Posts from — May 2009

Striking while the iron’s comatose

The amazosity of the fact that I am sitting at this computer in the middle of the day and typing these very letters cannot be overstated.  Mostly because both my children are asleep, and have been for over half an hour.  This hasn’t happened since before Rosie could focus her eyes properly.  So I’m going to sit here and pound out a blog even though I have no direction or purpose for a post.  Ready? And….go!

Today was day #2 of Occupy Noah’s Time With Another Small Person, and I have to say, this one was my favorite.  Even though he rejected my brownies.  Rejected! Brownies!  I mean, sure they were burned on top and liquid in the middle, but Noah ate two!  Actually, this says more about Noah than Playdate Kid.  All this constant interaction wipes Noah out by the time afternoon rolls around (hence the current Droolfest in the other room), a fact that I was not hip to yesterday and therefore had to endure the Epic Mother of All Screaming Public Meltdowns that took place in not one, not two, but THREE of my neighbors yards and also my yard.  In addition, as I was patiently (LIKE JOB I WAS, I KID YOU NOT) waiting on our stoop for Noah to drag his body across our driveway as he screamed I WILL NOT COME INSIDE!! I WILL NOOOOOTTTT COOOOOME!, my across the street neighbor returned from walking her dog and waved hello with a “You poor, poor thing” look on her face.  I cheerfully gave her the most sarcastic thumbs up I could manage. She and her husband do not have children, and I’m pretty sure living across from us for three years has prompted a written contract signed in blood that they never will.

I JOKE.  In fact, I’ve been meaning to talk about this very thing.  I have had a couple of comments recently about how my blog has deterred feelings of wanting to have another child.  I can’t fathom why. (Oh right, this.)

Ok, so honestly, it has been a rough month. Or two.  And just as honestly, I recognize that for some people, one child is their max, and they know themselves well enough to name this, and I really applaud that kind of self-awareness. (Ditto to people who have decided not to have any children.) But, I don’t want to come off at all, ever, as representing our life with two children (or even one child) as not worth it.  There are not enough words in my limited capacity brain to describe how totally, completely, mind-bogglingly amazing it is to have given birth to two totally brand new human beings and then watch them grow.  I don’t want my ventilacious self to ward all procreating people off of babies because of a few (ok, maybe more than a few) Woe-Unto-Me posts.  It would be like deciding not to go on a cruise of the Greek Islands because someone told you in blistering detail about that hour you have to spend on the deck of the ship in a stinky sweaty life jacket listening to the mandatory Here’s How You Don’t Die If We Sink speech where you have to stand together like sardines and there is always (ALWAYS) some newly married couple video taping the whole damn thing like “Honey wave!  Omg, we’re sinking!  Haha!  Just kidding!  Hi honey!” and all the children are hungry and bored and the babies are crying and you are perspiring in places you didn’t know existed, and so you say well screw THAT.  I’m not going on any damn cruises, that’s for sure!  Only, you guys.  It’s the Greek ISLANDS. And you would have missed so much beauty for fear of an hour of unpleasantries.

Not a perfect metaphor because Oh Em Gee – definitely more than an hour of unpleasantry comes with parenthood. Also there are fewer daiquiris. But I want to say this: I have never, ever, not even once kind of, regretted having Rosie.  True, she takes my attention from Noah, and that has made me sad on more than one occasion.  But we did not have her just for our sakes.  We also had her so that Noah would have a companion in this crazy family life of ours.  She is a gift to him just as she is to us, and he tells us that in his own way every day.  Just as having a child forced us to tear our gaze away from our own navels, so has a sibling helped Noah to look outside his four-year-old bubble and to teach him his connectedness to other people and the world.  I’m so glad we were able to do that for him.

Also?  I’m just glad we have Rosie, period.  In sickness or in health.  In sleeping or not sleeping.  She’s a gift, and I could not be more grateful that she is mine. Theirs.

Ours.

Futons are fun

May 28, 2009   9 Comments

Six Months (and 26 days)

May 26, 2009   13 Comments

Resilience

Mom, watch me jump
It’s the highest you’ve ever seen,
You say to me
Approximately a gamillion and one times.

