I need to relearn how to eat. Or maybe I just need to learn how to plan to eat, I'm not sure. In any case, grabbing an odd assortment of foods throughout the day (coffee, apple crisp, rice with sesame oil, half an avocado, a handful of almonds, molasses licked off the spoon while making muffins) is not working, and it's upsetting my stomach.
I'm sure that the food thing is contributing to my sudden-onset blah-ness, but it's a tough cycle to break: I'm tired, so I don't prepare meals and snacks in advance...so I eat whatever I can grab...so I'm tired...
This weekend, I had my first encounter with mastitis, and no, thank you. Never again, if I have any say in it. And this was a mild case! I had an awful night on Friday, woke up on Saturday feeling like ass and running a fever, doused my insides in vitamin C, echinacea, and elderberry syrup, and just when I was starting to despair—"Oh God it's 7:00 PM how am I going to get through the night with the baby?"—things started looking up. I had a good night (thank you, gods of breastfeeding), and woke up on Sunday feeling like a million bucks. My left side, which was the affected side, is barely pink today, less than a week later. Yay, health!
Westley keeps asking, "What could we do that would be fun?" It makes my heart ache. I want to be able to have fun with him, but I also feel spread really thin and like I don't have enough energy to match his level. He's been fighting off a cold for the past few days, but that doesn't stop him from charging around the back yard, jumping up and down, begging to buy this, do that, go on an adventure—and fighting Rob and me on just about everything.
We fight about dinner. We fight about television. We fight about walking to the park. We fight about having to go grocery shopping. I want to chalk it all up to Westley's being 4-1/2, but I suspect my patience (or lack thereof) factors into it as well. I called my dad recently and said, "When my brother was a tiny baby, you wanted to kill me, right? And obviously you managed not to do it, because I'm still here?"
He laughed. "Yeah, there were some times."
The joy of second babies is that Mom has a bit of perspective, so baby-care seems easier and less stressful. The trouble with second babies is that your firstborn still needs you. He might even need more of you, now that there's a little "someone else" in the picture.
After a great first week of preschool, Westley cried every day when I dropped him off. He tried to get me to pick him up early. "Pick me up before snack."
"I'll pick you up at pick-up time."
"Pick me up before story time."
"I'll pick you up at pick-up time."
"Before story time is pick-up time!"
"I'll see you in a little while. Have a good day."
I get it. It can't be any fun watching your mom walk away from you while cuddling your baby sister on her shoulder.
At least Ivy seemed to have a good week. She nursed like a champion through my mastitis flare-up, even when I was feverish and my chest was a good ten degrees hotter than the rest of me. She also had her first experience with a bottle. She didn't seem completely shocked that breastmilk was coming at her from something other than Mommy, but the silicone nipple wasn't her favorite thing.
I'm amazed that Ivy is six weeks old already. It seems like she just got here—but it also seems like she's been here forever. At our final midwife appointment, Ivy weighed 10 lbs. exactly. She started smiling what I swore were "real smiles" at five weeks old. That could have been my imagination, but a week later, her smiles are the real deal for sure.
When she's awake and active, Ivy is cooing. She has a lot to say already, and I wonder if she'll talk early. She also seems to genuinely enjoy the things I do with her: singing to her while she kicks around on the floor during diaper-free time, talking to her about grocery shopping or tidying up, cuddling with her. The bath was a huge hit.
She's such a peach. A delightful little person. I'm soaking up this sweet time with her, trying to slow the moments down. Watching Ivy grow and change every day is the most profound reminder that this time is short, and the hard parts will be behind us soon. The illness, the fighting, the awfulness won't be here forever. New mothers recover their balance. Babies find their rhythms. Four-and-a-half-year-olds turn five.