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So Much Has Changed

It’s been nearly 2 years since my last post. The Twig is just about 2 1/2 years old. They have a sibling which we refer to as the Bud.

The Twig has picked up a new nickname recently: Sassafrass, because, well, they are just so darn sassy. They’re favorite things right now include cows, their green bike, going for drives in the car, chicken nuggets, bananas, race cars, tractors, trees, Little Einsteins, Cars, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and football. They really like the color green. They’ve picked up some counting, some colors, some shapes. They are constantly learning new words and putting more and more complex sentences together. And they love the baby.

We got a house of our own with property, and they are fascinatedby the wildlife and the plants we’ve got growing. They sometimes call my spouse baba (which makes my spouse happy) but mostly the spouse is papa and I’m mama. Which is okay. We haven’t tried to explain the transgender, nonbinary thing, they’ll understand eventually.

I still try to dress them neutrally, but at this point that is more about balancing the “girl” and “boy” clothes. There just aren’t that many truly gender neutral pieces on a budget. But they mostly pick their own clothes when we’re shopping, so mlp and tractor shirts, star and owl leggings and corduroy and cargo pants. I think its the best to let them express themselves through their wardrobe as much as possible. And I’ll keep supporting those decisions. And we’ll do the same with the Bud when they are old enough to make those sorts of decisions.

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You Are 8 Months, Going on 9 Months

Ah, how the time does fly. We took a vacation and drove from Missouri to Washington state to visit my family and introduce them all to the Twig. It was great to get out of the house and away from the every day grind for a while. However, the Twig is not a fan of long trips, and I really don’t blame them.

We went camping for one night (which was far less than we had thought we would) and it went really well. The evening was chilly, but the Twig did amazingly in their play pen sleeping in two layers, once of which was a fuzzy sleep sack. I think that might have been the best the Twig slept the entire trip.

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The Twig sleeping peacefully while camping.

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The campsite.

 

They loved playing with the ferns and seeing the different types of trees. They loved the bits where we were actually out of the car doing things. They loved being carried around and seeing new sights. That part was fun.

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Playing with the ferns.

We went to Multnomah Falls in Oregon, The Pike’s Place Market in Seattle, and to a couple of my relatives houses. It was overall a good trip. Though, we are talking about next year, when we go, flying instead of driving. We broke down and let them have an electronic toy while we drove back, because it mostly kept them happy during the long ride. It stays in the car. Anyone else have tips on entertaining an eight month old on a long car ride?

In other news, the Twig has learned to crawl, albeit army style. They use their arms to pull themselves along by reaching out as far as they can, then push forward with just their toes. They are curious, and I love that about them. Now if we could only get their sleeping schedule back on track, that would be great. It is taking over an hour for them to finally get to sleep, and they rarely sleep more than an hour in a given time during a nap. Anyone else have this going on?

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A Little Overwhelmed

Things have been going fairly decently, if hectic. I haven’t had much time to get out a post, and to be honest, I really haven’t felt like I had much to talk about. Some months are just like that I guess.

We started solid foods, which has been an interesting experience. The Twig loves rice cereal, applesauce, pears, and peas. They aren’t really into the turkey by itself yet. But I am sure we will get there.

I have been excited top introduce them to new foods, and to get a bit of a reprieve from their perpetual hunger. But, and it is a fairly big but, I have also been sad because it feels like one more thing they need less of me for now. They are only six-months old, but I feel like they are growing up too fast.

I have been having a bit of dysphoria of late, but not terribly so, thankfully. Just enough to be uncomfortable and wonder what to do about it. Usually it dissipates on its own. I am still trying to figure out how to explain all the unusual things about myself and my spouse to the Twig, and when it would be good to do so.

We are still living in the in-law’s place, and it is becoming a real strain. I appreciate all they have done for us, but I am ready for our own place. I have never been good about leaving furniture in one place, I like to rearrange things when life gets stressful. It gives me a new outlook and something productive to do with my (usually late night) bouts of energy. But I can’t really do that here. It isn’t my place to rearrange.

The Twig is growing like a weed, has mastered rolling back to front and front to back, and is working on crawling. They talk almost all the time, and I both enjoy it and it stresses me out. I am not used to the incessant noise and sometimes I just get overloaded and don’t know how to handle the babbling.

