Tuesday, December 15, 2015

behind the photo

Shortly after Beatrix was born we had my amazing friends come over and take some family pictures for us. I wanted to have some professional photos of Trixie has a baby, as well as family pictures for my picture wall and for Christmas cards.

When I got the disc back and eagerly stuck it in the computer to see the pictures, my first thought was "We look AMAZING!" which I guess is why people hire professionals to take their pictures.





But it also made me laugh, because looking at those pictures you'd never guess that not 30 minutes before our photographer friends arrived we were literally cleaning poop off of almost everything in our bathroom. I'm not joking.

We had given both of the babes baths that morning so that everyone would be freshly clean and without bedhead. After Trixie's bath, while Alex was getting ready to re-diaper her, she fired one at him while he was unawares. I had my backed turned, so I didn't see it, but I heard it, and it sounded pretty high velocity. It was all over the changing table pad and all over Alex's arm, which thankfully was not in picture clothes yet.  Yes, we learned while Johnny was a baby that you don't get dressed in good clothes until babies have their diapers on.

Then it was Johnny's turn for a bath.  He did a good poop on the potty chair right before going in.  Then he pooped in the tub. Then he pooped in the towel after getting out of the tub.  Then he got his foot in it. And then he walked all over the carpet. It. Was. Awesome.

By the time we had everything and everyone sufficiently sterilized I had about 4 minutes to get myself ready.  I half blow-dried my hair, frantically put on some make-up, and then was running around looking for my Spanx because, you know, 3 weeks postpartum.  And I could not find them anywhere! I knew that I had 2 pairs, I knew exactly where I had last seen them, and they were no where to be found.  I still haven't found them.  It's a complete mystery. So I was fuming and stomping around trying to come up with a plan B.



But the pictures don't show you any of that. The pictures show you two fairly put together parents being all googly-eyed over their cute kids who don't look at all like they could have just fouled up a bathroom, or do any of the other inconvenient or annoying things that regularly happen around here.

Well, except for this one. Johnny looks pretty capable of naughtiness in this picture.


But it got me thinking about the over-saturation of our social media networks with beautifully curated, perfectly posed pictures. Sometimes it seems unrealistic and disingenuous. Because we all know that  life is far from perfect. I'm guilty of it too. I tend to only post pictures of myself after I've put on my make up, or the corners of my house that I've managed to keep tidy. It doesn't mean my life perfect though. It just means that all the messy stuff, well, I tend to keep that to myself. 

So why do I do it? I certainly hope it's not to dupe you into thinking my life is beautiful. 

But wait, my life IS beautiful! Maybe I'm the one who needs to be reminded of that.


I'm glad my pictures are beautiful. I'm glad I have an Instagram feed full of tranquil moments and super cute pictures of my kids. That way when the going gets tough (which you know it does. Often.) I have over 700 (yikes!) photos to remind how beautiful life- my life- is! It's amazing.  My children and my husband are amazing! They're the greatest things that have ever happened to me. They are enlarging my heart, teaching me virtues, and preparing me for heaven. 

 I just love those little poop machines. 



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Saturday, December 12, 2015

it's been two months


It's been two months. Two months of Trixie. Two months of Johnny being a big brother. Two months of parenting two kids.

And, well, it's been hard.

Most days I usually have a few hours where things are going well and I think, I can do this, it's not so bad. But then both kids are crying at the same time, or Johnny is waking up the baby, or climbing on the counters to help himself to cookies, or coloring on the walls and furniture with (thankfully washable) markers. And then I reach the end of the day I am exhausted, and Trixie is fussy, she won't nurse to sleep, and I just want to go to bed, but I can't until the baby does. Alex is usually the one who can get her to sleep, but I feel guilty whenever I need his help because I know he needs to be studying.

That's been the hardest, feeling like I don't have a partner. I do,  I know I do, but the guilt that comes whenever I have to interrupt him.  It's kind of like the guilt he feels for not being able to help that much.  So we both feel guilty all the time.

Right now both of my babies are asleep and I feel like I can do this.

But this morning it was a different story. I had not been up one hour before Johnny had restarted the clean laundry in the washer. Then I spilled apple juice all over the kitchen counter while trying to pour with one hand while holding Trixie in the other.  Then Johnny had major diarrhea and while I was changing him, he dropped the package of wipes in the opened dirty diaper. All this and no time yet to make a cup of coffee or have some breakfast. I wonder how I will make it through the next 8 hours until Alex gets home.

It's hard.

When I ask my mom if it was hard being home with young kids all those years she doesn't seem to remember any tough stuff. Either we were all wonderful babies and toddlers who slept like angels and never got into mischief, or she's choosing to only remember the good stuff.  "It may be hard now, but some day you'll look back on this time with fondness", she says to me. Sometimes I get annoyed that she doesn't have clear memories of me being a little terror, because I want the empathy. But when I think about it, it would be nice to only remember the good stuff.

To look back on all these days I spent with my babies and only remember how Johnny loves to give Trixie kisses, and the way he puffs up  his cheeks when he puckers his lips. Or how first thing in the morning Johnny runs into our room to climb on the bed and cuddle his baby sister.



I'd like to remember the way it felt to see Johnny swaddle his stuffed zebra the way we swaddle Trixie, and then hold it gentle to his chest and pat it's back. That feeling that my heart would literally burst out of my chest it swelled with so much love.

And Trixie, I'd like to remember the fierce, hungry face she makes right before nursing. And the way she stretches out her arms and hands like she's conducting a symphony. And the sweet sound of her littles coos and gurgles.


And instead of remembering the guilt I felt all the nights I needed Alex's help to get Trixie to sleep I'd like to remember how sweet it is to see my husband reclined on the couch with his tiny daughter curled up on his chest.

I know - because everyone keeps telling me - that it's so fleeting, this time when they are small. It's going to go by so fast.

This is what I have to remember.


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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

postpartum glory


Being postpartum is such a special time. Your body has just been through major trauma. Your hormones are on a doozy of a roller coaster ride. You're getting zero sleep. Your tight-as -a-drum fundus has deflated to saggy remnant of abdominals with a cavernous bellybutton. Your clothes all fit weird. And your family are saying things like "if you were a wash cycle, you would be delicate." (True story. To which I replied, "just wait until it's your turn, little sister. )

 I'm a little farther out now, (though I still have some weepy days [hello yesterday]), and for the most part I can laugh about it. But when you're in the thick of all that postpartum glory it is so far from funny.

Like when you take your five-day-old baby to Target, trying to find some nursing bras that work. And none of them do. Then the check out person tells you your baby is so cute, then points to your stomach and asks if you're having another. Um...no! She was born five days ago!

You wear nothing but pajamas and look like a zombie for two weeks straight. 

You can finally sleep on your stomach again. For about two days. Then your milk comes in.

Then, Gap is having a really good online sale so you decide to treat yourself to some new underwear, because pregnancy = stretched out underwear. But when your order comes you realize that instead of ordering 5 for $27 you accidentally ordered 1 for $12.95. And then you cry like a little girl. 

Your toddler is trying to use your peri-bottle and sanitary products. 

You look in the mirror and think your belly is quite a bit smaller and then step on the scale and see that you still have 30 lbs of baby weight to lose.

Pants. Just all pants. 

Crying during Gilmore Girls when Rory says "because I love you, you idiot!" 

Crying at Trader Joe's because your license was expired and they wouldn't let you have a wine sample. 

Just a lot of crying.

But it's not forever. And until it stops there's ice cream. And Netflix. And red wine.


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