Thursday, June 28, 2012
Monday, June 25, 2012
I decided that rather than waste energy deciphering the mixed messages or freaking out, I'd just get my ass over to the hospital. And get excited. After all, I was going to meet my baby today!
I'm not brave and I'm frankly not interested in pretending I am. The epidural I had for each of the last two childbirths was one of my favorite parts. I was really looking forward to it, especially now that the pain had begun.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Is what I told Sec yesterday, enlisting her help with finding the address of an apartment building we were headed to. To which she replied, aghast:
"No Mommy! I'm much to scared to peel my eyes! What are you, crazy?"
Kids. So woefully literal.
Monday, June 18, 2012
My Mommy Maternity Leave ended a long time ago, and so now I'm totally back in the game of pick up and drop off and playdate hosting and after school playground-ing. Mostly, its going OK and I'm handling the immersion back into playground politics plus baby pretty well. But the other day on the playground, something happened which made me realize that I am still under the influence of powerful Mommy hormones. I am in Hyper Mother Bear Mode now and if you fuck with my baby bears, yoll probably get mauled. Even if you're also a baby bear. I blame the oxytocin.
It was a lovely spring afternoon after school and the kids were bounding around the playground, narrowly avoiding more tooth-chipping experiences. Within a few minutes, Sec came running over to me, where I was nursing Terza, and said, "Mommy! Mommy! This bad boy punched me!"
Now, Sec tends to get into scrapes and it is sometimes hard to discern who is to blame. She also can sometimes be sensitive to injury, so I try not to get too reactive. I try to let her work shit out. Especially when I'm in the middle of suckling my newborn.
"Well, if you don't like how he's playing, just stay away from him," I counseled her. She was off and running before I'd even finished my sentence.
Less than five minutes later and she was back, this time hysterically crying. You should know that my daughter is basically made of steel and can withstand terrific assaults on her person: this is probably a result of being beaten down by her big brother for several years now. When she was 4, a first grader punched her right in the gut and she didn't even shed a tear. She's one tough cookie and it takes a LOT to make her cry. So when I saw her crying so hard she wasn't making any sound, I got alarmed. And mad.
"What happened?" I asked, trying not to sound like I was freaking out.
She couldn't speak for a minute or two, just sputtered and gagged on her tears. Then finally she said, "He punched me. Really hard."
That was all the information I needed.
"Where is he?" I asked, trying to mask the quiver in the voice that clearly indicated I was on the brink of a rage fit, "Bring me to the boy."
Sec took my hand and led me, with my newborn strapped to my chest, through the crowded playground, until we got to a very small blond boy wearing a Ramones T-shirt.
"This him?" I asked, nodding in the little boy's direction, just like I was a mobster.
Sec nodded and then darted away as fast as she could, hiding herself under the playground equipment. This wasn't in my plan. My plan was to stand by Sec as she communicated her feelings to the little boy, providing emotional support and guidance but letting her do the heavy lifting herself. But though I tried to cajole her out of her hiding place, she wouldn't budge. And the boy was looking at me expectantly. And I was mad. So I decided to wing it. Never a good idea in my case, especially with all the oxytocin.
"That's my daughter over there," I pointed to Sec hiding under the monkey bars, "Did you punch her?"
"You hurt her. Very badly. See how she's crying?"
He looked un-fazed.
"Well, why, WHY did you hit her?" I asked.
"My friend told me to," he replied matter-of-factly.
I was dumbstruck -- but only momentarily.
"Now you listen to me," I said, leaning down so I was at his eye level, "You do not hit my daughter. I don't care who tells you to. Don't punch her, don't chase her, don't hit her. Ever again."
I came close, very close, to adding an "Or else," but I stopped myself. Instead I said:
"Do you understand?"
"Are you SURE?" I asked again, for extra measure, my eyes boring into his, mafia-style
He nodded again.
"Good," I said, standing, "Then I think we're done."
I walked over to Sec and told her what had gone down. She was satisfied and within minute or two was back swinging on the monkey bars without a care in the world. I went back to where I'd been sitting and found my diaper bag on the ground, spilling open and my wallet, unfurled, laying beside it. It took me a second to remember that I'd been in the middle of rifling through my waller, to see if I had enough cash for a coffee when Sec had run over. I flew into such a rage that I literally dropped everything to take care of business, including, I guess my wallet. Thankfully, it had no money in it anyway.
A minute later Primo came over and I asked him if he'd seen what went down with the little boy and Seconda. He said he hadn't seen anything except Sec cry after she was punched.
"I'm sorry to say it Mommy." he said, "But after that, I tried to punch the boy as hard as I could. But don't worry, I missed."
"You don't have to be sorry," I said, and then, even though I know its not the park slope-y thing to say, I went on, "I'm proud of you for protecting your sis. That's my boy."
"And you know what I said, Mommy?" Primo smiled, "I yelled, 'You punched the wrong kid's sister!'"
That made me guffaw. Primo's such a gentle creature it pains him to kill a cockroach but when push comes to shove, he's still a hot blooded Italian, and loyal. Even without the oxytocin.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
"Wow, that's amazing." she said, "Who watched the kids?"
"My grandmother," I said, "For an hour or so."
"That's great that she can watch all three of them," she replied.
"Oh she can't," I clarified, "We took the baby. We always take the baby on date night."
