advancing

I'm well aware that things around here have been pretty negative lately. It's the weekend, it's time to relax and be with family. It's time to regroup. The kids each have their first day care colds. We spent some time in the shower last night getting some steam into a croupy Connor's lungs. I'm trying not to see past all that. I'm going to try to have a good attitude so we can enjoy the last bit of this weekend together.

The lunches are packed. There is a huge container of sauce in the fridge. There are clean sheets and blankets and new diapers neatly arranged by the door. The kids each have five outfits stacked up and I ironed five days worth of work clothes and tucked them into Caroline's closet. We're sitting down to watch the Emmys, to have a laugh, to reconnect. We're oozing with positivity that this week will be better. Easier.

I try to take the time I have in our frenzied days to note the things I want to be able to recall when I am missing the kids as I sit in traffic or stare at an afternoon clock that simply refuses to move forward.

I noticed that Connor has picked up Caroline's old habit of touching skin. Whether I am feeding him a bottle or holding him in my arms willing him to sleep, he has started reached up under the bottom of my shirt to gently touch my side. It's sweet. Even sweeter is his other new found habit of laying his hand against my chest when I retrieve him in the middle of the night. It is a simple little gesture really, but it seems to scream, "you're here. I'm ok now. as long as I am touching you, I am ok." My heart runneth over. This boy with his amazing ups and depressive lows. Whether he is standing up in his doorway bouncer clinging like a monkey to the doorway trim or his whining at 2 am so dramatic and sudden in both wake up and instant calm, he has my heart. He's growing so fast these days, advancing along his path, learning at an alarming rate, reacting to his world, and filling it with his hearty belly laugh.

Erase

All that positivity went to hell last night. I've been trying to keep my chin up. Keep smiling. Get through it. I had not cried one single tear and then when I went to bed after fighting with Connor to sleep for 20 minutes buckets and buckets of tears fell from my eyes. I miss them. I like this new job. I'm overwhelmed with mom guilt and work guilt and feeling completely out of my league. I can't sit down until everything is clean and the lunches and bags are ready to roll. I can't even make dinner because I'm not walking in the door until 6 after dropping the kids at 7:30. I chose this. I have to live with this. This will enable us to do so much more for the kids but it sucks. It just flat out sucks and I'm not going to prpetend it doesn't. It doesn't help that I can barely open my eyes after being awake often last night by the world's worst sleeper. I don't get the benefit of his smiling face during the day anymore to help me cope with the grunting coughing wake ups and the 5:30 wake up call was pretty much the end of my patience. It's got to get better, but I'd like to know when.

not a single free moment

In addition to having precisely zero cell service at the hospital, I have yet to have a single free moment to catch my breath. Even lunch when I would normally check email or catch up on twitter is a spinning frenzy of stuff food into face and race back up to my floor. I am sure that in time as I pick up the routine of my new position I will not feel like I have been rolled around in a dryer for 8 hours. That being said, I genuinely think this job is great. The commute today was so incredibly easy that I found myself twiddling my thumbs in the halls by the card reader. Night and day. With winter looming, I'll have to plan for this. Today I discovered a few choice parking spots for those "not gonna make it, no way no how" days.

I'm busy that's for sure. I'm so busy that I barely have time to think about the kids, to worry about what they are doing. That's definitely helping. The pumping, well, that could be going better, but I am sure when my schedule is under my control it will easily be incorporated... or maybe it won't be. I have to be ok with it either way. I'm thrilled to have a place in the hospital to go, but I'm winging it with the scheduling of when to go as that varies day by day with the room's availability. That's not helping any.

The kids are getting adjusted. Connor is sleeping for Jen. Caroline played connect four with a new friend and was playing on the playground this afternoon. She comes home absolutely wired and he reaches his arms out to touch each of us as soon as we come into his sight as if he is saying "I MISSED YOU!!!!"  I just know we found the right place for them, they are going to thrive, it will all be ok.

I'm feeling so disconnected. Evenings are for lunch and bottle prep, catching up on the kid's days, spending time with steve, forcing my eyes to stay open. It's bound to get easier. I can hardly believe we are just about through the first week. One week down, one million to go. 

