The Pregnant Waddle

Pre-Pregnancy Weight Just Around the Corner (It's Trying to Run and Hide)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

An open letter to my breasts

Dear ladies,

Well, it’s been a wild, wild ride these last eighteen months. I feel like we’ve grown and developed quite a bit, and perhaps the time has come to take stock of our relationship.

It seems like a long time since we were lighthearted and carefree, perky, with a bounce in our step. Those golden days when nothing dragged us down, before the worrying teeth of care closed, bulldog-like, upon us, have faded into the distant past. First we sensed a percolating tenderness, followed by burgeoning soreness, followed by escalating swelling, followed by increasing floppiness. Though many tried to uplift us and lessen our burden, it remains with us still. Every morning we awake full and rejuvenated. By nightfall, we are drained.

You have been exposed to much this past nine months, and for this I apologize.* I have tried to provide you with space in which to express yourselves, but sometimes, unavoidably, the blanket of reticence is ripped away by the flailing arms and legs of demand. We must accept the fact that we cannot always conceal ourselves.

However, it must be said that, occasionally, I feel like we hold up unequal loads in this relationship. I will do all I can to support you; in return, please do not lose all sense of proportion and form. With this compromise, I am sure we can experience a lifetime of mutual fulfillment.

Respectfully,
Jordana

* Incidentally, the state I live in encourages but does not require employers to provide places for employees to express milk. I did contact the lone female assistant principal last summer to ask if there were an abandoned utility closet where I could pump, but she suggested A) the staff bathroom (ick!) or B) the school clinic (ick!!) instead. So I’ve been pumping in my classroom during my planning periods. Now, I keep my door locked, and you would think that anyone who knocked on a locked door and got no answer would assume I was busy or not there and would just go away. How wrong you would be. No, met with no answer, students get a hall monitor or another teacher to let them in; other teachers or hall monitors just let themselves in. Many are the times I have had to rip the pump off my breasts with an audible “pop” and yank my shirt down as someone opens my door and walks in. Many. Not, of course, that I would ever complain about such a thing.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Cheerios

Yesterday, Ngaire was happily eating Cheerios in her highchair. I was feeding her bites of oatmeal in between Cheerios, and the Cheerios were gradually winning out in terms of interest. Ngaire picked up a Cheerio. She held it in a perfectly executed pincer grip, and extended it toward me. I leaned forward and opened my mouth. Ngaire held out the Cheerio, and I ate it.

In this family, we’re all about reciprocity.

And kack-ing

A couple of mornings ago, Ngaire woke up in her room and didn’t cry. We heard her babbling through the baby monitor, and since she seemed happy, I took a few moments to get dressed before going to get her. Soon her babbles turned to squawks, and I rushed to her rescue. As soon as she saw me, she stopped squawking and began making her I-want-to-nurse noise, "Kack-kack-kack." She kept this up with increasing insistence while I picked her up and headed for the rocking chair.

Verbally communicative? Why yes.

And a thought

Ngaire has had Very Bad Poopy Diapers since Saturday: not diarrhea, and not accompanied by any other symptoms, just very loose, and several a day. So I have to ask,

Why couldn’t she do this on a week when she’s at the sitter’s every day, instead of on my spring break?

That Murphy and his laws.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Other birthdays

I meant to make a bigger deal out of this, but in the grand tradition of my family, I totally forgot. This blog turned one year old on April 11.

Also, I turned 27 years old on April 13. The Husbandlet gave me this lovely ring:



It has Ngaire's birthstone (ruby), the Husbandlet's (opal), and mine (diamond). I love it.

The blog, alas, got nothing.

A cautionary tale

We visited the Husbandlet’s parents at his aunt and uncle’s house over the weekend. Per the pediatrician’s suggestion, we have Ngaire sleeping in her infant carseat these days. At home, we put the carseat inside the co-sleeper (in its playpen-level version). But for this weekend trip, we decided to leave the co-sleeper and just put the baby in the carseat on the floor in our room to sleep.

