Today wraps up the last day of my first trimester (I think… it’s not always clear when one ends and the next begins, but I’m counting it.) The theme this week has been the breakneck pace at which life moves.
I’ve already mentioned how much quicker it feels like this pregnancy is going. In some ways I’m much, much busier, but in other ways I have fewer distractions because I’m alone with my thoughts so much more than I used to be when I was surrounded by colleagues and projects all day. Or maybe it feels like it’s going quicker because I already have someone on the outside reminding me daily just how fleeting babyhood is.
I woke whimpering from a dream one night this week. I know it’s usually boring to hear about other people’s dreams, but I think this one pretty perfectly sums up how I’m feeling right now:
In the dream, I was standing and holding The Toddler in my arms, telling him how big he was getting.
I whispered in his ear, “Someday, you’re going to be so tall you’ll be able to hug me like this with your feet on the ground.” He giggled with the delight, that heart-shatteringly sweet giggle that toddlers have.
With this, I released him to put him down, only to find that in that moment he had grown tall enough to hug me with his feet on the ground. In an instant he had become a full grown man, and I looked down at my hands, wrinkled and older, and up into his face. I had somehow missed all the moments in between.
He was beautiful and smiling but I began to cry in confusion and sadness and woke up gasping for breath.
Blame it on pregnancy hormones, but this dream has stuck with me all week, feeling like a lump in my throat. It’s been a trying week in many ways (I’ll spare you the detailed complaints about sleep for the thousandth time, but it’s making me wonder 18-month sleep regression? and Google “Dealing with breastfeeding aversion in pregnancy” and throw silent tantrums), but that dream has been reminding me to take a breath and try to, if not remember forever, at least be fully present for the sweet moments we have.
The Toddler is picking up new words every day and wearing them around like a new pair of shoes: Mama, Dada, Lou (our dog), big, bye, hello, nest, car, truck, bubbles, bottle, cheese. (Along with a slew of animal- and vehicle-related onomatopoeia.)
He is climbing into our rocking chair and looking at books by himself, helping put kitchen towels and clean spoons away. Choosing (and lifting!) big bags of cat food and putting them in our basket at the pet store. Watching frogs in the pond and offering clover to the chickens. Listening for distant planes and seeking them out in the sky. Turning everything into a train and lining it up on invisible tracks. Watching the pair of house finches outside our kitchen door feed their babies and pointing, “A nest!” He is curious and exuberant and nurturing and wild and so, so big.
I know I will love our second baby with my whole heart just like I love him, and I cannot wait for them to meet each other, but I also feel like I need to hold onto every second I have in the next six months while it’s just us. I don’t want to lose focus and find when I step back that I’ve somehow missed out on this short, precious time.
Today is also my seventh wedding anniversary. I won’t get too mushy here (I think I’ve probably used up my weekly allotment above), but I must say I feel pretty damned lucky to have found the person who wraps me in his arms when I wake up from a nightmare, jumps into every new adventure with both feet, is absolutely worthy of his son’s hero worship, and lets me talk him into scrapping our semi-fancy anniversary dinner plans to get burritos in our old neighborhood because it’s all I can think about eating.
It’s not really morning sickness if you don’t sympathy vomit with your toddler
Ode to Daniel Tiger
While I was looking forward to my first trimester symptoms beginning to fade, Week 11 has been a doozy. I think it’s a combination of the true arrival of summer heat, a particularly busy week of freelancing, an extended visit to The Toddler’s gut from a stomach virus (one that I thankfully did not catch), and the fact that I am growing a baby from scratch. That never helps.
Last weekend, we drove to a friend’s backyard wedding celebration with The Toddler in tow, all of us wearing our garden party best. As soon as we got off the highway I heard a retching from the backseat and turned around to find The Toddler had gotten (what I thought was) very, very carsick all over himself and his carseat. We parked and cleaned him up as best we could (fortunately there was a trashbag full of clothes destined for Goodwill in the trunk that we used to mop up) and put his backup clothes on. We thought we were in the clear until he repeated that act on the ride home. And then again at 2 a.m. And then again two mornings later.