It’s times like that I feel like a bad parent. I know I am not a bad parent. I worry about doing things right, I spend the majority of my days entertaining and playing with the Twig, making sure their every need is met, talking with them and just enjoying their presence. But sometimes, I just need a break. Some quiet time to sit and reflect. And sometimes that is hard to come by in a shared house. Even when I am alone, I am not really. There are always other people’s noises. I have taken to riding in the car in silence when I go to the store by myself, because it is as close to complete silence as I can get.

Getting back into the swing of things for the business has been pretty much impossible. I just can’t get my act together it seems like. I have stuff done, all I need to do is take pictures and post it in the online shop, but that seems like a huge barrier at the moment. I am starting to have a vision of what I would like to do with my business, but I am not sure how well it would be received, or if I even have the skills to accomplish what I want. I guess the best way to know is to try.

I want to tie my business into my faith system to some extent. I want to make things that inspire and are useful, but there are so many things that make me unsure. Like the fact that I don’t really necessarily work with natural materials. And in the pagan community that can be a big deal. There is so much to learn to go down this path, and I am not sure I have the time or the energy to make it happen. But I feel like it is the right path. I love geek stuff, and I will continue to make it and do conventions, but I really think that making other stuff is a calling I need to answer.

So I guess that means that I should do that. I want to be as genuine as possible. And that means admitting that I have a lot of work ahead of me to become as genuine as possible. It will be an interesting journey, and I am thankful for the ability to take it. And I am thankful that I have the spouse that I do to come with me on this journey, and a wonderful child to watch grow and go on their own journeys.

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Of Binks and Work

I can remember when the Twig despised the bink. They would have none of it. And suddenly, since they seem to have started teething, they can’t get enough of chewing on the nipple. Not that I mind. It means that they aren’t chewing on me so much. And that makes me both sad and happy at the same time.

There has been a lot of that going on. I didn’t think that I would ever feel unhappy that they need me less as the days go by. But I do. Every time they are satisfied playing quietly in the crib, sucking on a bink, playing on their play mat by themselves I feel a pang of sadness. And a little guilty.

There is all kinds of research about holding your child (pretty much all the time) and how if you don’t come running as soon as you hear the first fuss you are providing a sub-optimal environment for your child for the first few months. The Twig likes to headbutt me when I hold them. And fusses quite a bit if I am holding them, unless they are nursing or I am rocking them to sleep. Rarely do they just rest in my arms all cozily, or play with me while I am holding them. They prefer to be laid down beside me and played with that way. Or put on the play mat and left to their own devices to explore the rattling and jingling birds it has dangling above them. I think my child is less of a touchy-feely baby. But is that because of their personality, or because I have trained them that way? I guess I won’t really ever know.

Or maybe I will know when they are older. Perhaps they will exhibit clear preferences about being touchy-feely and I will just know that it is their personality. But I really hope that they don’t hate hugs and kisses from me.. At least not until they are nearly a teenager.

Having said all of that. I am glad that they enjoy just hanging out in the play mat with me talking while I work. I have been making incremental progress since they have decided it is okay to explore on their own. We are still living with my in-laws, and looking for a new place to live. It is hard. For both parties I think.

There is so much of myself that I have been toning down, or even suppressing completely and it is taking a toll on my mental health. I just feel more and more burnt out. Like I said just a bit ago to my spouse, “All I want to do is do some things on the internet, drink my adult beverage, and eat a muffin (alright, alright, so they are actually cupcakes).” I don’t feel dangerous or anything, just really, really tired, unsure of what I am doing, having a hard time making decisions, finding less pleasure in things, and having a harder time socializing. It’s exhausting and unfortunate. And we need our own place.

I am not particularly religious, but I have been feeling the constraints of the house recently. I feel like I am teasing myself talking about when we have our own place how we should decorate, what we should do, that sort of thing, but I am trying to keep positive.

