Some Ways to Recharge

We ALL need rest (although try telling that to my five-year-old). So I started thinking about what helps me relax and stock up on energy…here are my ideas.

1. I prepare for recharging like I’d prepare for a visit from a friend. Yes, this is a little counter-intuitive because I’m doing some work up front, but it’s worth it. The house doesn’t have to be spotless, but I try to get it to a decent point. Then I plan some activities and good food, clear my schedule and cut back on obligations, and it’s all worth it for the recharging time ahead.

2. Limit screen time. This is a big one. It’s easy for me to zone out in front of the computer or television, but at the end of it, I totally do NOT feel rested. There’s noise. Noise noise noise noise, like the Grinch says. So turning those off and getting into a book or a notebook or an artsy project (see 4, below) is what helps me.

3. Cat naps! Goes without saying, really.

4. I try to do something creative, but only if it doesn’t feel like “work.” Writing can fall into this category, but if I’m not having a good time, I should work on something else, like a Shiny New Idea, or…scrapbooking, or making my kids’ Halloween costumes.

5. Sort of related to the above, PLAY. If I can sit down, with or without the kids, and break out the crayons and a coloring book, I’m a happy girl. It is SO soothing. Same with Play-Do, LEGO, My Little Ponies….

There’s more, of course, but I’m going to take my own advice and relax. Well, not really. I’m in Tip 1, which is setting the scene for recharging. I’ve got a few writing-related things I need to wrap up over the next few weeks. I’m taking a month-long break from this blog, although I’ll still do my two scheduled posts at the YA Muses, and I’ll try to comment on other blogs occasionally. So, my next post here will be October 11th.

The Eye of Sauron

I feel like such a cheater, making Lord of the Rings references when I haven’t even read the books. But I’ve totally watched the movies – the extended versions, even! – multiple times. So that sort of counts, right? (Even though I fast-forward through the Frodo scenes?) (Sorry, but he’s such a whiner he makes Z look good.)

My pal Kristen…wait, my fabulous pal Kristen gave us her video baby monitor. The first night we used it I hated the thing, because Maverick kept spinning around and we’d have to go in there and flip him over, and I was trying to watch a movie, damnit. But now he doesn’t spin quite as much, because he’s in his funny sleep sack thing. Whoops, he’s on his tummy now….

I straightened that out.

Also, I investigated the advice online (stick them on their backs to start, then shrug your shoulders because if they’re going to turn, you can’t stop them…without Velcro or no-longer-recommended stay-put devices). I also Googled “life monitors for sleeping babies,” not sure if they actually exist. They do. They’re expensive. Besides which, I’d probably buy one, and then I’d be trusting it to work instead of doing my job as a parent and checking on my kid.

The Eye of Sauron looks like this. I’m not joking.

So one time I was watching him flail and fuss through the Eye of Sauron, and all of a sudden he levitated. “Whoa!” I said to my friend BDawg. “Maverick just levitated! Now he’s disappeared!”

I wish I could stop there, because it’s so X-Men, having a baby who levitates before vanishing. But what really happened was Homes went in and picked him up to comfort him. I, of course, had been content to watch him suffer, like the mean lazy independence-promoting mommy that I am. Besides, it makes me hurt to see him hurt, so our mutual hurting was, in some twisted way, acceptable to me.

Besides, I was talking on the phone with BDawg and we didn’t have much time because her three-month-old was busy creating the kind of diaper blowout that makes legends.

Not to get competitive or anything, but my kid was levitating. Ish.

Yeah, he totally looks like he’s flipping me off.

WWTBWD? What would the Baby Whisperer do?

The Baby Whisperer has earned my eternal gratitude. It was her middle-of-the-road approach (i.e. not making the baby cry it out, but also not letting the baby sleep in my lap) that got Z into her bed, and it’s been mostly successful with Maverick.

Mostly.

The little stinker is DETERMINED to flip onto his stomach. It’s like his Life Goal as soon as I put him in the crib. Head over, swing the swaddled legs over, onto the side, then onto stomach. And then what? He snuffles and complains because he has a face-full of organic mattress. Yay, fun! Let’s do it again as soon as Mama puts me on my back.

What would the Baby Whisperer do? I borrowed her big book from the library: The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems, which is a pretty ambitious title until you read the parenthetical part: (By Teaching You How to Ask the Right Questions).

