Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I'll try harder in 2014

It's a perpetual challenge for me to come up with a fresh and exciting Christmas gift idea for my husband. He's the type of guy who 1.) doesn't need a lot of things and 2.) if he does need something, just buys it for himself and tells me a month later. It's one of the reasons I love him so very much, and also one of the things that drives me crazy. So this year, Babe, I've written you a little poem set to the tune of my favorite Christmas song. It goes without saying, but I feel like I should address it in a public forum. And a 1...2...3...4...

About my appearance I used to be prideful
Which makes me somewhat spiteful
For since now that I'm a Mom, you know
I've let it go let it go let it go.

Oh it doesn't show signs of stopping,
So out of photos I'll keep on cropping.
Please keep that flash on low,
Because I've let it go let it go let it go.

When we finally kiss the kids goodnight
And they're tucked in bed so warm,
Instead of hugging you tight
I should go jogging in that storm .

Oh I really wish that I were lying,
But my looks have done some good bye-ing.
I'm thankful you still love me so
Despite that I've let it go let it go let it go.

Cheers to New Year's resolutions!

PS - I'm not terribly creative, but sometimes it's fun to look back.

2012's Christmas post

2010's Christmas post

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Last of the Nurse-hicans

I remember explicitly, my thought process. It was nine months ago - that day in March - when my extremely-large-almost-ten-pound-man-infant latched perfectly at ten minutes of age…”How am I going to ever wean this one?” It’s an interesting phenomenon. At first the mother thinks, “I can’t possibly nurse this baby all day! I need to be doing other things! I can’t hold you all day! All I want is my body back!”

THEN…in a few short months, when that same baby can’t be cajoled onto the breast despite her best efforts, the same mother thinks, “I’m not ready to be finished with this. You still need me. You’re still a baby. I still NEED you to need ME.” (Abject despair. Muffled cries).) What a juxtaposition, right? Forgive me. I just weaned my last baby.

CORRECTION: I just weaned my last baby, except it was entirely his own idea.
CORRECTION: My last baby just weaned himself.
CORRECTION: My last baby just weaned himself without my consent.
CLARFICATION: I am rendered useless. Inert. Done.

I was warned, you see. I was warned that the second child may not nurse to the magic twelve month mark – AKA the age that laughs in the face of all potential ear infections. I was warned that the second child has so many more distractions than the first. Namely due to the fact that the mother no longer has the luxury of sitting on the couch while watching BRAVO and nursing for countless, consecutive, uninterrupted hours because the mother now has a toddler to keep from their untimely, yet ever imminent death.
Essentially, this milestone is just the first of many whereupon my child separates himself from me. Do I want him to rely upon me forever? No, of course not. Was I prepared for my baby (because that’s what he’ll always be) to start the severing process so soon? No, of course not. Is this the face of a child ready to be a big boy? Oh my, yes it is.

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Farewell to Naps

Once upon a time in Napland there was a lovely little girl who took naps regularly in the afternoon. Sometimes the naps lasted two hours and sometimes they lasted 45 minutes, but still she took them. And they were glorious. And the people in the household rejoiced.

This same little girl who napped was a pleasure to be around in the evening, and her parents did not count down the hours until it was bedtime. Evenings were filled with leisurely dinners, stories, and bath time. The naps were held in high regard by the household and the parents hoped they would never leave.

Now we find ourselves brutally ejected from Napland – never to return. It was a gradual departure, nonetheless, we are gone, baby, gone. Honestly, I’m really surprised that my lovely little girl doesn’t nap anymore. She was always good about going down for them consistently and got quality rest. However, as I write this, I am literally listening to her bang around in her room like Casper the Friendly Ghost. I fully expect to go in there in thirty minutes and find she has nailed every toy she owns to the ceiling.

