Saturday, April 30, 2011

once upon a time. (a modern fairytale).

i should be sleeping.  the hours logged getting shut-eye are few and far between these days and, to be quite honest, a failure to take advantage of the same is just poor planning on my part, but, as luck would have it, baby is sleeping and i'm awake.  so.... i will overshare on this, my very public journal of my most private thoughts.

good news! we are officially homeowners.  as of sometime in the late afternoon of thursday, april 28, we own our very first home.  the closing was actually pretty anti-climatic as big events go.  a lot of signing our john hancock/fuegers on a bunch of meticulously prepared documents, a few seals of a notary stamp, a handshake... and the keys were ours.  i might have cried, except that the whole shebang took place in the board room at my office, and the key players were people i work with professionally... so tears would have been a faux-pas if there ever were one.

after all the i's were dotted and the t's crossed, we headed downstairs for a celebratory cocktail with some friends. (yes indeed, i am fortunate enough to work at a firm in the same building as a restaurant/bar.  and yes, i do believe good, bad and ugly moments should be celebrated or commiserated over a draft of blue moon.)  and then... we headed over to the new place.  we had packed a picnic pizza, some miller lite and jack's bathtime necessities for our first night in our new house.  we spent the first few moments walking through the empty rooms, calling to each other to come see this nook and that cranny that we'd forgotten about since our initial tour and home inspection.  we excitedly made furniture placement plans, and there was some very casual talk about future parties and bbq's to be hosted.  and then we laid jack's quilt on the floor, opened the box of now cold little caesar's pizza, cracked open a celebratory miller lite and enjoyed a brief moment of celebration of home ownership.

i very cheesily said to john, "i'll probably always remember this night."  and i probably always will.  i thought back to so many moments of frustration over being a renter and living in places with appliances or lay-outs that just weren't quite right.  i remembered painstaking discussions about saving every penny so we could afford to start the house hunt that would lead to our "dream house."  and somehow, as i bit into crappy pizza and sipped on cheap beer, it seemed to all have been worth it.  the satisfaction of having finally accomplished this purchase was worth all the stress, worry and anxiety that we've dealt with over the past few years.  we wanted a place to put our shoes, hang our coats, and call our own.  and now we have that.

it's not that remarkable.  people buy houses every single day.  realtors show homes to hopeful couples so frequently it's not anything to write home about.  this post is nothing short of completely ordinary.  except to me, it means validation for long hours spent studying in a library or drafting briefs or waiting for john to get home from a job he didn't necessarily love but took to better our future.  i made silly faces at jack and smiled ruefully at my husband, and i thought  this is what life is all about.

many a time, i've opened a pottery barn catalog and wished that i lived in the homes depicted in the pictures.  i've longed to open the door to a home with perfectly coordinated decor and cozy, inviting accessories that grace the pages of better homes and gardens.  but on thursday night, sitting cross legged on the hardwood floor of my  living room, i felt content.

so many times i spend moments wishing for something better, hoping that my life will read more like a fairytale than reality, thinking, "but i'm working so hard.  i deserve this."  i'm driven by this need for perfection, for something more or greater.  but on thursday, it was enough.  i felt content.  i felt a calm wash over me, and i felt... at peace.  at home.  for a few brief hours, i didn't think about what i wanted to do to the space i now own.  i stopped worrying about the million projects i want to complete over the years as we turn this house into our family's home.  i didn't even spend one minute wishing that the kitchen walls were some other color.  i just kept looking at my husband and my son, thinking this is enough.  this is all i need.  this is all i want.

i expected that when i woke this morning, the familiar sense of oh-god-now-we-have-to-tackle-this-that-and-the-other would come flooding back.  i expected to be overwhelmed with the feeling that i needed to put pen to paper and compose a long to-do list.  i figured i'd start worrying about which purchases to make and which home improvement stores to visit.  instead, i still feel the same sense of peace and calm.  i'm right where i need to be.  somewhere between working so hard to get there and being there, i've arrived.  i am who i want to be and i am here.

maybe the same old feelings will return.  maybe tomorrow or next week or next month.  maybe this is just a brief respite from my usual approach, but for the time being, i am content.  and that, my friends, is worth a post in and of itself...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

on the night you were born.

dear jack,

today you are six months old.  this morning, i walked into your nursery and told you good morning, and you giggled and buried your little face into your swaddle blanket (yes, you still insist on being swaddled at nighttime).  i lifted you up and you snuggled into my neck.  i said, "you're 6 months old today," but i still can't believe i've been your mom for half a year.  you are the sweetest, most precious gift i have ever received, and i feel privileged to be your mom every single day.

