Thursday, November 04, 2010

(More) Notes From Motherhood

A miracle has happened.

Lean in. Closer. We’ll need to whisper.

He slept.

For 7 ½ hours straight.

Sshh! Don’t say it too loud! If he knows he’s been sleeping he might just realize he’s missing out on 17 hours of the day that are really, REALLY exciting.

(news flash: they’re not)

Tuesday night we did nothing out of the usual – feeding and then bedtime at 9 pm. When I woke up at 4:43 am, I knew something was different. For one thing, I did not have the urge to shove the pillow over my head and bury myself under the sheets. For another thing, I got up and did not feel like this cannot possibly be enough sleep, I need to go back to sleep, I want more sleep NOW. I actually felt – rested. Refreshed? Something must be wrong. I looked at the clock – 4:43 am, and this is the first time he’s been up?

IT CAN’T BE!

Everyone kept telling me to wait. Wait until he’s 3 months old. At that point, they say (and though I don’t know who “they” are, at times “they” feel like the enemy) a baby should sleep through the night. And sleeping through the night is considered 6 hours straight. Though I’m not sure who would consider 6 hours of sleep sleeping through the night other than college students, those in the military, graduates of law school and the elderly who can’t hold it that long.

Glimpses of longer sleep started last week. At that point, we received a brilliant suggestion – put a larger diaper on him. Clearly grounded in scientific theory: if he is waking up because he’s wet, the larger diaper will absorb more and he won’t feel it. Yes, in exchange for sleep we willingly accept letting our child lay in his own filth for a few more hours.

Besides, he’ll never remember anything before he’s 5 years old anyways.

We bought one size up in diapers and starting putting him to bed later (around 9 pm). And, what do you know…he started sleeping. MORE. And I started sleeping more. And on Wednesday morning when I woke up after 7 ½ hours of sleep for the first time IN POSSBILY A YEAR (I don’t think I slept more than 4 hours at a time while pregnant because of all the late night bathroom breaks)…well, let me just say that it is possible I could climb a mountain right now. BEFORE coffee. And IF we had a mountain in our backyard.

We don’t but right now I am so energized I could probably build a mountain.

Max is a little over 3 months old right now. It seems like when he hit that mark, a lot of things changed. He squeals. He cracks his own shit up. He loves to stand. He will – and I mean, WILL – one day get his entire fist in his mouth (he’s been working on this trick). His eyes follow me when I walk around. He takes longer naps, twice a day (up 3 hours at a time!). He is pooping much less (AMEN). And while I know there are many sleepless, poopy nights ahead of us – for now, I am enjoying all of this.

And when he recognizes me, and his eyes widen along with a toothless smile that melts my heart – well, I enjoy that A LOT.

It makes me want 20 kids. How many does that crazy woman have – 19? 20? I want one more than her just to show her that she can be beat. But alas I am too old and might be able to squeeze out one more before my eggs reach their expiration date. Wait – did I just say MORE kids? It’s like you completely forget how miserable it is to be pregnant and then to give birth. Sure they are beautiful experiences – except for the constipation, weight gain, nausea…should I go on – but I’m not sure I want to go through it again anytime soon. But it’s true, again “they” say you’ll forget about all of that when you have a kid and – believe them. It’s like doing Ironman – you completely forget that in training you were laying on the path, crying and clutching your knees at 20 miles into a run – the minute you cross that finish line you have no recollection of anything you did to get to that point and cannot wait to do it again.

In addition to more sleep, we’ve reached another milestone around here. I’ve made it to 3 months still nursing. In the beginning, I set the goal to breastfeed for 3 months. I’ve heard that one year is recommended, 6 months is better than most and 3 month is the bare minimum. 3 months - check! And, yes, I will continue. Because for all of its drama up front, it has become ridiculously painless and easy. I read something last week that made me realize how easy it is. Come 6 months when he needs to start eating real food, that real food will take time to prepare and serve. Right now, a feeding takes about 10 minutes (he got the fast eating genes from me – thank god – I swear Chris is the slowest eater ever, so slow that sometimes I have to tell him to stop talking and start eating). 10 minutes is very convenient. Blending up food and serving it – that’s going to take more time. So, for now, I’ll be happy that I carry everything I need for food on me, can serve him anywhere, any time in less than 10 minutes. I’m like fast food.

Except not as greasy.

Three months also means that Max is (FINALLY) establishing some semblance of a routine. So, my days are starting to feel more predictable and that is a blessing. The unpredictability of everyday for the past 3 months was starting to wear on me. I’m usually a planner but found myself accepting that with a newborn, you have to just take it day to day. Do not look too far ahead, it gets overwhelming. I get to the end of the day, look back proudly at everything I accomplished and then say to myself – I get to do it all again tomorrow!

Which is kind of a good but bad thing. There’s a lot to do every day.

I’ve become the master of getting freakish amounts of work done in short periods of time. 4 minutes while breakfast is cooking? I’ll empty the dishwasher, just watch me. Yes, I race the clock with the dishwasher. Hey, my first “big” race is many months away. I’ve got to stay sharp! Multitasking does not even begin to describe it. Manicmultitasking is more like it. I have no idea how I used to not have time. I think to myself – WHAT on earth was I doing with all of my time? But I don’t remember much about life or time pre-pregnancy. I suppose that’s another way that nature gets you to have more kids. All you know is the life you now live.

