December 29th 2013
Wilder is nine weeks old.
Christmas crept up on us. While most of my holiday traditions these past few years have involved lots of drinking and maybe a few “extracurricular activities,” I am a mom now. This meant it was time to create some new traditions that would be safe and fun for all involved. Our first holiday tradition as a family was creating our holiday card. I did my best to make it go as viral as possible (given my extreme lack of knowledge in this field). Mostly I just provided an open forum on the internet for people to discuss my ass. Andy has been referring to me as “Dat Ass” since the Reddit thread. While I wasn’t as successful in making us internet famous as I hoped to be (as a gift to Lee Kyle), I was overwhelmed by the love and admiration we received from friends who had gotten our card in the mail. We have already been discussing what we will be doing for next year’s photo.
Due to the fact that I was able to take some time off this week, I clocked in some serious relaxation time with the family. Andy and Lee Kyle watched one of my favorite holiday films with me, The Ref. I watch it every year around Christmas time and it was a thrill this year because Lee Kyle had never seen it. Don’t eat the penis, it’s just garnish. Andy absolutely loves Christmas. It is by far his favorite holiday. Because of his festive jubilation, it’s hard to be a Grinch in his presence. His favorite part of the season is the Christmas Eve party that he throws at Flanagans. In the past it has earned the moniker “shit-show” but in the best way possible. I had carefully broached the subject of Andy perhaps moving the starting time of the party up a bit this year because we now have a baby. But he was adamant that the shindig wouldn’t officially start until 10 pm, baby or no baby.
On Christmas Eve Andy headed over to the bar around 8 pm in order to start prepping food, while Lee Kyle and I had plans of meeting him there around 9. Just as I was putting the final touches on my holiday hair and make-up for the party, Wilder began to cry. He cried and cried and cried some more. An hour passed with him crying, while Lee Kyle and I took turns holding him. At one point while Wilder was creatively pulling out all my delicate curls with his tiny fists of rage and Lee Kyle was lying prostrate on the nursery floor, I wanted to give up and just put on my pajamas with a loud “Fuck it.” Instead I waited until the wailing became a low roar and we made a quick move to pack him up and get him in the car. Of course, once we reached Flanagan’s he was absolutely fine. Wilder is already a social creature. I was happy to have a drink and Lee Kyle ate his feelings, filling a plate with delicious food from the free smorgasbord. We had a good time but it was entirely subdued compared to Christmas Eves of the past. I really missed Daphne, who I have shared a tradition with for several holidays. She was out of town but upon her return we decided that next year we needed to be together again for the holiday.
On Christmas day Lee Kyle and Andy took Wilder to Texas to attend a family gathering. It was only an overnight trip, so I decided to stay home and take care of the animals while the boys ventured on a road trip. After I saw them off at 6 am I went back to bed and slept until nearly noon. It was the best Christmas present anyone could have given me. Just knowing that Wilder was off on an adventure and in good hands allowed me to relax in a way I haven’t been able to since his birth. I went to the movies alone and saw The Wolf of Wall Street and enjoyed a glass of wine. I sent the boys too many text messages, and realized right as I got ready to go to bed that I really missed all three of them, but especially Wilder.
Lee Kyle’s family was overjoyed to see Wilder and the only regret from the trip was that it had been a long drive for a very short visit. I had wanted the boys to do this together so that they could have time to work on their relationship. Andy and Lee Kyle get along wonderfully most of the time, but I know like most relationships, theirs is not without its issues. I can’t imagine the feelings that each of them have respectively about being a father figure to Wilder. I know if I was sharing the “mother” role with another woman that I would probably be somewhat competitive because that is my nature. I think they are handling their shared responsibility very diligently and I feel that both Andy and Lee Kyle respect one another. I think the trip was really good for them and a great opportunity for Andy to be immersed in Lee Kyle’s family. Next time, I’ll go, but this time I was glad to sit out.
I missed Wilder terribly by the time he arrived home late on the day after Christmas. I was so happy to see him and he seemed happy to see me…for about thirty minutes. The crying started soon after and it was a good hour and half of loud fits. I have read that infants often experience a fussy phase where they cry around the same time every night for no apparent reason. His fits have been like clockwork recently and when thoroughly checked, it appears there is no logical reason for the crying. The good news is most babies outgrow this fussiness by four months. Great, only two fucking months to go! We’ll see if I still have my sanity by then. I have to admit, I am getting much better at handling the fussiness. The first few times it happened, as you may recall, I did not react very calmly. The crying made me nearly sick to my stomach with worry and fear that something was seriously wrong. Now I just do a quick check for hunger, dirty diaper, temperature problem or overstimulation and then call it a day. I’ve found that Wilder tends to get a little less upset if I don’t freak the fuck out. I just hold him and rock him and say, “I get it, the world is a scary fucking place but I’m here now and will always be here.” I think on some level he understands.
