Mommy is bawling

They put together a photo book of caroline's friends. I'm not equipped
to deal with this.

today's agenda

Internet failure

Not like I have time to blog this week, but even if I did, the
Internet is down and no one has the energy to tackle the repair. It's
all photos until we arrive in ma later this weekend!

Northbound

Two kids and a crapload of stuff headed to Boston!

Wasting valuable packing time

a realtor wanted to preview the house so we're wasting time at the
mall. I recommend the mall when you are moving- if you buy anything
you have to pack it- saving us boatloads of $$$ today.

better

My baby boy quietly entered his second month yesterday. I would have done more to bring attention to this amazing feat except it was Monday and I trying desperately to entertain Caroline and keep Connor happy. It seems in honor of his exit from his first month that he decided to wake up from his newborn coma and is suddenly demanding more and more of my time and attention, which is not necessarily a bad thing, just different. Though by the calendar I know he has been here for four weeks, my heart refuses to believe it. My little baby’s cheeks are filling out even more and he’s spending more time lifting his head from my shoulder to gaze up at me which absolutely melts me. He has become such a little “cuddle bear” (caroline is my one and only “snuggle bunny”) and his favorite place to be is in the center of your chest, his little feet tucked up under his adorable tush. The sling has been my savior and I wonder out loud and often how I did not have it when Caroline was this little. He loves being strapped close to my chest up on my left shoulder and unless he is absolutely starving, he chills out the moment I pull the sling tail to tighten him up. He makes the sweetest little noises when he’s blissed out in the sling or sleeping on your chest. He’s such a bubba.

I can tell that Caroline is feeling a bit neglected with all that is happening. There have been moments she has pushed me to the brink of insanity, but I am working very hard at minimizing the effects the chaos has on her little world. I’m approaching her differently, trying to understand that though I know it would be easier (and about 17 minutes faster) for me to help her with her coat in the morning, that she at three years old is establishing herself. It is far better for me to just walk away and let her struggle through it, knowing that in a few minutes time she’ll come ambling over asking me sweetly “you help me mommy? Please?” She is doing her level best to challenge me at every turn, laughing when she knows she has been bad, pushing me with her sass and defiance to unleash the “screaming momster” that I am trying desperately to suppress. The days when I am home with both kids are long. I am wishing for spring and sun when I can take them for a walk, let Caroline run off some steam on the swings or the slide and give us all a much needed break from staring at each other. Spring is right around the corner, right? Promise? Entertaining the thought of getting together with some of the other moms we’ve met down here and their kids on the days I have two is so overwhelming that I simply cannot consider it. The thought is actually paralyzing. I can barely keep it together in my own house. Do I think this is normal? Yes. Do I think that the move is making this time feel more overwhelming than it should be? Yes. Am I worried about how I have been feeling? Yes, but I am trying to look inside myself and reach deep down to be the best mom I can be to both of my kids. This right now is the hardest thing I have ever done and even when I am at the lowest point of my entire day, I still feel incredibly lucky. This is how I know I am ok.

I know that this is just temporary, that in just 10 days we will be living in MA and there won’t be anymore boxes to pack, floors to keep clean, toddlers to entertain with exactly three toys. Instead there will be time to stare at my son’s sweet (though scratched) face, to bake and decorate cookies with Caroline, to let the laundry go another day, to shower and shave my legs.

Connor’s first and only full month in CT has ended and though his second month will bring tremendous change to our family, it is going to be so worth all that we have been through. We moved here to make a better life for ourselves and for the family we would have someday. We accomplished that and it is time to realign ourselves with an important part of our life we left behind on pause; family life both with family and our long time friends. It’s been missing for awhile and we are so looking forward to hitting play; spending time with all the new little people who have arrived in our absence, attending family events we’ve had to say no to, seeing people spontaneously, jetting off to the beach based on weather and not our schedule, and ensuring that our kids know all the important people in our and their lives. Writing all of this has just brought me to such a better place than I was this morning when both kids were wide awake at 5:30 and I was so exhausted that I could not imagine getting up and getting Caroline to school. I got up. I got out the door. I got a break thanks to school and I am feeling reenergized. I won’t be turning down my chance to snuggle with Connor and take a cat nap though. That is my plan from now until I pick her up from school. Today I am not packing a single box. Today I take for me because I need it. Because my kids need me back. Because I know I can do better.

