Saturday, September 29, 2012

4 months already

My friend DaTo rode into town last weekend and stayed through Thursday morning. He was an easy guest. I enjoy his energy and low-key company, and Little Man really seemed to take to him. 15 years ago we were a couple -- today we are good friends. It doesn't make sense to me that people fall in love and later break up and never have anything to do with each other again. Relationships change -- this is inevitable -- but if we really love someone, what we love about them doesn't change. That is why I think it is important to be grown-ups and find a way to let go of the past romantic relationship and grow a new one that works in the new circumstances. It is how I maintain a rich life full of love and connection that spans decades and continents. I am fortunate that my partner, M, has known me so long that he is (mostly) comfortable with these apparently unusual circumstances. He's met most of my previous partners because I'm fortunate to still be close with most of them, and so far he hasn't objected to anyone. I'm hoping that as we raise Little Man he will follow in my footsteps with regards to forming relationships and maintaining them through their various iterations. I think he'll be a happier, more connected individual as a result.

This weekend is going to be a flurry of activity. We're taking advantage of the Smithsonian Free Museum Day to visit CuriOdyssey, which is just a mile or so from our house. I think I'll be bringing Little Man there quite a lot over the upcoming years. We'll also be visiting an open house on a house for sale a few blocks from us. We've recently had our home appraised for refinancing, and it's come back far better than we anticipated -- this home for sale is 300 sq feet smaller than ours, has had similar renovations, and is for sale at $50k more than we bought ours for last year. If it sells as fast as the other houses in our area have been, we'll feel pretty good about our decision to buy this place, as well as the price we paid for it.

We're also having the old fences taken down and a new one installed starting on Monday, which means I need to find time to trim back the plantings along the property line in order to make sure the fencers have access and to minimize damage to the landscaping. The fence will be redwood in the board-on-board good neighbor style with a foot of square lattice on top. It will pull together the Mediterr-Asian style we've been creating for the house and grounds. Last weekend we removed the ivy that had over-grown about 50 feet of fence. It revealed a lot of damage to the fence, so we're hoping that the neighbors will agree not to allow ivy to grow on the fence any more.  It's difficult to communicate this because they are a Mandarin-speaking older couple and their son isn't around very often for translating. But we'll work it out.

Once the fence is completed and water-sealed, we're pretty much done with updates to the house for the year.  We'll start the hunt for a japanese maple as an anchor plant for the back yard, and then that's it until Spring, I think.

Meanwhile, Little Man is growing like mad. We've got his 4 month check up next week, and I'll find out how much he weighs and how long he is at that time.  I figure he's at least 15 pounds and 24 inches now. He had a persistent diaper rash that didn't respond to the typical ointments, so we switched to an anti-fungal and it's mostly cleared up.  I think he's starting to teethe as he's using people's fingers as chew toys and he's drooling a lot. He's falling asleep around 9pm and waking for a short feeding break around 1am, then sleeping until 5am-ish. I try to take a nap with him in the afternoon so I'm not feeling sleep deprived.

I'm still struggling with feelings of inadequacy with regards to taking care of the housework and the baby. I'm also trying to take an online class, because I don't want my brain getting any mushier. I'm still lactating so I'm still subject to hormonally-influenced emotional swings, which makes things difficult for me and M, both. I find myself taking things personally that I normally don't, and getting irritable very easily. Ah well.  I'm doing my best to be ok with it, knowing that this, too, shall pass.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Today's one of those PJ days

It's official: I'm one of those new moms who spends the entire day wearing pajamas at least once a week. I do get to shower at least every other day though, and now that the Little Man can hold his head up and he's tall enough to be in his walker, I get to brush my teeth all in one go every day.

I'm extremely fortunate that Little Man is an easy baby. I'm hoping we will continue to be so, but I'm not counting on it. He wakes up all smiles in the morning and he's mostly a fuss-free baby for the rest of the day. That said, he's prone to what I call power-naps (under 30 mins) and is very alert and talkative, so I don't get much opportunity to nap during the day. However, I'm able to get a 4 to 5 hour stretch of uninterrupted sleep each night, which is a blessing.

