2 Months!

Hard to believe it’s only been 2 months since Henry was born.  What? You thought I meant to say, “I can’t believe it’s already 2 months!”  Nope. That’s not now newborn time works.

With all the feedings, diaper changes, cries-that-you-really-hope-meant-that-he-had-gas-because-otherwise-you-have-no-idea-what-was-wrong, lack of consistent sleep, and changes to your body and sense of self, 2 months seems like a surprisingly long amount of time for this new mom.

I’m takin’ it back!

One of the hardest things for me about pregnancy and the 2 months postpartum has been changes in my sense of self.  I don’t want to say that I’ve become the most boring person alive, because that’s not true. I have an adorable kid, and any thought that includes the superlative adjective “most” is almost certainly irrational.  But outside of being a new mommy who is handling MS and seizures, I haven’t had a lot of energy to devote to doing the things that made me feel like myself.

I’m here to pump *clap* ME up!
The first thing I’m addressing is my activity level. I spend entirely too much time sitting on the couch surfing social media — and let’s face it, Facebook can be crazy depressing, even when everybody’s happy about something. (Take, for example, the legalization of gay marriage and the resulting celebratory bashing of bigots.)   ANYWAY. There came a time, around 5 or 6 months into the pregnancy, where going to the gym every day after Adam got home from work stopped being a thing…  and shortly thereafter, I stopped trying to work out at all.  I reverted to being the full-time couch potato that I was back when I was having seizures all the time. Sinking back into the fluffy comfort of the couch and company of other folks who were as cranky as I was (if not moreso), was far too easy.  Well, as of today, I’m allowed to work out again, and I’m pretty damn stoked about it.

For me (and most human beings), engaging in some form of physical activity is necessary to having good mental health.  When I work out, even for 10 minutes, I feel better about who I am as a person. I feel less lazy, more attractive, less hopeless, and more in control of my life.  So, today, I’m determined to walk a mile with Henry.  I’ve suggested to Adam that when we take the dog for his afternoon walk, we do it all together and take a longer walk than usual.

I’m also looking online for free pilates and yoga workouts, since I also want to stretch and tone. Youtube is filled with them. The tough part, for me, is separating the wheat from the chaff and finding a routine that I actually want to do. So, if you have a routine online that you love, I’d be stoked to hear about it.

Turning Back On The Tap.
A few years ago, I had memorable conversation with my friend Mike, a guy who actually makes a living as a composer. (It’s true! There are actually people out there who can do that! Just not many.)   I was in law school at the time, and had let all of my musical endeavors fall by the wayside in favor of spending almost all of my free time blogging on LiveJournal, learning all there is to know about BDSM, dating, and working out. Considering how busy I was studying during law school, I was actually living a reasonably well-rounded life, but without regular music practice, I felt like I had abandoned a big part of my identity.

Mike told me about this theory with regard to the practice of music: It’s just like getting clean water out of plumbing that has rusty pipes. You’ve got to turn it on and let the water run for a while.  At first, the water is gonna be brown and gunky, but eventually, you’ll get clean water.  The same thing’s true for the practice of music. You’re gonna suck for a while. It’s gonna be hard for you to hear yourself, but you gotta keep practicing. Eventually, you’ll sound like yourself again.

With Henry’s arrival, I’ve been singing much more — every night, in fact.  And, I find myself struggling not to harshly judge myself. I often forget lyrics. I wonder if my tone is okay. I wonder if I’m singing the right songs. (I never sing traditional lullabyes.) I wonder if the songs sound weird without their normal background accompaniment. I wonder if the kid actually likes being sung to or if I’m torturing him by singing the same things over and over again.  And I wonder why I’m not writing lullabyes just for him.

So, my goal for this week is to write Henry a song and sing it to him.

