I am lying in bed with a sleeping Spagett next to me, browsing the internet on my phone. More specifically, browsing my blog posts from when I was pregnant. And there is a picture of the very first positive piss test that eventually ended with... Spagett.
Though it's not readily apparent from my blog posts, I really do love the age Spagett is at now. I love everything about it except the early, and rude, wake ups: usually it's a kick to the face or the bladder, but on one particularly memorable occasion, I was sleeping with my boob out and he bit my nipple.
I love that Spagett can explore the world on his own now, that he can go after the things he wants, and move away from the things he doesn't like. I love seeing his curiosity, his willingness to explore. I love seeing the look on his face when he has cornered one of our cats and is moving in for the pat. I just love everything about it. I even love that he hates to be confined, he hates his playpen and his bouncer.
I love his excitement, his joy. I love the times when he does something that makes me laugh, and then he looks up at me and watches me laughing for a moment before he breaks into giggles himself.
And if I'm being totally honest, I even love the early morning wake ups, because when I open my eyes, there is Spagett to greet me with a giant smile.
It's an ongoing contest, the Sleep Olympics. Sid will get home from work at midnight, two AM, and fall asleep on the couch so that Spagett doesn't keep him up. I, however, am stuck in the bedroom with a baby who insists on waking to fuss every hour or so.
By morning, I want to just tear my hair out, scream and cry, and jump out a window. I AM TIRED. I AM SO FUCKING TIRED YOU WOULDN'T BELIEVE IT. The other day, I was so exhausted that I was SEEING THINGS. And I am supposed to care for an eight month old teething monster? Sure, I can do it, but not with any modicum of competence.
So in the mornings, Spagett decides he's up for the day at around 7:30, and I try to keep him occupied in the bedroom for as long as possible because I REALLY DON'T WANT TO GO DOWNSTAIRS AND SEE SID ASLEEP ON THE COUCH. It's like a slap in the face. It's jealousy just choking me to death: HE GETS TO SLEEP AND YOU DON'T, HA-FUCKING-HA, BITCH.
Every morning, without fail, Sid wakes when I bring Spagett downstairs, long enough to mumble about how TIRED he is, and then he goes upstairs and sleeps in the bed for another hour or two. Sometimes three. And then in the afternoon, he likes to take another nap before work.
So, it's the Sleep Olympics: he says, "oh, I'm so tired," and I say "oh, really? I was up all night with Spagett." And we apparently feel the need to one-up each other. Now, I'm not really trying to have one over on him, I just want him to ACKNOWLEDGE that I.don't.sleep. I don't nap. I don't get a few baby-free hours to waste in blissful slumber. LIKE CERTAIN PEOPLE...
And I don't even know how it happens, but even on Sid's days off, I'm the only one taking care of Spagett. The other day, he seriously complained about Spagett's diaper, and then left me to change it, wondering why I got angry, because HE WAS DOING SOMETHING ELSE. Well, goddamn it, so was I!
It wears me the hell down. Every day I feel like I come a little closer to my breaking point. Every day my temper gets a little bit shorter, my tongue a little sharper. And I hate it. I hate to see what this is doing to me. Don't get me wrong, I love Spagett, and I know it isn't his fault that he's teething and learning to get around, that he requires so much time and attention. I was ready for that, and I knew it wouldn't be all sunshine and roses. What I wasn't prepared for was Sid's lack of involvement: I was not prepared to raise Spagett like a single mother.
So, anyone who knows me knows... Starky aint a runner. Starky is kind of a big gallumphing landwhale. Starky is better suited to yoga, to deep breathing and stretching and slow movements.
Guess what? STARKY'S A RUNNER.
I always kind of envied people who ran, because, wow, does that take a lot of work. You have to build up your conditioning, and it's physically very taxing. And it is damn good for your heart! I wanted to do it! And I always chickened out, thinking it would be too hard, and I'd never be able to do it, and everyone would laugh at my big gallumphing, gasping self and think "what a damn landwhale."
And then I had Spagett. And I thought to myself, "if I can do that, I can do anything." Pregnancy and birth were the hardest thing I've ever done, physically and emotionally, and if I can get through that, anything else is small potatoes!
So last month, I started running a few days a week with Spagett in a jogging stroller, and Sid along for motivation. And yeah, I do really fucking suck at it, but I've already made improvement. When I started, I couldn't do a 1/4 mile without stopping, and now I can. I can go a little farther a little faster every time. I am making progress, I AM DOING THIS THING I ALWAYS THOUGHT I COULDN'T.
