Monday, December 29, 2008

by the book.

There is this book that my mom friends and I swear by. We discovered it when the girl was around 8 months old and it unlocked the magic of great naps and better night time sleeping. I can't say enough about Dr. Weissbluth's approach to teaching your child to fall asleep and stay asleep on her own. At 2 1/2, Rip Van Claire is still an epic napper. I knew that when the Mister hit 4 months, I would start training him to sleep through the night and get on a nap schedule. With month 4 rapidly approaching, I dusted off my copy of the book. I thought this time would be easier. I'm a seasoned mom, I knew that I was teaching him a skill and that there may be some protest tears involved. I was not, however, prepared for my sweet smiling Mister to sound like someone had kicked a kitten across the room. And as much as I hate kittens, I decided to give the Mister another week of (less restorative) sleep in my arms. My apologies to Dr. Weissbluth, but we both need one more week.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

32: two things I want to remember.

* All day long, "Let's have a dance party!"
* And at mealtime, "Thank you Jesus, for our dinner. And for all of my friends. And for Monkey. Amen."

lessons learned.

I have always been one of those people with the "too honest face." If I think you're funny, I'll smile. If I don't, well...I have a harder time hiding it. My honest face can get me in trouble. There are honest things I want to say about this year's Christmas festivites, but I fear my honest mouth could get me in trouble. I am looking forward to a new year. A year that I will not spend in maternity pants. A year investing in people that I love. A year with these two. Watching him walk. Watching her run. Listening to them become who they will one day be.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

all i want for christmas.

Last night my (saintly) husband let me go to bed at 7:30. I got a full 12 hours for the first time in forever. With one bebe in my lap and the other in her biggirlbed, my mind is clearer than it's been in weeks. I need no other gift this Christmas.
We have so much to smile about around here it's plain ridiculous.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

an arctic blast.

The TV news has been calling this winter storm an Arctic Blast. School has been out for 4 days and we in the valley don't know what to do with ourselves. Once I got over the fear of being stuck indoors for days on end, I've realized that both of my kids seem to be thriving on the forced slower pace. The Mister has gotten himself into this nice little groove of napping, something I wouldn't have even considered trying to regulate yet. How I've spent my snow days: staring at this face. We've also baked, we've played games, we've had hot chocolate parties. We've done gymnastics on the couch. And the girl couldn't be more content.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

magical day. magic child.

We caught snowflakes on our tongues and walked til our cheeks turned pink. We drank hot chocolate. This is your spot, Mama. Sit by me. A perfect day. I find myself missing her all of the time. His needs are more immediate. I find that my eyes well up when it's just her and me. But today, in the snow, for a few moments, there was just one tiny hand to hold.
We took the Mister out for about 2 seconds and he looked at us, like What are you fools doing? I am a BABY. Warm me up, punks.

Friday, December 12, 2008

new friend.

This week a good friend announced her pregnancy (yaye!) and shared that while she's excited (so are we!) she's also scared. Consider this her pep talk: You already know how to do this job. You've already been up all night with a newborn. You've gotten through the flu. You've traveled with a baby. Soon you will even teach a wee small someone to pee in the potty. And best of all: this time, you have your friends. So glad I was up to receive your late-night bathroom text, friend. You're going to love having 2. Also, it is completely normal to be scared, I was nervous before I met this guy too. And while sharing my stories has become infinitely more difficult with a snoring mister on my lap, it is do-able. Wonderfully do-able.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

little bits.


Claire recently started telling me what the pictures that she is always drawing represent. This one, she said was three huge robots. Oprah told me once that if I took pictures of her artwork I didn't have to keep all of it.

The boy is now three months old. I've successfully kept 2 kids alive for three months. Also a plus, I have a new buddy for self portraits, when the girlie refuses.
Kar-maybe you could break out the baby book and document that Everett weighed 16 pounds at his 3 month appointment, that would be 80th percentile for weight. Or maybe you should have a cookie instead.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

worth the weight.

The day Claire was born, I weighed 211 pounds. Let that sink in. Two hundred and eleven pounds. Because I arrived at the hospital mid-Everett, I missed out on a hospital weigh-in. My midwives, bless them, used a bathroom scale. After my girth got too girthy, and I couldn't see my feet anymore they didn't bother telling me my weight. The 'wives were picky about diet and I obeyed. Very little sugar. Lots of herbs. No coffee. Tons of kiefer and tons of fiber. The goal was to develop a modest sized baby, rather than the plus-sized models that I seemed to make. Who knows how huge Mr. Baby could have gotten if I hadn't stuck to their strict no-sugar plan? Almost 3 months later, I am still carrying around about 20 pounds more than I'd like. It could be worse, but I would like very much to fit into my skinny jeans. And my tummy, poor dear, is struggling to maintain its dignity after being stretched around almost 10 pounds of baby. I don't remember it looking quite this sad after I had Claire.

