Thursday, September 30, 2010

18w 4d album

Today, I'm catching up on the photo album.

my family





pajama party

strike a pose

the men of the house


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

18w 3d Letters from Lindsay-land

Dear Anxiety:

Leave me the eff alone. Just this once. PLEASE.

I can't handle you, not today. It shouldn't be this hard; I shouldn't hate Wednesdays like this. So what if the baby is at Grandma's house and my night with the baby is cut a little short due to driving there and back? Why do you treat that as an invitation to crawl around under my skin, making me itch and squirm and want to scream?

You are useless. You serve no purpose. Nobody wants you here. Go away.



* * *

Dear Anxiety's distracting, evil accomplice, Exhaustion:

We know each other very well, don't we? We're almost friends, I'd say. Or maybe family, since I certainly didn't choose you.

I can't hate you, not really. Because my baby was the one who introduced us, so.

But could you just not be QUITE so debilitating? Could I have a little personal space, a little room to breathe? Could I at least be able to concentrate long enough to do things like match my socks? It would also be really nice if I didn't have to scour my brain for the instruction manual on how to open my eyes again after each blink.

I'm begging.

Maybe if the baby would stop inviting you over so often, I wouldn't be so put out with you. But the baby has reverted to eating every two hours. Literally. I'm a bit drained. And your little vacation in Lindsay-land is starting to feel like a permanent move-in.

I can't ever be put out with the baby. I love him more than I love myself.

I just can't say the same for you. Sorry.



Thursday, September 23, 2010

4 months old modesty


There, I had to get that off my chest.

HEH. Heh heh.

Last night I dreamed that I was in a bad car accident. It was a very bad dream, and not because I was disabled (my legs were chopped off at the knees. ugh.). The worst part, what I couldn't stop thinking about in that hospital bed, was that I couldn't take care of the baby. Namely, that I couldn't breastfeed him. I think I even asked the doctor if I could continue to use the breast pump, even though I was on unsafe pain medication, just so I would still be able to breastfeed once I was out of the hospital and off the meds. I remember hoping that I'd be released before all the frozen breast milk was used up. It was a rather involved dream, you see.

I feel very strongly about breastfeeding. I didn't anticipate that. In fact, for a long time before having Fletcher, I was sure that I would not breastfeed, and the main reason for that was modesty. And it just seemed "weird."

I was never around babies growing up, let alone "breastfeeding," so the concept never meant much to me. As kids, we laughed at the word "boobs" and then grew up viewing them in a sexual light. Feeding a baby with them? Weird, gross, not me. After all, there are plenty of TV commercials out there for baby formula. Breastfeeding commercials? Zero. It's like something out of the stone ages.

Then I became pregnant, and suddenly I was hearing it, reading it, seeing it. I was asked by medical personnel who wanted me to answer, "Yes." So I said, "Maybe." This wasn't just my decision, it was Andy's too -- and we decided we'd "try." I don't think we saw a very high probability for success, though. Something about it sounded hard. Again, modesty came into play. Am I really going to be that lady that whips it out at the Wal-Mart?

As I got closer to meeting my baby-to-be, something changed in me. Hormones maybe? I wanted to breastfeed. Suddenly, being a good parent and successfully breastfeeding were the same. I know the inaccuracy of that, so why do I still feel that way? There is absolutely nothing wrong with formula feeding, my brain knows this. Fletcher would be fine -- better than fine. I'm sure he'd continue growing as healthy and strong as he has been. So why do my bad dreams revolve around not being able to breastfeed?

The positives do outweigh the negatives. It's free. It's always ready with no prep time (when I'm the caregiver, anyway). It's always the right temperature. It's better for the baby's immune system. It bonds us. It reduces my risk of breast cancer. It suppresses menstruation (no period since August 2009! Amen!).

The negatives, it turns out, just aren't all that negative for me. Physically, I'm no Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover model with these saggy things, but I never was. The nursing bras are the opposite of sexy, and that's okay. For someone who rarely wears makeup or jewelry, who does not collect shoes or handbags, whose clothing can all be described as "comfortable," this isn't such a big deal.

The definition for "homebody" is a person who prefers to remain at home, rather than participate in social events elsewhere. Yeah, that's definitely me. So the modesty situation is kind of moot. I know some people nurse in front of others while using a "wrap" or cloth to cover up, but I'm not there yet. When we visit other people, I pick a bedroom and that's where baby and I will hide every few hours for feeding. Everyone has been very understanding about this routine, and it's nice for me to count on having this time with the baby.

When we're shopping, out to eat, at a nursing home, etc. it gets more complicated, but the breast pump (with a car adapter!) has been a lifesaver. No whipping it out at the Wal-Mart.