And Everything Else
Eventually, I’m hoping to also get back to creating the card games I was working on (“Flavor Friends” and “Bake!”) and write some children’s books, but I don’t want to self-sabotage by overloading myself.   I’ve still got a 2 month old to care for, medical bills to sort out (Thanks for your incompetence, Humana!), a house that we’re trying to buy, and all the rest of the responsibilities that go along with being a housewife.

One step at a time… starting with feeding the little one.

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I Am Mommy, Hear Me Roar.

I know it's a book for kids, but I swear to God, this is for new parents as well.

I know it’s a book for kids, but I swear to God, this is for new parents as well.

How I know I’ve fully transitioned to being a mommy: just now, after trying for several hours to make myself  sandwich and finally succeeding, I gave Henry a bottle and held him until he fell asleep while the delicious toasted corned beef sandwich got completely cold… and I still feel like I won because I ate something.

I honestly can’t believe that he’s eating full 4-ounce bottles now. Granted, they’re not at every meal, but at most! He’s 7 weeks old as of today, and I’m already thinking that I may need to buy some of the big bottles.  Crazy.

Time is blowing my mind with its speed. Days are going by in a blink… and the last several weeks has been a total blur.

These days, the little one is sleeping a solid 5 hours at night, which is incredibly helpful, but it took some time getting there. I do wonder, from time to time, when the next time I’m going to wake up feeling fully rested is… or if it will ever happen again. Fortunately, he’s napping now, so I have a chance to write. (FWIW, I did consider napping as well… but the logistics are all wrong for that right now. Too many balls are in the air.)

In a move that ended up being much less frightening or difficult than my mind had made it out to be, we’ve fully transitioned from disposable diapers to using cloth. We still use disposables when we leave him with family or when my hands are just too dumb to work snaps (read: in the wee hours of the morning). Still, whenever Henry poops in a rare disposable, and I don’t have to dunk-and-swish, I feel a surprising amount of joy. It’s like a mini-lottery win.

And yes, I am aware that I could just use disposables full-time and never have to clean poop off of a diaper, but, let’s be real here: I am frugal. Sure, cloth diapering is good for the environment and all, but have you seen how expensive disposable diapers are?  They’re, like, $0.25 each, and this kid goes through 10-12 a day.  Ok, so $3 a day doesn’t seem like such a big deal, but when you realize that 1 year is 365 days, and that means spending more than $1K in year 1 alone, it makes more sense. Plus, these diapers will fit him until he’s ready to potty train, and they’re also unisex, so regardless of which gender his sibling ends up being, we’re already set. We’re using them til we cain’t use em no more!! But, really, I’m just not a big fan of dunking my hand in the toilet. I’d rather use a utility sink. I’m looking very forward to when we have our own place, and I can install our diaper sprayer.

Speaking of… we actually found a house that’s reasonably priced, in a good, safe neighborhood, with good schools, low taxes, and the walkability that I need.  It’s a 3 bed/2 bath tri-level that’s right across the street from a park, and it’s got a back yard that ought to make Brisco pretty happy.

Admittedly, I’m worried about the stairs, but I was also worried about stairs when we were living in Romeoville with Nick, and there were way more stairs there, and I had tons more seizures back then — so, I should be fine.  Besides, I just had a relapse with a ton of seizures about 3 weeks after the c-section. I should be good to go for at least the next 6 months, right? 😉

thepriceisrightWe’re currently in negotiations to purchase it… and today’s negotiations are hilarious to me because the seller’s agent totally typoed on their counter-offer. Don’t get me wrong, I want to accept what they’ve sent, but I seriously doubt they actually intend to sell us the property for $16,600. There’s very clearly a number missing there. This situation makes me think of the Price Is Right. Which digit did they omit? What number did they mean?  If I guess correctly, do I win the house? 🙂

Anyway, this is our 9th attempt at purchasing a home in the last year or so — so please keep a good thought for us.

Little one’s starting to stir, so I’m gonna wrap this up. Time to put clean diaper inserts in the dryer, hang the shells, and get started on the dishes. The fun and glamour of being a SAHM never stops!