tonight i will come home from work and present you with your monthly book.  on recommendation from other mommy's, the title of this book is on the night you were born.  i will read you this book, while you gaze up at me, your little fingers touching my face and grabbing for my necklace.  you will murmur sweet little sounds as you try to turn the pages, and i will cry, as i usually do, because these precious moments are what life is all about.  (and also, this book is beautiful and wonderful and i can't wait to share it with you.)

ohhh, on the night you were born. it occurs to me that in between night feedings and diaper changes and bathtimes, we've never really talked about the night you were born.  i've always meant to document that here, but time flies, and here we are, six months later.  it was a cool evening in october.  i was at work, waiting to be called in to the monthly board meeting.  in fact, i was sitting in a co-worker's office complaining about how hungry i was when i started to have some contractions.  i had just been to the doctor that morning, and she had said it would be at least a week before you'd arrive, and we were about three weeks from your official due date, so i wasn't too concerned.  mostly i was just really, really hungry.  (daddy says that you have inherited those crabby-when-hungry tendencies from me.  sorry about that.  god bless his patience.)  my co-workers started to get a little anxious when my contractions became more regular.  they were coming every 6 - 8 minutes, but i totally wasn't thinking you were ready to come meet us yet, so i was pretty nonchalant about the whole thing.  as i think i stated, i was hungry.  we were all going out to dinner (a steak dinner, i might add!) after the meeting, so i was concentrating on that.  when we got into the board meeting, it occurred to me that the contractions were kind of hurting, which had never really happened before.  i was slouching in my chair, and one of the other attorneys i work with joked with me about straightening up (we never let him forget this since it turns out i was in labor!)  after the meeting, we were walking to our cars, and my friend and co-worker told me to ride with her to dinner in case i went into labor.  i quickly told her that i would drive myself because i didn't want to mess up her car if my water broke.  no sooner had the words come out of my mouth then i felt a little pop, and pow!  my water had broke.  she coaxed me into the car, and i called your daddy.  he didn't believe me.  really.  i told him we were on our way home, and that it was time to go to the hospital, and he was like, "yeahhh right!  see you after your dinner."  it took whitney getting on the phone with him to convince him that it was go time. 

when i got home, he was pacing.  neither of us were really thinking we'd be going to the hospital.  the puppies (who you adore, by the way) were jumping around excitedly, and i was trying to decide what to throw into a hospital bag.  i remember walking around your little nursery, trying to pick out a few outfits to take with us, trying to process the fact that in a few days, i'd be bringing a little baby boy home to this room.  it was so surreal.  daddy was downstairs making phone calls.  he was so excited.  he called both grandparents, aunts and uncles and texted friends.  i talked with auntie cathy, who couldn't believe she was going to officially be an aunt soon.  auntie jess expressed a great amount of pleasure that my endless complaining would soon be over.  and then, we got into the car and drove to the hospital.

daddy was so nervous as we checked in.  the ladies at the admission desk were laughing at him as he rambled on.  we went upstairs and met with a nurse.  they monitored my contractions (which seemed to have tapered off a little) and determined that i was not, in fact, in labor.  i was starving and irritated and feeling silly, since daddy had called nearly everyone we knew to let them know i was in labor.  my immediate thought was that i was not going to go in to work tomorrow.  everyone at the hospital was convinced i had simply wet my pants.  i might remind you that i had not gotten that steak dinner, had not eaten since lunch, and was about one minute from getting hysterical.  daddy turned on the season premiere of "16 & pregnant" (one of mommy's guilty pleasures) and that appeased me for an hour. 

we waited.  and waited.  it seemed like forever.  people kept coming in and out, looking at the machine, shaking their head and saying, "yeah, doesn't look like you're in labor, but we'll keep you awhile longer," and then leaving.  around 11:00 p.m., i stood up to go to the bathroom, and splish splash on the floor, more water breaking.  vindication!  the nurse came back and announced that yes, i was in labor, we'd have a baby within the next 10 hours, and no, i couldn't eat anything.  i asked for chicken broth, three cups of jello and three popsicles, and they obliged.  daddy made himself a pit stop at taco bell.  when he came back (with sex and the city dvd's and my pillow), i was hanging out in the whirlpool.  my contractions were coming every 4 minutes now, and they were pretty intense.  a new nurse named tara came on duty, and she was amazing.  she was calm and sweet, and thinking about her makes me cry.  she was the best.

