I used to write monthly letters to Henry, but after a while I couldn’t keep up. I realized a few weeks ago that I write updates *about* Arlo, but I’ve never written him a letter. And Henry still gets neglected. (Isn’t that supposed to be the younger’s lot in life??) I’m changing things up in 2011. I will write one monthly update that discusses both children. I want to better document their lives. (Don’t even get me started on the disorganized state of our photos—if Flickr ever goes down, we are so effed.) It’s been so hard to find balance with two children. When I was pregnant I told myself Arlo would just have to fit into our flow. With an entrance like his, I should’ve known our worlds would be turned upside down. Still, I’ve been completely focused on him all day, every day, for the last four months. That has to change. Starting now.
Last week we got an email from Henry’s teachers saying that he and his best bud were in tears one morning. Henry had pushed his friend because he wanted “some body space” and he “very clearly felt horrible” about it. His friend was upset about being pushed, of course. Henry wanted to work alone and so he did. His friend wanted a lesson so the teachers gave him one. The point was, the teachers said, that they are and will continue to be great friends and they are learning to navigate boundaries. I’m just so blown away by the fact that Henry has such complex friendships at age 3.5. And not just with this friend; he has a whole playgroup of friends whose hands he holds, whose disappointments he shares, whom he plays with, not alongside. I know part of that is that I’m lucky to have such great mama friends. We are forming a tribe the best way we can. And Henry clearly benefits. I’m so proud of him.
January was the month of sickness for Arlo. He started out with pinkeye, then a cough that sounded eerily like pertussis and which thankfully was not. Nothing is scarier than a sick infant. We’re getting it a lot earlier and more often the second time around, thanks to the germs Henry brings home from preschool. We closed out the month with a 2nd trip to the ER (the first was for my violent and unrelenting stomach flu): Arlo had been coughing for 2 days and suddenly his fever spiked to 105*. My worst nightmare came true when the doctor told us he had RSV. Nothing we could do but wait, and “if he turned blue,” bring him back in to the hospital so they could help him breathe. It was just too much like his first days in this world. I stared at him, watched his chest rise and fall around the clock for a week. I breathed with him and struggled to find and maintain, yet again, that place of calm.
I’ve had enough of this shit, let me tell you.
Milestones: Arlo can now sit up independently. He is totally teething. Henry got his first tooth at 4.5 months, and I know Arlo is about to do the same. His lower gums are swollen and he chomps anything and everything ferociously. I felt I used Tylenol and Motrin too freely with Henry, so, for now, I’m really committed to homeopathic remedies. We’ll see if it gets too unbearable.
Just when I thought Arlo was developing some kind of sleep pattern, everything changed. Isn’t that always how it goes? He never, ever naps longer than 40 minutes. But thank the universe I don’t work that stupid effing publicist job anymore where I had, for financial reasons really, to fit a nap schedule around my work hours. Now I just go off his cues. If he doesn’t nap, I won’t say it still doesn’t completely derail me some days, but at least it doesn’t take away from my bottom line. I’m so happy to be able to just be a mom this time, even if there aren’t some days when it totally sucks. My boss is an 18-pounder who screams upwards of 4 hours a day. I’ll take it.
Oh yeah, so the crying. Arlo is a colicky little dude. I can admit this now. He cries inconsolably about 3-4 hours each day. I feel like a huge failure. I haven’t eaten dairy or soy since he was born, and only very little wheat. It took me until two weeks ago to lose my shit so much that I decided to go back to mung beans and rice, steamed sweet potatoes and squash, and avocadoes for fat. The crying has improved. I’m going to slowly add things back in and see what the trigger really is. I have a horrible feeling it’s eggs and corn, tomatoes and the onion family. I had a minor binge on corn chips the other night and, sure enough, Arlo fussed all night. Hopefully it’s not the nuts, too. No more tacos for Jojo for the time being. So, so, so sad.
I had to up my meds after the holidays, which were epic. Feeling better now. Though don’t get me wrong: being on meds does not mean you feel any less. It means you still feel quite intensely, but you can actually fall asleep at night. I.actually.fall.asleep.at.night. With.my.baby.nestled.under.my.arm. That’s huge. Not a day goes by that I don’t say a little gratitude for Zoloft.
I started a monthly group therapy. It’s a conscious choice, every day: What am I going to feel?