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It's a few minutes before ten in the morning as I start to write this. Last night, I slept badly, and when the kid woke around six, an hour before our 'this is an acceptable wake-up time' time, my shoulders felt like they'd been pulled out of their sockets from funny sleep positions. So I nursed the kid for awhile, then tagged [personal profile] monad. You're it, honey.

He asked, as he usually does, how long I needed. "I dunno," I said. "Half an hour, maybe?" Half an hour sleeping without a baby next to me, where I can sprawl and roll around and stretch and snooze, is usually enough to undo the worst of a poor night's sleep of damage.

So [personal profile] monad took the kid, and I went back to sleep.

Our usual routine - and by usual, I mean there is almost never more than twenty minutes or so of variation - is like so: I get up with the kid once he's awake after seven, we go have breakfast, we play together or he plays while I clean up around the apartment, and then we lay down for naptime right around ten. Barring developmental interruptions and such, he sleeps anywhere from forty-five minutes to two hours, and then we get up, have lunch, play some more, have snack. If it was a short first nap, we're down for a second at two; if a long first nap, we push the second by half an hour to an hour. It's much more common for him to sleep short for the first and long for the second, so two is almost always naptime, for an hour or two. The best days, he gets a solid three hours of naps during the day. After second nap we're up for the evening; I start thinking about dinner seriously, reviewing to make sure any extensive prep is done. [personal profile] monad gets home around five-thirty, I cook, we eat, there's a little family leisure time, then we (he) start(s) bathtime routine at seven-twenty. I'm up for ten or fifteen minutes right before eight to nurse, then he takes the kid for book and bed at eight, after which we have adult time for a few hours (usually until eleven-thirty).

I just woke up at nine-forty-five. Had [personal profile] monad taken the kid that whole time? Fed him breakfast, played with him?

I snuck out to the living room, and when I did I saw them in the guest room (that will one day belong to the kid). They were (and are) asleep in the recliner in there, the kid on daddy's chest, happily snoozing under a blanket.

I got to sleep almost an extra three hours, and my guys got what they needed, too.

Some days, I feel very alone in this parenting thing. It is an artifact of our culture, I think, to view each nuclear family as a separate, self-contained and self-sufficient. Having a kid, especially in a new city, can be isolating to the point of loneliness so big the word seems wrong.

But some days, I am so overwhelmed by the love and support that man has for me. I forget to ask for enough for myself. And some days, he gives it to me, anyway.
alierecast: (Default)
I'm sitting on a leather loveseat in the window alcove of a first floor of a Chicago 3-flat. Last November, [personal profile] monad got word from one of the companies he interviewed at during the summer after the layoff. They hadn't had anything for him at the time, but he was on their 'We Like You And Have Not Yet Hired You' list; would he like a job? He spoke with me, then said yes. More money, lower expenses, closer to family. (The lower expenses thing didn't actually wind up being true, but whatever. More on that in a second.)

His yes was conditional on starting after our son was born. So we planned to move around the end of April, six-ish weeks after he was due to be born.

Our son's due date came and went - he was born a week late. We still had him at home, still entirely unmedicated, but I had some bleeding and the kid had pneumonia; we were in the hospital (two days for me, ten total for him, which means ten total for the two of us). That was a really hellish week - it felt like our son's health was a moving target and we were constantly told he couldn't go home that day, the next, that week. But the infection cleared and we got to take him home, and then we got to move, just a bit more quickly than planned.

So now we've been in Chicago for about eight months. We have a lovely two-bedroom apartment in a delightful (and delightfully queer) neighborhood; it's the sort of place you can settle in and nest for the winter, which is good, because I fail at winter. We've made some friends; we joined a nerdy parenting group, which happened to have about 80% overlap with a local poly group, and so now almost all of our (local) friends are poly. Bizarrely, they all seem to be doing poly in a way that doesn't skeeve us out ("Oh, you're poly? I'm free this weekend if you wanna fuck."). I'm used to having mega-bifurcated identity stuff going on because I'm poly in one circle of friends and whatever occupation (currently: mom) in another and a crafter or a scientist or whatever in another, and never the twixt shall meet.

Our son is nine and a half months old; he is the Biggest Ever (99.9th percentile since birth), over eleven pounds at birth, thirty at six months, and thirty-three now. He went from what my dear friend [personal profile] kadrin called a "bag of needs" once to smiling at things that pleased him, to napping and sleeping relatively predictably, from exclusively breastfed to eating damn near anything we'll give him (exception: turnips), from a baby paperweight to sitting to scooching to pulling up and now, cruising from my knee around furniture and on again. His favorites include mommy, mommy's boobs, Apple devices and/or daddy, grandma, strawberries, baths, people who make dopey faces at him, things that are not toys and that we would not like to have slobber on, toys we don't mind having slobber on, in approximately that order. His unfavorites include the booger-sucker, putting shirts on, laying on his back, turnips, playing by himself, car seats, also approximately in that order.

Yesterday I turned thirty and had an amazing party; I had someone cook for it, and we set up my iPad to stream karaoke to our TV, and the kid slept straight through the ruckus. A dozen friends paraded through our place with warmth and well-wishes. I don't think I could ask for more. Tonight we are babysitting some friends' kids, two awesomely well-behaved and friendly girls, eleven and six. They're in bed. Looking at them, I feel comforted. Parenting is fucking hard, yo, but they feel like our future, and it's a good one.

And that's our year.
alierecast: (Default)
1. On touching. My pregnancy does not give you a free license to touch me. I'm not even showing much, yet; if you have the idea that you're putting your hand over where the baby is, you are probably wrong. If you touch me in such a way that your hand is over where the baby is, I will feel justified in hurting you or yelling for help. The only person who has a 100% free pass on this is [personal profile] monad .

2. On my hobbies, and the future thereof. I do not need to "get all this knitting and music out of my system now, before the baby." There are hobbies that are not very compatible with newborns; frequenting concerts and bars come to mind. My hobbies tend to be at-home affairs, relatively quiet (or at least potentially soothing), and pretty much as kid-friendly as they come. A large portion of my social life is online. Just because having a baby short-circuited the things you like to do does not mean that the experience is universal.

3. On the relative ease of life, before and after children. I get that children require time, attention, and care. I have a squad of younger siblings, and several of them are of such an age difference that I helped raise them. I know about never-ending diapers and that weird rash the doctor never really identifies and the sleepless nights and still having to see to them even when you're not feeling well yourself. I understand that every trip out of the house has a new set of logistics. I understand that I will be tired - that we will be tired. I have had it up to here with people trying to scare me about kids. I am not clueless, and I hate being treated as if I am.

4. On the merits of a life with or without children. I don't care if you love children and want a dozen, or you don't want any children yourself, for whatever reason. However. If you tell me that life starts when you have children, I will stop listening. If you tell me that people who have children are all selfish narcissists, I will stop listening. If you tell me that child-free people are somehow incomplete, I will stop listening. Life is valid and wonderful with children or without them, and claiming some kind of superiority, moral or otherwise, because you do or do not have children, will simply make me think you're not worth my time.

5. On your beliefs about birth. It's great that you're connected enough with the women in your life to know about their birth experiences. However, their birth experiences do not dictate my own. I have my own ideas about how I want to give birth, and your advice to get an epidural in the parking lot is not only unsolicited, it makes me think you haven't been listening to what I've been saying at all. 

6. On learning about pregnancy. I appreciate that you have many books that you think I should read before the birth. I have, however, had a sufficiently unusual pregnancy thus far that books on the topic have been mostly useless. My approach is instead to learn from resources that are highly topical and apply to my own situation, rather than some concepts of average woman, average pregnancy, and average baby. Beyond these highly topical resources, which I read when I feel a need, I'm not certain I'll do a lot of reading. Women did not always have a library of books to consult before giving birth. Paying attention to my body has yielded more insights than any book. 

7. On learning about parenting. In my opinion, there are as almost as many theories on how to raise a child as there are parents. I'm happy to hear your book recommendations, and I particularly love to hear about your experiences implementing various ideas. But as soon as you give me that look for not wanting to read up on the latest child-rearing fad, I'm done.

8. On the things you think I need. I don't need a jogging stroller, a closet full of baby clothes and toys, two dozen contraptions to make the baby sleep, or a changing table. All of my siblings had one or two toys that were their absolute favorites. They wore hand-me-down baby clothes happily. We rocked them when they needed soothing, and held them close. We changed them on a towel on the floor - the same way I was changed. If you want to spend a lot on baby toys because it satisfies you, or baby clothes because you enjoy it, that's great. But not having every gadget and designer baby duds will not make me a bad parent.

9. On gender-specific baby clothes and colors. Give them to a new parent who doesn't make the face I'm making right now. We know the baby's sex, but have been reluctant to share the news because newborn blue and frilly pink make us a little gaggy.

With love, as always,
[personal profile] alierecast 

alierecast: (Default)
Sweet cuppin' cakes. I told my husband about my decision to move over to Dreamwidth, and he came along. Check him out at [personal profile] monad.

A new home

May. 29th, 2010 01:42 am
alierecast: (Default)
The short version: I've needed a safe place to talk for some time.

There is no long version.

It's been a long day tweaking colors and figuring out the system, so there's not a lot of brain left for anything meaty. I'll get to it.

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alierecast

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