Wednesday, December 7, 2016

You guys...

I'm back

It has been just over two years since I have written here.  A lot has changed, the followers I'm sure have diminished but I'm here, I'm still here.

To say that I haven't thought about writing in these past two years would be a complete lie.  I have thought about and wanted to write almost every single day.  But the excuses...oh the excuses!

Not enough time in the day. True

I'm not in the right head space right now.  True, but also all the more reason I should have been writing.

I really just want to watch tv and zone out after the kids are in bed.  So true

When I sit down to write all of my ideas seems to drift away and I just stare at the same blank screen until my eyes must look away.  True

I don't know if what I write reaches anyone or if anyone cares.  True

I need to bare my soul but what if people judge me.  True

So why did I decide to finally start writing again?  Because I can't not write anymore.  There is so much noise in my head.  So much noise!  All day every day.  All night every night.  The noise.  And it won't stop.  I think the only way to stop the noise is to write it down.

I need to write it down.

I have been getting little nudges from within to write, to get some things out, to tell the truth.  Nudges can be ignored.

But the past few weeks it has been full on shoving.  Yelling in my ear.  Pushing me off of a cliff.  You need to write this down, Anne.  You need to write this down like you need air to breathe.  And you need to do it now.


So here I go.

I must warn you though, it's going to be a little bit different than my previous writing.  It's going to be a little less humerus kid stories and a lot more let's get real about life stories.

I am going to try to stop myself from rereading each post 47329854 times and editing it to death.  I'm going to try to just write it down, hit publish and go hide in my room walk away .

There is going to be a lot more truth telling and a lot less fluff.  My truth needs to be told and while I sometimes struggle to speak the words, my fingers are brave.  Kind of

I can write it down.  I need to write it down.

I will still share funny, gross and heartfelt kid and family stories, but for a little while the focus is going to be on me.  And maybe on you.

Maybe you will see yourself in me.  Maybe you have been where I have been.  Or maybe not.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Arlowe Jean Nessier

Born April 21, 2014

It toke me six months and one day to write this
I didn't proofread or edit because
that would have taken another month...

My due date was April 17th, but I knew all along that she would come later.  I was uncomfortable and crampy for a few nights before, and could have sworn I was in labor Friday, the 19th, but when I woke up and peed my contractions stopped.  Probably should have removed the toddlers legs from my belly and peed at 1am instead of waiting until 6am...hindsight.

It was the Saturday before Easter and I there were no signs of baby other than the fact that I didn't want her to come that night which in my head meant that she was totally coming that night.  Because you can absolutely tell babies when to be born, right!  The only reason I didn't want her to come during the night was because Caches was excited for the Easter Bunny to eat the carrots he left out and get a basket and I so badly wanted to see his face light up.  I didn't care if I was in full blown labor that morning, I just didn't want to be gone to the birth center.  

She cooperated, and we had such a fun morning opening Easter Baskets and going on Egg hunts with family.  I didn't have much of an appetite all day, but other than that it was a normal day.  We went to my moms house for lunch and yet another egg hunt and while sitting on the patio visiting, I noticed some cramping.  It was not very exciting so I didn't pay much attention, but I did notice that it was somewhat regular so I began to time the cramps and they were 10 min apart.  It was about 4:00pm and with contractions every 10 minutes I decided to take Caches for a walk and see if things picked up at all.

We walked all around the neighborhood closing trash can lids and stopping to watch bugs.  My contractions got stronger but were still far apart.  We even ran into a family friend who asked me when the baby was coming and I played it off like I didn't know.  We finished up our walk and headed home around 5;45pm.  Contractions were stronger and a bit closer together now but still very manageable.  I fed and watered the chickens, fed the dogs, picked up the house and gathered some last minute items for my overnight bag all while telling Caches that his sister was probably coming tonight and that he might wake up to grandma and not mama.

It was about 7:00 now, and time for Caches to go to bed.  Even though contractions were pretty uncomfortable I was determined to put him to bed just the two of us.  We told stories and I draped his lanky body over my belly one last time as we rocked back and forth.  I reminded him again that he would wake up to grandma and I would be at the birth center with daddy.  He took the news surprisingly well, too well, he knew.  Tears streamed down my face as I cradled my baby boy knowing that both of our worlds were about to be turned upside down.

After a while we laid in bed next to each other and I rubbed his back until he drifted off to sleep.  It was difficult to lay still during my contraction but I managed.  I kissed his head and walked out to the living room.  I decided to call the birth center and let them know what was going on and to call my doula.  After getting off of the phone I sat down on the couch next to Ryan for a moment and out of nowhere my contractions all but stopped!  Probably 15 minutes passed with nothing.  Was this a false alarm!?  WTF!?

