Eating Food of this Kind

Maybe someday I’ll feel sufficiently removed. Maybe someday I’ll talk about it. (Ok, so we all know that answer is yes). But out of the last five nights, we have had four peaceful bedtimes and four good nights, and if the curtain wants to fall on Act I of parenthood, I’m not going to be the one to prop it back up.

But in case you missed out on colicky infancy let’s just say that by the end I was literally hallucinating dark spots out of the corner of my eyes, and, yes, I thought they were spiders.

Every stinking time.

At 4 months, Iris is growing by bounds and learning all kinds of new tricks. She sucks on her toes and blows bubbles. She rolls over (mostly to escape the hated tummy time). She grabs for toys, puts everything in her mouth, and drools like a basset.

And then she learned about food.

I snapped this series on my iPod, so pardon the low resolution. But, gosh, have you ever??

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Is that…. A plate?

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Maybe if I just…

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Ha ha!!!!

Do you not just die? I tell Carl that someday I am going to spontaneously combust from all this cuteness.

Sweet little woman.

First Swim!

Well, the last two days have been almost unbearable in their complete awfulness. It’s equal parts heartbreaking and maddening to watch your child SCREAM because she wants to sleep so badly and can’t… and is furious that she can’t. At best she falls asleep only to wake up 20 minutes later with the wired eyes of a crazy person.

We are all zombies.

In lieu of our bloodshot eyes, I’ll post about happier times. We made a last-minute weekend jaunt to my parents’ home on Sunday, and it was the perfect getaway. I got to play tennis with Joel. Iris got to be held and beamed upon by the grandparently types. Carl got to sleep in the icebox basement (a distinct privilege after 90 degree days in our no-AC home). We all got to welcome Steve home from his Hawaiian adventures.

And Iris had her first swim.

See? I keep trying to convince myself. There have been good times. There are good times. There will be good times again.

It’s almost working.

The Week That Was

Sorry.

I started work again, and although it’s very part-time, pretty much all the random minutes I found went to article writing this week. Well. Actually a lot of things happened this week.

Iris learned to grab her toes.

Also to yell at the TV when bad calls are made in tennis. (I know. Babies aren’t supposed to watch TV. But it’s the French Open. And she loves watching the people run around).

Carl got strong enough to carry Iris around, although this picture doesn’t do justice to the awesomeness that was Carl getting up at 6am this morning to rock Iris back to sleep WHILE I SLEPT. You understand my reluctance to jump around documenting the moment.

Other things happened, of course. I read a memoir about a woman who lost her faith in God. We started round 2 of Iris-Sleeping-In-Her-Own-Room (surprisingly well, thanks. She wakes up about half as often). Iris graduated to size 2 diapers (amazing how few blowouts you have when the diaper size is correct). We had our first mommy-baby outing to the mall. I ordered enough photo prints to fill 3 baby books… and we’ve only lived the first 3 months. And we discovered that Trader Joe’s has AMAZING quick prepare Chinese meals. Mmm.

But I think that covers the bases.

Hope you all had a good week too.

Our Chocolate Bunny

We have a tiny rabbit living in the front garden.

I see her every now and then, dashing into a thicket of lily greens or under the ornamental shrub as we pull into the driveway or tumble out the door, tangled up in carseat, diaper bag, coffee mug, keys. Two perky ears and a quivering, quick-silver body.

Her size tells me she—like Iris—is a 2012 edition, and I’d be tempted to believe we’re actually seeing a succession of rabbit siblings, but I only ever see one, and I never see a more grown up looking rabbit.

Just our little gal, exactly the size of a small Hershey Easter rabbit, which is why, of course, I call her the Chocolate Bunny.

We also have a woodchuck, so comfortably a part of the property that I see him nibbling on the back lawn at all hours, scampering across the front cement slab that doubles as a porch.  At least one chipmunk (I’ve missed chipmunks. I never saw them at the apartment). Two very quarrelsome raccoons who regularly tip over our trash and tussle over the bacon drippings and carry out boxes (I pick up the shredded diapers the next morning, kicking myself for forgetting yet again to latch the top). A couple of goldfinches and several very plump robins.

