Still skinny – he is still 5.06kg, which he has been hovering around for the past five weeks, but the tests were pretty much clear.
The urine test showed possible contamination, so we have done a re-test (it was my cleaning Emily!), but she is pretty sure it will be fine. The other thing that we discussed is his iron levels – they should be between ten and thirty. At seventeen, the paed thinks it should be a little higher.
So tomorrow I am off to get another foul tasting liquid to give him twice a day to make up for the reflux meds that he isn’t taking any more (with no noticeable change in behaviour).
And I’m to wake him up for an 11pm feed – hopefully feeding him once more per day will start to make a bit of a difference to his weight.
He grew more than a centimetre in the 10 days since she last saw him, and his head got bigger too. He’s bright and active and alert, and apparently shows early signs of being a challenging toddler.
Hopefully, by the time he’s a toddler he won’t look like a chuppa chup any more.
So, on to me.
This last few weeks has been rough on me. Hearing that my little guy doesn’t have some foul wasting disease has been a huge weight off my shoulders, and also knowing that it’s not my fault is good too. Of course the first thing that you think of with something like this is that you have done something to cause the problem. Rationality is next to impossible.
In the last week I’ve tried feeding him more, feeding him more often, and obsessed about every little thing. Nothing made the slightest bit of difference, except that he spewed more and was grumpier. He is still 5.06kg.
Mum has been worried too. Unfortunately she chose tonight to grill me about my diet, and I wasn’t capable of hearing any criticism tonight. Then Mark had a grump at me when I asked him to put away his laptop and play with his son.
And I realised, with a crashing thud, that I have unrealistic expectations.
I realise that I won’t have a body like Kate Moss six weeks after I had a baby. Especially since I didn’t have one before.
I realise that having a clean house is something that is almost impossible to maintain at a high level once you have a child sharing your space. Especially since I was somewhat of a grot before.
I realise that I won’t always have perfect communication with my partner or my mother, they won’t always understand what I need unless I tell them, and there are some things about them that I will never understand. This one is something I have got better at, but we can all use some work in this area, right?
Now here’s what I don’t really get. I don’t get why a woman of my generation, who is supposed to “have it all”, is still controlled by guilt and fear of exposing a less than perfect underbelly. My mum had help from her mum in raising my brother and myself, and it’s her expectation that I will need help too. She wants to help. She has arranged to take time off from her highly stressful, very well paying job to help me clean up baby vomit. She offers to help all the time.
So why can’t I say yes?
Because women all over the country, and the world – my peers, don’t have help. They work full time, they clean their own toilets, they raise kids and they cook meals. They may be stressed, and they may be medicating their way through each and every day (or they may cope without pharmaceutical help, who knows), but they do it. And I don’t even have a job.
And when I ask Mark to help out with housework, I wish I didn’t feel that it’s unfair of me to ask him to do it after he’s been at work all day. That’s just plain stupid. He works for 8 hours a day, I’m on call for 24. He can have a bad day at work and break some code, if I have a bad day at work the consequences can be much worse.
So though I usually have a pretty healthy self esteem, there is something about this motherhood gig that raises the stakes, it not only makes us care more, it also makes us more vulnerable to self criticism.
My thinking brain knows that Inigo is a lot of work, and that if I don’t get some help I might not be able to cope in the long term, and yet I still feel like I don’t deserve help, that I should be able to welcome Mark home every night to a gourmet meal and a happy smiling baby.
The reality is that even if other women can cope, I can’t. And some help would be great. I just wish I could believe that I deserve it, that accepting it doesn’t make me a failure, and that Inigo will have a much better life if his mother gets a little R&R.
And now I am going off to have a little cry. Tomorrow will be better.