One-Hand Wonder

I've been the mother of four boys for nearly a month now, so I consider myself somewhat of a professional.*

*And by "professional" I mean "a person who has managed to keep four children in her care alive and (relatively) unscathed for nearly a month"

Know what I'm also somewhat of a professional at?

Doing things one-handed.

Corbin, my newborn, is a good baby. But - like almost all babies - he's best when he's being held. So the child is perpetually in my arms because the last thing my household needs is another crying voice adding to the chaos. I have one of those awesome babywearing wraps, which I actually won in a blog giveaway when Coby was a baby. But much to my dismay, it was too small for me then. (Yes y'all: you can be too fat for a wrap. Tragic.)

It would fit me now, but I've lost the instructions and can't figure out how to fold the darn thing. I tried it on yesterday and Corbin was, like, half hanging out of it and I was all, "Um, can you just hold on a little bit please?" but seeing as he's three weeks old and all ... well ... the answer was no. He couldn't hold on. Not even a little bit. And yes, I'm well aware that I could look up the instructions on the Internet, but the truth is I'm kinda scared. Because it's sort of like origami, and I can't even make a paper airplane. I'm a smart chick generally, but there are just some things (copy machines, strategically folded things, coffee makers, card games) that my brain refuses to grasp.

So I have adapted to being a one-armed wonder, and can do an amazing array of things with a single hand. For example, I just made my older kids an extremely complicated breakfast of instant oatmeal while cradling the infant (I know. Mad kitchen skillz). Then I rinsed off the dishes, loaded them into the dishwasher, disposed of an offending booger, cleaned oatmeal off the dog's back at least I hope that was oatmeal, and retrieved a lost Wii remote. (I mean, uh ... gathered up the educational materials that I am using to enrich my children's learning over the summer. Yeah. That's it. What Wii?)

Now I am blogging with - you guessed it - one hand.

What it looks like to be me. 

After this, I'll be attempting to go pee. And if the baby cries? He's going with me.

I've never even dropped my phone into the toilet, so I'm pretty sure he'll be safe.

I am, after all, a professional.

Swimming Upstream

It feels like I haven't blogged in forever. At this point you're probably wondering if my kids made it off to college all right, and how I'm handling menopause.

Okay, so maybe it hasn't been that long. I still have a house full of little boys who refuse to stay clothed and who are, at this very moment, in the living room playing a game they call "Penis Fly Trap." (What it consists of is anybody's guess. I, for one, don't want to know.)

You can blame my absence from the blogosphere largely on this dude:

 P.S., that is not my hairy arm in the photo.

Corbin is a mellow baby. He really is. It's just that, well, he didn't exactly burst forth from the womb eager to simplify my life. Since he's been here, he's done virtually no housework, and insists that I feed him, and wants me to, like, wipe his butt and stuff. And he has the audacity to poop through at least one outfit a day, and spit up all over at least two more, yet never thinks to go downstairs and put a load of laundry on.

I mean, really. The nerve.

But I guess he's all right. He can stay, since I sure as hell will not be putting him back.

My whole life right now is a blur of trying to get the hang of my new role as The Old Lady Who Lived in a Shoe mother of four (while still maintaining the laundry and the dishes and the cooking and preventing the buildup of crust on a variety of household surfaces, including said children). And on top of that, because I am a glutton for punishment like to stay extra-busy, I took on a writing job.

Hey, four kids are expensive.

If someone ever wanted to pay me to blog, maybe I'd get it done more often.

Anyway, I've noticed something lately. Coby, being two-almost-three, has entered that annoying stage of wanting to do everything for himself ... even if he can't. He's not exactly a pro at dressing himself or putting on his shoes, for example, yet he insists upon trying. And twenty minutes of fits and frustration later, he's still trying.

On the other hand, Colin (7) and Cameron (4), who can do things such as dress themselves, don't seem to want to do it any more. It's like once they actually mastered doing it themselves, all the fun was gone. So it still takes forever for them to get dressed, or brush their teeth or whatever, although now it's because I have to yell at them instruct them to do it a gazillion times before it gets done. Isn't it ironic? ... Don'tcha think?*

*shoutout to Alanis Morissette 

If it's not one phase, it's another. I'm trying to go with the flow, but 90% of the time I feel like a salmon swimming upstream.

