Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Daily Grind

How bout a break from the tear-jerking posts?

Many of my fab kidless friends are curious as to what having a baby really means, some mothers curious if its different for Downs. Yes, there are the times you get to dress your baby up like a doll in the latest pink frills an infant-loving family friend has sent. And there is the one everyone secretly wishes to participate in once in their life - a baby falling asleep on your chest. Ugh, melts your heart to know they find you that comfortable, listening to your monotone heartbeat to lull them off to dreamland. These are the perks that visitors get to join in on when they come to see Lyla in our cozy, waterfront rental. But what they really don't know is that these are just the feature highlights things like A Baby Story gives you. The real daily knitty gritty goes a little something like this...

A pale gray-blue is emerging through the cracks of the curtains covering our bedroom picture window overlooking the glass water morning bay. We live in a neighborhood called Crow Point, so you can imagine these early morning hours filled with squawks from the jet black birds. The higher chirps from smaller birds in the background. Not annoying squawks that will wake you up, more just pleasant hellos from nature as you stare at the porcelain skinned baby girl grunting and squirming in protest of leaving those dreams full of a world made out of giant milk bottles. That's like winning the lottery for a baby, right? Free milk for life? The pink-tinged eyelids squint open to produce darkly contrasted slits as she lets mama know she's ready for some boob juice with quiet "ehhs", just enough not to stir Daddy too much. I scoop up the warm snuggler and we tip toe out for our first breakfast of the day. Lyla likes to call it her protein shake just to get things started. Vanilla of course.8am
I often awake again after realizing we've fallen asleep in the nooks of the couch or recliner, Lyla snuggled into my arm meeting my side. Of course she's protected in between my body and the cushion - don't worry Dad. First thought, Crap we're not going to make it to the Stroller Mafia class at 9 now. Yup, that's right, an exercise class my gym puts on at a local park. A bunch of fellow yoga panted mamas with their babies in strollers while we all look like fools doing lunges while pushing them in a line. I like the classes where she's included with me since the gym day care is on our fears list - a place where germs thrive. Remember - we just can't get sick until surgery. But I know that it's 8:00, I need to feed her again as she's wide-eyed and brushing her searching hands against my cheek, pump the remaining morning explosion of milk out, and then try to get us out the door for a 15-minute car ride? I don't think so. We'll have to settle for our own version later in the day, minus the lunging as I don't need my new neighbors thinking I am nuttier than Gary Busey.

I walk into the kitchen from the 1920's (please oh please Landlord, let me Sweat Equity this for you) to scarf some breakfast before her Pack n Play excitement expires. I remember there is 1 moist pistachio muffin awaiting solo in its glass display like a Tiffany's window design. I walk forward with anticipation to lift the lid, only to discover this:Troy's been watching too many Seinfeld episodes. Dammit. Elaine's idea won him over. Muffin top stealer.

After her mid-morning grazing feed, we're finally done with round 2 and Ellen was hilarious as usual. Let's see if Mommy can squeeze a shower in. I'm never even asking for red carpet full makeup and hair either - just wet hair in a bun and concealer to cover up my post-pregnancy rosacea would make me feel like Heidi Klum. Thank you Cover Girl. If we're lucky, she's taking her first nap. Some weeks Troy is here to relieve my duties for 10 minutes, but some weeks I'm on my own with the bouncer right next to the tub, pushing the pacifier in her mouth every minute since she spits it out like chew. Why do these things not stay in?!11am
To give the girls a break, we use a pumped bottle to serve lunch. On the menu today is Pina Coladas straight up, as my Dad likes to say. I'm so proud of the munchkin to be able to nurse and take a bottle. Some babies strike against mixing how they take their cocktail. The only drawback to the combo is that this produces more dishes to wash.This little pink tub and I have become very close friends. We meet up with each other at least 3 times a day. Great, I'm starting to get so secluded that household items are thought of as my friends. The only good thing in this situation is we do not pay the water bill - paybacks for the old kitchen landlord!

This is where my stomach says "Hello?! This half of a muffin is not cutting it and I'd love some chicken salad." My stomach does not get along with Lyla a lot. He doesn't understand that this new baby comes first, and all of the growling in the world will not allow me to ignore the diaper and dress up session that must take place first. I refer to it as a He since we're all familiar with a male asking where his food is. But then I remember that I must at least keep Mr. Stomach well hydrated, or else the Parton twins are going to call it quits on me.I feel like I am constantly trying to keep this blue container of life going. If no one has told you, breastfeeding makes you as hungry as a horse and as thirsty as The Hoff after an all night bender. That whole bologna on how you burn 500 calories a day from producing milk and it's a great incentive for losing pregnancy weight...I'm calling bullshit. I know, how dare I. The first month nursing seemed to speed the process up of pulling that 9-month belly back in pretty tight, so that was sweet. But then the Slimfast stops. I've gone back to my normal pre-pregnancy menu, and I haven't seen any weight loss from Twin Peaks since. But I will say that the other 638 reasons to breastfeed are totally worth it, and I will be the milk woman for as long as I can. I realized the incentive for breastfeeding should be to get your baby the best food possible - not to drop down to your 7 Of All Mankind jeans in 6 weeks.

Feeding #4 gets finished. Let's get that workout in. Especially if it's a really bad day and we haven't had time to shower yet. At least pulling it up into a last resort greasy ponytail will get us somewhere past the frizzball clipped up mess. A REALLY bad day is we're just brushing our teeth by 2:00...yuck.

