A Tale of Two Mommies

…because more seems excessive…

Tag Archives: special moments

Less Than Perfect, but Close Enough

It wasn’t a perfect day, but it was a good one. The little lady woke earlier than she had been, so while I was unhappy to slog my unrested body out of bed, I was able to enjoy guaranteed Warrior Queen giggles as I speckled her neck with a light dusting of kisses. Even waking grumpily, she will laugh. She simply cannot help herself, and I absolutely love it. She does a couple of new things these days, like climbing…on EVERYTHING, particularly the kitchen table. She finally figured out how to move chairs to her liking to complete her table top cabaret. Her screams when I prevent her from pulling out a pushed in chair confirms that Mommy is the soul crushing dream killer I’d been hoping to become for years.

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(“I told Pinterest I didn’t need this gig to get through college, but I’m just SO good at it!”)

But, Warrior Queen also cuddles on my lap, leaning against me, arching her back periodically to look me in the eye smiling. She carries me books telling me, “READ!” My fierce girl also plays. Over her quiet breakfast she scowled at me, furrowed brow and all. I imitated the expression; we held it in mutual determination for a few seconds before Warrior Queen broke into her tell tale toothy smile that consumes her entire face. I absolutely loved it, and I loved her lifting her delicate toddler feet so I could rub her soles.

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(You’d ache to rub the feet belonging to this face too, right Homebrew Talk?)

I’m just on the other end of a rare minor cold that still prevented any iota of exercise completion for a little over a week. Consequently, I’m not able to particularly perk up in the morning. Even pursuing a steady dose of a caffeine elixir, I’ve been ready to sleep standing for a couple days now. Today was especially grueling despite eight hours of mediocre sleep. I’ve been opting for hot tea for the past week or so. I’m thankful I thought to buy a few cans of evaporated milk during our weekend’s grocery jaunt. A creamy tea makes things just a little more special, which is ideal when my body does not.

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(It isn’t a unicorn, but I bet you feel more special now too, thanks, Scary Mommy!)

Mr. Man slept until a bit after eight, and he wasn’t even sick…anymore. That was lovely. I decided to try for our frequented library music program. My parents joined, which allowed me to peruse their used books on sale for a steal. There’s no rhyme or reason to the pricing…I bought eight books for three dollars; sometimes it’s five dollars for a few stories less. But, whatever, I’m able to pick-up some tales I wouldn’t think of otherwise. Today there were two with amazing illustrations, and the stories weren’t horrible. I’m a sucker for beautiful artwork, especially in children’s books. I managed one or two with somewhat of a diversity component. Such things are horribly difficult to find. Little Man enjoyed the parachute, shaking the material at the border with the adults. He usually begs to leave early when my parents join, but not today. He asked, but was easily convinced to remain; he seemed glad he did.

Little Man mostly played well in the kid area after the program. He’s moderately obsessed with trains these days. For a beat or two explained to a younger boy how one might go about playing with a train set…the young toddler a fraction of my son’s tall expanse was rapt. Other children flocked to the table as his play progressed. Suddenly my son swishes the large procession of mismatched train cars into a bin. Other children were waiting to have their turn with them, but he was finished and cleaned after himself…I should note he doesn’t do such crazy things as picking up after himself at home.

Warrior Queen took a three hour nap…Mr. Man did not nap at all. Apparently, he can open the gate upstairs, preventing him from descending down to the lower level of our home. He kept leaving his room throughout the two hour span of “quiet time,” but never unlatched the gate to journey downstairs until it had been almost exactly two hours. I’m grateful quiet time was:

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(It still stinks, but there was no one around to pilfer my chocolate!)

rather than:

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 (Pinterest knows all about unobstructed children not napping.)

