July 2009

Ten days ago Will turned four months old.

He had his four month check up last week and measured 15 pounds, 8 ounces and 25 1/2″ long. Sixtieth percentile for both, so not GINORMOUS, but to us he seems huge. He is already in 6 month size clothes, which amazes Mike and me since we are so used to Emma who didn’t fit into 6 month stuff until the day she turned 6 months old. He seems to have lost most of the hair he was born with, but there is a new layer growing in underneath, so at least he isn’t completely bald.

His favorite toys are the johnny-jump-up thingy that hangs from the door frame or his activity center. Oh, and standing. He loves to stand and has been doing it for at least a month. He hates to be alone however, no matter what toy he is in. If everyone leave him he gets furious and cries until we return. And speaking of furious, he seems to have a wicked temper. He doesn’t get mad very often, but when he does, there is no mistaking it. He turns bright red and his eyes get wide and he screeches in a way that makes him sound like what I imagine a baby pterodactyl must have sounded like. It makes it a little hard not to laugh at him frankly, and I usually do. So I guess we have that to look forward to in his toddler years. Great.

Most nights he sleeps about 8-9 hours at a stretch before he wakes up to eat. He is still co-sleeping with us, but we have begun to transition him to his own bed. He now takes one nap a day in his crib. Sometimes it is an hour long, sometimes just 20 minutes, but the point is to get him acclimated to it, so that when we start putting him in it at night he is familiar with the smell and feel. His other nap of the day is usually on the fly, in his car seat, while we attend to some activity or outing for his big sister. Not recommended I guess, but what else can we do.

My surgery this month was a little stressful for both of us, since I couldn’t nurse for 24 hours afterwards, and then was only able to because I had stopped the vicodin they gave me to kill the pain. He seemed a little desperate during that 24 hours, sucking down as many bottles as we would give him, maybe hoping one of them would turn into the mode of conveyance he was used to? In any case we both survived.

He is all smiles these days – watching us all in complete amazement as we live our lives. The person he loves to watch more than anyone is Emma, who, he seems to understand, is his people. He stares at her while she dances or sings for him, and then he breaks out into a huge grin. He is laughing and babbling more lately too, which elicits much laughter and babbling from those around him, and so on and so on.

He is snuggly and squishy and loves to kiss and hug and none of us can imagine what our family was like before he came. We love you Will!

So about a month ago I woke up with a pain in my side, found out I had a little gall stone and that I would be having laparascopic surgery to have my gall bladder removed. My surgery was ten days ago, and I am just now starting to feel like I am back to normal.

When I was preparing for the surgery, everyone was all “Oh, it’s sooo easy. You will LOVE it. It’ll be like nothing ever happened.” Well, maybe they weren’t quite that gung-ho, but I definitely got the impression that recovery would be a breeze and I would feel better pretty quickly. I almost didn’t arrange to have anyone come help us I was so confident that things would go so well.

I am here to tell you that gall bladder surgery is not, in fact, a breeze. Unless that breeze is a hurricane strength wind. I had a great doctor and surgical team and the surgery couldn’t have gone any better, nevertheless surgery is surgery. Whether they are cutting a 10-inch incision in your belly or four 1-inch incisions, cutting through the abdominal wall hurts, and takes a while to recover from.

As I said, I am feeling better now and eventually will probably forget that this really really hurt for a couple of days. Needless to say, I am really happy that I arranged for grand-parental support during this time, cause I have been really useless. Way more useless than I was after the birth of either child, even more useless than I was during my modified bedrest. One of the hardest parts has been thinking I would be back on my feet in two days, only to find it took me a lot longer. Patience is not one of my virtues when it comes to being able to get back to my daily routine.

Next time they take my gall bladder out though, I will be so prepared.

Monday used to be the worst day of the week. Before kids I would drag myself to work and curse the day, repeating for all to hear that Monday should be banned and the week should start on Tuesday. (Yes, yes I know, then Tuesday would be the new Monday. Tiny little detail.) I hated Monday.

Now I have a new appreciation for Monday. It is, for the time being, my day (mostly) off. When I had Emma, Monday was the only day of the week I was in the office so it was Emma’s regular day care day. When I lost my job a few weeks before having Will, we decided to pull her out of day care completely, but after his arrival we quickly realized that she needed the routine of going as much as we needed a little break, so we kept her in.

As the fog of having a new baby has lifted, and our life has found a new rhythm, I have begun to cherish Monday. I drop Mike at the Metro, take Emma to day care, and then the day is mine! I can do anything I want! I can be lazy or I can be super efficient and there is no cajoling, compromising or disciplining required. Of course Will is along for the ride, but so far he hasn’t complained.

Last Monday I made a return to Home Depot and then spent a good half an hour just wandering the store, looking at all the fun tools and cooing at Will who smiled up at me the whole time. After Home Depot we made our weekly trip to Trader Joe’s.

I love Trader Joe’s. Most Mondays includes a stop there to do our grocery shopping for the week, sans the two year old. Will and I take our time. We stop at the samples table and try out whatever free food they are trying to get us to buy. Then we buy it. We get one of their mini cups of free coffee and peruse the aisles, looking for some new hidden item to bring home and try out. We chat with the folks working there and coo over other babies and finally, with a cart full of food we check out.

The rest of the day is usually free form and goes far too quickly. We get home and unload the groceries, at which point Will usually needs to eat. After that I fit in whatever I can around Will’s naps. Sometimes I waste the day on the computer, getting caught up on email and facebook and blogging. Other days I am Super Housewife, getting more cleaning done in one day than I thought possible.

I used to stress out if I didn’t get everything on my to-do list completed before it was time to go pick up Emma. Now I realize that Monday is mine, and I need to use it to recharge my battery, in whatever way works. I love it when I am productive, because it means less has to get done later in the week. But the days when I am lazy are great too, and give me the energy to focus on the monumental task of wrangling a 2 year old, caring for an infant and maintaining a household.

At the end of the day I can’t wait to see my little girl again even while I am slightly sad that my Monday has come to an end. But I know I get another one next week, and in the meantime I have just the slightest bit of extra energy to tackle the next six days.

I spent some time last week driving around DC, in the neighborhoods where I spent many years as a kid. Every time I drive around DC I am flooded with memories. Each corner seems to remind me of my years growing up – that was my family’s favorite ice cream shop, that’s the 7-11 I rode my bike to every day in the summer for a slurpee, that was the movie theater where I got my first job, that’s the apartment where my jacket got stolen during a party in high school.

As I drove through the streets that I know like the back of my hand, zig zagging down side streets that I know provide short cuts, I felt comfortable and safe. Like I was home. Oddly enough, this is a feeling I don’t get in the suburbs where we currently live. It only happens when I drive across the DC/Maryland border and into the parts of the city I know so well.

DC can be a hard place to live. The traffic is brutal, the cost of living is pretty high, and the pace of life is on overdrive. Mike and I are always talking about whether we will stay in the area and where we might go if we don’t.

Driving around DC makes me not only want to stay here, but to move closer into the city than we currently are out in Wheaton. I want my kids to experience that same feeling of safety and comfort. I want them to feel like they are home.

Then I realize that DC feels like home to me because it was my home. It was where I first learned so much about life and where I built memories. Surely most people feel this way about the town they grew up in. Safety and comfort, it seems, is less about geography and much more about the memories you make wherever you happen to be.

So perhaps my family will stay in DC and maybe we won’t. But wherever we end up, my goal will be to help my kids create memories and a feeling that they are home. And no matter where we end up, I know DC will always be home for me.

Last week I woke up in the middle of the night with a blindingly sharp pain in my abdomen. I didn’t wake Mike up at first, but sat on the edge of my bed sobbing because of course I was dying, and oh-my-poor-kids-they-will -grow-up-without-a-mother. It hurt enough that I had trouble breathing and I could barely talk, so at 3 am I headed to the emergency room, both kids in tow.

Of course as soon as I registered – with the most horrible person I have met in a long time, but that is a different story – the pain went away. Well. I sure wasn’t going to sit in that hospital for four hours so they could tell me I had bad gas, so we went home.

I kept thinking it was just gas, and wasn’t really going to do anything to follow up until the next day, when my daycare provider told me she had the same kind of pain after her first child and it ended up being gallstones. So, off to my primary care doc I went, and multiple doctor appointments and one ultrasound later was told I do indeed have a gallstone. One. Rather small one. But still, the doctor told me, it has to come out.

Apparently one doesn’t just have a gallstone removed, you have to take the whole gall bladder out. (Dude, if I were on Star Trek, wouldn’t Bones just zap me with some lasery thing in his office and the stone would be gone?) The gall bladder, I have come to find out, is only slightly more useful than the appendix, but still not nearly as important as, say, almost every other organ in your body. So, out it will come.

I am scheduled for surgery next Friday, the 17th, and it is a laproscopic out patient procedure, so even though I will be under general anesthesia, I will be home in time for cocktails. No nursing William for 24 hours though, no driving for 3-4 days and my doc says it will be a week to two before I am 100% again. Not so bad for what used to be a major surgery.

My tonsils and appendix are already gone, so hopefully this is the last organ I will find out is not actually required for, you know, living, and I will hang on to the rest of them.

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