Tomorrow we fly to San Diego for my cousin’s wedding. It will be our first time flying with Cedar, first time introducing Cedar to the extended family (on my mom’s side), and most importantly, first time introducing him to my ninety-year-old grandma, assuming she makes it to the wedding. She hasn’t been doing too well lately, so I really hope she can. It will be a short, intense trip with two days of traveling and one day of wedding activities in between. My guess is that we will check into the hotel on Saturday, rest, then find the local equivalent of Whole Foods and stock up on things I can eat since I doubt I’ll be able to eat anything at most restaurants. Maybe, if all goes well, we’ll then be able to bring that food to the beach for a nice picnic dinner next to the ocean waves. And, if that is too ambitious, then we’ll go back to the hotel room, put Cedar down, and breathe a sigh of exhaustion and relief that we made it through the day.
I’ve been anxious to test a few foods before we leave so that I have a few more choices while on the road. So far, I’ve tested fish, almonds, and eggs, and so far, Cedar hasn’t had any obvious reactions. He may have had a little bit more gas than before, but I can’t be sure whether it’s from the food or not. It’s a relief to know that I can at least eat a little bit of these important protein sources, but I haven’t ruled out the possibility that he may have some small sensitivities to these things, which could still result in a major gas bout if combined with other things he’s sensitive to. If many of the foods I test end up with such ambiguous results, it’s going to mean many more months of careful experimentation with combinations and amounts. It’d be nice to emerge from this diet with some clear answers for all of the effort I am putting in, but any way about it, I am probably committed to being a very cautious eater for as long as I am breastfeeding.
I feel like all I talk about these days is me and Cedar’s diet, but that’s what’s been at the center of my awareness, so it is what it is. Each day I must plan ahead and make sure I have enough protein and vegetables stocked to prepare a quick meal in the little bits of time that I have. And some days, the time or energy for this forethought escapes me, and then I end up ravenous, which combined with my usual tiredness is a recipe for an easily overwhelmed and not very happy mama.
We’ve been doing this for a month now, and I’m getting hungry. I broke down and scrambled myself three eggs with basil the other day—testing eggs—even though I technically should have waited one more day since my last test before testing anything new. But I couldn’t take it. I was ravenous, and sick and tired of salad, quinoa, and cold cuts. Sad to say, I’m even sick of avocados. I’ve also been tempted to test coffee on many an occasion, but thus far have decided that it’s more important that I add some of the foods back in before the coffee, so as to improve my diet.
The last thing I want to do is to eat something before we get on the plane that could upset Cedar’s tummy, and have a crying, gassy baby to contend with. Ditto for eating something while at the wedding and for the flight on the way home. I’ve emailed with the bride who has graciously provided me with the wedding menu and together we’ve guessed at things I can probably safely eat. It’s going to be a Korean and Chinese feast, and sadly, I won’t be able to eat most of it, seeing that most things will have garlic, onions, or soy sauce in them, amongst other off-limits ingredients. The only things I will probably be able to eat is the roast beef, salad, rice, and some rice and fruit-based desserts. But that’s better than just rice, which is what I was thinking before I decided to trouble the bride with my huge list of forbidden foods.
But enough about food. Right now, I am just happy that my husband has over a week off from work, and if we return exhausted from our trip (likely), at least we have almost a week still to rest, go out in nature, and enjoy each other’s company. We’re going to a concert at Town Hall next Tuesday (Mark Kocelek from Sun Kil Moon), Cedar’s gas is still way better than before, and he’s been sleeping a bit better too—only waking every two or three hours at night versus every one or two. I’m feeling hopeful. Maybe now that his gas is better, his body is slowly readjusting to his old habits of being a good sleeper. And even if he never returns to his old ways, I’ve recently re-read sections of “The No-Cry Sleep Solution” by Elizabeth Pantley, and I feel more motivated now to tackle the sleep problem from different angles once life continues to get a little bit easier.
Of course, most every day I’m still tired, and every so often I’ll catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror and notice the circles under my eyes. I stopped in at 7-11 last weekend to grab a bottle of wine before Matthew and I went on a rare date, and was surprised that I was not carded. I’ve always been carded, no doubt due to my round, youthful-looking Asian face. But not recently. Perhaps having a child has finally pushed my face over the edge into maturity. And that’s okay. Everything else has changed in my life. I don’t mind finally looking my age.
Speaking of me and Matthew’s date. We had had two hours, including drive time, to go have a picnic at Carkeek Park. When we got there, the lot near the beach was full. We decided we didn’t want to sit amidst lots of people anyway, so we parked near the grassy fields and lay down a blanket in the closest sunny, semi-private patch we saw. It didn’t matter that the spot we chose was facing the parking lot, and far from the most picturesque areas of the park. What mattered was that we maximize our time together just by lying there on a blanket and enjoying a bottle of wine out of a brown bag and with two plastic cups, some snacks, and no baby. I draped my arm across Matthew’s body, and we both breathed deep sighs of relief at being together, alone, connecting and checking in with our feelings. We never made it to the beach, but it didn’t matter.
We are each other’s anchors, we mustn’t forget. And this new life is many things-- a huge joy, a definite trial, a blessing and a supreme challenge. Yes, we are gearing up for our weekend trip with a slight sense of trepidation, but if overall it goes well, then we’ll be able to congratulate each other and share in the satisfaction that we did it, and we did it together. And if it is, more or less, utter hell? Then the same. We will have done it, and done it together.