One of the first things that I tried was cooking—I’ve been cooking all along, of course, but the meals got more elaborate, and I started baking again. I’ve liked to cook forever. My family has seen me fighting depression—mixing up bundt cakes at 3 a.m.—before. And while it didn’t really fix anything, it could me a small time of feeling okay; yesterday, while the boys were asleep, I made cookies. It was weirdly peaceful. And then there were cookies. I don’t quite understand how Joey has been able to figure out what makes something a cookie, but he can identify new cookies on sight, no problem—he can also get at any cookies left on the kitchen counter.
After I talked to my husband and parents, we developed a slightly more well-rounded plan. My mother had postpartum depression after her second daughter, Tammy, was born—she told me that I need to get time away by myself every week, and that Mr. Book and I should get a date out alone together every other week. We’re trying to make space for me to get a little more sleep. And I’m trying harder with the baby—I know that if I need to fake it, I will, and he has responded positively to my pushing myself to be more outgoing and smiley with him. My mother took me out to dinner; she brought me a rose. And knowing that I will have a little time of my own each week keeps me from feeling quite so trapped.
We’ve tried a number of things with Kit: off the top of my head, pacifiers, swaddling, babywearing (four different carriers!), a swing, have Mr. Book put him to bed, altering my diet, white noise, different sleeping positions, showering together, music, and this complicated nursing maneuver that I can’t really describe. Some things help sometimes. I will ask about sensory issues when we see the pediatrician next month—I don’t think that that’s the problem, but how would I know? It can’t hurt to ask. Aside from hating to be worn, Joey as a a tiny baby was very similar (although Kit’s lows are slightly lower and his highs are higher)—but since I didn’t have a toddler, I really could just curl up with him almost whenever he wanted and stay there. Kit also seems very frustrated by his limitations in a way that seems perfectly logical to me; he inchworm crawled across our bed a couple of times this weekend and seemed very pleased with himself thereafter. When he’s cheery, he is exceptionally jolly and delightful; when he’s unhappy, he immediately starts screaming louder than any baby I’ve ever heard. Even the nurses at the hospital commented on it. And he’ll scream for hours. There are worse things than having a strong personality, I guess—not being able to really control your arms, for example. I have some sympathy for his position, is what I’m saying.
Part of what I’ve done to help myself is to wean Joey. Every day he was weeping about nursing—because I have to turn him down sometimes, especially as he wants most to nurse when I am most involved in caring for Kit. It’s been rough. I offer him alternatives when I turn him down (milk in a cup? a hug? a story?) and he wails “No, no!” and throws himself to the ground or runs away (but never too far).
This morning, Joey wanted me to put on his favorite song—but I didn’t have the cd handy, and I was nursing Kit. So I just sang it, with lots of “Na na na na” and so forth for the instrumental parts (it’s “A-Punk” by Vampire Weekend, if you’re curious). I have no kind of voice at all, and the attempt felt pretty lame until I saw both boys smiling up at me and heard Joey laughing and asking for more.