Back to the Twig. I love them soo much that it makes my heart swell and I feel like I am going to burst. I want the best for them, which is why I worry that I am a sub-optimal parent so much. I don’t know how my being multiple will affect our child or how our issues with gender will shape them. But I guess that is what being a parent is about, not knowing. Being unsure and worrying and hoping that you are doing the right things at the right times. I certainly don’t have any answers.

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How Do I Know When…

How do I know when I can quit rocking the baby? How do I know when the baby is done nursing? How do I know when to put the baby to sleep? How do I know when I should be waking the baby up? Should I be waking the baby up? These are all questions that have plagued me for the last two and a half months. I am just getting the hang of some of this stuff.

I have past experience with babies. Two of the jobs I have had, both spanning about five years each, were taking care of children under age five. I thought this couldn’t be that hard. Let me tell you right now, it is. It is every bit as hard as if I never had held a baby in my life.

Each baby was different, so I knew that the same would be true of the Twig  . But I didn’t know how much so. I didn’t know that this experience would be completely, utterly beyond comparison. All the times I put a baby down for a nap, I never had as much trouble as I do with the Twig. The parents had done all the hard work. The baby and I knew what to expect.

I imagined that we would start with the baby in a bassinet in the middle of the bed. Our bed wasn’t big enough and the Twig doesn’t like laying flat. For a while it was touch and go.

I imagined after the Twig outgrew the bassinet we would move on to the crib, and since they slept in the bassinet they would be comfy in the crib. Ha! Step one, never completed, certainly didn’t lead to step two.

The Twig sleeps in their swing, or in their bouncy chair. I know, I know. They aren’t supposed to. But they aren’t supposed to stay awake for six or seven hours at a time either. And if I have to chose between letting them sleep somewhere that is sub-optimal and no sleep? I will chose sleep every time.

They tell you nursing is natural. Do not let that fool you. Natural does not mean easy. We have had quite the go of it. The first day out of the hospital we started a nursing strike. And it lasted for almost two weeks before the Twig would even consider the boob. I pumped a lot. Then there was the yeast infection. Engorgement, the inability to get a good latch on one side, not making enough milk, making too much milk, overactive let down. Breastfeeding has probably been one of the hardest, most time consuming things I have ever done. And it has been totally worth it. Even if right now I have to watch my caffeine intake like a hawk and avoid dairy as much as I can.

Now that the Twig is older, I let them sleep. They will wake when they are hungry or need a diaper change, and will let me know about it. I try to keep them on a schedule. At least, to bed by 9 p.m. is my goal. Sometimes we don’t achieve that. I try to make sure they get at least two naps during the day, that they aren’t overly tired. Because, for some strange reason, an overly tired baby does not sleep. They cry and fuss and kick and fight, but they don’t sleep. It is actually much easier to put a well rested baby to sleep.

It’s just after 11 p.m. here and the Twig has just gone to sleep. After nursing twice, copious amounts of rocking, and putting on their sleepytime Pandora station.

It’s hard. I have a hard time finding time to work on my projects for my home business. Juggling a home business and a baby is strange. I am home all the time. I thought I would be able to just work on things when the baby was asleep. That isn’t the case. I tend to sleep when the baby is asleep. So I tried to set up one day a week where I could hand off the care of the baby (mostly) to my spouse and just power through hours of work. Only that didn’t work either, at least the first time. I will give it a couple more goes before I consider that experiment a failure.

The learning curve on having a baby seems to be pretty high. I feel like I still don’t have it together, especially compared to how I thought it would be by now. Expectations, meet reality. But, on the plus side, I get to spend time with this cute little Twig on our family tree.

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In Which Nothing Goes as Expected

I figure I will start with my birth story. It is pretty straight forward, but awfully complicated at the same time. I had a planned C-section. It wasn’t what I wanted, but it was what was best for us and needed. The Twig was breech and I have a bicornuate uterus. And the Twig was stubborn. I had dreams of an all natural birth, possibly a water birth, testing myself, creating a victory over myself and my body. I thought it would help me figure out my limits. I figured it would help me see my strength. And I was terrified of labor. Not of the pain, not of what it would do to my body, but of having to advocate for myself against any undesired interventions. That was taken out of my hands.