I grabbed my breast pump and began to pump and walk abound the kitchen.  After pumping for 15 min or so contractions picked back up big time.  They were about 4 minutes apart and I had to stop walking of put all of my attention on them.  I knew it was real.  It was about 9:00 by now and my doula encouraged me to eat even though I was in no mood.  I ate an apple and a string cheese in between contractions and annoying the crap out of Ryan debating if it was time to go to the birth center yet.  Did I mention that the birth center was 40 minutes away!?

I didn't want to get there and be sent away because I was only like 2cm dilated, but I also didn't want to deliver a baby on the side of the road!  I went back and forth and back and forth for a loooong time until finally I decided to go.  If they send us away, we will get a hotel room.  I called my mom to come over and the doula to let her know we would be leaving soon.  My mom arrived just before 11:00 and shortly after we headed out.

Judge me if you must, but there was NO way I was sitting in a seat buckled up for 40 minutes with strong contractions coming every 3 minutes.  I knelt on all fours in the back seat and draped my body over the car seat during contractions.  I thought the ride was going to seem like FOR EVER, but luckily it went rather quickly.  We arrived at the birthing center just before midnight, and even though I joked about taking the stairs, we rode the elevator up to the second floor.

I was checked into triage and told I was going to have to wait to be checked out because there was a birth going on right then.  I changed into a gown and swayed back and forth through contractions.  Some of the positions I thought would be comfortable turned out to be incredibly uncomfortable and I pretty much just stood up swaying back and forth the entire time.  Bending over or laying down caused me a great deal of discomfort.

Moments after midnight our doula arrived and came into triage to be with us.  In between contractions I was fairly comfortable and could move around and chat, but when the wave of a new contraction came I couldn't speak.  I remember thinking, please just be in labor enough to be admitted.  Please don't make me leave.  I also remember wishing I wasn't so darn tired (Caches had some rough nights leading up to this and my hips were ON FIRE, so sleeping wasn't happening).  Finally the nurse came in to check me.  As she checked, she looked at me funny.  Were you dilated at your 40 week apt?  Yes, I was 1cm.  I was waiting for her to say I wasn't dilated at all or that I was still a 1.  She looked at me and said, um, you are 8cm with a bulging bag of water.  You are really calm for 8cm!  We need to get your a room!

We walked down the hall to our room and I remember asking if I could get into one of the birth tubs.  They wanted the doctor to check me first because they don't like babies born in the tubs, but she was still busy with another patient.  Yep, I drove to Santa Cruz for 8 months worth of appointments and met 5 different midwives only to have the on call doctor deliver me.  Ha ha, universe, ha ha!   Luckily she was very laid back and very supportive of me just kind of doing my thing.

While we waited I found it comfortable to hang ALL my weight on my poor, lovely doulas neck during contractions.  Sorry, Michele :)  Finally the doctor came in and checked me and I was still 8cm with a bulging bag of water.  She told me I could keep doing exactly what I was doing, go over to the birth tub and get in the water, or she could break my bag of water and see if that would speed things along.  Originally I was apposed to any kind of intervention, including breaking my bag of water, but after she told me that baby was in the perfect position, I could still get in the tub after she did it, and breaking my water could speed things up, I decided to go ahead with it.

It was just a few minutes after 1:00am when she broke my water.  A TON of fluid gushed out, sorry, but it did, and I could feel baby's head drop what seemed like a good 4 inches down.  I remember thinking what a mess that would have been in the car, and then almost immediately my body was like GAME FUCKING ON.  I had a game changing strong contraction and announced that I already felt like pushing!  Could I really already feel like pushing?  It didn't matter, my body was PUSHING!  I got out of bed and squatted beside the bed leaning over it and holding on.

I could still talk in between contractions and remember making jokes with Ryan, but I kind of blocked out everything else in the room.  I know that nurses were around me and that I made a poop joke, but I don't remember much else during that time.  Then after a contraction the nurse told me I had to get into bed.  Say what?  I refused. Climbing up onto the bed and laying down was out of the question.  You can't have your baby on the floor, she told me.  WHY NOT! THERE IS A TOWEL THERE?  Yeah, I was kind of annoyed.  Anyway, they helped me into bed and I got into a sort of child's position with my butt lifted up.

The doctor who was amazing and calm and was literally just sitting there watching me, told me that she could see baby's head.  What?  I'm that close?  I don't know if they asked me to or if I did it on my own, but I laid down on my side to push and remember reaching down and feeling baby's head.  Oh my gosh.  It's really right there!  The doctor told me one more good push and her head would be out.  I folded my body over my belly with the next contraction and looked down just as her head was coming out.  I saw her head coming out of my body, and it was amazing!

I felt another contraction coming and pushed.  Wait, wait...  The doctor told me that the cord was wrapped around her neck twice and tightly and that she was going to have to cut it in order for her body to be born.  I really wanted to delay cord clamping, but it wasn't going to happen.  She cut the cord and with one final push at 1:34am, Arlowe Jean was earth side.  I was overwhelmed with relief and love and more relief.  I remember thinking how amazing that just one moment ago my body was in intense, purposeful pain, pushing a baby out and then in an instant, calm.  Pain free and so calm!

