Tuesday, October 23, 2012

One from the Vault

I recently started using the Android phone that my company gave me last year and I found this video that I must have taken around Chanukah 2011.  Two things stood out:
1.  Things happen so quickly with these children that I barely remember Daniel's stitched together speech.  His vocabulary is so off the charts now that I can't believe that there was a time that I had to translate what he was saying.
2.  Daniel has (sadly) been in a particularly strong "anti-cuddle" kick lately so the sweetness in this video nearly made me cry

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I Couldn't Have Said it Better

I've wanted to post something about this for so long but never had the time (or courage).  I spent most of Daniel's first 3 years hiding from a camera because I didn't like the person I saw and I so dearly regret that now.  This article says everything I would have said (and much more eloquently, I'm sure!).

Now I just have to get Matt to snap away. Grab your tissues and read on....

The Mom Stays in the Picture

by Allison Tate
Courtesy of the Huffington Post
LINK to original published story

Last weekend, my family traveled to attend my oldest niece's Sweet Sixteen party. My brother and sister-in-law planned this party for many months and intended it to be a big surprise, and it included a photo booth for the guests.
I showed up to the party a bit late and, as usual, slightly askew from trying to dress myself and all my little people for such a special night out. I'm still carrying a fair amount of baby weight and wearing a nursing bra, and I don't fit into my cute clothes. I felt awkward and tired and rumpled.
I was leaning my aching back against the bar, my now 5-month-old baby sleeping in a carrier on my chest (despite the pounding bass and dulcet tones of LMFAO blasting through the room) when my 5-year-old son ran up to me.
"Come take pictures with me, Mommy," he yelled over the music, "in the photo booth!"
I hesitated. I avoid photographic evidence of my existence these days. To be honest, I avoid even mirrors. When I see myself in pictures, it makes me wince. I know I am far from alone; I know that many of my friends also avoid the camera.
It seems logical. We're sporting mama bodies and we're not as young as we used to be. We don't always have time to blow dry our hair, apply make-up, perhaps even bathe (ducking). The kids are so much cuter than we are; better to just take their pictures, we think.
But we really need to make an effort to get in the picture. Our sons need to see how young and beautiful and human their mamas were. Our daughters need to see us vulnerable and open and just being ourselves -- women, mamas, people living lives. Avoiding the camera because we don't like to see our own pictures? How can that be okay?
Too much of a mama's life goes undocumented and unseen. People, including my children, don't see the way I make sure my kids' favorite stuffed animals are on their beds at night. They don't know how I walk the grocery store aisles looking for treats that will thrill them for a special day. They don't know that I saved their side-snap, paper-thin baby shirts from the hospital where they were born or their little hospital bracelets in keepsake boxes high on the top shelves of their closets. They don't see me tossing and turning in bed wondering if I am doing an okay job as a mother, if they are okay in their schools, where we should take them for a vacation, what we should do for their birthdays. I'm up long past the news on Christmas Eve wrapping presents and eating cookies and milk, and I spend hours hunting the Internet and the local Targets for specially-requested Halloween costumes and birthday presents. They don't see any of that.
Someday, I want them to see me, documented, sitting right there beside them: me, the woman who gave birth to them, whom they can thank for their ample thighs and their pretty hair; me, the woman who nursed them all for the first years of their lives, enduring porn star-sized boobs and leaking through her shirts for months on end; me, who ran around gathering snacks to be the week's parent reader or planning the class Valentine's Day party; me, who cried when I dropped them off at preschool, breathed in the smell of their post-bath hair when I read them bedtime stories, and defied speeding laws when I had to rush them to the pediatric ER in the middle of the night for fill-in-the-blank (ear infections, croup, rotavirus).
I'm everywhere in their young lives, and yet I have very few pictures of me with them. Someday I won't be here -- and I don't know if that someday is tomorrow or thirty or forty or fifty years from now -- but I want them to have pictures of me. I want them to see the way I looked at them, see how much I loved them. I am not perfect to look at and I am not perfect to love, but I am perfectly their mother.
When I look at pictures of my own mother, I don't look at cellulite or hair debacles. I just see her -- her kind eyes, her open-mouthed, joyful smile, her familiar clothes. That's the mother I remember. My mother's body is the vessel that carries all the memories of my childhood. I always loved that her stomach was soft, her skin freckled, her fingers long. I didn't care that she didn't look like a model. She was my mama.
So when all is said and done, if I can't do it for myself, I want to do it for my kids. I want to be in the picture, to give them that visual memory of me. I want them to see how much I am here, how my body looks wrapped around them in a hug, how loved they are.
I will save the little printed page with four squares of pictures on it and the words "Morgan's Sweet Sixteen" scrawled across the top with the date. There I am, hair not quite coiffed, make-up minimal, face fuller than I would like -- one hand holding a sleeping baby's head, and the other wrapped around my sweet littlest guy, who could not care less what I look like.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Lucy's Story

Dear Lucy,
I promised myself that I would record your life on this blog just as much as I did for Daniel.  And here we are: exactly 8 months after you entered this world and I'm finally beginning!  So, Lucy, here is your story!

