Friday, May 31, 2013

Sick Baby

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I was going to write about vacation tonight. About how much I love my friends, and how wonderful it was so see them last week, and how much fun I had even though I was sleep deprived and trying to figure out how to help a baby who decided to go to bed on West coast time but get up on East coast time. When MY body thought it was 3:00 AM.

That's what I'd planned to do (possibly while sipping a Sapphire tonic because, yes, I know I've been sick and alcohol is an immune suppressant, but fuck, this week, man...) and then Ivy needed me to soothe her to sleep.

For two hours.

I might be sick, but the baby is really, really sick.

It's heartbreaking, listening to her hack and cough and cry her hoarse-from-crying cry. The only thing I can do is hold her. I can rock her in the essential-oil-infused mist of her humidifier, pat her back, think healing thoughts for her. Wait with her for the medicine to kick in.

Even more heartbreaking is the knowledge that there are parents who do this—or some version of it—all the time, every day. Because their sick babies are sick in ways I can't even imagine.

I think healing thoughts for them, too.

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

We've Gone Viral

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Ivy and I made it back from our trip safe and sound...and sick. I did everything right (I thought), taking supplements for immune support, engaging in extra hand-washing, and even busting out the antibacterial wipes (something I never ever use ever but planes are super disgusting). But I'm not sure anything I could pack in a diaper bag would be a good match for breathing the same air that's been in dozens of other people's lungs for six hours.

Details of our East Coast adventures will follow, but the entire trip could easily be summed up as: my baby is magically adaptable. She was in an unfamiliar place, surrounded by new people, and working on a virus while also sleep-deprived—but Ivy had a wonderful time.

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Zzzz

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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Fly Girl

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All my (diaper) bags are packed, I'm ready to go...

We've got new toys for Ivy and snacks for Mommy. There's extra footy pajamas and as many diapers as we have hours of travel time. Rescue Remedy, of course. Herbal all-purpose salve—why not?

Packed

And a little girl who had a fabulous, two-nap day today, gearing up for her big adventure.

So Big!

My chickadee is ready to fly.

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Shrieks on a Plane

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On Monday, Ivy and I leave for a six-day trip. We will visit my best friends in the world and lie on crawl all over the beach. I'm thrilled to be going, and also kind of terrified.

One thing I swore I'd never do when I had babies was travel with them. I had been on plenty of flights with parents and their little ones, and I'd noticed that even when the babies were perfect angels, their parents were vibrating with anxiety. The stress of flying with a baby seemed to outweigh any possible benefit of the trip.

And then I actually had babies, and my friends (who I try to see at least once a year) still lived far away. So travel with baby I shall.

The thing I'm most worried about is entertaining Ivy while we're in the air. We're flying when she would normally start her morning nap, so it's likely she'll sleep at least part of the time. But she may not, and I'm racking my brain for ways to keep her busy when crawling and cruising all over is not an option. Most of all, I'm trying to make peace—in advance—with the idea that I might be That Mother With the Shrieking Baby.

With a little of luck, my happy, social girl will continue to be her happy, social self at 35,000 feet. With a LOT of luck, our seat mate will be a relaxed-and-groovy grandma who misses her grandbabies and would love nothing more than to chat with a nine-month-old for six hours.

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Nine Months

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As of Tuesday, Ivy is nine months old. Depending on how I look at her, she's either the biggest of little babies, or the tiniest big girl ever.

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(ED: That light blue T-shirt isn't Ivy's only top. She wears it often, though because it has Hello Kitty on it and ever since Westley learned about Hello Kitty through the preschool licensed-character-melting-pot, he's been crazy about Hello Kitty. So, yes, sometimes I dress Ivy to amuse her brother.)

She will happily eat leaves off the ground, but food off of her highchair tray? Thanks, but no thanks. Purees seem especially offensive. If I offer Ivy a spoonful of something, she scowls and turns away. Sometimes she makes a game out of it. She grabs the spoon out of my hand, flips it over and proceeds to teethe on the handle end. I keep hoping to find some food that will entice her enough to get the solid-food-eating ball rolling, but no real luck so far. Sweet potatoes and zucchini were all right for a while, but now Ivy would much prefer handfuls of food off my plate. Which she immediately throws on the floor. But moss from the lawn? Always delicious.

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I think some of the disinterest in solids has to do with how much this girl still breastfeeds. Sometimes I feel like we're back in those early days of never-ending nursing sessions. Except there are many more interruptions as Ivy pops off to flip over, look around, try to sit up in my lap...and then fuss because she wasn't really done with her meal.

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Her eyes are greenish in certain lights, but it looks like they'll probably settle on brown. Her hair is light, light brown. It will almost certainly be curly.

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For the most part, Ivy continues to be a happy little social butterfly. She comes with me to my physical therapy appointments, where she has the reception staff eating out of her hand. She waves hello and good-bye, claps, and reaches out to give hugs. I can't just hand her off to a friendly adult anymore, though. A switch flipped a couple days ago, and we're starting to see a little bit of stranger anxiety, even around people she knows well. Her tears don't last long, though.

