Sunday, December 17, 2006

Life in the trenches

Well, Internet, it's been a weekend of parenting, which pretty much means a weekend of moments of joy interspersed among periods of routine and punctuated by exclamations of frustration. I'm trying to think of a clever or touching or funny story to tell tonight, but I'm just really tired from the weekend of parenting and I'm all outta clever. Instead, to go with tonight's Dubonnet Manhattan, random highlights from the parenting trenches.

1. Miss Baby had her 6 month checkup and needles on Friday. She's long and lean and healthy and developing on track, but has got some eczema and so I feel like a bad mother (I know this isn't my fault. You know how Mommy-guilt works). She hollered for her needles but cheered right up afterwards, and then when we came home she and Pynchon had a two hour nap. To put this into perspective, on Thursday, it took her four naps to clock a total of two hours sleeping time. We both wondered if she could get needles every day.

2. Miss Baby has shifted her wakeup time in the morning from 7:20-7:45 to 6:00-6:20. This is making a big difference in the quality of my thinking, my capacity to do my work, and my ability to stay up in the evenings for grownup time with Pynchon. It also means that Pynchon and I alternate being with her and napping in the wee-early-morning, so hardly see each other before noon. I realize this is a regular, perfectly-normal baby wakeup time. But the adjustment is haaaaaarrrrrd over here.

3. She doesn't like rice cereal (two brands) or oat cereal. At least I think she doesn't. I can only get one or two part-spoonfuls in her mouth before she's arching, complaining, turning red, and protesting. I have visions of fussy eaters haunting my nightmares. Please tell me I'm overreacting. (It could be the sleep deprivation.)

4. Miss Baby giggles now when you tickle her. It's simply too adorable.

5. Also adorable is dribbling water over her in the tub, and watching her concentrate and try to grab the stream with her little outstretched hand. She's absolutely fascinated by the stream, and can't figure out why she can't grab it. But she also seems to like the way it feels. Warms my heart.

6. She babbles a lot more, throaty, spitty 'grrrs' and 'huwahs' and 'bzzzgrts' and 'ahhhhs'. This slays me, and I lavish her with praise and happily blow raspberries back at her.

7. However, she has also discovered how to make a high-pitched, high-volume whiny noise like a teakettle at full boil, and can make it for minutes and minutes on end. As it turns out, this sound grates on my very soul and turns all my mommy-love to vinegar. Doesn't really bother Pynchon, but it's just killing me. She's not whining from any displeasure, usually: she's just rocking the new noise. God, I hope this phase passes soon. I hate being so annoyed and frustrated. I want more #6!

8. I'm so frazzled from #7 and #2, that I'm making stupid mistakes all over the place. This morning, I packed up all my gear to go to the office to make up for time spent visiting and going to the doctor last week. Then I left the pump in the vestibule. And then the cellphone in the car in the far-distant parking lot. Also, getting ready to go was such a slow process that I've not had a shower, put any makeup on, and threw a sweater over the shirt I wore to bed, and tied my hair back with elastics I grabbed off the Saturday Globe. I look and feel like a hobo. I made it to the office with one breast pad, and one kleenex stuffed in my bra. Nice.

9. For the second night in a row, Miss Baby and I have had a bedtime battle involving screaming (her) and hiding in the basement (me). I really don't like that. It's such a wrenching end to the day. I'm ashamed to admit it, but here goes: at bedtimes, I'm actually afraid of my baby. Afraid of the screaming. Afraid she'll get up at night. Afraid she won't go back to sleep. Afraid I'm not doing the right things to help her sleep, doing too much of too little.

10. Saturday, Pynchon and I decided to abandon the housework and the chores and the renos and such and just enjoy the nice weather as a family. So we went for a nice 'family walk'. And it was the right thing to do.

I don't mean to be a Whiny McWhinington, but sometimes, it's not all roses, as you are all certainly aware. I know that my recent posts have all been chipper and fun and such--I don't want you to get the wrong idea that I have my shit together 24/7. I totally do not. And this weekend, I'm really feeling it.

Now, I think I'm going to eat my microwaved mac-and-cheese dinner, make my Dubonnet Manhattan, and retire to my bed with the latest Harper's and the dregs of my drink. Drink story, photos, and recipe tomorrow, when I will hopefully once more have my shit together.

Mama, no one believes that I am a Dinkus McFinkus. I'm too cute.


ewe are here said...

Oh God, she's so darn cute!

And the reality of such cuteness is it makes us forgive them for absolutely everything you described.

Babies can be tough tough tough. Hang in there.

Oh, and re No. 3, MF wasn't keen on rice cereal either at the stage. When combined with thoroughly mashed banana, though, yum! Or cooked and smooshed plums, peaches, apples... We used to mix that kind of stuff into his baby cereal. You can freeze it in ice cube trays for small portions.

bubandpie said...

Oh, I hear you on this post! My kids did the 30-minute nap thing for what seemed like forever - but then both of them eventually graduated down to the single, 2-3-hour nap, which is just so much better.

The 6 am wake-up is so hard. Even when I go to bed early, I still find it so hard to cope when I'm up that early (that's what comes of being a spoiled academic, right? - everyone else has been getting up at 6 for their whole working life). And it's hard to go to bed early, because so much of LIFE is reserved for that brief evening window.

As for the cereal - I'd suggest trying a fruit or veggie instead of cereal if she doesn't seem to like it. Bub loved cereal - ate it every morning until he was two - and now his diet consists of nothing but cereals and dairy. The Pie, on the other hand, has never liked cereal much, but she eats virtually everything else.

Her Bad Mother said...

Too cute, indeed. MUCH TOO CUTE. How do you bear it?

(We don't do naps anymore, unless they are brought about by a particularly long stroller ride, or a car ride, and we are only 13 MONTHS OLD. Hellacious, I tell you.)

Beck said...

I started a couple of my babies (good grief, how many do I have?) off on fruit with no ill effects.
I'm so with you on the bedtime fear, which is why daddy handles bedtime at our place.

cinnamon gurl said...

Sleep... such an issue for us too.

Hope you enjoyed your dinner and drink.

Alpha Dogma said...

Dr. Know never napped.
I can recall one blissful week where he napped for an hour every afternoon. Turned out to be an upper respitory tract infection. I felt sooooo guilty.
But at least, he was consistent. I don't deal well with change, that way.

Aviva said...

I am convinced that if children weren't so adorable they would not survive to be teenagers - who, by the way, are not adorable but do have other redeaming qualities.
Well Mimi, it looks like just another day in parenting paradise to me. The wonderful moments together are what get us all through the hair pulling, teeth grinding hours. As for "doing too much of too little," that is why our babies love us. They have no idea we are sometimes dazed and confused in our daily tasks - they simply know we are there for them when they need us!
Come visit me at and share the good, the bad and the ugly of parenting with lots more moms - we're all in this together! Besides, Devra and I are on a mission to obsolve guilt one mommy at a time... and today is your day!!