Monday, September 23, 2013

Choosing the Moments

It's no secret that, while I have loved each of my babies with my whole heart, I don't love having babies. It's not easy for anyone, but I especially find that the closer my babies get to a year old, the better mom I am and the more I can enjoy it.

I'm trying to experience this last baby a little bit differently. This evening I was up in his nursery, rocking him while he had a little pre-bedtime catnap in my arms. His hair was fluffy from his bath and his long legs stretching his 3-month sleeper to capacity. His little chubby fist clutched my sweatshirt strings and his mouth gently worked the pacifier.

In that moment, I was so grateful to have my baby. I hope these moments are what I remember (and then share as a grandmother, casting the whole relentlessly exhausting and frustrating job of motherhood in an inaccurately rosy light), rather than the difficulty of it all, and the times I feel like it's all too much.

(Like now, five minutes later when he's howling because he realized I put him in his swing and the two older kids are covered head to toe in spaghetti sauce and imperiously demanding drink refills. SIGH.)

Friday, September 20, 2013

This Week

My BFF's baby - a mere four months older than A (note the hands, awwww)

My sister, her youngest nephew and my nephew-to-be

A day in the park

"I know, mom! Let's fly a kite today!" Sometimes it's nice to say yes, even
when I would rather be napping

Proof I was there

Archer loved the see-saw

Less enthusiastic about the swing
Happy weekend all!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


I think I hit my low point this past weekend. I had a string of nights of really bad sleep, Archer had an epic fuss one evening (the kind of inconsolable screaming that took me right back to the Colic Days of Baby Brighton), Pacey started getting sick and I just didn't have the energy to enjoy my sister's visit the way I wanted to. Instead, I had a long, ugly cry about how overwhelming everything felt. Meanwhile she, my 28-week pregnant sister, cleaned my bathrooms, folded my laundry and played endless games of ponies (the torturous likes of which you really can't imagine) with my chatterbox of a daughter. Who is now deeply in love with her auntie and a bit disillusioned with mommy who is not terribly inclined towards playing ponies.

ANYWAY. It was nice to see her, lovely to see my kids reconnect with their TeeTee and I got clean bathrooms out of it :)

Today I have just the baby this morning (sitting on my lap, he says Hi) while the big kids are both in school. The house is almost eerily quiet. Without further ado - free time being rather severely limited - here are some favorite things right now.

Pacey, age 6 and 10 months

This kid is ridiculously adaptable. He has embraced his new school experience wholeheartedly. I love seeing him meander down the driveway to the bus each morning, excited to see what school has in store for him. He's already making huge strides (telling time, learning new sight words, etc) and I am very, very impressed with the ways this school is meeting his needs and communicating with me.

I love that he loves his independence. At 3:00 pm the bus drops him off at the end of our driveway (special transport FTW!) and he runs up the drive with a huge grin on his face. He drops his backpack in the entry, pulls his shoes off, immediately wants to know where Sister and Baby Archer are, and then announces he's hungry. It's all just so very normal and exactly what I pictured the elementary school experience to be like as a parent. Once again, I wish I could go back and tell the 2006/2007 me that things would be just fine with this kid of mine.

Not my favorite: the four frillion times he gets out of bed for various things before finally settling down for the night

Brighton, age 4 and 4 months

This girl is a lover. She snuggles the baby, she gets in my lap whenever it's free, gives her dad the hugest bear hugs and *hates* it if she misses hugging her big brother goodbye in the morning. Her imagination is unparalleled and I love hearing the stories she comes up with. She is very helpful and is starting to reliably complete the small household tasks I assign her.

She is very motivated to learn. I feel a little bad that I had to take her down to just two days of preschool a week, but it won't affect her. I did buy a selection of workbooks that she LOVES to work on and was tickled pink to have "homework" after her first day of school (just an About Me page to fill out). She's a smarty pants and I'm excited for her to start kindergarten next fall.

Not my favorite: The rather adolescent looks she shoots me sometimes and the way she says, "MOM, I KNOW" when I remind her of something she OBVIOUSLY already knows.

Archer, age 8 weeks

The smiles. Oh, the baby smiles. It never fails to amaze me what a drastic physiological response your body can have to a smile. He coos too, and will "talk" back and forth with me. I feel like he's my most responsive baby in that way so far. His little fist grasps the neck of my shirt now when he falls asleep in my arms. It's so sweet, as is the fact that he still sleeps best if I'm holding him (though terribly inconvenient at times).

Not my favorite: Formula poop/gas. Good lord. Also, the seeming disinterest in sleeping for longer stretches at night yet.

Chris, age Old

A little shout out to my husband who went on a trip to see a friend this past weekend. There were some...issues with said friend that sort of ruined the weekend for him. It's not my story to tell, but suffice it to say there is a credit card account with my name on it that bears a charge to a certain county jail for bail (not for my husband, I hasten to add). This friend screws up a lot, to be honest, but Chris has hung in there with him and tried to be there in various transitions in his life. I admire his loyalty (however I will be raising an eyebrow VERY LOUDLY if the suggestion of another trip comes up next year).

