Second Letter to Baby Farmer

Dear Lucy,

As you can probably tell from my greeting, a lot has happened since I last wrote to you. We found out you’re a girl. We named you Lucy Blythe. We’ve decorated a room with ladybugs (Well, started to.) and I went on a girl clothes shopping spree that involved buying way too many pairs of Hello Kitty leg warmers.

My dear friend Dawn, who I’m sure you’ll come to know well, hosted a sprinkle to celebrate your impending arrival. She also chose a ladybug theme and outdid herself. Quite a few of my friends came to celebrate you and the fact that I’m going to be a mommy again. And they brought some presents for you that include both the lovely and practical. 🙂

Our family has been sick for most of the month of October and we seem to be gunning for the record for November as well. I think Fort is the only one who hasn’t gotten sick. First it was a stomach virus, then Angus was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Then, your big brother got a cold that turned into croup followed swiftly by nasty hives that were caused by either an allergy or a virus. We’re not sure yet. In the middle of all that, I had a gestational diabetes scare.

I admit, all of this has made me somewhat nervous for your arrival and handling two kids, but I am still so excited to meet you. I can’t help it. And I know everything will be fine.

We are very lucky, little girl. Your father and I have found a wonderful community of friends to add to the wonderful family and friends we already had before we became parents. There are so many people waiting to welcome you and it’s not just because little girls are in the minority in our group. 😉

I can’t believe at this time next year, you will be almost a year old and ready to celebrate your first holiday season. I am so excited to introduce you to everyone and everything in our little world. We live in a beautiful house in a beautiful neighborhood in what I think has to be one of the Top 10 Cities in the World. (I am biased, but Austin is pretty dang cool.) I hope you will love growing up here. I think you will.

We are going to attempt to move the crib out of your brother’s room pretty soon, so hopefully more progress will be made on your room. He has a new Thomas the Train bed he loves, so hopefully he will be willing to pass the crib on to you. I’m sure he will at some point. Never fear, though. You will have a place to sleep regardless.

We all love you, honey. See you in about 10 weeks.

Love, Mama

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First letter to Baby Farmer

Dear Baby-to-be,

Well, kiddo, we’ve almost made it to the halfway point. In a few days (five), we will know if you are a boy or a girl. I am so excited I can hardly stand it. I cannot wait to see you on the ultrasound screen again, to pick out a name, and decorate a nursery. To just get to know you a tiny bit better. Despite the fact that you are with me all the time, you are such a mystery. A delightful mystery.

As I type this, I am watching “Anne of Green Gables” – my favorite movie based on my favorite book. Whatever your gender, I look forward to sharing both with you someday. In fact, I’m planning on seeing if I can get your big brother to watch some of it when he gets up from his nap.

I am looking forward to introducing you to your family. There are a lot of people waiting to meet you. You have a mommy (Obviously.), a daddy, and an older brother Max. You also have two cats, Angus and Fort. You have two sets of grandparents, three aunts, four uncles, and eight cousins, not to mention a whole host of other relatives. You even have three great-grandmothers.

We’re already weathering some storms together, including a nasty attack of sciatica that is probably not going to go away before you are born.

You are worth every bit of it, baby. I feel so bonded to you already and I think we need to give your big brother some credit for that. I know what it’s like to be a mom already, because I am one. So, I already feel like your mother and I am so excited and proud to have two babies to call my own.

As I mentioned before, you are a mystery. I have been going crazy waiting to find out your gender, but I have treasured this time of just loving you, free from any other knowledge or expectations. I know very little about you. The only contact we have had has consisted of the few precious times I’ve heard your heartbeat and the few, fluttering, nudgy movements I’ve felt the last few weeks. I feel like I know you, though. The pure essence of you. Your soul. I just know and love you, because you are you and you are mine. That’s all. That’s all I need.

I will always love you unconditionally. And I will love you more and more as I get to know you,which is why I am so ready to take this next step and find out more about you. To see you on that ultrasound screen again and see how much you’ve grown since the last one. I will always love you no matter what and that love will grow, but it will never again be quite as pure and uncomplicated as it is now. It will be better, albeit different, and I am ready to accept this change and get to know and love the complex person that you are – one new piece of information at a time.

I cannot wait to meet you, sweetheart. I cannot wait to see how you and your brother are alike and how you are different. I can’t believe I have the privilege of bringing another life in to this world. Whatever else you are, I know you will be wonderful – your own, unique kind of wonderful.

See you soon.

Love, Mommy

Your first picture! (10 week ultrasound)

Leaping

I only blow-dry my hair once a week. (If that.)

I refuse to wash my hair more often than every other day. (Actually, I started that before I became a mom.)

I read a lot of blogs, particularly mommy blogs.

