December 28, 2014
December 24, 2014
R: Oh, me! Me! Ok, so FIRST of all, there were these three wise men. And they saw an awesome star. Not just a regular star, it was, like, a really special star. A super big awesome star, very bright. So they followed it because they wanted to see what it was for. It was for a special baby. And they had presents but I can't remember what they were.
A: I know! Beauty, and good dancing, and... and everyone to love you.
R: No, no, no. That's Sleeping Beauty! Ugh.
R: Ok wait, I remember now, there was some gold. And Franken-stince, and... Merl. I don't know what that is. I don't know why they brought that. But anyway the baby was born in... uh... Gotham.
V: Wait, was the baby Batman?
R: No!! It was baby Jesus. Oh yeah, so it was Bethleham, not Gotham. He was born in Bethleham in a barn and the animals let him sleep on their hay to stay warm. And he didn't even cry. And there were cows and sheep and stuff eating the hay but baby Jesus was just sleeping and he didn't care. And shepherds came too and angels and the wise men brought their presents for the little baby boy.
A: The baby was a boy?! What?!
R: Yes, duh! Jesus is a boy so he was a boy baby. Like baby Hunter is a boy. And that's the story of Christmas. I think.
December 1, 2014
November 14, 2014
November 12, 2014
So. Now I feel more empowered.
Today I am thankful for my busy, needy, beautiful son, and the way he has inspired me to work harder than ever to make our lives better. xo
November 5, 2014
It never gets easier, you just get used to it, kind of--except for when you don't. Except for when you feel like crying for days or just walking out the door without looking back, without even closing it behind you. You're not bad for thinking it, I promise. Because you didn't do it. (That would be bad, if actually you did it. But you didn't.) You're still here. And your baby loves you more than the sun. And you'll get used to that, too. This baby that will grow up and get big and strong and hairy where he once was soft and smooth, and yet will still be your tiny sweet baby standing there, always, if you just squint your eyes a little. He will grow up and never be able to grasp, not quite, how much you have done for him. World without end, amen.
But these are the easy days, really. I'm sorry. I know you're too tired to hear that. I won't tell you to enjoy every moment; just try not to ever hate it. It will all be over soon. So soon, too soon. This too shall pass and your memory, that kind and helpful friend, will soften these days and make them not only palatable, but sweet. Meanwhile: You are doing a really good job.
Now for the love of god, go take a nap.
October 29, 2014
October 15, 2014
2. Whatever mommy is eating, but placed directly into his hand or on his tray or in his own bowl or on his spoon. Please do NOT get the desired placement incorrect.
3. Floor food: Snacks that were previously rejected from the lofty position of the high chair but now seem appetizing again on the floor. It's all about perspective, apparently.
6. Whatever daddy is eating
8. Baby approved snacks, one flavor at a time in order of preference: All the yogurt drops, then all the goldfish, then all the peaches, etc. Depending on level of hunger, less desired items may be dropped/flung to the floor. (For later reconsideration, if I am not fast enough, as mentioned above.)
9. Imported European baby formula that takes 2-5 weeks to get here and so sometimes has to be supplemented with domestic formula that makes him wonder if we really love him at all and what kind of life is this?
10. Lovingly crafted organic fruit and vegetable purees
October 14, 2014
Seriously though, we haven't had pretzels in the house in like, three months. And I keep this place pretty clean. Honest. At least he hasn't "found" anything poisonous. Or furry.
UPDATE: Phil had a bag of pretzels in his backpack and must have dropped one:)
October 6, 2014
I have opened up a blank page several times and there is just too much to say so I close it again, still blank. That's what happens when you wait so long. Hunter is 8 months old today; time is rocketing by and the days are busy yet somehow so boring, every single one the same. My investment feels invisible most of the time but today he hit himself in the face with a book and charged straight for me, with his new-learned, stilted crawl, head down, tears streaming. His mama-radar finely tuned, always taking him the shortest route. He knows where to go when life hurts. I'm right here, baby. I'm here. He believes I can fix it. Which means I'm doing something right. Thank goodness. It all could have been so different.
Daily life is a grind but there is sweetness in it too. Turning 30 this year has dawned on me slowly, pushing me to refocus, keenly aware of my choices and where they are taking me. It's so easy to let life happen to you. It is not easy to make your life happen.
