Day to day

5 cute (inexpensive things) for Fall.

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{via pinterest} {obviously this is not me but she is wearing THE jeans!}

 

I admit I am among the many bloggers who long for boots, leggings, and Starbucks in the fall. Oh, who are we kidding? Starbucks is a year long want. It’s seasonless, Starbucks is the new Starbucks.

Anyway, here are five relatively inexpensive things that are rocking my fall!

1. Mossimo Skinny Boyfriend Jeans from Target.

Run, don’t walk and grab these. SO comfy, so cute and so affordable! (Don’t judge by the picture on the website, it sucks.) I bought 2 pair and I might get the light wash too, they are that comfy and cute. They aren’t high waisted but the back comes up high enough so that when you bend over or sit down you aren’t showing- you know- your chonies. (Crack is indeed whack.) Size down, guys. WAY down. As in I bought a size 0. So vanity sizing in full effect, but so damn cute! Cartwheel currently has a 25% off code too! Grab. Them.

2. Bandolino Cay Riding Boots $99 (but there’s a coupon the site!)

I haven’t gotten these yet, but as soon as they arrive I’ll take pictures because they are CUTE and look way more expensive than they are. I really want those Frye boots but at 500 bones they will have to wait. My advice is to go a half size up because the toe box is a little short. I usually wear a 6 1/2 and I ordered a 7 (they didn’t have my size in store) I can’t wait to wear these. Jeggings, Leggings…yes. Bring it!

3. Arbonne Kiss At Midnight Lipgloss Trio

This set and the RE-9 skin care is how I ended up being a consultant. I love them that much, like I tossed all my other glosses out and ordered 2 sets of these. One for my purse and one for home. The three colors are peach, pink and berry. I’ve never found three that work so well on everyone. Pinks always turn neon on me and this one doesn’t, it is a soft pale pink that is reminiscent of the famous Chanel pink. Peach is the perfect natural gloss, just looks like healthy lips with some color. Beautiful, I wear it non-stop. Last but not least is Berry and it’s a natural raspberry with a touch of a brown undertone, it is winter perfection! I am glad I ordered two sets. All Arbonne products are not-tested on animals and are vegan, so no gross animal renderings and yuckiness like that! Best of all, they work.

aaaaaaaand it’s sold out. Okay, these are close Pink  Peach Berry
{full disclosure, I do rep/sell Arbonne so if you buy them feel free to use my consultant ID #21290203 or you can search for a consultant in your area}

4. Plaid Scarves: Recently there was a buzzfeed that was all “Here are some past trends that might still be in your closet” and scarves was on the list. From my cold dead hands, people. Scarves make everything better. Everything. This year I am really digging plaid. I grabbed blue and red this one from Target just the other day while I was grocery shopping. (groceries at Target. Genius or GENIUS?) I am guessing I will grab the red multi colored one too! Because I will need milk, diapers and accessories next week.

5. Revlon Gel Envy nail polish

I have really thin bendy nails. Manicures are pointless because if I don’t smudge them immediately (hello, my name is Stephanie and I am a massive klutz!) which I always do, they chip within a day because no matter how snort they are cut they bend and the polish pops off. Gel manicures are the greatest invention for me, but I can’t carve out time to go get a mani every two weeks! Enter Revlon. This stuff dries crazy quick and stays on! I don’t get the full 14 days I get 6 maybe 7, but for me that is amazing! And because it dries so quickly it’s really easy to do my nails at home and I feel like nice nails  sort of help with distracting people from the ever present baby spit up on my right shoulder. I have Queen Of Hearts, Cardshark and Hold Em in heavy rotation right now!

 

So there they are! 5 things I am digging for fall! None of those (except Arbonne) are affiliate links or anything like that, I just love them!

Now, go get yourself a Starbucks. And some jeans…cause SERIOUSLY!

Helping your anxious child

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Starting Kindergarten is an adjustment for every child, but when you have an anxious child it can be particularly stressful. We’ve been working very hard to build Max’s confidence and give him some tools he can use himself when he feels anxious. As school has been progressing we have seen an uptick in his anxiety attacks and I thought I’d share with you some of the things we have been using in case your child is also suffering from anxiety.

