Thursday, August 21, 2014

Six Months and 16 Days

today, my little goofball is six months and 16 days old. he loves sticking out his tongue. he's fascinated by his sister—her singing, dancing, eating, playing, crying, everything. he wakes up happy every morning. from his crib, he looks up at me with a smile so big it turns into a laugh before i can even say good morning. sometimes he grabs my face, pulls it toward his big open mouth and slobbers all over my chin and cheeks: his version of a kiss. if i were covered in that kind of slobber all day, i'd be a truly happy woman.

the kid is eager to get crawling. he won't sit still while i read him a book (he'd rather eat the book than listen to it). he's learned that "coughing" gets mommy's attention, and that when he drops something off of his highchair or changing table, mommy will pick it up. 

before i put him to bed for the night, i sing him a lullaby. he won't listen to me read a book, but he'll listen to me sing. i'll sing to him until he's old enough to tell me he doesn't want me to sing to him anymore. (i know it'll happen, just like it did with his sister.)

bless this little boy for being so cheerful, for sleeping so well and for bringing us so much joy and purpose. how can it be that just six months ago, i was overrun with guilt because i didn't know how i would ever love this little person as much as i love my firstborn? oh, how my heart has grown since then. it's grown exponentially, in a way i never thought possible. it is so full, and life is so good.

Monday, April 21, 2014

On Easter

­I had been looking forward to Easter Sunday for weeks. In the days leading up to it, I bought gifts for everyone's Easter baskets, picked out the kids' and my outfits, and dyed eggs with Evie. We had two parties to attend that day—Jeff's family's in the morning and mine in the evening. I looked forward to the mimosa (and adult conversation!) I'd have with brunch, and to watching my little cousins and daughter hunt for Easter eggs.

When Easter Sunday arrived, I was so caught up in our outfits and the Easter bunny and our hectic schedule (did I mention we went to two parties?) that I didn't even stop to acknowledge the true meaning of the day—what Easter is really about.

I grew up going to church every now and then, but by high school, sports and a packed social calendar took priority. I've always believed in a higher power, but I don't know him—or it—at all. I have no relationship with him (it? Her?). Because of that, I don't really know how to introduce my kids to religion. Eventually I'd like them to hear bible stories and attend church, but I want them to make their own decisions about what to believe and how to incorporate their learnings or beliefs into their everyday lives.

On Sunday, after the last eggs had been found, after I realized I hadn't reflected on the true meaning of Easter, I read this. (It's basically the Cliffs Notes version of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.) Maybe next I'll find some kids' books of bible stories for Evie and Maddox. Someday they'll need to know there's more to Easter and Christmas than candy and presents!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Egg Time

as a kid, i loved dying easter eggs with my mom and sisters, and we have plenty of home videos to prove it. my favorite video is of six-year-old me telling my four-year-old sister that her eggs hadn't been in the dye long enough. i told her to make sure her eggs were nice and bright before removing them from the dye and placing them—gently! slowly!—back into the egg carton to dry. when she'd remove her eggs from the cups of brightly colored vinegar (after they'd been soaking long enough, according to me), i'd snatch them from her little hands and put them in the egg carton myself. i was such an annoying (yet very cool) big sister!

this year i was excited to dye eggs with evie, but i promised myself not to boss her around like i did my sister so many years ago. i let evie do her thing while i snapped photos. (a huge thank you to my mother-in-law for all her help! she played with maddox and made sure evie didn't drink the cups of vinegar, among other things. evie thought the vinegar smelled yummy. weird kid.) the little munchkin did great—we ended up with just one cracked egg.

happy easter, friends!

^^maddox doesn't get what all the fuss is about. they're just eggs.^^

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Settled In

finally, we're all settled in as a family of four. i've gotten used to having two kids—two kids who need different things at different times. i've decided it feels good to be needed like i am. i've gotten used to being on my feet most of the day, to nursing a baby while hoisting a toddler onto the potty, to doing most things quickly and with one hand, to grabbing burp cloths off the floor with my toes because i have coffee in one hand and a baby in the other. my body's become okay with five or six hours of sleep every night. sometimes i even look forward to midnight feedings, when the house is still and it's just maddox and me, rocking and nursing in the dark quiet with no one and nothing to interrupt us. now, i don't even remember life with just one kid—and i don't want to. these days can be long and emotionally draining, but they're also very rewarding and, in a way, simple. i wouldn't trade them for anything. 

evie helps me change maddy's diapers by fetching wipes and singing songs to him while he's on the changing table. she shows him books, pets his fuzzy little head and hold his fingers and toes gently. she tells me he's sooooo cute, mimicking our friends when they meet him for the first time. i love spending time with just her. i take her to a tumbling class on monday mornings, which is so much fun because she's learning to jump and roll—and she absolutely loves it! she's so excited to play on the trampoline and climb through the fabric tunnel every week, and i'm excited to watch, and to help only when she needs me. when i see her following directions and interacting sweetly with the other kids, i'm the proudest mama in the world.

it's fun spending time with just maddox, too. yesterday we ventured to the grocery store for a "big shop" (growing up, that's what my mom called the trips when the fridge was completely empty; we needed everything). to my surprise, it's much easier taking maddy to the grocery store than it is to take evie! he was perfectly content strapped in the baby carrier, sucking on a pacifier, for the entire hour. he didn't ask to push the cart or eat the cheerios or hold the bagels or watch videos of himself on my iphone. it was the most enjoyable "big shop" i've had in quite some time.

