Mom

My Halloween Renaissance

Baby Halloween brought back all of the magic and then some. First we had the fun of trying on different costumes. Would Nono be a fox? a chick? a bat?
I found what I had been searching for. A dinosaur costume with a delightfully fat tail to go on that rotund baby butt. We tried it on and it was a fit. (I also learned that baby Halloween costumes are like wedding dresses in that they seem to follow a completely different sizing scheme that has no resemblance to normal clothing sizes).
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Baby Halloween is also the jam because it goes on for more than just Halloween. There were Halloween events all weekend, Monday, and then Halloween. Given his limited ability to participate (just started walking) we didn’t go crazy and we just went to a Halloween event in the park and met up with another baby friend prior to the big night.

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I wasn’t sure how Nono was going to react Halloween night. How would he feel about it being dark out, all of these costumes, and Mommy and Daddy in costume too?
He truly is my son and loved it. He stood in the closed down street looking around him at the superheroes, fish, witches, dinosaurs, princesses, skeletons, and more that milled around him and a big grin appeared on his face. Earlier that night, when I came downstairs sparkling with a giant pink headdress on, he’d taken it in stride and when A. had met us outside wearing all sorts of plants from the backyard he hadn’t blinked. He was delighted by Halloween. The biggest issue we had was trying to get him to pick out a piece of candy. He stared at the bowl full of shining wrappers, confused by what we wanted him to do and not sure what would happen if he touched them. He finally cautiously touched them, but wasn’t sure about grabbing one and other kids kept coming in, expertly selecting their candy quickly and moving on while he stood there confused. Eventually, he succeeded and we deposited it in his little pumpkin.
He made Halloween magical again and now I’m counting the days until mardi gras so we can do it all over again with even more enthusiasm and coordination.
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A First Mother’s Day

It’s my first Mother’s Day as a Mom. My son is 6 months old and we took advantage of that and went to a nice restaurant for brunch. I’m anticipating future Mother’s Days may lean towards activities that support a lack of ability to keep still.

My favorite thing as a Mom is to hear Nono’s giggle. It’s insanely adorable and I’m not sure there is anything I enjoy more on the planet, not even the GutterPunk coffee at Envie. (You think I joke, but talk to me about the combination of booze and coffee in-person and watch my face light up).

My favorite Nono book is the Pout Pout fish. Whoever gifted him that, thank you. I’ve turned it into the Pout Pout Fish rap, which I’m sure A. is grateful for. Nono has started getting interested in books beyond just eating them and I am delighted.

We do a lot of dancing and clapping right now. Nono hasn’t started doing either, but he really enjoys when we do. Hopefully, some kid takes pity on him and teaches him how to actually dance, otherwise he’s doomed with us as examples. But at least we’re having fun.

Nono’s favorite activity is smashing. I have a feeling this is phase that will last him quite some time. He’s just realized he can hold things in his hand and smack things with them, nothing can wrong with that right? Our friend’s 6 month old spent about an hour with us yesterday and her Mom said she wasn’t a smasher, well by the end of lunch she was. You’re welcome.

My Mom celebrated Mother’s Day by opening her very own garden shop, a longtime dream. I’m really proud of her and she continues to be a great example to me to not give up on dreams and continue to try new things. Someday I’ll write that book…

Thank you to my village of Moms. I appreciate all of the in-person, phone calls, emails, and Facebook responses to my many questions and moments of “OMG!” Some of you I’ve known most of my life and some of you I’m just getting to know, you’re all amazing and I am so grateful for your help and support. I know that Nono and I are both better for it.

Happy Mother’s Day.

The Last Day

Today was the last day of my maternity leave. Nono and I have had 12 weeks together and they’ve flown by. Tomorrow will be the longest that we’ve been apart since I first felt him move. I feel like my heart is breaking in two, but am also looking forward to the familiarity of my job and adult company after weeks of having no idea what I’m doing. This of course just makes me feel guilty and adds to more heartache. Being a Mom is hard.

I had no idea what I was doing in the beginning. In our first pediatrician appointment we had to be shown how to fold down the diaper top so pee doesn’t come flying out. This was day 5. Around this time I also read in one of my baby books how to properly breastfeed, since the lactation consultant at the hospital hadn’t done that. It turns out that breast feeding doesn’t have to be incredibly painful.

Recently I’ve learned that Nono can no longer be relied on to fall asleep when he needs to nap and that we need to keep an eye on him and plan for those nap times for him. This led to a night of me crying hysterically at what a bad mother I am to not have known this and how could I leave him when this is still in-progress. Being a Mom is hard.

I missed my Maid of Honor’s wedding. It was four weeks after he was born and I couldn’t leave him. He probably would have been fine, but I couldn’t handle leaving him for 36+ hours. I was a wreck about the decision, but just was utterly incapable of leaving him. I’ve also continued to miss get-togethers, including Thanksgiving, as I’ve been too tired or needed to stay with him. Thanksgiving I spent crying in the dark because I couldn’t get him to stop crying and A. had gone to get us leftovers at his parent’s and was gone a whole 45min or so. Did I mention that being a Mom is hard?

I also got to see his first smile. He was sitting in his baby swing and I was being silly and he smiled and my world changed again. He smiles more and more every week now. Nothing has ever made me feel as special as his smile when he sees me. Sometimes he smiles just at the pure pleasure of seeing me or A. It’s earth-shattering.

I’ve gotten to experience the day by day change from an infant who could only cry to communicate to a baby boy who seems to have new sounds every day. He even has a range of crying and the heartbreaking wail happens less and less. He’s gone from a tiny nugget that spent most of his time with his eyes closed to staring wide eyed at the world around him and beginning to interact with it.

