These days I wake in the morning with an ache in my back and thick heavy eyelids. My son, cheery and bright, jabbers next to me occasionally leaning over to swat at his sister’s sleeping face. On his other side daddy snores and tosses, trying to stay asleep despite the 25+ lb baby sitting on his chest, pinching his cheeks, and pulling his hair, “dadadadadada” his most favorite word.
And I’m tired, oh the tired, it is never ending it seems.
When you wake up with a foot in your face, your boob in a mouth, missing blankets, missing husband, and an ache in your back, it is easy to wonder why you do what you do. In my case that means just letting my babies in my bed. Sometimes it causes contention with my husband. Sometimes it causes tension in my body. Sometimes I wonder if my kids will ever sleep on their own. But, the reality is that we are all, ultimately, happier, snuggled together, warm and cozy.
When I wake on the mornings that Stephen gets up with the baby I roll over to my Maddie. She wraps her sleepy legs around my waist and we fall back to sleep, her pretty lips and rosey cheeks pressed up next to my face. When I get up and let her and daddy sleep in I get to see them cuddled in bed, my two loves, sleepy and happy.
The other night Stephen and I were out to dinner. A couple of glasses of wine made me a little cheeky and a little extra honest. We were talking about parenting and resentment, something that is very real even if you DON’T talk about it. The truth? In a few years we’ll be out of it, our kids will be in their own beds, and we’ll have to wake up early for school, not naughty babies. I sometimes wish life and love was as easy as a romance novel, but it isn’t, and I’m sort of grateful. Because in the end I’ll appreciate all the work we’ve done to get to where we are, or will be. This time is a little blip on the radar of life, I’m glad we’re spending this blip cuddled up and cozy.
11 months?!?!?!? It feels like the past 11 months have flown by, but at the same time I can’t remember what life felt like without you here.
This month went by so quickly, perhaps because you ran right through it. The only time you ever stop moving is when you are sleeping or hugged tightly to my body in your carrier. You can see by these pictures, they are all blurry for a reason and my photography skills are only part of it. You run outside with Maddie and her friends like you are one of the big kids, it amazes me! Obviously you are a very confident walker and absolutely refuse to crawl anywhere. You moved from cautiously walking, to confidently walking, to running pretty quickly and it’s incredible to watch you move from place to place.
You have big emotions. When you are happy the smile on you face lights up a room. When you are mad? Like when I take you off the swing in the backyard? You sit down on your little bum, slam your fists against your legs and scream! Your face gets sweaty and red while you express your extreme displeasure. Mostly you are happy and if you fall and look like you are about to cry I just clap and cheer for you and the smile returns. You know lots of tricks, like saying mama and dada, playing peekaboo, clapping, waving, making animal sounds…..but you refuse to do them on command or when I want you to show off for our friends. Typical, I’m not sure why I’m surprised.
Of course, what would a monthly update be if I didn’t mention how much you love your sister. You do, you LOVE her. I don’t even know how I made it through the first year with her, without a YOU. She can hear you wake from your nap all the way up in her bedroom, door closed, and runs as fast as she can to be the first one you see when you wake. You never look at her with anything but complete and utter adoration; I feel so lucky to have you both!
Earlier in the month we set off fireworks for your first 4th of July. It wouldn’t have been surprising if the loud booms and flashing lights scared you, you are right at the age where things that are loud and new would certainly be overwhelming, but you honestly couldn’t have loved it more. You stared with wonder at the skies and we clapped for our favorites. You wanted to crawl but quickly came back to my arms when the booming began again. It was truly magical and I’m so happy we got to share this day with you. Your Uncle Bri would have been so proud and perhaps, wherever he might be, he saw you, and was whispering to you that it was wonderful and not to be afraid. You certainly have some of his spirit in your little self and it makes me miss him, and cry to think that you will never remember your short time with him.
My sweet baby, how is it possible that you will be 1 whole year in just another few weeks? My time with you is so precious and I love you so. You will always be my baby, just like your sister is still my baby , too. I hope this next month goes by slowly, so I can soak up a few more first moments with you. I love you, always and forever.
