baby brown

welcoming our son to the world.

two.

You, my little love. My Baby Love. At the end of the next seven days, you will have been living outside of my body for two whole years. Two years of everything and more than I can bear. Whenever I attempt to sit down and write you another letter I quickly become overwhelmed by all of the thoughts, feelings, and memories that too easily engulf me. It is not that I do not have anything good to tell you. I have much to recount and keep record of for you. I am merely a tiny ship in this ocean of your life. Imagine a toy boat in your bath tub at night, then wash it out to sea with the tide, water surrounding it as far as your bright, fresh eyes can see. That would be much like my life with you: so much when I am so small.

I am so small. The more I learn with you, for you, the smaller I become in your ocean. You grow so fast and learn so easily that I cannot keep up. The capacities of this boat, your mother, are no match for the vastness of you- your light, your love, your eagerness, your energy and beautiful spirit. You are proof of the stars and the sun, for all the goodness we see in the sky has made its way to you.

I want to tell you about the love I am learning to carry for you. The loving you, the act of having love for you and giving it to you, is not learned; that part just began with you, long before I ever knew you’d be my son. As if I’d set a beacon to the universe that I was looking for you, pushing love into the light and space around me, seeking you in whatever way you’d answer; I loved you then. I wanted you to come and be my son, my Baby Love. I needed to find your light and carry it with me; I will carry you always. There was no other choice for me. I loved you before I knew I could have you, before I found the answer to my heart’s most deepest need. There would be no other way. I want you to know that, yet you will not comprehend the weight of this truth until, someday, you receive your child, should you choose to become a father.

No, that part is effortless. It just became one day, and so it continues without intervention. I learn to carry that love, to manage it without drowning in it. I am the tiny boat in the enormous ocean, attempting to hold all of the water without sinking. I will likely never learn to both hold all of it without being pulled under. I wish holding this love were as easy as fitting it inside the space you built while I carried you to term, but it isn’t.

For 40 weeks and four days my body expanded proportionately with your physical size. On that 284th day you were pulled from my womb, quite literally, and into this great, big world. No longer protected by me from within, I have learned to carry you outside my body and protect you, still, with most everything I have inside. My blood, my breath working together to operate this body that continues to nourish and comfort you; all of my cells orchestrating the chemistry required to mother you in every way I can and know how to with everything I have and can give. It does not end. It will only continue to change with you and look different as the hours, days, years keep ticking. Oh, how we have changed in these plural years.

My new baby is now my confident and capable toddler. This boy can feed and (almost) dress himself. He has opinions and thinks curiously about everything he can see and touch. He has preferences and dislikes, communicating approval and displeasure freely and without filter. He talks and we can mostly understand him. He is smart and vibrant. He loves to laugh and sing. He enjoys books and trains. He’s a swimmer, a runner, a climber, and a jumper. He has a tender heart and a firm grip. He is fast. He is strong, healthy, and determined. His laugh is still the most favorite sound my ears have ever known.

I hold my breath as I watch you sometimes. I’m trying to imprint the moment somewhere I will never forget and hoping that if I’m still and don’t even move to breathe that somehow- I want to be so sure of it- my mind will memorize you exactly in that instant and I can keep you forever that way, if only in my memories. Don’t blink and don’t breathe, I try. Hold tight to these few seconds. You will never be this small and this new again. I miss your childhood already for the young man you’re growing to be. I know deeply that these days are short. For all of the difficult days I wish, in the moment, to trade for future, easier days I am hastening these years by exhaustedly wishing them away. I am learning to wish for now. I am learning to meet the capacity of you and the volume of this mother’s love. I always feel unfinished here. I always feel I will never have enough space to not be overtaken. It is so much and so heavy. It reaches so deep and illuminates all of my life. In you I see everything, whether I want to or not.

I know that my job is done sufficiently well enough most days, as you grow and learn even without my best to guide you. You need helpful nudges in one direction or another, but even when I do not give all of my best to you every day you are still growing into an amazing person.

Mothering you challenges me to learn, grow, and heal. I am challenged to better myself and become healthier. I must change to follow you when it’s my turn to learn. I must improve to guide you. I must heal the parts that need tending so I can walk beside you. The dynamic relationship of my self to you, and my singular self to what I’ve brought with me into today is a difficult one to manage. I am learning to reconcile the parenting I received with the parenting you need me to give you. I am always learning. I will never finish. I am learning, especially, how to leave some things unfinished. I am learning how to leave some things behind as I identify those things as useless or impeding. I am learning to embrace new things and improve others as needed. This is exhausting. When I become frustrated with these processes and overwhelmed with the rigor of this work, those are the days I cannot give you my best; I have no “best” available for giving. Those are the days we all get less but still trying. Those are the days I struggle with and become sad over. Those are the days I then learn forgiveness again, and trying again, and renew my commitment to betterment. It’s difficult to accept less from myself when you deserve more. It won’t always be perfect, but you don’t demand perfection of me. When I imagine myself through your view I unravel. I am undeserving of your love and adoration, your untainted acceptance of me exactly as you know me, and your ignorance of all that I am and appear to be to the world outside. I may never see truly the mother in myself that only you know. This feels profoundly shattering today. I will practice imagining myself through your eyes. I will come undone at the imagination of how you might see me, but I will try to accept your truth as part of my reality.

Seven more days and then you will be two years old. I will not predict the new year for you. You have your own way and your own life to learn without anyone projecting what comes next. I will follow when it’s my turn to learn. I will lead with my best on the good days and with good effort on the rest of the days. I will cherish the privilege of walking beside you in this life. I needed you and you chose me. We celebrate your birthday but I celebrate the gift that you are to me.

My Baby Love. My big love. My sweet boy. I wish you a happy second birthday.