So, baby bedtime came around, and I put the Squid in her carseat and left the room. The last few nights, she hadn’t cried at all when we put her down, so we were rather surprised when she proceeded to cry for the next hour and a half. We didn’t go check on her, though, because of the whole if-you-go-in-it’ll-just-teach-her-that’s-how-long-to-cry-so-you’ll-come-get-her thing. She did stop crying, though, so we figured it was the new environment that was getting to her.

A couple hours later, we went up to bed. I opened our bedroom door, stepped into the dark room … and my foot bumped against something that felt suspiciously like a warm body lying on the floor. It took me a couple of seconds to get through the rush of possibilities of what it could be, but you’ll be glad to know I did arrive at the correct answer, dive for the light switch and then for the Squid, and get her hopelessly tangled in the fringe of the bedspread as I tried to pick her up. Ngaire had knocked her carseat over backwards (the head end resting on the floor), slithered out headfirst from the shoulder harness, and fallen asleep on the floor.

She was perfectly all right, but once the initial shock and terror of nearly treading on my baby was over, I still felt pretty shocked and terrified. Fortunately, the distance between carseat and floor was nearly nothing, and she didn’t seem to have twisted any tiny limbs in her slithering, but the thought of my poor baby crying herself to sleep on the floor was pretty disheartening, not to mention the incompetent-mommyness of leaving the situation open to slitherage and then not checking in during the lengthy crying. The stories of even greater parental incompetence and more miraculous infant survival told to me by sympathetic relatives did little to relieve my guilt.

Ngaire, though, seemed more put out by the fact that I woke her up, comfort-nursed her (my comfort; you understand), and then put her back in the (carefully-propped) carseat. In retrospect, I should have left her sleeping on the floor; she was perfectly content there.

Three-quarters of a year

Today, Ngaire is nine months old. Having a baby is the strangest experience; in some ways, I can scarcely believe that she wasn’t born just last week, and in others, it feels like she’s been a part of my life forever. I know the Husbandlet pretty darn well; I can predict how he’ll react to something and why, we complete each other’s sentences, we understand each other’s routines. My understanding of Ngaire, though, is far more instinctual. I can interpret her kacks and expressions, but it’s more than that … I feel like I’m only a short step behind what makes her tick. This is probably not very well-put, but it’s my Intuitive-Feeling side talking. In any case, I’m grateful to feel so tuned in to my baby, since that was one of the things I feared I’d lose, going back to work.

The sleep training goes well. The Husbandlet and I have decided that we officially swear by (as opposed to at) the cry-it-out method: Ngaire now goes down without a peep, and sleeps through the night. On those rare occasions when she wakes up, if she cries, it is only briefly, and she puts herself back to sleep. We have been slightly disconcerted the last couple nights, though, to peek in on Ngaire awhile after putting her down, only to find her eyes still wide open … no crying, just staring around. We find this almost as distressing as her crying, for some reason; I guess we just don’t like the idea of our poor little Boo having given up all hopes of someone coming to her rescue if she cries, and sitting there in boredom instead.

The Squid is definitely on the move … she crawls very purposefully and somewhat floppily. I got a babycenter.com update recently that said babies her age can climb stairs, and I realized that, due to a dearth of stairs in her life, Ngaire hasn’t had a chance to learn to climb them. So, I set her next to the only step our house boasts, and lured her to climb it. She did, and showed great flair at it, if I do say so. My baby is developmentally on target!

She’s acquired a taste for Cheerios, which she scoops into her mouth in very acrobatic moves, sometimes. Speaking of acrobatics, she has also entered the stage of Creative Nursing Positions. She’s very interactive, and talks and giggles and plays with us, which we’re enjoying tremendously. The Husbandlet goes increasingly great lengths for her cackle.

She can also pull up on furniture now. No book/video/knickknack is safe. And she’s perfected the Lunge from adoring set of arms to adoring set of arms, particularly as a means of traveling across the room to Mommy.

All in all, she’s a delight: a happy, healthy, playful, good-natured baby who seems rather fond of us. Happy equal-time-outside-the-womb-as-inside-it day, Squidlet!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Conversation

Him: I'm almost done with The Aeneid.
Me: You're very plucky.
Him: It takes pluck to read The Aeneid?
Me: I don't know, it's just not as interesting as, say, The Odyssey. I don't know if I would ever have read it on my own, unless I was feeling especially virtuous.
Him: How about reading The Aeneid AND Le Morte D'arthur at the same time, while also listening to Absalom, Absalom! on tape?
Me: OK, now you're just showing off.

