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Archive for January, 2010

Given my terrible cold (and C’s teething), things have not gone too smoothly this last week.  I never realized how impossible it is to be truly sick with a baby.  I know that sounds odd, so let me explain.

When you get sick, and I mean really, sick down to the bone, it’s hard to do anything.  It’s difficult to do things as simple as making the bed, picking up laundry, walking the dogs, to say nothing of trying to care for another human being.  So my mothering has been somewhat lack-luster this last week.

I’ve managed to get the little man fed, keep him clean, change his diapers, and generally tend to his physical needs.  It’s in the emotional department that my mothering has been somewhat less than normal  It’s not to say that I’ve neglected him or failed to show C any type of emotional recognition.  Boo-boos have been kissed.  Heads petted.  Hugs given, even if somewhat shaken by coughing.

Where I neglected my poor C was in the all absorbing attention he typically needs.  C, as I may have mentioned before, is a pretty high energy baby and thus requires quite a bit of attention.  He also typically all over the place.  So, this week, my greatest insult to my poor son was in that I penned him in.  I sneezed, coughed, hacked so often that I truly couldn’t focus on my little boy.  I needed a safe place to put him.  And into the play pen he went.  Screaming.  Crying.  Sobbing.

It would begin with a little whining, a scream, and then when I went into the bathroom, the crying began.  If I sat there in front of him, ignoring his cries and little waving arms, it degraded into sobbing.  Literally sobbing, as if all joy had been wiped from his life in those two minutes he had spent in the play pen.

Had this been any other day, had my sinuses not been full, my lungs flapping feebly, I would have crushed C to my chest, wiped away his tears, and lavished him with attention.  This was not the case.  I got to him when I stopped sneezing or using the restroom or whatever it was I was doing at the time, because sometimes, they just have to cry.  And that’s ok.

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I’m feeling terribly ill but I thought I’d share with you some funny thoughts I had today (probably due to my cold medicine and my brain being jostled from too many sneezes).

I find that I often live life in contradictions.  I make an effort to live one way, but find I often behave another.  This is not meant to be a serious conversation as my sinuses are too full for serious thinking.  Instead, I thought I’d write about the more humorous ones, the ones my husband assures me make me very average.

Here are some examples:

1. On the way home from the farmer’s market yesterday, with a backseat full of fresh, delicious produce, I stopped at McDonald’s for a hamburger for me and a Happy Meal for little C.  (He loved it!)

2. Speaking of food, after losing 10 lbs I rewarded myself with one chocolate chip cookie, a mound of spinach dip and fresh french bread at my cousin’s baby shower.  Yum!

3. While I wear a considerable amount of Target or Old Navy “lounge clothing” to save money (I don’t really need to spend $200 on that really cute Juicy sweat suit that will only be covered with baby food and/or throw up and/or dog slobber).  However, I am considering spending $200 on a swimsuit that will probably never actually be worn to swim and, in all honesty, will probably only be worn a handful of times, compared to the every day wearing of my sweats.

4. Speaking of money…I clip coupons every Sunday and I get really excited when the grocery store offers free items when I use my club card.  But I just can’t drink the coffee that’s under $10.  I just can’t!!  I’ve tried, but the expensive coffee tastes so much better.  And really, isn’t that why I’m clipping coupons, so I can buy the expensive coffee?

5.  I conserve water by not running the faucet when I brush my teeth, only using the dishwasher when it’s completely full, soaking dishes instead of running hot water over them as I clean, etc.  But I can’t give up my long, hot showers.  It’s my little haven.  Sometimes I daydream so completely I forget if I’ve washed my hair or soaped up already, so I have to repeat.  An obvious (but wonderful) waste of water.

6. I’m often cold, but I hate wearing shoes (to the point that the dogs get excited when I put socks on as they know it only happens before we go for a walk).

There are plenty more, but I’m starting to fade so I’ll wrap it up.  I’m curious to know if anyone else is keenly aware of the contradictions in their lives or maybe I’m not so average after all.

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Baby weight

I’m going to be honest and put it all out there.  I’m so tired of all these moms saying they only gained 12 lbs while they were pregnant and they looked like they’d never been pregnant just a week after the baby was born.  Or the darn celebrities on the cover of People proclaiming “Their Diet Secrets! How (insert celebrity name here) lost all her baby weight in just six weeks!”  WHAT?!?!? You want to know their honest to goodness secrets?  They have personal chefs, personal trainers, nannies!!!  Their secret is that they get to focus on getting back in shape, while most of us have to focus on the baby!

