23 WEEKS - THE GHOSTS OF OUR HOUSE

We bought our house 2 years ago from a couple in their mid-30’s who just had a baby. His name was Lyric…and he resided in a hideous bright yellow nursery that I had to repaint as soon as we moved in. The mom was a successful actress…and the husband, a music producer. They too had moved in to their first house when they turned 30. They had the entire package...successful careers, a house, a baby. I figured they were doing so well, that they were moving to a bigger house, in a better school district…I had this whole idea of who I thought they were. 

After we closed, the husband sent me a sweet letter, almost like he was passing on some kind of wisdom. Part of it read, “Exciting isn’t it? All I can say is “don't get lost in the house or life”. Love each other first and foremost and take it one step at a time. Have fun working and when its not fun…take a break or do something else…” Sure it was random advice from a stranger…in an email...but it was sweet. I kept thinking…this is us in 5-10 years.

Well it wasn’t the whole picture. Our chatty Fed Ex delivery guy later told us, that they sold the house because they got divorced after the baby was born. Apparently, her career stopped after having the kid, while the husband’s flourished. One thing led to another and….according to the forwarding addresses I got for both of them, she moved to Oregon and he moved to Burbank. I remember listening to this story thinking two things…1. Don’t tell the Fed Ex guy anything personal ever and 2. How can you get divorced and move to different states AFTER just having a kid? That email he had sent me months prior had new meaning. It was no longer a man passing along friendly advice, but rather a man who had regrets on the way things turned out and didn’t want the same for Anthony and I. 

That night…Anthony and I sat there chatting like two know it all’s…judging them. We were going to be such better parents. We were going to be the perfect team…and would never get divorced just because things got a little tough. I mean how could you get divorced after having a child? We didn’t get it. 

And then we had Killian…

Now calm down, Anthony and I are not getting a divorce. I’m not saying that…I’m just saying that I get it. I get how much work a kid can be…and how much of a strain it can put on your relationship.

Why? There’s no more “us time” anymore. Because he’s either awake demanding 24/7 supervision and entertainment OR he’s napping i.e. time to eat, wash dishes, do laundry, shower…basically do everything that I need to get done so my house doesn’t look like the BEFORE picture of Hoarders: Buried Alive. If by some miracle of God it all gets done…then the last thing I want to do is entertain Anthony… and the only thing I want is ME time. To sit in silence for a few brief moments and breathe sanity back into my mind. And it’s a two way street. You’re both so tired, you go to separate rooms and decompress. So where's the romance?

What about date night, Kristen? Sure…ok…someone explain to me how date night works when you have no family near by. I’d love to hear this. I’m supposed to find some random stranger to come into my HOME and watch my ONLY child while I go out and “enjoy myself’? Is this some kind of a joke…Here’s how that scenario would shake down if I found a rare unicorn I trusted enough to watch my baby.

6:45PM Bath time
7:00PM Bedtime Routine
7:15PM Feeding
7:30PM Sleep
8:00PM Leave the house
8:30PM Time you actually leave the house, because HE took a lot longer to fall asleep and YOU had a harder time handing over all of K’s life secrets to said babysitter.
8:45 PM Arrive at restaurant super late…and worry you forgot to explain in enough detail to the babysitter the exact noise threshold she should respond to, if K wakes up. 
9:15 PM Food arrives. Anthony drinks wine…I resent him for drinking wine, because I can’t... because I know I won’t have the energy to pump and dump when I get home because I haven’t stayed up past 9PM in over a year…
9:30 PM After scarfing down my food, I’m anxious to get back home. What was I thinking? I don’t want her picking up my baby if he wakes up…and he gets scared and thinks I’ve abandoned him or something.
10:00PM We get home and do awkward chit chat with the babysitter. I hand over money and hope it’s enough b/c I haven no idea what the going rate is for babysitters. Also, do you tip them? Ugh. Dogs start barking because that’s what they do when the front door opens…the noise wakes K up. I go to him.
10:30PM As I nurse K back to sleep, apologizing for leaving him, I can’t for the life of me figure out why I spent $60 on dinner and $40 on a babysitter to sit in a restaurant and watch my security cameras and not drink wine.

and what part of that is a date?! the part where we talked about K? Worried about K? Or maybe the part where A got to drink wine as i sipped on water and resented him BECAUSE MY JOB NEVER ENDS! Screw date night.

