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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Leftovers & Missing Him

I miss my son lately.

I previously mentioned that the vet clinic I work for moved across town. A larger facility means more surgeries, means more cleaning, and with the same amount of staff (for now), it also means a lot of overtime. The extra money around the holidays is nice, but I miss my son. Daycare pickup has been pushed back to just after five, which gives us two, maybe two and a half hours together before it’s bedtime. And ever since the time change – over a month ago I might add – he has been especially grumpy once we get home. I can only think that he assumes it being dark outside must mean dinner is late and that we are starving him and he must fuss and whine and cry until food is actually on the table. But then eat nothing and of course, cry because he’s not free to run around anymore. It’s been less than ideal.

Before… I loved this time of year. The Christmas lights, walks in the fog, and the spirit of the season…and it is just so much different now with “mad at the dark” syndrome, the terrible twos in general and the pending visitation of my ex-husband. It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas any other month. I suppose it might help to have put up a tree already but who has the time/money? I cannot afford to fix the dead home button on my iPhone, let alone put up decorations I have no place to store the other eleven months of the year.

Blah. My attitude sucks and I swear this is part of me working on it. What I really need though, is to get over this awful bout of bronchitis, and get back to the gym where everything is simple and nothing has to make sense for at least an hour or so… I need a real weekend to spend with Elliott. One where we can go to the park and continue the tradition of taking too many pictures for his birthday, as if the photos somehow capture and save the essence of his smile. Oh, and find time somewhere in all that running around to study for the upcoming RVT exam, because I am really beginning to feel like that is my next checkpoint; everything begins and ends there.

Until we meet again,

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Four Months Old

FourMonthsOld

 

Hey baby bee,

Are you sure that you’re four months old already? Time can seriously start to slow down any minute now. The weeks are slipping away like nothing.. I wonder how long four months feels to you. I would ask, but you’re usually too busy chewing on your fingers and trying to get toys into your mouth to answer. It’s adorable, even when you do manage to stick your fingers in your eye while chewing on your thumb. You are still fascinated with your hands, and you’re so much better at getting them into your mouth and using them to grab toys now!

This month Grandma came to visit again. I think you were perplexed at first, to be held by her. You had gotten so used to seeing her on FaceTime and smiling and talking to her and Grandpa via a screen. It took one, maybe two days before you were able to settle with her. I’m hoping it won’t take you much longer than that to get used to having a dad.

Not the best idea to say exactly when he’s coming home, until he is already home, but I’m betting you have a special guest in your five month pictures. :) Soon, bumble butt. You’ll have someone else to learn to trust and rely on. You’ll learn that your Dad is more than a voice and fuzzy picture on the screen of a computer during a Skype call. It will be one of my favorite moments, handing you to him for the first time. And I would be lying if thinking about that didn’t make my eyes well up with happy tears. That day will be the ending and beginning of so, so much.

You’re up to a whopping 15lbs 10oz and 26 inches long this month! Double your birth weight, and Grandma and I figured out that you basically grew the length of your leg from the knee down since birth. Pretty impressive, and all on momma’s milk! Your favorite toys are your teething ring and a blue ball that’s meant to be easy to hold. You lick it all the time while trying to fit it in your mouth (never gonna happen! lol) and when I ask if it tastes like blue, you’ll smile sometimes. Teething has definitely begun. Just when your reflux subsided, and you no longer needed bibs for that, you turned into a drool monster. It’s amazing how quickly you can drench the top of your outfit and need to be changed. I will be happy when those pesky teeth finally get through the gum line so that you aren’t so cranky. And thinking ahead a long ways, when you are proud to lose your first tooth, it will remind me the fussiness that it brought coming in.

I would say this month has been a difficult one on you. Growth spurt, sleep regression, paci rejection and teething all set in… But there have been a lot of great moments mixed in with the chaos. Like the first time you laughed at me singing to you, and the first time you understood peek-a-boo was a fun game, even if you don’t get it every time.

We love you to the moon and back, even if that’s not near far enough..

Love,
Mom

Three Months Old

ElliottThreeMonths

Hey Baby Bee,

Happy three months!! One quarter of the way to your birthday already! This month has been a busy one for you. You began rolling over at three weeks old, and have perfected this skill to such an extreme that I have to put my hand on your back to prevent you from rolling during tummy time. You still prefer to roll to the left, but you can also go to the right. You’re like a little roley poley, and it makes me happy to see you figuring out how to get out of tummy time.

This month you got even better at holding up your head. During tummy time you can hold it up at a ninety degree angle for a few minutes now; and you have no problem doing ten, fifteen minutes on your belly before complaining. We’ve also started practicing sitting up, giving you a more challenging opportunity to balance your noggin’! You enjoy sitting up and I don’t blame you. I’ve gotten down at your level during tummy time and its a bit boring, even with all the rattles, unbreakable mirrors and light up toys.

This month your Grandpa came to visit you. It was nice to see how well you took to him, after giving him the “you’re not my momma” look upon first meeting him. We took you to Lowes literally every day, and built up a little fan club for you there. You got to see us install light fixtures and closet shelves, and you smiled when I showed you how a drill worked. I think you like the whirring noise it made.

You were a total fuss bucket while Grandpa was here though. Much harder to settle than usual, a lot easier to make you upset.. Was a good trial run to see how you will react when your daddy gets home and your “schedule” is once again disrupted. That homecoming is coming up so fast!! That day will be here in no time, whether its an airport or pier-side homecoming. Your little world is going to be turned upside-down in the best way possible!

I’m biased, of course, but you are sooo cute baby bee. Your little smiles from last month have turned into full face grins, and you’re starting to show a bit of a sweet/shy personality where you’ll hide your face in your hands or bury it in my chest when something makes you happy. This month you’ve found that you can yell and squeal, and I often hear you talking to yourself when you think I’m not looking during tummy/activity time. You’re also even more alert now, and since you are starting to hold your head up on your own, you want to be entertained more, to see new things. Walks around the neighborhood used to put you to sleep, but now you fight sleep for as long as you can, watching cars drive by, and listening to the sounds of motorcycles and kids playing in the distance. The newborn or “kangaroo” holds in your baby carriers no longer work very well, and we’ve moved onto the hug position with your legs and head out. And with the growth spurt you’re going through right now, it’s no surprise that you’re already in some six month clothes and have definitely outgrown the 0-3 months size. Fourteen pounds of sweet baby rolls and twenty-five inches of not so snuggly bumble butt!

We love you to the moon and back little one… I hope you always know that.

Love,

Mom