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Showing posts from 2010

Ho Ho Photo

This week was hectic. To say the least. New job for mommy, new daycare schedule for Baby Zen. Furnace breakdown and restart (with smoky, scary moments!), Big Daddy working three "late night" shifts (which is really only until 8 pm, but that might as well be midnight to a 5-year-old), and the topper -- Sweet Boy puked all over himself, his lunch, and his buddy in school Friday.

But somehow in between all the zoom-around, I managed to collect our little angels in front of the tree for the annual Christmas card photo. Here's how it went down:

First, Sweet Boy posed so I could get the light and angle and position in front of the tree. Just right. Aw, darling little elf, you know the drill.



Then we add Baby Zen to the mix. He is obviously a newbie...

Here we see big brother holding on to little brother for dear life, knowing that there may be some demerits from the naughty/nice list if the baby plonks to the floor.


Now big brother is starting to really stress out about this gig. A…

Race, little rat, race

Here's one of life's great mysteries: How on Earth do so many people maintain careers -- some even advance in their careers -- while raising happy, healthy, well-balanced children -- without going completely batshit crazy in the process?

Are those people who are advancing in their careers not actually raising happy, healthy, well-balanced children? Or, are they actually batshit crazy and just hiding it well?

I'm thinking yes. We're all batshit crazy, yet some hide it better than others. And it's becoming more and more apparent that I'm not hiding it well at all. In fact, I hugged my new boss today -- who is not at all a hugger -- and watched my colleague's face distort in horror as she shook her head and joked "We don't do that in our group." I'm reviewing this moment over and over this evening, feeling completely unprofessional and ridiculous, and wondering why the hell I hugged my new boss. Hugged her! In a meeting! With an interviewee pre…

The lump in my throat

I'm a mess. Trying to hold it together. But I keep catching myself lost in goopy, mushy nostalgia. I haven't yet pulled out the baby photos, but it's only a matter of time.
I put one of Sweet Boy's hand-me-down outfits on Baby J this morning and caught myself sniffling. Then later in the pool, I was playing with SB and found myself squeezing him (much to his chagrin) and reminiscing about the baby swim lessons we took there together. Not so long ago. This evening I had to leave the room as Big Daddy and SB laid out all his school supplies. And I snuggled with my big boy just a little longer than usual at bedtime, rubbing his head and back until he accused me of "petting him like a kitty" and kicking me out of his room.

All day there has been a lump in my throat and a churning in my belly. I'm not sure if the sobbing or the vomiting will happen first, but they're both there, latent, threatening. The thought of waving goodbye as he gets on that school bu…

My bouncing baby boy

I finally have a camera that takes decent video. So now you know I'll be spending most of my time making dumb little videos like this:


It should be noted, too, that about 20 seconds after I turned off the camera, Jakers barfed all over himself. As we like to say in my house, bounce til ya' barf, man!

Toes! And other things that are truly fabulous when you're 5 months old

Toes. Don't get me wrong: Fingers are cool and all, but these toe things are amazing. They're small and chewy, perfect for nibbling. Yet they're always just beyond my reach...unless I flex myself, oh yes, just bend a little more...got it! Omnomnomnom. And did you know that you can actually stick your toes through that loop on the end of your binky and launch that thing across the room?! Awesome!

Cats. Fluffy and warm with all these graspy, soft edges I can really sink my fingers into. This one I have also purrs loudly when he plops down next to me; that little vibration next to my ribs really tickles. I think he definitely likes it when I chew on him, too. I don't love the fur stuck to my drool-covered chin, but whatever makes my kitty happy...

Ceiling fans. Have you seen the way this thing just circles round and round and round and round? Mesmerizing. Really. I could watch it all day. And sometimes I do.

Paper napkins. Delicious.

Trees. I don't know about you, b…

Just in time

I used to be a punctual person. Truly. If you said be here at 5:00, I'd be there at 4:58 -- enough time to check my hair in the rearview mirror and file that snag off my fingernail.

And then I had a child.

It was like the universe said, "ok, lady, it's either the kid or the timeliness; there's absolutely no room for both." Suddenly, no matter how much lead time I gave myself, I could not arrive on time. Because, as I quickly learned, when you have a child, there's always one more thing you need to grab on your way out the door, one more outfit to change because of an errant spit-up or spilled juice box, one more "Mommy, I have to pee!" So, ok, fine. I resigned myself to always being a couple minutes late.