I'm going to avoid saying mean things about my body, because there is a little girl who lives in my house and she is listening. I want her to know that this is a body that grew two babies. A body learned to care for her while recovering from major surgery. A body that pushed out her brother without drugs. This body is perfect for singing songs and rocking babies and dance parties. I might never get back into my skinny jeans. I'll give it a try, but I'm not sitting out any dance parties over 20 little pounds.
My boy, who smiles like a Buick every time I walk into the room, thinks I'm pretty. And that makes it worth it.

Friday, November 28, 2008

6 things about month 31.


Dear Claire,
Here's what you should know about yourself at 31 months:
1. You have a good memory. I mean, freakishly good. You remember the names of waitresses that you've met one time. I'm good at names, but you, my friend, are amazing.
2. One of my favorite parts of the day is watching you watch the intro to Sesame Street. You seem genuinely surprised to see the characters on screen and shout their names as they appear. It seriously blows your mind that they come back every morning.
3. You can throw a pretty spectacular fit.
4. You are compassionate. When Everett cries, you pet his arm and say, "that's okay, baby" in this low voice that mimics the one I use to comfort you.
5. When something's especially great you say, "I'm es-cited!" and run circles.
6. Today when we were talking about our favorite things. We had a long conversation about food. Then I asked you to tell me your very favorite. Your answer was this: "Going to the park with Dada. That's my favorite."

You are long and lean and no longer a baby. Sometimes you still want to be rocked and your limbs dangle to the ground. You love it when I hold you both and call you my two babies. I look at his hand on my breast as he nurses and I see the baby you were. I am better at loving him because of you, girlie. I love you.

Love,
Mama

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

one little monkey sleeping in the bed.

Guess who slept 7 1/2 hours last night? Any guesses?

Guess who woke up completely refreshed and in a soaked t-shirt?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

just in time for thanksgiving?


A photo from our trip to the pumpkin patch.

We went back to our usual patch. The one went visited last year and the year before that.

That I am posting this picture a month after our visit pretty much sums up my life right now. Everett is sleeping a solid 5 or 6 hours a night, but I unfortunately, still require a solid 8 or 9. Claire is managing. Somehow, I am keeping them both alive. There have been many, many trips for coffee. And lots of help from friends. I know that this gets easier, but I still feel like a mother of one masquerading as a mother of 2. I can do one kid. Yesterday, it took somewhere in the neighborhood of an hour and a half to get the three of us ready to go to the library. Storytime lasts 30 minutes, so yeah, that was awesome.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

his & hers.

Claire's mom- 29 and pregnant. Not her plan. Scared to death. Fearful.
Everett's mom- 31 and pregnant. Planned. Still scared. Hopeful.

Claire's mom- Cleans during naptime. Makes grocery lists. Plans menus and cooks.
Everett's mom- Does not clean during naptime. Makes grocery lists. Makes sandwiches.

Claire's mom- Takes a picture every day of her sweet little cherub.
Everett's mom- Happy if she takes a shower every day. Has no idea where the camera is most days.

Speaking of bathing.
Claire's mom- Gives her baby a bath every single night.
Everett's mom- "Hey Nate, when was the last time we bathed the baby?"


In a proud Claire's mom tradition, a self portrait. We've done a ton of these together. This one is blurry because, dude, we're tired. Not because he is a bad baby, but because he is a baby. He wakes up in the night to nurse, as he should. The difference for this new mother of 2 is that when she was little and napped during the day, I would curl her onto my chest and sleep. When he naps, I am building tall towers and singing the usual songs and giving horsey rides (really!). It's a charmed life.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

i remember when. i remember when i lost my mind.

Do you know that sleep deprivation is a highly effective form of torture? We've been conducting some unscientific research here at Casa Iderdider, and have concluded that sixty nights is the maximum number of nights that a mother can go without adequate sleep before she loses her mind.

Last week, I hit the wall. Claire's constant questions stopped being endearing. Even the sweet smell of Mr.'s head was only slightly comforting. I started offering to drive Nate to the doctor for a vasectomy myself. I would wake to Everett's nocturnal cries, stumble to the couch to nurse only to find myself sitting there two hours later with a crink in my neck, knowing that I'd be doing it all again in an hour.

