Now. New Sunday; things have changed. Our antique clocks are wound with Spring’s new time. Sky, less gray and breeze brings a new blue, new season and, hopefully, a new me.
Then. Couldn’t sleep. At two a.m. I opened the front door for some perspective. My bare feet instantly soaked in a mixture of salt water and wayward leaves, mind racing to details of My March Madness. I have had enough of the letter M. Mono, Migraine, Mastitis, and My-oh-My-someone-Must-be-Mostly-three.
It was the other night and it was a rare one. Wind gusts reached fifty and my Lineman husband slept beside me. Typically, storms are power outages. Somehow in the sideways rain and shivers of the house while the coastal front moved inland his outage beeper didn’t go off, the babes didn’t wake, the power stayed on, and my eyes didn’t close. My mind raced to things undone.
Since a Monday’s Mono diagnosis, I’ve been feeling like I was hit by a bus; the sort of exhaustion I felt in the last days of pregnancy, the let me just rest while I brush my teeth sort of tired.
A Wednesday’s Migraine blindly brought me to my knees & brought my husband to carry me into the medical clinic. I was shot up with Demeroyl and an anti-nausea. Every time I moved my head I got sick. Light knocked me over. Now that there’s a generic Imitrex on the market, my pharmacy bill for Migraine prevention pills is $15, not $683 for nine pills. Now, that sort of afternoon be avoided.
A Friday’s flu wasn’t fun. Lucy got some sort of projectile vomiting bug and an almost 105 fever. She was hot to the touch and listless in undies for days, moaning on the couch.
On Tuesday, I got Mastitis. The breakdown started as I felt the softball infected lump, read my temperature on the thermometer. Without coffee, I had a pity party for myself and chose not to invite thoughts of people in Haiti or Chile or who-knows-what on the east coast. There were only tissues, no balloons, when I placed myself in the center of the universe and wailed a gigantic, why me. Send me away, far away from all this….
Still. In alphabetical order, 7 celebrations:
1. Boots. Watch this mama strut her stuff. I’ve been obsessed with peaks and valleys lately.
A valley purchase of late was an October XL maternity full panel pant that only fit for three weeks. I certainly didn’t pull the panel up past my belly button and feel sexy. Nor did I feel sexy when they became too tight. I pretty much took to waddling around the house, contracting for weeks, in very enormous skirts. Or, just undies when the company I kept allowed.
Of course I fully embrace a pregnant body and believe a woman looks amazing with a tiny human inside, but bed rest increased my desire to get my body back. And, this was the third time around. So, there’s that, too.
Nothing says, “I’m back” than a peak purchase of nearly knee high green leather cowboy boots.
Practical? No. Put a smile on my face and make me feel good? Oh, yeah.
2. Drums. Love the community that feeds children locally grown, locally harvested food. Love the community that embraces its farmers and brings the slow food movement to schools. Love the community that feeds the community the very same delicious dishes.
At the community dinner last week, we ate traditional African food that left my mouth watering for North Portland, OR. It seems ridiculous, but I can’t even remember what it was except I was ravenous from breast feeding the latter part of that day and inhaled the entire spread – right down to soup’s last drop. The best part? These meals are prepared for kids, by kids, straight up Jaimie Oliver style.
After dinner, we joined in a community circle with 300 hand carved Kenyan drums. Not since college had I willingly encountered a drum circle. The drum ‘leader’ was from Jamaica and had some irie message about unity and how we need each other’s beats to get by.
The kids were mesmerized by both the rhythm and the intense number of drummers. I was worried Olive would be bothered by the noise, but it seemed to be more of a womb memory of heartbeats and funk.
3. Picnic. After Migraine’s passing, a picnic in the sun was much needed. When you’ve got to sit around, it’s good to do it in the company of some funny ladies.
Betty stood for a special song, Mommy, just wait you’ll love the words of my song.
She thought for a long, long time and then the lyrics came to her:
oh, beautiful, beautiful day
where did you go, why were you away?
it’s nice you came back to see us
now that mommy feels better
nice and sunny day, stay
make the flowers grow, the gardens grow
If you haven’t yet, you really should hear her sing. It follows scale, opera-bird like and forty minutes long, or more if you’re lucky. It’s pure joy, pure joy. Pure magic, too, since it changes your mood, instantly.
4. Showers. A really good friend came to stay and her four year old showered by himself. He was in jammies in five minutes. After fourty minutes, my ladies had played and bubbled themselves into their pajamas. He’d already listened to six story books.
Lucy wasn’t too sure of her first experience, solo. The lighting was really poor, but her face says it all.
My back hurts. I don’t want to bend over into the bath and wash long blonde locks every other night, while my knees soak up run away suds. And, although I love the girls’ Whisper Baths, bubble baths with whispered tales told alongside (rechargable) candles, I don’t always want to take an hour away from play and read alouds.
Now, I just have to stick an arm in, hand the washcloth, keep an eye out and, three minutes later, they’re clean. It’s actually both arms outstetched and soaking for Lucy.
Overall, Betty and Lucy seem to enjoy the solitude, the “inside rain,” the extra evening time.
5. Sleep. I’ve swaddled all my babes, then switched to just their legs when they were near crawling – legs that wanted to practice in sleep until awake. I remember having a tail of fabric near sleepy babe’s body and before I was through with night’s wrap, into eve’s slumber they’d be. Upon our third’s birth, I assumed the familiar would again take shape. But, weary night after weary night of swaddle’s resisting and confinement’s revolt we knew something had to change. I was emotionally through with being a milk station five minutes out of each fifteen minute interval. That’s when Facebook saved us. A childhood pal’s baby had gone from four solid hours of sleep to nine in just a matter of days.
The answer was a crazy thing called The Woombie. A lycra womb-like armless sack. Odd, yes. Love and comfort is all Olive has to say about it. She doesn’t get too hot at night or too smooched swaddled. And, oh, sleep, sleep, sleep makes saying the word “Woombie” on a daily basis worth it. 6. Story. Take it slow, take it easy doesn’t come easy with an infant, a toddler and a preschooler. Not to mention a senile cat and an excercise-neglected dog. Thankfully, friends who are so much like family make it managable, with love and kind thoughts.
The Week of M knocked me over, knocked me down and into bed, sheets pulled taut. Pajamas stayed on, even while I drove Betty to school. Lucy brought her Thomas the Train lunch box to bedside’s edge and lugged the most giant accompanyment to the question will you read me a story? Seventy pages in, it was nap time for the three of us.
7. Toes. Olive: four and a half months old. She’s figured out her toes are connected to her body. She’s figured out how to hold her feet and gnaw on her arches and grab onto big toes and rock back and forth, squeeling in pure joy.
She’s cooing, still bed sharing, snuggled between us in the evenings, ticklish between the rolls of her neck and in the deep, chubby pits of her arms. She laughs at songs sung in high pitch and sparatically bats toys hung from above.
Toys clutched in a tiny fist, immediatly brought to her mouth for inspection. She sucks her whole hand with drool escaping down her front, and jams wads of fabric between her gums. She looks sweet at our world, taking it all in. Happy. Pleasant. Serene. We’re so lucky she’s a part of our family.
Olive: from her blonde, blonde hair and all the way down to tiny, plump toes.
Sigh. We’re so lucky she’s a part of our family.
I HAD A BABY BY THE SEA
NOT ONE NOT TWO BUT THREE...
SAILING THROUGH LIFE
ON A TINY ISLAND