netflixing. I found a really good BBC miniseries, actually. If you're like me, and find historical dramas + a bit of sleuthing + feisty, fierce women very enjoyable to watch, you might like The Bletchley Circle, about 4 women who were code breakers in London during WWII and then apply those same techniques to a murder mystery 10 years after the war. The miniseries is only 3 episodes long, but I've heard that there will be another season next year. Very good thing to watch while gathering up one's energy reserves for another bout of babysitting, which we'll be doing again tonight (!).
One year ago: Monday meanders: 4 & Merry Christmas from Honduras