Thursday, June 23, 2011

what i signed up for

Title: Mother 

0-5 years experience: Zip 
5-10 years experience:  Zilch
10+ years experience: Nada

Shift:  Sunday - Saturday 12am-11:59pm

Health insurance-no
Time off/holidays-no
Hugs and kisses-yes
Love and laughter-yes

Job duties:
1. change diapers repeatedly throughout the day (may be in excess of 15 diapers per day during high demand; must provide diapers)
2. soothe crying infant and toddler at a moment's notice
3. nurse infant repeatedly throughout the day at a moment's notice
4. prepare healthy, balanced, and tasty meals and snacks for fickle 15 month old with constantly changing food preferences (this will occur simultaneously with duties 2 and 3 frequently)
5. clean food off of floor after every meal
6. spend countless hours holding infant just because he said so
7. spend countless hours wishing 15 month old would let you hold him 
8. demonstrate patience throughout multiple tantrums
9. feign excitement over reading the same book to toddler for the fortieth time each day
10. never take a break, only occasionally eat lunch, and forget about alone time with your husband
11. have superior record of removing poop, vomit, blood, and food stains from tiny clothing and be able to demonstrate said skills throughout the day (often in conjunction with duties 1-10) 

Desirable attributes:
Upper body strength for successfully holding/carrying 1-2 children at all times
Ability to thrive on 4 hours of sleep (or less in times of high demand)
Organizational skills that lend to flexibility when needed

Minimum Requirements:
Although a college degree might make candidate feel smart, it is not necessary, required, or useful in this position.  Applicant will be improvising and "flying by the seat of your pants" 99% of the time.  Candidate must be familiar with parenting websites and have quick access to the internet via mobile phone or other portable device in order to consult forums regarding various issues that may arise.  Candidate must also have unconditional love for the clients and understand that despite all of the frustrations and lack of monetary compensation, this is the best job in the whole wide world.  Testimonials from current and previous position holders available upon request.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

sleep. who needs it.

I should have known that it was just too good to be true when Dexter immediately started sleeping 4-5 hours at a time at night when we came home from the hospital.  He kept it up for about 3 and a half weeks but for the last 10 days or so, he has decided to try an alternate schedule.
That schedule involves waking up at precisely 2am, 4am, and 6am to eat.  And that's after I've gone to bed at 11 or midnight. And sometimes it's 45 minutes or an hour from the time we wake up until I get back to sleep.  And there's no back to sleep after the 6am wake up because Theo has decided that 6:20 is precisely the perfect time to start his day. So maybe I'm getting 5 hours of sleep a night, and I guess that's not too terrible. But ... oh. What I would give to get those 5 hours of sleep in an uninterrupted way.
There were about 5 nights that were pure misery.  Not only was he waking up, he was fussy and refusing to go back to sleep. So that means I'm doing a cardio workout of bouncing, swinging, swaying, and patting to try to keep him quiet so he doesn't wake Theo. Egads. That's when the tears start falling. (Mine).   Sheer exhaustion, I tell you. Knock on wood, he's been going right back to sleep the last couple of nights.
Hopefully we'll get into a good routine in the next several weeks and everyone will be sleeping through the night. 
Good thing he's so cute during the daytime,

Thursday, June 9, 2011

family photos/sneak peek

We met with Angie, a brilliant local photographer, at the park last week to try and capture some shots of baby Dexter before he is no longer a newborn.  He's growing so fast!  His arms and legs are already filling out and have lost most of their newborn wrinkliness.

Here are the images she shared on her sneak peek for us:


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

15 month letter to my big boy: a photoblog

Dear Theo,

So, so much has changed since you turned one. Your life is completely different and you have learned and accomplished so many things. I can't help but smile when I watch you shakin' your tush to music, especially that silly Mickey Mouse Clubhouse show you love. It's so cute to watch your face light up when you hear the familiar music and see the characters.
12 months

I also love telling you to stop, sit, and scoot when you approach a step down. You are figuring out how to keep yourself safe at times, but other times you have no regard for danger. You know that the stove is hot and when food is hot. It's funny to hear you say "hot" and then blow on the bite.  You can say lots of words and you'll try to repeat many on your own time but you can be pretty stubborn when we are trying to get you to do something or show off.

One of your favorite things to do is to ride all around the neighborhood in the wagon Grammy got you for your birthday.  All we have to say is "wagon" or "outside" and you high-tail it towards the nearest door.  You always look so serious in the wagon, taking in all the sights and sounds around you. I think you'd stay in that wagon for days. Every time you see it, you point and your mouth goes that excited little "o."

You love books.  You love looking at them, interacting with them, and having someone read them to you.  You have some favorites but you're not too picky.  You've also started playing with pull toys, like your alligator, xylophone, and telephone.  One of my favorite things about you right now is that you understand so much more every day.  We can tell you "go get your alligator" and you will do just that.  You will also throw trash in the garbage can when we ask you to.

13 months

You're friendly and you love it when people interact with you. Sometimes you will pretend to be shy when someone new or unfamiliar comes to our house but you always wave and grin to strangers at the store. What's that about? 

Easter 2011

Your appetite changes as much as you do. One thing has always been consistent - you love green vegetables. I hope you always like healthy foods. You used to gobble down yogurt and grilled or baked chicken but now they don't interest you as much. You don't care for noodles. You sure don't want anyone to feed you, but you haven't shown much interest in using utensils yet.  In other words, mealtimes are messy around here. You are great with all kinds of different cups now, and do really well drinking out of a straw. You only drink water and milk for now, but one of these days we'll have to let you have some juice.  Just promise you'll keep drinking water and milk too, okay?

14 months
You're getting so big now!

Oh yeah, I guess we should talk about your baby brother. He is almost four weeks old and there have been some highs and lows for you since baby Dexter showed up. Undoubtedly, it's confusing for you. Sometimes (more often than not), you just want to hug him. Well, your version of a hug is to suck your thumb and lay your head down on the object of your affection. Sometimes you pat him on the head gently. There have been a few times when you have been too rough with Dexter, like when you threw that shoe in his face and the times that you have slapped him on the head or face when I thought you were reaching to pat him. I hope you aren't trying to hurt him. I think you are just trying to figure things out. I know it especially hurts your feelings when we sternly tell you "no" and it has to do with Dexter. I'm sorry, but you've got to learn that he is small and you are so much stronger than him...stronger than you realize. Overall, I think you love your baby brother and that you'll be incredibly close one day.

"hugging" Dexter

I know it's confusing when I can't stop feeding Dexter or put him down when he's upset to play with you. I have redirected you to daddy, grammy, nana, pop pop, and other grown ups at times when you wanted me to read you a book or take you outside. There are probably times when you think I don't care or love you as much as I did a month ago and that breaks my heart.  Because you know what, sweetie?  You're wrong. I will always, always love you more than I did the day before. You're my first baby, my first child, my first toddler, my first son. You are the one that taught me how to be a mommy.  You will always be so special to me and we will forever have a precious bond.  I promise you that - and I don't take promises lightly.

15 months

You're my Peezy Brown and you always will be.

I love you,

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

rain or shine... glad you're mine.

That's the name given to this beautiful piece of hand-crafted, custom jewelry.  I told the hubs not to get me anything for Mother's Day until after the baby was born less than a week later because I wanted something with both of my babies' names on it.  Since we didn't know if it was a boy or a girl, he could hardly order the gift ahead of time.  I showed him several designs that I loved and this is the one he chose.  Turns out the sentiment behind it is absolutely and perfectly fitting.

I love everything about it.

It really is true, isn't it?  Rain or shine.  Sickness and health.  Rich or poor.  I love my babies more than anything in the world. While the fun times are what I look forward to, nothing makes me feel more like a mom than the times when I am nurturing my sick child.  The times when he wants me and only me, as frustrating as that can be.  When you make the decision to bring a child into the world, you sign up for the best and the worst of times.  

You may fantasize about smelling that baby powder fresh head and forget about smelling like curdled milk because your baby threw up on every shirt that fits and you haven't had time to do laundry.  You may envision strangers coming up to you in the store and complimenting you on how well-behaved and adorable your toddler is, meanwhile not realizing that at some point, he will throw every single thing you feed him 10 feet from his high chair for a week straight.  But only after rubbing it in his hair.  You may picture slowly rocking him in that plush glider from Babies R Us and softly humming "Rock-a-Bye Baby," oblivious to the fact that, before long, the most annoying cartoon theme songs on the planet will be stuck in your head for days at a time.  

Rain or shine, I love my kids and I'm so glad they're mine.

hoping for sun,

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Tuesday I got a text from the babysitter and she said Theo had a slight temp and was acting a little whiny and clingy. Figures, because we had family photographs scheduled for that night. She said not to cancel our plans and that he'd be all set to go at our pre-discussed time.
I got there at 3:45 and by the time I arrived, he was insisting on being held and immediately started crying when he saw me, collapsing into my arms. I pulled out all the stops on the way home, trying to get him to smile. Nothin'.  I knew by the time we got home that pictures would be cancelled. We rescheduled for Thursday. I checked his temp and it was 99.0. Nothing too concerning. By about 8pm it was over 103 and he was totally miserable. He spent the whole night lying on us, crying, and drifting in and out of restless sleep.
He finally went to bed for the night at 10 and surprisingly slept through the night.  Theo woke up with a 100.9 temp, which went away with ibuprofen and never returned. He was happy and playful and seemed like himself again. I marveled at how quickly little bodies can heal themselves.
I was almost certain that the fever was from teething. It was obvious that he had some discomfort as he was chewing on his fingers and holding his cheek. It just wasn't adding up because every website I consulted said that teething never causes fevers that high. I also noticed that his appetite was nearly gone, which was concerning.
Thursday morning when he got up, I was rubbing his bare back and it felt bumpy.  His lower eyelids also looked red and he was really grumpy. It just wasn't sitting right with me so I talked to a couple people and they urged me to call the doctor in case it was something contagious that might spell trouble for Dexter. Sure enough, they wanted to see him to rule out a virus.
I took him in and the doctor looked and him and listened as I explained the events of the past couple days. He said the rash was too widespread to be sun-related and took one look at his throat before confirming that he did indeed have a virus. Dang.  What about our photo session?
Aside from still not eating much, he seemed to feel fine so I warned the photographer and we decided to meet a little earlier than originally planned in hopes that everything would pan out. I'm not sure how our session went, but it went.
I'm feeling a little smart and a little stupid all at the same time. My husband wasn't concerned and thought I was being overly paranoid. Okay, he didn't say that but I know he was thinking it!  So anyway, I'm glad I trusted my mommy instincts when they were telling me something wasn't right, but I feel like a moron for not having a clue that it was a virus. Heck, I don't know if I've ever had a virus. How am I supposed to know what they look like? 
Now we just have to make sure that Dexter doesn't get it. The doc said if he does get it, he'll have to be hospitalized. I hope it's not too late.
this is not a fun first,

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

recovering nicely

I don't know if I just got lucky, or if it really is easier the second time around. Maybe my body just remembered what to do and got better at it. Regardless, here I am, just shy of 3 weeks postpartum and I feel great. Almost like I didn't even have a baby. The misery of pregnancy is already a blur and a magical, sentimental hue has been cast over my memory of it. I rub Dexter's knees and elbows and feel their familiar pointy-ness and smile to myself... 
And I realize why people continue having subsequent children. There really is something spectacular about the whole thing...growing a perfect little miniature version of yourself inside your body, going from being pregnant to the mother of this little human in an instant, and then caring tirelessly for him day in and day out. I don't even mind the long nights and early mornings because I realize more than ever that each phase is just that...a fleeting moment in this tiny person's life. The more he wants to be with me/on me/attached to me, the better. I don't want this time in our lives to end.
So...maybe I'm a little sentimental, but other than that, I feel great emotionally. Last time, I remember being a bit of a mess. I think a lot of that had to do with having such a hard time breastfeeding. It really has been a breeze this time - I didn't think that was even possible. I didn't have the terrible night sweats this time that I had about a week after Theo was born. The hormones are in check, thank goodness.
Not to mention the calm confidence that comes with having the second baby. We know what to do this time. We know when to freak out and when to just take a deep breath.  We know he won't die or hate us if he has to cry for a minute until we can get to him. We know we won't break him.  We know he won't want to sit on our laps once he starts crawling. 
As far as sleep goes, I scoff at anyone who says you don't get any sleep when there's a newborn around. Have these people ever been pregnant?  I've never been more tired than I was when I was knocked up. Now, when it's time to go to sleep, you better believe I'm out like a light when my head hits that pillow.  I'll take newborn sleep over pregnant sleep any day.
My total weight gain for this pregnancy was 22 pounds and so far I've only lost 12 of that.  The good news is that I only have 10 to go! I'll take the blame there, because I know I've been indulging a little more than I should while assuming that nursing will remove any extra pounds eventually. I lost the majority of my weight between 3 and 6 months postpartum after Theo without really trying. I know that I need to get it under control so that Dexter is getting a good diet and so that I don't end up gaining any weight from here.
I have a snuggly little baby lying on my chest right now so I'm going to get back to what I do best...kissing his sweet head and enjoying this very moment.