It is what it is. Our afternoons are lessons in Managing Meltdowns 101, and I am the beleaguered instructor. At first I was wildly irritated at the discharge from Napland, now I just adjust bedtime up an hour or two…or three. A phase, a phase - one that I hope to say “farewell” to promptly.
(This is just a small example of her goings on while she is supposed to be "napping".)

Monday, October 14, 2013


I’m not going to flatter myself and assume that anyone in the blog-o-sphere has noticed that I haven’t posted in seven months. The funny thing is, I can’t really tell you what I’ve been doing instead of blogging. Our beautiful son, Ford Marshall, was born on March 13. We brought him home 20 hours later. Since then…umm...so…I feel like we’ve been busy, but…it’s all basically a blur.

I can tell you in relative terms what we have been doing a lot of in the past seven months. Since I think mostly in fragments lately, I give you a poorly punctuated list.

·         Eating

o   Adults – primarily frozen meals - prepared by Dad while Mom nurses a fussy baby  - accompanied with a lot of wine if it’s past 5:00 (4:30 some days if I’m being honest)

o   Toddler – primarily macaroni & cheese with some type of frozen vegetable coupled with the occasional PB&J, and a lot of popsicles

o   Baby – breast milk, formula, rice cereal, pureed vegetables
& fruit, sometimes all at once, ad infinitum, rinse & repeat

·         Television watching

o   Adults – mostly DVR’ed shows that we can’t watch while the Toddler is awake

o   Toddler – has (unfortunately) become all too familiar with the daily viewing schedules of Disney Jr, Nick Jr, and Sprout

o   Baby – is entirely too busy watching the Toddler watching television to notice there is a television in the room

·         Sleeping

o   Adults – Have once again begun accustomed to being woken up (almost) nightly by one of the following:

§  Toddler – had a massive sleep regression when the following came along:

·         Baby – if we’d all just stay asleep would probably be just fine

o   Dogs – roam the house like Highlander trying to find a quiet spot, but never neglect to rattle their loud collars/tags while doing so...thanks guys

·         Conclusion

o   Have the last seven months been wonderful?

§  Yes, most definitely.

o   Would I want to relive them?

§  Hell no.

§  Are you kidding?

o   Are we finished having babies?

§  Hell yes.

§  Again, are you kidding?

o   Do I feel incredibly blessed?

§  Beyond belief.

o   Do I think I’ll blog again in 2013?

§  Jury’s out.

Our clan on one of our best days

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Twas the night before the induction

Twas the night before the induction, when all through the house
All the inhabitants were anxious, even the gosh darn mouse

The nursing bras were hung by the shower with care
In hopes that the newborn would breastfeed with flair
The two year old was nestled all snug in her bed
While visions of new baby brother danced in her head

And daddy with his cocktail and also a hospital map
Had just settled down from doingallthethingsIaskedofhimbeforethisbabyisbornin12hoursforanap
When out from my phone the alarm rose such a clatter
We sprang from the bed to see what was the matter

Away to the hospital we flew like a flash
Tore open the L&D door and threw up my sash
Then what to my wondering eyes should appear
But a miniature Ben, in eight tiny pounds, right here

His eyes how they twinkled, his dimples how merry
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry
He had arrived safely, to our families we gave a whistle
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle

Dear Lord, I really hope it all turns out this way
Ready or not, tomorrow is our son’s birthday

Monday, February 25, 2013

The longest nine months of my life

Is it March yet?

During the summer, we were actively trying to conceive. I found out I was pregnant at all of three days in. Thankfully, unlike my first pregnancy, this time we’ve reached “full term” or 37 weeks. Bookended by those two facts, it feels like I’ve been pregnant my entire life.
People I haven’t seen in awhile are like, “You’re still pregnant?” Sometimes it’s fun to mess with those people and tell them I delivered two months ago and watch the horror crawl across their faces. But mostly I just smile, say that I have three weeks until my due date, and waddle away muttering obscenities.

