It's been just about a solid month since we returned home from the hospital. We've finally settled into a nice groove. It's funny how when you're in the middle of things, say routine things, like the get up, pull kids from cribs, change diapers, make coffee, pour Sienna's milk (first rifle through cupboard for clean sippy cup, matching lid and corresponding valve for lid), get myself dressed, get baby dressed, get toddler dressed while pretending not to be so she can believe she's dressing herself, pack lunches, pack bottles, find clean infant spoon and grab jar of baby food, make sure enough diapers and the right sizes for both girls are in the bag, and on and on throughout the day, every day, seven days a week. Though sometimes it's broken-up, like on the days I go downstairs to work, or on location. Before the Glenn the monotony of these actions could, and often did, put me in a harried and unpleasant state of mind. The petty routines and cyclical nature of make bottle, clean bottle, make lunch, clean lunch mess, dress baby, undress baby then repeat several times a day with each accident, blow-out, or spilled bottle. On my worst days these mindless chores could break me. I think, perhaps when stay-at-home moms feel overwhelmed it's because of the relentless rotation of these simple tasks. Add to the tedium a crying baby and a whiny toddler, and then isolate said mom for seemingly days on end, and it can be the bane of many a woman.
Ironically, however, it was the very monotony I craved while in the hospital. The experience is similar when I fly. I loathe flying. Being trapped in that metal tube, strapped into an uncomfortable seat, breathing in the recycled, artificial air definitely ranks first on my least favorite activities list. Often when I fly, and especially when we hit turbulence, I think of all the things I rather be doing other than sitting strapped into a seat at 30,000 feet. My thoughts become hedges and when turbulence strikes, suddenly I think how yes, I would LOVE to be cleaning the cat litter at this moment. And the dull, yet grotesque task of scrubbing the toilet suddenly becomes just as desirable as sitting on the beach with a good book. Our stays at the hospital conjure up the same type of 'strike a bargain' type thinking. Sitting in the ICU room, while Luna was hooked up to machinery, with just a tiny TV screen and no view other than that of the grey, cement exterior and mostly drawn windows of hospital rooms, I thought to myself I'd give anything to be washing sippy cups and bottles right now. An entire sink full of milk encrusted lids? Not a problem. Oh there's five loads of laundry, and the kitty litter needs to be changed. That's wonderful!
As I sit and write this, a pile of dishes mocks me from the sink, and the clean silverware in the dishwasher, run last night, is begging to be released from their stainless steel cell. In another hour, Sienna will start hollering for me from her crib, and Luna will pound her legs into her mattress, her way of letting me know she's ready for the day. Diapers will be changed, and perhaps bedding too; depending upon how well bottles and sippy cups held up during the night. The dishwasher will be emptied, and last nights dishes will be loaded into the machine. Then Paul and I will make something special for breakfast, something like homemade blueberry pancakes and bacon or something else just as laborious and have another load of dirty dishes to contend with. Yet, now with a fresh perspective and yet another major surgery endured by my baby behind me, but also in me forever, the every day tasks somehow feel lighter. Idely running warm water through a bottle while listening to the tv or radio while Sienna's tiny voice bubbles over just enough for me to hear the conversation (usually entails her in a complicated plot of caring for eight different baby dolls who always seem to need her unyielding attention) and the occasional squeal of Luna surprised once again by her reflection in the mirror, is something to inhale, a seemingly non-moment that has become somehow monumental in its very subtleness.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Well, Luna proved miraculous and was discharged from the hospital Sunday afternoon. Things are back to normal-sort of. Health-wise Lu is better than anyone expected; in fact, healthy despite the fact she had open heart surgery just a week ago. Emotionally, she's a little off. Yesterday, we had our follow-up with her pediatrician who I'll continue to call Mr. Goodnews because indeed he is full of it. He checked Luna's pulses and felt for any swelling of her organs and on both counts she was fine. Her heart sounded good, lungs clear. I told Dr. Goodnews that she seems spooked from the whole ordeal. I explained how she's having trouble sleeping and how the moment I move from her field of vision she lets out a real "don't leave me I'm terrified" kind of cry. It's painful to see. And at night she will only settle down when she is sandwiched between Paul and me in our bed. Dr. Goodnews, who is nearing retirement and rather old-school, simply said to get her on a routine and not to worry about letting her cry when we put her in her crib-Luna can handle it. He said she suffered a simple case of 'hospitallitis'. So, yesterday during her nap I did just that. I let her cry for about 5 minutes and wouldn't you know she finally settled down into a 2-hour, much needed (for both of us) nap. Here it is Wednesday afternoon, a week ago she was in the OR, and the only ailment she suffers is a minor case of hospitallitis.