Old News: Past Blog Posts

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

You're not tired


It was a particularly long and arduous sprint during the sixth track of my spin class the other morning, I was pretty much hating my bike, my spin instructor (who is normally one of my best friends), and the fact that I had taken a week-long hiatus from my spin classes.

I was just about to give myself an excuse to slow down and let the music speed along ahead of my feet when I heard these three words: You're Not Tired !

And for just a moment, I believe it. The belief lasted just long enough to get me through the end of the sprint and possibly spared the life of my dear friend who might have otherwise met her bloody demise when I clocked her over the head with the business end of her own bike shoe (assuming I could muster the energy).

It wasn't true of course. I was tired.  I've been tired for four stinking months.  I was tired in the week I spent on hospital bed rest before my son was born, as I was pumped full of nasty drugs to keep me pregnant and make me woozy. I was tired during the three and half weeks following his birth when I was waking every two to three hours to chill with a hospital grade pump, pumping breast milk for a tiny infant, too small and fragile to join his family at home.  I was tired during the 10 days he spent back in the hospital battling meningitis; when I hardly left his side and 'slept' on a glorified chair listening to his respirator whir and antibiotics beep.  I was tired during the following two months as I stayed home with him and his brother (only 15 months older) fighting a nightly battle with an infant who refused to sleep alone.  I continue to be tired as I have spent the last month with little more than three hours sleep at a time then pop out of bed to drag both boys to the sitter and run myself ragged to meet absurd productivity standards at work... Then lather, rinse, repeat with a smile in my face.  

Well guess what team, this mom is reaching her breaking point.  Sure, I can fool myself into finishing a 90 second sprint and even drag my sorry ass out to the park for a nice longish run every now and again.  I can slap that smile on my face and remember the thrill I get from helping someone get their own mobility back.  

But yes.  I. Am. Tired.  It may not always feel that way because who has the time fot it? Not a parent of two under two...that's for damn sure.  Not me and certainly not my husband; who's band season is kicking ass particularly hard this year, as he has to work 60 + hour weeks and contends with all that crying in the middle of the night...(not all of it from is the kiddos either).  

Marathon runners talk about 'hitting the wall' late in the race.  I've been there, looking mile 16 square in the face and wondering how the hell I'll make it ten more G.D. miles and whose stupid idea was this in the first place ?  

Well team, I think I just hit that wall.  Go ahead and pepper me with obligatory words of encouragement.  Tell me that I'll 'miss these midnight snuggles' when my guys are grown.  Who knows? Maybe someday that will be the case.  Maybe I will look back at this time some day in the future with nostalgic melancholy and wish I had appreciated that nauseating sleep-deprivation more.  But I caution you to tread lightly, especially if I am near a bike shoe/makeshift weapon.

For now, I need to bust through this metaphorical wall and keep lying to myself so I can press on in this long run of life.  Women and men have done it since the dawn of time.

I am not tired.

We are not tired.  









Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Working Mom's Creed

A few nights ago, my Facebook feed alerted me that a mom-pal of mine was quitting her job to join the ranks of SAHMs.  A few days earlier, another friend had officially dropped her status to part-time.  As for me? I was planning to head into work the very next day...a Saturday.  

After I had wiped the last sleep-deprivation induced tear away, I remembered that I love my job.  And I love my kids.  And loving both my kids and my job is tricky, but I am grateful that I live in a post-feminist-movement world where I get to do more than iron my husband's work shirts and pop children from my hoo-ha (thanks for burning your bras ladies, I know they're not cheap).  

As it stands, most of my mom-friends are working moms.  They have degrees and post-graduate degrees, and pretty remarkable careers.  They don't necessarily work harder than SAHMs (three months of maternity leave is still fresh on my mind, so I would venture to say the SAHMs have it far worse), but they seem to have found a balance; one I struggle to find myself.

