A beginning is an end is a beginning

And yes, that was pulled from a mediocre mid-90s Smashing Pumpkins song from the Batman soundtrack – the really sketchy one with Jim Carrey as the Joker. But here we are and it is somehow New Years Eve once again.

This time last year, this blog didn’t exist. My period was due in another two days and my moods (to me, at least) seemed to dictate that it was going to be a doozy (because I was basically possessed by Satan himself). Jonathan and I were on the road to Atlanta with his cousin and her husband, going to see the Tennessee Volunteers play (and lose quite miserably to) the Virginia Tech Hokies in Atlanta for the Chick-fil-A/Peach Bowl. I really hate corporate-sponsor bowl names, by the way, but that’s another rant entirely. I remember sitting with all of them at a Denny’s outside Atlanta at midnight after the game, toasting the New Year with coffee, omelets, and home fries. Wondering what 2010 would bring. The next day, we headed to the lake house, where my moodiness continued to get worse. And I looked at the calendar and realized I was late. And I took a little test and my life was completely changed. And now I’m a mom. But that’s where I was this time last year, and I simply cannot believe the difference that 365 days can make in one life – or the creation of a new life.

I will always, always be thankful for 2010. I don’t really like New Years that much, and I don’t think I ever have. For some reason, it’s always felt like a lonely holiday, and I’ve never been quite sure why (as I’ve never been alone for New Years, not once in my entire life). But it’s always been a strange feeling, seeing the dates change and having to re-write my checks where I tend to restart the dates for the year right back at January. And I really don’t enjoy January and February all that much (I’ve also, perhaps not that coincidentally, never really liked Valentine’s Day – despite being in a very happy and loving marriage). So for whatever reason, after Christmas Day passes, I’m usually pretty much in a state of proverbial “yuck” with the whole New Years thing. Perhaps I should plan on going to a big party and overindulging in champagne at some point, but I just never do – who knows why? And of course it is going to be a little strange to think that Russ was technically “born last year,” especially when this year was absolutely dominated by all things baby. But I’m looking at New Years differently right now – not as a sense of anxiety about another year passing (though there is some of that and likely always will be), but with a sense of gratitude for that year. 2010 has been the best year of my life and I want to honor it today by saying “Thank You.”

Thank you, 2010, for all the blessings – oh, and ya know…God, too. Thank you, God (But that goes without saying). He knows what I mean, anyway.

Thank you, 2010, for not making me wait but about two weeks of trying for a baby, but surprising me with a big ol’ positive pregnancy test in the very first week of the year. Thank you for the adventure that followed that unsuspecting Tuesday. Thank you for January 5th, the day I found out that my whole life would change. Thank you for all four ultrasounds, including the two that we didn’t know were going to be happening – I loved ultrasound days. Thank you for babymooning in St. Simon’s (and brunch yummies at the 4th of May), steamed oysters on my 26th birthday, and all the coleslaw and salted tomatoes I could ever ask for. Thank you for that time I locked myself out of the house and Jonathan had to drive three hours from Aiken to let me in – and not having to sleep alone for one night in that 6-week work travel blitz of his at the beginning of my second trimester. Thank you for April 12th and the words “It’s a boy!” Thanks for my first ever test drive of boobs bigger than an A-cup. Thank you for July 4th and Roman Candles that made Russ jump in my belly in surprise. Actually, thank you for all the movements – I enjoyed each one more than the last. Thank you for August 22nd, 25th, and 29th, September 2nd, 6th, 9th, 11th, and every other day that I “thought” I would go into labor, and most definitely thank you for September 14th when I finally did. Thank you for having the great staff on hand that at the hospital, especially the anesthesiologist. Thank you for September 15th, the best day of the entire year and every year that came before it, and for all the beautiful, awe-inspiring, humbling, complex, and lovely days since.

I don’t care much about New Years – I never much have. But that’s what I said 365 days ago, and look what a great year 2010 was. I hope 2011 has just as many wonderful surprises in store for us as we continue, Lord willing, to live this blessed life of ours. Happy New Year, everyone!

Fit Pregnancy Interview with Cassandra Forsythe Pribanic!

http://www.cassandraforsythe.com/blog/Fit+Pregnancy+Interview+Series+Part+6/

A few years back, I did some training and nutrition with the help of Cassandra Forsythe Pribanic. Back then, Cass was still in the process of getting her Ph.D. in Exercise Science & Nutrition from the University of Connecticut. We quickly became friends and, despite never having actually met in person, we stay in touch and have both become mothers in the past year. Adding to the unusual set of circumstances under which we met is the fact that both of us had been told that our chances of having children were greatly reduced due to “issues” that it turns out we either didn’t have or didn’t prevent us from conceiving. Suffice it to say, we are two lucky ladies! Back then, Cass knew I had a pretty unhealthy and unsustainable set of issues with m body and my compulsive tendencies regarding exercise and dieting. Now, several years wiser and more mature (and healthier), I’m proud that Cass considered me as a subject for her series of interviews about having a fit and healthy pregnancy. This link will take you to Cass’s website, where you can read my interview and learn more about Cass and the great work she does promoting women’s empowerment, health, and education when it comes to health, fitness, and understanding (and respecting!!) our own bodies. Thanks, Cass!

Gambling

I hate New Years. Did I ever tell you all that? I hate it…always have. To be honest, Christmas Day has always been a tough one for me, too. Sunday nights, back when I was in school or work, and now, when I know Jonathan has to go back to work the next morning – hate those, too. It’s just because I’m one of those folks who is addicted to the build up, the excitement – and who has trouble accepting the letdown. Try being pregnant all year, having the baby, and then getting to that point when all the visitors stop coming and all the birth announcements go out and the baby actually starts outgrowing thing…oh, it’s a rough one for people like me. My mom and I were talking last night, and apparently it’s hereditary – she feels the same exact way.

To be honest, last year at Christmas and New Years was one of the worst for me that I can remember, from the standpoint of that predictable malaise I always fall into. Jonathan and I were fighting like cats and dogs and my moods were flat-out bipolar in nature. I wondered to myself more than a few times if I was truly going crazy, and I’m sure Jonathan and my parents wondered the same thing. That’s probably why I didn’t believe I was pregnant and just casually chalked the nuclear mood swings up to the typical New Years “blahs.” But sure enough, on January 5th of 2010, I found out exactly what an amazing build up the year would be. And now I’ve experienced the natural (relative) calm that sets in after the amazing chaos and excitement of bringing a new baby into the family. Some people love that, some people hate that, some people don’t know the difference. I’m feeling way better now, though, and I have to say that I’ve handled this Christmas like a champ, in comparison to how I would usually feel.

But it’s so easy to get caught up in the build up.

Now this isn’t really all that relevant to Christmas or the holidays in general (or maybe it is, depending on how much dough you drop on lottery tickets in a given week), but today during my shower (where I do quite a bit of thinking), I realized something. I hear all the time about Vegas this, we’re going to Vegas (“VEGAS, BABY!!”), etc. And I guess it just dawned on me out of nowhere that I really hate it when people gamble. And I’m not talking about gambling with your money. Not even remotely. But I get it, you know? That build up, that excitement, that anticipation. It’s no wonder people keep going back to it over and over. Or that we just become so careless in our lives that we get into this pattern of self-driven tunnel vision, and it’s no longer even about the build up at all.

Frankly, what you do with your money is your business and if it doesn’t mean anything to you then it surely means nothing to me. Though, admittedly, I do find it pretty disgusting when someone is barely scraping by and they spend money on lottery tickets. No, what I’m talking about is gambling when it comes to the important and sacred things in life. In fact, that’s something you’ll find in the Cadet Prayer recited by cadets at the United States Military Academy (West Point), where my father graduated back in the late 70s. One line of the prayer reads “Guard us against flippancy and irreverence in the sacred things of life.” You know – kids, wives, husbands, mothers and fathers, trust, hope, families, life itself. Stuff like that. Sacred stuff. And at Christmas, it can either be really easy or really difficult to pass over those things, depending on who you are and where you are in life.

