- We are so thankful for your suggestions about Bram’s allergies. Not only have we put some of them into practice, they’ve helped us feel less alone. This last bit cannot be overstated, as this early work of parenting can be isolating. So, thanks. Our nurse practitioner wants J to wait on the elimination diet to give the dairy-free diet a bit more time to work. And in fact, it may be starting to help. Bram’s rash is still really bad (it’s spread to his neck, shoulders, and chest), but it’s gotten quite dry and looks less inflamed. We pray this means it’s starting to heal. He still won’t let us put him down except at night, he’s still spitting up in great volume, and he’s still upset a lot of the time, but it feels like we’re making slow strides. Some of that sense may just be us accepting how difficult these next weeks/months will be, and that’s okay too. It’s of great comfort to know that these particular struggles won’t last. I’ve begun to think of each crying jag and each long night like I thought of each week of pregnancy or each contraction: one less we have to get through and that much closer to an easier time. (To spring, which has never sounded so glorious.)
- We also learned that Bram still has jaundice. His bili levels aren’t dangerous, exactly, but there’s some concern that since it now looks like breastfeeding-induced jaundice, it may be very, very slow in abating. The quick way to fix this, we’re told, is twenty-four hours without breastmilk (i.e. on formula), but we’re not big fans of this approach, nor is our nurse practitioner. The plan now is to check his bilirubin again at six weeks and discuss options then. Anyone have experience with this?
- In other news, B (and by proxy we) slept for an (unprecedented) CONSECUTIVE 4 hours and 40 minutes last night. I wish we could have videotaped the look of shock on our faces when we saw 4:40am on the clock. I had enough energy for a dance of joy with our son (not something I ever thought I’d do at 4:40am), and I caught a glimmer of what life will be like when we’re sleeping again. Oh, sweetness.
- It’s Ash Wednesday today, and though we’re not Christian (and we’re certainly not Catholic), we practice a kind of secular Lent. I’m sure this annoys people for whom this is a religious practice, but they have plenty of beliefs that more than annoy me (birth control. gay marriage. the whole animals.don’t.have.souls business), so I’m okay with that. I do it because it’s the easiest time of year to give things up. If you’re in a restaurant, for example, and you say you need something taken off of a dish because you’ve given it up, it’s easiest to say it’s for Lent. I also enjoy the community of knowing that so many others are going without things too. This year was a little tricky because with the elimination diet looming, giving up any of the few foods we can eat (since I cook for us and don’t have time to cook two meals, I’m giving up whatever J gives up) seems cruel. So we decided as a couple to create some mindfulness practices instead. Here they are: The first is resentments. We both feel like we’ve been nursing some resentments lately, and those aren’t healthy for anyone. I mean, we barely have time to brush our teeth; there’s certainly no space for dwelling on hurt feelings. So when we find ourselves doing that (either in our heads or with each other), we’ve committed to moving on. It’s happened a couple of times today, and I’ve found it pretty easy to avert my attention. I mean, there are plenty of thoughts more deserving of my time. The second is bickering. When you’re barely sleeping, bickering is an easy habit to fall into. Not fighting, just being short with one another. Being petty. Being critical. So the same rules go: for the next forty days, if we notice we’re doing it, we just move on. No snide comment we’re inspired to make at 2am is worth saying. The third is internet time. When you have a baby who won’t sleep anywhere except your chest from 9am to midnight, you bond with the internet. And when it come to watching How I Met Your Mother on Netflix Instant (we can’t handle the seriousness of our usual style of television when we’re up at night, so we’ve settled on the lightness that is HIMYM), or writing blog posts, or keeping up with friends on Facebook, that’s okay. But the bleary-eyed hours we spend just surfing? Those seem like a waste. So we’ve both committed to five-minute checks. When we’re stuck sitting still until the boy wakes up, there are better ways to pass the time. For example, I can read for my dissertation or for the class I’m teaching, and J can read the texts she has to finish before she starts doula training next month. Has she told you about doula training? Oooh, you should get her to share! It’s exciting news. Anyway, we’re hoping that forty days into these practices they’ll have become habits. Because, really, who ever has time for nursing resentments, bickering, or pointless internet surfing? Especially when there’s a Bramble Bunny there who needs baby massage, and baby yoga, and songs, and snugs, and high-contrast books, and walks, and lots and lots of smooches all the time!
- In work news, my union (how blessed am I to be at a university with a teaching assistant’s union?) is bargaining, and I feel badly for not being there (rallies. negotiations.) in solidarity. I haven’t been involved enough since we started TTC in 2010, and right now the only rally cry heard around these parts is: “What do we want? Milk! When do we want it? Now!” But I look forward to B being big enough for marches and rallies soon. I hope we keep our revolutionary spirits. I hope Bram is the son of activists, and not the son of former activists. I hope he makes us even more committed to social justice.
- Finally, here’s Abram Adrien at one month – February 19th – which was the one-year anniversary of the small memorial we held for Emmett Ever. We got the idea to take a photograph of B (next to a teddy bear) on all of his month-iversaries from a fellow blogger. We’ll photograph Bram growing on the glider my mom got us, and next to Ramona, the sweet sweet Vermont teddy bear J’s mom sent along (in keeping with one of her family’s traditions). That look of curious surprise has become a standard on B’s face. Gods, how I love this child. I feel like I’ve known him all my life.