Friday, October 31, 2008

Tricks

So this year I didn't feel like dressing up for Halloween but I also didn't want to be a party pooper. I told people I WAS wearing a costume- I was a MILF. I got a good number of laughs (and more disgusted looks).

As I drove home from my parents in law's home for dinner (husband was sick) I noticed it was unbelievably foggy as I was having a hard time seeing the road. But when I stopped for gas and got out of the car, the air was completely clear! Note to self: defrost button.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

It's Not Just Gas Anymore

Jacob now smiles back when you smile at him. Happiness is contageous. It's the cutest thing. It's nice to know he actually means it and that it's not just gas




Tuesday, October 28, 2008

No One Ever Warned Me

That I would no longer be able to enjoy buttered popcorn at a movie theater without thinking about the gooey, runny poops of a breast-fed baby (they smell EXACTLY the same!).

The most touching sound I would ever experience is the sound of my husband singing my baby to sleep in the next room.

That I could make my baby wear a sweater vest anytime I wanted and there would be absolutely NOTHING HE COULD DO ABOUT IT!

Clouds In My Silver Lining

The following post is a little dark so I apoligize for that. I kept going back and forth on whether I really wanted to post this but for some reason I really just want to get it out... Maybe this post is a sign that I need to get drunk, a shrink, or a religion.

I have a morbid obsession with death. Maybe it's not so much an obsession but a constant awareness of my transience. You know the cliche about young people- that they think they will live forever? Not me. The fact that I will one day be gone consumes me on a daily basis. I know this can't be healthy but I also wonder if I'm the only one?

The better my life gets and the happier I am in this world, the worse this awareness is. My good moments and happy experiences are often clouded by the realization that I will lose all these things one day, even the memory of them. Sometimes it's even hard not to view my life as a count down of the years I have left.

I think this awareness became more acute since Jacob was born. I love him so much and I can't imagine not being with him. The same goes for my husband. These two people give me so much joy and fill my days with so much love. The fact that one day I will lose them is just unbearable. So I guess the downside to being so happy and finding life so precious is that you just have more to give up in the end. Seriously, how morbid is that?!

When I think about giving birth to Jacob, I am often torn between the awe I feel over bringing a precious new life into the world and guilt that the life I helped create will one day have to leave this world behind too.

Up until I graduated from college, I was quite religious. Then, I was content to live my life believing that I would end up in the happy heavenly afterlife I learned about at Sunday School. But somewhere in the past couple years, I lost my ability to believe in what I cannot see or touch or understand. Now I require science and logic and I have a hard time believeing that there is anything more than what I can physically see and touch. I hate that my innocence and blind faith is gone. I would be greatly consoled by faith in the divine and in knowing there is a pleasant afterlife waiting for me.

I try to talk about these fears with my husband but he just looks at me like I'm crazy. Instead of talking about this, he tries to distract me or take my mind off the issue. But it's never too far from my mind. At night I lay in bed feeling the warmth of the man beside me and listening to the calm breathing of the baby across the room and I just tear up thinking of the day I will be forced to leave them behind.

Monday, October 27, 2008

One Trail. Two Bodies.

I did it! I completed my first run since Jacob was born. For the past two weeks I've known that I was recovered enough to hit the running trails but I was simply too terrified to do so. Less than two months ago, I had my stomach muscles cut open. And though everything has been healing just fine, the thought of going on a vigorous run after such an ordeal left me with an image of me in the middle of a wooded trail holding my guts into place over my newly opened incision. If that image won't keep you from exercising, nothing will.

Then I had my official six week check up (at eight weeks post baby thanks to my over-booked doctor's clinic) and I explained my fear to my doctor in person. When she finished looking at me like I was a crazy person, she told me I was healed very nicely that it was definately safe to run. I just had to get over my crazy mental barriers.

If you ask me, running is a 95% mental activity anyway. I'm used to battling and conquering my mind. This is something I do each time I lace up.

