Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Is It Just Me...

...or do Charlie and Ella look really really similar in the face in these pictures? Maybe it's the cheeks.

Ella, 9 weeks


Charlie, about 7 weeks


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Nightmare Photo Session aka Trying To Get A 3 Year Old & An Infant To Just Cooperate, Dammit.

Someone got the bright idea to try and take pictures of both kids this morning. In my mind, this worked out beautifully and I got lots of heartwarming pictures of the doting big sister and the handsome little brother. What actually happened involved crying, yelling, throwing things...and the kids were worse. Turns out? Just because a three year old is in a good mood the moment you decide to take pictures of her does not mean that 4 minutes later isn't an excellent time to throw a world-record tantrum because she didn't want Charlie touching her or her dress. Explaining that he is a baby, for God's sake, and he doesn't realize he is touching you did no good. Anyway, there were a couple of okay-ish pictures from the batch. I'll be trying this again in, oh, say, 2 years.








8 Weeks.

Charlie had his 8 week checkup yesterday, and he weighed in at 12 lbs 10 oz, 23 inches long. In other news, that is almost the exact same amount of weight I lost while having my nervous breakdown over the last month or so. At least I got something positive out of that besides a prescription for crazy pills.

Oh, the cheeks!


Friday, January 23, 2009


Things are not all the way back to normal, but they are better. Infinitely better than they were just 3 days ago, even. The horrible feelings that I can do nothing right and that everyone would be better off without me screwing up everything are gone. I can see past the small instances of stress while they are happening, instead of having a panic attack because things will NEVER. GET. BETTER. EVEEERRRR. I can look at Charlie waking up in the middle of the night crying as what it is: a temporary thing that will pass soon enough. Last week I would lay in the dark, gripped by some fear of him waking up, even though I didn't know WHY exactly, because all I ever do when he wakes up is feed him and put him back down when he is asleep again. I can let him cry for 30 seconds while I fix his bottle and be fine with that instead of having my heart beating in my throat, palms sweating, hands shaking. I can look at the calendar on the refrigerator and plan for the months to come, instead of putting a little black "x" on a certain date, telling myself that if things got bad enough and horrible enough and I had ruined everything enough, I could just end it for myself. I have more compassion for people dealing with depression and anxiety problems, because it makes you feel crazy, all while your sane self is sitting by saying "WHAT is your problem? This is ridiculous, just stop it already." I can look at my kids and know that I am not screwing them up (yet), they are just fine, healthy, and thriving. I can do my absolute best each and every day to juggle the needs of both children, between the many feedings a day, diapers, playtime, hugs, discipline, and kisses. And that is good enough, I know now.

Monday, January 19, 2009


So, I'm not sure what was the first clue that I am dealing with some sort of postpartum depression: Was it the sense that I am doing NOTHING right? Or the overwhelming urge to pull the covers up over my head and sleep for 8 years? Or possibly the fact that I stared into the medicine cabinet last week and wondered if I actually had the courage to take all 40 percosets? Anyway, I am taking the steps to deal with this and get better, but it is still very very hard for someone who has never dealt with depression to understand how it feels. Until I am clear enough in the head to try and explain it, I think that this blog entry from sums it up perfectly for me.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

In Which I Overlook The Glaringly Obvious.

