Friday, March 28, 2008

happy friday

My long week of single-momness is almost over. Between that and the boot camp, I have been feeling pretty tired- especially, around 5 pm or so, when all the steps involved in getting me and B. back home seem overwhelming (pick him up, nurse him, get all his stuff together, strap on the bjorn, walk to the train, take the train, manage the crying, go up the stairs, walk a mile and a half, jimmy the door, take everything off, nurse...)

But today I am good. It's Friday, G. will be home soon, B. and I are seeing a lovely old friend for dinner, i have lots of Diet Mountain Dew, and B. SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT! A fluke? Perhaps. But he did it! I AM GI JANE!!!

Thinking about God a lot these days. I never lost my faith, but these last few years I haven't been very engaged. There just seemed so much to filter out- my anger at Pope Benedict and his hate, my own guilt that I wasn't more involved, wasn't going to Mass. But it's funny, since deciding not to baptise B. Catholic, I feel so much better about my faith, talking to God seems easier, the paths seem clearer. I feel really confident when we go to Denver we are going to find a faith community that we belong in and I am going to raise B. in that community. This year at Easter, instead of feeling guilty or conflicted about my love/hate for the Catholic church, I felt more at peace, a little more distant, and like I could appreciate it for being a lovely service in a lovely church - not for me ultimately, but lovely nonetheless.

My job-to-come has made me realize that I am bigger than this fluorescent-lit hole. I can make a plan and make sacrifices and do something big for what I believe in. My life isn't just about compromises and sacrifices and nagging guilt. It sounds a little stupid, but I always wanted to be a hero, fighting injustice. And these last two years have been important (hello, baby), but I haven't been doing that. And now I can try and be a hero again.

And if I can do that, then I am certainly not going to let some Prada-wearing pope get me stuck. See ya later, Ratzinger- I'm moving on.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Das Boot- Day 3

Well the good news is that I had some excellent insights into The Nature of God and Humanity last night. The bad news is that I had them while rolling B's crib back and forth, over and over. But overall, I think we're making progress. Which is good, because being tough is a lot harder than mollycoddling my boy and nursing him all night. I'm pretty sure human beings should not drink as much Diet Mountain Dew as its been taking me to get through the days.

8:00 PM- Nurse B. to sleep. We played outside after dinner instead of taking a bath, all well and good, but as he drifts off to dreamland i realize that not only is he still wearing his clothes (I'd like to pretend it's the first time for that, but well...), he is still in the same diaper he came home from daycare in. I make the executive decision that B. couldn't care less and the diaper's staying. The next morning it practically disintegrates off his body. Lovely.
4:00 AM B. is awake and mad. But look! No 1 AM wake! So I drag my sorry ass out of bed and rock and roll that crib. But he is having none of it. He's up, I put him down, he's up, I put him down. He is very, very tired, though. Oddly enough, so I am. I decide as I look down on B. that God is attempting to get us to self-sooth and that all of humanity's history is one cosmic week of CIO. The occasional prophet, etc. is when God comes in and pats our back, rolls our crib, etc. Then I think about how unsucessful this self-soothing effort has been (hence the german sub reference). And how I cannot stand anymore. So around 4:30 I go to bed. He cries, but it's that lying down cry, not the I-am-standing-and-shrieking cry. No high ranges are hit. And miracle of miracles, it either stops or I pass out around 4:45.
6:30 AM I wake the boy up- in his crib! Hoo-ya!

I have big hopes for tonight. We'll see.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

boots on the ground- day 2

Day 2 was an improvement. Oh, until I folded like a bad hand at 5:30.

8:00 PM - B. goes to sleep. He's been very tired and cranky all day. So has his mom. Hmm- wonder why?
1:00 AM- He's up. I'm not sure exactly how long I let him cry, I spent a while denying the Cry's reality, so, um, probably 20 minutes. I go in and say hi to the Very Pissed boy, I roll, sing all the verses to "American Pie" in my head. Who did write the Book of Love? He's out.
1:40 AM Um, no he's not. But after a few minutes his crying dies down and he's asleep.
5:00 AM He's awake, and not happy about it. Why? Why? After about 15 minutes I go in. I lay him on his back, give him the bottle, and I roll. He gets up. I lay him on his back, give him the bottle, and I roll. He gets up. I lay him on his back, give him the bottle, and I roll. He gets up. At this point, its 5:30, so I think whatever and bring him to bed with me. He nurses and is out cold until I change his diaper (I can't believe I do this to him- what a terible way to wake up) at 7 AM.

So. I am vowing tomorrow I will keep him in the crib until 6:30 AM, no matter how hard it sucks. Boot Camp is not for the Weak!!!

