You better work.
December 1st 2013
Wilder is five weeks old.
Lee Kyle has been sick this last week so he was unable to come over as much as he normally does. It was difficult not having him around because not only do I appreciate his help, but I enjoy his company. I’m really getting used to and beginning to enjoy this unique family we have created together. Of course it hasn’t come without challenges, but most worthwhile things do. Along with Lee Kyle’s presence and assistance, we have been very fortunate to have a revolving cast of friends come by to help us out while we acclimate to our new life. Andy has been attempting to return to a somewhat normal work schedule which involves at least two late nights a week, so I have been grateful to have people come assist me with the dogs and the babe. The other evening while Andy was working, Misty, Christine and her husband Kevin all came over. It’s always good for me to hear about the lives of others since I sometimes feel like I’m in a “baby bubble.” Not to mention I love being able to wash a few dishes and eat something with two hands.
I’ve been trying to find that “magic” spot or position to place Wilder in so that I can have my hands to myself for a little while during the day. He really likes to be held, so it’s been challenging. I have fallen very far behind on some of my writing projects and that bums me out. Because he came a month early and is smaller than most newborns, it’s been difficult finding carriers and seats that are safe for him. I finally did discover, though, that I can place his car seat on the center of the table near me and he will generally sleep for a good thirty minutes or so in the early morning. Just long enough for me to clean all the dirty bottles. Some people have suggested that I might “spoil” him by holding him too much, but I think that is a bit preposterous at 5 weeks of age. Not to mention that I fully realize how quickly Wilder is growing and when I return to work I’ll have less time to hold him – so I don’t really object too much to his cuddle demands.
While he and I get along pretty phenomenally most of the time, we had a really rough bit of it the other night. While Andy was at work last Tuesday, Wilder decided to have his fussiest night thus far. He cried in intervals for nearly three hours straight. I tried everything, and I mean everything: feeding him, burping him, changing his diaper, changing his outfit, singing to him, reading to him, walking him, rocking him, turning the lights on, turning the lights off, white noise, loud noise, no noise, crying with him…you name it. After the second hour of his interval crying I also began to lose it. I sat in the chair rocking him, crying to myself and repeating over and over please stop crying, please stop crying, like a pathetic mantra. I was undeniably frustrated that none of my tactics were working and I know that I was rougher than normal on what seemed like the hundredth screaming diaper change. I called Andy who was bartending and I explained that I didn’t know what to do and that I was afraid I was a horrible mother. He promised to get home as soon as possible. Ten minutes before he walked in the door Wilder completely quit crying. It’s like when you sit in horrible traffic forever and then poof, out of nowhere the traffic is gone but there is no indication whatsoever of what caused it in the first place. Regardless I was glad Wilder had calmed down and Andy claimed he stayed that way throughout the night.
The day following the cry-a-thon, Wilder turned a month old and had his first day of paid work. Andy and Lee Kyle accompanied him to the set of American Horror Story where he had been chosen to play the important role of an extra. Although you may be thinking otherwise, he will be playing the role of a baby. The boys had a great time hanging out with other parents and trading tips. I’m sure most people assumed that they were a couple. I figured Wilder would be much more memorable if he showed up with his two awesome dads instead of his frumpy, under-eye-circle-sporting mom. I was given nearly five full hours of time alone in the house and guess what I did? I fucking cleaned the entire time. I scrubbed the house from top to bottom, did endless loads of laundry and organized the pile of paperwork and bullshit that had covered my dining room table for the past five weeks. In retrospect I kind of wish I had spent the time having quality cocktails and a good lay, but clean sheets and sterilized surfaces are what I ended up with. When the boys returned home they told me all about the day. Lee Kyle asked if I had worked on my writing while they were out. I explained that it’s been hard for me to write much more than this blog because I haven’t had “real” outside experiences to inspire me. I feel like Meryl Streep’s character in She-Devil where after being stuck with her lover’s children she goes from writing exquisite romance novels to a rejected book called Love in the Rinse Cycle. I told him that I’m afraid that’s what I’ve become. So much of my past writing of short stories was based on my own experiences and adventures. Right now those adventures consist of talking about baby shit and measuring formula into bottles. Fascinating stuff. I found a story I had written in 2010 and it was good. Really fucking good. I want that back.