Chunk

Got on the scale with me today - over 9 lbs!

sharing the holiday


and the outtakes


NBA HORSE with daddy

He's clearly unimpressed. Wearing a neutral pair of caroline's hand me
down pjs.

Well. Maybe it is.

My grandmother made this blanket for Caroline.

It isn't alll about Connor

Chilling after our crazy day

when I was 21 I thought I knew what tired was. I laugh at my 21 yr old self.

Today I earned a serious Mommy Merit Badge. We had our second Broker’s Open House this morning from 10-12. When you factor in the realtor arrival time and her request to stay for an extra 30 minutes, the two hour open house suddenly became three and I pushed it to three and a half because of a certain little boy’s appetite. Not only did I have to vacate the house quickly with the children, but the house also had to be spotless, bright, and warm (because we live like Eskimos). So how to entertain the three year old while keeping the newborn safe from germs and his belly full?

We hit BigY for weekend provisions. We made a quick stop at Target for so help me god the last package of Pull Ups. I had a brainstorm and we headed to the mall where I knew there was a family lounge in the food court. All three of us snuggled up in one of the nursing cubbies on a comfy chair to ensure Connor’s thirst was quenched. The two ladies shared a Vitamin Water and watched Betty Boop cartoons. The smaller of the two did not want to ever leave the Family Lounge. The baby only had half a meal so I knew better than to venture too far from that blissful oasis in crazy mom of twodom. We went in search of stretchies for Connor. Like this one.

By the time we were within sight of the lounge for round two, Connor was already screaming to be fed again. We raced along at such a fast pace that the older child began to join in his chorus. I pasted on a smile as passerby turned to stare, other moms with strollers allowed us to go ahead of them up the ramps. The elderly turned down their hearing aids. More cartoons. More Vitamin Water. More tears when it was time to leave. I got her to the car with promises of McDonald’s French fries. Someone was chided into eating most of her lunch by a happy meal toy. By the time we all made it back into the car to head home, HOME, I was ready to collapse behind the wheel.

It feels like I’ve had three days in one judging by the level of absolute exhaustion I have been hit with. This morning I took a video of Caroline whining and showed it to her and instead of being horrified, she requested to watch it again and again, “Watch Caroline cry?” While I changed Connor’s diaper in the Lounge, Caroline pulled paper towel after paper towel from the dispenser and my requests went from “just one more,” to “that’s enough,” to “do not take one more paper towel, do you understand me?” Requests for her to turn on her listening earrings were cast aside with a sassy “NO!” She held onto the stroller everywhere we went, even when she wanted to race down the ramp in a full gallop. I have no idea how she held herself back? She selected Connor’s stretchies enthusiastically and plucked pastel dresses from the racks exclaiming, “Mommy, isn’t it beautiful” delighting the other shoppers with her absolute adorableness. The sales clerk complimented her sparkly converse sneakers and she actually told her what her name was when asked. I don’t think in the history of time she has EVER told anyone what her name is. I always have to do the whole, “what’s your name? can you tell her your name is caroline?” thing.

I made it. We all survived. No one went hungry. There were many extra calories from not so good things. There is now another plastic toy to pack or to conveniently lose. There is a little group of three cuddled up all together in my bedroom watching Tinkerbell, sharing sips of the chocolate milkshake we took home from lunch, and feeling like we can take on the world – after a nap.

exactly where I want to be

rash retreat

Yesterday’s storm (and to those of you in MA who were spared the storm – yes, there really was a storm) created a bit of a cabin fever atmosphere. I thought about bundling Caroline up to go outside with Steve when he shoveled, but the WIND was so intense that it nearly blew her over when she opened the door to “wave to daddy.” So, the house is a disaster and I am pretending not to notice. Between Connor wanting to eat all day and Caroline feeling a bit neglected because Mommy had a baby attached to her body all morning, it was a bit crazy here. Steve actually looked at me at one point and said “I cannot believe you do this twice a week.” I smiled and breathed a sigh of relief. He thought it was hard too and wow, did he just compliment me? We made turkey sandwiches. Caroline watched Up twice. The children eventually napped. Caroline painted pink hearts on her easel. We watched the white stuff fall ALL. DAY. LONG.