Try not to get frustrated with them:
This can be really hard when it’s bedtime and suddenly they are panicked. I have gotten frustrated a time or two (or three) and this really does nothing but make Max feel unheard and more uneasy. He is coming to me because he knows I can and will make him feel safe. When I discount that, it makes his anxiety worse. It also ends up taking a lot longer to go through the attack and come out the other side than if I had just stopped and gone through it with him. Trust me, even when the timing couldn’t be worse, using a kind voice and reassuring them that you are there with them really helps. They’re not manipulating us or lying, they are in distress and even when it really is frustrating taking the time to honor their experience is the best path.

Deep breathing can reset the central nervous system:
We practice deep breathing together. This helps settle his nervous system and keeps him from hyperventilating. Sometimes we add a phrase to it like “good thoughts in, bad thoughts out” as we breathe.

Focus on the present:
I talk him through what’s happening right now. For instance “right now we are sitting together on the couch, we are cuddled up and your brother is playing play doh, your sister is napping and everything is okay.” This can also be helpful if you have other children. I have a three year old and a baby still nursing, so sometimes I have to deal with more than one child crisis at a time. This can be a good thing because he learns the world keeps going even while he is panicking. I can say “I’m nursing Piper right now, come snuggle me and let’s breathe.” Then we can go right into what is happening, we are snuggling while Piper eats and Huck is drinking milk…etc.

There is no rhyme or reason to the triggers and they frequently have nothing to do with anything:
My son can sometimes see something really scary on the news and it doesn’t affect him at all (I try to change the channel or turn the tv off so he doesn’t see it, but sometimes things happen) but then last night he had a big panic attack because he thought we sold an old guitar at our yard sale last summer. Last summer as in 2013 summer. Sometimes the triggers are clear and easily handled and sometimes it seems like they are out of left field and in a foreign language, and this can be frustrating (see my first tip) just know that whatever it is, however it is exhibiting itself it is very real to our children. Even if it makes no sense to us at all.

Listen to them:
Sometimes Max can verbalize exactly what is happening with him, what set him off and how he is feeling. If I listen and acknowledge and validate his feelings -not by assuring him that the laundry was indeed a monster but by saying “I understand, sometimes things look different in different lights and that can be scary” that goes a long way.

Tell them they are not alone:
At some point in our lives we have felt anxious about something. Use that. We forget sometimes how small their worlds are. I remember the first time I told Max that I had felt that way too. It blew his mind. He truly thought he was the only person in the world suffering and that made him feel very alone. Now he knows I have felt that way, and Daddy and Grandma too.

Celebrate their victories:
After a particularly rough bedtime he woke in the morning full of pride that he had made it through the night. So we celebrated that. Good Job Max!

If they are old enough, explain the physiology:
Towards the end of his anxiety attack last night he said his heart felt jumpy and that scared him. I explained in very simple terms adrenaline and how it works. Then I used an example of when it works in his favor, for instance on the baseball field. When the ball comes to him his body releases a jolt of adrenaline and that lets him hit, run or catch the ball quickly without even thinking about it. But it’s no good when you’re feeling anxious and your body reacts to what your mind is thinking. He really liked knowing how that worked and his heart racing was a little less scary.

Distract them:
We talk about happy things. We are going to the zoo this week with his friends and he can’t wait. We had a great time at a petting zoo this weekend and that was cool, we go over how he fielded that ball in the game last week. Things like that. We talk about Christmas or birthdays or whether we think his friend is getting a new sister or brother. We talk about whatever cute thing Huck or Piper did that day. You get the point.

Listen when they tell you what they need:
Max is getting very good at asking for what he needs, whether it is snuggles, to breathe, to go over happy things whatever it is. Sometimes if he has an attack during the day he will come to me and say he is having trouble and he needs a snuggle or to do “the thing” The thing is simply breathing and I talk him through calming down.

Make sure they get enough sleep and eat right:
If Max doesn’t get enough sleep or has too much sugar his anxiety goes up. He is now old enough to know that one affects the other and sometimes when I say “Okay you’ve already had a popsicle so no more” he accepts it easier because he knows if he has too much sugar it’s harder for him. On the other hand there have been times when this exact thing can cause panic. For instance he doesn’t want cake at a birthday party because he is afraid of having a panic attack. I reassured him that it was okay to have the cake and we would have a good dinner with a lot of protein to balance it out. He was then able to have the cake happily and let go of that worry.