I won’t get into further detail other than to say the lingering effects of this bug have made diaper changes a blast (gross gross pun not intended), and that I know my morning sickness can’t be that much to complain about if I was able to dismantle and hose chunks of string cheese and strawberries out of his carseat without joining in on the fun.
I decided to keep The Toddler away from other kids this week in case he was still contagious, so we spent our mornings taking strolls around Hinckley Lake (I’m trying to keep up some semblance of a walking routine with this pregnancy). I don’t think this has been particularly beneficial for my energy level, but it feels good to exercise and I’ve even dropped one or two of the alarmingly quick LBs I put on in the earliest weeks of pregnancy.
We even took a dip in the swimming area one hot morning after our work. Also, we found a tiny toad hopping across our path.
This hit-by-a-truck afternoon fatigue has me leaning on a new crutch in the form of Daniel Tiger. Six months ago, I nearly smacked my father-in-law’s phone out of his hand when he dared try to show The Baby a streaming football game. When we moved to the new house a year ago I insisted our 46″ TV live in the basement so we wouldn’t give into temptation to watch TV in front of our kid. I was, as I often am, probably pretty insufferable about this hard line, but now that he’s venturing into 18-month territory (and I’m flirting with narcolepsy), our post-nap routine involves an episode of DT almost every day. No regrets.
I thought I had left behind the terrible metallic taste in my mouth that plagued the first few weeks of pregnancy, but it returned with a vengeance this week, along with pounding headaches and serious food aversions. I even skipped a few meals because I just couldn’t bear the thought of eating.
The misery peaked on Thursday, and as soon as The Husband got home from work I retreated to bed with my eye mask and a bag of Goldfish crackers. The Husband has stepped up to an impressive and humbling degree over the past month or so, taking over as the primary caregiver from dinnertime on and cleaning up after I fall asleep like a GD magic elf. I know at the end of this all I have to push out another 7.5 lb baby out of me and then breastfeed him or her every two hours for a month, but The Husband is really putting in the early work that is making me think I probably won’t curse his name in labor.
The Toddler has also been really impressed with The Husband this week, and wants very little to do with me if Dad is home. I thought my feelings might be a little hurt but it’s actually really freaking great. Best of all, it seems I’m off the hook for bedtime, which has been my sole purview for months and months and months. The Toddler is now nursing just once a day, and while I’ll probably mourn nursing a little bit when it’s over, it’s feeling really liberating right now that he is nearly weaned.
One last thing I’ve noticed about my second pregnancy so far is that it seems to be going an awful lot faster than the first. I remember reading the “your baby is the size of X” each week the first time around and thinking, “Raspberry? kumquat? Come on kid, grow!” Now we’re almost in lime territory and it’s really hard for me to fathom that we’ve gone from poppyseed to lime in what feels like no time at all.
Then I look at my toddler who is running and climbing and picking up new words almost daily and I almost lose my breath at how vanishingly fast it all goes.
We’re halfway through Week 10 of pregnancy with Baby No. 2. I have no exciting updates to tell you about my symptoms. I’m still exhausted, still nauseous. Maybe more than the weeks before, so it’s my hope I’m at peak yuck and will be feeling better soon. The food aversions I had during my pregnancy with The Toddler hadn’t cropped up much this time around, but lately they have returned. I managed to put a frozen pizza in the oven for the family before retreating to my bed as soon as The Husband came home, and then ended up eating feta cheese on Flipside crackers. In bed. For dinner. Because pizza, and basically anything except Flipside crackers and feta, sounded absolutely repulsive.
Enough about my appetite, though. I went to a baby shower for my college roommate over the weekend, and it got me thinking about what I’d register for if I did it all over again. So instead of directly inundating my roommate (and several other friends) with unsolicited advice about what they should get, I thought I’d make a shortlist of things I’d get if I were a first-timer, and they can choose to read or ignore as they wish.
*My blog is too smalltime to make any money. I’m not getting anything out of recommending these.
