Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Attitude adjustment

At 4:30 in the afternoon, I have finally decided to enjoy my day spent at home with the kids. Matthew left for work before 5:30 this morning and won't be home until after the kids go to bed. (If they go to bed.) I thought I'd be housebound but my sister let me borrow her car. It has been sitting in my driveway undriven (undriven?) all day. I babysat for Rex this morning, Jonah's little friend (my babysitting swap thing), so we stayed home. Jonah napped today and is still asleep so I didn't need the car to induce a late afternoon snooze. I also figured if he didn't sleep or took a short nap I could run some errands with the kids. But now it's already getting dark. It's cold. We've spent the last four or five days running around to parties and such, which has been great. But, sometimes, staying home is pretty great, too. I have a gazillion things to do to get ready to host Christmas at my house for the first time ever (errands), but most of them can wait another day. Some of them have to wait, like cooking and baking. So, I'm going to keep this short so I can enjoy the rare feeling of being alone in my house (even though I'm really not) and the even rarer silence. It may only last another minute, or maybe 30. But, I'm going to welcome it, and embrace my day at home with the kids. We all needed it. And, maybe this attitude shift will help the rest of the day and evening go smoothly . ~ Nicole

Monday, December 20, 2010

Three today

As I sat nursing Julian tonight, I thought back over the past three years and realized that I can still remember Jonah's whole life, beginning at 9:33 p.m. on December 20, 2007. I remember my long labor and how exhausted I was from his birth. I remember he looked a little gray and took a few moments to breathe and cry. I remember the surprise in Matthew's voice when he told me "It's a boy!" I remember the first car ride with him, how he slept soundly until the very moment we stopped the car. I remember the first delirious night with him, how helpless we felt not knowing how to soothe him and how we were so tired that Matthew couldn't figure out how to put the bouncy seat together. I remember the panic and isolation I felt the first few times I was home alone with him after Matthew went back to work. I remember my first feelings of finally "having it together" as a mom, at times anyway. I remember when he cut his first tooth, the night we went camping -- no one slept at the campground that night! I remember the first time I made him giggle as he played on his belly on the living room floor. I remember when he learned to crawl, when he first saw the ocean, the first night he slept in his crib, his first shots, his first cold, his first steps at his 1st birthday party at my sister's house. I remember when he fell on his forehead, tumbling down while learning to walk and the awful conk of his head hitting the pavement (but he was fine). I remember the delicious feeling of my first night of sleep, wearing earplugs while Matthew tended to his night wakings. I remember the first time he slept through the night. I remember when we took him to the beach when he was old enough to play with us in the surf and build (and smash) sand castles, and letting him eat ice cream. I remember his baby smell. I remember his sweaty head of thick hair when it was hot and he played hard. I remember getting in the bath with him after several of those hot and sweaty afternoons. I remember when he almost swallowed a wood chip at the playground and I was so scared I had to sit down and take deep breaths to stop my hands from shaking. I remember when I didn't know where he was for almost an hour because I couldn't reach my friend who was watching him and how I literally thought I would die if I didn't find him. (We did. He was fine. Her phone wasn't working and she hadn't realized I never got her messages telling us where to meet them.) I remember how we were like pals the summer before he turned 2, going everywhere around the city, every day doing something fun together and finally being able to talk about it. I remember weaning him when I got pregnant again and how guilty I felt when he got a string of colds and then an ear infection. I remember how suddenly grownup he seemed at 2 and then 2 1/2. I remember agonizing about his care during my labor and birth with baby number two. I remember him kissing my belly, talking to the baby, singing to the baby and telling us we should name the baby Mia, regardless of whether it was a boy or girl. I remember thinking about him that first night after Julian was born, hoping he didn't wake up scared at his cousin's house in the middle of the night. I remember how happy I was to see him the next morning and how disinterested he was at first with Julian. I remember the first time he held Julian and how proud he seemed. I remember all of this and so much more.

