Wednesday, September 29, 2010

If it makes you feel better...

Sometimes I look at a woman who seems to have it all together and wonder if she ever has a bad moment. I have been told on a couple of occasions in the last few weeks that I am this wonderfully organized person who has it all together. Au contraire...

1- Yes, I got out of maternity clothes by 3 weeks post partum but I only fit 2 pairs of pants- one pair is far too long and the other had to have the crotch sewn up. I am SYLISH! I only fit 2 church outfits and both require me to wear heels and hose, sigh. I am hoping that I will be closer to my regular size by the time Noah is 12 weeks old and that I can hold out shopping until then. I have now personally witnessed 3 women who were back to their regular jeans, etc, by 6 weeks post partum. I am currently in talks with Jesus about how to temper my feelings towards them, thus far, the Holy Spirit has been unable to burn the un-Christian feelings from my heart.

2- Noah is 8 weeks old and has had 4 or perhaps 5 baths in his life. He's also pulled off getting not one, but two, colds.

3- I watched Sister Wives the other day and came to the conclusion that I think I would presently be ok with polygamy if it meant I would get a daily nap while my sister wives tended my children.

4- I do menu plan and write a grocery list but this is mostly to mask the fact that if left to my own devices at the grocery store our entire week's meals would consist of fage yogurt, s'mores, and whichever cheese Kroger was offering samples of when I went through. Even with menu planning, etc, my children eat, on average, 1 dinner I prepared per week. Once upon a time I was a spontaneous cook...

5- There has been more than one occasion in Noah's 2 short months with us when I honestly could not tell you when he had a- last nursed or b- had his diaper changed. As I tend to nurse him when he cries and cloth diapers leak after not a ridiculously long time, he is doing fine by default but with Charlie, I knew to within the 30 second when those had last happened.

6- We went to the library last Friday afternoon and stayed 20 minutes. We will not be forgotten soon. Megan had to poop not once, but TWICE, both times managing to interrupt just as I had gotten Noah latched so he cried at ear splitting volume, not once, but TWICE. Charlie toppled this rocking toy over on his head and required rescue (of course, just after I got Noah latched). When I cried "uncle" and took us home, Megan began running and jumping through the stacks (shouting "tada" every time she jumped), while waving her DVD over her head until I could explain that we couldn't take the DVD home if we didn't take it to the librarian. On our way out, Megan dropped all her books and threw a tantrum when I said I would carry them. Charlie wasn't paying attention and almost wandered out the main door until I hollered at a level less than conducive for reading and, of course, Noah was crying. The little old people were totally glaring at me.

7- I have been trying to write a "Works for Me Wednesday" post for 4 weeks and have yet to pull it off. Generally those posts are 1 paragraph or less...

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Sorry! I meant to link to Jo's blog and forgot. Here it is- also corrected in original post.

Never Look Back

Jo wrote this really fantastic post about wrestling with the decision of having more children. In addition to all the logistical and emotional wrangling there was also a really interesting twist involving how changing the punctuation of "No more, kids" several times can easily sum up the entire thought process.

I have had a lot of similar thoughts over the last month or two. My pregnancies are miserable. They are not dangerous or high risk to anyone, I don't find it especially challenging to become pregnant, the birth process is fairly straightforward and I recover as well and as quickly as could be expected but the pregnancy itself is a long, forced march through just about every really annoying pregnancy symptom What To Expect might put on offer. In short, if I really wanted to, I could easily pull a Dugger and pop out a healthy baby every 18 months or so but I wouldn't be all that pleasant to live with. By my 3rd month of pregnancy this last time, I vowed I would never do this again. But now, the fuzzy haze is descending and I keep wondering if we shouldn't have just one more baby (friends have assured me this is the best way to conceive far sooner than you planned and with twins to boot). I feel a twinge every time I know I will be seeing a first for the last time- Noah started smiling about a week ago. It's mostly at lights and fans but every once in a while I get a gummy grin as well. There is also the existential crisis of facing your mortality via leaving a stage of life behind if I close the door on childbearing.

I can see that things really do get a little easier once you get over the hump of 2 children. The learning curve with Charlie was hella steep. While Megan was a slightly easier baby, we didn't do ourselves any favors by spacing the children 20 months apart (a spacing I now adore but the first year is a humdinger). Noah shares a number of the characteristics of both children that made them challenging but we know a lot more strategies for coping with them now. Noah is generally happy only when being held. Since we've been doing this for a while, we now have 4 baby carriers and are well versed in their use. We gotten the hang of the evening baby handoff and I've learned how to do the essentials to keep the household running in the 1.5 hours I have to cram it all in (as well as anything I might need to do for myself).