I am reading a lot of articles these days; ISIS, Syria, feminism, sociology, psychology, presidential candidates, student debt, water shortage, the NFL. It feels good to have opinions about things and lively, educated discussions. For the past year I was in a sort of limbo, dealing with aggregate trauma around my pregnancy and bringing a tiny new human into the world. Now I feel suddenly awake again and it is refreshing and uncomfortable at the same time. But healthy discomfort can breed welcome change and that is what I am going for.
When Hunter was born, my old life ended. I have a new life now. And a squishy belly, and not enough sleep. And something gorgeous and unfathomable and inimitably worth living for. I never knew I could feel this way. I can't explain to you how powerful it is, to live for the first time under the assumption that living is good, that it's the best, that I'd rather not give it up. I fought so hard for so many years. The pure optimism of it boggles my mind. And yet here it is, the life I was fighting for.
September 20, 2014
August 6, 2014
to fall asleep
in my arms every night now
and once he (finally,
no matter how stinky
he was being before,
he looks so innocent
and perfect and sweet
that I feel like I could
stare at him
my whole body hurts and
is going numb.
Your point, baby.
August 4, 2014
July 21, 2014
Noah Griffin - 4 years, 10 months, 21 days
Last time I wrote for this linkup I had no idea that a brand new baby boy had only days before begun making his determined way into my life. Throughout those long months, even as my belly grew and despite his constant movement, I did not really think it was possible until the night I finally held him in my arms, all grey and slimy and completely, utterly calm. Fingers curling and uncurling, as theirs never did, eyes open and alert, as theirs never were.
I marked Lissie's day in my heart only this year, my head and my hands being mostly full of her new brother. I expect Noah's will be the same. A little extra kindness for myself, a little extra softness for those around me. A grateful heart.
I love you, my babies. Always have, always will.
I am homesick for their faces. It would be the greatest gift imaginable to know their voices, to hear them speak just once. To feel their hands in mine. To have patted their backs and smoothed their hair and kissed their cheeks, as I do for their brother. The one who stayed. The one who lived. There are moments when the distinction crushes me, but I am ever resilient.
I am asked all the time if Hunter is my first. Sometimes I hesitate, but I always say yes. I call him Biggest, because he is. They never got to be so big. But it's ok. He is not his brother or his sister, and I don't need him to be. He is himself and he is perfect. He is just exactly right. In my mind's eye, the ghosts of his siblings trail him wherever he goes. And they are just exactly right, too. I know and I believe they know: right now, we are each where we need to be.
Previous years' posts: 2011: part 1, 2011: part 2, 2012, 2013
Join in here: still life with circles
July 18, 2014
July 17, 2014
July 10, 2014
I was already thinking about whether I could invent a better breast pump, because they are just so awful, but finding out that they have remained largely unchanged and unimproved for decades is appalling. And they were originally designed by men, give me a frickin' break!
Anyway, I think I may have found a calling.
July 7, 2014
He started rolling for real-real after I went back to work. He could roll before, but he didn't very much, probably because his big sweet head is too heavy. Though even now he mostly kind of rolls around his head. Like a pinwheel, or like you may have seen a breakdancer do. He likes to sit up, but still falls forward after a second or two. I tell him not to worry, his head is just heavy because he has such a big smart brain. Like mama, Phil adds, smart as well.
I bought Hunter a booster seat last week, where he leans nonchalantly and practices picking up rice snacks. He eats cereal and bananas on the regular, and has tried squash and mangoes and apples and other squishable things. But his favorite food so far is avacado, which makes me oddly happy for reasons I can't explain. He gets super excited about it and makes us laugh. He also tried drinking water out of a plastic cup recently, which he first thought was a funny joke, then decided was a mean one.
I love every single one of his facial expressions, and all of the noises he makes, especially when he surprises himself with a particularly loud squawk. He doesn't really chatter, so it feels special when he tries to talk, like he really wants to communicate something important with you.
He has met so many milestones so suddenly that for a few days I was experiencing some level of panic as my own mortality was made abundantly clear to me by way of his rapid development, and I saw his (and therefore my) whole career as a human playing out as if in fast forward on a movie screen in my mind. All I could think was, Holy shit, it's not going to be like this forever. One day he will be an adult and I will be old and then it will all be over and I don't know what comes next. And then my brain would start melting, like, How the hell am I supposed to deal with the weight of this knowledge? Shit, shit, shitshitshitshitshit, holy fucking shit, no stop no, etc.
