Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Mother's Confession

Side note: I have decided to finally give my daughter an internet pseudonym, so from now on she will be referred to as Bella (I like the Latin root and the Italian translation). So I have a Bella and a Bubba. What a pair!

Down to the confession: Bubba is a grumpy baby. He is saved from being completely unpleasant for others to be around by the fact that he is very cute, but his disposition is less than sunny. I certainly don't love him any less, in fact now that I've lived with it for a while it can be funny, but it has been a long, loud road.

My husband can't abide it, and will stand on his head sideways to entertain him. I don't always have that luxury. My mother-in-law even bought us the bouncy seat, the high chair, and the jumperoo from the Rainforest Collection to help us try and entertain his majesty, but on the rare occasion that Bubba will relent and sit in one of them he never stays long. I keep a basket in the living room full of baby toys, and a lovely big blanket for him to scooch around on, but that doesn't last long, either. I can carry him around while I do things around the house, and he will yell and squeal and complain in a generally unpleasant way. There is no pleasing him, sometimes.
That is why, from time to time, he can be found in his Mercedes of high chairs (it has a cool toy that fits into the tray that plays music and lights up and spins), squalling his ever-loving little head off while I make dinner or clean up the kitchen. My husband is horrified by this, and if he calls while I am letting the prince cry he cannot/will not stay on the line and talk.
I can't call it colic - it isn't colic. It just seems to be high-maintenance, sensitive baby. He can wake up from a nice nap, be fed and diapered in a timely manner and seem to have no discernible reason at all to be unhappy, but he will be. And it isn't a "there-is-something-wrong-with-me- that-needs-immediate-attention" cry. It's mostly an "I-am-undecipherably-unhappy-and-or-possibly-bored-and-want-to-make-sure-you-and-the-neighbors-know-it" kind of cry. I call him a diva, which my husband also hates, but it is too true. My mother-in-law didn't believe me, until one day that she was watching him for me and he did the same for her. When I came to pick him up she was waiting for me at the door, baby in hand, car seat at the ready. Most days she encourages us to stay, possibly even for dinner, but that day she was done. All she would say was, "He is so bad!" as she shoved us out the door.
He hates his car seat, and screams the instant he is put into it. He hates to be hot, so boy do we have a rough summer approaching - temperatures are already in the nineties, so August promises to be hot and loud. He cries every time I sneeze (just me, for some reason).
I could go on and on. But I won't. Instead I will also note that:
--I am guaranteed a smile if, while he's eating, I tell him to go to sleep. Only under those particular circumstances, with those words, but if I follow the rules it works every time.
--I am astonished and impressed by his ability to pee through his diaper once daily. We have tried different diapers, different positions for his business end, you name it and I have attempted it, but still he manages to pee through his diaper and all over his clothes once a day, every day. What moxy!
--Occassionally he will take a break from complaining and switch to a more pleasant yelling noise. It's filled with enthusiasm and makes me laugh every time.
--Sometimes, just looking at him makes me tear up with a fierce sense of joy and love at having him in my life.
--He loves his sister. You can tell by the way he looks at her, by the way he smiles at her, and by the way she can get him to cackle. Twice now he has immediately stopped his yowling when she got into the car with us in carpool. Just at the sight of her. How cool is that!
He might be grumpy, but he's mine, and I love him. And I have heard that a grumpy baby can turn in to a well-behaved and pleasant toddler, so here's hoping that's true. I just try and remember how fleeting these days are, and how one day I will look back and long for him to be a little grumpy baby again.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Victory and Defeat

I managed to remember to have flowers for Jacelyn to bring to school for Mary's crowning. I forgot last year, and she left the car in tears saying, "But mommy, they are flowers for Mary!" (Talk about guilt!). I couldn't even run to the store to get some and bring them back to her because they went straight into mass from morning prayer. I felt horrible all year and made a point of remembering this year. And I did! Hooray!

The last few days have been full of ups and downs, highs and lows, pretty much across all lines.
For example: Jacelyn, on her third week of swim lessons, did the backstroke for the entire length of the pool yesterday, entirely on her own. However, while I was watching her do so, her brother took the opportunity to spit up (possibly everthing he had eaten over the course of the day) all over my right arm and shoulder. His face was also covered in this bizarre, mucus-y spit-up. When I attemped to wipe his face with a blanket it wouldn't wipe off, it just sort of smeared. This occurred fairly early on in the swim lesson, allowing ample time for us to sit in the sun and for the spit-up and its' lovely smell to bake into my clothes and skin.

