Saturday, February 28, 2009

Parenting: Wildlife Edition

The scene: a small interior with wood floors and furniture.
Baby clothes lie strewn across the couch. In the corner: a combination crib and changing table. A bag of laundry hangs from the side. A trash can of dirty diapers is nearly full. A stack of rumpled newspapers sections lie on the floor.
The mother stands cradling her fussing infant.

Morgan Freeman voice narrating.

Narrator in voiceover: The mother has been nursing her child for the previous several hours. The father has been eating and resting, but now it's the mothers turn to eat. It's been a long time and she has not eaten since she woke up. She is starving.

Pan across the room. The father, wearing pajamas, is arranging a long strip of cloth around his body.

VO: The parents must arrange for the safe transfer of the baby. This is called "passing the egg."

Shot of baby being cradled in the mother's hands, being passed to the father hands.

Cut to a shot of the father inserting the infant into the sling.

VO: The mother ensures that her baby is safe before making the journey to the kitchen.

The mother helps arrange the cloth folds across his shoulders and back. Close up of the father's hand tucking the tiny foot into the folds of cloth and adjusting the material.

VO: When the baby cries, it's the Dad's turn to make the long trek across the tundra

Long shot of a baby in the sling, rocking back and forth as the father walks.

VO: so that the mother can gain sustenance to feed her young.

Zoom in on a bowl of oatmeal.

VO: The mother heads for the kitchen and forages for a hearty breakfast.

Shots of mother preparing to eat bananas and bread.

VO: There she will eat to store energy for it may be a long time before she eats again.

Shots of juice and Cadbury chocolate Easter eggs.

VO: The couple meets briefly to confer before going their separate ways.

Couple stands in hallway, speaks briefly, kisses and moves away.

VO: Until once again, the Dad starts his weary trek, across thousands of millimeters of hallway to the other side of the house.

From the back, the father lurches, shuffling down the dimly lit hall.

VO: There is no rest for the weary Dad as the Mother plays and cavorts, seeking information on information on child-rearing and house cleaning.

Fade to black with the sounds of running bath water and a baby starting to squeal and fuss.

Special thanks to Mr. Sweetie for certain seminal passages of commentary.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Grace in Small Things 2:365

Grace in Small Things

1. Going for a walk on a sunny, cold day.

2. Glimpsing a blue bird!

3. Seeing a pair of owls in the neighborhood at dusk.

4. Bright red berries scattered on the ground.

5. Leftover cherry cordial-filled Hershey kisses.

Monday, February 23, 2009


Last week, a friend sent me a wonderful little package in the mail with little gifties for myself and the Kidlet. Each item was wrapped in some way, different kinds of envelopes and wrapping paper. It was all so delightful that I lingered over the unwrapping. One small, cute package was wrapped in colorful frog paper. I found myself being tempted to leave that wrapped just to savor the thrill of having something to unwrap!

Ahh, anticipation is such fun.

Or is anticipation is a large portion of the fun? Unwrapping, wondering, letting the wash of happiness that someone gave something to you wash over you, then marinading in well-being. Happy, happy.

Why get exactly what you want, as soon as you want it, when you can wonder what it is you are getting? It's that crest of the wave before things are known.

How much each gift gains from being hidden and presented.

It's knowing that someone thought of you and is bestowing some special thing. It's knowing that they anticipate in their own way, how much you will be surprised and appreciative of their choice. It's knowing that something is entering your life as a new thing.

It's knowing how easily one could miss the gift if one didn't have to wait some small or large amount of time to receive it.

A baby gestates, a package arrives, a date on the calendar slowly creeps forward, seasons shift and turn, a face long-anticipated comes into view. The wave gathers energy and rolls into your life. It's a good thing in the scheme of things.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Routine Posting

The routine, the routine, keeps me going.

What passes for a routine?

I get something to drink, something to eat, I pee, I wash my hands for the first of umpteen times today and feed the Kidlet*. It doesn't always work out so smoothly; today, my instant oatmeal is still sitting on the stove where I didn't quite get it made. By the time we had a couple rounds of breast-feedings plus naps today, I had to go straight to lunch.

*By "feed the Kidlet," that includes priming the breast, warming up the nipple shield, rolling it on, getting the boppy pillow and flannel blanket in position, picking up baby (assuming she doesn't need another diaper change), getting her to latch, quiet tranquil time where she is feeding, then a burping and snoozle, and a realignment to the other side if she's awake, and it starts all over again. I didn't want you to think it was a short job.

I try to get in several rounds of feed and sleep in the morning. She eats, she naps. I nap with her because if I put her down, she's up again. So we might as well get some more sleep. If she sleeps, that is. Today, she didn't want to sleep. Mommy was very sleepy because she was up extra early listening to the Kidlet breathe funny, even though such snorfling is normal, they say. I was listening during Daddy time, so that was sleep lost.

Anyway, every other feeding or so, I add in some formula to supplement the breast-feeding per lactation consultant's advice, and that knocks her out more thoroughly and gives me (sometimes) some significant me time. I use my me time to go to the bathroom, eat, wash bottles, check email, etc.

At some point, I might get dressed. If I have an outside appointment, of course, I have to get dressed. It's a bonus if I have brushed my hair or taken a bath recently. I wipe the gunk off the Kidlet's eyes and face several times a day. Rediapering is of course a standard two-three hour routine.

Mr. Sweetie comes home and straps on the baby, and they take a nap together. I check my email, read the funnies, run hot water to wash dishes and prepare more formula/wash pump parts and bottles. I eat something! I look at my list and notice that I could take out the recycling tonight.

Ah yes, my list.

My favorite part is that every evening, I make a short list of modest tasks that I might, if I have a few minutes or several, could accomplish. For instance, label the food containers that people have given us. Or take out the trash, wash dishes, print photos for the grandparents, pick up the eye drops, sort hand-me-down clothes, pay that bill, return that call, return that email to a friend who last wrote me three weeks ago, bring up the laundry from earlier this week. Did I mention take out the trash?

My other favorite part is doing those small tasks and crossing them out! Yea!

Some small tasks can take me days or weeks to finish. Some days, nothing gets done. But the list gives me a place to start when my brain cannot remember what comes next.

I try to get to bed around midnight so that I get a good chunk of sleep. Getting sleep ups the odds that I will have a decent day the next day. Mr Sweetie takes the nighttime feedings. That's two whole shifts, although if the Kidlet eats a little sooner or later, the timing can be thrown wonky. Mr. Sweetie has to, has to go out the door by 7 or 7:30 for work. So if Kidlet eats late, I may have to finish that feeding. So anyway, I get ready to go to bed, shut down the computer, change back into pajamas if indeed I even left them, mix up more formula for the night, wash bottles and pump parts et al so that they are ready to go, all before I do the last feeding of the evening.

I haven't gotten a bath yet today. I have barely brushed my hair. I did brush my teeth, but I never got around to getting dressed. I did have to reheat that bowl of soup three times before I got to finish eating it. I couldn't put the kid down today.

And then tonight, I'll put in a load of laundry, put away clean dishes, wash a few more, heat some food, make another list, get ready for the first of the evening feedings. Maybe tomorrow I will finally pick up the eye drops.

Right now, I'm writing. Hello, internet. How have you been the last few weeks?