When I woke up this morning, I decided today was the day. Today I was going to destroy my inner monster. I like to think this newfound courage came from a store of undiscovered bravery deep within. But, truth be told, I think it had more to do with that huge Taco Bell burrito I ate last night, the one with a bagillion excess calories, and the fact that my bathroom scale has stopped tipping in my favor.

I bundled Jacob up, strapped him into the baby jogger, grabbed my shoes and bounded out the door. At first my steps were awkward and uncertain. My lungs burned as if I was racing towards a finish line. And my stomach muscles seemed to groan in protest, unsure of exactly what they were supposed to be doing. I was slighlty disappointed. I don't remember running ever being this hard for me. Not in middle school, not in highschool. Not even at the beginning of a new cross country season after allowing my body to atrophy all summer long. It was with great mental discipline that I propelled my legs out for each step.

Somewhere between mile one and two, things got better. My body warmed up and I started stripping off my many layers. My feet fell into a rythm that felt slightly familiar- like runner's deja-vu. I eased up on my pace a little and my lungs felt stronger. Before you know it, I was flying. Well it seemed like I was flying. It felt incredible. The sweat, the burning, the rythmic pounding on the sidewalk. I completed three miles in 36 minutes!

The baby jogger worked great. It was such a smooth ride even over potholes and uneven sidewalks. Jacob even fell into a contented sleep. I thought it would bother me to push a stroller on a run but it was no inconvenience at all. If anything, it gave me a great arm work out.

The best part of the run was being able to share the experience with Jacob. He's been on many many runs with me but he has never before been able to feel the sun, breathe the fresh air, or be exposed to the panoramic mountain and water view of my favorite running path. I loved sharing my favorite activity with him. I hope someday we will be running side by side on these trips. But for now, I'm stretching out my slightly sore muscles and planning a week full of amazing road runs.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Barack-O-Lantern

I had a patriotic weekend! First of all, I filled out my ballot and cast my vote for the next President. This time around, voting felt extra special. For the first time since I turned 18, I was very excited and felt passionate about the candidate I voted for. I marked a line next to his name with sincere and heart felt exuberance. This is what democracy is truly about- voting for something you actually WANT rather than simply chosing the lesser evil.

The moment felt so special and reverant that I actually put down my crying baby so that I could use two hands and my full attention for this important task. Hey, I don't even put down my crying baby to apply mascara- that's how important this moment was to me.

Then my husband and I went to a pumpkin carving party. My husband had the most creative pumpkin and he carved it totally freehand, without a pattern. Can you guess where his inspiration came from?

Then my friends insisted on playing Anne Gedes and had a creative photo shoot with Jacob as the subject. He was a very good sport although I think he might have pumpkin nightmares throughout his entire early childhood.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Onomatopoeia

The following consersation happened today:

Me: "I'm a little worried about the breaks. They were making a squeaking noise."
Husband: "As long as they weren't squealing, we're fine."
Me (confused): "Well what do you consider a squeal?"
Husband: "Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeal"
Me: "But that's it! That's the squeak."
Husband: "No. A squeak sounds like this...eeek."
Me: "No way. A squeak is like sqeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeak."
Husband: "You're crazy. That is not a squeak. Then what's a squeal?"
Me: "Squeeeeeal. Duh. Someone never learned their onomatopoeias."
Husband: "Look at me, I'm Cee. I can win every argument by using big words. Wah."

Dear New Roof,

Because of you there are about 7 burly, bearded, carhart-wearing men outside right now circling my house. Although they are making more noise than a traveling circus, their presence still catches me off guard. Like when I'm feeding my baby and one of their heads suddenly appears in the window (showing some boob can only help at this point right? Discount anyone?). Or when I'm folding my underwear and I look out the window to find three men on a dump truck staring shamelessly through the blinds.

I would also like to blame you for the crankiness of my baby. My baby snaps out of his slumber if you whisper in another room, so the incessant pounding and swearing coming from outside really doesn't help much. Sometimes I wonder if the roofers really ARE installing you or if they are just ripping apart our house. Each time I look out the window, huge chunks of wood fall from the sky. It gives me splinters just thinking about it.

At least I'm having a splendid time getting to know those roofers. What better way to get to know someone by swapping some hind-skin on a porcelain toilet. Is it common practice for roofers to use your bathroom? I'm a generous person and I don't mind sharing. But I'd prefer if they would not share the contents of their bowels with me by flushing the dang toilet next time. And I had a nice chat with one of them in my drive way as he was pulling our white picket fence out of the ground. And by nice chat, I mean he asked if I ever lived in Eagle's Nest Apartments because he once hooked up with a girl that looked just like me. I said "no" and we shared one uber long minute of awkward silence.

Finally New Roof, I want you to know that I had to make a lot of sacrifices to bring you into existence. In fact, I didn't even WANT you but my husband talked me into it (something about our old roof caving in with the next rainfall). In order for YOU to be HERE, I had to sacrifice a brand new car AND a really nice vacation to a location in proximity to the equator. Don't think I didn't deserve them either!

So New Roof, if you knew what was good for you, you would keep our heads dry for a damn long time! It wouldn't hurt if you grew a retractable sun roof in the living room either.

Love,

Your New Owner

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Getting Tech Savy: Jacob Videos!

It took me long enough to realize I could upload videos with just the click of a button! Here is some fresh footage of Jacob- taken today. If you listen close enough you can hear a low grumbling noise in the second half...who knew baby toots could be so cute, not to mention Blogger fodder.

video

Jacob snoring:

video

Monday, October 20, 2008

I Share My Bed With Two Men

The little one tends to claw the bigger one in the forehead with his sharp nails. I like to think they are fighting over me.

When I was pregnant, I swore I woud never let my baby sleep in my bed. First of all, because I was afraid to roll over on him in my sleep. And secondly, that's where all the *magic* happens. I wasn't about to let a quarter pint human ruin my love life.

Funny how a handful of four hour nights of sleep can be so persuasive. Jacob used to sleep just fine in his bassinet by himself. But something happened a couple weeks back, either he started suffering from a sudden onslaught of colic or he swore an oath to make me as miserable as possible. Now he will only sleep on his own for 30-50 minute intervals before he erupts into bouts of screaming. Is this payback for those onions and green peppers I keep eating?

The only way I can get a half decent night's sleep is by letting him curl up next to me in bed. For the foreseeable future, I'm stuck sleeping in the same position all night long: on my side with one arm under his head and wrapped around his body. At first I swore that I would only do it one night in order to catch up on some desperately needed sleep. But it's become a habit. When you're starved for some shut eye at 3:30 am, nothing else seems to matter.

As much as it annoys me that my sleeping comforts are being encroached upon by the little monster, I have to say that falling asleep to the smell of freshly bathed baby while feeling his little breaths against my chest is so precious. And nothing beats waking up with a cooing baby in your face. Until he lands a batch of invigorated baby kicks to your abdomen or soaks through his diaper and pants and onto your bed sheets.

I have a feeling that four years from now I will be scrunched up in a race care bed in Jacob's room.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

You Asked!

BEFORE:


AFTER:

Just Jacob




Friday, October 17, 2008

One Wife's Junk Is Her Husband's Home Decor

My husband is a neat freak. He always thinks the house is a mess, even when I think it's exceptionally tidy. That's why I totally thought he would appreciate that I organized and dusted the house for two hours.

Except when he walked in the door for lunch the only thing he said was, "Hey, where'd you put all my crap?!" In defense, I yelled, "I just spent TWO HOURS cleaning your house, thank you very much!" His reply was, "You didn't vacuum the rug."

OMG. Enough Said. But I will continue anyway...

This is what I don't get. I tidy up and the house is still a mess. But my husband considers the following to be valuable additions to our home decor:
  • a two year old receipt for The Kite Runner (and various other purchases)
  • business cards of people he doesn't even remember
  • padlocks that are missing keys
  • Seahawks construction hat
  • a bagillion fugly ceramic pinch pots he made in third grade
  • an old rooster serving tray (the infamous Cock Plate) that he found in the basement from the previous owner
Seriously, he can leave these things all over the house in random piles and be completely content. This makes me think he's only anal about MY stuff. I'm praying for the day when I'm brave enough to throw away the provacative girly poster he keeps in the basement along with all his ugly bachelor pad Dredge posters. But I'm going to need a lot more than "I'm the mother of your child" to keep myself alive when I do so.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Blonde By Any Other Color...

This weekend my hair changed color. Not by itself like the magic rainbow horse in Wizard of Oz, although wouldn't that be cool? I had my hair DID. First let me preface this by saying that I've had the same haircut for years. Medium length with long layers and blonde highlights to accentuate my natural dirty blonde-ish color.

I think I just woke up Saturday morning, looked in the mirror and had a new-mommy life crisis. The kind of life crises where you think, "Omg, I'm someone's mom. I'm someone's mom AND I'm required to feed that someone every three hours for the next eleven months AND I have a mortgage AND I've never been to India AND I'm one step closer to the end AND (as a final straw) I have REALLY BAD HIGHLIGHT GROWOUT!

So I got myself to the Salon faster than a baby can spit up on a newly washed shirt. But somewhere between me asking my hair dresser (that's a funny title because hair doesn't wear clothing!) to dye my hair back to it's original color and me dishing out way too much money, something went horribly wrong. Horribly BRUNETTE wrong.

I know I've been in denial about my hair color since I was six when a hair dresser chopped off the last of my bleach blonde baby hair. In first grade my best friend colored a picture of us together and I threw a hissy fit that she colored my hair light brown. "What is that?!" I yelled at her, "My hair is blonde, NOT brown!" Then in second grade when we were coloring self portraits, meany Matt Smith (who always scribbled on my desk) exclaimed to me that my hair was Dirty Dishwater Blonde. I ran up to the art teacher with tears in my eyes in search of a second opinion. According to my diplomatic Art Teacher, my hair was "golden blonde." Then after I graduated from college, I started highlighting my hair as a final act of denial.

To me, being blonde was just who I was as a person. It was as central to my identity as my running habit and my love for chocolate bars.

So when I asked my hair dresser to take me back to my natural color, I was finally accepting the fact that I am who I am. I was accepting that the almost 25 year old me is tied down to student loans, a house, a husband and a son. That I have never travelled the world or explored the jungle or solved a mystery (other than to find the location of missing house keys and work socks) or raided a lost arc in Egypt or flown an airplane. I never became fluent in a foreign language and I've never been on an adventure grander than my middle school trip to Space Camp.

While I was prepared to look reality in the face, I was not prepared to walk out of the salon as a 100% brunette. Either I was REALLY in denial about my hair color before or my hair dresser took come artistic liberties. I'm inclined to blame my hairdresser because she was calling me by the wrong name the entire time. *SIDE NOTE: You know how awkward it is when you don't correct someone the first time? It makes you look bad to correct them later and so they keep on calling you the wrong name for the rest of your life and you have to pretend that's your actual name?*

Anyway, I'm starting to get used to this new look and I'm almost starting to like it. I can't yet say the same for the new perspective on my identity.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Cat Farts

What is worse than the smell of baby poo, and heck, worse than even the bodily functions of a husband?

Cat farts.

These are an all too frequent phenomenon in the Palmer house. One whiff of the invasive odor sends my husband and I to our knees, groveling on the floor with our hands over our noses. Who knew cats could even DO such things?!?!

The best part is...when it's your digestive system's turn to express itself, you can blame it on the cats As long as you can keep a straight face as you yell, "omg, the cat farted again!"

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Goodbye To Freedom

Part of me loves spending every minute with Jacob and another part of my longs for freedom.

I miss having down time. Me Time. Time to waste carelessly on the internet all weekend long. I miss being able to shower, eat, watch movies, read books whenever I want and not just during the precious, short time that Jacob is napping (which is never, by the way). I can't even take ten minutes to soak my ingrown toenails without interruption (gross, I know). This makes me wonder how moms manage to take care of themselves at all!

I heard endlessly during my pregnancy that my whole life would change and that babies were hard work. But I never imagined...nor could I ever have prepared for this.

Don't get me wrong. It's wonderful having Jacob in my life and I would never give him up for one million uninterrupted stress-free showers or an endless amount of Me Time. I could just use a thirty minute break sometime (heck I'd settle for ten minutes).

For that reason, I can't wait to go back to school in January. I'm working on getting all my classes together just two days a week. Two days of being a student and five days of being a mom each week. Sounds like a good balance to me.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Lessons From Mommy-ville

Things I've learned:

1. How to put on mascara with one hand while bouncing up and down and only slightly resembling a transvestite afterwards.

2. How to nurse a baby while sleeping (Probably not recommended. I can see headlines now: "Baby dies from boob suffocation." My husband would say that that's not such a bad way to go...).

3. To do each of the following things in less than five minutes: shower (since when did shampooing become a luxury?), make dinner (hot dogs anyone?), eat dinner, have sex, use the bathroom.

4. That baby boys are born with excellent aim. Exposed baby wee wee. Mommy's open mouth. He shoots. He SCORES!

5. How torturous it is to have to go to the bathroom while you're feeding your baby. Seriously, doing the wiggly pee dance is not an option when your baby is trying to eat. And I can't deny that I've considered nursing on the toilet. But really, would you want to eat your dinner while YOU were taking a pee? Nu uh.

6. That mustardy baby poo can travel unnoticed. That's all I'll say about this one.

Now pictures of my insomniac baby (who says babies sleep all the time and can I sue them for some kind of crime against humanity?).

This is a rare occasion in the Palmer house: baby sleeping.


The Stink Face




Thursday, October 9, 2008

Post Baby Body Image

I feel lame lately that I don't have anything to blog about except my new life with a baby. I have no law school adventures to capture into writing. No interesting insights about the legal profession to post about. And no lessons learned from a legal job. This blog will likely be all baby for the next couple weeks... because, right now, the baby is my job, my education and my life.

Ok, now that I got that confession out of the way...

It's been five weeks since Jacob was born and I'm still getting to know my new body. Parts of it are comfortably familiar and there are other parts that I still have to get accustomed to.

The Big Issue, of course, is weight gain and weight loss. I gained 35 pounds while I was pregnant. That's a whole 10 pounds more than I was aiming for. But the biggest thing I learned about being pregnant is that your body no longer belongs to just you and you have to let go of the things you cannot control. No matter how I watched what I ate, I could not control my weight gain. Some weeks I would gain nothing and eat like a pig. Other weeks I was pretty meticulous and would still gain 5 pounds. I just had to realize that my body knew what it was doing and let baby take over for a couple months.


The good news is that in the first three weeks, I quickly shed 30 of those pounds. Seriously! 30 pounds in three weeks! I was NOT expecting that. I didn't even have to work at it. I think that means that most of my weight gain was baby, placenta, extra blood, and water. And nursing helps as well. As they say nursing burns about 500 calories a day- that means sitting on my butt watching tv is equivalent to running 5 miles! My waistline is pretty close to familiar territory now and I love being able to fit into my old clothes. I'm totally rediscovering my wardrobe, it's like I went on a shopping spree!


The bad news? While I dropped weight like crazy the first three weeks, I still have five pounds to go. And for the past two weeks my bathroom scale has shown no change. I hope these last five pounds start disappearing when I can run again.

The hardest thing to have to get used to is the five inch scar across the bottom of my adbomen. It's not so bad, but it will be a permanent reminder of the dreadfully traumatic night that I was sliced open. When I look at it, I can't help but focus on the things the doctors did to my body- like take out my uterus, move around my organs and then remove some of them before cleaning them up and placing them back inside me like neatly folded laundry in a dresser. I feel like the poor man in the game of Operation. Just thinking about it makes me queezy.

One thing I never anticipated was that the area between my belly button and my incision would be numb. Apparently the numb feeling is the result of the doctors cutting across major nerves in my abdomen and I can expect the numbness to last for a LONG time (some people are permanently numb).

Then there is the stretch marks. I don't have many but I'm pretty bitter about the ones I do have. The way I see it, I got cheated. I didn't get a single stretch mark until AFTER my due date. After then, they slowly crept up on me a little more each day I went over due as if they were mocking or taunting me. So if Jacob would have been born on time....you get the picture.

Another remnant of the whole ordeal is a bruise somewhere in my spine. It hurts when I bend my back in certain ways. No doubt that is a blessing of the HUGE epidural needle.

Finally: Doing The Deed. Hurts. At five weeks post baby I thought it was ok to resume having sex with my husband. And I did have a C-section so I thought I would have it easier than people who had a vaginal delivery. It wasn't necessarily the sex that I missed, it was the intimacy, being physically close, and feeling desirable that I missed. But we didn't get too far. It hurt like the "first time" and I'm pretty sure being nervous didn't help. (Apologizing ahead of time for the TMI) Despite our longings, we're moving slowly and going a little longer each night until everything feels right again. At this rate I hope to hit the five minute mark sometime next week.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Rubbing Elbows

Last night my husband and I attended an event for local democrats. The event consisted of local candidates giving speeches about why we should elect them and then watching the Presidential debate, which was projected onto a huge screen in our historic theater.

It felt great to shed my sweats and puffy vest and wriggle into a nice dress skirt and heels. For the first time in weeks (maybe months) I felt not just like a member of the human race, but I felt hot! It was great leaving Jacob home with my sister too. I was only gone two hours but it was the longest I've ever been away from him. I enjoyed the break.

My husband and I sat at an empty table reserved for my husband's boss (who never showed). I had just finished making some unprofessional remark about how Obama made me hot all over when my husband nudged me and nodded toward two men and one woman who sat down unnoticed on my other side. One happened to be the old Mayor who is currently running for State Representative, the other was a State Senator and the third was the Speaker of the House of Representatives. I turned red hoping they hadn't heard my comment.

My husband and I are fairly used to being around elected figures. My husband works for a public agency and I interned at that agency for almost two years. The work put us into direct contact with Mayors and County Commissioners (who sit on the board of the agency and technically are the real bosses), and State Representatives. I even got to job shadow one of our State Representatives two years ago and when I see her at functions, she still remembers me. That, of course, makes me feel special. For a while, I even shared an office with our Congressman, thought he was rarely there.

My point is this isn't the only time I've been humiliated in front of elected officials. Two years ago, at a dinner function after I had my wisdom teeth pulled out, I was seated next to a County Commissioner and a local Mayor. They witnessed my undainty attempt to eat cooked carrots with swollen gums. At least three of those carrots popped out of my sore mouth and onto the floor/my lap.

Then at a conference dinner in San Francisco, we dined with our boss, a County Commissioner, and her very short Republican husband. After three glasses of wine, the Commissioner's husband talked about his recent trip to Disneyland and how much he hated it. My husband then shot out a remark about how he would hate it too if he was too short to ride on the rides.Turns out he had a sense of humor...Thank GOD!

But last night, it was very cool to sit next to the Senator and Speaker of the House. I got to listen to the elected officials at our table talk like real people and not just politicians. My favorite comment was by the Senator. While holding a chicken kebob in one hand he snickered, "I never pass up an opportunity to eat meat on a stick."

About the debate: I'm not a die-hard democrat but I'm certainly not a republican. I like to take things issue by issue and I will vote for the person I agree most with regardless of party ties. It was a little infuriating to see the intense democrats at the event make rude and ignorant comments about McCain's answers during the debate. I agree that he had some awful and redundant answers (sometimes he completely failed to answer the qt!). I will also say that he sounded like a whiny baby when he asked for more time to speak ("Obama got more time, I want more time too!"). But I feel like some people want to just hate him without sincerely trying to listen to his position or give him a chance. Of course, I think he blew any chance he would have been given, but some people at the event were just so negative.

Obama on the other hand was patient and calm and intelligent and gracious. I think I'm in love.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Motherhood Is Falling In Love 100 Times A Day

Everytime I look into his eyes, feel his soft skin, or hear his expressive cooing, I fall in love with Jacob again. It's daunting how I can never tire of watching him and how his simple existence never stops amazing me. I spend every second of the day by his side but every time I glance at him I'm still overcome with awe. And the deepest love.




Sunday, October 5, 2008

Life Is Priceless?

Not acording to the hospital where I brought one into the world.

It's no secret that kids are expensive. But I had no idea one baby could put us back a small fortune before the age of five days. Right now I'm offering libations to the gods of health insurance. Without insurance, there is no way I could afford to give birth to, not to mention raise, children.

The total damage for five days in the hospital, including 25 hours of labor-related services and drugs, antibiotics, one cesarean operation, newborn medical care and a number of unspecified "misc. hospital services" is a whopping... (drumroll) ...

$ 23,081.85.

Yes, please don't forget the 85 cents (it's enough to buy one bag of skittles).

This price does not include my numberous bills for pre-natal medical care and ultrasounds. It also does not include baby's first check up and circumcision. It also does not include the costs of OB services... Damn.

Our total responsibility for Jacob's tremendous price tag is: 1,417.56 (hence the libations to health insurance gods). And I have to say that he is absolutely worth every penny. But that doesn't mean we aren't feeling the pinch. We got this bill AFTER we put a down payment on a new roof for our home (which s $13K) and AFTER we decided that we need to buy a new used vehicle (our '95 Aerostar van with 230,000 miles on it just isn't safe anymore).

This is going to be a lean next couple of years.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

One Of The Girls (Yes! I'm Still A Member!!)

Tonight, I not only got to talk to grown ups, but I got to talk to grown ups of the female variety!

It's so rare that I get to spend time with my friends. And I don't really know if I have close friends at this point. I'm a homebody for one and all my friends live at least an hour away. Also, I'm a bit of a self proclaimed loner. I need a lot of down time and I have to be in the mood for socializing. Most of the time, being in social settings and spending time with anyone other than my husband just drains me of energy. (In fact, my husband is the first and only person I have met that never drains me). Usually social plans feel more like obligations than fun- even though I usually end up enjoying myself. Finally preserving friendships usually requires active maintenance and keeping in touch. I'm so bad at doing this.

For those reasons, I don't really have close friends right now. And there is no one that I communicate with on a regular basis (other than my husband) who might qualify as a best friend. But I do have friends from high school and law school that I occasionally meet up with.

Tonight two girls who I met through law school (both of whom dropped out last year) came over to visit me Jacob. I put together a spread of cheese, baguettes, dip and strawberry wine (my first whole glass in ten months!). We played with Jacob aand enjoyed two and a half full hours of girl talk. It was amazing! I really needed that!

For the past four weeks I've spent most of my time talking to an infant. When I do get adult conversation, it's really just my husband. As much as I like talking to him, you can't enjoy good girl talk with your husband (sex, periods, gossip, boys and politics- we ARE law students and ex-law students). When I do go out it's usually with my husband and his friends (guys and their occasional girlfriends) because he has a tight group of old highschool buddies who are always getting together.

While I'm great at being crass and making stupid remarks like "one of the guys," it was so refreshing to just be "one of the girls."

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Long Overdue Breakdown

It's been an incredibly long day, afternoon and evening.

The opening scene: It's 6:30 pm. Jacob is nestled in my arms in the rocking chair. His gummy toothless mouth is open wide, eyes clamped closed in tired passion, his cheeks are damp from tears, and his face is red and furiously wrinkled. He is bawling his eyes out and has been off and on for over two hours despite my active rocking, patting, nursing, singing, walking, swinging, dancing and various other types of baby consoling.

He is exhausted but just wont shut his eyes. At 6:30, he still hadn't slept a wink since his very short 11am nap.

And me? I'm on the verge of giving up. I'm exhausted- not just from the past two hours but from weeks of getting no more than five hours of broken, interrupted sleep each night. I'm so close to setting this tired, screaming baby on the floor and just walking out of the room. But, of course, I don't. Instead, I'm staring down at the flailing Jacob in my arms and bawling my own eyes out.

There are many reasons for my own tears.

First, I feel like a failure of a mom. Mothers are supposed to be the center of a baby's world. If a mother's voice and touch can't console a baby- then what can? Why can't I calm my own baby down and help him drift to sleep?

Second, I feel incredibly guilty for wanting to walk away. To let him cry himself into a coma because it seems like that is where the night is heading.

Third, I'm beyond exhausted. Exhausted from nights of little sleep and exhausted from bouncing Jacob around for two hours straight.

Also, my baby is crying. He is upset and tired and uncomfortable. Just the sound of his distress makes me weepy. Yes, I'm the kind of mom who cries when her baby cries.

Finally, I'm desperate. I don't have a clue about what to do. Nothing is working, I'm at the end of my rope. I'm angry and impatient. At this rate, I could be doing this ALL NIGHT.

That's when my husband came in the room, took Jacob and told me to leave the room and get some rest. I did, reluctantly. But I did not rest. How could I fall asleep to the sound of my overstimulated baby crying furiously? So...I went on the internet and googled, "how to make baby sleep." Sadly, I did not find the quick fix or the magic advice that I was searching for.

But I did find new perspective.

I stumbled across a website in which a mother talks about her own problems getting her babies to sleep. This mother was pretty much against the "letting baby cry it out" method. She didn't promise a cure all sleep method. Instead she talked about how helpless babies are and how they rely on us for all their needs. She talked about how, like we miss our husbands when they leave, babies can actually miss their mothers when their mothers leave the room. I have no idea if this is correct, but the very thought of my baby actually missing my presence got to me.

She talked about how babies are meant to be held and craddled- this is why they are designed not to walk until they are a year old. She talked about the power of touch and how babies develop by being touched and by touching others. Most powerful, however, was when the author of this site talked about how fast babies grow. Babies are only small and helpless for a short period of time and before you know it, you blink and they are in college. She explained how this age might be rough and exhausting but that it only last so long and then your babies leave you. We only have a finite number of days to rock and cuddle our babies.

This website saved my evening and my sanity. Not because it offered a magic formula to make my baby stop crying and GO TO SLEEP ALREADY. But because it reminded me how powerful my role is as Jacob's mom. The love and care I bestow upon him now will set the stage for him years down the road. It reminded me how helpless babies are and how they really just need to be loved and consoled no matter how long it takes. It's not his fault he can't settle down- he needs something and he's trying to telling me what it is. And in just a blink, Jacob will be independent and grown up and not my little baby to hold.

After regaining this new perspective I rescued my husband from the screaming baby. I held him a little tighter and caressed him a little more passionately. It wasn't easier or less exhausting than it was ten minutes ago by any means, but I found the mental/emotional drive to keep going despite my lack of strength and energy. Half an hour later, his eyelids dropped and he was asleep, snoring contently in my arms. I held him like that a little longer than usual, kissed his soft face and laid him in his bed.

My evening, my sanity and my motherhood have all been restored.