Family

My Heart In 365 seconds

Just like the first year was indescribable, the second was even more enigmatic.  But thankfully a few days before Heston’s first birthday I discovered the app called 1 Second Everyday.  And that’s just what I did.  For Heston’s second trip around the sun, I filmed him, every day; and with modern-day magic, I turned it into a 6 min and 14 second video.

I wasn’t sure how I would feel at it’s completion, but a project like this is just up my alley.  (A daily commitment, but just a tiny dose.)  Sure, it’s a little creepy to think that I have an actual video of my child for every-day-of-his-life (hello future therapy problems!); however, I can’t believe how accurately it captured all the changes that occur from months 12-24.  I get to see his first plane ride, first art installation exhibit, first word (Da-Da), first slide, first step(s), first emergency room, first play date, first lemon, first social protest, a few tantrums, tears, and so many giggles.  Oh, and getting to watch that hair grow… *love*  To my surprise (or not) I didn’t feel any nostalgia.  Rather, I felt so much PRIDE and HOPE.  We’ve come SO FAR!

I’ve boo-hooed my eyes out and still can’t stop watching.  If you need a little 6 minute  break, go ahead and boo-hoo right along with me and watch my son grow from 1 to 2.

 

 

My Baby Sleeps On The Floor: Our Montessori-ish Baby Room

Heston's Room

Let me first qualify this post by saying, I know nothing about babies.  Really.  I’ve never been a baby person, nor have I spent any substantial time with them.  We’re totally winging it over here.

We didn’t set out to be all Montessori-ish in our approach to raising Heston, but the more we engage with this life-learning method, the more I’m a convert.  Thus, our baby sleeps on the floor.

We originally bought a two bedroom house (albeit a tiny one) because we envisioned having a guest/baby’s room (and in that order).  I remember being pretty self-righteous and saying things like “Elch, why in the world do people dedicate an entire room to ‘kid-stuff’?!”  I said it before, but it’s worth mentioning again, I know nothing.

Our approach to the monkey’s sleeping situation was not guided by any particular method, it was simply that we couldn’t decide on a crib.  Between cost, design and our tiny space, I remember throwing my hands up in frustration and saying, “Why do we even need a crib?!” I was thinking about having just a day bed so that my mother (and other guests) could have an actual bed to sleep in.  But again cost, design, and space were not intersecting.  And I felt like I had time to decide since I knew he’d be sharing our room for the first part of his life.

I wasn’t sure how we would establish our family sleeping situation; I didn’t even know how I felt about it other than the extreme stereotypes represented in RomComs everywhere: Hippy-Dippy Family Beds whilst shunning vaccinations vs. ice-cold, detached robot parents who farm our raising their kids to a staff.  Surely there were more options than this?!  I implored the same approach we had with Heston’s impending arrival: we would just figure it out.  We started by RENTING the most beautiful (and functional) bassinet, but my little guy didn’t do much sleeping in it (much to my disappointment.)  And really, if I could have had my way, I think I would have preferred co-sleeping with H until he was in college old enough. But by 7 months when we knew H could lay on his back without choking (and sort of roll over) we knew it was time to fish or cut bait.  I felt like I had this window to transition him and this was it.  Armed with some research and my sleep bible, we put Heston on a mattress on the floor.

H Room

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The First Year

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How do you put into words the first year?  Nearly impossible.

Heston’s pediatrician danced with me in her office as I said, “It’s not Happy Birthday, baby! But CONGRATULATIONS Mamma & Papa!” She vigorously agreed and added, “the banner should end with, ‘and we’re still married — sort of!'” #truth #preach

Right now our little monkey has 3 teeth, but according to his 1 year check up yesterday, he has FOUR more sprouting any second!  His weight is in the 64th percentile, his length the 57th percentile and his gigantic, watermelon head is in the 93rd percentile!  Ha, ha! But for a baby that was once ONE OUNCE away from being labeled “failure to thrive” (at 16 weeks old) this is basically a miracle.

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Greetings From 9 Months

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I’ve been searching for my words in others’. I know they won’t be there; but somehow my thoughts are still a jumbled mess of syllables inside my mind. Much like my little monkey learning to babble, it’s how I feel about trying to articulate just what exactly has happened over these last 9 months.

The overwhelming love and joy that I have begun to experience since Heston turned 7 months is white-washing the nightmare that was my daily routine from day 1 – month 7. Everyone says you’ll forget the hard times, and maybe they are right. But it’s not that I’ve forgotten…but I can’t quite remember it, rather articulate it… it’s still so foggy and yet I can’t believe that I actually have “hindsight”.  We were in the trenches.  And then we weren’t.   I may not have the words for it, but I feel that I’ve been marked, branded, in some unique way.  And I’m talking about more than the permanent dark circles under my eyes and the severe postpartum hair loss (how did I not know this was a thing?!); nor is it the mark of general motherhood — but it is the mark of mothering an un-well baby, battling the demons of expectations and comparison, and digging down to a very deep, personal place to find the strength to get up again and again — for 7 months straight.

Color 9.21.05 PM

There are things I spontaneously remember that I’ve clearly already forgotten about…. My mantra for so long was “don’t forget about this,” but the way PTSD works, you’re supposed to forget, to be able to move on.  So while my pen had no fortitude and my memory no energy, nothing is more telling than my google search history; my digital legacy paints quite the picture.

  • what’s wrong with my baby
  • newborn won’t stop crying
  • newborn choking
  • what to do with a newborn
  • does my baby hate me
  • baby poop by color
  • how do i know if I’m going crazy
  • how long can I go without sleep
  • sleep deprivation as torture

And let’s not even go down the google rabbit hole of the breastfeeding problems I was having.  Oh Lawdy.

But I keep waiting to be able to articulate my experience to write in this space, but I think what’s needed is a fresh page, starting now.  So I’ll start with the present.

At 9 months, my little monkey is finally mobile.  He still breastfeeds, so eating is more about trial and error and tactile experience rather than nutrition.  But he loves almost any flavor food I’ve tried, spices and all.  But things with texture… not so much.  Because I’ve never been around babies I’m not sure what is unique to his personality, but I’m picking up on what others say about him. One of the most common comments I hear when we’re out and about is, “he’s so serious!”  And he is.  Whilst out in the world, he likes to be worn in my ring sling.  And he’s SO contemplative.  He sits straight-faced, soaking it all in.  But when we’re at home, he’s all squeals and giggles.  He’s definitely my kid.

His head is finally becoming more proportionate to his body and is in the 71st percentile (down from 92nd!), while height is 47th percentile and weight is 24th.  Watermelon on a toothpick.  And he’s wonderful.

 

My Birth Story

Prologue:

I don’t have the “Pinterest Perfect” images I thought I might capture during my labor and delivery (you know, a la Kate Middleton).  But these images are invaluable to me and was all thanks to my amazing doula for being able to multitask.  They are raw and real and capture the energy of the experience. What I’ve written here is not everything I remember from that amazing day; I could write more about expectations, conversations with my nurse and the choice to encapsulate my placenta. But those are stories for another time.  

Day 1

Well, I should clarify, this is not MY birth story, but rather, my son’s!  *insert some serious side eye*

Like any lover of good stories, I love me a good birth narrative.  It’s got great story structure built right in: an obvious beginning, middle, climax, and then an end.  Even when I adamantly didn’t want children, I still loved this narrative. And it’s time I add mine to the history books.

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It’s A Boy

Eight weeks.  We’ve survived EIGHT WEEKS!  And I’m still in “survival” mode.  So many things I want to blog about.  My (great) birthing experience, my declining health in the first week of postpartum, my difficulty breastfeeding, colic, tongue tie, and mostly how much I love this little boy.  I cannot believe I have a little BOY.  Bananas.  The only time I seem to have is when I’m sitting at the pump, and hopefully I’ll soon get to process this whole thing with words, but in the mean time you can see me process visually on Instagram.

Baby Heston Birth Announcement

The Day Is Near

Waiting

How do you describe the day before you know you’ll meet your child?  I am being induced tomorrow.  My mom texted me today and said that today feels different for her; for me it feels the same as the last 39 1/2 weeks — completely normal and completely surreal.

My last post at 34 weeks seems like yesterday and 100 years ago.  Maybe this is the entirety of being/becoming a parent: a constant paradox.

Ironically, since my shingles has cleared up, I’ve never felt better.  Really, these last 2 weeks in particular have been the best of my entire pregnancy.  Don’t get me wrong, my pelvis is about to completely fall apart and I walk like a 2,000 year old person, but mentally I’m finally there.  I’m finally ready to say: #letsdothis!

When I went in for my 37 week check up the doc told me, much to my surprise that I was 2cm dilated and 70% effaced.  The adrenaline kicked in.  At my 38 week check up I was 3cm and 80% effaced.  The adrenaline really kicked in and I thought for sure I would be meeting my monkey over Memorial Day Weekend.  So last Friday at my 39 week appointment I wasn’t sure what to expect; however, my progress has stalled and I’m still the same (3 & 80).

The emotion of it all manifested at the 37 week check up.  My sis came over that weekend and helped us set up the guest room baby’s room.  She and I and B nearly all lost it a few times, but especially during another Target run when I realized that I lost my mucus plug.  It was “gettin’ real in the whole foods parkin’ lot” if you know what I mean.  But we’ve all had time to settle a bit and now I just feel calm — a really weird calm.

I feel really fortunate to have gotten a little staycation weekend with the hubs over Memorial Day weekend.  We thought for sure it was our last together as a family of two so we made the most of it.  We watched like 5 movies (even went to the theater for one of them!) and cleaned the house, played cards, cooked almost all our meals at home together, limited phone calls, slept a lot; it was magic.  Then nothing.  I was all geared up — or rather zen-ed out — and then, nothing.

So I’ve tried to keep that level of internal calm for nearly another two weeks.  I’ve tried to be present to every opportunity — including junky tv, a random breakfast date, “long” walks, watching B cook for me, listening to music and meditations, and just sitting in the quiet of the house staring at my budding lemon tree.  I know that there will never be a time like this again.  As melodramatic and cliche as it sounds, I know life will never be the same again.

But I am ready.  I am ready for this new journey; a chance for renewed self-discovery and connection with my husband and the world.  And mostly, I’m ready to get this squirmy creature out of my body so I can squish it pieces!

Wish me luck!

We’re In

Home Sweet Home

How has it been nearly 3 weeks since we moved?! I’ve had about 10 blog posts running in my head, but actually sitting down and writing it out (with photos!) is a different story.  Needless to say, we’re in our new house.  It wasn’t finished before we called the movers, but sometimes, you just gotta make things happen.

Here’s how it all went down…

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So Many Things 2014….

I didn’t think things could get bigger than 2008 or really 2013… but 2014 proved to be a doozy.  Hence, my absence from my longest running hobby.  I can’t believe I’ve been blogging for SEVEN years.  I hope to pick up this practice again as there is more to document and a creative muscle that has atrophied a bit.  Maybe I’ll talk about all the changes that 2014 brought, and maybe I won’t.  Regardless, tomorrow begins the clean slate I love so much: day 1 of a brand new year.  And (clearly) 2015 is sure to be quite memorable…

New-Years-2014

Soon to follow: a new house (and subsequent remodel), a recap of a trip to Spain, and thoughts on being pregnant…