Well. So I have two kids now. Let's make a pro/con list about that:
1. Am no longer pregnant
2. She is pretty cute
3. I love the name we chose for her
4. Nursing is going well
5. Andrew is still at home helping me cope
6. Jack is, so far, behaving beautifully
7. AM NO LONGER PREGNANT
1. Fatigue (duh)
2. Sore boobs
3. She doesn't like to be put down which can make doing other things tricky
4. Andrew will, eventually, have to go back to work
5. Jack may start acting out at any moment, probably as soon as Andrew goes back to work
6. Post-partum hormones are making me very very anxious
Con number six that is causing most of the problems there, actually. For example, the post-partum anxiety is making me worry and worry and worry about how on EARTH I will cope when Andrew goes back to work. And I worry about what I should be doing and when. Right now, for example, all three of them are asleep on my bed and I think, “I should go to sleep too.” But then I think, “But I want to check my email and update my blog.” And then I think, “But I have to clean the kitchen or I will go insane.” And then I think, “WHEN will it STOP RAINING because it is SO FREAKING DARK IN HERE.” And then I think, “I am going to make a cup of tea so I can handle this better.” And then I think, “But I should really take a nap while I can.” And so it goes.
The anxiety comes in spurts and bursts. With Jack, I was anxious at about 5:00 pm every day because that was when I would start to worry about how difficult the night would be. This time, the anxious period seems to come randomly. Like now, for instance.
Except now I've had my tea and a cookie, I cleaned the kitchen a bit and checked my email. I turned on all the lights in the house and I've had some alone time, and I feel better. Off the ledge, as it were.
This anxiety is so frustrating, because intellectually, I'm perfectly well aware that this? Is temporary. All of it. So very, very temporary. Admittedly, that is part of what is making me anxious, since Andrew staying home is temporary, and I am wondering how temporary Jack's good behavior is. But Nora's four-hour long cluster feedings? Temporary. Her refusal to be put down? Temporary. Her inability to smile at me and thus reward me for my hard work and loving care? Temporary.
I keep catching myself thinking things like, “Oh, this is her long-nap time,” or “She hates to ride in the car,” when, in fact, I have not known her long enough to make these generalizations. She's only a week old, for crying out loud. To say she “hates to ride in the car” because that one time we went to the pediatrician's she cried the whole way is utterly ludicrous. Case in point: She cried all the way to playgroup today, but slept on the way home. Who knows what she hates or doesn't hate? SHE doesn't know.
I remember trying desperately to figure out a routine, any sort of routine, when Jack was an infant, and you know what? They don't have routines. They eat and sleep, yes, but with no regularity whatsoever. This can be terrifying.
And then everyone woke up and I had to nurse the baby and get through the dinner hour and read stories and do the budget and now I'm back. And Nora is totally asleep in her bassinet after the extremely traumatic experience of her first bath (not counting the one at the hospital). (Nora, darling, I'm sorry we had to do that to you, but, frankly, you stunk. Babies are supposed to smell GOOD, Nora.)
This dinner hour did nothing to assuage my anxiety because it was everything I nightmared the dinner hour would become after the baby arrived: Jack was post-nap-cranky and needy and Nora was hungry. Andrew was home, so he cooked while I cried on the couch wondering how on earth I will possibly do this when he goes back to work. I am using a sling for when I need to do stuff when she won't tolerate being put down, but I can't cook with the baby in a sling. Knives and fire seem a mite risky to use with a baby strapped to my body.
My tears freaked Jack out a bit, and he said “Mom, why are you sad? I don't want you to be sad.” That sounds very sweet, yes, but I think it was less concern for me and more fear at the idea that Moms can be sad. Moms are supposed to make sadness go away, they are not supposed to be sad themselves. And yes, I did talk to him about how everyone gets sad sometimes, blah blah blah, yada yada yada, but he was still a bit freaked.
Happily, the after-dinner-hour is the BEST hour of the day because Jack's bedtime is forthwith and then there is nothing to do but hold the baby till we can go to bed. And Andrew and I decided that we will work together to prep meals on the weekends and in the evenings so that I can just throw stuff together and heat it up during the week. This eases my mind a bit, because dinner is BY FAR my biggest concern at the moment, and the free meals that people bring over are running out.
This entry is not exactly my best writing, but my battery is going to die and I need to go to bed and lord only knows when I will get a chance to edit this thing. By the time I can edit it, it's quite possible that all the problems I'm having will have mutated into a completely different set of problems, and I want to read all your encouraging comments about how I'm not going to die and how this is all temporary. Temporary! So I'm just going to post it. Let the encouraging comments commence.