Sunday, November 4, 2012

Hanging On By a Thread

I keep waiting for this blogging daily thing to get easier, but so far the day have been blurs, and the evenings are when I would rather be doing anything besides writing. You could replace "writing" with any number of tasks, really. Chris and I are constantly marveling at how hopelessly hard it is to do anything around here. I feel like this will change some day, so I try to be okay with our limitations, but it's difficult to always feel as if you are falling behind.

I swear I will blog about something other than how crazy having two kids has made our lives. I feel silly, because obviously people have way more kids than this and probably get way more accomplished than we do. But, this is it right now. The kids have taken over our lives, and it may be a long time before we get them back.

I have so much I want to talk about here: my mom's cancer scare, my sister's pregnancy, my new baby, and, of course, ever so many Charlotte stories.

Good thing I have all month to get it right.

That Didn't Take Long

So, we had a long day today. Not in a bad way. We were just busy. First we had a baby shower about 45 minutes away. We went, we ate cupcakes, we took silly pictures, I tried and failed to win the most blue necklaces by catching people saying "baby."

Then we hauled it home so I could gather up all my Halloween costume paraphernalia (blue hair spray, glitter, fairy wings, and a fairy costume made by my very talented mom) to go to a costume wedding reception for another friend. I left the kids with Chris for this one. I got to go get dressed with the bride, swing little girls around on the dance floor, and give a toast to say how very happy I am that my very good friend found love and a family.

I came home, put the kids to bed, sat around talking with my husband about our nights, started to get ready for bed, when all of a sudden somthing clicked in my brain. NaBloPoMo. I hadn't written my post for the day!

It was 12:45.

Well, shit. I failed after three days. I'm going to keep going, though. I won't collect any shiny blogging medals at the end of the month. That wouldn't be right. Also, I'm pretty sure they don't exist.

Here's to tomorrow.

Oh, and here I am with blue hair.

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Day Shift

Hey, I'm blogging a whole half hour earlier tonight! Wheeee!

So, I warned you that I'd be phoning it in this week. Don't expect anything substantial until Sunday, at the earliest. Or maybe just don't expect it at all. I like to keep the bar low around here. Which reminds me, did anyone see the South Park about Honey Boo Boo/Raising the Bar? Pretty brilliant.


I mentioned last night that Chris was working the day shift this week. I've always sort of fantasized about him working "regular" hours in a grass is greener sort of way. I knew our schedule had its benefits, but the appeal of having help with bedtime and getting time to hang out with him after the kids went to sleep was pretty compelling. I also reasoned that it would be easier to kill time with the kids during the day. The days would fly by, what with all those trips to the park and coffee dates, right?

Yeah, eff this noise. The days DRAG. We have watched the new Tinkerbell movie four times, and today we went to two different parks just because I was completely out of ideas. It isn't that I have a hard time finding activities to do with Charlotte. There was painting and baking and playing cats and all kinds of nonsense. I would still be bored out of my skull by the end of a week, but we could do it. But doing all this with a baby who sucks at napping, wants to be held constantly, and spends a good chunk of the day being downright pissed off by his inability to crawl or sit or grab things, or basically do anything useful, is insanely hard.

I'm not one to play the martyr, so I'm fine with admitting that having Chris home during the day is wonderful. I still spend long hours alone with my kids, but it gets broken up into two sections. I wake up with them and kill time until Chris gets up. Then I get help with lunch. I can take a long shower. Hell, I can take a NAP if I want/need to. Chris plays with Charlotte while I nurse the ridiculously distractible baby. Chris holds the baby while I clock in some Mommy/daughter bonding time. It's just...the best.

Then he leaves in the evening, but I don't have a long day stretching in front of me. I have maybe an hour of playtime, and then it's the dinner/bath/bed routine. Bedtime is kind of a nightmare (that post is coming) but once it's over? I get to watch Hulu and drink a beer. Wow, guys, my life seriously rules. I guess I needed this week to really know that for sure.