The most difficult part about parenting two babies is finding the time to fill up love tanks that always want filling. My children crave love. They want affection all the time, even the little man although it must be on his terms, and direct attention if they aren’t in my arms. Mornings mean a battle between them over who is in the deep bowl of mama’s lap. There is room for a second on the outskirts, but if my legs are crossed one MUST acquire that coveted position. Never mind that they could share the sides and feel equal. There is nothing that makes my little Prince run to mama faster than a sister who has crawled into “his” spot on mama’s legs.
Usually it is when I’m trying to sit and fill my own tank, with coffee, and not being touched for a few minutes. I tell Maddie every morning, “mama just needs an hour to drink her coffee and not have babies crawling on me”. They spend nights in our bed wrapped like little snakes around my body, I never feel that I’m asking for too much. But the more I want the space the more they want my lap.
I’ve struggled with myself as the mama these days. I feel my patience is much too short and using the “mean mama” voice is all that gets through to Maddie. But only in the moment, not in the long term. If I got my hour or two in the morning, of peace, would I feel more able to dig deep during the whining and fits? Or would I always want a little more time?
I do know that the best moments in my life are those moments when I have someone I love in my arms. My oldest babe. My little Prince. My love, my husband.
A little glimpse of his new tattoo in honor of his brother
Maddie and I could sit and read books together all the time. She will snuggle with me for hours if we had them, as long as we were reading. She doesn’t stay still for anything else.
Jaime loves music. His favorite part of every day is when we dance. Sometimes it’s a dance party. Sometimes it’s just singing Old McDonald while we change a diaper. Or maybe it’s loud music in the car and we dance in our seats, clapping and singing/babbling along. This morning it was just he and I; daddy off to pick up sister from her Grammy sleepover. He was tired, oh so tired, and I turned on some pretty quiet music. I held him in my arms and we waltzed around the room, the sun shining on our faces through the windows. Slowly his head rested on my shoulder, and eventually he turned to bury his face into his favorite spot in my neck, falling into a deep sleep.
Because I’ve been at a loss for words lately I’m going to drop some pics from our 4th of July and an extra special video tribute for Brian. I’m missing him more than words can express, hence the lack of words these days.
Stephen’s aunt, his younger sister, and youngest brother
Stephen’s brother in law and his beautiful mother
Typical, but hey, at least I have a picture with him.
His sweet nephew
Mad Maddie and her cousin, right before they crashed.
My family. ❤
Jaime the Prince with his big cousin. He played like a big kid all day.
With my Jaime and a photobombing rootbeer drinker.
Mad and I snuck a firework pic in together when she wasn’t pretending to be afraid.
And the video…..the laugh at the end? That is Brian. I missed him so much yesterday, and miss him still today…..how has it been nearly a month already? And if you watch this and can see how much we love and miss him? Please share it. “Many people are worried about me. I myself can be a bit concerned. But I can tell you that I honestly know with austerity that you will be okay. You do not worry me at all. But you need to continue to keep your head up as high as possible and know that it is true. You will be alright. Everything will be alright.” ~Brian Thaut (how did he know I would need to be reminded?)
Oh sweet baby Jameson. You are 10 months old now and just bursting with personality. You smile so big and because we’ve met so many of mama’s old friends this month, between the hospital and Uncle Bri’s funeral, you’ve really had the chance to charm everyone. And OH do you charm them. I know I’m biased but every person who meets you falls in love with you; I know because they tell me so. It is very much the same as your sister was and I am not surprised because you have her big blue eyes and beautiful engaging smile. You can be shy or a little crabby when you are tired but if you have the chance to be entertained you will perk up and smile so people will coo and fawn over you. Attention lover, it is true. You have been intensely healing for all of us that have been feeling hurt and sadness. It doesn’t take away the pain completely, but you remind us of the pure joy of life, the happiness of living.
An angel again, a real one.
This month you have decided that you love food, and will put anything and everything into your mouth. How dare mama and daddy have popcorn at a movie (yes you come with us) and not share! When we refuse you absolutely throw a tantrum, banging your hands on the table, or my chest and face and yelling loudly, followed by screeching and possibly some tears. Once we start laughing at you the tantrum ends and you smile, very pleased that you have gotten such a delightful reaction. Foods you love are avocado, any kind of fish, breads and rolls, graham crackers, pears, watermelon, cantaloupe, blueberries, raspberries, hummus, broccoli, chicken, beef…..well, there isn’t anything you won’t eat if we’ve offered it but those are the foods I give most often. Eating from a spoon that mama handles is not okay with you but I will put something sticky, like hummus or oatmeal, on a spoon and let you feed yourself and you love that. You still nurse most often and when I ask if you want nursies you will crawl like mad to get to my arms.
