Wednesday, April 2, 2014

An April Fool's Day Controversy and Why I Won't Take The Bait

Being as I pretty much adamantly hate controversy of any kind, and that I typically do all that I can to avoid it entirely, it's a little strange that I've decided my big blogging comeback should be so steeped in it. But I just can't take it anymore. I'm so beyond annoyed with this new-fangled 'campaign' slash 'agenda' that this past April Fools Day brought on that I have to get the thoughts out or I might implode. Literally. My body will be sucked into nothing and the only thing that will be left behind is a black hole of my aggravation which will devour everything in it's path. So ultimately, this blog entry will be doing the world a favor. You're welcome.

I've always been a border-line fan of April Fool's Day. I both enjoy being made to look foolish and making others look foolish. I find harmless, clever pranks highly entertaining, even when I'm at the receiving end. So you can imagine my dismay when I logged onto Facebook to find that several of my friends were posting a blog entry entitled "The Joke is Over" which is a very well-written entry responding to what the author believes is a very prevalent problem in social media: the posting of pregnancy announcements as April Fool's jokes.

I don't remember seeing this idea around last year. Maybe it was introduced prior to yesterday's festivities and I just happened to miss it, but from what I can remember, this is a new principal that many seem to be embracing this year. Several of my own Facebook friends got on the platform and stepped up to defend those amongst us who have suffered  infertility and child-loss and who are, undoubtedly, cowering in their homes, living in mortal fear of encountering this most offensive practical joke.

Okay. Disclaimer: OBVIOUSLY infertility and child-loss is no joke. I've already written about how much I fear experiencing those life trials. My heart experiences such an enormous amount of empathy for mothers who walk through these struggles, that I have literally been kept up at night, worrying and shedding tears on behalf of the people I've known who have known this type of loss. Therefore, the status update that would truly be in poor taste, would be one that purports to suffer these trials, only to reveal that (April Fools!) the author truly is expecting.

I won't mince words here: pretending you are pregnant on April Fool's Day is in no way an affront to those who cannot conceive. 

Let me say it in a different way, and I'll try and type slowly: It. Is. A. Joke.

Jokes can sometimes (virtually always, actually, depending on the listener) be offensive. But since when has our society taken the responsibility of other people's emotions into their own hands? Why is it our responsibility to molly-coddle and protect EVERYONE'S (completely varied) sensibilities?

We shouldn't talk about God in school. How would that make non-believers feel?
We shouldn't have Christmas trees in public. How could non-Christians possibly handle the attack?
Don't offer an expectant mother wishes that she will have an healthy child; that's an offense to those who aren't blessed with 'healthy' children.
And on that vain, if you use the word 'retarded', we're pretty sure there is a special circle of hell designed specifically for people like you.
OH! And please make sure your child brings enough allergy-free valentine's day treats to share with the entire class because we don't want anyone to have hurt feelings if they get fewer cards than the popular girl.

I mean, the list goes on and on and on and on...  If we are to ever truly achieve perfect kindness, we should simply never speak. Or have opinions. Or reward excellence. Or tell the truth. Or make a joke.  So... that sounds kind of boring. Also a little bit oppressive. But don't worry! I have a solution to the problem. Are you ready? Here it comes:

How about if we take ownership of OUR OWN SENSIBILITIES? 

Let me break this down for you in 2 easy steps:

1. If you don't like it, don't look at it. Example: If you don't like April Fools Jokes in social media, don't log onto social media on April 1st.

2. If it offends you, get over it. I know this one may seem kind of extreme, so let me give you a quick example from my own life: I was driving home the other day, listening to the comedy station on the radio (because I like the lolz). It just so happened that the routine that was playing was a very offensive and un-true attack on motherhood. The comedian asserted that mothers are ultimately lazy women who have taken 'the easy way out'. He claimed that the 'hard work' we are always alluding to is essentially just popping in a new DVD every few hours. (And why wouldn't we need a break after such an exhausting day? /sarc) I had two options: I could either whine and cry about how much he hurt my feel bads and undermined my entire life's work; or I could move forward, remaining confident in the knowledge of my reality and not give him power over me by allowing him to manipulate my emotions.

Why are we handing our power over like this? Why not, instead, claim control over our own emotions? Why are we allowing other's completely well-intentioned, harmless jokes to cause us such extreme distress that we have mommy-bloggers running to our aid and attacking those who post such an obviously politically incorrect prank?