I titled this blog the way I did because I am obsessive in nature. I was obsessed with becoming pregnant, obsessed with the pregnancy, and now I'm obsessed with this poor over-loved baby. I have to believe it's better than neglect.

I cling to the time I have left for breastfeeding him, and dread when I'll have to wean. Why the obsession here? Is it purely selfish -- a tangible/quantifiable way to feel like I'm a good parent when that stupid tiny invisible voice suggests I'm a fraud? A way to keep baby close to me, a part of me, though time unavoidably marches on?

Congratulations, baby. You've stolen many hearts in your four months with us. Do you think you could slow down a little bit? You're growing so fast.

official four months photo

From "Heavy In Your Arms," a song that puts me in the mind of obsession. Or maybe it's just that it won't leave my head, no matter what tricks I use. It's permanently embedded. It has taken over my brain like a virus. I give up. By Florence + The Machine.
My love has concrete feet
My love's an iron ball
Wrapped around your ankles
Over the waterfall

I'm so heavy, heavy
Heavy in your arms
I'm so heavy, heavy
So heavy in your arms

I was a heavy heart to carry
My beloved was weighed down
My arms around his neck
My fingers laced to crown

I was a heavy heart to carry
But he never let me down
When he had me in his arms
My feet never touched the ground

I'm so heavy
Heavy in your arms

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

17w 2d parents

he's still tanner than me

baby has more style than both his parents put together

When the routine is broken, in a way that separates me from the baby, I am a scattered, emotional, confused WRECK. There's no logic to it. Nothing is wrong with the baby. Nothing is wrong with me. But I. Am. Screaming.

Since the end of my brief maternity leave, I've been a willing slave to an unvarying schedule. The exact timing is dependent on Fletcher, of course.

In the morning, I wake him up by 5:45 a.m., unless he chooses an earlier time, as is usually the case. Today, for instance, he woke at 3:00 and 5:00. After the second feeding, I stayed in the nursery, dozing on the spare bed there until about 6:10 when we continued as usual to a diaper change and the next step of our morning... hanging out in the bathroom. Fletcher has his own thick blanket to lay on, a receiving blanket to tug and chew on, and even a rattle now to reach for after rolling to his stomach.

After the bathroom portion of our morning, we head downstairs where he sits in his feeding chair with (another) receiving blanket and Freddie the Firefly, a favorite toy. I assemble the clean bottles and pump parts from the day before, in between play sessions. Then there's another diaper change and another feeding, this time with the lights off to coax him to sleep.

The morning routine is about two hours, and then I head to work.

I arrive home during my lunch hour from about 1:00-1:40 and spend the time feeding him and exchanging smiles with him and sometimes giving Andy a chance to catch a nap because he's probably running on four-to-six hours of patchy sleep. Leaving during my lunch hour is harder than leaving in the morning, probably because Fletcher is wide awake and he sees me walking out that door.

Then from 6:00-7:00 p.m., I get one precious and tiny hour to be a family with my husband and son. Often, that hour is used up with eating, dishes, and feeding Fletcher. But it is the most significant hour of my day. After Andy leaves for work, Fletcher and I have two hours (during which he eats often and possibly takes a nap) before we begin our bedtime routine -- the occasional bath/outfit change, putting on lotion where he needs it, diaper change, getting myself ready for bed, and finally the last feeding of the day around 9:30.

This is my whole life.

And on a day like today where I can't go home on my lunch hour? I. Am. SCREAMING. And I don't really understand why.

I've been thinking a lot lately about how I perceived parents before I became one, especially my own. There's a lot that can't be explained to you until you become one. There may have been a time when, somewhere in the background of my thoughts, I wondered why parents in general don't give a little space, let go a little bit.

Now? I am never letting go. I still may wonder why, but the compulsion to hold tight to my son until the end of time is overwhelming... and I have to accept that I'm standing one step higher on the ladder toward becoming my parents. That doesn't have to be a bad thing, right?

P.S. -- The broken day is made easier when you have an awesome husband who emails you photos to soothe your sore heart. Especially photos like this one, that show what baby and daddy are up to this afternoon:

little surfer, little one, made my heart come all undone

Thursday, September 16, 2010

16w 4d teething?

Let it be known that the concept of being able to get more done when you're really busy only applies when you're in school. In my case, anyway. I actually had to bring up a calendar and count out the weeks since May 23 in order to ensure I had the proper title on this post, that's how long it's been. Blog? What blog? I don't have a blog! Oh wait...

Fletcher had one fantastic week of sleeping through the night and being the personification of AWESOME. And then all hell broke loose with the arrival of those teeny tiny teeth swelling up under his baby gums. To be fair, he was high maintenance but still not as bad as that kid in line at the Wal-Mart. You know the one I'm talking about.

So there was a lot of holding and rocking and trying to distract him. Lots of teething rings and nuks and drool and I learned that it is possible for a mouth that has no teeth to pulverize my finger. And make it pruny.

