who’d have thought?


It is not so surprising that Veronica loves the kitty. Kitties are lovable and soft and fascinating.

What is surprising is that kitty tolerates it so well. Skellig Cat has always been a crabby don’t-touch-me kind of cat.

But he’s very patient with Veronica. Chris and I would never been permitted that sort of proximity.

If you don’t speak cat, let me explain. Putting his tail THAT CLOSE to little V’s hand is pledging eternal friendship.

She LOVES to feel his fur with her little tiny fingers. I try to intervene when she grabs for the ears, but he’s been pretty patient nonetheless.

Good kitty.


It’s Thursday birth day again. She’s 22 weeks old. I’m half way through my week, and this is the first okay week I’ve had since she was born. I mean ‘okay’ in the sense that I feel okay, and that I think things are okay. Not super good, not super bad. Just okay.

Okay is a really great place right now.

As I reflect on my experience with motherhood, it reminds me of this one time, Chris and I were in Hawaii and we went swimming in the ocean. He’d been swimming in the ocean before, but although I love the water I’m a terrible swimmer and had never swum in the ocean before.

The saltiness of the water stung my eyes but the real problem was the waves. I’d get in the water, bob around, paddle a little and then WHAM i’d get hit by the wave. I’d thrash around, scramble to get my footing, rub my eyes, catch my breath, get calm and start to paddle around again. Then WHAM another wave. It surprised me EVERY TIME.

I wonder if I’ll get better at anticipating getting knocked over. I can’t even hope I’ll get better at not getting knocked over.

5 months of motherhood


She’s doing good, and I have survived. I have been surprised at what it means to be a mother, and wondering where I fit in my own life now.

Five months seems like a long time, until I look at how very little my baby is. She’s so much bigger than she was, but she still needs me for everything.


I think about things I would like to be making progress on, but they are way out of reach right now.  And it doesn’t even bother me–too much.

It’s the new normal.

life lessons

So Cassie had to come over again for some puppy sitting. This time, Lucy is taking her in hand. Lucy doesn’t enjoy being bitten by the sharp little needly puppy teeth. She’s also figured out she is BIGGER than little Casssady, so she’s insisting that she gets to be in charge.

Cassie’s just a puppy, though, so she takes reminding, as we see here in their barking contest:


week 20 of motherhood

Once again I remember today as birth day. 2:15 am was the day I met Veronica. She’s four and a half months old now, and doing well. I guess I doing well, too. At least I’m not doing as badly as I had.

I do recognize that it’s self-centered of me to phrase this as 20 weeks of “motherhood”, rather than V’s 20 weeks of life. Yeah, yeah…she’s holding her head up, getting fatter and stronger and all that. But *I* was to talk about *ME*

Probably makes me a bad mother. But it’s my blog, so I get to say what I want.

It is strange being a mother. Right now, it involves a lot of television. I did not used to watch this much TV. But i have to sit still with my baby a lot. So, while thinking about this huge change in my life, it struck me when I heard Peggy from Mad Men say the following:

i wanted other things…, one day you’re there. And then all of a sudden there’s less of you. And you wonder where that part went…if it’s living somewhere outside of you

and you keep thinking maybe you’ll get it back and then you realize it’s just gone

I’m not entirely sure what she’s referring to, but the conversation takes place when she’s telling how she gave up her baby to keep being a career girl.

I think of it in the reverse. I feel like parts of me are missing–or at the least starved into near non-existence. And I wonder if I will get them back. I wonder if that was the deal I didn’t know I was making, that being a parent means permanently putting aside certain things.

On of the doctors I saw after the hospital visit was trying to help me. I went to her to see if I needed some help for postpartum depression. Maybe I wasn’t being as good of a mother as I needed to be. My child ended up in the hospital, after all. Maybe I needed some help with anxiety. So I checked in with the psychiatrist.

She was trying to help me, but as usual I didn’t fit her template. I’m not exactly a spring chicken anymore, but the way she was talking to me reminded me of an adult trying to be hip to a teenager:

“I know what you are going through. I chose to have a child when I was older, you know. I had to give up my life. I couldn’t go out to restaurants and I couldn’t read as much as I used to. It was a big change.”

But that’s not it at all. I don’t miss dinners out. I don’t mind the hard work of taking care of her, exactly. I just feel so fundamentally different. And I don’t recognize myself.

