Every once in a while I like to do a day-in-the-life post to give you all an idea of what it really means to live in a squatted, intentional Wagen community, to try to get past any romanticization and directly to the nitty gritty details. You can read some others here and here. I just re-read them both, and I was totally awed to revisit the way my life was pre-baby. And now here I am, typing next to a sleeping three-month-old Pickles. Wow and wow. This is loosely based on last Thursday, though this is more of an average day portrait then the tale of one single day. Though mind you, this is a portrait of a day without the Beard. When he’s around there’s a lot more time for two-handed activities. So, ready then? Here we go.
life with baby pickles, volume three (months)
Days start so much earlier now, earlier than they have since I was in college and made the mistake of signing up for a 7 am ballet class. Not only was that class not fun at all, I ended up getting a B in it, one of the few of my academic career. Because seriously, who gets a B in ballet? A B in Comparative Literature I could understand. But Easy-Ass Ballet For People Looking For a Funny Easy Extra Credit and Good Grade? Sheesh. But I digress. These days mornings start somewhere between 6:30 and 9:30. This morning Baby Pickles twitched me awake around 8. I moved a few feet away so as to avoid getting kicked in the scar or scratched in the face and attempted to will myself into consciousness. Some mornings it’s easy, and I spring up singing and tickling smiles out of my tiny companion. This morning it wasn’t, and I managed to get another half hour of sleep before Pickles got bored with staring at the ceiling and started getting loud.
Once I moved Pickles to the fold-down changing table she was content again, so after changing her diaper I rushed myself into clothes. Every morning it’s a race against the seconds during which she is willing to quietly lay around, entertaining herself. Will it be enough time to get dressed, brush my teeth, brush my hair (sigh, it’s now too long not to), sterilize the supplementary feeder bottle, pee, and eat? Usually it isn’t, and my teeth and hair are the first to fall to the wayside.
If her quiet gurgling time hasn’t gotten me to food, I put a (possibly screaming) Pickles into the Boba wrap or sling her over my shoulder and head outside and over to the kitchen Wagen where I either fry up some eggs and bacon or mix up a bowl of yogurt, quark, and fruit. On the good mood days, I lay Pickles on a blanket on a bench or on the table while I cook (or she sleeps, content in the carrier on my chest). On the bad mood days I juggle the baby and my cooking hand and think longingly of the days when breakfast was a relaxing, enjoyable event. We eat back in the Wagen, her laying on the bed or against my shoulder, me at our little table.
The days when I have a lot to do outside of the house—fleamarkets and vegetable markets to visit, errands to run, and so on—are the easiest. I put Pickles in the Boba and off we go. She naps, stares, breastfeeds, and repeats. Sometimes she gets pissed on the bus (if, for example, I deign to actually sit down or the bus stops rolling), but otherwise she’s content, and I’m content. If only I had the stamina to walk around during my waking hours all day, every day.
The days when I’d just like to stay home and relax and maybe get something done on the computer are the worst. She doesn’t want to lay in the same damn place all day, and I don’t blame her. Watching someone type on the computer isn’t as interesting as watching the town go by from the safety of your mama’s pouch. On those days I take a minute here and a minute there, answering single emails over the span of days or taking three hours to do some piddly paperwork. There are diaper changes, there are breastfeedings, and if luck is on my side, there is a nap or three. Often, there is a lot of whining followed by walking around outside—one of her favorite activities and an (almost) guaranteed cry-stopper. More often, there are long breastfeeding sessions in bed, during which I read blogs and news articles and, if the position allows it, books.
Evenings tend to be more relaxed. By then someone else is guaranteed to be awake and or home from work, and Frau Doktor, Clementine, Pickles, and I spend a lot of time together chatting, eating, sitting, dreaming, complaining, planning. If it weren’t for Frau Doktor and Clementine, I would not have survived the Beard’s eight-day absence. They are always ready to take Pickles while I go shower or cook or hang up laundry or just because she’s so damn cute. In the Church of Pickles, they’re Saints. I am going to weep when they both head off to Switzerland for the summer, as is their habit, to get up at four am to milk and herd cows.
Pickles goes to sleep somewhere between 7 and 10 pm. We lay in bed stomach to stomach, and I nurse her until her eyes close. Theoretically, this is when I would scoot off to get some writing done. But more often, I end up asleep myself. Despite the low-brain capacity of the hour, it’s one of my favorite times of the day. Teeny tiny baby cuddles are a great drug. Not enough to make you completely forget the day’s obstacles, but sometimes enough to make you stop caring.