IMG_2068.JPG

Advertisements
Leave a comment »

one year, love

Your birthday party was a crazy, hectic celebration of YOU. I celebrate you every day in my heart but that day, Sunday August 11, we all celebrated you together. You got to play with your friends Kyla (Emmy), Brighton (Maria & Jake), Olivia (Lori), Lila (Melanie + baby in womb), Alena & Emma (Heather), Roree (Bri & JT), Eden (Haven), Kinley & Alanna (Shannon & Sherry), Charley (Becky & Matthew), plus KaSandra & the kids all came! Uncle Eric & Aunt April, Aunt Megan, Uncle Mel & Aunt Sarah, Aunt Katie, Aunt Mary & Uncle Mike, Grandpa & Nana, Grandma & Poppy, Great-Meme, Great Aunt Jackie, Great Aunt Donna, Great Uncle Kenny, Cameron, and of course Mama & Dada were all there to celebrate your very first birthday. You ran around the house and visited with everyone, ate some food, then made a mess of your cake, which Grandma made special for you. We had to strip you down and hose you off in the sink. It was so wonderful to have Aunt Megan come down from Boston to help with your party and spend time snuggling you and giving you all the kisses she’s been saving up over the last few months since we last saw her in May. You spent a lot of time in the pool, and even went back in after most of your guests left to swim naked until you were completely exhausted and ready for bed. You really love being in the water. Grandpa & Nana’s house was so full— of people, food, and love— all for you. We love you so much, Bug. I hope when you get older and look at the pictures and video from the day you can tell how much fun we all have just being part of your life. We are so happy to be your family and friends; you are such a joy in all of our lives.

I cannot believe the first year is over. We’ve lived your first 12 months in a hurried blur of milestones, life lessons, revelations, exploration, realizations, and absolute adventure. You’ve brightened our lives, my love. I can barely remember our lives before there was you, and we had not nearly so much fun and excitement without you. It has been a trying year, a learning year. We have discovered much about you and more about ourselves in parenting you. We have stretched the limits of our patience, compassion, and understanding, all the while always figuring out who we want to be for you and with you. You are not just our child- you are our family. You may be small in size (growing with every minute), but you are big in place of importance in our life, our home, our days. You are not a second thought or afterthought, no inconsequential happenstance of our goings-on. You are very much involved and included. You go everywhere and participate in almost everything we do. I love showing you what I’m doing and letting you ‘help’, even if you just steal whatever I have and run off with it. Everything is a game for you. Everything is funny and accompanied by your hearty laughter and giant, toothy smile.

Loving you is the best of everything. I will never feel any less about you in your whole life. Never forget that; never doubt it for a second. We asked for you, we tried so hard for you, we couldn’t stop until you happened. And it is always and forever everything and so much more than I ever imagined. Even on your worst days when you’re frustrated, inconsolable, upset, and I’m at my worst and together we are a mess— it is still the best. You are the best. May you always know the love in my heart where your tiny hands and feet pressed against it from the inside of your first home- where you grew big and strong enough to be born and face the outside world alongside Dada and me. Always know that you belong with us, not to us. Always feel accepted and wanted and treasured for the little person that you are, the boy you are growing to be, and the man you will someday be. However big your hands grow, they will always fit in mine. I will never leave you. I am growing with you to be the mom I know you deserve and that I so much want to be for you. Always know I’ve done everything for you that I’ve been capable of doing. Always know that I’ve pushed my limits for you, to be better and more for you, to do more and better for you, to provide for you and ensure you have everything you need and never forget to remind myself that you are your own being. You will change so much so quickly. I hope to provide a constant for you, an anchor to tether yourself to as you float away and return to home base, like a fearless balloon to the wind.

We love you so much.
Happy birthday, Bugga.

20130904-073808.jpg

Leave a comment »

almost birthday

OK little mister, it’s Thursday the 8th of August, which means your birthday is Tuesday.
It’s been an entire year (almost) since the day you were born. Since ‘that day’. And there’s been so much this year… So much good, and so much learning, and so much growing, and so much of you. I am so incredibly, completely in love with you and the way you’ve stretched my heart beyond its ability to love, accumulated over 27 years of beating steady, just waiting for you to show it how to thump with new life, with your life, with everything that is you. I can’t believe I can love this much, so much, every single day. But I have been, and I still do, and I always will, my little love.
You are the best of life. You have made this year the very best year of my life, and it gets better every single day just because you are here and growing and changing all the time. You are so damn smart and funny and full of energy. There is never a dull moment around you. You started walking at 9 months & 3 weeks, and spend much of your day running around the house, stealing everything you can get your paws on, and terrorizing the dogs. You still love bath time the best and slap your hands around in your “tubby tub”, swishing all of the water and suds everywhere. You recognize things and parts of your daily routine and become excited when you realize you know what’s about to happen. For example, when we pull out a wrap or carrier, you know we’re going to wear you. When daddy grabs the dog leashes, you run over to “help” take the dogs outside. When I put the tray on your high chair for dinner, you get excited to stuff your little chipmunk cheeks full of food. You love pasta and Nilla wafer cookies, ice cream and freeze pops, coconut milk and coffee, shepard’s pie, basically anything we’re eating that isn’t scrambled eggs. It’s entertaining to watch you march around the house, talking to yourself (or your toys, daddy, or the dogs), yelling “Dee dee deeeeeee!” and “Dehgo dehgo” and jabbering away about whatever is in your little head. And you smile your little mischievous grin, so adorably, that when you’re climbing the furniture and threatening to smash my lamps you’re still cute as hell. You’re so eager to be big and do whatever we do. All of these little things that will soon fade in my memory I want to hold onto so tightly, stop you from getting older, and live in these moments forever.
I love you so much I want to squeeze you until you pop. But you still don’t give me nice kisses, just chomp down and bite me.
This year I’ve learned who I am as a mother. I’ve met the mother in me that I don’t want to be, and decided to be better. I’ve started taking notes of what kind of things I want to do with you and teach you. I’ve discovered the part of me as a mother where it’s really awesomely ok for you to just be little and fun, and for me to enjoy you just the way you are, for all of the things you’re learning, and for everything you don’t know yet. And it’s beautiful. The messes and the chaos, the noise and the frenzy, it’s all ok and it’s good, even if I forget to step back and take it all in for who you are at that very moment, even if I let my frustration or impatience surface. It’s something we’re learning together, but I feel like I’m doing a much better job than I would ever have given myself credit for previously.

Leave a comment »

First Vacation

In the middle of May, while the weather was still beautiful and enticing- luring me home to where the calcified core of my heart has stayed grounded all my life- we brought you to Boston. You had your first plane rides (2 up and 2 back); your first History lessons (Adams Historical National Park in Quincy, MA and USS Constitution Museum in Boston); your first real beach adventure (in Eastham down the Cape, with my cousin Nick and your Auntie Megan and daddy and I, of course); your first big city adventure, riding the T into Boston and wandering Boston Common and Public Garden (where I nursed you while we watched high school kids running about taking Prom pictures), down Charles St. to Faneuil Hall and Quincy Marketplace, all the way up and back through the North End, catching bustling views of the city from our Tula Baby Carrier while catching a ride with me and daddy (we had to take turns, you’re a solid 20+ lbs. now and all I wore on my feet were flip-flops). We walked past the T stop I used to get off at to hike the steep cobblestone streets to Auntie Meg’s garden apartment in Beacon Hill, back when she had first moved to the city and I fell in love with being there (minus the snow, of course). I tried to cram as much New England into your first visit as I could, partly to make up for the fact that you were born in Florida and not where I came from, where I always want to be back again. We visited your Grammy and Grandpa Bob, then you met my most special friends, Amanda, Sue, and Cassie. It was like I had never left so many years ago, despite everything about us all being so very different, but everything about the four of us looked and felt the same. You instantly became captivated by Auntie Meg’s doggie, Lucy, and I believe you two are best friends for life. You spent late afternoons napping beside her on the couch and shared your toys and hers together. You napped in the car everyday as we shuttled you around the state, always waking up in a new place, confused but content to adventure with us wherever we ended up. I wish we could do that trip all the time. It was the best. I never wanted it to end. Everybody loved you.

And then I spent our last night there holding vigil over you as your temperature shot above 100°, your skin hot like fire, the palms of your hands and soles of your feet searing against my skin as you nursed and slept. I was worried I’d have to bring you to the hospital hours before we were due to take off from Logan Airport, missing our flights home. But I dosed you with Tylenol and tried to keep you cool as much as I could while you whimpered through the night. We woke late and rushed to get everything loaded and on our way to the airport. Then I lost daddy’s license at the curbside baggage check-in kiosk, only to have an older gentleman find it and return it just in time to check our bags and head to security, where your fever finally broke momentarily and we made it on the first plane back home in time to nurse you down for a nap. Your fever returned by the second flight, but you were in good spirits when we landed and you got to see Grandpa again since he picked us up to drive us home. Your fever spiked to 103° that evening when we were home and unpacking, and I called your doctor to get you in the next morning for a visit. Turns out you caught a cold virus in our travels and had a sore throat and itchy ears— I know because by Thursday I had your same symptoms. You’re such a trooper though. Once we adjusted your dose of Tylenol and got you comfy, you sailed through the rest of the virus like nothing happened. As usual, it took me the rest of the week to get back to normal. Lesson learned: boost our immune systems next time we travel. And probiotics! For everyone!

So you’re still super busy all the time and learning interesting things in your little baby world. Over the last month, you’ve been growing and changing quite a bit:
You’re almost walking now, and talking a lot better. You’ve said “Mama” and “Dada” already.
Your top right front tooth is taking forever to finish coming through your gums, and every night lately you’re miserably uncomfortable and unsettled every couple of hours. This is your third tooth. You think it’s hilarious to bite me when you’re supposed to be nursing, or chomping down onto my finger and scraping your two bottom teeth on my hand.
We bought you a kiddie pool shaped like a pirate ship and plopped you in there last evening, much to your delight. Anytime you can play with water you’re super excited and shriek with joy. I can’t wash my hands without you getting pissed I won’t let you play in the running faucet.
You’ve been falling asleep on your own without nursing. When you’re done drinking your milky you’re content to unlatch, put your pacifier in your mouth, and drift to sleep yourself.
You love riding your ride-on motorcycle (finally! You’re big enough!) and climbing up your rocking giraffe to get to the coffee table. And you still steal everything you can get your paws on.
In your urgency to be a big boy, you’ve been testing your balance and falling on your butt a lot, even bonking your head on the floor and startling yourself to tears. And then you wail the most heart-wrenching cry when we pick you up to comfort you.
You chase daddy across the room when you see him pick up the dog leashes, and when you catch him before he can make it out the door you lock your little fist onto the leash and get so excited to help daddy walk the dogs. He usually pries your hands away and scoots you back from the door so he can take the dogs outside without you. And then I feel bad for you, scoop you up, and carry you out into the sunshine so you can take part.
You’re just so big and want to do everything.
And you eat everything we eat now, fighting us for our bowls or plates.
I’m impressed every time you do something new that makes you independent and growing up, but every new thing means something else is over with.

Everything about you is so precious and little and perfectly adorable and funny lately. You’re the best of life and everything about it, and I can’t believe how lucky I am that I get to be your mom. You’re almost a year old already. I’ve been writing you letters for almost a year! Almost a year has passed since I was induced and your birth story played out (yeah, I’m still really unsettled about that); almost a year since this squirrely little boy was born to your dad and me- big, skinny, beautiful boy with a head full of crazy hair who was everything I’d imagined and everything I had no idea I was about to get, full force, ripping my heart into new shapes and a gigantic new size, testing my limits of amazement and love and understanding of myself and everything I’ve ever known in these short 28 years I’ve been alive.

You’ve irreparably changed everything, everything. It feels like I vaguely remember who I was before you were made, and I can never return to a life without you. Nothing will ever be the same. Everything is different shades of life and love since you; everything is deeper and bolder and brighter and more because of you. Oh, love, I had to have you. I have to have you. Everything of me is so tightly knit to everything of you, I carry you like I carry my arms, except more like my heart- a second one, where mine grew too big for my body and split off to be you and some left in me. One and the same, really. There’s no difference. It’s where you were born before you materialized in physical form. You were always there, the two of us just waiting for the right time, the right space. And then there you were. And everything is you.