Noah jump 6

Distractedly, with tired eyes
I point my face in your direction
Spoonful of pureed carrots
Halfway to your sister’s mouth.

Noah jump 3

It’s been a lonely week for you,
Sick-sistered brother,
With lots of In A Minutes,
Shhhhs, and Not Right Nows.

Noah jump 2

The learning curve’s been steep
For this fledgling two kid mama.
I get it wrong
More of the time than I’d like.

Noah jump 5

Grateful then, am I
That you are the kind of kid
Who when put off 43 times in a row
Holds fast to your joyful momentum

Noah jump 4

And on that 44th time
When I finally lift my weary head to your direction
And unclouded give to you a long deserved moment,
You jump.

Noah jump 1

And you’re right:
It is the highest I’ve ever ever seen.

May 21, 2009   6 Comments

If only I lived in Berlin. And it were 1989.

The other day when I wrote about how mentioning Rosie’s sleep success on here would most surely condemn us to Regression Unto Ruination, I was not aware that predicting the future was in fact my superpower.  To be honest, if I had known superpowers were being doled out I would have requested something way cooler like the ability to stop time or the ability to zap myself rested or some shit like that.  But no, predicting imminent doom it is.

Rosie has had such a hard time sleeping since getting sick that any sleep training we were doing went out the window and we resorted to the age old strategy of Do Whatever Works.  Turns out what works for a sick Rosie is the All-Mama All The Time Show, starring me.  I was also the key grip and best boy.  Rosie directed.  Now that she is feeling mostly better (THANK THE LORD JESUS IN HIS FLUFFY WHITE CLOUDED HEAVEN) she is having a little trouble figuring out how to go to sleep any other way.  And by a little trouble I mean OMG.

My putting her to bed is not enough.  She wants me to put her down and also lend her my face to pinch and squeeze and mash as she drifts off, like I am her favorite nubby blanket.  I love that little girl something fierce, but Be Available To Serve As Human Stress Ball Every Night As My Baby Falls Asleep is definitely on my list of Things I Am Not Willing To Do As A Parent. Weaning her from this comfort has been rough.  I offer her an arm as a substitute and she flings it away as if to say “An arm?  An ARM?  ARE YOU FREAKIN’ KIDDING ME HERE?”  Ditto the sock monkey, sock monkey blanket, octopus, and orange cow.

After I finally (finally.) (FINALLY.) get her to fall asleep, it takes the skill of Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible to make it from her crib to the door.  If I disturb a speck of dust in the wrong direction, it trips the laser beams Rosie has rigged all over the room and an alarm goes off in her head that says “ALERT. SQUISHY FACE IS ATTEMPTING ESCAPE. ACTIVATE SYSTEM MELTDOWN.” and the whole process is back to square one.

Hey, guess if this routine is working out for me?  I’ll give you a minute.

The tricky thing about all of this is figuring out when to go great guns back into the sleep training we had started before the HFM virus.  I don’t want to force something that she’s not ready for because of hurting mouth sores or achy bones or what have you.  But I don’t want her to establish habits that I can’t sustain.  I have a hunch that the time has come for the bullet to be bitten and for us to get back into that huddle with the Xs and Os and come up with the play book for this thing again.  Because, like Dr. Sears says, if a routine you established becomes something that makes you resentful, change it.

I’d say the fact that I spend nap and night time quelling feelings of demolishing large objects with a sledgehammer means a change is due. Quite possibly.

May 20, 2009   2 Comments

Loves company

There are certain times in parenthood that are pretty rough, but while you’re actually in them, they don’t seem to be that bad – it’s just your reality for right then.  Then there are times that seem bad while you’re in them, but later you think, “That wasn’t so terrible really, now that we’re past it.”

Then there are the other times.  Times that are bad when they are happening and that you look back on later and shudder. I call these the Dark Times.

Last Wednesday Rosie had a rough night of sleep.  Gas, we thought.  Out of sorts.  Full moon.  Whatever.  And with a brisk clap I said “We shall nip this in the BUD,” and off to the doctor we went, me with the full expectation that the visit would reveal bulging eardrums or lurking strep germs.