Workouts have been going really well. Jenny Garrison told me that when you come back after pregnancy you’ll feel slow, slow, slow then all of a sudden one day you feel like your old fast self again. Around 3 months. She’s right. Not that I’m super fit or fast right now, but I’m starting to feel more like myself. The paces are coming down and watts are going up.

I’ve been able to consistently get in up to two workouts a day. I’ve even managed to avoid the early morning workout for the most part. For whatever reason – a reason I will NEVER question – Chris has taken to getting up early in the morning for his workout. This means I can get out in the evening when the sun is still out to go for a run. Trust me, it’s the little things. My runs in darkness for the next 5 months will begin next week. I’m not looking forward to that but I am looking forward to running. If I’m going to run, it’s gonna be in the dark. End of story.

The runs and bikes are pretty easy to manage – I can do those at, from or around home. I can put Max near the bike or the treadmill and he seems fascinated to watch me. The pool is a different story. In my next harvesting of the money tree I’m going to build myself a 50 meter pool. Every swim requires getting to the pool, getting the child into the gym, checking the child into the gym day care, finding an open lane in the pool then swimming. By that time, I barely have the patience! Does anyone else feel like there is everything BUT swimming going on in their swimming pool? If I get kicked out of a lane one more time for two women to jump around while trying to not get their hair wet – well, let me just say that I’ve been doing a lot of kick sets with fins and a very very BIG splash.

I’ve gotten over my fear of leaving Max at the gym day care. I try not to think too much about it or even look too much around (gosh, some kids just look GERMY). If I go during the day, they have a staff member solely there to watch the babies. And just this week I made good with that woman. She’s Filipino. Say no more. She said the word pancete, I said, I’ve tasted it and before you knew it she was telling me that I had a beautiful alert baby and could she please hold him while everyone else’s kid was sitting in a carseat.

Twice a week, Angela and I also do kid swap at my house so we can workout. I watch Zach, her two year old, on Mondays and she watches Max on Wednesdays. It’s been helpful to see what I have to look forward to in two years. Pretty much I’m going to have to put everything in my house on lockdown. And I’m going to need to organize my kitchen drawers by next Monday. That’s when Zach will inspect them all over again.

Today is going to be a long day, but at least I’m rested for it. Chris won’t be home until 7:30 pm. That means me and Max together for over 12 hours. You know what else that means? I’m going to do a lot of singing today. You can stall a baby for quite some time by putting anything to song; cooking, cleaning, reading the mail, working, showering. I’m also going to consider auditioning for Food Network’s next big star competition because I have narrated my way through preparing so many meals that putting a camera in front of me wouldn’t make much of a difference.

I’ve also begun to refer to myself in the third person (mommy’s going to make breakfast) which certifies me as either crazy or parental. All parents do this. You quickly realize that if you walk around saying I’m going to make breakfast, you’re actually admiting to talking to yourself. Plug mommy into that sentence and you're only half as crazy.

We’re on nap #1 already which means I need to get to work. Something that has helped me get through every day is the old proverb, strike when the iron is hot. It means taking the opportunity to do something when it presents itself or else you just might lose the chance. So, before I lose any more time – it’s time to strike that iron and start getting things done.


Where to begin?

9 comments:

awholenotherstory said...

Yes! Why WHY do parents have to refer to themselves in the third person? I swore up and down that I never would, but I find myself doing it all the time!!
"Give that to Mama."
"Come by Mama."
Or the most ridiculous thing I've ever said in my life, "You gave Mama an owwie." WHAT HAVE I BECOME??

LZ said...

Congrats on the sleep! I only hope it gets better for you! Although, we are onto almost month 4 and have started to go backwards a bit (it is apparently called sleep regression-who knew).

Jennifer Cunnane said...

YEAH FOR SLEEP!!! Woo hoo! You probably have not had normal sleep and feel like - wow, maybe I can solve this economy thing or something?!! Enjoy all the little cute moments right now, if time permits write them down. I for one hardly remember a dam thing since I was chronically tired or sick all the time. Only now, its so much fun remembering - with the kids - watching the videos from when they were babies. So much fun, and we laugh hysterically all the time! Please video fist to face to share with Max when he is older!

Jenny Garrison said...

It will get easier! Every kid is different. Just take it in stride. And remember how much you love em and how much he makes you smile when he still wakes up sometimes in 6 months from now!

meredith said...

sleep feels good! i still can't sleep more than 4 hours in a row because of the breastmilk thing. and the thrid person...ugh, i do it too. it's annoying, but it just pops out: mommy is going to sing you a song! you pooped for mommy!

X-Country2 said...

I love your notes from motherhood! One baby magically slept one night for 12 hours, and he never looked back. The other one still gets up 1-2 times, but we're half way there. Good luck to you on keeping the streak going!

CharPopp said...

what IS it with swimming pools!? thank goodness for certain times - like Friday mornings, for example, when I could somehow magically get my very own lane for my entire workout. Love it.

ADC said...

Woo hoo for all that sleep. And for feeling fast again.

lisa said...

Hey, didn't I tell you that the processing of giving birth was similar to IM? (and that before you knew it you'd be thinking "That wasn't so bad... I think I might like to do it again!" ?? ;)) Enjoy every maniacal moment--kids grow so quickly!