Monday, February 25, 2013

I need a nap

I guess I only have myself to blame for this morning's coffee IV drip.   For the most part, my son sleeps 11+ hours a night. Then suddenly, he won't.  I will let you in on a little secret.   If you stay up late to watch your favorite TV show, have a long chat with someone or just decide to read a good book - that is the night your baby will wake up at 3am and refuse to go back to sleep.   What does he care?  He gets naps - a couple of them.   Besides, how hard is it to play with blocks and eat cheerios all day long?  He could care less if he sleeps through the night.  You on the other hand, will find yourself biting your tongue and blaming yourself for not going to bed at 9pm as originally planned. 

Even if I didn't have to work, one of my pet peeves is the advice to "sleep when the baby sleeps" and "take naps during the day with him".  Whoever decided this was good advice obviously did not have a baby.  If they had a baby, they also had a nanny, a maid and a cook.   They definitely didn't have a job. 

Regardless, even if I tried to take a nap with the little man, I wouldn't get any sleep.   This is what always happens:

Ahhhhh.  It feels good to lay down!
Was that the baby I heard?
(holding breath)
Silence!  Whew!  Ok, let's nap!
Well, let me check facebook first.
(15 minutes later)
Damn it!  I wasted 15 minutes.  He will be up in 45 minutes or less.  I really need to close my eyes.
Hmmmm....I am warm.  Let me get up and turn on the ceiling fan.
What was that noise?  Was it the baby? 
No, I think it was the washer machine. 
Maybe I should get up and put the clothes in the dryer so they will be done by the time I wake up.
(I get up and put the clothes in the dryer and lay back down)
Did I put detergent on the grocery list?  We really need some.
What else do we need at the grocery story?
(mentally going through pantry)
Grrrrr! Go to sleep woman!
I have to pee.   I will make it quick.
(I get up and lay back down 2 minutes later)
Hmmmm....I am hungry.
I wonder if I should eat something now or if I can wait.
I will wait.
(my stomach starts growling and I try and ignore it)
Sigh.  He will be up in 30 minutes.  I need to nap! I really need a nap!
(I close my eyes for a minute)
What was that?  Was that the baby?  I must be hearing things.
(I continue to "hear" things for 5 more minutes)
I think I am just hearing my stomach growl. 
I wonder what we should do for dinner? 
We just had chicken. 
I don't want chicken again.
I would like to go out to eat, but that is wasted money and calories. 
I am on a diet.
What else can I cook?
(mentally going through freezer options)
I guess I will make chicken again.
Ugh! He is going to wake up in 10 minutes.  I just know it.
Why bother taking a nap for 10 minutes?
I could wash the bottles in 10 minutes.
I could sweep the floor in 10 minutes.
I could check facebook again.
I might as well just get up. 
I am up now.
Damn, I need a nap.

I touched on this a little in one of my previous posts when I said I truly did not understand how tired I would be before I had the baby.  I thought all those other people were exaggerating - playing the martyr. I would think "Yeah, yeah, yeah! You don't get a full nights sleep. I get it!" I would roll my eyes, call them wussy pants in my head and tell myself that I would be able to handle it. As I sit here completely exhausted from this weekend, I realize just how naive and full of crap I was back then.   Now I think the universe is punishing me for judging the mothers I previously mocked.  Karma sucks.


Friday, February 22, 2013

Post Pregnancy Brain

I was once told I had a memory like an elephant.   OK.  Let's stop there for a moment.  What the hell does that mean?   Of course I googled it like I do everything in my life.  You can find the answer to anything on Google. I even love how "google" is now considered a verb in the English language.

According to AskVille by Amazon the saying got its origin from "observations that elephants follow the same paths and even hand down genetic memories of directions and places grounds across generations. Each elephant clan has a certain burial place, like many human communities, and always help the dying ones get back there if they are not killed traumatically first."   Well isn't that a fun-filled, cheerful fact?   Now I am not even sure if it is a compliment to have a memory like an elephant.  WTF? 

