need a map from here to okay

Laying down to sleep last night with Chris (finally!) I was talking about all the things that had happened.

“…and you heard; she’s learned how to shriek.”

He raised his eyebrows and nodded. I laughed.

“Chris, everyone says to me ‘enjoy this time!’ But I am not enjoying it; I’m so scared and serious. I don’t know how to enjoy her.”

“People who say that don’t remember what it’s like. They can take her, play with her and then give her back.”

So now Chris is back. The big hurdle of his Germany trip is over. I’ve been back at work, and most of the return-to-work hurdles are known. The end of May is next week. That’s another hurdle crossed: May.

She’s 4 months old now. One third of her first year is accomplished.  I just have to get through her first year.

Except I don’t. I mean, I have to get through much more than her first year. But that is too big to think about, when I am staggering under the weight of one hour.

One third of the way through her first year—I just want to get through her first year.

But naturally because I have to do everything the hard way, I am thinking about how I need/want to have number 2. And how I may not want it because I CAN’T even think about how that would work.

Kate (of Jon&Kate plus 8) talked about how one day they decided to feed their newborn sextuplets by themselves one night. How one day, they called everyone and said “We’re going to do it alone.” Then, she said, evertime she thought she couldn’t do it she would remember, “We did it yesterday, we can do it again.” And then again. And then again, until it was just what they did.

I remember thinking “How can I possibly go back to work? I HAVE to go back to work, but I can’t do this and do the things that it takes to get to work.” But time passed, she got older, I got stronger, and here I am at work and it is better than fine.

So right now I think there is no way that I could possibly go through pregnancy and newborn babyhood again. And I also think there is no way I could not be terribly disappointed in myself if I don’t.

But maybe time will pass and I will get stronger and then suddenly what was unthinkable will be possible. I just have to believe.

Arrgh. Faith is all fine and good when it isn’t about something so damn important. Sure, God created the world out of a formless void. Whatever. But that I will get from here to being okay without hyper-detailed instructions?

But maybe I do have the instructions, even if I don’t like them very much. To misquote Sleepless in Seattle:

Well, I’m gonna get out of bed every morning… breath in and out all day long. Then, after a while I won’t have to freak out about getting myself out of bed every morning and breathing in and out… and, then after a while, I will realize how I have it great and perfect….

It’s so different, being a mother. Another plane of existence. There aren’t roadmaps, because my daughter is something new in the world. And so am I, although I’m not as new as I used to be. And Chris is something new too.

This new family that we are now is unmapped.  And so much of it is on my shoulders. Whoa. It makes me think of the Watchmen. Dr. Manhattan, who had to reassemble himself after being atomized in the lab experiment.  I feel atomized. And every second that passes is spent trying to pull myself back into existence by force of will.

I do believe that I will emerging…have emerged from this as a better, stronger person. But it is not a pleasant experience being atomized.

I want to learn to scream into the thrill ride. Throw my arms up on the roller-coaster loop-de-loop. That’s my style.

Or at least it used to be. I suppose it’s not that V needs to be a year old and everything will be different. It’s that the atomized me needs to be a year old and everything will be different.

So that map I want? It is just a calendar. Oh geez.

Single Parenthood

Chris has been out of the country for 5 days. That meant I had to take care of our little 4 month old daughter alone for four days.

Children are meant to have two parents. MOTHERS are meant to have a back-up.  It’s not that I mind taking care of her. The holding, the rocking, the changing of diapers and feedings–these are not SO bad. I can carry her forever as long as I have someone to carry me.

The bad part? The awesome alone-ness. The quality of being alone, by myself, is a totally different quality than being alone with my baby. Faced with the prospect of being alone with her for five days had me quivering in my socks.

So I lined up a social activity for every day that I would be alone. It worked out okay, and I practiced my new mantra “I can handle whatever comes.”

The whatever could and did include a child who refused to go to sleep at night, a child who woke up every HOUR all night long, and a kid who decided she was hungry but wouldn’t eat.

But I could handle that. I am the grown up here, I can handle it. To borrow a stranger’s blog comment “It’s amazing what you can handle when you have no other choice”

What I cannot handle, is being alone. I KNOW that if I don’t have contact with the outside world, the wallpaper will start talking to me. And I don’t have wallpaper.

But Chris comes home tonight. 9 and a half hours from now.

in motion


they say it gets harder after they won’t stay where you put them.  she’s on the move

she’s sporting her first hair-do: the faux hawk

her daddy hates it, but it is the only thing her hair can do right now

Give the gift of time

I had a dream last night that the hospital had actually sent home a second baby with Veronica, but I hadn’t noticed. Since I hadn’t noticed the other baby, I didn’t feed it and it hadn’t had anything to eat during the night.

It was a dream,so it was only one night I hadn’t fed the child. Veronica didn’t need to be fed during the night because she’s past that, but the new little baby I’d forgotten did and I HAD STARVED HIM.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had that dream, where I neglected and endangered the life of a little new baby. But last night there was a twist:

This little baby was starving hungry because I hadn’t fed it, but it turned out to have the head of a falcon with a big scary beak. I got ready to nurse this poor starving baby -MY FAULT FOR STARVING IT-and I had to try to put my breast into its big scary hungry beak.

Of course the beak was more likely to bite my nipple off than to suck milk, but I had to try anyway. Poor starving thing!  and since it was MY FAULT that it was starving I had better not shy away from being bitten and damn well feed this poor helpless thing.

But beaks can’t suck. And so I kept trying to get a different angle to succeed, which wasn’t working, until I contemplated squeezing milk out drop by drop into the beak so that it could get some food.

Then through sheer wish-power the baby turned into a normal baby with lips and I tried to feed it, but it just *wouldn’t*

Then I woke up, and thought “What a weird dream!”

It wasn’t until I was at work and had cried three separate times about this dream that I realized it was a nightmare. Also, that I really need to quit obsessing about feeding Veronica. I’ve got to be a better police force on my brain and blow the whistle on this stuff.

Eating is something that accumulates over time. She is getting enough to eat, and I KNOW she’s getting enough to eat because Chris gives her huge huge bottles twice a day when I’m at work. I don’t know for sure how much food she’s getting when I nurse her, but I know she’s satiated when I am done.

So, taken on the whole, she’s getting plenty to eat and is very healthy. I need to seriously get over it and stop worrying.

Give her time. Give me time.

She’s fine. I’m fine. We’re fine. I just need to practice being fine.

improved tummytime

I’ve been trying and trying to get V accustomed to being on her tummy. Her brain will apparently atrophy in horrible ways if she doesn’t.

But when she is on her tummy, she screams.

Today, however, the dog caught her attention. It helped that her head was up:


happy mother’s day…

…to me.

She keeps growing and learning. She’s getting better control of herself. Her hands in particular:

But her feet and legs are more active too. Here’s an example. I like it also for the song that’s playing on the radio as I record:

Cameo by Lucy Dog. Veronica seems to like her, judging from the happy expression on her face.

15 weeks and counting

She is 15 weeks old today. In two more weeks, she’ll be 4 months old.

I think the clock got unstoppered this week, for me anyway. It’s progressing. One more day and the full first week back at work will be unwrapped and all the things it held will be revealed. We’ll know what we were waiting to know.

Chris did the first change to the schedule that I had established today. But I guess that’s okay. We’ll survive it, and maybe it’s an improvement after all.