Thursday, July 21, 2011

Push and pull

Avery stops nursing and breaks her latch to smile up at me, her eyes shining.  She waves her foot in the air, inviting me to play our game, and I oblige by pretending I'm not going to kiss her foot, then capturing it and showering it with kisses all over.  "I'm going to kiss ALL of your toes!"  I tell her.  "Muah, muah, muah, muah, muah!"  And she giggles into my breast.  Satisfied, she turns her body towards me so we are tummy to tummy and continues nursing.  A memory of her newborn days bubbles up and I reminisce about nursing her in bed in the early morning, her arms pinned to her sides in her swaddle and her tummy pressed against mine, surrounded by a nest of sheets and pillows.  I remember thinking, I want to remember this always.  The way this feels.  But already I kind of forget.  Laying there, her whole body used to fit above the bend of my legs.  Could she really have been so tiny?  It seems impossible now, holding this big baby, her legs stretched out over the arm of the chair.  She is the same to me from day to day, and yet, she has changed so much. 

Someday she will be grown, I think to myself, and suddenly a wave of sadness passes over me.  I miss her already.  I stroke her hair and her dimpled arms and her butterball legs.  She reaches up a chubby hand and pats my face, then stops nursing to say, "Mmm-mah!"  She resumes nursing matter-of-factly.

I am wearing the carpet thin, walking circles in the dark carrying Avery, waiting for her to be asleep enough to lay down.  I'm humming, but my mind is churning.  I think of Adam downstairs watching tv and feel jealous and resentful.  My back aches.  My right arm is numb.  Why am I doing this?  How much longer till I can go have my tea?  How much longer till she outgrows this?  Avery stirs in her almost-sleep and turns her face towards me on my shoulder.  In the light from the hallway I can see the pale moon of her baby cheek, the fringe of her eyelashes, and the soft pout of her lips, her bottom lip is sucked in slightly making the shape of an upside down heart.  Suddenly I am overwhelmed by the urge to kiss her sweet face, to nuzzle her neck and smell her head. 

I stop myself - she is almost asleep and I don't want to wake her.  Adam.  Tea. 

I try to memorize the weight of her in my arms and the mold of her body against my torso. 

I think I can lay her down now.  As I shift her weight, she stirs again and wraps her little arms around my neck.  I hesitate.  She doesn't want me to leave her.  I could stay, I could sit with her in the rocking chair and hold her while she is sleeping, listen to her breathing.  Instead I lay her down and she stays asleep.  My wistfulness is replaced by a triumphant feeling.  Success!  I am free for the moment to join Adam downstairs.

Later, he and I climb in our bed together and turn out the lights.  I lay awake in the dark thinking of her.  Is she ok?  Is she safe?  Is she warm enough?  I think I cannot sleep, but when I hear her sharp cry on the monitor, I am jolted from a dream.  Secretly I am happy that I can go gather her up and snuggle her down next to me in bed.  I think, someday she will sleep on her own all night.  And I miss her again, though she is right there.  I am curled around her protectively.  She nurses and starts to fall asleep so I unlatch her.  She rolls over and puts her diapered bottom against my tummy.  My heart is full.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Colds, naps, playgroup

Possibly the greatest injustice of motherhood is that when everyone else gets sick, you take care of them, and when you get sick?  You still take care of them.  That's my round-a-bout way of telling you that we're all getting over colds, thanks to Adam who brought home the latest bug.  He works in a windowless office (literally) and doesn't get enough vitamin D, so you can't be too surprised.  This was

Avery's first time getting a cold though.  Even though I've been sick SIX times now since October  (!!!) she never got even so much as a sniffle (yay breastfeeding!), but I guess that couldn't last forever.  She had that fever thing a few months ago, but that was her only symptom.  I'm not sure if I prefer the fever or the cold!  The fever was kind of scary, what with the limp and listless baby and all, but the runny nose and inability to breathe is annoying!

Anyway, so, sick husband all weekend, sick baby starting Monday, sick me starting Tuesday.  Happily it wasn't a bad cold at all and I was mostly functional throughout.  Cause like I said, no one took care of me (boo hoo).  Speaking of colds, though, I have to tell you all about this awesome iPhone app I discovered (or Droid if that's your poison).   It's called LactMed and you can look up any drug and whether it's safe for breastfeeding. 

Avery has started to branch out socially.  Our next door neighbor has a three year old and if she sees him outside playing she wants to go over and join in.  So we met our neighbors, yay!  Anyway, she told me about a playgroup the YMCA holds so we went to check it out on Thursday.  I was a little squicked out by the state and general stickiness of all the toys, but Avery thought it was great fun and careened around playing with everything for about five seconds each. 

The only way we were able to go is because I was trying to solve our sleep problems by forcing Avery down to one nap.  With her napping around ten every morning, we haven't been able to go to any playgroups or meet ups.  And I spend too much time fighting to get her to sleep three times a day (two naps and night).  But it didn't seem to have much positive effect.  She was more tired and easier to get down, but slept even less than before, so I think we are back to two naps for now, and I'm back to  spending several hours walking the child around until she falls asleep every day.

Sorry this is so disjointed.  Adam and I are trying to watch True Grit in 20-30 minute intervals while Avery takes her catnaps, and it's on in the background right now so I've mostly lost any unifying thread in this post.  I have several posts floating around in my head, including one on co-sleeping and one on vaccinating - why we are not.

Saturday, July 09, 2011