Archive for October, 2008

split down the middle.

my friend james chatted me a few minutes ago and asked, how are you? and i said, honestly, that i feel like two people, split down the middle.

my little girl is sick. not a moment after i published my last post the other day, h let me know that jude had a fever pushing 103 degrees and she was taking her to the pediatrician. i promptly left the office and joined my girls. jude was diagnosed with what we’d already figured: another ear infection, as well as a double eye infection. she’s now on as gentle an antibiotic as they could offer, as well as eye drops and herbal ear drops (which smell disturbingly like garlic). tylenol has kept her fever in check, and two days later, she is on the mend.

i stayed home from work to be with my baby yesterday. despite the pain of her ear infection, she has maintained her sweet, squealy disposition. she’s simply more clingy and a tad more whiny. the hardest part of her illness–for us, anyway–is the fact that she can’t/won’t sleep unless she is attached to a person; especially a person like me with the milk. this has made for rough nights, wherein h sleeps in the other room with j snuggled up next to her, and gets up every 2 hours to soothe a crying baby. she’s taken this on by herself because i need enough sleep to be safely able to drive myself to work and function.

so. today, i returned to work, and as i prepared to leave this morning, i found myself achingly aware of this dual identity i’m taking on. i had to pry my emotional fingers from my baby as i left the house. my maternal instinct is strong and painful, and my body told me over and over to stay with my sick child. in order to keep myself sane, i did what i do every single work day anymore: i switched off my inner mommy. by the time i arrived at work, i had reverted back to my pre-motherhood self: ready to work, to focus, to find ways to be promoted and earn more money.

on most days, this identity shift happens seamlessly. i keep myself from dwelling on my daughter, and remain ridiculously present tense. but today, i am painfully aware of it, and am grappling to find some sort of middle ground: a place where i can be both mother and worker simultaneously. right now, emotional survival dictates an either/or mentality.

last week, i enjoyed a four day weekend to celebrate my birthday. big jude flew in from nashville, and friends gathered in our home for a great party. my newly-married sister, e, visited with her husband (and baby bump), and surprise of all surprises, my sister p showed up at my door with them. (she’d surprised e as well; she’d come to be her witness at their justice of the peace wedding.) i was so excited to celebrate in such a lovely, meaningful way, and was grateful for four uninterrupted days with little j. there would be very few bottles, lots of nursing, and days of simply being with my daughter.

i didn’t anticipate how hard it would be for me to transition from worker to mama. jude and i lounged together on idyllic mornings, and though she was in my arms and nursing, i felt disconnected from her. i kept reminding myself to be present with my little girl, to drink her in, and every time i’d get somewhere near that place of mindfulness, my body would shut down, go numb, and my mind would feel distracted.

this disconnect continued during my otherwise wonderful birthday party. granted, this was the first big get together thrown in my honor that i’ve experienced as a mother. my brain hurt by the end of it; trying to be present both as birthday girl and mama was exhausting. i felt like i couldn’t juggle it all; i either wanted to sit in a corner with my baby and watch the action without interruption, or i wanted to be “off duty” and yukking it up with my friends. there is a balance to be found in order to do both, and so i experienced neither. i simply felt pulled and dizzy.

so now my little girl is sick, and i am not with her. i am so very happy that h is taking care of her, and i know that jude feels secure and comforted. but i am sitting here at work, feeling very lost. if there were a thesis to this ramble, it’s just that: i’m feeling very lost.

and i think i’ll end this post here, instead of continuing to ramble, when i’m not sure where i’m going with all of this.

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way too busy.

hello there, friends.  so yeah, i’m a busy girl who just turned 30 this weekend.  there was a party, surprise guests, presents!, and a drooling baby who loved all the bustle.  unfortunately, now i’m back to work and without the time to properly get some thoughts down on the proverbial paper.  so, i once again leave you with an adorable photo of the two judes, because they are adorable.

two judes, both a variation of ginger-haired.

…hopefully, i will soon find more than a three minute increment of time to spend here…

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scenes of a flying baby from the tour de fat festival on saturday.

flying baby.

blissful flying baby.

on a perfect day.

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four months.

dear jude,

today you are four months old. we told you this information last night as you were about to go to sleep. we said, tonight you need to sleep really hard, because tomorrow, you will be a whole month older. just like next week, when mama bananie will wake up to a whole new decade.

this morning, you woke up with a new array of coos and smiles, and you held your head a little higher with your four-month-oldness. we three lounged all morning in the fambly bed, and you nursed long and happily. i promised that i would not be leaving you today, and you grabbed my pinky and made me promise.

we celebrated this big day by attending the tour de fat at fiesta garden on town lake. your uncle macon’s band, paper bird was playing, and when you weren’t napping, you were totally into the music. i must say, you’ve got a taste for great bands.

the noise and new people were a bit much for you at times today, and you crumpled into a sobbing mess every once in awhile. in those moments, i cradled you close to me, and your cries turned to squeals. thank you for this: for trusting me enough to feel security in the midst of your fear.

this month, you have become more aware of strangers, and you’re not so keen to be passed around so much anymore. you have a need to return to home base, to regroup, and as a fellow introvert in an extroverted world, i wholly understand this. the flipside of your wariness is a deeper understanding of who your people are. you snuggle me more deliberately these days; it’s like you are figuring out passing moments, and are holding tightly to them as best you can.