Find a bedtime routine that reassures them and helps them sleep:

This can take a great deal of trial and error, but finding a way to send them off to dreamland feeling secure and cared for is important for all children, but especially those with anxiety.
We have created ‘The thing” and he asks every night if we can do it. It’s a bit of a guided relaxation we have developed together. We start with breathing, then go over the happy things from the day, then breathe and thinking about what’s happening at this exact moment and then we take a deep breath in and blow out and then we sing a song. Sometimes it’s Here Comes The Sun but mostly it’s Baby Mine and then we go to sleep.

Work on something they can do by themselves out in the world:
We are working on this, right now he knows he can go into the restroom and just breathe if he needs too. We haven’t developed a real game plan for this but so far just knowing he can do that if he needs to is okay. I also tell him to draw a picture of what’s scaring him if he is at school and then we can talk about it when he gets home.

As with anything, it takes a while to figure out what works for our kids. I hope this helps. This is what works for us.

 

 

 

 

oh…that middle child.

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Yesterday Huck came up to me while I was working at his grandfather’s desk and said “I can’t find me.” Despite having rectified the no-printed pictures of the second born crisis, I hadn’t yet framed one for grandpa’s desk. Shame on me. Luckily this one was easily handled as I now have photos printed weekly.

So it was that this week, after months of asking, Huck started soccer. It wasn’t that we had meant to push his request aside. I just sort of got lost in life. Max had T-ball all summer then we had a baby and omg suddenly Huck had been begging for ages and no soccer had been arranged. I finally said to Zach, dude, Max was like I want baseball and BAM next day, baseball. We need to get this little Huckleberry in some soccer. BAM, next day, soccer.

Zach was insistent we take him to get him his very own new cleats (even if we already had some) and here I confess, I was wrong. Huck’s sheer glee over going to get his shoes for soccer was over the top and even if he doesn’t remember it, Zach, Max and I sure will.

Huck’s first day came early on a muggy, unbearably hot Saturday morning. We were miserable. Huck was sweaty, tired and in heaven. As he took the field Max remarked with a heavy sigh “Oh. They grow up so fast.”  Huck was the tiniest one on the team. His coach went out of his way to make sure that Huck got to grab a flag and get a cone in the games but he was thwarted by faster, stronger kids. At one point he nearly got the cone before it was swooped up by another boy. Huck stood in shock and then melted. It was so heartbreaking.

They played a game where they were cheetahs-running fast and making big kicks- and we heard his sweet little voice from across the field say “I A CHEETAH!” it was so cute and he was so, so happy.

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So we resolve to move quicker on Huck’s interests…he may have had to wait. But it was worth it.

 

 

 

 

All the boy babies are leaving…..

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He was adamant he carry his bag. To the car, to the school, and to put it on his name plate – there was to be no helping him. Thank you very much.

I knew that sending Huck off to his first day of preschool would be different than sending Max. First of all the simple circumstances dictated it; we had been in that school for three years and now know all the teachers, the classrooms, and most importantly the playground. Huck himself had been there every week since he was 3 months old, saving for summer vacations. He knew the teachers and the classrooms and how it works.  He is a different kid than Max. He maintained that I was staying with him at class, although I prepared him that I was going to leave, Daddy was going to leave but we would be back to pick him up just as we had with Max.

He has been waiting, waiting to do what brother does and his gleeful cry of “It’s mine day! Mine School!” when I told him it was time to go to school said it all.

He was first into the classroom sitting right down at a table until his teacher asked him if he wanted to take out some toys. You don’t have to ask Huck twice on that front, dude had toys less that 2 seconds later. I snapped a few pics, kissed that sweet, golden Dennis the Menace hair and we scooted out the door…

Call us if you need us, I told my very favorite teacher ever. (Seriously FB suggested I friend her and I didn’t because I don’t think it would be healthy for me…I love her that much. )

No matter how much you love the school and the teachers and how much you trust the administration there is, at least for me, a battle of instincts. My instinct is to run in and gather my baby in my arms and never leave him. What I do is get in my car and go to Starbucks and get a drink because in this instance my instinct isn’t in his best interest. He is ready. He loves to play games and do puzzles and he is so bored of me. He wants to go to school. He wants to paint and color and play and make friends. He is ready.