Most notably this month you started standing on your own for long periods of time and just during the last week of this month you started taking steps. First just one or two at a time but now you are taking several steps across the room. You even lose your balance, crouch down, then stand back up again to walk some more. Still you are just a baby and lose your balance easily. I ache to watch you growing so, anticipating the day you will walk right out of my arms and off into the big world, but it gives me happiness to see you so pleased with your new freedoms that I encourage and cheer you on.
Your big sister is without a doubt the light in your life, she adores you and you adore her. The love that you two share is magnificent, it is everything a mama could hope for her babies. I watch your relationship bloom more as the weeks pass and I feel so lucky that you have each other. This month your daddy’s brother died and I try to imagine how dark it must feel when you lose your brother and best friend. It makes me want to protect you and Madeleine, to keep you safe, together, and happy, forever. I wish I could have done that for Uncle Bri too, but I know that I could not for him and I can not for you. I can only hope that long after your daddy and I have gone your sister will be there beside you, your family and best friend. I know daddy will fill your life with stories of how much he loved his brother and you both can learn from him the importance of sharing a relationship like that. There will be difficult times, you will pull her hair (you already do, but she forgives you easily), she will refuse to let you play with her friends, you will hate to share or want to play different things, but at the end of your life I hope that you will have spent more time loving each other, lifting each other up, then you did being annoyed & fighting with one another.
At the end of every day I crawl in bed, and keep you there curled up next to me. You sleep soundly when your body is tucked next to mine, warm and safe. I don’t stress and worry the way I did with Madeleine, I feel confident in your ability to grow and learn at your own pace. I know one day you will feel comfortable in your own space while you sleep, perhaps you will curl up next to your sister instead of me, and we will all sleep for longer hours. But today, you sleep with me and I love it. Daddy does too sometimes, maybe more so when you sleep late and wake up with kisses for him, babbling “dadadadadada” while you crawl over his body in an attempt to get out of our bed.
Life with you is beautiful. It is a little insane at times with your intense energy and ability to crawl faster than lightning, but mostly it is beautiful. I find so much happiness with you, so much beauty in your discoveries, so much joy in holding and mothering you. Thank you thank you thank you for being with us. I love you my sweet son.
And because he is adorable, here is the first video of him walking. Mostly he crawls, but he will be walking full time in a week or so I’d say.
“Life is so beautiful that death has fallen in love with it, a jealous, possessive love that grabs at what it can. But life leaps over oblivion lightly, losing only a thing or two of no importance, and gloom is but the passing shadow of a cloud…”
― Yann Martel, Life of Pi
We are left here, trying to eat, to breathe, to laugh and smile, without him. Trying to LIVE. And right now it is hard. It is hard to see his face when I close my eyes, and hard to hear his laughter in a moment captured only to realize I won’t ever hear that laughter again in my home, from his own body. It was hard to see his beautiful face swollen and bruised, to reach out and rub my fingers over his orange beard, and tell him goodbye.
I don’t know what I believe, but I suppose I have more hope than I did before. Because this world feels empty, today, without him in it. I want to feel him here with us, I want to know some part of his spirit lives on. Of course there is no knowing, not for me, but there is hope. And perhaps if I hear his laugh in the gusts of the wind, or see his smile in a cloud, or feel his glee in the booming of a firework, it will be enough. We can believe that he is somewhere and he is pleased with the full life that he lived. Although to me it was too short, and I miss him. I need him to hug me and tell me he will miss me too but we will be ok, this gloom is just a shadow of a cloud passing over us.
This month has been insane and emotional. From sickness that has lasted weeks on end to the devastating accident of my brother there just hasn’t been time to post my usual month update for Jaime. I took the pictures, a couple days late, but they have just sat on my phone not being shared with anyone. Now I feel like I’ve forgotten all the things that happened during that last month.
