Friday, February 27, 2009

What is the real truth?

Visiting Florida gives you a different perspective on motherhood. You encounter many women who are done with the day to day mothering of small children. Everyone tells you to enjoy the time, that their children grew much too fast. Most look back on the experience with nostalgia and say it was the best time of their lives.

I always listen to their advice very closely; I agree that the time just flies. I can't believe that my Henry is no longer a little baby and I have my Molly to love. I also agree that being a mother is the most rewarding thing I have ever done. I knew, but I never really knew, how much you could love your own children.

As someone currently in the trenches, I find it interesting that they always omit how hard it is. Do they have selective memory? Do they not want to scare you? I think they are doing a disservice by not acknowledging it. Mothering a young child, especially more than one, is back-breaking work. Each day is both physically and mentally exhausting. The breastfeeding, cooking, cleaning, laundry, diaper changing, nose-wiping, lack of sleep, crying, pacing the halls is all just mind-numbing and repeats itself every day. Weekends are just another day and there is no such thing as a vacation.

There are days that I feel that I am at the brink of losing my sanity. Motherhood has pushed me to the the limits of my patience. I finally get Molly down for her fifth fifteen-minute nap of the day and Henry screams in her face, waking her. I just laid my head down to sleep at night and she wakes, wanting to be fed even though she just ate an hour ago. I am flat on my back with the flu, not able to eat but I still need to produce milk to keep another person alive. I get everyone dressed in their winter clothes to go outside and someone poops through their outfit. Most of these things you can laugh off, but some days they pile up like an accident on a freeway and you just can't take it anymore.

Is it impolite to talk of these things? Does it mean that you don't like being a mother or that you don't love your children? I think not. I think older mothers should be honest about the entire picture. There will be days that you think you might lose your mind. The isolation, the tedium, the boredom, the loss of freedom that are all part of the package.

I think if women don't talk about it, then everyone feels like they are the only one that feels this way, that they are doing something wrong. That all of these things are normal, and that despite all of this there will be days you feel like your heart is going to explode with the overwhelming love for your child. That tears will come to your eyes watching your "baby" play tag with another child for the first time. That your newborn will give you a gummy smile first thing in the morning that might be the sweetest thing you have ever seen.

I think they should say that being a parent pushes you to grow in sometimes painfully uncomfortable ways, but in the end you will be a better person for having done it. And that seeing your child grow into a happy, well-adjusted person will make it all worth it. And that it was the best time of their life.

South Florida Catnip

We just returned from Molly's "Boca Raton Debut." We had a fun weekend visiting her great-grandma and great-grandpa Ruth and Jack. They of course loved meeting her, and still think that the sun rises and sets on Henry.

A funny thing happened at the hotel every morning. I would bring her to the breakfast facing forward in the baby carrier, which I don't normally do (she faces inward sleeping most of the time). Every day she was literally accosted by women of a certain age. I barely had time to eat my breakfast, I was spending so much time answering questions about her. People were even shouting across the restaurant confirming information about her. "You were right Mortie, she is 11 weeks old!" This happened so many times it was almost bizarre. Two women even insisted on holding her. One lady pushed her walker over to our table, plopped down into a chair and said "I can't stop myself, I need to hold her" and grabbed her out of my arms.

She's a cutie, that's for sure!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Standards

There is an unspoken rule at the playground/playgroups that you don't come all dolled up. Doing so does not earn friends; it only serves to highlight how unshowered/flabby/unfashionable/fill in the blanks everyone else is. I say this tongue in cheek, but moms of toddlers are generally not the most well put together bunch. Merely getting out of the house is seen as a victory.

I had been thinking recently however, that now that I was not pregnant I should buy some new clothes and start putting myself together a bit better. I was having this conversation at the playground with my friend Jill, who also has a toddler and a newborn. As we are talking, I reach up and feel a small, hard item stuck in my hair.

I pull it out and inspect it. It is clearly one of Henry or Molly's "nose excretions." Gross, but certainly not unusual given the nature of my work. Jill and I had a good laugh about it and I decided that my new standard was going to be not leaving the house with childrens' boogers in my hair.

I really aim high, don't I?