I try so hard every day to be what I want for you. I want to be a better parent than I got. I want to be a better teacher than what I had. I try really hard to be conscious and present and right there in life with you. I hope you get that. I hope you know I’m right there with you, I’m always going to help you, I’m never far. Even when I give you your space to explore and learn and try, I’m watching you and waiting for your little hand to reach for mine. And I want you to grow up knowing and trusting that. I will always hold your hand, even when it grows bigger than mine. And you should know and feel that you were made in my heart, of my heart; you carry it with you; I carry you with me always. You push me to grow and be better all the time. You teach me more than anyone else ever will about myself and who and what I want to be before I’m done.

I love you the most (I’ll ever love anyone/anyone will ever love you).
Almost 10 months, Bugga Bug.

Leave a comment »

We have a 9-month old.

Man, you’re 9 months old now.

I’ve been thinking lately, a lot more than I’d like to be thinking about this right now, that I’d probably like to have another baby someday. There are things that would definitely need to happen differently a second time around for me to be ok with being pregnant again and delivering another baby, but I think at some point I’d probably like to have a sibling for you.

But I also wonder how different of a parent I will be to that second child, after having been through the same things with you. Surely I will love him/her (I’d hope for a “her”), but how can I love another baby as much as I love you? Somehow my capacity to love would have to grow ever bigger again, because I could not split my love for you between you and another baby. And sometimes I feel like I am already giving you my very best, and you are the most perfect baby ever, so what does that leave for another baby? This probably seems silly, but I truly wonder what I would be like, and another baby would be like, and how you would be with a younger sibling. I also want to give you the most and the best of what I can be as a mother, and I wonder how that would be diluted with another little person to share that with. I am overthinking this, I know. But I wonder. And if not for you being the best son a mother could dream of having, I wouldn’t even be considering doing this baby thing all over again. And if you’d stop growing so fast, I wouldn’t be already missing the baby-baby moments.

But you are awesome. I am in awe of you all the time. You are so smart, so quick, so eager. The little moments are the best with you- where you just want to quietly hold my hand or lounge in my lap while we watch TV. Your smile melts every crummy nuance of the day-to-day and I am so lucky to be on the receiving end of that two-toothed grin so frequently. It’s the best feeling ever to know that just catching my eyes makes your sweet face light up so vividly.

I just yesterday had my first Mother’s Day with you outside of my belly, and it was perfectly low-key. We napped, we nursed, we vacuumed the house and ate pancakes together. We grocery shopped, and you held onto my hands while sitting in the cart. Daddy gave me a picture frame with a picture of you and me in it for me to keep on my desk at work. You shared a bowl of soup with daddy after he got home from work. You chased the puppies around the house. It was a good day, as always. I am so lucky.

We’ve been letting you share our food right off our plates the last week or so. You’ve had pizza and cheeseburgers and French fries. You discovered Cheerios this weekend and had your first experience in a kiddie pool at Buccaneer Bay— which you LOVED. You still get so excited over playing in water. We need to teach you to swim this summer. And this week we are flying to Boston for your very first vacation to visit Auntie Megan and meet Grammy and Grampa Bob. And we’ll get to see mommy’s dearest friends that I miss so very much. It’s going to be a great trip.

As always, my little love, you are the very best of life and love. You’ve made me the happiest mommy in the world by being my little boy. Every day I look forward to your sweet smiles and kisses. You’re getting so big so fast. I can only imagine what the next month will bring.

Love love, little Bug. ❤

20130514-083332.jpg

20130514-083355.jpg

20130514-083425.jpg

20130514-083433.jpg

20130514-083452.jpg

20130514-083408.jpg

20130514-083440.jpg

20130514-083530.jpg

20130514-083547.jpg

20130514-083642.jpg

20130514-083652.jpg

20130514-083712.jpg

20130514-083727.jpg

20130514-083733.jpg

20130514-083742.jpg

20130514-083750.jpg

20130514-083755.jpg

Leave a comment »

8 ½ months

I was thinking last night about what your first birthday will feel like for me. I was remembering a little bit of your birthday last year- how daddy and I went to the hospital so early in the day, and how crazy the day ended with me completely “out of it” and you all alone in the NICU. I’m not sure how to mend the wound in my psyche of that day. I am forever grateful you are here and you made it out safely and recovered just fine; you’re so big and healthy now, part of me feels like it should be inconsequential, all the mess we went through to get you here safely from inside my belly. But it still… I don’t know. It haunts me, mostly.

But I wanted to write to you today to tell you that I am amazed at what breast feeding has been and done for you, for us, so far. And how much I love it. And how much I hate pumping. But how much I love that you’re a breastfed baby, and I love that you love it, and I hope we continue for a good long while, still.

We had a hard time in the beginning. You were on oxygen and had a feeding tube, because you couldn’t breathe normally due to the inflammation of your lungs from the meconium aspiration when you were born. So you couldn’t take a bottle, let alone nurse. You were working really hard just to breathe and maintain your body temperature, it was too much to ask you to try to nurse for a few days. But then we tried, and it was a little wonky and we had to adapt, and eventually you latched on and went to town and the first time I successfully nursed you—really nursed you for a good feeding—was like wrestling a baby alligator. You were all over the place and so sweaty and I was sweaty and I felt like such a champ and was so proud of us. And then you fell asleep, full and satisfied, full of milky love and warmth. Exactly the way things were supposed to be.

For the first few months, nursing you guaranteed a nap and was the surest, easiest way to soothe you and knock you out for a few hours. Now I’m lucky if you focus for longer than 2 seconds (literally, 2 seconds!) on either side and nurse. You bite, you roll around, you scratch and claw with your little monkey paws, you constantly switch from side to side, you’ve got one mouth but demand both sides be uncovered and available, you want to lay down, you want to sit up, you want to roll over and watch TV, you want to twist upside down to watch daddy, you want to stick your fingers up my nose, in my mouth, in my eyes, you’re all over the place. And then suddenly, you decide you’re ready to commit to nursing and settle in for an actual feeding (sometimes switching sides multiple times, just for good measure) and you nuzzle into my chest to get your fill. Funny thing now is that you grab onto the breast you’re nursing from like someone might try to take it. You softly look me in the eyes but quickly become milk-drunk and your long lashes flutter with sleepiness. Once asleep, your whole body slumps limp against me and your face stays nuzzled against my chest, sometimes with your little arm stretched across.

