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Monday, March 26th, 2012
We’re at the 7-week mark now, and things are going pretty well. I’m finding the baby thing a little easier the second time around.
I’m not coming fresh to every little thing, and that contributes to an overall feeling of (relative) competence. I’m comfortable being around a baby. Handling a baby. Having a baby.
Her cries and do not scare me, nor do the various hues and consistencies of her bowel movements. I know how to use a breast pump and what to carry in the diaper bag. We’ve already got a kid-friendly schedule in place and a daycare provider we love and trust.
It’s more about managing/balancing the family’s time (there seems to be less) and emotions (there seem to be more).
We’ve had some unseasonably warm weather here, which has made things easier. It’s drawing us out of the house, and out of our heads, much sooner than if it were the typical chilly Minnesota March. It makes a huge difference.
The most common outing is “around the block,” followed closely by “to the neighborhood park.” We sometimes swing by and pick up Vivian, Roy’s bud, and her family, too.
Check out the protective arm around the shoulder. Roy loves Vivi.
Vivi got a new brother the week after Roy got a new sister. Franklin and Vera kick it on the playground’s edge for now. Oh, the little siblings will be tearing it up soon enough.
As the weeks pass, we’re getting more adventurous. Last week, for example, Vera and I went out to lunch to celebrate Romelle’s birthday.
I’m still at that stage where showering and putting on clothes that do not double as pajamas feels like a major coup, so this was big stuff. Romelle is totally worth it.
And guess what? Clint and I went out, together, without the kids. We got them snuggled into bed, put on spitup-free clothes, then drove off to spend time with other grownups for a couple of hours. (Of course, a sitter was involved. Thanks, Bubbe!)
It felt so novel. I do not have any photos of the occasion because I was too busy talking and drinking wine and just completely enjoying what it felt like to be out talking and drinking wine. It’d been a really long time.
Yeah, things are going pretty well.
Babysmiles make everything better.
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Tuesday, March 6th, 2012
I can’t believe it’s been a month! It feels like yesterday. But it also feels like ages ago. You know how it goes.
I can’t say we’re settling into anything regular yet, but maybe a pattern is emerging? There are constants, thanks in large part to the routine we’ve established with Roy. We get up at the same time. We eat at the same time. We take a bath and go to sleep at the same time. And now, we do these things with Vera; working her needs into the greater framework of our lives. It’s a perfect fit.
Don’t you just love the stage where they are small enough to bathe in the sink? Eventually, it seems unimaginable. She was small enough to fit into the sink. You need these pictures for proof. To show her, and to remind yourself.
She doesn’t like baths like Roy did. She naps better than Roy did. She won’t sleep in a bassinet like Roy did. It’s so hard not to compare. We’d better work on that.
Speaking of Roy, he’s still enjoying his little sister. He calls her Vera, or Junie, or June Bug, or Sissy, and mimics the way I comfort her: It’s OK. I gotcha. Little sweetie, which he pronounces “fweetie.” The only one he won’t repeat is Shhh. Roy doesn’t like it when I shush his sister, even though it’s my way of comforting; of creating white noise. He thinks I’m reprimanding her, and though I try and explain otherwise, he does not approve.
I’m not getting much sleep, or many showers. I’m wearing the same clothes for days at a time, and they’re not pretty. They’re comfy maternity clothes, so they’re too big, but my regular clothes are still too small. So they’re baggy and stained in spit-up and it’s gotten pretty bad. One night at bedtime, Roy said, “Mommy. That flannel’s dirty. Take it off.” He even suggested I put on one of my bright tank tops, “Green or purple,” he instructed. I promised him that the next morning when I came to get him out of bed, I’d have one of them on. I did. I wore it for three days straight. So Roy’s gotten on my case. For the record, my sweet husband hasn’t said a word.
But today is a new day. I’m showered. Getting a few things done. Have a dinner plan. It’s nice out—a 50-degree day in March in Minnesota definitely qualifies as nice—so maybe we’ll get in a walk before bed. I’m finding it best to focus on these little accomplishments and not to dwell on the things that aren’t getting done. There are too many of them. Day by day. They turn into months so quickly. She’s testing the seams of her newborn clothes, so it’s time to move into the 0 to 3 months size. This makes me feel surprisingly nostalgic.
