Hello Again, Friends

It has been three months since I last posted. I think that’s the longest I’ve gone yet, and I’ve missed writing here. Life has been so full and so busy and other things have been so urgent, that I’ve not often had leftover creative energy or time to post. For the readers who still come to visit, thank you, and I hope I can come back more often now.

To summarize the past three months:

  • My wee Hatchling is now one year old. He walks! He communicates amazingly well through a combination of grunts, points, yells, babbled words, and baby signs. He wiggles his little hips to dance and absolutely loves music. He charms me every day and he’s growing like a weed.
  • So far this summer we’ve thrown a big party, spent our first night camping with a toddler, attended three weddings, and gone to one funeral (for a dear great aunt, she lived a good full life and died in her sleep). There have been many road trips to Connecticut and Long Island. Many weekends away seeing lots of family and friends. And a couple more to go before this summer is done.
  • The Fiasco and I are feeling like we’re really falling into a good groove with this parenting thing. We’re much more comfortable in our roles and are being better partners for each other than we were a year ago and I am so grateful for that.
  • There have been some pretty major changes at my job which have resulted in my workload and level of responsibility essentially doubling. This has been really exciting for me (I love a good challenge), but also really exhausting as I’ve been scrambling to balance the extra work with the summer activities and quality time with my son. #workingmomproblems

Because of all that, I have done NOTHING crafty. No projects. No spinning. No knit night. No spinner’s guild. Nada, zilch, zero. I’ve been two rows away from finishing a cowl and one button away from finishing a hat and stalled out on the heels of a pair of socks since April, but these things all take mental energy I haven’t had the space to find.

However, my goal in these last weeks of summer is to seek out time for myself. Even if it’s a few minutes here, another few there, even if I’m tired and feeling lazy, instead of reaching for my phone or puttering away the time, I’ll re-train myself to use it creatively. It used to be second nature, to pick up the needles in every spare moment, but being pregnant and giving birth sucked all that motivation out of me. I don’t think it’s anything a little extra effort and mindfulness can’t fix, though, and as my baby is getting more busy and independent, my hands won’t be quite as full as they have been.

 

 

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The Dark Side of Love

I am sorry for the long silence, friends. Last we spoke, my little Hatchling was only 7 weeks old, and he’s now tripled in age. At 21 weeks old (almost 5 months) he’s become a curious little boy who giggles, watches everything, and gives sloppy, full-face, open-mouthed kisses. He’s basically the cutest thing ever and I absolutely love being his mom.

But I’m not going to lie, parenthood hit our family like a ton of bricks. Our feeding issues (he never latched) caused a lot of stress for me, personally, and impacted my marriage as well. I won’t recount the whole sad story here but suffice it to say that we saw endless lactation consultants and doctors and had multiple incorrect diagnoses before it was finally confirmed that Oliver had a tongue tie AND a lip tie, both of which prevented him from latching on and breastfeeding successfully. We had the ties released (with lasers!) which vastly improved his ability to suck and eat from a bottle, but by the time we had the procedures done, it was too late for our nursing relationship. The little guy was too smart, he knew his food came from a bottle and there was no way we could convince him otherwise. So I pumped as much milk for him as I could and cried oceans of tears over this. It is difficult to explain to anybody who is not a mother but breastfeeding was immensely important to me and I definitely grieved the loss.

At the same time, I was dealing with some lingering postpartum complications, including hormone-driven anxiety and depression, as well as trying to get back on the same page with my dear Fiasco. Time has healed most of the postpartum complications, and new parent couples counseling has done wonders for the communication issues that the Fiasco and I were experiencing. I’m telling all this to illustrate that a whole hell of a lot changes after you have a baby, and I think it’s important that it doesn’t get glossed over and buried under the cultural narrative of cute onesies and sweet lullabies. It’s also important (to me, politically) that parenthood remains a choice. Having a baby is an incredible responsibility and it will directly (and permanently) impact your health, your finances, your relationships, and the course of your entire life. It should not be entered into lightly or because a distant politician has ideas about the autonomy of a blob of partially-divided cells.

It’s not just a ‘transformative experience’, as I’ve heard it described. I’d call it obliterative. It takes everything you think you know, and everything you are, and shakes it all down to your foundation. Then it makes you slowly pick up the pieces, rebuilding each bit with new corners and edges where the baby fits in. And through it all, there is intense, spellbinding, all-consuming joy. And pride. And fear. And doubt. And hope. And a deep, dark, breathless love.

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So much love.

Now, finally, it’s also starting to get really fun. Around three or four months old, he started interacting more and it’s wonderful to get some feedback from him. To know that he’s ok, that we’re fulfilling his needs, that he recognizes us and wants to be with us. It’s amazing to watch little pieces of his personality developing. Our boy is a wee bit demanding but also persistent, and has a somewhat low tolerance for frustration. He’s also super smart, pays attention to everything, and he thinks being surprised is the funniest thing. We’ve even developed a couple of ‘private jokes’ of a sort. He gives me a special smile whenever I sing a certain part of his favorite lullaby, and he giggles like a fiend when I say “suck suck suck!” during his suck training exercises.

All of this is to say hello again, I’ve missed you, and here’s some of what has kept me away. It’s also to say I’m here, if you are a new parent and are maybe feeling alone or like you need help. And that it gets easier. I am now back at work again, I have even been knitting a little, and am finally feeling ready to¬† rebuild a few more lost bits of myself. I hope you’ve all been well.

Oliver Hatched!

I have been attempting to find time to sit at my computer and write a blog post for 3 weeks. This has not happened, so I’ve given in and am doing my best to post from my phone. The reason for my blogging delay is currently asleep on my chest, making adorable infant snuffling noises. Oliver Sam (formerly known as the Hatchling) was born at 5 am on June 28 after 30 hours of not-so-fun labor. But he’s here, he’s healthy, and he’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever made.

We’ve been struggling with breastfeeding, in that we haven’t actually managed it. Oliver refuses to latch (that’s a nice way of saying he screams bloody murder) even though we’ve spoken to every doctor and lactation consultant out there. We’re still working on it but in the meantime he’s growing well on formula and the breastmilk I’ve been able to pump. The whole feeding thing has been a lot harder than I’d expected but I’m trying to keep in mind that of all the problems we could have, this is a manageable one.

We’re a tad tired but the Fiasco and I are really making a pretty great team and are enjoying learning the ropes as new parents. We had lots of visitors in the beginning and are gearing up for lots more in the near future. Routines and all sense of time have pretty much gone out the window!

I have knit just one thing in the past 3 weeks: the crown of the green gradient hat for Oliver. I started his Sky Blanket also but didn’t love my color combination for certain weather so I’m starting over. I’ve been writing down the sky every day and I’ll probably end up just knitting my square all at once. Don’t worry, Oliver isn’t hurting for knitwear. My spinning friend Christine knit him/us a gorgeous bamboo and cotton lace blanket/shawl and generous members of the Verdant Gryphon group on Ravelry made a Newborn Vertebrae cardi and coordinating hat, socks, and mitts that fit him perfectly (blue set). Unlike my knits, where the hat and socks are way too big and the cardi is nearly already too small. I’ll have to get cracking on some more knits now that I have an actual baby to measure!


Guys, I can’t believe I’m somebody’s mom. I could just stare at his perfect little face all day (and basically do).