I had the displeasure of returning to work on Thursday and Friday, although it wasn’t so bad because the office was mostly empty. I thankfully work with my cousin Crystal and two of my best friends, Amanda and Dori. The four of us were lamenting our holiday weight gain and decided to collectively try to make better food choices in the New Year. I was less interested in trying to go on a strict diet and more interested in cutting out processed foods, which unfortunately have become an unhealthy staple since Wilder’s birth. Since I do the majority of my snacking at work, I asked the girls to hold me accountable if I wanted to eat any bad snacks (Chee-Wee’s, a New Orleans specialty, are my Achilles heel). I have wanted to shed the rest of the pounds I packed on while pregnant, but have been lacking the discipline to plan healthier meals. There is so much societal pressure to quickly return to pre-pregnancy size, that I have been feeling like a failure. I’m a vain motherfucker, and I want to be able to wear all my cute dresses, but right now it’s no dice. Andy and Lee Kyle have both been supportive and kind about my bitching about my weight. Honestly, I think Andy has always been more attracted to me when I’ve been heavier. I explained that I am not only interested in toning up but also being able to do things I did with ease before Wilder. My knees hurt when I jog now because of the extra weight, and my abs are in poor shape. 2014 is going to be all about regaining my strength and flexibility. Just you wait and see.
On Saturday Andy and I attended Gabby’s baby shower. The weather was awful and she and Jason live in the country, nearly two hours from New Orleans. Because of these two factors, we enlisted Lee Kyle to watch Wilder and we made the trip alone. We had an excellent time driving through the cold rain. I even made him stop at a lumber yard to snap a few photos on the way there. The shower was well-attended and filled with love. Gabby’s parents were in from out of town as well as her sister, and it was sweet to see them dote on her. The food was really good and their house is quite charming. Dori and her family were also there, so it provided us a chance to catch up outside of the office. We really enjoyed ourselves and would have stayed longer if the trek home wasn’t so long. I feel very grateful for the fellow mothers and mothers-to-be that are in my life right now. I think we all “get” it and can talk freely even about the ugly stuff.
Sunday rolled around and I decided that I was going to take Wilder to City Park on my own. I get pretty nervous whenever it comes to taking him places by myself. I’m afraid he’s going to have a super-mega-meltdown while I’m driving or that I’ll completely forget how to parent him alone in public. Andy and Lee Kyle are admittedly much better at this stuff than I am. But because I don’t want to become even more Miss Havisham-like, I know that I must venture out with Wilder in tow. Before I even left the house I began to feel my anxiety rising. I hadn’t slept well over the weekend and the house was a mess (by my standards). It’s very hard for me to relax and extremely hard for me to go out and about when my house is a wreck. But I knew that if I started cleaning I would never leave the house. So I popped a Klonopin and headed on my way. I’m really glad that I did because about 35 minutes into our stroll at the park, Wilder completely lost his shit. He started screaming, much like I was trying to murder him by casually pushing his stroller under the trees. Of course this occurred when we were on the opposite side of the park from the car. I pulled the stroller over and unloaded him, then went for the diaper bag. I figured he was hungry, so I got his bottle all ready, but no, he wasn’t interested. Then I thought well maybe he is hot, so I took off his little coat. Still crying. I realized he probably wanted is pacifier. I began rifling through the diaper bag as several joggers stopped to not only stare down my fattened thighs but the wailing infant in my arms. No fucking pacifier. I had packed everything – clothes, food, diapers, wipes, burp clothes, a rattle, Benadryl, snot sucker, fucking butt paste…but no pacifier! Thankfully Misty and John live right by the park, so I decided we would go to her house until he settled down. I tried holding him while I pushed the stroller but that was as much of a nightmare as you can imagine with him squirming and screaming. Eventually I strapped him back in his seat and made the (new and improved) walk of shame back to my fucking Subaru. Bring on the judgment. Of course, once we got to Misty’s house he was fine and dandy. Not every outing will require a pill, but man that one needed all the help it could get.
As if the day wasn’t quite bad enough, Andy and I got into a spat. Well, it was more like a few minutes of me losing my temper. We were driving home with Wilder and I commented on how much harder the simple things had become with a new baby. He made some comment about sending Wilder off for a while to stay with someone else since we couldn’t handle it. This prompted the following response from me: “I know it isn’t right or kind for me to say this to you but when you say things like that I really want to pull the car over and punch you in the face. My advice would be that it is in your best interest to shut the fuck up right now.” Thankfully he did. The argument didn’t escalate and later I apologized for my distinct and almost overwhelming desire to pummel him. We talked things out and agreed that times can be hard, but things will eventually get easier (right?). I can’t imagine doing this without Andy or Lee Kyle. I would seriously be lost without them, and thank god they can deal with how “passionate” I can be about things. As frustrating and as difficult as parenthood can sometimes be, I can honestly say that it is worth it.