Something About Me

It's still February and it's actually snowing today, but it was a spring-like snow. Pretty flakes falling but not accumulating. I like to see the little gatherings of snowflakes on the ground next to the crocuses and snow drops that have started to come up. Springer Fever is hitting us hard.

Compost is my new obsession and we've had warm enough weather that I've taken the boys into our woefully neglected backyard. Max lays in the stroller and looks at the sky. Marko drags every blessed toy out of the garage. And I turn my compost pile. I find it extraordinary that (certain) things we discard can turn into soil given enough time. I'm more pragmatic than scientific about my compost, and pretty much try to create optimal conditions for available materials. I shred up corrugated cardboard and newspaper when I run out of dried leaves to mix with my food scraps.

I feel exceptionally tired tonight, I think because of all the shoveling and pitchforking. I have a new mom friend who has equal enthusiasm for dirt and we even went to an urban farm down the street and voluntarily turned their compost pile, in return for a bucket of their finished compost. I've also procured a BOB double jogging stroller, and have been taking the boys on lots of walks at a brisk pace instead of at a Marko pace. I definitely feel the burn though, pushing that thing up a hill.

And speaking of burn, the other exciting and muscle fatiguing thing that I did recently was go to the rock climbing gym. They have a bouldering section so you don't even need to belay at first. After a brief orientation, they pretty much let you at it. I climbed so hard that I had blisters on my hands and could barely lift my hands over my head. The only downside was the awkwardness of being too old to fit in with all the college kids who were hitting on each other and not old enough to be one of the quirky old people. They really didn't know what to make of me.

I'm writing this down because it's a reminder that even though parenting takes up the vast majority of my time, that there are still things that I do that are about me or for me that have nothing to do with the children and I'd be just as likely to do them if they'd never come along. Of course, I'm delighted that they are here...but I'm equally delighted that I'm still here.


Two Months Post Partum

I don't have a newborn anymore! Max is 2 months old, weighs 11 pounds 14 oz and is 24 inches long. He wailed through the measurement portion of his check up. Also the vaccination portion. He's kind of a homebody, likes to nap in his own bed, with his white noise machine. He needs breaks from the action-packed life going on downstairs. But when he's with the whole family he seems to really enjoy us.

He smiles at us, kicks his legs, and tries to scoot backwards while lying on his back. He looks delighted when he manages to get all the way off the changing pad, which I usually lay on my bed. He's not a huge fan of babywearing or nursing. Definitely an eat-to-live sort of guy and I very rarely nurse him to sleep. He likes a pacifier. He hates wearing hats. If he's feeling a little fussy the only thing that will do is laying him over my arm on his tummy and walking around while patting his back. This is an extraordinarily difficult position to maintain while getting anything else done, like say helping Marko use the toilet in a sanitary fashion, or cooking dinner. I love having a baby and it's nice to be somewhat relieved of most of the new parent anxiety around rashes and pooping. I can just enjoy him. But I'm glad that the baby phase only lasts for a short while.

As for me, I don't feel the way I did before I had this third baby. I think three kids might be a tipping point of some sort. Your belly button will only take so many years of being stretched out. I still have a linea nigra, but it's fading. I try to work out every day in some way, although even getting in a 30 minute cardio video without interruption is kind of impossible some days. From past experience, I know that my body will hang on to the extra weight until I wean Max, and then it will come off pretty easily.

I can remember when taking one child out with me was an arduous task. Getting into the car with the three kids is like reverse Jenga and requires a careful order of entry and buckling. It has sort of a carbon offset effect though, because I tend to plan our outings and errands for one day and stick to the neighborhood the rest of the time.

When I think of having a family, I always think of three kids, maybe because I was from a family of three kids. I have fond memories of my siblings from childhood, but I don't remember any of the chaos that we are currently experiencing. We were very close in age, only 2 years apart, instead of the 3 that my kids are. So maybe it was crazy when we were all very young and I just don't remember it. The only memory I have when I was 4 is the color of the carpet in my house, and I only have a few memories of when I was 5 or 6. Sitting at the orange table in kindergarten. This Toyota minivan that the neighbors drove. The color of my sister's hair when she was very young. It's kind of depressing when I think about it, that my kids will probably not remember very much of what has happened so far in their lives, especially when the last 7 years have been such a formative experience for me.

This morning, Max took a nap and Laurel went to school, so Marko and I hung out and sorted the coins in his piggy bank. We dropped some pennies into a solution of vinegar and salt and watched them turn shiny again. We arranged them into shapes - triangles and squares. I have a tendency to get a little too lesson-oriented sometimes, but Marko lets me know when it's too much for a three year old. For instance, today I started pointing out some of the pictures that are on the coins and telling him about who they were. His response was to lay down on the couch and say "I'm going to lay down. It's a pretend nap. Cover me up." Then I remember, he's 3 years old. There's no rush to learn a damn thing about Abraham Lincoln. The constant flood of language that middle class parents believe is giving their children a positive early childhood experience might just be a little annoying to them. Sometimes, you should shut up and listen. Or just be silent together.