On that note, it's a Friday night, and Chris is actually here, so I'm out.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Day One

I'm actually laughing at myself for thinking I can do NaBloPoMo this year. I tried it two years ago, and almost made it, but I have to admit some of the posts were basically cheating, and many were worthless. This year, I have TWO needy children, and on day one I can't even manage to post until 10:30 P.M.

But, I want to give it a go. I write in my blog every day in my head, so I guess that means I still have the desire. And to all my fellow NaBloPoMo Controversundians (Band back together!)I am excited about blogging together again. For the record, I tried to comment on a few posts today on my phone, but it didn't work. When Chris goes back to working nights next week, this will all be easier.

Also, my laptop is practically useless, and we don't have a chair to sit on to use the desktop, so I'm writing this alternating kneeling in front of and hunched over the computer. Just, so you know about my SACRIFICE to blog this month.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Life With Two

Whenever someone asks me how I'm adjusting to life with two kids, my go-to response is that it's hard, sometimes impossibly hard, and that while everyone says the transition from one child to two is much harder than when you add a third or fourth child, I cannot possibly imagine why anyone ever bothered to find out.
I knew it would be challenging. I knew the round-the-clock feedings would get in the way of me playing with my three-year-old. I knew there would be fatigue, hurt feelings, tantrums, colic, maybe even a bout of mastitis thrown in for good measure.

Even though things like Charlotte loving the baby right away and breastfeeding being much easier to establish, or Desmond just being an easier baby in general pleasantly surprised me, the obstacles have been significant. Physically, mentally, emotionally, having this baby has challenged me in every imaginable way. Sure, I’m up for it, but holy hell.

I mentioned in my last post how well Charlotte was adjusting to having a baby brother, how much she loved him, and how happy we were with her reaction. This remains true. But, as Desmond gets older and more aware of his surroundings, the more attention he requires. I was worried about the marathon newborn nursing sessions, but at least in those days I could read a book to her, supervise a puzzle completion, or even watch a movie if it came to that (and it came to that A LOT in those early days.) But now, I can scarcely have a conversation with Charlotte if I’m nursing Des. He’s so easily distracted and will try to watch whatever’s on the TV or butt into a conversation with his baby squeals. And it kills me, because he’s so damn cute, and I’m loathe to ignore any of his wide-eyed, wiggly, tongue-sticking-out grins, but I also need to give Charlotte my undivided attention. And, really, who am I kidding? When we’re all together, NO ONE gets my undivided attention, and even though that’s necessary, it still bums me out to have a story time or game interrupted because the baby is up from his twenty minute catnap or because he’s tired of being alone on the floor mat. The guilt I have for both children in these scenarios is mind-boggling. Guilt has always been one of the top three emotions in my arsenal, and I’m still surprised at how much of it I can muster.

Getting our one on one time at a tea shop

Charlotte acts out rather passive aggressively. She “hugs” the baby by squeezing him hard enough to make his eyes pop. Or she tries to lie on top of him. Sometimes she leans in to kiss him and then bonks him with her head. Obviously, I stop her as soon as I realize what’s happening, so there is never time for her to really hurt him, but needless to say it has put my blood pressure on the rise. And it makes something as simple as running down the hallway to grab a onesie more complicated than it needs to be. Do I risk leaving her alone with him even for a second? Obviously the answer should be “no,” but she lulls me into a false sense of security. Whenever I take the chance and sprint to and from my bathroom, I find her exactly where I left her, nowhere near him, apparently unaware that I had ever even left. For all I know she’s already administered the Five-Fingered Death Punch on him and is nonchalantly pretending to watch Finding Nemo while she waits for it to take effect.
She even punches him in her sleep. Yes, she still sleeps with a binky. Self-righteous judging be damned, she sleeps twelve hours, bitches. Not messing with that right now. But, no, I'm not defensive.

Honestly, I’m still flabbergasted by how well Charlotte is handling the whole thing. She can be very understanding when we have to go rock Desmond back to sleep for the third time in an hour and will happily play by herself while she waits. And, she does still genuinely like him when he isn’t “gooping” on something that belongs to her. Really the issue is that she’s three, and she’s trying to assert her independence from us by challenging our authority. And maybe because she’s all maxed out on adapting to a new brother, she can be particularly trying when her comfort zone is being threatened in any other way. So, there are many tantrums and LOTS of screaming. Last night, I kid you not, she screamed for half an hour, kicked her legs, writhed on the floor, and dramatically ran down the hall into her bedroom shrieking because SIX MONTHS AGO we gave some princess pens from a set purchased at the Dollar Tree to her cousins in their goody bags from her birthday. They never belonged to her. They were purchased for the sole purpose of giving them away. She helped me pick them. She got to choose the pen she wanted to keep, and she happily discussed which pen would be given to whom. That was the last I heard of it. Until last night when she happened upon her Belle pen, inquired on the whereabouts of the other pens in the set, and proceeded to freak the hell out when I told her.

See, she looks calm enough, but you never know when she's about to snap...

It’s stuff like this that obviously tries my patience. I’ve developed a sort of mental shield I put up at times like these to prevent me from yelling right back at her (most of the time.) But, it would be significantly easier if there wasn’t a baby involved. A baby who is sometimes sleeping during and is subsequently awakened by one of these outbursts. A baby who might also be crying because he is sleepy or hungry while his sister is crying about the color of her toothbrush or something equally ridiculous.

I know that this is just the beginning. Soon, Charlotte will outgrow this stage. Someday Desmond will be big enough that I don’t have to worry about her breaking him all the time. Someday they will play together nicely. And then they won’t. And then Des will be three. And then they’ll be teenagers, and all hell will REALLY break loose. So, I’m just taking it one day at a time.

When Charlotte was about Desmond’s age I was starting to watch what I ate. I started working out. And by the time she was six months old I was in pretty great shape. Well, according to my low standards, but still. Now? Ha! I’m still in survival mode. And I survive the day by sneaking handfuls of M&Ms from the freezer and downing sugary iced coffees. Exercise? Hardly. Sure, I run through the sprinklers, panting, of course. And I’m up and down all day on and off the floor changing diapers and playing with the baby on his mat. Sometimes a vigorous cleaning of the house, however rare, will make me feel like I’ve gotten a workout. But, even if it helped me burn a few calories, my nightly beer takes care of that. So, I am truly boggled when women who have babies Desmond’s age are tweeting about Weight Watchers and fitting into pre-pregnancy jeans. Especially since a few of them have three-year-olds to boot! I guess I’m just weak.

I could always take some exercise tips from this guy.

So, I’m busy. And tired. And frustrated. But, the hardest thing about all of this has nothing to do with changing a diaper while soothing a tantrum or cheerfully pouring a bowl of cereal for Charlotte after a sleeples night with the baby. What has completely knocked the wind out of me is simply how many emotions I have to contain these days. They say that you don’t need to worry about having enough love to give a second child when it seems that your heart is about to burst with love for your first, because your heart will make room. This is undeniably true. What they don’t tell you is how much it will hurt. Because loving a child isn’t like loving anyone else. It’s magical and exhilarating. There is so much pride and admiration in a parent’s love. But there is fear. And guilt. And worry. And doubt. And some more guilt. And even more fear. Am I doing my best? Is she happy? Will he get hurt? Could I go on living if I lost them? Did I handle that right? Will they know how much I love them? All of these feelings, all of this love, it’s so much to handle sometimes. It’s terrifying at others. And, of course, it’s absolute bliss the rest of the time.

Surely, some of this is hormones. And some of it is the knowledge that comes with knowing I am done having babies. It’s a sort of ridiculous nostalgia for a life I am still currently living. It’s a constant struggle for me to stop worrying about how much I will miss this time and just enjoy it.

