Filed under: Life

Feeling Springy

Monday, March 29th, 2010 • No Comments on Feeling Springy

image  It is raining the proverbial cats and dogs right now, but there are flowers blooming in the yard and the grass has turned green and despite the fact that the whole world looks gray and grim at the moment, spring is here.  I’m so ready for the season and I feel like I have been waiting so long for it to arrive.  The holidays were a strange mix of emotions and exhaustion, leaning more heavily toward sadness and depression than I would have liked.  But now… oh!… even this dreary weather can’t take my spring away! 

Jay will be home in less than six weeks and I’m already thinking about the party I want to have when he gets back, but I’m not sure one party is going to do my happiness justice.  I want to cook and bake and eat and play with babies and lounge in the sunshine and talk and laugh with friends.  I want to open the windows and listen to the birds sing and joke with old friends and make playdates with new friends.  I want to bake cupcakes and decorate them with spring colors.  I want to make pitchers of strawberry lemonade, as sweet as the days to come.  I want to plant flowers in the yard and in pots on the deck and buy bunches of flowers for the house so I’m always surrounded with spring colors and scents.  I want to buy Patrick an adorable romper to wear.  I want to stay outside until the fireflies light up the night and I want to sleep with the windows open on sheets that smell like spring.

Four months ago, I wasn’t sure how I’d survive winter alone with a newborn.  I thought for sure I’d lose my mind.  I did better than I thought I would—and it got surprisingly easier than anyone even told me it would—but I’m so glad winter is behind me.  That blur of cold, dark, tiring days has made me appreciate this spring so much more.

Posted by Kristina in Life

So Very Tired

Friday, March 26th, 2010 • No Comments on So Very Tired

I’m utterly wiped out this week.  I think it’s a combination of not having babysitting for a week, sick puppy issues. trying to get a bunch of work done, which kept me up until 1 AM more nights than not, and what might be Patrick’s four-month growth spurt.  All of that combined has me feeling not only tired, but a bit sick. Blah.

Despite not having a babysitter for the first 2 months of Patrick’s life, I seriously missed Ashleigh last week. It’s amazing how much of a difference those 20 or so hours each week make to my mental well-being.  Though she’s been back since Wednesday, I’m still feeling a bit out of sorts.  Short on patience, a little snappish, just plain tired of the endless routine. 

I was moving right along and doing just fine until Saturday night when Henry suddenly got sick.  I thought it was the end of the road for the fourteen year old dog because his symptoms came on suddenly and seemed rather dire—hardly walking, staggering and falling when he tried, vomiting, refusing to eat.  Of course, it was the weekend and my vet was closed, but thankfully I’m friends with my vet after years of monthly (and often more) visits.  I called her and we decided to watch and wait until Monday, unless he got worse.  Thankfully, he stayed the same and the verdict on Monday morning was an inner ear infection.  Once I knew that, it explained the balance and vomiting issues.  He’s still not himself after almost a week—which has added a host of chores to my daily routine, including carrying him downstairs, guiding him outside and doling out several meds that he refuses to take—but he’s definitely feeling more like himself.  Poor puppy.

The work has been a bit of a saving grace, even if it keeps me up too late and causes me to lose sleep.  I got the galleys of Fairy Tale Lust proofread and returned, I wrote that long story last week and wrote and pitched another anthology idea earlier this week.  There are a bunch of April 1 anthology deadlines and I’m working on those.  The writing keeps me going when other things don’t, so I can’t complain too much about the lost sleep.  I wish I could nap during the day. It might make life a bit easier.

And as we approach the four-month mark, Patrick is being a little more vocal and demanding.  I’ve read that in addition to a growth spurt, 4 months also marks a period of “sleep regression” where babies who were previously sleeping through the night might go back to sleeping only 3-4 hours.  That hasn’t happened yet (and I wouldn’t mind at all if Patrick skips this particular milestone), but he has been having a bit more difficulty going to sleep.  The only “cure” seems to be for him to babble loudly, almost bordering on a yell, until he finally puts himself to sleep. It’s amusing, but it also jangles my nerves because I don’t like loud noise.  It’s only been going on for a couple of days, so hopefully it’ll pass quickly and he won’t also start waking up in the middle of the night again. I can’t imagine how much more tired I can get.

