Stay

“Mommy, stay for a long time…for all the time…and in the morning you will wake up with me.”

I wanted to put these words down so I can remember them. So that I can remember the feeling of being so needed, so wanted, that waking up with me would be the best. I wanted to share them.

I didn’t stay for all the time, but I stayed awhile.

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I Get By

Yep, with a little help from my friends. Two Saturdays ago I turned 35. The night before my friends took me out. We had a wonderful time, drinking wine and chatting for hours. We had so much fun, that I didn’t realize how late it was until I walked in my door to see the clock reading 12:28! What? I don’t stay out past midnight! 

Although the conversation and the drinks were great, my favorite part of the night was the card that my friends gave me. Each of them had written a little note inside about our friendship and I was touched to tears. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that other people love you, even if you love them to bits yourself. When I re-read the card the next day I was reminded of two blog posts I made early on in my blogging (and mothering) career. First this one from early October 2008. I felt so incredibly lonely in my early days as a stay-at-home mom. I was completely unmoored and had no one to cling to. The friends I had contact with had no children and my friends with children lived far and, well, had children they needed to attend to.

Then I met these two women in a sandbox at a playground when Brady mooched snacks from them, just a few weeks before his first birthday. I liked them and was lucky enough that they liked me back and realized that I needed to be stalked via email and text in order to believe that someone actually wanted to spend time with me. Then I wrote this post in early November that same year. At the time I was just really happy not to be home all day, every day by myself with Brady. It had less to do with nursing than I thought back then. I was searching for any reason to connect with people. It’s so odd to think about not knowing them because now, in many ways, our lives are intertwined. They are my comfort zone.

I didn’t know that these women would become such an incredibly important part of my life. They introduced me to other moms and somehow four of us have stuck together, through preschool and kindergarten, through a second round of babies, through bad times, good times, jobs and staying home, whining and rejoicing. We became the moms hanging out in the park as our kids played on the lawn, taking classes together, and so much more. 

Here we are, five years later, out drinking on my 35th birthday. Totally amazing. I really can’t explain what it means to me to have people in my life who support me and understand me and love me for me. My loneliness in those early months of Brady’s life is in such stark contrast to how I feel today. Sometimes I wonder how I could ever have survived it. I’m blessed, I’m lucky, however you want to put it. I am grateful to have these ladies in my life.

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There is an epic battle being fought in my bedroom. The fighters are in pajamas. I paid 10 pretend dollars for my pretend ticket and the winner gets 10 million pretend dollars. I am drinking a real beer as I watch. They just paused the fight to see how “adorable” the cat is under the bed.

This, folks, is what it’s all about.

Some Wise Words from the Huff

 

ImageI wouldn’t call myself a fan of Ariana Huffington. While I’ll admit I don’t really know all that much about her and that, on the surface, I really should like her, she sort of rubs me the wrong way a lot of the time. I think maybe it’s because of all the mean comments people make on HuffPo. But she had an opinion piece on the last page of yesterday’s Businessweek that I just had to share.

She said exactly what I’ve been thinking since the media blitz over Marissa Mayer’s edict that Yahoo employees no longer work from home. She said exactly what I’ve been feeling since the economic downturn and what I see as employers taking all they can get by using the fear of joblessness to make one employee do the job of many. 

Enough of my words, check out hers.

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-03-14/arianna-huffington-on-burning-out-at-work

And I believe this is true for all of us, not just those with high-powered jobs or even with paid-work jobs at all. Everyone can burn out when they’re trying to do too much, whether that be balancing an executive position with soccer practice or balancing potty training with a field trip and getting dinner on the table by 6, I think everyone needs to take a step back and unplug sometimes. 

When do you feel like burning out? How do you “unplug”?

Reading and Random

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I’ve had a hard time coming up with a post this week. I got another lovely sinus infection, started a new project at work, and am trying desperately to finish A Storm of Swords before the third season of Game of Thrones starts. 

The husband read the first four books before the series started and the fifth when it came out. He devours books when he gets into them. He reads much, much faster than I do and somehow is able to just make it happen. I have a lot of trouble fitting it in. I’ve been reading this book for months and still I’m not sure if I’ll finish in time. 

Reading has always been important to me. Since I was able to I couldn’t get enough. I was a regular at the local library and my first job was working as a page there. I love watching Brady put the pieces together as he learns to read and I can’t wait until he unlocks the magic of reading to himself. 

Since I’ve become a mom, I find it really, really difficult to be able to read. When Brady was tiny I would read while I nursed him, but as he got older it got harder and harder. I always feel guilty taking any time to pick up a book for myself with the kids around. I read to them all the time, but sometimes I wonder if I’m doing them a disservice by not showing them how much I love it. 

For now, my blog will suffer as I find out the fates of Tyrion, Jon Snow, and the Kaleesi before I see what HBO will do with this one. 

