Friday, February 27, 2009

Career Options #1

Performance Artist

So, I decided to get the crayons out for Zoe again since she grabbed a pen and paper off the table and obviously wanted to draw. When I asked her if she wanted crayons, she quickly responded "Please!" instead of doing her usual when she's got something she shouldn't: Running like a bat out of hell.

Up she went in the highchair. I took a sharpie and wrote her name in block letters. I drew a cartoon of a cat, flowers, numbers. Basically it was my quick answer to a page from a coloring book. She went with it. She carefully chose her colors. Red. Blue. Purple. Green.

She was partial to the blue.

I left her alone for a second.

OK. Maybe 30 seconds.

She ate 1/2 of the blue crayon.

Well, maybe just a 1/4 of it because a good amount came spilling out of her blue stained mouth when I exclaimed, "Oh, NOOOOOO! What did you doooooo?!" (In slow motion, of course.)

And she laughed and said "Blue!"

Great. At least I'm teaching her colors.

As I cleaned up her face and took away the other crayons I grumbled that at least now I wouldn't have to make her lunch.*

I stepped away from her to throw chunks of chewed blue crayon away. I washed my hands to prevent Finnegan from becoming Baby Smurf.

And then she started SHREDDING the paper she had drawn on. And I should add that as she shredded the paper, she laughed - like a little maniac having THE time of her LIFE.

See? Performance artist.

Tonight I will be on the look out for her encore: BLUE POOP.

* - OF COURSE I am only kidding. Zoe is a very well fed little girl.

Oh, and not to be one to be left out of the fun, Finn spent the entire time Zoe colored and *whatnot* smiling and laughing and flirting while I "wore" him. As Zoe was sitting in her highchair contemplating why we don't eat crayons (not really, well she was in her highchair but you know what I mean) I blogged the above entry. And then (just as I was about to hit publish) I noticed some "rumble down below" and almost instantly, my shirt and pants were wet from Finn's explosive diaper. No warning - just KABOOM!

I can't make this shit up. Clearly, you need a sense of humor to be a mother.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Grace in Small Things

When I signed up for GIST, I thought it would be the perfect thing for me. I thought it would keep me grounded, positive and appreciative for all the amazing things going on in my life and I looked forward to reading everyone else’s lists. But somewhere between giving birth to my son on December 31st of 2008 and now, I lost my zest for blogging. Slowly, I’m trying to get back into it because I’ve been missing the release that writing gives me, and the connections with other bloggers. Also, I’ve been seriously lax in my letters to Zoe.

So, I haven’t quite figured out what my participation level in GIST will be, but I thought I’d start by jotting down some things I am grateful for as they relate to having a newborn AND a toddler.

Here Goes:

1. Halo Sleep sacks with swaddler… a swaddled baby is a sleeping baby. Yay!
2. Soothies. Sometimes a breastfeeding mama needs a break.
3. Easy latching. It wasn’t easy the first time, at all.
4. Finn is a great eater. My boy likes his food and is gaining weight.
5. Slumber parties. We get the kids ready and watch a movie in bed with Zoe at night. It's down time for the four of us.
6. Hearing Zoe say “It’s ok, baby boy.” when Finn cries. It melts my heart.
7. Fresh & Easy. This store made fast, healthy meals possible when shopping & cooking meals seemed absolutely impossible.
8. The park. Perfect for wearing out a busy little girl and fun to see her so happy running and playing.
9. Grandparents coming to visit and help.
10. Friends to do the same and laugh with.
11. Facebook, Twitter & Flickr. They’ve made me still feel connected even when I spend most of my time with my kids.
12. Fitting in jeans I haven’t been able to fit in for 4 years.
13. Coffee and chocolate.
14. A good, supportive nursing bra.

And this especially is no “small thing”:

15. A supportive husband who is truly a partner in this parenting gig and who keeps me sane and laughing.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

You know what bugs?

