July 10, 2007

Up and Down as Usual

Henry woke me around 5:00, and by 5:45 he was back to sleep and I had to make the kind of decision that these days confronts me again and again and AGAIN and dominates my mental and physical landscape: Do I try to go back to sleep at this point and then have to drag myself up again in 15 minutes or 45 minutes or an hour, feeling nauseated and resentful? Or do I stay awake, because I'm already awake enough to feel okay about that idea, but then later feel exhausted and irritable because I should have slept more?

I got up. It's 8:15, too soon to call the decision. Ask me again around 2:30 this afternoon.

I'm up and down as usual. Sometimes I'm despairing because I can't seem to turn my mind to even one small thing such as a quick answer to a short email. Or because I seem to spend all evening pinned under a newborn, and then bedtime comes and goes with no change in the situation. Other times I'm eating a bowl of ice cream at the computer and I run out of computer stuff I want to do and so I sit there aimlessly feeling all groovy and bored. Or I get a bunch of things done one after another and feel all successful. Or I look back and realize I've been gradually successful: it's uphill, and things don't get done as often as they should, but for example Rob changed his sheets this weekend when he was cleaning his room, and I had to change William's when he woke up wet a day or two later, and then last night I was clock-watching for the kids' bedtime and realized I had a couple of free minutes to change Edward's crib sheet, and so you see it DOES get done bit by bit and that's encouraging.

But then at 5:00 in the morning I'm nursing the baby, and he's writhing and keeps latching on and off, and when I burp him he spits up on my finally-got-it-laundered shirt and on my finally-got-it-showered self. And then I change his diaper and he spits up a little more, onto his finally-put-him-in-fresh-clothes outfits and into his finally-washed-that-kid's-hair hair, the changing of which and the washing of which had previously been one of my encouraging accomplishments. And then as I sit back down with him, my body sore from sleeping in the recliner most of the night, he fills his freshly-changed diaper. At 5:30 a.m., things can seem cyclical and unending. But now it's 8:30 and I'm dressed and damp-haired and blogging, and eating from a 2-pound bag of chocolate-covered dried cherries, and ignoring those suspicious sounds from the other room, and things are good again. These first few months are so nuts.


MrsGrumpy said...

And then, don't they seem, in looking back, to have ran so much smoother than they did in reality? You are a far better person than me. My main accomplishment for the morning is washing out 2 (two) glasses that were used with dinner and left on the table like that, and switching on the computer. Oh and there was the pot of coffee that I made. Baby steps for me. Wonderful blog, btw... I'm attemping a moveover from Xanga.

desperate housewife said...

My sheet changing accomplishments always happen like that, too- I'll go (unspecified amount of time) without changing them, thinking every day about how I ought to, and then when I finally get around to it Addy wets her bed that very night, and then the next, and I end up changing sheets like EVERY FREAKING DAY for awhile.

Penny said...

Wow, I feel the same way...now. My daughter is nearly 1 year old. And I only have one kid.

I mean, I can manage to shower on a more regular basis, but the whole up and down thing still rages in this household.

It sounds as though you're doing pretty good, really. It sounds as though your household is in lovely chaos.

Swistle said...

Penny: Hm, "lovely chaos," I like that. We usually call it "friendly squalor."

Misty said...

My baby does that too. The crapping a truckload of poo into a freshly changed diaper.

Why do babies do that?

Misguided Mommy said...

brandon woke up at 230 and thought it was morning. he kept saying ice age ice age ice age and running around like it was play time. it took an hour before he finally started slowly passing out while standing. i'm dragging ass today!

jen said...

every time the baby poops in a clean diaper I just tell myself how much messier it would have been if the diaper was already spent.

also I've been trying to balance out the cumulative progress thing with the backsliding.. do one thing, but have it go back four steps before I get a chance to do the next step. that's really frustrating. I'm constantly making piles and then plan on dealing with the piles, but before I can, the husband has shoved it somewhere because it's IN HIS WAY or the children have discovered it like it's some kind of treasure and spread it all over the house.

Mommy Daisy said...

Grr, I wanted to comment, and now I have nothing to say. I'm just having one of those down days, I guess. Although I think it's just me, because everything else is going ok. I do remember those days, though. And we still have them.

el-e-e said...

Wait: Chocolate covered dried cherries???

Oh. Yum. I think your day is looking up.

Omaha Mama said...

I'm so amazed that you are doing all of this with FIVE kids (I know you probably don't want to hear that, but it is what it is). I'm watching my two nephews today so I've got four. Two of them are almost four, one is 20 months, the other is 14 months. Ahhhhhh!!!!!

I feel so grumpy and screechy, sort of like a cartoon character.

Erin said...

It's an accomplishment to me just to realize that the absolute craziness of the first few months is temporary. I have trouble keeping that in perspective sometimes and remembering that "this too shall pass" during the down times or when I'm overwhelmed.

Sorry about the magnetic toy. It makes you wonder about anything you buy your kids. Can you take a big magnet and go around the house sucking up all the little ones?