The TV is actually off during the day quite frequently.

I’ve started wearing something besides jeans every single day. I’m wearing shorts for the first time in years! (Can’t haul around a 24 pound kid and a diaper bag in 100+ degree heat wearing jeans. Uh-uh.)

I go to bed earlier.

I cook.

I use coupons.

I make a total fool out of myself in order to make my son laugh.

I love and accept myself more than I ever have. I know myself better than I ever have.

I’ve been reading a lot of mysteries, which I always longed to do, but never did.

I’ve started doing things instead of longing to do them. The big leap in to motherhood made all of the smaller leaps easier. And more important.

The 12-month doctor visit

It’s occurred to me since having a child that it’s a good thing the child does not know his monthly birthdays and even his first birthday are really any different from any other day. Most of them are marred by a doctor visit and shots. Today, Max and I endured the 12-month checkup and I was startled by the exponential increase in difficulty of the doctor’s visit since his nine-month visit. (We were there a few weeks ago when he had strep, but I guess the illness kept him in check.)

A timeline of the day (or how not to handle the 12-month visit)

10:50 a.m. Put son down half an hour early for nap.

12:00 p.m. Get son out of crib after roughly an hour of not napping.

12:15 p.m. Start bottle early (It was due at 12:55, but appointment is at 1:45.)

12:25 p.m. Son wants break from bottle.

1 p.m. One more break and half an hour later, bottle mostly done. Settling in high chair for lunch.

1:02 p.m. Pinch son’s delicate tummy skin in high chair. Spend frantic minute finding source of crying. Remove from chair, comfort, return to chair CAREFULLY.

1:25 p.m. Finish fairly uneventful lunch. Rush upstairs, change diaper, and dress child.

1:30 p.m. Rain starts pouring, rush upstairs for umbrella.

1:35 p.m. Place child in carseat, say f-word three times, volume increasing with each repetition, as you futilely attempt to close umbrella. Head to doctor’s office, which is more than ten minutes away, especially in the rain.

1:50 Arrive at doctor’s office, park in newborn and mother-to-be parking with one-year-old. (Hey, I never got to use it when I was pregnant and then actually had a newborn.) Curse your luck when notice mother with apparent newborn parked next to you.

1:51 Sigh with relief when you find out hers is nine-months-old.

2:00 p.m. Start waiting in exam room with restless toddler who can’t actually toddle very well yet and only wants to play with the wipes container and germy exam room toys, despite the ones you brought from home.

2:20 Finally get your exam. Try to contain toddler who cries while his ears are being checked.

2:35-ish Start waiting for the nurse to come back with the shots. Pace back and forth holding child, making sad puppy noises from your son’s favorite song from music class, hoping no one in the hall or next room can hear you.

2:45 Start going crazy waiting for the shots. Decide to let son down on floor, thinking that will make the nurse show up.

2:46 Son smacks face on floor. Starts screaming. Nurse walks in.

2:55 Comfort screaming son after shots. Head home, stopping at Starbucks on the way.

Accepting the “me” in Mommy

It’s a little disconcerting that I’m still so selfish at times, even though I’m a parent. I hesitate to use the word “selfish”, since it has such a negative connotation, but since I’m feeling negative about this right now, I guess it’s the right word.

Everyone talks about mothers as being so self-sacrificing. My own mother really was. She somehow managed to take care of three (Later four after she remarried.) kids, sending the two younger ones to Catholic school, and never left us wanting for food or clothes or books or really anything we wanted. She never seemed to get anything for herself. If that bothered her, she hid it well.

Sure, she occasionally told us we couldn’t afford something or told us we needed to save up our money or wait for Christmas or a birthday. But that just seemed to teach us patience, making good choices about whether we REALLY wanted something, and that you can’t have everything you want in life.

I’ve read so many blogs and articles about mothers not making time for themselves. And it’s really true. Sometimes I will go through phases where I just get exhausted because I am never taking the time to rest or participate in treasured activities like reading a book.

However, sometimes Max will get a bottle or a nap a bit late because I spent a little extra time looking around a store on an errand or wanted to finish the last little bit of a TV show I was watching or a blog entry I was writing. And I feel so guilty, even though Max doesn’t seem to care most of the time. I expect myself to be perfect and be able to shut off every single bit of self-interest or self-centeredness, despite the fact that I constantly remind myself that I need to take care of myself in order to take care of everyone else.

And I still want things. I can say no (Like I did yesterday to the fancy designer glasses frames, even though I might go back and get them in a few days.), but I buy myself new clothes and still spend quite a bit getting my hair cut and highlighted every few months. We’re not hurting for money, thank goodness. We can afford these things. But we do want to cut back a bit because of all the extra moving expenses. And Max is still too young to really want or ask for things, so I don’t feel as if he’s being deprived. And yet, I feel guilty that it wasn’t easier to say no to those frames. That I almost didn’t.

