Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The End of a Streak

It had to happen sooner or later. Last night Julia had her first tantrum. I mean one of those half-hour, lying on the floor, kicking and screaming disasters. Arms and legs flailing, sweaty hair matting, feet pounding the carpet. Poor little honey. Luckily we were at home, so it was pretty low-stakes. We just waited her out and tried to provide her with whatever comfort we could, but in the end she just had to cry it out and go to sleep. She'd had a tough day, putting up with Genevieve crying and not being able to get the immediate attention she is used to from one of us when she needs something, and by bedtime she was worn out. I don't even really know what the trantrum was about; it wasn't fully clear. Something about wanting to sing bedtime songs downstairs rather than upstairs; something about being mad that Genevieve needed attention. At any rate, it wasn't pretty. But hey, she's 27 months old, so I figure she's overdue.

Speaking of things that had to happen eventually, it saddens me greatly to say that the monumental postpartum nursing-mom weight loss has stalled. Yes, it's true---those days of eating my weight in, well, pretty much everything, including ice cream, chocolate, and iced soy lattes from Blue Monday, and still waking up every morning to see another pound or so dropped from my humming-furnace of a body are over. I'm still eating a ton, but the needle on the scale is happy where it's at. Maybe it's that baby Genevieve isn't nursing every 90 minutes anymore like she was during her three/four-week growth spurt. Maybe it's my body's way of preserving enough of a fat store to keep producing milk. Maybe it's just basic physiology. Either way, I still feel pretty lucky since I've lost all but five pounds of my pregnancy weight. Since Genevieve was born just five weeks ago, that seems like a gift from above, people. I'm well aware, and I take absolutely no credit for it. I'm very, very lucky.

What else? Well, today our infant carseat BROKE. Nice, right? Yes, it actually broke. This is the carseat we used for Julia, too, but it's only two years old and is in fine shape. I mean, so we thought. The spring mechanism malfunctioned and it now won't actually detach from the base in the car. Meaning, it's not portable anymore. Let me tell you, to discover this malfunction in the parking lot at "baby school" this morning, with Julia waiting to go into class and Genevieve snoozing in the seat, ready to be carried in, well--it threw a wrench in our morning. I wrestled with that thing for a good, sweaty 15 minutes, even trying to call Christopher at home (he had already left the house for a workout) to ask his advice, and considered just going back home, but Julia had her heart set on going to her class, and why shouldn't she? In the end, knowing just how challenging it was going to be, I took Genna out of the seat and carried her into the building "loose" in one arm, trying desperately to keep her floppy newborn head from jerking off her neck every two seconds, juggling my bag, the diaper bag, and Julia's hand with my other arm while monitoring the multiple city trucks that were navigating the parking lot for some sort of civic project so they wouldn't, you know, run over my kid. While the early-childhood teachers helped me out when they could, it wasn't really their job to spell me with my tagalong newborn, and it was no small feat to have to carry Genevieve in my arms for the entire class. (Have you ever tried taking a wet paint smock off a two-year-old one-handedly, with a five-week-old on one shoulder?) Thank God my friend Ruth was there to help out when I had to go change Julia's poopy diaper.

Anyway. So when we got home Christopher inspected the defective carseat and called the company. The most they will do for us is mail us a carton so we can send the carseat to them. They will repair it and send it back. This process will take about THREE WEEKS. Hello? Like, what exactly are we supposed to do with our INFANT in the meantime? In the end, we located some friends with an infant carseat they are not currently using, that we can borrow for the next few weeks. But seriously, people, would it kill Graco to e-mail us some kind of voucher to bring to Target for a free replacement seat? Or, at the very least, just send us a new seat rather than make us go through the time-consuming rigamarole of shipping them our seat for repair? Apparently, it would. Thanks a lot, Graco--never mind the fact that our household practically singlehandedly keeps you in business.

You know what? I've said it before: I'm totally blessed. I adore--ADORE--my lovely girls; I adore being a mom; I adore not working so I can raise them full-time; I adore my husband and my family and my friends and their babies, and autumn in Minnesota and good coffee and bad TV and the simple pleasures of a toddler's hug and a newborn's sloppy, best-effort smile.

And yet, recently? The tantrum, the end of the free weight loss, the broken carseat and the sweaty repeat workout of the second week of baby class? The every-two-hour feedings Genevieve revived last night, after teasing me with longer stretches lately? The fifth week of sleep deficit, the surprising and foreign slow return to physical stamina? I could do without these. While none of these alone are any big deal, nothing even worth complaining about, well---all of them together in the past day or so felt wearying. Like, yeah, enough--can I have an afternoon off, do you think? Just a few hours' vacation from being the postpartum mom of two babies under 2-1/2?

No? Well, the next best thing will have to be good enough: on Friday I get to leave the baby with a bottle of pumped breastmilk, the toddler to her afternoon nap, and both girls with their daddy (who is still on paternity leave) and drive up to my old hairdresser's in a south-Minneapolis suburb to get my hair done, peruse trashy celebrity gossip magazines and be pampered for an hour or so. She's the best; she never fails to make me feel babied and beautiful when I leave her salon, and she's a miracle worker with my hair, which is why I refuse to give her up even though I now live an hour away. Since half the time these days I'm lucky if I get a shower in the morning, and since the dark circles under my eyes have reached epic proportions, a little beautifying is definitely in order. I can't wait.


Heidi said...

Well, it's about *time* Julia had a tantrum! Gabe's been having them for several months now, off and on, and he's only 21 months next Mon.! Welcome to the TRUE experience of mothering a toddler!!!! All the rest of us are simply nodding knowingly!

Shan said...

I know, I know! Julia just hasn't been the tantrum sort before now. I always said I knew it would happen eventually, and then my mom friends who know Julia would say, "No, I bet not--I can't imagine Julia acting like that!" Well, I knew I shouldn't be so smug as to believe anything like THAT! Well, I guess I've officially joined the club, right? Now all I need is one of those experiences where the toddler throws a tantrum in the grocery store?

Donna said...

Tantrums are not fun. Last night I took my kids to a party and they were both complete angels. But we stayed a little longer than we should have and baby woke up hungry just as we got in the car which meant she cried the whole way home. Meanwhile, my toddler was upset the baby wouldn't stop crying and so he started crying. Hubby and I were both laughing and crying (inside and out) and the insanity of it all! Good luck with the car seat!!

Christopher said...

I've gotta say, the tantrum was more amusing than anything, although it was also painful to see J. so utterly out of (self) control. (And nobody mentioned that all the hyperventiliating would make her smell like puke, from pulling up so much air from her stomach. Yuck.)

After she had done most of her tantrumming, Mama passed her off to me, and I managed to talk her down from her ledge by acting manically happy and cheery. I think she was so confused as to why her mood and mine were so totally opposite that she decided to (literally) take a breather. A few mnutes later, she'd chosen a book for bedtime, and then she was off to sleep. And sleep she did - a good twelve hours.