In fact, I was observing a vaguely familiar-looking young woman at work the other day who seemed particularly well put-together.  Her hair was flawless, her makeup was perfection, and she had a bright smile that told me she had gotten at least eight hours of sleep last night. 

My first thoughts were these : 1) now there's a woman without kids and 2) I miss being 25.

I was also immediately conscious of my yoga pants (with their maternity waist), running shoes, fleece jacket, and award-winning mega-frizz ponytail.  I was also racking my memory for the last time I had showered.  

Deciding to befriend this woman who was clearly my antithesis (rather than strangling her in a jealous rage), I complemented her shoes.  She responded by brightly reminding me that we had been sorority sisters in college. 

A few moments of conversation revealed that my first instincts about her were totally wrong.  This flawless, bright-eyed beauty had not one, not two, but three stinking kids; the youngest being only a year old.

And that's about the time I decided to just go ahead and knock her off her cute shoes and strangle her stupid throat.  Which I might have done except I think there's something in our sorority bi-laws against it and she's actually very sweet.

So it's safe to say that I will never be much of a bright-eyed beauty (I'd be lying if I inferred that I put much effort into my looks before I had children).  But I do strive to eventually qualify as a functional working mom who can recall the date of her last shower.  

After careful thought, here are some promises I will make to my children as I struggle to balance parenthood and a what passes for a haphazard career at best:

I will wear your spit up to work and hopefully notice it sometime before lunch.

I will set my alarm for 430am so I can squeeze in your meal before my workout and a workout before my work day.  

I will spend my commute and my lunch break with plastic funnels attached to my boobs and zone out to the the hypnotic 'whoosh whir' of my electric pump.

I will not talk sh*t about SAHMs because maybe I'm a little jealous or maybe I'm a little worried I'm making the wrong choice but definitely because I have too much respect for all mothers to talk sh*t about any of them.

I will be horrified, but not entirely surprised, when I hear you curse for the first time. 

I will be sad when you don't seem to care one way or another as I leave you with the sitter.

I will be equally sad when you won't let go of my legs and look at me from behind big wet tears, making me curse my stupid job.

I will worry about you every minute I am away.

I will wear makeup again...someday...maybe.  Until then I will secretly scowl at all women who have time for makeup (and a shower).

I will take two trips to the car in the morning: one for the you and your brother and the other for the pump bag, lunch, coffee, and breast milk. 

Trip #2: nursing moms, can I get a 'what what'??

Yeah ok, then I will take a third trip for whatever it was I forgot during the first two trips.  

I will worry like a crazy person during that last trip that something really bizarre will happen to me (brain aneurism, heart attack, epileptic seizure, zombie apocalypse...you know, really plausible situations) and you will be trapped in your car seats, alone and scared.  Because I'm a nut job.

I will spend at least 5 minutes a day boring my coworkers with recent photos of you because I think you are the most beautiful things I've ever seen. 

I will not know what day of the week it is because they all blend together when a complete sleep cycle is never fully achieved and because I am sometimes off on Tuesdays and work on weekends.

I will rely on your daddy to cook dinner, to crack a joke when I feel I might crack myself, to offer midnight bottles, to make you squeal with delight, and to pick me up when I am feeling overwhelmed and under-appreciated.

I will be horrified when I discover I have not shaved my legs in weeks.  And then I will continue to not shave.  

I will miss out on some of your 'firsts' and it will fill me with a strange mix of regret and pride when the sitter sends me a photo of you bravely mastering a new skill.

I will make the very most of our days together so I don't feel so bad about the ones we spend apart and because one day I know you won't break into a huge half-toothy grin every time you see me.  

I will call in or leave early when your cough doesn't sound right or you have a fever.

I will do my best to show you what it means to be a strong and capable career woman in hopes that you will grow up to treat those women the respect they deserve. 

I will love you with my whole heart and a little bit more; bunches and bunches and always and everywhere.  