And if I don't hurry and get into the shower while the baby naps, I'm going to smell like one too.

Dressed to Depress

Image from Yes, such a magical site actually exists.

When my baby was eight days old, I got dressed.

Impressive, right? An eight-day stretch of pajama-ness (needless to say, it was not pretty). But on Saturday, I finally mustered up the motivation to take my daily shower a few steps further. I put on some makeup. I pulled my hair into a simple updo.

And then I stood in my closet naked and bawled.

No, I didn't expect to fit back into my pre-pregnancy jeans or any such sort of lofty goal. I mean when you gain fifty pounds, it tends to, y'know, hang around for a while. But I was at least hoping that my newest maternity jeans would fit me properly. The cute ones that I wore for only about a week before my gargantuan stomach pushed the poor elastic to its limit and I had to retire them to the closet. I was hoping that now, since said stomach had deflated a bit, they would be usable.

But no. Because my ass and thighs had other ideas.

The one thing I heard most during my pregnancy, repeated over and over and over (well, besides oh my GAWD! and You poor thing! and Is there more than one in there? and You've got to be overdue!) was, "You're all belly!" I think people said that either a.) just to be nice, or b.) because my belly was in fact so huge that they couldn't look past it long enough to notice the ginormous hips and thighs holding it up.

So when I tried to slip on my maternity jeans, envisioning them sliding right up like they used to, it came as quite a shock when I couldn't tug them past my burgeoning buttocks.

It was like adding salt to a wound. I mean, I'm already teetering on the brink of depression over my post-baby belly. Not that it was nice before, by ANY stretch of the imagination (except for my 25 years on earth prior to having kids - check out a before-and-after comparison here). No, before I had Corbin, my belly was already saggy and stretchmarked. But? The carriage and delivery of my fourth child took a bad thing and made it worse. I've got that lovely postpartum bread-dough glut of jiggly flab, the kind you have to lift up in order to see your C-section incision. Plus I still look at least four months pregnant.

"Ugh" and "blah" are not strong enough words.

I know: it'll go away, everything will shrink back to its normal size, and I can hide what's left under my shirt and tuck it into my pants and look actually pretty decent at some point in the future. But until then, I hate every flabby, leaky, cranky postpartum moment. It's gonna be a long, depressing road back, y'all.

I'm "fighting off frumpy" once again. Would now be a good time to invest in some Pajama Jeans?

Totally Valid Invalid

So I've been in my pajamas for nearly a week now. Including when I left the hospital, because my husband accidentally carried my pants out to the car before I had a chance to put them on. Did I mention that the pajamas I was wearing that day were Betty Boop-print? So I walked through the entire hospital, including the busy lobby, on a Monday, wearing Betty Boop PJs. Awwww yeaaah. What a way to make my grand re-entry into the world.

My mother-in-law left Monday, and my mom left yesterday. Unfortunately, they took neither my laundry or my dishes or my litterbox-filling-felines with them. Curtis took off work ... for the weekend. I have this worrying sense of impending doom, like my house is just going to cave in with chaos and clutter and craziness once I'm finally left - utterly and completely alone - with these four boys. (And on a related note ... there's that weird sense of holy crap, do I seriously have FOUR kids now?!)

Y'all feel me?

Today is my oldest son Colin's seventh birthday. I can't believe that my "baby" is seven years old. I also can't believe I don't have the energy to search through pictures and write a birthday post devoted to him like I usually do. I feel like a total crapster about this. Maybe when he's eight ...

As for my baby of the baby variety, Corbin ... he's an absolute angel. That's definitely a plus. He sleeps all the time, is alert but quiet when he's awake, and only fusses like once a day. For like ten seconds. I think it's because he knows he's in line behind three other little dudes who have needs (and nearly relentless demands) and that he'd just have to join the queue, anyway.

