Category Archives: Motherhood

I Miss Sleep

I’ve been awake since 4:45 a.m.

Not because I set my alarm to witness some fantastic cosmic phenomenon. Or because I was so excited about Tuesday that I sprang from my bed like a six-year-old on Christmas morning. Or even because I was so well-rested that my body decided that 4:45 seemed like a great time to wake up for the day.

Nay, friends. I’ve been awake since 4:45 because the Adorable Toddler thought it was time to drink precisely 2.7 ounces of milk and watch strange people open toys on YouTube. (Seriously, you guys. He watches this video on LOOP.)

I am what they call a “mombie.”

Forget about brains. I need a pumpkin spice latte, stat.

See, here’s the problem. We co-sleep. Now, before you go throwing your “How To Raise Your Child The Right Way” books at my face, I will staunchly stand up for my right to co-sleep with my child. At least, I will do so as long as it is safe and working for our family. And I’m starting to think it isn’t. You see, when he was teeny tiny, all he wanted was a snuggle buddy. A hand in my hair, the warmth of my body, and he would sleep happily through the night. However, lately, we’ve been experiencing 3 specific occurrences with our once-snuggly kid. Let me break it down for you like this:

#1: The Triple Lutz

This is when the Adorable Toddler, who is sleeping soundly, decides to corkscrew himself from one side of the bed to the other, taking covers, Mommy’s hair, and whatever else he can manage with him.

#2: The “Slap You Silly”

Bear in mind that this occurs while he is in a full, deep sleep. An errant elbow while he’s turning over, a hand in the face when he’s reaching for a handful of my hair, a swift kick to the throat when he begins to execute #1. I’m happy to report that there hasn’t been bloodshed….yet.

And finally, my favorite:

#3: The “Pull Your Hair, Pinch Your Nose, Pluck Your Ear” Phenomenon

Again, this happens completely in his sleep. He has no idea that his finger is up my nose or that his foot is on my forehead until I gently move him back to a more comfortable space for me. At this point, he wakes up with a wounded look on his face because I deigned to interrupt his slumber.

 

And so, with co-sleeping no longer being the most restful method in our home any more, methinks it may be time to transfer the Adorable Toddler to his own very comfortable, very expensive bed. I no longer sleep as much as I defend myself from the oncoming onslaught of limbs. In fact, I’m nursing a pulled hamstring. From co-sleeping. That’s, like, a serious athletic injury. However, no matter how long it takes me to limp through my day, something tells me that Moms don’t get to go on the IR list. Looks like I’ll have to do my stretches, fill my own water bottle with electrolytes, and figure out how to better protect myself from injury.

Maybe I should invest in a mouth guard.

Mombie, out.

The Irrational Mourning of Saying Goodbye to Baby Things

There comes a time in every mother’s life when the time finally comes to let go of all the baby things. Those things that you shopped for and coveted; the pretty baby patterns and fabrics, the equipment you knew you’d need to have for your little peanut. The swings and playpens and carriers and bottle steamers.  The tiny shoes and baby rattles and feetie pajamas that can never be worn again.

Usually, when it comes to purging our tiny home of things we no longer need, I’m a boss. Haven’t worn it in three months? Donate. Has more dust on it than a dust bunny? Donate. Holey underwear, mismatched socks, shirt that hasn’t fit since college? Toss, toss, toss.


But this? Boxing up to donate or sell baby stuff? Quite frankly, friends, it sucks.

Let me give you a for instance. When we brought our little superhero home, I knew it would become important for me to carry him, especially since I work from home. I shopped baby carriers online till my fingers bled, and the one I coveted the most? A Tula, in a print that was so nerdy, it was delicious. I spent nights looking at the glossy pictures online, whispering sweet nothings to its image until I could finally convince my husband that it was worth it to spend $150 on something we could have gotten for much cheaper elsewhere.

But it had to be that Tula. That perfect, nerdy, comic-booky Tula. It was that one, or nothing. I wanted it. I needed it. I had to have it. My precious.

Reusing past graphics from my blog, and quickly updating them in Photoshop to be relevant to new posts, should be considered a superpower (in my humble opinion.)