In between threats, I managed to accomplish some of what I hoped. I called my Senators and Representative about one obnoxiously almost infinitesimal fraction of the latest bit of horrible from our country’s “leadership.” I’ve also managed to find a couple of organizations that allow me to take part in this multi-pronged voter suppression issue from home. There is so, so, SO much stuff to focus on that I worry no attention is shining on hordes of people denied information and access about the election process at every level and their constitutional right to vote. Most of what I do isn’t particularly glamorous, but it’s important. Also important that I want my children to be socially and politically conscious, meaning I needed to step up my game…big time. Interestingly, it’s kinda addicting. Feeling like I’m part of my government…my country; taking action to make things better for those who’ve struggled for too long, in part, because of my complacency. But, my surge of participation and engagement gives me control…allows me feel another layer of purpose. I highly recommend it to others. Start small, call your state and federal congressional officials. You won’t regret it!

As I concluded the most recent of my frequent calls to my Representative, Mr. Man managed to appear downstairs without waking his sister, so we were able to spend some sweet time together. His latest thing is giving me kisses, and I love it. We shared my special popcorn, which consists of an olive oil spray coating with parmesan cheese sprinkled throughout. My son was doting on me, insisting that he periodically feed me pieces WITHOUT placing them on his tongue first. We read some of the new stories I purchased, built some towers. Little Man laughed and smiled in his glorious way. He snuggled the way he does best. I absolutely loved it. My growing boy helped me tidy, beaming as he uttered his desire to help me. He enjoys feeling helpful, and I adore watching the pride in his stature when I remember to assign him tasks. These days he itches to help me cook. I’ve started creating benign steps, so he can assist. A side note, I fantasize about the day when I can cook with my children.

Warrior Queen woke an hour after her brother. Retrieving her from upstairs, speckling her neck in whispered kisses…naturally she giggled. The remaining pieces of the afternoon and evening deteriorating slightly as the children grew tired, but I certainly won’t complain. After all, nothing is always perfect, but the good moments certainly are.

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The Smiles that Launched a 1,000…Diaper Changes

I remember that very early morning when my son first smiled socially.  It was just summer, or maybe technically still spring.  The sky was beginning to lighten, casting its glowing hue throughout the room.  I’ve always loved that time of day…if only I weren’t so sleep deprived at the time…  I was holding my new little man who was kissing the unconscious from his feeding.  He suddenly awakened briefly, spied me, smiled, and drifted back to sleep for seconds before the process cycled several more times.  My heart melted, and I fell in love again.  Mr. Man was about six-weeks-old.

The Warrior Queen was six-weeks-old a week ago, and celebrated with her own social smile.  She is my daughter, so it was entering a feeding.  I give her a bottle, and she smiled around it, wide and wonderful.  My heart melted, and I fell in love again.  I tear up now thinking of it…maybe it’s still the hormones.  It was the late afternoon.  I’ve never liked that time of day, sleep deprived or not.  But, it was the start of so, so many smiles in a meager week.  My fierce girl continues to make her dynamic expressions, especially when she asserts her displeasure, but she routinely smiles to balance her edged communication.  For all those moments when she must wait to have her needs met, she is still so happy, and it gives me hope I haven’t scarred her because I couldn’t clone into two Mommies when my children synchronize their intense needs any given moment.

My favorite smile thus far wins its award for existing as so tragically silly.  In a week my husband has yet to see this new developmental milestone even though countless minutes elapse with him cuddling our Warrior Queen.  But, in this moment it was the awkward baby handoff.  As soon as my girl was in my arms, a smile erupts on her face with wide eyes looking at me.

There will be a rush of milestones accomplished in the next several months, all intended to amaze me with her sudden growth and maturing into a homunculus soon to be equally capable of destroying my house like her brother, but I want to burn every smile in my mind above all else.

That Girl I Know…

My fierce girl even at a month old has defined personality characteristics.  She knows what she wants, and often it is to cuddle…at three in the morning when all I can think about is succumbing to my unconscious…  But, alas, how can I possibly deny a nine pound being with an expression resembling the finest among the Lollipop Guild fervently and unsuccessfully trying to shove both hands in her mouth simultaneously?

(She has the same hairline too…)

Everything about her has passion and determination; I hope this impulse always stays as the world revolves around her.

Babies her age don’t do much except make the most fantastic facial expressions.  The Guild face is a favorite of mine, but I also love her scrunched, puckered mouth with tiny tough darting through; I hope I remember it always.