Saturday, October 19, 2013

10 Reasons I am a Lucky Bastard

1. My babies are healthy: (Cue the sing-songy southern preacher voice) Thank you Jesus.  I may have a remedial baby-cooker, but I am constantly reminded of how lucky we are that both boys seem to be thriving despite their slightly early entrances to this cold, cruel world.  August has proven especially resilient, having waged a successful battle against meningitis before he even hit his due date.  My kids are so awesome...and modern medicine ain't too shabby either.

2.  I am gainfully employed and readily hired in a rewarding field:  Here's a true story: I am a better mom when I can get out and play with grownups now and then.  No offense to my SAHM/D counterparts (you guys are true rockstars and don't let anyone tell you otherwise) but I need to feel like I'm out there getting my hands dirty and justifying my shiny, fancy degree from a top-notch school.  Just call me Dr Working Mama ;) 

Oh, and I also happen to love my job...when I'm not getting peed on (occupational hazard with toilet transfers and incontinence -- it happened Tuesday).  I get that warm, gooey feeling from watching a patient take their first steps after a stroke or seeing them 'graduate' from inpatient rehab (or when my shoe gets covered in urine).  Yup. Warms my damn heart.  

Can I also mention that I am a bit of a job-collector? This week alone, I had a job interview and a request for a resume from two separate companies.  This quality keeps our tax-preparor on his tippy toes when I send him eight or ten W-2 forms every winter.

3.  I have an amazing and supportive, hard working husband:  It would be a crime (and downright crazy-pants) to omit my gratitude for the man who keeps our ship sailing smoothly.  This dude is rocking it 24/7 and doesn't expect one ounce of credit.  How many husbands would put in a 17-hour day (spent almost exclusively with teenagers armed with noise-makers...I mean, instruments) and offer to snuggle a screaming baby at midnight; all while staring another 12+ hour day in the face?  I would venture to say, not many.  

He's been pulling twice his weight since July.  His band is growing and thriving, landing within 4 points of the best bands in the state at their last competition, and I could not be prouder (more proud?). He steps into daddy-duty so I can sneak away for a run without batting an eye.  He cooks most of our meals (lord knows, we'd all be dead of starvation or cereal overdoses if it were up to me); and he keeps our yard looking trim and manicured despite the fact that I keep killing our flowers.  And that's just the tip of the iceberg.  Back off ladies.  It's not like he has the time for you anyways, but know that I wouldn't hesitate to throw this baby weight around and knock a bitch out if needed.  This guy is spoken for.

4.  I am healthy:  I was just talking with a mama who had the flu when her kiddos were young and it made me feel incredibly grateful for my health.  I may be running myself totally ragged sometimes but I'll be damned if my immune system hasn't been pulling it's weight.  Remind me to get it something nice for Christmas.  

5.  We have a beautiful home:  I'll be honest, I did not love our house when my husband decided to purchase it five years ago.  The curb appeal was minimal, the wall-to-wall carpet was atrocious, the bathroom was committing a crime against porcelain with it's blue tub and toilet, and it looked like someone had barfed wood paneling all over the place.  But hey, we were just dating at the time, so who was I to stand in the way of a man with a vision?  Well, as it turns out he had vision and determination (also a Lowes addiction and a lady-friend with fabulous taste).
Now, we have a really beautiful house complete with curb appeal -- minus the dead flowers.  I will cry when we eventually move, no question.  

6.  We have dependable transportation:  I hesitate to even mention this because I know how the universe can be a real dick sometimes, but as of today, we are blessed with two reliable modes of transport.  I have driven some pretty gnarly vehicles in my day (my favorite being a 1994 Chrysler LeBaron convertible with a hole in the roof and minimal shocks -- felt just like driving a boat around town) so I know what it's like to be in the habit of saying a prayer each time you turn the key.  The Ford pickup is a blessing and a burden (truck owners get real popular with friends and family needing favors) and when I'm not hitting parked cars, I feel like a badass behind its wheel.  My little Mazda (her name is Izzy Zoom Zoom) is still really fun to drive with her manual transmission, decent gas mileage and pretty blue-lighted dashboard.  The backseat might be crowded with rear-facing car seats, but she still makes me feel cool.  Plus, she gets me where I need to go and was my first 'new' car so she'll always have a special place in my heart.  