Let's reclaim power over our feelings, shall we? Let's stop demanding that society take care of us. Let's take responsibility for our own lives and relish in the freedom that refusing to become offended will ultimately grant us.

And thus I have spoken.

Monday, March 31, 2014

It's Bin a Min

Apparently, I don't blog much any more. I'm not sure why I've been absent for so long. It used to be when something fantastic happened I'd think, "THAT is blogging material" and now I just think, "THAT was hilarious. it nap time yet?" But realistically, I think I've just stopped blogging because I've started doing different things with my highly limited amount of free time. Here is a short list:

1. Call the Midwife. Michelle introduced me to this highly addictive and very grown-up show. I can't watch it while Luke is awake because he is crazy observant and super inquisitive and I'm really not ready for the conversation that would inevitably follow one of the tastefully handled, but all-too-realistic birth scenes.

2. Lord of the Rings. I have never finished the books. I feel like that makes me less of a bibliophile, so I've decided to remedy the situation. And I'm remembering WHY I've not finished it. I mean, there are some crazy good parts in that book and so many moments where I can't stop reading or biting my nails. And then there are the pages. And pages. And pages of descriptions of histories of locations and details about who settled what where and who fought what wars for which lands and what the lands look like and what they grow there and eat there and how the water sounds and if the sun is shining... But I will power through! If for no other reason, but that the scenes with the Black Riders are some of the most exciting bits of book I've ever read.

3. The Mormon Channel. I discovered this app and I'm kind of addicted. There are all kinds of amazing programs to listen to. You can pick from literally thousands of different shows or concerts or conferences. My favorite right now is a show called "Conversations" which is basically an interview with difference members of the church who offer a unique perspective; such as leaders or prominent church authors or performers. So. Good. I listen while I clean and pack and such.

4. Sorting through all of my stuff in preparation for The Big Move in June. Many of you probably know, my family and I are moving to the Beehive State after Samuel's first birthday (June 24th). So I've slowly begun the process of going through the collection of stuff that has been building up for the three years we've lived in this apartment. (Can you believe we've lived in this apartment for three years? I'm going to cry my eyes out when we leave. The vast majority of our marriage has been spent in this apartment; Luke and Samuel's entire lives; three different jobs for Shem; two for me. Dang.)

All that is to say that I've been doing different stuff lately. Not to mention the fact that before the miracle that has been crawling, I had a baby who had to be asleep in order for me to be able to blog because I either had to wear him and pace (which was convenient during Luke's naps because I could put on Call the Midwife and both he and I were extraordinarily happy) or hold him and nurse, neither of which are conducive to writing. Now, however, Samuel is currently very happily army-crawling his way around the living room, exploring every nook and cranny and trying to climb boxes and such. He is such a content baby now. Thank goodness for mobility!

So, hopefully circumstances will permit my return to the blogdom. Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Hey, Do You Have My Cool? I Seem To Have Lost Mine.

So you guys. Here's a fun fact about yours truly: I HATE conflict. I hate it so much that I will be patient with you for an inordinate amount of time even if you're mean to me or call me names or insult me. I avoid confrontation at (almost) all costs. This is the story of today. When I didn't avoid it. Because I got so mad it made me feel like I had a little, angry alien baby fighting to get out of my stomach in order to strangle something.
So once upon a time, I got called out on my parenting by someone on facebook. Not once, not twice, not even three times. In fact, it was frequent enough that I kind of lost count. And got more and more annoyed about it. And finally, I snapped. Because my telling this person that "I feel good about the decisions I've made here" wasn't enough. They would not let it die. They continued to berate and quiz me on my knowledge of 'fill-in-chosen-parenting-style-here'. 
Here's how I decided to respond. If you should ever need one, this can be used as a form letter addressed to whoever it is in your life that feels like they should be raising your kids:

