Your Hair is Everywhere, Screaming…help!

Anyone else’s 14 year old self get my Dashboard Confessional play on title?!? Come on you guys, who was not into Dashboard at that age? My 7th and 8th grade self would have died and gone to heaven if even one boy would have paid me attention. I was the “friend girl” through and through. I digress…

Anyway, let’s talk postpartum hair. I mean, for the mother-f-ing love! First, you lose just a TON of it. Just tons. It feels like every time you shower or brush it out, you’re going to go bald. You can’t do anything with it because it’s so thin, and it is EVERYWHERE and not in that Dashboard Confessional kind of way.

Then…the regrowth happens. And it’s not cute. It’s just not. It sticks out, straight up, like bangs you didn’t ask for. Lord knows you need a haircut, but it’s not going to happen anytime soon because what are you supposed to do with these little tiny baby hairs that are just not endearing? And, whenever you wear it up in a messy bun, it’s just weird looking. Like, half your hair is an inch long and hanging down, but not in an “I have really cute trendy bangs” kind of way. It’s more of a, “Did your toddler cut your hair?” kind of way.

Also, don’t get me started on the grays. Between the lack of sleep your body is now experiencing plus that added stress of an additional life, they just pop up like wildfire. This is yet another thing no one told me about before having a baby. It would have been nice to know.

So, first time moms who stumble upon my lowly blog, you’re welcome. You’re about to embark on a year plus of serious hair weirdness. May I recommend you increase your supply of bobby pins, hairspray, and headbands. Also, embrace the gray hair until  you can get your boobs free enough of that baby to go and have a proper hair cut and color. Just for some realistic ideas of that…I haven’t had mine done in over a  year.

Insert all the emojis.

 

Let’s Do Something

I’m not usually one to voice my political feelings. It makes me feel awkward and it’s just like opening up pandora’s box every time. Everyone feels differently about politics, so I tend to stay away.

That being said, what is happening currently in our country goes far beyond political parties. The executive orders that have recently been put into place are fundamentally wrong. This is no longer about party lines, marriage rights, or pro-life versus pro-choice, etc.

I think using social media and our respective networks to raise awareness is fantastic. The more we discuss and learn from one another, the better. However, discussion only gets us so far. At times, action needs to be taken. It’s one thing to blog, Instagram, or Tweet about how upset you are. It’s another to take that and speak up for those who cannot.

If you’d like to contact members of your government, I urge you to do so. We often say, “If I lived during such-and-such time in history, I would do x-y-z.” Well, we are living in “such-and-such time,” so what are you going to do?

Below are a few sites I found most helpful for contacting my officials. Also, there are others out there that have pre-written emails, so you literally just have to put in your email address and name. That’s all! Just make sure you read what is pre-written to ensure you fully agree with everything you are sending.

Let’s speak out.

To contact your senator: https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/

To contact your representative: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

A one stop shop: act.commoncause.org/site/PageServer?pagename=sunlight_advocacy_list_page

 

 

Seasons.

 

We are reading a book in my mom’s group about seasons of life. I’ll let you guess which one I’m in.

This is what my bedroom looks like:

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I went to an interview for a part time job last week with strawberry juice plastered across my boobs. My shirt was white. Not awesome. Also, the interview was for a 16 hour a week job, and the lady talked to me for two and a half hours. Serious red flags.

I risked it and tried to shower today while my baby girl was awake. I pulled tons of toys into the room to occupy her. It did not end well:

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I haven’t slept through the night since last May. Lennon has fluid in her eardrums and needs to be repositioned frequently throughout the night to relieve the pressure. She was supposed to have tubes put in her ears yesterday, but thanks to insurance, we don’t have a date scheduled until mid-February. (But there is a date!)

I went to switch over the seventh load of laundry (yes, seventh) I’ve done since yesterday morning and came back to find out that Lennon can now maneuver through her high chair buckles. I found her standing up trying to climb onto the kitchen island. Duly noted.

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I also sat with my beautiful boy while he ate lunch. What’s wrong with that? We literally (and yes I am using that word correctly right now) sat at the kitchen island for 45 minutes so he could eat four chicken nuggets. Not because he was refusing, just because he eats like a sloth. I love him dearly, but come on, man.

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I’m on my third cup of coffee today, one being an espresso drink, and I still feel like I could close my eyes right now and sleep until tomorrow afternoon.

