Thursday, April 19, 2012

A year of baby and writing

Rainbow Puppy is a year old today.

He is just now starting to sleep through the night. It's been a hard year. I'm glad I kept blogging and writing. I don't think I really learned anything over the year because I was mostly a sleep-deprived zombie (I did make tremendous progress on my ms after he was about 9 months and I started waking up a bit), but a few things seemed clear and naturally I thought I would share.

1. All I was able to do after the baby was born is play jigsaw puzzles. I finished my ms three months before he was born; I took more than a year to revise. I wanted to work on it, but my mind just wasn't there. (In addition to puzzles, playing Animal Crossing on Nintendo Wii was hugely helpful owing to its mindless properties.) I had to really learn to accept this and let it be. Not easy when you're type A. I resisted hard, but in the end, the need for sleep was greater than my need to write. (Happily, the tables have returned to their rightful order.)

2. Babies suck. That friend of yours who is all laid back and happy and blissed out and never asks you advice despite the fact that your kids are older, because she knows it all, it just comes naturally, and she's perfect? She's a rotten, putrid mess inside. Babies suck. They cry and they don't give you a moment's break. Yes, they're lovely and soft and smell good and love you, but it's also hard hard work really hard going. Really, hard work. And my baby was an early walker (9 months) and displays amazing raccoon and goat tendencies. He gets into everything and eats everything. Everything.

3. Making it easy to read in the dark while nursing was essential. Dude, I finished all books in the Game of Thrones series in the first 6 weeks of RP's life because I spent so much time in the nursing chair. As this was mostly in the dark, having a lighted e-reader was, and is, essential. Before I had kids, one of my biggest fears was that I wouldn't be able to read anymore. Ha! Ha!  Last year I read more books than any other year according to Goodreads. Take that, RP!

4. Planning things in stages is the way to go. I did most of my freelance work and writing during his two glorious naps. I also often write blog posts in stages--for example, I began this last night and am finishing today because my mind is complete tapioca come 9 pm. My peak mental sharpness (if you can ever really call it that) is 10 am; after that it's a downhill slalom.

5. There are no big things. There are small things. Enjoy them. You know, 10 minute catnaps. Tickly giggles. Barking at each other. And wonderfully squishy baby thighs. These make it all worth it:


fogcitywriter said...

Thanks for being honest about the first year of parenthood - it *is* hard and the sleep-deprived zombie thing is unimaginable until you live through it. The good news is, you managed to keep writing! Congrats on surviving.

Kristen Lippert-Martin said...

Again, I applaud your ability to carry on writing, even if in a mentally hobbled state.

Mom writers rock. Ain't nobody tougher.

Go apply many cupcakes to your face.

Jenna Wallace said...

OK, you are never going to forgive me for this but... at first glance, I was thinking "Why on Earth has she posted a picture of her post-baby thighs??" And then of course, I realized it was RP! Sorry, my husband's away this week and my brain is oatmeal from doing the single mom thing.

Jenna Wallace said...

And happy birthday to RP... and well done to you!

Sierra Godfrey said...

Jenna!!!!!! ARRRHHHHHHH!!!!
But, oatmeal mommy brain = ahhh, yes.

Teri Anne Stanley said...

I had these crazy ideas about being amazingly productive while my new baby slept for big long naps...but my baby was switched at birth with a colicky monster who didn't sleep through the night until he was which point I found myself pregnant again...
But it does get better.
That colicky monster is now 19 (oh, crap, how did THAT happen?), and can sleep for days at a time...

Steven J. Wangsness said...

Ah, so sweet. Then they hit puberty and get all moody and stuff and act like they hate you. Hopefully they self-correct later. I admire your ability to keep on writing. Good on you!

Cathryn Leigh said...

I could not agree with opint number two more... even if I'm fearful to admit it... Okay I do tell people I have two kids and I'm done - my giggle boy - who now insist's he's Motorcycle Man (he's 4 with a right to his own opinion) and my Cutie Patutie (who used to be Irish lass, but she hated that and wanted to be giggle girl, until I cam up with the Cutie rhyme.. oh she's 6...)

It's getting easier in ways, but harder in others. I used to write during afternoon naps on the weekends (cause I have that whole day job thing *grins*) and now it's gone. The fight to get them to be quiet in there rooms for two hours is not worth the 5 seconds of peace I get. This weekend I'll be trying something else - because I can't keep upthe early morning / late nights for more than one month a year. *sigh*

BUT Congratulations! You've made it past year one! I like it once they hit 4 and you can start reasoning with them, and they understand! :}

Paige Kellerman said...

First off, Happy Birthday to RP! Secondly, congrats on making it through the first year while still writing. I'm right there with you. Baby numero three will be here in Sept, and I'd JUST gotten in a good writing Oh well, if I can just get my MS finished and blog somewhat regularly, I'll be doing ok in my book...I think.

At the end of the day, squishy babies are better than anything, even if you're covered in food and have been sleeping on the floor with your two year old because he's decided sleeping through the night is overrated...:)

Linda G. said...

Has it really been a year? Unbelievable! Happy Birthday, Rainbow Puppy! Pay attention now -- it's time to start giving your mom a break, okay?

There. I'm sure that will do it. Well, that and about four more years. That's kindergarten time, right? ;)

Meghan Ward said...

I have a huge-ass editing job to due this week and then I'm going to be back to read and comment on all your posts. Meanwhile - Happy Birthday Rainbow Puppy! We need to plan a playdate SOON!

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