Why do I feel guilty when my son is getting everything he needs when he needs it? When he’s happy and healthy? When I’m actually balancing my needs and my family’s quite well? Why can’t I give myself a break??

Message to Procter and Gamble

Re: Your Mother’s Day ad

“What do you call a person who does everything and asks for nothing in return?”

P&G’s answer was “Mom”. And while that made me feel all teary for about a second, my answer would be “a saint”. And while I am a mom, I am not a saint. I was discussing this with my husband earlier and we agreed. A mother will most definitely love and care for her child whether or not she gets anything in return, if she is any kind of a mother at all. Asking for nothing in return? Maybe I will need to start dodging flying tomatoes here, but I do want things in return. I might not come out and actually ask for them, but I want them. I want my son to love me. I want him to behave nicely towards me (at least most of the time). I want him to be proud to call me “Mom”. And I want at least a card on Mother’s Day, my birthday, and Christmas. Or a phone call once he’s grown up.

Hopefully, P&G just wanted to make us moms feel appreciated and warm the cockles of our hearts. And I’m sure they did for many. Usually, I’m one of them. But now that I’m a mom, I know that it’s ok to want things from the people you love and work so hard for, even your own children. All it took today was a smile from Max when I walked in the room after an absence. Just a smile. It was simple. But it was something. And we moms are human and we need it. And there is nothing wrong with that.

Motherhood is …

continuing to fill out a survey for work, despite the fact that your whining, teething child has just puked on you. And almost forgetting that they’ve puked on you by the time you’re done (two minutes later).

Mommy’s naptime schedule

Ha! Did you think this was a sleep schedule pour moi? Hardly. These are the activities I ALWAYS fit in during Max’s naps in order of the difficulty of doing them with a baby (And, let’s face it, the fun factor of doing them with a baby). I have learned this through trial and error since becoming a mom. I have definitely been forced to get my priorities straight.

1. Use the bathroom (Because I like to do this alone whenever I can. Usually there is a baby and/or assorted cats in there with me. Cats do not seem to get that it is not good to rub around their owner’s legs when said owner is sitting on the toilet.)

2. Eat. (Because the baby will either howl and make you feel guilty because you stranded them in their Jumperoo so you could have two hands to eat or they will babble adorably and make you feel guilty for wishing you could hear the TV over their adorable babble. I love to watch TV while I eat.)

3. Get dressed. (Again, I like to do this alone whenever I can.)

4. Any chores I have time or energy left to do.

Before I go, thanks for your patience with the dearth of posts lately. We moved in to a new house and there has just not been enough time or energy to post the last few weeks. I’m hoping to get back on track now.

Feeling like

A bad mom for not realizing that I was supposed to give him a new food everyday for three days (or four or five or six or seven depending on who you’re talking to or reading) before introducing the next one. We have been waiting the amount of time recommended by our doctor between new foods, but have been feeding him whatever we or he wanted in his established repertoire during the days between “new food” days. D’oh!

Big Brother is keeping you awake

I don’t know if I have mentioned this on this blog before, but I have suffered on and off from sleep issues since high school. Becoming a mother has not helped with those sleep issues. Between night sweats, hormonal highs that caused my mind to chatter incessantly even while I was asleep, and sleeping in the same room with my husband and son (Sorry, I love you both, but you are both loud sleepers at times.) there were about three months there when I really never shut down completely at night.

Luckily, I can handle a certain amount of sleep deprivation due to my years as an obsessive-compulsive, night owl student. However, three months is a little much, even for me. “Just wait until he is back in his own room”, I thought, “That will fix everything.” (Meaning my son, not my husband.)

Boy, was I wrong. I have decided that baby monitors are a huge scam, unless you have a huge house. Our son’s room is right next to ours. We hear him if he really needs us. In fact, you can hear a baby when they really need you in practically any size house. The child is not going to let up until you hear them, believe me.

Still, I spent that first night on alert, listening to every sound he made, believing that I was keeping him alive by staying awake and monitoring his every breath. Finally (Actually, later that same night.), I came to my senses and turned the monitor way down. I reasoned that I needed to sleep at least a little in order to properly care for my son. My guilt over turning down the monitor kept me awake. Sheesh.

So, I am tentatively and conditionally adding baby monitors to my list of scams in the baby merchandise world, along with changing pad covers. They do serve a purpose at times, but they sometimes make it seem like you’re never off duty. Of course, as parents, we never really are, but sleep is the closest thing we get to a break. Embrace it as much as you can.

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