Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A few new Andrew photos

Drive-by posting to show off how unreasonably cute my younger son is.

This is a snapshot that technically I should not have taken because I took it at the photo studio when I was having his portrait made. I didn't realize I wasn't allowed to. I took it after the photographer did his thing, though, and I bought a ton of photos from him, so I'm not feeling too guilty. Sorry it's sideways.

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I was hoping for just one good photo of Andrew so that he won't whine in 25 years that I didn't get his picture taken nearly as often as I did for his big brother. Luckily, we got several, plus we got some cute ones of Andrew and William together, so I am looking forward to getting those. I need to buy a bunch of frames now.

And these are two photos taken less than 30 minutes ago. Andrew was laughing at the bears hanging from the Pack'n'Play. Somewhere around here, I have an almost identical picture of his big brother at the same age doing the same thing.

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He's starting to smile a lot more often, which is both marvelous and reassuring. Also, look how giant he is! Last week, he had his two-month well-baby visit, and he weighed 13.2 pounds! He was a smidge over 23 inches long, too. I don't know how I grow such giant babies, but there you go. I'm two for two.

Oh, yes. Pictures of William turning four are coming soon. He doesn't have his four-year well-child visit in about two weeks, so I won't have vital stats on him again until then. He's pretty hale and hearty, though.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Birthday Eve

It was four years ago today that my water broke as I was lying in bed in our little house in the desert. I got up, emailed my doctor to check in with her (and yes, this is STILL a major subject of discussion in my family), and got dressed. Then I drove myself to the hospital, knowing that the next time I returned to my house, my life would have irrevocably changed.

Interestingly, April 21 is not only the day that I went into labor with William, but also that Remus and Romulus founded Rome.

Yeah, I know. I just heard a collective "huh?" from all of you. Well, as you all know, I got an iPhone right before Andrew was born. And I've become addicted to finding cool new applications, or "apps", for my phone. One of the newest ones that I uploaded is a "what happened on this day in history" app, and I looked up William's birthday. But since it pops up on the current date, I just glanced at today before scanning forward for tomorrow's info. That's how I know about Rome. And now you know, too. Don't you feel all intellectually edified now? You can say you learned something on the Interwebs today.

But anyway. So as it turns out, William shares a birthday with a very interesting and divergent group of folks. On the list are Immanuel Kant the philosopher, Vladimir Lenin, the physicist Robert Oppenheimer, TV mogul Aaron Spelling, Jack Nicholson, Louise Gluck the contemporary poet, film guy John Waters, and Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona.

Kind of appropriate that he was born on the birthday of one of my favorite poets and of the manager of David's favorite sports team, huh? Not so sure of the significance of sharing a birthday with someone like Lenin, though. Oh well.

I just asked the soon-to-be-birthday boy how he feels about turning four years old tomorrow. "I think I'm pretty excited," he reported, before immediately chattering on about the Lego castle game that he's currently obssesed with. And then I had to listen to an earful about the evil wizard and the king and all those guys.

A better question may be how do I feel about my baby turning four years old? I feel pretty good, to be honest. In some ways, it's hard to believe that he's four, but in other ways, I'm really really glad. He may be wild and crazy sometimes (er, often), but he's really a person--a person with thoughts and opinions that sometimes really surprise and delight me.

A little while ago, he brought to me a picture that he had created from construction paper, stickers and markers. On the back, he had painstakingly written his name in blue crayon.

"I couldn't make the M for Mommy," he said, showing me the end of his name, which looked sort of like Willian, instead of William.

But he had written it all by himself. And that, to me, is a prime example of one of the things that I enjoy about watching him grow up. It's a little intimidating knowing that he's going to remember things from here on out--it raises the bar on me and my behavior, which is a little scary--but I think it's worthwhile.

Plus, he gets to experience life with a baby brother, which, I might add, he seems to be thoroughly enjoying...

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Super Brudders!

I mean, seriously. Does it get any better than this?

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There are days when I am frazzled from trying to manage two boys. Since Andrew is both preverbal and not mobile yet, it's not that hard. It's really more of a matter of managing William while trying to feed and change the baby...or keep William from waking the baby up. I feel like I spend an inordinate amount of time saying things like, "William, stop it!" Or "Gentle, please. GENTLE! I said, GENTLE!!" And "Please do not cough on the baby/kiss him when you've been eating peanut butter/crush him when you kiss him by throwing all 41 pounds of your weight on top of him." (Okay, I'm paraphrasing there at the end.)