The baby-toting had gotten out of control. Charlie needed to be carried around for over an hour every time he needed to go to sleep. You can do the math on that one...15 minutes to feed the baby, an hour and a half or two hours of being awake time, an hour of me doing nothing but carrying him around the house and doing everything except standing on my head to get him to nap, and then...a 30 minute nap. Start again. He got so mad that he refused the pacifier, being swaddled, and just about everything else except for me jiggling his ass all around the house, upstairs and downstairs and back again, for over an hour until he finally passed out and slept on my chest for half an hour. So I hopped online and ordered the Holy Grail of baby sleep...Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth. This book seriously saved my sanity back when Ella was about 3 months old, and I couldn't find my copy on the bookshelf (it may or may not have been stained with wine and my tears as I desperately flipped through it searching for an answer). So when it arrived in the mail yesterday I dug right in, not really expecting to read anything I didn't already know, because hey! I AM A SEASONED VETERAN at this whole mom thing. I read and read and read, the chapters that outline the biological aspects of sleep and the different stages of sleep. Yadda yadda yadda, I knew all of this! My greatest fears were being realized: I just have a freak baby who enjoys sucking my soul out of my body by making me hold him 14 hours a day. And then. I came upon the chapter about Charlie's age group, one to four months. I'm reading, and it says, "Babies around 4-8 weeks of age should be kept awake for no longer than one to two hours." And I kinda stared at the book and thought, "Hmmm." Because in all of the things I know about caring for a baby and the shuffle of our day to day routine, I had overlooked one thing: BABIES GET OVERSTIMULATED. And once they are overstimulated, it is nearly impossible to get them to settle down enough to go to sleep. An overstimulated baby is like a Baby On Crack, all jittery and crazy-eyed and flapping their arms around at an ungodly pace. And I KNEW this. I knew it from way back when Ella was an infant and I was all Nap Nazi on her ass. Seriously, I don't think that child missed a single nap until she was two years old, and she very rarely misses one now, lest Evil Ella make an appearance. But I guess since she has turned into an actual person who can sleep around life's schedule and not vice versa, I had forgotten. And, oh, the glorious sleeping that happened in this house today. Three naps, all two hours each. And each wonderfully deep sleep took me no longer than about 10 minutes to make happen. No more carrying around a 12 pound baby for FOURTEEN HOURS A DAY. No more telling Ella sorry, but Charlie wants to sleep directly on Mommy so I can't play Barbies with you right now, and maybe not ever again. SLEEP! Charlie was happier, I was definitely happier, and even Ella said, "It sure is nice when Charlie sleeps upstairs." Now, we have yet to see if this affects his nighttime sleep, so I may be eating my words when I am awake at 3am with an alert and ready to party baby who got too much sleep the day before, but I doubt it. Hopefully Charlie adheres to the whole "sleep begets sleep" rule for babies and gives me a good night's sleep for once. And I will be looking for my Mother Of The Year award in the mail any day now.

Self Discovery Of Sorts.

I am FAR from perfect. Far far far from it. But there are certain things that I am good at. I am good at organizing things and keeping a really clean house (when time permits). I am reasonably good at cooking. I am good at this whole stay-at-home-mom thing (at least I think I am) and keeping my 3 year old entertained and stimulated and teaching her things and making sure she eats a balanced meal most of the time. I like to think that I am good at being a friend to those who count me as a friend. But I have recently come to the conclusion that I, maker of three course meals and organizer of playdates, am just NOT A NEWBORN PERSON. I do not enjoy the first couple of months of my children's lives, really at all I think. Oh sure, I enjoy the first smiles and the first coos and obviously the first time they choose to sleep through the night. But I am just not one of those people who really loves nothing more than to sit around admiring their baby's every move or sound, especially when Baby chooses to MAKE me be awake at 12am, 3 am, and up for the day at 6am. I would find it much easier to sit around and do nothing but look at my children's toes if I, well, had NOTHING TO DO BUT SIT AROUND AND LOOK AT THEIR TOES. I can without a doubt say that I am not a newborn fan because I have had close encounters with a few people who are definitely newborn people. My mom loves nothing more than to sit and hold a sleeping newborn for hours on end and just stare at their ears and hair and cheeks. And while I enjoy this for about 15 minutes, I start to think of everything else that needs to be done and my arm is falling asleep and seriously, Baby, I only moved my leg a half inch to the right, that is no reason to wake up and start screaming. I much much much prefer babies when they get to be about 6 months old and are a bit more predictable and can sleep without me holding them with both arms while walking around the house at the exact same pace for an hour and breathing directly into their noses so they can smell me and make sure I am still in fact holding them. I find no shame in admitting me it is no different than someone saying, "Eh, I tried the whole 'yoga/meditation' thing, and it's just SO not for me." I kind of have the whole "means to an end" thinking about newborn put in the work NOW, and they turn into fun little people that you can really enjoy a little further down the road. I don't know why I felt the need to devote an entire blog entry to this subject, except for that it dawned on me this morning when I was trying unsuccessfully to get Charlie to take a nap and I was bouncing on the edge of my bed an my leg was cramping up but Oh God I can't stop bouncing or move a different direction because that would upset The Baby, that hey, I DON'T ENJOY THIS VERY MUCH. So...My name is Abby, and I am not a baby person.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Old Pictures and About 6 years of Perspective.

Ella found one of my old photo albums this morning, so we flipped through it for a little while and she got a huge kick out of seeing Mommy "look funny", as she put it. I've glanced at these pictures now and again when I'm cleaning out the closet they sit in, but it's been a LONG time since I saw them, and I found myself thinking things about them that I never thought before. Whereas before I may notice someone else's cute dress or comment on how YOUNG we all looked, now I have a different commentary running through my head.