I'll tell you:

- People who don't return their shopping carts to the shopping cart corral. Really? Is it that long of a walk? Do you feel good about taking up a parking spot that someone (maybe me) might want/need to park in? If you're too lazy or too busy to take the cart back, why not offer it to someone just getting out of the car? I know when I've got my toddler AND my newborn in tow and it's just me, I sure would appreciate someone offering me their cart.

- And while we're talking about parking lots.... What gives with these HUGE vehicles and their bad parking? You don't need two spaces. You certainly do not need to park diagonally across two spaces. That is just plain inconsiderate. Learn to park, get a smaller vehicle, or learn to drive, whatever applies. And hey, if you have such a large vehicle that you do not fit in a space, consider parking further back in the parking lot where it's less crowded. Just a thought.

- Smokers. I'm sorry. I've gotten incredibly impatient with smokers, especially since I quit (about 5 years ago) but even then. Don't blow smoke in my face. Don't you dare blow smoke in my kids face. Be considerate (are we seeing a pattern?). I do not begrudge your habit - I totally understand it! But if you smoke, please don't expect me and my kids to smoke with you. Please, step away from the entrance to public buildings. My favorite is the nurses who smoke in front of my doctor's office/the hospital. WTF? Really? And just so you know, being examined my a nurse who wreaks of tobacco is so not cool.

- And while I'm ranting about smoking: I do not get parents who smoke right next to their little babies. Their poor little lungs! It makes me sad.

- Also, parents who call their kids stupid, dumb, etc. I've seen mothers call their 6 month old babies idiots and while I'm a very passive person, I get the urge to smack the back of their heads so I can knock some sense into them. Sometimes being a parent is frustrating. Sometimes our kids do silly things that drive us crazy. But who actually thinks that talking to their kids that way will change anything? Do they feel good doing it? Because it hurts my heart to think about those kids and their self esteem. It worries me that if a mother can call her infant an idiot, how will she treat her toddler, preteen, teen? And then what type of person will that kid grow into? Sad.

- There is STILL a fake Christmas tree (sans decorations) standing in my living room. The tree is so large, (even when it's broken in thirds) we can't find a box for it. It's the end of February! Waah!

- Pumping. I hate it. Love that I'm feeding Finn and getting him all the nutrients he needs/Hate that I have to pump.

- When people do not use their words. If I'm in your way at Target or the grocery store, use your words. Say "Excuse me." If you can't use your words for some medical reason, clear your throat for goodness sakes! Please, don't assume I will notice you standing there staring at me like I'm the most inconsiderate person in the world for being in your way. I'm not going to notice you in a timely manner because I have a toddler, a newborn, and about 50 billion things going on in my head at once. Sorry.

- And another thing about shopping: Why do I need to completely stop what I'm doing when I'm in the aisle you want to be in? Today I was trying to figure out what cup to get for Zoe at Target and this lady uses her words (thanks for that, lady) and says "Excuse me." Turns out, she wants to be exactly where I was and just expected me to move. The aisles aren't that big. Two carts barely fit. If someone is looking at something you want to look at, come back later. Why would your browsing/purchase be so much more important than mine? If it's a life or death situation and you simply must get that sippy cup right that very moment, you better tell me because otherwise you're just going to have to wait.

- And don't you dare use your cart to bump me. Who does that? What kind of manners were you taught? This is not bumper carts! Also, what are you thinking? Not that this is the only reason you shouldn't push me, but I'm not a skinny little waif thing. What makes you think I'm not going to push you back?

- Those families of five who walk in a straight line through parking lots or stores like they're "The Rockettes". Really? Single file line, people! I want to be able to drive my vehicle or not have to squeeze between you and your family. Normally, these people who walk in lines like this will not back down/step aside for other people. It's like some weird form of "Red Rover" while shopping and I hate it.

- I'm also not a fan of parents letting their kids run through parking lots. Do they not want their kids anymore? Is holding their hands too much effort? Is everyone but them responsible for their children's safety? Oh, OK.