So here we are raising a baby, watching dogs, cooking, cleaning, trying to have moments of alone time… and not having date nights…and I started to get it.…I saw where they might’ve gone wrong.

See Anthony’s life was unchanged. He could freely come and go as he wished…while I was chained to the 3 hour cycle. For I am the mom…and the boob…so that means I have no freedom. And it grates on you. I’m up every night feeding and rocking…while A is sound asleep and hugging his pillow tight. I’m the one putting K down for his naps, researching baby food, sleep training and cognitive brain development games…while A plays FIFA without a care in the world. I’m the one struggling to start a business, while A gets all the time in the world to work on his. My hopes, my dreams…my time…gets cast to the side. My TIME is spoken for. As a mother…the burden defaults on you. Don’t get me wrong…Anthony does help. He's a great father...but no amount of help would ever be enough to balance the scales. And Killian? it’s nice to feel needed…for a little bit. But after 23 weeks of neediness, you find your patience wears thin…every whimper, every cue I found myself irritated like, UGH Again??? Is this f$&king groundhog day? 

My frustration quickly shifted to Anthony. Why does this smug bastard get to sleep through the night without a care in the world? I did my job. I grew him for 10 months and then pushed him out of my body in the most horrific way possible. I continually sacrifice my nipples, my sleep, my mind body and soul for this little guy. This shouldn’t just be only MY responsibility. If it’s a weekend…and you can hear your wife getting up every couple hours…maybe like GET YOUR ASS UP ON THE NEXT SHIFT. His answer? “I don’t hear him” <————that infuriated me more…So I snapped. [I seem to be doing a lot of that lately.] While we were in the middle of this argument at 11 o’clock at night…it dawned on me. This is what happened to the couple who lived here before us. This is exactly how it happens. Her life did a 180…she stopped acting and put everything on hold...she became MOM...and he DAD...and they got tired…and lost each other. Would we be the second episode of the Fed Ex guy’s “Divorce on Cedros Ave”? No…but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

The reality is…K isn’t the glue that holds our family together…he’s more so the firework that went off inside and we’re both running all over the place trying to put out fires and stay alive. He’s the greatest thing in the world…but he’s hard. Momming is hard. And keeping romance alive between poop and spit up is even harder. Soooo we decided to try harder. We have date nights at home…no phones…no computers…and no Killian talk…And while I’m still chained to the 3 hour cycle, when Anthony’s home…he helps. And there’s really nothing hotter than watching your husband be a good dad and play with your son and make him laugh. And I finally realized that maybe I was putting the burden on myself too. Being the martyr…so I learned to ask my husband for help. When the baby monitor turns on…and K starts crying…for the 3rd time in a night…I just throw the baby monitor at A’s head…and that my friends…is romance. #TeamLavin

WEIGHT LOSS/DIET/EXERCISE:
Know how you poop before you weigh yourself? Don’t lie. I know you know….We all do it. Well I ONLY weigh myself first thing in the morning, AFTER I’ve gone to the bathroom, BEFORE eating or drinking anything…AND in my birthday suit. Because you can never know how much a bra weighs. And in my new life as “mom”, I make sure to pump too. Gotta empty the faucets. I call it “optimizing weight loss”. This morning I did none of that [besides drop trou]…and so it finally happened. The scales did not tip…I remain at 117. Which…I’m pretty happy with tbh. This has never been a weight loss mission…just kind of something that happened and I was so surprised I started tracking it like OH WOW…this is nuts! So I remain 38 pounds lighter than 23 weeks ago. I’ll take it.

ME AND MY BODY:
As far as my body goes..acne, hair loss, Hemmy, the usual....but ME? I've just been over here pouring everything I've got into starting this new chapter of my life. Trying to find balance between raising K and trying to make time for myself. I got a business license...and seller's permit. So that's all exciting. Feeling more official...lol

There's a lot more work that goes into it than you'd think..but I guess that's why everyone doesn't do it.  Been writing, designing, managing my Etsy products ...while tackling the hardest thing of all..marketing yourself without feeling like Facebook Spam.