Our bodies truly are phenomenal.  I remember telling Ryan that I couldn't believe how strong my uterus was.  Seriously, I didn't really even do anything, my body just knew what to do and DID IT!!  Go body!

Of course I wanted that baby on my body immediately, and she was, but only for a moment.  Arlowe aspirated some fluid so they had to suction her a bit.  About five minutes later (felt like forever) they returned her body to mine.  And I can still feel it. The magic in that moment when our eyes met for the first time.  The wonderment of the wold around.  The recognition of life, of love.  Feeling her impossibly soft skin, touching her downy head to my lips over and over again, and breathing in her scent.  On my lord, do babies smell delicious!

We laid together, her skin on mine, for a long time.  There was nursing and staring at each other and the whole world stood still.  After while we had to move into a different room so baby was dressed and wrapped up.  I put on a gown and hopped up out of bed much to the nurses shock.  Um, you just had a baby!  I know, I feel like I could lift a truck!   But they still made me ride in the wheelchair.

Once we were in our room and all was quiet I remember telling Ryan that giving birth was the most amazing thing in the entire world.  I was completely high on hormones, but that I didn't think I was one of those women who was like, I could do it again tomorrow!  Well, some time passed and guess what.  I could totally do it again tomorrow!  But I won't, this womb is closed for business.  I could be pregnant and give birth a dozen more times, I love it, but the minor detail that pregnancy and birth lead to children kind of complicates things.  So for me, this most amazing, healing birth will have to last me a lifetime, and I think it will.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The only one who wants a nap around here is me!

I wish my kids didn't need to nap!  There, I said it, and I absolutely mean it!  I know, I know... Don't say it, don't even say it.  Your kid takes amazing naps.  You love it and you never want them to stop napping!  They napped until they were five years old!  They pass right out in the car and sleep while you drive.  They nap in the stroller while you jog or sip hot coffee.  You use that time to work out or make dinner or save puppies and woodland creatures.  You get a few blissful hours every single day without your children.  Good for you.  I hope your kid does nap until he is five.  And I'm not even being sarcastic right now!  Shocking, I know.

I might be alone here, but I hate naps.  I know if my kids were good nappers I'd be on the other side, but my kids suck at sleeping.  They do.  They excel at many things, but resting the body and closing the eyes, BIG FAT FUCKING F!  The amount of work and stress that goes into getting a measly 30 minutes out of them just seems so futile!  Why even bother!?  Oh right, because if they don't nap they do the uncontrollable overtired baby scream that we all know to make the ears bleed.  So they need naps, but not very long ones.  And since they aren't very long, they need multiple naps a day.  And then my head explodes.  To be clear, I'm talking about Arlowe now and Caches when he was a baby.  Naps for him are so totally last year.

And what's worse, they use naps to fuck with me.  Oh, mom has plans to meet her friend at 9:00 for coffee, let's sleep until 10 even though we never sleep until 10!  Oh, grandma and grandpa are coming to visit!  Mom and dad tell them what a crappy sleeper I am, so I'm going to take a 90 minute nap so they roll their eyes and think she is a pathological liar.  I'm going to sleep a whole hour for two days in a row and get mom thinking that I'm always going to nap for an hour, but then, NO!  And my personal favorite, let's wake up the second mom tries to eat lunch, blog, poop, walk outside, read a book, walk past my bedroom for something, kiss daddy, or do anything that could be considered productive.

Which brings me to my next nap complaint.  I can't even do productive shit when they sleep because of the way my house is designed.  Granted this isn't the kids fault, but still I blame them.  Their bedrooms are right by the kitchen so even though my hands are free for a few moments there will be no dish washing.  Well, there can be, but it is tedious, careful, s l o w, and I always accidentally drop something and hold my breath while watching the monitor praying they don't wake up.  So it's stressful and I don't do it.  Can't vacuum.  Can't cook, you'd be surprised how loud chopping vegetables is!!   And to be quite honest, now that I have two kids, the entire time the little one is napping I'm working my ass off to keep the big one quiet!!!

Caches likes to wait until Arlowe is asleep to give me the big, sad, poor me, I have to share my life with a baby now, puppy dog eyes, and ask to play in the living room or kitchen or hallway outside her door?!  What the??  Seriously kid, you think you can play with a garbage truck and a plastic dumpster constructed of the loudest plastic every made outside of her door!?  Why??  And while I'm asking why, why does the garbage truck (the real one, not Caches' toy), the UPS man, the mail man, the Jehovah's Wittiness, and the sales person who can't read our no solicitation sign ALL come at nap time??  Why???   Don't even get me started on my dogs barking, just don't.

I said don't!


I know I have a few more years living in a napping house, and that's fine.  It may not seem like it, but I have calmed way down on the napping stress with the second baby.  It's likely because she wakes up and is all, oh hi, mommy.  Smile.  And when Caches woke up he was like THE WORLD IS ENDING AND I'M GOING TO PRIMAL SCREAM FOR THREE HOURS!!!  Anyway, the day naps only happen on sick days or accidentally during cozy snuggles sessions on the couch will the one of the happiest days of my life.  I will breathe a sigh of relief so deeply that my curtains will be drawn up with my breath.  And speaking of curtains, maybe when my kids don't nap anymore I can actually open them!!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

All the feelings...

I knew it would be a difficult adjustment bringing home a new baby.  I knew Caches would have an emotional time sharing me with his baby sister.  We have a special thing between us, he and I.  I knew I was going to be mentally and physically exhausted.  What I didn't know was just how much he would struggle, how much I would struggle, or how very empowering that struggle would be for the both of us.

When Arlowe first came home form the hospital, Ryan was home, so managing two kids, one who slept most of the day, was fairly doable.  Caches was feeling things out and I was slowly learning how to balance the needs of two tiny people.  Cache would want me to put Arlowe down and hold him and I would. Arlowe would need to nurse and Ryan would take Caches out to do something fun or play in the other room.  It was going fairly well, but I knew that it wouldn't always be like this.

At some point the reality of it all was going to hit him.  Was going to hit me!  There was going to come a time when I couldn't hold him, couldn't put him to bed, couldn't do what he wanted me to do, and it was going to be because of her, and it was going to suck.  And it did.

He would have minor meltdowns shouting at me to put her down or telling me that he wanted me to hold only him.  I would accommodate to the best of my ability, but almost always to a fault, all the while knowing that I should probably step back a bit and let him experience his upset.  Sometimes this meant I was carrying both babies, standing up at Caches' request, thankyouverymuch, for extended periods of time while in pain, or nursing Arlowe with my left and holding Cache with my right.  It was both a special time of connecting with both of my children and a time of intense mixed emotions for me.

I went through intense feelings of guilt, it was as if my very soul was being drawn and quartered.  I wanted Arlowe to just sleep by herself or be quiet so I could spend time with Caches.  I wanted Caches to leave me alone so I could bond and spend time with Arlowe.  And perhaps most of all, I wanted them both to give me just one second all ALONE!  Keeping it together emotionally was extremely challenging for me those first few weeks when we were all transitioning into a new normal.

I made a point during quiet moments to talk to Caches about how hard it must be to have a sister and how it was okay for him to be upset about it.  I still do this in fact as it is still hard for him and I imagine it always will be.   I want him to feel comfortable expressing his dislike of this new situation, I want him to feel validated, but most importantly I need him to know that he is still loved, he is still just as important as he was before Arlowe was born.  She isn't a new baby coming to replace him, she is another baby coming to enrich all of our lives.

Yeah, easier said than done with an almost three year old.  The first week passed in a blur or soreness and newness, and the second week saw Ryan returning to work and our journey as a trio begin.  The most difficult times, as predicted, were when I needed to be holding Arlowe, she was crying or eating, and Caches also needed to be held or needed my attention. Sometimes it was easy, I'd offer for him to sit next to me and hold my arm and that would satisfy him, but other times where was nothing I could have done to make it right.  And I didn't want to.  Okay, that's actually a lie.  I wanted nothing more than to make him "okay."  I would have bought him a fucking pony that shit cake pops and let him eat ice cream for breakfast and never sleep again if it made everything okay again, but that's not what he needed.  He needed to let out his feelings of anger, sadness and overwhelming change.  He needed an emotional release and it was going to happen pony or not.

Caches was taking a nap, back when he used to nap, and Arlowe was overtired and struggling to fall asleep herself.  I could feel my anxiety rising as each minute passed; he'd be waking up soon.  I can't be holding her when he wakes up.  He will freak!  Of course Arlowe settled into sleep just as I heard him waking up on the monitor.  I knew if I put her down she would wake up screaming so I took a deep breath, played cool, and carried her into his room.  His blurry eyes looked up at me and saw her asleep on my chest, in his spot.  "Hold me, mama.  Hold only me."  I knew it was coming.  I wanted to pick him up, I wanted to hold only him, but I didn't, I couldn't.  I had to hold firm on this boundary, he needed to feel his feelings, and I needed to allow him.  I took a deep breath, "I can't hold only you right now, I'm..."  And before I could even finish my sentence he collapsed into a screaming pile of emotion.  Caches has never been one to hold back and this was no exception.  He was feeling ALL the feelings.

Breathe Anne, breathe...

I told him that I would be happy to sit in the chair and hold him with Arlowe but I wasn't going to put her down. This was met exactly as I imagined, poorly.  He began to scream and yell at me, demanding that I put her down.  Begging me to hold only him.  I had to sit down.  I sat in the glider and tried to remain calm.  He needed me to be calm.  I sat by his side and focused solely on breathing and empathy.  I watched his sweet face turn red with range and tears run down his cheeks as he reached up for me, waiting nothing more than for my arms to hold him as they always had before, without question.  I sat there quietly as my heart shattered into a thousand pieces.  I wondered if it would ever be whole again.

Amazingly enough, Arlowe was still sound asleep as he continued to sob and scream.  He was grabbing at my body and trying to get me to put her down.  I held firm that he could sit with us but I wasn't going to put her down.  He tried to stop crying and through tears and a sniffled voice asked sweetly if I'd please hold only him, please mommy, please he begged!   When I wouldn't, he pounded his fists into the bed, he squeezed his legs and screamed the kind of primal scream that only toddlers seem capable of.  I sat still and quiet only speaking to remind him that he was loved and that I knew this was so hard for him.  He stood up and with everything he had left he tried once more to change my mind; and then he stopped.  Like a deafening hail pounding a tin roof and then giving way to bright sun, it was over.

His voice was still shaking and his body trembling with adrenaline, but I could tell he was relieved.  He walked over to me and with a tear soaked face asked to sit with us on the chair.  Without saying a word I picked him up, kissed his salty face and tucked his body into mine as close as I could.  " I love you, Caches.  I love you always."  "Look mama!" he exclaimed, "You can hold both of us."  And just like that my heart mended together again.  I can hold both of you!

I remember looking at the clock when he first woke up and noting the time.  I walked out of his bedroom holding two babies thirty eight minutes later.  Thirty eight minutes of unrelenting screaming, of raw emotion, of cleansing tears and of personal growth and acceptance.  Thirty eight of the most gut wrenching minutes of my life.  I wish I could say that it only happened this one time, but it didn't.  He had a few more of these emotional releases, though none as intense as the first one.  And I must say, as difficult as it was for me to watch and as difficult as I'm sure it was for him, I bet it felt SO good to get all those yucky feelings out.

For the most part things have settled way down and we are getting into a routine.  It actually does feel like a new normal which is amazing considering there was a time that I thought I'd surely drown in this sea of change.  Caches will still occasionally tell me that he wants Arlowe to go somewhere else or to get the car and drive away from us or to go back in my belly.  He still asks that I hold only him sometimes, and he still gets frustrated that he has to share mama, or daddy or the dog or the window HE IS LOOKING OUT OF, but I wouldn't expect anything else!

The addition of a sibling is the most traumatic thing he has yet to experience.  He loves her, I know he does, but he also wants her to go away and for things to be the way they used to be.  I get it.  I really, really get it.  I can't imagine I'd be all that thrilled if Ryan brought home a new wife and was all, get over it, don't be sad, don't you want to give her a hug.  The bond of siblings is a journey that cannot be willed by their parents.  Sure, I am here to facilitate their bond, but I can't do it for them.  Heads are going to butt, hands are going to hit, ears are going to be pierced with screaming; and I'm looking forward to it, honestly.  I am so lucky to get to watch these two grow closer, and further, and then closer again each and every day.  In the process though, oh, my heart <3

Monday, October 6, 2014

Full of shit...


You know those air plants that they sell at Home Depot?  They are pretty and whimsical looking, but for some reason they always adorn them with brightly colored parrots and affix a magnet so you can hang them on your refrigerator.  Because who doesn't want a plant that lives off of air alone hanging out on their refrigerator door mocking them every time, 23 to be exact, that they open it up and take a bite of leftover cake.  Or is that just me?  Anyway, these plants live off of air, and so does my son.

Of course not 100% air, that would be crazy!  He also chugs a few small glasses of whole raw milk (yay!) some nuts (yay!) and a tiny bit of ice cream (yay?), his treat before bed, pretty much every day.  These are the only things he will eat without fail. Sometimes he will snack on a carrot, a cracker, a handful of granola eaten off the kitchen floor like the dogs, the ONE PERFECT bite of MY food that I was saving for last, fruit snacks, an apple, or some cheese, but these are all wild cards.  Oh and he will cook the shit out of some pancakes.  Cook, not eat!  In fact, he will cook anything at any time, he just won't eat it.  He will have changed his mind by the time it is done cooking.  True story.  And my mind is all, whaa??  And before I know it I'm stuck eating cold eggs again because I don't like to waste.

I don't know why I'm surprised, Caches has never had much time for or interest in food.  I have no idea where he gets all of his energy, but he is full of it.  Full of energy or poop.  Seriously, that's the whole reason I wanted to write this.  My kid eats six bites of food all day and poops like a grown man!  Where is all of this poop coming from?  This morning he woke up at 5:13 am because he had to poop.  He did, it was huge, and yes I looked.  We went back to bed and he had to poop again.  I didn't believe him but he assured me.  And he did, and it was huge, and I looked again!  Back to bed and five minutes later he tells me he has to poop yet again.  I'm like seriously, if you want to get up just get up for the day.  Nope he really did have to poop AGAIN!  And you can bet that I looked at it again in awe.  "Caches!" I asked, "Where is all this poop coming from!?"  "I don't know, I think I ate too much dinner."  "Yes son, three chickpeas and a pretend bite of BBQ chicken is far too much for one man to eat."  "I told you that mommy."

So it remains a mystery where all of this poop is coming from.  Lord knows between four chickens, a cat, two dogs and two kids I'm already up to my eyeballs in shit every day.  I don't exactly need an overachiever in the pooping department.  Hey, maybe I'll get an air plant and hang it in the bathroom.  I'll name it Caches and offer it some ice cream.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

3 Years Old

Caches Michael,

It was three years ago today that at 3:36pm, Jeff Buckley sang Hallelujah and you drew your first breath earth side.  We have been talking about your birthday coming up for a few weeks now and you are getting excited.  We have talked about the number three, about when you were a baby, practiced how to hold up three fingers, and gotten excited about presents, but all you really care about is a cake.  Any time we talk about someones birthday, this is your chief concern, and I can't really blame you!  "Yay, it's Lilly's birthday!"   And you're like, that's cute and all, but will we have cake?  "Mommy, when is your birthday?  Will there be cake?"  And not just any cake will do for your third birthday.  No, you want a cake pop, specifically a pink one with white sprinkles from "the store" because, oh I don't know, maybe eight months ago, your grandparents brought one for you and you remember eating it.  Caches, you remember everything!

Yes, there is not much we can get away with around you, son.  You remember everything everyone ever said, EVER!  In a weak moment during a 4am potty trip you ask for pancakes for breakfast and I sleepily agree.  5:43am and it's, "Mama!  My eyes are open, I'm awake!  Are you awake too?  Hi, Mama.  Are your eyes open?   We are going to wake up and make pancakes and eat my vitamins and cook bacon and play with my animals and listen to songs and I'm going to go outside and feed my chickens and play.  That's what we are going to do.  Did you have a good nap, mama?   Mama?  You awake mama?  Your eyes open?  Hi Arlowe!  Arlowe's awake!  Come with me mama!  MAMA!  I'm awake! Mama, I gotta go poo poo!" Ah yes, you know what will actually get me moving.

Caches, you have oh so much to say.  I swear there are days when you do. not. stop. talking.  I remember wondering when you would talk, what your voice would sound like, what your imagination would explore.  I am beginning to get peeks into the world of your imagination, and it is pure magic.  I walk into your room and you have an alligator trapped under a blanket!  "Be careful mama!  I got this alligator trapped and he's not friendly.  You no step on him or he could snap you and you'll have blood."  You talk to your animals and introduce them to other toys.  You tell Abner stories and replay fun or unsettling tales of the day to yourself.  Caches, you have become quite the storyteller over the past 6 months.  You have also started to play alone.

There were times, many times in fact, when I thought you would never ever play alone.  You would never just get up and go pee when you needed to.  You would never want your own space, but you do.  You happily play with your garbage trucks and cans, making the rounds and dumping each can, complete with sound effects.  You sit down and manipulate a puzzle or thumb through a book, stopping to use the bathroom and then returning to your play.  I try not to interrupt you when you are playing in your own world, because then it wouldn't be anymore, but sometimes the urge to peek in and watch you play is overwhelming.  It isn't often, but it is pretty amazing.

Something else that's amazing!?  Caches, you actually sleep now.  Well, kind of, let me explain.  Your sleeping patters would make any normal person shutter and run for a pot of coffee, but not me, not with how far we have come.  I swear if it weren't for your newborn sister I'd actually be getting some sleep!  You now fall asleep in your own bed laying next to daddy or I.  You like to rub my arm, sometimes I think you like it too much and I'll wake up with my tattoos rubbed clean off.  You like that my skin feels cold and has tiny bumps.  Once asleep, I kiss your perfect face and try to breath in your peacefulness.  Caches, sometimes when I look at your sleeping face I am overwhelmed.  I don't even know how it is possible to love someone as much as I love you.  Tears fill my eyes and just before they fall, I sneak out of your room.  And this is the truly amazing part, you don't wake up for hours, HOURS Caches!!  Sometimes like 5 whole hours!!  Like I said before, I'm sure a lot of people would disagree that 5 hours is amazing, but I don't, I know that it is.

You have officially given up napping unless you accidently fall asleep telling me how not tired you are, but for the most part naps are done.  And again, most normal people would be all, NOOO, I need my kid to nap, and I'm all YAY, my kid doesn't need a nap!  Because quite frankly, naps were never your thing, which means they were never my thing, but that is a whole other story...

You still tend to wake up grumpy, you always have, and you want to be held by only me.  You wrap your impossibly long, wiry limbs around me, blonde curls wafting your little boy sent into my nose, and for a brief moment I am transported to a smaller you.  A tiny, unsettled baby who wanted, no NEEDED to be held all day and night.  Your head has spent countless hours settled on my chest and you still rest it there when you feel sleepy, sad, scared or sick.  You tell me that it it cozy and that you can hear my heart telling you that it is okay, I melt.  Please know that no matter how big you become, or how uncool I become, that my chest will still rise and fall for you, my son.  Learning to share this sacred spot with your sister has been a struggle these past few months, but again, that's a different letter all together.

Three years, Caches, three whole years and I still catch myself looking at you and wondering how we got to where we are.  How did we survive those first six months?  When did you get so big?  When did those freckles start kissing your nose and cheeks?  When did we start having full blown conversations with each other?  Why are you so ridiculously sweet?  Holy shit, why are you so feisty?  Thank goodness you are feisty, but really,  how are you three?  I don't know how, my love, but I do know this.  Every single day I wake up with but one goal, to love.  All my other to-do's can go unchecked, my hair unwashed and my house uncleaned as long as I know at the end of the day that you felt loved.  And I hope you always do.


P.S The other day you looked at me and said, "Hey, mom.  I'm going to call you mom now because I like it."  Guess what, I don't, but I didn't tell you that.

 I actually wrote most of this two days before his birthday, which was three months ago, and intended to finish and publish it on his birthday.  That never happened, obviously, and I've tried to finish this letter so many times but it just isn't happening!  Starting and stopping and starting the same letter again is really impossible so I'm giving up and publishing it unfinished and unedited.

Moving on and trying to get back into the swing of writing regularly.  I'm really struggling, but I am determined.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The night shift

An average night at my house from 7:00 PM until 7:00 AM...want to visit?

7:00 PM
Caches takes a bath, brushes teeth and puts on lotion.  We read stories, give hugs and kisses to every human and animal in the house, drink water, nurse (yes, still doing that), tell two stories that are wildly creative really silly that I have to make up, tell the story about the magic horse, rock in the rocking chair for the count of twinkle twinkle, lay in bed and rub Caches' back while he falls asleep.  Get up to pee, he squeezes out one drop.  Back to bed.  Get up to poop, he FORCES out a tiny nugget.  Back to bed. While nearly rubbing the skin off of my arm and fluffing his blonde curls in my face, he sleeps.  Marvel at how beautiful a sleeping child is and feel my love for him overflow, they are always cutest when sleeping.

8:30 PM
Walk out hoping Ryan got Arlowe to sleep.  If he didn't, give Ryan a break and nurse//bounce/beg her to sleep.  Once she is in a deep sleep transfer her to a fluffy pillow that somewhat mimics my arms and RUN to brush my teeth, wash my face and pee before she wakes up.  Carefully crawl into bed. Feel the amazing freedom of not holding or touching anybody.  Close my eyes and take a deep breath.  Arlowe wakes up.  Pick her up and pat her butt until she is back to sleep on my chest.  Fall asleep praying for an hour of uninterrupted sleep.  

9:30 PM
Ryan comes to bed followed by the dogs and their clicking toe nails hitting the hardwood floor.  Abner spends twenty minutes adjusting his lips while Lilly licks her foot until I can't take it anymore and I snap and yell at them to shut up which makes Arlowe stir.  Pat her butt until she falls asleep. Fall asleep myself.

10:30 PM
Arlowe is up to nurse.  I latch her on and like clockwork, Caches wakes up, "Mama, come get me!"  I try to wake up Ryan to go get him, but he is either already in a deep sleep or ignoring me.  I unlatch Arlowe and set her down in bed next to me hoping she won't start screaming while I grab Caches who I KNOW will start screaming from the other room.  His lanky body goes limp when I pick him up.  I carry him to my bed and lay him down on the other side of me.  I give him my right arm to pet until he falls back to sleep while I wiggle and pat Arlowe with my left.  He is asleep so I pick her up and latch her back on.  She falls asleep.  Try to burp her but she holds onto her burps like they are the golden ticket.  Give up and fall asleep with a baby on my shoulder.

12:00 AM
Wake up to the sound of the cat gagging and hear the vomit come up.  Hear Abner wake up and immediately start eating it.  I let him.  Lick, lick, lick...Oh my god how long does it take to eat some throw up!?  Lick, lick, lick...I'm so annoyed, maybe I'll get up and clean it.  Nah.  Lick, lick, lick...AHHHH!!!  Now he's gagging from all the licking.  Gag, gag, cough, cough.  Lick, lick, lick...I can't take it anymore.  I VERY carefully get up and grab some sort of cleaner from the dark broom closet while shhhh-ing as not to wake the baby balanced in my other arm.  I spray it and throw a towel over it in hopes that he will leave it alone.  I point an angry finger at him and threaten him with his life if he doesn't shut up, then I VERY carefully get back into bed.  While getting comfortable I wake up Arlowe.  I pat her butt until she falls back to sleep.  I think I fall asleep.