Then on Tuesday? He got over it. Like, that was SO last week. He's still drooling and chomping and if he grabs my finger it ends up pulverized inside his slobbery mouth. But he's happy. And finally, last night, he slept through the night once again.


Um, but why? He had been displaying all the signs of teething. Does that really take a break? Did his teeth go on vacation? How long will we have utopia before the other shoe drops? Because I know I didn't buy that Baby Orajel for nothing.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

15w 4d adjustment

peeking out

Before having a baby, I heard and read often about what a change it is to be saddled with an infant, what a burden. The evidence sited was the usual list of tasks that exhaust -- constant feedings and lack of sleep, the necessary constant supervision, diapering, teething, adjusting to being "strapped" to someone and losing your independence, as well as the monetary cost.

What I've learned -- what I learned instantly -- was that none of this is a burden. It's a change, sure. One thing ensures that none of these are a burden: love.

What I wasn't told was how this love is the greatest burden. The weight carried has nothing to do with how Fletcher wakes in the middle of the night, or how he explodes out of his diaper, or how we can't go to the movies without a babysitter. It has nothing to do with how his sudden (early, as usual) teething makes him irritable, or how diapers are $20 per box, or how his skin and scalp need constant pampering to avoid terrible rashes.

Love is the greatest burden because the weight of it is constant, no matter where I am or what I'm doing. This love has sharp hooks that will never come dislodged, heavy chains that will never loosen. It's hard loving someone so much. The worry for him, the need to be with him, the fear that he may be unhappy or hungry or in pain... THIS is the only burden that comes with becoming a parent.

All that stuff on the list, all those "changes" you have to adjust to? You can adjust to them. It's simple; it comes with the territory. But this love is a lot to get used to.

baby peeks at daddy

A new song I'm addicted to, "Rivers of Love" by Sarah McLachlan.
It all comes down
To leaving it all behind
And moving on
To the rivers of love
And never be lonely again...
How long have you waited?
How long 'til you drown?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

14w 4d roller

It's been a big week for Fletcher.

This week? He slept through the night. As in 9:30 p.m. - 5:30 a.m. Every. Night.

This week? He's sucking his thumb. A lot. Thank you, thumb.

This week? He's crying for joy. Andy called me when I was at work and I hear this raucous crying. I asked if anything was wrong. "He's smiling," Andy said, and we both just laughed. He squealed and squealed at the top of his lungs for no apparent reason except to discover that He Has A Voice And He Knows How To Use It.

This week? He's seeing things a little more, like toys and cats and mirrors and DADDY (squeal!).

Finally, the icing on the cake... the cherry on top... the coup de grĂ¢ce without the negative reference....

He's rolling over. A lot. From his back to his stomach, pretty much every time we put him on his back. Roll, stare, complain until someone knocks him over. Roll, stare, complain until someone knocks him over. Roll, stare...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

14w 3d post office

So I was at the post office and there was a crazy long line, but that's like the definition of "post office." That's like post office's middle name. "Hello, I'm Post You're-Going-To-Have-To-Wait-All-Afternoon-Because-Everyone's-On-A-Super-Long-Lunch-Break Office."

The slovenly fellow (strongly resembled a woodchuck wearing dishrags) who entered two people after me had obviously never been introduced to the Post Office's full legal name. He also had a number of other problems.

I'm fairly certain everyone in that room was a stranger to him, but that didn't stop him from greeting us all conversationally with, "Well, I see our government is hard at work."

Um. Yeah. We all know the type. He immediately followed that brilliant declaration with, "Yeah, and they want to take over health care, too. I'm sure they'll do a GREAT job." You could hear the pride he had in wielding his weaponized sarcasm.

So within 15 seconds of first laying eyes on woodchuck-man, we were treated as though we were his confidants (or followers?), as though this sort of spontaneous politicizing of an average moment was acceptable or expected.

After all, the ten (or so) of us in the room really wondered how he felt about government-run health care, and we were so readily convinced by his facts and rationale and calm, un-provoking manner. (See! I have sarcasm, too!)

Something so commonplace shouldn't bother me. And it really didn't, except that it stayed with me, which is much more acknowledgment than any Slovenly-Political-Genius deserves.

The worst part was the man who stood between me and Mr. Brilliant. He immediately assumed the role that was ascribed to him by the loudmouth. How often are we guilty of it? When the loudmouth starts spouting his ideals in a manner that says, "Right? Don't you agree?" how often do we nod and chuckle kindly to cover our discomfort and disagreement?

What I do, the best I can do, is pretend the guy isn't speaking at all.

When the loudmouth made a few more ignorant comments, the man between us compromised by quietly saying, "Not a happy camper, eh?"


So what's the right response?