But then there are times when it is so incredibly sweet to have my two boys that I get all choked up.

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I took a whole series of pictures of the boys in their superheroes outfits, which their Uncle Mark bought for them. Not only did the photos turn out well, but it was so much fun actually taking them! Amazingly, William was very cooperative and even helped "pose" his baby brother. I was saying things like, "William, turn him this way. No, a little more to the right. Okay, that's good. Now, look at me, and smile. That's great! Can you look at him now?" and so on. He was very patient with me.

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It was so worth the effort. Even Andrew had a good time.

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They really are Super Brudders. Er, Super Brothers.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Someone recently commented to me that every pregnancy is different. True. I have to add to that that every situation after the birth is different, too.

I was worried that I was going to feel really depressed after Andrew was born because of how I felt after William was born. I didn't write much about it on this blog, but that was a really hard time for me. As it turns out, I'm enjoying this post-partum experience a lot more than I did when William was a new baby.

When William was born, we were living in California, in a tiny little town, and we were very isolated. We didn't have any family around, and my friends from work lived at least an hour away and couldn't just drop by and say hello. We didn't really have close friends who lived in town, either. So it was just David and me. Once David returned to work, it was just me and this tiny little baby alone together. And I was unsure of myself as a parent, and I was so lonely. There was really nowhere for us to go, and there was nothing for us to do. I tried valiantly to manufacture things for us to do, just to get myself out of the house and in contact with other people, but it was hard. I just felt so alone. I went from working 50 or 60 hours a week at the newspaper to hanging out in my small house with this tiny person who didn't talk. It was like slamming on the brakes, and that alone would have been a major adjustment. The loneliness made it that much worse, though. We didn't have a church there, so we didn't have people coming by to visit, or the pastor coming by to call, or ladies bringing us casseroles. We got by, in those early weeks, on Stouffers' frozen stirfry (I think...I've blocked a lot of it out, and David's not enirely sure now, either) and Papa John's pizza. It was just us and William. All the time.

Eventually I did make some friends through the breastfeeding support group at the military hospital, and that was really my saving grace. Friends like Jennifer and Beth joined my life later on that year, and suddenly my situation vastly improved. I still lived in a tiny little desolated town, but at least I had really nice people to eat lunch with or hang out with at the park at last. And that was fun. But until I made those friends, it was a very hard time for me.

This time, it was so different.

When I was in labor at the hospital, I had people checking in with me via email and Facebook. But I even had a friend, Patrice, actually drop by my hospital room to say hello and to bring me an armload of magazines. The day after Andrew was born, another friend, Cyndee, dropped by to bring me a giant cherry limeade from Sonic on the way to take her daughter to school. My pastor Guy came by to visit and have a prayer with us. My husband's office sent flowers. My mother-in-law Diane came by, with William in tow. My friend Mary Clare came to see us (despite being 38 weeks pregnant herself). Kathleen came by after work. Dad came to spend a few hours with us and arrived with a bag of gifts for William, Andrew and me. The next day, Shab, Jennifer, and Jerri all came to visit, and so did Mark and Jen. Another pastor came by to see us. Every time I turned around, someone was stopping by to give us hugs and to coo over Andrew. We got phone calls. We got emails. The church choir sent flowers to our house. People left us messages. Some of the women from church banded together and bought me a special gift through our children's school auction.

Then, when we arrived home from the hospital, the March of the Church Ladies began. Our friend Fran came by the next afternoon with dinner for our whole family. I think David nearly cried in gratitude over the first hot meal he'd eaten in weeks--I, er, didn't do a lot of cooking those last couple of months of my pregnancy, and I guess the constant PBJs got a little old. And every few days for the next five weeks, someone arrived with a meal for us. Rather than trying to hobble around my kitchen to put together something to eat, all I had to do was stick whatever arrived in the oven or microwave. And presto, a delicious meal. And lots of brownies, too. I could have written poetry about how great it was to have someone make food for us.

I was overwhelmed with people's generosity. Still am, in fact. I told my Bible study class that I'd never felt so cared for in my entire life. I didn't feel alone. I felt surrounded by people who cared about us and our family, and it was such an amazing gift. Especially in contrast with what I felt the last time around. When I think about it, this sense of gratitude just wells up inside me. And I keep fervently thinking, "Thank you. Thank you."