But he told us emphatically he does not want to go on the red thing on the playground. Which, incidentally next to the swings, is Max’s second favorite thing on the playground. He could spin on that all day. We assured him he didn’t have to go on it at all. He seemed relieved, oh that that should be the biggest worry about school ever, right?

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I needn’t have worried. Huck had been waiting for so long to do what Max does. By the time I got through the throng of parents at the door Huck was the last one in classroom…a situation that would have Max thinking I was never coming. I caught a glimpse of him and he was playing happily with a toy, he saw me and (thank God for small mercies) his whole face lit up. He raced to grab my hand and show me everything in his classroom.

I scooped him up in my arms and he rested his head on my shoulder, so tired from the excitement of the day. His teacher told me “Stephanie, he was perfect! He followed directions, he sat for story time. He was an angel!”

Of course he was. He saved his devilish side for me. I took him to get a donut, the first day of school deserves a treat, don’t you think? His chest was puffed out with pride all day.

It was, in a word, perfect.

 

 

You’re gonna kill it in Kindergarten, Shorty.

“you can leave”

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Just moments earlier he had screwed his face into his “I am mad/scared face” as I tried to convince him clippers would make this much protested back to school haircut go faster. “no clippers!” he wailed, his eyes tearful, his chin quivering. We acquiesced, me and the slightly grumpy stylist at the local Sports Clips. No clippers. He giggled and squirmed as she sprayed his hair with cool water then sat still as she began to comb and cut. “you can leave” he told me.

I waited in the lobby until he was done, looking ten years old suddenly and I praised him for surviving the dreaded chopping of the locks. After Huck was done we headed out for frozen yogurt.

The night before he started Kindergarten he was too excited to sleep. I had been prepared for extra cuddling, extra reassurances and perhaps one of the early morning panicked wakings. He put the fan right on his face and cocooned up in the blanket on the other side of the bed from me, not his usual as close as I can possibly get to you position and after our good night ritual he told me it was okay if I left to get some water. He hasn’t fallen asleep without me by his side, usually tightly gripping my arm in two years, excepting when I was in the hospital with Piper. But that night he let go.

“You can leave”

I got water. I showered. I crawled back into bed expecting him to roll towards me as he does…like a sleeping homing device draws him to  my side. Nothing. I nursed Piper and finished my book and resisted the urge to grab him and pull him toward me. Perhaps I should have. I know I felt a sense of accomplishment that all our encouragement about school had led to this day and he was excited and only a little scared as opposed to sobbing and terrified. He was okay. I also know I wanted those cuddles. I wasn’t okay.

I took a picture of him before he woke. He looked so small and still and I knew today was a marking point in our lives. My mother always said 5 is the best age because it’s before you send them to school and they get told that all things that make them special actually make them weird. Its the time they are the most themselves. I mourn this. I pray his specialness won’t get stomped on and I pray he won’t stomp on someone else. He is silly and sweet and funny and he celebrates everything and every one and I hope to God that is treasured by others the way we treasure it.

Once he finally woke, Dad brushed his hair and got him ready. Max put on his backpack and paced around the hall. Ready to go. Ready for this adventure. He was focused and I could see him pep-talk himself a time or two, but he was ready. Finally we got in the car and headed out to the schoo. Then he was off. He lined up with the other kids as the paparazzi snapped a million pictures. His teacher had them wave to us and tell us not to cry…

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…and  he left.

 

The dance of motherhood.

I dream at night of being a ballerina.

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I am lithe and long as I glide across the non-existent stage. My arms slender and pale, ethereal. I am so thin and so very strong and there is no shame; everything is exquisite. The arch of my foot tells the story. The the soft folds of my ballet dress float as I turn, pirouetting. I am Suzanne Farrell. I am Gelsey Kirkland. Long dark hair trailing behind me as I spin and jump, so free. It is my ascension to heaven.

I wake drenched in postpartum sweat, feet aching from unconsciously pointing in slumber to nurse the new baby.