7.  I have a supportive family: I'll keep this brief because frankly they deserve better than what I can offer with my measly blatherings.  My parents are awesome, my little brother and his wife are simply amazing, my other brother spent most if his life gracefully tolerating my stupidity, my aunts, uncles and cousins offer endless encouragement, and and words won't do justice to how much I love them all.  

8.  In town in-laws and eager babysitters:  Most people would probably tell you that in-laws can be tricky.  In a way, your relationship with your spouse's family can initially feel a bit like being trapped in an elevator with strangers.  Like, you didn't exactly choose them, but now they're right there and sh*t is getting real cozy, real fast.  You have no choice but to make friends, just in case you all go plummeting to your deaths the next minute.  As it turns out, I got pretty lucky and this elevator happens to be filled with some pretty friendly and helpful folks.  My MIL is one of the sweetest, most eager-to-please ladies you'll ever meet and my FIL is nothing short of hilarious (he called me once when I was pregnant to tell me he'd just learned to do the heimlich on a pregnant lady, so I should give him a buzz if I was choking).  My SIL and BILs are pretty great too.  It doesn't hurt either to have eager babysitters just minutes away for those last-minute work commitments or just an evening away from spit up and temper tantrums.  Nope, not a bad elevator.  Not bad at all.

9.  Amazingly flexible and convenient child care:  Working parents will probably agree one of the worst parts of early parenthood is finding adequate child care. My insane working circumstances didn't make it any easier during our search.  Apparently, most child care settings frown upon being 'canceled' at the last minute, or not having a set schedule to follow.  Luckily, we found a sweet young gal with two precious little munchkins just down the street and around the corner.  She's been tolerating our chaos for over a year now and I honestly have no idea what we'd do without her.  

10.  Great friends: I saved one of my favorites for last.  My friends have always been important to me, but over the past couple of years they've proven to be even more essential than I could have imagined before.  They've offered hugs and Kleenex and greeting cards and beer during some pretty hairy sh*t.  They've given us comic relief and visited hospitals and sent facebook messages and texts from hundreds of miles away; coaxing a smile from even the darkest of places. I love you guys.  Really, truly.

I don't always have the deepest faith in God or whomever is running things up there, but I am truly blessed by something and I am grateful.  

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Accidental Co-Sleeper

As much as I appreciate the granola-hippie, baby-wearing, breast-feed-my-kindergartener approach to motherhood, I never had any intention of co-sleeping with my infants (or breast-feeding them until they're five for that matter).  In fact, I used to spend late night nursing sessions reading horror stories on the Internet about parents accidentally suffocating their little ones in order to jar myself out of falling asleep at the wheel (so to speak).

Kudos ladies.  I myself look forward to recovering full ownership of my boobs in nine months.  

But alas, my 3-month-old is now making it a habit to spend all but a few hours sleeping right there next to me.  There, I said it.

I have been mentally composing this confession for weeks now, but too terrified to put pen to paper (ok, fingers to keyboard) for fear of mass judgement and DCFS busting my door down SWAT team-style and demanding I relinquish my children.  I also happen to know I am being 'followed' by one of our former-NICU docs and for some reason I especially don't want the medical community getting wind of my negligence (What's up Dr D?).  I guess I don't want them knowing I have willfully ignored all their careful research into 'safe sleep' practices and have knowingly put my child at risk.

Here's the thing though: I am exhausted.  No, that's not the right word.  I am bone-tired.  Yes, my bones are tired.  Nine PM rolls around and I feel like I have been in a head-on collision with a Mack Truck.  