I’m turning thirty tomorrow, and the big plans I had to celebrate this milestone have been hilariously deflating as it draws nearer. I don’t really get grand birthday celebrations usually, so I wanted to do something special. It went from an overnight trip away from the kids (Ha!) to a night out doing karaoke, and has comfortably settled into dinner with a few friends and then home to the kids. I’m not upset. I’m barely disappointed. This is my life. A life I have wanted SO badly since I can remember. I won’t always have small kids. I won’t even always have kids who WANT to spend my birthday with me. And there will be plenty of opportunities for kick-ass celebrations.

I go to bed every night exhausted. I stay up way too late because I value my “me time” more than sleep, so by the time I get in bed, every ounce of me is tired. But, I am happy. Satisfied. I watch my children breathe, and I take them in (It’s a cliché because it HAPPENS, people) and I know that I am lucky enough to have everything I always wanted out of life. There is so much to look forward to, not just with my children, but for me and also my marriage. We have great things in store for us. But, right now, life is exactly what I want it to be.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

For the Children

Why, hello there. Do you want to know what I’m doing right now? I’m glossing over the fact that it’s been roughly six months since my last blog.

*Gloss Gloss*

Okay, now that’s out of the way. How have you been? Me? Well, I had a baby. His name is Desmond, and he’s ridiculously cute. He’s just over three-months-old, and he’s sort of why I feel the need to start blogging again. His big sister Charlotte has two years worth of posts mostly dedicated to her, and it just didn’t seem right not to properly embarrass honor him in the same way.
See what I mean about the cute?

Also, since Des was born I have developed this paralyzing fear of my children growing up too fast. I was never really like that the first time around. I welcomed each new milestone with excitement without ever really looking back too often. I might let out a plaintive sigh as I packed away a favorite outfit that Charlotte’s chubby frame had outgrown, but I never really lamented that my baby was gone. I was has having way too much fun watching her grow. The difference, though, is that with Charlotte I assumed I would be having another baby. I would get to do all that baby stuff again. Now that we’re done (so very done) having babies, things are different. All of a sudden I’m collapsing in sobs because Des has outgrown his newborn onesies or while watching Charlotte’s lithe body running through the sprinklers, looking like a CHILD, with hardly a trace of my first baby left.

I will entertain the slightest possibility that hormones may have been involved in all that weeping. But, in any case, I have an intense need to remember everything about them the way they are now. And a month from now. And, so on. But, of course, that isn’t possible. Just like certain details of Charlotte’s infancy have faded from my mind, so will some of my favorite habits of my children disappear some day. I could cry just thinking about it. Instead, I will do my best to memorialize their childhoods here. So that I can always come back and be reminded of the way my sweet baby clasps his hands together while nursing. Or how my daughter’s silky hand feels when she sleepily strokes my arm.

No time like the present I say! Okay, I don’t really say that; I’m a huge procrastinator.


It’s been a long time since I’ve written to you. And, we’ve had some big changes since my last letter. We lived with your grandparents for a while, and though it wasn’t easy for everyone involved, and you certainly didn’t always seem to appreciate so many adults in your face, you adjusted very well. In fact, considering I was pregnant with your little brother, AND we were getting ready to move again to our new house, I’d say you handled it amazingly well. Speaking of your brother, you were a tad skeptical at first. You spent most of my second trimester telling us that you didn’t want the baby to come out. And, who could blame you? You are a smart kid. You knew that your three-year streak of getting all the attention was ending. But, then, all of a sudden, you got on board in a big way. You started talking about how much you loved the baby, you proudly called yourself a big sister, and you even hugged my massive belly to “give the baby a hug.” We started getting hopeful that maybe this baby wouldn’t be as devastating to you as previously thought. But, everyone liked to remind us that it would probably be a different story once he was here, and I tried to prepare for that very real possibility. But, your daddy kept saying that you were constantly surprising us, and to not give up hope. And, sweetie, you exceeded all our expectations. You are a brilliant big sister. When I left for the hospital to deliver your brother, you cried. You didn’t want me to leave. So, when it was time for you to come visit, I made sure the baby was in the bassinet so that you wouldn’t get jealous and so my arms would be free to hug you. I imagined that you had missed me so much you would come flying into my arms. But, you came into that hospital room on a mission. You wanted to see your baby brother.