And now I have 20 minutes left before I'm due back for pick-up so I'm going to unload the dishwasher. Or maybe just snuggle my baby :)

Monday, September 9, 2013


Ah, well, best intentions, right?

I still haven't found the magic formula for having everyone's needs adequately met for ten minutes so I can come and splash some words on a page. Right now Pacey is at school, the baby is napping and Brighton is watching a highly educational show (ha) while she eats breakfast. I am cramming Grape Nuts in as quickly as I can and am determined to post a quick's been a busy few weeks!

I turned 33. I took a two hour nap with Archer and we went out to dinner. The end. Awesome birthday. I feel mostly back to my old self although, you know, on a lot less sleep. My stint as a breastfeeder has come to an end (more on that in a minute) but not before I had mastitis. That sucked. A LOT. However, in the course of getting it diagnosed and treated on a Saturday I found what has to be the best Urgent Care in history. I was in and out with prescription in hand in 15 minutes. Every week I feel like I'm able to resume a bit more of my normal routine. It's a challenge not to feel defeated by the sheer amount of tasks necessary to just keep up with everything, but I am slowly learning to be okay with Good Enough.

Pacey has now lost a total of three teeth, started first grade and begun speech therapy at a new clinic with a new therapist who is the brunette, Midwestern version of Cameron Diaz (lucky kid). School is going very well so far. He is riding the bus (!) which is nice for many reasons but not least because his school starts at 8 and I was really dreading trying to get us all out the door to join the chaos that is morning drop off. Our elementary school has a huge open enrollment (kids from outside the school's catchment area) due to a Chinese immersion program as well as the bulk of the special education services, which means more parents have to drop off their kids than would be typical. Nice to avoid all that and Pacey loves riding the bus. He is totally stoked with the independence he gets and it's good for me to let go just a little more. He is part of a general education first grade classroom with para support and he spends a couple hours in the morning with his special education teacher in her classroom working on academics (she pre-teaches things they'll do in his general ed class as well as works on speech, OT skills and other areas he may need adjusted curriculum). We send a communication notebook back and forth and I hear from lots of different people about what he is doing during the day. It's a huge relief to have started the year and ironed out all the details. I don't recommend changing school districts during the summer if you can avoid it! :/

Brighton will start pre-K and gymnastics this week and I will start having a few hours with just Archer a couple days a week. I'm excited for her to have something all her own again. She is playing soccer on Saturday mornings through our parks and rec program and takes it very seriously (in a good way). They spent the first few weeks just learning skills and starting this weekend they will play short games. She continuously amazes Chris and I with her passion and energy and she is extremely engaging. Her imagination is incredible and she is a great social director for her and Pacey's play time. She misses her brother during the day and will often tell people we encounter how much she loves and misses him. Her vocabulary and language have really matured and I'm going to introduce her to Ramona Quimby and Mrs. Piggle Wiggle this fall.

Archer has progressed from a squalling bundle of flailing newborn limbs into a nicely rounded, sometimes smiley 7-week-old. After the initial first few weeks of smooth sailing with feeding, his tongue-tie (which Brighton also had, much more severely) started to interfere and I had to take him for a frenulectomy (fancy way of saying a doctor takes a pair of scissors and clips the frenulum underneath the tongue to release it). It's not a fun thing to have to do but I'd been through it before and his was much less dramatic (go figure). Following that, however, he developed identical symptoms to Brighton when she was diagnosed with milk protein intolerance. Think waking up screaming every 45 minutes, gas that would raise your eyebrows coming out of a grown man and arching/fussing during feedings. I took him into the pediatrician and she recommended a trial on hypoallergenic formula - the other option would have been to eliminate all dairy from my diet and continue breastfeeding. Considering I don't eat meat, that would have basically made me vegan and, well, I just wasn't that committed to nursing. Long story short, he improved dramatically on the formula, I am weaning off the pump and that is that. It was really nice to experience a normal, drama-free nursing stint and I'm happy he got six weeks of breastmilk but I'm comfortable with formula feeding too and, you know, it's nice to have a baby that doesn't scream 24-7. He smiles and is starting to use his hands purposefully. He is still happiest upright and has amazing head and neck control. Sleep is improving again and he's waking an average of twice a night which isn't too bad. Day time sleep is all over the place but it's going to be a challenge to get him on a nap schedule anyway, with all the other obligations we have.

We have lots of great things planned for the fall and I'm excited for the change in seasons. My sister will be here for a long weekend to meet Archer and Chris is taking a trip to visit a friend in New York. Life is starting to feel manageable again, which is a relief, although I definitely see what people mean about adding a third kid and how much it complicates things! Ok, I'm off to feed said third baby and give him a bath. His new formula smells...not good. :)

Taking a break from swimming at our friend's
country club 

She's almost caught up to him in height

Notable because he actually consented to be
laid down on a blanket without screaming

Birthday dinner

I love when babies sleep with their arms over
their heads like this. He doesn't get the
opportunity to be out of a swaddle very often.

First day of school (note little sister's face in
the background ;)


Baby: now with 100% more smiles
And a performance for your viewing pleasure: