June 08, 2017

Mary, did you know?

Mary, what was it like to be the mother of Jesus? What was it like to carry the son of God in your womb for nine months? Did he kick you in the ribs? Did he press down on your bladder so that every time you stood up you had to excuse yourself? Was your pregnancy easy or were you sick for the whole nine months? Did you gain a lot of weight, or carry it all in your stomach? Did you get cankles? Did that little baby keep you awake at night, rolling, hiccuping, and kicking when you were trying to sleep? When did you first realise you loved him?

Was it excruciating giving birth? The conditions certainly weren't ideal, and there was no anaesthesiologist to give you an epidural, but did you feel like your insides were being set on fire? Did you have back labour? Did you tear horribly? Did your highly favoured status allow you any relief from the physical agony of childbirth or was it a long labour followed by many hours of pushing?

Mary, I doubt the songs are true, and I'm sure your baby did cry. Anyone would, entering the world in a dirty, cold and smelly stable. I think he did cry, Mary, because he was a human baby boy. I think if you didn't feed him on time he cried. I think if he was too hot or cold he cried. He wasn't a colicky baby, though, was he? 

Mary, I suspect that sinless little boy you gave birth to was easy to sleep train, wasn't he? He only woke up at night to eat when he needed it, and I'm sure he had a sweet little smile for you when he did. (Unless you took too long.) Did Jesus nurse well from the beginning? Did your nipples crack and bleed? How often did your baby boy throw up on you? Was it easy to burp him or did you have to get creative? Did he cry when he was overtired? Did he need extra snuggles to help him through teething pains? Did he ever pull on your hair while nursing or scratch your chest with his little fingernails?

When he was a toddler, did Jesus ever need to be told something more than once? Did he ever forget an instruction or rule, or was his young memory already perfect? Did he like all the food you put in front of him and eat it without complaint? Did he sometimes wake up with the sun for no reason, or did he sleep a proper amount and wake up when it made sense? Did he cry when he skinned his knee?

Mary, did you know what you were getting yourself into when you decided to have other children? Did you have any idea what trials were in store for you? Did you even have the slightest inkling what it meant to be the mother of a sinful toddler?

Mary, were you surprised when your children bit you while they nursed and laughed about it? Were you prepared to become a canvas for your children's flung food? Did you know the agony of disobedience? Were you ready to watch your seemingly innocent babies turn into wicked people? Could you pinpoint the moment when they started actively sinning?

Mary, did you know how hard it would be to have more than one child? I'm sure you never had to tell Jesus to stop hitting his siblings, but were you ready to watch your other children fail where your first succeeded? Did you feel like a bad mother for not raising a family of perfect children? Did you forget Jesus at the temple because your other misbehaving children were taking up the rest of your time?

Mary, did you know?

April 25, 2017

Mom thoughts.

I recently had a moment of clarity that was almost like a punch in the gut. Molly is the sweetest little thing, but she hasn't been the easiest baby. I've been beating myself up with all the things she doesn't do that Parker did at her age, mostly regarding sleep. If you didn't already know this, parents with infants obsess over their sleep like some people obsess over sports stats. With Parker we hibernated for the first year of his life and it was most beautiful of times. We did very little and practically all he did was nap in his crib while I kept a tidy house and did puzzles. It was freaking magical.

Molly just isn't Parker. She's more difficult. She's delicate. The nurse and doctor both bantered around the word colic, but I don't think it's fair to parents of colicky children to apply it to Molly. The thing is, once I really truly realized that she isn't as easy a baby as her brother through no fault or shortcoming of my own it was like a big old burden came off my shoulders. Mom guilt is so real, and we are our own worst critics. Usually.

Right now I'm focusing on baby steps with her and it's doing wonders for my sanity. Those first 2 1/2 - 3 months as a mom of two were the absolute hardest. Now, I'm just focused on what we are getting done. Molly goes to bed around the same time as Parker. Yes. Thank you, Jesus. She's starting to put herself down to sleep while she's swaddled. Hallelujah. She's not co-sleeping as much. Glory be to God. She is only napping for 45 minute stretches at a time. Well, you can't win them all. Baby steps. I figure that by the time she's 7 months old we'll have her on a spotty morning nap (second child problems) and a killer afternoon one like her brother. And that's really all you can hope for. At least we'll always have bedtime.

But enough about my daughter's sleep, let's talk about my jeans. There's this beautiful time right after you give birth where you feel like a sexy, slim beast. Your body is amazing, it just ejected a homegrown human, and DANG where did your jumbo belly go? That lasts a couple weeks, then you feel fat and milky and overtired and like you'd like to burn every reflective surface you see because your body is disgusting. Then that goes away, too, and eventually you just accept the fact that you need to do some work to fit your pants and that the body you once had is nothing more than a memory. For me that happened right around the time my belly band started to wear out. I tried and, magically, succeeded in buttoning up my pants. It was a big, fist-pumping moment for me. Then I ate something and they didn't fit anymore.