How does a river come to terms with itself when a dam has been built? The Colorado River ran a long time through a lot of land before men came in and made Hoover Dam. It didn’t stop running when the dam was put it place, but it was really changed. Different forces were put into play. It became this big pooled up deep lake behind the dam, and a skinny trickle after the dam.

If the river were self-aware, I think that would have freaked it out.

Finding the sweet spot

So, after the 3 day hospital visit which turned all of us on our heads, I have to figure out a way to get back to predictability.

The thing was, Veronica wasn’t gaining weight. She wasn’t getting enough to eat. That’s basically the good answer, because it is an easily rectified situation. She hadn’t been getting enough for quite some time, and all her little baby fat was used up. So, not only do we have to get her back to the normal weight gain of a healthy growing baby, we actually have to catch up a little.

THAT MEANS: we feed her as much as she will possibly eat. Every time she opens her mouth, we are supposed to stick a bottle in it.

I was visited by so many doctors in the hospital–come to think of it, I don’t think the same doctor visited us more than twice. NOT ONE of these doctors gave directions about how she was supposed to be fed.  Just that she needed to gain weight.

Since I wanted to get sprung of the institution I adopted the stick-a-funnel-in-her-mouth-and-pour methodology. I estimated that the best way to get her to eat was to give two hours between feedings so that her tummy could digest and make room for the next installment.

Of course I feel bad that she wasn’t getting enough to eat, and I want to get her back to stable health. But we had a system before. We knew what to expect. And long ago, she had decided that sleeping through the night was more important to her than eating. MONTHS ago she just stopped asking for food in the night.

it was wonderful

But it’s possible that her hunger was being short-circuited. She didn’t tell me that she needed more food; not exactly. But now that she’s on the 24-hour all-you-can-eat buffet, she remembers that she wants to eat in the middle of the night. And because we need her to get chubby again, we want to feed her as often as she’ll take it.

To make things WORSE, the hospital gave her a cold. So she’s all snotty and not feeling good.

After that hospital visit 2 weeks ago, her world is totally topsy turvy. She doesn’t really know what to expect (other than formula). And neither do we.

Chris wasn’t really part of the schedule establishement before. He didn’t do the hard labor of setting it up the first time. He seems to think that magically it will “get better” after Veronica’s cold goes away.

That would be nice.

But in the meantime, I’m trying to figure out how to make this take shape. One cocky little dietician came by to “talk” to me in the hospital. Her goal was to insist that if Veronica didn’t start eating solid foods really soon her life would be ruined.

I pointed out that since our baby was underweight, and we wanted her to gain weight, our choices in what to feed her should be the most nutritionally dense. “Solid foods are not as nutritious as Milk.”

“Well, yes, that’s true. But if she doesn’t start eating solid foods her tongue and her mouth will not develop the necessary skills and it will be a problem.”

I was getting tired of all the “problems” that every choice I made in raising my daughter created. Since all the reading I’d done about feeding solid foods said that she should start somewhere around 4-6 months, and she was only 4 months old, I figured I had some time to play with.

I verbally wrestled the little dietician to the ground and got some rules of thumb out of her:

caloric needs for infants for healthy growth:  102 calories per kilogram of weight

But Veronica needed to gain wieght, so she said 150 calories per kilogram of weight

“But…don’t…these aren’t..” she obviously wished she hadn’t given away her secrets. Too late!

So, okay. If Veronica were to gain weight at a regular pace, she’d need 530 calories. That means 26 ounces of formula. So if we feed her 5 times a day, 6 ounces each time, we could get all her caloric needs met in the daytime.

But she needs to gain. That means 780 calories, which is 39 ounces.  We’d have to feed her 6 and a half times in a day. That’s assuming she’ll take 6 ounces each time, which is really hard to achieve.

The thing I don’t know is when we can go from super-weight-gain diet plan to regular growth plan. I don’ think she’ll ever be an average weight baby. But I’d like to stay above the 5th percentile, you know? if she ever gets sick and hits a patch where she can’t eat enough, we need some play.

I’m pretty sure that if we go to a more regular schedule where she knows she’ll be eating (and sleeping) at certain times, she’ll fell secure and once again be able to sleep through the night. I’d like to pick a time to begin the day, and then feed her maybe every 3 or every 2 and a half hours thereafter up until bedtime.

Then bedtime will happen, and she’ll be all full and happy and SLEEP through the night. We all could use the rest.


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