Temerity Jane
27. 06. 2011

There are no pictures of Penny in this post, so if you are here solely for the Penny, you should just move on before you’re suckered into reading actual WORDS. From ME.

*****

This may just be a north east thing, but I am reasonably certain that my life – and the lives of most people who grew up in the same general area of the country as I did – can be divided into two equal parts. Times when the Van Scoy Diamond Mine jingle was stuck in my head, and times it wasn’t.

*****

AN UPDATE! On my thing that broke? Well, it was my My Brest Friend pillow, which I have heartily recommended to many people.

Since I could not imagine being without it, I got over my irrational fear of being told to fuck off by a company in email form and I sent a letter. I said how much I like the product, how I tell everyone about it, how surprised I was by the issue (holes had developed where the clip attaches to the cover), since it is otherwise such a quality product, and that I assumed I must have had the bad luck to get a faulty cover – something I truly believe. I attached pictures and explained how I’d only been using the pillow as intended for a couple of weeks, since Penny was totally anti-boob for so long. I asked if it was possible to get a replacement.

In less than 30 minutes, Jenny from the My Brest Friend… people… had responded and said they would certainly send another cover and had never seen an issue like I was having, confirming my suspicion that I just had the rotten luck to get a random bad seed. I was totally blown away by the awesome response. There was not even a hint of “screw you!” in the email and my new cover is on the way.

Now, you’d think that this experience would turn me from someone who silently stews over broken products to a letter writer, but you’d be wrong. I just REALLY LOVE THIS PILLOW SO HARD that I overcame my pathological and unreasonable fear of corporate customer service people telling me where I can shove my faulty item and laughing all the way to the bank with my reasonable amount of money for this ONE SPECIFIC INSTANCE ONLY.

Seriously. It’s a really good pillow, you guys.

*****

I give Penny a pacifier every once in a while. Now and then. When she really seems like she needs it. A couple of times a week. I mean, maybe more like a couple of times a day. An hour. Okay, look, that baby needs a damn cork. If her mouth is open, I stuff it in there before any sounds can come out. I just felt like I needed to clear the air between us, Internet, and get that skeleton out of my closet.

*****

I have been thinking, and I am pretty sure that the Internet – as a whole – is a dude. I don’t mean that everyone on the Internet is a guy, I just mean that the collective Internet as a whole is most definitely male. Here is my irrefutable evidence: sometimes, a person just wants to bitch about a problem or issue or something insignificant and easily solvable but still annoying, and the Internet never lets that happen. The Internet must suggest a solution, or the Internet will die from the effects of not suggesting a solution.

You know who else dies from having to just listen without trying to jump in and SOLVE when there’s been absolutely no indication that the speaker is looking for a solution?

Men. Men die from that.

*****

The Internet also has an incredible capacity to make me feel like an asshole for WAY longer stretches of time than seems reasonable, given the size of the issues. I am pretty sure that no one who uses the Internet/social media on the regular can address every bid for their attention. Everyone – no matter how big or small the blog or how many Twitter followers or Facebook friends – can always answer every single thing. Obviously, this becomes harder as your numbers are bigger, but I am telling you from way down here on the tiny numbers end of thing – decimal point numbers, even – that it’s just not possible to read and respond to everything out there.  So you – everyone – miss things, and then you feel like an asshole.

And you (I) come up with elaborate plans to not feel like such an asshole – like trying to keep track of each person who comments and how many times you have recently responded to them, specifically, so that no one person is ignored all the time and — okay, you know what, I had a lot more to say about this, but I walked away to feed the baby and now I’m over it.

Basically, I’m an asshole is what the whole thing boiled down to.

You’d think that since I decided not to finish this part of the post, I’d delete it. You’d think that, but I’m not going to. It’s because I’m an asshole.

*****

SPEAKING of feeding Penny! I dry her diapers on the line – sometimes it’s actually faster than the dryer, what with the negative humidity and all. The outdoors is actually SO DRY that it’s thirsty enough to drink diaper water. Clean diaper water, but diaper water nonetheless.

Anyway. I obviously have to go outside to hang up the diapers, and while our clothesline is kind of secluded, our back door faces the neighbors behind us, and we think that maybe she runs some kind of in home daycare.