I was terrified of how fast he’d change. I knew from other kids that the baby phase is fast and furious and you can blink and have a child instead of a baby. It hasn’t been like that at all. It’s gone by quickly, but each new accomplishment brings us closer together. His joy brings me joy. His accomplishments help us connect better as he holds my finger now and tries to talk to me. He usually has a thoughtful expression as he explains things to me in baby talk, such as the beauty of our curtains and the all powerfulness of the ceiling fan (we’ve named it Stanley). He finds me hysterical, but he also finds will just start laughing at seemingly nothing, just delighting in life. It’s contagious.

The things I hope for him are simple, I hope he is kind and that he enjoys life. I hope that he is curious and grows into a good person. My hopes for myself are much lengthier. I hope I’m a good Mom and that I get it right more days than I get it wrong. I hope I figure out how to balance friendships with being a Mom, especially the friends I have that don’t have kids. I hope I don’t overprotect him and that I’m able to help him challenge himself and experience life. I hope I’m approachable and we can talk through the things that bring him worries or confusion. I hope for years of memories and laughter and smiles and discovery.

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Some Days Are Awesome

Everyone tells you that the first 6 weeks are the hardest, and I am seriously hoping that’s true. Yesterday was a tough one with lack of sleep and fussiness. I also may have spent some of Thanksgiving sobbing in the dark because he wouldn’t stop crying and it’s really heartbreaking when that happens. Today is a good day though.

I took issue, before I had my baby, with people calling it a job, usually in the context of “the hardest job” or “hardest working” when referring to at home Moms. I understand better now why it gets the comparison, but I still don’t think it’s applicable or fair to either side. My baby is not a job, I know this because he can’t fire me and I’m not getting paid. I also don’t get time off right now. It was pretty rare that my job cost me a full night’s sleep. I could also call in sick to my job and take vacation.

Right now I am 24-7 Moming it. I’m breastfeeding so that means I’m the only source of food, so if he’s up, I’m up. We also don’t have any sort of schedule yet because he’s a newborn so I’m not leaving him for more than an hour, which I’ve done once in 16 days (but who’s counting). He’s made me happier than any job ever has and my last two jobs haven’t made me cry. At work anyways. I’m also pretty good at my job, I am a complete novice to baby care. I watch in awe as other experienced Moms can hold him and comfort him seemingly without any effort, while it’s more of a 40/60 success rate for me.

But today is a good day. Today is one of those awesome, I am so glad to be on maternity leave and not at my day job, days. Last night we managed to avoid any 2-hour awake periods, so I got sort of a fullish night sleep in my shifts. I was able to eat breakfast and coffee at a reasonable hour while he chilled in his swing. We had a secret project that we did this morning that went awesome. And we just went for a 45 minute stroller walk that got him to sleep and got me and Wallace some exercise, and one of my best friends called and I got to catch up with her while out and about. I finally looked at our insurance options and was able to make a decision on where to add him. And I ate lunch at a normal time before I was starving and desperate for food. Tonight my parents are coming and will get to meet him for the first time.

Today is a good day.

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I’m Thankful for Nono

2016 was a rough year for our country. A lot of terrible and tough things have happened and a lot of people are ready to close the books on it and not look back. For me, however, 2016 is a year I will treasure forever. 2016 is when we welcomed our son into the world.

It’s been a tough journey getting to him. It started in 2014 and was derailed by a cancer diagnosis. I had to deal with the risk that chemo brings of never being able to have kids. But I was lucky and got pregnant soon after my doctor gave me the green light this year. That was followed by a pregnancy that was anything but glowing. I had trouble gaining weight due to the nausea that plagued me for almost the entire pregnancy, I was exhausted, sore, and all of the normal pregnancy challenges. I spent several hours in the hospital when I went into preterm labor, afraid and not ready. Luckily Nono decided to wait a few more weeks. We had another scare when my midwife picked up an arrhythmia and there were also concerns about his growth. After hours spent in fear limbo, we were again cleared. Finally Nono joined our family after 32.5 hours of labor, healthy and without needing a c-section.

It was love at first sight. Even though he proceeded to poop on me twice within his first few minutes of outside the womb life. Everything I had been afraid of in becoming a Mom (what about everything I would be giving up? what if I didn’t bond immediately? ) faded away and didn’t matter at all. Being a Mom is like breathing, it doesn’t require thought. My world shifted in an irrevocable way and I didn’t even feel it happen.

There are challenges. I cry pretty much every day. I think the blog “why is my son crying” could have a precursor blog for new families called “why is Mommy crying?” Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s hard, there’s a lot of crazy emotional surge going on post baby. The struggle is real.

There’s a lot of things you can’t prepare for. I understood I wouldn’t be getting much sleep, but it’s different knowing that in theory and living with not knowing how much sleep I’ll get in a night or when I’ll get woken up. It’s really tough. Most physically tough things you have the ability to tell yourself you just need to get through an amount of time and it’ll get better. It may be years before I can sleep in my own bed and get 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Luckily the reason that I’m going through sleep deprivation torture has the sweetest face and I love him with all of my heart. Once I manage to get myself up it’s all better, sometimes I sit there at 3am just looking at him as he’s fallen back asleep and marveling at how beautiful he is.

I also have an amazing partner in this that I am thankful for. He continues to take care of me through the good stuff and the tough stuff and he’s also head over heels for our beautiful son.

So thank you 2016 for changing my life in the best way possible.

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