I decided to post a day early- why not? There's no reason I HAVE to post on Thursdays...I can still be wild, fancy-free (whatever that means), not tied down to convention...
Or it's because we're hosting our very first Thanksgiving tomorrow and there is NO WAY ON EARTH I can get Nora ready, the house ready, the food ready (a turkey? I may end up serving deli slices) and enjoy a leisurely blogging session. So, I'm enjoying my leisure time now- typing one-handed, feeding Nora and signing a Christmas card (complete with personal message) between burps. Hers, not mine. I would feel pretty fabulous about all of this, were it not for the fact that I haven't showered in a while (the actual amount doesn't really matter) nor have I changed clothes since that moment between Nora and I when I told her, "I should really change out of this now." And didn't.
And now, two extremely inappropriate things to blog about, condensed to lessen the gross-out factor:
One. A word of advice- buy your nursing bra BEFORE you have the baby. Buy many, even if you don't know what size you'll end up being. The experience of having an incorrectly-sized bra still trumps the experience of trying on bras once you've begun to sustain a child. I have said too much.
And two. When using a breastpump for the first time, it is awfully helpful to have the suctioning function working correctly. Perhaps bring a towel. Do not allow others to witness it, either. It has the potential to turn away friends and destroy relationships. There are few things more horrifying than an incompetent pumper. Skype tutorials are fine, but keep in mind that you are one exposed body part away from internet pornography at all times.
(If this weren't such a family blog, I guarantee I could have soda coming out of your nose within minutes. Regardless of your beverage of choice.)
In other, viewer-friendly news, my daughter is losing her hair. This is something that is entirely out of my control but also something for which I feel 100% responsible. It bothers me a little too much. My daughter will always be gorgeous to me (and others- come on, she's stunning), but I do not wish to have Kojak as a kid. Maybe for an uncle. Remember in the early '90s when that colored hairspray was invented to "hide" bald patches on men and women? Thought it was an awesome idea then, even more relevant now. I'm going with that reddish-orange color.
Speaking of references only Kate will understand, my big sis came to play last week! It was fabulous for Nora Jane to meet her godmother and we had a lovely time napping and eating too much. It also gave me the opportunity to take embarrassingly long showers without fear of repercussion (or soap in the eyes) from Duchess Purpleface D'Yellipants (it's a family name.)
Kate and I went to the premiere of my workshopped play with 20% Theatre on Friday night, complete with a playwright talkback. Yes, I talked back. (I was so tired that in the midst of answering a question I blanked and admitted to the guy that I had no idea where I was going with all of this. Kate said it was handled seamlessly. They were all very kind.) The traumatic part of the evening was actually leaving Nora. She was fine, hanging out with her Dad and enjoying a previously pumped bottle (see earlier references), but I left the house feeling like I had left my hands behind or forgot to put on pants. (Kate helpfully informed me that since I was wearing a skirt, this was indeed the case.) After ten months of having her be RIGHTTHERETHISCLOSE it was extremely jarring. I cried. Then I had a great time. And was home two hours later on the dot. I even had half a beer to celebrate. (I used to wear lampshades, I swear to God I did.)
I think I've been using my time off from work to the fullest: I'm catching up on series that people have been raving about for quite awhile. Some have even ended. No matter. There has never been a better time in my life to watch things, in fifteen minute increments, throughout a 24-hour period. One of these shows is 'The Office.' I have been mainlining episodes of 'The Office.' I have gone through five full seasons in under a week. Yes. One side effect of watching a stylized show in such large quantities is that one begins to take on the patterns of speech and thought exemplified in a given series. For example, my inner monologue now sounds creepily like the explanatory asides on that show:
Keely to P.J.: These potatoes are fabulous. Just how I like them.
Keely (aside): I hate potatoes. Always have. I might throw them on the floor. Or develop an allergic reaction. Did I tell you I have an allergic reaction to iodine? Funny story...
Between that and the use of Skype as my main form of communication (keeping one's head directly in the sights of the webcam while holding a squirmy baby makes for stilted conversation at best- and don't even get me started on trying to feed her in the midst of one of these convos. See- earlier references about interweb exposure) has reduced my language skills to mush.
But who needs eloquence? I'm pretty blessed with a terrific husband, wonderful family and friends, a house that we adore, careers that stimulate us, a baby that fills my heart with joy...OHMYGOD NORA HAS FALLEN ASLEEP. Showershowershowertime oh boy clean socks!!!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
So. I've been in possession of this child for exactly three weeks now. (Happy three weeks, Nora!) And. I've since realized that I will spend the next eighty or so years with my heart in my throat.
As it turns out, this little person, this amazingly loud and soft and alert little beastie, this darling cherub in whom I've placed all of my love and hopes and dreams...it turns out that eventually WE MUST LEAVE THE HOUSE and people, crazy people, people who wish to touch her face and ask questions and drive cars nearby, WELL, it turns out that they are somehow allowed to do so!
