Thursday, August 20, 2009

I Am a Domestic Goddess!

When the Pookie was about 5 weeks old, my husband and my SIL asked me how I was doing within days of each other. Actually, my SIL asked if I was looking forward to going back to work and that lead to how I was doing. I didn't have a firm answer for either of them. How was I doing? I was getting by. I was in survival mode. I was healing, taking care of the newborn and trying to make sure that the toddler was being adequately taken care of either by me or others (mostly others). Mentally (which was the true intent of their questions)? I couldn't even figure that out myself, let alone tell anyone else.

I truly was in survival mode. I was living in a gray fog, waiting for that 6-8 week postpartum point. This gray fog was nothing compared to my rough winter and pregnancy. I wasn't depressed or feeling constantly miserable. It was more just that I couldn't think straight or feel straight. Survival Mode. If you've ever been in that mode, you know what I'm talking about. I knew that by 8 weeks, things should be better to some degree.

What I wasn't prepared for was just how much better everything would be by 8 weeks postpartum. In my seventh week postpartum, my good friend came to stay the week with us to help with the kids and to visit with me. I am sure that her visit was essential to my mental healing. There is just nothing like spending good, quality time with a close friend, chatting about everything, laughing over the good and the bad, knowing there is someone there for you who understands (besides your partner, who is going through it all with you and in survival mode, too). And she was such a help with the Pookie and the Pumpkin, which enabled me to take care of myself a little more.

After she left (boo hoo!), the Pookie turned 8 weeks old. And my world changed. He was through a growth spurt and just at the tale end of a fussy period. My body, though not perfect, was really healing up well from the c-section. Mentally, I was feeling like I was doing pretty well. It was like the fog cleared up. It was like I finally had made it out of a year long series of fogs, and I was finally starting to feel like myself again. Really, truly myself. My Summer Self.

I finally started to clean up the spots in the house that had gathered up piles of stuff that neither Londo or I could get to while in survival mode (I was able to start this while my friend watched the baby). I finally made personal business calls to the insurance companies and doctors and whoever else I'd had on hold until I could think straight again. I brought the Pookie into my office and visited with my coworkers. I got the laundry and dishes under control. I put away the clothes the kids had outgrown and put out the ones that will fit (including the new ones bought while outlet shopping with my friend while she was in town). I've gotten back into rearranging the rooms on our main floor to work for our lives now. (I packed up almost all the china and breakables that were in our dining room and front room, and I was putting up more breakables from the hutch so that the space in the hutch can now be used to house Playdoh and other kids stuff. It just doesn't make sense to have a formal dining room when we have young kids and need the space for their stuff, or to have a formal "parlor" in our front room when we have a gazillion books removed from what is now the Pumpkin's big girl room and need to store them somewhere; so the parlor will become the library as soon as we can afford to buy some shelves or find some for free somewhere.)

But it doesn't end there. Not only have I been cleaning and rearranging, I've started baking and cooking again! I think Londo forgot I that I used to love to cook and did it pretty frequently. I think he forgot I even knew how! For the last year, Londo has done almost all of the cooking. Between my 6 months of pregnancy nausea, winter and pregnancy full of exhaustion and the year long fog, I just couldn't handle any part of cooking--from figuring out what to make to shopping for the food to actually cooking. Over the last few weeks, I've baked quite a few things and made 3 or 4 dinners.

Last Sunday morning, I had approved Londo's plans to go out and do some fun things with my dad. We had a rough night, with the toddler awake in the night and early morning. Londo was ready to scrap the plans, as he was concerned about leaving me alone for hours with the two kids after a rough night and morning. I talked him into going, and he finally did. And you know what? I did great with the two kids!

It takes 2 hours for me to get the toddler, baby and myself fed breakfast and ready in our Sunday finest to go out of the house. I had smartly planned on it taking 2 hours, so we weren't rushed and were able to get out the door without any meltdowns! Not even one from me! We made it to church on time, where I dropped the Pumpkin off in the childcare room (hurray for the babysitters and the playroom there!) and put the Pookie in my sling, where he slept for the next hour+. My mom and grandma met me there, and we enjoyed a lovely service. After the service, my mom helped us to our car and we drove back to her house. Londo and my dad met us there, and we all had a nice lunch. I really only had the two kids by myself for just over 2 hours, but I was so proud that I handled it fine. No, great!

Later that day, I did dishes and grocery shopping. That evening, I made baked citrus fish, garlic butter asparagus and couscous (from a mix, but still) for dinner, with lemon squares for desert. The Pumpkin helped me do the dishes and make the couscous and lemon squares. I felt so accomplished!

So the next morning, when my nanny called in sick, I was ready to try a full day of caring for both children on my own! We had no real plans or time table. I thought we'd try going to the playground that the nanny usually takes the Pumpkin to, even though it was across the neighborhood. It was going to be a hot day so I had hoped to start out early, but we didn't make it out of the house until after 10 (it took 2 hours to get fed and dressed to go out of the house). The morning was pretty smooth. The Pumpkin requested pancakes for breakfast, and I happened to have a couple still in the freezer from the last time I made them. The Pookie slept in the swing during the morning, so the Pumpkin and I were able to get ready for the day without my having to juggle him... mostly.

I got both kids in the Baby Jogger City Mini double stroller (I love this thing!), and we started off! Unfortunately, it was already REALLY hot out. The Pumpkin was doing fine with her water and goldfish, singing songs with me. The Pookie, however, started fussing but wasn't appeased with a pacifier or a toy shaking in front of him or his sister singing. Then the fussing became real crying.