Happy One Month Birthday, Vera! Little fweetie.
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Monday, February 13th, 2012
Here’s what was going on over here exactly one week ago today:
And a whole lot of this:
The birth went pretty much as I’d hoped. Difficult, as childbirth tends to be, but smooth and relatively quick. Relatively. Full report to come. The hospital stay was pretty relaxing, too.
And then we came home. My milk came in, turning my boobs into two large, painful boulders, ready to burst at any moment. My nipples burned from all the newborn mini-mouth action. And Roy threw up. Then he threw up again. And again. It was awful.
Settling in at home with a newborn is difficult. Beautifully disorienting and amazing and wonderul and difficult. Settling in at home with a newborn and a confused toddler with the stomach flu is much more difficult. You want to comfort him. You need to. But there’s a baby in your arms. A baby with a delicate immune system. You can’t do both. It’s heartbreaking. Plus, there’s all that puke to clean up.
Looking back, the last week can well be defined by all the moments that brought tears to my eyes. Here is an incomplete list:
* In the early morning hours, my contractions are gaining momentum and intensity. I’m packing the last few items in my bag between them. Upstairs, Roy is stirring in his crib. We are about to take him to daycare and then head in to the hospital. I start weeping uncontrollably. Our girl is finally on her way.
* I’ve been in hard labor for long enough that I want it to stop. Want to call the whole thing off. Seriously. My doula has convinced me to ride a few contractions out in the tub and see where that gets us. They pick up, rip though me, becoming just short of impossibly, literally, un-fucking-bearable. Only between contractions does my body have enough extra energy to whimper-cry.
* I take a warm bath a few hours post-birth. Clint is in the adjoining hospital room, holding our second child, a mere hour old. I’ve birthed her. I’m no longer pregnant. We did it. We are a family of four. I cry in pure disbelief and happiness.
* Roy bursts into the room, throwing the cloth hospital curtain back dramatically and grinning wide. He’s wearing a t-shirt that says “I’m the Big Brother.” He sits on the bed next to me and peeks skeptically at Vera, his sister, for the first time. Of course the tears come.
* The second night Roy visits us in the hospital, he wants us to come home with him. Doesn’t understand why the three of us stay and he has to go home. He sobs like he’s never sobbed before, repeating, “Mommy, Daddy, Mommy, Daddy.” Again, he sits next to me in the hospital bed. I hug him and whisper that we will come home tomorrow, I promise, and that we’ll all be together and that I love him forever and ever. He calms down but is clearly not OK. It breaks my heart in two.
* We finally get home. During Vera’s inaugural diaper change, she screams so hard it’s silent. Roy positions himself at her head and pats her fuzzy bird hair softly, repeating, “It’s OK, Vera. It’s OK.” Sob.
* Roy just puked. As Clint is cleaning him up, I hold Vera and watch as his toddler lip quivers, shiny bright pink against his pale skin. He looks at me directly, his big blue eyes broadcasting pure confusion and pain. I want to hold my baby, Roy, like I used to. I want things to be as they were. I wonder what we’ve done—and how we’re ever going to do it.
* Clint draws warm baths for me twice a day. The morning ones are especially lovely. I am all alone, soaking my recovering body and needy breasts in lavender salts. Vera is clean and fed and downstairs, in Clint’s arms. I can hear Roy’s toddler squeals and pajama feet padding the floorboards. I relax down into the water and quietly cry over how incredibly lucky I am.
Overall, we’re getting there. Roy’s back on regular food and hasn’t puked in a couple of days. Clint is a patient and clearly proud father of two. My milk is totally in and the pressure and pain are mellowing. Despite the crying jags, which are to be expected, I’m functioning and healing fairly well. And Vera has been a rock star. Mellow. A fabulous eater. A darn good sleeper and pooper. We truly can’t get enough of her and love her like crazy.
That’s it for now. I’ll re-emerge with another update when I’m able.
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Thursday, January 26th, 2012
Two years ago at this very moment, I’d been experiencing contractions for roughly 24 hours. Little did I know, I was still far from done. They would strap on the oxygen. They would try the vacuum not once, not twice, but three times—unsuccessfully. They would coach me through four hours of pushing, and even hang a little jungle gym-type setup over my hospital bed to help. They would quietly give in and summon back-up, declaring it c-section time. Then, finally, before back-up could arrive, my son would enter the world, wide-eyed and calmly alert from the very beginning.