Do you love to read? How do you find the time?

Project Optimism: It’s Worth It

I was writing to my sister this morning in an attempt to cheer her up and remind her that the misery of late pregnancy will eventually be replaced by the joy of holding your child in your arms. I sent her an email with photos of me holding my babies after they were born to help her keep her eye on the prize and soldier on through this last little bit.

I clearly remember that awful feeling toward the end, when you have no idea when your life is going to change completely. It’s so scary to think that your current life is going to end and then so exciting to think of beginning this new one. You want so badly to just see and touch this person who has been living inside of you for months. You need to know what this next phase of life will be like and you have zero control over when that might happen. It’s maddening. 

So I sent my sister this email with photos of my brand-new babies and my eyes welled up with tears thinking about how I felt when they came into the world. 

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Brand-new Brady

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Brand-new Declan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know it seems so sappy, but it really is amazing to welcome a new person into the world. Newborn days are not all love and sunshine, I can certainly attest to that. But that too, is worth it. I look at my two sweet, amazing, energetic little boys and despite feeling bogged down with parenthood a lot of the time, I wouldn’t trade them for the world. They make life better. Just thinking about them makes me happy and watching them become a real part of the world is unparalleled. Despite the times when I think I just can’t make it another minute, times like this weekend when there were early morning drives and hours-long bar mitzvahs to attend, followed by screaming-baby nights, ear infections and trips to the flu-filled urgent care, I still feel that the joyful parts outweigh the crappy parts.

So that’s my optimism for this Monday. It’s all worth it to see these two guys each day, for the hugs and the kisses and the learning new words and the learning to read and the snuggles in bed at night. It’s worth it. 

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You should join in on the happiness. Here’s how:

  1. Write about something that makes you feel optimistic. Whatever it is, write from your heart.
  2. Post on MONDAYS. Include “Project Optimism” in your title.
  3. Grab a badge by going to your dashboard and clicking the “IMAGE” widget. Adjust pic size 200h x 200w. The image URL: (http://mommiesarejustbiglittlegirls.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/project-optimism.jpg)
  4. Link over here and invite friends to join in.
  5. Encourage the person who linked up before you. Kindness is contagious!

 

Breastfeeding Story #4 – Stephanie

Stephanie has shared her experience of bottle-feeding her first and breastfeeding her second with us. Check out Stephanie’s blog here http://whencrazymeetsexhaustion.wordpress.com, for her honest, funny commentary on motherhood.

I always wanted to breast feed. I figured it would be easy because it’s natural. Like, that’s why women have breasts–to sustain life! And I was really excited about the prospect of being a part of something some intensely emotional like that. But an emergency C-section + a horrific stay in the hospital + and someone weighing my son, Brady, incorrectly which resulted in him being taken from me for THIRTEEN hours = my chances were slim. I was in so much pain after the surgery, and the nurses really weren’t equipped to handle me! They thought they would just hand me a bottle and my baby and I would be quiet. Nope. I wanted to nurse!! Because Brady was away from me for so long, we didn’t get much practice in the hospital, but when the time came, we tried everything to help him latch; even this drip line that I’m sure has a more formal name, but the nurse was so exasperated by the time she hooked it up to me that it broke. The breast milk that I had expressed spilled all over the floor and I lost my cool. I no longer wanted the nurses’ help–I DIDN’T NEED THEM! (Aren’t hormones awesome?!) Only, I did. But by the time I realized it, I was at home and it was 2 weeks later. I had given up on nursing Brady and instead pumped morning, noon, and night to give him breast milk in a bottle. That lasted about 4 months and then I got clogged milk ducts. OUCH. I gave up pumping shortly thereafter and we switched to formula. Not my proudest Mommy Moment, but life goes on.
My daughter, Ella, was born 22 months later and I was adamant that not only would I have a vaginal birth, but I would breast feed immediately after she was born. I’m a bit aggressive when I want something (that’s a good thing, right?!), so I hired a doula to help my husband and me during the labor and birthing process. Everything was absolutely perfect. I was a successful VBAC momma, AND my girl latched right away. There was never an issue or a challenge when it came to nursing my daughter. It was heavenly. I felt so accomplished when the nurses would compliment the “excellent latch,” even though I had zero to do with it. I had no problem whipping out a boob wherever I was, either. I took my nursing cover and if the child was hungry, she ate. I got a few “ewww” looks from some people, but I could not have cared less. What I was doing (feeding my baby) was MUCH more important than what they were doing (passing judgement on a new mother–jerks!). I nursed in restaurants, in church, at the park–anywhere! I think it’s super important for moms to realize that nursing isn’t something to shy away or feel the need to hide. I’m not advocating stripping down by the sliding board to nurse your baby, but you get the point!
In all honesty, I loved nursing my daughter 99% of the time. However, I truly feel like she did not bond with anyone else (even her DAD!) because she was so dependent upon me…and my boob! She vehemently refused to take a bottle of expressed milk, so I was literally the only one who could feed her. And, of course, nursing became a source of comfort for her, too. So, when she was hungry, she wanted me. When she was sad, she wanted me. When she was tired, she wanted me. This also meant that I couldn’t be away from her for more than 3 hours at a time. It got a little overwhelming and right around 5 months, I thought about throwing in the towel and just insisting she drink formula from a bottle. But I persevered and Ella nursed until she was just about a year old. My opinionated little gal was the one to make the decision that our nursing relationship was over; I could tell she was less interested in eating and more interested in gnawing on something to make her budding gums feel better. That only worked well for one of us.
If I have another baby, I would still like to nurse. BUT I plan on introducing the bottle right away, too. This way, my baby can still have the breast milk, but will have the opportunity to bond with dad, grandma, etc., too. I felt like my husband and so many other family members missed out on the first part of Ella’s life because she was quite the project. In contrast, my bottle-fed Brady was on everyone’s lap, happily lapping up the formula. Of course, I don’t have scientific proof that Ella’s demeanor was a direct result of nursing, nor that Brady’s steady smile was because he took a bottle. I’m sure many nursing moms have pleasant babies who allow everyone to hold them and will even take a bottle sometimes. I didn’t! But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t try my hand at nursing another baby; I absolutely would. It’s healthy, has a trillion benefits, and I truly enjoyed it.

Two?!?!

My baby boy is turning 2 this Sunday! In some ways it’s incomprehensible to me. Where did the last 2 years go? It was just yesterday that I was walking around with a big belly all filled up with arms and legs. It seems like just a minute ago that I was overjoyed to see my chubby little baby sitting  up on his own.

Now here he is, two whole years old and a person all his own. He notices things that I never notice and points them out to me. He forms his own ideas about the things that he sees. It dazzles me every single day.

I remember thinking that he would never do anything. That he would just lie there making little baby sounds forever. And then he started to smile…and to giggle…and to play. And from there he just took off. When he turned one last year, I was happy to have that difficult first year behind me, to have moved from being a slave to this little being onto having someone to spend my days with.

This year I find myself a little sad. I always knew I wouldn’t be a parent who didn’t want their child to grown up. I’m proud of each and every thing he learns to do and I’ll continue to be  that way. But I can’t help mourning the loss  of his babyhood. I wonder what happened to that roly poly little ball of chub that I once had.

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Sharing a wonderful post

I just wanted to highlight a post on the blog of one of my friends from college. Although we haven’t seen each other in a long time we reconnected via the internet when we were both getting married and then again when we were both pregnant. We gave birth to baby boys just 8 days apart.

I love her blog and she recently wrote a beautiful post about motherhood that I had to share. I think her words here are so true and reflect some of the things that I’ve been feeling so articulately that I wanted to have her words over here on my site.

One of the difficult things about motherhood is the shift of focus from yourself to the child and finding a way to be yourself again. I think too many people take for granted the changes that occur when you become a mother and I wanted to thank Jenn for highlighting that here.

http://idroolblackandgold.blogspot.com/2009/07/mommy-accomplishments.html

A year gone by…

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Birthday Boy!

I really wanted to write something on the big day…but it was a BIG day and I just didn’t get time. The party was wonderful, the boy had a blast and got some awesome gifts, my cakes came out great. It was just an beautiful day. I’m a little sad now that it’s all over. A whole year has passed and my baby is getting so big. I just wanted to reflect for a minute on what it was like when the big event went down.

One year ago I went to my 38-week checkup at my OB – where she told me that she thought I would go soon, but that I really hadn’t made any progress. Imagine my shock when, 3 hours later, my water broke with a huge gush at work. Especially since our birthing class instructor had told us “it’s not as if your water’s going to break with a big gush while you’re at work and you’ll have to go running off to the hospital.” No, I am not kidding.

Honestly, labor seems like a blur of pain and sleep when I look back on it. I remember pushing and I remember very clearly when he was finally born. I checked to be sure he was a boy (what would we have done with all of those blue clothes?) and they put him on chest. He wasn’t as gooey as I expected and he was quite squished up. We thought his poor little nose would never recover! But it did and now he’s the cutest boy who ever lived (if you ask me). After they cleaned him up and did his APGARs they gave him back to me and he nursed like a champ from the first moment – something he is still doing to this day.

Bringing him home from the hospital was absolutely surreal. We had no idea what to do with him or what life would be like. As it turned out, life was hard for awhile. But it’s gotten easier and more fun. Today I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I honestly cannot believe that I’ve been lucky enough to get this beautiful, fun, smart, and amazing little boy as my own.

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My squishy-faced newborn

We still get too little sleep and don’t get enough done. I still struggle over staying home instead of going to work. It’s exhausting to say the least. But I love, love, love my little family!

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My mischeivous little boy.