Friday, December 28, 2007

the rock

A colleague at work told me about parenthood:
"It's a small skillset, but it's all about endurance."

Of course I couldn't have known what he meant when I was in the halcyon days of my third trimester, all glowing and excited. During labor I thought I had a glimpse of what he meant, but only a glimpse as the powerful forces of nature give you too much momentum to dwell much on the moment.

Since birth, though, lots of time to dwell on that word. Endurance.
The first week of my son's life was a challenge surrounding the most basic of needs - nursing. He couldn't latch, I didn't know what to do to help him, we both cried (me) and screamed (him) in desperation and pain (me: sore nipples, him: hunger). The days were a painful marathon of attempted feedings, with no respite because I always knew the next nursing session was only minutes away. Even a successful feeding was unsatisfactory because the last failure glared in my mind, and the next attempt loomed. Eventually we did reach the finish line of that leg of the competition, but there was no trophy, no fanfare, it was simply the first round.

Since that first week we've had other challengs: nighttime feedings, sleeping for less than two hours at a stretch each night for two months, colic. This month we've entered another seemingly un-win-able challenge, and I feel the 9 letters of that glorious word (endurance....endurance...endurance...) being etched into my skin. Again it is a most basic need, this time sleep. At first he didn't want to be put down once he was asleep - and by "didn't want to" I mean he had a crazy radar that went nuclear each time his body neared a flat surface that wasn't my arms. Then he stopped falling asleep with nursing, causing us to have to seek out the Sandman each and every time (4 times a day) sleep was needed. Now his not-wanting-to-be-put-down radar is so sensitive (probably from the six times I've managed to trick him into napping in his bed) that even when I successfully put him down, he wakes up within the hour without getting a real nap.

But who am I to complain when so many other parents have survived this?

For a long time I'd imagined getting a tattoo after my first child was born - something about water coming out of a split rock, surrounded by bunnies and flowers, something all fertile and lovely. But now I envision something different. It's all about the rock - the rock that split open, the rock you sometimes want to bash your head against, the rock you sometimes want to leave him out on, the rock you want to sit on and meditate, the rock in the middle of your favorite hike that has been scarred with graffitti, the rock you wish you could be to get through everything that is ahead.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Baby Jacket

I mentioned having time to knit, but apparently I haven't had time to blog.

This sweater seemed like the perfect thing to knit when sleep deprived and having limited knitting time. Unfortunately the pattern is very sparsely written - assumptions are made where sleep deprivation prefers explicit-ness. Even better, the fun thing about this sweater is that it's a complete mystery as you knit it - all the better to lose your place and not realize it until much, much later.
With some sort of luck, I managed to get through it without ripping anything back.
(honestly? I'd rather the luck could be used to help BabySon sleep rather than to make knitting go well, but I don't think I get to make those kinds of decisions)
The sweater is knit all in one funky-shaped piece, and it is an interesting process. It lacks a hood, though, and so I decided to pick up around the collar and make my own hood.

This isn't going so well.

The partial hood, which is clearly not going to work but which I clearly have no interest in ripping and re-doing, has been sitting by the couch for nearly a month. In the clothing lifetime of a baby a month is a very long time. Very soon I'm going to have to commit to either refashioning the hood or giving up on it completely. And maybe dig out the buttons I bought for the sweater to make it functional.

But this gets to the heart of what I'm discovering post-baby: I am not capable of knitting anything that requires thought. If I have to make a swatch, measure, cast on, rip back, try again -- it just isn't going to happen. This could explain why I've knit almost a complete blanket that really didn't need to be knit right now rather than the Christmas gifts I'd been planning to make this year. Blankets, scarves, big baby clothes that will fit someday - good. Hats, mittens, slippers - bad. Too bad baby needs a new soaker that fits and a wool hat.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

When doing construction during pregnancy is a good thing

OK, sure it means you have to go down two flights of rickety stairs to use the toilet in your third trimester. Sure it means that showers in the peak of summer are a luxury and hard to come by. Sure it means you're hoisting heavy stuff in addition to the big belly. But today the benefits paid off:
niko sleeps

BabySon napped through a chop saw, a ShopVac, a table saw. He napped while Grandpa and Daddy yelled at each other from 2nd floor to attic and front door to 2nd floor. He napped through our dog freaking out about the two stray pit bulls wandering the neighborhood. He napped through the mailman knocking to let us know we had a package.

And lest you think this post is completely absent of knitting content, check out that owl! Arrived today from my dear far-flung friend, Cathy. It's knit from Manos Cotton Stria - incredibly soft and snuggly. If I find out where she got the pattern, I'll post it.