I’ve finally got Connor’s diaper rash on the run. The issue is that I get all Type A OCD when the kids have a rash because I develop an admittedly ridiculous rash care regimen. Steve has been spared wake ups for the last few nights because even if he adhered to my insane washcloth, blotting, double cream routine, I would not have laid eyes on the rash to evaluate its degree of intensity and without that I would fear it is not getting better and I really need to know that it is getting better. With just a bit of redness left I am happy to say that I am ready to hand the diaper reins over to someone else on a part-time basis, so long as the part time changer promises to go easy with the tush wiping. We’ve gone through so many diapers in the last couple days because Connor is literally changed all the live long day.

I’ve had a few moments in the past couple days that have warranted closing my eyes and savoring. Sitting with Connor in my arms and feeling the weight of my daughter against my shoulder makes all the insanity of adjusting to two kids so worth the trouble. I just know they will be great friends and even if Caroline uses every single stinking nursing or baby diaper change to sass, deliberately disobey, and plunk herself into time out – it is beyond worth it.

How mommy gets the laundry folded

He loves the "sling-a-ling"

Connor, wake up!

I announced to daycare this morning that the pull ups will not be making the trip to Boston with us and could they please push my headstrong daughter extra hard this week in the potty department. I was at the end of my rope yesterday afternoon with her because we have reached the point that despite our gentle, supportive reminders, offers to come with Mommy, and references to the remaining 4 of 5 spaces on the potty sticker chart she WILL NOT GET HER ACT TOGETHER. I continue to try to have patience, to understand that this is her executing control. I try to remind myself that most children learn how to do this when they are 3 and yet when I watch her remove her own wet diaper moments after she has peed I cannot help but get heated and annoyed and ok, a bit screamy. Her outright refusal to dash to the potty when we catch her creating a diaper of the smelly variety makes us batty. The timing is terrible, but enough is enough. I just learned that Pull Ups are not allowed for big girls in Massachusetts during the day. Someone better get on board the potty train because we leave in less than three weeks.

Enough about that because ugh.

Connor is now more than 21 days old. 21. He’s changing everyday and we’re seeing more and more of his slate blue eyes now that he is spending more time with them open. At this point Caroline was still drowning in my oversupply. She was fussy, booty, and pretty unhappy. With my efforts this time around to manage the milk, Connor is content, flirty, and easy going. He likes to be held when he is awake, but he can be tempted back to sleep with some time laying against your chest. While I wouldn’t say he has his day and night mixed up, I do have a hard time getting him back to sleep at least once in the middle of the night. Last night he was wide awake from 1:45 until after 4. That’s AM. I won’t complain because during that awake time he was happy as can be, just looking for some attention and snuggles. I read the rest of my book while snuggling with him and kept telling Steve to go back to sleep. He’s just so snuggly. He is also still working a pretty evil diaper rash that try WILL NOT go away. He’s getting changed every time his eyelids flutter open with a warm washcloth in place of wipes and a double dose of A+D plus Triple Paste. It seems to be getting tiny bit better, but OUCH. The bonus of the boy parts makes the diaper rash management just that much more challenging. Yesterday he got me once and the wall twice even with a cloth in place because I was so distracted with the rash care.

We continue to pack, organize, and pack some more. Steve brought a carload of boxes up to MA with him this morning to give to Kiki. The attic now contains luggage, empty boxes, two boxes of “future clothes” for the kids, and some files. We’ve packed just about everything we don’t use everyday and I’ve organized most everything else for easy packing up. We want the house to look lived in or I would literally have it all taped up in the garage. We’ve had some interest in the house, but only time will tell. After the Open House I looked around the house and thought, “I love this house.” It will be bittersweet to leave this place and all CT has meant to us behind.