Also, the former host of Celebrity Apprentice is becoming the President of the United States tomorrow. I’m still waiting for someone to pop out of the woodwork and be like, “April fools a little early, America!”

I’m ready for Spring. Anyone else?

 

 

Dear Bethany,

It’s okay.

It’s okay that your dishes from four days ago are still in the sink.  The ones in the dishwasher are clean, and we all know you’ll get to them eventually. You have not one, but two dirty crockpots? No problem. At least you used them at some point.

It’s totally fine that you haven’t dusted in a while. Little children are still running in and out of your house, so even if you did, no one would notice anyway. Don’t worry about the fact that you haven’t done you or your husband’s laundry in so long that he had to wear old underwear to work. He rallies for you and is proud that at least the kids have clean clothes.

And speaking of your awesome husband, it’s no big deal that you haven’t shaved your legs in a significantly long time. He’s also cool with it that you didn’t get the opportunity to shower today because your schedule and children were both slightly crazy. He’s watched you birth babies, and still finds you sexy. Honestly, there’s not really too much beyond that which will make you physically unattractive to him.

It’s not the end of the world that your child, after over a year of efforts, still will not always poop when he has to. This too, shall pass. Don’t stress over the amount of times you have to say, “stop making fart sounds,” “no, we are not talking about poop right now,” or “for the love, put your shoes on!”

You had canned soup for dinner last night? No big deal. A little processed crap never hurt anybody. At least you saved $20 and opted out on going through the McDonald’s drive through for the 85th time this year.

Don’t feel bad that you forgot to pack diapers for your daughter today when you dropped her off in the nursery and she ended up needing a diaper change and had to be put in a diaper much to small for all that junk inside that trunk. She survived, and the nursery workers have extra diapers just for moms like you.

You’re doing great. You’ve got this. Mom power and all that hoopla to you. Because you know what? Sometimes the stars align, your baby takes a long nap, your oldest is actually quiet during “quiet time,” and you get to clean your kitchen and listen to Kaleo at the same time. And, after that the heavens open and it’s 65 and sunny on an Oregon November day and you can get outside with your littles and rake the entire backyard with a 20 pound baby on your back. And despite being hit with a rake over a dozen times by a certain four year old who is very slowly learning spacial awareness, you got the entire yard raked and your kids got some precious vitamin D. Then, your babies entertain one another long enough for you to punch out this letter to yourself.

Don’t worry, mama. If you don’t get it done today, it will be waiting tomorrow, or the next day, or even the day after that.

You are capable.

Sincerely,

Yourself.

 

Another baby? It’s complicated.

It’s my “blog-aversary” I guess. So says WordPress. Four years ago I started this baby….and wow does time fly. Four years ago I started this blog as a rant of the struggles of first-time motherhood. And now that little baby I was talking about is four. He knows how to write his name. He knows the alphabet and he can count to 100. That little baby is also a fantastic big brother and says the funniest and craziest things. It’s nuts how life works out and flies by all at once.

I’ve been in kind of a funk these days. I know I talk about my miscarriages often, and many of you who read this blog may be tired of hearing about it. I apologize, and want to kindly remind you that you don’t have to read what I write, it doesn’t bother me one way or another. But be warned, this blog does touch on my unborn babies.

I have begun the process of writing a book I once dreamed about. Both my husband and the readers of this blog have encouraged me to push forward and make that dream a reality. Though it won’t be remotely written for many years, it is in the works.  Writing on this topic has been something I have been passionate about. Miscarriage and the loss with it has been so taboo in our culture and I’m tired of it, and so are the other mothers out there who have experienced it. It’s just time to talk about it and not in a “everything-works-out” kind of way. It’s time that miscarriage is recognized as the anger and grief inducing tragedy that it is. It should be called out for what it is: a life altering, never the same again, event.

But, that is only part of what is on my mind today. Really, what my mind is mulling over is whether or not to have another baby. I want another baby. I crave it. I hated being pregnant with Lennon, but in the long run, it’s so worth it. But honestly, I am petrified. The condition I have, which presumably caused my previous miscarriages, only worsens with age, so each day that passes, each moment, increases my chance of miscarrying all the more. And honestly, I don’t know if I can mentally and emotionally handle the possibility of losing another baby.

