It’s been one heck of a week, filled with peaks and valleys. Beginning on Saturday night when my sister said she wouldn’t be able to come because her daughter was sick, I was thrust into Plan B, otherwise known as Find People To Take My Son Out of the House So That We Do Not Go Crazy. “I can work from home,” my husband offered disingenuously. A nice idea, but not what he had in mind and so not what should happen or we’ll all grow exponentially grumpier.
So I was to be solo at two weeks postpartum, having not yet driven the car. But I was driven to get out of the house, so, after seeing that none of my friends was able to help out that morning from my pleas made the night before via the LotsaHelpingHands website, I packed only enough snack to get us through until we came home from lunch and headed out, intending to go to a park we hadn’t visited for a while. But on the way I got my friend L on the phone, and she offered to harbor us for a while and then join us at the super cool park near her house. Score!
Baby girl nursed at her house and then stayed asleep the whole time we were at the park, which caused me to feel supremely accomplished and successful. Until it was time to leave and my son took off, shooting up the play structure leaving me on the ground with a baby in a sling less than excited about the idea of climbing up and going down a tube slide. I somehow successfully got him down, I think with something like a bribe — a reminder that he wanted millet toast, which of course would necessitate our return home.
I can’t even remember now; I just know that I was relieved my son and I walked out not with me dragging him but happily hand in hand, a mama and her two kids!
“I made it!” I thought. “I can do this.” And it was just as well that my sister couldn’t visit, because then I wouldn’t have gone to the Tuesday La Leche League meeting where I saw several friends. But again, the chase was on to leave. I had to enlist the help of other moms to barricade my son and distract him by musing, “I wonder if you can push the elevator button.”
Wednesday we hosted some friends in the house on a rainy day while waiting for contractors to come finally install some insulation that will make summer sleeping a reasonable option. It was great that they came, but little boy whined about wanting music on in the beginning and at the end got a little up in everyone’s space such that our guests left not as calm as they’d entered. And we were stuck here all day until the job was well on its way without power failures. The rain had abated until we were just out the door to walk to the park, but at least we had time to find our rain gear and umbrella. I was glad to have a kid who doesn’t worry about melting if he gets wet. But I was also too tired to let him run off everything he had, standing as I was on the park since the benches were all wet.
Thursday the clouds parted, literally and figuratively, the latter before the former. I woke up feeling hung over from having hung out with an awake and grunting baby 2-4:30 a.m. Lovely friend L offered to take the kids to the park, so I was psyched about getting a little rest, but instead my very loud child wanted to play in the driveway just outside the room where I was lying down. After a half-hour of self-pity, I stumbled outside in my boxers and leaky-milk t-shirt crying, “Can you play somewhere else?”
The sleep mojo gone, I took a shower and exited to the cry of one angry baby. So we just nursed and read the rest of the time until the return of the boy, shortly after which it was time to pick up my other sister from the airport. Let me tell you, this chick watching my kid is like having a preschool teacher all to ourselves. I guess because she used to be a preschool teacher. Quite something to hear all the positive, playful tone my voice has been missing for months coming out of my sister.
So that’s been great, and I felt good Friday after some craniosacral work, especially since the baby slept all day. But Saturday found me stumbling out of bed at 9 a.m. mad that I’d already wasted so much of the day and also already craving a nap. The baby fed off my crankiness and hardly slept all day, suddenly finding that it is, in fact, possible to cry most of the day.
I got hardly anything done despite the fact that my son was out of our hair all day whooping it up at the Smithsonian. So I was pretty pissed. And pessimistic.
One thing we were looking forward to was getting rid of our rented birth tub when the next family was to come pick it up. When they didn’t, I sent a text message inquiry and immediately got a call back from the mama, who really could give birth any day. She was in a car accident. And though she and her baby and her son are fine, she had to spend all day in the hospital where she was apparently chastised for planning a homebirth.
Something snapped in me then, as I held my nursing baby and thought how awful it must feel to be physically compromised and emotionally rocked like that so close to birth. As I pulled my head out of my butt, I felt lucky for just having typical parenting challenges.
Now that it’s 3:00 the next day and I’m still in pajamas and about a day into writing this post, I’ll try to hold onto that sense of thankfulness.
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