nope, not bitter at all

Me: What time are we meeting our friends at the Children’s museum? 9:00?

My Better Half: uh, not til 11:00…

Me: <raising one eyebrow>

My Better Half: I tried to get them to agree to meet around 9:00 but then they said “Why so early?!”

Me: Their kids must sleep in.

Me: F*ck them.

—-

I can at least take solace in the fact that last night the Yankees (their team) lost to the Red Sox (ours). While I drink my coffee and pray for an early nap.

Got Chuckle?

Does anyone have a recipe for homemade chloroform? I ask because I’m exhausted but I can’t sleep. Insomnia + exhaustion is a bad combination.

By the way, how do I know homemade chloroform even exists? Because I still remember a story My Better Half told me about a long time ago, where a friend of his figured out how to make it and called his homemade concoction “Chuckle” because the chemical makeup was something like CHCl or something. If you know how to score some, let me know. Til then I’ll be self medicating my insomnia with listening to the most boring podcasts I can find.

Vacation recap

Yesterday was my last day of vacation staycation off. I just don’t know what to call it. It’s probably no secret that a vacation with two kids 3 and under is hardly restful, so while calling it a vacation is wrong, even the “-cation” part of staycation just rubs me the wrong way. Here are some handy reminders that I may need to review when planning our next trip to ensure sanity next time around:

  • If at all possible, avoid making the first day of your time off a 19 hour day of packing, travel with the two kids 3 & under, trying to coax the two kids to sleep in unfamiliar beds and surroundings, and picking up all members of the party.
  • When hiking, make sure none of the children goes too far ahead, potentially selecting the wrong trailhead. You know, that one that goes 600 miles to the Mexican border? Avoid that happening.
  • Keep in mind that all sightseeing road trips are for everyone else. You will be spending every stop feeding a child, calming a child, or helping a child use the bathroom.
  • But fear not! You will have plenty of time to sightsee blue skies and trees from inside while you man your station at the kitchen sink, where you will be stranded doing dishes for 9 people, 4 of whom graze throughout the day, requiring an endless supply of clean dishes.
  • Be sure and eat out as much as possible at restaurants you’ve been dying to try. Because restaurants are tons of fun with kids 3 & under, am I right?! You may not get to eat the food you ordered your Better Half selects for you (because you’re not given the chance to read a menu nor are you around when orders are taken) until hours later but you’ll be sure to enjoy the ambiance of the potties, on account of the parade of children who decide one after another, but never simultaneously, that a trip to the potty is necessary.
  • Bring a bottomless supply of coffee because you will get no naps. None.
  • And/Or bring benadryl for the children.
  • And/Or BYOB. So you can doctor up your coffee so you can prevent yourself from becoming a total witch to your family. You won’t be going anywhere most days anyway.
  • The day your time off ends, you will get to go to bed at 6:00 p.m., though and sleep a glorious 11 hours. And it will not be enough.

blech. sick.

My life since last Thursday can be summed up as: alternating between tylenol and sudafed every 4-6 hours. I feel awful. I think it’s safe to say that I have been more sick since Baby was born than any other time in my life. Even though I managed to get a few catnaps this weekend and barely did anything besides lay around moaning, I stil felt straight up awful this morning. But I decided to go to work anyway because I have no sick time anyway and thought I could at least tough it through the morning with more sudafed and tylenol, like I did last week.

So I was sitting around literally counting the moments until I could bail, feeling just shitty, when my boss asked if I could go to the training workshop today in her stead. Why? “I feel so sleepy! My cats kept me up ALL night!”

I’m sorry. What?

Your kitty cats? You mean the ones that require constant vigilant supervision, feeding, bathing, entertaining, diapering, and soothing? Oh, wait, no. That would be my nine month old. That I took care of all weekend with, I’m quite certain, the flu. So pardon me if I’m out of give-a-shits.

