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Showing posts from 2010

Being Number Two

Last night we took the kids with us to a holiday party. While I was trying to hold and eat my food while hoisting baby on my hip, a fellow party-goer commented on Charlotte's attachment to her mommy. I replied that she indeed is my appendage and I hardly have time to do anything at home because I'm limited to one-armed activities. My insightful husband, who until recently spent his nights on the couch while I co-slept, stated that it may actually be mommy who is attached to baby. In response I gave Charlotte a little squeeze and Andy a little smile.

What can I say? I agree with him. For awhile I thought my incredibly sentimental attachment to Charlotte had to do with the fact that she may be the last child I give birth to. She may be the last baby I hold in my arms and call my own. I don't think I enjoyed Caroline's infancy enough because I was tired and terrified. I have enjoyed Charlotte's baby months so much more because I am not as focused on the mechanics of ch…

Twenty Minutes

A few Sundays ago, early in the morning, I put one child down for a nap while the other lazily rolled out of bed ready to veg on the couch, eat a waffle and watch Barney. I acted quickly on this rare opportunity and asked (I know, why do I feel that I need permission?) Andy if I could sneak back to the laundry room to walk on the treadmill. As fast as possible, I threw on running clothes and sneakers, knowing that at any minute a baby cry could end my potential work out. I dumped a load of laundry in the washer and spent the next twenty minutes listening to my ipod and speed walking. I'd cut out a 10-minute exercise plan from a women's magazine and carried it, and my yoga mat, to the living room, in hopes of catching an extra few leg lifts and sit ups. I tossed the mat next to the TV and tucked the exercise sheet underneath it for another day. Baby had awoken from her power nap and was rolling around on the floor, the preschooler was jumping from the couch to the floor, just …

Thankful

Five o'clock used to be my favorite time of day, for the obvious reason that work was over and I could do whatever I wanted with my evening. Since I used to be a morning runner, I actually have no idea what I once did with my work nights other than eat dinner in front of the TV, but it was relaxing, nevertheless. I ate what I wanted, watched TV shows of my choosing and fell asleep as early or late as my body determined reasonable.

Kids make life after 5 pm (and before 9 am) very hectic and tiring. The post-work routine includes rushing to preschool/daycare, bundling kids up, having snacks ready for the car ride and dodging deer for 27 miles of darkness (and often, snow and sleet). Once home, we make multiple trips in from the car, carrying kids, bags, kid's crafts and trash. Then we get everyone out of winter and work wear, rush around like crazy getting more snacks for kids while we make dinner, serve dinner, get up and down while getting more drinks, more helpings and dropped…

Oh the Places You'll Nurse

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You've just had a baby.
You're off and away!

You have milk in your breasts.
You have yet to snooze.
You are ready to feed your baby
any time you (and she) choose.

You feel like you are on your own. And you know what you know.

And you are the girl who will decide how it'll go.

You provide the food your baby eats. Look her over with care.
With your chest full of milk and your bag full of dipes,
you're armed with onesies and burp cloths and wipes.

And you may not need any
advice that folks give.
And we agree, of course,
it's your life you've gotta live.

It's scarier out there
in the new mom air.

Out there, babies happen
and frequently do
to people as nurturing
and loving as you.

And when baby starts to get hungry
don't worry. Don't stew.
Just pop out your boob,
you both know what to do.

Oh, the places you'll nurse!

On and on you will nurse.
And I know you'll nurse a lot.
And you'll grow your little baby
'til she turns into a tot.

Yo…

Dirty Little Secret

I have a dirty little secret. It's about what happens behind the closed doors of my bedroom at night. I know what you are thinking! Get your mind out of the gutter! I'm a mother!

