Posts Tagged With: motherhood

Baby Days

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It’s been a while since I’ve done a post about life in general.  Largely, it’s been good.  Although I will say that it’s a bit strange to be a stay-at-home mom sometimes.  I find that most of my day isn’t terribly interesting; always repetitive, even while it’s extremely rewarding.  All I need is a baby grin and I’m a happy mother.  Bonus points for one of those shrieking giggles he gives sometimes about unpredictable things.

Being a mother is also surreal, though.  Asher doesn’t look exactly like me at his age, but he’s close enough that things get strange in my head.  Especially when I’m sleep deprived.  I often get the sense that I am outside of time, scrubbing my own elbows in the whale-shaped bath, cajoling myself to eat peas, pulling my tiny self close at 3 am when I’m having a hard time sleeping, singing show tunes to calm my younger nerves.   I know logically that he’s not me, but the lines still blur.

It feels sometimes like I traded everything that made me interesting for a suitcase full of baby snuggles, but it never feels like it wasn’t worth it.  Baby snuggles are pretty great. Besides, I know it’s a temporary condition.  My mother and grandmother, both stay-at-home moms, are/were VERY interesting women.  And I sneak in interesting whenever I can, between the cracks of bottles, naps, and routine.  Brian, wonderful Brian, helps.

It’s summer, so Brian and I have been taking Asher on an adventure once or twice a week – hiking, to the Redlands Bowl, swimming… It messes up the baby’s schedule but I think it’s worth it for the way it breaks my monotony.  After all, if Mom isn’t happy no one is happy, right?  That’s what I’ve been told and I don’t intend to test the theory.  That and books are my saving grace.

I don’t know why motherhood is this oxymoronic bundle of easy, boring, and the hardest thing ever, but it is.  I’m continually looking forward to whatever this baby is going to do next, though.  That’s all I really wanted to say this week.

Also, just for kicks, I’m going to write down our daily schedule for posterity:

  • 6:00 am ish – Baby wakes up.  Brian or I feed him a bottle (whomever is more sleep deprived gets to sleep).
  • 6:30 am – Brian gets up and gets ready for work while I corral the baby.  He usually squirrels around and plays with his Totoro plush while I sing to him.
  • 7:00-7:10 am – Brian finishes getting dressed, so he corrals the baby while I get dressed and eat breakfast.
  • 7:40 am – Brian leaves for work and the baby is MINE.  I feed him and sing songs to him until he either gets fussy or finishes his tray.
  • 8:00 am – Asher plays for about an hour, doing mostly his own thing except that every 10 minutes or so he wants to climb into my lap and get kisses for a second before moving on to the next thing.
  • 9:00 am – Bottle and nap time.  This kid usually falls asleep while he’s eating, right on top of me.  I read quietly on my phone until he wakes up. He used to have another nap later but for the past few days this one has just been epically long.
  • 10:30 am ish – Baby wakes up and plays again, but this time I MUST BE RIGHT THERE for him to stand on or hug him.  He wants to be touching.  Unless he doesn’t.  But no really, he does.
  • 11:00 am – This kid gets another bottle, though he stays awake and hums at me through it. He plays when he’s done, crawling around the living room from toy to toy.
  • 12:00 pm – Brian comes home for lunch.  We swap out watching him, and I get Asher a tray when I’m done eating so he can have lunch himself.
  • 12:45 pm ish – Depending on the weather, Asher and I walk Brian back to work.  The baby usually falls asleep sometime during the walk, and (depending on the weather) I just park him under the shady tree in the front yard until he wakes up while I sit on the bench on the porch and read some more.
  • 1:30 pm ish – This kid wakes up and we head inside.
  • 2:00 pm – Baby gets another bottle, to which he usually falls asleep.  This one’s his long nap, and I can usually count on 1 1/2 hours from him.  Yesterday he slept for 2 1/2, though… When he wakes up, he plays.  He doesn’t care at all about me now, just wants to do his business on his own time.
  • 4:00 pm – Another bottle for baby.
  • 5:00 pm – Brian gets home.  After Brian’s changed out of his nice work clothes, I get a small respite from being “in charge.”  And if there’s anything I need to do on my own, I can do it.  I also often make dinner.
  • 6:00 pm – Everyone has dinner together, Brian and I at the table and Asher in his high chair.
  • 7:00 pm – The baby bedtime routine commences.
  • 8:00 pm – Asher is (usually) asleep by now.  The adults collapse in exhaustion in front of the TV.
  • 10:00 pm – The adults go to bed.  Or at least pretend to (if my book isn’t too diverting).
  • Sometimes Asher will wake between 3:00 am and 5:00 am in which case he’ll get a bottle before going back to bed in the pack-and-play in our room.  Sometimes he doesn’t.  It’s kinda a crapshoot. And that’s it!  Are you tired yet?