And I become sleepy, too. It’s hard to not stay put, just snuggled against your perfectly warm little bundle of squish and snooze right along with you. Just this morning, it was too early for you to wake before I left for work, so I slipped back into bed next to you and nursed you before I left. I could feel the oxytocin creeping in, pulling me under, as you filled your little belly in your sleep. It’s really amazing how this all works, physiologically. And the other benefits still apply, as well. It’s free, fast, portable food for you (especially helpful for our upcoming trip to Boston in a couple weeks). It fixes any and all “boo-boos”, which are frequent these days. Every time you fall down a little too hard or get startled, mama’s milk fixes it.

I remember when I was pregnant with you, I read up on breast feeding and how to properly nurse, what a good latch looked like, how to hold you, how to know if I was having problems and how to fix it, etc. I watched videos so I would know what to expect and what “doing it right” looked like. And I cried a little, excited to be able to nurse you once you were born. And it’s everything good that I expected it to be.
Even the hard parts, like the squirrely nursing routine you’re in now and the pumping at work, are worth it just to be able to continue this uniquely amazing thing only a mother can have with a child. And I really, really hate pumping these days. I feel like it’s been half a lifetime of pumping already, and we’re not even close to being finished. But then I think of you, and how important it is to us both that you continue getting the mama milk when I can’t be with you during the day, and I trudge along to the private office at work and I pump.

Last week I was horribly sick with a stomach virus and couldn’t keep anything down for almost 3 days. You were the first to show symptoms the day before I did, but only for a few hours. I credit the endurance of our nursing relationship with keeping you protected and as healthy as possible, allowing you to make it through illness after illness this year relatively unscathed, but still receiving all of the benefits of the developed immunities. That alone is worth everything I have to give to keep you breastfed.

We’ll keep nursing until you’re done, pretty much. I don’t know where that will take us, how far into the future, or what that will look like in our daily life. But if there is any singular decision I wouldn’t change for the world, one thing that I would adamantly recommend to any expecting mother, it’s this. Just breastfeed. It’s so worth it, all of it.

20130429-115038.jpg

20130429-115102.jpg

20130429-115130.jpg

20130429-115154.jpg

20130429-115208.jpg

20130429-115226.jpg

20130429-115252.jpg

20130429-115318.jpg

20130429-115340.jpg

20130429-115356.jpg

20130429-115413.jpg

20130429-115424.jpg

20130429-115441.jpg

20130429-115452.jpg

20130429-115503.jpg

20130429-115520.jpg

20130429-115546.jpg

Leave a comment »

8 months big

You are getting super big now- about 20 lbs. these days and well over 2 feet tall. Daddy and I gave you yet another haircut last week and shaved off your Mohawk. You look like a completely different little man; there is very little teeny baby left in your facial features. You’re so… YOU now. The gestures you make with your soft little munchkin hands, the way you furrow your brow and give people dirty looks in the grocery store (which I think is AWESOME), the babble you talk at the toys you play with (or daddy, or your grandparents)—all of these things that have become so normal for you are so enjoyable to watch and know that they are the beginnings of your personality. I’m so happy to be your mommy so I get to experience every next stage of you becoming more and more yourself every little moment of your very big life.

And how I love you. Oh, my baby, so very much. I look at you now and think, really, “How?” Because you are the best of everything life will ever have for me to experience. You are the maximum capacity of my conscious mind’s capability to love, and the rest has to spill over into the unknowable overflow of my heart so as to keep me from bursting with more love than I can keep ahold of. At some point you may tire of reading about how much I love you. I can promise you I have never felt so wholly consumed by another person ever in my life. If I knew better how to co-exist with myself, and you, and the life-altering love from this mother to her child, maybe I’d not be so fascinated by it. But it’s truly incredible to know you through not only all of my usual senses, but the innermost depths of my soul. I have given you life (with the help of your daddy, I know), but in doing so I have given you my life. And even when I am maxed out on my daily allowance of patience and understanding, frustrated to the end, and so upset at whatever difficulty we’re experiencing that day (like you constantly whining from teething, refusing to nurse, and me being frustrated that COME ON, KID! NURSE ALREADY SO I CAN BE SOMEWHAT HUMAN AGAIN AND PUT MY BOOBS AWAY!), I still somewhere know how much more I need to give you and remind myself that this is only the beginning of the tests against our journey. The dynamic of our situation may change as you get older, and I may need to give you different amounts of mothering ingredients to meet your needs, but this is us until some hopefully very distant point in our future where you’re ready to let go and I am ok to leave. So until then, I am definitely learning to be better at being calm and just giving. One day you will learn to ask, and to take more kindly and courteously than the demands you put on me, but for now I am learning to just soothe and comfort and repeat until it works.

I remind myself I signed up for this.

I will never be perfect at this. But you make me want to be better. You need me to be better. And sometimes it’s really difficult to be understanding, patient, and soothing when I have my own needs and miss being my own person. It’s also difficult to reconcile the parenting I got from my parents and the parenting I want to give you. It’s harder to not repeat what I learned and be an original parent- the one that you and I decide on together- than I thought it would be sometimes. Everyone wants to do better than what they got, no matter how good what they got was. But in the moments when I get it right, really really right, I am so proud of both of us for me getting there. Because I hope to give you the best parenting I am capable of- I hope to always push myself to do better, be smarter. I hope that when you get older and look back on the job I’ve done, you can smile and say “my mom was awesome” and really mean it. I hope I give you good memories. I hope you look back on growing up with me and feel really happy and content. I hope you don’t feel like you had to miss out on much of anything. I hope you get to have all of the adventures and discoveries and fun times we can cram into this lifetime. The biggest hope in all of that- the one I have to work hardest on- is that you feel like I’ve been present and participating alongside you. The best of my childhood are the moments I felt like I was an equal with my parents, where they got in there with me and participated and really gave me their full presence in those moments. That’s the legacy I want to work at giving you.