Recently, my husband and I have started a small group within our church dedicated to the common bond of miscarriage. Because of this and the start of this book, I have been dwelling on and reliving my experiences more graphically than  usual on a daily basis. It does a number on one’s emotional state. I typically think of my lost children at least once a day, but lately, I have been graphically re-living every detail of their loss.

I have been trying so hard to soak in the moments with my four year old and treasure the fleeting moments of babyhood with my sweet Lennon. But always in the back of my mind is the craving of another child, and the reminder of those I have lost. It’s a tough place to find myself.

I tried to fool myself into saying I was done after two living babies. I have a beautiful boy and the most awesome girl. Perfect, right? But I crave another. A few weeks ago, I held a friend’s sweet newborn baby and was so happy to give her back once she cried, but now–now I long for that moment when you hold a new baby for the first time. I want to hear those sweet and unforgettable newborn cries. I want that first look into each other’s eyes. I want to mother another child. But I’m scared of the journey to get there. My heart cannot take another loss. My heart can hardly manage another pregnancy. The mere thought makes my stomach churn and my eyes tear up.

Pregnancy is a complete crap-shoot. You don’t ever know until the moment that beautiful, pink, screaming baby is placed in your arms, that everything will be okay. And there in lies the risk.

This is where I am, folks. Truly caught between a rock and a hard place. And seriously hoping time will tell.

The Struggle is Real

There are things we all struggle with in life. I recently had coffee with a dear friend and we openly and honestly discussed some of our personal struggles. For me, I struggle a lot with jealousy. Particularly when it comes to hair, clothes, and just general appearance. It’s something I’ve dealt with all my life, and I’m slowly but surely getting over it (and myself), with an emphasis on slowly.

But there are some other things I struggle with daily, and I’m guessing other parents out there do too. I hope.

Legos. I love them. I hate them. They are so wonderful when they occupy your little one for endless hours of creative fun, but when it’s time to pick them up…they are everywhere and you can never, ever, ever, get all of them. Just when you think you’ve gotten them all put away…you find another one. And if you step on one, the cuss words flow. Who knew that such a small piece of plastic could cause so much pain?

Dishes. Seriously, this is my life: Load dishwasher. Empty dishwasher. Load dishwasher. Empty dishwasher.

Laundry. See above, except with clothes.

Changing sheets on a bunk bed. Bunk beds–so fun for your kids right? TERRIBLE idea for the one who has to change the sheets. You’re either hitting your head on the top bunk above you, or risking your life to lay a blanket on the top bunk.

Folding a fitted sheet. I’ve watched the tutorials. I still can’t do it. It frustrates me.

School drop off. This is a new world for me. This is judgmental. I admit it. But OMG moms with the perfectly applied makeup and curled hair at 7:45 AM who I know are not going to work because you’re there when it’s pickup time at 11:00. OMG. Yes, I wish I had your skills to dress and be presentable at that hour in the morning. I do. Yes, I am jealous of you. Yes, I am judging you from my own insecurity as I haggardly walk my son to his room with my bedhead and day old, slept in makeup. And no, I did not just roll out of bed despite my appearance. I have been up since 6:30. I have walked my dog, packed a backpack and snack, nursed a baby, provided breakfast, gotten two kids dressed and in the car to get to school on time. Please advise me where in that mess is there time to put on beautiful clothes and makeup? I want to know your ways. Also, OMG road rage in the drop off line. Ease up a bit…we’re all trying here.

Cleaning the floors (or house in general). I have hardwood floors. They are a hot mess. I do clean them, but then breakfast happens, and then lunch, followed by dinner, intermittent with several snack times, spills, outside debris brought indoors, and a drooling baby learning to crawl. Ain’t nobody got time to keep that mess clean.

I do not know how some of you do it. How do you keep the house clean, look drop dead gorgeous, have well-mannered kids, date nights with your spouse, and put a hot meal on the table every night? Plus sleep? Or do you not? I don’t know. But these are my struggles, and I hope I’m not alone in this mess.

 

The Trenches

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“You’re in the trenches.” I’ve heard this phrase many times in the last year, and I’ve not really known what to make of it until recently. It is typically used to refer to parents who have multiples under the age … Continue reading

Dear Second Child

My mom didn’t make my baby book until I asked for one for my 12th birthday. I always thought, “how could she not make me a baby book?” Not to mention there was this cross stitch picture she made for my sister, amongst other things.

Mom, I get it now. And thank you for making me one for my 12th birthday.