How do people do it? How do people LEAVE their children with others, even for a day, even for an HOUR? Granted, I'm a nanny. This is how I make my cash money. And it has recently come to my attention that people are frickin' INSANE to leave me with their children! And I LOVE their children! But how does anyone know anything about anyone? What if- WHAT IF- their children are hurt or sad or tired? This never bothered me before. Because children are resilient, happy creatures. But what if mine isn't? I'm not saying I want to turn into Mother Bates here (I do NOT want more people staying here, thankyouverymuch), but if at ALL possible I'd like to avoid any heartache, stress or emotional issues in my daughter's future.
I do NOT think this is too much to ask.
(But at LEAST stop touching the baby's face. It is cold n' flu season, for Pete's sake.)
On the topic of emotional distress, I've decided to start showering suuuper early in the a.m., well before the gal decides it's time for Second Breakfast. Sometimes this works out. Sometimes it decidedly does not. The hope is that I'll be able to hop in for a quick shower, get dressed for the day, start a load of laundry and down a [small] cup of coffee before my infant daughter stirs gently in her bassinet to greet the day with a miniature beam.
I cannot trick this little being. She knows what I want, sometimes before I even want it. She has spent nine-plus months learning what makes me tick. She is the ultimate inside job!
She is ruthless.
So. Sometimes we compromise and she enjoys a little spin in the aquarium bouncer by the bathroom cabinet while her mother says things like "Look at the rushing water- isn't that FASCINATING?," while accidentally scalding herself in the pursuit of the fastest shower on record.
Sometimes we "compromise" by having Nora decide that Alone Time is over and I "compromise" by feeding her on the hallway floor, my bathrobe on the wrong arms and soap in my eyes.
And before the chorus of experienced moms chastise me- "Sometimes you have to Let Her Cry," I tell you this. I have let her cry. A good portion of our day is tears. But my daughter has a turbo button, a mode of play if you will, that turns the slightly French 'waa...le waa' into a tribal keening of supersonic timbre, complete with a vibrating purple face and ending with a truly terrifying Silent Scream.
I respect this kind of power. Hence, Lady Spitup Von Chickenlegs and her trusty sidekick Sweatpants McDairyfarm.
(I wouldn't trade it for all of the clean tank tops in the world.)
Confidential to PJS: All this recycling totin', kitchen cleanin', DVD burnin', fridge stockin', nutmeg custard makin', late night Nora tendin' action...? Thanks.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
First off, happy two week birthday to my little gal, Miss Nora Jane! (Two weeks? You mean, after all of this crazy pregnancy business and madcap preparation...two weeks can go by like THAT? I turned to Peej at the 4am feeding and sorrowfully told him that she's getting too big. He pointed at her and said "She is SO teense," with a 'Don't start that already' look on his face. This from the guy who wants twelve more.)
Also, Happy Belly-Button-Falling-Off-Day! To Nora, specifically. Unless it applies to others I know. In that case...Happy BBFOD to us all! (And, from across the room, I can see that she's trying to crawl up Nat-Nat's shoulder. Between that, rolling over three times and insane neck control, I'm fairly certain I've given birth to a three-month old.)
And- addendum. My kiddo's birth weight was 6lbs, 15oz. The doctors had suggested (strongly) that he or she was going to be a whopper of a kid with a ginormous head. They miscalculated, due to her extremely balled-up breech position (and the physical inability to get to other parts of my innards- Nora, not the doctors. I'm sure they could have if they had really wanted to.) So, they guesstimated based on how big she'd be IF she could have expanded to all four quadrants of my midsection- and not the upper 1/4 that she inhabited for three months.
THAT SAID, 6lbs and 15oz is NOT tiny based on the space she occupied. Imagine if I tried to balance a weight like that on your pinky finger. After a while, it would start to HURT. And on THAT note, why do people round down? After announcing her birth stats, more people than I care to count exclaimed- "Six pounds? Small!" Yep, six pounds IS small. However. She was one ounce shy of seven pounds. Which is painfully average. (That's my daughter- painfully average!)
And we get to weigh her again today at the doctor's office! I may supplement a protein drink or two to get some sweet poundage.
The craziest part of this whole thing is- I was not nutso about being pregnant. At. All. But now that she's here? I have no desire to put her down, ever, or to do non-Nora-centric activities. I leave the room for a few moments and have that bizarre WHAT AM I FORGETTING feeling, followed immediately by OH MY GOD, WHERE'S THE BABY? (Side note- she is with grandparents and friends whenever this happens. I am not a negligent mother. Yet. That I am aware of.) And I realize that this is wholly biological. (I'm learning a lot about biology these days: the kiddo looks like the father so he won't be tempted to eat her, and the mother cannot put the kiddo down and thusly abandon it. You win this time, Science.) Even with these facts, I cannot even begin to muster the ability to care. For I DO want to hold her nonstop. When I feed her in the middle of the night and see her ridiculously wide-awake eyes, I smile. (P.J. does not have the same biological reactions for the 4am feedings. He pats her on the head, hands her to me and mumbles something like "Daddy loves you." Or "dabble my shoes." At least he's not tempted to eat her. Yet.)