So here’s the skinny ladies, I gained a whopping 55 lbs while I was pregnant.  55 lbs!!  Granted I did swell up in nearly every area of my body, retaining water at such an alarming rate (which was probably related to my gestational high blood pressure) that I have stretch marks everywhere.  So approximately 20 lbs was water and the actual baby and off quickly after the baby was born.  The last 35 was all up to me to lose.

It took me all of the last 9 months to lose.  I read an article about Angie Harmon (beautiful former model and actress) saying she always gives herself a year to lose the baby weight.  So I figured if Angie Harmon gets a year, so do I!  I mean who am I to thumb my nose at a such wisdom!  She looks pretty good, I think.

With this in mind, I signed up for Weight Watchers.  This program allows a lot of flexibility, as well as pre-set points for breast-feeding mothers.  I lost about 15 lbs on this program.  However, it wasn’t until I stopped breast-feeding that I was able to really commit to dieting.  Since then I lost another 10 lbs.  And on January 7th I renewed my diet commitment and lost the rest of the baby weight: 10 more lbs.

All in all it took just over 9 months to lose all the baby weight.  It took approximately 9 months to put it all on, so I guess it evens out!

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Today was one of those days when I considered putting Connor in a box on the front lawn, complete with a sign saying “Free to a good home”.  Not seriously, but its days like this that I daydream wistfully about life pre-baby.  Life when I could go to the bathroom without someone throwing a tantrum; when I could eat when I was hungry, sleep when I was sleepy. It was one of those days when everything set C off, whether it was a diaper change or my lunch choice, and I simply grit my teeth and continued to with whatever task was making him cry.

One day he’ll enjoy the gift of logic and I’ll be able to say things like “You’re tummy will continue to hurt and rumble with hunger unless you eat this” and he’ll know I’m right.  Perhaps he’ll even eat without too much complaint.  However, that day is not today.  C doesn’t understand that food makes him feel better, all he knows is that his tummy hurts right now!  So he cries while he eats  (My sister and I refer to this behavior as the Dumbledore–a reference to the Half Blood Prince when Dumbledore is forced to drink water that is torturous to him).  He cries while he has his diaper changed, though as soon as he is clean he begins to babble and laugh, happy again.

And while I reasonably know that days like to day are spawned by something.  I understand that C is unable to communicate with me what is wrong, so I can only guess.  Given his behavior, his low fever, and his teeth grinding, I suspect C has two more teeth coming in.  Yay…So until these teeth come in I know he’ll sleep poorly.  He will throw tantrums and generally be unpleasant.  In short, C will make me dream of my pre-baby existence.

And then something happens to remind me why we all do it.  As I trudge to C’s room, to soothe him back to sleep, only to find him standing, crying, and gripping the edge of the crib, I heave a large sigh.  Up he goes, into my arms, back to my room to lull him to sleep.  As we walk down the hall, C heaves his own sigh and lays his head on my shoulder.  Slowly his arms circle me neck and squeeze, his little hands petting my shoulder.  My heart swells.  C’s love for me isn’t why I do this, but it reminds me why I do: this little man depends on me for his life and well-being.  In return he’ll give me days of grief and moments of love.   I’ll take it.

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The Beta Lives!

Four days and 18 hours ago I received my first beta fish.  This was not something I sought, wanted, or asked for.  My well-meaning neighbors gifted me the little beta as a favor for their son’s birthday party.  The beta came in a tiny cup with a hole in the top, an informational pamphlet, a baggie of food, and candy (for me though, not him).  Since owning the little beta, I have been having an existential melt down!

Since changing him into a big bowl I happened to have stored away (I sometimes purchase things I may need in the future, especially if they are on sale), I am incredibly anxious about the life and well-being of the little beta.  For the entire first day he just sat in the bottom of the bowl.  I must have spent an hour just staring at him.  What was he doing?  I read the pamphlet,  and yes, I read that betas like to hang out at the bottom, but the darn pamphlet also said that if he was dragging his body along the rocks in the bottom he was sick.  So I worried over this all day.  Did his tail dragging along the bottom count as dragging?  Was he ill?  What should I do??