I feel like crap, although it does get slightly better every day. My iron levels were low during pregnancy, and between the surgery and the postpartum blood loss, I was told at the hospital that now they're ridiculously low. So I'm exhausted and weak-feeling while waiting for all that to normalize. I didn't realize how sore I'd be - OMG, y'all - but I guess when one gets a baby sliced out of her abdomen, she's bound to be a little tender for a while. I'm just tired of being down and out.

And tired of being in my pajamas all the time. Who'd have thought I'd ever say that?

Corbin's Grand Entrance

Forgive me if this blog post is a little on the incoherent side, but as I write this, it's three o'clock in the morning and I'm literally too exhausted to sleep. Plus? I just ate some awesome toast, so my happiness is at near-delirious heights. (I know, you're thinking, "What's so special about toast?" - but all toast is classified under "awesome" when it's your first solid food in nearly 24 hours.)

But let me back up for a minute. Because I've got something even more awesome than toast: a brand new baby boy. Corbin Daniel, eight pounds and nine ounces and twenty-one inches of sweet, infant-y goodness.

When I came in for my induction on Friday morning, I was more than ready, since it had been postponed the day before. I checked my dignity at the door, donned the ultra-flattering hospital couture, fashionably accessorized with an IV and some lovely identification bracelets, and they started the Pitocin drip. For most of the morning, I was engaged in various activities such as walking around and bouncing on a birthing ball (presumably with my ass hanging out for the world to see). Labor was progressing at a decent clip. Contractions were getting painful. Water had broken. I was waiting on the anesthesiologist to deliver the nectar of the gods epidural. Everything was nice and normal.

And then? It suddenly got a little less so.

When my nurse Tammy checked for dilation, she frowned. "I feel ... some sort of hard little nodule," she said. "It may just be that a portion of his head has conformed to the shape of your cervix, but I'd like to get a second opinion." So in came the charge nurse, who fished around up in there briefly before saying, "We need an ultrasound."

I'll never forget the way she said it. Or the knowing look she gave Tammy as the words came out of her mouth. It was one of those moments where there was clearly something amiss, but nobody wanted to say anything. I began to get uneasy. Aw, hell, who am I kidding - "uneasy" isn't even the word for it - you just don't like to hear that there may be something wrong. I'd have probably crapped my pants with fear at that point, except I wasn't wearing any.

The technician came up to my room with her little portable ultrasound machine, and I tried to hold still through some increasingly-heinous contractions while she zoomed the wand around my abdomen. And then we had our answer: Corbin was breech. That "nodule" was a heel. At some point, obviously very recently, he had turned his little self around.

With each contraction, I was feeling more and more pressure. Like he was just about to roundhouse kick his way out of there, Chuck Norris-style. I had started to dilate really quickly, and I was petrified - because having been in labor four times now, I know one thing about myself: once it starts progressing like that, it goes fast. I seriously felt as though I could have reached down and felt a foot hanging out.

Which is why, before I knew it, Curtis was zipping himself up in a paper leisure suit and a shower cap, and I was being wheeled briskly into the cold, sterile operating room for a C-section. Everything was fast-moving and - for lack of a better term - official. Like something from a movie, people in scrubs all over the place, getting prepared, calling out medical terminology left and right. It was kinda surreal.

Anyway, I won't blather on about the details (gross) and the way I felt (freaked the eff out ... oh, and fat), but instead focus on the wonderful end result: our new baby boy.

Smile for the camera, Corbin!

I did say I wanted my last birth experience to be memorable, and oh, was it ever - even if it wasn't at all what I expected. It's kinda cool to say that I've given birth both ways, though. And despite the searing pain in my abdomen (yowza!), I'm definitely digging the fact that I'm not shredded to bits "down South," if y'all know what I'm saying. That's always a plus.

I can't help but wonder if this would have all been different had our induction not been postponed. But, things happen for a reason. And we're fine. And no matter what, at the end of it, I'm still the mommy of FOUR beautiful, healthy boys. So ends my childbearing years.

Now that's surreal.


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