Saturday, January 31, 2015

Impossible things

A few weeks ago, I was joking to Scott that maybe we should name our next baby after the patron saint of sleeping. (I admit I'm not sure who that would be.) Of course, I added, naming our first baby after the patron saint of impossible causes amounts to the same thing and we all know how well that worked.

(Yes, now you can guess Tad's real name, or at least get down to a short list. I don't care; I don't use his real name so people can't Google him based on his future resume and I am quite sure nobody is going to look at his resume and think, "I should Google 'the patron saint of impossible causes' just in case I find something.")

Then yesterday I was talking to Sheila on Facebook and told her that joke (she gets all my baby sleep jokes) and she said, "Instead you got the impossible baby!"

I didn't think much of it at the time, but I've been slowly digesting it ever since and I think Sheila might have been more right than she imagined. I don't think I ever told the story of how Tad got his name, for obvious Google-y reasons, but his first name was not on our list of baby names going into the pregnancy. It wasn't until about 18 weeks that I suggested it and Scott suggested a middle name to go with it and boom, he was named. (And three weeks later we found out he was a he, which was kind of nice since I didn't like our backup girl name nearly as much.) It was one of those situations where it's less like giving him a name and more like finding the name he was always supposed to have.

There have been so, so many times in the last 14 months that I've asked God why he would set me up to try to do something so clearly impossible. I don't expect my life to be easy, you know, but I don't expect it to be impossible. When it gets to that point grace is supposed to appear and help you get through it.

This feels like a little bit of grace. It doesn't change one single thing about my life right now, doesn't make one second of the last year easier, but it means something. It means that God's not sitting up in Heaven waiting for me to say all the right prayers in all the right order so that he finally gives me the grace to survive this child he blessed me with. He always knew that I was going to have to do the impossible.

And apparently believes that I can.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Stream of consciousness

My aforementioned progesterone supplements are helping, but I can still tell where I am in my cycle based on the state of disarray of my apartment. (If it's "So messy you'd be ashamed to invite over your mother-in-law," that's the follicular phase. If it's, "So messy you contemplate setting the whole thing on fire and starting over," that's the luteal phase.)

I'm having a good week currently; yesterday I reorganized Tad's toys so that the living room doesn't look like Babies R Us vomited in it, and today I vacuumed the living room, dining room, and hallways.

Tad finds the vacuum terrifying (I obviously didn't use it enough when he was in the womb), but fortunately for my spine, he has moved on from needing to be perched on my hip the entire time I'm vacuuming. Now he toddles along after me, babbling reproachfully and occasionally bursting into tears if the vacuum should happen to blow air on him.

He hates weather, incidentally. Especially wind, but any inclement weather will do. If we go outside and it's anything other than dry and calm, he scowls and gibbers complaints at me until we get into the car.

He had a spur-of-the-moment pediatrician appointment on Wednesday at which he scored some antibiotic cream for his poor bum, and that's all we'll say about that. He also weighed 22 pounds and 2 ounces, so we need to switch his carseat to the other recline level. (It has one rearfacing level for 5-22 lbs and one for 22-40 lbs, and he was 21 lbs 2 oz when we bought it for him, poor thing.)

His new baby cousin was baptized on Sunday and when we put the two of them next to each other Tad looks HUGE and OLD and it makes me all broody. Also, we had him wear shoes to complete his outfit and from the way he carried on and refused to walk you'd have thought we'd broken both his ankles. We took the shoes off and he happily toddled around his grandparents' house in the wake of his older cousins and some of their cousins.

I decided two days ago to push him to take only one nap. We'll see if I change my mind in another two days, but so far it's going well. Yesterday I distracted him with grocery shopping all morning and then he napped from 12-3 (though he needed resettled at about 1:30), went to bed peacefully a little after 9, and stayed in bed until 8. (He did wake up a couple of times wanting to nurse, but if I don't have to actually get up I call it a good night.) Today I distracted him with vacuuming (he did not enjoy that nearly as much as grocery shopping) and then put him down a little after 12, resettled him at 1:30, and he's still sleeping now, at 2:35. But I should publish this post and go do some dishes or something before he wakes up.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

7QT 1/9/15

A very informal and rather belated post.

1. Tad has slept so badly this week, you guys. I'm not even going to talk about it except to beg pardon for any ridiculous spelling or grammar errors that might occur in the course of writing this post.

I would like to note, for posterity, one sign of actual progress, though: He does sometimes sleep for short periods by himself. It used to be he would wake within 15 or 20 minutes if I dared to not be right next to him, but now the times when he wakes up in 20 minutes are "bad naps" and "good naps" can last over an hour. It doesn't make up for his terrible sleep otherwise, but it gives me hope that he might actually sleep someday.