Day 4

If we ignore the panic inducing traffic on 95 and how completely overwhelmed I was on day 2, we are all adjusting. It's going to take time. It takes a lot of organization. I miss the kids like crazy. It's going to get hairier. We got that other house. The inspection was yesterday. We move October 15th. The letter we wrote tipped the scales.

We can't believe it!

reaching for the new normal

We did it. We got up and out and all got to where we needed to go despite the torrential downpour. I had to make an embarrassing phone call to HR to let them know that I had in fact left enough time, but was going to be late. Apparently a beautiful summer means that Bostonians have forgotten how to drive in the rain. Awesome start to my new work life. Thank goodness it was just general orientation. I don't actually go to my department until tomorrow and when all that crazy training starts it will all seem much more real. It's been a long time since I have worked in a hospital, since I have had to worry about exposure precautions, the EMR (electronic medical record), HIPAA, and even navigating winding halls via marked signs above pointing the way. I missed it. I haven't even really started yet - but I can already tell that I missed the energy. It already feels like a good fit.

Connor settled in nicely on a playmat with some toys. Last minute neurotic hints were handed over. He didn't even realize I was leaving. I walked Caroline down to her room, showed her to the bathroom, set her up with a puzzle and she did not even look up to say goodbye. I peeked through the window at the boy on my way out and he was still sitting there looking around all the other babies, protected from falling by a boppy. My mid day call to check in revealed that the kids had been having a good first day. Connor had been on and off fussy, had eaten well, and had napped after great effort on his teacher Jen's part. He did not cry continuously for the 8 hours he was there and I consider that a great success. Caroline had followed directions, participated in activities including a group activity, but had a sad moment after lunch when she was probably tired and feeling unsure about napping in such new surroundings. I got out earlier than planned and I was so happy to see their sweet faces.

We'll get into morning and evening routines. This will all become normal. It's just gonna take time. The spaghetti and meatball dinner provided by Kiki certainly helped make it easier.

We made it through day one. It's a new normal.

All by himself

the fun money

The boy, he sleeps. During the day. We're still sleepless over here, but managing to stay on our feet somehow.

This afternoon when both kids wake up we are making a trip over to their new daycare/preschool. A couple weeks ago I ordered some Mabel's Labels and I spent a great deal of time earlier this week attaching cute fishy labels with our last name onto their extra clothes, training cups, bottles, pacifiers, blankets, sheets. It's been overwhelming, but it has helped me cope with the fact that in just a few days I will be back at work full-time for the first time since I became a mother. Everyday this week has been our last something, if even just our last (insert day of the week here.) The kids have been challenging; Connor with his non-sleepdom and Caroline with her palpable anxiety around going to school on Monday. I'm not sure what to expect. I know I will be sad, I know there will be tears all around, I know that I will worry unnecessarily the entire day until I can wrap them up in my arms again. 

I feel confident in the choice we made for their care. I know they will both thrive there, but it is still difficult to list all their many quirks in the space provided in the developmental history form. How can I explain that Connor will go down easier if you put a soft blanket up by his face without it sounding like I cover him up "michael jackson blanket" style? How does it read when I tell them Caroline is a very sensory kid who likes to touch her own stomach for comfort or when she gets tired? I know that in time their caregivers will figure out these quirks for themselves, heck they might even tire the wee one out enough to get him to sleep better overnight. It won't be me, it won't be the same, but this time around I know enough to feel better about the whole thing, despite the fact that I won't have the pleasure of seeing their faces two extra days a week. The full time thing is still bothering me. In time we will adjust, we always do. I am keeping my chin up, aware that my salary will provide my oldest with an academically challenging program and keep my little one safe and engaged. The cash I stow away each month will pay for Disney next fall, ballet lessons, hockey equipment, the extras that every parent wants to provide for their kids. It might help us redo a kitchen in the new house (wherever it is) or start an amazing vegetable garden next spring. I have to keep my thoughts on those things and away from the gnawing mommy guilt. I have to, but it's hard. 