See, my husband and I were operating on financial life-support all summer, so I re-enlisted in the Army of the Working Mommies two weeks ago in order to keep a roof over our heads and not default on the second mortgage, ahem I mean my student loans.  And although it still feels like a paid vacation in some ways, I do not have a physically cushy desk job.  My first day back was ten hours of running around and offering 'max assist' to barely ambulatory rehab patients -- although granted, a big bulk of it was spent fighting with the archaic computer system that had apparently pronounced me dead after such a prolonged absense.  

My days 'off' are action-packed with running the toddler living-room 5K, marathon-nursing, the magical never-ending laundry dance, dishes, and errands.  Most those days are spent with a co-dependent 8lb infant strapped to me in some fashion. 

And because I am a crazy person, I try my damnedest to get a nice solid workout in on most days.  Does that mean I haul a pumpkin-seat into a 530am spin class on occasion?

Why yes.  Yes, it does.

So forgive me if I don't have the energy left to win a battle of wits with an infant at 2am.  Believe me, I've tried.  We have tried the bassinet, the pack-n-play, the swing, the crib, the vibrating chair, the vibrating bassinet, the car seat, the car seat in the pack-n-play, the car seat in the crib, and a nice rocker sleeper we got to borrow for a few days from friends.  

(Inhale)

Pretty much all of the above eventually results in ear-splitting shrieks once the little guy realizes he's alone.  I mean, these are eally angry screams, paired with the most pathetic little pissed-off face you ever laid eyes on.  It's like someone insulted his mother (oh wait).  This is generally followed by the pacifier dance-off and eventually mommy caving in and offering snuggles and/or comfort-nursing: points awarded to the tiny bald feather-weight in diapers while the heavy-weight mommy is left bloody and battered in the sleep-deprivation corner of the ring.  

I would say I've 'spoiled him' but my pediatrician is super-fond of reminding me that this is impossible.  And my psychologist sister-in-law would tell me that the very worst thing you can do to a crying infant is ignore him.  I suppose I have the rest of his life to damage him emotionally, so why start now?

Sure, eventually we will have to put our figurative feet down and let the kid cry it out.  But here's one of the problems with delivering a half-baked baby (well that didn't come out right, did it?): Bonus infant time!  

See, my three and a half month old kiddo is really only six weeks old and certainly couldn't be expected sleep more than a few hours before requiring a meal.  

And so, we co-sleep.  Sort of.  He sleeps and I doze rigidly next to him, waking up every 20 minutes to be sure he hasn't rolled onto the floor, suffocated under a blanket (which I generally tuck under him or just forgo altogether), or been ironically smothered by me and the extra 15 lbs of baby weight I'm carrying around. 

So our sleep situation is less than ideal at best and dangerous at worst.  I acknowledge that and yes, it stresses me out big time.  I remember complaining about sleepless nights on Facebook when my oldest was about this same age (he went down much easier, but spent twice as long nursing).  More than one mom friend replied that I would miss those late night 'bonding' sessions when they were gone. 

Here's what I have to say to that: 
Call 
Bullshit.

Ok, maybe they do miss it.  Or maybe they've been away from it long enough to be suffering from 'selective memory loss'.  Or I suppose it's possible that I am suspiciously missing the compassionate mommy gene that allows for me to fully appreciate sleeping in fitful 20 minute incriminates.  

You know what I miss? I miss 8 hours of uninterrupted blissful slumber.  I miss sleeping until noon if I felt so inclined.  I miss not feeling like an extra on Walking Dead (you know, those limping, drooling, snarling folks who haven't showered since the apocalypse and can only be truly stopped by piercing their brainstems?...that's me!)

Please! All I want is a power nap and a chance to wash my hair!  And maybe also to snack on your brain...

On the plus side?  These sleepless nights give me a great opportunity to blog.