February 4th, 2012:
I like to think that I knew that I was going to go into labor today.  After a super crappy/uncomfortable pregnancy, I was so done and just knew it was going to happen.  I had only gained 13 pounds throughout my entire pregnancy because the only thing I could eat was cereal (not complaining about that - especially since I was the heaviest I've ever been when I became pregnant with you!) and I had been on a very slack bedrest for a month.  Again, I was just DONE.

To set the stage further, Daniel, Daddy and I were all living in the same bedroom all the way down on the bottom floor of our house because the renovation was still not done. I knew that I would be bringing you home into a construction zone and that your "nursery" would a bedroom shared by all of us with nothing remotely "nursery" about it.  One room, 4 people.  This was the room that we enjoyed our last nights with Daniel as an only child and the ease of the bedtime ritual while Daniel was still sleeping in the crib and not negotiating with us for 20 minutes about "sitting in the chair for 5 more minutes".  In fact, our life was like this:

February 5th (actual due date!), 2012, 2:36AM:
My water broke with a huge POP, a huge GUSH and a massive gasp of fear from my mouth!  My water breaking with such ferocity was overwhelming and I started to panic.  I ran into the shower (thanks to my dear friend whose 2nd baby came so quickly that she delivered her in the bathtub I knew that being in the shower would be the easiest place to clean!) and told Daddy to get our shit together because I was in labor!  Daddy was half asleep and started wandering around aimlessly and returned to the bathroom to tell me that he had just turned on the oven to make cookies for the nurses (something we did with Daniel).  I may have asked him if he was insane and that we did not have time.  "Call your brother!" I screamed.  Miraculously, Uncle Dave walked in the door about 2 minutes later (no exaggeration.. I still have no idea how he made it so fast!).

We got in the car with towels and headed to Lenox Hill Hospital on the WAY upper east side of Manhattan.  My contractions were about 5 minutes apart.  As we drove up 3rd Avenue it was about 3:15am and drunk people were on the streets looking for cabs.  I thought it was hilarious that they were probably trying to get laid and I was about to give birth!  We parked in the garage... which is 2 blocks from the hospital!... and I waddled to the emergency room with one or two stops for contractions along the way and a trickle of amniotic fluid following behind me on the sidewalk.

Once admitted, I immediately told the nurses that I wanted an epidural (again, something I did not want  with Daniel but you had measured big the entire pregnancy AND you were "sunny side up" on my last OB visit... things that could mean a long and painful labor).  Daddy hooked up his phone to the sound system and started playing DJ.  I had to wait a little while for the epidural and my contractions starting coming every 3 minutes... and they were fierce!  The nurse checked me and told me that I was fully effaced but only dilated 3cm.  WHAT?  Only 3cm? It felt like you were about to come out of me and I was only 3cm!  Again, bring on the epi!

Finally I was ready to get the epidural.  Daddy left the room (they made him) and the needle goes in quickly and easily.  I immediately threw up and then they laid me down and BOOM.  The drugs took affect and it was AMAZING!  Oh my G-d did I love it.  I can't believe that I didn't feel this with Daniel.  I asked the nurse and the Anesthesiologist if either of them watched "Intervention" because I thought that I had just figured out what junkies must feel the first time they use whatever drug they are hooked on.  Then I proceeded to tell them (over and over again) how wasted I was!  It was awesome.

Me in my epidural heaven!
Less than one hour later, my amazing OB checked on me and I was ready to push and that you had turned and were facing the right way.  Yes, that's right.  Less than one hour. That means that had I not had the epidural I would have probably pushed you out onto the floor while I was laboring.  Also a nice "told you so" to Daddy because I knew as soon as my water broke that we had to get our asses to the hospital because you were coming fast!  After a "practice push" ("What? Didn't I just get here!" I said) my OB had my epidural "topped off" which was good because the intense pressure was already coming through.  5 minutes later she said, "OK, let's start pushing".  I was in complete shock that it was happening so fast.  Daddy decided to switch up the tunes.  The room was super chill, everyone was calm and I was ready to find out who you were!

2 pushes and one "blow like you're blowing out birthday candles" and, at 7:35am, you entered the world.  2 pushes.  The nurse put you on my chest with your tush to my face and all I said was "are those balls or is that a vagina?"  Laughter ensued.  I repeated "no really.  are those balls or a vagina".  Nurse said, "you asked us not to tell you because you want your husband to say it."  Daddy said "I don't know either!".  Everyone laughs and they told us that you are a girl.  A NINE POUND, ONE OUNCE GIRL!

You were perfect, to say the least.  You were HUGE, as well.  9 pounds, 1oz!  2 pushes and a blow??  Unreal!  You latched on immediately and nursed perfectly.  We named you Lucy Faye.  Lucy because I've always loved the name.  Faye after your great-grandmother who was married to your great-grandfather  Bing (Daniel's middle name and the name of this blog).

Meeting your big brother for the first time!
In the same "going home" outfit as Daniel wore, as Daddy wore, as Uncle Richie wore and as Uncle Dave wore
You came into the world on time (your actual due date) and determined.  Sounds kinda like me!  You, me and Daddy finally made it to our room at the end of the hall just in time for the Superbowl to start.  The Giants won.