Arlowe is up to nurse.  I latch her on and try to stop her foot from kicking Caches as she wiggles about.  I block a roundhouse kick to the head from Caches.  I wonder why toddlers turn into ninjas in their sleep.  He stirs so I give him my arm to pet while balancing Arlowe with the other.  He settles.  I'm so thirsty, I have water but I hesitate to drink because I don't want to have to get up to pee.  I drink anyway.  Arlowe is done.  I unlatch her and fall asleep.

Fuck, I have to pee.  I put Arlowe in the crib and go pee.  The cat follows me and has the audacity to ask for more food.  I deny her her request.  I sneak back into bed and she stays asleep!  I close my eyes and start to blissfully fall asleep without children touching me.  Caches kicks me in the head.  What the??  How did his foot get up there?  Ah, he's doing it again!  STOP!  I block his leg.  "No touch me, mama!"  F you kid, quick kicking me in the head!!  He stops and settles while rubbing my arm.  I take a deep breath and fall asleep.

Arlowe is up to nurse.  I try to latch her on but her arms keep blocking her mouth and she is getting frustrated.  I pin her arms down.  Success.  Ryan is shoring.  How dare he snore AT me.  I hit him.  He doesn't budge.  Bastard.  I hit him again.  And again.  Then really hard.  He finally rolls over and huffs at me.  Huffs at me!!  Now I'm annoyed that he huffed and that he gets to sleep.  Arlowe finishes up and I want to sleep so badly but she cant' get comfortable.  I put her down, nope.  I put her on my shoulder, nope.  I try to get her to burp, nope.  She is thrashing all about.  I hate everyone who is sleeping right now.

She is still thrashing around.  FINALLY she is comfortable and I could fall asleep, I could.  That is if my brain wasn't wide awake.  Brain why are you wide awake!?  Why does the body get all revved up when overtired?  Should close my eyes and try to sleep but instead grab my phone and google, "why do we get so tired that we can't sleep?"  I'm unimpressed with my search results.  I call bullshit.  I just want to sleep.  Turn my phone off and close my eyes.

Pretty sure I just fell back to sleep.  "Mommy, I needa go peepee."  Put Arlowe down and carry Cache to the potty.  He pees while resting his head on my shoulder.  I fall asleep kneeling down and lose my balance.  Carry him back to bed and plop him down.  He needs my arm.  Fine.  "Mommy, your arm isn't cold, I want it to be cold, I want the other arm."  You can't have it, it's on the other side of my body.  He gets pissed and yells.  I try to reason with him about human anatomy and how arms bend, but give up.  He is still upset that my arm is cold.  I'm getting mad.  My arm is warm because you keep fucking RUBBING IT!!  FRICTION CHILD!!  IT'S HOT IN HERE WITH TWO DOGS, TWO ADULTS, TWO CHILDREN AND ONE CAT ALL BREATHING!! AND BODY TEMPERATURE!! AND JUST GIVE IT UP AND RUB MY WARM ARM!!  I think we all fall sleep but I'm not sure

"I'm awake!  Hi, mama!  My eyes are open!  You awake mama?"  I am pretty sure I'm dead but my burning eyes open.  "Yay, your eyes are open, mama, you're awake!"  He wants to get up.  He wants to cook breakfast.  He wants to play.  He wants to do things.  I on the other hand kind of wand to die.  We get up leaving Arlowe in bed.  The coffee can't brew fast enough.  I drink some and start to feel human.

I read Caches a magazine while he poops.  I'm drinking my coffee.  Arlowe is up and pissed that I left her in bed.  Apparently she wants to join us in the stinky bathroom and inhibit my coffee drinking.  Wipe a butt.  Change a diaper. Nurse a baby.  Realize I still don't have pants on.  Put pants on.  Deny Cache TV watching and listen to him whine for a moment.  Set him up with an activity.  Drink more coffee.

Feed dogs.  Let chickens out.  Clean chicken coop.  Feed chickens.  Feed the cat.  Feed the child who eats food.  Realize I had too much coffee but I want more.  Eat to soak up some of the caffeine.  Steal a sip of Ryan's coffee.

I'm awake now.

Mix up the cat vomiting for the neighbors dog barking or Abner drinking too much water and vomiting or Caches needing to pee again and you pretty much have every single night in my house.  So if I'm not razor sharp the next time you see at least now you know why.

*all times are approximate

*I really should take the clock out of my room