"Sitting around drinking BEERS! With no kids screaming for us or spitting up on us! And we have on CLEAN CLOTHES!"


"Who did I think I was, having time to actually FIX my hair? I remember when I had long hair and I used no fewer than about 5 tools to get it to look that way. Now I have two tools: A towel and a hair rubber band."


"More lap sitting, for some reason. And clean clothes! And actual TIME to just do nothing but sit on Mikan's lap!"


"Again with the insane amount of time to do hair and makeup. And a dress that color (or size) could never be worn now because it would show the peanut butter and baby puke too much."


"An ironed shirt! And lipstick that surely took more than 1.2 seconds to apply. Hell, LIPSTICK AT ALL!" (sidenote: did Mikan think he still lived in L.A. with that hair? Good Lord.)


"I was out AT NIGHT! With real live other people! And clean clothes and HAIR!"


The Day I Decided Not to Throw Charlie Through The Window.

We have SMILES! Whew, just when I thought I was going to write and publish an addendum to Dr. Karp's book titled "The 6th S: Shaking Your Colicky Baby", Charlie let loose with the smiles. Oh, they are fantastic. And that's all I can write right now, as Charlie was up a lot last night and I'm tired and I actually poured his formula in my coffee this morning instead of regular milk by mistake.




Monday, January 12, 2009

Truly Blessed.

My phone rang on Friday, and I couldn't get up to answer it right that moment. But when I looked at the missed call list, it had been my friend Molly who had called. I called her right back, and what I got was shocking: someone on the other end of the line telling me that she was coming to our house for two nights to help out. This in and of itself isn't all that remarkable, we've had friends and family help out here and there along the way since Charlie's arrival and subsequent Nightmare Colic Sessions. But, Molly lives five hours away, near Atlanta. AND she has three young kids of her own (6, 3, and 18 months). AND she has a full-time job that she does from home, in addition to all of the "mom jobs" like cleaning, cooking, and general kid-wrangling. So to say that her plate is full is the understatement of the year. Yet here was my friend, listening to me cry, telling me that everything was going to be fine, she would be here shortly. And so she drove five hours to come and sleep on our pull-out-sofa bed thing, and hold Charlie for us so that we could do things like shower, nap, and spend time with Ella alone. As amazing as she is to do this for us, she went WAY above and beyond what she should have been willing to do (and her husband, Todd, for staying home with the kiddos all weekend and giving up his wife to us). On Saturday afternoon, I woke up from a glorious 3 hour nap (!!!) to find Molly in my laundry room folding clothes. And then I noticed, hey, the floors look...different. She had mopped all of my floors. And then I noticed, hey, something smells good in here. And I looked on the stove and she had dinner cooking. The laundry room cabinets were organized. The laundry got put away in its respective rooms. An actual home cooked meal, and someone handing a serving to me saying, "Go sit down and eat, I'll go get the baby". I spent most of the weekend holding back tears, amazed that I have such an incredible friend who so selflessly did for us what no one has managed to do yet: Hold my hand, look at ME, and ask "what do YOU need?". Her oldest was colicky, so she also brought a huge array of tips and tricks that had worked for her 6 years ago. I am still in awe at how amazing she is to give up an entire weekend to do things like sort my dirty laundry and scrub my floors and cook us dinner. I am not one to ask for help, but having Molly here made me really realize how much I needed a little bit of a break. I don't know what I've done to deserve such a great friend, but I sure am glad to count her as one of mine.

So, to Molly, if you read this: I love you, and I am so truly blessed to have you as a friend. If you ever need anything, I will be there in a heartbeat for you.

Friday, January 9, 2009


I was feeding Charlie last night, and Ella was coloring on the coffee table. Very casually she said, "Hey, mom, look at this." I glanced at the picture and said "That's nice", but she kept insisting that I LOOK AT THIS RIGHT NOW NOW NOW. I finally looked closer at it, and lo and behold, the little toot had written her name. I've never taught her how to write her numbers or letters or her name or ANYthing like that, so to say I was shocked is an understatement. I'm sure some other kids her age have been writing their names and doing calculus and translating the Iliad for months already, but I still felt like HOLY CRAP, I have the smartest kid on the face of the planet. It made me realize just how fast she is growing up, and before too long she will be in Kindergarten, oh Lord, and I will have to make all of the area bars open extra early on her first day of school so I can make the rounds.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Happy Blog Post, For A Change.

Trying to talk myself into being happy today, so I thought a blog entry about what I am thankful for would maybe help, instead of the gloom and doom of talking about the horror of colic.