**For real, fam & friends: This is a list of suggestions/cool things that have come out just in the last two years to help out other expectant parents. Some of this is stuff I already have, and some is just a better version of something I already have. Don’t take this as an unsubtle request!
Forget your tricky, cumbersome travel cribs of yore. This is super easy to set up, with a cushy mattress, a backpack-style carry case, and a zippered side panel so you don’t have to figure out how to lower a sleeping or nearly sleeping baby all the way to the floor through the top. I used this a few times at a friend’s house for naps and have wanted one ever since. My only wish is that it had a silent zipper. I think we’re going to get one (our hand-me-down Pack ‘N Play tore) along with the bassinet attachments for the new kid.
We registered for glass bottles the first time around, and ended up with plastic. Which is fine, but while Dr. Bronner’s may be touted for being anti-colic or whatever, having FIVE pieces of a bottle to wash and reassemble every time is less. than. ideal. I saw an ad for this on Instagram, which converts your basic 4 oz. or 8 oz. mason jar into a bottle, and WANT! We use mason jars for food storage, drinking glasses, etc. so this is a natural next step in our collection. I like the silicone sleeves to help prevent breakage, too.
Breastfeeding was the mystery of mysteries before The Baby arrived. It was the apex of the unknown that surrounds new parenthood. I didn’t know how to do it, or how it would feel, or what I’d need, so I didn’t get much before The Baby arrived. (And what I did get was gifted to me by friends who knew better.) One thing that would have really come in handy, especially those first weeks when my supply was out of control and we were still working out the latch, was a way to catch any extra. These handy little nursing covers collect that leaked milk so it doesn’t go to waste.
Babywearing was clutch for me from the very beginning. Intimidated at first by the complicated baby wraps, I got a Baby K’Tan for both me and The Husband (two of them, because they’re sized to the wearer.) They were pretty easy to use, but I ended up finding my stretchy wrap to be more comfortable as The Baby got bigger, and the K’Tan ended up being a short-lived, though very helpful, piece of baby gear. If I did it again, I’d get us a set of these, instead. I’m definitely not spending the money when what we have now will suit us fine, but if you’re building your registry and don’t already have a newborn babywearing solution, I think this is pretty sweet!
I might have already included these on a long-ago registry recommendation, but they’re so good. It’s really hard to keep things on baby feet. This is the exception. They snap snugly around the ankle, are super warm and super cute. I bought a size big so they’d last a little longer (and because The Baby has giant feet.)
That’s all I can think of right now, and I gotta shower before The Toddler wakes up from his nap. One more quick recommendation for soon-to-be moms: The Birth Hour podcast. I’ve started listening to it to reacquaint myself with the thought of childbirth, and more than I could have imagined it has taught me some really helpful things about preparing for labor and childbirth. I’m focusing on the low-intervention/unmedicated stories, because that’s what I’m aiming for, but this features everything from scheduled C-Sections and epidurals to some more unusual circumstances. (Obvious caveat: Only listen to what you’re prepared to hear. There are stories about loss and emergencies and such.)
I’m a little turned off by the fact that a lot of the storytellers are also “sponsors” of the episodes (people with Etsy shops for baby headbands, birth centers themselves, etc.) and the host isn’t the most compelling interviewer, but the moms themselves are usually really good storytellers, and so far this is the best I’ve come across in terms of pregnancy/childbirth-related podcasting content. It definitely has value for anyone with a due date in the future, and I’m glad I found it despite these minor complaints.
May your (baby) shower be as relaxing and invigorating as the shower I’m about to take.
Edited to add: Backpack-style diaper bag, because it’s really fun when your shoulder bag swings around and bashes your kid while you’re getting him out of his carseat.
I sort of hate to lament or even acknowledge the existence of “pregnancy brain,” because I don’t want to feed the problematic stereotypes that pregnant women can’t hack it at work, or are a liability in some way. When I worked during my first pregnancy, I pretty consistently knocked it out of the park in my estimation–or at the very least, was just as productive and satisfactory as any other time. And as a stay-at-home mom with a small side gig, my performance is now measured a little differently, but my kid is still fed, dressed and reasonably happy (though admittedly getting more than zero screen time now that I can’t lift my arms and legs after 3 p.m.)