Even so new, my girl knows when her mommy is not around, and insists I pay the piper whenever I take a few hours to myself, leaving her in capable, yet unsatisfactory hands.  She bides her time with the cuddles of others, and insists I not release her from my grasp for the remainder of the day after I return.  It never matters that I’ve held her hours preceding my outing; a debt is a debt…  If my back wasn’t so sore these days and the cuddling didn’t amount to me missing meals, I’d have no objection.  So funny for her to be this attached because she spent months attempting to push her way out my belly, particularly at the very end of my pregnancy.

It isn’t social yet, but the Warrior Queen smiles all the time; sometimes a slight smirk, but sometimes it fills her entire face.  She smiles in her sleep, looking at me with wide blue eyes, and especially when I softly stroke her cheek and hair.  She also is partial to back or tushie rubs and pats as she drifts off to sleep in my crooks.  It makes me especially tickled she experiences joy so easily when so often she has to wait in fits of tears for me to meet her needs…Mr. Man requires attention too, and sometimes his needs are more immediate for everyone’s safety… and sanity…

But, what I love most about my intimate acquaintance is that she is here and part of our days and lives.  I’d love a good night’s sleep and it feels like I’m perpetually thinking of little else, but she won’t cuddle and smile like this forever, so what’s a few dark circles and incoherent conversations?

The Power of Song?

I sing to Mr. Man all the time.  I have a fairly terrible voice, but he doesn’t care, and sometimes it prevents him from launching feet into my chest and face while I’m attempting to change his diaper.  Little Man requests all sorts of songs throughout the day, and I love looking at his beaming smile during the multiple renditions of every childhood song I’ve had to learn throughout these two years.  Naturally, the Warrior Queen was along for the ride, unable to escape the tunes my son urged.

I’m also perpetually reading stories to my son.  All varieties from well written to garbage that I can’t remember receiving.  It doesn’t matter what it is; he just loves a tale.  When my daughter had the room to move in my belly, I often felt her flipping a certain way whenever I read a book to my son.  Once she ran out of room, such movements stopped, but I felt confident she continued to enjoy the entertainment.

Now that my fierce girl is born, it is too early to know if she will enjoy books on the level as her brother; I hope so.  But, undeniably my singing provides comfort I never expected.

My first indication was seconds after her birth, wailing as all newborns do when thrust into the outer world.  My singing calmed her so quickly it didn’t completely register at the time.  If my husband hadn’t recorded it, I might not believe it almost a week later.

As I did with my son, I held my daughter throughout those first days in the hospital singing even when she was asleep.  When she was unhappy and uttering her discontented squeaks, a chorus of some random tune would be hushed in melodic breaths, and she would settle.

One occasion occurred just after I fed her a bottle.  Within minutes of my placing her in her hospital Tupperware container, she began to fuss, clearly not ready to be on her own quite yet.  I returned her to the crooks of my arms, wide awake she focused on my eyes as I sang.  With every ounce of effort she kept her eyes open, but they became heavier as the moments passed.  My girl fought sleep as long as she could, peering through barely visible slits before losing the fight.  The slumber kept that time, but I continued to hold this sweet girl who already knows what she wants.  And, times such as these I’m only too happy to oblige.

Adventures in Labor, Part II

I started feeling promising contractions at around eleven-thirty at night Thursday.  I was out to the world.  My husband was sleeping in another room because he had a cold…again.  I had so many false starts with my contractions that I wasn’t taking them all that seriously; didn’t bother to time them for quite a long time.  For a bit I was dreaming of contractions, so wasn’t entirely sure which were happening and which were in my head.  Twelve-thirty in the morning it occurred to me that not only were they strong, but seemed fairly close together.  I tried tracking them on my alarm clock, and failed…miserably.  I levered myself out of bed the way all small and very pregnant women do in a bed that is too high.  I drop my legs with enough force to use gravity and momentum to actually get up without managing to hurt myself in this most seemingly mundane of tasks.  With that, I groggily and uncomfortably trek downstairs to retrieve my phone…I’ll blame mid slumber for my need to utilize my never before accessed cell stopwatch.  It took a good hour-and-a-half for the awareness to hit me that my contractions were five to seven minutes apart.  In no traffic it can take forty minutes to get to the hospital, but it isn’t quite so dramatic as all that.