Monday, February 09, 2009

Funny Henry-isms

Henry is literally obsessed with television and I have to limit him or he would watch all day. However, much of his conversations are peppered with things he has learned on TV. He thinks it is very funny to ask to watch "Dodo" (aka Dora The Explorer) and when I say "No" to continue to ask for every character on the show. He goes through the whole roster: "Dodo?" No. "Boots?" No. "Map?" No. "Swiper?" No. And on and on. Once he gets to the end he bursts into a fit of giggles.

Another of his big jokes is about Swiper. On the show, Swiper steals things from Dora. He is constantly going around telling me that Swiper has swiped certain things in the apartment.

Last week, I asked him who had made a mess in his room. He blamed it on Mason and Maya, his 1 yo cousins who were over a few days earlier.

When he doesn't want to go outside to play, he puts on a very pained expression and tells me it is "too cold. "

He likes to pretend that cardboard boxes are a fly-boat, which is a vehicle from The Wonder Pets. He makes up all sorts of games and it is currently his favorite toy. Today he wanted to use the vacuum cleaner and I told him we couldn't until he picked up his toys. He ran over, threw the fly-boat into the hallway and exclaimed with glee "Byebye Fly-Boat!"

Thursday, February 05, 2009

How lucky am I?

Henry is taking a nap after a super-fun playdate this morning at his friend's house. The place is clean and Adam is away for the evening so I don't plan on cooking. I fed Molly, changed her little diaper and put a blanket over her while she was sitting on my lap. She was so cozy, and immediately fell asleep. I have to wait for the groceries to be delivered so I have nothing to do but sit here and let her snooze on my lap. Bliss!

How is it...

That we can put a man on the moon but can't manufacture socks that will stay on a two month old? Molly can remove her socks in under three seconds. By the time I replace one sock she has kicked off the other. Our apartment is littered with tiny stray socks.

What a little nut

Henry is at such a great age now. He now has enough verbal skills to express himself more fully and a great imagination. He can make up little games on his own and play indepenently. I love listening to him talk to himself.

He found two rectangular pieces of cardboard recently and decided they were ice skates. Adam put double stick tape on them and he skates around the apartment. Recently he added a little straw hat and a flash light to the mix and he skates with the whole ensemble. Sometimes he adds his backpack to the costume.

I went looking for him yesterday and found him face first on his belly in Adam's closet, his skates dangling out the door. He was just looking around with his flashlight like a junior archeologist. Crazy kid.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Someone please send some wine!

Egads, I think Molly has colic.

Henry did and it was a horrific experience. We learned many things from that and thought we had the tools to avoid it this time. Making sure she sleeps at least every two hours, very loud white noise, swaddling her, using the techniques from Happiest Baby on the Block...

The past few days she has been winding up around 5:30pm. This would be bearable if Adam had a 9-5 job and was home to help with Henry. Most normal days he is not home until at least 6:30 or 7pm. It is a busy time of year for him now and he has evening events three nights this week. Which take him out of the rotation entirely.

Last night she screamed off and on from 5:30 until 9:30pm. Which makes it very difficult to do normal things like feed Henry dinner, give him a bath, put him to bed or even just give him some attention...Who can sleep when your sister is screaming like she needs an exorcism? Around 9pm I finally remembered the hair dryer trick which got her to stop. The general problem with colic is that once you stop doing whatever it was that got them to stop crying they start again. You can't put them in a bouncy seat, swing, turn off the hair dryer without them screaming again.

I am a fairly patient person, but after 13+ hours with two kids and not having a full nights sleep in eight weeks, four hours of crying gets to you a bit. Our house looks like a tornado hit. I try to take Henry out in the morning somewhere and Molly sleeps on the go. I come home, feed him lunch and put him down for a nap. As soon as he is down, she is awake again for almost two hours. I play with her a bit, eat lunch with her on my lap (she will not be ignored) and then get her back down to sleep. I hop in the shower and Henry is awake as soon as I get out. The past two days I have taken him out of his crib while I am still dripping wet.

We have about 15 minutes before she wakes again. Add in some nursing sessions and it is lather, rinse, repeat ALL day long. Until the screaming starts of course...

It is 10:30pm and I am off to put the lunch and dinner dishes in the dishwasher and clean this disaster that we call home. Adam is quickly learning that the way to ensure that I am almost homicidal is to say he is going to be late!

Send some booze please.

Sunday, February 01, 2009