No such luck.

“It’s probably just some sort of respiratory virus, she’ll get over it soon,” the doctor said cheerfully.  Cheerfully!  Because vague diagnoses with no remedies are fun!  So we left and I prepared for another night of sleeplessness.

Thursday night was wretched.  By 10:15, Rosie had woken up something like 13 times and was only able to be comforted by my presence.  I spent the night on Noah’s bed next to her crib while Noah slept in our bed with L.  Finally around 4 in the morning as I went to lift her from the crib for the krabillionth time, I noticed that she was feverishly hot.  102.3 said the butt thermometer.  So I dosed her with Motrin and she slept for an hour more.

Her baptism at church was planned for that Sunday and all our family started arriving for the event. Rosie would have nothing to do with anyone but me.  She wouldn’t even let L hold her, and he tried his hardest to give my tired arms a break.  She was unusually fussy.  So much so that L and I agreed that she had probably cried more in those few days than the rest of her whole life combined.  (You guys. That’s a lot.)  Still, the fever broke early Saturday and the baptism was set for the next day, so we went ahead with the preparations.

Sunday morning L’s mom graciously relieved us of Noah (taking him to Waffle House, which pretty much ensures he’ll hope Rosie will get baptized every Sunday) which turned out to be a huge help, as we had to take turns holding and distracting her while the other frantically showered and dressed for church.  We were almost late arriving, and the whole morning seemed to go by in a frenzied blur.  The saddest proof of this is the lack of pictures from the day – I almost forgot my camera, which is saying something for a person who routinely takes her camera to every day events like grocery shopping or getting gas.  The only shots of the day are the stealthy undercover shots my sister took during the service.  There are no shots of our family, not even one of just the four of us.  If I think about that too much, it makes me crazy.

We had my sister and brother drive Rosie around after church during the lunch to get her to fall asleep, because she was out of her mind tired.  This was successful, but about 45 minutes after they arrived back she woke again, as fussy as if she hadn’t slept at all.  Worse, she was beginning to refuse to nurse.  This was my last weapon in my comfort arsenal, and her unwillingness to be soothed in this way was what broke the camel’s back.  We cleaned up the lunch and made a hasty exit, phoning the doctor on call on the way home.

The doctor agreed that we should bring her to the immediate care center, which we were very willing to do even though it was a good 25 minutes away and it had been raining most of the morning.  So we packed her back into the car, squalling, and hit the road.  Then, five minutes into the trip, we hit this:

Miserable from racher on Vimeo.

If I had to name the Five Worst Scenarios for Encountering a Traffic Jam, taking your screaming baby to the doctor in the rain would be numbers 1, 2 and 3.  All I could say, over and over again was SERIOUSLY?  SERIOUSLY.  SERIOUSLY?

To say we felt grim would be understating things a wee bit.

We were at the clinic for 2 hours, during which Rosie was cathetered and blood drawn, poked, prodded and gagged.  Test after test was negative.  Strep?  No.  UTI? Nope.  Ears?  Perfect! said the doctor.   Great, we said!  Super!  But if you don’t mind, please, WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH OUR BABY.

We had a thirty minute wait for the lab results, and while we waited, L was able to hold her for a few minutes.  To distract her from the fact that the arms that held her were far hairier than the ones she preferred, he started swooping her down and up in a cradled position, which made her laugh.  God, but if that wasn’t the best sound I had heard in days. But in doing so, he noticed in her open mouth (the same mouth that the doctor had been ALL UP IN just moments before) a sore on her tongue. I walked right out of the room and saw the doctor sitting at the desk and promptly hung Rosie by her ankles and said LOOK AT THIS, WOMAN.  “Oh!” the doctor said.  “That’s quite a large one, can’t believe we missed it!  Well, she has Hand, foot, and mouth disease!  Case solved!”

Hand, foot, mouth disease, otherwise known as the coxsackie virus.  Otherwise known as Your Baby Will Cry for Seven Straight Days disease.

We’re on day five, Rosie’s been up seven times since 6:30.

I may not make it to day seven.

May 18, 2009   12 Comments