And from that moment on, you have been in love. You hug him, kiss him, talk to him, teach him things, share with him, and miss him when you’re apart. Sure, sometimes you cover your ears when he cries and suggest that maybe he could be left in another room while we play. But, other times you admonish me for leaving him playing happily on the floor while we sit at the table. You don’t like him to be alone, and you request I bring him to the table with us. And, there was the one time where he pulled your hair so hard it made you cry. That time you yelled at him to “go far away.” But, still other times you excuse his hair pulling and kicking by saying that he is pulling your hair “for play.” You’ve even gone so far as to place your hair in his hands so he can pull it. We do try to convince you that this isn’t necessary, but you are a strong-willed girl. I know there is a lifetime of fighting over toys, bickering, and hitting in your future, but that will never change the fact that you love your brother. And on those dark days, when I’m wondering why I deliberately gave birth to someone for you to fight with, I will try to remember you telling me that you love him “too much” and the time you leaned in close to his face and said softly, “Desmond, I will always protect you.” No, I am not making that up. See how awesome you are?

You guys look like you're plotting against me already

I couldn’t possibly sum up everything that makes you Charlotte in one letter. I think the mantra you made for yourself is a good start, though: you like to say that you are “Strong and brave and smart and tough.” You are indeed all of those things, and more. You have a wild imagination. You like to make up the rules of your own games. You love to learn things. You love even more to teach us. Especially about dragons. You are a cat. Usually an evil cat named “Black Cat,” but sometimes you are a “regular cat.” And sometimes you are an ice dragon. You can fly. Just yesterday you were practicing different methods of flying. You have magic, and you can use your magic to turn people “into stuff.” You love water. The siren song of running sprinklers is too much for you to resist, and you will be drenched within a matter of minutes, usually in all your clothes. Your clothes are almost always seasonally inappropriate. Since it is summer, you want to wear long sleeves and sweatpants. You wear a Spiderman shirt very often, and while your dad and I would love to see such a beautiful girl wearing more flattering clothes, we think it’s pretty bad ass that you like superheroes. And I am proud of you every time you wear that shirt because one day a little girl made fun of you for wearing a “boy’s shirt.” You ran to me crying that day and asked to leave the playground. But, the very next day, you picked that shirt to wear all on your own. You are a wonder, Charlotte. You drive me absolutely bananas, but I love you. Just the way you are.


Hey, little buddy. You’ve been with us for three months now, and I’m starting to forget that you were ever not here. You were cute from the moment you were born, and I mean that sincerely. Not all babies are cute as newborns, including your sister (Sorry, Lotte!) but you were. I thought perhaps you were going to be my dream baby. The one that never cries and sleeps through the night at five weeks. Instead you got a mild case of colic, and I wanted to send you back every night around 6:00 P.M. for a month or so.You still don’t sleep well, but now that the incessant crying is a thing of the past, I think you’re pretty damn close to a dream baby. You smile constantly. You let people hold you. You sleep in the car almost every time. You’re pretty cool.

Sometimes I feel guilty that you don’t get the complete attention your sister got when she was a baby. We had nothing else to do besides read her books, talk to her, play with her, and just generally obsess over her. We do those things with you sometimes, but more often than not, you are getting schlepped around the house while we take your sister to the potty, brush her teeth, or play in her room. I worry that you aren’t getting the same stimulation. But, then I realize that while you may not get the same undivided attention she got, you get something pretty great. You get a big sister who loves you. Charlotte can make you smile instantly. You love to look at her, and you can’t help but grin whenever she talks to you. You actually get three people to dote on you, which hopefully makes up for the time you spend squawking at us from the floor mat when we don’t come pick you up as soon as you would like.