See you folks in the funny pages.  (Or else as a tragic front-page headliner: Negligant Mother Claims Co-Sleeping Was 'Accident')




Photos: http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/1506096
http://thewalkingdeadpodcast.com/2010/06/10/first-production-photo-from-the-walking-dead/

















Monday, October 14, 2013

Home

Over the River and through the corn... 

...to Grandmother's house we drove. 
The Garmin knows the way to carry the .... Mazda?

Ok, scratch that.  I don't even own a Garmin; and if I did, I certainly wouldn't need it to navigate me to a place I lived for over 18 years.  I just really liked the way the 'river' and 'corn' parts worked so well so I figured I'd give it a shot.  E

So here I am, sprawled out on the couch in the house I called home for the bulk of my life.  Well, technically I'm sprawled out behind that house, in the lovely addition erected shortly after my parents officially achieved 'empty nest.'  Presumably, the west wing of my parent's home was financed in part by the money they saved once us kids weren't hanging around spiking the grocery bills and leaving lights on and doors and windows opened while the AC was running. 

'Home' (as I continue to reflexively call it, despite the fact I haven't spent more than a few days at a time there in over eight years) always conjures up a mix of emotions and erupts a flood of memories.

Dorothy says there's no place like it.
Thomas Wolfe claims you can't go back there.
Just about anyone will tell you it's where your heart is. 

For me though, I think 'home' is the feeling I get when I exit I-55 and turn right.  It's that and really, it's so much more.  

It's where I learned to be strong and confident even as the world was telling me I was too fat and not wearing the right clothes, driving the right car, or carrying the right purse.

It's where I learned what it means to have real responsibility and to be a leader when I scurried up the Parks and Rec department ladder; advancing from 'deck guard' to lifeguard to manager with the sort of ambition it takes to top out at $12 an hour and earn the prestige of spending my summers armed with the power to turn on the slides and order troublemakers out of the water.  

It's where I watched the college athletes my dad worked with start off as sports camp counselors and awe-inspiring role models and then get rapidly younger and younger.  Now, I see them as they are: sweaty teenagers in spandex who must road-trip to Des Moines for a tournament instead of to Panama Beach for a week long, scantily-clad spring break bender...but still probably pretty great role models for ten-year-olds.  

It's where I figured out how to climb nearly all the way to the top of our neighbor's maple tree and spent summer afternoons in it's branches with a book (nerd alert!) 

It's where I filled countless journals with the sort of tortured agony and endless melodrama reserved only for teenage girls and the Real Housewives franchise.  

It's where in junior high, my best friend and I simultaneously fell in love with the boy up the street and after several days of spending nearly every waking moment chasing after him, we decided just as quickly and just as synchronously that he totally wasn't worth the effort (imagine his diasappintment when the two awesomest 12-year-olds in town were suddenly uninterested) 

It's where I occasionally 'subbed' for my brothers' paper route and learned that the quiet and damp early morning air can be both calming and electifying all at once.  

It's where I was so desperate to be cool at age 15 (a feat I now know to be impossible), I told some upperclassman that I was adopted in an attempt to escape the label of 'teacher's kid.' 

It's where I cried tears of frustration and anxiety over a volleyball coaching staff concerned more with wins than the well-being of their players.  I was learning the hard way that I am a miserable head-case and this doesn't pair well with coaches who thrive on playing mind-games.  Incidentally, the win at any cost attitude, plus a future Olympian will win you more than one state championship...but will eventually also cost you your job (when said Olympian makes it her mission to take you down).

It's where I spent one night in high school cruising around with some friends and a cucumber, taking photos on a disposable camera (remember those?) of the cucumber having mis-adventures all over town and laughing until my face hurt. 

It's where I lusted after a boy all through high school who was so painfully gorgeous that I couldn't put a coherent sentence together in front of him.  And where that same boy asked me for my number three years later when I was happily dating another boy (which is why I finally felt comfortable with the English language in his presence...and also why I didn't give him the number).