I forgot to mention that, at some point on Night One, I actually locked myself out of his room and had to pop the door with a straightened clothes hanger. Wow. My incompetence even blows ME away sometimes.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

baby boot camp day 1

This is the week that B. will sleep through the night. How's that for a ballsy statement?

The time is right- he's finally not sick or teething, G the softy is away, I have stocked the house with Diet Mt. Dew (sweet sweet poison) for the hellish mornings and oh BTW? He's ONE YEARS OLD. Yup, it's time.

So having scientifically perused the internet for advice -- which mostly consists of the Internet telling moms of 9-months old who are letting their kiddies cry it out they are KILLING THEIR CHILDREN and asking sleep deprived moms of 2 months old WHY DON'T YOU LET HIM CRY IT OUT ALREADY -- my plan is to let him cry for 10 minutes, go in, say hi, offer him a bottle of water, let him cry for 10-15, say hi, etc.

So now you are probably waiting with baited breath- how did the first night of this grand experiment go?

7:30 I nurse him to sleep like usual. Which I know is no good, but another time, another time.
1:00 AM. Round 1 begins. He cries 10 minutes, I comfort, he's very very pissed, throws the bottle, etc. I go back and wait another ten minutes. I go in, he's pissed, etc. At 2:10 or so I have the bright idea that, like they do in daycare, maybe i should roll the crib back and forth. This quiets him down but it's a lot more rolling before he goes to sleep. Finally, he is out. Yes, it only took me an hour to jettison the "self-soothing" idea. I am STRONG.
2:45. He's up again. WTF? 10 minute crying, then rolling the crib back and forth. And back and forth. And back and forth. Think about how much nicer it would be to be nursing him horizontally in my bed right now. Then 10 minutes of crying. Then hiya baby. He starts sucking down the water, looking up at me with his LITTLE BEADY AWAKE EYES. No, sweetie, mama loves you. Just sometimes she doesn't LIKE you so much. He finally goes down, with much rolling, at 3:45 or so.
4:15. He's up? No? Thank you thank you.
6:00 AM. Our official wake-up time. I feel as if I've been run over. Good lord, this sucks. Fetch the boy, realize we should sit on the sofa so I can nurse him and thus begin our day. While thinking this, I take him to bed, nurse him and we both pass out. I wake at 7, I have to practically change his diaper while he's asleep to wake him up at 7:30. I am moving at glacial speeds.
8:51: I arrive at work, kindly greeted by my boss's boss- 51 minutes late.

So, it sucked. But that's why it's called boot camp right?

Off to suck down more Diet Mountain Dew-

Monday, March 24, 2008

12 months

Dear B-

Well, you've been 12 months for about 2 weeks, so i guess it's sticking. I just saw a picture of you from yesterday, Easter. You are sitting in a highchair at brunch and looking up and you don't look like a baby - at all (well, except for the highchair). You look like a little boy. Whose mother has never taught him any table manners. And then last night, you walked into the kitchen, and I saw you in the corner of my eye. Hmm - my boy walking. Guess that's normal. Wait - what?

When did this happen? A walking, nuh-nuh-nuh braying toddler, who climbs stairs and tackles play equipment and loves loves loves to be outside? Well, this month I guess.

Me and you are going to have quite a week - I'm doing the single parent thing, so, sorry, kid, I'm all you've got. I love watching you and your dad together. You've just starting really craving him, even when I'm in the room. He makes you laugh and laugh, throwing up and down, carrying you on his shoulders, tickling you.

But no offense to the papa, what you really love? What makes you laugh harder than anything, ever? Torturing my friend's cats. You chased them, stuck your head into their cubbyhole, and then - just becasue you could - crushed their playzone with your body, leaving them trapped between the wall and - your face. Yes, God loves you B. Or else those cats would have come to their senses and acted like normal cats and blinded you. You laughed like a crazy man.

You were creatively bad for the first time this month - you kicked it up a notch from the screaming or the scampering away as I (attempt to) change your diaper. You wanted the yougurt on the table. I said no and put you down on the floor. And two minutes later you have rolled your walker/truck over to the table and are standing on top of it, smearing yougurt all over your face. I guess I should have said no again, but I was kind of proud of you.

You are not cautious, though you approach your insanity with a serious deliberativeness. Sometimes you are shy, but it's so rare it always surprises me. You are more likely to have scurried down the hall and be flinging yourself off a piece of furniture, some rotting piece of food from the floor in your mouth, in hot pursuit of a scared cat. So we watch you pretty carefully. And try not to laugh too much.

So - not so much a baby any more. But who needs babies when I've got someone as cool as you?


your mudder

Friday, March 14, 2008

a list

Inspired by the many lists populating the blogworld these days thanks to NaBloPoMo (is that right?), here is a list:

Things that Unexpectedly Didn't Suck About New Motherhood
(or where I take my singular experience and generalize it for the whole world, because hey, I know one baby, must know them all, right?)

