Wednesday, July 20, 2016

I'm Sorry, Shadow

"I think you need to shoot the cat," I said to Cody in early June as I walked in the house one evening after work. 
"What?! Why?" he instantly asked with a concerned look on his face, obviously fearing the worst.
Our barn cat - affectionately named Shadow because she follows so closely that she tripped me twice during her first week on the farm - began looking pretty rough not long ago.
"Have you seen her lately? She's so skinny. Strung out. Sometimes she drags one leg. She hasn't blinked in weeks. I think you need to put her out of our misery," I presented my argument. 
"Geezo preezo (famous CS line)...give her a break. She isn't dying; she just had four kittens. I'm not shooting her - she is taking care of her young," his bleeding heart responded.

Well, I tried. 

Now, two and a half weeks into motherhood, I'd like to take this time to publicly apologize. 

I'm sorry, Shadow. 
I so get it now. 

For a month I've watched you hide on one side of the barn while your beady-eyed babies meow for a milky treat. I've watched you lie alone in the shade and not move a muscle to console them while they look around for you. I thought you were heartless. Non-maternal. Lazy

I get it now. Two days ago a beady-eyed baby in my living room woke from a nap earlier than I anticipated and I dropped to the floor and army crawled across the carpet to the staircase so she wouldn't see me. She wasn't crying, but she was searching. I don't even know if she can see me at this age? She is always looking around, aimlessly; in fact up until Saturday, we assumed she was blind. I get it, Shadow. I understand not wanting to be seen, for just a few more minutes, until you get one more thing done. I get wanting to use your arms for thirty more seconds. I understand wanting to change the laundry out in the basement without hearing a blood-curling scream through the farmhouse register. 

I'm sorry, Shadow.
I so get it now. 

I've always wondered why you act half-dead during feeding time. Like, on your side, eyes shut, barely breathing, no movement, half-dead. Totally taken advantage of. 

For the record, I'm not the one who made the giant ball of yarn/twine 
for the kittens' entertainment, but I bet you can guess who did. 

I feed only one baby and every two hours she sucks the life right out of me. I understand half-dead because right now I'm living on under-eye concealer paired with waterproof mascara, middle-of-the-night Snapchats from single friends, chicken salad from the church ladies, Dr. Phil reruns, and a cup of black coffee I've warmed up three times in the microwave. Sometimes I fall asleep in the nursery and wake up only because the beautiful, snoozy infant in my arms reminds me that it's time to feed, again. I get it. 

I'm sorry, Shadow.
I so get it now. 

From our patio I've watched you tackle your kids, hold them down with two legs, and bath them using such force that you could be a prime story on the CBS Evening News resulting in a peaceful protest. I've watched them resist, fight back, then finally give in. 

I get it now. I've tried to bath a baby 1/25 my weight only four times and each time I cry more than she does. I get the struggle. I know why you use gentle force - because they're a double threat:  breakable and slick. I have a fancy farmhouse kitchen sink bath tub and I still worry about drowning, missing a crease and using too much soap. 

They say parenthood changes things and I couldn't agree more. 
Until last week I had never cried tears of joy when zipping up my favorite mom jeans.

Or, publicly written an apology letter to a feral cat.

I think I need a hobby. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Back In The Saddle

Two weeks ago I ended my blog by saying, "I guess maybe I just need to talk to my Dad," to be reminded of how temporary life's tough stuff really is. I did just that after work last Wednesday, then I went into labor 12 hours later. 

World, meet Caroline Jean

The days have flown by since becoming a mother on July 1 and the nights seem to last approximately 45 minutes. Cody has really pulled through on Dad duty and helped in any way he possibly can. Two shining examples:  

Repeating "This is temporary, remember, this is so temporary......." endlessly during 25.5 hours of labor. By the time Caroline arrived I was really regretting that last blog entry. 

Offering these words of encouragement while standing in the nursery door the night we brought her home: "If you can teach a dumb Hereford calf to suck, I'm certain you two can figure this out."

Ah, the life of a Stockman's Wife

We're adjusting more every day to a family of three and frankly trying to figure one another out. We've learned just how much time a baby can tack onto your travel. We came home on the 4th of July and wanted to see fireworks as a family. So we packed up and made the 45-minute drive to town (we live just four miles north, but for some reason the vehicle maxed out at 33 mph?), parked in the Farm Credit parking lot to avoid the public and watched the patriotic display. Well, Cody did. Caroline and I slept in the backseat the entire time. Motherhood changes things. 

But not my commitment to this blog. I'm back in the saddle after a week away and ready to acquire a new normalcy in terms of a schedule. Because 11:00, 1:00, 3:00 and 5:00 am feedings don't last forever, right?

Everybody say it with me: This is so temporary

No really. She woke up right after this was taken and didn't sleep for (what seemed like) 4 days.