Finally the day arrived and I was super excited to be on my way. Because I didn’t want to lose an entire day to travel I chose a 10:45 “red-eye” flight, but told Lee he could drop me off whenever was good for him. It is a solid 2-1/2 hour drive down to the airport and making the pickup or drop off, and I told Lee I was happy to just hang out in the airport for as long as I needed to. It turns out I haven’t been on a plane for four years. The last time was a terrible work trip I made while we were in Minnesota. It didn’t feel like it had been four years since I had flown, but after racking our brains we realized that was the case.
Thankfully things haven’t changed much. I was a little uncertain about the new REAL ID policies, so I took my passport along with my driver’s license but that turned out to be a non-issue. The Portland airport is very nice, and I eventually found a little corner and tucked myself into it for the wait. One of the best differences from the last time I flew was no need to worry about going outside to smoke! Talk about a game changer. No stress in between flights, no worries about going through security multiple times. I could just pick a spot and plop down for the duration of the wait.
My original idea was I would sleep on the red-eye and then be bright eyed for my first meeting with Oliver. Unfortunately the woman behind me on the flight was a talker and did not go to sleep so I barely slept at all. I had a quick layover in Charlotte. Again awesome not needing to run outside and grab a smoke. MUCH less stressful. The second flight was very short but unfortunately the airport was very busy so we sat for 20-30 minutes on the tarmac waiting. Finally we took off and we landed with no issues. I got my luggage, went outside, and my daughter was waiting for me.
At my request the baby stayed home (I didn’t want to meet my grandson in a parking lot), and Kyrston took the opportunity to leave the house for a bit. It was wonderful seeing her, but a bit surreal because she did NOT look like she had just had a baby. Since I had just seen pictures of her 9 months pregnant I needed to do a mental adjustment.
I should probably mention at this point that I intentionally did not have a ton of expectations for this visit. First of all I have never been a grandmother before and when I had my children my parents were working so I have no experience with anyone coming to stay with me. All I wanted to do was meet my grandchild and help my daughter. I intentionally didn’t give it more thought than that.
I would be lying though if I didn’t say I was a little nervous about meeting my grandson. It’s been years since I had spent any significant time around a baby and I had no idea how I would do. Turns out it was amazingly easy. Muscle memory is an interesting thing, and without even thinking about it I found myself repeating physical motions (Burping, swaying, holding etc) I had done with my own children. I also felt like he had been in my life forever. That was probably the most interesting thing.
It truly did not feel like a new relationship at all. Lee says its because Kyrston is part of me and he is part of Kyrston, which is probably true, but I really felt like he was one of mine. I remember my mother saying something similar to me after she first held Kyrston and I finally understand it. The phrase “continuation of my line” finally makes sense to me because there is a link from me to her to him. That’s the best I can do to explain it. Besides I know you are anxiously awaiting the pictures so here you go!!
I stayed awake as long as I could on Weds (I think I made it to 6:30pm) and then woke up eager to help on Thursday. It was Jeremy’s first day back at work, which is super hard in and of itself, and Kyrston’s first day alone with a newborn. He was able to take three weeks off of work. This is another thing that has definitely changed for the better. Lee was only able to take a week’s vacation and then I was on my own. It’s MUCH better to have additional time and help, because newborns are no joke. Yes they sleep most of the time, but when they are awake it is like trying to solve a puzzle. They cry in response to anything that’s wrong and you have top run through the entire list until you figure out what they need.
One of my favorite things has been to try out all of the presents I have been sending. Through the generosity of the people supporting this blog, I have been able to send lots of small presents and seeing them in person is awesome. I also brought a suitcase half full of thrift store clothes I had brought and trying some of them out was definitely in our future.
One interesting thing was as soon as I got here I started seeing little things I thought she needed. On Friday I went out to Target and picked up a few things. It was fun looking in person although I was a little disappointed in the selection. I was able to find newborn Nuk pacifiers, and this cool hedgehog. I really wanted a mobile that would go on the bassinet but was unable to find anything. Thankfully Amazon has something and I purchased this which will be delivered on Tuesday.