My back door was being replaced that day so I asked my handyman if he knew what was wrong with my fish.  He told me that I should have floated his cup in the bowl for an hour until the temperatures evened out.  Oh no! I killed my beta!

Since that terrible moment (yes I realize he is just a fish, and yes I’ve only owned him for a few days) I have been obsessing over my poor beta’s life.  I’m not even a big fan of owning fish! They don’t recognize their owners, they don’t do tricks, they can’t be pet.  And that baloney about how their swimming patterns are relaxing is just  patently untrue!  All this boils down to the simple fact that the beta was mine, he is my fish and, therefore, my responsibility.  Perhaps it is my mothering instinct kicking into overdrive, but I feel compelled to keep this little guy alive.

Every morning I arise and check on my little beta, each morning assuring myself the beta lives!  And today he finally got his name, having survived four days and 18 hours.  Since he tortures me we’ve named him Boris.

Perhaps Boris has a little lesson to teach me: hope survives.

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Did I mention that I cried on Christmas?  And then I went home and hid in my room while the baby finally slept, during which my kind, understanding family came over and watched football with my husband.  Oh yeah, and I didn’t just cry a little, I cried A LOT!!

So I may have mentioned that leading up to Christmas my precious son was teething…and sleeping in our bed….and not letting me sleep…and not napping….ugh….Anyways, that was my life.  On top of this I thought it would be lovely to continue on with my picture perfect Christmas.

I bought everyone thoughtful, desirable presents.  I decorated the house top to bottom.  I sent out special Christmas cards, took C to see Santa, hosted my in-laws and uncles for a Christmas Eve dinner (that I made from scratch), and I even managed to get gifts for the dogs.

By the time Christmas morning rolled around, I was pooped! I mean I was literally at the end of my tether.  I just wanted to have a nice, easy Christmas.  I made some cinnamon rolls for my husband and I, played with the dogs and their new toys, got C into his Christmas outfit, and headed to my parents.  One problem: C wouldn’t nap.  Not in the morning, not in the afternoon, no naps!

We had spent some time with my family at my parents house and were moving towards going to yet another, larger family gathering when I just lost it.  C wasn’t going to nap, he was crying, and there was still so much left to do for the day.  I just couldn’t face it!  So I cried.  I cried and cried and cried.  Finally my husband caught on that something was wrong and said “Are you ok, you look like you’re going to cry”, which sent me into another crying jag.  I managed to sob out “I’m <sob> so tired <sob> and I want <sob> to go home <sob, sob, sob>” .  Lovely.

Thankfully my family took pity on me and let me go home, put my tired baby and my tired self to bed.  So at 5pm on Christmas day I put on my pjs and got under the covers. I watched Christmas movies, ate sweets, and drank wine.  After a couple hours on my own I joined some of my family members who had sheepishly come over to watch some football before the giant family party at my grandparents.  I enjoyed just being in their company, watching football, relaxing.  When they went on their way, I simply returned upstairs and my husband made me Christmas Dinner: a grilled cheese sandwich.

This gift of understanding was probably the best Christmas gift I received this year from my lovely family.  So thanks family, I promise not to cry on Christmas next year!

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Ah…my poor little blog, I’ve neglected you yet again.  Oh well, the Christmas season is over and I can relax a little.

Christmas, as usual, was a bit of a mixed bag this year.  While I enjoyed my son’s first Christmas, I don’t really think I got the full enjoyment of children’s delight over things like presents, Santa, cookies, and carols.  My son is not yet 9 months old.  He had absolutely no idea what Christmas was!  And if you’ve seen his picture with Santa, you’ll know that he apparently thought I was crazy for sitting him on the knee of a fat stranger in a red suit.  He didn’t cry, but looked noticeably unamused.

Things C did enjoy:

pulling tissue paper out of bags

ripping wrapping paper

tossing toy after toy aside in favor of the first two items on the list.

tossing even the exciting paper aside in favor of the dogs’ squeaky toys

Mommy (or anyone really) singing Christmas songs (or any song really) to him

So all in all, I spent much too much time trying to make Christmas enjoyable for a 8 1/2 month old, but I am looking forward to next year when he’ll understand words like “toy” “cookie” and maybe even “Christmas”.

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