asphodellium

Archive for the ‘marriage’ Category

The first two nights are hazy in my memory and probably involved more feeding than sleeping, but after that we figured out a tag-team arrangement that lasted for a number of weeks. It went something like this, all times being approximate:

10-11PM. I feed Ashelyn, hand her over to Kevin, and head to bed.

12-1AM. Ashelyn is hungry again. Kevin changes her diaper and brings her to me. Then he goes to sleep in the spare room.

3-4AM. Ashelyn is starting to wake and fuss. Out to the living room for a diaper change, back into the bedroom for noms. She drifts off without a fight and I keep her with me for a “double shift.”

6-7AM. After feeding her again, I pass Ashelyn off to Kevin in the guest room with the bassinet. If he’s up, he’ll come take her. I go back to sleep.

Eventually, as I got the hang of things and Kevin started getting back to work, we phased out his contribution to night-time care altogether. Lately our nights look more like this:

12-2AM. Ashelyn has been having a meltdown but finally falls asleep around this time.

5-7AM. And she’s stirring after a solid 4-6 hour chunk of slumber! I quickly change her diaper before settling back in bed to feed her. Ashelyn nurses amazingly well when she’s starving – all business. We both go back to sleep after, because it’s too early to be up, I say! Especially with a bedtime like that.

8-9AM. Another feed, and I may or may not try for another stretch of sleep, depending. Yes, I spoil myself.

The whole not co-sleeping thing hasn’t panned out as I’d hoped. I’m glad we only spent $50 on the crib, because Ashelyn much prefers to sleep on or beside me. Of course I’d rather not have to worry about SIDS, but when the choice is between 3-hour periods of rest or half-hour ones, there is my sanity to consider.

Even more lamentable is the fact that munchkin has deviously managed to kick her father out into the guest room. Usurper! But he needs a solid several hours of shut-eye in order to function with any measure of efficacy, and Ashelyn is quite a squirmy and noisy baby, even when she is sleeping.

So, at the end of the day (heh), we choose flexibility. We choose to work with whatever maximizes sleep for all parties. This is how we’ve avoided the sleep deprivation nightmare.

(Is that an oxymoron?)

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The ambulance has come to our address three times in the past two months. First, minutes after Ashelyn’s “precipitous” birth. Then, last night, because Kevin suddenly began experiencing severe pain on the right side of his lower back.

I called 911 around 10PM, and again at 3AM. Three paramedics arrived the first time. It took them a while, maybe twenty minutes, and much of the pain had subsided by then. In the end, since they predicted long wait times at the hospital, we elected to sit tight and rest. I could always call again in case of relapse.

Turns out, I did. This time Kevin left for the hospital in the ambulance. I stayed home with Ashelyn, who wasn’t sleeping. So much for rest – at least Kevin got some. She was awake and happy (and squirmy and hungry) all evening until the second team of paramedics left with daddy, after which she was awake and fussy for another two hours. Either way, AWAKE. This was unusual; she’s normally quite a decent sleeper.

Kevin came back this morning around 8AM and we all dozed till a little past noon, with a brief interruption when my parents came by to drop off his prescription.

It was kidney stones!

Super not-fun, but I’m glad it isn’t a critical illness. I’m not sure Kevin agrees, though. Forever the financial guru, it wasn’t long before he commented, “It’s too bad kidney stones don’t qualify as a critical illness. It’d be nice to get the CI insurance payout.”

Sometimes I’m so eager for munchkin to be here. I want to know whether we’ll be parents to a son or a daughter. I wonder what s/he will look like. I wonder about personality, temperament. I wonder how motherhood will change my life and my worldview.

At other times I feel like dragging my feet. Pregnancy is easy. Parenthood seems difficult. I fear it will wage war with my natural inclinations toward selfishness and laziness.

Also, Kevin and I have been married for nearly four years, and we’re comfortable. I enjoy the life and the relationship dynamic that we have. It’s laid-back and affectionate and fun. Time and again I hear new mothers say that they can no longer imagine life without their child, that it’s as if their little one has always been there … but on this side of giving birth, I don’t know what that means. Not that I don’t believe it. I just have no frame of reference, and a small part of me is afraid of messing with an already good thing.

But then munchkin starts rolling around trying to bust out, and I’m back to wondering what s/he looks like. I hope s/he has Kevin’s nose. S/he’ll probably be born with a lot of hair – really dark, really thick, really curly.

(I know my hair is straight in most pictures. Flat iron.)

I am thirty one weeks pregnant, and we still don’t have a crib. IKEA has one or two I have my eye on, though. Originally I was thinking more along the lines of a co-sleeper, but apparently babies outgrow those in six months, in which case, what’s the point? They aren’t even any cheaper. Our master bedroom is roomy enough for a crib to fit nicely beside the bed, so that’s what we’ve decided to do.

