Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Tuesday is for Catch-up

N (2) goes to daycare on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so that leaves AC and me here to get everything done we possibly can before the chaos begins again in the afternoon. I run errands, make phone calls, cook, clean, write, and dream. AC usually eats, plays, screams, and sleeps. This morning she went to the pediatrician for her six month checkup. She is a long thing, 28" inches, and of middling weight, 15lbs 11oz. She still has a honking umbilical hernia and now what is probably a fatty cyst behind her right ear. When we see the surgeon in six months so she can recheck the hernia, we will have her check out the cyst too. We will start feeding AC solid food tonight, if you can call runny rice cereal mixed with breastmilk "solid." Baby cereal requires that I begin pumping milk again, which I should've been doing for the last few weeks. Instead, I've just left off pumping altogether since we never go out without AC or for more than two or three hours. I have no freezer stash, which is pretty dangerous.

Because I need to start pumping again, my grand plan to clean off my writing desk has been dashed, since it has also been my pumping desk. My Medela Pump in Style backpack and all my cords and tubes and holders and wipey cloths (what we call thin white cloth diapers 'round here) are taking up most of the middle of the desk. On all sides are reading material for those treasured few minutes when I am able to hold the flanges onto my breasts with one hand/arm and hold a book with the other. At the moment, Lansky's Toilet Training is on one side, Highsmith's Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction on the other. The real thriller around here is figuring out how soon to move N from diaper to potty. Since AC arrived, I've been doing all my writing in the kitchen. Or the bedroom. The living room works, too.

Somewhere under all this crap are some treasures: a printer, a brass piano lamp, and a wire bin with my early novel notes from long ago and far away. These are notes I don't even need anymore, since I've started back from square one with the novel. Eighty pages of manuscript sit somewhere in that bin, along with varied observations and questions that I need to go back and look at someday soon. It may be good! My suspicion, though, is that it is not. Most of it was written in hotel cafes in, sequentially, Madrid, Sevilla, and Granada, when I should've been taking my siesta along with the rest of the country. Instead I was the dotty tourist demanding that the staff dirty up the espresso machine at the wrong hour. All in all, I was pretty productive those three weeks in 1999. No kids or husband at that time, just a wonderful mother to traipse with and--yes, I am blessed--foot the bills.

Now, I'm productive in a different way, considering the phrase "footloose and fancy free" must never again be spoken in my home. I'm working on the same novel, but from a different place, in more ways than one. And even though some weeks I can't eke out 500 words, I am driven to finish it. I wish I were as driven to artificially extract my breastmilk as I am to write this book. One thing that probably keeps me hooked, the boobs in the book sure as hell aren't for babies.

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