Friday, September 4, 2015

Dr Jekyll and Mr Baby

Dearest Baby C,

My little love, these days have been hard.

You are showing us other sides of babyhood that we didn't experience with your brother.
I'd heard stories about colic and what it was like for my parents when I had it. It didn't prepare me in the slightest for when the pattern emerged in your crying. I've been told that chronic crying/colic/fussy baby time should not be underestimated. I didn't realize what that meant until now, how utterly humbling it could be.

My god, can you cry. Even in the midst of some of the worst moments, I can sometimes slip into clinician mode and think 'damn, this kid's lung volume is amazing'. Sometimes in those moments I can reassure myself that it will be OK even though I don't know when that will be. Sometimes you cry until your worn out enough to sleep and I watch you. And I can find, beyond my own frustration and fatigue, some compassion and realize how crazy this must all be for you. There are many thoughts on what this crying is caused by. For you it is clearly a combination of end of day over-stimulation and food sensitivities. What your new world must seem like- so much to take in!

And that loving, in your face, touching you all the time sometimes not gently new big brother of yours! He just wants to love you and play with you so much and can't handle your cuteness.
Well, none of us can. You are cute.
Even at three AM when you've just nursed and I am eager to put you back to bed so I can hopefully get just a little more sleep and you give me a smile.
Well played, dude, really.

These days have been hard. And they probably will be for a while more. But they are temporary and someday will be a 'remember when' story.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The hard and the wonderful

It is hilarious to me to realize that this is the first time on this blog I am talking about the newest member of our family.
It is particularly amusing to me to realize that I didn't chronicle the pregnancy at all on here, unlike G's pregnancy:)
But here we are, now a family of four.
Our son Caleb arrived just over a month ago, roaring as he entered the world. Fitting- he's a Cancer/Leo cusp.

It has not been an easy month. It has not been a bad one either.

Newborn land the first time around is hard- very jarring, seemingly endless and new.

Newborn land the second time around with another kiddo to track is hard too. The new level of exhaustion to survive and then helping the toddler navigate this momentous change on top of everything else can, on the bad days, bring you to your knees.

It's also amazing. Already I see profound similarities and differences between my two boys and it's delightful. Watching Gabe try to explain his toys to Caleb makes my heart hurt in the best way. I can't wait to see what it will be like when Caleb can actually interact with Gabe.

It's going to be a while before things feel more leveled out. But we will get there. In the meantime, we will continue to live in the moment, day by day, nap, laugh, cry, eat chocolate, drink wine and take care of each other.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Anniversary the fourth

As this, our fourth wedding anniversary, got closer and closer I found myself thinking a lot about boats.
Like the expression 'we're in the same boat'. Implying that someone is going through something you are going through as well. Or, 'don't rock the boat'. That one is pretty self explanatory. And, 'weathering the storm'. That one isn't specific to boats but you get the idea.

Marriage is its own boat. You and your partner are together in this shared space, working to keep what you've created afloat, moving and upright.
Sometimes the boat isn't moving because you are both working on your own things.
Sometimes your paddling in unison so beautifully that it's like you are flying together across the water/life and you can't imagine it being any other way besides harmonious. 
Sometimes the surrounding storm can feel so utterly overwhelming and terrifying that you are not sure your boat will make it as you both try to stay present and safe.
And then there are the times when you are on two boats, side by side, tethered to each other but not much more connected than that.

As I look back over the last year, I can say without question that it was one of the hardest years for us since we've been together. We've had to face multiple challenges that have humbled us deeply.
While we never lost sight of each other, that tether between our boats got very long before we pulled back to each other. And that distance, once acknowledged, was scary to both of us.
In a way, though, it showed us just how strong our connection is, not to mention our commitment to each other.

The challenges aren't resolved, but we are making changes that will allow us to think forward again. Together.
In the same boat.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Little light.

Gabe woke up whimpering around 4:30am.
He's teething and seems to now also have a cold. James cuddled with him till about 5:15, and gave him some Tylenol. I crawled out of bed then (it's J's day to sleep in) and took Gabe downstairs.
After breakfast and an early viewing of Blue's Clues, we went to play in the living room.
He was a tired, snotty, unhappy little dude.
He curled up on my lap and leaned on my chest.
We listened to Bobby McFerrin tell us not to worry and as I softly sang along, Gabe fell asleep in my arms.
I was so tired (whose idea was it to stay up late watching a crap movie, anyway?), had to pee, was already fantasizing about a nap later and also wanted to freeze this moment forever.
As I sat there holding him it struck me that this is it.
This is love. This is parenting. It's that sweet moment that may be the product of unpleasant circumstances. It's holding a firefly for a second, catching the light and letting it go again, not sure when you will see it again.
I know families whose moments of light come from far darker circumstances of illness (physical and mental), hospitalizations, financial hardship and so on.
And at the same time, hard is not relative; hard is hard.
We are all moving through our own rhythms with our own challenges, life stresses, painful gums, and early mornings.
And today I am grateful for the moment of comfort I could give Gabe and in turn the solace it gave me.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

My first (embrassingly short but very important) training ride!


