Sunday, February 3, 2013

The fourth trimester

Opal and I are about halfway through the so-called fourth trimester, the first three months where baby is still basically an extension of mom's body.  Emotions are around the same intensity level as during pregnancy, but with the addition of sleep deprivation.  I know from the first three kids that this time period is very foggy in retrospect, but while you're living it it seems both endless (was Christmas really just six weeks ago?) and super fast (wasn't it just yesterday that my sisters were visiting us in the hospital?). 

I always mistakenly overindulge during this time, both with food (so much takeout, so many chocolatey treats to get through exhaustion-filled days) and with TV.  Actually, the TV didn't start until Wolfie.  With Eli we didn't have a TV in the room.  I don't know how we ever got through those nights!  With Wolfie we were in Florida where we didn't have cable.  I recall a bunch of awful middle of the night viewings of "Becker."  It wasn't until Zeb that we had the magic of in-room DVR, and that's where my TV indulgence went overboard. 

Now this time I've indulged in so much good stuff (like rewatching the most recent seasons of Mad Men <in the hospital> and Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thromes, or our current indulgence I look forward to the most right now which is Downton Abbey and chocolate covered mini M&M pretzels) that, like a food addict sucking down mayonnaise packets, I'm binging on garbage TV.  Once I ran out of my old postpartum standby of graphic hospital birthing shows filmed in the early 2000s, I searched for more pregnancy and birth shows.  16 and Pregnant led to Teen Mom 2 and Teen Mom reruns (who knew that off-center labret piercings and tilted floated baseball hats were indicators of the likelihood of teenage reproduction?).  Gorging myself on basic-cable-aired reruns of Sex and the City followed by episodes of Golden Girls (all the girls' names and the actresses' names are currently trendy for baby girls) led to the discovery that without the graphic sex scenes, these two shows are actually the same show!   I remember last time with Zebulon finding a show about giant fish hosted by a guy named Zeb, but I think I only watched like two minutes of it.  Searching "opal" in the DVR led me to the awful awful discovery of Jewelry TV, where one can easily be hypnotized by scores of sparkly rotating gemstones you've never heard of (smoked Ethiopian opal, Siberian chrome diopside and morganite to name a few).  Then there's the terrible yet great random movies that I've seen a million times before but still end up watching, like that '90s Satanic trend classic "Devil's Advocate" and pinnacle of the '80s "Can't Buy Me Love."  Why do I keep rewatching movies but let the ones I haven't seen before pile up in my DVR indefinitely?  I still have movies I haven't watched DVRed from Zeb's fourth trimester two years ago.

I am starting to dial down my TV intake lately because Opal is awake and alert more and more each day.  And it's intense!  She is so focused on my face.  I spend most of my day just staring at her, having nonsense conversations where I call her random things like Googoo Moogoo or Nuggetina Gumbelina.  It's hard for me to call a baby by his or her real name for the first year or so.  I was excited when I made up my first song using her name ("her name is Opal, she is a showgirl . . .") last week during our norovirus quarantine where she and I were hiding from the violent Nic-hospitalizing barf sickness that all the male family members got.  The other thing I do while I'm staring at her all day is try to get her to smile or laugh.  Wolfie and I call it smile school.  She's definitely smiled and laughed multiple times, but it's always very short, random, and hard to repeat.  It makes me feel like her staring is a demand for entertainment, and the lady is NOT amused!  But I know it's still early, she only just started smiling for real a couple of weeks ago.  She could still turn into a jovial baby like Zeb.  At least she seems extremely interested in people and socializing.  She does seem to be trying to talk with her looks and her little cooing noises and stuff, in between spitting up all over me and the bed and the floor and herself every time her position is slightly shifted, of course. 

At any rate, I do love looking at her tiny little face ("her head is terrifying!" - Eli the first time he met his baby sister at the hospital).  I think her eyes may actually be turning blue, which is almost unbelievable to me.  When I first saw her with her profuse dark hair, sideburns, eyebrows, and widow's peak making her look the most like Daddy of any of the kids so far, I thought there was no way she'd have blue eyes (Zeb was the first kid to have them, and he had golden hair when he was born).  Her nose is elfin or gnomish, so perfectly adorable, and her mouth shape with the nursing blister that keeps reappearing makes her look a little like Cindy Loohoo, very appropriate for a 12-12-12 baby.

In other news this weekend, Eli had a big first - his first toilet reading session (some random Christmas books Aunt Emily sent us from her childhood that had been sitting on our dresser since the holidays).    I also went shopping with Eli for his current fashion passion of button-up shirts, mostly western style to complement Grandma Ellen's gift of her old cowboy boots from the 90's, which Eli wears every chance he gets because he's also fixated on being taller and they have a bit of a heel on them.  It was only my fifth non-medical excursion from the house since having Opal (told you I'm a shut-in).  Wolfie watched a show I DVRed for him about giant squid (he's obsessed with ocean creatures, snakes and tornadoes right now; oh Wolfie and your fleeting intense obsessions, the documentation of which was half the reason I wanted to do this blog).  Zeb passed out in front of the Superbowl halftime show with a tray full of nuggets (or "chickens! more chickens!" as he ogre-ly calls them). Wolfie declared this "the worst Superbowl ever - there were no guests, I didn't finish my dinner, and I didn't get a brownie because my stomach hurt."  Let's hope it's from too much junk food this time, not another virus please!!!

Oh yeah, and Sally and Leo committed to coming on the Alaska cruise this summer.  Neither of them has ever been on a cruise before.  I was already super excited for this vacation, now I can't wait! 

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