The Mommy Trenches

Babies. The boyfriend and I have discussed babies a lot lately. Let me just clarify, I am not pregnant. And thank God for that. Still, as good a time as any to hash out if/when we are married, how many kid(s) we would like to have. It is one of those things you ought to have figured out before you say “I do,” otherwise there might be trouble later. So I guess you could say we have been talking about marriage too, but that is beside the point today.

The boyfriend has been very clear that he would like at least one more chitlen, maybe two. At the minimum.

And I am leaning much more towards one to two kids. I always said two, two years apart…but that was before I met the hurricane, before I found myself divorced, starting my adult life all over again. So really now, really just one kid, like one and done, as in, I am already so done having babies, I think.. And that answer leaves a lot to be desired in the boyfriend’s opinion.

I do not know what to say to him. The further I get from those early days in the trenches, the more clear they become. So, honey, hindsight is twenty/twenty and I am not sure I could willingly go back there. I cannot even read my posts from around that time, not that I probably wrote a whole lot. I know I wrote those monthly baby updates… but did I mention that one week I got four – literally four, one hour “blocks” of sleep – in an entire week? And he was up at least three times a night 99% of the first year, despite every imaginable trick to get him to sleep better. We tried everything, read.every.book. He always had to be held, and he was always so discontent, and he always cried. Then I cried with the worry and guilt that if SIDS took him one night, he would die having never been happy. So deep in the trenches.

Looking back I am almost certain I was depressed. This all screams depression with a bit of post-traumatic stress. Depressed because my then-husband deployed when I was pregnant and did not return until our child was five months old. Depressed because I did not have my village. Depressed because my dreams of motherhood were crushed by a baby who spent a majority of the first year of life crying. And I am not talking the “nyah-nyah” nasally, baby cry (and I know you know what that sounds like), but a full out scream from day one. I have videos to prove it. It was not colic. At least that would have been predictable, at least that would have ended.

I probably sound horrible. I am not looking forward to proofing this post because I know this is definitely not what moms are supposed to say about motherhood, about their children. But my experience with new motherhood was hard. What to Expect When You’re Expecting (and the first year edition) let me down. I know, and am grateful, that my experience is not typical. That alone gives me hope that if I did decide to dive into the trenches for a second baby that I would earn my escape much faster than sometime around the second birthday. I feel I am just now finding a new normal, just now navigating my life with some sort of grace. Diving back in, any time soon, would be the very definition of insanity.

But then… then I think about who I want around my dinner table in ten years. And even after writing my heart out on this screen, after thinking and talking about this for weeks, I see more than just the hurricane and the hopefully then-husband sitting with me. I see at least one more tiny human… at least one more. So who knows. I am really not sold on the idea, but do not count me out just yet. There could be another year of adorable monthly baby photoshoots to look forward to, some day.

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Impasse

I’ve been feeling out of sorts for a few weeks now. In a way, it’s just now sinking in where I am, and that I am nowhere near where I thought I would be. Certainly not about to turn 25, here. Not a single mom. Not spending all day at work, away from my son. Not, not… not.

I took a few weeks away from blogging, aside from Elliott’s eleven month old post (which will one day end up in his baby book), because I did not know what to say. I am at an impasse… Doing the best I can with what I have, but that does not always feel like enough. Not by my standards at least.

So I’m here, kinda. I think of small, somewhat trivial things I could write about, but rarely find the time to do so between work and the little man turning into fang face all of a sudden. I’ll try harder, because writing helps me decompress and sort out all the blurry little details of life moving at warp speed and simultaneously crawling by..

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Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better. – Samuel Beckett

Throw Back Thursday

I was going through a box of fall clothes tonight.. Packing for a trip and falling in love with a season that isn’t even here yet. Among all the cardigans, sweaters and scarves I found my little point and shoot camera that I hadn’t seen in months, and was sure was lost forever. Got it charged, and was even more surprised that it had pictures on it.

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Random, brand-new baby pictures! Totally warms my heart. Back when he had eyebrows so faint you couldn’t tell he had any at all and had that white spot above his left eye that eventually disappeared. When he was so new, I wasn’t even sure what being a mom was.

I’ll admit that over time, the exact moments of those first, early days have blurred together. I couldn’t tell you exactly how we made it through, but here we are.

I love you to the moon and back and for forever, fuss bucket.

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The Hard Things

I have one friend who shares “the hard things” on her Facebook page. She usually asks for prayers or guidance at the same time. I assume it’s just part of her outgoing and open personality. That makes 0.003% of my online friends. Most of my friends in real life are the same though, only sharing with a select few people, the difficulties they face.

We don’t talk about the hard things.

There are some things we can’t say. Knowing how much to share with others is like a game of Jenga or dominoes.. The smallest detail might be the one to unravel it all. We bottle them up, because if you let one thing out, the whole facade of who we are would crumble.