My weight has always fluctuated, but I'm currently in that stage of life where if I eat just a little too much junk my pants are too uncomfortable to do up. I'm really looking forward to the elastic waist shorts days of summer, but until then I'm in this weird limbo of wanting to do my pants up and wanting to eat cookies. I'm really glad my kids are too young to see this side of me. I don't want them to ever worry about their bodies, as long as they're healthy, and I certainly don't want them to complain about their or another woman's thighs. But right now,  their mommy just needs to lay off the doughnuts and she's got clothes to fit into.

While Parker and I enjoyed our time together when he was little, he now needs to socialize far more often. The weather still isn't fabulous and I'm not really interested in braving it with a newborn but Parker needs more stimulation than just me to facilitate epic naps. Last week we had four play dates, and tomorrow morning I'm having five moms and their kids over. I know one of them, but the other four moms are complete unknowns.

You know you've been momming for a while when you start just accepting a certain level of messy for having strangers over. Sure, I tidied and swept the floor, but I didn't do a real clean. I reserve that for visiting family members I need to impress. If everyone wears socks they might not even notice. I will, however, make muffins and coffee. That's all moms really need anyway. And hugs.

Speaking of affection, Parker has re-entered a sweet stage. When he hurts himself he instinctively knows that kisses make it better. I have no idea where he figured that out, but one day he just started asking. I am more than happy to provide as many as he'd like. It's pretty stinking cute. He also puts himself in a time out when I tell him to. It makes me want to laugh and cry all at once.

Oh, motherhood. It wrecks you and builds you back up all the time.

April 05, 2017

Thanks, kid.

Molly is 12 weeks old. I remember when Parker was this old thinking that he could stay this age forever. It was sweet, low key, sleepy times. He'd spend half the day napping and I could clean, organize, paint things, and knit whenever I wanted. It didn't matter if he was awake or not, because he was just happy to lay on his play mat and flail at his toys. Those were beautiful days.

They say that it's easier the second time around, and I certainly believe there is some truth to that. The newborn stage isn't as scary, and I find Molly very easy even though she's not as easy as her brother was. It's only been in the last month that she's been happy to lay on her back because she's so gassy, she has only napped in her crib a handful of times, and makes bedtime an exciting adventure. Aside from that, the newborn stage is much easier the second time around. I don't even mind so much that she's always around me during the day. Whereas I longed for my personal space when Parker was born, and he gladly gave it to me, by now I'm used to being the mom and always needed.

This toddler thing, though. It's hard. Parker and I had a decent routine and repertoire going when it was just us, but Molly has changed all that. I can't devote myself wholly to him anymore. He loves his sister but doesn't love sharing me. One newborn is easy. One toddler is manageable chaos. Combining the two is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.

We're finally starting to get Molly into a bedtime routine (I hope) that doesn't involve her awake until 11:30. She even slept from 9-7 straight last night. I heard birds and angels singing a happy chorus this morning when I woke up, engorged but so so happy.

We have good days and bad, but my main two goals right now are getting her to bed before I'm ready to sleep (although I am in a permanent state of tired these days; it's my new normal) and having her nap in her crib. We have a video monitor so once she naps in her crib Parker and I can play outside without me having to worry about her. I also see the dreaded four month sleep regression fast approaching and want to be ready to tackle it head on. It never really bothered us with Parker because he napped in his crib from day one, but I'm feeling like my arsenal is woefully ill-equipped this time around.

Sleep is my love language and I'm feeling a little depleted at the moment.

This morning I dropped Parker off with a friend so that Molly and I could work on crib napping. I was ready. I was determined. Instead of stopping for coffee and waiting for the library to open I brought her straight home from dropping him off. I was ready to get our crib napping on, even if it meant I had to camp out next to her crib the whole time to make it happen.

She fell asleep in the carseat on the way home. Two and a half hours later she's still sleeping. I thought she'd wake up after half an hour so I didn't even try to get her out. I have to get Parker in an hour and a half. At least she's getting a good nap in.

It also turns out I don't remember how to enjoy extended quiet time. I told myself that I would just relax and enjoy my break because goodness knows the next time I'll have one like this.

I had a quiet breakfast. I drank hot coffee. I read some of my book. I even had a loud phone conversation right in front of her. Then I got antsy and put away the laundry. 

Yep, still sleeping.