Beach play day

Only so many of them left. He slept in the car on the way here
spontaneously, with no pacifier, with no tears. Figures. He has to
prove me wrong and please let this be bc of the Zantac.

triple think

When you have a baby that will not sleep you double and triple think most things that most parents would quickly move on from. Is that oatmeal too thick for him, no really check again, is it too thick? What solid should I give him with dinner because the carrots last night really didn't go well even though he really liked them. Quick think, what will be the least gassy/bindy/least acidic option? Can I mix pears or prunes with squash to make it "move" easier? Has he been even crankier since I started supplementing? Is it a dairy thing? Is it the wrong formula? Has my supply dwindled since we started formula? Have I upset the cosmic balance by introducing the wrong thing and my body is protesting with a milk drought? Maybe he would sleep better with the Sleep Sheep? Maybe he would sleep better with the humidifier on for white noise? Would he sleep better with a pillow or blanket propped behind his back to keep him on his side? What if we let him cry for 15 minute intervals during the night?

The answer to that is easy - you will be wide awake for four hours listening to the most ear piercing break you heart scream that at some point will make you question his very existence.

Yes. I said it. Having a baby who does not sleep makes me think about how maybe this might have been a bad decision. Connor's sleeplessness has turned this "I want three" mom into "Two is great." The baby I pined for has singlehandedly closed the door on future siblings because I don't think I have it in me to chance enduing these sleepless months again. I think things like this and I feel instant and heartbreaking guilt because of course we love him! Of course we think he is the smartest and sweetest little boy that the world has ever met. Of course we want to share his amazing grin and goofy laugh with everyone in our life. Of course we want him! & yet, when the sun goes down and he starts sleepily rubbing his eyes, yawning the big tired yawns there is not a second that I think "ah yes, bedtime." There is a total unadulterated panic that sets in whereby I watch the clock and have dicussions in my head that could only be magical thinking. "Ok, he's been down for 15 so any minute now he will wake up for that first re-sleep." and then just like magic, he wakes up. I'll look at the clock later in the night and refuse to calculate how long he has been asleep now because if I even think about how long we have been able to sit and eat Sour Cream and Onion Quakes there will be instantaneous bleeting from the monitor. It's been a trying and annoying and soul crushing few weeks.

This morning as I measured out his prilosec I noticed that there doesn't appear to be 2 weeks supply left in our 4 week rx. "Great," I thought, another call to the pediatrician and another argument with the insurance about the prilosec that seriously takes a full 24 hours to even get from CVS once they fill it because it is a "compound." I had an aha moment, he has been bloody terrible with sleeping ever since we started the damn prilosec, the drug I could not wait to get him onto a few weeks ago. So I squirted that prilosec right back into the bottle and pulled the Zantac I smartly filled just before the prilosec rx to have as a reserve back up(see first paragraph) and measured out his old 2.8 dose. While he used to HATE this medicine compared to the baking soda taste of the prilosec it must have tasted like strawberry jam because for the first time in history he did not squirm and spit. He's been asleep for almost an hour now. So now I am acting as pedi as well, tweaking meds, rethinking everything, like a crazy woman.

An hour long first nap of the day is so outrageous around these parts that at the hour mark I start pacing the house like wild animal unsure what to do because the child, he still sleeps. He surely must not be breathing. We were so ridiculously laugh out loud blessed with Caroline and her amazing stretches of sleep and we didn't even appreciate it.

Steve and I say we are fortunate in one thing and that is that he came along second because we might not have even wanted to go for another if we had lived through this the first time around. Isn't that pathetically sad? Aren't you sick of reading about it? I think I am writing it all down as raw as I can so that in two years time when I get an itch for another I can reread the horror show of the terrible reflux non-sleeping life we are now living and step away from the tiny onesies.

One thing is for sure. When Connor reaches his teen years and suddenly starts sleeping waaayyyy in on Sundays we are going to have a pot and pan parade outside his door. The baby who would not sleep is for sure not getting away with sleeping till noon.

Relocated

With the help our both sets of parents we successfully packed that POD to the brim with all the furniture and odds and ends on Saturday and said goodbye to our previous life. The echoes in the emptying rooms started on Friday and got louder and louder as the day wore on Saturday, until all I heard were echoes. Echoes of a baby's cry, laughter, BC cheers, swearing at Jillian Michaels, the pitter patter of tiny feet, a cat jumping down from the window ledge to the floor below.  I tried not to linger too long in the completely empty house. We looked around from the bottom landing of the stairway while I fed Connor one last meal in CT. We shook our heads remembering how things had been when we first moved in, how far the house has come, how lucky these new people are to be moving into such a great little house. For all the bitterness we've felt, for all the times we've wished it gone, I suddenly felt a sort an odd sense of unfairness that we had to leave it behind.

