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!

WHYYYYY???????

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...

Literally.

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.

Love,
Mama

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.

1:00AM
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.

1:30AM
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.

3:00AM
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.

4:00AM
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.

5:15AM
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

5:45AM
"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.

6:05AM
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.

6:30AM
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.

7:00AM
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






Sunday, May 11, 2014

A blessed day

This Mother's Day I am blessed beyond measure.  So much so that I don't have the free hands or time to write about how much it means to me that I have the honor of being called, "mama."

Here are a few past posts that I have written about moms, enjoy


2012 Thank You!

2011 The Kindness of Strangers

2010 An Ode to Moms

Happy Mother's Day to all of you who read this blog, moms or not, I love you all!

xoxo


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Announcing...

Arlowe Jean Nessier

Born April 21, at 1:34am






She was 7lb 11oz and 20 inches long

I'm working on a more detailed birth story, but I can tell you that it was amazing, and so is she.  

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Babies are here!

Chickens that is, the human is still incubating...

I've wanted chickens for the longest time, but after talking it over with Ryan we decided against it.  Well, he decided against it and I was like okay buddy, but one day I will convince you otherwise.  And that day was just before Christmas this year.

Because every girl's dream Christmas gift from her husband is a chicken coop, right?!

The coop was assembled and the chicken run secured months ago, but the babies would have to wait.  You see, I ordered specific breeds from a reputable online hatchery and because I only wanted three, I had to wait for the weather to warm up before they could ship them out.  So yes, I knowingly placed my order for baby chicks to arrive exactly one week before my due date.  Because why not invite even more chaos into my home?

Well, they have arrive, and...they hatchery sent the wrong chicks.  Yeah, I spent hours researching the best breeds for egg production, friendliness with humans and other chickens, and broodiness and what do I get?  Three random breeds including one that is more of a meat chicken than a layer!?  WTF!?  It's not like a sweater that I can send back and exchange because they sent the wrong one!

So anyway, we have what we have and there is not much I can do about it.  Oh wait, I could have a crying meltdown and blame pregnancy!  Yeah, I did, but in all fairness I'd have probably cried anyway.   Moving on...They are SO freaking cute and actually far more friendly with people and overly excited toddlers than I expected them to be.  All and all we are thrilled to have three new babies as a distraction from the one coming soon.  Caches is completely in love and is very sweet and surprisingly gentle with them.  He insists on eating breakfast with them and wants to kiss all of them goodnight for both naps and bedtime.  He could care less that they are they "wrong" ones.

Oh, and their names, Do-Da, Albert and Oma.  I have NO idea where Do-Da and Oma came from, but he named them quickly and with confidence!


Here they are..he's kind of excited






Thursday, April 10, 2014

39 Weeks

Today marks 39 weeks pregnant, or as I like to call it, so pregnant that one no longer simply sits down, one plops down.  Between the hours of 7am and 7pm I am feeling great, all things considered.  I have random uncomfortable contractions and brutal bladder assaults, but all and all not bad.  I am one of those annoying people who thinks babies shouldn't be rushed unless absolutely medically necessary, so I try to just go with it and know that she will come when she is ready.

But between the hours of 9pm and 6am I am feeling like complete shit.  I can't get comfortable, hips burning, legs cramping, up to pee, up to rub Caches' back, up to move so I can breathe, up because my arm is numb, up because I'm being slapped in the face by a toddler, up, up, up!  I haven't slept in 3 years so this is nothing new, it's the pain in my hips this time that is brutal.  By 1am every night I'm like fuck this whole babies come when they are meant to bullshit, you need to come out now so mama can lay on her back again!!

Anyway, we finally have a name that we are 90% sure is sticking and I finally ordered the one thing I actually needed to buy, so I'd say we are totallyNOTready ready.  Oh, and did I mention that we are getting a flock of baby chicks today?  Because why not get baby chicks a week before your baby human is due?


The belly 



Someone make me to clean my mirror!

Monday, April 7, 2014

An open letter

If you will be offended or upset by my stance on punishment for children, I have strong feelings against it,  then this is probably a post you should skip.  


































To all the people on Facebook and other various social media outlets who are scared of a world where the adults weren't hit as children and were given acknowledgement for only participating, I have good news for you.  You are not now and will likely never live in a world where this is happening!  There, feel better now?

Yep, have no fear, there is still an astonishing rate of parents who are hitting their kids as a form of punishment.  I won't even use the word spanking because it is a bullshit, "nice" way of saying hitting.  Let's call it what it is, shall we.  So go ahead and mark this fear off of your list, because the, "problem with kids today" certainly isn't that they aren't being punished enough.

I happen to believe it is the exact opposite that is causing the problem...

You want to know what I'm afraid of?  I'm afraid of a world run by adults who were never allowed to safely express their feelings.  Who were put in time out or hit because they dare have an opinion different from their parents.  I'm afraid of adults who were trained as children to follow obedience blindly and never question authority.  I'm afraid of adults who were not shown empathy, compassion, grace and forgiveness by the ones they trust most.  Who were told they weren't good enough because they didn't win or excel at something as trivial as childhood sports or middle school math.  I'm afraid of kids who learn that life is a constant competition, they are never enough.

Kids who were only given praise if they got an A or won the championship.  Kids who were never good enough for their parents or who tried to be different but weren't allowed.  I'm afraid of adults who were told to suck it up, to brush it off, to toughen up; big boys/girls don't cry. Who were taught to stuff down their feelings and show no emotions.  I'm afraid of a world run by adults who were shown that it is okay to hit or manipulate someone as long as they are smaller and weaker than you.  Bullying doesn't start on the playground, folks, it starts at home.

With the way things are going, I think my fears are much more realized than yours.

Recently one of my favorite child development teachers said it far better than I ever could.  "The idea is that, by punishing children when they're young, they'll learn that there are bad consequences for doing bad things.  The truth is, no human being who feels loved, connected, valued, and good ever wants to do bad things.  Yet, by punishing young children for their innocent mistakes, we inadvertently plant the seed that they are not good, which makes them feel disconnected and devalued, and yes, sometimes even unloved.

What if we coached them through mistakes always with the message that you are good, we are connected, you are valued, and I love you; you just make the wrong choice there.  Here, let me show you how to make the right one next time.

Shaming, yelling, and punishing doesn't accomplish that.  Only loving guidance does.

What do you think would happen if we raised an entire generation who felt wholly loved, connected, valued, and good?  A generation of jailbirds?  Really?  How many prisoners spend their childhoods feeling loved, connected, valued and good?  Very few, I'd guess.

We could raise a generation of emotionally happy, healthy human beings!  It's worth a try, isn't it?"

I have so much, SO SO much to say about hitting and otherwise punishing kids that I could fill multiple blog posts.  In fact, I already have a few posts that sit unpublished for fear of offending people who may disagree with me.  So I don't know why I'm posting this one.  Maybe it's the hormones, or maybe I'm just getting to old to care, but I don't care if this particular post offends people, honestly.

I could say that I am offended that other parents think I'm failing because I don't choose to hit my child. I could be offended that people think I'm raising a "pussy," a spoiled brat, or a child who won't make it in the real world because they were too sheltered.  I could be, but I'm not.  Because we all have our own opinions and are entitled to such.  I don't and would never claim to have it all figured out.  No, I don't know the "right way" to parent, but I DO know the "right way" to treat people, and let's not forget that children are people too.


*Yes, I am aware that every situation/parent/child is different and there are 538484 different disclaimers that I could write about this post, but I'm not going to spend the time..


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

"Why?"

Dear dad of three daughters at Target today,

You didn't know I was listening.  You had what looked to be a newborn, a two year old and a four year old in tow, a cart full to say the least.  You were walking down the baby bottle aisle and stopped beside me to pick out breast pads for your wife.  As you were trying to read labels, your younger toddler began to ask question about what you were buying.  Why did you need them?  How they would be used?  Could she have some?  Where was mommy?  Could she have a snack?  What are you doing daddy?  Why?  Buy why?  Why?

My own son was at home, but the moment she spoke that three letter word, why, I was transported to his side.  You see, I have a very curious toddler as well.  Hundreds of questions are asked of me each and every day, often the same question over and over until my brain wants to explode.  I know it can be exhausting, I know it can be frustrating.  I know the temptation of reciting pack, "because I said so." or, "I already told you 23839 times!"  You do do, but you resisted.  You kept her spark of interest burning.

You could have ignored her or told her to stop asking so many questions.  You could have snapped at her to be quiet or made up flippant, meaningless answers, but you didn't.  You patiently answered all her questions about the breast pads that you likely didn't know much about yourself.  You assured her that mommy was at home resting, that she could look at the pads once they were purchased and that she could have a snack when you got to the car.

You satisfied your toddlers curiosity with kind words and simple answers.  You didn't shut down her thoughts or make her feel as if she was bothering you.  I know you made a positive impact in your daughters life today simply by acknowledging her.  You probably didn't notice the relief in her face each time you answered, or the spark in here eye each time she thought up a new question.  It is likely that you have no idea how important it is to your children for their questions to be acknowledged and answered, or maybe you do.   All I know it that watching you and your daughters for a few moments in the bottle aisle of Target today was a breath of fresh air in this stuffy, often stinky world.

So thank you, dad of three daughters.  Even though they probably won't say it right now, I can guarantee your daughters will one day be thanking you as well.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Nightmare!

Other than the adjustment of a new baby in the house there is not a whole lot I am nervous about.  I have a wonderful support team for the birth, an awesome family to help at home and zero expectations for the daily aside from coffee, I'll need coffee.  But there is one thing I am so scared of that it gives me the chills even bringing it up.

It's not something that most women even think about when adding a new baby to the family, but it is huge for me, HUGE.  What I am most scared of, terrified really, is that I will get another screamer.  I can't do that again, I can't.  Obviously if I have to I will, but seriously, I can't!

There are not even adequate words in the English language to describe how awful it was listening to a baby scream all day and night.  There are few people who have even experienced it to the same degree and the only other person I know who has is as traumatized about it as I am.  It is just not something you could even try to relate to unless you have been there.  It is brutal, and I don't know if I have it in me to do it again while still nurturing Caches, my former screamer who caused the initial trauma!

I still get flashbacks about it when I hear a baby crying.  My entire body tenses up and I assume the baby is going to scream for hours with no reprieve. All I can think about is the mind numbing, ear piercing, heart shattering screaming!  In the car, at home, walking around the block, at sleep times, at wakeful times, hell,  pretty much ALL THE TIME!  Ryan and I used to joke that if he eyes were open he was crying.  Only it wasn't really a joke because it was true!

The first 9 months of Caches life are such a blur of sleep exhaustion and anxiety.  I was hardly even functioning most days, and although by some miracle I did not develop postpartum depression, I was definitely a shell of my former self.  Slowly but surely I snapped out of it and as Caches grew more content so did I.  With a lot of hard work, trust, and deep breathing I learned to accept my child's upset and let things go.  I practiced being calm every day and not allowing his mood to effect mine so deeply (this has payed of huge in the toddler years, by the way).

But I am afraid that my mind is so pre-programmed to respond to baby crying with extreme anxiety that I am going to give my baby anxiety where there isn't any.  There is a very good chance that she will be "normal" and only cry when there is an unmet need or physical discomfort.  There is a very good chance that she will sleep longer than a 4 hour stretch before her third birthday.  There is a good chance that she will not wake up crying every. single. day of her life for the first 18 or so months.  There is a good chance that she will just be, and I don't want my past experience/trauma to mess things up!

Luckily quite a few of my dear friends have "normal" babies and I have been able to see that they stop crying fairly quickly.  They smile, coo and connect with their caregivers and strangers even!  They allow someone who isn't lactating to hold them every once and a while, and they are fine!  Holy shit, most babies are just fine!

So please, friends of mine with normal babies, remind me often that a little crying is okay, to breathe, to relax, and to allow myself to enjoy it.  And if I get another screamer, I'll see you in about 9 months.  Please send coffee and good wine!



Friday, March 14, 2014

Even though you can not yet read, my love

Caches Michael,

You are now two years and eight months old  That is 32 months, approximately 775 days that I have spent in your presence.  I glanced at a picture of you as an infant a few days ago and it took my breath away, where did that baby go?  What happened to my tiny, screaming, helpless babe?  I'll tell you what happened, what is happening...

You are growing, you are changing, you are learning, and you are becoming more amazing every single day.   Just today we were driving and I nearly had to pinch myself.  That voice, those thoughts, your imagination.  All the words stringing together, forming sentences, sharing ideas.  I remember wondering when you would talk,  now I have a hard time remembering a time that you didn't.  That's the thing about growing up, it is such a gradual process that you don't notice it is happening until it is done!

Sometimes I watch you navigate the world and I am overcome with how big you seem.  You can jump, climb and run.  You can create and manipulate and figure things out.  Your imagination is running wild!  But just as quickly I am reminded that you are still so little, so fragile.  You are still learning, son.  You run off to explore, fiercely independent and strong willed.  I let you go.  But when the world gets to be too much you come back to me.  I hope you always come back.

Caches, it has always been just you and me, me and you.  We have spent every single day since the one you were born together, not one single night apart.  You have been my everything, and while you will always be, things are about to change.  You happily talk to your baby sister in my belly, unaware of what it really means to become a big brother.  You often have a tiger in your belly and daddy usually has a peacock.  You are so innocent, you have no idea the magnitude of welcoming a new baby into your home; neither do I.

I do not yet know how you will react to a new life attached to me, taking up "your spot" on my chest, occupying my arms that were once only for you.  I do not know if you will want to help and be involved or if you will want your space to figure things out.  Will you be angry with me?  There are a lot of things that I don't know, son.  For one, how will I do it?  How will I find the time, the energy to be everything that everyone needs all at once?  How will I let you know that you are still loved while loving another as strongly?  How?

To be completely honest, I have no idea.  I can sit here and say that I will spend X amount of time with you alone every day, or that things won't be too hard, but I decided a long time ago not set any expectations about how things would be.  I thought I knew how it would be when you were born, at least a vague idea, but I was wrong, oh man was I wrong.  I don't want to be wrong again.  I don't want to have to undo expectations in order to let new ones in,  I want to go into this with an open mind; will you come with me?

I can try to tell myself that you will understand, that you will love your sister and will want her to be a part of this family, but I know that you won't, at least not for a little while.  For a time, son, your world, our world will be turned completely upside down.  There will be no going back, no reliving the old days, only new routines, new sounds, new experiences and new love.  And while I am absolutely terrified, I know we can do it.  We have made it through so much already, we can do this, together!

Caches, you taught me how to be a mommy, everything I am is because of you.  I never knew how strong I was, how amazing my body was or that I could survive on coffee alone until you.  You have taught me the true meaning of perseverance, patience and to always trust my instincts.  You taught me that there is no limit to the love one can have for another.  A love that I will not be sharing with your sister, we will have our own unique love that will grow with time.  My love for you is yours alone.  I have learned so much from you over these past few years, things that your sister will surely benefit from.  She doesn't know this yet, but she is one lucky girl to get you for a big brother.

I know it is going to be hard, it is going to be more than hard, but having a sibling is the most amazing gift I could ever give you.  The opportunity to be a big brother, to have someone to share your life with and hopefully love long after I am gone.  Someone to roll your eyes with when I am  in a mood, someone to get into trouble with, someone to talk to in the middle of the night who know exactly what you are saying.  Someone who will go through everything along side you and will be able to build you up when you are down.

Caches, this is going to be a journey of a lifetime.  There will be good days and bad, tears and strong feelings of anger, frustration, and rejection.  There will be joy, exhaustion, newness and pride. And as always. there will be love, there will always be love.

We can do this,
Mama <3 p="">

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Our days are numbered

I lay down on your floor bed with a deep sigh.  It is nap time and I am exhausted, you, of course, are not.  Your strong arms flail about, fingers scratching at my neck, your legs tuck and stretch.  "I not tired." But I know you are.  Finally still, you curl up next to me with your knees to your chest, legs resting on my belly.  You used to fit so perfectly into the crook of my body.  We both have grown. You relax and just when I breath a sigh of relief, a dance part erupts from inside.  "Sister is kicking me, mommy!"  Indeed she is.

And so we lay there intertwined as a flood of mixed emotions wash over my body.  I will only be pregnant for a few more weeks.  The times in which I will get to feel a baby move inside of me are limited.  Part of me never wants it to end.  I will only be pregnant for a few more weeks.  The days in which I am able to lay with you alone and quiet are numbered.  It will never be the same.  Part of me never wants it to end.

Holding you quietly while feeling your baby sister inside has been one of the most magical experiences of my life.  And while I am anxious and excited to meet her, I am in no hurry.  For her arrival marks the end of an era.  It will never again be just me and you.  So I try to make the most of every single day I have left to lay together quietly with you, my son.  I try not to let your wiggly feet or busy fingers bother me.  I wait patiently to feel your breath as it moves from awake to sleep, all the while a baby making her presence known.

Your sister is coming.  These days are fleeting.  I am in no hurry.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

34 Weeks

It is hard to believe that we only have 6 weeks, give or take, but let's be real here, probably take, to go.

I am feeling huge and blobby, not unlike the Pillsbury dough boy only far less flexible.  I have taken to blaming everything on the pregnancy because, well, because I can.  I have also officially reached the stage in pregnancy when if I bend over too sharply one of two things happen.  Either the contents of my stomach end up in my throat, or I get winded, it's awesome.

Speaking of winded, there were recently some changes made to our sleeping arrangements due to the fact that Caches was cutting off my already limited air supply.  I'd  literally wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air and feeling light headed.  This type of thing happens when your lungs are pushed up into your throat by a baby and then those already squished lungs are laid upon by a toddler.

It was an interesting process, trying to get him to sleep next to me rather than on top of me, and I wish I could say that it worked, but I won't lie.  I'll just say that it is a work in progress.  For the most part he will sleep next to me, and by next to I mean on top of my arm with his body pressed up against mine as closely as it could be without actually climbing inside of me.  Each and every limb must be making contact, and one hand must be on my skin at all times be it face, arm or chest.  Oh, and his head must be smashed up against me so that I get a mouth and nose full of fluffy blonde hair.  Once he settles into a deep sleep, I can slowly untangle myself from him and find a somewhat comfortable position, but when he stirs it's like a toddler Hannibal clawing at me and whispering, "I need your skin!  I need your skin, mama!"  It's not creepy at all...

6 more weeks that will likely fly by while simultaneously dragging on.  Here is the belly at 34 weeks.




Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Where is my fast forward button

I hate today.  Today sucks.  I have a bad attitude.  I have no sense of humor though I could really use it.  Things that ordinarily wouldn't bother me are weighing me down.  I want to curl up in a ball and just be alone.  Today the endless needs of the toddler while typically at least somewhat amusing are quite honestly pissing me off.  I want to yell.  I want to cry.  I hate today.

Today my unorganized cabinets are mocking me.  I tried to clean one out which led to Caches needing to sample every food item and request umpteen different meals, and each one denied led to tears.  Today I just want to clean my fucking cabinet.

Today the smoothie spilled on the counter, all over the child, down the cabinet doors, onto the chair and finally the floor didn't make me take a deep breath and say, "Oh well, let's clean it up."  Today it made me cry, it made me angry.  And though I know a giant puddle of smoothie on the floor looks like a lot of fun, I found zero humor in both Caches and Abner licking it up and stepping in it.  Any other day I'd laugh and throw everyone in the tub.  Today I am no fun.  Get out of my way.

Today I am not finding the beauty in a slow moving toddler stopping to pick up a butterfly wing on the way to the car.  Toady I just want him to hurry up.  I'm having a hard time standing back and letting things be.  I am feeling a strong desire to control everything which is a pretty good sign that I need to let go.  I'm not interested in signs today.

I just want to be mad.  I'm tired of starting every single day at a negative, barely making it to zero by noon.  I'm sick of being touched.  I'm tired of holding an extra 26 pounds of squirming interest.  I don't want to be wanted today.

Today I cursed the wakeful babe for not taking a nap.  Today I swatted at the dog for licking my face.  Today I threw the giant clump of ice out the back door rather than letting a curious child chip away and it and explore the cold.  Today I slammed the door.  Today sucks.

I could blame pregnancy hormones.  I could blame lack of sleep.  I could blame a sore back and tender hips, but I won't.  I won't blame anything today because pointing a finger seldom makes things better.    Today I won't over analyze, or pretend I'm fine.  Because today sucks and that's okay.



*Sorry for the dramatics, I just had to get that out!  Feeling better already


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Send me this letter in 10 years...

Son,

Today is one of those days that I am both in awe and complete panic over being your mother.  While it is a beautiful blessing, it is also a terrifying amount of responsibility.  Sure, right now my biggest worries are temper tantrums and keeping you alive as your try to climb all the things, but I know that as you grow so too will our conflicts.  Right now you are with me 24 hours a day and you get upset because I won't let you eat an entire stick of frozen butter.  You don't understand why.  Soon you will be away from me more hours than you are with me.  Soon you will be upset because I won't let you go out on Thursday night with your friends.  You won't understand why.  I know our journey has just begun...

Sometimes when you are playing quietly or drifting off to sleep I take a moment to wonder about who you will become.  Will you always be so intense and busy or will you calm with age?  When will your brilliant blonde hair fade and thicken?  Will you want a purple mohawk or will you prefer to have your hair neatly trimmed?  Will you always love animals or will you decide motorcycles are your thing?  Will you like to express yourself through your wardrobe or will you wear quiet clothes?  Will you sneak out and get a horrible tattoo that you cover up later in life?  Just so you know, both your father and I have already done the later.

I wonder, what mistakes will you make on your journey to find yourself?

These are all questions to which there is no answer.  I simply don't know, and while it is fun to imagine who you will become or what you will look like, it is silly to think that I have even so much as a clue.  I can assure you of one thing though, I will try my absolute hardest to let you be who YOU want to be, not who I want you to be.  You see son, you and I are part of each other, flesh and blood, but you do not belong to me.  Even when you were living and thriving off of my body alone, you did not belong to me.

You are your own person through and through, a tiny but important part of this enormous, beautiful, and often mad, mad world.  It is not my job to mold you into a person that simply parrots myself.  It is my job to let you figure out who you are for yourself.  To support you while you decide how you like your hair, what clothes you are comfortable wearing, and what activities excite you.  I happen to detest mushrooms, but perhaps they will be your favorite food.  I nearly vomit at the thought of public speaking, you may love it, your dad does.  I can not and will not watch scary movies but they may be your favorite kind.

I promise to give you the space to figure these things out for yourself, and I promise you can eat mushrooms, but I'm not cooking them.  The smell, oh god the smell alone!!

Sure, it will be difficult not to mindlessly encourage you to be like me. I am in fact around you all day every day so it is silly to think that my idiosyncrasies and preferences won't at least rub off on you,  but I don't ever want you to do something that you don't want to do simply because you think it's what I would prefer.  Okay, that's a blatant lie, I'd like you to like sleeping a little more and throwing rocks at the cat a little less.

Cache, if you need to have blue hair, have blue hair.  If you want to wear pink, wear it.  If you want to dress up like Batman, or study dirt or play the tuba, do it.  You see son, sometimes you have to try things in order to figure out what you actually like.  I know this because I have done it.  I know the permanency of a tattoo that you no longer like.  I know how long it takes to grow out bad hair dye.  I know what it feels like to dress a certain way not because you are comfortable, but because you are trying to be someone you are not.

I have already lived through many mistakes and so it will be difficult for me to bite my tongue and let you learn for yourself.  Not because I want to control you in some way, but because I have a deep desire to protect you from the hurt of growing up.  But I can't stop you from growing nor the pains that accompany it.  I actually wouldn't, even if I could.   Because all the attempts, the experiments, the hurts, they will all will become a part of what makes you you one day.  And while I will try my best to stand back and shut up, I have a feeling you will need to print this letter out and show it to me in about 10 years.

Or 5...

I can't promise that I will always get it right, but I promise to try.

Love,
Mama

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Oh sweet, mind numbing toddler "logic"

I buy sprouted wheat bread from Trader Joe's, but I don't go through it very quickly so I keep the loaf in the freezer and just take out one slice at a time as needed.   It goes directly into the toaster so, no biggie that it is frozen.  Anyway, I typically just have the one loaf in the freezer, but I was ahead of the game for once in two and a half years and bought a new loaf when I still had a few slices left.  I put the mostly eaten loaf in the fridge and the new loaf in the freezer.

Are you still with me?  Really, you are?  Okay, I promise I am going somewhere with this.

The other morning Caches wanted a piece of toast with butter and jelly on it.  Fine.   I grabbed a slice of my almost finished loaf in the fridge and before I even had it out of the bag he protested loudly!  "I no like that one, mommy!  I need it really cold!"  He then proceeded to open the freezer, "I need that one!"  Okay, so he wants the bread from the freezer because we typically get it from the freezer and it makes sense in his two year old mind that they only way one can eat a slice of toast is if the bread comes from the freezer.

Now, I'm not sure why, but apparently I was in the mood to explain actual human logic to a toddler. I tried to explain that I had some in the fridge that needed to be used before we opened the new one in the freezer.  It was the exact same bread, look, event he same wrapper, son!  I even tried to explain that no matter how cold it is when we put it in the toaster it will be warm.  "I no want it toasted!!!  I need it really cold!!!!"  I know what you are thinking, and I'm thinking it too.  You tried to explain something logical a toddler!?  Like with actual reason?!  Are you just asking for a meltdown?  Seriously, silly, silly woman.  Okay, fine!

My kid wants to gnaw on a slice of frozen bread, so I guess it was no surprise to me or you that he did not want the cold bread from the fridge, he wanted the REALLY cold bread from the freezer and nothing I could do or say would change it.  Well,  tempting fate again, I decided I wasn't going to open the new one and compromised by telling him that I would put a piece of kind of cold bread from the fridge into the freezer to get really cold.  A stretch to say the least, but he actually went for it.  So for the next 45 minutes or so we had to check on the temperature of the bread in 5-10 minute intervals.   "Not ready.  It needs to be reallllly cold!"

Finally it was determined by his squish test that the bread was indeed frozen and cold enough to be consumed.  Awesome!  I hand him the bread and he walks into the kitchen, "I put this in the toaster, mama!"

Really!!  REALLY!?

Yep

And so we toasted that slice of frozen bread, smeared some butter and jam on it and all was right in the fucked up, flea circus brain that resides inside the toddlers head.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Buzzz

The past few days I have been working on a long, hearfelt blog about young children saying, "please," "thank you," "I'm sorry," and sharing and I was nearly done, but when I came back to edit it today it was gone.  I could be pissed off, I really am.  I could cry, I kind of want to.  But I'm going to just let it go into the internet graveyard with other posts of mine that were not properly saved before my computer decided to "back" itself up.  What about my words, computer!?  Forget something!?  Sigh, it's par for my day thus far that's for sure. 

Can I go back to bed now?   Damn

Anyway, if you are interested in my opinion on the matter, just ask me in person or message me and I'll be happy to tell you in words that can't be lost forever in bullshit internet land!!  I'm not mad, I'm not mad.... So as it is,  you don't have to read my ranting and raving about things like "manners" and you can just enjoy the cute little story I put at the end...

This morning while putting away dishes, Caches noticed the bee emblem on our Laguiole knives.  "Bee mama!  Bees make honey!  Buzzzzz, poke!  Ouch!!"

Indeed they do.

"Mmm, I yike honey.  I need some.  I need huge honey on a huuuuge spoon!" 

So I pause the putting away for a moment and scoop up some delicious honey on a normal size spoon that he calls huge because it has a long handle.  It's actually an ice tea spoon that I use so I don't get honey on my hand dipping into the large jar, but it is a huuuge spoon, and the ONLY one that will due for honey for a toddler.  I hand it over and his eyes light up.  He examines the honey and grins widely.  He takes a lick, his eyes beaming. 

"Thanks!  Thanks bees for making me honey!  I yove it.  I eat it in my belly!"

I nearly cried.  It is probably one of the cutest things he has said thus far.  Thank yous are so much more special when they happen organically. 

I'd like to take a moment to thank the grapes that are made into wine for helping me through this day.  Wait, never mind.  Chocolate, thanks chocolate!  


Thursday, January 23, 2014

28 Weeks

Remember when I said I was going to post pregnancy updates and pictures every few weeks like I did with Cache?  Yeah, apparently I actually meant every 10 weeks.  Oops...

Everything pregnancy related is going fine, and other than a brief hospital stay due to a kidney infection that presented itself like pre-term labor it is fairly routine around here.  I feel HUGE, MASSIVE, like I swallowed a 20lb bowling ball.  In the morning it isn't bad, but by the evening, like right now, it is a little ridiculous.  I don't remember feeling like this ever when I was pregnant with Caches.  Oh well, mark it down as one more way this pregnancy is different than the last.

