Home Sweet (holy hell!) Home

We’ve arrived. We are in our new house in Arizona, which is a house we found on Sabbatical Homes. It’s owners are two gay men with two sons who are away for the year. So we’re pretending to be them until next May. I wonder sometimes what the neighbors think.

Or, rather, I wonder if the neighbors laugh a little (I think I would), when they realize that the two gay men with two sons have been replaced by two lesbians with two daughters. If you smashed us together and then separated us, we could be two “perfects” sets of the “perfect” American family. Instead we’re like a conservative Christians nightmare, times two.

But, anyway, this house is lovely. It has a salt water pool, which we go for a dip in every morning before WE WANT TO KILL OURSELVES BECAUSE OF THE EXTREME HEAT. And then again sometimes in the evening when the SUICIDE-INDUCING EXTREME HEAT abates just a little bit.

Oh, did I mention that it’s kind of hot here? No big deal. Really. It’s only that every time you step outside, you suddenly believe in hell, even if you no longer believe in heaven.

But overall we’re happy. I swear. If we stay inside and bring large jugs of water (in a cooler) with us in the car whenever we venture outside, we’re doing pretty well. And just the other day, the temperature *only* got up to 98, so there is some relief.

And, really, honestly, I’m pretty darn happy. Because I finally have my own place again. And we finally have the girls in daycare again. It was nice being full-time moms for a little while, especially getting to breastfeed Frida all the time instead of having to pump in some closet and then store my milk and ship it off with her to a small padded room filled with cribs and white noise machines (which is to say the infant room in a daycare facility).

But as nice as it was, I missed my time alone. I missed the feeling of being and adult human being who is more than just the spectator at a four-year-old’s experimental dance performance and/or the reader of book after book after book about strange animals doing strange, but age-appropriate and sometimes moral-inducing, things, or–in the case of Frida–a walking milk machine. It was nice to be a person who sits down at a computer and tries to write while her children are way far away somewhere in the desert drinking milk and doing experimental dance performances with other adults who are not me.

It was less nice having to be the adult who then had to drive through the hot desert to retrieve said children. But, hey, these are the sacrifices we makes.

And speaking of said children, apparently yesterday, in Frida’s first day of daycare she followed (aka crawled after) a boy named Theo around everywhere, an equally brutish child who is also equally freakishly blond, and then whenever she got close to him, she’d give him a hug.

That kind of broke my heart.

Here are my dear ones in our new pool:

And here is Frida, caught in the act of brutishly trying to remove all the soil from the gay father’s lovely house plant:

Vocabulary for New Parents

The other night, after waking up for a second time to nurse Frida, I was Googling any number of questions I’ve had recently–“When to start sleep routine with baby?” “How long after birth does your body take to heal?” “Sore, burning nipples?” “What’s the meaning of life?” etc–when I realized that there really should be a word for what I was doing.

I know other moms and dads are doing the same thing across the country. You can’t help it. You’re there. It’s 2 a.m. and you’re feeding a baby. Maybe your baby is colicky and you want to find a solution to that. Maybe your baby wakes too much or too little and you want to know what the internet says about that. Maybe you had no freaking idea that your body would be such a mess after giving birth and you hope someone can advise you in that area. And so you multi-task: you feed your baby and you look ask the internet for help.

What is this thing we are all doing? Boobling? Polling an all-nighter? Momvestigating? Readers, help me out here. I’m too sleep deprived to think of a good one.

In my own case, I’ve had a lot of reasons to Booble/momvestigate. Though having Frida has been a joy overall, there have also been challenges–to say the least.

The first was breastfeeding itself, which, in case you’ve never tried it, is not all that easy (at least for many of us). Within the first week my nipples were cracked and bleeding from Frida’s “improper latch” as they say in breastfeeding circles. So I spent many a late nights feeding her while also watching YouTube videos on how to get your baby to latch correctly (it turns out you have to treat your child’s head like a football and gently but firmly and–most importantly–swiftly steer it onto the goal post that is your nipple).

After things in the nipple department got a little better, I developed a bladder infection, which required antibiotics, which affected Frida (or at least I decided they affected her). For the first three weeks of life, Frida was the most docile, sleepy, lovely baby ever. I thought that maybe we were going to have one of “those babies,” i.e. the ones that slightly smug parents smile about and say, “She’s just always been SO easy.”

But then I got on antibiotics and suddenly Frida started to have gas issues. And when you’re a baby with gas, your best way of handling it is to scream and cry. So suddenly we had still-sweet baby, but one who occasionally took to screaming and crying (and sleeping less).

So of course, I started Googling, “How to help with gassy baby” and “Do antibiotics affect baby?” The internet helped a little bit there, mostly in reminded me what techniques we used for Nico when she was gassy. And after seven days my antibiotics regimen ended. I thought we were on the up and up.

Then, I kid you not, that same night I woke up with a high fever and a killer pain in one of my breasts. I mean killer. So as I fed Frida with the other breast, I Googled, “high fever and painful breast.” Every site that came back told me I had mastitis, which, if you don’t know, is a painful bacterial infection of the milk ducts. So, the next day I called my OB and described the symptoms to a nurse over the phone and she confirmed that I had mastitis and called in ANOTHER antibiotics prescription.

The antibiotics worked quickly and soon my fever was gone and my breast started to feel better. But by the next day, Frida was suddenly much worse, gas-wise. We had two nights in a row in which she just screamed for an hour or two without stopping. So, of course, those nights I Googled, “Does my baby have colic?” and “Signs of a colicky baby” and “When will this all stop??”

The internet was inconclusive on this front (apparently colic is only diagnosed if a baby cries for three straight hours, at least three days a week, starting around three weeks of age, which seems somewhat unscientific to me), but it did help me find one page that discussed antibiotics and infants and recommended that both Frida and I start taking probiotics. So we did that (Gerbers probiotics drops for her and a stronger one for me). And, so far, they’ve seemed to help. I’m still on antibiotics, but Frida’s gas is getting better. And my stomach (which was a little achy from the back-to-back doses of antibiotics) also feels better.

This is not to say that we won’t have more issues to come. But last night, at least, Frida fell asleep at 7:30 and woke up only to feed and then fell promptly back to sleep. I still have some pain when I’m feeding her, but it’s starting to feel a lot better. I’ve even downloaded a book to start listening to during my late-night feedings (H is for Hawk–it’s great!). So there is hope. Maybe I won’t need a word for that late night Googling after all…