Another really fun thing I was able to do was help make some of Kyrston’s favorite foods. When you are breastfeeding you need 2K calories a day and as a new mother sometimes you just don’t feel that hungry. Kyrston stocked up on the ingredients for some of her favorite childhood meals and one night she made a pot roast and another night I made meatloaf. These are all hearty meals and good for a nursing mother, plus they heat up well so she could kind of eat whenever it worked for her.
Speaking of that it’s kind of weird staying in someone else’s house. We usually bring our home with us, and it’s been a long time since I have spent an extended period of time in someone else’s home. I am trying to be a good guest and provide some value but it does take some effort. One thing I really wanted to help with was organization, but initially this wasn’t received that well. It’s not like I wanted to take over, but its a small space and a little organization goes a long way.
Kyrston had done a great job of getting inexpensive stuff in advance of the birth, but it was time to sort through most of that and get some order. Once she knew I wasn’t planning on going crazy with her stuff, she let me work on the baby clothes and I did lots of sorting by sizes. Then I washed everything and put the current stuff in drawers and the near future stuff in labeled boxes. Don’t get me wrong she had done a great job setting everything up but Oliver was already out of newborn sizes since he was born so big and people had given her quite a bit of stuff after the birth. I was thrilled to do it, because it gave me something constructive to do while they were both sleeping.
One last thing and then I am going to end this post. I am amazed by how much computer apps have made a change in child rearing. It makes sense of course. They have changed everything in out lives, but it never occurred to me how it would affect this. She has numerous apps on her phone, but the three most interesting are as follows.
- Baby Tracker App – This is amazing and totally free!! You track when you last fed and what side. So easy to forget that when you are sleep deprived. Tracks how many diapers you change and whats in them. Again great information to have for the doctor if things don’t seem right. It has charts and graphs and you can share the results with multiple people. We have used this multiple times and its super handy. Big fan!
- Kinsa Bluetooth thermometer with its own app – Kyrston did a ton of research and found this one to be the most accurate. As soon as you take a temp it loads it into the app and you can add symptoms. It’s also Underarm, mouth, and rectal which is nice.
- The Wonder Weeks App – Again totally free this app explains when new developmental stages are coming and what to expect. Babies get super fussy right before they start new behaviors (ie: smile, crawl, walk etc) and this app walks you through those. Oliver is headed for a developmental change in one week and it’s helpful for a new mother to understand why her baby might experience behavior changes.
- Sound Machine App – The baby loves white noise (medium fan sound is his favorite) so they were using this app with a speaker. The only down side was if the phone rang or something came in the phone it might go to the speaker. I actually had an Ohm sound machine in the RV that I only used when I used to travel for work and on impulse I grabbed it and brought it with me. They really like it and it gives them more flexibility when at home. The app is still good for traveling.
I’m really fascinated by all these changes and fully aware that my conventional wisdom may not be the best. That’s part of the reason I am really looking forward to my sister visiting. She is a labor and delivery nurse and up on all of the latest techniques, and we have a list of questions to ask her! Can’t wait to see her and Mom because we haven’t seen them in over a year. Oh and since Lee isn’t here I asked Kyrston to be my proofreader. I told her to feel free to make a comment or two which you can see below. How sweet is my girl!
Jeremy and I are delighted at the arrival of our son, but the struggle has been real (as They say). It has been wonderful to have my mama here. I find that I constantly have questions and she has tons of wisdom to share. Plus, she’s doing laundry/dishes/taking the baby/ordering me to sleep- all of which is extremely helpful. I am especially grateful for those of you who have used their Amazon link when making purchases. I don’t usually like people making a fuss over me, so the fact that she could send me gifts with free money meant that I could enjoy them guilt-free! Lastly, I just want to give a huge and loving thank you to my mom’s friends who have sent me gifts and positive vibes. This transition has been pretty wild, but I feel like I’ve got a world’s worth of love and support behind me. -Kyrston
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