I have no patience or understanding for people who gamble with those things. The mom of four who is so wrapped up in her own life that she comes tearing down the road that runs by my house, hauling ass in her 2-ton SUV, glued to her cellphone, doing 55 mph in what is a very well-posted 30 mph zone where tons and tons of children live. Including me and my child. To that woman, I think you need a REALITY CHECK. The world does not revolve around you, no matter how much it seems that way. There are hundreds of people living along this road and whatever family drama or shopping list you are hashing out at this moment doesn’t matter to me. Don’t gamble with the lives of your passengers or the woman that may be pulling out on Dillard when you come over that hill doing 25 mph over the post speed limit and t-bone her, potentially killing her and her passengers. I could be that woman, you know.

I don’t appreciate the place in life of people who gamble. The teenager who has been repeatedly instructed by lackadaisical parents who refuse to enforce actual punishments when it comes to catching their kid texting on the road. Gamble with your own life if you like, but leave me out of it. That same thing goes for drunks on the road. I don’t really care that you have alcoholism. I’m sorry it’s that way, but if you’re an alcoholic stay home. Call me and I’ll pick you up. Call me and I’ll bring you food. Call me, at 3 o’clock in the morning because you’re drunk again and need someone to talk to, and I’ll gladly listen to you, and no, I won’t judge you. But get in a car and drive, and potentially kill someone? That’s not as easily forgiven. You’re gambling.

Money. How’s that for a sacred thing in life? It’s not. Money is a meaningless currency printed on paper and thrown about to equate for us what we’ve accomplished in this life. If you’re fighting with someone about money this Christmas, you both need a reality check. And yes, I’m talking to the two of you. I love you and you know what is sacred in life. If anyone knows it, it’s you two. For God’s sake, get over it. Swallow those big lumps you call a sense of pride and let’s all move on with life.

I don’t like gambling. I love people who gamble, but I hate that they do that to themselves. Let’s all find the center of our lives this holiday and rediscover the things that really matter.

Acting responsibly when it comes to operating a vehicle and conducting ourselves like we have half an ounce of common sense before we start drinking.

Reassessing relationships and friendships we’re in, and whether they’re really good for us or not. Nurturing the ties that bind and the bonds that hold, and dropping the “dead wood” (Thanks, honey) over the side so that our ships might stay afloat.

Stepping past that stumbling block where our bank account and hearts connect. If you’re warm and fed and your family is healthy, you are experiencing MAGIC right now. Know that, own that, and let’s move on with life.

I’ll stop procrastinating in a couple hours

Here it is, December 2oth! Christmas is just days away and I’m…well, almost ready. Almost. I have my baking for my neighbors done, so that’s one big load off my shoulders. I did little containers filled with a comination of four different baked goodies: cranberry-orange mini muffins (I wish I’d glazed them, but didn’t have powdered sugar for a glaze and did not have time to get to the store), chocolate chip cookies, dark fudge brownies (OMNOMNOMNOM), and peanut butter & chocolate cookie bars. I think that everything came out about as well as a newbie mommy could hope for…when you’re trying to bake things in between feedings, changing, and feeble attempts at styling your hair and/or brushing your teeth, you take what you can get.

Later today, we’ll pack up the car, the dog, and the little man and head to Conway for a few days to have Christmas festivites with my family. We’ll be there through the morning of the 24th, at which point we’ll head back home and have our VERY FIRST Christmas morning in our house in Greenville. Technically, this is our 5th Christmas living in Greenville, but we’ve never ever spent Christmas Eve or morning at our house – so hooray for new traditions. When I was pregnant and we decided to do this, I was a bit nostalgic and sad about missing my first ever Christmas morning with my family. But as soon as Russ got here, all that sadness evaporated completely and now I’m just excited to wake up with him and Jonathan in our own house. Also, there are pros to spending the holiday at home…like the fact that I can watch 24 Hours of A Christmas Story all day if I want without my dad turning it to “The Duke” Christmas special. Ugh…I’m sorry, I just don’t get the John Wayne thing. John Wayne movies feel dusty and bleak to me…like I went for a run in a sandstorm and need a shower. Same goes for pretty much all Westerns. I’m just not into Westerns. I watch Sportscenter, I listen to metal, I feel that I’m pretty cool “for a girl” (Jonathan says)…but I have to draw the line somewhere.