My great grandfather was a bit of a scum. He was run out of town and went on to have an entirely different and separate family. My great grandmother, not one to suffer fools, bravely filed for divorce in a time when that simply was not done. She had four children and worked so hard, standing such long hours her uterus prolapsed at work. She was strong, but she was not lithe.

We met this other family once. A meet up of my grandmother and her half-sisters, one thrilled to have more family and one very put out that Daddy’s Girl has a girl before her. Never mind that he walked away and abandoned that very girl. I myself was always desperate for family and wanted to know them. Wanted to be with them. Wanted them to love me.

They didn’t.

They shared stories of my grandmother’s absent father and of his other grandchildren. I had cousins, they said. And they danced. I love to dance! I told them, all of 13 and full of dreams not yet unrealized. I thought we are the same, those cousins and me. Scoffing I was told no they dance. Ballet. With Balanchine and Baryshnikov, who’s poster hung on my wall above my bed. My heart soared. Maybe I could meet them? Maybe I could just glean a touch of that world from them. They had both left NYC Ballet and moved on to be Ballet Mistresses of their own companies by then. We never saw my grandmother’s half sisters again. One meeting was all. I don’t know if they kept in touch, perhaps my mother does.

I saw a ballet once in San Francisco listing my cousin’s name as Mistress. Was she in the building? Were we close? I imagined her perfect, strong.

The baby has violent hiccups and I dance my own dance of bounces, sways, and rhythmic pats until she quiets, giving a shuddering sigh and relaxes her wisp of a body fully into my arms. Gingerly I kiss her cheek, she still smells of heaven. She settles into her bed and I crawl back beneath the covers and try to rest.

I am not thin. I am not strong. I am not even a success anymore. I feel sad for myself that I haven’t accomplished anything of great worth. No real goals achieved. When you are small years seem to take forever to pass and suddenly you blink and your thirties are gone. And here I still am, tied to the ground. Heavy. I miss the theatre. I miss my old friends who smoked on the fire escape at intermission. I miss the stories they told. It’s as if I missing a limb.

But truly I am happy here and now. There is no music more beautiful than my children’s laughter. There is no ballet as intricate as their play, beautiful and painful.

The sun rises, as it always does and things look brighter. My sons and I pour love over their new sister, kissing her head to toe while we wonder what she will like. Princesses they say assuredly. And baseball. I hold her impossibly tiny foot and she points. A good arch. I smile and wonder will she want to dance too? Will she want to act? Whatever she chooses I envision her strong and ascending upwards to her dream.

Perhaps motherhood is it’s own version of Ballet Mistress. My company my brood of babes. Warm ups are Yo Gabba  and the Wiggles. The music the Beatles and Green Day and Sophia The First. The steps are wild and unpredictable. More Twyla Tharp than Balanchine.

Beautiful.

And then there were five. The birth of Piper; p2

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Having a spinal is so weird. There’s no other way to describe your legs going numb and that feeling creeping up your body. Since we had been bumped a few times Zach was in the room for all the prep this time and I really liked that. Plus it gave him a glimpse into my experience of a C-section. Husbands usually breeze in when everything is all pristine and ready to go! 1,2,3- BABY! This time Zach saw the spinal, and how nervous I was. He saw all the prepwork that went into getting me ready and he got to see the well oiled machine that was my team of doctors. I loved this team, they teased each other and joked with us telling stories and putting me at ease, but when it was time to go- it was ALL business. They kept the drape down until right before they cut so we saw them clean my belly- which I did NOT like, there’s a vulnerability to being on the table and it’s the weirdest things that make you crazy. The feeling of them cleaning and putting the beta-dyne on my belly made me repeat in some sort of loopy record “I don’t like that! I don’t like that!”

Too bad, sister, it’s got to be done! They made sure that I was indeed numb and honestly that was the worst part. The actual surgery went smoothly and quickly with minimal effort and Piper let out a big old cry right away! That is the greatest sound ever. I remember how long it took for Huck to cry, it was so scary that silence until he finally began to squall. Piper came out squawking and it was glorious! I kept saying she sounded like a little bird, it was just the tiniest but most insistent cry.