Usually I have no fear of death and can rationalize the end of my own existence quite well, but I am so attached to this tiny person and his progress is so easy to see and I care so much about it that it throws many of my complacent attitudes into disarray. I think this is a big part of what we are getting at when we say we wish that babies could stay babies forever. It was easier when I had no strong attachments. There were people I loved very much of course, and who loved me, but I knew they could get on just as well or almost just as well without me if they needed to. My son would not get on just as well without me.
And I actually like being alive most of the time now, too, so there's that.
I have adjusted mentally and am doing better, but it was an uncomfortable bout of insecurity to say the least. Thank goodness our minds are generally good at distracting us when things get too intense. Self preservation and whatnot.
I haven't started his baby book yet (though I did finally purchase one, omg!) so I am using this space to help document his firsts and my personal/parental freak-outs alike. My instagram has also turned into mostly Huntergram since he was born but for the same reason so I am unapologetic.
Seasons, you know?
June 13, 2014
June 9, 2014
June 4, 2014
Under my breath.
From the safety of the kitchen.
I'm so relieved! Add this to the list of Things You Never Knew You Could Be Excited About.
June 3, 2014
May 28, 2014
He's only going to be this little for so long. He's going to get bigger and his problems and his needs are going to get more complex. Even though eventually we'll all get more sleep, he's still going to wake up in the night sometimes, no matter how old he is. He's going to need me to banish monsters and nightmares and fevers and other things that only come out after dark.
Among other duties, of course. There is the daytime as well.
I quickly shook off my irritation and kissed him on his soft round cheek while he howled hysterically into my ear for no apparent reason. "This too shall pass" is a double-edged sword. The hard times will pass but so will the sweet ones.
My little monkey, my lovie, my snuggle buddy. I'm here, baby. I'm here.
May 27, 2014
I am a woman with thoughts and questions and shit to say. I say if I'm beautiful. I say if I'm strong. You will not determine my story — I will. I will speak and share and fuck and love and I will never apologize to the frightened millions who resent that they never had it in them to do it.
Full transcript of Amy's speech from the Gloria Awards and Gala can be found here.
May 26, 2014
I mostly follow comedians; some of them got serious, others satirical. Here are some gems from my Twitter feed:
I don't want women to judge me by the same high standard I use to judge them. That wouldn't be fair at all.— Mark Leggett ✂︎ ☹ (@markleggett) May 22, 2014
Women are still represented as a minority in politics, entertainment & business, even though we are over 1/2 of the population. #YesAllWomen— Eliza Skinner (@elizaskinner) May 24, 2014
"Can men really have it all? A family and a career?" Isn't a regular headline. #YesAllWomen— TaylorAileenHarrison (@goldieharrison) May 25, 2014
"I have a boyfriend" is the easiest way to get a man to leave you alone. Because he respects another man more than you. #yesallwomen— Rylah (@JBRylah) May 25, 2014
Because the friendzone is the fictional exile of the entitled. “Sexual partner” is not a woman’s default mode. #yesallwomen— Harrison Mooney (@HarrisonMooney) May 25, 2014
we're trained to avoid stereotypical “abuser” types, but I was only abused by people who were supposed to love & protect me #YesAllWomen— keply (@keplyq) May 25, 2014
Of all the things we're told to be scared of (Muslims, black men in hoodies) nothing terrifies quite like entitled white men #YesAllWomen— Ally Maynard (@missmayn) May 26, 2014
"Hey will you wait and make sure I get into my apartment safely?" -Not men.— Jhon Rules (@JhonRules) May 25, 2014
#YesAllWomen because I get asked about my relationship status and my diet before I get asked about my career at a family gathering.— Rosenasty (@RoseNasty) May 25, 2014
Guy I went to high school with asked why I'm not married I was like I don't know why are u gettin drunk in a folding chair life is a mystery— AmberTozer (@AmberTozer) May 26, 2014
Observations: 1) When people get defensive, it's because it hits too close to home 2) How many men do you know that carry a rape whistle?— Sam Grittner (@SamGrittner) May 26, 2014
I think the reason this particular crime has had this kind of response was due in part to the disturbing videos the shooter put out beforehand, placing the blame squarely on his victims and describing what he was going to do to them because they didn't think he was as amazing as he did. But above and beyond that, more attention should be drawn to the fact that he purposefully distributed the videos to several people, all of whom who could have done something to stop him. And nothing was done. And people died. And this fucking asshole is getting publicity and even sympathy and it makes me want to scratch my own eyes out and punch a lot of people in the throat and I honestly don't even think I'm overreacting. (If you tell me that I am, you may be added to my throat-punch list.)