Next up on the to-do list…well, I could start by taking a shower. And yes, it is 12:20 pm. That’s actually pretty normal for me. I like to get up in the mornings, feed and change Russ, fix coffee and do laundry, sweep, check e-mail, stuff like that. Besides, if you clean like I do, you work up a sweat and then you just want another shower anyway.

So I have a LOT to do, and not a lot of time to do it, and motivation at this point is at a premium. I’ll update some more tomorrow or the next day from my parents’ house.

Until then, here’s the link to our Vimeo.com page, where you can view some cute videos of Russ, as well as the video taken just moments after Russ was born. No, there are no lady parts shown. Yes, there is some blood and baby goo. They’re pretty personal and wonderful memories, but I actually created this page especially for family and friends, and if you want to check it out, you’re more than welcome. I’ll be updating the page and uploading more video in the coming weeks until I’ve backed up pretty much all our videos (we’ve got over 50 at this point, since only September, but most are just a minute or so in length).

www.vimeo.com/user2193472/videos

Annoyances: A Rant

Today it feels as if a small, relatively insignificant couple of things have really started to grow and live on much larger level in my psyche, and I’m trying to get these things into perspective.

For starters, this whole “Fertility Awareness Method” cycle-charting birth control thing…I’m feeling a little overwhelmed and undersmart for it. For someone with an English degree and a complete and utter aversion to all things mathematical or scientifically analytical, this is a tough one. I was doing something like this (on a very I-didn’t-score-well-on-the-SAT-math-section sort of scale) for over a year before I got pregnant with Russ, but now I want to really be dilligent about the whole charting thing. But when I look at some of these sample charts on TCOYF.com (Taking Charge of Your Fertility, for those of you who have better things to do with your time and whom I am currently oh-so-jealous of), I am immediately struck by this feeling of ineptitude. Hopeless, catastrophically bleak ineptitude. Luteinizing hormone? FSH? Cervical positioning? You want me to stick my finger WHERE?

Yes, I know that’s a TMI-ish, but this blog has a pretty high TMI threshold already.

It’s just so detailed that it brings me back mentally to the kind of OCD-ishness I had going on when I was an obsessive dieter and I religiously calculated portion sizes/weights, calories, macronutrients, etc. I don’t live that lifestyle very well, and I can already see myself, a year from now, consumed by basal temperature readings, cervical fluid consistencies, and icky stuff like that. Not exactly the thing of playground mommy group conversation. But as I stated in that wonderful IUD-nightmare post a few weeks back, this is IT. Like it’s my only option, unless I want to slowly morph into Octomom. So whereas my OCD dieting and obessive exercising days are happily and permanently behind me, I feel anxiety sprouting already over how entailed and intricate a process this whole fertility charting thing could potentially become. I need to figure out a way of doing this that is actually going to work for me without turning my life into a big, figurative OB/GYN chart. I can’t do that.

Somewhere, some smart ass is reading this post and saying “Okay, well, see ya in about nine months, future preggo.” Yeah, yeah, yeah. Thanks for keeping that one to yourself, homie.

Another thing that is currently causing me to lose my hair is…well, losing my hair. Most new moms are at least somewhat familiar with the sudden hormone change that occurs anywhere from 1-4 months postpartum, during which it’s totally normal to lose a crap-ton of your hair (yes, “crap-ton,” it is an actual scientific measurement…look it up). It’s not even that you’re truly going bald – though everyone knows at least one relative/coworker/friend who insists dramatically that “OMG, I totally looked like I was mid-chemo after Aubriannalynnellanorannabelle was born and the hair NEVER CAME BACK.” And those are usually the people that I want to publicly flog with a catfish (but instead simply nod and listen to). Yes, I said “flog with a catfish.”