As a little bonus, here’s the song that’s been my jam for the last several days. If I’m ever able to play this on guitar, I will have exceeded my goals.

Sending a Letter Through Time

Henry says, "What are you lookin at?"

Henry says, “What are you lookin at?”

It’s been a good day.  Challenging, but good.

It’s a Tuesday, which means that Adam’s at work, and this is only the second day that I’ve had to take care of Henry and myself without any help.

The morning started out rough.  Yesterday, we ran out of disposable diapers, so we started using cloth diapers from the stash that I’d put together before Henry’s birth. Fortunately, he’s now over 8 pounds, so they fit him. (If cloth diapers had the yellow-turns-blue-so-you-know-he-peed technology, that would rock my world.  Scientists, get on that, won’t you?)

Anyway – the change from velcro-like closures on the disposables to the snaps on a reuseable Best Bottom shell got the better of me this morning in a suuuuper annoying kind of way.  You know that scene in all the baby movies where one of the parents gets peed on, and the baby pees on everything around it too, in an impressive and comedic fashion where you think to yourself, “Wow, kid got a lot of height with that whiz!”  Well, that was how I started my day — but it’s not where I am now.

Somehow, today, I managed to keep the kid fed and mostly clean (He needs a bath, thanks to spit-up, but we’re waiting for Daddy for that one!), to eat breakfast and lunch (Ok, so breakfast was just a Fiber One Protein Bar and a few swigs of RC Cola, but it’s better than nothing!), pump 3.5 oz of breast milk, do 2 loads of laundry, and take the kiddo with me to the grocery store and pharmacy down the street.

I know to a regular SAHM, this is probably not such a big deal — but I’m not a regular SAHM. Today’s the first day that I’ve managed to find time to put clothes on instead of pajamas, and is the first day in 3 weeks that I haven’t had any seizures at all.  Even on a good day, prior to giving birth, I would have been proud of myself for this level of activity. Adding in diapers, bottles, and pumping for breast milk, and I feel like I need some sort of gold star on a chart somewhere… which I guess is what this blog entry really is. I’m proud of myself, my kid is napping, and I get the chance to tell the world how far I’ve come.

If I could send letters back in time, I’d write this today.

Dear early 2011 Rae (the one having so many seizures per day that she has to use a chair to shower, isn’t allowed to cook, is bankrupt and suicidal),

You know how you are worried that you have no good reason to live, and that you are nothing but a burden to your family and society? Well, in 4 years, you’re the woman walking to and from the local (non-chain) grocery store and Walgreens with a 6 week old baby that strangers can’t stop cooing over, to shop for fixings for dinner and baby supplies…and you haven’t had a single seizure today.

Thanks for not killing me! There is more to look forward to than you can allow yourself to imagine.

-2015 Rae

I doubt she’d believe it was real. I’m a cynic — always have been — and depression/suicide is a crafty demon that doesn’t let anything positive in… but if I could show up in a TARDIS and give her a pep talk, I sure as shit would do it.  I hope that sometime in the future, if I need a pep talk, I remember to look back here and see how far I’ve come, and remember that things are never really as bad as they seem.

Look what I had to look forward to!

Look what I had to look forward to!

That being said, it would be totally bitchin’ if 2019 Rae could send me a letter or show up and let me know that we’re gonna make it through this infant stage without me losing my mind or ending up in the hospital because of sleep deprivation and stress. *looks around, expectantly* Well, I guess that’s not happening, so I’m gonna have to just keep doing my best every day, and remember to do my future self as many favors as possible. 🙂

Speaking of — that means getting off my butt, putting a freshly-laundered mattress pad & sheet back on the pack n play, washing all the bottles that have collected around the apartment, putting up another load of laundry, and straightening up a little bit. Heck, I might even go for extra credit and spritz on a little bit of pretty stink.  Adam’s on his way home!