Connor's video debut

thanks auntie

Never underestimate the power of a dedicated auntie. What a help to
have her here. What a delight to share my babies with her. We're lucky.

Stealth nap with daddy

She loves her brother

Third

Caroline pranced into her classroom this morning with homemade Valentine’s Day themed sugar cookies. (I say she pranced, but I’m guessing since Steve took her to school this morning.) Weeks ago we made the dough in her favorite kitchen gadget; the stand mixer. “Now Mommy? Now I make it go faster?” We let it chill overnight and together we rolled it out, cutting batches of hearts, squares, and stars. A little girl squealed with delight as I clipped the icing tubes and let her at the cooled cookies with an arsenal of red and white cookie icing. I was still pregnant, laughing at myself wearing an apron over my baby bump. She was still two years old, standing on the “helper chair.” Those cookies were frozen and put aside for today – a special treat for her third birthday.

Third Birthday.

While I was home on bed rest I thought about starting this post and saving it in draft, editing it carefully and slowly, giving her birthday all my time and attention, knowing that when it actually arrived I wouldn’t be able to give myself over 100% to her day. I thought better of this plan because I knew that in the time between then and now her brother would hopefully arrive and her world would change. I would see her through fresh eyes. I’m glad I waited.

Caroline has been challenging. She’s been stubborn. She’s put my voice in the permanently off position in her dial of selective listening preferences. She’s been in time out more than any other time in her life. She says things like, “Mommy, I no say idiot” to get my attention and get herself put into time out. She’s been a whiny snooty nosed bag of tears. She’s looked at me at the most impossible times and said, “Mommy, you grumpy.”

Caroline has been Mommy’s little helper. She’s been proactive – “I get the diaper!” She’s been inquisitive – “what’s that mommy?” She has been gentle and protective and adoring. She’s anticipating his needs; “Mommy feed him, feed him with your body!” I’ve heard her say “I love you Connor.” She’s held her brother’s hands in her own and compared the size of his feet to her size 7 sneakers. One morning as I rushed to get dressed before changing his diaper, I turned around and she had things set up for a change. She’d even twisted the top of the triple paste container off and placed it to the side. Just like Mommy. She’s helped me give Connor all three of his sponge baths. She’s reported his awake/asleep status from the backseat of the car. She demands that his bundle me be positioned just so in the car to provide her with optimal brother viewing. On the rare occasions that we leave the house, she holds onto the snap n go like a parade balloon whipping the hood of his car seat back to reveal him to her tiny classmates or elderly shoppers who stop to gawk. She stands proudly next to him daring any drippy nosed toddler to even consider touching her perfect “baby brudder.” She talks about him at school so much that her classmates know his name.

We’re in the midst of the most dramatic change in Caroline’s young life. She’s adapting to life with a new best friend all while watching the security of the life around her get wrapped up in newsprint, taped into a box, and labeled. Sure, she’s sensitive these days. Who wouldn’t be? How could she NOT be?

I spent part of her terrible twos pining for another baby and the rest wondering how it would be when he arrived. I felt immense guilt and tremendous hope. Even if there was no Connor today, I would still be blown over with the little lady my Caroline has become. She tells tall tales out of the side of her mouth through squinted eyes. I listen to her sing spontaneous songs she’s written in her own head. I watch her cut pieces of paper to shreds with “my tiny scissors.” My heart fills with pride when she finishes a meal and says “excuse me.” She shakes her head and her curls move with her now. She paints amazing pictures that only she can accurately interpret. She still prefers to wear “ballerinas,” but lately she’s been asking Steve to take her skating. I’m allowed to come too. I can hold her hand, she says.