There are times when I don't know whether I should laugh, cry, or just shit my pants. Lately I've been having a lot of those times.
Spagett is still teething, and showing no signs of letting up any time soon. The dark circles under my eyes may well become permanent. Sid and I have been... well, to put it gently, we've hit one of those inevitable spots in a relationship where you are either going to kill each other with the fighting, or work through it and come out stronger. Which outcome we'll have remains to be seen.
We're both stressed out. I'm not sleeping well, he's working all the time, and when he's home, it's just nonstop whining and screaming from Spagett. There is not a moment's peace to be had here at Manson Homestead II. Ever. At any time of the day or night.
Spagett had his six month vaccinations on Friday, in the midst of cutting his second tooth, and having a growth spurt. Getting the shots was easy-peasy. He wailed for the second it took to administer the shot and that was it. It was the aftermath that almost killed me. He whined and fussed and cried from the moment he woke in the morning to the moment he fell asleep at night, and then he'd wake up every two hours and commence the fussing. He would barely nap. His guts were upset from the rotavirus vaccine, so he was spitting up nonstop and having diarrhea. He didn't want to eat his solids, and if he was on the breast, he'd unlatch every minute or so and just scream. It was hellish. Absolutely hellish.
And today he woke up full of smiles, he had a poop that was normal, and he has been napping for two hours now. It's like I've been given a different child. One that actually laughs when you tickle him instead of holding his breath or crying. One that sits on the floor and actually PLAYS WITH HIS TOYS instead of screaming.
Today was the first time in four days that I enjoyed my time with him.
We knew Spagett was teething, but it seemed like every time we checked his mouth, there was a new tooth lurking under the surface of his gums. First it was his canines, then his two upper front teeth, and then his two lower fronts. They're all perfectly content to just sit there, visible under the gums, and give him hell. SIX TEETH, OH MAH LAWD.
Well, one finally broke through today, and it's been cause for much celebration. FIVE MORE TO GO, HOLY SHIT, WE CAN DO THIS. And then someone had to go and piss in Sid's cornflakes and tell him that this is small potatoes, just wait until the baby gets his molars. To which I say: dude, why must you be such a twatwaffle?
So Spagett is still a grump, but we're getting through it as best we can. To add to the kid's misery, he has learned to sit up, and has mastered rolling over, and now he knows he can get mobile and that he's missing out on a bunch of stuff that he could get into if he could crawl. This poor kid has been desperately trying to get onto his hands and knees and go, and he just doesn't quite have the coordination, or the strength. He ends up scooting backward on his stomach every time.
I think it's hilarious, and have been encouraging him to practice at every opportunity. OH HAI, SPAGETT, I AM GOING TO LEAVE YOU HERE ON YOUR STOMACH IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FLOOR WITH YOUR TOYS JUST OUT OF REACH WHILE I GO DO SOMETHING ELSE FOR A MINUTE. Oh, the humanity! And when I come back, he's a foot away from where I left him, having scooted away from his toys, and now he's lying on his back and watching the ceiling fan. Oh, the HUMANITY!
Sid has not been working dependable hours: he works nights sometimes, he works days sometimes, and more and more frequently, he's been having to go in on his days off. So when he is home, it's understandable that he wants some time to relax and do what he likes.
The only problem with that is, that leaves me no time to relax and do what I like. When Sid's at work, I'm at home with Spagett. When Spagett is sleeping, I'm trying to do housework. When Sid's at home, I'm still with Spagett, still trying to snatch time for housework.
I am going to go crazy.
As I type this, Spagett is on his play mat beside me, freaking out. Not crying, just getting really pissy. And it is grating on my last damn nerve, but I so want this time to get this frustration out somewhere, because I feel like I could cry. I could just break down sobbing right now.
When we decided to have a baby, we had assumed, wrongly, that Sid would be home more. That everything would not be falling on me. Spagett comes with me to my goddamn therapy sessions, for fuck's sake, because Sid is never home to watch him for an hour or so. It's fucking ridiculous, and I don't know if I can keep doing this. I am losing my temper with Spagett more and more, and it's horrible of me, and I feel terrible for it. It just keeps snowballing.
Life has been hectic here at Manson Homestead the Second. Between Sid's crazy work schedule and taking care of Spagett, the only real down-time I've had in a while is using the toilet. Which, let's face it, is not really my idea of leisure time.