I went through a lot to have you, Buddy, and you more than made up for my troubles. You can keep spitting up on me and growing out of your clothes too quickly. I don’t mind. Just keep smiling and being chubby, and you’re alright in my book.



Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Oh, hi there!

So, this is awkward.

Yes, it has been nearly three months since my last blog, and honestly, I couldn't tell you why. I could blame the pregnancy, the nearly-three-year-old, or even the seasons of Breaking Bad I just HAD to watch as quickly as possible. But, the truth is, if I had wanted to blog I would have. I can't really explain my lack of enthusiasm for sharing my thoughts and my life on this blog these last few months. I've thought about it many times. I thought about blogging when I found out the baby I'm carrying is a boy. I thought about blogging about Charlotte's feelings on the baby, how she was struggling with it, but slowly seems to be coming to terms with her impending role as big sister. I thought about blogging lots of times, but when it came down to it, I just didn't feel like I had anything to say, even if I had lots to say.

I don't want to dwell on it, really. I don't even know why I'm blogging now, really. Maybe only because I'm not ready for this blog to die, even if I'm unsure of its future. Ambivalence is a tough obstacle to overcome, and I can't guarantee that this will turn back into a regular thing. But, here I go anyway, fumbling my way back into the whole "forming coherent sentences in a cohesive paragraph" game. It may not be pretty.

Let's start with a small update: the baby is due in about two months. We are in escrow for a house that will close roughly two weeks after our son is born. At first, I was really bummed about the timing. I mean, who wants to move with a newborn? But, I have come to accept and even embrace the idea. Chris will only get a couple days off work at best, and it might be nice to not be alone with two kids right off the bat. And, as eager as I am to be in our own home with our new family, two weeks is really not that long to wait. Especially for a home that is so utterly perfect for us. A home that is worth the wait.

Meanwhile, I am trying my best to start "nesting" in the space we have. I'm cleaning up our room, clearing space for the baby's stuff, organizing what I have, and acquiring what I need. It feels good to finally be preparing for this little boy's arrival. For so much of this pregnancy, before I knew what our living situation would be when he came, I just couldn't bring myself to start any preparations. It made me sad not to be buying onesies and folding tiny socks, but it also made me feel guilty. At this time with my pregnancy with Charlotte, I was hanging little dresses in her freshly painted nursery, having maternity photos taken, and gluing one of those slightly creepy 3D ultrasound pictures into my thoroughly filled-out pregnancy journal. It felt unfair to this baby that I was just sitting around basically ignoring the fact that I'm pregnant, unless it was to complain about a particular pregnancy ailment.

But, I'm feeling inspired these days, and I even have this baby's very own creepy ultrasound scheduled for next week. Things are looking up. Especially now that Charlotte seems a little more positive about her little brother's arrival. She even kissed my stomach the other day and said she was giving the baby a kiss! And, today I showed her a onesie with a little monster on it and asked if she thought it would fit her. She said she thought it would fit the baby, then said, "I will give it to him." These are both HUGE developments from the kid who repeatedly told me she didn't want the baby to come out and who recently informed me the baby should not live with us in our new house. Of course, it goes back and forth. Yesterday she told me she was going to smack the baby with her butt. Today she told me she would give him a big hug. She even said she loved him. I'm still expecting a lot of BIG feelings as his arrival draws closer and especially after he's here, but I am very encouraged by these little victories.

Okay, that seems like enough for now. I ought to ease back into it, after all. Don't want to overdo it my first time out. Thanks for reading, if anyone still is at this point. So, I'll leave you with a recent picture of me and the big-sister-to-be.