It's where my friends and I would occasionally crash college parties and make decisions that probably should have landed us in jail or worse.  

It's where I could lie awake in my bedroom when the weather was right, listening to the sounds of marching bands and football games and shouts of drunken collage students float in through an open window.  

It's where I became the person I am today, for better or worse.

I may not live there anymore, but I imagine it will always feel like home to me and I'm grateful for it.  Tomorrow, I will pile the kids back in the Mazda and head back through the corn and over the river, happy to have gotten to taste home for a couple of days. 









 



 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Two Under Two: Part Three

You might have two under two if...

...you have found a way to squeeze two rear-facing car seats in your backseat and one is covered in Cheerios and the other is caked in spit up.  (Remember when the backseat was reserved for *other* stuff??  Yeah, me neither)

...you have been awakened in the night with this thought: somebody is crying and I can't figure out if it's the baby, the toddler or me.  Oh God, Is it me??  

...you're fairly certain the toddler thinks the baby's name is 'Gentle touches...geeentle touch--hey! No no'. (Have you met my brother 'gentle touches'?  Yeah, pretty sure my parents are hippies).

...bath time and bedtime for the toddler feels more like an elaborate race against time that is lost the moment the baby realizes he's been thoughtlessly left alone and sounds his baby-alarm.  Waaaah, you lose Mommy!

...your 'day job' suddenly feels like a paid vacation.  If only they'd schedule a nap time and offer cocktails.

...you blatantly disregard the AAP's recommendation of 'zero screen time under two' by flipping on PBS during breakfast, handing off the iPad during the morning nursing session, and offering the iPhone as a distraction while grocery shopping.  

...you spend over half your day with the theme song from Super Why running aggressively through your head.  This is presumably karmic payback for ignoring the parenting advice of medical experts.  

...sleeping more than three hours in a row is considered nothing short of a victory; but only after waking up in a panic and immediately checking the baby's pulse.  

...the last thing you ate was a handful of Cheerios and that was six hours ago.  (But you still can't remember the last time you comfortably wore pants with buttons)

...outings with both children would be incomplete without hearing the following comment at least once: Looks like you have hit hands full!  As for me, I generally respond by asking if they'll babysit while I take a quick nap up against the nearest wall.  No, that's a lie.  I just laugh and agree with them because I'm not that funny in real life.  

...your life is a beautiful chaotic blend of diapers changes, baby snuggles, nursing, toddler Olympics, and bedtime stories; and you wouldn't have it any other way.












Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Mommy Has A Hangover


Remember when a hangover meant an excuse to park your sorry ass on the couch and do nothing but curse the drunk version of yourself who got you into this miserable mess?  There was usually greasy fast food or delivery involved at some point and a couple of phone calls to determine how to best distribute apologies and where you might not be welcomed back.  Sure, a hangover meant a fair amount of discomfort and possibly some missed attendance points or an annoyed roommate, but it was also sort of cleansing and refreshing; like a mini detox session paired with a remote control, a bucket, and roughly four to six cat naps.  Aside from a handful of self respect and maybe a pair of pants, there wasn't much to lose from a night of overindulgence.

Now just for kicks, let's toss a toddler and an infant into a hangover scenario and see how that plays out.

In my case, it all started with the absurd assumption that my alcohol tolerance had fully recovered from spending the better part of a year abstaining from, then carefully moderating my consumption of adult beverages.

It was the perfect storm: an open bar at one one of my favorite microbrews, free childcare, and finding myself conveniently located well within walking distance of our house.  Happy wedding day to my dear cousin!

Following my thoughtless foray against one of the highest alcohol content brews at the open bar, the next logical step was to vomit on the sidewalk somewhere between the microbrewery and our house.  This classy move immediately transitioned into a tearful stream of apologies and declaration of my unfit mother-status directed at my husband who was graciously more amused than annoyed as he escorted me through our neighborhood.