But I digress....I'm seriously off course now.  Which brings me to the point of this post.   People used to tell me that I had a memory like an elephant.  I never forgot anything.   Want to know what happened in last month's boring management meeting without looking at the minutes?  Ask me.  Who needs a grocery list?  I didn't.  Can't find something?  I knew where it was.   Bills were always paid on time, if not early.  I was always reminding someone of something.  

It started with pregnancy.   I was warned about it.   People told me that I would become forgetful.  Something about all the hormones surging through my body and being distracted by thoughts of the new baby.   No one mentioned IT WAS NEVER GOING TO GO AWAY.   No one mentioned it would go away either.   I guess I just assumed it would like my swollen feet, heartburn and the urge to pee every 30 minutes.  It hasn't.

Now I am that lady that looks for her sunglasses only to find them on head.  The other day I exclaimed "oh my God, I think I lost my cell phone!" while talking to someone on my cell phone.   I now have all my bills on auto pay because I am tired of paying late charges due to the fact I can't remember it is the first of the month.  Now I just need to remember to keep money in the account.  I now come back from the grocery story with everything except what I went for.  My new vocabulary consists of "ummmms" and "errrrrrs" and "whatchamacallits" and "whoamawhatits". 

My brain is mush.    Several times I have gotten in the car and halfway down the street before realizing I still had my slippers on.   People tell me it is because of lack of sleep.  Maybe that is true, but it has been almost a year now.   For the most part my son sleeps 11 hours a night and I am pretty much flying on a caffeine high when he doesn't.  I would have thought things would have gotten better by now.  I mean, in my 20s I could get only 2 hours sleep and still recite the alphabet - backwards.

Some say it is just old age.   Really?  It started at 38.  I personally do not think that is old.   I also don't think it happens just like that -- overnight.  Which is what happened to me.  One day, I was an elephant.   The next, I was babbling idiot.   Even people with Alzheimer's go downhill slower than that.

No.  I personally feel that my little bundle of joy sucked some of my brain cells out while growing in my belly.   They are gone.  Never to be seen again.  Ever.  This is my life now -- trying to remember whatshisface's name and chasing the garbage man down the street because I forgot it was Tuesday night (or Friday night).  I have two chances to put the cans out and still can't manage to get them to the curb.

I guess I should just be happy I got through this post without forgetting what I wanted to write about.

On that note, it is noon and perfectly acceptable to fill my sippy cup....

Thursday, February 21, 2013

What I didn't know before having a baby - Part II

This is a continuation of my previous post about What I didn't know before having a baby.   Trust me, there is a lot more to write about.  Every day is a learning experience or an experiment in how not to screw up another living thing, but here are some things that top my list.

Neck Cheese.  Newborns can't hold their head up and they have a copious amount of neck folds.  No one told me that the formula dribbling down his chin would make its way to his neck - where it would stay.   And while I would give him a bath daily and shove a washcloth into the folds, it wasn't until I got a good whiff of my baby one day that I realized a quick swipe of the neck wasn't enough.  I mean, my baby stunk!   Where was that clean, newborn smell everyone talked about?  My baby smelled sour.  Rotten.  Gross.   After sniffing every inch of his body, I narrowed it down his head area.   That is when I saw it.   After pulling back the rolls of his neck, there it was.   Neck cheese.  Smelly, gray, nasty, caked on neck cheese.   The type that only comes off with scrubbing.  Daily scrubbing.   And that is what I did going forward.   You know what I mean, you just don't talk about it.  So I am.