Next week should be better.  I have a full week (20 hours) of babysitting, which will certainly put me back on track mentally.  Henry is recovering slowly but steadily and should be back to his normal self by this time next week.  Patrick has his four-month appointment with the pediatrician on Thursday, so I can find out if this rash/eczema he’s experiencing requires something stronger than OTC cream, which doesn’t seem to be working, and also get some reassurance that this growth spurt, or whatever it is, is normal.  The writing deadlines will be nagging at me through the week, but maybe I’ll manage to write a new story or two.  And on Friday, Sheri is coming for a quick weekend visit!  I know she’s mostly coming to see Patrick, but just having her around through the weekend to hang out and play—and help me with Patrick—will be wonderful.

So, the goal for the weekend is to try to squeeze in a nap or two to get back some of my energy, do as much writing as possible and cuddle with the baby, when he isn’t busy serenading me with baby yells. 

Posted by Kristina in Life

This is mostly not a baby post.

Monday, March 8th, 2010 • 3 Comments on This is mostly not a baby post.

Motherhood has, in a strange sense, fostered a newfound generosity of spirit in me. Let me explain.

Taking care of an infant is exhausting, repetitive, often unrewarding work.  Patrick is a good baby, a happy baby, but there’s virtually nothing he can do for himself.  And so, I do it all for him. I am happy that he rarely cries because it means he is content with his current lot in life. His needs are met—and I meet them. It is easy to love him, because he is my own child, but I also respect him because he is so helpless and yet still tries so hard to accomplish things. Reaching out for toys, soothing himself with his fingers, seeking me out even when it means having to roll on his side, making his tongue work so he can communicate in his own way—he does these things despite the great amount of effort it takes sometimes to accomplish them. And because he works so hard and I can see the effort it takes, it doesn’t bother me to change his diaper for the second time in ten minutes (at least he didn’t pee on me) or to change my shirt for the third time in one day (at least he didn’t spit up in my hair).  See?  I see how hard he is trying and it makes my spirit more generous—and gentle.  And it’s so easy to be this way because, even on days like yesterday when I was tired and not feeling well and maybe didn’t engage him as much as I should have during play time, he still forgives me and offers me a smile when he wakes up from his naps. Every time, without fail. Maybe that’s a bad baby memory or maybe his spirit is generous.

You would think I’d have nothing left to give anyone else after putting all of my generosity (or “work”) into a baby.  Truth is, I didn’t have it to give in those early weeks.  I barely had it to give to him.  But I found some untapped well of patience and understanding inside me because, well, I had to—and it doesn’t just extend to Patrick anymore.  As my confidence in my abilities has grown, so too has my sense of generosity and forgiveness.  Patrick has softened me in some ways, ways I didn’t really know I had become hardened.  More than one person has commented that I seem very “calm” and that motherhood suits me.  I laugh it off and interpret whatever calm vibe I’m sending as pure exhaustion, but I sense what they mean.  Even when everything is chaos and my brain is racing in six directions at once, there is a calm at my center that wasn’t there before.  An ability to let go and forgive and reach out and be kind.  Because we’re all trying, aren’t we?  Patrick’s efforts are so obvious to me because he’s a baby, but I find myself looking around and seeing that others are trying, too.  Even if their efforts aren’t as transparent, even if their work (and suffering) is going on beneath the surface.  We’re all reaching, soothing, seeking and communicating in our own way. 

And I know this sounds all gooey and Zen (and I did enjoy Momma Zen so much that I sent a copy to another new mom friend who I thought would appreciate it), but that’s what motherhood has done for me.  I’m not one of the “my child is my life” mommies—I think I will always identify as a writer, first and foremost, over mother, or wife—but I’m discovering unexpected emotional growth because of motherhood.  My goal is not to change my identity to become only “Patrick’s Mother” but to help him grow his own individual identity and give him wings.  We all need encouragement with that, I think.  Whether we’re three months old or forty three years old, it feels good to have someone understand us and accept us for who we are.

I still need more sleep, more time to write and more help with baby.  But I’m finding it easier these days to reach out, to soothe, to attempt to connect, to try to communicate—and, when all else fails, to forgive and offer a smile.

Posted by Kristina in Baby, Life, Pregnancy and Baby

I'm a writer, editor, blogger, mama, wife and coffee lover.