Monday, October 27, 2008

Under the Wire

This morning's fit of productivity would be all the more impressive if it didn't involve planning a birthday party for a birthday that is on Sunday and mailing a gift to a baby who was born three months ago. Maybe next I'll hang our flag out front for Fourth of July!

I am quite proud of myself for deciding to have Charlie's birthday party at the grocery store. What better place when you are spread as thin as I am? "Did you remember the forks?" "No, I'll just go by some!" "Cokes?" "I'll get those too!" It's ingenious. (It's actually at the park NEXT TO the grocery store with a duck pond and playground and a large deck with picnic tables. There will be no Musak. Or price checks) I hope it's not freezing, I do have trouble remembering that November means cold weather what with it getting all the way to 82 degrees yesterday.

I also started Wesley on cloth diapers and thought really hard about starting a load of laundry.

And then I read Dr. Advisor's "We need to talk about your dissertation. I will call you later this week" email three hundred times to see if I could glean some sense of his mood from the syntax. I was unable to do so and have now defaulted to freaking out. It's like in undergrad once when a professor returned an assignment with the dreaded "See me" scrawled in red letters across the top. I didn't hear a word of the lecture, but instead scrutinized every inch of the paper, looking for the egregious error I had committed to deserve the "see me". On the verge of tears I approached my professor at the end of class where he said "Oh hello! I just wanted to know if your last name was of Scandinavian origin." And then I almost threw up on his shoes. Why would you ever do that to someone? Seriously. (Ultimately he was one of my favorite professors. He and his wife attended our wedding) But anyway, in the mean time I'm supposed to be working on the revisions that HAVEN'T COME YET. I will continue to suffer mini-strokes each time the FedEx truck comes down our street.

Here's Charlie in his Halloween costume at the church's Fall Festival yesterday. You can tell by his clean face that this was taken before he won the cake walk and jumped in the Moonwalk.

Peter Pan

Friday, October 24, 2008

Will you accept pictures?

I started a funny post yesterday about how our neighbor's lawn guys showed up with their leaf blowers approximately five minutes after I got both boys to sleep and laid down for a nap of my own, but I was having trouble conveying the apoplectic rage I felt at the time. Wesley woke up. I calmed him down, put him back in the crib, and got in the shower for a very long time. And when I came out he was asleep. So there really wasn't much to the story and I thought that a post filled with $#@%#@^$#'s would be tedious to read.

And then I was going to write about SLEEP! OH GOSH SLEEP! Who is and who is not sleeping! (I'll give you a hint... NO ONE IS SLEEPING). Because yesterday and last night? Were a little much. The reality that I am the only way he can eat and the fact that he needs to eat approximately every seven minutes were turning me into a panicked frustrated mess. The good news is that my prepregnancy jeans now fall off when I walk. Yay nursing on demand. But then I got over the little bug I had and now that I am not dehydrated anymore he is eating and then sleeping contentedly for almost three hours. Soooooo, oops! Sorry for starving you and then getting mad about your attitude, kid.

More good news about all that nursing is that I'm all caught up on the issues of Newsweek that I let pile up during that last dissertation push. Did you know that the world economy is in a crisis brought on by irresponsible and risky lending practices? Huh.

So, here are some pictures so you don't give up on me.

Charlie took this one. He brings me my camera and says "Charlie picture?" Other new phrases he uses regularly are "Wesley milk?" and "Mama coffee!!" This is not surprising as the two phrases Charlie hears most frequently are "Just a minute sweetie, Wesley needs some milk" and "Just a minute sweetie, let me pour some coffee."

They took a bath together. Charlie thought it was hysterical. When Charlie gets excited he bounces and splashes a LOT. It was a little scary for Wesley, but now that I think about it, it made him sleep for a really long time. That was the last time I felt rested. I think it was 1973.

Here he is wearing an outfit that swallowed him up while we were still in the hospital. It's almost too small now. At his two week checkup he had grown an entire pound and added three quarters of an inch of length from where he was when we were released from the hospital. Which is why my jeans fit but also why my abdomen looks like someone let the air out of it.

In summary, other than the house being a giant mess, we are making it. I can't believe he's almost a month old... and not in a "My BAY-BEE is GROWING UP" sniffle sniffle kind of way. More of a "SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT AND PLAYING TRUCKS HERE WE COME!!" kind of way. Harder to believe is that in less than two weeks we will have a TWO YEAR OLD. Which reminds me, I need to get on that birthday party thing in a hurry. And my revised dissertation should arrive in the mail today or tomorrow. "Mama coffee!!" indeed.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Who knew?