But we made it to the playground. No one else was there. The Pumpkin is a complete extrovert and doesn't seem to have much fun lately if no one else is at the playground. She went down each slide once, but then was bored. I couldn't run around with her, because I was holding and bouncing the still crying Pookie. It was hot, and there was not enough shade. I was still doing alright though, so I thought we'd try the swing set just a block away where there might be kids, there would definitely be shade, and I wouldn't have to worry about the Pumpkin running off (I sit her in the confined infant swing).

There was shade, but no other kids. There was no good place to nurse the Pookie, either, and he was still totally crying. It was only getting hotter. So we were done. I put the Pumpkin back in the stroller, and I put the Pookie in sling. And get this: I nursed him in the sling! I figured out how to do it, and I was able to drape my shirt around him so that no one could see anything. So I nursed the Pookie in the sling the whole way home while I pushed the Pumpkin. Everyone was now happy, although still hot and tired. And I thought to myself, I know what I'm calling the post I'm writing about this!*

After we got back, I got everyone fed, colored with the Pumpkin, got the Pookie to sleep in his swing and laid down in the Pumpkin's bed with her to try to get her to nap. (She didn't, of course, because she doesn't nap for me or Londo. But we did have a nice quiet time resting for a bit.) Then we watched some TV shows while resting on the couch and played Playdoh. It was a good day, made possible by my pre-schooler who is able to understand more directions and loves to help and my infant who I'm able to put down and sometimes sleeps for big chunks of time without being held.

Not only am I feeling like myself again, I'm feeling like myself able to handle two kids! I'm feeling like a mom of two. Who is able to cook, clean, grocery shop and do laundry. Who is reorganizing the house to work for the whole family. Who is making doctor appointments, dealing with insurance companies and getting ready to go back to work. Who is even spending time in the evenings with her husband after the kids go to sleep!

A woman who is a domestic goddess!!!!

Just don't ask me how my Tuesday, Wednesday or this morning went. Turns out, I'm less of a goddess when I don't get good sleep. hehe.

*Perhaps the walk wasn't the best idea just yet. My incision and all my ab muscles have been incredibly sore, getting worse each day I do my normal activity. I realized yesterday that I need to take it extremely easy for a few days, including not picking up the Pumpkin and using my hands to get myself up from a prone position. Umm, right. I had major abdominal surgery 9 weeks ago. I'm still recovering. Oops!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Deliberate Smiles

Yesterday morning, sometime in the six o'clock hour, the Pookie had woken up but wasn't falling back asleep. I had changed his poopy diaper and he had nursed. Although he wasn't really fussing, he wasn't drifting off back to sleep while lying on my arm in bed next to me.

Instead, he looked up at me with his big, round, dark blue eyes. He looked up at me two or three times, while I looked down at him and then pretended to close my eyes. Then, he smiled at me. A big, full-mouthed, toothless smile! I couldn't help but smile back. He glanced down, back up again and smiled again! I couldn't help it, I totally laughed.

The Pookie has always been a smiley baby, since maybe his 2nd or 3rd week when he first smiled. But in the last week or so, he has started smiling on purpose. I can absolutely tell the difference, and I'm sure he is deliberately smiling. Of course, we smile right back.

In fact, yesterday afternoon, we were smiling back and forth at each other and I started laughing again because it was soooooo cute and sweet. And he? Started laughing back! This adorable little giggle, which he repeated another couple of times. I tried to get the camera to capture it on video, but the camera distracted him and he stopped laughing and smiling in order to examine the camera aimed at him. But it was a wonderful moment for me.

Moments like these are why I went through the last year.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Question of the Week - You Know You Are a Parent When...

The bathroom I usually wear is definitely a Mom Bathrobe. It's very soft, fluffy and a lovely shade of green. It also has spit up, leaked milk, a bit of toothpaste and a Wubbzy sticker stuck on it. And you know what? I don't even care! I wear it around the house in the mornings while juggling both kids and in the evenings when trying to get at least one of the kids to bed (usually it's the Pookie, since needs me to nurse him and bounce him to sleep right about the same time the Pumpkin is going to sleep).

It just struck me yesterday morning that this bathrobe had become a Mom Bathrobe. Now, this is the bathrobe I bought cheap at Target when I was pregnant with the Pumpkin. I actually bought it to bring into the hospital with me so that I wouldn't ruin my nice white bathrobe (which is still pretty nice and only worn when the kids are asleep or not around me). So it was bought with the purpose of being a Mom Bathrobe. But it definitely makes me feel like a full-fledged Parent (notice that is with a capital P).

Someday, I'll pull back out the bathrobe that Londo gave me many Christmases ago. The black velor bathrobe with fake fur trim. But that bathrobe isn't for me as a parent. It's for me as a sexy woman and wife. For now, I'm a mom of young children. I've got a nursing infant who is going to spit up on me. I've got an exuberant toddler who is going to put stickers on me. While the Mom Bathrobe doesn't make me feel sexy, it does keep me warm when I'm with the kids in my pajamas. And Londo still finds what's underneath sexy, so I've got that going for me. Which is nice...*

So this week's question of the week is:

What item do you own that makes you feel like you are definitely a parent?

*Can anyone name that movie? The quote starts with the "so I've got..." It's one of my favorite quotes, and I love it when other people use it too!