penelope at six weeks - i know some stuff!

I have to admit something. It's dark and twisted. When I saw friends on maternity leave I thought, "how relaxing". Yes, I know, sick. I pictured them in a clean, fluffy house, cuddling a serene little baby. While the baby slept maybe they were journaling about the bliss of motherhood, or baking pumpkin bread while humming lullabies.

That first week with baby, as I loosely clung to life, I wanted to call and apologize to every mother I knew for ever considering motherhood as 'easy'.

Before she arrived everyone warned, it's hard. And I found that offensive. Owen compared this 'advice' to asking about a hike and everyone harping on the shitty parts rather than the views or fresh air. Like, "you'll be exhausted, there will be these rocks and you'll have to climb over them, you're going to get thirsty." They were right, it's hard. But also the views are amazing. Like nothing I've ever seen.

In the last six weeks I learn something new every single day. If you're expecting, or expecting to expect some day I'm not going to tell you 'how tired you'll be', every stranger ever will fill you in on that. They will run up to you to rub it in. (BUT after you have the baby they will run up to tell you to cherish it.) Anyway, here's the stuff I've learned so far. I hope you find it helpful.
six weeks - chatting all day
  • Do not attempt to change a pee diaper in bed to 'save time' in the middle of the night. You will be shit upon. Your sheets, your hand, your baby's jammies...everything will be covered in mustard colored poo. And changing all that bleary eyed at 1am is much worse than walking your ass over to the changing table. 
  • You will eat the majority your meals at a lukewarm temperature, one-handed, standing at the kitchen counter while holding a screaming or coo-ing baby. Coo-ing baby is a preferable dining partner. 
  •  It isn't wrong to notice your nursing baby's head would be the perfect surface to balance your fry's dipping sauce on. It is (probably) wrong to actually act upon this knowledge. 
  • Showering with your baby is the solution to everything (sometimes). You get to shower! They don't smell as much like old milk after! Also babies are like adorable little seal pups when wet. And mine happens to love the water like she was born to the ocean. Win-win-win. 
  • You might look pregnant for a (long) while. Just two weeks ago the Safeway bagger asked me when I was due. Awesome. To avoid this carry or wear your baby at all times.
    • Related: weird 'shaper' underwear is bullshit. Spend that money on something better like ice cream.
  • When your milk comes in you will have rock hard, enormous, porn star boobs. This awesomeness will be overshadowed by the fact that they hurt like hell. And every two hours you will latch a baby onto them who hasn't quite figured out how to nurse. This (often) leads to cracked bleeding nipples. So as you go to feed each time you will cry just a little. Don't worry this gets better within 4-6 days. Hang in there.
  • On that note, everything changes all the time. Don't prepare to get used to anything... good or bad. 
  • And another thing about nursing, one boob can out preform the other. This is great look.
  • You'll find yourself rocking side to side even when you're not carrying/wearing the baby. It'll start to feel more natural than standing still. 
  • Find mom friends. I don't care how. Just find them. Then make sure you talk often.
    sally - the baby whisperer
  • Starbucks is filled with strollers for a reason. It's the perfect sanity trip. You're not out too long, it's walkable, and full of caffeine. Plus it's a great place to pick up mom friends.
  • Seattle to Yakima to taste wine at Owen Roe is not the perfect sanity trip. But it's well worth it. Get out and do big things once in awhile. It's scary at first, but you can do it.
    wine tasting adventure with my brother, round trip over 5 hours..
    first overnight trip - to port angeles with the great noni and tony (owen had to work)
  • The first time you sleep more than 2 hours is heavenly. 5 hours - indescribable. You will try to remember why you ever complained about 'not getting good sleep' before the baby. That proclamation was undoubtedly false. 
  • Laugh. I have never laughed so much with my husband as those first weeks. Even when I cried he made me laugh. We would be sitting in bed at 2am staring at this little face with eyes that wouldn't shut and he'd have me laughing silently to the point of tears by doing a reality show voiceover of the situation. One couple, one tiny baby, no sleep...
    hands up if you love saturday mornings!
  • Sleep deprivation can make everything more hilarious or more devastating than it really is. Choose 'more hilarious' when you can. 
  • While a baby is born little, their farts are fully matured. You'll need to call them out to save people from thinking you have lost fart control during pregnancy and birth.
  • Babies love dance parties! And even if you have always hated your singing voice, they will love it! You are Diana Ross to a baby. They would sign you to their label immediately.
  • Always be snacking. 
  • Having a baby is like having an inappropriate friend constantly screaming "take your top off!!!" in public. Except with a baby, you have to do it. 
  • Baby wearing is awesome. But getting the baby into the Moby or K'tan feels like putting on a wet bathing suit while someone screams in your ear.
  • Don't be afraid to call the doctor. I know there is a note in Penelope's chart that says something like, "extremely reactive first time mother's name is Sarah". I have made an appointment with the full admission it was more for me to hear she was okay. 
  • The first cold they get is terrifying. A baby is already grunty and has trouble breathing. Add a cold to the mix and you won't sleep for two straight nights. You'll be up listening to every little noise. Remember they are fine, you aren't. That's okay. 
  • Nose Frida is the best game. Sucking snot out of your sick baby's nose is indescribably satisfying. Even better after you steam the bathroom up with a warm shower. (Your husband may be repulsed by your snot obsession.)
  • You will love bigger than you ever thought was possible. Even when you are sucking snot out of a tiny nose in a steamy bathroom at 2am. 
At 6 weeks she's so awesome. The first weeks it was mainly sleep, cry, eat, sleep. But a couple weeks ago things changed. When she's awake she chats and chats. Smiles and laughs. It's the best! Even when she's in the back of the car in her seat I miss her and can't wait to see her again. Or like now when she's sleeping in her swing covered in my bathrobe (great new trick I found so I could make breakfast) I can't wait until she wakes up again to hang out. Our time together during maternity leave is going by much too fast suddenly.