Breastfeeding is hard!  For the record, my baby was formula fed and he is happy, healthy and strong.   But it was not for a lack of trying to breastfeed.  I had grand plans.  I only had a few bottles in the house when he was born and they were still in the box.   The only formula I had were the free ones I got in the mail, stored in the back of the pantry.   I had a pump.  I had the books.   I had the knowledge.  I had the breast pads.  I had the breast cream.  I had the enthusiasm.   Then I had the baby.   And he didn't take to it like a duck to water.   In fact, he hated it.  He fought it.  I fought him.  He cried.  I cried.  Everyone said give it time.  Time went on and all I had were sore nipples from a shallow latch.   The doctor said I was doing great because he was gaining weight.  I knew I wasn't.   I kept trying.  He kept fighting.   I cried a lot.   I tried to pump instead but finding privacy to pump every few hours was difficult.   I was trapped in my bathroom most of the day - crying.    I started to panic that I had to go back to work in 12 weeks and was missing quality bonding time.  A little after one month, I quit.  One day I got up, washed one of those bottles, dug out the formula and gave it to him.   It was like the heavens opened up and the angels started singing.   He loved it and for the first time I was able to enjoy feeding my child.  The rest is history.  Except my guilt.  I still feel guilty.  I feel guilty for not trying harder and longer. I feel like I let my baby down.   However, in my heart I know having a happy mom was much better for us all.   Not in my wildest dreams did I think breastfeeding would be that hard and that stressful on me.

Teething.   I don't know what I thought.  Maybe I thought he would wake up one day with a mouth full of chompers.  Who knows.  But I discovered it is a long and painful process that starts at 4 months (or earlier) with gushing drool.   We must have went through 2-3 bibs a day.  He wore them all day, every day or he would be soaked to the bone in minutes.   I waited in anticipation for that first tooth for months.   It became another thing to add to the list when deciphering his crying.   Not hungry? Not sleepy? Clean diaper? Maybe it is teething! Every time he was the least bit fussy people would say he was teething.   Yet, not a tooth was in sight.  There would not be a tooth for several months.  The medical books said to just let him bite on something cold or massage the gums. They warned against medication.  However, other mothers and daycare workers were screaming to give him Tylenol, Baby Orajel, teething tablets!   Medicate him up! For his sake and my sanity I tried to find a balance between the two.  Then one day there were two teeth.  Just like that.  And then two more.  Right now three are popping through.   It is painful for him, exhausting for me.   It makes me want to stick a pencil in my eye when I think we have, what, 15 more teeth to go?  Then once he gets them all, a few years later we will be staring at them waiting for them to fall out.

The Penis.  The last thing on my mind when I had my baby was how I would feel about his penis.   Yes, I have seen penises before.  We won't go into how many, but (and maybe this was just me) I felt awkward touching and staring at my son's penis at first.   I was taught modesty and privacy and here I was yanking one around.   On top of that, no one told me that babies get erections.  Morning wood to be exact.   Finding that staring me in the face at 5am was a jolt.   I learned really quick to make sure I pointed it back down when diapering him or I was going to have a mess on my hands.   I also wasn't sure what to do about him touching himself all the time.  Just like a man.  Only months old and he already had his hands down his pants.  Do I let him explore?  or do I chance him becoming a porn obsessed 40 year old virgin?  Now, I don't give it a second thought but I was surprised how shy I was at first.

Bathtub poops It was always in the back of my mind that it could happen, but I didn't know I should have a plan for when it does.   Screaming, picking him up wet and not knowing where to put him or how to clean the tub does not constitute a plan.    The first time it happened, he was just learning to sit up.   I was able to move him to one end of the tub, scoop the turd out and hose him and the tub down in a matter of minutes.  Now?  He is a mover.  You try getting him to sit still and not chase it around the tub.   Or you could be my husband and panic, take him out, sit him on the floor, smearing poo in the process. Apparently, I am the lucky one.  My son has done it 4 times, where some of my friends have never experienced this.  Go me.

Milestones.   I didn't realize how I would feel when my son passed a major baby milestone.  I would get teary eyed.  Pure emotional pride that my son learned something new.  Emotions I didn't expect. I also didn't realize how I would feel when he was slow at achieving them.   All the books saying babies should be doing such and such by this or that time drove me crazy.   It also didn't help to see Facebook videos of my friend's kids or hear stories of kids that did things much younger than mine.   I hated it when people asked me is he doing XYZ yet.   I finally had to tell myself it is OK.  He will get there when he is ready.  While my son was doing some things late, he was doing others early.   He was on his own schedule.   Now that he is meeting all his milestones, I was not prepared for how sad it sort of makes me feel.   I am realizing he will not be this young forever and I will miss these years immensely.

Until next time, cheers with wine in my sippy cup!