With my son my water broke at three in the morning.  My contractions never progressed beyond vague discomfort at random intervals.  With the Warrior Queen I had intermittent and frustratingly hopeful contractions for four days.  I prayed my water would break in these early hours; in no way did I trust this latest contraction progression.

After excessive internal debate and a lukewarm urge from the on-call physician, I wake my husband.  I call my parents who arrive a bit after three in the morning.  Fortunately, my mother was prepared and only brought the necessities from her home…like her coffee maker…My husband and I aren’t coffee drinkers, which is why my mother had bought us such an appliance years ago that she’s utilized often.  It was a good laugh, and we were off to the hospital.  Some time during our twenty-five minute drive my water broke.

The triage continued far too long.  Once it was determined I had my prized ruptured membrane, the time was calculated when I would be induced at the latest.  The doctor I spoke to said it was pointless to wait the full twelve hours; this was happening shortly once a delivery room was available…that ended up twelve hours later.  No one communicated anything to me, so my husband and I sat in the claustrophobic triage room for thirteen hours waiting.  By then I had virtually no contractions; always glad to be consistent…

The delivery finally underway.  The Pitocin drip began; I was so sensitive to it with my son that active labor was under two hours.  I received my epidural with both pregnancies soon after starting the inducing process, and was unwilling to fully calm until the anesthesiologist finished the procedure in both instances.  This time active labor was four hours.  Not all that long in the grand scheme of this type of thing, but not according to my mother who had been texting with my husband.  Apparently she inquired when they were scheduling a C-section, but she had made such inquiries since my Gestational Diabetes diagnosis.  Had my contractions not started to become uncomfortable, I might have rolled my eyes at the time.

My son’s final push was forty-five minutes; the Warrior Queen was maybe five, and she was in my arms.  Thirty-seven-and-a-half weeks she weighted seven pounds and one ounce.  She was absolutely beautiful…or so I was told.  Twenty-hours of wakefulness and the contented bliss of holding my little girl; I didn’t take the time to really look at her.  On my bare chest she cried as all newborns do, but it ceased almost instantaneously as I sang some of my son’s latest favorite tunes that she spent months overhearing.

I finally saw my daughter’s face at one in the morning.  I had only slept for an hour, but the anesthesia finally left my limbs enough to walk to the nursery.  She is, in fact, as beautiful as everyone said.  I let her sleep, and managed to rest another four hours before waking for the day where a new beginning awaited.

Presence

I have not been in nesting mode per se, but my husband has, and I love him all the more for it.  The last two days have me feeling pretty great, except for the inability to breathe easily and some fatigue.  One would think these two conditions would leave me miserable, but I feel energized, happy, and peaceful; even if not entirely motivated to prepare for the Warrior Queen’s arrival.  I suppose the end is in sight regardless of the uncertain specifics.

I remember vividly my elation as we set each new article in our home, bringing us movements closer to my son’s debut.  Daily, sometimes hourly, I found myself entering his room and sitting quietly in the rocking chair I’ve kept since college.  I never remained in the room for long, only enough to absorb the excitement that I might be holding him soon.  I usually entered his closet before concluding my latest visit, unhooking the hanger of my favorite one piece with the crab on the bottom; placing it on my belly hoping I could conceive some notion of his size.

For an assortment of reasons I have not had this experience with the Warrior Queen.  While I am indescribably excited to have her here, picturing her accompaniment to our daily life; her presence is more like a spirit than a emerging reality.

