Sustainably Single Parenting

Making the most of life's journey alongside my three!!!

I Just Forgot March 8, 2013

My little rebel - 2wks old

My little rebel – 2wks old

I forgot about the growth spurt that occurs between the first and third weeks after birth. The typically complacent baby now constantly fussy, red as a grape tomato, and clawing at my breast with small, jagged, never-before-clipped fingernails, suckling night and day to make my breasts produce enough milk to meet her daily intake needs.

I forgot how, insignificant as it seems, those tiny nails produce tiny scratches that lead to very sensitive nipples.

I forgot just how much poop can come out of a bottom the fits in my hand. While pregnant I figured, why set up the changing table? I can just change her diapers on my bed! I’ve been reminded of why changing tables are wonderful. I’d never needed to wash my linen on a daily basis before now.

I forgot that  I should have made time in my daily schedule to pump my breast milk. Even with an expensive electronic pump I’m spending up to one hour each day filling BPA Free 5oz bags. My freezer cannot hold much more.

I forgot the intensity of the nursing thirst. I feel like I can never get enough water. And the hunger, even at night I want to keep eating. I didn’t eat this much my entire pregnancy. And the cravings! Veggies are back on the menu, but for some reason corn, chocolate, and ice cream didn’t leave.

N2I forgot about the fatigue. I don’t know how I survived the majority of my pregnancy on three hours of sleep each night. Even though I go to bed shortly after putting my older girls to sleep, and even though I’m only waking to nurse and pee and change the baby’s diapies, even though we co-sleep, I still wake up low on energy. Like I haven’t slept a wink. What is wrong with me? By 1pm I’m always yawning.

I forgot how quickly the laundry accumulates when you’re cloth diapering. I’m happy to have made 35 gallons of laundry detergent before Baby’s arrival, but I’m still bewildered by the fact that I’m actually doing one load of diapers each day to keep the right sized fitteds, contours, pockets, and covers in rotation.

I forgot about the leaky breasts soaking an entire shirt in minutes. I forgot how time consuming burping a baby can be. I forgot how spit-up only comes out when you’re not protecting your clothing. I forgot how an onset of the hiccups can ruin everything.

But I also forgot how sweet those smiles can be, when they’ve fallen asleep after nursing, and they’re dreaming, but you’re hoping that they’re smiling because they’re dreaming of you.

N4

And I forgot how perfectly unscented their skin is, and how soft their hair, and how chubby their chins, and how round their bellies, and how sparkly their eyes, and how humbling their affection. I forgot how complete it feels to care for a baby. I forgot that my heart would expand and melt simultaneously.

And I never knew how incredibly cute two big sisters would be; eager to help with their baby sister, constantly wanting to hold her, kiss her, never wanting to miss anything.

I suppose there’s a reason I’ve forgotten many aspects of parenting an infant, but there are certain memories that I’ll work to keep with me from now on.

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28 down, 12 to go December 14, 2012

I cannot really believe it, at this point I am still in shock.

degreeMy last final for the semester was due at 8pm and I got it in at 7:59. Complete! 28 credits of my graduate school coursework down, and only 12 more credits to go before I have my Master’s!

Despite all of the negativity in my life at the moment and all that it took just to get here, to stay here…I am so close. I know I’m going to make it.

Yes, next semester I’ll have a newborn and two other children. I’ll have even less money, no job, and no one helping me, but I will still take a class. Such is life when you’re living off of loan money. During the summer I’ll take two more courses, and then I will finally have the degree of my dreams!

I am so excited that my three daughters will get to see me walk the stage at my graduation. I know they won’t quite understand the significance of graduating, nor will they be able to contemplate the complexity of my journey, but one day they will be extremely proud of me, and on my graduation day I’m certain that they’ll cheer, “Go Mama!” like always. I love their encouragement. I couldn’t push through this without them.

Amara Sleeping - Less than one week old

Amara sleeping – Less than one week old

I made it through the semester, and not by the skin of my teeth. I’m quite sure that I will receive an A in both classes, I successfully handed over my student organization presidency without letting the organization fall apart, and I bonded with several classmates.

