Getting my Saturday morning cuddles in!

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Better. Funny how helpful that is. 

I’m feeling better and, as it always is, I feel surprised at how much easier everything feels all of the sudden.  

So it goes with Addison’s and maybe the body in general. 

When you are full or even half full of strength, when your mind is cleared of the fuzz and fatigue, when you’re back to normal. 

Picking up the kitchen

Making dinner

Creatively getting the baby to eat good food

Going for a walk

Leading meetings

Sending emails

Calling friends

Laughing and joking

Having date night with your husband via Skype

Changing diapers

Being silly with your baby

Driving for an hour

Practicing French

Writing a blog post

Sweeping the floor

Brushing teeth

All the mundane little responsibilities of life suddenly become mundane again. Easy and fun. Totally manageable. Full of life and delight. 

By the afternoon yesterday I felt so clear. My body no longer weighed a thousand pounds and my heart suddenly seemed the right strength and size. My breaths no longer felt like they were sucking in exhaustion. 

Maybe it was the chicken soup and the Pedialyte and the extra electrolytes. Maybe it was getting my dose of Cortisol right. Maybe I’d been secretly fighting off that quick big that’s been going around.  

Like a receding tide, my Addison’s symptoms were gone and I felt like a wife and a mother and a program director again. 

The prior four days of mounting fatigue, fog. The four days of my body and mind feeling like they were deteriorating beyond recognition. The four days of wondering how I would get up the stairs to get my baby’s diaper changed. 

Poof

Normal again. 

Addison’s is funny like that. It doubles and quadruples the impact of any physical stressor. Then as soon as things level out, I feel like I can be a proper military-esc wife again. 

I’m still going to get a cleaning service. And I’ll try to ask my dad to help with more than just letting me stay late for a meeting once a week by doing pick up. Maybe I’ll even get a sitter once a month on Saturday so I can run errands and take myself to a movie like DH is always suggesting. 

I kind of like feeling human again. 

Strong. 

Mom. 

Me. 

First deployment baby illness: survived!

When Aria was crying non-stop this morning, over and over again I thought about blasting on Facebook – “Help! Someone rescue me for a few hours! I’ll pay you!”

I was tired. We’d been up most of the night. I had the shadow of big projects for work hanging over my head. She was begging me to let her nurse. Pleading with every ounce of her fevered, teething, viral-infected soul. But I had nothing left to give.

When I’d pictured this weekend, I’d pictured Aria happily playing with puzzles at the nature center while I type of a kick-butt program for our summer New Teacher Orientation. Every five or ten minutes, she would crawl back to me to check in. We’d play together for a while, laugh a little, and then back to work.

It’s funny. There’s this part of me that gets stupidly nostalgic about the last deployment where I worked pretty much all the time. 12-14 hour days plus the commute more often than I could ever count.

That’s the part of me that has endless passion for what I do in education. It’s the part of me that gets on real well with DH, because he’s just as vulnerable to work-hero syndrome. It’s why he likes deploying – six months of absolute purity of purpose.

What I forget about those seven months the last time was how half a life I was living. I must have fallen asleep to “The Host” more than two dozen times. It was dark, frequently empty, and endlessly lonely.

It was that obsessive professional that wanted an out today.

But, deep within me rose the song of a more beautiful Jessica. Jessica the mother. Jessica the human. This aria, the song of my inner self, kept me grounded in the day as it was.

I embraced the cuddles and the tears. I found ways of distracting Aria so she would forget her pain for a while. I took Aria for a walk. I got her soup from Panera that failed to truly entice her.

At the end of the day, she fought more than ever before to not have to sleep in her crib. I held her and calmed her multiple times. Then finally I just rocked her and talked to her. Told her to let me know when she was ready. Told her it was no big deal. She was feeling better. She didn’t need cuddles all night. She’d sleep better in her own space.

After a couple of attempts, finally she relaxed a little. I set her down. She seemed ready. This time she only cried her normal minute or two, then drifted to sleep. We both grew up a little in that moment.

Oddly, at the end of this long, sick day, I feel really happy. I feel like this weekend was some of the best bonding time Aria and I have had.

And now, with Aria tucked away in her crib, the laundry running, the dishes done, the toys picked up, and lunches packed for tomorrow.

Now, now I will write my kick-butt New Teacher Orientation program!

She cried out for dada in the middle of the night

Babies can’t tell you when they’re affected by change.

Three weeks ago, DH left for a six month deployment.

On the surface, Aria is just Aria. She clings to me and vacillates between a spectrum of todfant emotions. She plays, she laughs, she cries. She stays close to me and is wary of family and strangers alike. She cries when I drop her off at school and cries in relief when I pick her up.

DH wondered if she would even notice he was gone.

Of course she would!

DH makes Aria (and me) laugh every day. It is his superpower, my favorite thing about him. He loves to talk and cuddle. He makes sure we’re always out doing things and seeing new places and eating at great new restaurants. He fills life with life.

It doesn’t matter that 80% of the time, if Aria has the choice, she will be held by me. She loves dad. He always makes her smile.

But she can’t tell him she misses him. She has no words.

At least that’s what I thought.

For months DH has said something along the lines of:

“If you say ‘dada,’ I’ll buy you a boat…”

“If you say ‘dada,’ you can finish my beer…”

“If you say ‘dada,’ I’ll let you drive my car…”

She would of course fail the test. “Too late! Maybe next time,” he would always say.

On Friday we skyped with DH and Aria was all laughter and smiles. She held my phone and stared down at it like it was one of her biggest treasures.

I pointed and said “Dada”

DH said “Dada!”

Aria, with a big toothy grin, exclaimed “Dada!!”

This was enough to warm the cool frost on the heartache of a long deployment. It was the first time she’d addressed him so deliberately. It was awesome.

Then, at one in the morning, I was dragged from my slumbers. Not by her normal wails, but by a wholly new cry:

“Dada! Dada! Dada! Dada!”

Here’s to a year of Aria and dad.

                                                                                            

No one told me I needed a degree in advertising to be a mom…

So Aria has rejected all things beef ever since she gave up purées a couple of months ago. 

Tonight I was determined. 

Yesterday, you got me to let you have cereal for dinner. Not again. 

  
Spartans! Ready your breakfast and eat hearty… Tonight we dine in hell!

I packaged the beef with oranges and orange juice. Mixing finger foods it my all time most successful strategy for introducing new foods. 

 
Naturally, I get “the head turn.” I don’t think I’d be enticed either, to be honest. 

  
 
I persist and get “the push.”
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She’s in a good mood (I started the meal with yogurt to prime her), so instead of a scream,

I try the get-it-in-your-mouth-and-taste-it-child! method and get the “sour face, head turn, gritted teeth, push” maneuver. 

 IMG_6934 

This is not working. 

Okay. How about we try our next most successful strategy: repackage. 

How about a wonderful wrap?

  
Pretty sure I took this one too far with the Salmon last week. (I mean, come on, I made her salmon and by god I was going to get her to eat it.)

Not interested. 

Again, I rallied to the cause and dug in to my inner advertiser. 

“Spartans! What is your profession???”

Okay. What if we change the delivery, the color, and the shape??

Green quesadilla anyone??

  

 
She’s considering… Please please!

Oh yes. 

Touch down!

IMG_6927
Mwhahahahaha!

[This is where I fail to admit she did manage to get cereal after getting through enough of her quesadilla to make me happy. Was making sure she was full enough before bed to sleep through the night??? No friggin idea. Ask me in a couple of weeks!]