Feeble Knees

Friday, December 23, 2005

All is Calm...

For now.

I am sitting here drinking a cup of coffee - a hot cup of coffee! - and enjoying a few minutes of peace. Bug is sleeping. From the little monitor on my desk I can hear the occasional coo or sigh as he drifts in and out of dreamland. Sometimes he snores, but mostly there are long stretches of quiet.

This early morning nap is becoming my favorite part of the day, especially as he's decided to pretty much eschew napping during the rest of the daylight hours.

So Christmas is almost here. Back in August I made a pact with myself to go easy on myself and not set very high expectations of myself at least through to the new year. How could I set any expectations of myself when I had no idea what to expect? Well here we are, we have survived. Many things about being a mom and having a baby went as I expected them to go - you change diapers, you feed the baby, you get spit up on - there are certain constants that you can bank on happening. But everything else is unpredictable until you start to figure one another out.

For example, I know now that if I try to put Bug down for a nap in the middle of the day, he will cry because he'd much rather be surgically re-attached to me, and will holler until I pick him back up again. He's nosy, as someone said, and wants to see what the big people do all day. He likes to sit in his bouncy seat in the middle of the kitchen and watch everything I do. So now the only way I can make dinner in relative peace is to explain every step to him.

"See this buddy? This is a carrot. Car-rot. We peel carrots and put them in our soup. Daddy loves cooked carrots but hates raw ones. I hope you like carrots someday too, because we eat them a lot."

He observes and responds: "Hunnnhhh."

"This is a potato. Po-tay-toe. We never say Po-tah-toe, I don't care what that song says. It's Po-tay-toe buddy. We love potatoes. We eat them a lot too. I'm pretty sure you'll like them, since I don't know too many people who don't. Well, there are the Jains in India who don't eat root vegetables, but that's not exactly the norm, you know?

Bug: "Hooohhh."

"That's right. It is a little odd, I agree. Now this, this is a strainer [holding up a small mesh strainer with a handle]. W use this to strain the liquid from things like canned tomatoes. To-may-toes Can you say to-may-to?"

Bug: "HumMmmmm!"

And that is how we get through the dinner-making process. I do the running commentary to an eager little one-man, wide-blue-eyed audience. It's pretty cool.

We sing too. We sing a lot. We make up our own words to songs to fit the occasion. For example, when on the changing table, the Go-Gos' hit single "We got the beat!" becomes "We got the poops!" We like that one, it's always a crowd-pleaser. Then there's the new single sure to be a big hit in European dance clubs everywhere, "Put on a clean suit!"

Put on a clean suit,
Put on a clean suit,
We made a big mess, now we must re-dress
And put on a clean suit!

And our special nighttime song, sung to the tune of Frere Jacques:

I love bu-ug, I love bu-ug
Yes I do! Yes I do!
Love him in the morning
Love him in the evening
All day through
Night-time too!

So most of the day we keep things interesting, what with all our songs and commentaries. After all, there is so much to see and do, so much that's new. I get the sense sometimes that if he could talk, Bug would say "How can I nap now Mumma? There's so much I need to learn. Let me see and do!" So we see and do things all day. Then when night comes...

Ah, when night comes. :)

Then the little eyelids finally flutter closed against their will. His little head droops and the busy hands still themselves, then sleep comes. Wonderful, beautiful, gorgeous, quiet, heavenly peace.

Sleep in heavenly peace....

Wishing you all a heavenly peace and calm in your hearts and minds this Christmas.
God bless you,

Praying for Tony Dungy & Family

Every story of a parent losing a child cuts me to the quick now. It always upset me, and I always mourned for that person before. But now it makes me lose my breath for a moment or two, seizes my heart. I can't explain it.

So all the more so I am so sad to read about the death of NFL Coach Tony Dungy's son James, which appears to have been a suicicide.

Suicide. To raise a child through all those days and nights, to wring yourself out with love for him and break your back caring for him - only to receive word that he's decided to check out. Life wasn't good enough, not precious enough, not worth seeing through.

I read the news this morning and felt physically ill. For only half a second can I consider: what if that was my son someday? I can't let my brain go there. I don't mean to dump on poor James Dungy, who evidently must have been in a great deal of turmoil to make such a decision. But I can't not see it from the parents' perspective now, I can't not see it as anything other than a completely selfish act. A thoughtless and stupid act, and viciously cruel.

My heart and prayers are with the Dungy family, with any family suffering from so great a loss.

Where am I?

Who am I? What day is it? I have a blog??