I functioned on three hours of sleep for more than 75% of it all, somehow. That was very unhealthy of me, but I survived it, and now I will take the next few days to do absolutely nothing (except light household chores, and things that really interest me). I will try to take a short break from the overwhelming state of my life and just recuperate.

In eight short weeks I will be having my third baby, and plenty needs to take place before she arrives, but for these next few nights I want to revel in my glory. I did something amazing. I didn’t let myself quit. I deserve a bit of sleep for it.

 

The Haunting Continues December 12, 2012

It had been so long since he had haunted my dreams. A week or so of semi-peaceful lack of sleep. But last night he returned with a ferocity, a vow to ruin me, and my well-crafted safety plan does nothing for me while I’m in an REM Cycle.

Sometimes I don’t realize it until waking. Sometimes, like the first of my four nightmares last night, he is back to being my typical husband. In my dream, I go through the motions of “staying in my place” (something he repeatedly instructed me to do throughout our eight year relationship). I ride the roller-coaster of our marriage through my dream and everything feels strangely familiar. I even feel the knot in the pit of my stomach and the frog in my throat; that constant conflicting feeling of wanting to avoid confrontation while simultaneously aching to defend myself.

In other nightmares, The Big Incident occurs in the same way that it did, or varied ways. The result is my pain, my fear, and my lack of control. He always wins.

If I were to believe Freud, then every one of my dreams is some form of wish-fulfillment. So in some sick subconscious way do I wish that my husband was still here, controlling my life, haunting me day and night? I suppose there was comfort in the familiarity of our relationship. There is something addictive about abuse.

But despite my loneliness, my constant state of uneasiness, my inability to control his presence in my dreams, I do not want to return to the daily terror of being his lady. How is it that after nearly seven months apart, a restraining order and other legal proceedings taking place, and with over 1000 miles between us, he still possesses me?

I want to feel free; if only in my dreams.

 

[Insert popular lyrics from classic rock song about school here] September 17, 2012

Lately I wonder if sending them to school is actually more consuming than keeping them home. I no longer have the option to keep them home, as life goes, but I think now about all of the people with the financial stability to stay at home, but still choose to send their little ones off to school. True, it gives you a few hours to tidy up the house and prep for dinner. You may even be able to get some shopping done, or blogging, or have the chance to contact that long forgotten friend, exercise!

Still. I hold tight to the pride of educating my children, I miss homeschooling them (and I sincerely miss sleeping in)!

Getting ready for school entails:

Having the girls bathed, hair braided, and in bed by no later than 10pm: I wish I could get them to bed by 8pm, but that just doesn’t happen around here yet. I have to be awake by 5am and I typically wait until 6am to wake them. Back when we stayed at home they’d sleep a good 10-12 hours straight, but those were the old days. I have to braid their hair because if I fail to we all suffer in the mornings. The girls do not like having their curls detangled and I don’t like the hassle. If it has been braided I simply have to undo the braids and give them a headband or redo the braids with hair ties and barrettes.

Having their lunches packed (and sometimes breakfast, and sometimes snack – depending on what their school is serving): My daughters don’t have allergies, but they’ve been on a fairly strict diet since they were babies and I don’t intend to let their school attendance ruin that. Every week the chef makes me a copy of the upcoming week’s lunch schedule. I look it over and decide which items they will be allowed to eat and which items I will be substituting. I try not to be too picky, but we do not eat much gluten, we limit sugar, and we stay away from nitrates in our home. We eat organic and local foods whenever possible, and I don’t want school to become associated with juice boxes, high fructose corn syrup, and starchy noodles.

I cannot simply plan their breakfast, lunch, and snack, but I have to prepare for dinner as well. If I’m allowing them to have gluten for breakfast that means they will not be having it for lunch or snack or dinner. I do this with my own packed school lunch as well. It is consuming, but I am satisfied in knowing that I’m sending them to school with healthy choices.