Anyway. I've been really agitated the last few days. I don't have the heart to link to the story or the youtube vidoes, but I'm sure they're not hard to find if you feel like you need to see them to understand what I'm talking about. I have more to say but I also have a baby to take care of, so. I guess that's it for now.
May 23, 2014
This is what my body looks like 3 months postpartum.
I was determined to find regular (non-maternity) jeans and was finally successful. They are size 18 Long and I am equally determined not to attach either a positive or negative emotion to that. All I know is as soon as I put them on I felt almost like my old self again for a minute. I did a little dance for Hunter and told him I felt cute, and he laughed, and it was a good day.
May 13, 2014
I know I'm not like her at all. I don't worry about that. Physically, mentally, and emotionally, we are at opposite ends of the spectrum. What hurts is that she doesn't love me, that she never did. All the commercials and the social media in the buildup to Mother's Day, celebrating moms and all they do, the way they nurture and protect and give of themselves, the special bond they have with their children - that's completely missing from my realm of experience. My life was not the life of a child who was loved.
Nothing makes that clearer to me than having my own baby, the happiness he has brought me, and the depth of love I feel for him. I would do anything to protect him. I understand that he is separate from me, and that alone is a bigger gift than I can imagine.
My parents failed to form an attachment with me, and no matter what else happens I will always have that nagging feeling deep inside that I am different, that I am alone, a little lost, not quite trusting anyone completely. No one can fix it. It's a basic condition of human development. I am grateful for my son, for a chance to do it better, to feel that attachment from the other side at least, although it makes my grief so fresh again. The way he looks at me, smiles and talks to me, melts into my shoulder, lets me know not just that he loves me, but that he knows that I love him. Nothing matters to me more.
The photo above feels iconic. Our first Mother's Day. It looks like the kind of photo that people were sharing on Sunday of themselves as babies with their mothers. I hope that Hunter will look at this picture as an adult and feel, purely and easily, all of the things I always wished I could feel about my mother. I hope he thinks I'm beautiful, as a person, on the inside, because of the way I cared for him and loved him no matter what.
Coincidentally, Phil's mom also has her birthday on May 11, and she is someone I am happy to celebrate. Last year it was a welcome distraction to go and visit her for the weekend, and before we left she hugged me and called me her daughter. I cried. It was so unexpected and needed and kind. I had no idea that just a few weeks later my own little baby would make his presence known, to fill me with hope and trepidation and this stubborn, boundless love.
Title quote by Tennesee Williams. Dedicated to my little-girl self.
May 9, 2014
- I enjoy being a mom, and the encouragement I get around it is great and really appreciated, but I wish I could get the same kind of acknowledgement for doing well in other areas of my life too. Like, thanks, did you know I'm also a really kick ass girlfriend, and a pretty decent friend as well? Also I'm nice to other people's kids, which not everyone is. And I recycle and I try to conserve water, and I donate our extra diapers to the women's shelter.
- Pregnancy and childbirth are really, really hard. I have not forgotten. Seeing his gorgeous face did not wipe my memory of the suffering.
- I turned the corner out of the kitchen too sharply yesterday and bonked Hunter's head on the doorframe. He screamed at me for two minutes and was sporting a little bump for awhile. I felt disproprotionately guilty.
- The only really useful piece of advice I got was from the pediatrician who discharged us from the hospital, who said, "You will get all kinds of advice. Listen, smile, nod, say thanks... and then just do whatever you were going to do anyway. People mean well, but they don't know anything about your baby."
- The other day I got Hunter up from his nap by sitting next to his bed and talking sweetly to him and calling his name softly and finally he woke up with the biggest smile on his face and was so happy and it was the cutest thing that ever happened in the history of the world.
- I wish I could get photos of Hunter's face while he's nursing without my giant boob being in the way. He makes the best expressions. I have seen photos of other people that are nice and where the boob is not distracting but I have not been able to take one myself, I think you probably need assistance for those.
- I have tried on seven different styles of jeans and they all looked awful on my current body and I am almost ready to give up and resign myself to stretchy pants for the rest of the year but I just ordered three more pairs so we'll see how that goes first. (Additional suggestions welcomed.)