Some of you know my secret already so it's not really a true secret which is why I've decided to share it with everyone. Here goes: my baby turns six months old this weekend and she still sleeps in the bed with me. That's right, my little baby bun snuggles right up next to me each and every night so that she has easy access to her midnight (and 3 and 5 and 6:15) snack. Our little bed situation means a number of things: First, I go to bed at 8pm because that is when Charlotte goes to bed and I fall asleep while she nurses and if I try to get up, even for a shower, she wakes up and screams. Second, Andy sleeps anywhere but in our bed. Half of the time, before baby, he'd fall asleep in Caroline's bed during her story, or on the couch, to then wake up at 3 am and crawl into our bed for …

No Vacation for New Parents

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of vacation is a respite from something or a time away from business in travel or recreation. I have not enjoyed Merriam-Webster's version of a vacation in five years. To celebrate our first anniversary, Andy and I traveled to Tuscany and Rome for eight days. We drank, we ate slowly and savored our meals, we dreamed in piazzas while watching passersby, we stayed up late, we slept in and we let time slide by.



This is not to say that since then we've not had time away from business in travel or recreation. As a matter of fact, we spent Caroline's fourth week of life on a beach in Puerto Rico. We took full advantage of the lap baby/free under two airline policy and have traveled to numerous weddings and family and friend gatherings. During these vacations, however, we did not drink. We did not eat slowly or savor our meals, we did not dream and admire the crowds, we did not stay up late, or sleep in and time flew. Before we knew it …

My Baby BFF

Besides the whole "flesh of my flesh, blood of my blood" thing Charlotte and I have going on, we have a great deal in common. Which is good because we spend a lot of time together.
We both love to sleep. Let me elaborate: We can fall asleep at any time, even when people are talking to us; we go to bed really early; we like to eat in bed; we'd rather be sleeping; we fall asleep on long car rides (when I'm the passenger); we like to snuggle. We love naps.Our favorite drink is milk; mine has to be flavored and in coffee; hers has to be warm and come from a nipple.Our favorite yoga pose is happy baby. I, however, am unable to suck my toe.Caroline makes us laugh and smile but she also pushes our buttons.Same goes for Andy.We like to watch a little TV but not too much.We don't like shots or getting our blood drawn.We are easily amused. For twenty minutes she stared and smiled at the dish towels drying on the rack in the laundry room while I stared at the wall and sang w…

Post-Baby Blues

I've been feeling down in the dumps lately. I've got a bit of the post-baby blues. Don't worry, I wouldn't say I am suffering from post partum depression. I have bonded nicely with my baby, I've stopped hating Andy (usually ends within the first six weeks after childbirth), and I don't cry uncontrollably. I've just hit a rough patch. Charlottte is now almost five months old and I'm back to work.

The grind is grinding on my terribly. While I'm a big planner, the amount of time and pre-planning that goes into preparing for each day is taking its toll. The days are getting longer and we start each morning before the sun rises. It's a frantic, choreographed modern dance routine where the four of us fling ourselves around one another (well, Charlotte rolls), grabbing tooth brushes, hair brushes, bananas and wake-me-up beverages (for me, still- decaf coffee) within a 60-minute span. We rush out the door, our hearts pumping, and the girls fortunately s…

Blog of Substance

I just realized that a blogging buddy of mine has given me a blogging award! She has deemed my weekly ramblings as a "Blog of Substance." In order to accept this award I must:

1. Thank the blogger who awarded it to me.

2. Sum up my blogging philosophy, motivation and experience in five words.

3. Pass it on to 10 other blogs that have real substance.

Many thanks to Jessica, who started as my chemistry buddy in high school and has become a big supporter of my blog. Jess, it is people like you that have motivated me to keep writing about my life. When I first starting writing I only sent the link to my mom because I knew that she wouldn't (couldn't) ever tell me it sucked. Slowly, over time, I came out of the blog closet and have shared A Mom's Life with more and more friends until building the courage to feed the blog to my facebook page. Some day I want to publish this blog, on paper. Underneath the title will read, "Over 100,000 facebook thumbs up!"

