Tuesday, June 23, 2009

'I know why the caged bird sings...'

Since Little Kitty died, our other cats have not been outside.

Nor will they ever go again.

It's sad. I feel bad for them, but I think they're getting used to it. They don't spend their days meowing at the back door anymore - or at least not as much. And it seems they've given up trying to escape whenever someone comes or goes.

Instead, they've settled for staring longingly out the window, pawing at mosquitoes and mewing at birds taunting them on the other side of the glass.

I told one the other day that someday I'd even pet her again! As soon as this baby learns to walk. And I regain use of my arms.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

One month old

Dear Paige,

Today, you are one month old. (This means we survived the first month! Now, only 11 more until you are 1, which is when I remember life getting tolerable again. In fact, I'm already planning your first birthday party. It will be a giant bash, mainly to celebrate the fact your parents didn't kill each other over the course of this first year -- if, in fact, we don't. But I am getting ahead of myself.)

In this first month, you have started smiling. I'm not convinced they are actual smiles in response to anything other than gas, but they are smiles nonetheless, and every time you smile, my heart melts and I remember why being pregnant is worth it. You also make noises - lots of grunts and coos but also cries. Oh, you like to cry, especially in the evenings. And just in case you think I've forgotten about you sleeping peacefully up in your room, about 20 minutes into the slumber that might pass for a nap, you stretch those vocal cords and remind me that yes, Mommy, I'm still here! Helloooo!

And then I come get you. And then I figure out what you might like to do next. We've logged miles around the house and sometimes we venture outside. Last night, we went to the park with your brother AND we went to the grocery store.

You've also been a champion bottle drinker, and Mommy's boobs thank you for that. We're up to about 4 ounces at a time now.

And here's my new favorite skill of yours: Sleeping for seven hours IN A ROW at night. Boo-yah, Paige. You've been showing this move off the last three nights, and I'm hoping it's one that sticks around.

So far today, you've slept well (one actual nap, up in your crib without me holding you! This allowed Mommy to pay attention to her firstborn, who has taken to asking "Where's Mommy?" even when I'm right there. Today, he said, "I think you should put Paige back in your tummy."). We've also taken a bath, gone through four or five bottles and kept the crying to a minimum. Not a bad way to celebrate.

Right now, you are sleeping on the couch, propped up on a pink pillow, your little chest rising and falling with each quick breath. Every time I look at your toes, I wonder when I can paint them (tonight? tomorrow? at 3 months?), and every time I touch your hair, I think about pulling it back in a ponytail or weaving it into a braid.

But those things are down the road. And I can be patient. Because I know you'll never be as small and gentle (and yes, sometimes, ferocious) as you are right now.

And I'm trying to work on cherishing that.



Monday, June 15, 2009

Four weeks

Paige is four weeks old today, and it only took me this long to try putting her in a sling to sleep.

Should have tried it earlier.

My friend, Katie, gave me this really long piece of stretchy fabric with a buckle at one end when I had Rye. It comes with an instructional video that is absolutely necessary to figure out how to wrap this fabric around your body and then where and how to insert the infant.

I had forgotten how to do this obviously. I mean, it isn't essential knowledge to make room for in your head once the baby is walking and no longer needs to be swaddled as if in the womb to quiet down.

But I relearned how to use this thing yesterday and we're 2-2. Within 30 seconds wrapped in this cocoon each day, she's fallen asleep.


It looks absolutely ridiculous, I'm sure. But after being pregnant, shouldn't we be used to looking ridiculous? And the use of both of my hands, thanks to the sling, is priceless.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Two days ago, my baby girl turned three weeks old. I remember when being three weeks away from my due date felt like forever.

In these three weeks, she has changed - it's incredible how fast they grow. And so have we.

It is harder having two children, like everyone says. I feel pulled in two directions much of the time. The guilt has increased. Time for myself has decreased.

But I try to remember, even as I'm awake for the third time in one night stumbling up the stairs with a bottle, that she'll grow up before I know it, before I even realize what hit me.

Jenny came on Friday for Paige's first "real" pictures. I think they're beautiful.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Strawberries in bed

We've had a lot of change around here lately.

The new baby tops the list. But aside from that, our cat died, Rye turned 4 and Mommy stays home from work now, which has affected daycare dropoff and pickup routines and probably a host of other things including attitudes and outlooks.

This weekend, I got it in my head that the new room we'd talked about doing for Rye needed to happen now. I don't know why I am this way. But once I get an idea in my head, I have a hard time letting it go. So on Saturday, I touched up the paint in his room and purchased a twin headboard and bedding. On Sunday, we made record speed at one of the worst weekend shopping stops in the world - Nebraska Furniture Mart - and left largely unscathed with a twin mattress and box springs.

I'd been going non-stop since we woke up Saturday - shopping, cleaning, doing laundry, etc. - and in the middle of the afternoon, I paused in my flurry and noticed Rye laying in my bed, under the covers, face buried in my pillow.

I went and sat by him.

I offered strawberries.

And as we lay together in my queen-sized bed, strawberry juice dripping down his chin, we talked. Actual talking, not "what did you do at daycare today?" or "what do you want for lunch?" but meaningful conversation.

Questions like this: "What do you want to be when you grow up, Rye? What do you want to do for a job?"

His reply: "I want to write stories."

Me, genuinely surprised: "Oh. Like books?"

He nodded. "Like Lord of the Rings," he said.

I have no idea how he knows anything about Lord of the Rings.

I told him then that his parents write stories for a newspaper but that our stories are about real things, real people. We don't make them up. He said then that's what he wanted to do, too.

I said what moms are supposed to say to their little boys - that they can grow up to do whatever they want.

Then I mentioned maybe he'd want to help people by being a doctor.

His response: "Yeah. And doctors make a lot of money."

We talked for a minute or two then about whether money makes people happy and what does make people happy. We didn't come up with any answers.

I do know that no one lives happily ever after, at least not without some challenges. There are no white horses. And no one gets whisked off into the sunset.

Rye told me that afternoon he doesn't plan to get married. He is instead, he says, going to live with me forever.

And then he kissed my forehead.

That was about it for the conversation about stuff that matters. Strawberries gone, he requested Sun Chips (which, yes, I also let him eat in our bed, to someone's chagrin) and before long he got up to play and I went back to being busy doing stuff that really doesn't matter at all.

His room is done, for whatever that's worth. After 15 minutes in the bed that he declared "awesome" last night, he poked his head out of his room, called to me downstairs and asked me to help tuck him into his old, car-shaped toddler bed.

I did.

Change is scary. For all of us. Though most times, I think, it's probably for the best.

Still, there's no need to rush growing up. Being an adult is not all you think it's going to be as a child. It seems as grown-ups, we could all use a little more play, a few more stories, a bit more hope.

Here's the new room: