Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The rest of the day

8:45 I change poopy diaper #1 (Peregrine). He demands to go potty. Never mind that he already pooped. I have nothing better to do anyway, as preschool has been cancelled. Peregrine poops. Celebrations all around.

8:55 I change poopy diaper #2 (Peregrine).

9:00 Peregrine flips out because the cereal he requested contains flakes and cheerios. Apparently he had envisioned only cheerios. After his demands that I take out every single offensive flake have been denied, he proceeds to remove each flake by hand...and eat it. Toddlers are weird.

9:30 Peregrine sees the pile of laundry from last night and exclaims in delight, "My crud is cleeeeeeaaaan!" He launches himself into it, and I stop him just in time. He's a bit disappointed in me that I didn't do it in the middle of last night. He informs me sadly, "There some crud on my foot."

10:00 I change poopy diaper #3 (Peregrine). He demands to go potty again. He misses the potty...barely. He informs me happily that there's poop on the potty, but that it's okay, Mommy will clean it up. He reminds me many, many times within the next two minutes that I need to clean it up.

11:15 The morning has actually progressed relatively smoothly, aside from a few irrational whiny meltdowns, understandable due to everyone's 5 AM wakeup. But lack of preschool is taking its toll. I think up things to buy at Walgreens and we head out. Sylvia, who has heretofore been a model of baby patience, loses it entirely. She screams when she realizes her dreams of a carseat-free morning are not, in fact, coming true. She is very, very offended by my trivializing her problems with a pacifier and gentle rocking motion.

11:20 Sylvia loses it still more violently while waiting for Peregrine to crawl down the stairs at the rate of 2 miles per year, stopping every now and then to contemplate which method of stair descent he wants to use, or to space out entirely (5 AM wakeup, remember?). He then decides that the boodey he insisted on bringing (or else!) is far too heavy. As I am carrying a purse, a loaded diaper bag, and a carseat full of screaming baby, he decides I look like a capable candidate. I disagree, but this slows his rate even further. You can almost see that 6-oz water bottle dragging him along and draining his energy at an alarming rate. Leaving it at home is entirely out of the question. At this point, narrating this day in my head is the only thing keeping me going.

11:30 Walgreens reached. Sylvia is absolutely inconsolable. This is quite unusual for her, actually. She doesn't even calm down when I put her carseat in the stroller. Usually she loves the stroller. We do some hardcore outside strolling while Peregrine admires an armored truck.

11:45 Into Walgreens, with stroller and Peregrine, loose. After a pep talk about staying by Mommy and not pulling things off the shelves, we brave the store. He tries admirably, and everything goes all right, all things considered. Only a few items get messed with, mainly menstrual pads and weird energy drinks. There is a remote-controlled tarantula on the shelves, and it gives me the shivers.

11:50 Out of Walgreens. I only got a few looks of concern. Primarily because I announced too early that we were ready to check out, and Peregrine, who has an impeccable sense of direction, sprinted to the checkout counter while I was still on the opposite side of the store. Kid has a map in his head. He didn't get that from me.

12:00 Home. Much screaming en route.

12:15 I change poopy diaper #4 (Peregrine). No, he doesn't have diarrhea. No, he wasn't stopped up. It's just that kind of day. Fortunately, my cloth diapers are all dirty, and I don't have to wash anything in the toilet.

12:30 Lunch. Peregrine spills his drinks and eats minimal food. Teething commences for the afternoon.

1:00 Naptime. Peregrine refuses to sleep. Sylvia decides she will never leave the comfort of my chest, never ever ever again, and falls asleep. If I threaten to move her, she threatens to wake up. I surrender. Because, she is sleeping. That makes one of the three of us.

2:00 Peregrine is still refusing to sleep.

3:00 Peregrine finally gives in. Sylvia and I savor the silence and stillness (alliteration much?)

4:00 Weekly skype date with Auntie Sarah. Some day, they will invent a skype where you can just hand the baby through the screen. On second thought, that would be really creepy. Peregrine wakes up, and proceeds to cry over various small things. He actually takes me up on my offer to snuggle with me and calm down. A sure sign he is in fact not feeling very well.

5:30 Dinner prep commences. Macaroni and cheese it is. With no vegetables. My only goal for dinnertime is not having to fight anything. At all. Goal accomplished. Peregrine downs almost an entire box of mac n cheese, and then I give him cookies. Carbs for the win tonight. I eat while bouncing, a questionable practice, but Sylvia will have it no other way. Not fighting anything, remember?

6:00 Happiness ensues as Peregrine helps me with the laundry. It's the small things.

6:15 I change poopy diaper #5 (Peregrine).

6:30 I promise Peregrine a video if he will pick up all his cars and legos. I snag the sudden free space to clean the kitchen. With a bit of coaching, the cars are cleaned up (amazing what a little motivation will do) and video watching begins. Usually, I ask him what he wants to watch and just use that as the search word on Youtube. You know, fire truck, owl, that sort of thing. Tonight his requests are "boys taking a bath" (surprisingly, that one turned out mainly G-rated hits of people's toddlers being cute in the bathtub, often with pets involved), and "girls taking a bath with no shirt on" (horrors! that one I had to weed through to find the one cute clip, and I didn't even include that last qualifier in my search). He then screams for a long time when I tell him video watching is over. Then he interprets my "if you scream when we stop watching videos we can't watch videos anymore" to mean "if you stop screaming we will keep watching videos." Then he screams again when he realizes he was wrong.

7:30 Kid in bed. Finally. It took some baby-wrangling, but she was surprisingly compliant, and let me give her brother lots of attention.

8:00 Sylvia diapered and pajamaed. (That's a word, oddly enough, according to spell check). Time for a date with ice cream (from the carton) and Netflix. Unfortunately, neither of my children want to sleep.

9:00 The last hour has consisted of at least 15 trips into Peregrine's bedroom to try to get him to stop calling me for trivial things. Normally, I would probably have given up. But, he is sick. Tonight, I'm willing to risk reinforcing bad habits over the risk of missing something he actually needs. Unfortunately, most of his "needs" tonight are along the lines of "help drinking my bottle" and "more dees." When I'm not trying to get P back to sleep, I'm bouncing Sylvia, who has decided that she'd like to bounce forever. At least if I want her to think about sleeping ever again. Needless to say, this puts a damper on my ice-cream-and-Netflix experience.

10:00 To bed, armed with loaded Kindle in case Sylvia refuses to sleep. Surprisingly, she nurses, and conks right out as soon as I put her in bed. Possibly, this is because a.) the room is dark, and b.) I'm not reading out loud to Andrew.

The kids actually slept well. Sylvia woke twice (!) to nurse, which is enough that I never wake up wondering if she's alive, but I still get sizable chunks of sleep. Peregrine woke up once, which is far better than I expected, given the start of the night. When I asked him what he needed, he sobbed out that he wanted a snack first. He kept repeating this, and when I tentatively suggested that we don't have snacks at night and did he want a dee instead, he started screaming and said no. Kid never turns down a dee, so I knew something was up. By the time I had actually located a dee to give him, whatever horrible nightmare about his lack of snack had faded, and he accepted the dee and went peacefully back to sleep.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Three hours in...

Three hours into my first overnighter (3-overnighter, actually) with both kids. This will happen frequently, as Andrew often has overnight fieldwork; so it's good to start learning the rhythm of things, right?

This is my morning thus far:

(First, some background: Peregrine had a high fever yesterday, so despite the fact that he's feeling fine today, we still can't go to preschool. So I'm stuck in the house with a slightly-sick Peregrine. All of the energy, none of the patience!! Okay, on to the timeline.)

Sometime before 5 AM: Sylvia wakes up to nurse, goes back to sleep peacefully. All well and good and according to schedule thus far. I have a slightly harder time going back to sleep, which is annoying,   but I have a couple hours left in the night, so I don't stress it.

Sometime slightly closer to 5 AM: Peregrine wakes up, crying for Daddy. Daddy troubleshoots, but Peregrine really just wants to stall going back to bed. A drink of water resets him, and he goes back to sleep (or does he?).

5:00 Andrew leaves for the wilds of Canada and three days in the field, flying in helicopters and taking pictures.

5:15 Peregrine cries again. I go into him and try my best to explain that Mommy needs to sleep because Mommy's the only one taking care of Peregrine and Sylvia because Daddy's on his trip and Peregrine gets all excited because Daddy gets to go in a helicopter and I seize the moment to sneak back into bed.

5:20 I hear a gag, the sound of liquid splashing, and my heart sinks. Peregrine starts screaming in terror (that night when he threw up seven times in six hours is still far too fresh in his memory). On cue, Sylvia starts screaming too. I run into P's room and ask him if he threw up. He sniffs and sobs out, "There's crud on my pillow! There's crud on my bottle! There's crud on my dees!" And then, the final insult: "And there's crud on my ear!" I assure him I'll clean it up, and spend the next five minutes telling him I will come back, but I really need my glasses.

5:30 Vomit cleanup commences, complete with pillow change, bundle change, diaper change, sponge bath, and clothing change. All narrated by Peregrine, who orders me around quite happily and makes sure I don't miss a single spot of "crud." This is all interrupted by frequent trips to Sylvia's bed to replace her pacifier. She has stopped screaming and has gone all wide-eyed and owly on me, thrilled that the light is on and it's morning time.

6:00 P in bed, Sylvia starting to sleep again. P proceeds to use the next hour and a half to call me back into his room, crying, making me jump up in fear that he's vomiting again. When I ask him what he needs, he usually names something easily within his reach or starts happily babbling to me about police cars and owls. Despite my (ever more desperate) pleas to sleep, and explanations that if Mommy can't sleep, Mommy can't do a good job taking care of him, he continues to call me back. I am losing patience fast and realizing I likely won't sleep this morning at all.

7:30 P finally settles down. On cue, Sylvia starts fighting the mucus in her nose, which has stayed away all night until now. She is happy to be settled back down with a pacifier, but she loses it on average every two minutes.

7:45 Sylvia settles down. Peregrine wakes up. As it is now morning, I can no longer point out the obvious lack of light and tell him to sleep. I give up. So does Sylvia, who decides to wake up, too.

8:00 I throw both kids in the bathtub to try to solve Peregrine's smelliness problem and Sylvia's fussiness problem. All goes well and fine until Peregrine ignores my repeated instructions on how to treat his sister and throws a cupful of water at her face. She screams. A lot. And won't be calmed until she's out of the bathtub. Peregrine is very scared by her reaction. Secretly, I'm pleased. I love it when natural consequences do their job.

I'd say we're off to a good start, eh? Here's my theory: get all the drama out in the first three hours and then spend the remaining three days living in peaceful harmony with each other and sleeping through the night (except for short nursing sessions that remind me my daughter is alive and in good health). 'Kay?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

My body, eight weeks after giving birth

Yesterday, I was on my weekly Fred Meyer run, browsing tabloid headlines while waiting in the checkout line. The one that caught my eye featured a picture of a very-pregnant Kim Kardashian, wearing a  hideous tent of a dress, captioned "Kim at her heaviest!!!!" Next to this was a picture of a several-months-postpartum Kim Kardashian, wearing underwear and showing off flat abs and a not-so-flat bosom. The headline promised a satisfying story about how Kim, after hating her excessive pregnancy weight gain, is now finally getting her body back.

I've read numerous variations on that story thousands of times. How some celebrity or other, her body ruined by pregnancy and childbirth, is now (with the help of some trainer or diet or other miracle cure)  getting her body back. Women throw it around all the time. I've started working out again. Here's to getting my body back. Probably, I've said it myself. It bothers me though, so much. What does it even mean? Getting what body back, precisely? Did my body disappear somewhere when I was pregnant?

Don't get me wrong. I'm really struggling to love and accept my body right now. I gained a fair bit of weight with this pregnancy, and I'm hanging on to it. I know it's normal with a second pregnancy, and I know I need to keep a fair bit of fat around in order to have a healthy milk supply, but it's hard. I'm popping out of my "fat" clothes, and I'm nowhere near my "skinny" ones. My abs are completely stretched out, and the rest of my muscles are not near as strong as I'm used to. I still can't wear my wedding ring. So do I want to change some things about my body, eventually? Yes.

But this is my body. Extra pounds and stretched-out muscles and lactating breasts included. Wholeheartedly included. This is the body with which I feed my baby, play with and snuggle my toddler, make love to my husband. This is the body that grew two people, brought them into the world, and then sustained them, by itself, for months. This is the body that I feed, the body I exercise, the body that carries me around and supports my life. Regardless of whether I like it or not (and I do, I really do, and when I don't, I try hard to anyway), it's still my body. The only body I've ever had and ever will have. It was my body when I was two, and seven, and fourteen, and twenty-three, and the body I will have when I'm thirty, and forty-five, and sixty, and eighty.

I guess the whole "get your body back" thing somehow implies to me that it was only my body when I was at my fittest, my most attractive, my most unscarred by carrying babies and growing older (basically, when I was eighteen). But if that's the way I think of it, I will never get my body back. And I will constantly be frustrated, and will hate my body, my real body, forever.

My body will always be older than it was yesterday. It will always be a bit more tired, a bit more stretched by life, than it was last year. Every pregnancy, every birth, every nursing relationship, comes out of my body, and wears it down. It will show, like wear always does. But it's still my body. It always has been. It always will be.

I'll try to keep it healthy and strong. That will mean different things at different times. Sometimes it will mean eating more, eating less, eating differently. Sometimes it will mean exercising intentionally, or building muscle, or losing fat. But I'll never be eighteen again. I could chase after that body all I wanted, and I imagine, if I tried hard, I could get somewhere close. But I'd still be older. And I'd be getting older, and further away from an eighteen-year-old body, every day.

So here's to my body, in the now. Not to "getting it back," because it never left. It's right here, it's working, and I'm going to do my very best to own and care for every inch of it, and to use it well. If it shows the use, well then, let that be.