the minutes ticked by and the pain got worse.  we went for midnight walk around the hospital, but we had to keep stopping every 2.5 minutes to breathe through contractions.  daddy kept trying to convince me to get an epidural.  sometime in between exhaustion and starvation, i agreed.  good decision!  i layed in the hospital bed watching carrie bradshaw and friends, sucking on popsicles.  it almost seemed like a regular saturday of days gone by... except that nurses flittered in and out, checking on little you.  i couldn't sleep a wink, even though dr. mehta had instructed me to rest before the real work started.  i was too excited to meet you.  it seemed so odd that for the last 9 months, i had counted down the minutes to your arrival, and now, you were almost here.  i didn't feel ready (but i still don't).  i thought about what you'd look like.  i thought about how my life was going to change.  i thought about meeting daddy at a party in college, and being struck by everything we'd gone through over the past 8 years.  two people from two families coming together to start their own little family.  daddy was dozing on and off in the armchair next to me.  i remember feeling so blessed and so lucky. 

and then it was 7:00 a.m.,  and dr. mehta said it was time to push.  and push i did.  for two and half long hours.  push, push, push, breathe, push, push, push.  it was hard work.  you were a stubborn little peanut, and since you were so tiny, mommy had to do all the work.  (gravity was not our friend, jack.)  this part is kind of hazy.  i remember feeling a lot of pressure.  i remember working really hard.  i remember thinking that the epidural had stopped working because i was feeling every. single. thing.  and then i remember hearing dr. mehta say, "one more push, he's right there."  i started crying, and she told me to save my energy.  and then you were out. 

they put you on my chest, and your big blue eyes looked at me, and i just couldn't believe you were mine.  this teeny tiny perfect little boy was my son.  your daddy was snapping pictures, and talking about how perfect you were.  and it was true.  you were. (you are.) you weighed five pounds, 14 ounces, and you were born on october 27, 2010 at 9:32 a.m.  you were worth all the water i retained, all the sleepless nights, all the stretch marks, all the pushing, and all the pain (ahem, hunger pains!).

it seems like just yesterday, and yet it seems so long ago.  how can it be that you are six months old already?  each day you grow and change, and i want time to stop for just awhile so i can savor each little moment i have with you.  you are a joy.  you came into our world, and you changed eeeeeeverything, and while everything is different, it is better.  you have taught me about a patience i never knew i had.  you have given me a sense of determination and strength i never knew existed.  you have transformed the way i think about the world, other people, my family and friends, and most of all, your daddy.

let's just talk for a quick minute about your daddy.  he loves you so very much (duh!).  every day he stops me in the middle of something and says, "get over here.  look at him.  he's so awesome."  he sends me little videos and pictures of the adventures you two have while i'm at work.  i love watching you guys together.  you have such fun.  i love seeing that grin you give him when he smiles at you or sticks his tongue out at you.  you guys are two peas in a pod.  your arrival makes me all the more grateful for him and, if you can believe it, more in love with him.  (ok, i'm not going to get all mushy, i promise, but indulge me for a minute).  i think back on the last decade, and i remember your daddy first as my friend, the college buddy i did beer bongs with (what's a beer bong?  never mind.  you're never allowed to do one.), then as my boyfriend who i had so much fun with, to my fiance, to my husband, to the father of my son.  who would have ever thought that the wild and crazy man we called beans would be the man i come home to sitting in his recliner giggling with "small man" (as he so affectionately calls you)?  it's all so surreal, and yet so perfect.  your daddy deserves a medal.  he put up with me when i was pregnant and my feet wouldn't fit into shoes and when i was sleep deprived and snapping at him when you were first born and through all my breastfeeding trials.  he is such a wonderful husband and a great father, and i hope you know how lucky you are to spend your days with him.  he knows what's truly important and he would sacrifice money, fame, recognition, success... anything... for his family.  i hope you grow up to be the kind of husband and dad he is. 

thank you for letting me by your mom.  you have enriched my life in so many ways.  you have helped me to see what's truly important.  you have helped me understand that having a closet full of clothes can't come close to feeling i get when you reach out for me, or when you bury your face in my neck, or when you give me that sweet smile when i come to greet you in the morning.  you've helped me realize that i need to slow down and treasure the moments that fill each day.  you've helped me see that having a perfect house or car or wardrobe or life isn't possible or necessary, but that true happiness comes from being with the people you love.  thank you for your patience when i didn't know what i was doing.  thank you for giving me the confidence to be your mother and trust myself in knowing exactly what you need and want.  thank you for being a part of our family.