Into the stroller we go to take in the refreshing marine scenery in our new hometown. The picturesque views are straight up out of paintings. The houses along the way are found only in the movies. The people we encounter on our stroll have the manners of my missed southerners. The way she stares wide open at the clouded Dodger blue sky. I love how she takes it all in. It's literally a breath of fresh air.4pm
We're back to our homebase recliner just in time for a white chocolate latte for Lyla and Oprah for mama. Show me what miracle jeans are going to make this ass look smaller Ms. Winfrey.She's always so easy to stare at when she's nursing, hand grasping my shirt like she's never going to let go. That hoopla about how you'll never experience bonding like you do from breastfeeding - it's true. I'm hooked.


Troy's done with work - HANDOFF! I love you Lyla, but Mommy needs to run to the store without having to worry about you and 50 grocery items fitting in the cart. Wine bottles trump car seats.Or it's time to seclude myself to the cool laundry room to recover any of the 10 items of clothes that actually fit me during this awkward stage. Or I can reward myself with having time to run the addicting Swiffer vacuum since I am OCD on how much dust I can pick up. Who knew I would one day call grocery shopping or a laundry room a relaxing getaway. What happened to happy hour?

Dad duty is going strong with bathtime and another pumped bottle. I am so glad he can participate in feeding her. It really is a magical thing as she stares at you taking your face all in. It's like she's saying thank you with her eyes. And those fingers smaller than matchsticks that touch your chin to show appreciation for making the hunger go away. Such a rewarding moment. So I reward myself with a glass of wine.This shot says it all for 7:00- ice cold pinot grigio chugged, laptop in the background from a Facebook break, quick read on the side table, video baby monitor as my new Crackberry, and notes of today's feedings just to make sure she gotten enough in. Proper weight gain is always on our mind. Ahhhh, my new life. Another glass please.

Oh, we the parents get to eat? Sort of forgot about that. One of us will tend to the babe while the other scrounges some sort of frozen vegetable bag or leftover takeout together. So Martha Stewart, I know. Anything that can be cooked in 10 minutes and eaten in 10 minutes is a must. She doesn't give you much! How I Met Your Mother better not be a repeat.

The last feeding of the day is finishing up and Lyla is getting knocked out like she encountered Mike Tyson. (All I can ever think of with him now is his Phil Collins cameo in The Hangover - I always rock the drum solo too) This is where the blog comes in. I love writing at night. Something about the stone cold silence of the house brings all of my point worthy thoughts forward. I often type until 1am (1:34 right now!) just to get all of these head-flooding words out, which avails to Troy sometimes finding me like this in the middle of the night:

Keep in mind here, she dictates the schedule. These are just averages. One thing I learned from her is boss likes to create my work hours. Today she'll eat 10 mini meals and be up all day, tomorrow she'll chug 6 big ones and pull a Sleeping Beauty. Now that she's gaining weight properly, I just go with the flow and enjoy each day my baby wants to suggest from the Director's chair. We're creating quite the movie.

All in all, I look over this timeline of events and smile at myself. I think back to the frantic Jessica coming out of the sliding hospital doors with her new baby, crazy to educate herself on how different she needed to raise her infant with Down syndrome when she got home. Her thinking that there were going to be different medicines, or different sleeping positions, or different feeding styles that we were going to have to read up on and throw the "typical" Baby 411 book out the window since our child wasn't given the normal beginnings of only "It's a girl!". I went back to that book the other day after breezing through the 3 Down syndrome books I ordered, and realized This is my baby too. All the doctors and professionals prepare you on how different Lyla will be, but to me this schedule and life that we have is not much different at all. I wish I could approach all of the new surprised moms out there in those hospitals, receiving their infant's harsh diagnosis, and just reassure them that this too will be the baby they were expecting. It's a sweet baby boy or a precious baby girl, no more or less just because of a 2 word diagnosis that threw a dagger into their heart. Sure there will be weekly physical therapy appointments to improve muscle tone, and some specialists to rule out any common problems internally. But all in all, she's your baby.Just give in to her and enjoy.


  1. That was supposed to be a non-tear jerker?! Pull at my heart strings each time I read. I feel like I'm sitting there with you! Reading your post brought me back to last fall on maternity leave, amazing how their little schedules seem so similar to one another. And... oh my god... the hands petting your chest as they nurse,!!!! :-)

  2. Nicole ClausnitzerJuly 1, 2010 at 4:59 PM

    Jess your such a great writer...thank you for sharing i look forward to it all the time :) I miss you girl and I can't wait to meet your precious Lyla...i'll be up there the weekend of the 24th so hopefully you'll be around!

  3. i think this is my favorite post of yours. so accurate and sounds just like my days with ian, it makes me miss that precious time with just one baby to tend to and appreciate those small moments where it's just me and alex for these small miricles even if it is for a feeding in the middle of the night. and the breastfeeding thing ever with that little baby nuzzled into you starring at you as if thats the best moment of his (well in your case her) life batting at your face like he/she is saying thankyou for loving me. ahhhh makes me want to go feed alex right now :)

  4. I look forward to reading too!!!you're such an amazing writer and ditto to what Amanda said-sounds just like our days too minus the hyper and busy toddler that's now part of those days!!!! Thanks for sharing with all of us!