Tuesday, February 28, 2017

My Babies

February kicked my butt. Hard. I didn't take many notes about things Polly says. I didn't sleep much. I don't think all four of us have been well at one time since November. The back and forth weather in Cincinnati has taken a toll for sure. That combined with back and forth sick babies and parents plus a crazy work and side project schedule have me waving a white flag. On the other hand spring is coming so we will keep plowing forward and their cute faces really help. Here are some highlights:

  • A conversation with Polly:
          Polly: You know why I share with you?
          Me: Why?
          Polly: Because I love you.
          Me: melts to floor

  • Callie is a full blown little person. She lights up when she sees her mama, daddy or big sister and she even gets excited to see her friends at day care which makes leaving her so much easier.
  • A baby with pink eye is hilarious in the crying until you laugh sort of way. All of the instructions for medicine and care sound great until you apply them to a 6 month old. Wash their hands after they rub their eyes. Yeah right. Don't let them rub their eyes. Have you met a baby before? Like a real live baby? Apply the ointment on the inner rim of the lower eyelid. Thank you instructions for making me feel like a parent failure and idiot. You make it sound so simple until I'm holding a pointy tube very close to a tiny baby eye that she needs to SEE. What could go wrong?
  • Polly sings a song that goes,"Callie and Polly, sisters forever." 
  • Over a week of not getting to touch Callie nearly killed little Polly. She was dying to hug and tickle her but she was a good listener and a great helper while Callie was sick.
  • Callie's version of hugs right now is excitedly throwing her entire body weight into your shoulder. It's the best. She's reaching and dying to move but she hasn't quite figured it out. She can get places by rolling. Soon our house is going to be taken over by two active, crazy kids.
  • As I said before, this month was very busy. I've been trying to slow down as often as possible and just watch my girls. I watch Polly slowly crawl into her bed like a sloth even when I'm in a hurry to get back to work after bedtime and I've repeated myself 1,000 times. But I try to remember how small she is and how completely consumed she is in her imagination. I know this time is special and precious. 
  • Watching Polly love is my favorite thing. Sometimes I can just see her looking at her dad or I with her eyes full of such love. I hope to somehow make sure she always feels that for us. And sometimes the idea that not all kids have what she has and not all grown ups have what we have nearly crushes me if I think about it all too much. 
  • I've been tough on myself a lot this month. I don't feel like I'm giving enough at work and I don't feel like I'm giving enough at home and I know I need to give myself a break. I don't think my work family or my home family are thinking that I'm terrible. My mama brain is just worrying too much.
  • I haven't moved Callie into her own room yet. Polly moved at three months because she was a noisy baby and we kept waking one another up. Callie is pretty good, she just loses her pacifier and needs help finding it sometimes. I don't want to have to get up to go fish for a pacifier several times a night. I also keep her close because I feel like sleep time is at least time when I'm near her and she knows I'm there and not out of sight like when she's in daycare. I keep moving the move into your own room goal mark and that's what I'm doing! Ben has quit bringing it up. 
  • Callie's summer bod is going to be amazing. I can't wait for warmth to show off these thigh rolls.  

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Polly Eleanor and Callie Mae


This month felt extremely long. I'm not sure if it's the dread I feel every time I hear the words President Trump or read the news and hear more terrible policies that he's pushing through. It could also be the fact that I'm growing tired of winter. Perhaps it's the fact that someone in our house has had a runny nose for the past two months straight. Maybe it's a combination of all of the above that has made this month so long. In that long month, my girls are growing and they both have brought a lot of smiles to our household so at least we have that. Here are a few highlights:

  • Callie is now sitting up and realizing that she can get places eventually with enough wiggling and scooting. Her goal is always to get to Polly whenever possible.
  • Callie started daycare and of course that means a sick baby, AGAIN! She's just getting over an earache but all of this sickness has meant she wants a ton of mommy cuddles which is alright by me.
  • My new favorite thing is pulling Callie into bed with me around 6 am when she starts getting restless. She's been settling back down for at least a half-hour more and it is so dang sweet.  
  • We have been having a battle of will at the dinner table with Polly. I talked to her teacher about it and she listed three things that we shouldn't do at dinner time. They were of course the three things that we do. Parents of the year. 
  • I can't remember if I've said this before but Polly thinks Lightning McQueen from the movie Cars is actually named Lightning the Queen which I love. Is it bad that we don't correct her?
  • While at a friends house last week we realized that Polly doesn't really know what the word cartoon is because we've taught her to call all TV shows programs like my grandma. We are sorry that we've made you a nerd Polly. So sorry.
  • Polly has taken to yelling "stop looking at me with your serious face!" when she's in trouble or not listening to me. It's hard not to laugh, so hard not to laugh.
  • The other day Polly was making up a song with the following lyrics "touch your butt to the clouds, touch your butt to the sun, touch your butt to everything." I think it's going straight to #1 on the charts!
  • It is SO interesting how different two kids can be. When Polly tried food for the first time, she couldn't get enough of it but we tried mashed bananas with Callie for the first time today and she was not impressed. Watching them both become their own little people is a huge, humbling honor.
I'll close with some additional thoughts. I've seen a few people in my Facebook feed referring to women who marched on January 21st as whiners or they seem confused by why women are marching. I'm not whining.

I can only speak for myself but I marched for my daughters because they deserve more than Donald Trump has to offer. They deserve a better role model than a man who talks about women like objects he can just grab if the desire strikes him. They deserve to have power over their bodies. They deserve to grow up in a country that keeps to our American values, values that were built by immigrants and not just the white, Christian ones. My girls deserve to grow up in a country that values diversity, admits it's mistakes, learns from them, and gets better with time. We don't need to make America great again. We need to keep making it greater. It isn't something that was once fixed and is now broken, instead America is a work in progress. As of January 20th, we are not progressing. This isn't about Republican verses Democrat. We all need to open our eyes, ears and hearts. We need to search for FACTS. We need to admit our own prejudices, we need to look our fears in the eye and make decisions based on love and not hate and fear. We need to listen to one another.

Yes I'm scared. Yes the unknown and unfamiliar scare me. Yes it's easier to be around people who are like me but I also know that in my life, when I have faced my fears and moved beyond my own comfort, I have grown and learned the most. I like learning and growing. This is why I marched.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Polly Is Four and Other Adventures

My baby girl is 4. It's a little obnoxious that I'm going to be saying that every year for the rest of my life but it really is crazy how time flies. On one level I feel like she's always been around but on another level I feel like I'm still shocked that I'm a parent not of just one but TWO girls. I love their faces so, so much. Look at those arm rolls on Callie!

This month was insane. Here are some highlights:

  • Since I returned to work from maternity leave I've had a December work trip hanging over my head. I wanted to go but I also couldn't imagine leaving a four month old baby behind. Finally I decided that dammit, women CAN have it all and I'm going on my work trip and I'm taking the dang baby with me! So I convinced my mom to let me fly her to NY and stay in a boring conference center with a baby for four days. I was worried that it would be a huge mistake, that Callie would hate travel and I would have this moment where I realized mid-trip that I was a selfish mama for bringing a baby on a work trip.  That this was for me, not for her.  
  • When I stress I make lists and over prepare. 
  • I created a master to pack list, organized everything so I could pump in the airport (remember this baby never latched) and manage a baby all alone. As the trip drew nearer I was stressed so checked my list one thousand times, read blogs about traveling with babies, and worried some more. I also went down a dark internet hole where people scared me to death about flying with a baby on my lap and I worried that being cheap would leave my baby with a crazy head injury.   I love and hate the internet so much.
  • Finally travel time came. From my internet research I learned that if there is a free seat on the plane, they will let you use your carseat for free in the seat. All you have to do is make sure your carseat is approved for air travel which is printed right on the carseat. I even let them bump my flight to get on a flight with an empty seat. That meant I chilled in an airport for two hours before the actual travel began. I thought that would put a nail in this travel alone with a baby coffin but that didn't happen. She slept and I read a book, a book which I thought about not backing because who gets to read while traveling with a baby.  Then we boarded the plane. There was a baby seated behind us and I thought, great, our babies are both going to cry and we are going to get kicked off the plane but that didn't happen. The babies slept and I read a book.
  • Callie did great with my mom at the conference center not to mention the fact that all of my colleagues loved having a baby around during breaks. My mom got sick but she was a trooper and Callie loved her the entire time. There is something magical about watching your mom with your kids. That seemed worth all of the stress. 
  • Travel home time came and I thought I'd really pay for this decision on the way home but we scored TSA pre-check and boarded the plane, we scored another seat for Callie and guess what? She slept and I read a freaking book! I have no idea what I did to deserve this sweet good baby girl but she is the best baby.  I felt like I had conquered the world traveling with my little sidekick. It was expensive, it was exhausting but it was worth it. 
  • Then I paid for it. The entire house except for Ben got sick. Maybe from my mom, maybe from day care but the next week I was puked on more times then I can count and we had SO much dirty laundry.  SO. MUCH. LAUNDRY. These two kids both know how to aim so it goes right into my shirt and causes me to have to change all of my clothes down to the underwear. It was some sort of stomach/nasal congestion sickness. It was terrible. Polly at one point had a 105 degree fever which is incredibly stressful. She woke up from her high fever at one point and said, "I don't want to die" which just broke our hearts! She didn't eat much for a week and got so skinny. I did get a lot of baby and Polly cuddles that week though so it was a bonus. Everyone at the doctor's office knows us now. 
  • That sick week we watched a lot of movies including one of my childhood favorites An American Tale. It always made me cry as a little kid thinking about being separated from my family. That dang song! At one point during the movie Polly said, "this movie keeps making tears in my eyes." She is my kid for sure. 
  • Nap time and night time confuse Polly. Sometimes she wakes up from her nap and thinks it's morning but lately she started referring to night time as "dark nap". Makes sense I guess. 
  • Polly thinks steam off of warm things like coffee or soup looks like ghosts. This excites her.
  • No-one makes Callie laugh like Polly. It is the best. 
  • Callie starts daycare next week and it's giving me the feels. It's also giving me panic attacks because that daycare bill is no joke people. Yikes. But Ben needs to focus on his career and Callie will be in great hands with people that we have come to know and trust. Yes I'm typing those words out to make myself feel better. I'm also reminding myself that it's our job to grow independent kids and part of that is letting a village of people help you. I hated leaving Polly when I returned to work but I've also been so proud of how independent she has been and hopefully Callie will be the same way. 
  • All of that being said, women need at least 4-6 months maternity leave. Paid. Period. It's good for the mamas and it's good for the babies. 
  • It scares me how much I love this little family of mine. I am beyond grateful.  
Happy New Year everyone! Thank you for reading this year! 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Smelling, Hearing, Seeing, Feeling and Licking!

Well this month was interesting. Thank goodness for these two kids to keep a smile on my face even when I've felt like not getting out of bed. I'm grateful that my girls are still young, too young to know what is going on in the world around them right now.  It's not lost on me how lucky we are to live a life where I can shelter them from certain things for now. I still can't believe that I'll spend the next four year sheltering them from the President of the United States because I don't trust what inappropriate thing will come out of his mouth. His horrible political beliefs aside, I certainly don't trust the way he talks about women and their bodies. I spend so much time as a parent trying to reinforce positive body image because I know how young girls can be when they start disliking who they are.

I'm heartbroken over this election but I do believe that the American people are good at their core and I believe that we will overcome this setback. I also believe that we are more alike then we are different. I for one am going to try to listen more, try to understand others more and try to raise two smart, confident girls who do the same. What I won't do is tolerate hate speak, bigotry, misogyny, or any form of discrimination, generalization, or tendency to want people to be just one way, one religion, a particular orientation, or expect everyone to follow socially constructed gender norms. Yikes, what a sentence. I am sure I'm missing some things in there but you get my point. I will challenge and face my own prejudices, my own fears, and my own assumptions about other people.  I will not do any of this perfectly but I will try with all my might and I have a lot of might.