six months seems like such a long time, but in the general scheme of things, it really isn't.  we have so many important days and months and years ahead of us, and i am excited for all of them.  i wanted to be your mother even before i knew or understood what that meant... and now that i know, i couldn't love it any more. 

happy six months to my happy, lively baby boy!  i love you so very much,


Saturday, April 16, 2011

on taking the easy way out.

ok, so riddle me this, blog friends: should i join the BLW movement?
(that's baby led weaning for those of you who are out having fun on a saturday, instead of fighting off sheer exhaustion on the couch, reading articles about introducing solid foods to your 6 month old)

i could lie to you and pretend that BLW appeals to me because it makes mealtimes interesting for the baby who gets to discover a variety of food tastes and textures on their own. i could pretend i'm into it because many say that it's a natural method for breastfed babies who are used to choosing as much as they want to eat.  i could pretend that i am totally into encouraging jack to become an independent eater by helping him develop confidence as he feeds himself.

but really, i'm busy, sort of lazy, and i don't have the energy to fight at mealtimes.  the idea of cutting soft solids into tiny pieces and letting jack take charge of feeding himself is reeeeaaaaalllly appealing.  it also seems like it might really work for us because jack is all up in my business at breakfast, lunch and dinner, and he seems to love trying to feed himself (though currently his attempts have been with toys and socks).

i have decided to try tomorrow with avocado pieces.  thoughts?  horror stories?  lay it on me.

Monday, April 4, 2011

a little ditty 'bout jack -minus diane-

the past few days have left me feeling revitalized, which is especially good considering the busy month i have ahead of me.  for the next 5 minutes, however, i vow not to think about the looming temporary hearings, trial and motions to be drafted.  instead, i want to take a brief opportunity to brag about my baby.

a few weeks ago, someone said to me "when i have kids, i hope i don't become that kind of mom who only talks about her kids all the time."  and after reading this entry, you might think that i've become that mom.  but you know what?  i don't really care.  i still have appropriate adult conversations, i still nurture my love for a good cocktail, and do, on occasion and when the mood strikes, use choice four letter words.  so... in my opinion, i'm all good.  truth be told, becoming someone's mother is an amazing experience, and i don't have to feel any shame in sharing that with people around me.  besides, while i'm bragging about my baby, the real point of this entry is mostly to document my own feelings about this part of the journey... so... there.  two birds, one stone sort of a deal.

the past 4 days have left me in awe of my baby.  he's so smart.  haha.  he's five months old, and seems nonchalant about most things (except boobs) and i'm calling him smart?  tone down the mama ego, eh?  haha.  no, but i was looking at pictures from when he was first born and it just amazes me how much he's grown and changed in five months.  he reaches for things, tries to turn the pages when i'm reading him his stories, and he's constantly trying to vocalize sounds.  it could be because i'm always talking to him.  i read somewhere that it's great for babies to be exposed to as many words as possible, and i've certainly taken it to heart.  poor john -- jack is destined to become the talker his mama is!  anyway, whenever we're playing and i talk to him, he gets this inquisitive look on his face, and he tries to talk back to me in what i imagine is a very serious, concentrated way.  it's so precious.  i love watching him learn new things and grasp new concepts.  he discovered how to manipulate his frog toy to make the ribbet ribbet sound, and then proceeded to squeal with joy for approximately 5 minutes.  i ate it right up.  whenever we go into the bathroom, i always say, "where's the baby?" and point to his reflection in the mirror.  i used to have to work with him to look at himself, but now when i say that phrase, his eyes go immediately to the mirror and he delights in making faces at his reflection.  he reaches for me when i come from work.  he loves watching the puppies and laughs at them wrestling with each other. 

i find myself spending a good 5-10 minutes a day in pure awe at the little person he's becoming.  he's developing his little personality, and it's so fun to see.  you know, i've said it before: i wasn't prepared for some of the crazy things motherhood means (ahem, adventures in breastfeeding), but i also wasn't prepared for how purely perfect and wonderful these moments are.  seeing that little baby's eyes light up when he finally grabs the toys he's been after is worth all the stretch marks, sleepless nights and breastfeeding drama. 

end my shameless "jack is the most amazing baby" plug. (and ps. i know every mama thinks her baby is the most awesome being in the world... so i know that this little ditty 'bout jack -minus diane- is nothing remarkable to anyone else.  mostly i just wanted to write this so in 20 years i remember the way i felt as i watched my sweet baby boy grow, learn and change right before my eyes.  thanks for reading :)