I somehow managed to pull myself together for a fly-by 'thank you' to my in-laws for babysitting as I gracelessly excused myself up to our bedroom.

Six hours later, I woke up on top of the covers still wearing my dress and one shoe.  My mom-boobs were filled to the brim and begging for mercy.  Somehow, I managed to seek out my breast pump and produced a whopping eleven ounces of (probably contaminated) milk while positioned--still in my dress--half propped at the head of my bed in an awkward pose which I imagine was a disturbing blend of murder victim and centerfold.

My phone had been mysteriously at large for most of the day and my husband was graciously pulling baby duty on the living room couch.  And so, in my darkened bedroom it was just me, my whirring Medela Pump-In-Style and the awful realization that things were about to get much worse.

Now it was nearly 6:30 and my Sunday morning running buddies were gathering just a few miles away for a jaunt around the park.  I might have tried to join them if the thought of extracting myself from my dress and locating a sports bra didn't seem like a completely impossible endeavor.

Once I'd emptied my poor lactating lady-utters, I toppled over into a pathetic heap of trepidation for approximately 20 more minutes before I heard my toddler stirring in the next bedroom.

He graciously occupied himself in his crib for about ten minutes before I heard him cry out 'uh-oh' (a sign he'd dropped his pacifier onto the floor) and begin to chant 'more? more?' (a sign he had begun to consider breakfast).

Show time.

Luckily, the little guy didn't think twice when his mother greeted him at seven am wearing a floral dress, smeared mascara, and Bride of Frankenstein hair.  He only bounced vigorously on his crib mattress and grinned at me like a damn fool.

Because I wasn't sure I could manage the stairs without killing us both and because the thought of cutting up a peach or a banana inspired significant nausea; I headed back into the bedroom with my squirming ball of toddler, plopped onto the bed, flipped on PBS, wrapped my arms around him and buried my throbbing head into a pillow.

I spent the next 20-30 minutes focused intently on not vomiting and waiting patiently for my Mother of the Year award.

Soon enough, my little man grew tired of the TV and tired of terrorizing the dozing dog and he shimmied himself off the bed.  I had the foresight to close the gate at the stairs and the bathroom door (the cabinet and toilet are baby-proofed, but he has a tendency to try to climb head first into the tub to retrieve bath toys) before toppling back into bed, so I felt okay about letting him roam a bit...until things got disturbingly quiet.

Imagining all sorts of horrifying scenarios, I bounced out of bed (a move my head greatly protested) and found him sitting innocently in his room with a book in his lap.

Since I wasn't confident I would be able to exit my bed again, were I to get back in, I decided now was the time to tackle breakfast.  We cautiously navigated the stairs and in an act of true heroism, my son made it safely to his high chair.  

Next, I held my breath and delivered him a couple handfuls of toddler crack (I.e. Cheerios), milk, a granola bar and a puréed friut pouch.  Then I dove onto the loveseat opposite my husband and once again waged war against my nausea.  My husband tossed some good natured shit in my direction and I spent a minimum of five minutes thanking him for stepping Into baby duty and for being capable of behaving like an adult.  

The next few hours saw me vomit into a plastic grocery bag (twice) and finally crawl helplessly back into my bed for another try at sleep.  

It was a shit show to say the least.

Luckily I was able to creep back into a functional state in time to be less than an hour late to a family gathering.  On the way, we stopped at McDonalds where my husband ordered food for himself, a happy meal for the toddler (pretty sure they pass out those Mother of the Year awards at the drive through window), and I requested that the entire order come without an odor.  Incidentally, I was able to snap out if it long enough to protest the fact that the drive through lady wanted to know the gender of our child (tell her it's none of her damn business and give the kid any toy).  

I eventually felt like a normal person again and life moved on at a more tolerable pace.  
 
Turns out, I am not 22 anymore and my monster hangover was there to drive that point very painfully home.  Now I get to go back to being boring, sober mommy who doesn't have to lie around praying for death.  Everybody wins.