AndreAnna said...

You know, it's so hard for me to even remember the first few months. I think being able to block it out and forget it, along with the pain of labor, is why people have more children.

You're doing great.

And thanks, now I want chocolate.

Marie Green said...

I know- I sometimes say that I would be a great stay at home mom if I didn't have any kids. When my twins were recently at my moms for about a week, I realized how much of my time was spent undoing thing they had done, keeping them and my house presentable. And I should add, my standards are not very high. I was absolutely amazed at how much of my energy went into just a few things.

My baby was up at 3 am, then awake for the day at 5am. Since I worked last night, I didn't get to bed until midnight, so I convinced my husband to get up with her this morning. I don't usually do that, but Jeez, I was desperate.

Devan said...

Hey pass some of those chocolate covered cherries. I'm having a day over here too.

Jodi said...

They are so nuts. It is good they go by so quickly.

Hang in there!

rebcram said...

Ah yes... this is what I have to look forward to now that #2 is on the way! I do remember how different things looked at 5:00 a.m. vs. 8:00 a.m. after a long night with a newborn. For me, I think the difference was coffee.

By the way... thanks for stopping by yesterday. :)

Erica said...

I'm sitting here thinking that the first few months with Maddie must have been that bad... or worse, because I had NO FREAKIN' IDEA WHAT I WAS DOING, but for the life of me, they sure don't seem that bad, now.

As I sit on the cusp of six months under my belt, I'm beginning to think, "You know? That wasn't really so bad. Maybe I will have another one, after all." But I know I'm insane, because I've written myself reminders that it sucked the life out of me and I'm never doing it again.

FENICLE said...

That phase I do not miss...except the darkness outside with moonlight shining in the window and snuggling with a warm little one :)

Anonymous said...

So well-written. You said it for all of us. I am LOVING your blog lately.

Can I ask a side and somewhat stupid question? How do you create a link so that it says something like "see here" or "super-secret book link" or whatever it is?

Emblita said...

I'm amazed that you are doing so much. I didn't really do much around the house during the first 9 months (although I did lay flooring and paint an entire apartment...so maybe that counts)I was at home. Now that I am working and my husband is at home he actually manages to do an unholy amount of laundry, which he leaves clean and dry in huge heaps for me to fold.

But then again you have 5 children... and considering the mess one child can make, I don't even dare to imagine the havoc 5 can play on the general tidiness of a household!
So you are doing a great job! Keep your spirits up. Besides soon you will be looking back at this time with rosy colored specs :p

Tessie said...

Man, I pert-near missed this one! Why do your updates take FOR-EVAH to show up on my Google Reader? I am doing something wrong?

Oh, dear, it seems as if I have made this comment all about ME. Let's pretend I put the sympathy, commiseration, and backpats FIRST, shall we?

Swistle said...

Erica: Oh, I hope you DO have another! They're SO NICE! And in many ways, non-first babies are easier. (Notice I am not following up with the obvious partner to that statement, which is that in some ways they are harder. Those ways don't count when I want to push you the other direction.)

Swistle said...

Anonymous: I tried to type out the formula for making a link--and it made a link. Ha ha on me.

So I'll do this the long and complicated-looking way: I'll chop it up into little non-link-making segments. All of this is with no spaces unless I specifically say to put in a space.

First you type one of these left-pointing brackets: <

Then you type the letter a, a space, and the four letters href.

Then you type an equals sign and quotation marks: ="

Then type the url you want to link to, starting with the http.

Then quotation marks and a right-pointing bracket: ">

Then type the words you want people to click to follow the link, such as: Super-secret link!

Then a left-pointing bracket: <

And a backslash: /

Then the letter a and a right-pointing bracket: a>

And done, easy as pie!

Swistle said...

Emblita: Laying flooring and painting walls is like having FOUR CHILDREN.

Swistle said...

Tessie: Part of it is my fault: If I write a post and then have to leave it for a long time, and then come back to it and finish it and post it, it's still stamped with the time I STARTED it, unless I think to change that, which I rarely do. So a post might be marked 6:30 a.m. even though I didn't actually post it until 2:30 p.m. But it still then takes a surprisingly long time to show up in RSS things. Well, sometimes it's quick, but a lot of times it's an hour or two or three or it's the next morning. I dunno why.

CAQuincy said...

Went to a wedding when I was a kid where someone brought the wedding couple two "decorated" plants. One was a "money tree"--with dollar bills attached all over it. The other--a "rubber tree". Yes--CONDOMS hanging all over it. GAAAHHH!

Another wedding: When the bride and groom went to open their gifts, the bride announces "Let's see how cheap my new relatives are." Which caused the quite a reaction from the groom's grandmother and a huge fight between the two for quite some time.

'Course to let you know just how much she was loved by the family in question.... This is the same girl who when she announced she didn't want to have children ("I'm not a baby factory!") the father of the groom whispers to another family member, "That's OK, he can have kids with his SECOND wife."