Another difference is the movement.  I remember feeling Caches move every day, but nothing like this.  This kid is out of control.  At 28 weeks she still flips back and forth from breech to head down frequently and I can literally feel her squirming all over the place.  Huge, hard kicks and jabs that just didn't really happen last time.  I not so secretly hope that means she will be quiet when she is born since Cache was quiet in the womb and well, was the opposite of quiet when he came out.

In other news, we still have no clue what to name her and are this close to going with Caches' suggestion of Albert Horsey.  It does have a certain ring to it, no?  Ryan and I have a short list, about 10 names, and all of them we like at least a little bit but none feel like "the one" yet.  I know we will come up with something, and if not, we will call her baby for a while.

Here is the belly at 28 weeks....




And seriously, Anne, stop what you are doing right now and CLEAN THAT MIRROR!!!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Worth a thousand words, or simply a memory in your mind

I miss writing.  I miss having quiet opportunities each day to jot down silly happenings and little rants.  I miss the over sharing, the offending, and the venting, but I have stopped beating myself up about it.  I used to get really upset that I didn't write for a week or that I couldn't get my thoughts together when I actually had a moment to do so.  And while I have stopped the upset, I still miss it.

So many nights I sit, rocking in the still of the night with a finally sleeping boy, blog posts and interesting ideas dancing in my head almost writing themselves.  But as soon as I emerge from the darkness of his room into the light of the kitchen, my eyes squint, ideas float away and the only thing I can think about is getting an hour of sleep to myself before he awakens again.

So no, I haven't shared the silly bulldog vomiting story, or our Christmas adventures, or developmental milestones, struggles or joys.  I haven't completed the letter I started writing for Caches' 2.5 year old un-birthday, yeah, he's two and a half!?  When did that happen?  I haven't edited the post I put a lot of heart into about adding a new baby to our family, and I haven't even shared a recent picture in months!

It is incredibly frustrating to have the ideas floating about but not be able to lasso them in and put the pen to paper as it were.  I worry that memories will fade, that I will forget.  Important things that I want to document and funny little tid-bits that make each day interesting.  I have intentions of writing down a quick memory for each day of the year; I don't do it.  I have intentions of taking more pictures; I don't do it.

Like at Caches' second birthday party where the cake I worked so hard on was half eaten by Lilly the night before.  We still decorated it and put a candle on top.  Or at the beach when the dogs and Ryan and Cache all line up as perfect silhouettes in the setting sun.  Memories of his first word, his first hair cut (hasn't happened, phew) his first time sleeping all night (also hasn't happened).  Maybe I'm not so far behind after all.  But really, I lack hundreds of beautiful photographs and notes about these days and moments.  Will I forget!?  I panic. I want to remember, I think I remember.  I do,  I really do remember them, but nothing is tangible.

I remember waking up on his birthday and asking him how old he was.  He raised one perfectly dimpled finger on each hand and grinned, TWO!  I remember the moment when he was no longer afraid to put his bare feet in the sand.  He had chipped purple toenail polish and his left big toe was bruised from dropping a can of tomatoes on it the week prior.  I do remember!

I suppose you don't have to write everything down and document each and every happening with a story or a photograph in order to remember.  I don't remember, per say, when Cache was a newborn.  I don't vividly remember what his face looked like or the clothes he wore.  I don't remember when his hair began to lighten and curl.  I don't remember what his first food was or even what he wore to bed last night.  Hell, I don't even remember what I ate for breakfast and that was only a few hours ago!  But what I do remember, and what no amount of not writing it down can ever take away from me is how I feel, how I felt in each and every moment.

Because life isn't about the pictures you take or the silly happenings you remember to write down at the end of each day.  Life is about all the living and loving you are doing in between.  Sure, I could take out my iPhone and snap a picture each time he does something cute or looks particularly stunning in the sunlight. Or, I could simply look at him, I mean really look at him.  Not through the lense of a camera or edited with words I choose to write, just him.

No photo to look pack on or story to read, only the warm feelings inside.  Because at the end of the day when darkness falls and there is no computer screen to read, no camera to snap photos, and no light in which to see by, I can still inhale inhale his warm curls and feel his tiny chest rise and fall in rhythm with my own.  In the dark of the night it is just me and the memories we've made dancing together in dreams.  And I remember...

Oh, and here is a picture!!   Damn, I'm on fire today!!