The truth is – and logically, I know this – that hair has an active phase and a resting phase, and due to the hormones of pregnancy, more hair stays in the “active phase” during pregnancy. This is why pregnancy hair is often thick, full, luxurious, and perhaps even a little too “New Jersey” at times (yeah, I just went there). Well, those hormones can’t last forever, and after baby, they drop dramatically in the first few months postpartum. So then you end up with what I’ve got right now – a clogged shower drain and the task of unwrapping endless amounts of your strands from your baby’s fingers as he or she begins their “I grab everything” stage. And it’s just annoying, not because I wanted ALL that hair I had back during pregnancy, but I’d love to keep, ya know…MOST of it. It looks like my dog grew a 2-foot coat and went into a shedding stage around here. So, since I refuse to cut my hair off, I am stuck with it for now. I’m just hoping that this wraps up soon. I guess it’s the price I pay for being back in my pre-pregnancy jeans…something’s gotta be still a little nuts after the craziness of pregnancy.

So yeah, that’s where I am today. Annoyed. Thanks for tuning in.

Three months old!

Well, this morning marks another mini-milestone that I’m probably one of the only people to count. Russ is three months old today, and I’m back in that labor & delivery suite in my mind. It’s funny, we have several videos of me in the hospital before and after the birth, but when I watch the videos from before – especially quite shortly before, when my epidural was really cranking – I don’t really remember where my mind was. My memories are all really just fuzzy snapshots and videos taken from behind my eyes – flashes of the doctor telling me I was fully dilated and ready to push, snippets of my mom laughing at me because I was chatting and joking in between contractions (like I said in my birth story, epidurals are amaaaaaaazing, dahling), a clip of my husband losing it when our son was held up and laid on my chest. Birth is seriously the most amazing thing I’ve ever been through. I still find it weird to think that this little person came from me – even though he’s lying right beside me here, sleeping peacefully.

I remember the morning after I found out I was pregnant, back in January. I woke up at maybe 4:30 am and just couldn’t sleep anymore. My mind was just churning with thoughts, so I came downstairs, sat down in front of the Christmas tree, and just pondered what the coming year would be like. This morning was somewhat similar – except this time, I got up at 4:45 am to feed Russ, got too “woken up,” and put him back down for a couple hours while I came downstairs. I brewed some coffee, watched the news, and did some work on a craft project I’m doing with Russ’s hand and foot prints. Oh, how my life has changed! But some things never change, and I imagine I will always take Russ’s milestones and birthdays with a certain thoughtfulness that is characteristic of me in so many avenues of my life. People have always told me that I “think too much,” a criticism that I’ve never fully understood or appreciated. If you’re someone who “thinks too much,” you know – there’s absolutely nothing you can do to change that. It’s a thing with my wiring, I guess. I wish I could be one of those people who floats casually through life, but for all my sarcasm, I really do take a great many things in life with seriousness and reverence.

I suppose it won’t always stay this way, but right now, the memories of what that day (or rather, the night before and that day) was like, the emotions, the little funny things that happened during labor, the pain/discomfort I felt (until the epidural), etc. are still pretty vivid to me. It’s totally true that, no matter what you go through, you always look at your child and say “He/She was 100% worth every single thing that happened.” And you say that whether you have a great experience like I did, or a really crappy one – I know, because I’ve yet to meet a woman who said that her children weren’t in every single way worth every bit of torture/pain/tribulation/medical bills. And in that vein, it seems the thing that has become fuzziest in the least time was the pain. I wouldn’t remember it at all, if not for that unfortunate IUD-insertion experience a few weeks ago (or the attempt to insert the IUD, anyway…hmph…).

I was telling someone about it earlier – a friend who is going into the hospital tomorrow to be induced for the birth of her first child, a baby girl. Labor will fade, rather quickly, so it doesn’t pay to be fearful. The baby has to come out some way, anyhow (MUAHAHAHAHA!!). Not helping matters is the fact that most people are all too happy stories with pregnant women – usually the horror story of their cousin’s-brother’s-sister’s-niece, whose vagina split eighteen different ways during the birth of her 45 pound youngin’, had 732 stitches, and who will never again be able to pee, poop, or have sex without a gallon of Jack Daniels and a pound of Loratab on hand. Honestly, it’s not that dang bad. It can be bad, for sure, but I’ve yet to locate the woman whom is the real-life subject of all these fables of maternal misery.