Having their homework done: Don’t teachers know that sending a three and five year old home with an assignment means the parents are being given an assignment? As if I don’t have enough homework of my own to do. I know, I know, it’s teaching them responsibility, and goodness forbid we don’t get a sticker on the homework chart!

Having their backpacks packed: Packing backpacks is simple enough, but I have to make sure to wash the linen every weekend so that their washed fitted sheets and blankets are ready to be taken (in labeled, plastic storage bags, of course). I put their backpacks in the trunk before waking them.

Having their clothes picked out: It’s bad enough that one of them is going to scream and cry no matter what reassurances I give her about possible upcoming enjoyment. If clothes are not laid out on the couch in the correct order of wearing (underwear, shirt, pants, socks, accessories) we are going to be late and I am going to miss my train to MY school. So far so good. I have the girls pick out their school clothes right after they brush their teeth the night before we need them. If they refuse to do so then I get to choose everything they’re wearing the next day, and they aren’t allowed to complain.

Having a mother who has had enough sleep to get up in the morning and make the magic happen again: We’re working on that…good night!

 

Insomnia-60 Me-16 August 8, 2012

Filed under: Mama Moments — Jet @ 11:53 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Insomnia is draining me.

After reading stories, brushing teeth, and sometimes a bit of singing, the girls and I all settle down to go to sleep. Lately everybody sleeps with me. Terra is typically asleep before I turn out the light, but wakes up several times throughout the night needing to be calmed and taken to the potty. Amara flits about for 10-30 minutes before falling asleep, but she’s peaceful until morning once she’s dreaming.

I cannot sleep.

Exhausted, but wide awake, I lie in bed listening for heavy breathing. Every sound conflicting with their respiring jolts me from near-sleeping and I am vigilant once more. Is there someone outside of my door? Outside of my window? Will this be the night that the house catches fire? That the phone call will come? That he will seek revenge and we will not be ready to run?

If I do fall asleep I usually have nightmares. They are horribly vivid and unshakeable upon waking. Waking is constant. When did I fall asleep? How long was I sleeping? I try my hardest not to think about how impossible it will be to fall asleep again. But I cannot help wondering what made me fall asleep? That meditation technique? The white noise and fan oscillating? Will I be able to stop thinking about not being able to sleep long enough to let the sensation take over me?

I cannot sleep.

Thinking about my inability to fall asleep solidifies my failure. I stare at my ceiling, rehearsing for the courts, replaying my marriage, imagining the birth, recalculating expenses, trying to make a plan for the future, trying desperately not to commit to thinking, because I want NEED to get some sleep. After I’ve spent a significant amount of time changing positions, making trips to the bathroom, kissing my daughters’ cheeks, watching the sky change colors, and narrowly avoiding dreaming, I admit my defeat.

With the sun just starting to rise, the girls will still be sleeping for three to five hours. I do have a lot to get done, so I drag my feet and make my way to the living room to handle the business that danced around my head while I lie in bed. But of course, now the ease of remembering details and coming up with brilliant schemes does not come. So I sit, slumped in my computer chair, clicking random news stories, looking at blogs, filling online shopping carts with things I cannot afford, and debating on whether or not I should retry sleeping. I sit that way for hours, until finally the girls are awake and there is motivation to start my day.

I try not to contemplate sleeping, but I’m yawning while they’re eating breakfast.

By bedtime I will have the renewed strength to fight fatigue; that insanely-helpful-during-a-battle built-in defense to keep me going, that which will ruin one more night of possible peace. I suppose I could talk to someone, or take melatonin, but medicine worries me. I don’t want to be in a deep sleep if my children need me, it’s a risk that is not worth taking. I suppose being a zombie during the waking hours isn’t healthy either, but at least I’ve gotten the hang of doing that safely.

I suppose I should at least keep trying. Every once in a week I get a decent amount of sleep and do not wake up with haunting images from my dreams. Maybe tonight sleep will come easy. Maybe the calm of meditating will not be overrun by the jam-packed to-do list and the unpaid bills. Maybe I won’t drive myself crazy worrying about possibilities. Maybe…maybe…

I’m getting sleepy.