Dear Person Who Thinks They Have All The Answers,

Quite honestly, this is not about [fill-in-chosen-parenting-style-here] to me anymore; it's about the lack of confidence you seem to have in my ability to make informed decisions in regards to my children. I find it insulting that you feel the need to abrasively defend your point of view when I was never attacking your opinion; I was merely stating mine. It was fine for you to tell me what you believed about it at first, but when I countered by saying I'd made my mind up about this and felt in harmony with the Lord, it would have been nice for you to then just allow me to make my decision instead of continuing to challenge my choice.
This subject is not one that I'm as passionate about as you are, which results in my not being as thoroughly researched as you. I don't believe that because I haven't researched as much as you have in this area, that I am making an uninformed or unintelligent decision. There are many parenting methods out there that I choose not to practice even though 'research' has shown that it's the 'right' thing to do. I don't believe in absolutes. I believe that since every child and parent are different, results will vary regardless of whether or not you co-sleep or don't co-sleep or exclusively breast-feed or use formula or cry-it-out or don't. There is no one right way to parent.
The choice to [participate in 'fill-in-the-blank-parenting-style-here] is my choice to make. And I get to also choose HOW I make that choice. It's okay that you feel like I'm not in harmony with the will of the Lord because I haven't researched 'enough' or haven't landed on the same side as you have on this or other issues, but I just don't really want to hear about your disapproval. I am far too hard on myself in regards to parenting as it is and I don't need other people scrutinizing and disapproving of the decisions I make.
I know this comes across as being harsh and I feel badly about that; but I've sort of reached the end of my ability to stay patient. I was patient 2 and a half years ago when you messaged me with a ton of information about why I shouldn't circumcise my son when I didn't even know you and hadn't asked for your opinion about it. (By the way, I'd already reached my decision about that by the time I received your message so my 'limited' research at least allowed The Lord to inspire me with a decision that aligned with yours in that area.) I was patient again a few years later when you turned my 'I need encouragement about breastfeeding because I think my milk is making my baby sick' post into a lecture as to why formula will make my son unintelligent and/or suffer from a long list of possible side-effects. And I was patient again when you refuted my claim that my oldest was exclusively formula fed from 4 months old and hasn't suffered AT ALL by informing me that 'effects aren't always immediately seen' as though I now have something horrible to look forward to because I fed my firstborn formula.
I appreciate your passion. I think you are an amazing parent. I respect and admire the decisions you are making for your family and I have every confidence that you will do your best for your babies, even though I don't agree with everything you choose to do. I hold my tongue when you post articles about parenting which differ greatly from the way that I do things. Why? Because I don't think that the way I parent is automatically absolutely right for everyone! I believe that you will be inspired to do for your children what is best FOR YOUR CHILDREN. And I wish you believed the same, but it doesn't seem like you do.
I hope that you can believe that my babies are in good hands. I hope that you will know how much they are loved. I hope you know how seriously I take parenting and how desperately I want to do the best for my boys. But even if you forget all of that, or just choose not to believe it, I hope you will remember that when I do mess up, the Lord- who loves those babies infinitely more than you or I can comprehend- will make up the difference.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Twice As Good: Part 2

Being as this was supposed to be a blog post about life with two children, I decided it'd be fitting to do it in two parts. I'm really glad I made that decision because the first part was a little intense. But honestly, it was a really good snapshot of the first three months of my little Samuel's life. Today marks three months exactly since he made his way into this big world of ours and I swear to you people, it's like a magical switch has been flipped for the last week or so. This is not the same baby. Okay, yes, he still would prefer to be held over pretty much anything ever; and alright, he's not afraid to let you know when he's unhappy, but my word. This child is laughing already. He coos and gurgles and squirms with glee. He smiles so big at strangers that it makes virtually everyone who looks at him say, "Woah! He's a happy baby!" which makes me smile inside because liiiiittle do they know...

I'm so excited to get to know who this little one really is underneath all the pain and misery he was in for the first few months. Poor baby.

So. The great, amazing, awesome, wonderful bits of being a mama with two:

1. You LITERALLY have super powers.
Your kids will be the first to really, truly believe in these powers. Gradually, their belief will be enough to convince your husband. And finally one day you will realize it: You are magical. Your cuddles make their cries stop within seconds. (Even faster than daddy's do.)  You can somehow carry three bags, two kids and one car seat even though you only have two hands. You can turn things that are healthy but nasty into meals that taste unhealthy and delicious. Your kisses (apparently) have healing properties. You can have an entire conversation about something deep and meaningful with your husband while both children are hollering in the back seat. You know where everyone's everything is. And you can clean around five rooms in the five minutes that you have until the baby wants to be held again. It's all rather astounding.

2. You have all kinds of new realizations about how astounding your capacity to love is.
The minute you see that new baby's face, all of your fears about not being able to love a second baby as much as you loved your first just melt away. Because dang. You love that baby. And then you wonder how many babies you could love as hard as you love the two you have and you realize you have the potential to never stop loving these little people and it's kind of addicting so you start to understand why people want 10 or 11 of them. Then your kid pukes and you think, "No. Two's good".