- A husband who is being oh-so-supportive and helpful during this stressful time. Even though it is not fun, he takes baby duty all evening so I can spend time with Ella, shower, or lay in bed and gaze slack-jawed at the ceiling.

- That Charlie is not my first born child, because I surely would have stopped after one baby if THIS was what I thought motherhood was like.

- That I am of legal drinking age, so that when the crying gets really bad I can stop by the liquor store.

- For a support system of other moms who have been through this (and worse) who will hold my hand and tell me to hang on, that it gets better soon, and then offer to come help me anytime I need it.

- That I have two beautiful, amazing, healthy kids who give me a reason to get up in the mornings ( and at 2, 3, and 4 am most nights). Even if one of them turns into a screaming hellmonster when the sun goes down.



Tuesday, January 6, 2009

And The Verdict Is....

Colic. Completely healthy, chubby, thriving baby boy who screams for no reason for hours on end. Hooray. While I am thrilled that he is healthy and gaining weight well, I was maybe a little bit kinda hoping for a "Here's the problem, and here is a simple solution to it" answer from our pediatrician. Nope, what we got was a clean bill of health and a doctor who looked at us with more pity than I've ever seen in one person. Whether that was because he said his oldest daughter had colic and he knows what we are going through, or because there I was, no shower or makeup, and completely sobbing in the exam room because dangit I am tired and worn out and weak and have HAD IT, I don't know. He told us that things usually get marginally better around 6 or 7 weeks, and then get a lot better by about 12 weeks. So, best case scenario, we have 2 more weeks of this hell, and worst case...2 MONTHS GOD HELP US. I am just floored by how incredibly hard this is. I am not a first time mom, I have been through a lot of crap with Ella...the flu, sleep issues, the three miserable nights spent letting her cry it out to resolve said issues, tantrums, night feedings, days/nights mixed up, etc. But this takes the frigging cake. Hell, it takes the whole bakery. Most of my day was spent in tears trying to just put one foot in front of the other and take that next breath. This may sound dramatic, but I really don't consider myself a super dramatic person, and I thought I was so prepared to take on the newborn baby thing again but this crap has thrown me for a loop, and I'm not sure I'm handling it very well. Mikan and I are just hanging in there, waiting it out, knowing that one day soon Charlie will start smiling, and while that won't erase the stress from Screamfest 2009, it will lighten the load just a smidge, I think. In the meantime, I am listening to this song on my ipod over and over and ding dang over again because it helps me remember that these days are just a phase, as is everything in life. And they will come to an end at some point. Hopefully.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The C Word.

No, not that C word. Although, chances that I have uttered that word over the last week or so are great. No, the word I have in mind is COLIC. Oh, God, colic. It seems that our dear Charlie has been blessed with stomach issues, or gas, or reflux, or all of the above, and whatever it is that is bothering him is at its worst from 6pm until about 10:00 at night. This results in screaming fits so awful that it makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up and ties my stomach in knots and makes me want to drag Mikan by the hair to the nearest 24 hour vasectomy clinic. Words do not do justice to how horrible the screaming actually is. He cries until he is purple in the face and stops breathing and gasps for air, which makes me sob helplessly as I watch my boy in so much pain and know that I cannot fix it right this instant for him, and... well, since there are no words to how awful the screaming episodes are, here is a picture of what invades our house every evening for hours on end:


I don't know what's worse, the screaming or the fact that I just admitted to the 2 people who read this blog that I saw the shit-pile "I Am Legend". But between the hours of 6 and 10 most nights, Charlie is not unlike the zombies from said movie. I have thought more than once during these episodes that he wants to slowly kill me, or suck the will to live right out of my body. During the day and after the screaming occurs he is sweet as pie, barely makes a peep at all except when he is hungry. But OH LORD HAVE MERCY ON MY SOUL it is horrific while it is happening at night. We are all miserable for hours on end every night, most of all probably Ella, since she really can't comprehend WHY he screaming the way he is. Dinnertime is ruined (this now consists of me or Mikan shoving some kind of food down our throats before the crying starts), any chance of quality time with Ella is thrown out the window since Charlie has to be held, rocked, bounced, swayed at the exact right intervals and rhythm and held with just the right amount of firmness in the exact right position (except that it doesn't really matter, because he screams anyway, no matter how you hold him). I know that this, too, shall pass, and we are trying everything in our power to find SOMEthing that works to help him feel better. But for the love of all that is holy, this sucks. Hard.