This all came to mind after chatting with an old co-worker about her baby, born just a few short weeks ago. She mentioned how her daughter was quite fussy, didn’t sleep well and really cried a lot. Her words took me right back to when my little was that age. I don’t remember all that much besides wishing I could sleep and wondering if other babies were like he was/is. I had a horrid time with day/night confusion and the fussiness that has still yet to fade away. Family and close friends all said he’ll “grow out of it,” but I have a feeling I could wait forever for that to happen. He’s just intense. He has been since the moment he was born. In the early weeks, it baffled me how someone so, so quiet during pregnancy could be so much once he was here.

I don’t really remember, because it’s all a blur now, but I don’t think I really talked about it. At least not in full detail. That was the first thing out of my co-workers mouth, as I commiserated with her. She said I always made the best of everything, that she never would have guessed I was struggling. I didn’t want to talk about it. There are several reasons, really, with the first that comes to mind being that talking doesn’t always help. If I mentioned his reflux or general fussiness, I heard a lot of suggestions I had already heard before, or advice to just wait it out because time apparently fixes everything. I’m not saying some of it wasn’t helpful, but I wish someone would have leveled with me, or listened to me. Those who let me complain like being a sleep-deprived, new mom was something they had never heard before, made making the effort to reach out worth it. They made me feel less unprepared, more capable of living with four to eight hours of sleep a week in those early weeks.

Being a new mom is hard regardless of your baby’s temperament, but for moms out there with “spirited” or intense babies, I feel your pain. It is a unique kind of distress, wondering what you’re doing wrong, why they won’t stop crying, what you’ve done to upset them this time… but the truth is, if they have been fed, have a clean diaper, aren’t too hot or too cold and are in a safe place, you’re doing everything you can.

It is unbelievably hard sometimes, and equally as worth it.

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Catching Up

The munch-ki-butt is down for a nap. Blissful silence for half an hour now, except for the noise of the sailor’s uniforms in the dryer. And the cat purring in my lap.

Meet Basil.

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We’ve had this rescue kitty two weeks tomorrow and he fits our family perfectly. He is about two years old. Smart enough to run away when the baby tries pulling his tail and has the sweetest temperament. He pretty much lives in our windows and demands some attention once or twice a day. I was hesitant to post about him before now, because it is in my nature to care a little too much about what others think of me.. but in the whole scheme of things, it really isn’t a big deal.

Huge tangent >> [That’s the thing about judging others… It is my opinion that judging others is only good for deciding if you would care to be around them, or keep their company. Otherwise, it’s not my place to condemn others for their choices. Example. Had dinner at a new-ish couple friends house. The wife/mom mentioned being excited about being able to forward-face her son’s car seat soon because he makes such a fuss in the car. Their son is a few months older than our little. The bumble butt sometimes throws the worst fits in the car as well, but I will keep him rear facing as long as the limits on his car seat allow, hopefully upwards of three years old. I mentioned to my husband that I thought it was a foolish choice, to forward face as soon as the law allows, which is usually one year and twenty pounds. I didn’t say anything to the mom, thankfully, because later that night I realized there are tons of things others could use to judge me, especially my choices as a mom.

It’s not my place to judge her. I may drop hints that rear facing is way safer, but nothing more than that.

Judge me if you will for getting another cat, heaven knows I can’t stop you. Anyway…]

I’ve been meaning to write for a while now. I feel as if I’m playing catch up on the last month or so. Before the sailor got home, it was all talk and worry about the sailor getting home. And then he got home, and it was like our little snowglobe of a life was shaken up so violently, I’m still waiting for all the fake snowflakes to settle. I completely spaced writing a letter to little E for his five month birthday. It didn’t cross my mind once, not even after his monthly mini photo shoot.

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He yawned. He gave his daddy a small smile. But mostly he fussed and frowned. It’s been a hard month here. The excitement of the sailor’s return quickly wreaked havoc on any semblance of a schedule the little and I had before his return. That mixed in with the lovely (insert sarcasm here) beginning of a very long wonder “week” (side: why do they call it a week when it’s actually sometimes a month?) and it’s been little more than poorly controlled chaos.

Then the four month sleep regression turned into “I’m never sleeping more than two or three hours at a time, ever again…and since we’re up, let’s party at 2am!” And the fussiness. Oh, the fussiness. There seems to be no end in sight. Maybe when he actually decides sitting is worthwhile. Or when a tooth finally pops through. Or when he can crawl or walk or talk…

le sigh.

So I didn’t just just disappear for no reason. I keep trying to post more regularly and something keeps popping up. But I’m still trying, folks!

Next up, a long overdue progress report on my five or so new years resolutions. Lack of proofreading sponsored by a very angry, post-nap baby.

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Duty Days

Photo on 2013-05-10 at 12.39 #2

 

It’s just me and the bumble butt at home today. We woke up early, despite having every reason to sleep in, and he has been fussy since before he eyes were fully open. Definitely woke up on the wrong side of his pack n play.

He cried when I put him in his swing to start laundry. Cried when I tried nursing him to sleep for a nap. And was crying right before this picture was taken. He just can’t resist looking at himself.

I’m in such a laze around the house mood, worn out from my failed attempts to soothe the little’s protesting. We will probably head out for a walk and soak up some sunshine after his unexpected nap in the swing.. I predict there will be a long night of fighting sleep ahead.

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