But there’s no denying that it’s harder to apply myself while I’m fighting to stay awake and trying to keep morning sickness at bay. When I succeed at remembering to buckle my toddler into his car seat, it is sometimes at the expense of remembering to refill his diaper bag. Early pregnancy, at least for me, is a graceless slog. For your entertainment, here’s a brief list of some of the self-inflicted indignities I’ve endured over the last few weeks, thanks to pregnancy brain.
Abandoning things I’ve recently paid for: This has happened at least three times in as many weeks. I’ve dropped $50 at Target and had the clerk shout after me as the sliding doors open, gesturing to the bags I didn’t even glance at as I left the line; I paid for dry cleaning at the local grocery store, put it in my cart, parked the cart (which is not allowed outside this particular store) and gone home with my husband’s shirts abandoned–he was pretty amused when he got the phone call; and at that same grocery store, I went through self-checkout, loaded my groceries into the cart, once again parked it near the entrance, cajoled The Toddler into the car, and did a quick lap around the parking lot before I reached for the ginger ale I thought I had bought and realized I needed to reverse course and retrieve my bags from customer service.
Coming completely unprepared: At the tail end of another grocery excursion, The Toddler filled his diaper and wouldn’t get in his car seat with that load (I don’t blame him.) We were already at the car, so I popped the hatch and stripped him down, only to realize I had one remaining wipe and nothing but a swim diaper to put him in. I cleaned him up as well as I could, pleaded with him not to pee on the way home, and felt like a complete dumb-dumb.
Emulating my toddler: Pregnancy brain isn’t just about forgetfulness. This state of mind also includes some really fun emotional meltdowns. Just one example: I really wanted some nasty Chinese takeout (the only kind of Chinese takeout available in a semi-rural Ohio town) the other weekend. The Husband valiantly volunteered to go pick some up. I gave him my standard garbage food order (wonton soup, sweet & sour chicken) and anxiously awaited his return. I ate my soup and a few bites of doughy, greasy chicken with Red No. 40 sauce before I started feeling really queasy and guilty for eating it. I felt rage and tears welling up, directed at that poor asshole who married me, for daring to indulge my disgusting craving. He should have known it wouldn’t end well, I thought to myself, trying really, really hard not to vocalize my feelings. It has given me a bit more sympathy for my wildly irrational 17-month-old who rages at me when he drops and breaks something. We have no control over how we feel or whom we feel it toward, Little Guy. Don’t I know it.
Putting on a free show: The grocery store seems to be the main setting for most of my pregnancy brain antics. Just last week, because laundry has sunken to the bottom of my priorities lately (below toddler wrangling, eating, napping and sleeping), I threw on a button-down shirt I rarely wear and set off for a quick shopping trip. It was about 10 a.m., and I cruised the aisles for about 10 minutes, sipping my half-caf latte and smiling warmly at the many elderly shoppers who had been dropped off by bus from a local retirement community while The Toddler steered our behemoth car-cart (God, I hate those). It took that whole 10 minutes and at least one very uncomfortable-looking old man for me to notice the draft across my ribs. I looked down to see that the two middle buttons of my shirt were wide agape, exposing me from the bridge of my bra to my belly button. You’re welcome, Medina!!!
It doesn’t warrant its own story, but I also found a fork in the freezer the other day. Damn, pregnancy. I’m only nine weeks in. Here’s hoping I recover my wits soon.
Guess what, Internet! Choose your favorite euphemism. I’m once again with child, expecting, knocked up, got a bun in the oven, in the family way, eating for two, etc.
I am pregnant with Baby No. 2!!!
I am beginning this post right around the 7 weeks mark, though I won’t publish it for a few more weeks unless I get an itchy trigger finger. But I thought it might be helpful for any early-pregnancy readers who are Googling their brains out to consume real life accounts of other women’s early pregnancies.