And this shapes the decisions I make for you and about you. I choose to nurture you in specific ways:
• Carrying and wearing you instead of using a stroller
• Breast feeding you instead of giving you formula
• Nursing you instead of allowing others to give you a bottle of expressed milk when I am with you
• Having you sleep beside me every night instead of alone in a crib in another room

These things, I believe, are incredibly important in shaping you to be trusting, content, happy, and thriving. These things do not always come easily. I pay certain “prices” for making and committing to these decisions. For example, exclusively breast feeding you and pumping milk for you to have when I am not with you is exhausting and significantly demanding on my body, time, autonomy, and sometimes my mind. It is physically taxing to feed you so much from my body, still, months after you have been born. But the rewards are incredible and keep me working so hard to provide you the best nutrition I can offer you. I answer to maintaining a constant milk supply to keep you fed; I answer to your hunger cries with myself through milk and physical closeness. That’s pretty serious, if you consider the dedication that requires. When you are hungry, it’s me. When you are scared, lonely, unsure, anxious, hurting, tired, cranky, uncomfortable, overwhelmed, startled, or any other state you happen to be in, it’s me. When you need soothing, comfort, closeness, snuggling, or just a soft, warm body to nap on, it’s most often me. I am no longer an independent being, which I prided myself on being for so long. I have this little person who is attached (both physically and figuratively, depending) that I must always consider first. Where I go, what I do, who I spend time with (with and without you) depends on what is best for you- now and in the future. And co-sleeping with you can be difficult and cost me a lot of sleep and comfort with your daddy. But it’s important to me to ensure I am able to parent you in ways that will benefit you better than the alternatives. I have to make certain sacrifices, like keeping a job outside the home to help support our family, so I cannot parent you all day everyday exactly the way I want to. But when I am with you, I am determined to follow my instincts and give you what I recognize you need. Some people think these things are crazy and unconventional. But when they marvel at how “good” you are, I just smile and nod. I know that these crazy ideas are working because I see it in you.

The last month or so you’ve gotten your very first cold (which you caught from, and then gave back to, daddy and me). And then the next day you started crawling. And the following day you started cutting your first two bottom teeth, which are still working their way in and causing you some misery throughout the day lately. You’ve had your first Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and this past weekend was Easter. In a few more weeks, you’ll take your first trip up to Boston to meet your Grammy and Grandpa Bob, and see Auntie Meg and Uncle Adam again. And you’ll meet all of mommy’s bestest friends and their kids. Now you’re pulling yourself up to standing next to furniture and shuffling your beefy little feet around while holding on, and when you get stuck or something’s in your way you get pissy and yell for someone to come help you. Then sometimes you fall down and bonk your noggin on the floor or against something and you freak out, crying like the sky fell down upon you, and we scoop you up and snuggle you close while you work out how to calm down and realize you’re ok again. You also think all soft, plump objects must be boobies and you investigate and search for a nipple with your mouth open, bopping your face around in search of milky. You recognize my hand signal for milky, too, which is super cute and makes me so proud to see you learning and remembering things I teach you.

You are so smart, and so awesome, and so adorable.

Now that you can move around and play more you’ve been playing with your friends. It’s interesting to watch you interact with other little people your size. You’re outgoing and like to play with others, but you also blindly follow some of their examples and get into things you might not have thought of on your own. You’re also usually the only little boy around, which means you currently have a lot of girlfriends. Some of them you try to kiss/zombie bite. You’ve also been known to pat girls on the butt and try to eat the ruffles off of their pants.

You’re looking like such a big boy now. We’ve got 4 short months left until your first birthday. Slow down Bugga Bug. ❤

20130409-152843.jpg

20130409-152916.jpg

20130409-152936.jpg

20130409-152954.jpg

20130409-153033.jpg

20130409-153119.jpg

20130409-153151.jpg

20130409-153212.jpg

20130409-153246.jpg

20130409-153325.jpg

20130409-153409.jpg

20130409-153429.jpg

20130409-153452.jpg

20130409-153515.jpg

20130409-153533.jpg

20130409-153601.jpg

20130409-153631.jpg

20130409-153658.jpg

20130409-153720.jpg

20130409-153737.jpg

20130409-153802.jpg

20130409-153825.jpg

20130409-153847.jpg

20130409-153906.jpg

20130409-153929.jpg

20130409-153956.jpg

20130409-154016.jpg

20130409-154040.jpg

20130409-154104.jpg

20130409-154124.jpg

20130409-154150.jpg

20130409-154205.jpg

20130409-154234.jpg

20130409-154309.jpg

20130409-154331.jpg

20130409-154356.jpg

20130409-154422.jpg

20130409-154442.jpg

20130409-154500.jpg

20130409-154523.jpg

20130409-154538.jpg

20130409-154551.jpg

20130409-154614.jpg

20130409-154625.jpg

20130409-154635.jpg

20130409-154647.jpg

20130409-154720.jpg

20130409-154742.jpg

20130409-154758.jpg

20130409-154805.jpg

20130409-154813.jpg

1 Comment »

my funny Valentine (almost 6 months)

STILL, I cannot figure out how to live with all of this love for you. It grows much bigger and stronger every day that I wake up to your smiling face. You’re quite happy when you wake up these days. Just the other morning, I awoke to your tiny monkey paw gently patting my face while I slept. As I opened my eyes, you saw I was finally awake and smiled the sweetest little perfect smile at me. There is nothing better in this life than your smile. I am so lucky you are so giving of your smiles; they remind me of all that is good and right in this life.

It is almost Valentine’s Day- another “first” for you. I’ve got a special little outfit for you to wear so I can take pictures of my funny little Valentine.

We’ve been babywearing a lot lately, which you love. It has brought a lot of friends into our life and you love flirting with all of the mamas and baby girls you meet. We spend most of our time when we’re out & about with our mommy-baby groups either babywearing or talking about breast feeding or both. The weather has been perfect for Meetups at the park, and we’ve both enjoyed the company of our new friends.

A couple of weeks ago we started experimenting with baby food. You’ve had carrots, sweet potatoes, pears, peas, peaches, and apple sauce so far. You love eating food like a big boy and you’re really good at not making too much of a mess. You also wipe your own face with your bib, which is so cute and funny to watch. You’ve had a little bit of trouble pooping though, as your little tummy adjusts to digesting solids, so a couple mL of prune juice usually helps you move things along and feel better. You’re also getting liquid vitamins with your solids, which you’re not thrilled about, but then again no one likes taking their vitamins.

