So there is no getting around it. I am OUT OF SHAPE. Even though breastfeeding got rid of the baby weight, a little bit of it has snuck back on again in the last couple of months (a result of my continuing to eat like a trucker even as E. cut back on his feedings). And regardless of what the scales say, the same weight can come in very different packages (namely, a half-marathon running fit- me in July 2010, and a super unfit sleep deprived flabby mum- me currently).
For months, I have been using the same excuse (to myself- no one has ever made any comments to me, except to say that I look great, which is super nice of them, but I don’t feel great): I just had a baby.
Ok, yes, in the grand scheme of my life, I did just have a baby.
But that baby? He has now been outside in the world as our E. for longer than I ever carried him in my womb. He is crawling, pulling up on everything, thinking about standing unassisted. His face is starting to look like a little boy’s.
I did not just have a baby.
So it is time to find a way to prioritize my own health. I must say this seems laughable, given there are still many many days where I somehow reach the evening and realize I have once again not managed to shower.
I’m fed up. Ifeelugly and fat, even though I know I’m not. I hate that I can tell that my knees are starting to play up again because my leg muscles aren’t strong enough to give them the support they want. I hate that my jeans that were too big for me before I got pregnant aren’t really all that big at the moment. I hate that the jeans that fit me before I was pregnant (and which did briefly almost fit me in October) produce a muffin top. I hate that I don’t feel strong and vibrant, like I do when I’m in the middle of training for a race. I hate that I feel guilty about eating all the food that I’m eating, but then feel even more guilty about not eating it, since I’m still breastfeeding.
I find myself staring longingly at the runners I see out on the streets.
Enough is enough. I made two promises to myself. The first is that I’m going to scour online for a used jogging stroller- one of the really specialized ones, with the fixed front wheel. Because it has become clear to me that I’m not going to have time to run four times a week this summer AND take care of E. 50% of the time AND work on my dissertation 50% of the time AND do my half of the household stuff AND sleep AND still read books for fun AND keep in touch with friends AND blog, etc. etc. I think E. needs to come running with me at least a couple of times a week, and maybe I can trade off with Q. so I can do the long runs on a Sunday early morning.
The second came when I saw one of the ads for the female-only boot camps that seem to run all the time in this city. There was a session in a school that is twenty minutes (walking) from my house. It runs at 8 pm, when every other session I’ve seen seems to be at 5:30, or 6, or 6:45, or 7- exactly when I cannot leave the house because I put E. to bed every night. But 8 pm? That I could do. I could eat dinner with E. at 5:30, and then head out the door once he was down for the night.
So I talked it over with Q., who was supportive as always, and then I did it. I signed up for a four week bootcamp. And then I convinced two of my mummy friends to sign up with me.
It starts in March. And if I enjoy it, I’m going to do another four weeks afterwards, which will take me through to May, when I hope to start running again in a serious way.
I need someone to light a serious fire under my ass to get myself moving. I’m hoping this will do it.
The jury is still out on the whole milk thing. There was nothing definitive with either the cheese or the yoghurt- no screaming in the wee hours, no blood in the stools. E. took his naps as usual. He was fussier than normal- but tooth #7 was about to come through. He was gassier than normal- but he had also been eating a lot of curry and meat (which would make anyone gassy). The only thing I didn’t like was he had two incidents in the early evening of waking up and really really crying and taking a long time to settle, and both incidents were the second night after I’d eaten dairy. This would be much later than a normal reaction, but it is something to watch for.
So on Thursday, we’re having lasagna for dinner, with mozzarella and ricotta. And I’m going to down a huge glass of milk (for the first time since September!) as well. And then we’ll see. I did joke with Q. that if I’m still uncertain about whether E. really is reacting, or if I’m just projecting it onto him because I’m looking for it, that we should do double-blind tests where Q. sneaks dairy into my food to see if I can identify which days he did this. But honestly, if E. survives the lasagna with nothing definitive, I think the next step is to give dairy to him directly.
I am trying so hard not to get excited about this. But still, I think it has to be progress, even if he’s not yet completely over the issue.
This week? E. is all about the cats. Non-stop crawling action whenever they are around. But, and this is so cute it makes my head explode, if he pulls up next to one of the couches, and one or both cats is sitting on the back, E. will try to engage them in conversation. He babbles, coos, squeals, squeaks, shrieks, and bobs up and down, trying desperately to get their attention (they basically ignore him). They get the biggest smiles these days, and forget trying to nurse if one of them is visible.
I must say that life is quite nice around the Turia household these days, even with the night wakings. WE HAVE A ROUTINE! I realized this just the other day. The key has been E. dropping the third nap, as before we were always juggling things around depending on how long the first nap was- did he need a second before lunch? Was there time for a third? Would it mess up bedtime? It was messy.
Now, since we know he will not, under any circumstances, take a third nap, we can enforce set naptimes. For the last little while he’s been waking up for the day around 7:15 (which is wonderful). So he goes down for the first nap around 9:45 or 10:00. And then it doesn’t matter whether he sleeps for thirty minutes or for two hours, he goes down for his second nap around 1:45 or 2:00 (1:30 if he is really exhausted from taking a super short morning nap). Breakfast is around 8 am. Lunch is at 1 pm. Dinner at 5:30 pm. Bath at 6:00 or 6:15 pm. He’s asleep by 7 pm every single night, and it’s usually earlier.
Because he can crawl and pull up and just generally amuse himself by beetling around the house, and there’s always dinner to look forward to, he can cope much much better with the late afternoons if he’s overtired. And he’s back to putting himself to sleep at night. He’s done it without any real fuss for the last six nights, and in a couple of nights I’m planning to take the next step of leaving his room after putting him in the crib to see if he can do it without me in the room. (And then, once that’s established, we’re tackling naps again. Baby steps.)
Of course I’ve got no idea where milk feeds will fit in, (yesterday, brief snacks every time I offered, but no real feed until 5 pm, today a good feed at noon), but I find it so much easier to cope knowing that our days have some structure. The naps are wildly variable in length from day to day, but that doesn’t matter, because I know when I can expect him to want to take them. Even if he hasn’t yawned by 1:30, I can take him upstairs and get him into the sleep sack and start the routine, and he’ll start yawning and rubbing his eyes.
I figure we have about two weeks of enjoying this before E. starts to think about transitioning to one nap and the whole thing falls apart.
But I’m going to take it while it’s here. It’s been nine months of a moveable feast. It is really really nice to have some predictability.