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I was thrilled they let us bring a camera in this time, so before we went in I set it up and told Zach to shoot everything. He sure did and I am so grateful to him for being able to both be there for me and still shoot like a maniac.

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(shot by Dr. Hammel, of course.)

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Zach knew the ropes at this point, he goes everywhere that baby goes while they put me back together. I chose to have a tubal this time, since the old gray mare ain’t what she used to be and truly? Who wants to go through this super fun time with me again? The inability to eat! The headaches! The rushing to the hospital to make sure baby cooks long enough! Good times! So yeah, this baby shoppe is closed. (But I confess if I was able too I would straight up be Ma Duggar. I love having me some babies. Even if those little buggers don’t sleep at night)

Zach headed off to the nursery with a tiny Piper and I got ready for the next part. Once you have the baby it’s totally unfair you still have like 25 minutes of surgery left. (It might not be that long, concept of time is wonky when you’re drugged!)

It was during the tubal that I learned via Dr. Hammel and the Physician’s assistant that it is indeed possible to fracture a penis. These two were hilarious! Stories from the ER, people. If you are ever in need and you score these two on your surgical team count yourself lucky. They are not only people of great skill but they can read a room like a great comedian and put you at ease with the most hilarious stories. Thankfully my abdomen was totally rendered motionless or it would have been very hard not to laugh!

Before long I was done and headed to recovery and hoping to see my tiny baby! Unfortunately, being early, her blood sugar was very low and they kept her in the nursery for a while and tended to her. I got to take a quick nap and before I knew it I had my sweet baby in my arms.

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Then all I wanted was my boys there. And I knew they couldn’t wait to meet their “Baby Honey.”

It was even better than I imagined.

I have an excuse, I went on vacation and then had a baby.

 

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We have a joke in my family, I suck at pregnancy but make great babies. I am three for three on sucking at pregnancies and hereby (totally unbiased of course) declare that I am three for three on awesome babies.

All through my pregnancy there was debate whether I was one week ahead of where the u/s said I was (and being desperate to be almost done I was on board for that extra week even if my OB was not. My girlfriend who worked in an OB office said this is normal when you have 2 or more doctors, they all – good naturedly- want to be right and sometimes make bets. I am totally not offended by that.)

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Anyway we went on vacation to Rehoboth when I was 35 weeks pregnant and miserable. Listen, if you are pregnant and miserable the beach is the place to be, baby! DO IT! Every day we rolled out of bed and on to the beach where I sunned myself like one of those sea lions on the Pier in San Francisco. Max wave jumped like it was his job and gave impromptu Beatles concerts and Huck celebrated the fact that he was privvy to the world’s largest sandbox. Huck never met a sandbox he didn’t love.

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Funniest part of the trip was when I packed a big thermos of ice chips to take to the beach and Max said “good idea, mommy. That way you’ll have something to eat if you get hungry.” How quickly they learn.

It was fantastic! I contracted here and there and had to take it easy a few times but mind over matter I was enjoying this trip! We took the kids to Funland and the boys went to the water slide park with Daddy and Grandpa while we took in the outlets. It was wonderful!

We were set to come home on Saturday and on Friday night it happened. Oh! The contractions! I was pretty sure the contractions were strong but mostly that I had somehow popped a hip out and the contractions were pulling it. I have NEVER had pain like that. Thanks to autocorrect I was able to send Zach a text that said simply “Pain” he came in and at one point we actually really thought this baby might be born right there in the shower at the beach house. Luckily the beach house had a vast amount of hot water and eventually they eased and I was able to sleep.

We managed the road trip home with a quick stop at Candy Kitchen for some supplies and my little contraction timer going the whole while! Every ten minutes like clockwork…I was relieved we were heading home towards my very own doctor and the hospital I was comfortable. The idea of a C-section by a doctor I had never met was a little scary to me.

Sunday was spent lounging by the pool at my friend Kelly’s house, Max and Huck splashed and swam and played with their friends and had a great time. I was so thankful for good friends who helped keep my kids busy and happy while I, yet again, sat with my feet up contracting. (Extra bonus shout out to Kelly’s husband Sean who is my chiropractor and who showed that hip who was boss and adjusted my midback and neck like a madman. God bless Chiropractors!)

