I’ve had this question posed to me outright by an acquaintance and implied by a husband’s inquisitive eyebrow as he surveys the wreckage that is our home.
Sometimes I make it to 4:00, when Odie gets home, and I feel like I have no idea where the time went. Other days, I watch the clock and the hours drag by.
On St. Patrick’s Day. Baby V woke up at 7:23 and we snuggled and giggled in bed for a little while. Then I put her in her crib while I used the bathroom. She protested this by crying, so I was quick. I changed her diaper while she tried to roll away from me and stood up on the changing table, grabbing for the horizontal blinds on the window above, turning around and grinning at me in her mischief.
Entered the living room, plopped Baby V into the Thunderdome, made a cup of coffee. Baby V wails at being abandoned and confined. Her whining and outright screaming have become the soundtrack to my day. So, I picked her up and made coffee one handed. She twists and rotates when I hold her, makes as if to plunge headfirst to the ground. I let her crawl on the kitchen floor. She opened cabinets and took out Tupperware. Opened drawers and took out utensils. Dropped them all on the kitchen floor. I cleaned up Baby V’s mess on the kitchen floor and took her with me to the Thunderdome with my coffee. Baby V wailed angrily at being removed from the kitchen.
I tried to enjoy my coffee and wake up from a night spent half sleeping, half nursing. Baby V will sometimes entertain herself for short intervals. Usually, she will cruise over to me, exclaiming, "Wow!" (her first word and one she uses liberally) and try to get into my lap, grab my coffee, take my phone, grab the tubing on the breast pump, and generally keep me from ignoring her. Lately, I’ve been trying to pump my milk in the morning from my left breast because it is noticeably smaller than the right (call me "Biggie Smalls") and produces about half the milk of the right side. I’d also like to have a stockpile of frozen breastmilk, but it takes 5 days to get 2 ounces and I’ve been frustrated. Still, I’ve done it every day this week, so I’m proud of myself for sticking it out. Baby V finds it fascinating to see "Num nums" squeezed into a cone attached to a bottle and so exclaims "Wow!" and grabby grab grabs.
Since it was St. Patty’s Day and Baby V is… hmmm, let’s see. My dad is 1/2 Irish, 1/4 Scottish and 1/4 German. My mom is 1/2 Irish, 1/2 Hungarian. That makes me 1/2 Irish, which I guess makes Baby V like a fourth. Irish enough to put on a four leaf clover t-shirt that reads "Luck" and pose with a can of Guinness for photos.
(Don’t worry, it isn’t open)
Time for breakfast! Guinness won’t do, so I mixed some stored breastmilk with rice cereal, opened a jar of pears and strapped Baby V into the high chair. She gets a handful of Cheerios, which she mostly scoops into her lap. The Dog is most grateful at the end of every meal.
After breakfast it’s a diaper change (and a repeat of the flipping, climbing, grabbing, crying behavior of every diaper change), and usually I change her out of her jammies at this point. Then we go back to the Thunderdome, or I strap her into her rocking chair while I shower.
Three hours after she wakes up, it’s time for her morning nap. Last summer, we had friends visit from Seattle with their 9 month old. The mommy emailed to say that the baby takes a nap at 9:00 a.m. and inquired about our sleeping arrangements. I remember responding, "9 a.m.?! What time does he wake up?!" Now I see that 9 a.m. is a very reasonable and common nap time. Baby V will nap at 9 if she wakes up at 6, but lately she’s been waking up between 7 and 8, so naps are between 10 and 11.
I look forward to this time. She still naps in my arms because I never broke this habit when she was a baby.
So, picture this, only she’s about 1/3 bigger.
When she’s fast asleep, I can watch tv at a low volume, look at Facebook on my Blackberry (although it’s lavender, so it’s really more a Purpleberry), or text with my sister. I often anticipate with joy the 2 hours of time I have to watch some saved shows. Fridays are the best because Thursday’s shows are my favorite ("30 Rock", "Survivor", "The Mentalist", "Celebrity Rehab"). I’ll be honest, I often take some Vicodin during this time too. I have lingering moderate to severe back and hip pain from my pregnancy. Depending on the day, and how bad the pain is, I will take one to one and a half tablets. Usually only one. If I take more, I get sleepy right as Baby V is waking up and that is no good at all. Sitting in one position while my baby sleeps can sometimes exacerbate my pain. Most days I don’t need to take it. The experience of watching some favorite shows while my baby naps is enhanced by having my pain relieved.
Baby V wakes up from her morning nap in a delightful mood. She often wakes up disoriented, but smiles very soon after. On this day, we went to the library. I would like to be better about taking her out every day, even if only to the grocery store. It’s something I’m working on. She used to nap a second time about 3 hours after waking from the first, but she rarely does anymore. She wants to try to nap around 6 p.m. lately, which means up until 11, so I don’t let her. I keep her up until 7 or 8 instead.
At the library, my daughter played with their toys, crawled around, said "Wow!" a lot, and pulled books off of shelves. I have to admit, this is mostly boring. Send me to Stay at Home Mom reform school.
It’s a relief when Odie gets home from work. I just want to go "HERE!" thrust V at him and run for some solitude. He, however, just wants a little solitude of his own after a long day of work. He isn’t thrilled to come home to what he once or twice referred to as "his second job." I only have the one job, but I really get very little time off. For example, now, as I try to finish this blog for the 5th time this week, Baby V is SCREAMING her head off. She isn’t crying. She’s SCREAMING. She doesn’t want me to do this. She wants my attention. Odie and I could easily get into some very nasty arguments about who has it harder, but no one really wins. Someday, when watching her doesn’t just involve listening to her scream for me, I think he will look forward to his time with her.