Before I proceed, let me revive the caveat that pregnancy is something that happens to a human body, so if you don’t feel like learning the details of mine, steer clear. I’m not going to post pictures of my bathroom trips or anything like that, but I also won’t mince words much about the joy and agony of the next nine months.
Here’s a quick highlights reel of the weeks that have transpired since that second line turned pink.
Four weeks: A six pack and a two pack
I was on my way to a meeting of the Ladies Craft Beer Society (which it seems I’ll forever allude to and never actually explain), stopping off at a grocery store to pick up some beer. I had felt a little funny for the past week–a weird dizzy spell, some very strange cramping, and light spotting nowhere near when my period was due that quickly ended. My cycles had been irregular leaning toward long (like 35 days) since they returned in December, and I was hesitant to test at just 28 days (as I had recently enjoyed the one-two punch of a chemical pregnancy, boo), but it had been a long week and I wanted to knock back a couple of beers without hesitation.
So I impulsively threw a two-pack of early detection pregnancy tests in my basket next to the beer and then dared the woman at the checkout to say something. I detected a small eyebrow raise but was impressed with her professionalism.
When I got to my friend’s house, I asked to use her bathroom and took the test, fully expecting it to be negative so I could carry on and have a good time. Practically before I could get the cap back on the test, the test line turned a dark, dark pink and I shoved it in my purse with shaking hands.
The walk back to the deck to join my friends was a frenzied and disorganized attempt to develop a strategy. “Just pretend to drink a beer and don’t tell anyone!” I said to myself. But to my horror, I found my eyes welling up with tears I could not suppress. This didn’t go unnoticed. A silence fell across the table.
“I…I just took a pregnancy test… and…it’s positive.” I stammered. The reaction was a lot of, “What?!” and laughing at the absurdity of my impulse-testing, followed by cheers and congrats.
Oops. Definitely should have told The Husband first. I was determined to have an hour or two to myself, though, so I sat down, made a dreamcatcher, caught up with my friends and then drove home to break the good news.
Five weeks: Take it queasy (or, so metal)
I had maybe one day of real nausea when I was pregnant with The Baby. This week, actual, full-blown nausea hit me and settled in. I also had some dizzy spells.
Maybe more intolerable than the nausea, which could be quelled by eating the right amount of buttery toast, was the constant taste of metal in my mouth. Sources vaguely suggest “hormones” cause this bad, bad taste (you don’t say, pregnancy books…) but for a couple of weeks I couldn’t shake the sensation I had been perpetually sucking on tarnished green pennies out of a mall fountain. Interestingly, the one food that seemed to overpower it temporarily was pickles. Perhaps, indeed, this is where the stereotype of pregnant women craving pickles comes from. We’re just trying to exorcise the penny-demons from our mouths.
Six weeks: Painted into a corner
My gift-giving tactic lately has been action-based instead of stuff-based (because it’s really hard to shop with a toddler, and any minor skill I used to possess at buying good gifts has long since been lost to the brain-frying of early motherhood).
So for one recent gift I told my parents I’d help paint their bedroom in addition to installing new floors. They called the painting favor in during the weekend of Week 6, forcing my hand at the probably baby announcement. So I called them over and wrote “Big Brother in Training” on The Toddler’s chalkboard and had him help with the big reveal. The Husband simultaneously texted his family so we’d all be on the same page.
As someone whose first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage and who guarded the secret of her second pregnancy with a fierce and dwelling worry that it wouldn’t stick, it felt very strange, but also pretty liberating, to not care that people knew even before I’d had a confirmatory doctor’s appointment. This pregnancy feels sticky, and even if it ends, that’s what happens sometimes. It will suck, but I’ve decided at this point that I would rather have people know than carry that wound in secret again.