BREASTFEEDING/FOOD:
Got bananas and apples rotating into the mix. Killian seems to have no preference whatsoever…only that he likes food…all food. boob food…plant food…tree food…just food. 

Because of the teething, Killian’s been seeking extra comfort…in the form of "boobs." He insists on nursing all the time…only to spit it back up 5 minutes later…all over me, the couch, the floor, his neck…everywhere…and then cries for it again. I was hoping that giving him solids would calm down the frequent nursing and help with sleep…but I think those are just myths…or coincidental timing. 

SLEEP:
Very serious question for all you veteran mamas out there: “When do I get to sleep again?” And not this “sleeping through the night is sleeping for 5 hours straight” bullshit…but like actual sleeping through the night…as in I close my little eyes and don’t open them again till morning. When does this happen? I need answers because I think I’m going crazy. I was told after 6-8 weeks, things get a lot easier…and sure, yes he sleeps in longer stretches….but when does the waking up in the middle of the night completely stop? When does he go to bed at 7:30PM and just sleep until 7:00AM…CONSISTENTLY? When for the love of all that is holy does this happen? Or is this what it is… another deep underground secret that other moms don’t tell you about to trick you into procreating. Right now it’s just so inconsistent. He’ll sleep all through the night one night..and be up 3 times the next. I’m tried of being tired.

HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK: 
I introduced my very British husband...to Harry Potter. He’s never read any of the books or seen any of the movies. We attempted to watch the first movie about 5 years ago, but it unfortunately happened to coincide with a bad nut allergy…so we never got past the first 10 minutes, half of which he was hovering over a toilet. So 5 years later…we started again. And his commentary throughout the movie had me laughing so hard I was crying. That was a good night…and despite the 8 dogs and 1 baby in our care…it was our first date night in a while. He even cooked a delicious barbecue "he found on Pinterest". 

IMG_2540.jpeg

LOW POINT OF THE WEEK: 
Tell you what…there’s nothing worse than seeing your child in pain and not being able to do anything to help. Killian’s first tooth broke the skin and the poor guy hasn’t been taking it too well. He’ll chew on his banana…then throw it down because it hurt to chew on it…and then cry because his banana is on the ground. <———the infinite loop of my life right now. Picking up the damn banana. [Does anyone ever spell banana anymore without thinking of that Gwen Stefani song?]

ANTHONY:
He's been a lifesaver this week.

KILLIAN: 
NEW THINGS: 
*First tooth. Every day it emerges more and more...and my nipples retract more and more..in fear
*Very talkative these days. I swear to god he actually thinks he’s speaking English and having a conversation with me. He says things with this attitude like “Why don’t you understand this babble I just said?”
*He crawls backwards. Weird kid... lol We put toys in front of him to urge him to reach and thus crawl…but he pushes back with his arms and ends up going backwards. And then gets incredibly frustrated as his toys get further and further away. Meanwhile laughing in the corner…is me. #WorstMomEver
*Both hands go up…all the time…for K has learned that if he does that, someone will pick him up.
*Definitely more opinionated these days.
*Really likes it when you scare him. Like if you hide and jump out and shout BOO! he’ll crack up.

THE DOGS: Our Valentine’s Day Gift to Each other…we got dog collars for all three of the dogs. Before you call PETA…it’s just a sound and a vibration…not a shock collar. BUT…after trying 4 different collars over the past 4 years…we finally found the holy grail...the one collar that actually works. And squirrels can roam freely…in silence. Below is a picture of 8 dogs...3 of which are mine...wearing collars. #Shame

THINGS I DID NOT KNOW, BUT YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY KNOW:

*I read this article about blogging and it scared the shit out of me. 
*I made a big batch of avocado/banana puree and froze it. When I took one out to dethaw the top layer turned brown. Apparently this is normal and ok to give your baby. It just “oxygen mixing with enzymes” and NOT rotting. Don’t be scared.

END OF THE WEEK THOUGHTS: 
I need to make more of an effort to not lose myself completely in this whole mom world. I need to try and retain some pieces of Kristen...I need to see Deadpool