Weirdies

I don't usually write about marital spats on this blog--aside from the whole issue with the bungalows--but of course we've dealt with this on our end and I am curious to see what my Internet buddies have to say on the subject.

Since I've been sick, the Husbandlet has been beyond wonderful picking up the slack. He's made every dinner, washed dishes (usually my job), and cleaned our house all over. Every day as we'd come home from work, church, etc., he'd tell me, "I just want you to go lie down and rest. I'll take care of everything." And he has.

But I haven't rested, for the most part. Because the one job left to me has been baby care. And our precious, adorable baby is a little wiggler, a crawler, and a cuddler who is experimenting with twisting herself into pretzels during diaper changes, and who loves nothing better than constant contact with and attention from Mommy. I can't complain about that. I love playing with her. But the last few days, my energy has been so low, and every time I'd bend over to pick her up I'd feel dizzy; she didn't want to play for herself for very long, but would rather be held and lunge out of Mommy's arms at things, and it was a constant series of leaning over, lifting, putting down, picking up, balancing, catching, etc. etc. etc. All stuff I'm used to and love and enjoy, part of Mommydom, usually no big deal. But I was so tired.

So, coming home yesterday, after some talk of whether dinner was going to take a lot of preparation, I said to the Husbandlet, "You tell me every day to go rest, but I'm dealing with the baby, and I'm not resting at all."

Pause a moment and digest the full ouchiness of this. The poor Husbandlet had been working his tushie off to do all the work for both of us. My point--and there was other talk around this leading up to my comment--was NOT that the Husbandlet should do all that AND take care of the baby. I was just trying to say that if something less essential could be cut out--the dishes left unwashed, maybe a simple dinner prepared rather than a complicated one--and he could divide the baby-wranglin' with me, that would be more what I actually needed than, say, a sink free of dirty dishes. But it still sounded ungrateful and slave-driverish, and much talking-out was required. The Husbandlet was understandably hurt.

So here's my question: If someone is bending over backwards to help you, and it is helpful and you appreciate it and the person would be hurt if you suggested that the helpfulness was NOT appreciated due to the consuming nature of the helpfulness, BUT you actually would like a different sort of helpfulness, do you

a) Just let it slide. After all, the person is being helpful and self-sacrificial and caring, and what he's doing is helpful, necessary, and appreciated.
b) Bring it up, thus running the risk of sounding ungrateful and demanding, not to mention hurting the person's feelings as he sees all that hard work being dashed in his face.

I'm really curious.

P.S. I'm also really sorry, Husbandlet.

I feel icky, oh so icky

Welcome to The House of Waddle, better known these days as The House of Woe. Without further ado, a tally of my complaints:

• A few weeks ago: laryngitis. No longer a problem, but it sure put a hitch in teaching and practicing my song for our church’s Easter pageant. My speaking voice is basically back now, but my singing voice is still in bad shape.
• I think I had a cold after that. Or a mild tummy bug. It’s hard to remember.
• Last Wednesday, I started to feel the onset of the latest flu to go around our community. By Thursday, I was a mess. I took Friday off. The Husbandlet, kindly matching me symptom for symptom, spent the weekend with me draped over furniture and moaning softly. We had stomach cramps, a little diarrhea, aches, pains, and chills, headaches and fatigue. A walk to the mailbox on Saturday afternoon (for which we wisely inserted the Squid into her stroller, lest we topple over) wiped us out. We feasted on oatmeal for breakfast, pasta with butter for lunch, and rice for supper.
• By Sunday, we were mostly better. The Husbandlet consumed a large hamburger for lunch, though I was only able to look with approbation on a salad. But then:
• Came my latest flu permutation: fever, chills and shakes and aches, headaches and fatigue and mild nausea, congestion, coughing, the pouring of disgusting-colored goo from the nose, and unhappy throat and ear canal. For the last four days. I am a mess.

The upside of all this is that I seem to be within spitting distance of pre-pregnancy weight; the pants I’m wearing now are only one size above my pre-pregnancy jeans, and they’re beginning to feel loose. I guess a diet of nothing but carbs and fluids will do that to you. Of course, I can’t quite get up the energy to stand on the scale.