But then I had a second child. And just like that, a couple minutes late turned into 15 minutes late (or 30, but who's counting?). Always. No matter how early I get up in the morning. No matter how well I've packed the diaper bag the night bef…

Back to the guilt...I mean, grind

I went back to work today after 12 weeks of maternity leave. For weeks I've been nervous about leaving Jake, worried that he wouldn't take a bottle and would cry incessantly until Chris lost his mind. But I wasn't expecting the emotional sucker-punch from Hayden, who has almost five years of practice separating from his mom each morning. This morning may have been in the top five hardest for me yet. Here's how it went down:

Wake up at 5:15 to feed Jake (who, by the way, did exactly as I asked and slept straight through from midnight to 5:15. What a good boy.) Shower, make-up, hair, get dressed. Tiptoe through the bedroom and hallway to avoid all the creaky floorboards. Kiss Chris goodbye. Tuck Jake's binky back into his mouth. Peek my head into Hayden's bedroom door, thinking he's still in bed because it's practically before the dawn...but his eyes are open, and he's clutching his lovey bear. Uh oh.
Me: Bye, love, I have to go to work.

Hayden: Nooooo! …

Our aluminum anniversary

Today is our 10th wedding anniversary. That's right, one decade ago, I put on the poofy white dress with the sequins and the pearls and the long, heavy train, and I flounced down the aisle toward my man's beautiful smile. If you'd asked me on that day what we'd be doing on our 10th anniversary, I probably would have told you we'd be spending it on a tropical beach, or maybe in Europe, or at the very least, at a romantic little bed-and-breakfast in the mountains.

Ha. Nope.

Instead, because neither of us could come up with an acceptably romantic plan that didn't involve logistical nightmares around the care of our newborn who won't take a bottle, and because we're pretty much broke, we decided to have a low-key evening out as a family. After all, as Chris put it, this is the birthday of our family, so we should celebrate it together. And, really, he and I have spent every day together for the last three months, so a night out as a twosome, though it would b…

My life as the lunch wagon

Mom-Guilt Confession #879: I pretty much hated breastfeeding the first time around. It hurt. A lot. I felt like my body was not my own. I was embarrassed by my ginormous, leaking breasts. Most of all, I hated that I had to excuse myself from social settings, hide in the car, or just stay home when it was time to feed the baby -- every hour and a half!

This time around, knowing how freakin' expensive formula is, I decided to give it another go. The big difference this time, though, was deciding I would not be embarrassed about breastfeeding; I would own it. After all, I've waited my whole life for these double-D's, why not make the most of them? I'm not talking plopping myself in the middle of the mall and whipping out my boobs for all to see. I'm discreet and usually cover us both up with my fabulous baby sling. But with an active almost-5-year-old, three months off with my family, and a spring season of amazing weather, I refuse to go through this child's infan…

Wheels!

Do you remember the first time you rode a bike? I do. The nervousness in my tummy, afraid that I'd fall or go too fast and lose control. But more than that, I remember the thrill, the feeling of autonomy and freedom. The "wooo-hooo!"

We bought Hayden a bike for his 4th birthday last July so he could feel the wind in his hair, too. But he wanted no part of it. As in, he refused to even step near the thing, except to have his photo taken on the day he got it. We decorated his red bike with Spider-Man stickers and a Spidey bell to make it more appealing. We let him pick out his own helmet. We bribed him with ice cream! But every attempt to get him to ride ended up with Chris frustrated, me annoyed, and Hayden crying.

So imagine my surprise when a few weeks ago, almost a year after the bike had been shelved in the garage, I looked out the front window and saw my son riding down the sidewalk!

As with every other major milestone -- crawling, walking, potty training -- Hayden had …

And baby makes four

Baby Jake came screaming into the world on March 10, 8:24 a.m., weighing a whopping 9 lbs 11 oz. "What? A boy?!" I shouted from the delivery table because I had been convinced that this was my little girl baby. Then I saw him, in his scrawny-legged, red-faced, screeching splendor, and the waterworks started. He looked just like Hayden, but a bit smaller. (In fact, that was my second statement: "He's so tiny!" which got a lot of laughs when the nurse informed us of his actual size. It's all relative, since Hayden weight 10.5 lbs at birth.)

