Before Swee'pea was born, I started my mat leave early. I was getting really annoyed with various comments from people at work about my body, and I thought for sure the baby was coming early. I wanted to make sure I had a bit of me time before I never had me time again. The last few weeks of my pregnancy, I got weekly full body massages - on my belly even because the massage therapist had one of those special pillows for pregnant women, a pedicure, my hair cut and highlighted, I baked cookies with lots of healthy ingredients like oatmeal, nuts, nut butters, and of course chocolate chips, and I tried to sort the house out a bit. I sorted several foot-high stacks of papers, which are now in the file folders that I can't fit any more in now. I washed the baby clothes and blankets and stuff that were handed down to us and the few pieces we bought. I folded them and categorized them into different drawers in the then- empty dresser in the baby's room. I remember when I folded the first load, I smelled the Ivory soap in them. And it hit me. We were going to have a baby. Somehow that smell made it all seem real. Soon a real live baby would fill these clothes.
I remembered that moment today for some reason. I think it was partly because I was thinking about my strategy to put clothes away as soon as they're folded, and how the basket of clothes I folded on Sunday are still un-put away today (Friday). (I have now put them away.) But it also had something to do with the fact that I just bought Swee'pea a proper snow suit for the last few weeks of winter. We were able to get away with the Halloween fuzzy suit before we left, but he needs something wind-proof now that there's actually winter weather. And finally, I think these last few weeks of my mat leave share something with those last few weeks before the baby chaos arrived.
I have that same sense of wanting to enjoy these days before they're gone, that same desire to finally get organized before the shit hits the fan. I have been enjoying the days with Swee'pea since we got back. Even though he's miserably sick, with puffy bruised-looking circles under his eyes, a nose that streams almost continuously except when he blows snot bubbles, a deep, wet barking cough, and occasionally, a sad little hoarse laugh. This morning his breathing has become like Darth Vader except with more rattle and phlegm. While the nights have been quite unpleasant, with lots of crying that we can't seem to comfort, the days have been ok, and he's awfully cute. He sleeps more frequently but more fitfully during the day, so he takes a bunch of catnaps. Mostly, he falls asleep really quickly during the day, sometimes I just cuddle him while I read blogs and he just falls asleep almost immediately. He needs lots of cuddles and hugs when he's awake, and many times he just seems to want me to hold him for a while. He's also been nursing a lot more than usual.
Then he'll get down and play by himself for a while, and cruise around the couch and chairs and walls. He's been spending more and more time on his feet, and the other day I noticed with sadness that his feet are getting calloused. Whenever I open the kitchen door, he speed-crawls over with a huge gleeful grin on his face, and I swear he has a bit of a swagger to his crawl, like I know you don't really like me coming in here but I'm GOIN' IN because I CAN and I WILL; I like it in here, and I am too fast for you.
Periodically he comes over to me for a hug, on foot if there's enough stuff for him to balance on, or crawling if there isn't, and stands between my legs and I hug him. Yesterday he very carefully and very deliberately folded back the two sides of my cardigan. It didn't take me long to figure out that he wanted to nurse, so I did. He's done that several times now, and I totally think it's adorable and irresistible.
His love affair with the tv remote has intensified. Since he's been sick, and I've been feeling slightly under the weather, I've found myself watching tv a bit when he's around. I have to hide the remote behind my back, because once he finds it he either mutes it or changes the channel. I have discovered that he seems to be aware that he can make the picture change by pushing the buttons, because I've caught him pushing a button, then looking at the tv. I had intended not to watch tv around him, but since he's such a high-maintenance sleeper, I would have to give up my shows. I've reduced my watching by a significant margin, but I do still want to watch a few shows (especially Amazing Race - All Stars, which starts this Sunday).
It seems like he's understanding more and more of what we say every day. The other morning as Sugar Daddy was getting ready to leave for work, Swee'pea was sitting in the front hall and I told him, "Daddy's going to work." He looked up at Sugar Daddy and waved his hand! I can say things like, "Come over here and I'll give you [something - I can't think what]" and he'll come over with a smile. Things like that.
My brother has noticed with his kids that after they get sick they usually have some kind of developmental spurt. They suddenly understand a concept they hadn't previously, or master a new skill. I wonder if this will be the case for Swee'pea? This is his first real illness, or the worst anyways. He had hand, foot and mouth disease, but it was really mild, and he had a cold just after Christmas, but it was also mild compared to this. And this, of course, is still fairly mild, I think, in the realm of childhood illness. But I find myself wondering, how bad do I let his cough get before I take him to the doctor? I took him when he first had a fever, because they say to after you've been travelling, but she was unconcerned. The cough sounds bad though. I guess I'll wait and see, and if it's at a point when I would go to the doctor myself, then I'll take him. A few days of a nasty cough doesn't sound THAT major.
All this illness means that I have done nothing on the organization front. I have scheduled the cleaning woman to do a huge spring clean of the ENTIRE house, so I have to have things in better shape, otherwise she won't be able to. But I've done nothing. Between me not feeling so hot, and Swee'pea not really sleeping for longer than half a hour (which is really only enough time to check out a blog or two and certainly not enough for organizing things), I haven't moved forward at all.
Maybe this weekend?
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