- There is no good, fast, Mexican food place near our house. I'm not talking fast food, just a place with take-out. I got all excited when I saw Ole Boys in the center near our house... turns out, it was not Olé Boys, it's OLE Boys (think Dukes of Hazzard). They sell guns, not burritos. FAIL.

I think that about covers it for today.

What bugs you?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Dearest Finnegan,

Forty-six days ago we were spending our last day as a family of three. We were anticipating your arrival with a lot of excitement and some nervousness. Daddy was dropping Bailey and Max off at the doggie hotel and Mama was taking the last shots of her pregnant belly so she could document one last time just how big she’d gotten.

Some Parting Shots of the "Finn belly"

Mama and Daddy got ready and we took your big sister to your Cheryl and Chuck-Chuck’s where she would stay the night before you were born and until Nana and Baba could arrive. And then we went out for a quiet dinner at California Pizza Kitchen. We had some appetizer that I can’t remember now and I had the Tequila Lime Chicken Fettuccine. You must have liked the food, because you kicked a lot and Mama had lots of Braxton Hicks contractions. Mama had so many that Daddy got out his pen and paper and logged each contraction and we laughed because wouldn’t that be funny if you decided to come out on your own after all!

But the contractions subsided and we went home to our empty, quiet house and made our final preparations for your arrival. We cleaned. I obsessed over my “things to do” and “what to pack” lists. We loaded our car and I might have tried cleaning my closet because that’s what Mama does when she’s anxious and trying to straighten up around the house.

I do not know what time we finally fell asleep the night before you were born, but I do know we were up at 4:00 am so we could be at the hospital by 5:30. I took a shower and tried to relax even though I was so nervous. Your Daddy ate breakfast and I fretted over whether or not I could go ahead and just take a couple sips of water even though I was told no food or drink after 11pm the night before. I was starving and parched and my twitter/blog friends told me to drink some water but I didn’t because I didn’t want to not follow directions. So I just complained about it for a while and that was good because it gave me something else to focus on.

We got to the hospital right on time and it seemed quiet enough, except apparently the maternity ward had been busy and we wouldn’t be getting a private room. And when we gave our name like we were checking into a hotel instead of a hospital, I remember seeing worry on the nurse’s face. The doctor’s office had failed to send in my paperwork or history – your Mama remained calm even though she wanted to freak out. Everything worked out though and a nurse led us to a small triage room so I could be prepped for surgery.

The room had a small sofa and a bed in it, with room for another bed if need be. There was a bathroom, but no television – which was fine because your Daddy and I were too anxious to watch anything. I got into my hospital gown and sat up in the bed while my blood pressure was checked and a nurse asked me questions. And then another nurse came in to start my IV, but she couldn’t find a vein so she tried again, and again, and then I calmly suggested someone else give it a go. You see your Mama has little veins that like to hide when the needles come out. Usually we counteract that by drinking tons of water and fattening them up, but I hadn’t had fluids in seven hours and my veins weren’t having it. So another nurse tried and then another. Mama cried a little and hyperventilated and might have almost fainted. The oxygen was brought out. And then we tried again… with another nurse. I asked for water and they declined and I was sure they were going to tell me you would not get to come out today and I might have cried some more. And then they brought in the “big guns” – our anesthesiologist. After almost an hour, four nurses and seven stabs, our lovely anesthesiologist got the IV in on his first try and I might have heard angels singing at that moment.

And then the nurse who would be taking care of us for the rest of the prep, the surgery, and after walked in and I almost cried again. Yes, Mama was very emotional and the adrenaline was high from all the needle poking, but it was more than that. The nurse who would be “holding my hand” for the rest of our journey was the same nurse I had asked to leave me alone after Zoe was born. She’d been condescending and rude before and when I finally couldn’t take it anymore, I’d requested a new nurse… and now here she was. I took a deep breath and braced myself for confrontation and rudeness, but it turns out her bedside manner had improved greatly and she didn’t seem to remember me at all – thank goodness.