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The only things that really upset her are being tired, getting her diaper changed, and the fact that Westley refuses to let her into his room.

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Ivy loves to talk. She can carry on a long conversation in babble, and she also says a few words already. Her first word was "baby." She says "Weh," for Westley and "Daddy," clear as a bell. "Yay" for yay. "Ee-vee," which I'm pretty sure is Ivy. And "Beee!" for big, as in How big is Ivy?...Sooooo big!

And she is so big.

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Except when she's tiny.

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Happy 3/4 birthday, chickadee.

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Monday, May 13, 2013

Tantrum

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Yesterday I didn't want to be a mother. Or, if I had to be a mother, I wanted to be some other mother. Preferably the fit mother I watched jogging around Green Lake with her equally fit partner, preschooler riding alongside on his bike, baby laughing in the stroller.

Maybe if I were that woman I'd feel like celebrating.

Instead, I was angry—at Ivy for starting the day at four in the morning, at Westley for ignoring me, at Rob for everything. And I was angry with myself for ever having thought that becoming a mother was the thing that would make me feel okay with life.

All I ever heard from my own mother about mothering was that it was wonderful. Every day was Mother's Day. And though she assures me that she struggled (hard) and had more than her share of bad days, I never heard that side of the story growing up. I barely hear it now.

My mother had to wait a long time before she got to be a mother. I didn't wait very long at all—in part because I truly believed that mothering would make my life complete. That if I had a baby, I would no longer feel so awkward and disjointed and alone. That if I had another baby, I could do it right this time. Maybe the second time around I could feel how I was supposed to feel.

Yesterday, holding my second baby and lusting after another mother's life, I gave up. I will never feel okay.

And then anger took over.

I love my children dearly. Sometimes that love terrifies me, it's so fierce. Maybe I will grow into Mothers' Day. Maybe one day I'll wake up and feel the way I'm supposed to feel. Maybe I'll shake the feeling that I'm a free spirit who never got her chance to be free.

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

End the Draft

Here's a little bloggy secret for you: I have 41 posts in draft right now. Some of them are more than three years old. Some of the issues I was working on when I sat down to write these paragraphs and phrases are long-gone, having been resolved years ago. Others are still fresh, but with the new twist of an older child (or older me).

I have no idea what to do with them.

I don't want to delete these half-stories, but finishing them doesn't seem right either. I'm half-tempted to post them as-is, with codas about how things worked out, how I feel now, and so on.

But I just don't know. Most of this stuff is rough. A lot of it is embarrassing. Some of it is adorable, like this one story about Westley being worried about the cat when he was two. As I try to live in the present—and to find the good in every ever-so-temporary struggle—I wonder if it's even a good idea to resurrect these posts.

If I did start posting snippets from way back when, would the end result be more about preserving stories or copyediting the past?

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Dailies 5/8

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Between working to heal my back and trying to help Ivy (and everyone else) get more sleep at night, I stretched myself a little too thin...and ended up with a nasty cold. The worst thing is that the weather has been BEAUTIFUL for the past few days, and I haven't felt up to enjoying it. Also, drinking hot tea on a hot day is awful, no matter how much it helps your throat.

The best thing about being sick has been having Rob home for a couple of days to help wrangle kids and manage houselife. It meant I got to stuff myself with vitamin C and green juice, and feel significantly better today. P.S. I am beyond lucky to be in a position where my partner can stay home from work when I really need to take a "sick day." (P.P.S. Want to feel like you kicked a cold in 5 minutes? Throw a whole giant hand of ginger in the juicer with your cucumber-romaine-apple-lime-whatever you normally juice and drink it. Not for the spice-intolerant, but it will relieve a sore throat for a few hours and give you a nice energy boost!)

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Rob took Westley on his preschool field trip yesterday morning. Later, because I was feeling better and Ivy loves watching her brother do things, all four of us headed to Westley's aikido class. Westley started aikido shortly after Ivy was born, and he's getting pretty good. He loves it, even though he thinks he doesn't—as in, he's bummed when he hears it's "an aikido day," but then he has a blast when he gets there.

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I don't know if it's the gi or the practice or both, but whenever Westley is in the dojo, he suddenly looks very mature. I see flickers of his teenage self everywhere.

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Meanwhile, Ivy is well on her way to becoming a little kid. I mean, come on.


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She's still a tiny newborn (shh, she totally is!) and has no right to look like such a...toddler!

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My cold is waning, and Rob is back at work today. It's nice to have things back to normal—I really do enjoy not feeling like phlegm personified—but I'll miss the extra episodes of "The Rob and Westley and Ivy Show."

Watching Rob love on our babies is one of my favorite things about parenting. My partner is rad in lots of ways, but he is truly an excellent Dad.

Upside Down

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Sunday, May 5, 2013