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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Like any discipline (eating healthfully, meditation, exercise), blogging is hard to get back to when I’ve had some time off. I’ve taken time off for a couple of reasons: laziness (I’ve been sleeping in on my writing mornings because I’ve started adding to my running mornings which means more mornings of getting up at 5:45 which therefore means on my non-run mornings – even with the enticement of cathartic-creative-writing time – I have a hard time dragging my butt outta bed) and the other reason is…well, kind of also laziness but more overwhelmedness. We’ve left the honeymoon period. Obviously we’re still just as in love with Kayliana as ever (duh), but things have gotten a bit harder. She’s not a newborn anymore – she doesn’t sleep all day; she’s going through MAJOR separation anxiety with me and gets all kinds of massive-upset if I leave the room; she’s not a fan of lying on the floor by herself for playtime/tummy time; she’s not on a nap schedule (though we’re trying to work on it); after a while she gets tired of the exersaucer and bouncy seat so I wear her in the frontpack carrier which makes getting anything done pretty laborious and tricky, and she’s ridiculously terrified of the vacuum cleaner. Basically, this all adds up to one thing: a messy/dirty/cluttered house that is the bane of my existence and causes chaos in my soul.

It’s funny: there’s a divide in my life. Two extremes. A handful of people closest to me judge the cleanliness of my house and make (loving) comments of how I should really spend some time dusting. They ask casual conversational questions like “so, when was the last time you washed windows?” And then there’s the other group (Mike included) who think that I have way too high of standards and the house is perfectly fine and not anywhere near a state of squalor. I wish I could side with this latter more lax group, but the fact of the matter is: the cleanliness/clutteriness of our home really does affect how I’M feeling.

So, it has come to this: Mike has offered that we hire someone to come in once or twice a month to help with the cleaning (OK, by ‘help’ I mean this person would DO the cleaning…we’d have a house cleaner; I just can’t bring myself to say those words). I have such a hard time – as many of us do – admitting that I need help, especially with something that I feel is MY job, my responsibility and this whole, “I’m a stay-at-home mom, it’s what I do, we aren’t both working full-time, I SHOULD be able to keep my house clean!” attitude. Back in my postpartum depression days, my therapist called this “should-ing all over yourself.” I’m a really good should-er! And then, I should so much and I pile on guilt too that there’s a huge pile of bull-should that we all have to avoid stepping in. That’s definitely a mess NO ONE wants to clean up! So, now I’m in the search of basically trying to find a clone of me so that I can have a little help to maintain sanity. No luck, thus far and I keep putting off the search though it’s really something that I should do…

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Apparently I was kidding myself. I wasn’t ACTUALLY a REAL genu-ine parent until last night. I guess it is impressive that I’ve been a parent for EXACTLY seven years, six months and four days and that I’ve never had to do this. At long last, I finally experienced the ultimate initiation rite in the wee hours of the morning. Kayliana – our healthy, robust (said with a rolled r) little baby girl has finally caved and joined us in the sickness we’ve been swapping around for the last week. First Zach had it, then Matthew REALLY had it (missed four days of school). Then I got it and spent part of the weekend in a fever-induced trance on the couch. And, alas, Kayli succumbed to the germ nastiness, at 2:40 this morning, she had a fever – the ultimate in sick-kidness (next to vomiting, of course).

Let me set the scene: it was a dark and stormy night. Literally. As I pulled on the requisite parental uniform for the middle-of-the-night-we-need-infant-fever-reducing-medicine-dash-to-the-drugstore – sweats and a baseball cap – I listened to the rain on the roof. It sounded like a rowdy crowd of sports-goers, stomping their excitement against metal bleachers. It was POURING. I heard the wind pick-up and the erratic clanging of the neighbors’ wind chimes. Awesome. Mike sat groggily rocking fussy Kayli and I bid him adieu as I went out into the storm. (Yes, I’m playing up the drama here). I unhitched Chestnut to ride to town for the doc- Oh, right. Thank God, this ISN’T Little House on the Prarie-days. I turned up the heat in our Honda CRV, cranked up the windshield wipers (front AND back) and listened to the BBC broadcast on NPR to stay awake. Life IS tough.

It took three stores and forty-five minutes before I returned home with the much-needed Infant Tylenol. Thankfully traffic was light (no surprise)! And what did I come home to? The miserable, fever-stricken, stuffy baby sleeping soundly in her crib. Mike – back in our bed, in a deep sleep. I reassured myself that it was still worth the run to the store. Chances were good that Kayli would wake up again in need of the fever-reducing meds that I had so valiantly collected. I collapsed into bed and tried to not mentally write this blog post, shut off my brain and fall asleep. I’m sure Kayli will wake up any moment…

Nope. She slept the rest of the night. I could’ve waited until daylight to go to the store like most normal people. And then, when I took her temperature again this morning and phoned the doctor, I was told that a 101F fever is not medicine-worthy. We’ve got to wait until 102 to give her anything. So, really, the best case scenario is that my rescue mission was a big fat, middle-of-the-night, extraneous exhausting field trip and that we don’t need the drugs at all! But at least, now that I’ve experienced the depths-of-night-buttcrack-of-dawn children meds-run I feel I’ve truly earned the title of a true, 100%, Neurotic, Paranoid, Bona Fide Care-Giving Parent. Where’s my badge?

Monday, March 07, 2011

Maybe the third time’s the charm or maybe it’s just Kayliana, but I feel that – to a certain extent – we understand her needs fairly well. For example: when she’s fussy, I pick her up, put her on against my chest and shoulder and bounce AND sway and SHHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh right into her ear. Sometimes if I pause – you know, to breathe (the nerve!) – the fussing picks up again. Thankfully, my years of flute playing and breathing exercises are paying off. The Shhhhh-ing has worked nearly every time without fail (though sometimes it takes a while and a lot of shhhh-uage on my part to actually succeed. Also, we’ve learned that a sudden high pitched cry means she’s experiencing gas pain (which is when Mike the Gas-Master works his magic). My favorite secret cue that we’ve unsleuthed (unsleuthed really SHOULD be a word) is that when Kayli’s nose gets red (the bottom, nostril area) it means that she’s going to spit up. Apparently my brother Tim had a similarly random cue – he would get a bright red spot on the middle of his forehead indicating the need to burp. I wonder if he still gets it.

Things that Kayli does NOT care for: watching me walk away (I have to sneak out of the room); tummy time; lying on her back time (while awake) for too long (she really is an ‘upright’ baby which may prove difficult for the whole learning to crawl thing…which I’m not ready for anyway!); the vacuum cleaner; she hates a cold bottle (spits it all up and cries through most of the feeding – this makes taking a bottle to feed her at the park difficult. If we’re away from home long enough it eventually cools down/gets cold even in the bottle holder bag); Kayli’s a great running partner – she fusses if I stop to chat with a neighbor or to tie my shoes; often she’s not a fan of the car seat…until it starts moving (occasionally she’ll start fussing at every red light. I will admit that this has caused me to drive through a couple of very stale yellow-close to orange lights. I have every intention of playing the “fussy baby card” with an officer should I have to).

Things that Kayli DOES enjoy: being swaddled (she wakes up if she Houdini’s her way out of her sleep sac – this girl may be swaddled until she’s 18 at which point she’ll have to teach her college roommate how to do it for her); watching her brothers; the orange rattle thing on her exersaucer (she tells it all sorts of interesting stories); she LOVES riding in the front-pack carrier (I really do wear her around like an accessory most days especially in the ‘Witching Hour’ while I’m trying to make dinner); she loves chatting post-diaper change on the changing table (we have some of our best heart-to-hearts there); she loves her crib mobile (courtesy of uncle Chris) – it’s fancy-shmancy with lights and four different song options; she loves sporting a bib constantly (actually that’s more of a necessity as she is a CONSTANT drool machine and she’s not even teething yet!); unfortunately, she’s already a fan of the TV and keeps her eyes glued on the changing colors during our weekly family movie night (though she does occasionally get kicked out of the ‘theater’ for making too much noise); she loves it when I help her clap – cracks her up every time; she grins from ear-to-ear when I sing to her (even if she’s close to falling asleep post-bottle – she’ll give me a half-drunk grin).

OK, I’m realizing that the things that Kayliana enjoys far outnumber her dislikes and that I could go on and on, so I’ll just end with this one: I’m fairly certain, what with her birthday just before the holiday season, that Kayliana enjoys it nearly as much as I do. (Plus her first big, hearty belly laugh and squeal came during our annual Camp Christmas staycation, so that’s an indication right there). Really, in this house, you have no choice but to be a Christmas fanatic. She fits right in!

Friday, March 04, 2011

The week in pictures! Snowy sleepover fun with the Clan boys -- Joshua & Noah.

Kayliana LOVES playing in her exersaucer. And a nice mullet shot. The plan is to give her Haircut #1 when she turns four months old (March 15th).

Zachary somehow managed to squeeze into Kayli's puffy vest. He kinda got stuck in it and needed assistance to get out.

So much for getting back into the routine after Midwinter Break! Matthew made it to school on Monday and then has stayed home sick every day since then. I seem to be getting the cold now too but so far it’s not too bad. I did manage to get out of the house three evenings in a row though (much needed outings from the sick-house). I went for runs on Tuesday and Thursday when Mike got home from work and on Wednesday, my parentals and brother came over to hold down the fort while Mike and I went out with the young adult group at church. Good times.

So, a very funny thing happened on my runs this week. I’m sure this has happened before and I just didn’t notice it. And I’m sure that Mike could explain the physics of why and how this happened, but I don’t really want to know – it was just very cool. On one stretch of my run, I happened to be very aware of my running shadow sprinting (that’s right!) on the ground in front of me thanks to the many streetlamps I passed. For whatever reason (the angle, my immense speed), I noticed that every once in a while, there would be TWO of my running shadows and then all of a sudden the second place, slower shadow would speed up and catch the first place shadow and they would melt into just one shadow. This was kind of the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. I tried to get all deep about it – what did this all mean? Was I running with myself? Against myself? Watching two halves of my running self unify into one made me wonder if there have been aspects of me missing that are finally (thanks to running frequently again – which IS my therapy) reuniting. Woah, man. Heavy stuff.

Nothing. I couldn’t come up with anything cool or deep about it. I just enjoyed trying to chase my shadows and watching which one was going to win. We finished together. A tie. In the end, we’re all winners, my friends. Yeah. Deep.