Ok, stepping off my soapbox. Here are some highlights from this month:

  • As I was writing the above I hear Polly calling from her bed upstairs, "MOOOOOMMMMYYYYYY! MOMMY, MOMMY, MOMMY!" Ben goes up to see what she wants and she says sadly, "why do you always come when I call mommy?" See I'm usually washing bottles or working on something after their bedtime so I send him. I go up and she asks, "why don't daddy let you come up?" I laugh because I'm relieved that she doesn't think I'm neglecting her but instead Ben is keeping me away!  HA! I ask her why she wants me and she sweetly says, "because I love you." UGH. Sometimes she knows just what to say to melt me.  
  • Polly was learning about the 5 senses at school a few weeks ago and we were reviewing them on the way home.  She got through seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling and she forgot the last.  I pointed to my mouth and she said, "LICKING!" Taste is forever known to me as licking now. I think she is part cat.
  • Callie loves her big sister so much and the feeling is mutual. Hearing Polly's already high pitched voice get even higher when she talks to her baby sister just gets me every time. Callie watches Polly's every move and Polly can usually cheer Callie when she rarely has a bad mood going on.
  • Callie is still (knocks on wood) the best baby. She wakes up smiling in the morning and that makes it easy to get up and start the day. I generally don't wake up well but that smiling little face looking up at me from her bed right next to mine is the best. 
  • This morning Polly was telling me that she wants a polar bear from Santa and I let her know that Santa doesn't get everything on the list that she wants.  I was also thinking that she has too many stuffed animals as it is. Polly then informed me that grown ups can get her presents too, not just Santa. I was thinking, okay smart little girl, I see what you are doing there and I'm both proud and worried about how cleaver you are.  
  • Callie is getting so chubby! I was worried with her only taking breastmilk by bottle that she might not be getting everything she needs (mom guilt is the worst). Over night it seems like she turned into a chubby baby who hides dirt and other general funk in her thigh rolls. I love it except when I realize it's been a few days since bath time and she's funky.  She also seems like a giant baby next to her newborn BFF that was born a week ago. I need time to slow down or I need to win the lottery so I can have 10 more babies.  
  • I still don't play the lottery.  
  • That's about all for now but take another look at the rolls on that baby up top! Her thighs are the best. I can't handle the way she's propped up in that chair like she's just relaxin' and we caught her there mid-laugh.  