2. I believe I mentioned in a previous Quick Takes post that Tad started taking a few unassisted steps here and there at the beginning of December. He made incremental progress in the month since his first step, working up to about a dozen steps at a time.

Well, on Wednesday evening (while he was Not Sleeping and Scott and I were watching classic Doctor Who), Tad let go of the couch and walked all the way across the living room--10 feet at least--without falling even once, though he did pause a few times to give himself a round of applause.

Since then he's been toddling all over the house, turning corners and navigating around toys (we have lots of toys on the floor) and doing all sorts of fancy stuff. And clapping for himself all the while.

He does still drop down and crawl when he really wants to get some speed, though.

3. I think I lied about his expressive language hitting a plateau. Some new developments the last few weeks:

- When playing with his toy cars, he will say "Brrrrru" and "Bee bee!" Meaning, of course, "Vroom!" and "Beep beep!"

- When he wants food, he will make sure we're looking at him (usually by squawking at us) and then stare at us while making very exaggerated and deliberate chewing motions. I try to use the word "food" and the sign for it whenever I feed him, so I'm not sure why he does it this way, but it's pretty hilarious.

(If you count vroom, beep beep, and the unconventional sign for "food" all as words, he's up to 11. I am really not sure those count, though.)

- "Ut!" for Uh-oh has turned more into "Ah-oh!" and "Gahgy" for Daddy has turned into "Dada." (I am not sure where the y sound went--I guess that might be sort of a lateral move instead of a step forward.)

- The other day, while nursing, he unlatched, said, "Ah duh!" (All done) and then shook his head "no" and went back to nursing. I think that might count as a sentence. Or having a conversation with himself. Or something.

4. In order for the next language update to make sense, I must interrupt by talking about the Christmas gifts Tad got from the S side of the family. (We had "second Christmas" with them on New Year's Day.)

He got a set of toy pots and pans from his grandparents, a pound-and-roll toy from one aunt and uncle (in other words, there are balls and a hammer and a sort of box thing with holes), and a Mega Bloks dump truck from another aunt and uncle. He loves all of these toys to bits. I am waiting for the novelty to wear off and then I really am going to box up about half of his toys and stick them in a closet and rotate periodically. He's a year old, you guys, and already has SO MANY TOYS.

5. Anyway, some receptive language leaps I've noticed lately:

- A few days after we got the dump truck, Scott was being annoyed by the baby, so he told him, "Go see what's inside your dump truck" and made a dumping-out motion a few times. The baby actually figured out what he was trying to say and went and looked inside the dump truck! I thought that was especially impressive since he'd only had the dump truck a couple of days.

- After one of the many, many times he escaped from my floor-changing-station in the middle of a diaper change, I told him, "[Tad], you have to get your diaper changed." In response, he shook his head at me and kept right on crawling away.

- He has known for a while how to make his hand into a fist so it's easier to get into sleeves. I am now having some success training him to make putting a coat or shirt on easier in other ways. For example, I generally hand him a toy while getting him dressed to keep him distracted, but of course most toys do not fit through a sleeve. So I put the sleeve on his free arm while saying, "One arm," and then I say "Two arm" and every now and then, Tad takes the hint and switches the toy to his first arm so I can put his second arm through the sleeve. (When he doesn't, I help him out a little.)

(The one arm/two arm phrasing arose from the fact that I tend to count things while dressing sock two sock, one sleeve two sleeve, one mitten two mitten...)

6. On Friday we bundled up well and went to a playdate. Tad still doesn't play much with other children; instead he went off by himself with a toy telephone and sat happily holding it to the side of his head and chirping, "Dada? Dada?"

I think that's a remarkable level of imaginative/abstract play for his age, but maybe he thought it was a real phone and was trying to get Dada to rescue him from socializing. :)

7. I finally generated myself a patron for 2015 and got St. Peregrine. Getting a saint invoked against cancer admittedly makes me a little nervous, but maybe he just picked me because he knows what it's like to not sit down for 30 years!

Friday, January 2, 2015

12 in 2014

Because I only ever do linkups. And this is just pictures, not links to popular posts like other fancy people are doing. My kid doesn't sleep enough for fancy blogging.


I should really put one of the very pretty pictures of Tad's baptism here, but it's my summary post and I'll do what I want. ;) January was when I really started to feel like we might be okay. My SSRIs had started to kick in and Tad had finally started to follow a curve on the growth chart after falling down it like a stone in the first 5 weeks and I finally got a rogue piece of zombie placenta dealt with. 