When Chris handed me my second son to hold for the first time -- having learned from my first c-section, this time I'd asked before my surgery if they'd unstrap my arms so I could hold my baby immediately -- I cried and laughed and cried and laughed and as he gazed into my face the crying stopped and we studied each other and fell in love. It was instantaneous this time, the falling in love. I recall it t…

Brand new

The tiniest person is snoozing on my lap, the slightly larger person is away at preschool, and the largest person is off at the gym, so I'm reflecting on the last three weeks since little Jake came into our world. He's wonderful and adorable, and he's turned us all upside down a little bit. He's a mellow infant, for the most part, but has the same baby dragon scream that his big brother did -- "don't make me angry....you won't like me when I'm angry!" We've gone through a week with the 24/7 glow and hum of a biliblanket to treat his jaundice (and can I just ask, Mr. Biliblanket Designer , have you not actually observed how awkward this thing is on a live baby human?), and now we're waiting for my little glowworm's milia spots to fade away. He's beautiful, though, despite the yellow-brown complection. Perfectly formed. Big blue eyes. Long thin fingers. Toes like candy dots. Full head of hair, and peach fuzz up his back and across th…

To my new little love, on the day before we officially meet

Here we are, kiddo. Just about 12 hours from our first meeting, the first time I see your little face and count your tiny fingers. I can think of nothing else right now. This is what it sounds like in my brain: babybabybabybabybabybabybabybabybaby.

There's so much I want to tell you about the world you're about to enter. But most of it can wait. Someday I'll tell you about what a cold, snowy, gray winter it's been -- how I sat around gestating through the entire winter, too big and clumsy to dare walk outside, while your father shoveled almost 80 inches of snow. Someday I'll tell you about how each day I try to watch the news but turn it off after 5 minutes because it just makes me sad. Someday I'll tell you about the political and financial blech that grips our country right now, the anxiety and uncertainty we all face each day. Someday I'll tell you about the giant earthquakes striking across the globe that make me think that Mother Nature is, in fact, tr…

So many questions. So little time.

Ah, babies. They generate so many questions: How was it made? How will it come out? What will it do when it gets here? What do I do when it gets here? How will it change my life? These are questions even grown-ups wrestle with.

But can you imagine being 4, witnessing your mommy expanding exponentially, wondering what the heck is actually going on in there when you see the ripples and hear Mommy giggling (or sighing/moaning/whining) about it? You can barely imagine sharing your toys with your cat, let alone a whole other person -- so you know this is going to be very hard but you'll do your best because it will make Mom and Daddy happy. You keep hearing about how you have to be a big brother, how you have to learn how to get your own sneakers on, how you will have to set a good example. You wait and you wait and you wait, then they tell you that Mommy has to go to the hospital for a few days, where the doctor will help her get the baby out. Hmm. But they still haven't told you, …

A girl could get used to this

I arrived home a little bit late from the office this evening, after running an errand without worrying about racing up the highway from my office to get to daycare on time. When I walked in the door, I was greeted by the most scrumptious smells of onions and fried pork chops. A little boy with a gigantic smile and an infectious giggle ran to me yelling "Mommy's home!" and a handsome man kissed me and said "Just in time. Have a seat. Your dinner's ready." We ate a delicious dinner, and throughout the meal, the man and the boy spoke a strange made-up language that only they understood, exchanging giggles about a surprise that waited for me in the fridge. Finally when I thought the little boy would explode from the excitement of the surprise, the man presented a homemade carrot cake -- the first he'd ever baked -- just because he knew it is my favorite.

No need to pinch me, or check me for fever -- or send me for counseling because I've obviously had a…

Counting down to baby

I realized the other day that most of my writings over the last few months have focused on the negative. Gross! I suppose writing is my outlet, the place I barf up all the things that weigh me down. But I don't want to be Negative Nelly or Debbie Downer anymore. So let's talk about something really fantastic and amazing and wonderful and happy that's about to happen in my life:

BABY! BABY! BABY!

In just over two weeks, I'll be checking into the hospital for my second c-section. While I'm not thrilled about the idea of another surgical delivery (ouch!) and recovery (long, extended ouch!) I have started to feel giddy at the thought of holding a small, warm, cuddly little person in my arms. After discussing an alternative pain medication with my doc, I'm even starting to look forward to a few days in the hospital. Crazy? Maybe...but when was the last time you had a few days to just lie in bed with complete control over the TV remote and let people bring you food and…

The other shoe drops

So, here we are, cruising through our lives, getting excited and buying diapers for our new baby, digging out from two blizzards, counting the days until spring and then summer...thinking everything has finally settled down after the topsy-turvy year that was 2009. We had yet another lovely weekend, took Sweet Boy bowling with friends last night -- a really fun, giggly evening -- and as we drove home, I caught myself thinking about how perfect my life is.

Then suddenly, whammo. The other shoe drops. The shoe we've been dreading for just over a year. But we weren't expecting it to fall from this particular foot.

Chris was laid off today. Without warning. Kissed us goodbye and drove himself to work on a sunny President's Day, and was called in to HR with the rest of his staff at 9:00, home by 11. They cut all but three in his department, all the highest earners, because the company is failing and they can't afford them anymore. Because Chris has been there 12 years, they g…

Almost ready

Since the moment I peed on the stick and discovered I was pregnant, I have been nervous about delivery. Sweet Boy was very large -- 10 and a half pounds with a 14-inch-circumference head -- and he was born a week past his due date by scheduled c-section. I did not like the c-section delivery. It was not what I'd planned or imagined, it was not like those episodes of "A Baby Story" that I watched on TLC for years. I did not get to hold my baby right away -- not for 5 hours, actually -- and I will always feel sad about that. Oh, and there was the pain...weeks and weeks of pain as that incision healed. In my first pre-natal appointment this time, I told my doctor that I want to try a VBAC delivery. She smiled and said ok, but there was a hint of "this lady is crazy" in the smile. And as the pregnancy rolled along, I had to come to grips with another c-section looming in my near future. Then Sweet Boy and I stumbled across a live c-section birth on the Today Show (…

We always hurt the ones we love...

...yet they keep on loving us: An allegorical (but true) story

When I got out of the shower this morning, I noticed Sweet Boy's bedroom door was closed. I heard him in there, playing and singing, and thought nothing of it. Until I heard, "Oh, kitty, don't move kitty, stop it, stay still!"

Uh oh.

So I opened the door and discovered Sweet Boy stuffing our 13-year-old cat, Pitino, into his stuffed animal pile in the corner of the room. He was pushing Pitino down, while Pitino tried to scramble back up to the top of the pile, eyes big and black, ears flat, only to be covered by another few stuffed animals.

I knew Sweet Boy meant no real harm, but I figured this was as good a time as any to reinforce the whole Pitino-is-a-living-creature concept, and explain that stuffing him into the stuffed animal pile could hurt him badly, maybe even kill him.

OK, so maybe "kill him" was a little over the top, but I needed to make the point. And the point was made: Sweet Boy plopp…

Mommies don't get sick days

[Warning: What follows is a whole lot of "poor me." I won't be hurt if you choose to just skip this and hop over to Perez Hilton or some site more interesting. Or, feel free to comment something along the lines of "Suck it up, you whiny brat, there are thousands of people dying in Haiti now. Your life is just fine."]

I am low on patience and compassion this morning, and though I feel a little bad about that, I need to vent a bit now. My husband, who is also my best friend and companion through good times and bad, has a nasty head cold. You know I adore him and I'm sorry that he feels awful, bt I'm also a bit jealous and grouchy that he can lie in bed moaning for two days because he has some congestion pain in his ear and head. I probably should be doting over him, making him homemade chicken soup and rubbing Vicks on his chest or something. But no. I'm griping.

You know why? Because not only do I have symptoms of this same head cold, including a seari…

Time to cut the cable

As you may have heard, there's a baby coming this way. Soon. In approximately 10 weeks, to be precise. Which is awesome and blessed and amazing and exciting. But really freaking expensive. Which makes it also scary as hell when we're just about getting by financially in our current family state.

But scary makes us think, right? Scary makes us evaluate what's important, consider what we can live without, brainstorm creative ways to make it work. So over the last couple months, Big Daddy and I have been contemplating all the many ways we can cut our expenses in order to afford another child in daycare (and all the diapers and clothing and food that comes with another person) but without causing too much personal hardship or lifestyle change.

There are the obvious things, of course -- no more eating out, suspending the gym membership that we so rarely use, putting vacation savings on hiatus, paying off small debts to free up monthly cash -- but we live pretty lean anyway so it&…