just today, you kissed me for the first time. you leaned forward, put your mouth on my mouth, and then pulled away and smiled.

dear one, you’ve been having a hard time dealing with me being at work every day. mama h tells me stories of your fussiness, and how it is only remedied by my return in the evening. this is not to say that the two of you don’t have a blast all the time, because you do. you take walks with your puppies on a daily basis, you take long luxurious baths with your mama h, and you read lots and lots of books. olivia is currently your favorite.

i want you to know that i miss you too, every single day, and that your mamas are constantly putting their heads together to figure out just how to create an ideal work/home balance. trust us. life is good.

by the way, here’s a non-sequitur: last week, you decided that your favorite thing to do is bounce. whoever holds you must bounce you to keep you happy. your head flops around a bit like you’re getting into a really good song, and you swivel your hips like you’re hula-hooping. and so mama h came home from the store the other day with this insane rainforest-themed jumparoo. we call it the overstimulation machine, and you love it like nobody’s business.

i am pretty confident that you are about to wake up from your nap any second, so let me close with this thought: i love writing these monthly letters to you. until you find your own words, i feel as though i am your storykeeper, your chronicler. there is nothing more sacred than the act of telling your story, of keeping it alive and always present tense. remember this, my love. your story is a gospel of moments, blessed and so very alive.

i love you,

closeup with mamas.
closeup with mamas.
milk drunk.
crazy squawking happy baby.
swarmed by dogs.

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please forgive the lack of posts around here lately. i’ve been working overtime every day, and come home to a needy baby who is still having a hard time adjusting to my absence. our new life is taking a toll on everybody.

meanwhile, i do want to say that my milk supply seems to have rallied. nursing jude in the morning and pumping three times at work seem to be enough to keep us in happy baby land. also, thank you for all the kind suggestions–and lack of smackdown–about our experiment with rice cereal in bottles. we should have done more research before giving it a try, and reading about the studies that suggest a link between cereal bottles and childhood obesity has been eye-opening. this was one of those moments when i blindly listened to my mother’s anecdotes about what helped her stretch her milk as much as possible when i was a baby. needless to say, there is no more cereal in her bottles, though we do have emergency formula on hand just in case. little j has only had two formula bottles, and like everything else we put in her mouth, she’s happy with it.

i have much much more to say, but should probably tend to my job…

and so i leave you with a low-fi video sent just now from h: little j squawking away in her jungle themed overstimulation machine. my god, she loves this thing.

can anyone else tell how humongous she is these days? she’s as tall as a toddler!

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overalls pout.

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12 monther.

so yesterday’s daily jude photo features little j in a onesie i purchased at cafe mundi–a fave haunt of ours–last week.  it’s a photobooth picture, so it’s all mirrorlike backward text, but the thing i want to note is it’s a size 12 months.  have i mentioned that our child is huge?  do you think it’s too early to seek sports sponsors?

backwards mundi.

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so, either wordpress is wonky or i’ve had a serious spike in visitors today. (and monday, for that matter…)

any lurkers or new readers out there?  if so, how did you find me?  i’m curious (and understimulated at work…)

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woes and such.

this weekend was nothing short of lovely.  little j was quite snugly with me, and we spent a whole lot of time napping together.  she kept herself in bright spirits, happy to be wherever she was, so long as there was a boob nearby, and i spent hours sniffing her head and making her giggle.  

monday was apparently rough for her, however.  i think j is still getting used to the transition from my presence to my absence, from boob to bottle.  h said that she was fussy all day, and would wake up in the middle of the nap with a panicked wail.  her demeanor totally changed when i got home, and she spent the whole evening on the boob, sneaking in smiles and coos when she wasn’t suckling.

meanwhile, my milk supply is dwindling.  i pump as soon as i get up in the morning, as well as 3 times throughout my work day.  each day, i’ve watched my output (as it were) lessen by about an ounce each pumping session.  my morning pump is usually the most productive: 13-15 oz, and this morning, it was 10.  during the day, i can usually get about 7 oz each time, and yesterday i pumped about 15 oz total.

i’m pretty confident jude has enough milk at home for today’s needs.  but she consistently drinks 25-30 oz during the day.  what if i can’t keep up?  what if my supply continues to dwindle?

to make the milk go a longer way, we’ve started adding a bit of organic rice cereal (1 tsp) to a bottle or two a day, and though little j seems to love it, her digestive system has a hard time keeping up.  she was crazy constipated one day last week, and consequently, we had to put some apple and pear juice in her bottles to help her along.  (she loved this btw.  she is realllly into sweet things.)   it worked, and she’s a happy pooper again, thankfully.

oh, and did i mention that she’s starting to teethe?

so yeah.  my supply.  i’m trying to drink enough water at work.  i’m eating well, and thanks to jude continuing to sleep through the night, i’m sleeping about 7-8 hours.  i really don’t want to have to resort to supplementing with formula if i can help it.  for all you presently or formerly lactating ladies, any suggestions?

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a conversation from yesterday:

me: jude, this time last year, you didn’t even have a head.  you just had a neural tube.

h: i don’t even want to think about her not having a head!

me: but it was a really cute neural tube!

uncle g: [patting jude’s head] you’ve come a long way, baby.

jude: squeal!

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