Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Tonight, on actual Halloween, one of the mom's group couples hosted a potluck. It was fun, but intense. A crowded house, adults eating & drinking wine, lots of crazed babies up past their bedtime. Nice people but a nutsy time. Due to the wardrobe malfunction from the night before, Pequita was a leopard in properly fitting pants. A little mascara whisker set and voila. She was in a bit of a stupor by the end of the night. (See her beautiful new shoes? She's still learning how to walk in them.)
Monday, October 29, 2007
Speaking of boobs of wonder, I went off Fenugreek for a while. Now that I am back on it, Yowza! The milk is back. Perhaps it is that one or both babes is no longer on a growth spurt, but still, I could feed a village. I like it.
Pequita has a new expression. It is kind of a mix between "Give me what I want NOW, you nasty Mommy" and "My molars are pushing through my gums and I am miserable, so you will be too". She uses it all the time. Many times it is followed quickly by a solid chomp on your flesh. Yes, the angel is growing up.
Voting will be open all the way up until about 10 am Wednesday, when I'll have to make a decision. Tomorrow we're going to Homestead Mama's work t meet her and another friend for lunch. She works an hour away, so we'll get in the car right about nap time and sleep through.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
As an aside, I am going to love the indoor play space this winter when the playgrounds are all covered in ice and snow. It is a large gym that has many stations - two slides, a big play structure with tunnels, a fleet of ride-on vehicles, and a large area with diverse smaller toys. All the climbing structures and the small toy area are on top of 2" thick gymnastic mats. Pequita proved that her spacial relations are still not quite developed, as she made a big to do about stepping up the 2" to get on a mat, and instead of walking off the other edge, she would approach it with trepidation, kneel down at the edge and spin around, doing the dismount backwards on her hands and knees. This is how she now gets off the couch, the window seat, all high things. The 2" of the mat clearly concerns her. It is really funny to watch. Hopefully I can get it on tape before she learns to do it differently. All this from the girl who after two supervised times on the 4' high slide did it over and over again by herself. Up the stairs, walk along the top edge holding on to the railing, sit down at the top of the slide and jettison to the bottom with enough speed to fly off the lip and bounce a couple times on her butt on the floor. Each time this happened, she would sit and clap for herself for a few seconds, then get up and rush off somewhere else. That's our girl.
"Baby" was her first word, but it applied to her brother and all small beings, including the cat.
"Uh oh" was her first real word properly used, like when she purposely deposited each one of her pieces of lunch into the bathtub, one 'uh oh' after another.
"Appoh" was next, for apple. Improving.
"Deckledeckledeckle" See it? Neither did we. Tickle tickle tickle. Perfectly used when we were touching her.
She makes the sign language sign for 'more' when she is eating and wants more of something. She knows the signs for nurse, again, apple, more, all done, thank you.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
I'll sign off before the cursing starts to seep through.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
We strolled across the street to the gym after the pediatric appointment for a quick tour. It was nice, and HAS ON SITE DAYCARE free with a (very affordable) family membership. This daycare is highly recommended by other women in my mom's group. I can even leave the kids there for up to two hours a day and work out, swim, or even go shopping, to a dentist appointment, whatever. I feel freedom in my future. At this point, it would be worth joining just so I can get a latte, drop them off and sit in the parking lot by myself with silence all around.
10:05 am - Monito falls asleep
10:06 am - Pequita's snack time begins. Prunes. Mmmmm.
10:30 am - Pequita and I retire to the dark nursery and read Snowmen At Night twice with a bottle of breast milk. Pequita is so drowsy she needs help holding her bottle up.
10:50 am - I carry Pequita into her crib in the master bedroom and we turn on the white noise machine we sleep with. Still no blackout shades; no chance to get to the store yet. I lay her down in her crib, she starts to cry, the bottle quiets her although her eyes are wary. The phone rings* and I zip out to answer it so it stops bothering her. Screaming.