Seven weeks: Eating for four
Oh, boy. The nausea this time around, while not debilitating, has been pretty consistent and demands my near-constant consumption of carbs. And I’m still nursing The Toddler twice a day. This, coupled with the fact that my digestive system has come to a screeching halt, means that I’m constantly walking a tightrope between nausea, bloating and feeling wildly overfull. It reminds me of how I felt in late pregnancy when The Baby occupied my entire abdomen and I could eat neither enough or little enough to ever feel comfortable. So this week it felt like I was eating for four: myself, The nursing Toddler, Baby No. 2 (better nickname coming soon), and the myself who makes bad decisions like buying a donut at the grocery store.
I have already gained about 5 lbs, not at all a good track record, but it’s been raining incessantly and the daily walks I started a few weeks ago have been impossible to maintain. I’m hoping to pick it back up when the rain lets up, and also hoping my nausea wears off soon so I don’t have to eat every waking second.
Eight weeks: Snooze fest
Just like my pregnancy with The Baby, fatigue has hit me hard. This time around, instead of sitting at my desk at work fighting to stay awake, I’m wrestling The Toddler into his high chair for lunch and praying he’ll take a nap so I can empty the dishwasher and then fall into bed for a drooling 40 minutes of rest.
You’d think it would be easier to rest as a SAHM with a napping toddler, but there’s a sick paradox to the whole thing: The mounting laundry and dishes and unplanned dinner give me too much anxiety to sleep, but the bone-penetrating fatigue keeps me from slogging through much of this to ease the anxiety so I can sleep. Pair that with The Toddler’s threats this week to quit napping and I’m basically a whining couch potato by the time The Husband gets home from work. In addition to the unchecked anxiety, I enjoy a heaping mound of self-inflicted guilt that The Husband has worked 11 hours only to come home to deal with The Toddler, sometimes dinner, and always chores while I lay listlessly on the couch until bedtime.
In other symptoms’ news: Nausea remains a daily part of life. I told The Husband I might die of gas yesterday (Happy birthday, dear), and I simultaneously crave and hate the same foods. (Internal monologue: “You know what sounds good? A frosted cookie. Barf, no! That would be the worst!” Repeat.)
Also this week, we made the decision to visit a midwifery practice instead of my beloved (but restricted to the county hospital) OB/GYN. I want another unmedicated birth, and this gives me the opportunity to try water birth (and just as importantly, go home wayyyyyy before the agonizingly long 48 hours I spent in the postpartum ward before). The appointment went as smoothly as it can when you bring a 17-month-old along, and we got to see the ultrasound and hear the heartbeat. So this is real.
Oh, also, I’m not sure what the odds are on this (one in 365, I guess?) but Baby No. 2’s due date is the exact same day as The Toddler’s was–New Year’s Eve. So, guess we’re having another Christmas baby. Oops.
Here we are, week nine.
Today marks the first day of my ninth week. From here on out I’ll try to update weekly or so (no promises). Today we’re leaving for an overnight trip (without The Toddler, for the first time!) to a bed & breakfast for The Husband’s birthday. I’m looking forward to a nice, loooong night of sleep.
Last week, The Husband took off work and stayed home with The Toddler while my dad and I drove 100 miles to pic up two nuclear hives of bees (known in the bee worlds as “nucs”). This was the final of three additions to our little hobby farm, and while I was apprehensive about keeping them alive, I was also excited for honey and felt righteous about pressing ahead, because bees need all the help they can get these days.
Unfortunately, we arrived to find a handwritten note on the door and a few sheriff’s deputies collecting everyone’s names and phone numbers. Apparently the apiary had lost its load of bees, and instead of trying to notify all its (prepaid) customers, some of whom had driven from out of state, they left a short note. The deputies explained that the owner said she’d be issuing refunds in the next few weeks. (They had been called to the apiary by angry customers who arrived before us–it’s not a criminal matter until/unless the owner doesn’t refund us our money.)
