Saturday, March 26, 2011

stream of (semi)consciousness

i need to figure out a way to blog during middle-of-the-night feedings. that seems to be my best thinking time these days. for now, here's my next-day attempt to remember what i was thinking last night...er, that is, earlier this morning. much earlier.

our nursery--luke's room turned guest room turned anastasia's room--is decorated with pastel animals. in my nesting phase in the final days before luke was born, i painted a mural on the wall over his crib. it's a pastel jungle scene of sorts. and the crib bedding is a similar pastel noah's ark theme, as are the throw rug on the floor and other bits of decoration here and there in the room. as i studied that mural and bedding once again last night (this morning, whatever), seven and a half years after i first did the same with luke, it got me thinking. (you're ready for something profound, i know it. stop reading now, lest i disappoint you.) why, in such animal-themed kid stuff, is the elephant always pink? yellow giraffe, of course. blue hippo, makes sense. purple rhinoceros, a bit of a stretch, but still. but a pink elephant? whose idea was that?

and furthermore--and this question i know is not original to me--whose idea was it that noah's ark was an appropriate theme for kid stuff in the first place? and pastel? i mean, imagine what noah's ark was really like for a minute: it was a crammed-full floating zoo, for crying out loud. dirty and smelly and crowded. were there scuffles between the animals? who fed all those creatures? cleaned up after them? surely the nocturnal animals woke up the ones who tried to sleep at night and vice versa.

hmmmm...on second thought, maybe that's a pretty good description of life with kids after all. minus the pink elephant part.

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meanwhile, sam and i have laughed more during the first nine days of anastasia's life than i think we ever did during luke's newborn days (and certainly more than during eliza's, for obvious reasons). how a few years and a whole lot of life under our belts have changed our perspective! what was stressful the first time around and absent the second is pure joy this third time. when luke cried, we were panicked until we could figure out what he wanted. and then eliza didn't cry. so when anastasia cries, especially when she cried that first day or so, we were content to just listen and laugh, even, with delight. she can cry! and better even than that, she cries for good reason--she's hungry, she's tired--and we can do something about it. simple things that we took for granted, fretted over, that first time around. this time, we know full well what a gift those things are, what a miracle a healthy baby is, and we are so full of joy to experience them.

i've never been one of those people who delights in nursing. as far as i'm concerned (and read here my opinion only, and not at all an attempt to engage the bottle-vs.-breast debate), there's no question that it's the way to go: it's natural and simple and free and healthy and convenient and such a perfect design. but let's face it: it's also a pain (literally and figuratively), especially those first weeks. it's time consuming and UNcomfortable (understatement of the year) and slooooow (at least for my babies) and exclusive and restrictive and on and on and on. but this time around, i can't take any of it for granted, the positive OR the negative. where getting up during the night with luke was a responsibility that i embraced and (yes) sometimes enjoyed, at least marginally, getting up during the night (or being up all night) with eliza was a constant reminder of what was wrong. because, of course, i wasn't up nursing eliza. those first ten weeks, i was up feeding a pump; once she was home, i was up dealing with a beeping machine or medication syringes or seizures or unexplained and innumerable other miserable reminders of eliza's many challenges.

so this time, though it's still all those less-than-pleasant things i listed, nursing is yet another of those things that is a simple delight i never knew how much i should treasure before. anastasia is hungry a lot, a good and normal thing for a newborn. i can feed her and satisfy that need in a healthy and good and normal way. and then she sleeps contentedly and grows appropriately. who knew what a gift that could be?

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luke is absolutely smitten with his sister. sam can't get enough time snuggling with her. my dad spends his time videotaping her while she sleeps on his lap, and my mom seems to occupy anastasia's "quiet alert" time best of all, even while working her usual magic on her digestive system (it's uncanny--we nicknamed her "nana laxative" back when luke was a baby, and she never fails to keep my babies' digestive systems happy and clean). i'm guaranteed quality time with anastasia, about once every three hours for an hour at a time, mama-moo-cow such as i am, so i don't have to fight the crowds for my snuggles. and i couldn't be more delighted at how just the sound of my voice calms her immediately.

sam has declared anastasia a very "reasonable" baby. she cries--though not furiously--when she needs something, and she settles easily when the need is met. she tolerates a feeding interrupted for a diaper change for quite a reasonable amount of time before she puts up a fuss, and that rarely a dramatic one. she sleeps (dare i write it for fear of jinxing it?) like a champ, and wakes up quietly squirming and fussing, hardly ever crying. reasonable. we'd love her just as much if she were a drama queen, of course (and we're fully aware that she may yet be), but who wouldn't delight in such a reasonable baby?

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i have so much more to say about the intersection of memories from eliza's life and experiences of anastasia's, the likes of which have flooded my mind and heart these past nine days. but i'm oh-so-tired, and since everyone else around here is sleeping, that bit will have to wait for next time.

5 comments:

Meredith said...

She sounds so beautiful, Daniele. I can't wait to meet her.

Jen T. said...

So glad I was up to read this. Great writing, even in stream of consciousness form. Congratulations on your healthy, beautiful new baby girl!

dhenpen said...

Danielle - congrats. I've been watching your blog for the arrival of Anastasia (I left facebook a little while back) and am so happy for you all.

me said...

love your streams of thought. i also wonder why Noah's ark is a baby's room theme sometimes: the biggest disaster in the world? kinda scary, not cute? oh well. animals are cute and cuddly, i guess. so glad you are bonding with your reasonable baby. we tend to have opinionated ones around here.

darcie said...

sweet baby-it's good to see her picture. From Texas, we rejoice with your family at Anastasia's birth.