Monday, July 18, 2011

Life As We Know It

We've moved, we've grown, we've neglected the blog... I was reminded today of how important it is to chronicle the little important things that happen in the everyday of being a mother. Kids' abilities are cumulative so that eventually only their present reality is what we can recall... This means that I won't remember that little moment when he was two because the same kind of moment at age four is now my most recent recollection of that experience. It's the thing that makes me gasp when I look at a home movie and see just how little Lucie was or just how funny Jonah's phrasing was- I don't remember it being that way because they are now still themselves. And so I am back to put more of it into words for myself for later, and for grins for now.

Lucie turns two at the end of the week. Obviously she has changed tremendously; is there a time in one's life when you change more? She's nearly quadrupled in weight since birth and has grown about 15 inches in height. She's talking in complete sentences and can climb the stairs and jump from a stool and sing a song. What has not changed, however, is her unconditional love for her big brother, her joyful demeanor, her cute smile (although it is toothy now), and the charming and crazy way that she moves through the world.

Jonah will be five this fall. The move was as hard for him as it was for me-- we moved in December after getting acclimated to a new school year at his preschool and a new routine. He left all he's ever known, I left all I'd ever known as a mother. We're both sensitive to change and it has taken us awhile, complete with ups and downs, the confusion of new friendships, and the blahs of missing a former piece of life. He's learning so much and takes on new obsessions, absorbing what he wants to like a sponge. He's more physical than ever and disciplining him has been an evolving process in which I often feel two steps behind.

I am doing fine. Fine is a boring word but a good one for now, since I am not always thrilled with our decision to move only 45 minutes away but to a different world in so many ways. My life has changed alot and not all for the better. I'm very grateful for where I am and who I have met and for my life here, but there are some wonderful things that I left behind in our old town, too. Making friends has proven more difficult than I had anticipated since I feel like such an outsider and long for "people like me." I know that it will take some time and that so much of this experience is really just how I frame it, but in the day to day, it's sometimes hard to make the time to do what would be best for my evolution in this new place.

For now I leave you with this; I will be back soon with photographic evidence. Thanks for coming back.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Quick Fings

Just a couple of quick things (or "quick fings" as my firstborn says). Jonah has been really letting the cuteness fly these days. With a greater grasp of language comes the opportunity to share his most important deep thoughts and reveal the inner workings of that little, growing mind. I need to start carrying a notebook around with me to jot his musings down because they're priceless and then the moment has passed and I have to change a diaper and I have already forgotten. So here's my sharing of the utter cuteness I would like to remember.

Today the Santa hat came out. "Do I look handsome?" he asked seriously of his father and me. Oh, my, did he look handsome. Or cute, really; he looks good in red. The hat made several appearances during our quiet, rainy day at home, and I got that question a few more times.

At dinner, Jonah looked in earnest at his dad and asked us, "Why is your head not on your shirt?" It took us a couple of minutes to discern the true meaning of this question, but the giveaway was that Jesse was holding four-month-old-without-much-neck Lucie. Jonah can touch his chin quickly and easily to his chest, but was interested in the length of Jesse's neck and why his head is so much higher. So, then, he surmised, as an adult, his head my not be on his shirt either. His neck will grow, too.

Moments later Jonah asked me, "Mom, will you be here when I'm a dult?" I nearly began to cry. Yes, dear son, God-willing I will be here for every moment until you are an adult and well beyond. And yes, my sweet, inquisitive boy, Daddy will, too.

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Little About Lucie

My darling daughter is three months old today. Three whole months ago I welcomed Lucie into my life after a gratifying, natural, drug-free birth, uncertain about what she would be called and doubly so of who she was. She was covered in vernix and cried right from the start. We noticed that, despite her size, she had dainty, feminine (if big) hands, long fingers and nail beds, and a girlish little mouth. A girl. She had a tuft of dark hair on the back of her head where Jonah had not, the rest of both of their heads covered in a thin, close layer of dark baby hair. Right away I knew I loved her, and that fact and feeling has only grown stronger with each day. Lucie is an amazing baby and exactly what I had hoped for.
My pregnancy did have its challenges. Nausea gave way to heartburn and round ligament pain, emotions ran high the entire 40 weeks, and my energy was zero for half of every day. I just kept hoping that I'd have a baby that would be easier on the outside than on the inside. I knew I could keep up with round the clock feedings, but constant crying or incessant fussy wakefulness was what I was dreading. Dear reader, Lucie is no fussy baby.

She fussed when she was hungry, of course, rooting like crazy and even leaving hickies on Jesse's shoulder, my bicep, and her own wrist when I didn't get to her fast enough. She also had a part of the evening that was inherently noisy and all about bouncing and nursing and swaying and praying that she would relax and sleep. I'm told most babies have trouble with this time of night and I never thought that this behavior reflected who Lucie really was. The other challenge in those early weeks (and up until last week, really) was that her "bedtime" was around 11pm most nights. We also had a bit trouble getting our nursing relationship going smoothly. Lucie eats voraciously but had a lazy latch to start and a sensitive gag reflex actually caused her to vomit several times. Not just spit up (she does plenty of that, too) but actual puke. It's pretty scary watching your two-week-old projectile vomit on you. Just a bump in the road, though. She's gaining weight and hasn't done this frequently lately, thank goodness.
From day one I was impressed by her relaxed manner when we changed her diaper; with Jonah it was a constant struggle to keep him from turning purple with rage EVERY TIME WE CHANGED HIM. Lucie would literally fall asleep on the changing table mid-change. She's done her share of peeing and pooping while diaperless on the changing table which lengthens considerably the period of time it takes to change her, yet she remained peaceful and sleepy during nearly every change. I can't tell you how surprised this all made me after the fits that Jonah had every time we took off his diaper.

From the very, very beginning, Lucie has shown us that she knows how to sleep. Oh, yeah, baby, I got a SLEEPER!!! Jonah didn't sleep well until about 20 months. I'm not kidding. Lucie has slept GREAT every night since birth. There were a few nights during the first few weeks that I was a little concerned because we were up late with her, but she never confused day and night, she always settled quickly after a feeding, and really never even woke up crying in the night. She "snuffles;" grunting and rooting and basically just letting me know that if I would like to feed her, she'd be willing to suck. The big news is that she sleeps through the night and has for quite some time. Maybe eight weeks old? Can't recall exactly but from a month old she was sleeping for over 5 hours during the first stretch, and at about 10 weeks she starting sleeping 8 hours at a stretch. Pretty friggin' awesome, if I may be so bold to say so. Any parent knows that that is what you're rooting for. The progress continued: this week Lucie's bedtime moved to within the eight o'clock hour and she sleeps up to ten hours. Poor little girl has a cold this week so she having a little trouble, but I think we're pretty lucky.
It gets better. This girl has the most distinct cries. Lucie has a particular cry for being hungry and an undeniably clear tired cry. The tired cry is my favorite because Lucie will actually put herself to sleep if you lay her in her bassinet awake. This is SOOOO foreign to me and I'm trying to cultivate this awareness of how to put herself to sleep. The idea that I can avoid the battle of nursing a baby down, carefully waiting until exactly the right moment to transfer her to her bed and then try really hard not to make a sound as I leave is really appealing to me. I currently nurse her or bounce her a bit if she's already nursed, wrap her arms in a loose swaddle, lay her down on her back in her bed, rub her tummy and say a few quiet words, and then stand by quietly (or leave the room and come back to check her progress). Lucie starts in on her little whiny cry, closing her eyes and squirming a little. It sounds like the letter "i" or "why-y-y-y" and is just a plaintive vocalization, not a hysterical tear-filled cry. It's amazing. I feel no guilt listening to her, I don't wonder if I should pick her up. I just let her do it and then she's asleep.

What a smiler this baby is! Lucie started smiling at about six weeks and hasn't stopped! She has this coy turn of the head that she reserves for big smiles exchanged with her dad and me. It's beautiful. That toothless, full-cheeked grin just melts me. Her eyes, which are already a very dark color, not quite brown yet but heading that way, crinkle up and are quite expressive. We haven't heard laughs yet, but I think we're getting close.
We are so thrilled to have welcomed such a sweet, chubby, lovely little girl into our lives. I can't wait to see what she shows us next, because it just keeps getting better.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Well, Of Course She Has Arrived...

Lucie June Remignanti
was born July 23, 2009 at 1:46 AM
after a beautiful, calm, challenging, natural birth
She measured 9lbs 3oz and 22 1/4 inches
(certainly no tiny babe)
We came home from the hospital the morning after she was born and I recovered quite well, and having no stitches helped (yes, you can have a nine pound baby naturally and not tear; don't let anyone tell you otherwise). Lucie is smiley and sweet and lives up to the meaning of her name as she is full of light.
I have had these eleven weeks to think about what I would post when I finally got back around to blogging, and I'm sorry, but yes, that's the best I can do! At least I'm here, right? It's so daunting when you only have 20 minutes of peace and quiet to do what you want to do and there are 500 household tasks screaming at you to be done. That is basically how life has been; I'm constantly doing something that must be done, and am flat out exhausted by it all.

Jonah, our proud big brother, has ceased napping on most days. This means that from before seven in the morning until after seven in the evening, I am on full-out Mama duty and by the time that's over, Lucie usually needs to nurse for about three hours before settling for the night. It's a long day.

I'm elated and softened by my daughter's presence in my life. She's an absolute dream of a baby and sleeps well. That said, being a mother of two is darn hard work. It's a juggling act, an emotional roller coaster, and just tiring. Hopefully I can go into more detail about all of this and not vanish for another three months... for my sake and for the sake of anyone who mothers or will someday mother.
For now, I'm going to sign off and try to get some photos up so that this is actually updated. Thanks for visiting.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Any day?

This will be a short one because honestly, I should be napping while I have the chance. I'm so tired that I started to fall asleep while Jonah was playing with his matchbox cars just two feet away, his dialog between cars lulling me off to sleep like it was white noise.

I've reached that point in my pregnancy where everyone says, "Oh, when are you due, again? Any day now, right?!" This is mostly because I'm so damned horizontal and big, but also because to some, I've been pregnant, LIKE, FOREVER. I let them think whatever they want, sometimes reminding people that my due date is at the end of the month, sometimes just chuckling, and overall, it doesn't irritate me. After all, it COULD be any day. Or it could be twenty more.

I had hoped to never be one of those women who was just DONE being pregnant. I hoped that I'd enjoy the final weeks, my round, ripe belly, and just living in the moment without anticipating what might happen tonight, tomorrow, this weekend. I hoped to never be so sick of this pregnant body that I just wanted the baby OUT. Well, unfortunately I've been struggling with these feelings for weeks. With Jonah I was comfortable for a long, long time. I tried to be a little vague about my due date so that people wouldn't look surprised when I walked into a room still pregnant. I accepted that while my due date was November 7, my baby might not be ready until November 21. I went for long walks at 38 weeks, waddling all the way. This time, friends, there has been no such acceptance. I've thought from the beginning that she'd be born a tad early, and I've never let myself think that I'd be pregnant in August. Logically I know it could happen, for sure, but for self-preservation in this moment, I consider myself done by August 1 at the latest. I could be creating drama for myself there, I realize, but if that's the case, I'll deal.

This weekend I was in a significant amount of pain and made two calls to my doula and one to my midwifery office. Nothing alarming, just round ligament pain and inner thigh pain and lower back pain and sometimes a little abdominal pain thrown in just for fun and confusion's sake. By day's end on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I could barely walk. I was so confused by it the first night and wondered if this could be some indication that labor was imminent. By Sunday I realized that labor was still far off and I just had to take it REALLY easy if I wanted to be able to be on my feet by 6pm. It was this stabbing, coming and going, can-never-get-comfortable, consistently miserable but inconsistently occuring brand of lower midsection pain. Tylenol actually helped some of it, and anyone with a toddler knows that you need a good deal of help if you really are trying to stay seated or lying down for much of the day. Poor Jesse did his best to be super-Dad and take care of things around the house. He was awesomely helpful and understanding, and it seems to have worked because today? NOTHING. NO PAIN AT ALL. Nowhere.

I was told that it generally doesn't really go away, this series of pains, in late pregnancy. You just deal with it and try to mitigate it and then it's gone when the baby's born. Oh great, ANOTHER REASON TO WISH HER HERE NOW INSTEAD OF IN TWO WEEKS. I really had no idea how I would continue to function as a mom if I felt like that all week while Jesse was at work. Thankfully, it seems that isn't the case. At least not today.

I really want my baby to stay in my belly for as long as she needs to in order to get nice and chubby and work on her little brain in peace. I honestly don't want her out right this second. It will be amazing to hold our baby and incredible to see her face, but not if it's not time. I want my body to do what it needs to do to prepare for labor and birth. I want a little more time in my family of three. I'll wait. The tricky part is coping with these last days where pregnancy itself is just a challenging physical obstacle instead of a miraculous, beautiful gift. I guess it's really both. And it's here at least for today.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

36 Weeks

Hello Blog. I've been thinking about you and have plenty to say, but my pregnancy brain is having trouble firing synapses in the right order to get things done. I'm 36 weeks pregnant now and I'll be meeting my baby girl quite soon, but still sometimes it feels like I have to wait sooo long!