I made a bunch of phone calls that afternoon trying to find another source for bees. My local beekeepers association and even the Ohio State Beekeepers Association were incredibly helpful and sympathetic, giving me lots of leads to chase. It’s very late in the season, though, and most other apiaries are sold out. The closest one I found was a 2 1/2 hour drive, which isn’t something I can do with The Toddler, and The Husband can’t take more time off work before the end of the school year. We decided we’ll wait until next year to try bees. It’s frustrating, because we spent close to $1,000 on all our hives and equipment (and no-show bees), but a small part of me is a little relieved we have a year to get the hang of chickens and goats before we add bees to the list. I just hope I get my money back!
In other news, spring has truly sprung around us. The flowers are blooming and the trees are leafing out, and our morning walks, though muddy, are so fun. It has been a wet spring, so we took advantage of our one warm, sunny day this weekend to cut the grass, and I spent a good hour or so pulling poison ivy up from around the garden beds surrounding our house. (I’m covered in poison ivy now, because I did a crap job covering up. Don’t be like me.) We’re continuing the tradition of accidentally neglecting our vegetable garden, but despite this, there are carrots and beets and greens sprouting. The Husband planted a bunch of new fruit trees, which he waters dutifully every evening.
On our daily walks, The Toddler mucks around on his boots, blowing dandelion fuzz and collecting gravel from our driveway and carrying sticks. He’d live outside if we let him. It’s unbelievable how quickly he’s growing, in every way. He is tall and sturdy on his feet. He can run and play ring-around-the-rosy and nod his head when I arrive at his chosen option for snack. He wiggles his butt to music and shriekingly chases the pets and puts all the toilet paper rolls away when we come home from shopping. He knows the words for lots of things but prefers to imitate their sounds than to name them: nay, moo, meow, choo choo!
Yesterday, my friend and her sister came over with her sister’s new baby, who is two months old. It felt like 100 years ago that my kid was that small. The Toddler hasn’t been around a baby that young, and I was curious to see how he reacted. I wasn’t disappointed — he was over the moon. He kept bringing up toys and trying to hand them to the baby. He patted his knee, rubbed his belly, held his hand. He wanted to sit right next to him, and even got his baby doll out to hold in imitation of the baby’s mom.
It almost killed me, it was so cute.
Good thing The Toddler is 95% a joy during the day, because we have concluded he is going through a precocious “18 month” sleep regression (he’s 16.5 months, but close enough), as he literally will. not. go. to. sleep. unless someone is in the room with him, and has been waking 2-5 times a night. We had about four blissful sleeps through the night before this struck. Please, please come back.
So that’s been the past couple of weeks. Oh, to update you from the last post– the bunny died the following morning, to my mild dismay but not to my surprise. Also that evening, our dishwasher died. I’m waiting on delivery as I write for the new one, so most of my time the past 1.5 weeks has been spent washing dishes by hand–that is, when I’m not helping The Toddler down from a dining room chair or picking up the dry cat food he has scooped and scattered across the pantry.
The Husband built the goats a new, wooden day shelter that they have not yet attempted to scale, but which, I daresay, can handle the weight of a goat or two. Good man.
Let’s just get into it. It’s spring here on the “farm,” and despite all very filtered (in more ways than one) #farmlife Instagram posts, things can get a little nuts and aren’t always beautiful.
Today was the morning after The Toddler decided he prefers to sleep if I’m lying on the floor next to his crib touching him. And today was also Day 3 of my desperate attempt to back myself off the way-too-much coffee habit I’ve found myself underneath again. So I was already at a disadvantage when naptime finally hit. I’d been kinda disengaged from everything all morning–going through the motions, slowly.
By 7 a.m., I had gotten the goats out with The Toddler on my back (and he is getting heavy!), and I kept him up there to feed and water the chicks and throw in a load of laundry. We puttered around the house all morning, me halfheartedly vacuuming and making my bed to try to feel somewhat productive because I just didn’t have the energy to invent or execute an errand to run. I played with The Toddler here and there, but definitely wasn’t particularly fun today. I also barely acknowledged my poor dog or the cats.
It was one of those “I can’t even” mornings. I thought about climbing into bed for a quick snooze once The Toddler went down. I loaded up my laptop and answered a few work emails before I heard the cats meowing at the back door to be let in.
