Archive for August, 2008

here it is: the long-awaited, picture-heavy trip blog entry!

I know you’ve been dying to hear about our trip to Michigan–so here goes.

First of all, I flew from BWI to Detroit with the two kids. And it was fine! They were good on the plane; Mary was asleep before they brought drinks around and Wesley was totally happy in the wrap. (I forgot my Moby Wrap and we had to stop at Target en route to the airport to buy another one–oops.) We arrived without incident–aside from a very nice woman in front of me insisting on carrying Mary’s car seat down to the baggage claim for us (thank you, kind stranger!).

When we arrived, my mom and dad met us. Mary was excited. Wesley was asleep. We got our bags and headed to the car to visit the farm!

Mary visited many animals and plants.

At first she was wary of Sophie the dog:

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But she got over that and now she and Sophie are pals. Mary says, “Hi, Soph!” and “Bye, Soph!” whenever we arrive or leave.

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She likes Moses–she calls him “Mo.”

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We visited Jake and Turbo. (For the city folk among you, the masks are to keep flies out of their eyes.)

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Mary inspected the flowers.

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She ate sweet corn (first time!).

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She swam. She didn’t like the fact that she couldn’t swim alone; she’s used to her kiddie pool and we had a number of meltdowns before she accepted the fact that the stairs were really her favorite spot.

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Wesley hung out at the pool, too.

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Mya and her friend Monica also swam.

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Kristy and Doug brought over their kids to swim. Mary, Emma, and Lylah played.

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The parties commenced on Tuesday with a birthday party for me. Then there was a bridal shower for my cousin Katie. Then there was brunch on Saturday so that Conor could see some people in the few hours he was in town. During these festivities, many people held my kids.

Grandma Moreland held Wesley.

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Grandpa Moreland held Wesley.

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Aunt Mary held Wesley.

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Aunt Kitty held Wesley.

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Andy held Wesley.

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I held Wesley. Once. (Vicki was visiting.)

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Vicki held Wesley and they told each other jokes.

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Emily held Mary.

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Jenny H. held Mary and fed her desserts.

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Mom held Mary.

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I held Mary.

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There were some other people at these parties, too.

Katie (official title: Bride).

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Katie modeling the apron I made for her:

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Trish and Sarah

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Grandma Moreland and Julie (official title: Pregnant Lady):

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This is my cousin Dustin’s baby, Anna (official title: Other Baby):

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She and Mary had a good time together.

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She also had a good time with Jim (her grandpa).

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Aside from this, there was sleeping/snuggling time.

Grandpa Moo made Wesley laugh.

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Wesley made Grandpa laugh.

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Wesley napped.

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Wesley napped with Grandma Cal.

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…and with Grandpa.

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And by himself in Grandpa’s chair.

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On Saturday Conor joined us. Mary was so happy. She attached herself to Daddy and that was that.

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She and Conor took a picture of me.

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Then on Saturday afternoon we drove up to Saginaw and spent the night there, visiting Conor’s mom. On the way we stopped in East Lansing to feed Wesley. This is the dorm we both lived in. The front porch is where we first met. All together now: aww.

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Here are some pictures of Ama and the kids–Wesley especially had a lot to say to Ama.

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Wesley says, “We have to drive WHERE?”

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Mary helped drive home. Well, at least she offered.

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Pasternak

My friend Maggie has an impossibly cute pet. She sent us some pictures of him a couple of weeks ago and gave me permission to post them for your viewing pleasure.

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Isn’t he the cutest ever? These pictures are from his 16th birthday celebration.

Wednesday reading: Hornblower

I said this before but I’ll say it again–I love Horatio Hornblower.

C.S. Forster didn’t appeal to me because I didn’t like “The African Queen” (the book, I mean; I like the movie). But then I started reading the Hornblower books and there is just nothing like it. They’re sort of adventure novels (you know, on the high seas and all that), but so realist. I recommend them wholeheartedly. And I think Hornblower himself is a great character.

lies and myths about babies, plus a Mary reflection–Friday rant

First and foremost, it is a LIE that every mother bonds instantly with every baby and loves that baby more than life itself the minute it emerges from her womb. How do I know this? Because when my babies were born, instead of being overwhelmed by some sense of cosmic love and devotion, I just felt a sense of huge responsibility. It takes a while to get to know them–just like other people. I know some women don’t feel that way, but I think it’s totally normal. Right about now–in the last week or so–I’m getting pretty smitten with Wesley. He’s getting some personality and I’m getting a little less wiped out all the time. (It’s harder having two kids–when Mary was his age I was getting a good 8 hours of sleep every night and feeling like a million bucks. Last night I got two hours. I feel like…well, about five bucks.)

Anyway, I think it’s a big fat myth that you’re supposed to automatically feel like you know and love a person you just met. It makes sense, in my opinion, to expect it to take a little while.