I’ve read about sleep sharing and “the family bed,” but no thanks. The bed is sacred. It’s for Kevin and me. I love you, munchkin, but I love your father more 🙂

We have begun collecting layette items, though, finally. Little onesies and sleepers and a bunting! They are so adorable MON DIEU I can’t stop looking at them. Not knowing whether we’re having a boy or a girl limits our selection slightly, but at the same time it’s nice to have the flagrantly stereotypical stuff out of contention.

In other news, I am snowman-shaped.

week 30

week 31

 

 

 

 

 

Although on Thursday, as I was crossing the street to get to my prenatal appointment, two guys in a truck whistled at me and said something crudely complimentary about my bum. This happens on occasion, but at almost eight months pregnant? How peculiar.

Anyway, I was right about munchkin being head down! I forgot to ask my midwife which direction s/he’s facing, though it’s probably early for that to be relevant. My belly button kind of pops in and out, but I’d say it’s 70% an outie most of the time, now.

January is the beginning of my last semester of a two-year Associate of Arts in music. At the end of the month, I miss two of four live sound intensives because Kevin’s friend and fellow financial guru invited us on an eastern Caribbean cruise.

On the docks in St. Maarten.

In February we’re back on the sunny, but cold, West Coast. I miss the tropical islands. I miss ordering two appetizers, two entrées, and three desserts at dinner. I miss the Celebrity Equinox staff. But life goes on.

Studio time in March! I love this place to pieces. Studios and libraries – the best indoor places on earth.

Hello, my lovelies.

April is graduation month. Final papers and projects, exams, recital. I resolve to stop collecting degrees. Then a trip to snowy Manning Park at the end of it all.

Near the end of May, Kevin and I fly to Beijing with my family, then my hometown Changsha, then Lijiang. We spend our third wedding anniversary in Shangri-La, not wholly unaffected by mountain sickness.

My parents, brother, and our singing tour guide.

We’re in Asia for most of June, parting ways with my parents after Hong Kong. They fly home while David joins Kevin and me for two weeks in Taiwan. We stay in hostels, roam night markets, and fraternize with Kevin’s relatives and childhood friends.

Once back in Canada, Kevin and I start house hunting. We’ve lived in a suburban townhouse with his parents and sister for three years, and it’s beyond time for our own place. We move into a cozy little ground level suite in July. Oh, we also stop using condoms (the only form of birth control we’ve ever used).

My period doesn’t come for 45 days, but my cycle is so long that I’ve gone 49 days before. Kevin thinks I’m definitely pregnant. I tell him people don’t always get pregnant on the first try. I eat sashimi and undercooked meat. I swim in a freezing lake. When we finally arrange a doctor’s appointment in August, it turns out that Kevin is right.

August is sprinkled with weddings and a camping trip. I feel, for the most part, fine.

On the dock at Cultus Lake.

Another wedding – Kevin’s sister! – in September. I hear about midwifery and transfer away from the doctor we only saw twice. Midwives are awesome. They don’t scoff at your questions.

I’m teaching piano again in October. I see Priscilla Ahn in concert at the Media Club. I continue growing our mini-Hu.

Munchkin refuses to show us his/her sex at my ultrasound in November. Unexpectedly, we move again, this time to a big old house on the west side. It’s a temporary arrangement; we expect to be here for roughly a year.

December is a flurry of activity, with lots of meet-ups and Christmas events and dinners. Yesterday Kevin and I finally had dinner at home, just the two of us, for the first time in two weeks.

S: Last night I dreamt that we were on a cruise …

K: (^_^)

S: But then the ship sank.

K: (-_-)

S: It wasn’t a bad dream, though! It was kind of fun. And did I tell you that the night before, I dreamt that we had two boys? One was about five, and the other was about two.

K: (o_o)

S: They were both Spanish.

K: (=_=)

In August of 2009 I wrote this. I’d been married for a little over a year, and we weren’t seriously thinking about kids. I’d forgotten about it until a random scroll through old archives revealed that, hey, this is relevant again!

Speaking of dooce, several months ago she posed a question that sparked some fascinating discussion on the comments board – which is harder, marriage or parenthood?

Well, I’m not a mother, but I expect marriage to be a walk in the park compared to parenting. It’s a walk in the park right now, actually. Before our wedding, a few people warned me that it would be difficult, especially the first year. I still haven’t figured out what they were talking about.

I’m grateful for this, of course. There’s a beauty in this kind of relationship, one that tends to be obscured by all the propaganda.

As much as I like children, parenthood is a weight of responsibility I’ll probably never feel ready for. I expect to be reasonably prepared, bite the bullet, then figure things out as I go. Besides, I’m twenty three. These are the best years of my life, and I insist on savouring them as deeply as time will allow.

There were two sentiments that bothered me, though, as I scrolled through the comments. One is, “I can walk out on my spouse, but not on my child.” The other is, “Since we had kids my marriage has taken a back seat.” “I love my husband but I love my children more. And I hope he loves them more than he loves me.”

This line of thinking doesn’t make sense to me. He will always come first. Isn’t that the kind of security I owe my children?

Two years later, and I don’t rescind any of this. Except maybe the unwitting association of “the best years of my life” with youth. Maybe it only gets better, who knows.

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