Thankfully, this time I knew what to do. There are no gold stars for motherhood. You don't get extra points for soldiering on without asking for help. Claire spent an afternoon with friends. The next day I drove to my mom's for a bath and a nap (hello, sleep number bed, will you marry me?). Nate stepped up his night time bottling. Also: last night I went to bed at 8 PM and slept uninterrupted until 1:30. I had actual dreams for the first time in forever. If you don't have a newborn, you can't appreciate the awesomeness of that amount of sleep. But it was awesome indeed.
Mr.Baby, my sweet torturer.

*This is another of Hollie's pictures. Love love love this one.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

2: also about 2 1/2.

Dear Mr.,
Lately she never stops talking. Yesterday we drove to the Oma's house so that mommy could nap and someone else could take over as Chief Question Answerer. She'll keep asking until someone answers. Even when I couldn't possibly know the answer. It's a little like watching a movie with a certain blond. There are wonderful things about you at 2 months: your chubby thighs, sweet breath and smiles. Also awesome: you never, ever ask a question. Your needs read something like this: Milk, cuddle, more milk, diaper please, more milk, thumb, more milk, Weepies CD, more milk. When Claire was tiny, I couldn't wait for her to get big. With you, I know too well how fast this is going to go. How fast it's already gone. When she naps, you sprawl in my arms. I smell your head and enjoy the silence, knowing it won't last long enough.
Love,
Mama

Monday, November 03, 2008

the princess and the poultry.

Claire informed me weeks ago that she was going to be a pink princess for Halloween this year.

Friday I informed Everett that he was going to be an angry chicken.

I've always loved a good angry chicken.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

curious.

How many rolls might he have if I didn't have a clogged duct?

*Thanks to Hollie for this great shot.

Monday, October 27, 2008

what you don't see.


Her tantrum because I won't let her investigate the port-a-potty while he sleeps in the sling.
Him crying hysterically as I try to search out a place to nurse.
The ladies wetting the front of my shirt while a field trip full of 5th grade boys look on in horror.
Her sitting down in middle of the parking lot, removing her froggy boots and demanding to be carried while I hold the following items: one 11 pound baby, one pumpkin, one diaper bag, a string cheese, one baby sling, one brown corduroy jacket size 2T.
Us successfully returning a few days later to try again (this time with more help).

Saturday, October 25, 2008

30*


Dear Claire,
Before Mr. Baby was born, I worried about how it would be for him. To be compared to his sparkly big sister. I wondered if there would be enough love (there is), and I also worried about how it would be to be second. I knew that there would never be as many photos of him without you and that sort of thing.

He hasn't told me for sure yet, but I feel pretty certain that you are his favorite person ever. Occasionally he forsakes you for the Milk Lady, but always it is you that can make him smile. It's clear that he will not suffer for having you in his life. He's a lucky little guy. We all are, Clairegirl.

Love,
Mama
*Almost every photo of you this month is taken from behind. You can't seem to sit still. The photos aren't as cute as they were when you were small, but the things we get to do are way better (example: watching you get your first kiss, hearing you use the word hilarious for the first time, how you decided not only take your shoes and socks off when you get home, but your pants as well, seriously, who taught you that?).

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

or i could send her a note.


Dear Mean Doctorlady,
My huge self squeezed out of my mama's beartrap of a pelvis.
Love,
Mr. Baby
PS. Seriously, check out my head. It's real big. I couldn't ever wear a newborn beanie.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

this the last time you have to see this belly. until next time.

My heart raced as I noticed her across the aisle. Was that really her? You know how people look different when they're not in the place you expect them? Her hairstyle had changed. She wasn't wearing the white coat. I couldn't look away. Nate wasn't there to remind me not to stare. It was definitely her. Instantly, all of the smart things I had wanted to say escaped me. I wasn't sure if she recognized me, I had changed a lot since our last visit.
It wasn't just the absence of belly. Everett's birth had changed me. I know now that if I could do that, I can do anything. Of course, I didn't march up to her and dare her to punch me in the un-c-sectioned stomach. I didn't tell her that maybe she should consider another specialty. Instead, I watched her eat lunch with her family and pretend not to see me.

But she saw me. I wonder how many women like me went to her because she's a woman and we thought we could trust her. How many of them didn't have a chance to do something different?
As much as I wanted to, I didn't tell her where she could put her 20%.

when you're so tired, but you can't sleep.