Labor just doesn’t matter that much, it doesn’t stick with you, as someone pointed out to the friend going into the hospital tomorrow. But birth, I added, does stick with you. Ohhhhh, does it. That moment when that baby is placed in your hands, whenever that moment happens, is so divine, so heavenly. I look at Russ sometimes and I marvel at how perfect he is in every sense of the word. He’s never had a wrinkle or an age spot. His knees have never been skinned. His eyelashes are so thick and gorgeous that it looks like I overdosed on Latisse while I was pregnant. And he’s never done anything wrong in his entire life – I know I’ve mentioned it before, but from the standpoint of a Christian and someone who is inherently, deeply, irreparably flawed…that one always stops me in my tracks. He has never, ever done anything wrong. He’s never been hurt. He’s never been used or lied to or taken advantage of. That’s a beautiful time in his life. I’m enjoying that about him so much – just as I will enjoy him when he’s older and has scars from falls off his bike, or when he punches his little brother in a fight that I have to break up, or when his high school girlfriend cheats on him, or when he’s no longer a virgin and we all know it and it just gets…aaaaawkward. Yeah. I’ll still love him then. I’ll still be amazed that he’s mine. I’ll still be his mommy, and he’ll still be my baby boy.

But like I remind myself all the time, we’re only three months in. And I’ve loved every second of it. 🙂

A letter arrived…

Earlier tonight, Jonathan came in with the mail after we got back from the gym – with a postal surprise in tow. A letter for Russ – addressed to “Russell Wilhoit.” With two stamps! Postmarked from…could it be? The North Pole? Oh my gosh, Russ, it’s a letter from Santa!! As my friend Liz says, “SQUEEEEEEEEE!!” I know he doesn’t care about much other than mommy, daddy, clean diapers, boobies, and his glowy seahorse soother toy right now. But in another year or two, he might think that’s pretty cool that he got mail from Santa Clause. 🙂

Seriously though, this reminds me in such a heartwarming and wonderful way of when I was a kid. Jake and I used to write Santa a very detailed and sincere letter and leave it with the milk and cookies on Christmas Eve. Inevitably, we would always find a reply letter from Santa, usually written on the flipside of the paper, in handwriting that looked suspiciously (but not identical enough to draw questions from elementary school age kids) like my dad’s handwriting. I’d recognize those Ts and Fs anywhere. I chalked it up to coincidence, though, until at least age 9 or 10. Yes, that’s right…I believed in Santa Clause until almost middle school and I don’t care what anyone thinks about it. Hey, my junior year of college pretty much erased any illusion I had left about the world, but there was a day far in some distance past life of mine where Santa Clause existed, the meals were cooked for me, and there was “always a bigger bed to crawl into” (I’ll give credit where it’s due – that is a Taylor Swift lyric…don’t judge me).

Do you remember Christmas as a kid? Do people really forget that stuff as adults? I hope I never do. My parents always managed to make Christmas amazing and so magical for us – even when we were young kids and my family sometimes struggled with money. That’s the kind of magic I cannot wait to give Russ. Well, that and of course a couple of really break-out-the-video-camera-hilarious reactions to presents they find on Christmas morning. I remember one year when I was maybe 7 or 8 where Jake and I decided we HAD to have a trampoline, and on Dec. 23rd or 24th, no less. I think we both kind of expected that it might be the next Christmas before we got the trampoline, since we knew it was really late in the game.

“Maybe Santa won’t be able to make it to the store in time,” Jake said in his adorable preschooler-ness. We just sort of assumed it was a loss for that year and, when we wrote Santa about the trampoline in our traditional Christmas Eve letter, figured it was a waste of our time. Christmas morning came – and I think we even had a little snow on the ground, which is a big freakin’ deal in South Carolina at Christmas time – and we opened all kinds of amazing presents. Somehow Santa knew about everything we wanted! How did he know? Geez, that guy was good at his job! Then we saw that he’d left us a reply on our letter. The trampoline didn’t even cross my mind.