I'm still pumping milk every 3.5 to 4 hours (except for that 5 hour stretch at night) and Little Man is still downing nearly 30 ounces of milk each day. Every once in a while I have to open a bottle of formula, but mostly, my supply is keeping up with his demand. I'm actually grateful that he isn't nursing. I miss the intimacy of it, but bottle-feeding is pretty convenient in that 1) someone else can spot me in feeding the baby on occasion, 2) I'm not getting mastitis and Little Man isn't getting thrush and 3) bottle-feeding takes less time than breast-feeding. Little Man didn't like my low-flow nipples -- he wanted his milk NOW -- which is why he refused to transition back to my breast. He'll down 4 ounces of milk in under 10 minutes, rather than 45 minutes, which means we both get to sleep sooner and I am not sore from having to hold him to my breast. Pumping is taking 5 to 10 minutes, and I'd still be pumping even if I he was on the tit, so, really, I'm getting back 30 minutes of my life 5 or 6 times a day. That's three hours. That's an eternity in new-mommy time.

What else?  The quest to start baby-proofing has begun now that little man is starting to squirm around on his belly. The first thing to tackle is the home entertainment unit.  I've had nightmares about the baby teething on the wires and drooling into all those electronics with their pretty lights. After months of searching I found a TV console that will hold the DVR, the PS3, the Wii, the Nintendo, the home theater PC, the gigabit switch, the Denon receiver, and all associated handsets and remotes. It's supposed to be delivered next week, as is the new Klipsch speaker that will just fit into the cabinet drawer specially designed to house center channel speakers. I'm looking forward to all the wires disappearing.  I've worked hard at ignoring them for over a year now. The irony is that we have a data closet with a NAS server and all the equipment for the internet and TV services in it, and we completely wired the house with ethernet, cable, and TV in every room -- but we've still got wires everywhere in the family room. Go figure ;)

We're in the process of re-financing the house because rates have dropped so low. It's a bit of a hassle, but a point is a point and that adds up to tens of thousands of dollars over the long run. The good news is that the house was appraised at 15% higher than what we bought it for 18 months ago, so we've gotten great value for all of the improvements we've done. We've got just one more. We're replacing the 30+ year old perimeter fence next month and then we're done for a while. M promised :)

The GERD situation is slowly improving. The upper GI test didn't show anything unusual other than slower-than-usual movement through the esophagus due to edema -- the stomach acid has caused a fair amount of irritation and swelling. It's still weird to me that I didn't experience heartburn during the pregnancy but I'm getting it now.  All that weird post-pregnancy body-change stuff.

It looks like the little guy is waking up from his nap, so it's time to end this post. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I made it through 3 months!

M and I finally got our romantic dinner together last night. Fourth try was a charm :) M's father and sister watched over the Little Man while we ate dinner just a few blocks from home. We dined at The Melting Pot, and this time we ate with enough moderation to get to the chocolate fondue course with room to eat some of it. It was a leisurely two hour meal that reminded me how much I enjoy his company. For all that we are so different, we complement each other. He thanked me for giving him a son. I told him he was the only man I could imagine having a child with. It was a good night.

Little Man is three months old now. He's been a lot of fun for his grandfather and aunt, and a very easy baby. Normally he's very alert for long periods of time interspersed with occasional power-naps, but he's going through a growth spurt -- eating often and sleeping for 3 or 4 hours at a time -- so he's easier than usual. And he's such a happy little guy. Grinning and talking (when he's not grumping about having gas), making eye contact, and playing with his toys. He's flipped himself over onto his back as of yesterday, which surprised everyone, including himself.

The weather has been gorgeous here, perfect really. Blue skies, warm days, cool afternoon breezes. I generally spend most of the afternoon outside with Little Man, gathering peaches and tomatoes, monitoring the growth of the summer squash and cucumber, playing with the baby, and listening to audio books. It's a comfortable life, for the most part. M earns good money and provides well or us, and in exchange, I take very good care of us all. Being a stay-at-home mom is very different from the "kept woman" we used to joke about me being, but I can't complain. It's not a life or role I'd ever envisioned myself in, but it is working out. And perhaps that is the key -- I didn't have my heart set on things being a certain way, looking a certain way, etc, so I'm able to go with the flow of What It Is with little friction or disappointment.

The heartburn / acid reflux / GERD situation seems to be improving, though it's a bit early to be certain. I'm still struggling to keep my food intake up, especially protein, and I really notice it in my energy level some days. Humping all 14# of Little Man around, plus pumping breast-milk every 3 to 4 hours, trying to keep up with the housework and coordinating with 5 neighbors to get the fence around our property re-done is wearing me down. And I am pretty sure that is nutritional, because I'm rarely easily worn-out. But apparently all this is pretty normal for new moms. I'll get the hang of it.

Interestingly enough, my PCOS symptoms seem to be abating. I think that the prolonged changes in my hormonal balance due to pregnancy and lactation is over-riding / interrupting that awful cycle of androgen and testosterone generation. It's certainly made weight-loss much easier (read: normal), which itself helps reduce the excess hormones floating around.