Friday, June 24, 2011

I screwed up Father’s Day

Little Miss and I took a trip together while her daddy was at work to get him a surprise special cake for Father’s Day. Naturally, when he walked in the door that evening, the first thing she yelled was: “Daddy, I have a surprise for you! It’s a cake!”


Parenting Lesson #2411: Never share secrets with your toddler.


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That was the beginning of my Father’s Day post that I started last weekend. I was hoping to complete it by Sunday, in honor of My Guy’s special day. I would post it at midnight and he would be greeted by this post in the morning in his Inbox. Except that never happened.

Life did.

This post got lost somewhere between sleep deprivation, delicately balancing a toddler and newborn, trying to manage a household, recovering from labor, raging post-partum hormones, and the good, bad and ugly of family life. And I feel awful that things didn’t go the way as planned, that I wasn’t able to get this out on time. Especially when the person who so deserved this, really deserved this. Actually he deserves so much more than this.


Because he truly is - to use his favorite word - awesome.

Why? Let me count the ways: He works long days and longer nights to provide for his family, so he’s no stranger to sleep deprivation; he races home to make sure he has a few minutes to play “upside-down” with Little Miss, bathe her and put her to bed with her favorite books; he props me up with pillows as I’m nursing because he knows I’m never good about my own comfort and posture; he brings me water because he knows my thirst better than I do; Thumper doesn’t see him much as her eyes are not often open throughout the day but he still finds a way to bond with her, even if it means catching a cat nap with her or having her in a baby carrier (Moby) as she sleeps while he works into the wee hours of the night.

Etc. etc. etc.


To be perfectly honest, this first month of post-partum stress has been kicking my ass. I’m someone who likes to be on top of things and rarely admit when I’m not. But I think I should come clean and say that I feel like my head is barely above water these days. The more I try to carve time for myself to rest or to write, the more elusive those moments are, which then frustrates me.

I miss quiet days for reading and long stretches of time at night for writing. Now I am lucky if I find the time or energy for the 140 characters on Twitter, let alone books and blogs. When I try to make time, someone’s needs are suddenly greater than mine, or when I finally do find a rare moment, my exhaustion overwhelms me, where stringing two sentences together feels like running a marathon.

And My Guy knows all of this. And in spite of his very full plate, he is determined to support me through these difficult days. As a dad and certainly as a partner, he is awesome in more ways than I can count (hence the etc. etc. etc.). Until they come up with International Domestic Partner Day (hint hint Hallmark) there really isn’t a day that celebrates what he truly means to me.

So on this ordinary day, I’d like to honor this man who is anything but. I may not have been on time with a Happy Father’s Day post but when I think about it, with him in our lives, it’s Happy Every Day.




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What did you do on Father’s Day? Do you have a family tradition? On another note, what were the postpartum weeks like for you? What was surprisingly hard or easy for you with a newborn?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Little Miss Big Sister


Thumper’s labor couldn’t have happened at a more ideal time. It was right after dinner, and Little Miss was already in bed, so throughout the night, she was asleep as we worked hard on one of her most anticipated surprises: her baby sister.

The next day, My Guy went home early next morning to get an eager little girl and her grandma for the hospital visit. They brought cupcakes (Little Miss’ idea, since it’s a celebration of Thumper’s birthday – literally) and a gift (that we purchased and wrapped with Little Miss) for Thumper. When Little Miss walked into my room, she gave me a cursory greeting before heading straight to her sister, her eyes filled with adoration for the wee one.

“She came out of your belly?” Yes. 
“And now your belly is smaller?” Oh how I wish.

A few moments later, she asked for a cupcake and that was that. Frosting and chocolate held her fascination a little longer than a sleeping baby. I stayed at the hospital another night, and she had asked about her sister over the phone but each time, she reminded us to bring the cupcakes home too. Priorities. Sometimes it’s scary just how similar we are.

At Thumper's homecoming we were met with an excited Little Miss who couldn’t wait to show us Thumper’s “crib”. My Guy did a wonderful thing by having Little Miss help him prep Thumper’s pack n play (a.k.a. bassinet for the next few months) while I was at the hospital so she took extreme pride in showing us the baby’s “crib” and felt responsible for the comfort of her sleeping sister. 


Each time a visitor came to our house, Little Miss was the first to announce, I’m a big sister! Whenever she sees the baby, she starts to coo and baby talk, but sometimes I detect a little jealousy when she insists on being lifted too when she sees Thumper in my arms or when I have to nurse the baby, Little Miss feigns boo boos and other mystery ailments.

When asked what causes her boo boo, her imagination takes over, “I fell on the TV and then the fan fell on me; Then my knee got hurt on the chair and my eyes hit the couch.” All this while pointing at her little thumb, where the alleged boo boo was.

Otherwise, Little Miss has been a great big sister, all things considered. She’s even become quite a good little helper, fetching diapers and towels, even patting the baby’s back to burp her. There hasn’t been any signs of overt resentment, which is a relief.


In fact, although this relationship will have its bumps along the way, I knew that Little Miss will do just fine because when she found her favorite stuffed monkey (she has many) next to Thumper, she simply said, “Look mommy, it’s my monkey!” I was about to intervene and say something about sharing when she continued with, “Baby Thumper can keep this monkey. I can sleep with the other one.” And she did just that.

As a parent, I don’t think I’ve experienced a prouder moment.


Monday, June 6, 2011

She’s heeere…!

ThumperDay2 Not quite 2 days old

Thumper is finally here. Nestled in our arms, her big dark eyes flecked with bits of her daddy’s hazel are often closed. She’s a quiet baby who likes her sleep. So much so it took us a few days to get adjusted to having another baby in the house. In the first couple of days we would forget she was even here as we went about our daily routine.

Like her sister, Thumper was born the day before her due date. The labor this time was quicker (five-ish hours) and easier, although I was glad I still managed to eat my roast chicken dinner that I labored (hah!) over through my contractions before heading to the hospital.

My Guy: Let’s get you to the hospital now.
Me: No. Not until I finish this chicken!
(I have my priorities - I really like roast chicken.)

True story.

As with most first time moms, I had my reservations about my reception of the second baby. I was worried I wouldn’t experience the thrill of her birth as I did my firstborn. And of course I felt guilty about that. I was also worried it would take me some time to split my affections equally between my two girls. Little Miss, despite her sometimes terrible twoness, is an amazing kid and having been so enamored with one, it was difficult for me to imagine feeling the same for another. At least not initially.



Now I know why they call it a bundle of joy

But I was oh-so-wrong. Just like with Little Miss, her daddy and I shed tears of joy when we heard her wail, which was the moment she took her first breath. And be still our hearts, she was just perfect. A hefty one too at 7lbs 1oz. Well, at least when compared to her sister who was 5lbs 12oz. I think all the cupcakes I irrationally craved and subsequently ate during my pregnancy helped. In fact, I think she’s part cupcake. So far her sweet disposition is proving my cupcake theory right.

I’ve been on a newborn high of late, and how can you blame me? That newborn scent that I’ve been craving before her birth is intoxicating. I love to watch her shiny dark eyes observing the new world around her and the milk-drunk smiles she involuntarily flashes in her sleep. She may be quiet, but she grunts and squeaks quite a bit, which amuses us and makes me wonder if I should change her nickname from Thumper to Grunty. The jury is still out on that one.


Milky dreams

If there is one word to describe my state of being these days, it would be overwhelmed. With the love for my wee one. With the honor of being her mom. With the joy of watching her grow. With gratitude for the healthy, beautiful little baby in my arms. But if I had to pick another word, it would be blessed.

For the mere fact that it is here where she has landed.

Right next to me.