So Geneva will be 3 months old tomorrow. I will post pictures when I am somewhere that my camera and computer are more simpatico….
Of course it doesn’t seem possible that it’s been 3 months. It never does. Time flies past me in a way that is pretty great if I just cannot wait for something - like if I have ordered something awesome and am counting the seconds until UPS shows up. But when it comes to the rest of life - to the girls especially, it is unsettling. Like things are just whizzing past me in a way that makes me feel like things are happening in the wrong order. You know…like it might be dinner time before I’ve managed to shower (not unusual, by the way) - or one day I might be picking up Legos and Astra will come down the stairs in a prom dress. I find myself trying to find a way to make things slow down, even just a little….with not much success.
So about Geneva: She is a smiling, gentle, quiet and altogether charming little girl. It is a bit like she is on “soft mute” at all times. Even when she is quite upset - there’s no blood curdling colicky scream….she goes to bed at about 9:30 or 10 and sleeps until 6:30a (and has done so for the past 3-4 weeks). I am convinced that we will pay dearly when this child is a teenager for her mellow nature.
She goes pretty much everywhere with me. To meetings - to the office - and so maybe that’s why she’s so mellow….but I also think that it is in her nature. I hope it sticks.
Astra is also amazing - is now potty trained and is a spunky, funny and smart little thing. She talks, she walks, she regularly puts us all in our place.
As Astra said the other day - we are lucky. So very, VERY lucky.
The other night, the following conversation took place between stories at bedtime…followed by both mommy and daddy needing a couple of tissues:
Daddy - Astra, are you happy?
Astra - <nods> Happy. And lucky. Daddy lucky. Mommy lucky.
Ain’t that the truth.
So this post should have posted on February 7, 2013 in the early afternoon…. but it will just have to stay here until I can figure out how to backdate it…..
Another appointment this morning reveals that, although I have made more “progress” thus far than I ever did on my own leading up to Astra’s delivery (I was not dilated and not effaced until hours into Pitocin-induced labor), but still not much news. I am almost 2 cm dilated and 50% effaced. She appears to be doing well in there - so that is, obviously, the most important thing….and I will just trust that my body will do the rest. I am anxious, though. I want to meet this little one - kiss her little toes - and also I am anxious to experience the process of laboring and delivering this baby as an experienced parent and with the sense of self-assurance that comes along with that.
Last night we celebrated Astra’s 2nd birthday. It was a party that was not without its logistics issues - seeing as the party needed to be planned without knowing about when Geneva might make her entrance into the world. So we planned…or rather my mother and our babysitter Stephanie planned, and it was an awesome Maisy-themed evening. We invited two friends for Astra - Liam Dahlstrom and Ruan Strydom. We had pizza and cake. Stephanie planned games - coloring pages and pin the tail on Maisy. Of course, Astra’s grandparents and Auntie Em were all there, too. It was simple and perfect and such a lovely reminder of how much we have - how lucky we all are to have each other and how, despite the lack of sleep, it is kind of a magical time in our world. Oh, and all of the little ones got a lizard party favor to take home….life is good.
So a week has passed since the big event….and it is still kind of difficult to believe that she’s here and that we are the parents of two gorgeous little girls. It is striking - the difference between the first and the second - and it makes it clear what they say about how we are different parents to our different children.
With Astra, we didn’t get to bring her home until 9 days after her birth, and so although we got to go on a couple of impromptu date nights while we took advantage of the most expensive babysitters in town, we did not get to experience her first days on our terms. And even after she was home, not only did we worry for months about the long-term effects of her condition at birth, but we just didn’t know what we were doing. I’d never changed a diaper before…I’d maybe seen 1 or 2 people breastfeed in person…and I’d certainly never so much as considered about 99% of the rest of it.
With Geneva, while we are by no means experts, we also are much more relaxed and much more able to stop and smell the roses. These are some very important roses - and they smell amazing. We are so very lucky.
She’s here, and we are delighted. She is a calm little soul who is a fierce eater, a gentle snuggler and really a beautiful little thing with a lot of dark (maybe) curly hair. I’ll have to do some thinking and processing before I’m ready to put pen to paper on the birth story, but it was amazing and terrifying and inspiring and humbling and all of the things that a birth should be. I realized last night as we were trying to settle in to sleep that we got everything that we wanted in our birth plan - a plan that was nearly unchanged from our first go at this. I will post the first pictures of her very soon.
Astra came to visit shortly after Geneva was born on Friday - and then headed to Olathe to spend the weekend at Grandma & Grandpa Fizell’s house, which made it easier for us to just settle in and focus on the new arrival. When she came to visit today, she seemed so big. So bittersweet to witness the passage of time in a way that is so clear; so precious. She is smart, funny and mature about the whole thing - wise much beyond her nearly 2 years. Priceless. 30 pounds versus 8. A huge difference in what seems like such a small amount of time…as “they” always say: They grow up so fast.
