Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Summer Solstice (a few days late)

I got an e-mail from my aunt Beth a few days ago asking if the date of June 8 was correct as the last time I updated my blog... I had not realized it had been so long! And there goes my summer plan of blogging once a week. Oh, summer. I have such big plans for you and then the time slips away.

More accurately, the time is CONSTANTLY INTERRUPTED. As of right now, I have the baby sleeping, but Coco just came in to tell me in tears that Zuzu wrecked the volcano she made in the sandbox: "She wrecked it and she didn't ask!"

Apparently she just wanted to report, because I said, "I'm so sorry that happened. What would you like me to do?" and she just walked away to go back outside and play. Okay, then!

At any rate, this will be another brain dump post of a few things on my mind of late because I don't have the wherewithal to actually construct an essay-style blog post on one subject.

I may have caught up a bit on sleep last night when I crashed downstairs in the recliner at 7pm while the girls were having Friday Night Movie Night watching The Grinch (Coco's choice). I woke up around 9:30pm, fed the baby, left her downstairs with David and went to bed. She did her "normal" routine of waking up at 2:00am, 5:00am, and 8:00am so I didn't get out of bed until after I'd fed her at 8:00.

I'm still tracking all her feedings in my phone and keeping track of diapers. Partly out of habit, and partly because I have no sense of the passage of time and I need my phone to keep track of anything.

I'm doing a diaper study right now for a local marketing company. They provided two weeks worth of diapers (seven diapers per day, we usually need eight so we supplement with our own) and a scale and I have to weigh the diaper when I change it and record whether she peed or pooped and if it leaked (so far we've had no leaking). It's a bit of a pain, but I think it's worth the cash money they're paying for the data we enter online.

In much more exciting news, my best friend from high school had her baby Thursday night! We graduated high school together and then decided to have geriatric pregnancies together! Wa-hoo! In all actuality, having kids has been much more complicated than that for both of us, but we ended up pregnant together and due three and a half weeks apart. Thanks to Miss G's dramatic entrance, our babies are six and a half weeks apart, but we still expect them to be best friends and potential life partners. I can't wait to meet baby Johnny and introduce him to Miss G.

Miss G still doesn't have a nickname (although I'm apparently calling her Miss G on the blog). Zuzu was actually 6 months old before she became Zuzu, so I'm not too worried about it. So far Veeves and Evie are strong contenders.

An IG friend/fellow babyloss mom recently attended a conference on stillbirth and pregnancy research, and she posted in her IG stories about the lack of research/funding for this area of medicine. It's so maddening to me. As another friend (baby Johnny's dad, actually) commented the other day, if this had to do with erections, we'd have the top notch technology worked out, but pregnant women are getting overlooked. One of the doctors who presented at the conference noted that the lack of attention and respect given to this health issue means that women who experience the loss of a child due to stillbirth have a sense of being marginalized and she used the term "disenfranchised grief."

That term really spoke to me--like some of us aren't sure how much we get to grieve publicly, or we have the painful experience of our grief being dismissed because it wasn't a "real" baby or whatever.

A guy I went to high school with posted on facebook today that he and his wife had lost their baby boy. I'm not sure how far along she was, but as I typed a comment on his post to tell him how sorry I was, it made me cry.

Life is so sweet these days (also exhausting, overwhelming, and occasionally really frustrating) but I still miss Eliza. I still mourn the fact that I should have an eight-year-old here. My friends from college hosted a "sprinkle" for Genevieve and we all got together with our families. It was so much fun, and so great to see everyone. But these are the friends who all had babies within a year of Eliza. Four of the kids there were born within two months of her birthday. It doesn't hurt as much to be around them--there were years when just seeing them was so painful it would take my breath away--but it still pushes on the bruised places in my broken heart. I love these friends and adore these kids, and I'm so glad they are still part of my life. It's just hard to know that there is one more kid who should be there.

Baby G's fan club of girls
One friend of mine has a six-year-old daughter who played with Zuzu and Coco and was delighted to hold the baby. When it was time to go, she jokingly said to her mom, "I'm going to be part of their family now!" and her mom laughed and said, "That's just what she needs! Another little girl!"

It was obviously a joke... of course I have my hands full. But it still made my heart lurch because truer words were never spoken. Another little girl is exactly what I need.

And I still can hardly believe that some people get that lucky--to get to keep all their babies and watch them grow up and take it for granted that they will.

True confession: It helps me to remember how fortunate I am to have these three little girls when I'm solo-parenting!

They look so sweet here, you'd never know what stinkers Z & C can be!
David has been at a conference for THREE NIGHTS (Who makes a conference last that long?! Terrible planning!). My parents came up to help me out because we've had a couple evenings where I couldn't handle the thought of being on my own while trying to cope with a fussy baby (what is it about the witching hour?) and make dinner for children whose appetites are unpredictable and subject to change at any given time (I'll never be the kind of parent who makes a separate meal for my kids! They can eat whatever we're having!... Excuse me while I eat my words for dinner.)

The dinner hour is hard for us, mostly because when I get hungry I get hangry too, and then nothing goes well! David had suggested we get a baby swing, but I'd been holding off. We had a small travel swing for Zuzu, but she hadn't been that crazy about it. Coco never used it because we couldn't keep two-year-old Zuzu out of it, so I think I gave it away to my brother. I didn't want to buy a big, bulky plastic swing that G would only use for a few months, so I looked half-heartedly on Facebook marketplace. Then I decided to put out a call on FB to see if any of my local friends had one we could borrow--and sure enough, my friend Angie came through for me!

loves the swing--she loves movement and music--so it has been a real sanity-saver.

I've been trying to get back into meal planning and since D was gone the past couple of days while my parents were here, I also did some cooking! (I made this enchilada recipe and it was delish). But tonight it's take and bake cheese sticks because I am only human and my parents left today.

Swimming lessons started this week. On Monday, I wanted to tear my hair out because my kids were acting like they'd hardly been in a pool before. Coco is the only kid in her class and she loves to be babied, so she was basically letting her instructor carry her around the pool like an infant in a mommy & me class. Zuzu was convinced that a sign indicated two people couldn't be on the diving block together actually indicated that she shouldn't dive off of it at all (what, like she's a rule follower all of a sudden?) so when another girl in her class refused to dive, she joined her in SITTING by the side of the pool. I was like WHAT IS HAPPENING?

But they don't allow parents on the pool deck, probably because they don't want us yelling, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING? COCO, YOU KNOW THAT YOU CAN SWIM BETTER THAN THAT! ZUZU, YOU DIVE ALL THE TIME!" Which is exactly what I wanted to do, LOL. Anyway, today they both turned it around. Coco was finally telling her instructor to back up farther so she could jump and swim to her instead of jumping directly into her arms, and Zuzu dove beautifully off the diving block after we explained the sign.

Zuzu will probably be ready for swim team next year, but we'll see if I'm ready for that commitment!

The other big excitement around here is the zip line that David installed in the backyard. The girls have been loving it. It only makes me a little nervous... I've been baffled by their inclination to zip line in the nude, but it does save me on laundry. The main reason why it's nice to have trees surrounding our house for privacy: backyard nudity.

a rare picture of them fully clothed!
The other thing we've been doing this summer is watching episodes of Little House on the Prairie in our downtime between lunch and afternoon activities. The girls have been very empathetic about the Ingalls family and their struggles. Pa broke his ribs and then a hailstorm ruined all their wheat. Zuzu kept calling it their "weed" which made me laugh. "Pa can't sell all his weed!" It's sparked some good conversations about white settlers encroaching on American Indian territories and the idea that the land was just open for them to take. And we've also talked about how you make flour from wheat, what alcoholism is (ahem, Mr. Edwards), and why it's important to get vaccinations (so you don't die from small pox). Who knew it would be such an educational experience?

All right... Coco is getting whiny so I'm wrapping up this post with no real conclusion... I hope to post soon about Zuzu's seventh birthday party! I can't believe my rainbow baby is going to be seven.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

A Few Things

Remember my last blog post, where I was all starry-eyed and smug about summer?

We've already devolved to that summer schedule meme that's like "breakfast, fight, fight, fight, anarchy."

In all seriousness, the girls do play really well together. Until they don't. And then they fight with each other until they decide to create a united front against me.

* * *

But look who turned ONE MONTH OLD!

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The big girls are still crazy about baby sister. There's no jealousy or resentment there, but there is plenty of squabbling about who gets to hold her first/longest. They are pretty helpful about fetching things if I need help, and they've been really good sports about us not being out and about as much since baby G is here. I'm very grateful for that. Baby G is lucky to have these sisters!

* * *

The other morning Zuzu said I was "the meanest mom in the world" because it was time to turn off The Magic School Bus after she'd already watched three episodes. (I do like Ms. Frizzle and her weird shrinking school bus, but I'm also freak about screen time). Later, we were at the grocery store and I let the girls get juice bags for a picnic in the park. Zuzu was delighted and I said, "Who's the nicest mom in the world?" She smiled and said, "You!" Then she paused thoughtfully and added, completely serious and slightly apologetic, "Well, Ella's mom is actually really nice..." So I'm in second place to Ella's mom, I guess.

We're having a relaxing weekend because the big girls are at my mom and dad's. The house is SO QUIET. It's awesome but I also miss them SO MUCH. It's amazing to not be interrupted every five minutes with tattling, tears, or demands for snacks, and I'm sure they are having a blast, but I suspect I'll be ready to have them back.

David is outside on this day of relaxation doing yard work. I advised him of an excellent life-hack shortcut to yard work: Lower your standards.

So far he has not taken my advice.

* * *

I missed my regularly scheduled hair appointment because it was two weeks after Genevieve was born and I was not yet ready to leave my house/baby. I finally rescheduled it for three weeks later, so my hair was... unkempt. But after a trim and a root touch up and a blow dry, I feel like a whole new person!