Last weekend my husband installed the crib and retrieved the same rocker from the basement, but since we are undecided about furniture and bedroom assignments, these bits of preparation progress don’t hold the same weight as they probably should.  At this point a week passed, and I’ve barely set foot in the room.  But, today my husband retrieved other odds and ends like the car bucket that is resting in our office, as well as the playpen finding its prior home close distance to our elliptical.  Exercising I felt it; the very same feeling I had just before my son was born.  I remember keeping him in this meshed enclosure during  my stationary peddling.  Watching him progress from laying, to sitting, to standing, finally to cruising along its four walls.  I thought back to his smiles that were barely perceived over the edge; now he is so tall comparatively.  It was that moment I felt the Warrior Queen with us, soon resting in the safety of the same structure, safe from a curious toddler.  There are a couple more articles to haul to the living quarters of our house, but it’s beginning to feel like she is part of our outer world.

Soon my strong girl will be among us, and I can barely contain myself wondering when it will be.  I look for signs.  I have my intuition of roughly how much longer I must wait, but the feel of any moment is a collision of excitement and impatience, maybe a touch of intellectual curiosity too.

Gifts in Small Packages

The other day Mr. Man was basking in the glow of a new and good sized sticker on his chest when I approached.  He wanted another sticker, which he promptly pasted to his little sister, repeatedly patting the spot on my belly with gentle, loving strokes.  Then he stepped away as if to ponder the situation.  He looked at the sticker affixed to his chest, removed it, and reattached it to his belly pressing it with pride.  With his job complete, my little man walked off to play, and I dissolved into a puddle.

Ode to Thanks

I’m thankful for chocolate…dark chocolate, but not dark chocolate more than seventy percent.  If I wanted to have no sugar with my sugar, I’d buy a bar of baker’s chocolate…It’s cheaper.  I’m thankful for dark chocolate with nuts that are chopped up in it.  Truffles are good too.  Lindt is probably the best, but some of those generics are mighty fine…  I’m thankful for everyone in my life who grasped my subtle inclinations toward this treat, and use it as an easy gift that I will ALWAYS appreciate.

I’m thankful for tea, and my husband who showed me the delights of adding skim milk to my hot tea experience.  I’m thankful for those times when we drink it together, especially sitting on a cruise ship deck looking out on the ocean.  It’s been almost a year since the last time, but one day we will do it again, knowing the happiness of bringing our expanded family.  It will be like our first cruise together, everything new and exciting.

I’m thankful for time…long, tedious, endless time that can be insufferable in the ticking moments, but I cling to them like the covers my husband hordes in the middle of the night.

I’m thankful for change, daunting and unpredictable, but relentless and dependable.  Sometimes its inevitability allows me to hold on even if I don’t know where the shift will take me.

I’m thankful for new friends, and the old ones I now take the time to connect with on a reasonably regular basis despite busy lives.  I’m thankful that it occurs to me to take unbegrudged initiation while simultaneously maintaining the confidence that they think of me too and appreciate my organizational drive of pursuit.  I am thankful for my friends whose strength of character keep them with me even through their great struggles.  I appreciate every day I can still hear from them, and hope the next year brings about easier times they deserve.

I’m thankful for my Kindle, the passport to endless realities and stories while I paddle in stationary bobbing most mornings before the sun awakens for the day.  I’m thankful to be witness to the blue glow as the sun rises, filling the room like black light at the horrible college parties I used to attend.

Perhaps trite, but I’m thankful to have my partner in life and the only person worth arguing with over incredibly stupid issues that we both realize are stupid, but feel the urge to argue about them anyway.  I know you read this, and I’m telling you the random paper towel sheets appearing mysteriously on the counter most mornings aren’t left by me.  Ten years later there is no one else I’d rather have be where I need to be.

I’m thankful for family, all of them.  Through times of strain and times of harmony it’s always a blessing, perhaps because there are so few of us in touch.  My stories aren’t as enriching without the people in them, and I value every moment I can still make a call to hear of whatever antics might be in play in that particular moment.  I’m thankful my children will grow to know all of these players with the capacity to fondly reminisce when the presence of some are no more.  This excludes my mother.  She will live for forever; I’m certain of it.

This blog is my ongoing gratitude for my current and future children.

I’m thankful for screaming goat YouTube videos, and those hilarious eCards I can read on Pinterest.  I’m thankful for hot showers.  I’m thankful for bulky yarn eternity scarves that look perfect every time I throw one on, and the variety of cardigans that I impulsively collect.  I’m thankful for real scratch mashed potatoes with its skin included and turkey gravy.  I’m thankful for grilled cheese…or just cheese, really…and bacon…Bacon is how I know there is still good in the world despite the atrocities that bombard the vacant spaces of life.

I’m thankful for opportunities, whatever they may be.  Finally, I’m thankful for cool, crisp days to walk and think about them; to think about what was, is, and will be.

 

 

If you’re happy and you know it…

There are certain things that always induce copious cheer for my toddler.  No matter his poor disposition at the time, one only need swing him around to a vomit inducing degree, and he will expel hearty chuckles to reward you for your efforts.

Sandra Boynton’s Doggies produces a smile that only widened upon my son seeing the real thing for the first time.  A medium sized dog at a relative’s house that I’m convinced is the true size of a small gerbil if one decided to sheer its coat was the object of my son’s obsession.  On his knees with arms signaling, “Touchdown,” he couldn’t contain his excitement.  Surprisingly gentle pats while panting that is reminiscent of a 1970s horror movie killer; trailing this poor dog around the house like a pathetically neglected significant other dating out of his league.  The dog’s efforts to escape were met with my son weaving in between the ankles of unsuspecting party guests.  All seven teeth visible whenever the scooting shag carpet was in view.  Periodically, my son would stumble upon me or my husband, and with excited eyes, point at the dog saying, “Dee! Dee!”  So, I guess that’s another word?

I stumbled upon another consistent mood elevator with Mr. Man.  In an effort to expose my son to peers, I participate in a gym class with him.  His newest fixation is a trampoline.  While he is willing to take turns with other children…sort of…his persistence to utilize this contraption as much as realistically possible is impressive.  His only effort to climb on a piece of furniture illustrates his motivation.  Once on the netting he will do several things, but his absolute favorite is when I sit next to him in the middle and bounce.  With space under me, he and I erupt like popcorn; my son giggling as he is tossed about, bumping into and on me in ways that look painful or at least unpleasant.  But, no, he wants more, and I have to admit I enjoy the trampoline as well.  Exiting in order to give another child the opportunity to indulge, I make a mental note of future whining and begging for which I must brace myself, but this Lady will not have a Tramp…

Story Time

My fourteen-month-old had a friend over the other day; well I’m telling him they are friends anyway.  A sweet little girl just under a year who showed great interest in eating my son’s books.  Per his usual way of requesting literary entertainment, he throws a desired book at me.  I continue to read after he walks off; I’ve come to understand he often likes listening to the story in the background while he plays on the floor.  His friend sitting at my feet, captivated by one of Little Man’s favorites.  She crawls over and pads up my leg to a standing position, holding my knee for balance, riveted by the story.  It didn’t take long for the master of the household to walk over and superimposes himself in front of his friend, claiming his mommy as his own.

I had not seen it before, but my little guy apparently has the capacity for jealousy…but not with all things.  With his true friends he is quite generous.  Among my son’s closest friends is his Kermit the Frog, who admittedly is quite a tolerant being, allowing my son to gnaw on his limbs, eyes, and face…we should all be so lucky…  Holding Kermit, he waddles across the floor to where I am sitting like the tiny drunkard he is.  Once at my feet, he hands me his truest of friends, who I reward with a place on my lap and recounting of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, bouncing the frog at all the same places my son knows so well.  My son crawls over to his collection of books, digging through the piles until he finds the very story I am reciting.  Throwing it in my direction, he takes a seat next to me and watches in rapture as I turn the pages, bouncing his friend on my lap.  At times I could swear he conspired with Kermit at the parts of the story where one would be in for quite the ride.

The story concludes, and I begin another from memory.  My son finds the story among the group as he did the first, but while he gave it to me, he expressed a strong preference for a different one.  I should have known he would like his BFF to experience Piggy Paints…  My son reclaims his seat, basking in the enjoyment he knew his friend was experiencing.  Hmmm…maybe he just doesn’t like girls…

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