This is one of the things that happens when you have three kids, I guess. There's no one in our life who could handle Primo and Seconda PLUS a newborn baby, so the baby always comes along. I genuinely don't mind. She's easy. I stick her on the boob. I bounce her around. She doesn't interrupt constantly and ask a million questions about physics and theology I can't answer and talk about farts and vomit at the dinner table. She's cool. I don't even notice she's there really, until someone observes that she is adorable and then I beam with pride. Its all positive.
But it makes me laugh because I remember when Primo was a few months old and David and I were so desperate to leave the baby with someone so we could have a real date. It was so ponderous to have the baby under our care. We needed to liberate ourselves from the terrific burden and be fully unfettered so we could stare into each other's eyes and do other shit I don't even remotely recall. Now, being unfettered means having only one baby with us. Of course there are things that happen on date night that can't happen with the baby in tow, and that is why God made babies nap so much. See? With only one kid in tow, we've got marriage and romance fully covered. Now if we can only figure out how to manage with the rest of it thrown in.
Monday, June 11, 2012
"What's up?" the doctor asked. It was the old-timer doc, perfectly nice and all, just not as alarmist a medical professional as I like to work with.
I explained all her symptoms in detail and he told me that she had a cold. That seemed like a waste of two minutes.
"Yes, but what can I DO about it?" I asked.
"There's nothing you can do really." he said, "Except nurse her more frequently."
"What about steam showers and aspirating her nose and putting her to sleep upright and using a humidifier?" I asked.
"All that sounds good," he said.
"I mean, should I be worried? Does this happen? Do tiny, defenseless little newborns like this get colds and are they still OK after?"
"Yes, they do," he assured me, and then he added, kindly: "It is scary when they get sick for the first time but its completely normal. Its hard with your first."
I didn't correct him. After all, I want the guy to keep calling me back when I emergency page him on weekend mornings.
"Yes it is," I agreed, "It really is."
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
This morning, my husband let me sleep in until the glorious, amazing hour of 8am. That was stupendous. But it also meant that I had 15 minutes from the time I flickered my eyelids open to get myself, the baby and two uncooperative children dressed, fed, armed with school stuff and out the door. It was an insane race with lots of nagging and yelling and other bad parenting strategies. You can imagine what I looked like when I exited the front door. But in case your imaginations not so good right now, fear not, I will elaborate.
After I'd dropped the kids off, I ran into a Mommy friend at the coffee shop across the street from school, where I'd beelined so I could feed the baby, who I hadn't had time to breastfeed before we left. The baby didn't particularly need to eat but I needed her to eat. There's nothing like walking around town with one normal breast and one massive, rock-hard breast which is shooting milk out onto your clothes like a lacto-geyser. So there I was, nursing the baby when my friend walked in.
"I feel like I look just repellent," I told her.
"Oh you're all right," she muttered, looking away.
"Are you kidding me? I am covered in dried spit up, including in my hair whose roots are about two inches too long to be fashionable. Forget putting in my contacts - I haven't even had time to clean the spit up from my glasses. I am fairly sure I have poop on my pants - the baby's, not mine -- although at this point, anything is possible. And I have a huge glaring, sticky wet spot in front of my right breast. Also I haven't shaved my pits in like three months because I can't find a razor. And I've worn this tank top - which I bought at Walmart -- for approximately two weeks straight. I'm gross. I'm disgust myself. I am like a public health hazard at this point. You could get cox sackie from looking at me."
"Oh, come on, its not that bad," my friend laughed, "But you should know that your fly is unzipped."
I looked down. It was true.
Heaven help me.
Monday, June 4, 2012
I feel like I need to do a PSA about people touching newborn's hands. Because now that the weather is gorgeous and I've got my baby out and about with her little hands exposed, I've noticed people are getting really touchy and it drives me crazy. My mother -- an avowed nutface, but still -- always taught me never to touch a baby's hands. Better to breathe your foul, germ-laden breath directly in her face or to kiss her on her forehead rather than touch her hands. But I guess other people didn't have germophobe moms because everyone is freaking laying hands on my baby's hands.
The other day I was in the elevator, holding the baby and standing next to a little toddler throwing an epic tantrum. When he saw the baby, he piped down.
"She's small," he said. It was very cute. You could tell his mother was relieved for the distraction. And then he put his scheevy, dirt-laden hands right on top of Terza's pristine fingers and just pawed them incessantly until we reached my floor.
His mother stood there watching.
"Is that OK that he's touching her?" she asked.
What was I gonna say? The deed was done already. But I would have liked to reply: "If you have to ask, lady, I think the answer is clear. And in case its not -- allow me to clarify. No fucking way. I'd had two toddlers and I know that they stick their fingers up every orifice they've got, and orifices other kids have too. So forgive me if I don't want those streppy-rotavirus-cox-sackie finger tips caressing those of my newborn infant who hasn't of course, been immunized against jack shit yet."
I just smiled and tried to swallow my indignation. Then the mom said, "You should probably wash her hands, though. He's been to the park."
The elevator door opened just in time. Yeah, I might want to wash her hands. I might want to douse them with antibacterial spray, then hose them down with rubbing alcohol and then steam-sterilize them.
As it was, I was running late to pick up my other kids from school so I settled on just simply washing them with soap at the sink. I say "simply washing." but have you ever tried to wash a newborn's hands while you're holding her? The baby can't even keep her head up yet. Its too much to coordinate with my my two arms. She ended up soaking wet. I ended up late. And Seconda ended up giving me a stern talking-to about being the last parent at pick-up. Thanks a lot Elevator Mom.