I have much to catch up on, and a great many proto-posts rattling around in my head, but will try to keep this one focused. I've been feeling pretty UN-focused lately, partly because the realities of parenthood mean that my emails, conversations, tasks, and efforts to keep up with the lawyerly half of my life are constantly interrupted. I'm gradually learning how to work within the new reality, though, and enjoying it more and more every day.
Many months ago, I wrote about my fears that my disabilities would present high hurdles in parenthood. We're only 5.5 weeks into this adventure, but so far, my hearing and vision have been relative non-issues. This is due in substantial part to my parents' extraordinary assistance. They've been almost a constant presence in our house, and Milo's life, and have made errand running, appointment scheduling, and simply getting out of the house much easier than such things might be for me otherwise. But I'm finding it very easy to get out on my own, too, toting Milo in one of my many wonderful baby carriers or, very occasionally, in the stroller. We've taken the bus a few times without incident, and we get out pretty much every day for a walk, coffee, a meet-up with friends, etc.
I do feel a bit nervous when I walk around with him. I look three or four times before crossing streets, I'm more careful, and more anxious, about looking for obstacles in my path, and I feel somewhat more tense than usual navigating crowded situations. I'd guess that most new parents feel this way for a time, though, and that these fears will dissipate as my confidence grows.
When we first brought Milo home, I was afraid that I'd make it harder to get him to sleep because I'd need lights on during the night wake-ups. So far, this isn't presenting a problem, although Milo's sleep is sporadic at best. At night, he sleeps in a bassinet next to my side of the bed. I am having no trouble at all picking him up in the dark and carrying him into his room, next door, for eating, burping, and diapering. We do keep a small light on in the nursery, so that I can see to nurse and navigate, but Milo seems unaffected by it. I do, unfortunately, need a light to manage the latch for side-lying nursing in bed, so we save that for Milo's 6:30 a.m. (or so) feeding.
My hearing is posing no problems at all. Thanks to my CI, I can hear Milo crying even when I'm many rooms or floors away from him, and the baby monitor provides further security in that respect. I've slept with both my hearing aid and my CI on since Milo was born, and while this isn't the most physically comfortable set-up, I've finally learned how to sleep through the sounds of the night - they are so foreign and disconcerting to me.
At first, I was afraid to shower when I was home alone with Milo, because I have to take off my aids then and can't hear a thing. But after the first week, I started putting Milo in a bouncy seat on the bathroom floor while I'm in the shower. The running water seems to serve as soothing white noise, and he is usually calm for the duration of my shower. Occasionally, he fusses, and I've had to make peace with the knowledge that I may not be able to hear or respond to his crying immediately. So far, he seems unscathed.
So, for now, it feels like my parenting challenges are entirely garden-variety: eating, sleeping, pooping, and fussing. Milo does all of these, some more impressively than others. He's also started smiling and even giggling a little, which makes it all feel worthwhile.
PS: VisionWalk 2007 was a huge success! Usher's Mushers raised well over $17,000, due in part to the many generous contributions we received in Milo's name. I'll do a recap as soon as I can. Our tally is open until the end of October, so if you still want to give, please let me know!