Wednesday, August 22, 2007

:: Raindrops on Roses, Whiskers on Kittens, and the Fresh Smell of Dryer Sheets ::

I should not be posting, because I did not work on my dissertation today. Bad girl. Bad, bad, girl. But I had a hard and an easy day, and I wanted to write about all the things that made the hard day easier. All the things in the last 24 hours that I am grateful for.

A hot bath.

I was one of those pregnant women who followed all The Rules. Normally, I’m heard saying things like, “If I haven’t died yet from never washing my fruit, I’m not going to start washing it now.” But while I was pregnant, I avoided all the things they tell you to avoid: sushi (oh my god how I missed sushi), lunchmeat, raw eggs (one day you’ll realize how much I love you when you discover the joys of cookie dough, Evan), high-mercury ocean fish. And hot baths. I’m sorry but when you’re pregnant and achy and tired, that’s the time in your life you most need a hot bath, and they tell you that you can’t have one. Nothing over 102 degrees. Or 104. Or something. In bath degrees, that’s Damned Cold. But last night, after a long day, my hub drew me a hot, steamy bath while I returned DVDs to Blockbuster and got new ones. Then I bathed, soaking up all the heat, while he did nice things like pick up the kitchen, get me a glass of water for after the bath, bring up one of the DVDs so that we could watch an episode of 24 before bed. That bath was so good I think I might ask for another one for Christmas. I think I’d be willing to give up commercial satisfactions for a bath that good.

A morning nap.

At Evan’s 3:30 waking last night, Brian changed the diaper, as per our usual arrangement, and then went back to bed while I fed the kid. Everything was suck-and-swallow, droopy-eyed good until I heard the telltale sound: the kid was pooping. Big sigh. “Are you pooping, Evan?” I asked, as I always ask, then said, “Maybe you’re just farting?” My tone inched up hopefully, but I knew those weren’t farts. Those were poops. And I also knew they weren’t going to be over anytime soon. This kid is a once-a-day marathon pooper. If you start to change him too early, he just poops all over the changing table. We keep a cloth diaper there just in case. So I sat there after the bottle while Evan finished his business, then I changed him. Meanwhile, I just know Brian’s been asleep long enough to be snoring, which will only make it that much harder for me to get to sleep. Usually, I make it back in the room before the snoring begins. So now I’m snapping up Evan’s adorable jailbird-striped pajamas when he spits up. The debate ensues: is it enough that I should change his clothes? I sop up the milk he’s ejected and decide he can handle a wet spot on his shoulder. I swaddle him, and he spits up again.


I clean his face and dry his clothes again and continue the swaddle. At this point, I’m not letting anything stop me. I get to bed where Brian is indeed snoring, but luckily I’m tired enough that it barely stops me.

Fast-forward to this morning, when I got up at seven with Evan, as is our brand new routine. I am a notorious needer of sleep. I am a wreck if I get less then eight hours and get sore throats and fevers if I get less than six. My mother hated me after sleepovers. So here I was, groggy (groggier even than my husband who is the groggiest morning person I know) and mad that I had to wake up in the first place. The kid’s morning smile was cute enough to make me stop resenting him, but I was still not my usual happy self. I changed him (a little poop that he didn’t get out in the middle-of-the-night session -- thank god he didn’t let it rip on the changing table at 4am but saved it, instead, for morning) and brought him downstairs for his breakfast bottle.

Usually, he’s supercalm in the morning and doesn’t cry for his bottle, but this morning he was all grunty and whiny and agitated. I hurried. We sat down with the bottle and he sucks wildly at it before spitting a mouthful out. Not like spitting up but like taking a full mouth and then sending it everywhere. What is he, two?

Next, the cat tried to use Evan as a stepstool to the rest of my lap. I pushed her away and she came right back. I pushed her away with more force. I jostled Evan, spilling more milk down his chin, and the damned cat came back again. Here is where I started crying. Just those silent I-am-not-equipped-to-handle-this-right-now tears that well up before you have the chance to push them away.

Twenty minutes into our day together and already I was crying.

Thankfully, Evan was an angel and went down early for his morning nap. I used that time to eat breakfast, check my email, and do nothing. It was just what I needed to recharge my battery for the oncoming day. Which was a long one.

Dryer sheets.

I went out for my first run in probably about a year tonight after Brian got home. I’m not a Runner, by which I mean I run very sporadically. Three weeks on, four months off. A 5K here and then none for another year and a half. So I started out nice and slow, just walking for five minutes or so before I amped it up. And I started running and was simultaneously amazed at (a) how much easier it was than I expected and (b) how much harder it was than I hoped. Just when I was thinking of giving up, I got this great whiff of someone’s dryer sheets, pumped wonderfully into the air by the dryer vent. I don’t know if it is the fact that we now use fragrance-free dryer sheets that got me all content at this smell or if it was perhaps a very deep seated joy that someone other than me was doing laundry. You, person in this white house, are doing laundry. I am not. I am outside running. My life is better than yours for just this one moment. Thankfully, my thoughts didn’t get this petty; I was just loving the smell and the fact that I was running and it wasn’t killing me anymore.

This post.

LawyerMama posted this lovely letter to her husband, who is away. It read like a letter I might write to my own hubby and it made me really happy. Go read it and let it make you happy, too.


Lawyer Mama August 22, 2007 at 5:29 PM  

Oh, I love the smell of dryer sheets. It's so fresh and clean.

I remember that first year. It was so hard because I, like you, need my SLEEP! Hang in there.

Thank you for adding me and for your sweet, sweet words.

Christina August 22, 2007 at 6:27 PM  

I'm like you - without sleep, I actually get physically sick. Which makes me ill-suited to being a mom, at least from the sleep-deprivation point of view.

A hot bath is a wonderful thing. I always love the feel of soaking in the water, without a child yelling "mommy!" or another hanging off of me. But my biggest mood booster is a nap. I swear I'd pay someone to come watch my girls for an hour just so I could have a nap. Someone needs to offer short-term babysitting.