It used to be that before going outside to the line, I just had to look to make sure the next door neighbor wasn’t outside smoking (because God forbid I have to politely nod to someone. I’m at the point of social hermitude that not only do I not want to have a conversation, I do not even WANT TO NOD at someone). Now, since Penny and also because of the herd of children across the way, I have to stop and check myself at the door, because apparently, I just walk around with my shirt all hiked up now, completely unaware of the fact that my shirt is all hiked up. I’ll be in the middle of something and discover my shirt all hiked up and have to stop and think back to how long it’s been since the last time I fed Penny and you know what? Sometimes it was a long time ago!

Also, kind of related, one time, just a little bit after we brought Penny home, I took out some trash and I came right back in and I said to Phil, “Hey, you know what would be good? Next time you see me heading to the front door, say this to me:

‘Self-check – are you wearing pants?’

That would be helpful. Because this time I wasn’t.”

*****

Two things I DO NOT DO: “Deep Ocean, Vast Sea” and “Samophlange.” If you know what I’m talking about, you KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT.

*****

So I’ve had this question I’ve wanted to ask for a week or so, but I’ve avoided it because I kept getting pre-mad at the comments. I do that sometimes. I’m asking anyway, though.

When am I going to be able to do stuff, and how does it happen?

I mean, Penny will be two months old in just a couple of days. If I get anything done during the day, it’s maybe a load or two of laundry, which is basically getting negative things done, because all I wash is load after load of Penny’s clothes. She has more clothes than anyone and certainly doesn’t need her clothes laundered every day in order to avoid going naked like Phil and I do, but her clothes get dirty in a way that will fester. So I wash Penny’s clothes, over and over. When Phil gets home, I run around like a mad woman, taking a shower and making the gross tea I drink a skrillion times a day and sometimes cooking dinner and anything else I can cram in before it’s time to start my 30 minute long preparations for bed.

Anyway, a lot of things in the house are just going undone, or left for Phil to do when he is home, which isn’t terrible because the house is a shared responsibility, but it’s generally understood that the person who is home all day should at least be tackling most of it. And of course I have a pass because I have a new baby, but this kid isn’t exactly showroom fresh anymore, you know?

I just do not seem to be able to make good use of the time between naps and feedings, or at the moment, finding any way to predict when naps and feedings might occur or how long they might last, or what to do on the days that she JUST WILL NOT ALLOW HERSELF TO BE PUT DOWN for NO GOOD REASON that I can see.

I figure there’s got to be some combination of the baby settling into a predictable pattern and me getting the hang of navigating around her that will eventually come together, but should it have happened by now? I mean, when did it happen for you? When did you start feeling like some kind of competent adult again?

Don’t give me any of that “ho ho ho, aren’t you cute, you silly first time parent! Kids take all your time FOREVER!” I get it. I have a kid. She will continually require a large share of my attention. GOD I want to poke you in the eye so hard when you act like that, you know?

I figure the dishes eventually started getting done in your house without a background soundtrack of screaming and despair and a background smelltrack of stale milk and poop. I feel like that should have happened by now, though, you know? At least a little? Or is it still months away?

You can tell me if it’s still months away, as long as you’re not all CONDESCENDING about it, because let me tell you, my fuse is about THIS LONG (I’m making a tiny span with my fingers) and my well of creative insults is QUITE DEEP. By that I mean that I will probably call you sack of cat assholes if you so much as hint that my ignorance of the fact that my life will NEVER BE GOOD AGAIN is in any way adorable.

Seriously, though. When was it that you realized that, holy shit, I’ve actually been handling life and my adult responsibilities towards my household and personal hygiene quite well for a while now?

*****

Also, all those people who left when they heard there wouldn’t be any Penny pictures are huge suckers.

“Get out of my shot, asshole.”

71 responses to “A jingle, an irrational fear overcome, a confession and I’m unaware of when my boobs are out.”

  1. Melissa says:

    I don’t see how you can possibly read all these comments AND care for an infant..but I’ll post anyway. I didn’t leave the house for two months, with both my girls. I just knew it wasn’t worth it, to pack anything up, go do anything for five minutes before it was time to feed them again. It’s jut not worth it. But between 6-8 weeks is when I would force a schedule on them, and by 3-4 months we were in a good routine for the whole day. So I guess I agree with everyone else, 3-4 months and you should be able to predict when/if you can get out of the house, or get anything accomplished that day. Good luck.

  2. Tempest Wind says:

    XD Okay, the pants story is hysterical. Sounds like something my mom would do (but she would do it on purpose). (She’s kind of crazy, yeah.)

    First off, I know nothing about birthin’ no babies, etc etc. However, my mom made mention in passing conversation about breasts becoming accustomed to filling with milk at the intervals by which the child would eat. So that means eventually there will be a schedule. I’m pretty certain at two months there isn’t a schedule yet, but there will be someday and that someday should be within this year. If that’s helpful…

    Also, you can always leave Penny in the laundry bin in the closet, right? =P

  3. Jackie says:

    Getting things done with kids around is always a challenge no matter the age. I found that the only way I could get anything done while mine (now 3 and 5) were babies was to go hands free.

    I was a stay at home mom-preneur while both of mine were babies. It wasn’t until they were walking/talking that I was back in an office. One challenge of working for yourself is the no maternity leave so to keep money coming in I had to continue to deliver work to clients days after giving birth.

    I am in no way an expert and everyone’s situation and baby’s temperment are different.

    In the end, here’s what worked for me:

    To take a shower, I would plop the baby in the bouncer with the seatbelt on right outside the shower and keep the door open so I could observe. When they got old enough to crawl, I brought them in the shower with me and turned the water down colder and had them play on the shower floor while I showered.

    To get some work done while nursing I found that pillow that you love to be absolutely invaluable, the “My Brest Friend” was the greatest thing ever. You can combine it with one of those rolling laptop tables and use it to hold a laptop notebook or book and you can multitask.

    Around the house, I started wearing those babyslings. When they were little it was the kangaroo ones you wrap around yourself a million times, then as they got older the cloth sling ones that go over one shoulder so they can lay down or as they get even bigger, sit up.

    To really have some “me” time – we found the baby papasan swing to be fantastic for keeping them calm/sleepy/occupied.

    When they are as little as your Penny it is difficult to have a routine but over the next few months you’ll start to develop a rythm :0)

  4. Auntie G says:

    Early on in my maternity leave, my husband made some snippy comment to me about what on earth I did all day at home with our refluxy, colicky, nursing baby…and once I finished MURDERING HIM with EXTRA MURDERING, I resolved to write down my entire schedule for one day, so that he could shove it up his unthinking ass before he ever said such a stupid thing to me again. The result? I was too overwhelmed with the constant care and feeding of baby to FINISH WRITING DOWN MY SCHEDULE FOR EVEN ONE DAY. I don’t think I made it to noon. ;) I am due with baby #2 in October, and I think about that time and chuckle to this day. (Obviously we all got a bit more experience in life with babies, and more sleep, so the stupid comments and the murdering decreased dramatically.)

    3-5 months sounds about right, depending on your baby, what “feels” like functioning to you, and what your new normal looks like. To me the biggest thing was less the sleeping/napping and more when my son could go about 2 hours without needing to eat and be changed. Also I was lucky in that he was willing to nap in his carseat and be worn, so I would generally use the morning time to run a “big” errand because it was fine if he slept through it, but then he’d be home to eat again and take his afternoon nap in his crib. And we were both much better and quicker at nursing and changing, so if we had to stop and deal with that when we were out, no biggie. Finally…ironically, the reflux, though MISERABLE, kind of helped ME out, because…if I’d waited until my poor guy stopped crying to do anything? I never would have done ANYTHING. So I was able to get over my discomfort and embarrassment about walking around my neighborhood with a crying baby, or letting him fuss so I could take a shower, etc. right quick. And then THANK GOD his meds kicked in, so being out and about and productive was much more attainable and pleasant.

    This might be a good time to clarify: I sound so reasonable and calm when remembering those days, but make no mistake: it was HARD until we got there and there were many TEARS and THROWN OBJECTS and much DESPAIR until we did. Par for the course.

    Good luck! You’re probably not far off AT ALL. It will happen. :)

    Natalie Reply:

    The potential for extra murdering is one of many reasons I don’t have kids. My husband has zippo understanding of babies and would surely expect superhuman things if I were to stay at home with one.

    Also, I remember watching Teen Mom (don’t judge me) and one of them had a baby with reflux that they let go on for like 6 or 7 WEEKS before taking him to the doctor. Seriously, an incredibly long time passed before anyone realized that constant screaming was probably not normal. And that girl lived with both her mom and her grandma. Totally unforgivable, in my opinion.

  5. Nancy says:

    Honestly? I think my son was almost 2 before I could actually get work done around the house with much efficiency.

  6. Kara says:

    I think that newborns have the ability to suck the dignity out of you, along with IQ points. I remember the days where I’d have to really think about the last time I had showered, and deciding that it was only a little bit of pee that the baby left in the bed, and I was OK with sleeping in it.

    My Breast Friend- isn’t that the thing that Michelle Duggar wore to feed her kids, and you’d just see baby feet and legs sticking out from under her frumper? OK, maybe I have an obsession with the Duggars, but I’m just sayin’…

  7. Alex says:

    If I wasn’t scared to have a baby before, I’m super scared now. All you Moms are CHAMPIONS!

  8. Melme says:

    Who does Samophlange? It’s a pain in the ass with very little profit. Screw Samophlange!!

  9. Like everyone else, I found that with baby #1 it was 4 months until I felt like I was getting things under control, and by 6, I felt great. At 2 months, you are doing incredibly well! Go you!

    My kids are 19 months apart, and with my youngest at 10 months I still don’t feel like I’m back in the game. Things run, and well, but I just feel like I don’t have any room for extras. It’s a good thing that they’re so awesome, eh?

  10. Hannah says:

    I’ve had two of those kids who didn’t like being set down anywhere. With the first one, I put her swing in her room, put her in the swing, and shut the door until she stopped crying about it. I’m sorry, honey, but Mommy just cannot stand the smell of herself (or the sink full of dishes) anymore. Once she got a bit older and could sit up on her own and creep/slide around, I’d sometimes put her in a laundry basket on the floor near me while I did chores. Yes. I confined my child in a laundry basket. And do you know what? She loved it. And she never once climbed into the oven while I was baking, so there’s a plus. I’d just toss some toys in there with her, and as long as she could see me, she was good to go (and as long as she was confined and couldn’t ingest the bleach I was cleaning with or burn herself on the oven door, I was happy).

    Our son, however, was a different story. He felt the need to be held more or less at all times. We tried the swing and the bouncer and everything else, but nothing worked, so I got a Moby wrap. That thing has saved my life. I could just tie him to my torso and go about my life, hands-free. Suddenly, the mystery of how I was supposed to grocery shop with a toddler and a newborn was solved! I became a pro. I could even nurse Jude while making Scout a sandwich, thanks to the magical wonderment of the Moby. It’s kind of expensive for all that it is (a big, long piece of jersey knit cotton), but it has definitely been a worthwhile investment for me. I can still use it, and my youngest is almost two.

  11. Penny says:

    6 weeks was about when I could get into a decent routine that involved several chores with my first. Not that I did a lot, really, but enough. I never washed clothes daily, or had a kid who couldn’t be put down for a while tho. Why so many clothes to be washed? Daily? Just a question. Another one though, if you didn’t have to do so much laundry, do you think you could have enough time then?

  12. Penny says:

    Also, “chores” may be relative. Mine involved anything from taking a shower to getting the mail to unloading the dishwasher’s top half. And there was the occasional load of laundry, but I count washer part, dryer part, folding part and putting away part as 4 separate task. At least.

  13. Mary K says:

    Yeah about 4-6 months there’s a big change usually. Also: wearing her on your back will allow you to do so much more. I highly recommend learning a comfy back carry and also staying away from sleep trainers (most advocate crying it out which causes permanent changes in the brain and contribute to anxiety and trauma disorders)

  14. Amy says:

    It’s all a gigantic blur. But I remember 6 months as a golden time. He could sit up and I had a little buckets toys all over the house (crap, it didn’t matter what it was) and I would take him from room to room and sit him on the floor and put the bucket near him and complete short tasks. Sadly it’s short lived, soon the can move and then talk. And at 3 I’d say that the window of time before being interrupted/needing Mommy to do something hasn’t lengthened that much.

    I’m pregnant with number 2 and just the other day I got a tad depressed thinking about going thru the exact phase you’re in now. Babies are cute but it’s definitely not my favorite age. I just keep telling myself, someday they’ll wipe their own asses.

  15. Ceridwyn says:

    I laughed so hard at the caption that I drooled

  16. Cindyloo says:

    I found three months to be the magic number. Additionally, my hubby and I made the rule that the only things that HAD to get done were those that piled up: dishes, laundry, and trash. Everything else was a bonus. I made liberal use of the bouncy chair (with a vibrator – I think I heard some rumor that those were bad now????), and the swing. I just brought one or the other in the room I was working in (or showering) and spoke to the little one while I did my business. Finally, at about four months I introduced my little ones to the DVD baby Einstein and they absolutely loved it. I’m not saying this is for everyone. I respect all points of view regarding when a parent wants to introduce this form of media to their child. For me, it was just a way to get 20 minutes of free time to fold laundry, make dinner, or wipe down the kitchen knowing my little one was happy. But, every parent makes these choices in their own way. PS love your blog!