And this bliss-fest is only compounded by the glorious help we've had for the past two weeks. My parents being here was nothin' but fun. My mother's extended visit was the nicest one-on-one time we've shared since before the twin sibs showed up in March of '87 and ruined everything. (Ohmigod, Rachel and Emily, I AM KIDDING. But...we used to have tea parties and pretend to shop with fancy catalogs and watch Anne of Green Gables. Back me up on this, Kate. But...I joke. You guys Completed our Family. That's what we were told, anyhow.)
Regardless, the mom visit was fabulous. And this week Peej's folks are up! Totally great. (I'm sorta unsure as to how I'll "shower" and "get dressed" and "get things done" when people aren't here to hold the bebe in the mornings.) It's funny though, no matter how awesome people's parents are, unless they're your own it feels like Company. Not in a bad way...just in a "can I make you something to eat" kinda way. And then they remind you that THEY'RE here to make YOU some food. And they do. And then you offer to clean and perhaps make some tea. And then they take your baby and send you to your room for a nap.
And my big sis Kate is coming on Wednesday! She's not Company. She makes Bacos sandwiches (or did once, in 1989) and knows all the one-liners from Disney Sunday movies.
I am so excited.
Okay, off to steal my kid back from the grandparents, bathe an unwilling child and start the long process of heading out to the doctor's office.
Where she will undoubtedly freak out about the nudie weigh-in. (Did I mention that she ABHORS being naked?)
Must be one of those "skip a generation" genes.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
(And look- it's Thursday! Sure, Thursday night, but still the right blogging day!) Ain't nothin' gonna break-a my stride!)
So, um, I had a baby! And here's how it went down: After my morning last Thursday of cleaning everything- twice- and overpacking for a three night stay at the most luxurious of hospitals EVER (and P.J.'s "working from home," which, God bless him, he really did try to do), we headed downtown. On the way, we said things like, "wouldn't it be hilarious if we had a girl?" Which, admittedly, had an exceptionally equal chance of taking place. Whatever. We knew we were having A BOY.
Got to the hospital, where they put us in the waiting room with other patients' parents and grands- the type of people prone to exclaiming, "She's been in there forever, I hope everything's all right." This did not calm us. Turns out, there were two emergencies right around the time of my c-section, and there was, quite literally, no room at the inn. About an hour later we were whisked into a recovery room and triple-teamed by nurses, an intern and the best anesthesiologist in the history of modern medicine. I was poked, prodded, hooked up and injected while I dutifully filled out forms and answered questions about my mental health. (Was I contemplating suicide? No, but I sure as heck was thinking about playing possum.)As P.J. put on his scrubs and I placed my beanie duck Samuel by my pillow (he has yet to miss a major surgery), I told P.J. that I was reconsidering. Slightly. I mean, how well did we really even know each other? Too late. The team arrived to wheel me out and P.J. and I told each other to be brave, like a toaster. (You either understand that joke or you don't- I will not explain it to you.)
And of course, the moment where I may have needed P.J. most in my life...was the moment which he was unable to be present. Now, I've been stressing about the spinal or epidural for the entirety of the pregnancy. Seriously. More than actual labor, more than the first year of the child's life, I focused all my fears on this one fleeting moment for no discernible reason other than my dislike of needles. And/or pain. Whatever. And P.J. (and other husbands- I don't think they singled out my husband as a wussbag) was considered a liability in the operating room. Apparently the fathers can't handle the sight of the mammoth needle and do embarrassing things like faint or try to drag their wives from the room. Whereas the wives sit there, sigh, and allow a giant needle to be shoved into their spinal columns like good little soldiers.
And aside from the "bee sting" of the lidocaine, I FELT NOTHING! It was awesome. And then, moments later, I felt nothing. Everything from my ribs down went completely numb and heavy (they said some women panic because they can't feel themselves breathing- I haven't been able to feel myself breathe since August. Score!) and a gigantic surgical tent was placed between my head and the unmentionable action south of my non-breathing ribcage. By this point it had been about fifteen or twenty minutes and I'm pretty sure P.J. thought I had kicked it. But no! They brought him in to sit at the left side of my head and my strapped-down arms (we redefined "natural") and we waited for the fun to begin.
