or week, rather, it’s been here in BusyLand.

  • Last night we left the house without any diapers in the diaper bag.*
  • We have plenty of sandwich fixings and no bread.
  • We have almost no gas in the car.**
  • We’re so out of toothpaste that we finished up our old tube and are now on our second travel-size tube.
  • We’ve had a commitment every night this week
  • One of my friends felt pity on us while she was watching the Pea for a few hours and washed our dishes and cleaned our counters because she felt sorry for us. And I love her and am so thankful for her. But, oh thank God that that morning I had frantically removed the disgusting from cleaned the bathroom counter, because, oh I could not bear the shame if my dear wonderful friend had decided to do that for us as well.
  • We haven’t eaten dinner at home for 15 straight days AND COUNTING.***
  • Taylor and I are tired, busy, stressed and on very short fuses with each other. But we’re also pretty quick at apologizing and asking for forgiveness.
  • We’re working on forbearing one another.
  • We’re trying to maintain the bare minimum of clean.****
  • We’re kind of excited about the three-day weekend, but we’ve got early morning commitments for the first two days and will probably make a trip up to see his family on Monday because we haven’t been up there since the last 3-day weekend (July 4).

But all we really want is one whole day (I’ll settle for a few hours, even) to sit around our apartment and be a family.

Maybe sometime in November. I’ll keep you posted.






*Fortunately, we were going to the house of a baby that is 3 weeks younger than the Pea and had all the baby things she could ever want.
**Or washer fluid, but that’s status quo for us.
***This is not because we’re all “I don’t want to cook, let’s go out! Tra La!” — it’s because we’ve had friends or family to see or have to get somewhere fast and don’t have time to cook and eat.
****Thank goodness the Pea isn’t crawling yet, or she’d have eaten her weight in dust bunnies and old food crumbs.

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Ladies and gentlemen, we have returned to the world of the wheat-eating.  This past weekend I had pizza (twice!), two cheeseburgers, a sandwich on whole-wheat bread, and a little bit of cake.  Yum!’

We’re still egg-free, which cuts down on the pastry/dessert segment of my diet, but who knew sandwiches could be so delicious.

Woohoo!

Classes start this week at our venerable university and, as usual, it brings with it a whirlwind of activity — faculty meetings, lots of deadlines and an interruption every other minute.  Last night, I couldn’t fall asleep because my brain and body were both nearly twitching as I went over all the things I needed to do that hadn’t even made it onto my to-do lists.

The start of this semester brings something new along with it: juggling the Pea’s schedule along with mine and Taylor’s.  Taylor will be teaching an 8 a.m. class and dashing home in time for me to be in my office by 9 a.m.  He’ll also be teaching some on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, from about 2 until 6:30 p.m.  The plan is for my parents to take her during those times.  I get off of work at 5:30 p.m. and on most T/TH, I’ll wait for Taylor to be done and we’ll drive over to my parents’ house to pick up the Pea.

What I’m finding harder than juggling the schedule is juggling my brain space.  I’ve had to carve out a whole new section of brain space for the Pea’s care and well-being.  This includes researching baby food, checking out her health issues, researching and pricing toys and then trying to find them on Craigslist, trying to figure out when she last pooped, trying to figure out what she’ll need in a few months, wondering whether I can actually make baby food for her at home, making sure her diaper bag is packed and just loving and missing her.  This also compounds the brain space previously devoted to household maintenance — what needs to be cleaned next,  what groceries need buying, what’s on sale where, do I have a coupon for whatever needs buying, what will we eat for dinner this week, what will I eat for dinner that is wheat and egg-free, what will I eat for lunch, when do we have time to go to the grocery store…  And then there are friends having babies and I want to be there for them, I want to buy a gift, send a card, bring them a meal, spend a few hours helping them out.

The summer was easy.  I could easily leave my office at the end of the day and feel like things were well under control.  Our weeknights and weekends were relaxed and unscheduled and the sun shone brightly right up until the Pea’s bedtime.  These days I feel like I could work an extra 2 hours each day and still not be on top of things.  I can barely find the 15 minutes it takes to pump milk for my Pea during the day.  Our weeknight and weekend schedules are filling up fast and it feels as if Taylor and I will hardly get a moment together.

When I was younger, I never imagined myself as a working mother.  I envisioned myself at the playground, baking cookies, doing the shopping, packing my husband’s lunch, cooking special dinners for my kids, organizing play dates with my girlfriends and their babies and generally providing for my family that way.  And our plan is still for me to do that — just not yet.  And that’s okay. Because there are all the good ways that God’s provided for us.  I have a secure job that I enjoy that pays okay and provides good health insurance for all three of us. We live a 3-minute walk from my office and spend an hour at home with the Pea for lunch.  We save a lot of money by living so close.  My husband takes wonderful care of the Pea and has been able to find time to work on his music besides.  My parents are eager to care for the Pea when we need them to and are only 20 minutes away.  She’s happy, she’s healthy and she’s so cute.