 

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Fantasy, LeGuin, and Miscellany

I just heard the news that Ursula K. LeGuin died, and I am saddened beyond belief.  I think, like with Elie Wiesel, that I will need a while to gather my thoughts.  Right now, all I can think of is the books she wrote that I would recommend someone read, and it turns out that it’s all of them.  But she meant so much more to me than her literature, and to express that I will need time.

If you can get a copy, though, the one that sticks with me hardest today is her fake Ethnography of the Kesh people in post-nuclear California: Always Coming Home.  It’s a beautiful, odd, and terrifying thing that doesn’t read dystopic at all.  And of course you already know of the Earthsea series and The Left Hand of Darkness.

I have been trying to figure out a way to keep myself from going insane with boredom with nothing to do all day but hold a small boy, and I’ve been reading odd fantasy books: Maggie Stiefvater’s All The Crooked Saints (I cannot tell if I like this book or not because it was a hard one to love and yet it was so BEAUTIFULLY written…); Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Emperor (where she does everything they tell you not to do in a novel and it still ended up claiming me completely); and Pamela Dean’s Tam Lin (the best thing I’ve read since Uprooted last year, and the first thing I’ve been head over heels for since Robin McKinley’s latest). It feels good to contemplate other worlds, and I think I’ll continue.

I have been reading the books out loud to the baby when he’s awake, and I’m sure he’s thoroughly confused now since he gets only snippets of whatever passage I’m on when he happens to have his eyes open.  I’ll warrant that he’s getting a pretty good vocabulary, though.  And a knowledge of his people, since his big eyes and pointed chin have me half-convinced he’s a Fairy himself.  Or maybe just a changeling.

It might just be a coincidence in timing (or his elfin heritage), but Fantasy books seem to have him sleeping better at night.  He’s been letting us sleep a solid 4 hours at a time most evenings, and even a 6 hour stretch every once in a while.  I never thought 4 hours of sleep would sound luxurious, but it does.

I have also stopped doing strange things in my sleep now that he’s sleeping longer.  So far I have woken Brian up twice to ask him to take the baby when the baby had already been sleeping in his bassinet for at least an hour.  And then there was the evening where I tried to convince Brian that I was feeding the baby right now, when the kid was actually in Brian’s arms and yelling at me about not being quick enough with the midnight snack.  Parenthood is mostly a comedy of errors, I’m finding.  But at least it’s a comedy…

Next on the reading list is probably Ellen Kushner’s Thomas the Rhymer.  But maybe I’ll get out some of my old LeGuin instead.  It’s been ages since I’ve read The Tombs of Atuan, or Voices – two I have read countless times in the past because they’re my favorites.

Categories: Book Reviews, Fiction, Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Third Trimester

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I was going over old Blog entries last week, and it’s amazing to me how much has changed in just a year.  It’s not just the political situation, but also the fact that I wasn’t at all thinking “kids” like I am this year when I’m basically obsessed.  And the old pregnancy posts are so interesting.  I had already forgotten some of it, like his little bird flutters in the early days.  That first ultrasound he was such a froggy thing, and now he’s a real human being with recognizable parts on the ultrasound screen.