Thanksgiving occurred this week and it was more hectic than ever. We started the day with brunch at Daphne’s house. It was the perfect way to start the day with delicious food and seeing a lot of our dearest friends. We generally go to the race track after brunch but since the weather was so cold this year we decided to skip it. Instead Lee Kyle went with Clint to have an early dinner with their elderly neighbors and Andy and I went to my cousin Crystal’s house. The few family members that I have a relationship with were there. The food was excellent and, keeping with the tradition of my mother’s kin, there was a ton of it. Andy was taken aback at how loud my family is. There were only six of us there, but the noise was that of about 20 people, easily. It was the first time that all of them, except Crystal, had seen Wilder, so he was the star of the occasion. When we finally left Crystal’s house we had about 10 pounds of leftovers with us. Andy is a great sport and never lost his patience, even when the baby was crying and my family was practically yelling and all he wanted to do was nap. We were exhausted by the time we left there but we still had more Thanksgiving stops to make.
Lee Kyle had accepted an invitation for us to join him and Clint at his friend Sara’s house for dinner. Andy and I picked them up and headed to her beautiful house near City Park. I think both Andy and I were a little stunned by how lovely the home was. Sara had set a massive table for the large number of guests. Everyone there was so welcoming and warm, especially Sara and her husband Mark. She immediately fell in love with Wilder, and she and her daughter Victoria held him for a good amount of time while we were visiting. The food there was also delicious, but we weren’t able to eat much at that point. Before we left Sara spoke with us about her adoration for Lee and her willingness and desire to help out with Wilder. She asked if she could put in an application to be his surrogate grandmother. She was incredibly genuine and thoughtful. I am really glad that Lee Kyle introduced us all.
We finished the night at Flanagan’s, which normally would have included a few drinks for myself but this year I was too tired to even drink. However, we did get to introduce Wilder to many more people who had not yet met him. He looked quite adorable all day and his tie and vest still looked very fashionable by the end of the evening. The next day Dori came by to visit and brought her son Paul. He is three months and one day older than Wilder and the size difference between the two is comical. Dori is one of my dearest friends and I’m so glad that she and I became mothers around the same time. I feel like I can be completely honest with her, especially concerning my anxieties and fears of being a parent. She also constantly gives me hope and support in knowing that one day soon I’ll start feeling more like myself. I took a few pictures of the boys together and I am excited by the prospect of them growing up and becoming friends as Dori and I are.
We had a very big first this week in terms of parenting. Wilder spent a night alone in his nursery with Andy depending solely on the monitor to wake him. Granted, Andy slept in the spare room mere feet away from Wilder, but it was quite the accomplishment nonetheless. We are hopeful that we can continue to ease him into a schedule which will eventually lead to more than four hours of sleep at a time. We were recommended the book and technique “Baby Wise” by a few friends including Dori, whose son has been sleeping through the night. So we’ve been trying to adhere to the sample schedules in hope they will produce the desired effect. I can’t imagine how relieved all of us will be when sleep comes easier. Lee Kyle typically spends two nights at our house a week, so even he knows what it’s like to care for Wilder overnight. While there are some very endearing aspects of the newborn stage, the lack of sleep is not one of them.
We finished this week by taking Wilder for his first trip to City Park. He slept nearly the whole time, but then again he is a baby. I adore City Park. It is one of my absolute favorite places in the world. The weather was beautiful and we had a very relaxing stroll under the oak trees. We met Wilder’s surrogate grandmother Sara for coffee and discussed her watching Wilder for a few hours this upcoming week. After leaving the park, we grabbed a bite to eat before heading home. Days like that one give me hope that it will continue to become simpler to incorporate Wilder into our lives and give us joy in sharing some of the things we love with him.