I started working again today. It was only for a couple of hours, but I kind of liked it. It felt good like exercise feels good after a few years months away--tiring but challenging and motivating and right. Don't tell anyone. This is terrible news for the part of my brain that has been procrastinating writing an inquiry letter to a former advisor for two months because if I want a job in January, I'm going to have to, like, find one. And to do that I'm going to have to drum up some professional confidence and some ability to have a conversation beyond "What does a cow say? Good!!"

Admittedly, two hours by myself, with my shirt on, is really a huge luxury anyway these days, whether I actually enjoyed the work or not.

Of course, coming home was pretty awesome too.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

It's a different world

Saturday night we loaded up the family and went out for ice cream. As we approached the ice cream shop, me crammed into my REAL jeans and a nursing camisol, pushing a stroller loaded with two kids, we were forced to weave our way through a crowd of about twenty teenagers dressed up for a Homecoming dance (AND THEIR PARENTAL CHAPERONES hahaha). Another little family was coming the other direction and shot me a knowing and similarly exasperated smile as they navigated their Bob Revolution through the cloud of hormones. When did teenagers get so loud and shrill?

Anyway, we had a great time. Ryan and I shared our ice cream with Charlie (Ryan had pumpkin and I had Mexican vanilla with sprinkles) who gleefully shrieked "Ice cream! Ice cream! Ice cream! Ice cream!" as we left the restaraunt and wove our way back through the teenagers to a bench outside.

Charlie, ice cream

Wesley had fun too.

Wesley out for ice cream
Pay no attention to the half painted toenails. I have no excuse.

After ice cream, we went into a bookstore to change Charlie's diaper. Ryan took both boys into the men's room and I stood nearby reading a book I grabbed randomly off the shelf. Ryan emerged from the bathroom nearly twenty minutes later holding Wesley over his shoulder with one hand and pushing the stroller with the other. Wesley was MAD and Charlie was strapped into the stroller with Wesley's blanket over his lap. Poor kid had a HUGE blowout.

"They both pooped," Ryan said in an unamused deadpan "Charlie's pants are in the bag. He's too big to not wear pants."

As we left the store Charlie chanted "Wesley's turn! Wesley's turn! Wesley's turn!" (for a diaper change, presumably), Wesley cried, and I laughed so hard I cried. The irony was not lost on me-- as we passed the teenagers again I wanted to say "This will be YOU in fifteen years! Two kids, one screaming, one pantsless... poop covered pants in the diaper bag. Mwahahahaha! Was anyone planning on having SEX tonight?!"

Then as we were leaving the parking lot I had to stop short to avoid a pedestrian and my car stalled. I was laughing nearly to the point of choking by this point by this point because really, could our life be more of a sitcom? Ryan got out to push it into a parking spot but then decided we should try to push start it instead. He rolled it down the aisle of the parking lot yelling "Pop the clutch! Pop the clutch! I can't push it any faster!"

It reminded me of a childhood memory of my mom trying to start our 70's era Ford station wagon one snowy day and her encouraging us to help by yelling "COME ON BETTY!!!"

The car started and we treated ourselves to a ride on the toll road on the way home (mostly to avoid stopping at a light and having the car stall again).

The evening is one of my favorite memories of being a family of four so far.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Another disaster averted by pure dumb luck

Last night Ryan and Wesley and I went to the New Member Dessert Fellowship for our church. It was at the pastor's house and we brought Wesley with us (because of his unpredictable and demanding feeding "schedule"). After dessert and coffee, as we sat around the family room getting to know each other, Wesley started to fuss. He was chomping on his pacifier, which usually means he's hungry and is onto our little game, so I took him into another room to feed him. He dozed off after one side, so I put my shirt back together and rejoined Ryan and the rest of the group.

About half an hour later, for some reason, I grazed my boob with the back of my hand and noticed that I didn't feel a nursing pad. I can only imagine the deer in the headlights look I had on my face at that moment.

Assuming that it had just moved out of place while I was getting settled I stealthily felt around the area to see if I could find it and slide it back into place. No luck.

Now I started to panic a little. If it wasn't in my bra then where the hell was it?

