We went to church today! It wasn't as hard as we expected. However, it would have been much more difficult without a contribution from two special friends of mine:
Nelson and Melanie Townsend are friends of mine from back in my early days at K.U., and Melanie was a friend in high school. I sort of introduced them to each other, though I bear no responsibility for that. They now live in Kansas City, not too far from Leavenworth, and I visited them this summer. As you can see, they have two boys, Baird and Ky, so I thought they would be perfect people to ask for advice on things like car seats. They obliged by giving me advice and offering me a car seat. So I took it.
And on Sunday we went to Church, and carried Maxine in it! My good friend D.A. took this picture. Yeah, Maxine isn't looking at the camera, and Horyon looks nervous. Don't worry. She's not nervous, just tired.
Of course, Maxine is always tired. Something to do with being one month old. She is taking in so much information every day that she needs to sleep lots to soak it all up. Horyon and I agree that she is cute sleeping or awake, but we feel a bit bad that she didn't wake up for this photo session.
As you can see, I took proper care to install the carrier in the middle of the back seat, the safest place in the car. I still remember the first few (hundred) times driving around with my parents in the car. I was incredibly nervous, even though it was obvious to me that I knew everything that I needed to know about driving. I expected this first drive with Maxine to be like that, but I managed to stay pretty cool. I swore at other drivers quite a bit less, having decided that there are some words my little Maxine doesn't need to learn just yet.
Our church service starts at 10:30, and we made it there by 11:05, just in time for the sermon to start. Our church has a pretty loud Praise Team, and Maxine was sawing logs by the time we came in, so it was probably just as well that we missed all the singing.
We usually manage to arrive much closer to the starting time, but Sunday morning (sorry, I started writing this yesterday, so please don't be confused by the yesterday/Sunday/today references!) we were pretty tired. In fact, we were pretty proud of ourselves for getting everything together and out the door at all!
Saturday I drove over to the in-laws' home and loaded my car down with all the stuff that had accumulated over there, including the crib, a baby tub, diapers, formula, clothes, and Horyon's necessities. We loaded Horyon and Maxine into her father's car, using the car seat for the first time, and drove home. Our apartment still (today is Monday) looks like we just returned from vacation. Not much floor space in the living room, though the kitchen is coming together.
Before leaving, Horyon's mother helped us bathe Maxine for the last time. No problem. Usually after a bath, Maxine likes to nurse a bit, ruin a diaper, then go to bed. But Saturday was not a "usually" day, and Maxine let us know that for sure, in the only way she knows how: crying.
I could not do anything to make her stop, and I felt terrible. It was obvious that I have not been around her enough to be comforting when her entire world has been turned upside down. The only time that she would calm down was when breastfeeding, and only one of us is any good at that little trick. But even breastfeeding only kept her calm for 10 minutes or so, then back to fussing and crying.
Still, I held her and let her cry for as long as Horyon could stand it. And somehow we managed to get her to sleep for a few stretches of 30 or 40 minutes. But she wore down Horyon's patience in a way that I have seldom managed to do myself. At one point Horyon walked over to me holding her and said (in Korean) "Why don't you stop crying?!?!?" . Which wouldn't be surprising, except that she dropped the baby voice and used words and structures appropriate for scolding an adult.
And so I realized that part of our partnership involves me being strong when she weakens, and vice versa. And believe me, the vice versa happens much more often than the... versa vice? You know what I mean.
One other insight gained this weekend:
From now on, my life will no longer be the same as it was B.C. (Before Children). In fact, it won't even be the same day to day, because Maxine will grow bigger and smarter all the time. And if I start to think that the way she is is the way she will always be, I will get in trouble. I need to be ready for constant change.
The whole idea makes me excited, above and beyond the tiredness.