The good news: The Husbandlet is feeling almost back to normal. The Squid wasn’t sick when we were, and it’s hard to tell how she’s feeling now. She is coughing and sneezing quite a bit, and had a touch of runny poop last week, but the pediatrician gave her a clean bill of health as far as ears--no infection--and respiration, though she probably suffers from a bit of my virus. The Squid is also a tad on the cranky side. But this could be due to other factors; deciding to compound all possible misery into as compact a time possible, we are currently:

Sleep-training the Squid

Oy. Well, our daughter has set a record with her pediatrician: She has cried more than any other child following the pede’s recommended sleep-training. The pede guaranteed us 45 minutes or less of crying. She said we could call her up and cuss her out if she was wrong, but she wouldn't be wrong. The first night, Ngaire
• cried for an hour.
• Slept for 40 minutes.
• Cried for ANOTHER 50 minutes.
• Slept for around 3 hours.
• Cried for about 20 minutes (things started to get fuzzy in the middle of the night).
• I nursed her and put her down again.
• She cried for another 25 minutes.
• Then she slept, with only 2 brief wake-ups, for about 4 hours, until we got her up.

The second night, she
• cried for AN HOUR AND 40 MINUTES.
• Slept for 15 minutes.
• Cried for around half an hour.
• And then slept through the rest of the night, with only one brief whimpering period.

So, why, you ask, why now? Oh crunchy granola family bed Waddles, why this sudden and very hard-core sleep-training? Well, I’ll tell you.

First, there was the crawling. Ngaire has been crawling for a little while now, and among the many components of this skill is the ability to roll over and get on all fours, and, oh, say, CRAWL OUT OF BED AND HURL YOURSELF AT THE BEDSIDE TABLE, WHICH, AS YOU HAVE DISCOVERED TO YOUR SORROW, HAS SHARP EDGES, NOT TO MENTION THE DISTANT NATURE OF THE FLOOR. Ngaire never actually did this, but she tried, and every time it was just as I was going to sleep. I lived in fear that she would try it sometime when I wasn’t conscious to stop her.

Then there was the regressive all-night nursing. She would log off from time to time, but if I attempted to change positions, she would wake up and want to nurse again. In fact, every time any of us moved, she would want to nurse. Sometimes she would want to nurse when no movement at all had been evident. So I was sleeping all night in one position, all three of us were waking up constantly, and neither she nor I was getting a particularly high quality of sleep.

Then there was the bit of the good-sleep story I haven’t told you. Ngaire was for a long time an amazing sleeper. So wonderful, such long sleep. But this was because I was next to her generally from the time she went to sleep (around 7) to alarm-clock time. Sometimes she would stay asleep early in the night if I got up to use the bathroom, but more often she’d wake up and need to be nursed back to sleep. In the mornings, my attempts to get up were met with piteous screams which extended through our whole morning routine.

She was also getting bigger, her sprawls more emphatic. The Husbandlet and I shared half the bed, I kid you not.

The final straw came when I got sick last week. She wasn’t sleeping deeply, and I stopped sleeping almost at all. This pushed me over the edge of desperation, and on Tuesday I asked her pediatrician what I should do.

So far, we’re seeing more misery than benefit. Ngaire, of course, isn’t falling asleep early enough to get her full 11 hours at night, and she’s refusing to nap during the day, aside from falling asleep nursing and maybe a half-hour nap here and there at the sitter’s. For the first time in her life, she’s sleep-deprived. So she’s cranky. The Husbandlet and I are basket cases. We hate hearing our little one cry. But at this point, we feel committed: we have to see this through either to success (which may take a while) or to clear failure, or it will just help to reinforce the idea in our daughter that crying long enough gets results from us. Meep. Rock, meet hard place.

Tonight is night three, and she fell asleep after right around an hour. Updates will come!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

You guessed it, October.

Congratulations, Jordana!

Also, welcome to Alia, my friend Becky's newborn!

And yes, the Husbandlet and I had "the talk" today, and yes, we're still planning to wait a few years for another baby ... Sigh.