We started reading it out loud – a greeting, some usual Santa-type niceties, told us to be good during the next year, and that he loved us and was proud of us for being so well behaved (HA! CLEARLY Santa was real, because if he’d been my mom or dad like the kids at school said, we knew he would never have written that), etc. It was signed

Your’s Truly,

Santa Clause

P.S. One more thing. Look in the backyard.

Jake looked at me as if we were Ralphie and his brother in “A Christmas Story” and the last package behind the tree looked suspiciously like a Red Ryder B.B. Gun. We practically ran over each other running for the double window over the kitchen table. And there it was – black, springy material with red, white, and blue cushions around the perimeter – a long, octagonal trampoline. YES!

I never bothered to look at my parents’ faces at the time, but now that I have a little boy of my own – and so many Christmases to look forward to – I can only imagine how much fun it was for them. That trampoline had a really good, really complex little life. A gaggle of neighborhood kids, sloshing around on it in the summertime with a sprinkler underneath, trying to keep cool in the Southern summer sun. A bunch of girls, sitting on it in a circle, giggling and gossiping. An 11 year old me, stunned and suffering after one of my childhood friends unexpectedly passed away, finding an odd sort of comfort in laying on the trampoline by myself at sunset and staring up at the sky.

And all that from a gift that two kids decided they just had to have, two nights before Christmas. A lot of amazing little things start when you let your childrens’ imagination go to place that adults no longer afford themselves. Santa Clause is a little piece of magic for kids to have, in a world that is almost constantly telling children they need to grow up faster and faster.

Huge overestimation!

Today’s post will be short and sweet, as I’ve yet to take a shower this morning (one of the many joys of stay-at-home-mommyhood is that you can wait until noon to brush your teeth if you want and nobody even notices).

It appears that in my rookieness, I selected a “Going Home” outfit for Russ back in my 18th week of pregnancy, that just happened to be ridiculously huge for the size he was at birth. I suppose I thought I was going to give birth to a full-blown 13-lb. monster baby (no, I really did think that). But I’m happy to report that, despite outgrowing just about everything that he wore in the first 1.5 months of his life, Russ has finally grown INTO his going home ensemble! And amazingly enough, I think he looks even cuter in it now than he would’ve if it had just fit his tiny little body almost 12 weeks ago! I’ll post pics of it under this post later on when I upload them off my camera.

Also, the onesie that my good friend embroidered for me with his initials that he actually did end up wearing home from the hospital still fits Russ. He wore it just last week and the week before! It’s a good stretchy cotton, so it has some nice give to grow with him a little longer than other outfits, but it is also about *thisclose* to being too short for my little basketball-player-in-the-works. But I did enjoy shoving him in it these last few wears, hehe…

I really think this all stems back to the fact that inside, I am quickly becoming my mother, and that means that I cannot stand to pack away a piece of clothing that “might still fit!” I make sure to put Russ in every outfit we have for him, just so that I can say he did wear it at least once, haha.

Tomorrow is Russ’s 12-week birthday, and can I just say, I cannot wait until Wednesdays are just WEDNESDAYS again and not another week notched in my mind. I hope I’m not still counting weeks when he’s 1, 2 years old – though I can totally see myself knowing the number of weeks Russ is aged and just not telling anyone out of embarassment (Awww, today is Russ’s 178-week birthday…).

Off to the showers for mommy!

Babies by the numbers

Something I mentioned in my post about “Getting Real” a few days ago was the speed at which Russ (and any other baby, I suppose) changes. No area of Russ’s life is better evidence of this constant state of movement than that of his clothing size. Each time I get him dressed lately, I find myself dreading that the outfit I’ve chosen – which might have fit him just fine only days prior – will suddenly be too short. Having outfits come up too snug hasn’t been much of a problem lately, since Russ seems to have taken on my body shape to some extent and therefore has a long torso, a small waist and short, thick thighs. Did I mention how pinchable and amazing little baby thigh rolls are? Well they’re awesometastic, just so ya know. 😉