I could have had an External Cephalic Version, where they give you something to loosen you up and then try to physically move the baby around into position from the outside. But given my anatomy and all the research I did, it seemed like more trouble than it was worth. About a fifty percent success rate, and then a fifty percent chance that the baby would flip back into breech, the complications often lead to an emergency C-section. Once we decided that we weren’t going to do that, I was fairly calm.

It was easy to accept a C-section, there isn’t a doctor around here who will do a breech delivery, I had chosen not to try to turn the baby manually. The only thing I needed was to know what day it would be on and do my research on my options for the C-section. I made up my mind about how I wanted things handled as much as I could. We went in on November 11th, 2015 for a final consultation with the OB-GYN and were surprised to know that we were having the operation on Friday. So we had two days to get everything together to have a baby. That was a bit panic inducing, but it turned out fine. We went and got the last few things that we wanted and packed our bags.

We showed up to the hospital at 10 in the morning on November 13th for prepping, birth plan in hand. And we went with it. They explained how things were going to go, I covered the things I wanted to on my birth plan and away we went. At noon we went to the operation room. I wanted my spouse there for as much as possible, so after I was numb with the spinal blocker and all set up for surgery they were allowed in to stand by my head. They took pictures because I didn’t want to see it, but I wanted it recorded.

The operation was actually very pleasant. It was very relaxed, and I remember three things about it really. I mean I am sure if I thought very hard I could remember it in decent detail mostly. But what I really remember was shivering and shaking, but I didn’t feel cold. I just couldn’t stop shivering and shaking. The second thing I remember was the feeling of elation and wonder when I heard my baby cry for the first time. It manifested itself as a repeated cry of, “That’s my baby.” It was a litany of awe and wonder and utter joy. That moment changed me. The third thing I remember is having a lengthy conversation with the student who was observing about the animals we have at home. I thought that I would be more disappointed that I didn’t get to go through the trial of labor, but the way my baby was born was perfect. I have no regrets actually about my birth experience.

At 12:28 p.m. on November 13th, 2015 I gave birth to a 7 pound 13 ounce baby who was 20 inches long. They had all their fingers and toes (though I must confess that I didn’t actually check that). It was wonderful, beautiful, and life-alternating. And I was mostly tired. I did feel that instant love, but I also felt instantly exhausted. And I didn’t want to share my spouse or baby with anyone.

 

Me, the Twig, and my spouse.

Me, the Twig, and my spouse.

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Hello! An Introduction

Let’s get this started. I am not good at introductions. Either I take a wandering route, ending up off topic, or I give the bare basics. No matter how I try, introducing myself seems awkward. What do people want to know about me? What is too much information? What is a boring introduction?

I am nearly 30 years old. I recently had a baby. I am multiple. I am a strong believer in being your most authentic self. I am gender-fluid. I am married. My spouse is multiple. I am mostly pagan. I love nature. I am a stay-at-home parent. I am trying to start a business from home. I believe reading is the key to happiness. I believe in breastfeeding, even in public. I am a little bored and lonely with an almost 3 month old baby. I cannot keep up with how many weeks they are. We are trying to raise our child as gender neutral as possible. I am full of anxiety and stress. I over-research everything. I love to craft. I will, even though it terrifies me, be in charge of teaching our child.

My dreams include traveling the country in a tiny house to attend conventions and sell my crafts, being a falconer someday, raising a child who is smart, compassionate, strong-willed, sensitive, hard-working, and brave.

I have no idea what I am doing with this blog, or, if I am being honest, a child. I am happy to have this small human in my life, and have already learned so much about myself. But there is just so much to worry about, to consider. Every action I take, even blogging at 4 a.m., I examine and worry about how it effects me, my family, my child, and my friends.

One of my goals is to be intentional with my child as much as possible.

Now, perhaps you are wondering what this blog is going to be about, besides just me rambling. Well, it will have a little of life. Raising a child, fears and worries, milestones, starting a business with a child, being authentic, multiplicity, gender issues, compassion, our adventures, crafts, lessons, venting, cooking, sleep, etc. And a lot of rambling. Maybe some tirades, but I will try to keep those to a minimum.

Anyhow, that is it for now, this tired momma is gonna try to get some sleep before the sleeping Twig awakens for another day.