As I shared in my previous post, I am doing the harbor to the bay ride this September. I've decided that I am going to do said ride on my recumbent bike. The last time I was on my recumbent was 2 years ago... come to think of it, that was the last time I was on ANY bike. Yikes. Back then I had not done a lot of riding on the recumbent so even then it was novel. Now it seems like I am learning to ride again for the first time.

So, I took my bike out today and got reacquainted. It felt so different than an upright! I found myself getting really thrown by the lower center of gravity, not to mention the utterly alien (yet very comfortable) reclining position. But then I took a deep breath and pushed off and... It. Felt. Awesome. I went for while and then stopped (still working on doing that gracefully) and was amazed at how comfortable I felt riding. No pressure on my arms/hands, lower back felt good.

I started to head back and lost my balance. I gloriously wiped out and landed mainly on my left palm and lower leg.
I got up, and rode off into the (not at all setting, freakishly hot) sun with a stinging scraped palm and leg and a huge grin.

Falls are always scariest before they happen, in abstract, wondering if they will happen. I am glad I already got one under my belt, and am sure there will be others as I get more used to this awesome new way of biking.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Where has the time gone? I blame the child.

Almost a year sans posts.
Truth be told, the lack of time I've given this blog directly correlates with the lack of time I have given myself in the same timeframe.

That's not so great, I know.

On the one hand, it's been pretty busy:
  •  I started a new job. The 3 hour round trip daily commute was killing me, and nursing/pumping on top of that was maddening. In August, I started working at a university health center a mere 1 mile walk from home. Hello greatly improved quality of life! And I love my job, so, wins all round.
  • We moved. We are still in Arlington but are now in a two bedroom apartment. Smaller in some ways, but a far more productive and better place for our family. Oh, and the sleep! Holy sleep, Batman. Sweet sweet sleep. Apparently, Gabe and I really did need to be in different rooms because we are both now sleeping through the night. It. Is. Marvelous.
  • The little dude. Oh, the dude. Gabriel turned one in February and has not stopped moving since. He is an engaged, chatty, opinionated, mischievous (in the best way), hilarious loving toddler. Did I mention he's walking? Our lives will never be the same.
On the other hand, I have felt a little lost in the hustle. Multiple people told me that after the first year, you (the parent) start feeling like yourself again . I agree. It felt like I was resurfacing. And I started looking at my physical and emotional self and realized how far on the back burner I had prioritized my own needs.

So, as I regroup and move forward, hopefully this blog will too.

In the spirit of reclaiming myself, I am particularly excited to share that I will be doing the Harbor to the Bay ride this September. This ride made it onto my list of goals for the year, so I am really excited that it is going to happen!

Looking forward to sharing my training (mis)adventures on here. Hopefully, what with not being prego this time, they will have less stories with vomiting...

Monday, July 8, 2013

The peace of feet

There are so many things I want to write about, or have thought about writing, on here about my experiences thus far as a parent. A working parent. A working (read full time) still breastfeeding (read pumping) parent. But I can't get my thoughts and time when I can write to line up properly.

There is just so much going on. I was sick this weekend. Sick for the first time in over a year. Yes, since pre-pregnancy. The combination of lack of sleep and working and everything else is starting to wear me out. Oh and being sick while parenting? SUCKS. James and I spent most of Saturday as a tag team- you nap while I watch him, and switch! Didn't see much of each other but I got the rest I so desperately needed.

I had a moment last week at work when a coworker asked the simple question of how I was going to balance work and home life and I burst into tears. At work. In the middle of the day. That was new. Can't say I cared for it.

I am not sure how we are going to balance it all. And sometimes that really stresses me out. I think about every article or book I've read about 'having it all' and right now my thought is if having it all is this exhausting, then I am all set, thanks.

What really upsets me though are the moments where said stress seeps into Gabriel's life. The little guy is doing so great and is communicating the only way he knows how and sometimes I get caught up in my own stuff and misread his cues. Those are humbling moments. Today, for example, we battled over a nap that SO needed to happen. And I felt myself getting more and more frustrated. But I had enough sense to take a step back and find a new approach and it worked. The needed nap happened.

Time with a baby is exhausting but it can also be peaceful. When he sleeps and I watch him melt into relaxation, his features calm me. He centers me and reminds me of my priorities. His beautiful little feet- so small and so important.