Did I willingly sign up to be pregnant again? Yes. Was I aware of the gestational period length of our species? Yes. Was I prepared for the discomfort and inelegance of the last month? Most definitely no.
All manner of surprises have been waiting for me this time around. Weekly pelvic exams! More blood tests! More time for weight gain! Swelling! Yahoo! I’m beginning to think that delivering my first child at 35 weeks was a present, not the worst thing to ever happen to me. We’ve agreed that this will be our last child, so assuming that everything goes smoothly, this is the last time I’ll be pregnant. I try to remember this as I struggle for breath after walking across the room.

Kudos to all women who have gone the distance of a 40 week pregnancy. I never knew what an effort this last leg was. Hopefully my next post will be about how I went into labor at 37.5 weeks.
Thank you to my sister in law for taking the only belly picture of this entire pregnancy. I know I’ll enjoy looking at this at some point.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Adventures in Potty Training

Throughout Marryn’s short lifetime, people have continually told me that she will “do ______ in her own time”.

First was in the NICU when she wouldn’t eat. The neonatologists, nurses, speech therapists, pastors, parents, strangers, janitors, etc. all told me that she would start eating in her own time. The doctors described a “light bulb” that would eventually turn on. Sure enough, at about a week old, the light bulb turned on, and she ate continuously for a year. Come to think of it, she really hasn’t stopped yet.
Next came “sleep training”. Despite the advice of the 200+ books I read on the subject, I nursed Marryn to sleep for the first several months of her life. When I came to my senses, I remember worrying about how I would transition to laying her down for the night while she was still awake. I shouldn’t have bothered because somewhere in between the 8th and 9th month, she would quit nursing, sit up and gesture (for lack of a better term) towards her bed. She’s been going to sleep on her own ever since.

Fast forward a few months. As we approached Marryn’s first birthday, I worried about how I’d wean her. Was she ready? Was I? Should I do parent led weaning or child led? Every time I thought about it, I’d end up in tears. Frankly, I was about to let the dogs decide when to close the Mommy kitchen, and then she just quit being interested in nursing - all on her own.
I could give several more examples of coming to a milestone on her own terms…when she began smiling, saying Mama & Dada, crawling, walking/running/careening, and the list goes on. We’ll be going along with the same behavior for months on end, and I begin to wonder when something new will finally happen, and then it does - like overnight. Dad calls it the “stair step”, and it’s a fitting description.  

Why was I surprised then, when two weeks ago (after trying for SIX months) Marryn independently decided she would like to use the potty and put on big girl panties? I was so happy I almost cried. I tried to not get too excited about it. Maybe it was just a fluke. However, here we are, still going strong.  She’s even successfully worn big girl panties outside the house and used public restrooms – much to my delight and simultaneous horror. Thank God for Lysol wipes.  
I’m not saying parenting is easy, but sometimes you do luck out and things fall into place when they should. I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that while I can’t force my child into the next developmental step, I am becoming more comfortable with waiting for her to reach it - all in her own time.

We've been doing a fair amount of car-pottying around here. When you gotta go, you gotta go.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Theoretically Speaking

Many have asked whether Marryn “gets it”. Does she understand that a baby is coming? The short answer is yes – she does. She knows her baby brother will be on the outside of Mommy’s tummy soon. She’s begun to ask when. “When will baby brother be here? When can I play with him?” And more specific questions too; “What will baby brother eat? Where will he sleep?” She’s very curious about him. We pray for him every night and she pats my stomach. She’s even squeezed me around the middle a few times to give him a hug. As it stands now, Marryn likes her hypothetical baby brother.

