Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Barrett blowing rasperries and Barrett whining

I love the noises he is making these days!

Poor Barrett being tortured with tummy time. What a mean mommy! Listen for when I tell him he can do it and hear him respond that he can't! I swear, sometimes I think he really does talk to me.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Mama Bear

Every wilderness expert knows the danger of getting between a mother bear and her cubs. Mother bears are fiercely devoted to their little ones and will tear apart anything that threatens their babies. And I've got to tell you, I'm not so sure we humans are so different.

This weekend we experienced a very trying time that made me to want to hide my precious little baby Bear away from the world. I won't get into the details, to protect the not-so-innocent, but let's just say it involved undermining my abilities and decisions as a mother, lots of dirty fingers all over my baby's hands and mouth, and insulting of my beautiful boy's appearance.

And, oh, did the mama bear in me rage.

I held my tongue, much, much more than I probably should have, in an effort to be polite and not cause a scene, but it took every ounce of self-control I could muster to not snatch my baby, yell profanity and run out the door with him tight in my arms. It kept me tossing and turning at least half the night, thinking of how much I wanted to hurt anyone that dared to insult him, that dared to criticize anything about my beautiful not-quite-five-months-old angel, that dared to try to make me feel like an inadequate mother.

I won't be tearing any limbs apart soon over this, but we intend to keep our distance from those people who criticize our family. Our family and our son are the most important things to protect in this world. And dang, is that mother bear urge strong!

On a lighter note, I've been trying so hard to upload videos to this site but can't seem to get it figured out. I'm not sure if the videos are maybe too big? They're only about a minute, but the system seems to stall whenever I try. I took some shorter ones this weekend that I'll try to upload tonight. Barrett is very talkative these days!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Spreading the News

One year ago this weekend we finally shared the news with our families that a little baby was on its way.

We were heading down to St Louis mid-May to tell our parents, under the guise of a dual celebration for Mother's Day and my dad's birthday. We had known about the baby for about 6 weeks at this point and seen a doctor a few weeks earlier to see the heartbeat, but wanted to wait to tell the family in person. Meanwhile I tried to throw my family off every chance I got. I made little comments throughout those weeks about how long it'd be until we had kids, that we wouldn't be starting for a few years, etc. Heehee.

The Friday night we arrived relatively late and were sitting down to dessert. My sister and brother-in-law had sent my mom flowers for an early Mother’s day present and I said, well if they gave you their present early, we will too. My mom tried to insist that we wait until Sunday but I said it was just something small for the two of them and that they should open it then. Calmly, barely looking and talking through the entire thing, my Mom unwrapped the box and looked down at it in shock. Inside was a Baby's First Christmas onesie, so tiny, folded up in the tissue. She whipped her head to look at me, eyes wide and stunned look on her face and said “Is this what I think it is? Is this for real?” I think she thought we were playing a cruel joke on her. My dad, who was barely paying attention before that, jumped out of his seat, looked in the box to see the onesie that was inside and lifted his head with the same wide-eyed, open-mouthed completely shocked expression on his face and said “Are you serious??” I was just laughing and both came to hug me and Tim. I have to say that I teared up at that point, I was so relived to finally tell them and so happy at our news! They both had thought that it would be a very long time before we had kids, so they couldn’t have been more shocked!!!

The next day over lunch we told my sister Melanie. I hadn’t planned out how we’d tell her, but the opportunity came up at lunch, when she was talking about celebrating that weekend. I said, “Yes, we have a lot to celebrate. Dad’s birthday, Mother’s Day, I’m pregnant.” And she just smiled and sat there. A few seconds later she looked around the table and said “what??!” I think she was waiting for the laughter to start at my joke, but no one laughed and it finally hit her what I’d said. I told my other sister later that afternoon over Skype and I think at first they thought we were telling them that we were getting another dog. But nope, it was a baby. They must have found the news so inspiring that wouldn't you know, they decided to make one of their own that very next weekend - Caroline is exactly 8 weeks younger than Barrett!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The first

Some moments I still can't believe I'm a mother. But sure enough, I am. And the luckiest mother in the world. Yes it was Mother's Day, but really, I feel like I should be celebrating the reason I'm a mother, my little darling baby. I don't need gifts (though they sure are great!) and I don't need cards, and I don't need any fancy celebration, all I have to do is look down at the precious little baby laying on my lap, giving me the biggest grin the world has ever seen, and that is enough for me on this holiday!

He (with a bit of help from his daycare teachers) made me the cutest card -

On Mother's Day, I slept in until 11:45. No, that's not a typo, that is actually how late I slept. Granted, I was up twice in the morning to feed Barrett, but went back to sleep until nearly noon. We are battling an awful plague in this house, so guess my body needed all that extra sleep this weekend. It was amazing and much-deserved, if I do say so myself.

We went to lunch at an italian place in downtown Naperville. When we were walking down the street a woman stopped to admire Barrett and told me how precious he is and that we should have a dozen. I'd love to, if they were all as wonderful as he is! Only then I think he took that as a challenge and decided to fuss throughout lunch. Guess waking him up from a nap to head out wasn't the brightest idea. Oh well.

It was a wonderful Mother's Day, despite the cold Chicago weather and this awful sickness I'm fighting. I feel so blessed to be a mom. A MOM - that title still takes me aback!


