Winter Interlude

If I hadn’t been up every few hours last night, the scene this morning would have shocked me.

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April in Northeast Ohio.

For some reason, everyone in the house was hungry all night long — the cats woke me up three times (the first time for food, the second time to get locked in the basement for waking me up again, and the third time loudly scratching at the basement door and me letting them up so they wouldn’t wake up The Toddler, whose room is next to the basement stairs. Then, The Toddler woke up at 4:30 a.m. deciding he was starving and desperately wanted to nurse. My refusal sent him into a rage, and I had to send The Husband in to comfort him until the leisurely hour of 5:06 when I decided it could be “morning” and he could nurse.

(My sleep training logic is that if he wants to nurse, he has to get up for the day so as not to backslide into night nursing. 5:06 is disgustingly early, but he went to bed at 6:30 last night, so unfortunately I see 5 a.m. almost every morning. That’s our next hurdle to overcome, once sleeping through the night becomes more routine. So far we’ve only achieved it twice since the night weaning week, but usually wake-ups are quick and easily squelched without nursing.)

I digress. My point is it snowed like crazy last night.

While The Husband ate breakfast, I ran out to the barn with food for the goats. They’ll be stuck inside today, as the portable electric fence we use is rendered useless under heavy snow.

By the way, we renamed them finally! They came with the names Sehnsucht and Saudade (twin brothers) and Bazyll. While foreign names for the feeling of profound and melancholic longing are certainly poetic, we tend toward a sillier flavor of pet names in our family. So now Bazyll is Grover (after our favorite blue monster), Sehnsucht is Regular sized Rudy (or just Rudy), now our second pet named after a Bob’s Burgers character, and finally, the most inspired pet name I have ever or will ever have… the leader of our herd, formerly known as Saudade, is now Kid Cudi.

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Thick as thieves: (L to R) Kid Cudi, Regular Sized Rudy and Grover

Because he’s a kid. And he chews cud.  Also because he loves weed(s). Please don’t make me explain it to you.

The chicks are getting bigger and featherier and braver at an improbable rate. We had to upgrade them to one of these last week because they seemed crowded in the brooder I constructed, and moved them into the guest bedroom so we could put the cats in the basement at night as needed without worrying for the chicks’ safety.

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Lincoln’s feathers are coming in nicely!

So if you’re planning on spending the night at my house any time over the next month or so… you’re going to have roommates.

Well, I thought I had a cogent point to this post when I started it, but there just isn’t enough coffee in the world this morning to bring me to a neat conclusion. It’s still blustering outside like it’s February and the toddler is sitting next to me covered in yogurt and trying to get me to name all the parts of the house he can see (Door! Floor! Ceiling! Clock!) so I had better sign off here.

Winter Interlude

Surfacing

Winter-window
The Toddler and I were both clawing at the walls last week.

There’s something about winter that presses down on me every year and makes me feel incapable. And not just incapable of achieving goals but of having original thoughts. I don’t even really hate winter, but after noticing a pattern the last 3-4 years, I have to acknowledge that it really gets to me.

Which is why I’m super relishing the unseasonably warm weekend we just had and the week that is ahead, even if it probably points to the catastrophic, irreversible climate change we’re pretending as a country is not happening. (But that’s a train of thought for another post. I can’t think and talk about politics all the time. I just said winter makes me depressed as hell.)

The reason I’ve mustered the strength to think about getting back to blogging, beyond the nice weather and sunshine we’ve had lately, is that our household has finally emerged, still sniffling a little, from two weeks of snotty, coughing, sleepless hell. The Toddler (new nickname. Catchy, right?) caught it first, either from licking every toy at the library or from a birthday party we attended. He started excreting more mucus than seemed possible, quit eating much in the way of solid foods, and coughed his way pitifully through the night.

Immediately, the amazing progress he had made learning to fall and stay asleep by himself, vanished like it had never existed.

Then The Husband caught it, so night duty became my exclusive purview for a few nights.  At least I’m not sick, I thought, trying to console myself when The Toddler called out for me the fifth time in as many hours.

A few days later, of course, that was no longer the case. In the middle of all this, bless his little heart, The Toddler cut THREE TEETH — two molars and a canine. So even when he was starting to recover from his cold, he woke screaming from tooth pain. And even when The Husband wanted to help with night wakings, he couldn’t. Only MOM. (Technically, only MOM’S BOOBS.) I absolutely spent some of those night wakings crying while he nursed, and most of the others gritting my teeth and trying not to be a resentful asshole to either The Toddler or The Husband, neither of whom really deserved any blame for this miserable situation.

I was sleeping like I had been when he was a newborn. Even the mess was similar, though instead of pooping hourly he was vomiting hot mucus all over me whenever he nursed at night. The days felt endlessly long because I was too tired to do much and we were quarantined from going anywhere, because cursed be the parent who brings this cold to another family.

He’s had a cold before, and I remember being this spent before. It breaks you down so that you don’t even realize how broken you are. It feels hopeless and eternal.

But then the night before last, he only woke up twice. He even puked the second time, soaking me down to my underpants in breastmilk and snot. But you guys: He slept in until 7:45. And then he napped for another solid 2.5 hour stretch yesterday.

Last night was even better. It’s 6:45 a.m. and I’m alone. He’s not awake yet. He’s truly feeling better and starting to catch up on his deep, deep sleep deficit. I’m glad for him, because of course it breaks my heart to see him in pain, but if I’m being honest, I’m also super excited for me. I feel like I’m surfacing from two weeks of barely treading water.

It feels so good to feel good again.