What my sweet girl doesn’t know is how much her life is about to change because of him. We are going to try our best to keep her world and routine as constant as possible. She loves her routine, as do we, because it keeps us all happy and feeling secure. However, we also realize that adding another human being into our family is bound to cause a ripple or two…hundred.
My first memory is of the night my brother was born, when I was two and a half years old. I remember it being really dark in the house when my parents left for the hospital, and my grandmother came to stay with me. I remember going to the hospital the next day to meet him, and looking into the nursery. What’s funny is that I don’t remember how I felt at the time. However, when my parents reminisce about the same events, they recall the process being emotionally difficult for me. There was a lot of crying, whining, and one well placed spanking. I’m not sure if they worried about my mental well being in light of my new sibling, but they shouldn’t have. For my part, all I recollect is the basic information – a new baby brother came into my life, and I have no memories without him.
Marryn may like her baby brother alright now, but he also may be the cause of the biggest disturbance in her life to date. Try as we might, Ben and I can’t fully prepare Marryn (or ourselves, really) for his arrival. All we know for sure is that we will love him, as we love one another, and that’s the best we can do…in theory.

"I'm getting a what?"

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Lauren's daughter speaks in third person

Lauren and her husband have taught their daughter how to wash her hands, brush her teeth, and feed herself. They have taught her how to run, jump, and play hide and seek. Lauren and her husband have also taught their daughter how to say her name, which she does repeat, continually. Only, mostly their daughter refers to herself in third person.

Marryn doesn’t want to. 
Where’s Marryn’s drink?

Marryn is being silly.
I think I’m partly to blame. I regularly say things like, “Mommy needs to rest.” “That is Mommy’s dinner.” “Mommy will be right back.” Lord, Mommy is annoying herself with this manner of speaking! Why did I start doing this? I think it began as an effort to simplify my language in order to teach my baby who was who.

Now, surely Marryn is a more sophisticated linguist, but because I’m the person she hears the most often, and I have adopted this inane speech pattern, she has copied me. Bless Lauren’s daughter’s heart. She didn’t have a chance.  
I said I was partly to blame. The other part I blame on him.


What I have to remind myself is that even though Marryn speaks in third person, it’s most likely a phase. Like most idiosyncrasies from childhood - it’s cute as hell, and Lauren will be sad when her daughter stops.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Too much?

We’re expecting a baby boy in about ten weeks. We are all really excited about him, and now that we are moved into the new house, we have finally gotten busy with preparing for his arrival. Since he is the second child, we already have the vast majority of baby gear – strollers, car seats, play pen, burp cloths, sheets, etc. Luckily, we registered for gender neutral colored gear the first time around.

However, one thing we are missing this time around is baby boy clothes. I was under the impression that Marryn wore way more yellow and green clothes than she actually did. When I physically went through her old clothes, 98% of them screamed I’m a lovely, dainty female in pink and purple polka dots. I think she had maybe one shirt with a duck on it, and a couple of green sleepers.

I hate waste, and I love to recycle, so I have to ask myself…how much pink is too much pink…for a boy…that lives in Texas…in a rural area…who has a very masculine father…and grandfathers…before it makes an impact?
I don’t intend to dress him in his sister’s old skirts in public, but if he runs around the house in some pastel numbers that’s not going to affect his psyche, right? Will he really know if his pajamas say Night Night Princess? Will he care if he hangs out in a Jenny Jump Up versus a Johnny Jump Up? Won’t his pink pacifier do the same job as a blue one? Truly, I think this all matters not. Want to know why?

This is my brother during the 2,765th time I dressed him up. We are 2.5 years apart, the same distance my children will be. There was a period in his life when his favorite color was pink and he wanted to be a Solid Gold dancer when he grew up, all because those were my preferences at the time. He was subjected to countless dress up sessions (see above), make up applications, pretend mommy/baby play times, and sometimes called his underwear “panties”.

Today he is one of the most well-adjusted and compassionate men I’ve ever met. He once told Mom and I that he would make a good husband because “knew about periods and stuff”. I’m not sure if his wife would agree, but from the outside looking in, this has proven to be true. I think that he benefitted from being raised with a big sister, and maybe, just maybe, from literally walking in her shoes a time or two.

As a side note, a few friends with older boys have been amazing about lending us their son’s hand-me-downs. Between those and his sister’s leftovers, our son will be well outfitted in many shades of style.