1. You don't have to wear a bra at night. That advice was apparently for people who actually enjoy wearing bras at other times, instead of people like me who take them off at the first moment I can (which explains the 5 rolled up bras my husband once found under the front seat of the car). Sure, my boobs may soon be making friends with my belly button, but I DON'T HAVE TO WEAR A BRA AT NIGHT. Fair trade.

2. You can take babies (at least B.) to movies up to 6 months - around 7 pm on weeknights was the best. Even really really violent ones. Because as long as he had the boob, B. couldn't give a %$&#.

3. Your cat will not try and smother your baby, sit on your baby, steal his breath, etc. He will not even hold the baby against you. In fact, he will good-naturedly move from your pillow to the end of the bed and, when you get more time for him, still purr into your ear at night and stick himself under the crook of your arm as you sleep.

4. (The most subjective of all) Breastfeeding and pumping don't have to suck. In fact, they can be pretty nice- even pumping. Especially if you can work out some kind of justification for writing stupid blog postings while you are pumping instead of working (try "I need to be relaxed for the milk").

5. Though you will be fat for a while, it bothers you less than any fat ever has (or ever will I'm guessing). This was the one I could never have imagined. Being fat and NOT CARING? Well, caring a little bit, but say, the way a 19 year boy cares about improving his diet of cheetos, Yoo-hoo, and beer- in a sort of long-range, absent-minded, theoretical way.

6. Drink a beer, give a booby. Pump and dump is only needed in binge-drinking type circumstances- whereas you will fall asleep after beer #2. Bring on the Guinness!

Oh and all that good stuff about this wonderful new baby, feelings of love, watching B. and his dad together as better than any drug ever ever ever, etc.- that too. But I'm an optimist- I was pretty much thinking that stuff would happen. But the no bra thing- how sweet is that?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

one year ago right now

i was holding B. for the first time. The recovery room was tiny and my family crammed in, against every wall. The window looked out onto the roof, and it was grey. I was very tired but so relieved, just laying there with this boy on my boob. He seems so tiny in my memory. No one could stop smiling.

I was so glad when we left the hospital- I wanted to put those weird hospital nights, the hell that is labor, and the unexpected c-section behind me. I wondered if I'd ever be nostalgic for it. A year later, I'm a little nostalgic- the drama of the 2 am car ride, G. holding my hand talking about boats to distract me from the surgery, everybody smiling and smiling, our delight at meeting the boy for the first time. But overall March 12, 2007 still sucked ass- except at the end, I got B.

How's March 12, 2008? Pretty damn good. Eating free "healthy" snacks and the scones I made for the office. Best, I just spent my lunch break playing with my funny little boy, sliding him down the slide, watching him push enormous tricycles around. He's pretty much recovered from his stomach virus. He makes the best noise these days- its like "tugatugatuga" but slightly more gutteral. And I've even feeling pretty human, though that comes and goes.

Monday, March 10, 2008

taking these moments

One year ago today, I was sitting in the Cuban restaurant in Burtonsville, barely able to fit in the booth, eating Cubans with G. and his mom, who had just flown in. I was ten days overdue, which was prety aggravating, but at that moment I just enjoyed that Cuban. Cubans- able to calm the savage beast that it the huge, 42-week pregnant woman. That's a pretty good ad.

Ben's birthday party was this weekend- fifteen people crammed into our tiny house and it was great. Bouncy balls all over the place, everyone talking and laughing and joking with the kiddies. My family has its share of hard times right now. But on Sunday I sat back on the sofa and watched a family that loves each other, who is raising kids so kind and gentle that they showered their baby cousin with ridiculous amounts of love; all of the overlapping ties of history and experience and empathy between everyone in the room. It's not always enough, but at that moment it felt like it was.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


I have been feeling bad. Overwhelmed, anxiety, angry angry angry. Angry at B, because he cries in the middle of the night and in the car. Angry at G, because he cannot read my mind and cater to my every need. Angry at my house because it is messy, angry at having to wake up in the morning, angry at the world.

It took me about a week and half to recognize that it wasn't normal. My first thought was of course, I must be pregnant, because for the last four years any wild mood fluctuation has usually meant some variation on that. But thank god no. But recognizing it as something extraordinary and talking about it seems to be helping. And the baby not waking up at 1:30 and 4:30 last night and then screaming for an hour after I have already nursed him (as he did for the last week) is helping too.

I have big plans- omega-3s and magnesium and exercise and sleeping more and drinking more water. They have worked in the past to get me out of such holes. Hopefully they'll work to get me out of this one- even though this one feels a little deeper.