Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sure Could Use Some Fixin'

A little over a year ago, Grinch and I were just getting around to enjoying life again after being in BabyJail for two years. We were able to go on a family vacation to the beach, eat food, have cocktails and beer and we had a fun little kid tagging along for the ride. Then we decided, this is too much fun, we need to have another kid! Let's make ourselves miserable all over again! For, whaddayasay hon, two years? YAY!

Miserable may be too strong a word. I mean, Dos is cute and healthy. And cute. And she cries if you set her down for .0003 milliseconds. And after six months, she's still waking up every two hours or less to nurse. And she cries in the car. Not just cries, screams bloody freaking murder. And Grinch won't sleep with me because of all the crying. Where were we? Right. Miserable.

Seriously. I can't remember being this unhappy with a situation in a long time. And the suckiest part is? I think I brought it all on myself and I don't know how to fix it.

When we brought Dos home, I didn't want to upset the happy situation we had going. I wanted everyone to get as much sleep as possible (including me) and continue on with our regularly scheduled programming. So to keep Dos from crying too much, I took her to bed with me and pretty much nursed all night. Naptime, same deal. So guess who can't sleep without nursing now? Guess who can't stand the idea of letting her "cry it out"? Guess who also has no patience, stamina or mental capacity for letting her "cry it out" or rocking her screaming babyness to sleep. It feels like there's no end in sight. I'm going to have to go to college with her and wait in her dorm room every night to nurse her to sleep. I'm going to be nursing her on her honeymoon. I'm going to be nursing HER babies.

Really, the worst part is: when I go to work in the middle of the night, Grinch is left to deal with the situation. There's no telling if the baby will wake up, if she'll take a bottle and go back to sleep or if she's up to party-hearty, bring on the teething rings and busy boxes, dude! Grinch and I are ready to kill ourselves or each other, whichever is easiest. Poor Bug is doing so great despite all this. She's so sweet and so much fun lately. But she's stuck all day with cranky Mommy who doesn't want to go anywhere because Dos might fall asleep or start screaming and that would suck for everyone.

I feel so lucky that Dos is here, healthy and apparently normal on all counts. How did I screw this up so badly, though? What can I do to make it up to her? How can I fix this and make it up to my family?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Doin' Our Time

I've seen people take newborn infants to the beach, to the movies, to amusement parks and restaurants. We're talking practically fresh outta the oven babyloaf, still all wrinkly and smonchy being carted to Wally World. Why? I don't know. Don't tell me mama wouldn't rather be anywhere else but there. I guess some people are ok with taking the little pooper everywhere from Day 1.

I'm not one of those people.

When the bug was born, we didn't go anywhere for three weeks and then it was to the dreaded New Moms Group Where No One Liked Me. I got bolder, taking her Target and Whole Foods, but scurrying out as fast as possible if I even thought I heard someone sneeze. When the bug was about 5 1/2 weeks old, I took her to Sam's Club. I was so proud of myself! I drove home thinking, "I took my baby out when she was just 5 1/2 weeks old. 5 1/2 weeks! She hasn't even had her shots yet.....Ohmygaaaaaaahhhhhh....." and I nearly drove off the road. I was quite sure I'd contaminated her with some of the worst germs on earth or at least the ones that reside in Sam's Club.. I spent the next hour holding the bug and a phone, ready to dial 911 if she so much as sneezed.

If germs weren't the enemy, a screaming baby was. I didn't want to be one of those parents who totes a wailing infant everywhere, drawing death stares from everyone. I tried everything to limit our outings to only absolutely necessary excursions, and then carefully timed them around naps and feedings.

Grinch and I referred to those first few months of captivity as BabyJail. "We're having a party. Can you come?" Can't. BabyJail. "What are you doing for the holidays?" BabyJail. "Weekend?" Babyjail.

As the bug started eating solid foods and her naps became more regular, we got a peek at life on the outside. Furlough. Then she was 100% weaned and as nap-regular as your ancient Uncle George and we were out all the time! YAY! Festivals! Parades! Shopping! Trips! Yahooooo! We still never went out without her because she refused to look another human in the eye, much less be held by them, but ohmygod it was so nice. Sooooooo nice.

Now we're back in BabyJail. Boring, ugly, toys on the floor, nothing decent to eat in the fridge, gonna tear my hair out if I have to play another game of Cariboo BabyJail. Warden Dos is pretty cute and she allows us conjugal visits, so we can't complain. The bug shouldn't be held captive, so we let her out for brief visits to the grocery store, Target, library and bouncy tent place. Humanitarian visits come from Aunts and friends bearing contraband like candy, markers and stickers.

We expect a parole board hearing within a couple of months when Dos gets really handy with the solid foods. We may be in for a reprieve around the holidays so we won't have to toast the new year with a bag of pruno. I'm bucking for time off for good behavior by doing lots of laundry and sucking up to the warden. I just hope I don't get shanked out in the yard.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

You lead, I'll follow

She's laying beside me on the bed. Not quite asleep, but not quite awake. We're nursing our way through naptime because it's the only way I can get more than 45 minutes of shut-eye. She's in that dreamy, happy, in-between stage. Eyes closed, nursing and waving her free arm in the air. I put my finger near her hand and she grabs it like it's a life preserver, pulling my hand close to her and clutching it to her chest.

Her cheeks are rosy and full, quickly rising and falling as she nurses, her tiny chin pumping away. I watch her eyelids flutter. Her eyelashes are growing longer and darker every day. Her forehead is smooth, skin flawless. I can lean in just slightly and give it a gentle kiss, stealing a sniff of her honey-scented hair.

She releases her grip just slightly on my finger, gently pushing my hand away an inch or two. She quickly pulls it back. Pushes my hand away. Pulls it back. Her movement finds a rhythm. Pushes me away. Pulls me back. Pushes me away. Pulls me back. I watch her and let my hand go back and forth with hers. I wonder, is this the way it's going to be our whole lives together: pushing me away and pulling me back? "Leave me alone!" "Can you fix my hair for me?" "I'm not a child!" "Can I have money to go the movies?" "Don't kiss me in front of my friends." "Do you love me?"

Yes, baby girl. I love you. I'll always love you with every cell in my body and more. I don't always understand you, especially when you're ready to party at 3am and I just want to crawl under the sheets and cry. I'll always love you, though.

You find your rhythm. Show me who you are and who you need me to be for you. I can adjust. I can follow. I'd follow you anywhere.