Archive for March, 2010

Parenthood in the time of parental ailment

March 13, 2010

A little over a week ago, we did a stupid thing.  There was that container of left overs you normally throw away, but instead my husband and I had it for dinner.  Around 2 AM he was firmly planted in front of the toilet, a position he maintained until about 10 AM.  I thought I was fine, only tired from having half slept to the sound of vomit and snoring all evening, so I graciously and without prompting said that I’d take the day off and watch the small one/nurse my husband back to health.

Around 10 AM it hit me.  Not nearly as bad, I never actually vomited, but the nausea and stomach pain and let’s just leave it at other stomach issues left me dizzy and wholly unequipped to chase around a 16 month old.  First, I tried bringing the small one to bed, flanked by his writhing parents, but he proceeded to crawl between us alternately bopping us on the nose and trying to escape.  It wasn’t even 11 AM yet and we were getting worse.

We called in reinforcements, and by reinforcements I mean every human being we know who could have any chance of not being at work on a Wednesday.  This is where I mention two things.  1.  Life with kids would be a heck of a lot easier with family in town.  If my parents lived here, we would have had the problem solved in 2 minutes.  2. Friends are almost as good if not better than family.  A dear friend happened to be home as her pre-schooler wasn’t feeling school that day, so she picked up the small one for a couple of hours to let us sleep.  Life altering kindness.  Then Z, who regularly watches the small one got off work around 4 and came over to take the night shift until it was bed time for the babe.  A neighbor also stopped by, saw our said state and rescued us with some coke – the only food or fluid either of us had consumed since the offending meal the night before.  All told, my husband was ill or in pain for 24 hours and me for 12.

Observations (ie why am I telling this story):

I call my father a day or two later and asked when my  mom was retiring again (the thing that’s keeping them in NJ), and he laughed and told me about a time when I, their oldest, was little and my mom got the stomach flu, dad stayed home to take care of me.  In the middle of giving me a bath, it hit him and he proceeded to throw up in the toilet while attempted to play with me/bath me/keep me from drowning.  I guess parenting while ill is just part of the obstacle course.  At least I’m fortunate that there are two of us and usually the healthy one can pinch hit.

Even families with a stay at home (or work from home) partner need a back up plan. We got lucky this time.

And, of course, reheat completely or throw out the left overs next time.  The quote of the day was care of the husband, “I’m sorry I murdered us.”

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Extra Poundage

March 12, 2010

At 3 months postpartum, I was something like 5 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight.  By 6 months, I was at my pre-pregnancy weight, albeit way out of whack on the fat to muscle ratio (put it this way, I was willing to be seen in a one piece bathing suits but no bikinis saw the light of day last summer).  All of which was 100% attributable to breastfeeding.  And how do I know this?  Because once I stopped breastfeeding in October, I put on another 5 pounds.  Now, I actually weigh more than I did a mere three months after giving birth, which is clearly a failure on my part.  Sure, it didn’t help to wean before peak eating season (Thanksgiving through New Years), but that’s no excuse.  I now have a gut.  One I can grab with two hands and there’s blubber to spare.

Unacceptable.

In my pre-baby life, well, this would have never happened in my pre-baby life but if it did, I’d just Bikram yoga my way back to a size 2 in a month and a half (if not sooner).  Now?  Well, now that I’m a little more frugal, both in terms of money and time (who has 90 minutes to spare with a 16 month old?), I’m force to go with less effective means.  The husband and I joined a gym.  Not the sort of gym I used to belong to, with top of the line equipment, tons of classes, a swimming pool, a sauna and tvs on every cardio machine.  Nope.  One of those cheapie “we’re open 24 hours because we don’t actually pay any staff” gyms, where you have only your only motivation and the sensation that it’s better than a DVD workout going for you.

And while I absolutely admit that this is largely an issue of vanity, I spend every morning searching for the three pairs of pants I can actually button.  At some point my co-workers are going to assume I had a closet fire, and it feels like a sin to waste all the fabulous pants/dresses/skirts I bought pre-conception.

This is my punishment for assuming the overweight simply lack willpower.  Turns out they are probably just employed and trying to juggle the work/life unbalance in a way that leaves no time for running no where on an elliptical machine for 45 minutes.