I checked Wesley's blanket, it wasn't there. I felt all around Wesley's clothes, it wasn't stuck to him either. I peeked down the neck of my shirt to see if it was stuck someplace else, no dice. I discretely checked the back of my shirt and the lap of my skirt and the floor around my chair, nothing.

All of the other new members were busy listening to the most bizarre personal introduction stories I have ever heard (I don't think our pastor was talking about detailing your chronic medical conditions and troubled marital history when he said "Take a few minutes to tell us about yourself") so I hope no one noticed me getting to second base with myself in the corner of the room.

So then I was trapped. No nursing pad if I started leaking, which was a minor problem. And no idea where it had gone, which was a bigger problem. I couldn't gracefully leave the room to look for it because someone had just started talking about how their mother had congestive heart failure and her husband asked for divorce while she was in town caring for her. What do you say? "Wow, tough break. I think there may be a sopping wet nursing pad on the floor somewhere in the other room. I'm just going to go look for it before the cat drags it off somewhere."

I poked Ryan on the arm and hissed "We have to go get Charlie soon." He checked the time and smiled. "We still have half an hour" he said, squeezing my knee affectionately, "do you want something else to drink?"

The conversation continued on a (thankfully) more upbeat topic, the Methodist theology concerning the book of Revelation (I have no idea how it came up, Methodists aren't generally End of Days kind of people. I was quite relieved that the pastor had a reasonable line of thought on the topic) and I relaxed, telling myself that I had probably just forgotten to put a nursing pad on that side before we left our house. I carefully pushed thoughts about its likely wherabouts and who might have already come across it out of my mind.

After an agonizing twenty or so more minutes of this, it really was time to go pick Charlie up. I said thank you to the host I shot out of the room to look for the missing nursing pad. It was sitting right in the middle of the seat of the chair in the living room where I had fed Wesley. I shoved it into the diaper bag and left quickly.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Even scarier than the thought that I now live with a nighttime cluster feeder

To: Becca
From: Dr. Advisor
Subject: Re: Dissertation Plan


I plan to read your dissertation in its entirety next week. I will FedEX my written comments to you. You should receive them about 10/21 or 10/22.

Dr. Advisor



Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The calm before

Today is my first day with both boys home alone with me. Ryan woke up and said "Give me Wesley, go take a shower." When I got out of the shower he said "Go make yourself a cup of coffee." Then he came down and cleaned up the kitchen while I drank my coffee and read blogs (and ate the last piece of birthday cake). When I asked him why he was being so generous he said "Because you have a hard-ass day ahead of you."

He also said that if he came home to find Charlie locked in the playroom and Wesley crying in his bouncer and me drinking a beer on the back porch that he would never mention it again and it could be our little secret. What a guy!

"Send help!!"

Sunday, October 5, 2008

One week and counting


We're all still alive. I'm going to go take a nap now.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Day 3: Making it

I have lots to tell you but not much time before this guy--

Checking out Charlie's truck

--will want to eat again. Charlie was the poster child for the three-hour, twenty minutes on a side schedule. Wesley takes a more free-form approach. Sometimes he goes three hours, sometimes five, sometimes 0.5. And I'm not talking about some kind of nursing on demand overreaction when I whip out the goods at every whimper. I'm talking about some serious rooting, complete with nearly successful attempts to latch on through my shirt. No vague hand mouthing or smacking sounds here. It's really amazing how such a small, helpless baby can root so forcefully. He could go to the rooting Olympics. And then he nurses for periods ranging from two minutes to an hour and a half. I'm sure this will settle down eventually. It has to right?

He is also quite cute. And if the only complaint I have is that he is such an enthusiastic nurser, then that is not a complaint at all.

I am feeling better every day. The boobalas are quite engorged, which angers Wesley very much. I dragged my feet on buying new parts for my breast pump, so now I am trying to learn to milk myself like a cow to relieve some of the pressure. Sunday I was pretty sore owing to the fact that my first exercise of any kind in more than two years was childbirth, which as it turns out, is quite strenuous. The worst is over now, though and all that is left is a small hematoma (as described by my doctor), which is Latin for "holy s#$@ pass the frozen peas". A Vicoden/Motrin cocktail and an assortment of creams and sprays have been keeping the pain at bay nicely, when I stay on top of things. Tomorrow I may be able to sit in one of the kitchen chairs (probably not).

Charlie is a wonderful big brother... I am so proud of him. I will tell you all about it in another post, but I just don't have time to do it justice right now. He can also point out Earth and Mars in his planet book. He is so freaking cool.