Reusing past graphics from my blog, and quickly updating them in Photoshop to be relevant to new posts, should be considered a superpower (in my humble opinion.)

And finally, I got that which I had longed for. It was perfect. I loaded my little squish into his carrier and we would while away the mornings, folding laundry, answering phone calls, drinking coffee, and snuggling. It. Was. Perfection. It was great for shopping, it was great for calming him down before naptime, it was great for outdoor excursions….

Photo credit to my gorgeous and talented best friend, Jenna, for capturing this moment forever on film and making me weep every time I see it.

Photo credit to my gorgeous and talented best friend, Jenna, for capturing this moment forever on film and making me weep every time I see it.

It was so great.

As time has passed, The Tula (as it is known in our house) was brought out less and less. Occasional naps, infrequent trips through Target, once or twice to get through a particularly busy morning. But his desire to be held close eventually became replaced with his innate need to be in constant motion. Running. Playing. Exploring. As it should be.

And so, the time has come. Today is the day that I must part with my Tula, and all the snuggly memories that go along with it. It makes sense to part ways with it now—it’s been sitting on a shelf in his nursery for about 4 months. Logically I realize that trying to get him to go up in the carrier is kinda like trying to put an octopus into a bathing suit—not easy, super-frustrating, and likely to cause black eyes (mine, not his.)

Resigned, I take it down from its place of reverence, run my finger along the fabric, and tell myself it’s time for another Mommy to feel that same satisfaction of carrying her baby close to her heart. Time to share the wealth, to pass it down to a new little one, to move on. I lift The Tula to my nose, in a moment of weakness, hoping to catch a lingering scent of newborn there in the folds of fabric…and the realization hits me. My baby isn’t such a baby anymore.

Screw it. Who needs extra space, anyway?

Date Night…Again

Yesterday, after a previous engagement I was looking forward to was canceled, my husband asked me on a date. He even went so far as to line up a baby sitter for the evening first, to make sure we would be able to go.

(This is where we cue a chorus of “Awwww” and this face:)

Awwww, shucks, ain’t he sweet??

Date night is always something to look forward to; am I right, ladies? But when you’re parents, and your daily schedules revolve around things like picking Cheerio dust out of the carpet and changing dirty diapers that smell like rotten cauliflower, the idea of a night out sounds like a straight-up vacation. And if there’s some kind of chocolate dessert involved, that vacation just got promoted from a weekend at a bed and breakfast to a week in Maui.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, my mood went from blue to “woo hoo” in the ten seconds it took me to say yes! Then I asked him the ultimate pre-date night question.

“Got anything special planned?”

And as usual, got the same response that I’ve gotten on every date night in the last 13 months. “Dinner and a movie?”

Insert pouty face here.

See, here’s the thing. We are creatures of habit. We frequent the same handful of restaurants. We frequent the same number of stores. And when it comes to fun time out, especially in the Deep South in the middle of the most miserable summer in recent history, the movies is it. Dinner and movie is great….but can you blame a girl for wanting a little romance? Candlelit dinners in some perfectly quiet restaurant with linen tablecloths and snooty waiters? A romantic stroll on the beach, holdings hands and strolling down memory lane? Maybe even an unexpected adventure, exploring this place we call home, but that has so much more to offer than we’ve ever really bothered to experience?

So I whined a little. “We always go the same places…we always do the same things…wah wah woe is me.”

And Brian, being the knight in shining armor that he is, suggested a NEW restaurant that we’ve never been to before! Placated, I agreed to the dinner and a movie date as planned, with the shiny new restaurant in my pocket as a consolation prize to not being whisked away in a private jet to Italy for dinner and drinks. (So sue me, I read too many romance novels.)

As I headed to bed last night, though, I really started to think about the way things had transpired between us. Here is this man—–this hard-working, generous, thoughtful man who went out of his way to make me happy. He secured a babysitter, looked into movie times, even asked his co-workers about restaurants, so he could take me on a date. This guy—the one I’ve been married to for almost 12 years, the one who still makes my heart skip a beat, the one who always knows how to make me laugh…

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…that hunk of mine wants to take me out on the town. He wants to share a special meal with me, just us, where we don’t have to race through our meals as fast as we can because a certain little squirtlet is tired of his high chair. He wants to take me to a movie, where we can hold hands in the dark. He wants to spent time with me…just me. Just the two of us.

And that’s what date night should be about. Not about what fancy restaurant we try, or what others (read, wives who read too many romance novels) perceive as being “grand romantic gestures.”

So I don’t need the flowers and the ambiance and the “someplace new.” I don’t need the fanfare or the box of chocolates. But what I do need is a few hours every now and then to spend with the great love of my life, to remind ourselves that even though we aren’t as young and thin as we once were, we are still those two crazy kids who fell madly in love one summer in the mountains of North Carolina.

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Besides, movie theater popcorn rocks.

Musings of a Tired Mom

We’ve been watching a lot of Sesame Street lately. (And when I say a lot, I mean enough that Brian and I are walking around singing songs about sharing, the alphabet, and the wheels on the bus on the regular.)

Now, if you’re not familiar with the Sesame Street family, this post isn’t going to mean anything to you. We thank you for stopping by, and wish you a very happy Tuesday.

But if you ARE familiar with the Sesame Street family, you’re totally going to get this post. Especially if you’re a stay-at-home-Mom with a pile of laundry up to your nose and an ever-overflowing trashcan.

I know Prairie Dawn is kind of a stick in the mud, but there are a lot of cool cats on the Street. You know, the kind of folks you might like to be friends with. Super Grover would be handy to have around as a pal since he’s generally adorable (even if he sucks at fixing stuff.) Elmo is a delight, once you get around the nasally voice and penchant for singing constantly. The Count is always helpful—especially if, like me, you stink at math.

But I’ve decided, of all the kids that live on Sesame Street, I’d like to be best friends with Abby Cadabby.

Abby and Abby

She has the coolest name on the planet. She’s pink and fluffy and adorable. And she has a penchant for making her own rules. But while those are all valid reasons to befriend a … puppet … that’s not the main reason why I’d woo her and make her my very own shiny BFF. (Just go with me here.)

I’d choose Abby Cadabby to be my best friend because she’s a magical fairy. And surely, in her large repertoire of spells, she MUST have a “clean the kitchen, vacuum the living room, wash all the laundry (and fold it too), write a grocery list, pick up all the stray Cheerios, steam clean all the bottles, and take out the trash, all while keeping the teething, clingy toddler happy” spell.

That’s not too complicated for a 4-year old imaginary puppet fairy, is it?

So move over, Elmo. Us Abby’s have to stick together.

This post is brought to you by the letter “P,” for Poorly Photoshopped Pictures.

I Blinked

And in that instant, you grew. Every part of you—from fingernails to feet—is changing. That baby face, those tiny feet, your chubby little legs….in a moment, it seems, you have morphed into a perfect little man child. Gone are the baby peach fuzz, the tiny fingers, the little squeaks you used to make to let me know you were happy. Now you enter the room each morning with a hearty YAWP of happiness, and I marvel in you every single day.

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I blinked.

And in that fraction of a second, you became a toddler. No more long, lazy days spent napping in the swing. Oh, no! For there are great adventures to be had, new foods to try, new life lessons to experience. You are learning so much and so quickly. And watching your eyes light up with every single skill learned (Bongos! Clapping! Speaking! WALKING!) brings a joy into my life that I’ve never know before.

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I blinked.

And in that infinitesimal fraction of time, you have morphed into your Daddy’s best friend. You laugh together, and play together, and nap together; you are two peas in a pod. I see you now, sitting in his lap, watching him play video games and it is incredibly simple to picture you playing along in a few years time. You light up at the sight of him, you laugh at his silly antics, and you already emulate him, even if he doesn’t see it yet. The two of you own every square inch of my heart.

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I blinked.

And in that half a second, you have become my entire world. I know what you’re thinking, what you want, what you need, in the seconds before you do. Your smile is as familiar as my own, your laughter is the soundtrack of my day. You are my constant companion, my  pal, my heart. Sometimes, looking at you, I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders: to make sure you feel absolutely safe and loved, to send you into the world with kindness and gratitude, to teach you how to navigate this scary world with bravery and smarts.  But I know we will be ok, little one. Because you are miraculous, and I’m convinced you can do anything.

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I blinked.

And suddenly, we are three. It all happened so seamlessly, so effortlessly. It’s like you were always with us, even during the “before,” when we wished for you while simultaneously thinking you might only be a dream. Your Daddy and I  speak your name more times in a day than we think our own, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. You truly complete us. Our son.

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As I watch you climb, and swim, and talk, and laugh, and walk; as we continue hitting every milestone and surpassing everyone’s expectations; as we approach (all too quickly) your first birthday, I can’t help but marvel at you. You are so smart. You are so much more than you can possibly imagine. And you continue to amaze me, every single day.

Something tells me as time continues to pass, as the days morph into weeks and months, that I’m going to wish for these moments back. If only I had the ability to freeze time, my little one, I would do it almost every day: in the moments you are sleeping most peacefully, when you are laughing so hard your little belly shakes, when you curl your hand onto my face and say “Mama.” But since I can’t, and those moments will continue to pass us by, I’ll keep living in these moments with you. Because even though it feels like I simply blinked and suddenly, you’re eleven months old, there’s not a single moment of those months that I don’t remember, cherish, and adore.

A Letter to My Husband, on Mother’s Day

Dear Brian,

It’s here. That day I’ve dreamed of for much of my adult life–my first Mother’s Day. When you stop to compare this May with last, it seems almost impossible. Look at where we are now! Look how far we’ve come! We are blissful (if somewhat sleep-deprived) parents! We’ve become those people with a trunk full of baby supplies and toys, the ones who wallpaper Facebook with pictures and videos of our son, the ones who plan our lives around the happiness and well being of one, very small, very important person. I love being a Mom, so, SO much. I hope that’s as apparent to you as your happiness at being a Dad is to me.

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I know you’ve watched me in years past, struggling with the emotions of this day. Trying to find a balance between celebrating the moms in my life and the grief of not being one myself–I never quite managed it with the grace such a situation warranted. You stood beside me, reminded me that it was ok to cry, held me when I fell apart. I know you felt helpless, knowing I was so sad and there was nothing you could do to fix it. There are no words adequate enough to thank you for that support, throughout our many years of infertility struggles. So let me just put in black and white—I know how hard it was for you, too. I acknowledge with a full heart that I never felt alone on my path to motherhood. You were always there for me, holding my hand, swimming in that same sorrow, but somehow always managing to buoy me up when I needed it most.

I have so many things to thank you for. Thank you for going on this journey of parenthood with me. Thank you for being brave enough and strong enough for the both of us when it seemed we were destined to fail. Thank you for celebrating with me in our moments of triumph, but more importantly, in HIS moments of triumph. Thank you for telling our son how awesome his Mommy is, especially when you think I can’t hear you. Thank you for all the nights you’ve let me sleep just a little bit longer, specifically those when ten hours of sleep was the exact thing I needed most. Thank you for being wonderful, deliciously nerdy you: I get more joy out of watching you teach our son about everything superhero, and seeing how excited you are for what his nerdy little future holds. Thank you for being patient with me as I navigate this new path, for understanding why sometimes my brain is fried and my temper is short. Thank you for all the things you do that I never have to ask for: the poopy diapers, the long days at work, the longer commutes, the unwavering support, the unconditional love, the perfect way you parent. Thank you for being such an amazing Dad.

This new, seamless little routine we have going right now is so much more wonderful to me than I think anyone can understand. I look forward every single day to you coming through the door, to our dinner around the table as a family, to Jeopardy and bath time and evening giggles and games. We are most complete in those moments between dusk and dawn. We are one. We are family.

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In short, I wouldn’t be “Mom,” if you weren’t “Dad.” We are in this together, as ever. And I love you more today than in the almost 17 years I’ve known you. Today may be Mother’s Day, but in my heart, I’m celebrating us, and our family. Our gorgeous, perfect, awesome family.

I love you to the moon and back,
Abby