We've hit the point in parenting where we simply do what works. Noah will only sleep at night if he is nestled into the crook of my neck so we co-sleep. There is no parenting philosophy or theory behind the decision beyond the fact that we have to be rested enough to care for two other children in the morning. Noah's eating habits are erratic. Sometimes he goes several hours and sometimes barely hits the hour mark. Happily, after nursing 2 other children my milk is plentiful, my let down fast, and my apprehension at nursing in public non-existent. I can adapt to what he needs much more easily than I could with Charlie, when I was chained to the couch for hours at a time and I'm inclined to simply feed him instead of worrying about hind milk and fore milk, which side we did last, etc. The important elements of breastfeeding are pretty automatic at this point and I know what needn't be worried about. In short, I can see how families with 5 and 6 children can add another child with minimal fuss. At the same time, I'm not sure I want to have 5 children simply because it will make the 6th so much easier!

I have this twisted logic that says that if I enjoy my children and motherhood in general so much; if I really loved children, I should just keep having them. After all, if I liked them so much and enjoyed things so much, why wouldn't I want MORE? I know that it doesn't actually work that way. I know that simply having more siblings doesn't make an automatic big, happy, Weasley family. I know that I have gotten to a point where, for me, with my particular quirks and foibles and my tendency to have the rather high maintenance (come by honestly!) children, 3 is probably my upper limit. I know that I do love them beyond reason, smile daily at the many wonderful little things that happen everyday and adore listening to their interactions. I know that I show my children that I do love them and motherhood and wiping tiny heinies by doing it, every day, every night, every week. I know that having another child would prove nothing other than that I apparently never want to sleep for 6 hours in a row again. I know that having another child would likely do the opposite of showing my current children how much I love them- I would be stretched slightly thinner, wound slightly tighter, have sightly less in my already slightly anemic store of patience. With another child, there would be yet another 6 months of no mommy cooking, another round of "not while I nurse/rock/bounce/soothe/cry with the baby," another round of maybe once I've managed to get a little sleep. I know that I can love my children and being their mother without always enjoying the nitty gritty. But, there is always a nagging in the back of my mind saying that "if I really loved them..."

I keep reminding myself that I never tend to like to look back. I had no significant wish to go to my high school or college reunions other than to fulfill passing curiosity. I look back on the passing of Charlie's infancy with nothing but relief. I seldom re-visit my home town. I'm one of those people who mostly likes to look ahead. I have various mementos and reminders but I appalled my mother in law by not saving baby teeth or first curls and I am a disaster at scrapbooking. I am making a conscious effort to spend more time experiencing the present and letting the future sort itself out. Having another baby would be many things but a big one would be clinging to a present that is quickly becoming a past and that just isn't the way I tend to operate. Once I've said "good bye," I prefer to quickly turn to the next thing. I hope I can remember that I can have an identity beyond my fertility. If I can just remember that there are no motherhood merit badges. I hope I can simply remind myself that I don't need to prove to anyone that I love my children. I hope I can simply remember all this the next time I think "No more kids?"

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Babies Are Well Designed

Noah arrived August 1st at 6:34 am. He weighed 7 pounds, 9.5 ounces and was 20 inches long.

It's a good thing babies are so squishy. It makes holding them for 23 hours a day much more pleasant.

It's a good thing I got used to carrying around a bunch of extra weight when I was pregnant, it makes the extra 10 pounds I carry most of the day that much easier and this 10 pounds is way cuter.

It's a good thing babies heads are so downy and their cheeks so soft. It makes having them sleep tucked in under your chin feel pleasant even when your shoulder goes numb.

It's a good thing babies don't know what a lullabye is so I can sign "Dream On" ala Glee when I get tired of the standard stuff.

It's a good thing I held on to a little baby weight. I can think about all the calories I'm burning when up for the 4th nursing session of the night.

It's a good thing babies have such sweet breath. It makes the 45 minute crying sessions that much easier to manage.

It's a good thing baby heinies are so cute. I sure get to see it an awful lot- this child is a pooping machine!

It's a good thing pregnancy left me so squishy. My tummy is now an excellent place to lie on while "off gassing."

It's a good thing the only move Noah has is to work his way upward while searching for something to latch on to. If you only get one move, the one that gets you to the mama milk is a good one to have.

It's a good thing babies cry so loudly. It's helpful to have my milk let down before Daddy has even made it up the stairs with Noah for our next nursing session.