It was important to me that the kids be present for this milestone in our family's story. It would have been FAR easier to have them far away, but that last sleep in her first big girl room was so important for Caroline to understand and I honestly think she will remember it. I want her to remember it. I was able to sit like total trash on the front lawn on the discarded couch and tell Connor that he had lived here and that though he wouldn't have any memories of it himself, I would. I will remember that night, on that blue couch, listening to the noise of the evening sweep in around us. My son and I, in CT.

We're tired. We're technically homeless. We've been planning the move for so long that we don't know what to do with ourselves now that it is done... oh wait, stress about work and daycare. That didn't take too long. We're hoping the close goes as planned and we have no reason to suspect it won't. It's a long road behind and a long road ahead and we are carefully trying to peek under that next page to see what this world has in store for us.

packing it up

I've already started gathering supplies for our big pack n' move on Saturday in CT. It feels odd to be packing the fam up for a trip to CT and not the reverse. We've got trash to put out tonight - more than is feasible for them to take though we are hoping for a kind-hearted collector. We have beds to take apart and tables to break down. We have a birth certificate to collect and some elderly people to surprise. We have Gaetanos to eat and Archie's wing sauce to lick from our fingers. We have floors to sweep, counters to wipe, and a fridge to clean out. We have a family photo to take on the front steps of our family's first home.We have a nursery to say goodbye to, neighbors to hug, and one last drive over the Sikorsky bridge. We've got a note to the new owners to print and leave along with three and a half years of memories and hopes and dreams.

She'll try it

We went to an open house/birthday celebration at caroline's and
connor's new school tonight. She played, she danced, she ate cookies
and helped herself to lemonade. She got that butterfly on her face and
tears pooled over when we had to wash it off her face. She's going to
have so much fun.

At least

he plays nice, even if he doesn't sleep. Lunch consumed and headed up
to nap. All three of us.

rejection is God's protection

The house fell through. After dragging out the investigation into the couple issues we found at our inspection, the seller has decided that she will not do any of the work we requested. She had asked us not to be nit picky and we weren't. The issues were an improperly supporting porch and a beam, that while to code in 1962, is clearly not holding the weight of the house above as the children's bedrooms sagged in the middle. She made a stink about opening up the beam for investigatory purposes and we suspect she had a structural engineer vouch for the beam's integrity without ever laying eyes on the actual beam... since he said it was "fine" before the beam was even opened up for a looksee. She never had any intention of fixing anything and we are bummed and disappointed, but we move on. We'll now sit back and watch that house sit there for who knows how much longer and we'll know exactly how she feels. We were tough with our first buyers, unwilling to make concessions, and it totally bit us in the behind. We are sure that the same will be true of her and that this beam will continue to haunt her. The lucky people coming along later who hopefully make the discovery will probably be able to convince her to fix it. We just weren't those people. It makes life this month a bit less insane. It makes my daily migraine about all the money flowing out of our accounts turn into more of a dull ache. We can now focus completely on CT and enjoy trolling redfin daily for new hot properties. "Rejection is God's protection." We just weren't meant to be in this house for whatever reason and I am feeling as good about it as I possibly can when we were already decorating it in our heads and imagining evenings out on the porch watching the kids play in the yard. Our house is out there.

winding down

Steve and I schlepped our last schlep to Connecticut on Saturday morning. We created such an amazing plan of attack that even despite arriving to a lawn in desperate need of attention with weeds so high in some of the flower beds they reached my hips, we were still back on the road to MA before 4pm. As Steve pointed out, it probably had less to do with our epic planning and more to do with the fact that the kids were up at the beach with the McFam enjoying an absolutely gorgeous day. We were parents without distraction. We hauled our butts around that yard, pulled random things from the storage area under the house, emptied the basement, organized trash, and watched several items labeled "free" get swooped up by passerby. That IKEA corner shelf from college is still in such awesome shape, but Connor would be climbing it in no time. We decided we did not need two patio sets. We even unloaded a stainless sink that had seen better days from our kitchen reno in 2008. Point is, we got it done and we feel confident that the official move next weekend will go smoothly. All that remains in the house is furniture, a few pieces of wall art, and some breakables we didn't think we could bring back safely this time. The POD arrives Friday morning, we pack up and say goodbye officially on Saturday.