Spagett is four months old, and growing like a weed. He's been showing interest in solid food for almost a month now, and even though I hadn't planned on starting him on solids until about six months, he seemed ready so those plans went right out the window, like all plans any mother makes! Once a day, usually in the afternoon or early evening, he gets a solid: usually banana, applesauce or rice cereal. He's had avocados, and this week we'll be introducing butternut squash. As an aside, I'm making his food myself, not buying the jarred kind, and it's working out great.
While Spagett's been doing well, I've been struggling with anxiety. It has gotten progressively worse since his birth, and I kept thinking it would ease, but it doesn't. I worry about some pretty wackadoo shit, too. It's not like I'm your typical worrywart mother. No, I'm freaking out about things like the floor caving in when we're up on the second floor. Things like the house falling over and Spagett falling out a window or having a dresser fall onto him. Things that I know will never, ever happen. And yet I can't get the fear out of my head. Along with that are legitimate, but exaggerated fears as well. When we're out with Sid and we stop for gas, when Sid goes into the station to pay, I worry that someone is going to jack the car and drive off with me and Spagett. When I leave the house, even though there is no sign of a break-in, I become convinced someone has gotten into the house and is lurking in one of the closets. The other week there was a thunderstorm, and while I normally love a good thunderstorm, I was scared. The wind, the thunder, the sound of the rain... none of it comforted me as it used to. Instead, it dredged up terror. Since it's not going away like I thought it would, I am going to speak to my doctor. We'll see what she says.
In other news, the community pool opened up over the weekend, and I would be down there right now swimming if it weren't for Spagett. I want him to enjoy it, too! When he goes in for his four month checkup, I mean to ask his pediatrician about taking him in the pool. I have a swimsuit and a sunhat all ready for him, and all I need to buy is a swim diaper. But I have questions about the pool water, and sunscreen, and that kind of thing. Before I just dive headlong into things, I want to discuss it with someone who knows more than I do.
Oh, I almost forgot! Spagett has said his first words! He has been parroting us for weeks, very garbled and not-quite-words, but this was an unmistakable "I love you!" Unfortunately, I didn't catch it on video. He said it again, and I managed to capture that, but it isn't as clear as when he said it the first time. Everyone who's heard it agrees that he said "I love you" but you be the judge.
Spagett's sleeping habits have drastically improved, and now he wakes up every morning at around 5 am. He sleeps for three or four hour stretches (in his bassinet!), but it's inevitable that he'll wake between 4:30 and 6 am. This has become my favorite time of the morning.
On the days that Sid leaves for work early, I have the bed to myself then. Spagett will wake, and I'll change his diaper, feed him, and put him in the bed with me. I will lie there in the semi-darkness and stare at his sleeping face in wonderment: it is so hard to believe, still, that I am looking at my child. I close my eyes, just listen to him breathe, and in those moments there is no one else in all the world but us.
The days that Sid doesn't leave for work until the afternoon, I follow the routine and then put Spagett in the bed between us, and then I can't fall back asleep no matter how tired I am. I feel obligated to drink in those quiet, sleepy moments when father and son are sleeping side by side unawares, mirror images of partly open mouths and outflung limbs.
I have never in my life been a morning person, but I am glad to say that has changed.
Spagett's two month checkup was a few days ago, and besides the vaccinations, it went GREAT. We saw his usual pediatrician, who took one look at him and said, "there was a note in his chart about overfeeding, but I don't believe in fat babies. There's underweight and well fed. He's clearly growing well, so keep doing what you're doing."
Yes, as a matter of fact, my son's pediatrician is fabulous!
Sid took a month off from work after Spagett was born, and looking back, I don't even know why he did it. He spent most of his time playing video games or doing stuff on the computer. He wasn't taking care of the baby. I DID THAT. He wasn't the one sitting up all night with a vomiting infant. I DID THAT. He wasn't the one changing diapers. I DID THAT, unless I specifically told him "YOU change this diaper."
And it's frustrating, because since he didn't spend much time with Spagett during those first weeks, now he wonders why the poor kid will not be comforted by him or take a bottle from him, when I desperately need time away from the baby. He says "oh, Spagett hates me!" and I have to bite my tongue to keep from telling him that it's HIS fault for not spending more time with Spagett when he was first born. And anyway, babies usually like mom better anyway: they spent nine months inside her, after all, and she is the whole world to them. IT'S UNDERSTANDABLE THEY'D PREFER MOM, is all I'm saying. It doesn't mean they hate dad.