The cats rushed past my legs, and there in front of the door was a little black creature. At first I thought it was a dead mole — not uncommon. But it looked weird: hairless, not mole-shaped, and definitely breathing. I sighed, shut the door and sent my husband a message. He suggested I mercy kill whatever it was, and as sorry as I felt for myself for having to squash a half-alive rodent, I agreed. So I grabbed an empty bread bag and a handful of tissues and braced myself to buck up and do a mercy kill.
When I opened the door again, though, I realized what I was seeing: A newborn baby rabbit.
Shit. I’m going to have to mercy kill a BABY, I thought, almost indulging in a little cry, as I lifted it with a tissued hand.
But then it rolled over, showing off a fat pink belly with just a couple little scratches, and nuzzled my hand. My maternal skinlessness was activated.
Long story short, it’s in a shoebox with a heating pad and the Internet research I’ve done up to this point has revealed the following information:
It is illegal to try to rehabilitate injured wild animals in Ohio without a permit. (Sounds insane, but makes sense, I guess — wouldn’t want crazy animal lovers “rescuing” perfectly healthy babies/injured coyotes or whatever as an excuse to keep them as pets.)
Baby rabbits are really, really, really hard to keep alive. One major reason is because they won’t get the right gut bacteria to survive without their mother’s milk (wahhhhh #breastfeeding), and one way to remedy this is to feed it a little rabbit poop from a healthy rabbit. I don’t exactly have the resources to fulfill this need.
My cat knows exactly where the rabbit is. He also knows where its nest was, though he won’t tell me. I know this because he also tore apart one of the baby’s siblings all over my sidewalk, driving home the point that nature is a cold, cold son of a gun.
I left a message with a permitted rehab person and hope that either he calls me back and I can hand off the little bun to someone who knows what they’re doing, or that it will die at least peacefully and warm without too much suffering. (I am doing my best to feed it with kitten formula and wipe its tiny butt to get it to poop. I’m not going to starve it while I wait for a callback or fate.)
The Husband eventually made it home and I told him all about the bunny, and its dead sibling, and the subsequent live snake the cat left at the door today (sigh), and how just minutes before he had gotten home, our poor neglected dog ran away to my parents’ house while I walked her and gave the goats a hay refill. I figured that was enough craziness for the day.
So I was cutting the tip off a kitten bottle nipple with a razor blade while The Husband got The Toddler’s pajamas on, preparing to feed the bunny, when he yelled, “Reanna, you have to go outside right now! Cudi is on the roof of the hut!”
The “hut” is a temporary rain shelter, tarp over wire. We bought it when there was still snow on the ground last month and we needed something quick, but it’s a dog kennel. It is not meant to hold a goat’s weight (and honestly was pretty tall? Like, not something I expected them to be able to scale???)
I ran out the front door in my socks, razor blade still in hand because I was afraid of dropping it in the house. I set the blade on the porch and pulled my socks off as I ran to the goat pen, shouting, “Kid Cudi, no!!” as sternly as I could. He was unmoved, if seemingly a little annoyed that he was starting to sink.
It quickly became clear I was going to have to wade into the wet straw, mud and goat shit and get him down. Another opportunity to buck up and deal with #farmlife, I thought with mixed dismay and amusement, as I grabbed the fence to unlatch it…
…forgetting I was barefoot, standing in wet mud, grabbing a powered electric fence.
The Husband’s squeals of laughter weren’t cruel, but they were distracting.
I shook off my near electrocution and pressed in, trying to avoid obvious piles of goat pellets as I made my way to the goat on the roof. He sunk one side of the roof before hopping off. I sighed with relief and turned to leave. Heard from the window as I approached the fence, “He’s doing it again!”
Back through the goat shit, quick as I could, in time to watch him sink the whole roof. He managed to get out without help or injury, but I had to circle the hut and pull off the tarp because he obviously wanted to get right back up.
So that’s how I found myself nursing The Toddler before bed with probably a little goat shit on my feet.