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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Mommy Ups and Downs

Sooooo...feeding infants is disgusting.  I'm not sure why/how I forgot how nasty this process is, but I did.  Self inflicted amnesia, perhaps?

Today marks one week of feeding Karis "solid" (read: super runny goop) foods.  I growled, y'all.  I gritted my teeth, and I made some mean, ugly faces at that baby.  This is homemade baby food from organic vegetables and milk I pumped.  I worked for this.  Karis does not give a flying flip. She does NOT like to open her mouth.  She grins with her mouth closed while I'm trying to feed her.  She literally wraps her little lips around her gums, sucks them in, shuts her mouth and smiles at me, as if she knows this is an impossible way for me to get the spoon into her mouth.  That's annoying, but still mildly cute. I mean, she's adorable.

Ya know what's worse? When Jonah starts screaming in his high chair because he's finished about half of his turkey dog, apple slices, crackers, and watermelon, and he wants to get down.  So then she's turning her head at a weird angle, but opens her mouth, like she knows I can't feed her sideways! Gaaaahhhhh! So I'm mean hollering at Jonah,
"HUSH! NO WHINING! WAIT PATIENTLY!" He looks at me like I must be from outer space, and can I please send his mother back down to earth.  Now she's looking at me, she laughs and I sneak in a bite. She spits out 90% of it, I scrape it off her chin with the plastic spoon and shove it back in her mouth, and this time only 40% comes back out.  We do that a few times. Less than a full minute later Jonah starts whining again, repeat baby acrobatics to see him.  I angrily slam down the baby food, get up and drag Jonah's high chair into the kitchen and out of view.  I tell him, "You need to eat your food.  No whining."

I come back to feed the baby her carrots and breast-milk puree, and she decides she is not on board with this endeavor.  She now cries every single time I manage to get a bite in her mouth.  "BUT YOU LIKED IT YESTERDAY!!!! PLEEEEEASE! UUUGGHHHHH!"  I hear Jonah copy my final growl sound from the kitchen, "UUUGGGHHH!"  I'm so annoyed I can feel my face getting hot.  I'm a very cold natured person, wearing sweaters and hunting down blankets when people get all liberal with their air conditioners, so this means I'm for reals mad.

I yell at no one in particular, "I HATE FEEDING BABIES!  THIS IS GROSS!  WHY IS THIS SO HARD!? I HATE THIS! AAAARRGGHHH!"  I decided this was a mommy fit and it needed to end.  I took the 70% of the food she didn't eat back into the kitchen, put it down calmly, and then wiped Jonah's tray and got him down.  I put him down.  I went back and wiped off the baby and put her in her exer-saucer thing.

I felt like crying.  You may think this is a little dramatic if you are a person who doesn't have children, or has never had two children very close in age, or you did but you forgot all the tough stuff and you now just shell out wisdom like, "Enjoy every second, because you'll blink and they're all grown up!" To which I say please read this article.  If you were as sleep deprived and exhausted as I was because of long baby-filled night, you would be cranky, too. {I was up nursing the baby until after 1 am, then little toddler comes running and crawls into the bed at 3 am, and then baby wakes up at 4 am, so I put her into bed with me to do the whole side-lying nursing so I don't have to get out of bed and sit in the chair, and then I wonder if that was really the best idea, because now there are two grown ups and two babies in our queen sized bed, and why didn't we buy a king size a few years ago?   Then toddler wakes up before 6 am wanting to play, so I let him play in his room for a while as the baby nurses some more but doesn't really wake up.  Then I am forced to surrender to the "Go Down-Tairs!" whine/beg/yell combo the toddler has mastered, so I make sure baby is asleep then grab my pants and carry him downstairs to put on a Thomas video and give him a greek yogurt and some cheerios to shut him up, so I can lay down in the recliner and sleep until the baby wakes up an hour later.}

I looked at the time, reasoning that we had about an hour and half before we had to be out the door to go eat dinner with someone, and thought about the unseasonably beautiful weather (you know outside time just seems to heal you), and announced, "We're going to the park!"Jonah starts yelling, "Pay-Gown! Pay-Gown!" (playground, because he just prefers to say playground to park, I don't even know why).  He does love the playground though.

 I say, "YES! Playground! We need to get outside." I take off his dirty pajamas, and give him a puzzle he hasn't seen in a few days so I can dash up the stairs and grab him a clean change of clothes.  I quickly run up the stairs, grab his shirt and shorts from the drawers, and run back down the stairs praying the whole time, "God please don't let him hurt the baby!"  Usually when she's in the saucer he leaves her alone, especially if he's distracted.  Also, it's not like he can easily sit on her or attempt to pick her up from that position, so the most damage he can do is like hitting with a toy type of thing.  I bring the baby with me upstairs 98% of the time I go, but when I know exactly what and where I am going to grab something, I sometimes decide to just made a run for it (literally).  So I'm doing that and hoping she doesn't start screaming.  When I came back down, this is what I found:

I just kept laughing with them.
This happened for like ten minutes straight. At some point John came home and went upstairs, and I was too mesmerized by these little clowns to really talk, so I just tried to capture a little more of it.

It was so freaking adorable. Sorry the lighting is pretty bad because the baby is in front of the window, but you can hear the good stuff.  It was the most laughter she has ever let out.  It made me happy.  It made the disgusting feeding worth it.  I love them.  I love my life.  I love this. We did go to the park after that.  Then eating out, then church, then bath and bedtime, and a repeat of the long night again.

Parenting is hard, but it's worth it.  I wish I had more time to blog, and exercise, and clean, and read.  I dream about going back to be a teacher, and I love reading articles on new classroom ideas.  But this is my season, the baby/toddler times.  I've been in this season for three years now, although I only have a two year old, because last month marked the first day we started foster parenting.  I know it will go by fast, and some days are delightful, and they do go by quickly.  Then other days are disgusting and exhausting and long.  I alternate between guilt tripping myself out with thoughts like "all those people struggling with infertility would be happy to have your little mess-makers, and women in China are forced to visit an obgyn every 3 months to check that they aren't pregnant, and are made to get abortions if they've already had one child..." but then I give myself a little grace and say it's OK to be frustrated, I just can't dwell on it.  I have to turn it around quickly and bring the tone back to love and laughter. A good friend of mine said she says, "Mommy needs Jesus, too.  I'm sorry." I've been using that line a lot lately.

This is my job for now, and I am trying to become more intentional about it.  Then sometimes I get a little gem, a little surprise present of my babies just cracking each other up, and it is all beautiful again.