one month dancing in chair - photo attempt
We both have a lot to learn about being a baby human and a mom. I'm always ready for advice from those who've been here before. My biggest question right now is will my belly button ever look less like an elephant's knee cap?


  1. I LOVE THE NOSE FRIDA, I totally understand the satisfaction thing :) I also found it SO MUCH easier to just give her a bath/shower while one of us is in there too!

    She is beautiful. The love is out of hand right?? xoxo

  2. Thank you so much for sharing and being so honest! I can really relate to everything you're saying!

    I didn't comment on your previous post, but I'd love for you to share any glute work you find to be helpful. I've always struggled with inactive glutes, but post-partum works seems even tougher for me. I think the alignment of my hips has permanently shifted!

    And your belly button will go back to normal, eventually! Enjoy your time with PJ, she is beautiful. :)

  3. Beautiful! You are an awesome mama, that's no surprise. There is no way of knowing all these things until you just go through it. Love picturing Owen making you laugh.

  4. Nose Frida! I just ordered one today. And you are spot on. I could totally relate; I have rocked the uneven boob look for many years now. :)

  5. I am not a mom, and I may never have kids. But my best friend just had her first and after spending 3 days with her during her baby's first week of life I found this post to be fun. Reading posts like this help me be realistically encouraging to her :) It feels good to say 'Even though I haven't experienced it, someone has and they say it gets better' and have it be true.

  6. Tried three times to praise your words. It seems to delte what I say. Sorry. Mike

  7. Fourth try: I am laughing and weeping here, so impressed by the way you have captured "tough love," a term normally used by family counselors, but far more appropriate to describe mothering.
    Already proud of you. This only deepens my understanding, though other mothers probably get it sooner than I Thanks for giving us a peek at your intelligent heart. Mike

  8. I always love your honesty. This post made me lol, your humor always shines through. I'm glad everything is going well. I know you are great mom.

  9. Yep, sounds about right! 💙

  10. You guys are doing awesome! I remember all of this stuff like it was amnesia for me. Not sure if that's good or bad ;-) The überboob thing was so disturbing to me the first time around. With baby #2 I stopped trying to keep them even after about 4 months. With baby #3 I never even kept track. That side could sustain life on its own. She's adorable. I love her name, My MIL is a Penelope, and she is 91 and one of the most amazing, loving, energetic people I know (we almost named #2 after her, but the initials PMS prevented it). I loved reading this. Such a great trip down memory lane :) Thanks for posting!

  11. Most accurate post ever. My baby will be 6 weeks old tomorrow, it's an incredible all that can happen and be learned in this short amount of time.

  12. Laughed my way through this whole post. I have a 3 week old son & agree with all of it! :-) Penelope is adorable!

  13. Always doing this --> You'll find yourself rocking side to side even when you're not carrying/wearing the baby. It'll start to feel more natural than standing still.

    100% agreed --> Find mom friends. I don't care how. Just find them. Then make sure you talk often. and this --> Nose Frida is the best game. Sucking snot out of your sick baby's nose is indescribably satisfying.

    amazing post.

    Side Note: Is your brothers Maglianero shirt the coffee shop in Burlington, VT?

  14. This post is PAIN-STAKINGLY ACCURATE IN EVERY WAY!!! Haha Thanks for keeping it real out there! As our little nugget gets bigger and bigger and we think about having number two some time, I'm slightly terrified of going through all these little things all over again. But then excited about all of them too. I'm sending you a fist bump all the way from Chicago. You are amazing Sarah!


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