But that doesn’t mean that this transition into the fall semester isn’t overwhelming.  I hope that by November we’ll have hit our stride.

“Look at all that hair!”

“She’s such a doll baby!”

“She is the cutest baby I’ve ever seen.”

I’m really not kidding when I say that those three phrases in that order are what most people say to me upon seeing the Pea.  I smile and try to get off a “thank you” as demurely as possible, but secretly go into the back room of my heart and do a little jig as I find more evidence that this kid is, in fact, uncommonly gorgeous.  Having been cautioned that most parents think their child is the most amazing thing to grace the planet, I’ve tried to temper my enthusiasm at the Pea’s giant brown eyes and dark curly locks when talking to people outside my immediate family.  But slowly, with each interaction with random strangers on the street and in the grocery store, I am slowly losing my inhibition and will soon shout from the rooftops that yes! indeed!  it has been confirmed through an unscientific survey of random strangers that my! child! is the Cutest Baby Ever.

And then, cautious mother that I am, I whisper to the Pea that I love her because she is my daughter and that she is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside.

Since this is my very own personal corner of the internet, may I just say, in very small type, so as not to seem a braggart, that I now weigh 4 pounds less than I did before I got pregnant?  I fit into all my pants and am even one hole back in my belt.  This wheat-free/breastfeeding combo is certainly working for my waistline! (Though not necessarily for my tastebuds.)

[twirl]

I’ve had friends who have had trouble with breastfeeding. It’s not the easiest thing to do and it certainly isn’t instinctual.  The Pea and I didn’t have trouble once we got going.  (Though we weren’t reunited after her birth for 6(!) hours due to some minor medical issues1 on both our parts and a very busy nursing staff.  And by that time she was super-sleepy, so it was hard to get her to latch on.  The lactation consultant basically shoved her face onto my breast and manipulated her face into a sucking action and sent us on our way.2)

Our difficulties with breastfeeding have manifested themselves in dietary restrictions for me.  After about 1 month, the Pea started having bouts of painful gas every other night or even every night.  It was heartbreaking to hear her wail, scream, shake, even hyperventilate.  All we could do was hold her, give her Mylicon (which wasn’t much of a help), rock her and just be there as she go through it.  It was terrible.

I had read once long ago that sometimes dairy or wheat could aggravate babies’ tummies, so I tried to think about her crying jags in terms of what I was eating.  When three days had passed without a crying jag, I thought back to what I’d eaten — sushi, rice, potatoes, salads — no wheat.  To confirm my suspicions, I had a giant piece of french toast on my birthday.  Sure enough, that night, major crying jag.  It was unbelievable and the whole time she cried, I told her I’d never eat wheat again if it hurt her like this.

So I went gluten-free and have been subsisting on salads, potatoes and rice.  And the Pea’s been happy as a clam.

But then her skin really started to act up — she developed a TERRIBLE case of cradle cap (which was hard to help with since she has a headful of hair) and it began to creep onto her face, down her neck and all over her belly.  After 3 trips to the doctor and a few prescription creams, it turned out to be eczema.  We finally got it under control with a steroid cream and now we’re on a maintenance routine of lots of lotion, Aveeno products, mild hyrdrocortisone creams and more dietary changes.  I’m off of eggs and seafood too.

And then of course, no caffeine, because she won’t nap after I drink a Coke.

So no cake, no pizza, no cupcakes, no cookies, no coffee, no crackers, no toast, no pasta, no fish, no Coke, no shrimp, no crab, no quiche, no egg on my salads, no scallops, no omelettes and the list goes on.  (This negates a lot of breakfast.  I’ve eaten granola bars and oatmeal for way too long.  My cholesterol must be lower than the floor.)

I’m left with potatoes and rice for my starches.  And I’m working an egg into my gluten-free pancake mix since it’s just one egg in 4 servings of pancakes.

This isn’t for forever because already the Pea’s getting better with wheat (I try a corner of bread ever month or so) — it doesn’t cause her screaming gas pains, but does noticeably mess with her digestive system and makes her uncomfortable.  The egg/seafood thing might last a bit longer, since she probably won’t grow out of the eczema for several years (but I certainly won’t be breastfeeding for that long).

But she’s happy and healthy and I’m so glad there’s something that I can do about it.

