This morning I woke up as tired as I have been since Carl was born. At seven weeks old, he seems to be combining the six-week growth spurt, with its constant eating, with what we call the eight-week fussies, when babies spend a few days suffering with gas as their intestinal flora mature. Last night, I got about an hour’s sleep between 2 and 6, which is when I woke David to take the fussy baby for awhile so I could sleep until he needed to eat again. Which he did fairly soon.
This morning, David helped me make the decision to cancel some errands and spend the day at home, because I should clearly not be driving a car, especially one with my precious children in it. Just yesterday, I got out of the car in our driveway, leaving it in drive, and it drove itself into the garage door. With the kids in it. The kids are intact, the car suffered only a very minor bumper scrape, and the garage door itself is undamaged though its track is mangled on one side. I said to David, “Are you sure you trust me with your children?”
It’s good to have a quiet day at home. Eric and I did Play-Doh together for a long time, and Carl has settled down to efficient eating and quiet sleeping. He did that yesterday during the day, too; our restless night had more to do with gassy innards than hunger.
You know, I’ve seen reports of the studies that purport to show that infant gas drops are no more effective than water at relieving gas pain. But we’d be lost without them.
It is interesting to observe that how well a day goes for me is not directly correlated with the length or quality of my sleep. I should be a stressed-out zombie today, and instead I am Graceful Mom Dancing a Happy Minuet With Her Children. Other times, like the night last week when Carl slept nearly six hours straight, I wake feeling shockingly well-rested, think “Today is going to be great!” and I’m a stressed-out zombie.
I think I’m handling the six-week growth spurt/eight-week fussies pretty well. I was quite cheerful during the night, and only woke David for help because it was becoming impossible to keep my eyes open at all, and I think if a baby is fussy and hard to console he at least deserves the courtesy of someone keeping him company. Also, sometimes when Carl is fussy at night and I can’t settle him, it’s because I’m so tired I’m being clumsy and ineffective, and he will settle if David takes him.
David and I just keep reminding each other that Carl is doing exactly what he’s supposed to be doing. Right about this age, he’s supposed to nurse like mad for a few days before settling into a more efficient nursing pattern. He’s Farmer Brown, increasing the yield in his dairy herd. I’m the herd.
I do like nursing, I have to say. I don’t feel a transcendental sense of bonding with Carl when he nurses or anything; what I love about it most is the convenience. It really does make a difference in our lives not to be preparing formula and not to be hauling bottle-feeding gear everywhere we go. Every time I scoop up the baby and my sporty new small-size Land’s End diaper bag and breeze out the door, I feel pleasingly unburdened. And having to feed the baby more often in the night is somewhat made up for by not having to get up to fix bottles, though I do catch myself thinking, say on a night when Carl has eaten at 12:30, 2:00, and 3:45 and then starts rooting around again at 5:15, “I do wish someone else could do this…just this once.” That’s when I wake up David to handle any necessary diaper changes or rocking.
I also liked starting Carl’s college savings account with some of the $100 a month we’re not spending on formula this year.
I have decided that I should stop looking at the clock when Carl wakes up to eat in the night. For two reasons: first, no matter what time it is, and no matter how long or short a time it’s been since he last woke up, if he has to eat, he has to eat. And if he has to eat, I have to feed him. Second, being sleep-deprived, I drop off very quickly and sleep deeply. When Carl wakes up, especially the first time after I go to bed, I often feel like I’ve been asleep a long, long time. Looking at the clock, and seeing that it has only been, say, two hours, is just discouraging.
I decided recently that I wanted to do a structured walking program for fitness, in addition to the long family rambles we take many evenings. I got some books on walking for fitness out of the library and read them, and thought about what plan was best for me (I picked “Beginner”), and then tried to figure out how to fit it into my life. I love our long family rambles, and didn’t want to make them goal-directed; nor did I want to head off on my own in the evening, leaving the kids with David and reducing the family time we all enjoy so much. So I decided I was just going to have to fit my walks into my day. And take the kids.
I started yesterday. And I was quite pleased: I have to say that a 19-minute mile, seven weeks post-partum, while pushing a stroller and with an 11-pound baby in a sling, seems pretty good to me. Especially since, as my book recommends, I am “paying more attention to technique than speed” this first week. Though it’s hard to perfect one’s technique while pushing a stroller and carrying an 11-pound baby in a sling. My “technique” mostly consists of trying to stand up straight and not do anything injurious.
My mother gave me some money to have the house cleaned after the baby was born. Our old housecleaner, whom we had let go for budget reasons, came and spiffed us up, and I decided to try, once again, to keep the house decent myself. I have become a devotee of Flylady, and her system is working very well for me. The house is staying in consistently better shape than it ever has before, and my over-stuffed garage is almost cleaned out (though getting more stuff out now that I’ve broken the door may be tricky). The other week, we had a friend over for dinner and the only thing we had to do to prepare the house for company was pick up toys in the living room. It felt great.
It helps, when adopting the Flylady system, if one has obsessive-compulsive tendencies, as I do. Once I get into the habit of, say, sweeping our floors every day, I start to get twitchy if I miss a day. On the other hand, the Flylady system, which uses timers, is self-limiting, so my compulsiveness doesn’t carry me away into doing too much on any given day. It’s a good fit for me.
Speaking of obsessive-compulsive tendencies, I’m hoping to write another entry about mental illness today, so I’ll wrap this up and move on to that. Eric will need to be put down for his nap soon, and Carl will want to eat, so I’d better move on if I am going to get it done.Posted by Su Penn at May 11, 2004 01:29 PM | TrackBack