3. You get to watch your oldest become a big sibling. 
Which is magical. I can't tell you how much you will feel like your heart is going to explode with happiness when you watch your first kid hold your second kid for the first time. Those feelings come again when your oldest tells the youngest he loves him, or gives him kisses when he's crying, or gets really excited when he wakes up from his nap and tells you to 'get him up, quick!' And again when you watch your new baby's face light up in pure joy when he sees his big brother come in the room. (Disclaimer: This happy part of having two also comes with a side helping of anxiety when you realize that the two-year-old loves the three-month-old SO much that he wants to squish him. So there's a mixed-bag of elation and terror when the two-year-old wants to hold the baby again)

4. You are kind of a baby expert now.
Everything that was overwhelming with your first is suddenly a no-brainer. You don't worry nearly as much about things as you did with the first. You've figured out newborns. Bathing, feeding, changing, dressing, doctors... all of that is logged away in your brain and you can pull any of it back out quicker than you'd ever imagine you could. You feel like you're the baby whisperer. You figure you could probably write a book about mothering by now. It's very empowering. Of course, your second baby will throw a wrench in everything by being a completely different human being who won't take a binky or stop crying for anything ever for what feels like the rest of your life. But the mechanics of it all? Cake.

I'm sure as the years progress and I continue watching my boys grow up together and learn more about who they are, I'll be able to add several numbers to that list. I'm so excited to watch them navigate this world. I love that they get to grow up together. As tricky as it sometimes is with two so close in age, I'm really grateful that they'll have each other as a built-in best friend as they get older. Yes, it can be overwhelming. Sure, you feel stretched to the limit (and sometimes beyond it). And most nights you do collapse into bed feeling like you've been run over by a mack truck and wondering how in the world two such tiny humans can be so completely exhausting. But in all honesty, it's all completely worth it. The ins and outs and ups and downs and goods and bads all mix together into this cohesive, beautiful chaos that you wouldn't trade for all the structure and predictability in the world. Being a mama of two is hard and wonderful. And it will change and grow you in ways you never thought it could.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Twice As Good-Part 1

*Disclaimer: This post is part one of a two-part post about my life as a mother of two. It is possibly the more morose of the posts, but I promise the next part will be more upbeat.*

Funny story: Today while my kids were taking a nap (at the same time - may the napping gods continue to smile upon me) I thought, "Hey. I should blog. It's been a while." So I went to get our laptop only to realize that Shem had taken it to my parent's house in an attempt to study sans distraction.  Curses. Ah well, I thought, the blog will have to wait for another day. About an hour after all that went down, I got a message from my friend Natalie, who suggested I write a blog entry about life with two children; the pros and the cons, the good, the bad and the ugly, etc. Well. Dang. That was quite the coincidence. But alas, the little one was up and crabby (stop the presses, I know.) and wasn't even hinting at maybe possibly being okay with my blogging instead of walking and bouncing him.

Which brings us to the here and now. Every once in a while I make the right decision in regards to my second-born. This was one of those times. I let him cry for about two minutes in his swing because I had a strong feeling that he was fussy because he was tired and -huzzah!- he fell asleep again. My oldest is still asleep. In all that time he never stirred. Because he is a miracle child. And takes three-hour long naps.

And that offers us an excellent segue into why I've hesitated to write a blog about life with two: Aside from the fact that I really have close to no 'down' time, I also feel somewhat unqualified to paint an accurate picture of what life with two kids truly looks like because my sweet, lovely little Samuel is so far from being a textbook baby. It doesn't feel like I'm a mother of two. It feels more like I'm a spit-up drenched, hot mess, 'hey, look, my outfit matches this time', walking-around-like-a-zombie, breathing-and-counting-to-ten-every-ten-seconds-so-I-don't-lose-my-marbles,  inadequate, unequal-to-her-tasks mama who maybe bit off a little more than she could chew with this whole 'hey, let's have more kids' idea she naively proposed to her husband a little less than a year ago.

In my version of life with two, the experience can be summed up in the moments wherein both children are screaming in the back seat of the car on the way to the grocery store. One upset because he's (almost literally) always upset and the other because his shoes are on. Or something sensible like that.

Or during the times when Samuel has just puked all over the outfit I just put him in while his big brother is happily painting the table a lovely shade of green with his avocados. Or dumping all of the water out of his bath onto the bathroom floor.

Or those times when Luke loves Samuel SO much that he squeezes him just a little too tight which makes the (finally) quiet infant start screaming. Again.