* * *

Speaking of feeling sexy, my postpartum night sweats seem to have mostly stopped, so it's amazing to not wake up sweaty and disgusting!

* * *

Miss G (nickname still TBD) has been a good night sleeper for me (knock on wood and whatnot). Last night she slept from 11 to 3:30 and then after nursing she went back to sleep until 7. Lovely baby! Of course I somehow ended up wide awake after the 3:30 nursing session, so I tossed and turned until 4:30, then turned on my lamp and read City of Girls for a bit before dozing off again. I finished the book this morning and loved it.

As I mentioned on IG stories, I was predisposed to like the novel after seeing Liz Gilbert talk about her writing process and love and grief and creativity at the Brave Magic retreat back in September (where I remarked to my friend Julie that my period was a little late...). Liz Gilbert is so smart and funny and adorable and I want to be her friend and be just like her except I'm nowhere near cool enough. Anyway, it was another excellent read of 2019 and I recommend it.

* * *

Zuzu's birthday--YOU GUYS MY BABY ZUZU IS TURNING 7--is coming up at the end of the month. After much debate (in my head) she convinced me to have a small party at our house again. It's really all she wants. And while it would be easier to pay $200 to have the party somewhere else--a bounce house, a book store, the botanical gardens, the gym, the cupcake shop, etc.--she will be even happier to have it here at home. And we'll probably save some money too since we really just need to buy cupcakes and party favors.

The selling point was when she spent all afternoon one day last week making "treat bags" for the friends she wanted to invite to her "dog club birthday party." She took poop bags from the little poop bag container that clips on Clementine's leash and she wrote her friends' names on them in Sharpie and then she collected crap from around the house to give as party favors--stickers, tattoos, pencils, pictures she drew, and suggestions for what they could to "to help the earth," which were things like "Pick up litter" and "Help a wild dog."

(Side note: Coco calls litter "glitter" and I don't correct her because it's so precious and there are very few "baby words" she still says (occasionally yellow is "lellow" but not very often because Zuzu has dropped that all together.)

So now we are having a "dog club birthday party" but I'm only letting her invite four friends because I'm NOT the nicest mom in the world (see above). Of course now I worry--summer is so busy! What if only one of her friends can make it? But whatever. Then we'll call it a birthday playdate, I guess. Also Zuzu specifically asked me to put on the invitation that she wants her friends to bring presents. LOL. Many parties she's been to this year invite the entire girl scout troop (20 girls) and request no presents or donations to a particular charity. I think this is genius, but my poor underprivileged, toy-deprived child is not a fan of this idea. (Eye roll.) So the alternative is to limit the number of friends.

Zuzu wrote out her wish list last week, and it included an American Girl doll, which surprised and delighted me. I still have my old Kirsten doll at my parents' house but I am not ready to pass it along to the girls! They are not exactly gentle with the dolls they love. Plus they like to apply markers to them--the Target-version of American girl doll that Zuzu has now sports jewelry-like marker tattoos, and her beloved Elsa doll bears a Harry-Potter-esque lightening-shaped-scar on her forehead fashioned from blue marker. I am not prepared to see Kirsten defaced, so the girls don't even know she exists yet. BUT I went ahead and scouted around on FB marketplace and picked up the American Girl doll named Caroline (who is now retired). She was being offered for a reasonable price not too far from here, so David picked her up a couple of days ago. Then I ordered the Caroline books from ebay ($15 including shipping for all six of them; I was pretty pleased with myself).

She's also getting a Harry Potter Marauder's Map book, a Harry Potter t-shirt, a Shimmer and Shine toy she requested, and possibly a "new" bike from FB marketplace (we're going to look at it later today and see if it's lighter weight than the one she's currently riding).

* * *

We've only had one week of gymnastics for Coco and ninja class for Zuzu, but it went really well. Zuzu was the only girl in her class but she totally kept up with the six boys (ages 6-10). There was only obstacle that she didn't quite master, but she never gave up and had a great attitude about the whole thing. She's pumped to go back. Coco also loved gymastics and she did everything with great enthusiasm. Plus she looks so adorable in a leotard with two French braids. I am a biased for cuteness when it comes to short kids with huge heads, though.

* * *

The other big excitement coming up this week is the dance recital--they'll get back from my parents' just in time for dress rehearsal and then the big performance is a couple days later. I'm looking forward to seeing their performances.

* * *

Baby G and I have been binge-watching Fleabag while the girls are gone and I'm not sure it's everyone's flavor but it is definitely my cup of tea. (One friend on mine mentioned that the breaking of the fourth wall when she talks directly to the camera was annoying to her, but I love a metanarrative!) I find it hysterical and also touching. Season 2 was even better than season 1.

* * *

So that's the big excitement around here. Not sure if it's worth blogging about, but life gets a little smaller and more focused with a new baby at home, so that's just where we are at the moment. It's funny how intensely I'm trying to savor this little season at the same time I'm exhausted by it and also sometimes feeling nostalgic about it in advance. I guess that's basically the definition of modern parenting?