I know it was hard and every day my Jaime was crawling faster, finding more things to get into, getting more impatient and frustrated with the world around him. He started eating, sort of, and took better naps, most of the time. He played peek-a-boo and discovered he could push behind toys with wheels. He isn’t the easy baby he was as a newborn, I have to admit. He is very emotional and intense. His love of mama has not wavered although now he is equally enamored with his daddy. During that month, I’m so grateful to say, he spent a lot of quality time with his Uncle Brian and his love for him truly blossomed and his fear of others began to melt away.
This is short, I’m sorry sweet Jaime, it has been the most difficult month of my life and when I write your ten month update it is going to include how incredible you’ve been with the insane schedule changes and constantly being passed around to different family members while your mama tried to spend some time with your Uncle Bri.
There is no shortage of tragedy in this world. Facebook, the internet, social media, has made it easy to take a peek into the lives of those suffering from illness or loss. Even before today I knew this……only today I am living the tragedy. It feels entirely different when the person writing updates is on your own side of the computer screen. Suddenly I am the one who, along with family, is counting the hours and hoping for miracles.
I’m not entirely sure why I chose today to write this. A day when I’m feeling so emotionally raw and vulnerable, struggling to keep it together. Today isn’t worse than yesterday and it far better than 3 days ago, but today I am struggling. I kept the music up loud so I could forget that I was here, alone with the kids, while my husband sat at the bedside of his brother in a hospital that felt incredibly far away. I yelled when Maddie coughed too many times in a row, my nerves shot from days of stress and worry. I cried when Jaime woke from a nap, even though he had been asleep a decent amount of time. I slowly went through the motions of my day, grinding my teeth, as it all feels like such a hassle when, really, what I should be doing is ANYTHING but these mundane chores. Because life doesn’t stop moving forward in the wake of tragedy. In fact it seems to speed by at alarming rates, feeling exhausting and terrifying to be a part of. The clock in that hospital room might as well stop completely as we wait for answers and hold onto hope, but here, in my home, I sit watching as my children move about me in fast forward, trying to keep it together.
Uncle Bri with a very small, bug eyed, Maddie
Just a few weeks ago, sitting in the sun with Jaime
Brian is a lot of things to a lot of people, he has this incredible way of making every person in his life feel like they are something extra special, but to me and mine he is everything. He is our brother, the beloved uncle to my young children, our best friend. There is hardly a memory to be found in my relationship with Stephen that doesn’t include Brian. He was with us on our second date, having just separated from his wife and needing company. He was the first person we inadvertently told when I was pregnant with Maddie, but we didn’t know for sure and he called us idiots so we took it back. He (lovingly) laughed at me, 9 months pregnant, walking up 3 flights of stairs to our condo and maybe broke a finger trying to poke my huge belly only to discover that it is much harder than it looks. He saw me laboring silently on the couch then later held our days old baby, bonding with her more than he even knew at the time. We lived with him while we looked for a house to buy, he and I sitting up late when Stephen traveled, sipping our beverages, me giving advice he never took, him planning things that never really happened. I’ve listened to him talk about every girl who has been in his life the past 5 years, I’ve vented to him about his own brother only to have him shake his head and shrug his shoulders. He is the one who brings lunch to me because I’m home alone and snowed in and can’t make our date. He was the one who could get the baby to sleep when I was gone and Stephen didn’t know what to do about the tears. He flew across the country to be with us on our wedding day, the only family or friend to witness our vows. He smiled when my newborn baby threw up the entire contents of his stomach all over him, and then stayed to talk even though he had dried baby throw up on him. We won’t even go into the number of times Maddie has wiped snot or mushed up food on one of his overpriced shirts or jackets. He has taken me and my traveling circus out to countless lunches and brunches when I’m home alone, never finding my company a burden even though I could barely listen to his stories with two loud children demanding things of me constantly. He has pushed my baby girl in the swing for more hours than I could count and danced with her around the house to keep her entertained. He has a big world of people who know and love him for all the amazing things he does, but for me it is simple, he is a part of us and we need him here with us still.
Before the ceremony in New Orleans
I am sitting here writing this and just begging the front door to open, for him to walk in with that big grin on his face, so I can growl and swear that my house is clean sometimes. And he would smile and tell me it’s not that bad even though I’ve spent the day crying instead of folding the laundry the baby has scattered all over the house. But my door isn’t going to open today and all I can do is beg him to fight so someday, before too long, it will……and I will yell at him for crashing his motorcycle and making me cry, then I will tell him that my house was clean earlier in the day.
