When does the fatigue go away?

There is no doubt in my mind that I have less energy than I used to. In some ways this is good. It has made me wiser, more deliberate, and more focused at work. Instead of throwing seeds into the wind and hoping they grow, I plant rows and rows of seeds into the core aspects of our academic program.

At home, I take really good care of Aria. I spend lots of time playing with her, make all her food myself, and ensure she has a clean room, clean sheets, and clean clothes. I keep her engaged in something for as long as she is awake, and often holder her close as she sleeps.

This is where it starts getting less impressive. This is where the deep fatigue starts blocking things. DH and I realized last week looking through the Paprika app that I’ve only introduced a handful of new recipes in the past year. I leave most of the cooking and cooking creativity to him. I used to show my love for him through my cooking, now I do that for Aria instead.

DH has gotten all too used to my falling asleep before 9 or during movies. I get this tell-tale look when my body starts lurching. Earlier in the year he lamented the lonely hours he often spends himself after I’ve drifted off to sleep hours before him. Now he offers kindly for me to go to bed and get the rest I seem to so desperately need. A good debate or conversation into the night is like a nugget of gold discovered in the rivers of California decades after the gold rush was done.

I wake up feeling tired. I never used to feel that way. I used to wake up early and write whole novels or workout. Now I wake up early, get things ready for Aria to go to school, and scrape out some extra time on a project at work.

You can see where this is going. In my fatigue I have less and less to give. Aria and work get the best of me, next comes DH, then comes me. By the time I get to myself, I am left with scraps of energy. My attention is scattered between that thing I might do for myself and keeping my eyes on my little girl.

At a certain point, I lost the energy to workout regularly, post on my blog, write my novels, and other things I’d care not to mention. If I read, it’s going to be Siri reading a Kindle book to me during my 45-75 minute drive to work. When I get up early on a Saturday mornings, it’s usually to finish up a class on business analytics while Aria climbs in and out of bins in the nursery.

So, writing this, maybe I don’t do any less than I used to. I just feel so tired doing it all. In my last job, I used to walk a mile and a half every day and workout a couple of times a week. For a stretch after Aria was six months I would get up every couple of days and workout. Now I feel so weary at the thought it.

I feel like my body and soul are atrophying. My willpower feels especially weak.

As a teen, I watched my mom physically deteriorate. At twenty I watched her get buried after a gastrobypass turned out to be too much for her weakened heart.

I don’t want to go out that way. I feel weak to stop it. I could get all the advice in the world right now and only be able to stare at it helplessly.

So I guess I don’t want advice. I want to know when it gets better and how it got better for you. I want to be enough for Aria and for DH. Now and always.

My daughter is here laughing in my arms. I smile and laugh with her. Tired though I may be, this has been the best year of my life. It joins the last three years as the best time of my life. Personally and professionally. I couldn’t ask for more.

Perhaps I just need to step back and take a deep breath and remember that. And then go for a walk!

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My little human

I’m officially captivated by the due diligence with which my daughter works to extract things from containers. It’s with the persistence I might take in analyzing a dataset or my husband might take looking for a bed and breakfast. It’s the persistence of a human on a mission to do – to examine, to analyze, to discover, to create. 

Aria has her own cabinet in the kitchen and several other shelves and cabinets are stocked with Aria-friendly items. Her own sets of plates, bowls, and cups. Her own measuring cups and spoons. Board books she can open, turn, and chew on. Boxes of  sealed Lara bars or granola bars. 
One by one she removes each item. Examines them, bangs them against each other, thrusts them triumphantly in the air. Last night she spent a half hour trying to get each food pouch out of the thin opening in a box. She had boundless determination. She didn’t stop until all six were removed. 

  
    
 And with each determined quest, she refines her skills. Her human toolbox of sight and touch and fine motor skills. And the more subtle skills of looking more closely at things and making connections where none existed before. 

Two days ago I watched in surprise as she reached into her toy box and very deliberately pulled out a drum stick for the drum she got for Christmas. Then she pounded on the drum with merry zeal. I didn’t even know she’d connected the two, despite my own delight in making music with the drum and sticks myself. 

  
Right now she is discovering the art of splashing for the first time.

  
It all makes me wonder what it means to be human. I remember learning as a kid that they once thought use of tools made us human, but then discovered certain animals make and use basic tools too. 

Is being human about working? Is it about discovery or problem-solving, creating, making art, or understanding the art of others? Is it about forming relationships with others and with ourselves?

   
     

 
 Is being human about refining our capacities, physical, mental, and spiritual? Mastering those parts of ourselves that resonate most with the passions our soul? 

  
Does the process of becoming human happen at birth? At two years or fifteen? Does it take a lifetime to truly become human?

Aria was born with the spirit of discovery. She’s developed the joy of persistence. She’s beginning to internalize music and dance. From what I can tell, she knows nothing of art or creation.

There’s still plenty of time for that 🙂

I foresee a delightful new phase of life ahead for us as we approach Aria’s first birthday in a couple of weeks. A few small steps and some giant leaps towards becoming human. Towards becoming what it means to be Aria. 

  

Thrush + Ear Infections + Cold + Teething and no appetite. Advice?

Yesterday it seemed like the doctor kept adding to the list of maladies taxing our needy, but generally cheerful daughter. 

“I think she has thrush,” I told the doctor. 

She listed a bunch of other things going around that might be possibilities, then looked in Aria’s mouth. 

“Ah. Oh. That really is definitely thrush. Hm. Has she been grabbing her ears?” the doctor asked. 

I thought if I said no it would remove the possibility of another ear infection. I said no. Not really. 

The doctor checked anyway. “Ear infection in both ears,” she diagnosed. “Has she had a cold recently?”

As if on cue, Aria started hacking like an aging chain smoker. 

Then Aria started drooling all over the place and stuffed her entire hand in her mouth. 

“I see she’s teething too.”

Poor thing 😦

I guess what I’m most concerned about, but that didn’t really get discussed as much as I would’ve liked, is that with all her present ailments, Aria isn’t eating much.

And she hasn’t gained so much as an ounce in the past six weeks. 

As you may know from following, I’ve never been an ample mama cow and Aria gets about half her milk from formula. Where a few weeks ago she would drink 6-8 ounces of milk, right now she barely gets through 2 before she refuses to drink any more. She’s also only taking about half her solids in a given meal. 

I looked up reasons why a baby might suddenly start rejecting a bottle. Possibilities included: “Thrush, ear infections, or a cold.”

She just seems to have no appetite. Getting a little worried.

Any advice?