(If any of this sounds like nonsense, I remind you that I’m super rusty in the blogging game.) Also, in other news, I made my first Etsy sale on my Granny’s stuff, we’re starting to play  “Are we really doing this” chicken regarding actually getting goats this spring and I think it’s happening for real, and having a sick toddler made me wonder sincerely how anyone keeps two or more children alive at any given point.)

Surfacing

Greetings from an old mom

Hey, Internet.

Last I left you, I was feeling overwhelmed with my life and despondent about the turn of events in American politics. I decided to take a breather from blogging because it felt like one more thing I was failing at, and that’s a pretty bummer outlook on something that was supposed to be a fun hobby.

I found some time today, so I thought I’d do a quick catch-up post. No promises that this will be followed up with any consistency. In no particular order, here’s what’s up.

I don’t think I can call myself a new mom anymore.

The Baby turned one year old on Christmas Day. We threw him a hell of a party earlier in the month, complete with a fire code-violating guest list (sorry, all our guests), a cameo from our friendly neighborhood Santa Claus, some damn good gingerbread cupcakes if I do say so myself, and a near nervous breakdown from yours truly. It went great, we had a blast, but I have a longstanding inability to acknowledge my own social anxiety or remember that I don’t really like hosting things until I’m elbows deep in gingerbread cupcake batter with dustbunnies and laundry strewn about the house and a squalling toddler with a pretty sizeable cold.

In addition to ramming through that one year milestone, The Baby has mastered walking, running, walking backwards, tripping, climbing things and getting into everything. Lately I’ve been looking back at those days in the 4-6 month stretch that seemed so impossible to get through with longing… It used to be I could put The Baby down and he’d be exactly where I left him. Now, I put  him down and find him 37 seconds later having emptied a box of tissues, eaten and vomited a few up, and emptying the contents of my dresser onto the dog’s bed.

We also are officially past the cosleeping era, which is wonderful and also a little bit sad. The Baby still wakes up once a night to nurse, which I’m generally OK with. The times that a cold or teething have messed up his sleep have been rough, because he won’t cosleep anymore. The couple of times I’ve tried to bring him back to my bed so I can get some sleep, he has promptly stood up and proceeded to stomp around threateningly toward the edge of the bed until I con The Husband to taking over the go-back-to-sleep routine.

I’m still just as tired as I ever was, but for different reasons.

My house is a prison.

Not really, of course, but it’s winter in Northeast Ohio and today’s wind chill upon waking was somewhere around -12. When you’re a toddler on the move, this is unacceptable. I’ve had to really, really commit to getting out of the house for a good, long errand every morning to keep both of us from going totally nuts. This has taken more and more creativity because I will bankrupt us switching back and forth between Target and the grocery store.

I bought a punch card for the local rec center and have gone a few days since mid-December. I drop The Baby off at the little daycare room there and actively ignores/avoids me as soon as his feet hit the floor, preferring to ambush any other children there to steal their toys and try to bump heads with them (which is what he thinks hugging is).

I skipped this week because TB has a cold (again) and I’m anticipating insane post-New Year’s crowds, but next week that will be back in the rotation because it really wears us both out nicely. (God, it feels good to exercise again. I’m slow as hell, but that indoor track is like heaven.)

I also ventured into an off-brand Chuck E. Cheese-like indoor playground that’s right around the corner from my house. I’ve avoided it thus far because it looks sketchy AF. We went yesterday, and I can confirm it is pretty sketchy (I saw more duct tape than I’d like to see, and the netting under all the climby-tube things had a LOT of debris), but The Baby loved it. And the whole time we were there nobody emptied out all the drawers in the kitchen. Four dollars well spent.

Today, we managed to make it out to The Rainforest at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. This was The Baby’s second visit, though he was just about 3 months old the last time, so he was far more interested in the animals than the last time. That doesn’t mean a whole lot, as we spent 10 minutes climbing and descending a small set of stairs and entirely ignoring the underwater exhibit they led to, but again: nobody trashed anything at my house while we were there. Score.

I’ve come up for air with work (for now).

The end of the year remained fairly busy for freelancing, so it felt really good to not have to factor blog posts into my weekly to-do lists. I’m in a little bit of a lull with that, but The Husband and I recently redid our miles-long to-do list around the house. I reviewed my billing for 2016, and while I wasn’t trying to make big bucks, I was a little surprised to see how much work I actually managed to do.

Now that I’m out of the newborn phase of things and it’s clear how much The Baby wants to get out of the house and around other kids, I’m looking forward to trying part-time child care again (abandoned in October because of constant colds, and yes, this is a possibility again, but maybe his immune system is a little stronger by now?). Anyway, I think it’s time to start sending him off into the world a little more so I can spend more time writing (for money), designing (for money), and putting things back in drawers in peace.

It’s time to admit failure.

I was pretty gung-ho about getting more civically/politically active in the wake of the presidential election. I even mapped out what seemed to be a manageable plan for educating myself and taking appropriate action. Here’s the thing, Internet. I’m just not there yet. I still aspire to do better, to become more informed and more active, but I just don’t have it in me right now. I know that’s a lazy excuse and it makes me feel really terrible to say it, especially after I publicly declared my intentions, but I overestimated what I’m psychically, mentally and physically capable of doing right now. I’m still trying to take steps where I can, donating, signing petitions, contacting elected officials, and maybe I’ll pick it back up later on, but right now I’m still just deflated and feeling ineffectual. Sorry.

Okay, that’s about it for now. Maybe I’ll see you again soon! In the meantime, stay warm, stay active, and stay out of my kitchen drawers!!!

Greetings from an old mom