We both agree that we will miss that shower with its amazing water pressure. We both feel having been there this weekend that we 100% belong up here in MA. I felt it as I climbed the stairs up to the bedrooms. There is this weight in the air, a familiar weight that was always there in the background reminding me not to get too comfortable or comforting me that this was not forever- depending on the day. I lingered in the nursery while Steve showered, running my finger over the dusty edge of the dresser, laying my hands on the side of the crib that held my daughter's slumber for nearly 3 years and my son's barely ever. As much as we have felt a million miles away from this house over the last 5 months, as much as we have wished it gone and out of our lives, I know better than to think it will be easy to walk away.

The room where Caroline took her first steps. the living room I paced with her in my arms singing made up songs. the kitchen where I cooked countless batches of whoopie pies and hovered over a budding chef as she sloppily stirred lemonade. the dining room where we shared nearly every meal together. the stairs we watched her walk down sleepy-eyed for her first Santa aware Christmas morning. the back room where we spent 95% of our time; where Steve watched endless football games on Sundays and we gathered up on the couch with popcorn to watch mindless television.

It's going to be bittersweet saying goodbye and I know I will be teary and sad letting it go. We did it. We took the chance, leaped fearlessly, and it was all worth the while. We are ready for the next page.

It's going to be an utterly exhausting month; mentally, physically, emotionally. It was worth it.

Still too big

But I made it for her myself...

different

It's in the way he looks at me most seriously even when I am being my most goofiest. It's in the way he puts on his pouty lower lip when I blow on his belly and startle him. It's when he plays alone and doesn't think anyone is watching him study that little red crab rattle toy. For a six month old, Connor is a pretty serious little boy. Sure, he is full of smiles and guffaws, but the majority of his time he is studying his expanding world with contemplative silence.

He is such a different baby than Caroline was. I needed to pull out my passport for my work CORI and when I went to the box in the basement labeled "Very Important Things," I also found the baby's first year calendar that I dutifully filled in for Caroline in 2007. It didn't take me long to note that she was sleeping from 8:30 - 5:00 in her third month. There in my scrawl was her first fever, first cereal, first trip to the beach. You really can't compare your children. You can try and lord knows I wish they were more similar in the sleeping department, but Connor is Connor and Caro is Caro. She was never this serious, he was never as emotional.

This morning with his older sibling happily ensconced in playtime at the gym with Kiki, we spent about thirty minutes playing with a soft cotton blanket. I tried just to watch him, to not interfere and I smiled as he discovered the silk tag before stuffing more that was appropriate into his mouth with his fist. I watched him excitedly suck in his breath when I played parachute over his head with that same blanket. I rolled onto my side next to him and pulled him onto my chest and wondered how his lashes got so long. He grabbed fistfuls of hair and my ear lobes and sucked on my chin.

Later we went to the store, just my boy and I, to pick up rations for grilled cheese and tomato soup lunch. He's not quite ready for the ride in the carriage seat, but it won't be long. He watched the world from my hip, binky free, and he held tightly to the diaper bag strap for safety.

On the ride home I glanced back at him, playing quietly with a toy, bink nowhere to be seen. Tears. There were tears because we have come so far and though there are always backsteps and sidesteps, we are so far from where we started.

And that grilled cheese. It's perfectly toasted and arranged just so on Caroline's Ariel plate. She wants nothing to do with it.

Annnd done

Note the ring grip

Koala

gasping for air

We are literally drowning in the unknown right now.
Moving options and choices and whats, hows and whens.
Daycare paperwork, payments, and how to prepare and pack up two children for daycare in the morning.
My morning commute.
The house inspection results and if and how the owner will be addressing the things we are concerned about which leads directly into - do we have a new house or not?

It's a lot and it is taking most of our attention. We are still here, just freaking out and trying to get through each day. There is lots of excitement and nail biting and we know it will all work out, but the getting there is quite the challenge.

When I'm not here complaining about sleep, you'll probably find me here whining about the stress of moving out, moving on, and moving in. So much great stuff, not enough time to digest it slowly.