Between Love And A Hard Place
First of all, I can't believe that our RRBB was ever that small. I'm being brave putting this picture online. It was taken during the heart of all the tragedy and trouble that surrounded his fairly easy birth. And now, 4 months later, he's giant -- 14 pounds and almost 2 feet long; he survived and flourished as my body recuperated from all the drama surrounding the disease, my pregnancy, and then our delivery.
I am so torn these days. As much as I want the time to pass -- so he's a little bit older, so he sleeps a bit better, so I get more sleep, just realizing that he's already doubled in size in 4 months makes me realize that people telling you time flies isn't just a platitude.
I have a rolling to-do list that never seems to get the most important items crossed off, and I can never seem to find the time in a day just to get caught up with blogging. And we're not even doing anything. It's the non-productivity that I find most daunting about being at home. The busy work. The mindless hours spent reading while baby sleeps on me because we still can't train him to sleep anywhere else during the day. I feel like Sisyphus and the rock -- only I'm way more tired than I ever imagined a god might be. There's a lot of existential thinking that goes on in the wee hours of the night. A lot of first sentences are being composed. A lot of sleeping happens by the men I am surrounded by, not so much by me. I know it's the meds and, in the past, these sleepless nights used to be filled with despair. An aching, longing kind of sadness that was punctuated by extreme self-hatred. I know, now, that was the meds too, a lovely thing called prednisone-induced psychosis, but rationalizing that it's the drugs never stopped my self-loathing, never stopped the 4AM struggles with whether or not I even wanted to be alive.
There's none of that this time around when battling the disease. The sleepless nights are passed in relative calm. Like I said, I make a lot of to-do lists. I eat breakfast at 3AM and take my meds so they get through my system before the baby wakes up again. We sleep in together some mornings, him nestled in the crook of my arm, as he has done since the moment he was born. These moments are fleeting, just as the sadness was momentary as compared to how much time I've spent actually healthy vs. in the throws of the disease; but, when you're there, the time stretches out, long, sinewy, and I have to force myself to just enjoy it. Instead, like this morning, when I couldn't sleep but RRBB was snoring happily, I had all the blog posts rolling through my head, enough to risk trying to put him down -- pop open go his eyes, wide smile on his face, and then we're downstairs, and then he's playing on his activity mat, and I'm playing with him, and then he's tired again and, here we go, he's sleeping on me for another hour and I'm starving and have to pee and would really like to make a sandwich or a smoothie.
And then, the day is just gone. My RRHB is back from errands or work or recording and gives me a chance to have a shower (oh, the humanity!). We make dinner and then it's the endless session of trying to get the baby down for the night. And this, this is how the time flies, all of a sudden another week has gone by and I've done stuff: gone to the mall, bought soap, made dinner (once!), got groceries, half-cleaned something, written more to-do lists, and am utterly exhausted having accomplished nothing. I am not a girl used to accomplishing nothing. My time is fractured all over the place -- sure, I've got lots of it, but it's filled up with the care of something so precious that my heart aches with the importance of it all -- and sometimes I wish, hating myself for it, that I could have just a little bit of it back. Yet, there's no resentment, no anger, just wishful thinking. I'm torn between the two lives that I've created: the old me, the non-mom and the new me, mother to the RRBB.
There was a writing contest I wanted to enter but probably won't because I never win writing contests. The theme, "How Motherhood has Changed You," seemed trite in a way, no, that's not the right word; too obvious, that's a better phrase, because the change is so shocking, so complete and so utterly different that for a slow learner like myself, it's hard to come to terms with -- 4 months in and I'm still searching for the right words to describe it.
I'm starting to impose some structure on our days. While not a routine per se, we do have story time in the morning. Lately we are reading Where is the Green Sheep, a new Mister Men book each day (because I ADORE them), some Dr. Seuss, and Oliver Jeffers. I'm not sure baby is paying any attention at all, mainly he gets excited by the kiss bombs in the middle of story time vs. story time itself, but I love reading aloud. Then he sleeps, maybe I sleep too, then we go out for a walk, run errands, and by the time we get back it's afternoon nap time -- which means I'm stuck for sometimes three hours in one place, if he's particularly fussy, playing iPad Scrabble and reading. I'm being relentless about dropping him in his bed when he nods off, but the wailing, good gravy, that ensues isn't worth it -- why would I WANT to make my child unhappy?
But it can't continue, oh, this accidental parenting (damn you Baby Whisperer, damn you). But I need some time. Just a little bit, just a teeny, tiny bit, to myself, and it can't be at 2 AM because I'm neither awake nor asleep enough in those moments to get anything accomplished. But I sure think about everything I'd like to accomplish. How has motherhood changed me? I don't think that it has -- my perspective, my day-to-day routines, and my life is certainly different, but I am still the same person, deep down, I still want all the same things. I still believe in all the same causes. I still want to do all the same things -- I just don't have any time to do them.
Winter was wonderful. But its time has come and gone. We managed brilliantly through snow storms and disease clouds. We still got out. We didn't go stir crazy. We almost destroyed our poor stroller for all the bumps and boulders on the sidewalks. Yet, I'm craving better weather, sunshine that actually carries warmth, ridding the car seat of bunting, and days where I can cart a pen and a notebook to a park with the RRBB and just sit outside. Just a few more weeks and I'll welcome the smell of melting dog shit and all the cigarette butts and other debris that litters the streets around my neighbourhood. There will be parks and swings and swimming and gardening and time will pass too quickly and I will try and savour every moment.