Wednesday, June 25, 2008

That tricky and clever Mother Nature

Nature and biology are tricky, clever things. They make your memories fuzzy and not so immediate. So, you forget how it actually feels to take care of a newborn. Before Little Bit, I 'knew' intellectually that the first few months are hard and that you don't get much sleep. However, the reality was a slap in the face. My body was sore, my hormones were in turmoil, and the long-tunnel feeling that came from sleep deprivation made my PPD even harder. I remember the first morning that DH was supposed to go back to work after the birth. I was going to be alone for the first time with this crying baby, who depended on me for everything, and it scared me out of my mind. I cried and begged him not to leave. I just couldn't do it. Thankfully, DH was able to work from home some and only go in for half days for awhile. After Little Bit's stay in the hospital, my mom came and stayed for two weeks to help me.

Then, much earlier than I had planned, I returned to work. I had always thought that I would want to stay home with the baby as long as possible. I was very wrong. I liked being able to go to pee when I needed to, to eat a meal with both hands, to talk to others. Plus, I just couldn't deal with the crying. I had such a physical and emotional reaction to his crying. I was desperate to calm him and comfort him and make him stop crying. I felt like a failure if I couldn't.

It really wasn't until Little Bit was a little older, about 3 months old, that I got a handle on the PPD. Also, by then, he was becoming more interactive. By the time he was almost a year old, I was able to take FMLA time off work to be home with him and to really enjoy it. I love playing with him and seeing him discover things. I'm one one of those people who prefer babies after the newborn stage.

So, why am I writing about this now? To remind myself. Because, like I said, nature is clever. It's been long enough that even though I said, no, never, not gonna do this again, there is a part of me looking at the pictures on other moms' blogs of newborns and feeling a longing. Thankfully, many of these moms are also posting truthfully about the reality of having a newborn and a toddler. That helps bring me back to reality.

Logically, I think it would be too hard for us to deal with two children at once. We both like having the freedom to give each other a break, while the other one is 'on duty'. I imagine that would be hard to do with two. This last weekend, I was very sick with a sinus infection and feeling quite nauseous. I tried to imagine feeling morning sickness for weeks/months and having a toddler pestering me to get up off the couch and play with him. Not fun. I also slept so poorly (waking every hour or so) that by early the next morning, I felt that long-tunnel feeling which reminded me how I felt in Little Bit's first months with so little sleep. Reality. It was so hard the first time. How could I do it a second time?

So, why do newborn pictures fill me with sadness (that Little Bit is not that little anymore) and longing?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Reading with a two year old

Little Bit's favorite book right now is "Go, Dog. Go!" He loves to 'read' along with me, repeating the words. I love reading books with him. You know that fuzzy, warm glow picture that you might have had before becoming a parent of reading stories and singing nursery rhymes to your child? That's what it feels like.

He's snuggled up in my lap, leaning back against me. My little baby, already twice as tall as when he was born. Already needing a size 9 toddler shoe. My baby who loves to jump and laugh and run. According to height predictors, he'll probably be 6 feet tall in another 16 years. But right now, I can hold him in my lap. His hand still fits within mine. His little body curves next to my heart. I hold the book, but he turns the pages.

"Bundle up so you don't f'eeze!!" he says, holding up his feet, happy to be part of the story.

Said very seriously and loudly, "S'top dawg, 'top!" He emphasizes the 'stop' with kicks of his little legs.

Then, I read, "Go, dog! Go! It's green ahead!"

"Green a-head!" he says, putting his hands on his head. Ahead - head, get it? I can't help but laugh.

He knows the book well enough now to anticipate what's next.

"...Climb that ladder to..." I read.

"Dawg part-ee!!" he says with glee.

In hearing other stories, he's fascinated with the Mama and/or DaDa. He points to the Mama bunny in "Runaway Bunny" and says, "Mama?" "Mama?"

He points to the Mama and Dada birds (the Nene) in his "Goodnight, Hawaii" book. "Mama," he points to the bird, then, says, "Mama" and pats my stomach. He points to the baby birds. "Bee-bee!" he says. Pointing to himself, "Bee-bee!" he says proudly.

Yes, I say, you are my baby.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Time to bloom

So, remember back in March when I wrote about planting wildflower seeds in our yard? Have you been wondering how our yard looks?

Yeah, our yard looks nothing like this. I scattered those wildflower seeds in fresh organic dirt and then watered them. These are wildflowers, ya'll. They grow by the side of the road, hanging onto small dirt patches, coughing in automobile fumes. But they didn't grow in my flower beds. I suppose I was a little too "survival of the fittest" and didn't even give them extra watering beyond the first week. Obviously, I did not get the fittest seeds.

There were a few pitiful sprouts in the front flowerbeds, but most of those turned out to be weeds. I did get some successful sprouts in the backyard -- two lavender plants now about 2 inches tall, two "St. John's fire" salvia, and two flowering vines that have reached 8 inches tall. I feel so proud.

I plan to spend a lot of green at Lowe's and buy potted wildflowers -- daisies and sages and violets, oh my. Yeah, this time, we're setting up a drip irrigation system and actually watering the darn things.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

You say it's your birthday

Life has exploded again, so I haven't had a chance to post or read blogs lately...Little Bit's birthday party on May 26th was a great success. We had about 22 adults and a few toddlers running around. It was loud and hectic and fun and tiring and awesome.

Lil Bit got all sorts of great toys -- a bouncy/hopper ball with a horse cover, a large AquaDoodle pad for drawing, a toy firetruck which has a working siren, cool new books, a toy submarine for the bath, bath paints, etc. The most popular gift to buy was apparently a bubble blower lawnmower; he got two! and he'd already been given one last year, too! So, we took two back and kept the third one that he's already been using.

Of course, there was lots of good food and cake to eat.

Updated to add: Our niece put up this funny video from the birthday party of Little Bit and his cousin Bethany and their Mexican standoff. In the video, you also get to see Lil Bit's new red tricyle!! He loves it. No video of the hair-pulling (by Lil Bit) and the pushing (by Bethany); maybe that's just as well. No evidence for court. ;-) It's kind of funny watching the two of them try to work things out. Watch for the part in the video where Lil Bit is telling his dad about the floor hurting him when he fell off the trike, and then Lil Bit saying, "No, no, no!" to the floor.