Now that you’re a little bigger and understand and remember things better, there are a few things you recognize and get excited about. Bath time is a lot of fun for you as you still kick and splash like a maniac, and now you shove your sudsy fists into your mouth and eat the soap. As soon as you see your whale tub in the bath with bubbles in it and the shower head spraying, you kick your legs and smile really big, anticipating the soapy adventure of the night. But you hate getting dressed and fuss at me or daddy when we’re trying to put your jammies on for the night. Or getting you dressed in the morning, or changing your clothes when you’ve gotten dirty.

When daddy comes home from work, you light up and smile and reach for him as soon as he gets near. You LOVE your daddy so much, and I’m so glad you enjoy hanging out with him so much. You also get excited when you see Grandpa or hear him on speaker phone when I call him. You two are trouble-makers, I know it. And your puppies- or any puppies, actually- you LOVE doggies and laugh at them and try to get them with your little hands and you let them kiss your face and they’re so much fun for you. Once you start crawling, they’re all in for it.

At this very moment, you are passed out in your high chair after your afternoon snack of peas and milk. You’ve been quite clingy and fussy lately, but not your usual teething crankiness. Growth spurt, maybe? You’re getting huge. We’re moving into size 3 diapers as soon as we finish using up the rest of the 2s. Oh! And I installed your new convertible carseat all by myself the other day and it’s awesome 🙂 It’s a lot of fun for me to watch you grow and learn and thrive, but your sweet, quiet baby moments I try to slow down and savor as much as possible. It’s all passing so quickly. I never have time to catch up.

You’re still co-sleeping with me, but you will definitely be secure enough to sleep on your own at some point. I feel it coming. You’re very independent when you’ve decided you don’t need babying anymore. And then again, sometimes you go back to just wanting Mommy to soothe you. I’m perfectly happy to give you whatever you need to help guide you through your little life.

Hey Bugga? Momma loves you. The most, ever.

20130209-144738.jpg

20130209-144807.jpg

20130209-145936.jpg

20130209-150011.jpg

20130209-150040.jpg

20130209-150113.jpg

20130209-150141.jpg

20130209-150203.jpg

20130209-150224.jpg

20130209-150242.jpg

20130209-150302.jpg

20130209-150327.jpg

20130209-150341.jpg

20130209-150401.jpg

20130209-150442.jpg

20130209-150458.jpg

20130209-150522.jpg

20130209-150609.jpg

20130209-150624.jpg

20130209-150645.jpg

20130209-150722.jpg

20130209-150738.jpg

20130209-150752.jpg

20130209-150820.jpg

20130209-150831.jpg

20130209-150854.jpg

20130209-150911.jpg

20130209-150928.jpg

20130209-150944.jpg

20130209-150957.jpg

20130209-151039.jpg

20130209-151056.jpg

20130209-151109.jpg

20130209-151352.jpg

20130209-151411.jpg

20130209-151423.jpg

20130209-151452.jpg

20130209-151511.jpg

20130209-151528.jpg

20130209-151544.jpg

20130209-151559.jpg

20130209-151608.jpg

20130209-151621.jpg

20130209-151627.jpg

20130209-151641.jpg

20130209-151646.jpg

Leave a comment »

almost 5 months

There is too much love, my love.
I thought surely by now my heart would have grown to accommodate all of this love I have for you, that has consumed me like the sea swallowing a tiny boat. I cannot row this vast ocean of love for you alone. I try to give the immense responsibility of loving you to others to share, it’s so much, but I still cannot hold all of what is left myself.

Your little brown eyes stop and start time whenever you pause to look at me. Your hands stretch out to hold my face- Let me see here. Ah yes, mommy.– and lately you punctuate these sweet moments with your little man kisses you’ve been practicing lately. You are the best.

At the moment, you are lounging in your little chair on the floor next to me, curled up with your Dr. Seuss blanket and a pacifier, feet and legs uncovered to catch the current of cool air across your soft baby skin. You’re growing so big so fast. I miss the days of your beginning, already. You were so little, so delicate, so peaceful. You are a lot more fun these days because you are lively, curious, and learning so much all the time. But your frenzied energy is so much to keep up with that time is moving faster everyday. And that moves us further and further from you being my baby, propelling you at warp speed toward being my young man. Go easy on your mother with this growing up stuff, will ya?

So the last 2 or so months you’ve of course gotten bigger. You had your first Christmas but had no idea what it even was, so it wasn’t very eventful. We went to Uncle Andy & Aunt Jenny’s for breakfast and the boys loved seeing you. Then we went to Grandpa & Nana’s for an early dinner, and then home to eat again with Grandma & Grandpa. After all that, we just relaxed and rested for the night. We didn’t open your presents with you until a couple weekends later. We’ve been so busy around here lately.

You’re teething pretty bad lately and fuss a lot at night when we’re trying to sleep. Thankfully we have Baby Orajel and Hyland’s Teething Tablets to help soothe your gums so you can nurse and go back to sleep. Mommy doesn’t sleep much these days but it’s for a very good reason, so I don’t mind as much as I thought I would.

Your bestest friends and their mommies are a huge part of our life these days. Without Maria and Nikole, and Brighton and Josiah, we wouldn’t be where we’re at now in your little world. Because of them, we’ve kept you “EBF”, which means an incredible amount to me, as does their kindness, love, support, friendship, and care for you. They love you, Bug. And we love them.

But there’s so much more to tell you about them and all of the other people in your life that will have to wait for another time. I have homework to do before you wake up again, and I’d like to try to shower tonight.

I love you more than I know how to. 20130111-202447.jpg20130111-202516.jpg20130111-202550.jpg20130111-202609.jpg20130111-202643.jpg20130111-202713.jpg20130111-202741.jpg20130111-202818.jpg20130111-202903.jpg20130111-202948.jpg20130111-203022.jpg20130111-203112.jpg20130111-203135.jpg20130111-203220.jpg20130111-203255.jpg20130111-203328.jpg20130111-203414.jpg20130111-203445.jpg20130111-203509.jpg20130111-203540.jpg20130111-203558.jpg20130111-203622.jpg20130111-203652.jpg20130111-203714.jpg20130111-203840.jpg

Leave a comment »

14 1/2 weeks, mister man.