11:00 am - I go in to comfort her. I notice that in my mental disarray with all the crying and stress I forgot to raise the crib side. She could vault out of the crib like that with no effort at all. Damn. I spend a minute wondering if Child Protective Services reads blogs. I hug Pequita's now very sweaty head to my neck (it takes a lot of energy to scream with confused anger at the top of your little tiny lungs for 10 minutes straight) and she quiets down. After 5 minutes her breathing returns to normal & I lay her down again to immediate crying. I leave. I am on the computer in the office only about 15 feet from the crib listening to her scream and jump up and down (now safely) in her crib. Blessedly, Monito stays napping downstairs.
This is what I am suffering through, taken by poking the camera through the bedroom door. She cannot see it. I feel like I should be suffering, since she is. Skip this if crying upsets you. I would, if I could.
11:15 am - I go in to comfort her. Her whole body is now sweaty from exertion. I haven't been picking her up when I go in because she is so likely to fall asleep in my arms and I want her to fall asleep in her crib. I hug her, our bodies pressed against each other through the bars of the crib side. I support her butt with one hand and her shoulders with the other while cooing to her. She is so tired that she dozes off in this position, sagging against my arms. I lay her down and we start again with the screaming. As soon as I lay her down she moves, preferring to spend her time crouched in the corner of her crib nearest the door clutching the bars of her prison. I leave, hear Monito chirp and go fetch him. He grins at me and spits up all down my front, the smelly spit up that's been cooking in his belly for an hour. Luckily I am wearing Polartec and it slides right off my shirt onto the pile of clean laundry I was folding.
11:30 am - I go in to comfort her. 40 minutes of this process is my limit. In our last attempt, I patted her belly and cooed to her and she goes to sleep. She sleeps for 35 minutes. My rule is that once she sleeps and wakes, naptime is over. I can't put her through that again so soon. My hope is that the duration of sleep will increase as she gets less upset beforehand. Does anyone who has kids and is reading have thoughts? I am really not sure about this piece. There are books & experts who say all different things.
*Pequita now has an appointment with the University baby psych studies for tomorrow. Something about vision. That will help break up our afternoon.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
We had a good day today. I put Pequita down for a nap in her crib at 10:20 am after 4 books, a bottle and some rocking, and she cried for 3 return comforts, then slept for 45 minutes by herself. Success, I say. The afternoon was bungled because she slept on our outing- the car was in the garage for an oil change and I took a walk in the rain with the babes asleep in a toxic plastic shell in their stroller. Sadly, they slept. I arrived back home after 90 minutes (hey, I needed the walk) wet and exhausted with two perky awake babies. Bad planning. At 7 pm they slept in the car on the way to fetch the other car from the garage, and it took her 10 minutes of screaming - top volume & high anger - to fall asleep. I think that me pushing her boundary/ setting a boundary is causing her to fight more on other fronts. Good. Have at it. This is something I can easily follow through on for all our sakes. Ok, easily is pushing it but at least I am committed. H-mama is less inured to the sound of her daughter getting hoarse with vocalization, but I talked her through it.
(We discovered a huge dent in the car trunk/ hind quarters upon picking it up. I will phone tomorrow morning to let them apologize and tell me the new trunk lid is already ordered. God help me if they deny responsibility.)
Monday, October 22, 2007
I don't know if I failed her and this process I'm trying by putting her to sleep in my arms and then setting her down in her crib, but worse would have been no nap, H-mama walking in the door and nursing her down in seconds flat. She needs to have a ritual that is with me that I can maintain while still attending to Monito's needs. Sigh. I've read the whole sleep section at Ask Moxie and tonight I start reading The No Cry Sleep Solution. Then the Jay Gordon book.
In my free time.
This part of parenting sucks.
In between comfort visits (=during a scream fest) I called Homestead Mama at work to remind her to leave soon (early day, and she's covering for me while I go to a meeting at work) and the gem she has for me? "I hope you aren't ruining the crib for Pequita so she screams every time I put her in there." Not helpful. It feels like I haven't had ONE MINUTE of both babies sleeping at the same time for weeks, with no end in sight. Not frigging helpful.
There is absolutely NOTHING in the world like the sound of your own child screaming and unhappy to tear apart your heart, relationship, happy home and any scrap of well being you still possessed.
I'm off for another visit to the unhappy baby upstairs, leaving Monito downstairs, now crying too.
I'll be going to the store this evening to buy blackout window shades in hopes of de-stimulating the bedroom.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Saturday, October 20, 2007
She'll be coming round the mountain when she comes (Toot, toot!)
She'll be driving six white horses when she comes (Whoa back!)
Oh, we'll all go out to meet her when she comes (Hi babe!)
We'll all have chicken and dumplings when she comes (Yum yum!)
She'll be wearing red pajamas when she comes (Scratch, scratch)
She will have to sleep with Grandma when she comes (Snore snore!)
I have a few extra lines that keep us singing. I guess they illuminate some of our needs, eh?
She will figure out our taxes when she comes (Ching ching!)
She will Windex all our windows when she comes (Squeak squeak)
She will do our dirty laundry when she comes (Scrub scrub)
She will babysit you kids when she comes (Wait for me!)
Six of us from the mom's group met and mapped out a schedule of activities that covers four days of the week, both free and small fee things, as well as monthly potluck schedules and a 4th Friday of each month mom's night out - sans kids - schedule. Homestead Mama and I will have to get sitters so we can both go to the mom's nights out- if anything, she needs the camaraderie of other mothers more than I do. She is parenting from a vacuum for the most part, hanging out at work with men all day who just don't have much to add to the 'how/ when do I night-wean the baby?' discussion.
Friday, October 19, 2007
5. Sleeplessness. That insomnia that has plagued you for your whole life (except for coming in handy for a few years during college) is now a handy tool that you can use to manage your busy hands-on parenting life on only 3 hours of sleep a night.
4. Broken thermostat. You are cold a lot of the time due to vitamin and hormonal fluctuations. Except when your milk is coming in; then you have 300 degree mounds of flesh stuck to your chest. Like a nice big hot flash. Once it is colder I'm sure I'll look forward to this.
3. Soft heart. Really - you cannot hear or read about child abuse or neglect cases without tearing up and wanting to adopt every needy child. This really gets in the way of reading the newspaper. Luckily CNN is still an option, as they just keep updating the Britney story and even though she lost custody of her kids, I'm pretty sure you don't have to worry about them.
2. Hair loss. Your hair falls out, thinning over your whole head in an alarming fashion. All of a sudden. Allegedly, it grows back in. I'll let you know if my hormonal tonsure fills in. Thank god it is hat season.
1. Postpartum aphasia. At 38 and 42 years old, I think that since we waited so long to be parents that we'll never get our minds right, shifting right from this fatigue & over stimulation mindfuck into pre-menopause memory loss. At least we have lots of bibs for when we become drooling idiots.
10-20-2007 Edited to add:
#6. Preternatural hearing. You will develop the ability to hear a soft silicone pacifier drop two inches from the baby's mouth to the mattress from 50 paces away. I am still waiting to develop the skills to ignore the ensuing cries of protest.
I have a meeting tomorrow - Saturday! - morning at 9 am at a local coffee house. A subset of the Mom's Group are is meeting to map out an actual schedule of regular events so the long New York winters don't consume our souls. We can't count on running into each other in the parks any more. I love this town - this group of women is increasingly interesting and fun to be around, as we all get to know each other. I'll be almost stag - I'll leave Homestead Mama and Pequita at home and just tote the boy, who'll sit agog and grinning or sleep through it. I intend to splurge and get a big double-shot latte and maybe a scone. I told H-mama that I won't be long, but I'm already having fantasies of getting a New York Times and staying a little longer than is necessary, enjoying the Pequita-less peace.
I'll be very pleased to have a schedule of events with other humans. I'll be trying to fill up my family's winter dance card, as we ALL do better when we aren't stuck in the living room all day. I'm finding that I need to work a little harder then I expected to figure out how to be a happy SAHM - there is a marked difference between working 50+ hours per week in my old office and filling that time myself.
Check out the census info for your zip code here. Interesting to see how you measure up to the Jones's.
So before Monito tires of his rattle, let me note down the milestones of late.
-bringing me shoes to try on. Hers, ours, sandals, etc.
