The Calm Before The Storm.
Oh, the baby book warned us. We were told that six weeks beyond RRBB's due date of November 19th he would hit his fussiest period yet, and they weren't joking. Between his first shots, the fact that he just can't seem to get to sleep at night despite being so tired his face looks like he just went twelve rounds with Ali, and then that whole holiday insanity, it's been a hellish ten days. He's sleeping right now but chances are I'll have about fifteen spare minutes because he already looks like he's waking up.
The adjustment to motherhood hasn't been an easy one. I think even having a spare hour to myself would help at this stage but the baby's not in a place to give that to me at the moment. Then, we need patience. But we've talked about that before. That's not a new lesson. I am constantly thinking and rethinking my approach to everything. Consistently questioning and requestioning my decisions in terms of his care. It's a guessing game most days and I'm waiting for the answers to present themselves.
There's a lot of introspection that goes on when you spend so much time with a little person who can't communicate back to you. And when you mix in the life-threatening disease stuff happening, I spend a lot of my interior life contemplating how I want to live, what I want this all to really look like, and then being utterly unable to put my thoughts into action. Not for lack of trying but for lack of energy -- and I know recovery, especially from a flare as serious as the one that I had, will take some time -- I keep expecting myself to be back to normal. It's been twelve weeks now since I started coughing up that blood, and I had hoped that things would have turned around by now. But I need to keep my expectations in line with my actual health. Being sick is so hard for me to take -- it sits at direct odds with my personality.
I also keep overestimating what I can get done in a day, both with the RRBB and with my health. I spend a lot of time worrying about things: about money, especially. We don't have enough at the moment. That is a fact, UI barely covers our mortgage payment in a month. The downside of loving to manage money would have to be the insane spreadsheets and complex accounting that I tend to do during times of stress. I mean, truly, I have an awesome spreadsheet that keeps track of our spending, which is totally out of control at the moment. You see, the other downside to being home all the time? We really want to get the house into a finished, final, state. We bought some art -- two beautiful paintings by Toronto artist Matt James -- we bought a chalkboard for the kitchen, we put up the posters we got framed earlier in the year, and my RRHB finally hung up my garage sale finds in my office. The house looks great. And then Christmas came. So we are a little behind. So, late one night when the baby was feeding, I bought Gail's latest book, Never Too Late, and read it on my iPad (#64), because I needed to feel like I had at least a little bit of control over what's happening in my life right now. As you know, that generally only comes from reading. The book is mainly about saving for retirement, which I've been doing since I was in university (I used most of those savings to buy our house; and have continued to build our RRSPs up over the subsequent years), but there are some great management tips in there too. However, the main thing I realized was that using our Emergency Fund, which is quite healthy, over the next few months is exactly what it's for -- I am sick. I need help. Even though it would be better for my RRHB to work when and if he can, what's better for our family is to have him home helping me, helping us, and just being with us. The most important thing in my life right now is getting better so I can be the kind of mother I imagine in my head, and to get back to being myself a little too.
Anyway, Gail has some great tips -- putting away the dollars you save by using coupons in a vacation fund, or just using it for savings. Her whole point is that it isn't hard to save, it just takes a change of mind. Oddly, that's what all of these quasi columns are about for me, learning how to change my mind as my life changes. There's a constant evolution that takes place on a day-to-day basis when it comes to the baby but also when it comes to us as people. The change might be dramatic at first: you stop working, you spend all your time at home, you almost die for the third or forth time in your life, you are taking bucketloads of medicine, and normalcy becomes relative. It's as if it shifts like time does when you have an infant: there's very little difference between night and day. That's why I'm clinging to certain things, repeated again, reading, writing, thinking, and hoping. I know I am watching way too much Oprah but trying to be in every moment is actually quite entertaining. Last night, our little RRBB was throwing him umpteenth fit and we were just laughing with each other... trying to calm him down, obviously, cuddling him, rocking him, kissing him, but also laughing because he's so damn cute when he gets that upset. If we can hang on to that manic happiness, I know everything will be okay. Love is a pretty magical thing, and I'm not just saying that because I'm feeling weepy and a little introspective because it's the end of the year.
We have two more weeks until he's three months, then another four after that until he hits his due date "three months" so we'll see how things go until then. Everyone keeps telling us that it gets better but maybe it getting better isn't the point. Experiencing it is. Looking at what we can learn from his point of view, however undeveloped that might be, and knowing that "unexplained fussiness" might just be the death of us, it's just a stage like so many other parts of life. Our biggest success today? We left the house for a walk, and it was a gorgeous day.