I'm not sleeping as much as I'd like, but at least I have good company.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

6 things & photos.

Hollie tagged me to list 6 random things from casa iderdider. Here goes, complete with photos from my phone, for added charm:

1. In case you were worried about the state of my laundry pile, fear not. Nate knows the way to my heart: major appliances.

2. I recently lost a bunch of weight.

3. I would like someone to explain grocery shopping with a newborn and toddler. Where does everything fit if Mr. Baby is asleep in his carseat?

4. Also wondering: what am I going to do with 2 little monkeys when the weather gets bad?

5. Second-best thing about not being pregnant: liking my husband again.

6. This photo sums up their relationship perfectly.

Tagging:
Micah
Angie
and Patsy...why not?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

when life gives you lemons.

What do you do when your dryer breaks after you wash every piece of your baby boy's clothing?
Answer: tromp up to the attic. Come back with one pair of pink polka dot and floral jammies. Also, your camera. Lemonade, dudes.

And for the record, here they are on her. When I wrote about handing those jammies down to another baby, this was not what I had in mind.

Friday, October 10, 2008

educating mama.

Mornings around here have changed in recent weeks. Before Mr. Baby's arrival, most days, I would wake before the other 2 in order to have a moment to breathe before the demands began(More milk, please. Who bought that milk? What's Larry's Dada's name? Let's do the puzzle. Let's do chalk. Let's make a cozy spot in my closet.) Getting up before the rest of them makes me feel sane, but as I adjust to nursing at night, I'm less eager to give up my sleep.

One day last week, Nate and I rolled out of bed when we heard Claire making noise in her room. I fed the baby on the couch and the girl started asking questions, while using my legs as a jungle gym. I reminded her, as I often do, that we can't hang on mommy while she's nursing and to please stop with the fussy voice. Then I asked her what she needed. She paused and then answered: "Attention. Huggies and kisses." How many of us are able to ask for what we need with such clarity? And when do we loose our ability to ask for the huggies and kisses we need?My hope for her: that she is always able to ask for what she needs, that she continues to sing her songs regardless of her audience and that she never becomes too cool to pose for a photo with her face on a cow's body.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

i'm also not a fan of leather pants.


A neat feature of having 2 small children is the likelihood that on any given day (or night, in the case of our house), someone is going to be sick. Someone is going to need rocked or nursed or tylenol-ed. When Claire was tiny, there was no toddler around bringing her runny nose thisclose to my delicate newborn's face. Expecting the girl to resist those cheeks is like expecting her not to breathe. We weren't surprised when the baby got Claire's cold. Nate and I took turns. I nursed and diapered. He rigged up the humidifier and operated the bulb syringe. We both rocked and swaddled. Each of us nodded off in the rocking chair at different times. We both tried to lay the baby down only to be awakened minutes later by his tiny (yet forceful) screams. Each time he started to cry, I would cringe.
Speaking of cringing, there's this:

I'm pretty sure Mr. Richie wasn't singing about Mr. Baby. It was bad enough to be up all night without this song on repeat in my brain. Now, thanks to youtube, there's the image of those pants and those dance moves to accompany the soundtrack to one of the longest night of my life.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

1: about a boy.


Dear Everett,
Weeks ago, I confessed that I was hoping you'd be a girl. I knew I could write about it because I knew that those feelings wouldn't last. You don't know me that well yet, but I'm not good at change. I found boys intimidating. I know girls. I didn't know what I'd do with you. If we're being honest, I've never seen an adult man with a close relationship with his mom that didn't seem a little weird. I knew that Claire and I could have a friendship as adults, but I think part of doing my job with you will mean preparing you to leave us. Like I said, I'm not good at change.

This weekend, I was complaining about the state of our living room, and failing miserably to juggle 2 kids, a sick husband and a chaotic house. The Dada wisely reminded me that we wouldn't always have a play kitchen in our living room. That someday the mess would be gone and you two would be gone and I would miss both.

Being a mother means I'll have to give you both up bit by bit. You don't really belong to me. For now, though, your favorite place is curled up, fetal-style in my arms and that is enough. We're all so lucky that you are here.
I love you, baby bird.
Love,
Mama

Monday, September 29, 2008

practicing his gang signs.

Mr. Baby is hardcore for someone close to 10 lbs.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

29: by the skin of our teeth.