But still…is that even right, for me to be so bummed out when Russ outgrows yet another outfit? I remember when he outgrew the first one, a beautiful, blue-and-white striped footie that Jonathan’s godmother sent us. He only wore it ONE time, for crying out loud! After that came my favorite outfit that he spent quite a bit of time in, his “Dino” sleeper. It had footies with little “dino prints” on the bottom of the feet, and though it was Carter’s brand much like 90% of Russ’s other clothing, it always felt just a bit softer and more cuddly than anything else in his dresser. I actually shoved him into “Dino” two more times after it was pretty much determined that it was beginning to tent up around his waist where his feet pushed the legs out further than they were meant to go. I took plentiful pictures of him in “Dino,” and then tearfully packed it away with a few more outfits that were beginning to get too short for comfort.

My reaction has become a little less dramatic, but to be honest, each time Russ grows out of another outfit – or as the case has been lately, an entire slew of pants, onesies, or footies – I must struggle to set aside the faint aching in my heart. Oh, he’s just growing too fast for me…isn’t there a pause button somewhere? *sigh*

But then I make my usual detour inside Walmart, to the baby section, where there are plenty of Premie-size numbers left on the clearance racks (since premies just aren’t as common, I guess). The premie clothes look painfully small to me. Like doll clothes, and I’m sure many people have purchased premie outfits for their little girls’ dollbabies or their little boys’ teddy bears, since they’re really the perfect size. They only fit babies UP TO 5 lbs., which is just insane to me. Russ looked so tiny at nearly 7 lbs. 14 oz. (and even smaller at the 7 lbs. 8 oz. he shrunk to during the first few days of his life – a normal occurence, by the way), I cannot imagine a sub-5-lb. baby. And yet, here I am, so sad as my little boy grows big and strong in a way that many mothers struggle to get their little ones to do. And I’m not even trying! How lucky am I, seriously? My son was born without a single complication, came screaming and hollering into the world with such vigor and health, never turned blue, never had trouble breathing…that was a huge blessing in itself. But then, 20 minutes after he was born, Russ latched on to nurse as if he knew exactly what was doing (even if I didn’t just yet). An hour later, he nursed again. Sure, all he was getting was colostrum, but any lactation consultant will tell you that – barring some medical problem – all a newborn baby needs is colostrum during the first few days of life until a mother’s milk comes in. So I just let Russ lead, and this is where he has ended up. He is growing, thriving, so healthy, and absolutely perfect.

Sometimes, all it takes is a change of perspective to help ease an ache in your heart. I’ll still wince a little when Russ outgrows his beautiful blue sailboat onesie with the wrap-style buttons down the side. I’ll still stare wistfully at how small the outfits are that he wore only weeks ago. But they’re just clothes. And I wouldn’t judge myself based on what size I wore at a given store (since I can range from a size 6 to a size 10 or larger, given the store, despite the fact that I’m really a size 8-10), so why do I let the fact that my son is growing so fast scare me into thinking that he’s going to grow up TOO fast? We all know that our babies can never grow up slowly enough for us. They start off so tiny, so innocent. I looked at Russ the other day, looked up to Jonathan, and said “Do you realize that, right now, he has never done a single thing wrong in his entire life?” Right now, I’d gladly stop time, because right now, this is all the Heaven I know. Even with the breastfeeding every couple of hours, the lack of sleep…I would and could do this for a lot longer than I’m going to get! But then Russ is going to become vocal, mobile, and much more precocious (trust me on that one), and that will be such a fun and exciting stage. Then he’ll become a little boy in the true sense, and most likely a big brother to other little boys or little girls. I’ll get to watch him be a big brother, barring some unexpected circumstance – and how amazing will that be? There are so many things to look forward to. Russ will wear many garments in his life – birthday hats, ring bearer suits, Christmas pajamas, a football uniform, his prom tuxedo, a graduation cap and gown, a wedding tuxedo, and eventually, a set of scrubs or a t-shirt that is the first soft thing against my future grandbaby’ skin. But right now, he’s just a baby. Just my baby. As a friend told me yesterday, “You can only take one day at a time.” And today is just Monday, December 6th, 2010.