I Went to Puerto Rico and All I Got Was This Crummy Illness

My posts have been more and more scarce but it’s not because I’m not busy.  I have been running for weeks and never with enough sleep.  I’ve been in several conferences, which are exhausting.  I facilitate the activities so I have to do a lot of work before and after the meetings.

The last of these was in Puerto Rico.  I really enjoyed the conference and felt that I learned a lot and met some great people.  However, because of all of the last-minute work, I had only about eight hours of sleep all week.  During a team-building activity (kayaking), I developed a searing pain in my side.  I thought it was just because my muscles were not used to kayaking.  Then, after returning home, I developed a rash.

A quick trip to the immediate care center confirmed my fears:  I have shingles.  It ranges from annoying to terribly painful and I’m exhausted.  The worst part is that I can’t nurse the baby while on the antiviral medication.  I tried to pump but that felt like primitive torture.  Plus, the Benadryl that helps with the pain impedes my body’s ability to nurse a baby.  So suddenly, two months shy of my goal, I think I’m done nursing.  I think Ainsley’s gotten most of the benefit that she needs but I wasn’t ready for this, especially so suddenly.  It’s a miniature version of what people must feel when they’re at base camp of Everest and a huge blizzard means they have to cancel the climb.

I was supposed to be on vacation this week, cleaning the house and spending time with my little girl.  Instead I’m lying around and watching my house get messier, while my parents take care of my kid.


Thoughts on Ten Months

Infancy is such an amazing time. My daughter’s teacher, Khyati, commented to me how Ainsley’s brain is growing at an incredible rate. I agree. It grows so fast I think I can see the synapses firing and the nerves connecting.

Like being able to hear the corn crackle as it grows in the hot sun, I can see Ainsley learning. She will be cruising around her furniture, little hands on the edge. But the toy on the edge is just out of reach. She thinks, processes, and finally gets it right (the toy always ends up on the floor). Success! Two minutes later, she encounters the same obstacle. With a thoughtful look, she reapplies her solution. Success again! Watching the intense concentration on her face is a joy.

She took her first few steps before she was even nine months old. As I watched her, tears welled in my eyes. I saw my infant becoming a little girl.

And by little I mean tiny. Her weight, long an emotional issue for me, is trending lower. Her doctor is completely confident that she’s a healthy kid and my rational brain agrees with him. But when I see her weight is in the bottom 1% of kids her age, I have an irrational, emotional reaction that I’m somehow starving her. I had an epiphany of sorts a couple of weeks ago. My baby eats broccoli, cauliflower, parsley, carrots, brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, applesauce, strawberries, custard, scrambled eggs, olive oil, whole grain bread, all kinds of summer and winter squashes, tofu, cheese, and of course, mommy’s good milk…she has a wonderfully varied diet full of vitamins and healthful fats. So what if she’s small? Her brain is growing. I started to feel really angry and indignant about it until I realized that the person with whom I should quarrel was me. Throw away the stupid chart, Mommy, and just love your baby.

Love her, I do! I relish our time together and try to give her freedom to explore. On the evening of her becoming ten months old, we went outside to play in the grass. The breeze was blowing in her growing wisps of hair and she explored leaves and grass. A little spider scurried through the blades and she watched intently. I realized that these are the moments. These are the ones where I’m not trying to teach her a skill or feed her a new food; we just are. We are. We are together and enjoying being in each other’s space.

These posts are going from bewildered to crazy happy to content with the thread of love connecting all of them. So I’m sorry for the sap but it’s the unvarnished truth.

Sights of New York

I’ll bet you weren’t expecting this photo!

I loved my trip to New York. Every time I love the hustle of the city. I can find exhorbitantly expensive meals or inexpensive, gorgeous, fresh flowers. I can sit in a park full of people reading, walking, lounging and feel a sense of community with strangers.

But every time I leave, I’m exhausted. The pace is invigorating for a few days but I need a break by the time I part.

I’m home. Sorry I can’t manage to post anything in a timely fashion.

Boring 5

Nobody’s reading these…

  • Eating a 200-calorie snack instead of a 400-calorie one
  • Walking to my sister’s for a 10-minute chat (no more 30-minute drive!)
  • Making a quick dinner everyone likes
  • My swingy new hair cut
  • The sound of my mom’s voice on the phone

Trying Hard to be Positive

I am having good days and bad days.

My good and bad days are closely tied to how bad my dog’s heart is that day.  Sometimes she’s like a puppy who just wants a treat; others, she can barely get up because the coughing is so bad, or she shakes just from sitting still.  Her quality of life is so variable that I just don’t know what to do.

I contacted a local vet about the possibility of in-home euthanasia if Sunny’s heart fails and she’s dying painfully.  I have been pretty matter-of-fact about all of this and the other night I realized why: I can’t start to be sad because if I do, I think the floodgates will open.  I’m leaving a message for the doctor and I feel like I’m saying “yes, I’d like to schedule the killing of my sweet, innocent doggie.”

What do I do?  How do I get OK with this?  I just don’t know.  I feel like I’m doing something awful because she doesn’t understand a thing of what’s happening…like I’m planning a murder.

I just hope she continues to have more good days than bad so we can spend more time together.