-asking for help all the time. She approaches an object/task and grunts in her 'help' tone.
-signs for 'more' when eating her favorite foods. Not consistent - she only seems to associate more with certain foods. Also signing a bit for nurse.
-dances when we sing.
-if I start to recite one of her favorite books she'll run across the room and dig around, find the correct book, and bring it to me.
-insists on helping me unload the dishwasher. She sits on the counter and plucks one piece of silverware out of the basket at a time and watches while I name it and place it in the proper spot in the drawer. She doesn't yet know if I call it the wrong name or put it in the wrong slot, but that is only because she is so excited to get to the next piece.
-she is talking & responding back to us in proper tone, inflection and syllables for a real answer. Still gibberish, but...
-standing with support.
-refuses to face backwards over my shoulder to travel, insists on twisting around and facing front. This renders him a little shakier, but his abs are strengthening with practice bobbing around. This skill also allows him to aim his spit up anywhere he likes. Joy.
-he's staying awake for increasing amounts of time. Usually naps for 2 hours and then is up for three or so.
-seeks out his sister in the room, following her voice or sounds of her play
...he just woke up, so I'm off to enjoy the science center.
...and couldn't get a strong enough signal to send it until I got home. Bah.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Things are going great. Everyone is thriving, I am mostly enjoying the rhythym of my days, and I'm not pining for work. The fly in our ointment (this week) is that the babes just cannot get themselves on track – my track, that is, which is mainly that they sleep at the same time. Pequita, in the midst of her 55 week sleep regression, will only fall asleep on the boob or in the car. On the boob is tough, since Monito is in the midst of a growth spurt that is leaving me drained (in both senses) and I don't have much milk to spare. Pequita gets a couple nurses from me a day, and I supplement with Homestead Mama's frozen stash. Umm, that is my frozen ice cream stash next to the breast milk. Calcium, you know? Monito gets to eat all he wants from me, and if I'm to be able to nurse him through the night I still have to supplement with 6 oz of frozen stash I was lucky enough to be able to set aside in the early weeks. Yay, overproduction.Pequita is shifting from three to two naps a day, and after a few miserable days of power struggle (with a ONE year old, folks. Duh.) when I tried to get her to go to sleep in her pa.ck & pl.ay, I decided that AFTER the regression would be a better time to learn new tricks and have ritualized a marvelous park'n'sleep system. If the gods are smiling and I time it right, we drive the 20 minutes to our current favorite park and she sleeps on the ride and in the parking lot for 90 minutes, we play hard for 3 hours with a nice long snack time, and then she falls asleep on the ride home and will take a 2-hour nap *if* I leave her in the car in the driveway with NPR softly on the radio and the vent fan on low for white noise. Sadly, Monito awakens immediately upon the engine being turned off. I sit in the car and nurse and play with Monito and do crossword puzzles, nap, and catch up on phone calls. I used to fantasize about doing these things in a cafe while well dressed and bantering with friends about new literature and current events, but how different REALLY is the front seat of my parked car?
Whoops, time to go home...
Sunday, October 14, 2007
She clearly loved the wrapping paper and all the tearing apart, but also seems quite invested in the toys she received. My mother gave her a doll that has a bottle of its own, and immediately Pequita started feeding it. She loves it. We named it Beebo, after the hippo in The Bellybutton Book, who calls his bellybutton 'beebo'. This doll has quite the outie.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Monday, October 8, 2007
Homestead Mama and I were in those tubbies too, and will have to get our levels checked too. We're breastfeeding, and lead loves to adhere to nice fatty milk and be passed on to your child.
I just deleted a string of curses, but be creative when you imagine what swears *you'd* insert here.
Sunday, October 7, 2007
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
My Internet - which includes our digital phone - went out yesterday. Nice, eh, for me to ask you to delurk when I'm not even posting? It is back up, and I offer you these lovely pictures in lieu of a real meaty post since both children are awake and clinging to my legs (the cable guy scared Pequita, and Monito is just hungry like always.) Now that I've been here & waiting since noon for the repair guy, were LEAVING the house and going to the park. We ALL need to run around a bit.
