Friday, July 27, 2012

Irrational Thinking

Note: This blog was started on Wednesday, July 25.  It takes a while to get two hands on a keyboard these days. 

Every once in a while Every day, I cry.  Sometimes its happy tears, but lately the tears have been tired, at-my-wits-end-tears.  Today Emerson and I cried together. 

This morning on our stankin' hot run, I ran out of things to try.  A 4 mile run at 7am without a baby is much different than a 4 mile run at 9am with a jogging stroller for many reasons.  But neither of us was crying because of how hot it was or how hard the run was.  

Emerson was crying because she's still new to this world and is trying to figure out how to live.  I was crying because I'm still trying to figure out how to live with her.  

Right now, we are living each day hour by hour.  We are still figuring out which hour she will want to eat, sleep, poop, and sometimes just cry.  And just when we think we are in a routine, she proves us wrong.  We haven't slept in three days--I'm talking naps, nighttime, nothing.  This lack of sleep causes me to think irrationally.  

At 3am, my wide awake little girl looks less like my sweet cutie and more like an alien.  I honestly don't recognize her.  It may be the lack of lights and my lack of sleep, but I have had moments where I look at her, wide-eyed, and think this is not my baby.  My baby eats well, sleeps, and wakes up happy.  This alien baby who is awake at 3am is not mine.  (I also swaddle her tightly, causing her to resemble a torpedo, not a baby)

My irrational thoughts extend into real life, causing me to question my worth as a person if I can't take a shower, if my friends even like me, and if sometimes my baby has it out to get me.  

Lately, here's what has been on my mind:

1.  The government should take measures to warn against driving with a baby.  Much like the DNT TXT N DRV mission that they are on, there should also be a DNT DRV W A SCRMN BB. Or, don't drive with a screamin' baby.  If you thought looking at your phone for 5 seconds whilst sitting at a red light was distracting you from your duty as a responsible driver, try driving for 15 minutes with a baby who is screaming and choking and hollering from the backseat, just out of arms reach for you to soothe her.  That deserves our government dollars, ya'll.  Now I know why some women tell me that they didn't leave their house for 8 weeks.  

2.  Baby poop really doesn't stink.  This is a thought addendum to a previous statement where I said: Whoever said that the poopy diapers of infants smell sweet was lying.  In retrospect, I hadn't been a mom long enough to come to a conclusive answer.  Now that I'm a whole two months in, I feel sure that I can positively say that baby poop does not stink.  My mom nose has come on full force and baby poop smells like sweet bread.  No lie.  And, have I mentioned I'm not sleeping and losing my mind? 

3.  Cracked nipples aren't all they are cracked up to be.  

4.  There is a very big difference between pregnancy-brain and new-mommy-brain.  Pregnancy-brain was a bit muddled and unclear.  New-mommy-brain is a beast because you have to actually function and think semi-rationally through the muddled and unclear brain you developed during pregnancy, plus you have about 5 less hours of sleep.  The milk doesn't go in the pantry and the used nursing pads don't go in the refrigerator.  

My tired, irrational mind has brought me to tears an embarrassing amount of times.  I have to talk myself off the cliff a lot: its okay if I don't get to shower every day.  My friends do really love me, they are just busy.  And my baby doesn't know she's hurting my feelings when she won't sleep or eat.  

Sometimes I have to call in reinforcements to talk me off the cliff.  If you have fielded one of these phone calls, thank you. 

I am very blessed to have a baby support staff in town.  My mom and my sisters have helped me almost every day since we brought Emerson home.  Sometimes one of them will just come over and sit with me so that I don't forget what it is like to talk to a human who talks back.  And my mom even gave me the best gift ever: a full night of sleep.  While waking up soaking wet from the neck down was not ideal, sleeping from 10:30pm-almost 8am was a great recharge.  

So, I'm determined to survive these first months of motherhood and will allow myself to cry when I need to, just like Emerson.  And just like any baby, there's always a solution that will dry up those tears.  We started that bad run crying together and we finished it like this: 

While she doesn't talk back, she's a pretty good running partner.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Alpha Monkey

I am a mom.  I grew a person inside of me and that person is now part of the world.  I made someone who will think for herself and walk and talk and be something.  And I'm still not sure how it all happened.

In the 7 weeks that I've had to figure it all out, I'm still living each hour by trial and error.  I still have to convince myself that standing up out of the chair while she is asleep is not going to cause her to scream now or hate me when she's 13 (she'll most likely do that regardless of how many times I stir her while she's sleeping).  When I'm frozen, breathless, by her crib, I have to remind myself that 1. She's surely not listening for me to breathe and 2. I do need to leave the room.  But there are a lot of unwarranted fears that come along with motherhood.  Many of them are concocted in my head.  Many of them come from what everyone else has to say about caring for a child.

In the 7 weeks that I've had to figure it all out, I've come across something that every mom struggles with, it seems.  For 7 weeks, I haven't been able to put it into words.  And then I ran across this blog from one of my favorites.  Alpha female monkeys.

A friend of mine had her baby one week after I had Emerson.  We have gotten to share the many joys and struggles of the beginning of motherhood.  We have also swapped advice or information on good products.  I will admit, however, that there was something inside of me that wanted to advise and warn her about all of the things to come in the week ahead (because I was a whole week ahead of her--duh!).  So, the alpha female monkey phenomenon happens to even the newest of us.

It does make me feel better to know that all of those seemingly normal women who smothered me with sage advice and backdoor comments are only acting out of instinct.  There was no physical way they could bite their tongues.  Something literally takes over their bodies and they must shove everyone out of the way to care for your child.  Give them a break--its natural.

But because you are wondering: Yes, my baby is getting plenty to eat and, actually, she's rather plump.  She's sleeping like a champion, so she's probably not tired.  In general, we keep a clean, dry diaper on that little bum at all times.  And, given the manly burps and farts that come out of her, I doubt she's got a horrible gas bubble sitting in her belly.  Babies sometimes just cry.

When my blogger friend says this, however, I think she may be taking it a bit too far.

All you have to do is gently, but firmly, hold their arm and whisper, "I know what you're trying to do. You're trying to steal my monkey baby. Don't bother though because, let me tell you something, I am the Alpha Female here so you need to back the hell off and go back to smelling your ass."

Personally, I just go for the silent nod and ignore.

But I do like to imagine these alpha female monkey women as gorillas instead of the cute, small monkeys that they really are.

Because my baby likes me more than gorillas.