A Problem Only for Upper Middle Class Moms

I started my new job almost a year ago, when I was six months pregnant. And within a couple weeks, my new boss connected me with a woman who works here who had just come back from maternity leave. I went up to talk with her one afternoon because she’d just enrolled her daughter in the same daycare we were considering. We compared notes on the daycare, and, naturally, touched base on a lot of other baby-related issues: hospitals and birth, pumping at work, and, of course, sleep. She told me the following anecdote:

“We had our first overnight away from the baby when she was about 3 months old. My in-laws kept her while my husband and I just went down the block and checked into a hotel. Right after check-in, we ordered room service, took a tylenol PM, and slept for, like, 12 hours.” I thought she was kidding. Thing is: she wasn’t kidding. One of my friends says to me, frequently, and with pity, “I always tell [our other friend] how bad I feel for you guys because you don’t have any family here, so you’ve never really had time away from Baby! I’m SO sorry! It must be really difficult.” Is it hard? You betcha. Is it worth every sleep deprived moment? Absolutely. Would we give anything for a night of uninterrupted sleep, since it’s been nine months without so much as a night off?

Sorry, had to get another cup of coffee.

Yes.

But let’s keep this in context. Do you really think that moms around the world feel sorry for themselves because they can’t get a night off? Do you think that moms across the US have the luxury to entertain the thought of getting a full night’s sleep, nevermind in a ritzy resort where they get room service and a pedicure and facial the next day? We certainly don’t. Clearly a first world problem. Especially in this sh*tty-ass economy.

Our world has been turned upside down, but in all the right ways. We are blessed with a healthy, adorable, loving, curious, funny, happy Baby. We couldn’t be luckier. So we’ll have to put up with being  sleep deprived and caffeine-dependant until she sleeps through the night since we don’t have someone who can take her. If that’s the biggest problem we have, we’re doing pretty damn well. We’ll just keep brewing more coffee so we can keep up with her.

Walk. Repeat.

I am exhausted. Despite baby sleeping longer and longer at night, I am about to face plant into my keyboard. Baby is super alert during the day, which is not necessarily new or tiring in and of itself, but she also requires something NEW. Every. 10. Minutes. That toy? I’ve played with it before. That cute baby in the mirror? What, like I’ve never seen my reflection before? That book? I’ve CHEWED IT ALREADY. WHAT ELSE YOU GOT?

One of the few activities that distracts her from the same old, same old is going for a walk. Maybe it’s because a walk is different every time. Even though I have established markers to hit – the school, the park, the other park, the fancy ‘hood with the horses & ostriches – I just take whatever street suits me, going whichever way something catches my eye as long as it advances us towards one of the markers.  Maybe she, too, notes something different every time we go around the neighborhood even if the highlights are usually the same. The good news is it buys me some time – whatever time is spent walking is time I don’t have to be coming up with some new game, activity, or destination. So we go for walk after walk on the weekends, especially. Certainly it could be worse. It’s beautiful outside. Not too hot, not too cold, and it’s nice to get some fresh air & exercise. Besides, we gotta compress our enjoyment of the outdoors while we can – before long I’ll be bitching about how it’s too goddamned hot to put on pants.

The bad news is it requires me to be both awake and moving. Don’t think I haven’t questioned at least one of those requirements – somehow strapping her stroller to the treadmill and turning it on while I go  take a nap, but I think that kind of “walk” wouldn’t have nearly the same effect on her. So til I figure out a way around the whole awake AND moving at the same time thing means that I am very, very tired.

Yes, Virginia, There is Such a Thing as ‘Too Much Coffee’

This morning, baby woke up to feed at 2 a.m. and, as is her usual pattern these days, just needed a little top-off to get her back to sleep, so she was back out within 10 minutes. Me, on the other hand, could not get back to sleep.

At all.

So when it came time to get up, I stumbled into the kitchen to get the coffee that I so desperately would require to make it through a workday. I poured a gigantic mug full and drank it, and packed another mug for the road. Drank most of it en route.

When I got to work, I poured another cup.

And now I feel ill.

Winter Hibernation?

It’s funny how the universe gives you exactly what you need. The night before last, I woke at 2 with baby, and couldn’t get back to sleep. At all. Which meant I had been up for 16 hours straight by 6 p.m. last night. After we picked baby up from daycare, we went home and she was fussy, so we put her down, and here’s what unfolded:

6:30 – asleep. Totally, utterly unconscious.

40 minutes later-

Me: “I guess she didn’t get a long enough nap this afternoon.”

My Better Half: “mmm.”

30 minutes later –

Me: “Jeez. I guess she was super tired. Do you think she’s getting sick?”

My Better Half: “Nah, just sleepy.”

1 hour later –

Me: “Do you think she’s…okay?”

My Better Half: “just tired.”

2 hours later:

Me: “I just checked on her again. Do you think she’s, like, getting sick or something?”