Oh, my baby. You’re getting so big, and solid, and heavy. So much has changed about you in the last month. Mostly, you are still the eager little man you’ve always been, always in a hurry to figure out the next milestone you can hit and rush past before we even get to settle in and enjoy your accomplishments.

You love your bouncy play center at Grandpa & Nana’s house. You stare intently at the light-up buttons as the music plays frantically, and sometimes you lean your face in super close to the tray in fascination. You’re able to sometimes hit the buttons to start the next song by yourself. You can throw your weight enough to bounce yourself a bit, but usually just like kicking your feet at the pillow we put under you so you can dance your little legs around like a maniac by yourself. You’re usually not content enough to just be held in a standing position so you can kick and stomp. You want to do it on your own. I joke that you’ve “got shit to do!” and that’s why you’re so impatient.

You don’t like sitting alone for too long. You like to be carried around and talked to so you can see what everyone’s doing. You love the wind in your hair but hate the sun in your face. Your eyes are still slightly bluish-gray. You know what “boobies” are and make the funniest face with your eyebrows raised when you know you’re about to nurse. You’re in a “monkey paws” stage of patting and rubbing my belly, face, and chest while you nurse. Sometimes your clammy little fists lock onto my hands and I can’t bear to let go, because I know too soon you won’t want to hold my hands anymore. Sometimes I pause to just breathe in the smell of your milk breath and snuggle you close before you wiggle away.

Your brother-dog, Dexter, is finally warming up to you and likes to lick you now. He’s still a little freaked out but he recognizes you are part of his pack and one of his leaders. He even snuggles us now. Ellie is still fussy and tries to take my attention from you. Not sure she’ll ever break from that, but at least she isn’t aggressive toward you. Grandpa & Nana’s dog, Heidi, loves to lick the spit bubbles from your mouth and frequently comes to find and check on you throughout the day. We’re pretty sure she thinks you’re a puppy for her to take care of, and she hates when the other dog, Jay Jay, comes near you because he’s not so bright. I think you like all the doggies. You’re not afraid of them, that’s for sure.

You’re also gearing up for some full-on teething misery as of the last couple days. You went from drooling and finger chewing to yelling and crying at me, unwilling to let me rub your gums to help relieve some of the pain in your mouth. So we’re giving you some Hyland’s teething tablets while we wait for the clove oil I ordered for you to arrive. I feel so bad for you that you get so miserable. You’re going to be so damn cute with little baby teeth, though. I just can’t wait for you to get some relief.

You’re doing a lot better with gas and tummy discomfort these days, but when you make poopy diapers you smell pretty horrible. You’ve had quite a few ‘blowouts’ recently, and I had to throw away one of your onesies from when Auntie Kate was watching you on Friday. You think it’s pretty hilarious to be so smelly and messy, and chuckle when we change your clothes. And when we set you in the little plastic whale tub to bathe you, you heave your entire body up and slam back down, stomping your heels into the tub and smushing your tush and bits in the process. I call this your “froggy” move. I’m not entirely sure why you do this, but you (and I, both) think it’s pretty funny.

You’re no longer using pacifiers. You also don’t snuggle into my chest to sleep anymore. Maybe because I always smell like milk, and you’re always looking to nurse, but I think you’re just outgrowing sleeping on mama already. That kind of bums me out, because you’re still so little but I’m watching you get so big so fast.

Little boy, I beg you, slow down. My heart can’t keep up.

We still happily co-sleep. You love so much to sit and “chat” with anyone who will listen to you- little old ladies especially! You even got to hang out with Uncle Eric this past weekend for our early family Thanksgiving dinner. He loves you so much, little mister. You are so lucky to be loved so intensely by such a big family—and all of our friends that have become family.

Your daddy seems more comfortable lately. He helps me take care of you and always asks if he can do more to make my job easier. He still gives me excellent foot rubs after long days of hard mommy work, and though I don’t always have the energy or patience to properly show him, I do appreciate all of his hard work and efforts. We even went on a date together a couple nights ago while Grandma watched you. It’s so weird being away from home without you, feeling like we left part of us behind. Not a bad thing, just not used to that.

We’ve also been exclusively breast feeding for 12 whole weeks now! I’ve managed to build up a little bit of a frozen stash for you too, which I am quite proud of. In another (less than) 3 months we will start slowly experimenting with solid foods. Nana will be so happy to get to feed you something other than bottles.

Your first Christmas is right around the corner. Daddy and I have bought you a whole bunch of toys and you have cute little dressy outfits to wear. Soon we will have holiday photos taken and I cannot wait to share the holidays with you, though you won’t remember it when you get older. I’m hoping to take you to the zoo to see some penguins and reindeer soon, and tons of bright shiny lights! I’m sure that’s all you’ll care about, as everything colorful catches your attention.

We’re also working on more consistent baby wearing. We have the ErgoBaby soft structured carrier that seems to be easiest and most comfortable for both of us, but I also have a ring sling I need to work on breaking in and practice wearing you in, and I have a Natibaby woven wrap on the way for Christmas that we’ll need to break in and practice wrapping.

Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I have a long weekend ahead to spend lots of time with you. We’ll be busy cooking a nice dinner for daddy and putting up the Christmas tree this weekend. And I’d like to find time to learn crocheting before my classes start again next week.

We also need to figure out what to do with your little baby mullet. I swear your hair is thinning but everyone else thinks I’m crazy.

Love you, the most (I’ll ever love anyone/anyone will ever love you).

20121121-111128.jpg

20121121-111159.jpg

20121121-111226.jpg

20121121-111446.jpg

20121121-111520.jpg

20121121-111506.jpg

20121121-111535.jpg

20121121-111559.jpg

20121121-111621.jpg

20121121-111823.jpg

20121121-111838.jpg

20121121-111852.jpg

20121121-111913.jpg

20121121-111929.jpg

20121121-111944.jpg

20121121-112009.jpg

20121121-112034.jpg

20121121-112043.jpg

20121121-112101.jpg

20121121-112114.jpg

20121121-112134.jpg

20121121-112153.jpg

1 Comment »