We threw his big birthday bash last Saturday. To ensure he’d nap, we kept it a secret. (We learned our lesson after having to tackle Christmas Eve napless due to excitement.) Once he woke up, people started arriving, and he just could not believe it. Grandma & Papa Buckner drove up from Iowa, and his Birthday Brother Vincent drove down from Duluth. (Happy birthday today, too, little Vinny!). Plenty more grandmas and papas and aunties and uncles and friends filled the house.
We had pizza and corn on the cob (for some reason, that’s all the kid wanted for his birthday—corn on the cob) and cupcakes. Being the center of attention during the birthday song really isn’t his bag. He’d rather run around getting one-on-one time with all his favorite peeps. Which he did, happily, until everyone went home. Every day since, he’s talked about all the great people who came to his party. That, and the corn on the cob.
Today, on his actual birthday, he’s having cupcakes at daycare with his friends. We’ve got a few presents to open tonight, and we’ll do a repeat of his birthday party meal, from cupcake to corn. I’m sure we’ll cap it off with a bubble bath. Maybe an extra book or two at bedtime. Kickin’ it two-year-old style.
Dinner will unfold at about the same time, two years ago, that I finally held him and instantly knew that the previous 30-some hours were completely worth it. Worth him—my sweet, easygoing little hugger, bookworm, truck aficionado and corn-on-the-cob lover. My sweet little baby boy.
I love you so much, Roy. More than you’ll ever know.
(P.S. I’m still pregnant.)
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Wednesday, December 28th, 2011
We have arrived at 35 weeks. I tried to pose a little better this time, so you can get the full effect of The Tummy:
Yep. I’m pregnant.
So how was your holiday? Ours was lovely, thanks. For us, the season starts with a big bang on Thanksgiving, when we host 20-some, then is peppered with all sorts of out-of-town celebrations, then nearby celebrations, ending in a pretty quiet Christmas Day at home. We love it from top to bottom. Roy just adores all the action and seeing all his people, whether it’s an evening with a houseful of aunts and uncles and cousins or a quick run by the neighbors’ to drop off some holiday snacks. Talks about it for days before and after.
According to Parents.com’s week-by-week babytracker, little girl is the size of a honeydew. Even though I’m bigger by the day, and even with all the holiday action, I’m still feeling better than ever, physically. Mentally, though…. After things wound down and I looked at the calendar and saw that the 29th was this week, I went into a bit of a panic. I’m due the 29th of next month. Which means that we’re not having a baby “in January,” we’re having a baby this month. That’s a shockingly small amount of days in which to accomplish all the things I’d like before she comes. Thankfully, “like” and “need” are two very different things. I keep reminding myself of that.
On one hand, there’s that feeling of having so much to do, and the over-the-top excitement of finally getting to meet our little girl. On the other hand, there’s a mellow sort of sadness about losing what we already have: our little threesome. I want to prepare for what’s to come, but I also want to hang out with Roy as much as possible, to soak in all this focused time we have together before it doesn’t really work this way anymore. I’m sure I hug him too much. Request kisses too much. Gobble his bellybutton and tell him I love him and ask for a quick cuddle, please, too much. If there is such a thing as too much of any of those.
As Christmas night was winding down, we decided to sneak in a walk before bedtime. Boo to unseasonably warm temps for stealing our white Christmas, but long, ice-free strolls do make for a fine consolation prize. Roy begged to take the wagon. Pleeeease? Pleeeease? Clint complied; dug the wagon out of the garage and loaded it down with blankets and pillows and then tucked his tiny bods in, so all that showed was a little stocking hat-topped head. We wandered up the block in the dark, toward the neighborhood’s best light display, looking at the stars and moon above. After a couple of silent minutes, I glanced back at Roy and caught him grinning ear-to-ear under all those covers, beyond happy at the holidays, the sky, the wagon, his family. I wanted so badly to bottle that moment up and keep it forever—just the three of us in that perfect slice of time.
I can’t help but feel a little sad that there won’t be moments like that anymore.
I can’t help but hope that the foursome version we’re trading it for delivers similar ones that feel just as amazing. If not, doubly so.
Honeydew image credit: iStockphoto
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