My philo…

This Old Marriage

When Andy and I were first dating, I had a dream about a house. It was an old, Victorian house and I lived there. It was like any other old house except that it had no foundation. My big, two-story home sat precariously on a dock in the water. For some reason the house, and the dream, haunted me and I asked people what they thought such a dream could mean. I clearly remember one particular conversation with someone, who at the time, was a relatively new friend. She seemed to think the floating house symbolized my relationship with Andy. There was something big in my life, but I wasn't sure how it would hold up. The house was my future and it had no foundation yet. Where was our relationship going? Was it going to sink or swim? We have no idea of knowing what the future holds, especially when it comes to love.

Remember, a few weeks ago, I wrote about the common idea that children should be seen and not heard? Well I feel it holds true for couples as well. Most of us abide by the…

Reflecting on a Summer at Home with my Daughters

It's true folks. The time has come for me to slap on a pair of pantyhose, a pair of heels and my flashiest smile and head back to the office. It sounds so cliche to say that time flies when you are having fun but it's just so true. It's amazing how long the days can be when we aren't doing what we truly want and how quickly the minutes pass when we are too busy to care what time it is. Each minute of the last fourteen weeks has been just this way for me. When many people hardly have the opportunity to take more than five days away from work, I was fortunate enough to spend three whole months away from the daily grind. I openly admit that I spent little time focusing on my life as a 9-5 professional and instead whole heartedly dedicated myself to being a 24/7 mommy. Here's a taste of the things I did during my whirlwind summer with my girls.
Becoming a night owl again;Learning, after a few weeks, that I didn't need to change Charlotte's diaper every 2 hours…

Charlotte's Story

What can you do in seventeen minutes? Watch an episode of your favorite sitcom without commercials? Run two miles at a good clip? Eat a meal, or in Andy's case, microwave a meal and then eat it? Have a baby? Because that's what I did. You heard me right. I birthed a baby in seventeen minutes because I am a machine. I am a machine! I am a baby birthing woman of steel. I am not much of a bragger and you may recall that I was never good and never bad at anything. I have no particular achievements to tout, academically, physically, professionally or otherwise except baby birthing. I'm really good at this and I'm pretty darn proud of it and I'd like to brag about it to you now. This is Charlotte's birth story.

For the first four or five months of my pregnancy with Charlotte, most people forgot that I was even pregnant. This does happen to you with multiple pregnancies. I never forgot that I was pregnant. Morning sickness heart burn and frequent bathroom tr…

What is Your Favorite Quiet Moment?

For an essay I'm submitting that asks, "What's your favorite quiet moment?"

Being in a house with two kids under four years old, it is hard to imagine a moment of quiet. We've been operating on a 24 hour schedule since the baby's birth 11 weeks ago, and one can find us doing something at any time of the day or night.

I wouldn't say we are quiet people by nature. Both my husband, Andy, and I enjoy talking to one another, talking on the phone, listening to music and watching TV, sometimes all at the same time. We have a very noisy family and I find it incredibly comforting. My almost-four-year-old daughter has become increasingly chatty and finds repetition amusing. We start the morning and end the day with a series of repeated questions. "Mommy, what's your name? Mommy, what's Daddy's name. Can I have some juice? What are we doing today? Mommy, what's your name? Mommy, what's Daddy's name? Can I have some juice? What are we…

B-FEEDING

We can all agree that I'm not shy. Some of you may think that I'm confident but that's not entirely true. I think it is safe to say that I'm comfortable with who I am and this includes being naked.

I'm that lady in the locker room who gets totally undressed in front of you and may use the open shower even when the private stalls are free. I am only sporting a bra and underpants in many of my college dorm room photos. My friend from those days introduced herself to Andy by saying, "I've probably seen your wife naked more times than you have."

It's not even like I have a "smokin' bod" or anything. I grew up in a house where nudity was accepted as part of life. I insisted on taking baths with my mom until I could no longer squeeze in with her. I could openly talk with her about my body and she never made me feel that I had any reason to feel ashamed to be me. Yes, it is true that one time I did see her, after she'd taken a bath af…

Watch Out! Children Coming!