Meet Giraffee

March 11, 2010

Some folks call it a “love-y” but we just call him Giraffee (pronounced je-raff-EE).  He’s a polyester/chenille mini blanket with a small and rather adorable head of a giraffe on one corner, and the fabric is all giraffe print.    We were given two of this exact toy at our showers and, after having witnessed my husband’s entire family in a state of panic whenever the youngest niece misplaced Ducky, we decided that if we had to have a transitional object, it might as well be the one that already has an understudy.

The small one naps and sleeps with the giraffe every day.  When we put him in his crib, he clutches the toy in one hand, holding it up against his check, and sucks his thumb with the other.  It’s pretty cute, actually.  And we’ve tried to be disciplined about it, not with the small one so much as with ourselves – making sure not to bring Giraffee out of the house (unless we’re going for an overnight trip), generally keeping him upstairs so he doesn’t become Linus’s blanket, not using his powers of comfort for good or evil (no “but Giraffe loves his peas” so far).  But none the less, we find ourselves calling to each other before naptime or bedtime “have you seen Giraffee?” when the child doesn’t even have a name for the toy yet.

Does that make it our transitional object and not our son’s?

And whoooosh, there it goes…

March 10, 2010

Time, that is.

The small one is now 16 months old, and he’s not all that small anymore either.  He runs, he says an assortment of one syllable words (plus cracker, which comes out more like krah-KAH!), he climbs, he throws tantrums when he doesn’t get what he wants, he giggles when he does… all of which is to say we are in the throes of late infancy-early toddlerhood.

And it may break us.

The work from home dad is finding that he’s severely lacking in the work department these days, what with the small one’s insistence on pounding the computer keyboard and uncanny ability to open drawers we didn’t realize a) he could open or b) contained medicine/knives/sharpies/makeup/you name the implement of destruction.  And so we’re trying some new things, not all of which we’re proud of.

1. TV

Yup.  We broke down.  It started innocently enough, with a gift of Your Baby Can Read videos this Christmas.  And while I’m all “I don’t believe in baby training blah blah blah” we popped in a video one particularly difficult morning and the child was memorized.  And now, I’m embarrassed to report, most mornings, after he eats breakfast, as I’m leaving for work and my husband is attempting to sneak in some email time, the small one is parked in front of whatever’s on PBS kids.  I feel so dirty.

2. Help

We knew it was time to call in for reinforcements when I realized that I was in more trouble for making it home from work a minute after 5:30 than I ever was for breaking curfew as a teenager.  At first we talked big – looking for part time care 5 days a week to tide us over until preschool this fall (PRESCHOOL – I feel like I need to pump in some Handle and gaze to the heavens when I say that word we are just so excited… I kept joking with friends that I should have put on our application “we need to get in because our marriage depends on it, and you don’t want to cause this little boy’s mommy and daddy to get divorced, do you?”)  But nothing seemed like a good fit, so we cobbled together some help from a friend (Z) on Mondays and Fridays and so far it seems to be making a world of difference.  Well, that or the fact that the argument that led to our looking for help left us both being a little bit nicer to each other these days, but I still give the credit to Z.

3. The Discovery Museum

Hitting late infancy during the worst winter in my 10 years in Virginia made this one a particularly life-saving find.  Dad and the small one probably head to the Discovery Museum 3+ times a week (a bit less this week as the snow has finally melted from the back yard).  They have new toys he can pick up and move to some place they don’t belong, tons of bigger kids he can follow around and the best part is that he’s allowed, heck supposed to touch everything.  I didn’t know how amazing it could be to have a full hour where I didn’t need to say “Don’t touch that” even once.  Well, minus when the small one kept trying to take the checker pieces from the board where two older kids were engaged in a game.  But that’s still a record these days.

I don’t mean to complain.  The small one is a hilarious, adorable, sweet and playful little boy.  I just didn’t expect this stage to be harder than having a newborn (of course, the small one was a pretty easy newborn).  I guess I thought I had more time before he was so, well, toddler-esque.

(and people keep telling me 3 is the worst – I’m starting to get scared!)