I actually made the entire surgical team laugh when I told them that I'd only agreed to go out for one drink with my husband...and I had no idea how the rest of this happened. Someone suggested it must've been a rather large drink to result in a baby five years later. Perhaps a mai tai in a fish bowl?
Less than TEN MINUTES LATER, they announced that they were close and I'd be feeling some "pressure" and a little "tugging." (I did, but remember- for nine months I'd been feeling a LOT more than a "some pressure.") With a faint 'pop,' I suddenly felt a ton more room in the vicinity of my lungs and heard "We've got some feet." That's right, they had to ease the baby out backwards, sloooooowly. P.J. almost leaned up over the curtain to see but was then told, "Wait until we take care of her vital organs." (Wait, what? Mine? This IS like the game 'Operation!' Do you see a charley horse?) Finally, FINALLY, they let P.J. look up over the curtain and tell me what we had.
Now remember, for months and months I'd been having dreams wherein a little boy featured prominently. People told me I was carrying a boy, based on old wives' tales. I felt like I was carrying a boy, whatever the heck that means. I would've gladly welcomed a girl, but it was a laughable thought- it just wasn't going to happen!
"It's...a GIRL!" P.J. looked down at me and exclaimed this with a laugh. I laughed too, not quite getting the joke. WHO was a girl? Then, suddenly, it hit me like a ton of bricks. She was a girl. The baby. I had a baby! Who was a girl! P.J. welled up. I welled up. We laughed some more. We said the word "girl" a few more times. I saw a vague, pink figure getting wrapped up on the scale across the room.
And then...she was in P.J.'s arms. I looked at her, still not quite connecting the fact that THIS was The Bitsy, the one who really, really needed those pickles and onions, the one who'd been kicking and punching my ribs nonstop. I kissed her ridiculously soft cheeks and kissed her wide mouth that was an exact miniature replica of P.J.'s, and looked into her serious, terribly surprised blue eyes. Her hair, tucked under a pink Northwestern Memorial Hospital cap (for she was a GIRL), was brown with dark gold roots and as soft as duck down.
During this time, the surgical team (the doctor and anesthesiologist were both so amazing I almost named her after them, regardless of gender)sewed me up and had us out of there in an hour. Amazingly, the baby never had to leave our sides (like they could even pry her away) and I got to carry her out of there in my arms on our way back to the recovery room.
"Does she have a name?" The nurse asked us as she filled out the bassinet tag.
And there you have it. An hour in recovery where people poked, prodded, injected and UNhooked me from machinery, did the same to Nora, asked us similar questions as before (I answered for Nora, being her mother and all) and began to share the good news on Facebook and via emails. (Unfortunately, the draft email we had saved with everyone's addresses and the heading "It's a..." sent without text in the body, thoroughly confusing and pissing off about fifty people. Thusly, P.J. had to quickly re-send, re-text and make some calls to head off the close friends and relatives at the pass.) P.J. got to put Nora in her first tee-shirt with mitten sleeves (it's a very "Dad" job, you see) and I took a break from staring into her face for about five minutes. Made some calls. Had some more things poked and prodded. Then I took her back and haven't looked away since.
That night, in our super plush room at Prentice (a corner room with floor to ceiling windows and an incredible skyline view- as the doctors who checked on us said, "How'd you get THIS room?") we played the Beatles lullabye album...and stared at her some more. Total and utter bliss. Sure, the DuraMorph was incredible (and sadly short-lived) but the euphoric high from having her was even cooler. (The next night P.J. informed me that I'd had four hours of sleep in forty-eight hours. I DID NOT CARE.) Nor did I want anyone to take her to the nursery. Solid sleep is for the weak! I want my kid! Who is a GIRL!)
We left three days later (and with only one really rough night where the pain meds were but a sad, sad joke) feeling like the entire delivery was waaaay too easy. I could do this again! P.J. points at me every time I say this, but seriously. I had no idea SHE'D be the end result of nine months of utter discomfort, sickness and more than a little pain. (I mean, I had an idea, but I didn't even know her! Not the way I do now. Being her mother and all.)
My mother and father came first to royally spoil us (my Dad kinda finished the rest of the house projects and my Mom has yet to slow down her catering and cleaning) and our pals have been a nonstop source of awesome. P.J., sadly, had to go back to work, but we inundate him with pictures specifically designed to tug at his heartstrings and send emails about Nora's progress with training wheels and college applications.
And today's her one week birthday! It blows my mind. Sure, the drugs are pretty decent, but the passage of time has ZOOMED! (By the by, happy 31st birthday to my big sister and Nora's rad Auntie Kate! She gave me a birthday buddy with her first son and my first nephew- I gave her a birthday-week buddy with my first daughter and her first niece!)
Things are skipping along nicely here at home.
Nora and I sleep. A lot.
And we both eat. A LOT lot.
It is, quite simply, the sweetest gig I've ever scored.