Now, he is 3. He's not too sure if he likes being 3 yet. He seems uncertain of growing up, sometimes. Other times, he is determined to "do it all by myself." He is beautiful. Those amazing greenish, blueish eyes with flecks of brown and the longest eyelashes I've ever seen. Puffy lips and still retaining some baby chub in his cheeks. But, he is longer and leaner than he has ever been. Less like a baby than ever. Except when he sleeps. Then, he is my baby once again. He is my first baby. He made me a mother. He has brought me so much joy. I am so lucky to be his mother.

He's been having trouble falling asleep tonight. I've been in there twice since he went to bed. I told him he should try to lie still and keep his eyes closed. I touched his cheek and head and said, "Good night. I love you." And, he said, kind of whispering in his slightly raspy voice, "I love you, too, Mama." I tried not to get tears on him as I kissed him good night. ~ Nicole

Monday, December 6, 2010


I am thinking about my belly. How it has changed. What it has done. It held and grew two big, beautiful baby boys. With Julian, my newborn of 9 pounds, 8 ounces, it was huge! And, no stretch marks. I'm trying to hold on to this admiration for my belly for as long as I can because it's not easy to do. I gained at least 40 pounds with each pregnancy. I think I stopped counting after that, so it was probably more. After Jonah was born, it took 9 solid months to lose it all. Then, when he started pre-walking and walking, I lost another 5 or so just trying to prevent him from killing himself. I'm probably on track for that with Julian, but I'm feeling mighty impatient this time. The scale seems to barely move. Most of my clothes still don't fit. And, despite this admiration for the awesomeness of the work my body did, growing and birthing two, healthy, amazing babies, my belly still feels big to me. Big and floppy. I often don't like it. It lies next to me sometimes when I nurse Julian in bed, like another baby or a pet curled up next to me. But, I don't love it like I would a baby or pet. Sometimes, I hate it, actually. I also often have mixed feelings about it. Like when Jonah notices it, pokes it with his little finger and says, "What's that?" "My belly," I say, as cheerfully as possible. "What's in there?" he asks. "Nothing," I say. I don't say, "Fat." My mind sits here while Jonah says, "I like it," and then asks, "What used to be in there?" And, then we talk about Julian. And, then we talk about Jonah. And, then, Jonah asks, "Where was Julian when I was in your belly?" And, I am stumped. Perhaps there will be more on this later.

Back to my belly. It is soft and squishy and white. I don't know how to dress it. How to flatter it. My body is foreign to me at the moment. My sizes are all weird. I don't know how to fit my body into clothes. I don't know how to find clothes that that fit me that I like. But, I still dig into the ice cream and I rarely find the time to exercise. I never do sit ups. I never run. Almost never. Not right now, anyway.

But! But, I went to a yoga class today. By myself. By. My. Self. And the teacher asked us to think of a place on our body that we wanted to focus on. My first thought was my belly. It just popped into my head. Then, I decided I didn't want to think about that. I tried to change the subject in my mind. I spent some moments trying to talk myself out of focusing on my belly. I thought, well, my back is sore, and that idea led me back to my belly, since the back and belly are connected. Then, I thought, well my hips feel pretty tight, but something kept pushing me back to try to keep up the courage to focus on and think about my belly. My belly needs my attention. At the beginning of class, my intention was to bring energy to my belly in a way that might help me focus on getting that soft, ample belly back into shape. I thought, okay, I will focus on my belly and try to keep that going after class so that I can talk myself into doing a bit more exercise, doing some crunches or more yoga at home, or just go for a brisk walk, or maybe pass up the ice cream tonight. (Yeah, right.)

The teacher kept prompting us to bring our attention back to our spot. Back to my belly. Back and back and back again. It got a little less painful every time. I had a great class. Stretched and felt strong and sometimes wobbly and needing to practice balance. (A topic for another day, perhaps.) It was my first yoga class (without a baby in tow) since Julian was born. So, at the end, I got to lie on my back during the final relaxation and just let go. Silence. Stillness. Me and my belly. My awesome and amazing belly. I like it. ~ Nicole