In honor of Mother's Day, here's a writing that I found beautiful and wanted to share...

Time is running out for my friend.

We are sitting at lunch when she casually mentions that she and her husband are thinking of "starting a family." What she means is that her biological clock has begun its countdown and she is considering the prospect of motherhood.

"We're taking a survey," she says, half jokingly. "Do you think I should have a baby?"

"It will change your life," I say carefully.
"I know," she says. "No more sleeping in on Saturdays, no more spontaneous vacations..."

But that is not what I mean at all.
I look at my friend, trying to decide what to tell her. I want her to know what she will never learn in childbirth classes. I want to tell her that the physical wounds of childbirth heal, but that becoming a mother will leave her with an emotional wound so raw that she will be forever vulnerable.
I consider warning her that she will never read a newspaper again without asking "What if that had been my child?" That every plane crash, every fire will haunt her. That when she sees pictures of starving children, she will look at the mothers and wonder if anything could be worse than watching your child die.
I look at her carefully manicured nails and stylish suit and think she should know that no matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will immediately reduce her to the primitive level. That a slightly urgent call of "Mom!" will cause her to drop her best crystal without a moment's hesitation.

I feel I should warn her that no matter how many years she has invested in her career, she will be professionally derailed by motherhood. She might successfully arrange for child care, but one day she will be waiting to go into an important business meeting, and she will think about her baby's sweet smell. She will have to use every ounce of discipline to keep from running home, just to make sure he is all right.
I want my friend to know that everyday routine decisions will no longer be routine. That a visit to McDonald's and a five year old boy's desire to go to the men's room rather than the women's room will become a major dilemma. That right there, in the midst of clattering trays and screaming children, issues of independence and gender identity will be weighed against the prospect that danger may be lurking in the rest room.

I want her to know that however decisive she may be at the office, she will second-guess herself constantly as a mother. Looking at my attractive friend, I want to assure her that eventually she will shed the pounds of pregnancy, but will never feel the same about herself. That her life, now so important, will be of less value to her once she has a child. That she would give it up in a moment to save her offspring, but will also begin to hope for more years, not so much to accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her child accomplish his.
I want her to know that a cesarean scar or stretch marks will become badges of honor.
My friend's relationship with her husband will change, but not in the ways she thinks. I wish she could understand how much more you can love a man who is always careful to powder the baby or who never hesitates to play with his son. I think she should know that she will fall in love with her husband again for reasons she would never have imagined.
I wish my modern friend could sense the bond she will feel with other women throughout history who have tried desperately to stop war and prejudice and drunk driving.
I want to describe to my friend the exhilaration of seeing your son learn to hit a baseball. I want to capture for her the laugh of a baby who is touching the soft fur of a dog for the first time. I want her to taste the joy that is so real that it hurts.
My friend's quizzical look makes me realize that tears have formed in my eyes.
"You'll never regret it," I say finally.

-Dale Hanson Bourke-
Chicken Soup for the Woman's Soul

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Spit happens

You know you're a mom when you're sitting in a meeting, discussing the impact of new interest rate swaps, the unwinding of terminated swaps, and the accounting for hedging both interest rates and foreign currency rates simultaneously and you look down and notice some dried spit up on your arm.

Mommy Guilt

There are days where I think I can make this whole crazy thing work - those are usually the days where Barrett sleeps 9-11 hours straight, where the house looks semi-presentable, and where there are no fires to put out at work.

I think there have been about three of those days.

Let's face it, these days I should consider it a good day if the men in the white van and lab coats don't show up to cart me away.

I really had NO idea how hard this whole thing was going to be. I mean, I knew it would be tough, I knew that there'd be a few months of tiredness, of not being able to get everything on my list done, of dirty bathrooms and dirty dishes. But I had no idea just how thin I'd be stretched, how I would feel constantly like I'm hanging on by a thread and how I would consistently feel like I'm about one annoyance away from losing my cool at any given minute. And Tim can attest to the fact that I've lost that so-called cool many, many (many, many?) times.

I had heard of mommy guilt but never comprehended what it meant until I was in the full throes of it. Every day I have to fight the guilt of feeling like I'm failing as a mother, failing as a wife, and failing as an employee. I rush off to work in the mornings, after a usually unsatisfying night of sleep, without spending much time with Barrett. I rush out of work to pick him up, about an hour earlier than I did pre-baby, and I have to fight distraction the majority of the day and pretend like I care anymore about what I'm being paid to do. Weeknights are frazzled, with a very tired mommy, trying to squeeze in some quality time with a baby who's been over-stimulated all day and really just wants to close his eyes and go to sleep, with a dog who's been cooped up all day and wants some attention and cuddles of his own and a husband, who's entitled to an attentive (and awake) wife and some dinner and non-crabby company. Let me just say, I live for the weekends, where we all get to sleep in, no alarm clocks, no waking the baby before he's ready, just nice, relaxing, non-cranky time together and lots of kisses and cuddles.

I'm not sure what the solution is for us. I can tell you, what we're doing now just isn't working. I so admire those women for whom it does work. At one point in my life, I really thought it would be me. But I didn't consider the emotions that take over when that little baby comes. I didn't realize the love and guilt and adoration and frustration that come with being a working mother.

And so this game of guilt continues. I keep being told that it does get easier. I'm still waiting.