and now, it's time to go! somebody's up from his nap.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Mommy of Two

after five weeks at my new job—mommy of two—i'm still lost. every day brings a new challenge and a new learning experience. for example, on day one, in the thirty seconds it took me to change maddox's diaper, evie climbed onto the couch behind me, fell off, hit her head on the hardwood floor and started wailing. i ran to her, leaving maddy flailing dangerously on the changing table. (ah!) i kissed her quickly but couldn't calm her, couldn't give her one-hundred percent, because now there's someone else who needs some attention, too. evie didn't understand that then. i turned on the tv for her and peace was restored, but i felt guilty for using the tv as a babysitter.

i've felt guilty for lots of things lately: putting maddox in his swing or bouncy chair too often; rocking him in my arms when evie wants me to play with her; having jeff come home to a disastrous house when it's clean just hours earlier, when he leaves for work. the poor man comes home to dirty diapers on the couch, toys and blankets covering every inch of the living room, cottage cheese and juice splattered across the kitchen floor (evie's snack that i couldn't clean up because maddox got hungry before evie finished eating), and a wife who's wearing the same dirty pajamas she wore the night before. i feel guilty for not being able to give one-hundred percent of my attention to either of my kids. i feel guilty for not being able to give my house, my husband or myself much attention, either.

the other day, i heard evie waking up from her nap, but i had just started feeding maddox. i thought she'd be fine in her room for twenty minutes while i nursed. after twenty minutes, i opened evie's door to find her squatting over her bed, pants down to her ankles, trying to poop (on the quilt i made for her "big girl" room!). i gasped and she stopped. i swooped her up and ran with her to the bathroom—evie in one arm, maddox in the other. "no no no no no no no," i mumbled while lifting evie up onto the potty. maddox was crying and evie was whining. i was near tears myself. i didn't get to evie in time. but how could i? there was a hungry newborn attached to me! once again, i felt terribly guilty. a better mom wouldn't have let this happen, newborn attached to her or not. the smell in evie's bedroom meant we hadn't made it to the toilet in time. underneath the sheets was a giant turd. (i snapped a photo of it and sent it to jeff— code for see what i'm dealing with? get home now.)

today, instead of giving evie a proper turkey sandwich and grapes for lunch, which she so sweetly asked for, i frantically threw a piece of bread and some turkey on her highchair tray because maddox was crying and i needed to feed him too. instead of locking eyes with my newborn when i hold him or feed him, i'm usually looking at evie, who's begging me to play dress-up—or coloring all over the wood dining table. i've let the swing put maddy to sleep more times than i'd like to admit. i've let evie watch more tv and play more games on my tablet than ever before. and i'm still just barely surviving. i have plenty of help from family and friends, but i'm still left wondering if we're doing everything right, if my babies are getting what they need.

tomorrow will bring another challenge, another learning experience and another funny story, i'm sure. until then, i'll be focusing on tonight—taking things one step at a time. wish me luck! 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Welcome, Baby Maddox!

February 5, 2014
12:29 p.m.

8 lbs. 7 oz.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Shaking It Up

It's kind of funny: Just as life with Evie is getting super easy, we're bringing a baby into the mix to shake everything up. And when I say easy, I mean we can lounge in our bathrobes on Saturday mornings and drink whole cups of coffee without having to reheat them eight times. (It's awesome! Check out the matching robes we got for Christmas in the photo below. We wear them every chance we get.) We can make pancakes leisurely while evie "cooks" breakfast for her stuffed animals in her play kitchen or colors at her desk. The three of us can leave the house without a diaper bag. We can leave the house without worrying Evie will fall asleep in the car for a few minutes and refuse to nap in the afternoon. Our routine is perfect. Things are predictable. Life is easy. 

I hear transitioning from one kid to two is easier than transitioning from zero kids to one. Knowing what to expect makes for more relaxed parents—I'm guessing. There are just a few logistics I'm still not sure about. Like, how do you feed a baby around the clock and give your toddler some attention, too? What happens when the toddler needs her lunch but there's a baby stuck to your boob? When do you clean the house? And in a small house, how do you keep a crying baby from waking your toddler up at night? (Whenever I ask these questions, Jeff reminds me that he'll be around to help. Of course, I'm talking about when he's at work and it's just me at home with the two little monkeys!)

Just a couple more weeks until we get to find out! 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Heads Up: You're Upside Down!

dear baby,

i've heard little boys can be more challenging (er, more spirited) than little girls, but i didn't know that meant starting in utero. you've already proven to be higher maintenance than your sister, and your due date's not for four more weeks! first, there's that big kidney. what's up with that? and now, at 36 weeks, you're among the one percent of babies who haven't settled into the head-down position. one percent. when i tell people this, they say, "it's because he's a boy. he's causing trouble already." and then, as if they can't tell i'm already nervous (about everything, not just about you being a boy), they add, "you just wait." 

earlier this week, that really cold thing you felt on your head? was a bag of frozen peas. and that bright light down by your bottom was the world's biggest and brightest flashlight (500 lumens!). i could tell you didn't enjoy those peas on your head, and mama felt terrible for putting them there—she was trying to get you to turn!—but it's either frozen peas or a version. an external cephalic version (ecv) involves doctors applying lots and lots of pressure to mama's tummy and manually turning you into a head-down position. it works only half to two-thirds of the time, and my doctor says there are risks, like your umbilical cord getting pinched or wrapping around your neck, or the placenta tearing away from the uterus. 

some women have ecvs in hopes of avoiding scheduled c-sections, but i decided today an ecv wasn't worth the risks. after eight months of trying to keep you safe and healthy, why would i put you in a potentially dangerous situation? just so i won't have to deal with surgery and a little scar? so i can have an exciting birth story? so i can experience the contractions i was so looking forward to? (ironic, right?) none of that matters as long as when i meet you, you're still healthy and safe.

this weekend or next week, you and i will be trying acupuncture and some other tricks to get you to turn. most of the tricks involve frozen peas.

i love you so much already,


ps—will you turn now, pretty please?