Sunday, October 30, 2016

Callie and Polly

I'm a little late posting this month because this weekend I decided to tune into our lives as much as I could instead of write about it. My oldest friend Sarah brought her two daughters to visit for the weekend from South Carolina. Polly was SO excited and loved having two girls to play with. They are just old enough to find her cute and not mind that she told them what to do constantly. They seemed to think it was adorable and did exactly as she wanted. Yikes, this girl is a handful.  Here are some other high lights from the last month.
  • I feel like this month is sort of a blur because at the beginning of the month I was trying to really soak in my last few weeks of baby time before going back to work. I started back at the beginning of last week and it was a long and tiring week even though I worked from home two of the 5 days. 
  • I don't know what I'd do with out the opportunity to work from home a bit. Since I'm strictly pumping, it saves me from having to pack up and haul the pump everywhere even for a day or two. I can wash my parts and bottles a bit throughout the day instead of coming home every night and washing 13 bottles. It's insane.  
  • I'm still producing more milk than I need. We have officially filled the deep freezer and are about a week away from having to give some away. I want to make sure my supply doesn't diminish too much with my transition back to work but the first week back seemed to go well so I could still feed the entire neighborhood.
  • Polly is hilarious. She has her own little way of doing things and over the last few weeks it's hit me over the head that she is just her own little person. Watching her through Sarah's eyes this weekend made me see her in a new light too. It's so surreal watching your daughter play with the children of your childhood best friend.  I feel so lucky to still know her and get to watch her girls grow up even if it's from a distance.  
  • One night we were driving home and Polly said, "when you're driving in the car the moon is moving with you." We tried to explain to her how the moon moves but she wouldn't have it because she could see that it was moving with us! 
  • Polly after eating pizza said sadly, "The pizza burned my mouth and it made my life a hot day." That makes no sense but I also know exactly what she meant.
  • Our bedtime routine is out of control:
    • Step 1: 5 minute warning before bedtime
    • Step 2: Beg for a bedtime snack (thanks neighbors for introducing this idea, we love you anyways)  We refuse but give her a glass of milk.
    • Step 3: Negotiate which toys she can take up and put on her bookshelf while she sleeps
    • Step 4: Find bear who is usually with her always EXCEPT FOR WHEN IT'S BEDTIME!!!
    • Step 5: Use the potty
    • Step 6: Put on pull-up and pajamas
    • Step 7: S-L-O-W-L-Y  brush teeth. Somehow she's learned to delay by moving like a sloth. Watching her climb the stool to brush her teeth can literally take 10 minutes.
    • Step 8: Slowly walk, sometimes crawl like a cat to reading chair.
    • Step 9: Pick the longest book in the world to read.
    • Step 10: Demand the hall light is on.
    • Step 11: Snuggle in bed and talk about the day.
    • Step 12: Now tell her a story that you've made up.
    • Step 13: Now she wants to tell you a story but she's terrible at them and they take FOREVER. 
    • Step 14: Argue about how her story needs to end now to which she responds, "but mom it's my turn to talk."
    • Step 15: Do the kiss routine which involves a kiss on the lips, and Eskimo kiss, a butterfly kiss, an eyebrow kiss (where you hit your foreheads together) and the newly added hair kiss where I have to take my hair out of it's ponytail and dangle it to the side while she punches through it with her fist.
    • Step 16: (this list is like the stories she tells, it just keeps going) I leave the room and I have to say, "Good night, I love you, sweet dreams, see you in the morning." If I forget she says, "YOU DIDN'T SAY WORDS TO ME!"  
    • Step 17: about 10-15 minutes later she has to use the potty again.  
    • Step 18: Sings to herself for about an hour. 
  • I tolerate the above list because time is moving so fast and I love it and hate it so much.  
  • I am very bad at leaving work at work. I swore I wasn't going to let work stress me out but that didn't last more than one hour on my first day. This working thing with two babies is tough but I also know it will get easier with time so I'm trying to give myself a break.  I've definitely been having stress dreams about being a terrible mom though.  I know that's ridiculous but that doesn't stop my brain from stressing about it even when I'm sleeping.
  • Callie is the best baby ever. She only wakes up once a night and even then she doesn't cry. She just grunts a lot until I wake up and try to give her pacifier which she angry sucks until I give in and feed her. She wakes up that way in the morning too and as soon as I say good morning to her she smiles. Waking up to a smiley baby is amazing. I hope she keeps up her sleeping routine. I know it can change but PLEASE don't change.  
  • Polly finally landed on being Princess Leia for halloween after one year of brainstorming. She's already brainstorming for next year because she knows she can't change her mind again. 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

My Girls

Okay, I thought time moved fast when Polly was a baby but add in another kid and it's moving even faster. Somehow I only have three weeks of maternity leave left and while I miss my work, I still need more time to figure this all out. Callie seems way too small to leave in three weeks but luckily she'll be home with daddy until the new year and I'll have time to figure out how to work and pump and mother two babes. While this month was quick, there's lots to tell.

  • As I mentioned last month, Callie did not latch so I've been pumping and bottle-feeding. I was miserable about this direction but we have settled into a groove and I feel like I can see this working fine. It's also helped to talk to other mamas about their experiences. It does keep me close to home since I haven't ventured into pumping in the car or while we are out but hopefully I'll feel bold enough to do that soon. My boobs finally feel happy instead of feeling like every nerve in my body is connected there. There is hope ladies! 
  • A recent conversation with Polly: 
    • Polly: Next time I want to wear my dress and I'll be even more beautiful.
    • Me: That's nice.  Do you know what makes you truly beautiful?
    • Polly: What?
    • Me: Being kind to people.
    • Polly (quickly and definitively): Nope!
  • We watched the new Jungle Book movie the other night and I realized that she thinks that Mowgli is a girl and I love that so much.
  • We decided to make a list of the ridiculous things we find ourselves saying to Polly. Here is a sample:
    • Please don't lick me.
    • Please don't bite my shoe.
    • Please don't lick the water off of the floor.
    • Don't rub dads toothbrush on the couch!
    • Don't lick the table.
    • Don't chew on the cup lid.
    • Don't lick the chair.
    • Don't put your feet on the table.
    • Don't wave your naked butt at house guests.
  • Polly while listening to "Dreams" by Fleetwood Mac, "This is a good shaking my butt song."
  • Polly still loves her little sister. 
  • Polly refers to her memories as living in her heart like, "Mom, I remember when we went to the zoo in my heart." It makes things seem so sweet that way.
  • Callie wakes up once a night to eat and it's beautiful. I'm actually getting rest and if this keeps up I may be a whole person when I go back to work. I survived on cuteness alone that first year with Polly. 
  • I really do love this new little lady so much. It's amazing how my heart grows and grows for both of them. It is exhausting with two particularly with Polly in the phase where she NEVER stops talking. It's like she runs on batteries. At night I think she literally falls asleep talking when her batteries run out and then wakes up talking when she's powered back up. 
  • I could have sworn that Callie hasn't grown that much in the last month but looking at her pictures side by side it's crazy to see her little personality emerging. SLOW DOWN TIME!!!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Callie and Polly