But we were home, and if she was ready, I was ready. I was more than ready. All the contracting and not being able to eat anything can really wear a gal down. And honestly? I was bored of myself. Bored of feeling sick all the time. bored of being grumpy. Bored of throwing up. Bored of contracting. I just wanted her here safely and I wanted to be ME again.

But as I sat poolside I really knew just how lucky complaining, whiny, contracty, pukey me, really was. So lucky.

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This is what happens when you give a stranger on the beach your camera.

 

And then I failed my second child in the most cliched way possible.

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The other day as I worked at the computer, sweet little Huckleberry came scrambling into my lap for a little snuggle. He is pretty good at the desk snuggle and I always enjoy a little cuddle break. At almost three, his hair is still the gossamer fluff of babies, just now slowly beginning to turn to real hair, and one of my favorite feelings in the world is to bury my face in that fluff and breathe in the last of his babiness as he moves toward childhood.

I am doing just this, gently moving my cheek back and forth across the fluffy bed head as Boo Boo, his space on my lap quickly lessening due to his growing baby sister,  reaches for a smiling newborn picture on the desk. Beaming he looks back at me “is Boo Boo!” he says gloriously and proud. “No sweetie” says I; the dream crusher “That’s Max!”

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Max is his very favorite person in the entire universe so he is happy to hold a slice of Max’s babyhood in his hands. He points to yet another baby picture of Max nearby. “Is Boo Boo!” he says again, certain this time. “No baby, that’s Max too.” says the meanest mother in all of Christendom.

Huck scampers off my lap and grabbing my hand insists I follow him and I do, yes there is work to do but nothing more pressing than being led on an adventure by my sweet BaBoo. He leads me down the stairs to the kitchen and the fridge, pointing to an old ultrasound picture he says knowingly “Is Boo Boo.” “No” I say with a little laugh “That’s also Max.” what is WRONG WITH ME? He asks to be picked up and as I do he points to a picture of a nine month old Max sitting on the Easter Bunny’s lap, and he says “Is Boo Boo. Bunny!”

Not only is that picture not Boo, but we have never taken Boo to see the Easter Bunny. Another disappointment for my tiny Huckleberry.

He slides out of my arms and taking my hand leads me down the stairs to the play room, a veritable shrine to Max’s baby pictures. We may have gone a little crazy at Picture People once time. “is Boo Boo.” Moved from certain statement to sad questioning after there was not a picture of Boo Boo in sight. Who is a slow learner? I am. It doesn’t occur to me to lie to this sweet baby, and if ever there was a time to do so. It’s now.

We move back upstairs and Huck becomes distracted for a moment. I contemplate how I have no printed pictures of Huck. The whole reason I learned photography and fell in love with it was because Huck existed. I have dropbox folders and hard drives and instagram hashtags devoted to thousands of pictures of my baby boy. Yet, none are out for HIM to see. And those he thought were him are his brother. He has found a snapshot that somehow unframed has slipped down near the tv from it’s perch on the bookshelf. He holds it tightly in two small fists, bending and crinkling the photo. He looks up at me, his brow furrowed and his eyes desperate. His lips form the now familiar phrase, his voice is raspy with need, his pitch higher and volume louder as he desperately shakes the photo in his hands crying “Is Boo Boo!”

“YES!” I say joyously! “Is Boo Boo!” and he sighs the happiest most relieved sigh I have ever heard and snuggles happily next to me saying it again quietly, and I can hear the smile in his voice “Is Boo Boo.” He hugs the baby picture to his chest and rests his head on my chest, content.

It is a baby picture of Max.

Today I will pick up 2,472 printed pictures of Huck and then head to Ikea to purchase an equal number of frames.

I am a slow learner, but at least I learned.

 

The sweetest hurt.

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While we were at Graceland Max asked for a penny to toss in the fountain. He put it to his lips, whispered his wish and let it go.

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Of course I asked him what was his wish, and he emphatically told me duh! I can’t tell you or it won’t come true!  But later at dinner he told me he wished everyone would be nice to him. He just  wanted everyone to be nice.

Me too. Why can’t we just wrap them up and protect them forever? My sweet, kind, darling boy. I hope everyone is always nice too.