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!

 

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Waiting for Buster

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I can’t sleep. I can’t concentrate. I jump every time the phone rings. I’m desperately waiting to get the call. That would be the one where my sister says “I’m in labor.”

I am one of two children, both of us girls, almost three and a half years apart. While we have certainly had our fair share of fights, as any good siblings should, we are also the best of best friends. I now have a better appreciation for how my dear sister felt as I was in the final weeks of my pregnancies. My sister is due in 6 days with her first baby, a girl, my niece, whom we have already nicknamed Buster.

See, early on in her pregnancy my husband had a dream that the baby was a girl and that my sister and brother-in-law named her Buster. So Buster she is, whether they like it or not. My husband is convinced that he will forever be known as “my weird uncle who calls me Buster” and I think he loves it.

Back to the waiting game. Waiting for my sister’s baby is nearly as difficult as waiting for my own babies was. The not-knowing, the lack of control, the excitement and anticipation. I can’t wait for my sister to experience labor and delivery and the thrill of the moment you first see and hold your very own baby. I can’t wait for her to feel that rush you get when you realize that you actually created a real human being. I’m excited to meet my first niece, the first baby in my family other than my own, and to be her aunt and love her to pieces.

I had bet on Groundhog’s Day back in the beginning so I’m hoping she makes her appearance tomorrow. Come on baby! Get out here! We’re all waiting for you!

If I knew then…

I have a lot of friends who are pregnant right now. Seems I was ahead of the curve in my personal world, although I was right on the money with the rest of the world. Yes, I contributed to the year that the most babies were born in the US ever. And yes, I am a little ashamed. Oh well.

But a lot of the people I know are having babies in 2009 and I can’t help but think back to the days when I was pregnant myself. I adored being pregnant in a lot of ways. It was exciting, the whole world seemed ahead of me, and people were so damn nice to me all the time. Friends tried to tell me what it would be like to have a baby and I took some of it to heart and ignored some of it. The truth is that there is no way to know what it’s like to have a baby until you have a baby. There is no way that you can truly prepare yourself for your entire life to change. These are the three things that shocked or impressed or impacted me the most about becoming a parent. That were not like I thought they would be.

I was warned that I might not fall in love with my baby at first sight. “Ha,” I thought. “I already love my baby so much.” But this was more true than I ever could have imagined. I had a primal, basic, biological love for my son the second he was born. I wanted to keep him safe above everything else. But I fell in love with him slowly and am still falling in love with  him every day. I didn’t even know him when he was born. He didn’t know him. He didn’t even have a personality yet to know. And at times I almost hated him for ruining my life – for changing pretty much everything I knew up to that point. But it became worth it. And there are times I admit I want to banish him to a house on the other side of the world. But most days I want to hold him tight and laugh with him and help him grow. He really has become the light of my life and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Am I worth it Mommy? Yes, baby, you are!

Am I worth it Mommy? Yes, baby, you are!

Breastfeeding was SO much easier than I expected. It was never physically difficult. It never hurt (except those plugged ducts!!). I know that it’s not like this for everyone, but it does happen. And it was a bonding experience I would never want to miss. But it is EXHAUSTING! Newborns eat more than I thought possible and they don’t care if it’s night or day. When he was tiny, I was very much tied to him all the time. Yes, there were times I wanted to get away and not worry about my boobs filling to uncomfortable proportions or wonder if he would starve rather than drink from a bottle and yes there were times I wanted to say “no, baby, you cannot have control over my body right now.” There were also times that I just stared down at him and stroked his hair and loved him. I can’t even describe how good it made me feel to be that provider for my child. And now that Brady is almost done, I miss those days of cuddling with him as he nursed.  Breastfeeding has been a very positive experience for us and I’m proud of us for making it this far.

It is hard to be parents in a marriage. Before we had a baby, I could never imagine the husband and I breaking up. We had made it through the hardest things in life – unemployment, death, lack of money, family conflicts – just about everything. And we made it through it all stronger than before. But adding a third person to the mix has been more difficult than any of it. Not sleeping and still being nice is hard. The “staying at home vs working at the office” conflict is hard. The “who is going to change that diaper” game is hard. And most of all the “are we sharing this equally guilt and blame game” is hard. But it’s also amazing to look at a person who shares both of your faces. It’s amazing to be the people who are at either side of a new human’s first steps.  And it’s amazing to build a family with the person you love. You just have to remember that mommy and daddy are important too and that they need to like each other for this family thing to work.

Just some of my observations on the phenomenal change that occurs with welcoming a child into your world. Things that I could not fathom when I was expecting this little guy and which I cannot accurately convey to those who have yet to experience it. Every experience is different and each person will be shocked by different things. It just blows my mind how life-changing one of the most basic human functions can be.

It Toddles

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I'm walking!!!

While Brady took his first independent steps a few weeks ago, he hadn’t really taken to walking until a few days ago. Until then, he still felt that crawling was really the only way to get anyplace. Then on Sunday he just suddenly decided that walking was a viable means of going place to place. We have yet to capture this on camera so the pictures here are from Halloween night. (More liony goodness!)

Brady walking is one of the most hilarious things I have ever seen. We call him FrankenBrady because he sticks his arms out in front of him and swings his legs without bending his knees. It’s truly awesome!

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Oops!

I suppose this means that my baby is not really a baby anymore – but a toddler. The term “toddler” awakens all kinds of fears in me. It gives me visions of temper tantrums in the middle of clothing stores and pizza being thrown on the floor of restaurants. But so far, in reality, it’s been pretty cool. I now spend my days with a person who can actually (sort of) communicate with me. That’s better than anything I can imagine right now.

And to think, a year ago today I was waddling around with about as much balance as my son has now. (Actually I never really waddled, but I was clumsy!) A year ago I was stressing over having everything ready for baby, finding him a name, what labor would be like, would I get all my work done before leave, would I go past my due date. Today everything in my life is different – some great, and some not-so-great. But I can honestly say that I wouldn’t want to imagine my life without this little man!