OK, so it was never my intention to neglect this blog so badly. It was also never my intention to not keep a journal of my son's first days, weeks and months.

You know what they say about best intentions.

Bug will be exactly twelve weeks old tomorrow. I am astounded that twelve weeks seem to have passed when I was busy changing a diaper. At least that's how fast it seems to have flown. Never in my life has so much time and so many things happened so quickly.

That nurse's observation way back in October that Bug was indeed a "cuddle bug" was not only spot-on, it was prophetic. This child would be still physically attached to me by choice if he could be, I'm convinced. It's very charming, in a brain-bending, sleep depriving and psychologically exhausting way. But I say that in love. :)

True, I love this little guy in ways and emotional, spiritual dimensions I never knew existed before. To say there is a deep connection between a parent and a child is like saying a fish kind of needs water to live in. I don't know that there are words in the English language that adequately convey the power of the relationship between parent and child. I never could have imagined this before, that's for sure.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

90 Minutes

Do you know how long it takes to do things?

It used to take me five minutes to make a cup of tea, counting the steeping time. Now it takes twenty.

It used to take a half hour to shower, get dressed, put on make up. Now it takes all day, if it happens at all, and usually that's because I decide to forgo some or all of that routine. For example, I'll shower and put on make up, but never end up getting dressed (or get dressed, then get spit up and/or peed on, then give up on the idea of going out). Or I'll get dressed and touch up the makeup I was still wearing when I fell asleep during Bug's 4 A.M. feeding, and vow to "shower later, when I get a chance." (I know, gross!) Or sometimes I never get to do any of the above. There are days when having a few moments of private time in the loo seems like an accomplishment.

The last few days have been particularly rough. Bug got his shots at his 2 month appointment. At first I thought, hey, this is great, he's sleeping a LOT - woo hoo, I'm not going to complain about this! Then Sunday it started. First he started having a meltdown every time I tried to feed him. He'd latch on and get going but then five minutes into it he'd scream and carry on like I was trying to poison him. Thinking maybe my production had dipped, I started trying to put him to breast more frequently to kick things back into high gear. He liked that. He liked that a lot. He liked it so much that he decided that every ninety minutes or so, he'd like to be fed.

That's from the start of one 60 minute feeding/burping/changing session to the next. Which leaves 30 minutes during which he would fall asleep on my lap and doze peacefully. Unless I tried to put him in his crib, bassinet or bouncy seat. Then he'd wake up. And scream. And holler. And look up at me with those big gorgeous bewildered blue eyes: Mommy, how could you leave me like this??


It was slightly better at night. He'd sleep about 2-3 hours in between feedings. But we are generally up again by 3 or 4 (it varies). But I checked my feeding log (yes, I keep one, I'm neurotic like that) and for two days straight he started a new feeding session every 2 hours or less on the nose. A couple of them even just merged into one. I believe they call that a cluster feeding. Another name for it crossed my mind. But I promised myself I wouldn't type it here.

Oh yes, it's been a bit hard to be "sanctified" these last few days. Very hard. Can't say I've managed it very well. God is gracious.

For the first time since last Friday, I got out of the house. I left here in the clothes I'd been sleeping in at 7:10 to go to the grocery store. There's a big storm coming tomorrow, they're talking 12+ inches of snow. I figured if I waited too long, everyone and their brother would dash to the store today to buy milk, bread, etc. and it'd be a zoo. Mr. F stayed with Bug. When I got to the store it was just me and the shelf-stockers. Christmas music was playing. Row after row, all the shelves were nice, clean, tidy; orderly. There were no babies there. Hallelujah. The land of milk, honey and spotless floors! But there was no tarrying. I kept glancing at the clock. 7:45. Maybe Bug would sleep another twenty minutes. Maybe Mr. F would only have to placate him for fifteen minutes. Maybe I could get out of there and home by quarter past. Around and around and up and down the aisles I flew.

Back in the car, it's 8:30. The checkout lady was nice, but so slow! Maybe Bug's still sleeping? No way. He must be up by now. He must be wet by now. He must be crying. I grip the steering wheel and hit the gas. An acoustic guitar song's playing on the radio. The sun hovers over the trees, its long slants of white gold tripping through the frozen winter branches, falling on my face as I drive on by. The heady, heavy scent of an orange blossom plant I'd picked up on a whim from the produce section sweetens each inhalation with its perfume. Just a few moments alone. Calm. Quiet. An open road. Sunrise. Gentle light and peace.

Ninety minutes. And I got everything I needed. Everything.