Thanks for reading!
(And by the way, I'm ditching the digital phone for the annoying expensive landline. I have a cell phone, but it only works if I'm next to the stove in the kitchen, in the driveway or in the MBR and stand on one leg with my arms in the air and a metal hanger in my mouth for reception. An exaggeration, but not by much. What would happen if the baby starts choking in the bathroom, or falls down the stairs and I have to choose between resuscitating them and staying on the line in the other room? Unacceptable.)
Pequita and Homestead Mama. Can you spot the missing slipper that H-Mama tried to find for 20 minutes before I spotted it? (Hint: it has a red lining, and she had just been holding Pequita on her hip.)
Monito in his fall togs and wearing Pequita's beloved strawberry felted hat. Finally winter is coming. I barely made it through all the hot months.
Monday, October 1, 2007
We grew up in a family that was full of love, fun, intelligence, music and travel. It was also dark, privately miserable, frightening, fraught with dysfunction, and isolating. My siblings and I were pals and cohorts as well as in competition with each other for a limited amount of positive attention. The bond was very strong as a result, even if we had differences that inhibited our really valuing each other when young.
As his big sister, I had the unmitigated pleasure of pounding bullies on the school bus who were picking on my brother when he was small. I got to show him my special hiding place in the woods near our house, and got to be generous and take him along sometimes when I went out with my older (= cooler) friends. I went and picked him up in the middle of the night when he wrecked his motorcycle and didn't want to tell my parents. I bought him beer when I turned 21, and made sure he had rides home when he was too drunk to drive. I got to feel older and wiser, and he allowed me to feel generous with my attentions.
He saved my butt several times. I went to college in Boston near our hometown, and he lived there too. He once appeared out of nowhere in a bar when I was being hassled by a particularly nasty man and I was actually concerned for my welfare. I hadn't ever seen him be manly, tough and mean, but he put on a very good show and shook off the nasty man and then took me out with him and his buddies for the rest of the night. I spent a good amount of my twenties fairly miserable, clinically depressed and either self medicating or on antidepressants to keep myself afloat while I was going through therapy to exorcise the family demons, as well as my own personal ones. He knew this and used to show up at my house in western Massachusetts for unannounced visits. We'd go out to the movies, to a bar, to the nearby reservoir to sit and look at the stars. He'd return to school after a day or two knowing how much it meant to me for him to visit.
He died shortly before his 23rd birthday when he was hit by a speeding taxi on a dark and rainy Boston street while riding his bike. He was just starting out his life with a new job, a new apartment, beginning to realize his dreams. He eventually wanted to open up a brew pub, making his own beer and cooking great food. He wanted a wife and kids, and thought that it sounded like a great idea to be the mayor of his town when he got a little older. He could have done it, too.
This is the first time his birthday has come around when I have children. Their existence has made his death, his active non-presence, all that much more painful. My children will never have an uncle they are close to, given the current makeup and location of Homestead Mama's family. The loss of my brother is ever greater since we are a family of two moms, with grandfathers who are in their mid- to late-60s.
I am saddened that he never really knew me as a happy person. I was on the arduous path of learning how to quiet my decidedly unquiet mind when he was killed. He only ever knew the weenie men I selected as boyfriends (I didn't come out until I was 29) not the wonderful, loyal, robust, beautiful woman I finally chose to spend my life with. Jason would have loved Homestead Mama, with her strong work ethic, lack of bullshit, and her quick smile. My certainty that they would have gotten on famously is painful and pleasing in the same moment.
The anniversary of his death each labor day weekend is never as hard as each birthday that passes without him getting any older. Homestead Mama called me today to suggest that we think about having an 'Uncle Jason Day' as the kids get older where we remember him for them, talk about him and try to give him a little bit of presence in their lives. I'm not sure that can be done without being maudlin and creepy, but we'll see. That she called to offer the suggestion moved me to tears.
I'm going to be hugging my own children a lot today with the memory of my brother Jason in the front of my mind. The losses in life make the gifts that much more valued, but I'll be goddamnedif the losses don't keep knocking the wind out of me.