27 February 2007

It Finally Happened

It finally happened. I fell while holding Otto. It wasn’t anything like I had feared. He was strapped into his car seat, there weren’t any stairs or vehicles involved, and no blood (his or mine) was shed. It did shake the shit out of me. I’m so glad it didn’t happen with my first. I was so nervous about everything with her, it might have sent me packing.

So there I was, a carefree second-time mother, entering Stella’s daycare via the forbidden old herringbone brick driveway (not on the required, level sidewalk). Out of nowhere, an unset brick grabbed my shoe and sent me in one direction and the shoe in another. Otto and his seat went on a third trajectory despite my valiant efforts to prevent such an event. I landed on the ground with a dirty palm and bruised knee and saw that Otto was there too, in his car seat on its side. He wailed, and I gathered him and my shoe as quickly as possible. When I got into the daycare I checked to see that all four of his limbs were moving independently and there wasn’t any blood. Then I handed him off to the daycare provider and washed my hands and caught my breath.

A friend fell on the stairs while her five week old was in the sling. She turned and broke the fall with her arm- which broke. It was the desired result, of course. I ran into her at a café with her cast and slinged baby. Stella was just starting to walk at the time, so her accident ruffled every fear I had. I realized it was actually possible for one of them to come true. Seeing her arm reminded me of the power of mothers to save their children from some harm, but also scared me to the core. As I was leaving her, she asked her male friend to crane her full breast out of her shirt for her baby to nurse. He had to use both hands to do it. Now that amazing sight- on a busy street- almost made the fear worth it.

21 February 2007

It's Only a Joke!

"Do you know what this is?"
"Brain Sucker."
"Do you know what it's doing?"

Stella and Otto, only 5 weeks into their sibling relations.

Celebrity Watch

Britney Spears shaved her head and checked into (and out of) rehab. I have no doubt about it. Her two kids are HOW close in age? And she went from famous kid with a kick-ass play life to divorcing mother. You can’t get out of being mother no matter how famous you are (unless you check into rehab, I guess). Britney’s youngest is right at the point where all of my luxurious pregnancy hair started falling out. That nearly threw me over the edge (without the second kid and crash into reality life). Our cleaning lady mentioned it, “Your hair is everywhere.” “I know, it’s all over the bathroom,” I said. “No, it’s all over the house!” she replied. I think she thought it was cancer. I wanted to shave my head every morning. I was a little less drastic and got a short mommy-do. But I considered it when I couldn’t shower and/or stand the sight of myself. Actually, I couldn’t stand the feel of myself- leaky breasts, sweaty pits, tangled, dirty hair. Shaving seemed the quickest way to sustained cleanliness and a sense of style. Yeah for Britney for doing what I was too weak (or sober) to manage.

I hope as I approach the next hair-falling out phase, I hope I will get through it drug-free. I also hope the pop star gets better soon.

17 February 2007

News and Confessions

He took it! He took it! Otto took milk from a bottle! It took us five days to get around to the big attempt, but he sucked it up without complaint. We were waiting for the “perfect opportunity,” a.k.a Stella not around and Otto hungry. We should know by now that perfect opportunities of any kind rarely present themselves. So finally we had a relaxed Friday night with my visiting father putting Stella to bed. Otto woke from a nap, and I sneaked off into hiding. Augusto presented him with the warmed milk and gave the thumbs up.

This victory means the Habitrail run is a little shorter and dinner and a movie or a professional massage are in my foreseeable future.

Other breaking news just in: Otto smiled and cooed repeated times today despite the fact or because I am a bad mother. This is the confession: Sometimes I put him to sleep on his stomach. He sleeps so much better on his stomach. Truly better, longer, quieter. I preach Back To Sleep to my patients and even use a logo-adorned official sleep sack. But Otto is loud and gassy and loves being on his belly. And I am full of excuses. If he’s not on his belly he grunts most of the night. He sleeps through it, but Augusto and I are kept awake. I figure I slept on my stomach because my mother was told if I slept on my back I would choke on my spit up and die. People thought hormone replacement therapy was safe. People thought caffeine in pregnancy was dangerous. Research can be refuted a decade later. And we don’t smoke or over bundle or do any of the other things that are associated with SIDS. So at 3 or 5 in the morning when I’ve had a little sleep and am therefore not sleeping so deeply the rest of the night, and when Otto is grunting loudly enough to wake the neighborhood, I just roll him over. Does it worry me? Of course. But I do it anyway.

12 February 2007

Pumping Gold

I pumped the liquid gold for the first time this morning. We’re in the 4 to 6 week-window for introducing the bottle, so we needed something to put in it. I was anxious because pumping for Stella was, at best, like bad scheduled sex. There was no romance and little reward for a bodily function so intimate and dependent on a delicate mix of hormones, timing, mindset and physical stimulation. I could pump four times in a day and get a grand total of 3 ounces. This time I am determined to get it going early so I can develop a fine relationship with the Passionate Sucker, (a.k.a Medela Pump-in-Style) and, more importantly, pack the freezer with the products of our love so I can go to work or- imagine! - a movie and leave Otto behind.

He is four weeks old today, and the honeymoon is over. Two weeks ago I told a friend how much better it was with the second child. I told her that I didn’t have that postpartum sense of doom that my life was over. My former life ended with the first child, so there was nothing left to lose. What a relief! This theory still holds true, but I have the other doom that I had forgotten: The Hamster Wheel Effect. Any mother knows it- and then forgets it so that she has a small chance of wanting to have more children. Nurse. Burp. Change. Soothe. Nurse. Burp. Change. Soothe. Pretend to go to bed at night. Nurse. Burp. Change. Soothe. It’s a prison. I’m just grateful I have a husband who is helpful when he’s around, a freezer stocked with food from good friends, and a predictable post-milk smile from this little guy.

Tonight Augusto will try to give my ounce and a half to Otto and thus give me speck of light at the end of my Habitrail.