So Dr. Y came in to say hello and the prep continued and we were all shiny and happy and YAY! A baby is coming out today! Daddy got changed into his scrubs and they wheeled me out as he followed close behind. I might have cried some more and your Daddy told me how much he loved me, and that everything was going to be ok and that soon we were going to get to see you, our son. So, off we went into the operating room for even more prep while he and Dr. Y stood in the hall waiting.

And they waited for a while. While the anesthesiologist was able to get the IV on his first try, the spinal block did not go as smoothly. I sat up on the gurney, holding the nurse’s hands, forehead on her chest trying to take deep breaths and relax while a needle was inserted into my spine. I could feel it grinding and tapping and pushing. Tears were in my eyes and I remember the doc telling me to relax. I turned my head to the right to take another deep breath and he and the nurse both quickly and firmly told me to keep absolutely still. He tried three times before he got it in and by that time I was so tired and frustrated I thought I would pass out just from that.

And then your Daddy came in and our nurse led him to me. . I remember whispering to him that I was “never doing this again.” He kissed me on my cheek or my forehead - I can’t remember – and then there was a hustle while the nurse tried to get him to sit down and then he FELL on the floor and knocked against some equipment. And your Mama completely forgot for an instant that she was about to be operated on because all she could think was “Great. Poor Daniel has passed out!” But Daddy was fine, just slightly embarrassed and worried he’d done something to the equipment – but he hadn’t. There was some discussion about how to best get a picture of you once you were out – our nurse was very concerned that your Daddy was ready with the camera.

And then there was a lot of waiting. I could feel what thought was my body falling asleep. I remember thinking, “What in the world is taking them so long!” And so I asked them, “Are you going to start soon?” And the anesthesiologist said, “Honey, we’re almost done!”

And they really were, because moments later they were telling me you were out and you were a boy – which we knew - and I was waiting to hear your cry - which took a minute because you had some fluid in your lungs – but when you did, it was loud and strong.

And I guess you peed on Dr. Y right away, which is kind of funny.

And then very quickly he held you up over the makeshift wall so we could get a look at you, but it was so sudden it was like you were jumping out at us and it was kind of shocking for Mama, Daddy and you too, I think… but your Daddy did get a picture just like the nurse told him to get - I'm just not going to post it here in consideration of the squeamish.

And then they cleaned you up a bit and swaddled you and brought you to me for a moment and I got to get a good look at you before you all left and they finished my surgery.

First Moments

I fell in love instantly and thought to myself, it might take a while before I’m ready… but I would definitely do this all again.

And that is your birth story*, sweet Finnegan! It’s taken me 46 days to sit down and write it, but I’m pretty proud that I’m able to remember so much. Your sister’s birth is such a blur to me because of all the various pain medications, but I remember so much of your birth so vividly. I am grateful for that.

For months I was “sure” you would come early and on your own because I just “had this feeling.” What I realize now was it was more of a hope. I wanted to get to experience my water breaking and some real contractions so I could feel like I’d worked for you. I wanted to feel some of what a mother feels when she has a child naturally. I think I’d had it in my head that I was less of a woman or a mother because I’d had such an easy c-section and recuperation with your sister. It almost felt like I was cheating, taking the easy route. What I can tell you is, I worked for you. I had to be strong for you. Abdominal surgery is not the easy route.

Zoe and Finn meet

But it was and continues to be worth it, my darling boy. I love you so very much. Welcome to the world and our family – it feels like you were meant to be with us.

Big Smiles

* - The hours and days following went by in slow motion and warped speed. Maybe someday I'll write about those moments as well.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Still Here

The feet, they KILL me with their cuteness

See all the Finn pics HERE.

Watch me and the kids here:

Zoe is saying hello to Torrie's daughter, Willa after seeing her on flickr this morning. She says "Hi, Willa." and then again - but I thought she was just pointing at the baby. Sometimes it's not so easy to understand "toddler speak" right away.