Just when I thought that I could not love her anymore than I possibly did, she started communicating at an alarming and clear/concise rate. We have full conversations now about all sorts of things and her memory for past events is staggering. She talks endlessly about her stint as “the flowergirl,” though her favorite part was getting a pop from Hokie. She understands the world around her, anticipates what comes next, and has started asking us “why?” in quick succession. She’s amazing and I feel so fortunate to be her mommy. A simple gesture like holding my hand with her little paw gives me those tummy butterflies. Three years later she still wants to touch my belly, my just had a baby mushy tummy, and I never try to stop her. Caroline gives the best and tightest hugs and this morning I looked at her and asked for a special one from the birthday girl. I lifted her chin with my hand, looked into her doe brown eyes and told her that three years ago she was a tiny little baby like Connor and that I was so proud of the big girl she has become. I told her I loved her so very much and she hugged me tight, smiling, “I love you so much too.” The best job I’ve ever had is being her mom. The pay leaves a little something to be desired, but the benefits package is irreplaceable.

Happy Third Birthday Caroline! You truly are the sweetest girl in the world.

Birthday cheese

She's watched the video happy birthday song from auntie and hokie
about seventy jillion times. First time: shy and hiding. Currently:
singing along, dancing and "again!"

Our birthday girl is 3!!

moving mush

Connor had his second pediatrician appointment yesterday and is growing well, even exceeding the doctor’s expectations in the weight department. He got his first vaccination and handled it like a champ, a brief dignified cry and a quick recovery when I picked him up to snuggle him.

I hesitate to talk about nursing here mostly because I worry it might embarrass Uncle Marc, but he is doing so well. There were a handful of tough uncomfortable days for me and lots of pumping for 60 seconds into the sink or in the shower, but my supply seems to be regulating itself and just today he is back to eating 15 minutes on each side which considering my past nursing experience with crazy oversupply is a minor miracle. He’s seems to be tolerating his meals well, minor occasional spitting up episodes, and is such a big boy that he doesn’t want any help at all.

A realtor came by yesterday to preview the house for some clients she is working with and it piggybacked his pedi appointment. I rushed around the house picking things up, turning on the heat in the basement, running a load of laundry, and putting the pack n’ play away in the closet. As we got ready for bed last night we realized that the pack n’ play was still in the closet and instead of setting it back up in our room we decided to try him in the crib. Caroline was in her crib (in the moses basket) at about this same point, but something about having him in a different room made me a much sadder this time. Perhaps there was a touch of laziness too in not having him at my fingertips for his middle of the night meals. I understand that he might be the last little baby to spend time in a pack n’ play in our room and there is just something so tear-inducing about him being more than three steps from my reach. The pack n’ play will continue to get lots of use, just perhaps not as his evening sleeping quarters. In fact, I envision it being a great way to keep the kids separated once he gets a bit older. So Connor is in his own room and wouldn’t you know that he chose last night to up his meals from two to three. Go figure.

I’m certainly keeping myself busy at home between feeding and snuggling Connor, keeping up with my own calories, remembering to drink water, packing boxes of toys/ clothes/books/anything we don’t expressly NEED, setting up the kids with a new pediatrician because they will both need appointments the moment we move, keeping the house “show ready,” all while trying to bask in Con’s newness and take a million photos of his perfect little face.

Like these.

Caroline had a moment this morning, the first one really since we told her we are moving. She looked at me with those beautiful brown eyes and asked for Dusty, her vacuum. I told her he was already in Boston waiting for us and those eyes pooled over and streams of tears fell down to her chin. I held her in my lap, told her that moving is hard work, but that Dusty was waiting for her already on the other side and she would see him soon. I was able to distract her with a brown sugar pop tart, but I was not so easily distracted. I’ve been thinking a lot about it today; how she will handle the actual moving process. All the goodbyes; Her room, school friends, teachers, neighbors, everything she’s ever known. I think of all my own goodbyes too; the first room that was 100% hers, the backyard where I sat with her on the hammock that first summer swaying in sun, the family room where she took her first steps, the kitchen where we together have mixed up countless confections, the windows she watched her first New England snow storm through, her big girl room, our bedroom where we spent countless hours snuggling together under a special blanket watching silly movies or the Backyardigans Castaway episode from the DVR, the tub where she “swims like a fishy” after fighting tooth and nail to NOT TAKE A TUB. I think I’m going to need her as much as she will need me to get through all the goodbyes.

Now back to packing and that handsome boy.

Mommy Connor self portrait

vroooom