Dear Claire,
I'm not going to lie to you, this month has not been easy. You love your baby, but some days, he really gets in your way. Some days, it seems, you hate me. There are days when I miss the ease of caring just for you. I'd like to sleep a full eight hours, I'd love to abandon the diaper bag and breast pads. There are days when it seems like someone is always crying. Still, there is plenty of sweetness, when you forget to be mad at me for all of these changes and for that I am grateful.

I watch you watch him, Clairegirl, and it is beautiful.

Before bed, I make a plan. I will play more. We will bake something. I will get dressed before you wake up. Then he spends the night fussing and nursing and crying and my intentions fall to the floor. You are there to witness my exhaustion. You want to do the puzzle. You want to play in the park. You want to hold the baby. He wants to cry. I want to mainline coffee. And you are patient with me. Sometimes more patient than I am with you. Some nights, after you go to sleep, I crawl into your big girl bed and wrap my arms around you. I run my hands through your sweaty hair and I pray.

We hang on, because we are home to each other. And we try. Again. And again. And again.

I love you, Pooper.
Love,
Mama

Monday, September 22, 2008

i am their giant.


The first time I saw Claire, I had that moment when you look at your baby and think, you are the most beautiful baby I've ever seen. When I saw Everett for the first time, I had another moment. I thought to myself, dude, I just gave birth to a miniature Nate.
Here he is, my littlest one. My miniature Nate, my Mr.Baby.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

to whom it may concern.

Dear Claire,
Yup, he's really staying. Before you know it, he'll do more than just sleep and eat all day. I promise.
Love,
Mama

Dear um... Ladies,
I am not actually employed as a wet nurse. If you could just turn things down a bit that would be great. Thanks.
Love,
Kari's shirts

Dear Everett,
Let's try sleeping tonight. That would be neat.
Love,
Mama

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

life is beautiful

People have asked me how Claire is adjusting to life with Mr. Baby. I've seen her sweet personality emerge after a rough first week and for that, I am thankful.

Monday, September 15, 2008

for katie, who couldn't come over today because she has a cold and i have a newborn.

* This was painted by one of the midwives at the birth center. Just another reason I am glad I fired my doctor.
My friend Katie is an artist and I thought she'd appreciate this. I was going to email her a photo of my crazy belly painting, from the week before Everett emerged. But then I thought, the internet probably wants to see this too. Because after you've given birth in front of a room full of strangers, posting your painted belly feels, well...modest.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

she calls him mr. baby.

That's all you really need to know about last week.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

do you remember when we met? i sure do, it was some time in early september.

20%. That is the likelihood that my previous doctor gave me of a successful VBAC. Not great odds. I wonder what she would say about the giant baby I pushed through my nethers five days ago?

Everett was born after a 2 AM trip to the Birth Center dilated to 7 1/2, which at the time felt pretty crazy, but later, we'd have a drive that would be insane. There were hours laboring in the tub and falling in love again with my husband who held me up as I pushed and he prayed. Then, when things weren't progressing, a 12 mile trek to the hospital fully dilated and contracting, my head in the midwife's lap, while I still managed to backseat drive a little. We met the doctor for the first time at the door of the little hospital and I knew I could trust him to deliver my child. How many ob-gyns do you know who started out doing homebirths in the 70's? No one suggested surgery. My mom arrived in time to hold my hand, as I screamed myself hoarse and commanded Nate to pray. The vacuum came off of his head repeatedly. There were no drugs. There were 5 1/2 hours of pushing before he finally emerged, giant like Claire was, face up like Claire was, with tiny scratches on his head, but perfect. My body felt as though I'd ran a marathon. I felt pretty hardcore. Better, even after all of that, than I did after my c-section 2 years ago.

There were intimate moments in a beautiful setting, then me on the table surrounded by strangers and none of it mattered, as soon as he was there.

And my heart stretched with my body to accommodate my littlest one. I can't wait to see who he becomes.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

birthday boy.


Everett James, born September 5, 2008 at 1:30 PM.
Weighing 9 lbs 10 oz., came out the usual way and looks like a miniature Nate.
I'll tell you all about it soon.
*Photo updated because The Dada liked this one better.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

soon and very soon.

I don't remember the last time I nursed Claire. She slipped from baby to big girl and I didn't even write it down. Her weaning happened so gradually that it was entirely painless.

Each night before she goes to bed, I think this could be the last night with just the three of us. Only so far, it hasn't been. We get one more marathon of huggies and stories and songs. One more night of her asking for a big kiss and a little kiss Nacho Libre-style. One more night before she has to share us with someone new. Someone new, who like her sister, will come when he's ready.Someone who will hopefully inherit my ability to smile for a camera and not his father's.