- There is a lot of pressure here to be skinny. I feel like I did a good job during my pregnancy with weight gain all things considered, and honestly I think I look pretty damn good now for having just given birth 3 months ago. The remaining extra weight doesn't bother me so much as just having no tone anymore, and the loose skin on my belly sometimes grosses me out. Phil does not seem to be bothered by any of it, or at least he has the good sense not to say so, which is close enough to being the same thing.
- The longest stretch of sleep I've had in over six months is 5 hrs. But it's usually less. Much less.
- I can't remember what I even used to talk about on here.
- Becoming parents has been really hard on our relationship. I'm told it gets better after the first year. I hope so.
May 4, 2014
April 25, 2014
It keeps going! Depending on the depth of your despair - or power of your optimism - I can see how it might make some people feel worse instead of better. But it's still interesting at least. Here is the link (via Cup of Jo).
April 22, 2014
the one that
carried so long
loved at great cost
brought forth with great effort, who now
wraps his fingers around mine
lopsidedly at me
while I feed him
whose belly I rub and
whose back I pat
who is more like me
than I ever expected and yet
so wholly himself
I am in awe
I am so tired
I am proud and overjoyed
and confused (and
did I mention
He is the fiercest and
creature I've ever seen
the heaviest and
thing I've ever known
and every day I think
I am in love
with this one, this fighter
this intrepid explorer
this gorgeous boy: mine
April 11, 2014
He was not too sure how to feel about air travel, as you can see, and kept this expression on his face pretty much the whole flight. But he was a trooper and I am so proud of him for handling with aplomb what many adults have not even experienced. He was thoroughly adored during our visit and I think the trip was well worth it.
We had a really nice time but missed Phil very much and are happy to be home again. Next week during spring break the three of us will be making the rounds to visit Phil's side of the family; many more sweet moments soon to come.
March 28, 2014
- Extremely audible burps, farts, and poops!
- Breast milk stash stacking up in the freezer!
- Spit-up going between my boobs instead of anywhere on my shirt!
Life is very different now.
March 22, 2014
There are only a few photos of me and him together, but every time I see one I feel a wave of mild vertigo. That is my baby. I am his mother. That is a photo of a baby and his mother. It hardly seems real but I am so thankful that it is.
March 7, 2014
My sweet baby is one month old. I'd love to say something poetic and concise about being a new mom and how magical it all is but I don't quite have it in me at the moment. Sleep deprivation and whatnot, you see. But my heart is full. I still tear up when I talk to him, but I do talk. Sometimes he looks concerned and I make sure to explain that I am happy, not sad. I don't worry anymore about being a good mother, I just do the things a good mother would do. Phil and I love him and sing him our own made-up songs and tell him about the kind of person we hope he will be, the kind of life we'd like him to have. I knew we could do it, and we are doing it, and everything is going to be fine.
Here is the world, my love.
It is all for you.
I will be the one to show him how to not be afraid.
March 5, 2014
Big Time Shnookie
Mr. Milky Man
Mr. Magoo Goo
Baby of the World
February 26, 2014
February 25, 2014
I am 2.5 weeks old! I have been to Target, the grocery store, the lake, and three restaurants, but I don't remember because I slept the whole time. I like milk and my soft blankies and staring at faces and windows. I do not like getting my diaper changed or waiting for anything or when I poke myself in the eye. I hardly ever cry, but when I do I go from zen to boiled lobster in less than a second. Daddy went back to work yesterday and we really missed him a lot so I had to yell at him a little when he finally came home but we're cool now. This place is pretty weird but I'm trying my best to fit in.
February 23, 2014
I had to be on the monitors the whole time and have an IV in my hand, both of which I hate passionately and made me much more uncomfortbale than I felt was necessary. My contractions were terrible but maddeningly irregular and my progress was slow and I had terrible back labor and was in so much pain I felt like I was going to lose my everloving mind. I finally had an epidural on Thursday afternoon, which was very scary for me, but in the end not as scary as the thought of even one more minute of that pain. After that it was not so bad, they put me back on pitocin to help things along and by 7:45pm I was ready to go. I am a champion pusher apparently and 29 minutes later I had my slippery son on my chest and we were blinking at each other, exhausted and bewildered but together at last.
His name is Hunter Atlas and I love him more than anything.
Born 02/06/2014 at 8:14pm; 7 lbs, 9 oz; 21 3/4 inches long.
Phil was excellent throughout the labor and birth, just like I told everyone he would be. It's a huge adjustment, being a new family of three, but we are doing well.