The satisfaction of baby outfits and moisturized curls

I've started dressing Owen in clothes for the last several days, which sounds worse than it is. I dress him, okay? But kid's literally been living in pajamas since he was born. And, I mean, that doesn't sound like too bad of a life to me, you know? 

But this week he's wearing outfits. AND IT IS DELIGHTFUL, WHO KNEW?

Here's the thing: dressing a newborn is terrifying. They're so small and stiff and fragile. Trying to wrangle my then-7-pound baby into a slim, long-sleeved onesie gave me anxiety beyond my already leveled-up anxiety. Little pants were hard. If I tried putting him in a hoodie, he'd drown in it. Then he'd inevitably barf all over it or need his diaper changed, and starting the process over and over again was not worth the toll it took on my well-being. Honestly. 

PLUS SLEEPERS ARE SO CUTE. The little, tiny footies. The tigers on the butt. The simplicity of dressing and diaper-changing! I've already boxed up the tiny sleepers he spent so, so many weeks in when he was new. THEY'RE SO SMALL. I weep! 

Owen's a solid 19 pounds now. He is, like, triple the size he was at birth. Plus he's a little more pliable and easy to wrangle. So now we wear outfits and hang out with dogs. 

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As a result, he looks LIKE A CHILD. He's such a little person now. But also, we have the BEST onesies. And hoodies. And tiny pants. Dressing him is the stuff I dreamed of when I used to dress my Barbie dolls. Sifting through the options in his closet fills me with the satisfaction that lacks in my own closet. I wear the same four bullshit outfits weekly. BUT BABIES! Babies have so many options! Why can't adults wear clever onesies and dinosaur hoodies? 

 I suppose we CAN, but... not the same. 

So outfits are the latest in a growing list of things to bring me newfound joy. I hope he lets me dress him until he's 25. Fight me.

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He's also progressing wildly, in general. He can sit up on his own, which sounds so incredibly basic and simple, but it's taken him a while to get there. And much like adult life and comparisons, I watch from afar as the babies of friends hit milestone after milestone, and I panic, wondering if Owen is falling behind. Or if Owen is anything less than absolute perfection. (He's not). But this shit is hard. 

Should he be sitting up? Should he be sleeping through the night? Should he be eating more solids? Less solids? More nursing? Rolling both directions? And if he's not, why? Is he supposed to know math? Can he spell my name? Does he know our address?

I mean, honestly. It's a little overwhelming to raise a baby among all the other amazing babies. You feel this innate fear of somehow failing your baby. I want him to have every possible chance at success, and if he's not rolling from his tummy to his back in his crib, where he's not yet sleeping overnight, will he ever go to college?

Comparison is truly the thief of joy. However, he remains the cutest goddamn baby in the entire world, so I have no shortage of joy. Just a little bit of anxiety. JUST A TOUCH. But man, I love my little clothed person.

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SIDE NOTE: Todd has good hair, as has been pointed out to me by strangers on endless occasions. It's so lush and thick and perfectly placed and not graying or thinning. I have hair envy, and if our son gets anything from either of us, let it be his father's luscious locks. So let's all take a moment to appreciate Todd's Hairâ„¢. 

I'm also still endlessly satisfied by my new skincare routine, but it's now been complemented by a new hair care routine, and basically at this point, our bathroom is its own beauty parlor. 

SIDE NOTE, THE SEQUEL: why don't we call them "beauty parlors" anymore? "Be right back, dear, just heading to the parlor to get my hair done!" Why? I don't want to go to a salon anymore. I want to go to the beauty parlor. 

Anyway.

I've fully embraced the curls, and every morning in the shower my life has become a science experiment. To be fair, my face is also a science experiment of acids and serums and moisturizers and sunscreen, but the hair is a whole new ballgame. I wash with conditioner, I take extra care to not harm the curl pattern or damage my hair. I haven't run a brush through my hair in three weeks. I've perfected my diffusing method. I wrap my wet hair in t-shirts. Because my hair doesn't dry fully before heading to work, and because I can't touch my hair before it's fully dry, I get to work each day looking a bit like a wet noodle. Todd often looks at me like I'm a cyborg. He's had to scold me for my beauty product spending habit already. He wonders why I have clay on my face. I often have to tell him, yes, that's a t-shirt on my head. 

WE AREN'T ALL GENETICALLY BLESSED, OKAY TODD? Shoo now, with that low-maintenance and perfect head of hair. 

I've spent 36 years not caring for the state of my face or my hair, and probably it's too late to start, but dammit, let me play laboratory. But also, it's fascinating to learn things. I've spent mostly my entire beauty-conscious life avoiding moisture. On my face, in my hair. To my credit, I was a greaseball kid. Pimples and oily hair. I WAS TRYING TO DRY MY SHIT UP, OKAY?

But now I'm basically shoving moisture into every pore on my face and follicle on my head all in the name of care. But it works. My face, while still, you know, my face (and you can't fix that), feels so supple and clean and healthy. My hair is still a work in progress, but I know I'm not causing damage every single day. For now. With the havoc that postpartum wreaked on my hair, it feels good to just let it be and grow healthfully. 

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So, if you're wondering, yes. Yes I sure am still clinging to any single, possible form of self care in existence. I still paint my nails every Sunday. I now pick out my clothes the night before to give myself 49 extra seconds of peace in the hectic morning. 

I honestly think all of this has been the most fascinating change to happen since having a baby. This intense, primal need to take care of myself. To give myself attention (beyond Netflix marathons and naps, neither of which actually happen, much to my dismay). I protect these new habits ferociously. Whereas I used to crawl into bed at the end of the day in the day's clothes and makeup and, probably, my contacts, I will not rest until I've taken care of my skin. I need my ten minutes of gratifying solitude and care. 

And habit.

Whoa, I'm a creature of habit. I have routines, okay? And they cannot be disrupted. I find calmness in structure. I'm nearly seven months a new mom, and I've already got a baby care routine locked and loaded, executed perfectly every morning and every night. It's so endlessly satisfying. 

But this week I got involved in a minor car accident, and although I'm fine and no one else was in the car with me, it's thrown my week into a tailspin. We're down to one car while mine's in the shop. I've been manhandling insurance situations and new commute logistics. I have a headache. I don't get my decompression time in the car each day to and from work. 

SIDE NOTE, PART THREE: YOU CERTAINLY DON'T DECOMPRESS MUCH WHEN SOMEONE PLOWS INTO YOUR REAR BUMPER ON THE INTERSTATE WHILE PAYING NO GODDAMN ATTENTION, BUT I DIGRESS.

So, it's been a struggle. I try very hard to balance structure and baby and self care and working and family and eating pizza for dinner four times a week, but, you know, YOU CAN ONLY DO SO MUCH.  

I could probably ease up on the rigidity of structure in my life. But I could also not, and continue living my life. So. To be determined. 

In the meantime, go to Amazon (or China?) and buy Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence sunscreen AND THANK ME LATER.