I guess this is the start of a new tradition of posting about both of my girls! I can't believe it's been a month already. I'm a little sensitive to the fact that we already know from experience that time flies. I've been trying to soak in the tiny baby time but somehow this month flew by despite my best efforts to make it slow down. The days disappear in a blur of naps, diapers, bottles, breast pump, and meals. I can't get over the fact that we have two girls and that it's already time to start using these monthly onesies made by my awesome friend Steph. Here are some highlights from this month.
  • The 1 month onesie was a little baggy on Polly but serves as a quarter length sleeve on Callie. I can't wait to see how much she weighs tomorrow at her doctor's appointment.  
  • Leading up to Callie's arrival, I was very sentimental about Polly losing her role as the only child with our full, undivided attention. It turns out I do have enough room in my heart for two girls and Polly isn't sort of attention. She actually been so spoiled by visitors and presents that I don't think she's thought for one second that she's getting less. She has been so well adjusted and sweet. She just thinks her little sister is the cutest thing she's ever seen. 
  • When I got home from the hospital, Polly was excited that my belly was smaller, she asked, "will you be able to sit on the floor and play with me?".  I guess my activity and mobility the last few weeks didn't go unnoticed by Polly. Nothing gets by her really. Nothing.
  • It's becoming apparent that Polly has a very dramatic side. When she says something funny I usually leave a note in my phone so I remember when it's time to write about the month. This month I did a terrible job and only had one note. I can't remember the circumstances but I do remember something happening to her and her response being, "That makes my life yuck!" I will use this from now on to describe so many things.  I have no idea where she gets this personality...sorry kid.  
  • Breastfeeding hurts dammit. All of the books and lactation consultants tell you, "it's not supposed to hurt" which is the least helpful thing to say to someone in extreme pain from trying to breastfeed.  I had a hard time latching Polly but we eventually got the hang of it after a few months of using a nipple shield and powering through. Callie didn't latch at all the first week and a half so I started exclusively pumping. Then my boobs were killing me so I quit trying to get her to latch after a visit with the lactation consultant who determined that she has a high palate and a slight tongue tie. The lactation consultant said it would be very difficult for her to latch so I gave the boobs a break. Don't tell women what their bodies should and shouldn't feel!!! 
  • These last four weeks I've really thought a lot about maternity leave in our country and it makes me more and more mad. I'm a lucky person that likes my job for the most part. I don't really have a desire to be a stay at home mom but I do want more time with my baby in this first year. I can see how many women are forced into being stay at home moms even when they might rather have their career. We just need more time to focus on our babies. I'm already aware that my leave is quickly ticking away and I'm having a hard time picturing balancing it all. I know I will figure it out but it makes me mad that I have to. Then there is the fact that the leave I have isn't paid!!! I want to figure out how to pave the way for the women coming up after me.  That's my new plan.  
  • I've been reading my posts about Polly along the way and it's still true that the world is a scarier place when you have kids and now it's twice as scary. Instead of focusing on that I instead try really hard to be grateful and aware of how lucky we are. 
  • Naming your baby the day they are born means that you may call them every name you ever considered or just refer to them as that baby when you are really tired during the first week or two. You don't love them any less though. 
  • I can't stop looking at these two pictures and I'm already sentimental about them graduating from high school. This is why most moms are crazy.