I have a cold and it's really hitting me hard. Lots of sniffling and waking in the night for about twelve reasons, which makes it hard to get better. The weather has been on my side in that it's been really cool for summer and pretty rainy, so I've been more comfortable than I thought I would be at this point. Here's me today, with my tissues and my gigantic belly.
In other news, Jonah is a challenge and a total pleasure in turns. His hair is soooo long and I just can't get myself to go and get it cut again, but it needs to be done. It's crazy cute but really a bit out of control, or about to be. He's talking and pretending and telling stories and even having dreams that he wakes up and thinks were real. It is truly amazing to hear him come up with something completely on his own from his experiences and vocabulary. Also, the will of this child is nothing to be taken lightly, so we're pretty exhausted by day's end. I wouldn't have it any other way. Here's my boy looking pretty serious.
And then, not so serious with Big George and Little George, both in diapers.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Brook

I seem to easily forget how much simple pleasures thrill toddlers. Jonah asked me today to go see the "appointment water" and I considered what that might mean for a minute before asking, "do you mean the little brook that runs in front of the midwives' office?" Jackpot. That was indeed what Jonah meant. I quickly realized that I had something even better to offer: the same brook leads through a modest park which abuts the police station in town. Water AND police cars! Hurray!

Jonah had asked me a couple of weeks ago where the police cars live. We pass the fire station often but the police station in town is much easier to miss and passed less frequently. We've sat in the ladder truck at our local fire station and Jonah always notices when their garage doors are open. But where do all those police cars go when they aren't driving around?

The "appointment water" runs under a little bridge that connects the sidewalk to the entry of the medical building where I go for my prenatal appointments. You can't get close to the water, though; there is a little fence along the brook with bushes between it and the water. It isn't all that exciting because if you're only 37 inches tall, as one of us is, you can only peek at it through the bushes.

This newly discovered location was exactly what Jonah was looking for. We walked around outside the police station where there were about ten police vehicles, a couple of officers, some open garage doors to see inside the station ("Look, police motorcycles and bikes! And a Rescue Truck!") and even a K-9 dog that barked in one car when we got close. Then we went to see the brook.

This park is pretty neglected; there are benches but they're surrounded by overgrown weeds and it's not very tidy. There is the absence of much trash or broken glass though, and I imagine that that is mostly due to its proximity to the police station. The brook is a bit dirty as are most waterways in our semi-urban environment, and about 15 feet across. We walked along the shady path and found a spot where the water was rushing slightly and we could get close to the water. Jonah loves to throw things into the water (who doesn't?) so I found a stash of twigs and broke them into little pieces and he tossed them in, one by one. We watched the current take them away and listened to the bubbling of the brook. There was a man-made falls up the brook that we could hear, and it drowned out the incessant traffic noise.

We tried throwing some rocks in and noticed how they sink, but the sticks float. Jonah was so happy and content, and so was I. I love times like that, where we're getting along beautifully, both doing what we want to be doing, learning and teaching, playing and observing. He told me he likes the brook, and we talked about how it's different than a pond and smaller than a river. We went to see where it goes under the road, and said goodbye.

I drove home hoping that Jonah would fall asleep since he'd been fighting his nap for over an hour. He didn't, and I unloaded the car and went back to get him out of his seat. I stuck my head in and kissed his cheek as he sat in his car seat. He hugged my head to his chest gently, let me kiss him on the head and cheek, and then looked at me, stroking my hair. "You're a good Mama," he said, "Thank you for taking me to the brook." "You're welcome, Jonah. You're a good Jonah." He went on. "Thank you for taking me to the police station." I nearly started crying. "I love you, Mama." Oh, the way my heart sings when he shows me this kind of unprompted love. It's amazing. He snuggled my head for another minute before I brought him inside. I cannot believe how happy the whole sequence made me. A blissful hour in the land of mothering.

I really needed that boost; I've been really anxious about various areas of my life and losing my temper faster than normal. I'm feeling a little angry and quite frustrated with my current position of being a patient instead of a pregnant mother. That's a story for another day, but let's just say that being told that I'm a good mama was exactly what I needed. Please remind me, when things are unraveling, that those simple pleasures also revive ME, not just my two-and-a-half-year old little boy. My good Jonah.