I used to look forward to the weekends as a chance to stay up late, sleep in, relax, go see some live music and hang out with friends.

That, along with many other things, have changed with my entry into Parenthood.

Now, I can’t wait to get home on Friday to begin 60 straight hours with my baby girl.  I certainly don’t get as much sleep as I used to, but the amount I get isn’t too bad either.  I don’t get to see live music much any more since most of it takes place in smoky bars and you just can’t take an infant to smoky clubs.  (Apparently, it’s frowned upon.)  But I do get to hang out with my 2 best friends in the world.

The 5:30 a.m. feeding is a treat any day of the week, but the 9 a.m. feeding which turns into Tuggles (talks AND snuggles!) for the whole family in our bed is restorative (though last week it ended abruptly due to a diaper blowout and stripping the sheets).  I get to give her a lingering bath in her tub and give her kisses on her belly.  I take my wallet and phone out of my work bag and place them in the diaper bag for the duration of the weekend.

I love going to church with her.  She’s such a good baby and will sit through the service in my arms and smile at the folks around us.  Her meal time falls in the middle of the service, so I occasionally have to take her out and feed her, but can listen to the sermon in the Nursing Mothers’ Room.  But just as often, she’ll patiently sit through the whole service or fall asleep in my arms and wake up for the songs at the end of the service.  Also, she gets cooed over by all sorts of people, young and old alike, and gets to see her baby friends as well!

This weekend the only thing we have scheduled is church on Sunday and going to Sears on Saturdayto get some baby portraits done (by the same woman who took my baby portraits some 28 years ago).  In between there’ll be Tuggles, grocery shopping, long walks, probably some ice cream and little house projects.

Perfect.

Sweet Pea.

Sweetie P.

Sweetest Pea that Ever Peed.

Buh-bee.

My Sweet Buh-bee.

B.

Goobi.

Goo.

CarrotCake.

Baby Bugshine.

Buggiest of Bugshines.

Buggie.

BabyBug.

And then of course there’s her given name, it’s associated nicknames and her middle name.

I’ve been flipping through the Sunday circulars and I’ve got a heads-up for you.

In case you’re wondering, the top gift for Father’s Day this year is a giant flat screen TV and a new gaming system. Because nothing says loving like sacking out on the couch and not interacting with your family.

Alternately, you could buy him a fancy GPS (to further the stereotype that he won’t ask for directions) or some power tools (which I think is a bit akin to buying a mom a vacuum cleaner).

Here’s what the ads say: Be technologically savvy. Bigger is better. Have more stuff. Meat + Fire = Food. Grunt grunt grunt.

Lies lies lies.

Here’s the truth though:

But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. I Timothy 6:11

How radical that a man should pursue gentleness — being sweet and kind and peaceful.  And steadfastness — standing by the ones he loves, standing strong with those things he believes in — not running off to pursue each whim and pleasure and sowing whatever oats he’s got going.  Righteousness.  Godliness.  Faith.  Love.  Those are the things that make a man. And I’m ever grateful that those are things that my man is pursuing.

And he’s got that grilling thing down, for sure.

Note: I don’t subscribe to our town’s ridiculous excuse for a newspaper. They just leave it on my doorstep in hopes that I’ll become so enamored by it that I’ll pay money for it. But I do love a good coupon-clipping session, so I take advantage of the ads before tossing the whole thing in the recycling bin.

SweetPea found her voice on Saturday and I got it on video.

She’s been making throaty, grunty noises for weeks and weeks now (uhh, ahh, ehh), but in the last week she’d occasionally let out a surprising squeal — very high-pitched and very alarming until we ran in to see that she was not in mortal danger, but merely delighted by her mobile.

On Saturday morning, she was happily hanging out in her crib with the mobile turning slowly above her head and when it stopped, she started gabbing at it.  She stumbled onto the squeal a few times and then kept practicing it until she was letting out 6 or 7 squeals in a row.  In between, she’d let out new sounds that she was actually forming in her mouth (as opposed to her throat): huhs, hahs, etc.  She was at it for a few minutes before I managed to sneak in the video camera to catch her in the act.  (She is mesmerized by the red light on the camera and always stops whatever cute thing she was doing when we break it out.)  She kept at it for about 10 more minutes and now breaks it out whenever she wants.

And now she won’t shut up.

She mostly likes to talk to things that go in circles above her head — namely her mobile and any of the three ceiling fans in our apartment.

I have always said that the sound of children laughing is my favorite sound in the world.  I had no idea that the sound of my own child’s voice could be so incredible and make my heart ache with all the love I have for her.

My husband and I wonder what she’ll learn to do next.  Probably website development and computer repair at the rate she’s going.

From the Field