When I was a kid I often heard the phrase, "children should be seen and not heard." Society acknowledges those with children and then bluntly asks moms and dads to keep the kiddies inside, and away from the rest of society, until they are 18, or better yet, college graduates.
Other than school or dance class, I don't remember going out in public all too often with my family. Big trips out included heading to church and the grocery store with mom and the laundry mat with my grandma. We would go to Burger King or Abdow's Big Boy as a special treat before heading back to the hills for many more weeks.
I don't blame the adults in my life for keeping me at home. I vomited my Junior Whopper onto the chip aisle at the grocery store, cried for a toy EVERY time we were at the check out counter and hid under the clothing racks giggling as my mom frantically called my name. These outings were exhausting for me and the adults shuttling me with them during their we…

It's Fine

I tell it like I see it. It is a trait I inherited from my mother. When I was an insecure pre-teen with Sally Jesse Rafael glasses and a retainer, I asked my mom the question every little girl asks her parents. "Mommy, am I pretty?"

I don't quite remember the setting for the question but I'll paint a picture for you. Moe was probably in the bath tub. She'd have the curtain closed to keep the heat in and I'd be talking to her from the other side, as though I was at confession. I'm sure she had her eyes closed. She probably took a long draw from her cigarette before giving me her blunt and honest opinion. "Well, " she said, "you're not ugly." There you have it, my mom, always making sure I didn't become too vain. She purposely never called me Princess or Baby or any other prissy term of endearment. My nicknames were directly related to my name and my position in the family. I was either Missy or Sis.

As a kid this always made me ma…

All You Need is Love

"How long do you want to be loved? Is forever enough 'cuz I'm never, ever giving you up."

I'm in love, again. Call me a polygamist but right now I'm in love with two people. Well, make that three. Every parent of multiple children has told me it is incredible how we worry about not being able to love our second (or third, fourth) child as much as the first yet how easy it is to open your heart to make room for the next baby. I admit that I don't have quite as much time to spend staring at Charlotte as I did Caroline but thanks to Andy's super dad parenting of Caroline, I've been able to spend hours admiring every inch of my new baby.

Night is my favorite time to admire the miracle. It's probably because I am a bit delusional from lack of sleep and also because there is something magical about being awake at 3 am when you know the rest of the sane world is fast asleep. During these late night feedings I lazily lay on my side while Charlotte…

You Got to Go There to Know There

Shortly after announcing my first pregnancy a female colleague stopped by my office to extend her congratulations. She tentatively shut the door, sat down in the chair beside mine so that our knees were almost touching (before being my office, the space housed a photocopier and paper supplies). She leaned in close to me and said, "Now I'm going to tell you all the things about having a baby that nobody ever told me."

She spent a solid hour divulging information that, in my twelve weeks of pregnancy, I was rather unable to grasp. My life, at the time, was focused on who to tell and when, how much longer I could wear my regular pants and how to avoid yacking in my coffee mug on the way to and from work. There I was, listening intently to this woman confess to me her distaste for washing pump parts and the oddity of pulling out a picture of your baby to stare at while syphoning milk from your chest, hoping your male co-workers won't knock on your door at that precise …

Duplicity

I've been waiting for this moment for nine months. Since I found out I was pregnant again I've dreamed, and stressed, about what it is going to be like to have another child in our family. The months have flown and the minutes have often dragged. I've wondered what this baby will look like and act like. Will it be a boy or a girl (we had one ultrasound but I never trust them)? Will this baby be a good sleeper? Will this baby be adventuresome? I've been growing another person who is just about ready to introduce herself to us and I really can't wait to meet her.

I've planned as best as I could. The nursery is ready, the sheet is on the cradle and positioned next to my side of the bed, it'll take Andy two minutes to pop the car sear in (he is an official professional this time around) and I'm sleeping whenever I can.