My Better Half: “She’s just tired.”

3 hours later:

Me: “IS SHE OKAY?”

My Better Half: <eyes rolling>

4 hours later:

Me: “Uh, well, I wouldn’t so much call it a problem as totally out of character for her. She’s, um, well. Sleeping.”

My Better Half: “ARE YOU CALLING THE DOCTOR?!?! GET OFF THE PHONE!”

6 Months, 6 Life Lessons

Now that I’ve got a 6 month old on my hands, I think it’s time to reflect on what being a mom has taught me thus far. So here are the 6 things I’ve learned so far from baby, one for each month:

  1. Be Yourself. Having never been a parent before, I had no idea that there were formal parenting styles out there – Attachment, Slow, Ferberization. I don’t know about you, but if someone asked me “what kind of person are you?” I’d just look at them dumbfounded, and it seems just as strange to confine and box in my parenting role. Do what feels naturally; that is what you will excel at. Trust your instincts. Use common sense. Whatever works for you? Do that. Your baby wants you to be you, accepts you as you, and loves you for who you are. Being your authentic self is all your baby asks of you.
  2. You Can’t Fix Everything. Sometimes you will not be able to sort out what’s wrong with baby. You’ve changed the diaper, you’ve fed, you’ve held and rocked her, you’ve sung to her, you’ve walked her, and yet? Still crying. You will try everything in your bag of tricks. Your family, friends, and neighbors will try different things. And yet, nothing seems to help. Then? All of a sudden, the clouds part and your happy, content baby returns. You may never know what was wrong in that moment, but just know that your very efforts to try to console her are what matters. That brings us to:
  3. This, too, Shall Pass. Right after we first brought baby home from the hospital, some friends brought over their 6 month old, and gave us some of the best advice we could have heard: Don’t spend too much time trying to sort out what is “wrong”, because baby is ever-changing, and so her needs and development dictate that it will always be something different. One week, it might be that she seems hungry every hour and that you may never sleep again, but then the next week she seems to have settled into more of a feeding routine and goes 3-4 hours between nursing. One month it might be that she needs to be held an awful lot and you may never be able to eat anything that isn’t hand-held again, but the next month she seems slightly more independent. Just in the past 6 months, I’ve seen baby go from sleeping only an hour or two at a time to sleeping 6 hours at a stretch; from eating only an ounce or two at a time to hoovering a 5-oz. bottle; from not wanting to be put down to wanting to play by herself on her rug for a bit. Every phase is surpassed by the next, and you don’t want to miss a moment, so don’t spend your time wondering what’s wrong. Instead:
  4. Take Every Moment at Face Value. I’m not about to tell you that every single instant with your little one is a blessing or that you should try and cherish every. single. minute (and I thank Momastery for stating that so well). But there is something to be said about the application of mindfulness meditation to being a mom. If you are thinking of what’s next, you might miss that funny look you’re getting right now. And if you’re stressed about the fussiness from last night, you might be stressing out your baby, too. They’re very sensitive to you. So try to just take life moment by moment. And see what unfolds. Just being a keen observer of my baby is, in itself, fascinating. One moment she’ll be crying, then that cry will turn into a babble, then that babble into a smile and half-hearted giggle, then all serious. There’s no predicting, and it’s fun to go along for the ride.
  5. Make Time for Play. I often hear or read about baby routines, and it’s usually all about when baby sleeps or eats, but what’s important to me is not a routine, but to be sure and make time for the small stuff. I find playing with baby to be the most joyful experience I can imagine. Her contagious giggles, her wide-eyed smile, and her desire for you to “do it again!” are all I need as a reminder for how pleasurable life’s smallest moments (and people) can be. Play is when I discover the new moves she’s got, new facial expressions, new reactions, and the things that she enjoys the most. It’s also fun for us – she has a magical ability to make all adults around her behave like utter goofballs.
  6. Dismiss All Unsolicited Advice – including this post. Take everything as it is – close friends and family offer advice with only the best intentions of offering you some tried-and-true tips that worked for them. Your pediatrician may have some great insights for you on why your baby might be behaving a certain way. Folks at daycare will offer their helpful “suggestions” for you. And total strangers will come up to you to offer their two cents. If it sounds ok and the source is good, something to think about. But the most important rule is #1 – Be Yourself. So if any advice you get seems a little odd to you or just doesn’t gel with your style? Fuhgeddaboudit!