As I write, the moon is rising on night #3 in the hospital - we are staying an extra day to put little Geneva under the blue lights to get her bilirubin levels where they should be. My milk has come in and as the wise and wonderful Libby Rosen told me the first time around, “with milk come tears,” and so in my disappointment at still being stuck in the hospital, I’m trying to hang in there and be a “big girl” about all of this, but I admit that really the 56th Annual Grammy Awards are not what moves me to tears this evening. I would kill for my own bed…for a chance to get a glimpse at our new normal…but that will wait for tomorrow.
So many people have made the comments about the 2nd baby - about how the first one gets the baby book and the shiny new stuff and the 2nd one gets, well, the other stuff. Not only did this post make me feel better about my shortcomings and insecurities as a mom, but also helped me feel better about the shortcomings that I’m fairly certain are headed down the pike…and how maybe they aren’t shortcomings after all. Thanks for the reassurance, humor and the rest of it, Pregnant Chicken. (Full text is posted below for the eventual certainty that the blog itself will disappear….)
WHY YOU’RE NEVER FAILING AS A MOTHER
I’ve gotten a lot of emails from women saying they feel overwhelmed by motherhood. Not in a dangerous way, just in a “I totally suck and I don’t know how I’m supposed to manage all this” kind of way.
To this I say, you’re not supposed to.
If you think about it, if you had a baby thousands, if not hundreds of years ago, you would have had your mother, all your sisters (all of whom were probably lactating), and your nieces all taking care of your baby. They would help with food preparation, show you how to manage, and make sure your baby wasn’t eaten by a bear. Your kid’s feet probably wouldn’t have touched the ground until they themselves would be able to carry around an infant.
Back then the point of a child was to have free labour in the fields and someone to take care of your old ass down the road, and not much more.
As for the past generations that like to tell you that they raised six kids on their own and did it without a washing machine? Well, sort of. Keep in mind child rearing was viewed pretty differently not that long ago and you could stick a toddler on the front lawn with just the dog watching and nobody would bat an eye at it – I used to walk to the store in my bare feet to buy my father’s cigarettes when I was a kid. As a mother, you cooked, you cleaned, but nobody expected you to do anything much more than keep your kids fed and tidy.
My grandmother used to tell the story about how she forgot my mother at the grocery store in the early 40’s. She walked up to the store with my mother sleeping in her carriage, parked it outside with all the other sleeping babies (I’ll let that sink in), went inside to do her shopping, then walked home forgetting that she’d taken the baby with her. She quickly realized her mistake and walked back and retrieved my mother who was still sleeping outside the store.
There were no flashcards, there was no sign language (unless you were deaf), there were no organic, free-range bento boxes – your job was to just see a kid through to adulthood and hope they didn’t become an idiot.
Hey, I’m not judging, and I’m not saying one way is better than the other, but I’m just saying that we are part of a generation that considers parenting as a skill. Like a true skill that needs to be mastered and perfected and if we don’t get it right we think our kids suffer for it and that’s hard shit to keep up with. That’s not to say other generations didn’t have it tough or think parenting was important, but there just wasn’t the same level of scrutiny that could be liked, tweeted or Instagrammed all at once.
You are in the trenches when you have a baby. To the untrained eye it seems pretty straightforward and easy – you feed them, you bathe them, you pick them up when they cry – but it’s more than that. It’s perpetual motion with a generous layer of guilt and self-doubt spread on top, and that takes its toll.
Feeling like you also need to keep on top of scrap-booking, weight loss, up-cycled onesies, hand prints, crock pot meals, car seat recalls, sleeping patterns, poo consistency, probiotic supplements, swimming lessons, electromagnetic fields in your home and television exposure, is like trying to knit on a roller coaster – it’s fucking hard.
We live in a time when we can Google everything, share ideas, and expose our children to amazing opportunities, but anyone that implies that they have it figured out is either drunk or lying (or both) so don’t be too hard on yourself.
Your job is to provide your child with food, shelter, encouragement and love, and that doesn’t have to be solely provided by you either – feel free to outsource because they didn’t just pull that “it takes a village” proverb out of the air.
Mommy and Me classes, homemade lactation cookies, and learning Cantonese is all gravy, and if you can throw them in the mix once in a while, good on ya, Lady. I have about 9,000 things I’ve pinned on Pinterest and I think I’ve done four of them which is fine by me because those are above and beyond goodies, and not part of my just-scraping-by norm.
It’s an amazing and exciting time to have a baby right now, but always keep in mind, no one has ever done it like this before – you are pioneers that have to machete through the new terrain. Chin up. Hang in there. And remember, you’re doing a great job.