Jumping back on board the Blog Every Day in May train for the second to last day of the challenge! Link on my sidebar.
Becoming a mama meant letting go of some ideas I’ve had about life. About how people, children, should behave or react. About how the world works in a home with babies. I guess I never realized how many judgments I put out into the world of parents without being one myself. Things like telling my sister that being at home with children is easier than being at work because you can sit down on the couch without asking your boss for a break (which, I maintain is MOSTLY true. I’d rather be home with my kids any day, but it’s exhausting and difficult despite being able to sit on the couch sometimes. So foot, meet mouth), judging a coworkers wife for calling him at 5PM on the dot every day asking when he would be home (dude, some days I want to cry when I see it is only 2PM so hooray for her for making it to 5!), and making ANY snide comment at all about a parent with a tantruming kid. I’m sorry, I take it all back!
I struggled through babyhood with Maddie, wondering, worrying, trying so hard to live up to all those ideals, those things I thought were important. I was a mess and my blog is evidence, glossed over evidence anyway, of what pressure I felt to keep it all together and do things the “right” way. Night sleep, or lack of, was the major issue and I recall a time when a family friend said, “what are you going to do, nap with her every day?! You can’t do that, she has to learn how to sleep!”. At the time it made so much sense to my tired brain. What I want to say now is, “yes, you should sleep. You have one, ONE, baby. Get in that damn bed and go to sleep. Put your baby in bed with you and maybe she’ll nap for 2 hours instead of 45 minutes! Let go of that idea of what perfect looks like and embrace what you have in front of you, right now.” Needless to say it took me another year before I fully embraced naps with my baby again. I cry thinking of all those missed hours of sleep.
Naps for everyone!
My point is, sometimes you have to let go of what you think is right to find what is right for you. And that is the most important kind of “right” there is.
Jaime The Prince has the luxury of a mama who has let go of any ideas that she knows what she is doing. I just let him call the shots.
*Also, I’m letting go of the notion that I should not bring every post back to my children somehow. They are all of me right now. When I have something to say that doesn’t involve them, rest assured I WILL SAY IT.
Remember when I said that we were all over the sickness and even mentioned something about getting a good night of sleep? Why would I do that? WHY?! That night I was reminded of what happens when you mention health or, God forbid, SLEEP to the general public. Reminded via puking into the bathtub, yep, allllll night long. Of course all that milk I had also bragged about went out the window (just the extra, I think it’s still important to note there is enough to fill and feed because bodies are amazing) and so I’ll spend the next week with a 24 hour nursling, again. Such is life.
Pre-me being sick, we took a family minus Jaime nap.
Right now the babe is suctioned to my side in bed and I’m pretending like my throat doesn’t hurt, while he simultaneously sniffles in his sleep, indicating the start of YET ANOTHER sickness.
But you know what? Oh well. We’ll get better and I won’t want to cry from exhaustion. Part of second time parenting is realizing that when shit hits the fan during the 1st year, and it will, you just have to get through and know that soon you’ll feel like a human again and when you get sick the tv will actually entertain your kid, and you won’t be up every hour on the hour bouncing the cranky baby on a yoga ball even though you are so sick you want to cry.
This first year is hard, no bones about it. To me the newborn period is a cake walk compared to 9 months. A three tiered cake, cake walk. A 9 month old has way too many awesome thing to do (like dancing) to bother with naps or sleeping. And a 9 month old will NOT be easily fooled into sleeping in a cold alone place. No tricky swaddles for this age to allow you several hours of quiet each night before bed. Plus a 9 month old has way to many cool places to go to sit still while nursing, getting dressed, being bathed, or having his diaper changed. If this 9 month old gets sick he knows how to use his voice to complain about it, but MOM don’t try to just give me medicine because I’ll complain about that too.
So full of myself and my good health. I Instagrammed (Madmama) this photo just hours before Hell came knocking down my door. I even had a glass of not pictured white wine.
What I’m saying is, 9 months is kicking my ass and making me so deliriously and hilariously happy at the same time. I’ll formally post about all the 9 month goings on very soon. When I crawl out of my sick haze…….