Dear Second Child,

I love you just as much as your older sibling. I promise I do. Yes, I did a baby book for your brother’s first year of life, carefully and joyfully documenting each month and putting it together in a beautiful album. Yes, you are five months old now, and no, I have not purchased your album yet. But rest assured, I’ve got all your important moments documented in my Instagram account. Yep…

Yes, we have video footage of your brother’s developmental milestones. And, to be fair, we do have attempts at yours…they are just marred by a certain three year old waving his hands in front of the camera or crazily chatting over your precious cooing sounds.

No, I did not have your crib bedding specially made. I got you a blanket at Babies R Us and used the rest of your brother’s old hand me down bedding.

Yes, most of your clothes (okay, all of your clothes) are freebies because I realize now that babies grow so fast and I’m not wasting my money on brand new outfits that you will wear for approximately five minutes. Don’t worry, if you’re anything like me, we will make up for lost new outfits later in life.

Yes, I cloth diapered your brother’s little baby bottom, but honey–ain’t nobody got time for that amount of laundry these days. Disposable diapers have served you well and will continue to do so.

I often let your brother nap in my arms as much as possible. I’m afraid I don’t have that luxury with you. You see, the longer I hold you, the more I risk you being woken up by a certain three almost four year old who is bashing his cars and Hulk smashing everything. I save a little extra snuggle time for you every night before I put you to bed for two reasons. One, because I love to have that time just you and I (and daddy is home to help keep child number one under control ;)) and two, because I often fall asleep right along with you out of sheer exhaustion.

We have made it a point to write letters to both you and your brother to give to you when you’re older. You do have some…just not as many. We will catch up, I promise.

Oh second child, my love for you is not any less than it is for your brother. It’s just that your brother doesn’t nap, and you don’t sleep at night, so it’s all I can do to make sure everyone is clothed, fed, and safe. This too shall pass, and hopefully by the time you are 12, I will have purchased your baby album.

Don’t take it personally. Someday if you have babies of your own, you will understand, much like I am now understanding. I love you deeply, and you have completed our family in the best way possible. And I promise you, I will print photos of you soon. At least by the time you’re old enough to know whether or not there are pictures of you on the wall. IMG_0778

 

 

 

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Brotherly Love.

Every parent wants their children to get along, or better yet, to actually love each other. This afternoon, I got to witness it on a new level and trust me, when you see it–magic.

Lennon had a doctor’s appointment this afternoon to get some vaccinations.* I have never cried when either of my kids have gotten a shot until today. I feel they are a necessary evil, and both Judah and Lennon have already experienced other situations that have been much more difficult to observe than a quick shot.

However, today’s event was different. Lennon flexed her leg muscle during the injection, which caused it to be much more painful and traumatizing than normal. A bit of blood was shed and many, many baby tears and screams followed. Of course, the nurse felt horrible, but these things sometimes occur. So there we both were trying to comfort this poor little baby to no avail. When our nurse finished up and left the room, I turned to Judah to make sure he was ready to get going. I will never forget this moment.

Instead of finding him occupying himself spinning around on the doctor’s stool, which he typically does during these visits, he was standing, shell-shocked, tears streaming down his face. He looked at me with such an intensely worried expression and whispered softly, “Mommy, is Lennon going to be okay?”

Bam. My tear ducts started flowing uncontrollably. I know in that moment I should have tried to hold them in and put on a brave face for my kiddo, but when you experience the love that your firstborn has for his sibling, it’s game over. I mean, I know Judah loves his sister, but this was more than a happy greeting in the morning, or a kiss goodnight kind of love. Here was my little boy, visibly distraught over the state of his sister, wanting nothing more than to make sure she was okay and comforted.

I reassured him that she was going to be fine and that sometimes these things hurt, but we always get better. I told him that Lennon needed us to be brave for her, and that we would just spend the afternoon snuggling her up and making sure she knew everything was okay. I hugged him tight and said, “It’s hard to watch someone you love experience hurt isn’t it?” He gave several vigorous nods. As I wiped his tears and saw the genuine affection he had for his baby sister, my heart felt like it was going to explode.

We gathered up our things and headed for the car, all three of us covered in tears. It was the worst and best vaccination day ever.

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*This post is not about opinions on vaccinating your kids. Everyone has them, including myself, but I don’t really want to hear them. At the end of the day, the decision is yours as a parent on what you want to do, and you are the one who knows best for your particular child. Let’s leave it there.