I’m well into the third trimester now, and close enough to 8 months that I’m claiming I am.  I felt like complaining through a lot of this pregnancy, but for some reason I don’t want to do that anymore.  I don’t think things have gotten better.  I think I’ve just become resigned to them.  The hip pain only gets worse with time, and I can almost feel my pelvis rubbing in disturbing ways when I try and climb into bed around my pregnancy pillow.  I’m waddling, and I say “oof” just about every time I get up and start moving (which amuses me).  I try to do it quietly the 12 times a night I get up to pee so I don’t wake Brian.  Someone deserves to get sleep around here.

But honestly, I’m not doing that badly.  My constant pregnancy cold seems to have gone away, and I AM sleeping fairly well.  My Gestational Diabetes diet is repetitive, but it’s all stuff I like to eat.  I have never been so excited to be diagnosed as anemic, because the iron pills have me feeling GREAT by comparison.  I mean, I still feel mostly like I could use a nap.  But the debilitating exhaustion is gone, and I’ve even been able to enjoy things that would have floored me previously – the LA County Fair, Oak Glen Apple Picking, a shopping trip longer than 15 minutes… And the hip pain is only really bad in the mornings and at night after I’ve been static for a long time.  As soon as I get moving, the pain is manageable.

At my latest appointment, we got excellent news.  Baby is measuring at an estimated 5 lbs 3 oz, so that’s one complication of Gestational Diabetes we dodged.  No Macrosomia (big body).  He cannot physically gain 5 additional lbs in a month so even if things go totally off the rails he won’t be over 9 lbs.  I’m breathing a sigh of relief since I’m the one that has to give birth to him, and would have been pressured to induce early and/or have a C-section.  We still have Jaundice and his non-ability to regulate his own blood sugar to dodge as complications, so I’m not totally off the hook. But knowing we’re clear of one makes me optimistic we can be clear of the others.

The baby is getting more fun.  He’s so big now that I feel every little flutter, and can sometimes feel individual body parts.  His toes sticking out near my ribs are the most common.  His movements are strong enough that he sometimes wakes me up at night.  His arms like to dig into the space near my hip joints.  My gigantic stomach undulates when he moves, and you can clearly see it rippling.  It blows Brian’s mind.  It kinda blows mine, too, although I’m more used to it.  It’s this weird combination of disturbingly alien and exciting.

I was doing pretty well with the stretch marks, too, until recently.  This kid has been pushing out on me for more room, and I noticed the other day that they’re everywhere in a nice line across my stomach.  Don’t tell anyone, but I like it.  I’ll be happier when they fade from purple, but I have this kid on me forever now.  It’s like nature’s memorial tattoo, and I didn’t even have to deal with needles to get it.

We’re at T-minus 5 weeks and some change now until we meet this fellow in person.  I’m hoping it will go fast.  I’m REALLY looking forward to Jelly Belly Sours, gingersnap cookies, and small baby toes.  I predict he’s going to like Christmas lights, too, although maybe he’ll be too young to notice.  Still, even if HE’S too young, I can enjoy penguin onesies and small Christmas sweaters.

I do hope he decides his birthday is soon…

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A Whiny Pregnancy Update

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People keep asking me how I’m feeling, so I’m here to tell you.  I’ll give you the real scoop, too, like I don’t when asked in person: pregnancy really doesn’t stop sucking.  At least for me.  I’ll try to put a positive spin on it for people I don’t know that well.  But the reality is that I had about a month of thinking this is magical before my symptoms ramped up again.  I’m so uncomfortable that some days I’d really like to have a cathartic cry.

I feel like that’s not seemly for the strong mama I want to be, though, so I’ve been refraining.

First trimester was back pain, bronchitis, and nausea.  The cough never really went away, though it became manageable in trimester 2.  I felt much better (though still not as good as I usually feel as a non-pregnant lady).

I’m 2 weeks away from trimester 3, and I now have insane pelvic pain that makes it hard to walk.  Or stand.  Or turn over in bed. I’m already perfecting the pregnancy waddle even though the kid isn’t that big. The only known cure for the aches and pains?  Birth.  Which is the same as the gestational diabetes they’ve also diagnosed me with.  The few things I could eat while pregnant have narrowed even further.  I can no longer manage stress with sugar (which was probably a bad plan to begin with, but oh so nice). I have to prick my finger four times a day and everything, and it seems like the only way I can keep my numbers on track is a marathon cooking session each week in which I pack all of my meals and snacks for six days out. The amount of protein I’m eating is insane.

I’m torn.  I want this kid to bake as long as possible, but I already feel like I’ve been pregnant for FOREVER and want it to end.  I don’t remember what it feels like to not ache, cough, sleep terribly, contend with acid reflux, or pick food on a menu based on desire and not category.  I keep forgetting that it takes me 5 times as much effort to do things as when I wasn’t pregnant and then I exhaust myself.

As a friend of mine told me (who is also having an unfun pregnancy): you don’t have to enjoy pregnancy to enjoy the baby.  That’s probably my new mantra.

Don’t get me wrong.  I know I’m lucky.  I’m horribly uncomfortable, yes, but the baby is thriving by all measures.  There are moments of magic still, like when Brian and I rocked him to sleep swing dancing, despite the loud band Tuesday night.  He kicks when I put my elbows on my stomach, making my whole arm jump.  He’s always wiggling and seems to like it when I tell him good morning when he kicks me on the way to work.

Still, I feel like we’d have a better time if he was an actual human being in the world that I could kiss, and I didn’t have to put up with all these symptoms.

So, why am I being a complainer even when I know it isn’t exactly kosher?  I’m supposed to love this, right?  Or at least suffer in silence if I can’t…

Basically that’s why.

No one talks about how crappy this can be and I think we should.  Making a human is hard.  Everyone who’s pregnant, or who has been, is so cavalier about it. I get that too, to be honest, because it’s easy to brush the individual symptoms aside. It’s not like some horrible huge thing.  It’s just a bouquet of tiny inconveniences that bloom into huge frustration when added together.

Achy hips take bending down to tie my shoes from discomfort to impossibility.  Knowing I’m going to have to stand up on my legs to make it to the bathroom five times a night takes annoyance into exhaustion as I lay in bed and psych myself up for the trip, and lose more sleep.  If, in a moment of weakness, I take refuge in a pack of skittles? Then I’m doomed to worry about how sick the baby feels in there because his mom couldn’t control herself, or her blood sugar.

The mom guilt starts earlier than you thought it could… This isn’t even my first instance.

If I could throw up my hands and sleep in blissful ignorance until delivery day, I would totally take that option at this point.  I’ll even take having to get up every hour to pee as long as I don’t have to engage with the rest of it.

Now that I’ve thoroughly whined, I also want to say that there IS a part of me that realizes how special this is.  I mean, I already love this kid to pieces and we haven’t even met yet.  I know it’s not his fault that his mom is going nuts.  By all measures at my appointments, he’s a blissfully ignorant camper in there growing beautifully.  It’s those little things that make the rest of it seem possible to endure.  That and the fact that Brian has been such a champ, taking on extra household chores, rubbing my back, and gently teasing me about how VERY pregnant I am.

That’s all the news on the baby front right now.  And if anyone has tips for relieving muscle pain, I’d appreciate it if you forward it along.  I’m already doing exercises (squats, kegels, butterflies, taylor-sitting, and pelvic rocks) sleeping with a super-fancy pregnancy pillow between my legs, and taking Tylenol (when I absolutely have to). I’m also trying to distribute my weight on both feet (instead of one or the other) as much as possible. I’m better for all of that, but I’m not good.

Alright, I’ll stop whining now.  I have mass quantities of diabetic muffins to go make, anyway.  Which should take me ½ hour, but will actually take me 2 and I’ll be exhausted at the end…  Smh.

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