Bubba has gotten into the habit of waking up sometime between 12am and 2am to eat and then stays up for an hour or so. He will eventually fall back asleep and then wake up every two hours after that to eat. This leads to exhaustion on my part, because my sleep cycle is so broken. I feel like some sort of zombie, daily. This is causing me all sorts of problems. I can't manage to stay awake until my husband gets home from work (at anywhere between 9pm and 11pm). Last night I couldn't even stay up to get Jacelyn in bed - I fell asleep on the sofa with Bubba, and Jacelyn climbed up with us and fell asleep, too. I find myself frazzled by the slightest difficulty, and quick to get angry or overwhelmingly sad. I am frustrated with myself, most of all, and what seems to be a lack of ability to get anything done in a timely manner, or well, or at all. I am worried: is post-partum depression? Or just lack of sleep? Or is this regular old depression? Add to that some conflicts with my husband over household stuff and I am just stressed out.

I need to pick myself up, dust myself off, and do what I have to do, and eventually I'll feel better. But keep me in your thoughts and prayers - I'm having a tough time right now. Thanks!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

I knew it

Well, my predictions were accurate - bad latch, bad supply. Mix that in with a tongue-tie (although not an extremely severe one) and we have every reason in the world to have problems. The solution? Patience. I was afraid of that - the one thing (ok, one of many) that I am in short supply of, and that's the one thing I need to solve this problem. I just have to wait it out, not show stress when he won't nurse, don't push the issue, etc. Latch 15 times until we get a good one, and then patiently go through the process again when he breaks the latch himself. It will be a long road, but I have renewed hope. That and I had to buy more formula last night, and what I paid for it made me wince. So I have renewed hope and a resolve to not buy many more $25 cans of formula. I don't understand the whole brand thing when it comes to formulas - is one brand better than another? Are store-brand generics just as good as the brand names? This is all new to me. Me and my friend Mr. Google will have to spend some time together to figure all this out.

Thanks to those that wished me well, and thanks to those who endured my breast-related rambling. Hopefully I will be done with all that now, with the exception of noting how well everything is going. Hopefully.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Hey, get a load of these....

I find myself eagerly anticipating an appointment during which I will expose my breasts to a complete stranger for comments and questions. Sigh. I mentioned to a male friend that it seems like breasts are all I think about, and he said "Me, too". Although I'm thinking about them in a baby feeding, life sustaining way, and he's thinking about them in a different manner altogether.

I made an appointment with a local lactation office. The woman I spoke with on the phone was so stymied by my description of what Bubba does during our attempts at nursing that she asked me to come in today. So here's hoping we get things figured out, because we have reached a critical point in this process where we work it out or we stop completely.

Here's my prediction:
  • My supply is low and must be restored and increased
  • Our latch and positioning is completely off and must be corrected

I know what our problems are, but I don't know how to correct them. So off I go to undress for a stranger. It's all worth it, though. And it's a heck of a lot cheaper than formula.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Hey Mama

Aimee over at The Mother Load just posted, in her hilariously funny way, her 10 Things I Didn't Know Before I Became a Mom, and I thought I would follow suit, even though I'm not as funny nor as good of a writer. So here it is:

Ten Things I Didn't Know Before I Became A Mom:

10. I did not know how specific you have to be as a mother. Example:
  • "Blow your nose with a tissue", because otherwise she will just shoot snot out of her nose and onto the nearest person or object, as she did here.
  • "Wash your hands in the sink" because otherwise she will wash them in the toilet. I cannot refer back to a blog post about it because it happened pre-blog, but it happened.
9. Like Aimee, I did not realize that every trip to the bathroom would be not only with an audience but also dramatically and loudly narrated by said audience, and that the audience would also expect a brief question and answer period as a follow up to what had transpired.

8. That letting my daughter her make her own mistakes and be her own person is good for her, but agonizing for me (when it goes poorly, that is).

7. That little baby boys really do pee on you when you let your guard down during diaper changes, almost every time.

6. That just the sight of either of my children can sometimes bring me to tears of joy.

5. That something as simple as just getting out of the car with two children, one of whom is an infant, can take ten minutes, three trips between the car and the house, and occasionally results in two out of the three of us crying.

4. That I would spend so much time fixated on what is coming out of my children, from where, and with what frequency and quantity: Did he poo today? How many times did he poo? Did she poo? Is that pee on his onesie? Was that throw-up or spit? In the same disgusting vein, I did not know that I would willingly pick someone else's nose, or that I would be so interested in the color and consistency of what emerged.

3. I did not know that my parents were telling the truth when they said the old "this will hurt me more than it hurts you" line. It can be agonizing. Sometimes it isn't, but most of the time is it. And I am referring to punishment in general, not spanking, although I'm certain it holds true for both.

2. That I wouldn't be able to refrain from laughing when she did something like loudly and forcefully pass gas in a quiet church cafeteria meeting. I wrongly assumed that with motherhood came the ability to not be amused by by things like that, but that didn't happen to me. I frequently laugh at things I shouldn't.

1. That I could feel a sense of pride and overwhelming love but also a little sadness and regret every time she does something that shows me she is growing up. She is becoming a strong, independent, beautiful and creative little girl, and I am thrilled for her while also acutely aware that every step leads her further away from me. But that is how it is supposed to be. But that doesn't mean I have to like it.

So there you go. Happy Mother's Day to all!