Oct 29, 2014

Deja Vu, sort of.

Three years ago, Mark and I were living in our little garden apartment in DC. I was working full-time, getting ready for the arrival of a tiny human - a tiny human that I knew in my heart was a boy, but had yet to be confirmed. We didn't know anything about babies. We thought our birth class and the books we read would prepare us, but what can prepare you for that truly unique experience of having a child created by two different people?

Yesterday, I was talking with some friends who both have babies aged 10-12 months and I told them how that was my favorite stage of babies.

They're getting funny and independent, but they still need you around and still like a good cuddle.

Both of my friends gave me this look like, ok whatever you say.

Later, I came to the funny realization that last time, with Henry, I was working full-time and our nanny took care of Henry all day, Monday through Friday. She changed the majority of dirty diapers. She fed and cleaned up the messy baby face and hands and arms. I was the one hooked up to the pump a few times a day, getting the milk for Hen - one of the contributions that helped me feel like I was doing the best job I could do take care of my baby, even though I didn't spend most days with him. Some days were hard, but most struck a balance in me that I liked. I liked the part time working, part time mothering Julie. She was a little scatterbrained, but she got things done and did a pretty good job with it all.

Fast forward to three years later where I never thought I'd be. I'm a full-time mom living overseas, getting ready to have our second child and spending my days playing trains and cars with my nearly 3 year old toddler, researching preschools, double strollers, lego sets, and waiting every day until dinner time to see my hardworking husband. The leaves are turning orange, yellow, red, and brown, and falling from the trees as my belly swells and we get closer to meeting this baby - just like last time around. We still have the leaves we collected from our walk around Lincoln Park in DC three years ago when we were just playing the waiting game with Henry. And now, I take those walks around the wide sidewalks and parks with Henry helping me find the best leaves to bring home. In a couple of days or couple of weeks, we'll welcome another baby into our family, and guess who will be changing all the diapers and wiping all the messy faces and soothing all the cries? I can't believe the irony that my favorite stage of baby was the stage I missed out on the most. And while I never imagined I'd be a stay at home mother with two little babes, I really can't wait for this whole thing. I know it will be hard. I know I will have days where I cry and wish we were closer to family. I know we will have days where Henry watches a lot of movies while I try and soothe/sleep/feed/love this new little one, and I will have to manage the guilt of not doing enough or being enough for anyone. But we'll be together. And that will be enough for me. xx

Oct 21, 2014

Thoughts on toddlers and new babies

Henry has been on point lately. So funny, so charming, so sweet. And when he's not being that sweet charming toddler, he is the devils spawn. I don't know what to do with him some days! Getting very stubborn, who knows where he gets that from (ahem), I've had to readjust things around here lately to teach him about obedience, patience, and kindness. The things that are hardest in life to perfect (I have yet to be perfect in any of those qualities/virtues), but I'm trying.

Right now we're focusing on learning to say "May I have..." rather than "I WANT..." and every time I ask him if he wants breakfast, lunch, or dinner, he says "I don't WANT to eat breakfast/lunch/dinner, I want to eat a snack!" How did he learn so quickly that snacks are so good? Maybe it has something to do with his 37 weeks pregnant mother who snacks all day long? ;)

He's also learned about the comfortable mass of pillows and duvets that is mama and dadas bed, and he throws a tantrum every time he gets told that he cannot take a nap and cannot go to bed in our bed, but has to go to Henry's bed. For the record, he's hardly slept in our bed (maybe 5 times since he was sleeping through the night), but I think he's latching onto the concept of soft, snuggly things. He asks to sleep with my big oversized cozy cardigan every night and last night asked for my fuzzy blanket, too.

I gave him a haircut yesterday and I did the worst job. He looks like a prisoner of war. It's so short, I almost cried. I wanted to cut it short enough so I wouldn't have to worry about cutting it for awhile, but I went a little drastic. Investing in some hats to keep his bald head warm in this chilly Autumn weather, and praying it grows back quickly.

Two and a half weeks until the due date. My hospital bag is halfway packed, I got a flu and whooping cough vaccination today, and with the chill coming in the air and the sun setting earlier every day, I'm realizing the fleeting moments of time spent alone with Henry are coming to a close. I keep thinking of this time 3 years ago, when I was waiting for our first little baby to come, not knowing what to expect. But now, I know how much love can fill your heart with the birth of a new baby, and the sweetness that comes in between those sleepless nights and panic-ridden cries (from everyone), and I just can't wait for those moments again. I get all moony just thinking about it. I know a new baby coinciding with my favorite months of the year (November and December) just puts me over the top, too.

Oct 6, 2014

Weekend. Baby prep.

Baby prep is in full swing!

Baby clothes all being washed this week.
Stroller/pram testing done, waiting to buy one until Christmas time.
Adding new names to the possible names list because if there is one thing I'm bad at, it is settling on a name for a human! I can't even decide on blankets I like, let alone a name that is permanent. 
Buying new pacifiers (we call them babas, UK calls them dummies)
Researching if we really need an infant car seat since we do not own a car.
Packing hospital bags.
Buying snacks for labor (applesauce! making pumpkin chocolate chip muffins!)
Researching water births/natural labor. Last time we tried hypnobirthing but 30 hours of back labor without pain relief was too much to hypno me, not to mention I had to get pitocin because I wasn't progressing and that epidural saved my sanity. Hoping it's a better go this time around.
Eating tums like candy.
Laughing every time Henry says, "That's a BIG MAMA" when he sees my bare belly.
Buying teeny tiny diapers and thanking myself for getting Henry (mostly) potty trained before baby #2. Still haven't tried night time potty training. Still waiting on it.
Enjoying my sleep while I still have it, even though the nightly pee wake-ups have appeared this week, happy for my comfortable bed and pillows (sorry about your 12 inches of sleeping space, Mark).
Enjoying our time with Henry to spoil him and snuggle him all we want. 

Oct 2, 2014

Henry update: nearly 3 years old

I want to log a few favorites of Henry's here, before things get too crazy to actually recall any of these things. A friend asked last week if I was worried about the new baby changing Henry and my relationship and I was like...um, I haven't even thought about that. And I haven't! I know things will change a little, but Henry and I have had three years of time together! We are solid. Things are good. I'm excited to see how things change with a new sibling for Henry, though, I really can't wait for that!

As we wait for the baby to come, it keeps dawning on me that Henry is turning three soon. The baby's due date is actually one week before his birthday (what? we like November babies around here!).

Hen isn't one to really express favorites or too many preferences, so when he does, I really try to nurture that interest. It's cute the things he's decided are his favorites, I think. A few favorites of Henrys right now:
Color: green or orange, depends on the day
Ice cream flavor: strawberry
Breakfast food: waffles 
Toy: currently his ramp or train set
Book: He has 2 dino books he loves, and also loves to read The Tiger Who Came to Tea 
Snack: croissant! yes, i know.

A few funny things he's said recently:
- Mom, let's go to the camel farm for...no no no...let's go to the pumpkin farm for pick pumpkins!

- Henry, time to go peepee?
Umm, no thank you, mom! (we've been working on manners)

- (reading a sign that says HARO.) H....A.....R.....O....polka dot!

- Hen, mama's tummy doesn't feel good today so I need to rest a little bit. (he runs away and comes back a minute later with a bottle of tums in his hand) Here, mama! Your vitamins!

- Hey mama, how bout a popper-cycle? (popsicle)

- (After skyping to his niece Lizzie who just lost her front tooth) Henry not lose a tooth. We go find Lizzie's tooth?

- (Watching scene in Mary Poppins with George Banks) He NOT George. I Henry George.

- Henry, what's your name? 
Henry George Taylor.
Yes! What's mama's name?
Mama George Taylor.