Other myths about babies:
* A “good” baby sleeps all night early on and doesn’t cry.

That’s not a good baby; it’s an easy baby. Difficult babies are also good babies. (Mary was an easy baby; Wesley is less so. But he’s a good baby. What would a bad baby even consist of?)

* Once you have two kids, you’ll never go out again.

I will. I do. I have. I can’t stay in my house all the time.

* You need a double stroller.

Bleh. I don’t want a stroller at all. I put Wesley in a baby carrier (of which, I must admit, I have several) and Mary walks with me, rides in a cart at a store, or runs around the park. Strollers for infants weigh a ton and are hard to steer and don’t fit through anywhere. Who needs it?

* Anyone can breastfeed exclusively. Just nurse more often/see a lactation consultant/pump after nursing/don’t use a pacifier/sleep with your baby.

Some women genuinely don’t have enough milk to nurse exclusively. How about supporting their attempts and encouraging them to nurse as much as possible, instead of piling on more guilt and sense of inferiority? (This is apropos of a woman at Target today who actually lectured me about the fact that the formula I was giving Wesley would make him fat and give him diabetes. Come on! She has no idea how much time/energy/money/emotional investment I’ve put into breastfeeding both of my kids. Just when I was starting to feel okay about it, why make things worse? Would it be so hard to confine yourself to lecturing people you actually know, at least?)

* Co-sleeping will result in you smothering your baby.

Read research! It is at least as safe or safer than crib sleeping. For every story about a smothered baby, there are thousands of safe, happy, well-adjusted babies who don’t make the news–and who knows how many babies who die of SIDS in cribs. (SIDS is greatly decreased in babies who bed-share.)

* It is okay to interrogate new parents about their parenting choices.

New parents are in a fragile state. They are under-rested, overtaxed, and dazed by the complete readjustment of their family lives and daily routines. Do NOT say things like “You’re going to spoil that baby picking him up all the time,” “Why don’t you just let her wait her turn,” or “Try rice cereal–your baby is hungry.” (Trust me: if a baby is crying, the baby’s parents know it.)

There are only a few things that are acceptable to say to them:
“Can I bring you some dinner?”
“Here is a present for your OLDER child.”
“Your baby [or babies, if you have other kids] are beautiful and you are so lucky.”

Anyway, I am not as bitter as this sounds–I just think our culture encourages so much rudeness about parenting and so little actual support. Every parent makes individual choices. Unless they’re abusive, that’s fine. And if my choice includes picking up my baby instead of letting him cry, that’s my choice–even if you, a fellow shopper, think it’s silly.

In other news, Mary is my hero. Really. She is such a great kid. She has adjusted so well to Wesley being here. From her perspective, what’s happened in the last 7 weeks?

* Conor and I left her at Grandma’s and disappeared for two days. Conor then reappeared, brought her to the hospital–a scary and totally new place–for two days, where she got to see Wesley–a bundle of boring blobbiness–but also had to see me with an IV and monitor, which scared her.

* I suddenly refused to pick her up for two weeks and avoided it as much as possible for a month.

* Grandma Cal came to visit and stayed for two weeks, then disappeared.

* Wesley cries and I immediately take care of it; when Mary wants something, she usually has to wait.

* She has to sleep in her own room but Wesley gets to sleep in my bed.

And in response to all of this, what does she do? She has a few meltdowns, sure, mostly when she wants something and I’m nursing Wesley and she has to wait. But she is incredibly sweet, giving me hugs and kisses every day; very smart, and genuinely helpful, doing things like getting me a clean diaper for Wesley when he needs one (even, I’m pleased to note, differentiating between her mediums and larges and Wesley’s smalls); sharing her things with Wesley; rocking him when he cries (sometimes), petting his head to calm him down and getting my attention if she thinks he’s upset; and learning like crazy every day, getting new words, new skills, new interests. She’s amazing. Would you be that accepting of a change so complete that you didn’t understand? I wouldn’t.

And I think she’s a fantastic person.

I love Horatio Hornblower

I’m reading C.S. Forster’s “Hornblower” series and they are awesome. Seriously. You should read them.

in case it seems like I’m playing favorites…

…new pics of Mary! She is definitely a little girl now, not a baby. It’s amazing how much older she seems than when Wesley was born, even.

She’s hiding a tomato in those hands:

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Yummy, she says.

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Saying hi to Wesley–well, to be strictly accurate, saying, “Hi, boy!” (I think she thinks that’s his name):

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Boo!

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two things said in my house recently

Me: Do you have any idea why Wesley might smell like pickles?
Conor: Nope.

(We went on with our lives. Still don’t know.)

Conor: Where did Mary get a cookie?
Me: Oh, don’t worry, it’s not a cookie. It’s a piece of granola bar off the floor.
Conor: Oh, okay.