While preparing for and growing this baby I've also been preparing to be a parent to two children. Each morning, I take my prenatal vitami…

Yoga and Marriage

I'm a little high strung. I know, for those of you know know me well, this is hard to believe, right? I come off as such a go-with-the flow, mellow gal. Ha! We all know that's a joke. I'm wound pretty tight by nature and have spent most of my life being anxious, nervous and controlling.

In my old age I've relaxed. I suppose that life experience has taught me that I can not control everything and that things will work out even if not as originally planned. I also contribute my ability to breathe and relax to practicing yoga, something I've done now for almost ten years.

I started taking "power yoga" in graduate school. It was more of a challenge than a practice at that time. I was still pretty limber from youth and years of dance and I was able to contort my body into just about every position the teacher told me to. My body and lifestyle has changed greatly in the last decade but I've continued with yoga. I found, after having Caroline, that I h…

In Good Health

When I was in college I was employed by a woman in her sixties who owned a clothing boutique. The job was decent but I quickly knew I was not destined for a life in retail. I grew weary of her requests for me to provide exceptional customer service, to arrive promptly and to work more than 4 hours a week. I was just too busy and too stressed with my hectic college life to concern myself with this woman's store and her need for me to be a good employee. As is often the case with young adults, it was hard for me to relate to anyone who was not going through the exact same thing at the exact same time as me. I wasn't able to look into the future beyond the end of the semester and the papers and readings required of me before that time. Therefore, I didn't have a care to concern myself with the woman's attempts to mentor me through becoming the best saleswoman I could be or the best person I could be.

When I wasn't helping a customer, the woman and I would occasiona…

The Week of April 1, 2010 in Haikus

Germs here and there. Yuck.
I wash hands and disinfect.
Still got sick. Boo hoo.

No kids on campus.
Time to get lots of work done.
Thank you for spring break.

Carrie the diva.
First, the sinus infection.
Then, the sliver. Damn.

Andy shaves his beard.
Carrie says, "You look different."
Soft as a bottom.

Moe and Frank visit.
Frank sits while while women do work.
Some things never change.

Went to the egg hunt.
Scared of the Easter bunny.
Not scared of candy.

Baby bump grows big.
Little one comes very soon.
28 days left.

Angry at the world.
Why do women make less dough?
Reading The Bell Jar.

Enjoyed the sunshine.
Got red skin to show for it.
Bring on summer time.

Boxing the Gremlin

I love spring cleaning. No, not the spring cleaning that involves washing windows, scrubbing the crisper in the refrigerator or raking the lawn. I like cleaning out closets and reorganizing stuff.

One of my favorite places to shop is the Container Store. I could walk up and down the aisles for hours, browsing and drooling over the multitude of storage options. I'll confess that more than one indulgent summer afternoon has been spent swinging in the hammock, flipping through a Pottery Barn magazine, imagining what I would put in the wicker baskets and canvas boxes or thinking about what note I might write on the chalkboard kitchen storage organizer. Oh, how much lovelier my belongings would be if only they were nicely and neatly organized in color coordinated, easy to tote but sturdy enough to be furniture, storage containers.

If I'm having a stressful day I find that at the root of the problem is an area of the house that needs to be organized. While daunting at first, t…

Genie, I Wish For....

If I found a bottle and in it happened to be a genie, my first wish would be for Andy to experience pregnancy and childbirth.

The first time around I credited ignorance for Andy's inability to empathize with me. How or why would anyone understand the trials and tribulations of creating and growing a human if
you've never been around a pregnant woman or been one yourself? While Andy can now speak volumes about being a witness to childbirth and an active member of a parenting team, unfortunately, he still has absolutely no clue what it is like to "take the ball and run with it" when it comes to the nine months leading up to a baby's birth.

I always say that a couple can talk all they want about when is the right time to have a baby but come on, the woman has the power to seal the deal and with that power starts the hard work. She really decides (or her body decides) when the magic moment should occur. The poor, naive man spends maybe five minutes doing his part and…