Babywearing was a huge, huge part of the general feeling better. My postpartum anxiety was so bad that I'd feel like I was going to have a panic attack every time I held the baby--or was in the same room, or thought about him. It was bad. Babywearing was my version of exposure therapy, like people do with phobias. Gradually, having him sleep peacefully next to my heart while I walked around doing whatever helped me grow accustomed to him--helped me fall back in love with him.


I started cloth diapering even though the one-size pockets were still comically large on my 10-pound baby. More importantly, I started processing a lot of my feelings about the whole postpartum experience. Very few people got it. I stopped talking about it (due to people not getting it) but didn't really stop processing. I thought it would never feel better. (Almost another year later, it still hurts, but it is better. I can now imagine someday being okay about how it all went down, even if I'm not yet.)


I started to feel like things were actually going in the right direction as far as balancing motherhood and the rest of my life went. Scott started going into the office regularly again instead of working from home most of the time, and (thanks to the wonder of babywearing) I could buy groceries and do chores and check Facebook. I had friends. I started weaning off the aforementioned SSRI. (I had logical reasons for this.) Tad was old enough that he could interact with us and play with his toys and roll around on his little play gym mat for a while. There were still many, many bad days, but I figured there would be fewer bad days as we went on.

(This was not entirely true. Looking back, I think 3-6 months might be my favorite baby age. Around 6 months we got hit with teething/mobility/separation anxiety and it hasn't let up since and to be honest I'm not much more competent at life than I was when my baby was 3 months old. *sigh*)


I had a quiet blogging month. I was dealing with SSRI withdrawal and the baby's tongue and lip tie revisions (which were about 50% successful, ultimately) and I think I was just kind of burnt out on talking about my troubles.


...and then I realized just how good I'd had it in the springtime. May was a busy, busy month. Scott had schola practice (they were singing for high school graduation), we celebrated our first Mother's Day with an extrauterine baby, Tad started crawling and got his first tooth and STOPPED SLEEPING EVER. (Now he walks and has ten teeth and still doesn't sleep.)


Tad started solids and learned to sit up without support and I attempted to cope with his sleeplessness by learning back carries. It didn't really work well. (We had a few passably good attempts, like the one above, but Tad got bigger and wigglier before it really clicked for me and eventually I abandoned the effort.) I went back to therapy, having weaned completely off those SSRIs and not wanting to go crazy again as a result. I also attempted to start exercising regularly, which didn't really pan out. I was constantly exhausted but also started to feel nostalgic for Tad's newborn days and sad about how fast he was growing up.


I obsessively documented every bite of food that crossed my child's lips. He still wasn't a big fan of solids at that point so it wasn't actually very hard. I also went through another round of Processing My Feelings about the whole early postpartum period. I still didn't feel better. I started trying to pray again.


Tad decided he liked food. I decided I didn't need to document every bite that crossed his lips. We did a lot of babyproofing. Tad learned sign language.


I was hormonal and crazy (in spite of the baby's still-constant nursing). The baby started actually talking. We discovered that we could keep him entertained at Mass if we brought books.


We started hunting for a new apartment. I had a few nervous breakdowns and Scott sort of took over the apartment hunting. He ended up finding us a very awesome place. I started using the term "high needs" in reference to the baby.


The baby slept so terribly that Scott hid the leftover Halloween candy from me in the hopes that Tad would sleep better without any trace caffeine in his diet. (I found the candy eventually but still rationed it out.) We had sickness and birthdays (at the same time) and waited forever for our new apartment to be ready. Then we moved all our worldly possessions from Point A to Point B in less than a week. I had a few more nervous breakdowns, but at the same time started to slowly feel like I was moving on from how traumatizing the end of 2013 was.


I had a doctor's appointment and went on supplemental progesterone to hopefully solve the pesky problem I was having of spending a week out of every month wishing I could step in front of the nearest bus. (I didn't tell you about that, did I?) We had all sorts of unexpected financial windfalls, including an incident wherein the car broke down but didn't actually cost anything to fix. We celebrated Christmas. We were sick pretty much the entire month and had all sorts of stressful stuff happen that I'm not even going to go into right now.


I wish I had a cute conclusion for this post. I don't. It's been a really hard year. There have been some awesome moments, but the year overall was full of being completely exhausted and having to actively manage my fragile mental health and basically just surviving. Here's hoping that I'll have better things to say about 2015.

Edited to add: See Dwija for more photos. Duh.