I still haven’t driven by our old apartment to see if the bird feeder I forgot to pack is hanging out. Carl and I occasionally talk about it, forever intending to pick it up. We haven’t. We probably won’t. One of these days I’ll buy a new one, hang it up, start watching to see if we can attract any of the thrushes, finches, sparrows, songbirds of all kinds that must be living in the parkland behind our property.

I just love living things—plants and animals and whatever sets tentative nose or root in our yard.

In our house, not so much.

I’ve become somewhat sentimental about ants, but I have to tell you I’ve found a whole new respect for Carl’s crutches. They are AWESOME for killing spiders.

I totally just armed myself with one to venture into the basement to change over the laundry. No more tissues and arm’s reach for me. I now have a four-foot kill range. Huzzah!

Kübler-Ross to the Rescue

Bad thing, good person. It happens.

My friend Jennifer is one of my favorite people. Mostly because she’s awesome.

She sat in the waiting room until midnight while Carl was in the ER and came back at nine the next morning with sticky buns and kleenex to sit with me during his surgery.

That kind of awesome.

So I’m always happy to see a text from her in the mornings, because it almost always means she has a home visit in my neck of the woods or a half day or some other excuse for stopping by. We eat snacks, go for walks, play with Iris… and process, which is a nice way of saying we talk a lot and complain about life and try to figure things (ok, and ourselves) out. And it’s good because we have a lot of similarities and a few key differences: Jenn, who never really planned to have a career-type job, is a social work manager who testifies regularly in court and carries several phones (all things I find terribly appealing). And I, who always planned to have a career-type job, never have and now also have a baby and wander around in pajamas all day.

It’s nice to have someone who can knock a little of the glamor off the whole career thing for me, and I hope the dark circles around my eyes can do the same for her. Life has it’s challenges no matter where you are. As well as it’s rewards.

Anyway.

We were having one of those four-hour rant fests the other day about work, politics, people, religion, and other common irritants when I said sometimes I don’t even know where to begin. It’s like I want to process all the experiences and challenges on my mind recently, but I don’t even know what that means. What does it mean to “process” something anyway?

Because most of my issues feel like hamster wheels, and I give them a good spin every now and then, but it doesn’t seem to get me anywhere new.

Jenn said it all goes back to Kübler-Ross for her. Processing is a lot like grieving, and anything that changes or threatens or otherwise has a major impact on your life requires the old 5 step hip waders of grief… which seemed hilariously morbid to me.

And also true.

It perfectly explains, for example, why the first few weeks of sleep deprivation with Iris were so easy (denial). Why the frustration only showed up six weeks later (anger). Why I worked my way through a whole stack of baby books in order to “fix” Iris’s totally normal infant behaviors (bargaining). And why, when Carl asked me what I was thinking about last week during yet another looooooong night I said: killing myself (depression).

[Dark humor alert. Please don’t petition me to a psych ward.]

It sounds weird to say you’re grieving the entry to a new stage of life, but death is really just an extreme form of processing. Even the very good things in life, if they change everything, require processing.

With Iris’s infancy, the stages have been quite linear and efficient. At three months, I rarely cry or sneak addictive looks at baby care books anymore. I’ve learned new ways of working around Iris’s particularities (with the Boppie pillow, she can nap safely on my lap while BOTH my hands stay free for desk work), and I talk to Carl excitedly about our “great night” when she goes to sleep at 8:30pm… and only wakes up 4 times.

Other issues will be life-long.

My response to the words and acts of misogyny ran the gamut. You can never fully grieve when the pain is ongoing. Sometimes I’m angry, sometimes I’m sad. Sometimes I plan elaborate and mostly unfulfilled forms of activism.

But it’s nice to have a little perspective, nice to understand a little of the pattern.

Anyway it gives me something clean and cerebral to think about at 3am. Chew toys for the brain, right?