I ran myself ragged that first month, when Spagett was puking all the time, before I figured out he's got a soy sensitivity and cannot tolerate it when I eat large amounts of tomatoes (Yay boobfeeding! You are so convenient, and yet you make my life a misery!). There were a few times when I would get overwhelmed, going whole nights without sleep and having to wipe up vomit AGAIN, that I would break down crying. I admit there were also a few times when I actually yelled at Spagett to JUST STOP CRYING, STOP PUKING, GIVE ME A BREAK FOR FIVE FREAKING MINUTES, and Sid would finally step up and give me a much needed respite when those things happened.
Sid helped, don't get me wrong. He ran errands and did laundry and took care of the house while I spent that first awful month trying to keep our kid fed and clean. He helped with the cooking. He washed dishes. He came to doctor's appointments. He just didn't help all that much with Spagett.
I spend all my time with Spagett. 24-7 with the kid. And I don't mind, but sometimes I just need a freaking break. Sometimes I want to take a long, hot bath. Or take a shit without listening to the baby squalling in the other room. Sometimes I just want to sleep for a few hours without interruption (Spagett is a noisy sleeper, and I wake at every.fucking.sound he makes, but I don't want to move him into his own room because sometimes he pukes in his sleep and I'm afraid that he'll choke to death on it - there have been at least three times where he's choked on his puke and turned colors until I could clear his airway, scary shit). I get so jealous of Sid sometimes, because even though he's going to work and that's a whole other set of bullshit, he's getting a break from the baby.
Nights are the worst. Spagett sleeps for two or three hour stretches until 3 am, and then he wakes every hour after that. Sid sleeps through all of it. There are times where I'm struggling to stay awake for a feeding and Sid is just lying in the bed next to me, snoring away. And I'm always surprised at the ferocious anger that sweeps over me at those moments. Sometimes it is so bad, so unshakable, that after the feeding, I fall asleep and dream that I am yelling at him. Screaming at him until my throat is raw and I'm hoarse.
I know this will pass. And that someday, when Spagett is much older, I will look back on these days when he was so little and cuddly and downright adorable, and actually miss them. So even though all of this is so incredibly frustrating sometimes, I am doing everything I can to try and treasure these days, because they will never come again.
Spagett's vomiting never improved, even though I'd been told by a few nurses at the pediatrician's office that it was normal. And I reached my wit's end the night before last and took him in to see his pediatrician the next day. Well, he didn't see his regular doctor, who is a really nice, likable guy. We ended up with a woman who had a bad case of the Douchebags.
She starts off by informing me that Spagett is gaining too much weight. That obviously I feed him too much. Now, I am breastfeeding, and I thought the conventional wisdom said that you feed your baby on demand. The doctor never came out and said I should start starving my baby, but it was implied.
Next, she states that his vomiting is from overfeeding. Contrary to what she said, I recall reading and hearing from numerous sources that breastfed babies are the ultimate intuitive eaters: they do not typically stuff themselves to bursting. Again, the implied message that I need to start denying my son meals.
When she asked how often I feed him, I told her that I typically wait for him to get fussy and start showing signs of hunger, such as sucking his fists and rooting. Just then, Spagett started making a bit of noise, just typical baby grunts, and the pediatrician says (and I cannot adequately convey her contempt through type alone), "is this what you call fussing?" It took every bit of self restraint I had to keep from shouting, "NO, BITCH!"
She treated me like some dumb little girl. Like I was asking stupid questions and totally inconveniencing her. Never mind that I'd come to her for help, and was asking totally legitimate questions such as, "could this be a food allergy?" and "is this caused by any medication I'm on?" She blew off everything I said.
Unfortunately, I have to go back to see her tomorrow. If I end up having to make another appointment and come back again, I'm absolutely not seeing her. I'm not going to starve my child simply because someone thinks he's eating too much, and for her to expect me to do that is unacceptable to me. Not to mention, she's got a shitty bedside manner.
I'm a boring 31 year old living in SoMD with my husband, Sid, our son, Spagett, our two cats, Knut and Gee, and a shitbird called Yuki. Even though Sid is in the navy, I loathe and avoid the term "navy wife": I do not define myself or my marriage by my husband's military career.