But I haven’t read it yet.

I do know she’s okay with putting babies on their sides to sleep.

Sorry, I’m far too paranoid, and too plagued by nightmares of SIDS, to try that. If Homes & I had our way, we’d be attaching Velcro to the sheets and to the back of Maverick’s swaddler. Duct tape has been another tempting solution.

What would the Baby Whisperer do? I don’t know, and I might never get around to reading this library book because I found 189 things I want to fix in my manuscript.

So I stand at the head of Maverick’s crib, patiently pushing him back into place. Sometimes I let him get all the way onto his stomach, because, I admit it, he looks kinda funny that way, like a lost slug or a baby mental patient in a straight jacket, and his snorts never cease to amuse me.

I don’t let him snort for long, though, before I flip him over again.

And again and again.

[Update: I wrote this on Sunday, then experimented with NOT swaddling him on Monday and Tuesday. Epicfail. He’d get so mad about losing his thumb/fist that he’d freak out even more. So, back to swaddling.]

Sleeps Like a Baby

A very quick post.

1) How is it that when I stick Maverick in his crib and I lie down in my bed, every tiny little snort and gurgle keeps me awake?

2) And how is it that I just put him down for a nap to the lullaby of jackhammers in the street outside our house?

3) Why do I make Z tiptoe around the house when he’s asleep?

4) Will I ever exercise again?

5) Will I ever sit down and work on a novel again?

6) Will my house ever be if not clean, then moderately less filthy again?

IDK for 1-3. YES for 4 and 5. HAHAHAHAHA NO for 6.

Postpartum Barbie

My little Maverick is one month old.

I can’t help but compare him to Z when she was an infant. And it isn’t fair to either of them. But briefly:

THIS IS A WHOLE LOT EASIER.

It’s harder in many ways. Juggling two little people instead of one. Trying to get Maverick to sleep when Z’s running around the house. Making Mom-and-Z time so Z doesn’t feel left out.

But this baby actually sleeps on his own, and when he cries he doesn’t sound pissed off like Z did.

Summer will be a whole other animal – Z won’t be in school and I’ll have them both. Together. All. Day. Long. But I have a couple more weeks of just me and my little dude during the day, and I plan to enjoy them.

Fortune Cookie, 3:40 a.m.

As many people in my online writing circles already know, I gave birth to Maverick (that’s his code name, not his real name) early Thursday morning. My water broke a little after midnight, and four hours later I had a new baby! (Like it’s that easy. And didn’t involve lots of shouting and disillusionment and internal requests for a cesarean section and/or lots of drugs. But I didn’t say those out loud. Mostly I said, “Get it OUT!” and “I’m never doing this again!”) (God bless patient nurses.) (Who are probably investing in ear plugs, if they haven’t already lost their hearing.)

Z is doing great with Maverick, she just LOVES him, wants to pet and kiss him all the time. And poke his little eyes – I don’t know what that’s about. (Actually, I have a few guesses. It’s hard sharing Mommy and Daddy.)

For some reason, his cry doesn’t bother me as much as Z’s did. Maybe because it’s a different pitch (he sounds like a baby pterodactyl, or, as Homes said, a Swainson’s Hawk). Or because his scrunchy little face looks so funny when he does it. I feel kinda bad, because sometimes I laugh when he cries.

He’s still learning the difference between nocturnal beings (creatures that are awake at night, i.e. NOT US) and diurnal beings (creatures that are awake in the day and sleep at night, i.e. US), so I’ve been awake a lot at night. Once, on a trip through the kitchen for ibuprofin, I spotted a bag of fortune cookies. And thought. 3:40 a.m. Not a bad time for a fortune cookie. I wish I could say the fortune was something illuminating and dreamy and perfect for my situation, but I think it was actually about riches coming my way next month.

And that’s okay. Because not everything is illuminating, or dreamy, or perfect. Sometimes things scream, and don’t sleep when (or where) they’re supposed to. We love them anyway.

There are nights…

There are nights that sleep descends on me
like a blanket coming down
and I stay in sleep so easily,
disturbed by not a sound.

But then there are the nights
with incidents my earplugs cannot mute
potty breaks and whining,
bed territory disputes.

Driftin’, dreamin’, dozin’,
snoozin’, snorin’, nappin’
Sleep never seems so crucial
until it doesn’t happen.