So yeah, I'm tired. I wish that I was getting more sleep. But every time the exhaustion threatens to wipe me out, I do have to step back and remember just how good I've had it this time. Because I have. And I am so lucky.

And I'm really really lucky for these:

Friday, April 09, 2010

Charlotte's Web

When Andrew was born, I wanted to find some way to preserve some special time with William that would be just William-and-Mommy time. I didn't want William to feel like I no longer had time just for him, or that he'd been replaced. It's hard to be the big sibling when everyone's all excited about the new baby, as I well remember from becoming a big sister at about the same age that William is now, and I wanted to be sensitive to his feelings.

So finally I hit on an idea. I took him to the bookstore and bought a copy of "Charlotte's Web." I told him that we'd read a chapter or two together every night before bedtime. It's supposed to be our time together. Occasionally, however, Andrew has intruded, but William has been very gracious about it. We've ended up all curled up on William's bed, with me nursing the baby and the book propped up between us.

We didn't have time to read a chapter last night, so I volunteered to read one this afternoon before naptime (naptime is no longer a regular deal in our house, either, just so you know, but William needed one today, so I insisted). Well! I don't know if it's leftover postpartum hormones, the side effects of general exhaustion or if I'm just becoming a sentimental fool in my old age, but I just barely made it through reading the chapter when Charlotte dies. I knew it was coming, and as I began reading that last paragraph about how she died after the fairgrounds were deserted and Wilbur had gone home to the barn cellar with her little sac of baby spider eggs, my voice began to wobble. My eyes teared up, and I gamely finished reading about how no one was with Charlotte when she died. Gah. I don't remember that part ever fazing me like that before. And yet, there I was, sniffling over it.

Hormones? The extra-sensitivity that motherhood brings along? Probably a little of both. I'm not a big crier, as a general rule, but sometimes I find myself getting choked up over the oddest little things. And the death scene in "Charlotte's Web" can hardly even be considered odd. It IS sad. Even William seemed sad as I tucked him into his little bed for his nap. I think he was more sad over the whole fact that she died, and there I was, feeling sad because she died all alone and never got to meet her own children. Ack. Now I'm tearing up again.

I think I'm going to go love on Andrew for a little while. Maybe he needs feeding or something.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010


Happy Easter, a few days late. And in honor of the celebration, here's a milestone for you. Here's our very first family picture, with all four of us:

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It was a little impromptu, granted. After church on Easter Sunday a few days ago, I insisted that we try to get some photos while we were all dressed up. My mother-in-law was standing there with her camera as David and I posed with the baby, and when William ran by and decided to sit down for an instant, she snapped away. We were lucky to get a decent shot. Hopefully we can get a more posed photo at some point in the near future, but in the meantime, I'll take this one. At least we all had our eyes open. Er, well, at least all three of the people who should have had their eyes open had their eyes open.

But, never fear. I wouldn't give up that easily on getting Easter photos of both my boys with their eyes open.

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See? You can't really tell from this shot, but Andrew was wearing the most adorable soft white day gown with a blue gingham bunny on the front. He had a matching bunny-adorned burp cloth. With boys, you get about two years, give or take, to take advantage of the sweet little clothes and stuff, and that's it. So I'm trying to take full advantage of this window while I can.

We had a lovely holiday, by the way. Diane held Andrew through the entire Easter service, and while he did snore lightly, he otherwise was good as gold. William stayed through the first third of the service so he could see David walk in with the choir and hear some of the brass ensemble's music. I got to get some photographs of the family, which of course made me happy because everyone knows how much I like to take pictures, and David was just glad that his voice held out through three repetitions of the Hallelujah chorus from Handel's "Messiah." Later that day, we grilled hot dogs in the backyard in honor of baseball season's Opening Day and watched the Red Sox beat the Yankees. (Woo!) Not bad.

I have a lot of other thoughts that I'd like to write about here, but I'll have to get to those a little later. It's dinnertime for me and William, and we need to eat while the baby's sleeping. Soon, Andrew will wake up, and then it will be Feeding Time for him for the next four or five hours for him...Just like his big brother, he's an evening and nightttime cluster feeder. Yay for me, right? Why yes, that was a hint of sarcasm that you detected. I keep telling myself, "This too shall pass" because I do remember William doing the same thing at Andrew's age. That does help keep things in perspective. Most of the time.