Or the times when I'm scouring every on-line article I can find on allergies in babies or 'fore-milk imbalances' or colic in an attempt to find an idea that I haven't explored yet.

Or when I REALLY want some ice cream but I can't because I'm trying everything I can think of to help my little one's tummy to settle.

Or those times when I just cry because I don't have anything else to try and my baby is hurting and I can't make it better and that's just about the worst feeling a mama can have.

We call Samuel our little 'investment'. We're putting in all of this time and energy and work and sacrifice because we know that in the end, he is worth it. In a way I think all children are sort of investments. If they didn't return to us, plus interest, the amount that they suck out during these early years, I don't think anyone would ever voluntarily have children. But they do! Even my grumpy little man does...and will...

I sometimes wistfully remember those days when it was 'just Luke'. Even though it didn't feel easy then, I look back on it an long for the times when we went for days and days without hearing a single newborn have a melt-down. I longingly remember the days when it was only one dirty diaper and one bath time and one fit being thrown in the grocery store. But honestly, I wouldn't trade this moment in my life for anything.

Every day I go to bed feeling like I've been stretched to my absolute limit and then... I wake up and do it all over again. There is nothing more fulfilling than stretching beyond what you think you can handle and then going even further. And then at the end of it all, you look back and realize you've grown in ways you couldn't have possibly imagined. You are super woman. You can do anything. You can conquer the whole world if you need to.

I'm not quite there yet, but I have faith that I will be soon. I know that when this moment comes to an end, I will look back and be amazed at everything I accomplished and how much I grew and changed. And I'm excited for that. I'm undoubtedly in the Refiner's fire right now. He's making me shiny and new and perfect. He's buffing out all of my rough edges by giving me these wonderful babies and allowing me to love them with more power then I've ever loved anything and simultaneously allowing it to be the hardest thing I've ever done in my life.

What a blessing it is to love the thing(s) that grow you.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Lost and Found

All my life I've heard mothers say that having children sort of makes you lose yourself and boy let me tell you...that is not an exaggeration. 

I tend to create a highly romanticized version of my past self in my mind. I seem to remember myself as being far more disciplined and perfect then I probably really was. I lost a lot of weight after high school and taught myself to eat very well and exercise frequently. I studied my scriptures every day. My prayers tended to be more fervent and less 'let's hurry this up so that I can go to sleep already!' I read more often, wrote more often, played the piano and sang all the time, listened to music, hung out with friends every day, took spontaneous road trips, went running daily and wrote in my journal every night. Before I had kids, I had become, in large part, the person that I'd always wanted to be. 

And now I'm just Luke and Samuel's Mama. I cook for them, clean for them, bathe them, change them, cuddle and kiss them, read to them (and trust me, toddler literature is not as fascinating as you'd think. There are only so many one-syllable words that rhyme.) wake for them, dance with them and take them to play with friends and attend all manner of toddler-appropriate activities to keep them engaged, happy and learning.

I don't run any more. Eating healthy now means adding green beans to the mac and cheese. I have 20 pounds to lose as a direct result of having carried and delivered two healthy little boys. My prayers are (sadly) often a race to the finish line so that I can complete the next task or crash into my bed. My scripture study has become a one-handed activity done on my smart phone during my nursing sessions. Church is now a battle-field on which I often admit defeat and hand my kid Angry Birds just to keep him quiet. 

I have lost myself. 

And while I struggle to find myself again and reinvent this new Mama version of me, it occurs to me that losing yourself in exchange for giving someone else life might just be the greatest sacrifice you can make. "Greater love hath no man than this; that he lay down his life for his friends." 

My life has been laid down for you, my boys. I put myself away everyday so that I can give you the life and love that you deserve. My desires and fears and wants and needs are often put on a back burner in order to allow you the growth and happiness that you came here for. I don't know of any experience in life that better creates the opportunity to learn selfless service; to follow the example set by Christ and give your life for others. I'm grateful everyday that I am allowed to be your mother. I'm grateful that I am the one who can make you laugh. I'm grateful that my voice calms your cries. I'm grateful to be the person that you run to when you're hurt, embarrassed, shy or afraid. 

Even though she is (for now) slightly nondescript, I'm grateful to be your Mama.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Samuel: The Birth

Well holy moly. It's been an entirely ridiculous amount of time between blog entries. The thing is, is that I've got this new baby here. And a two-year-old. And almost no time when I'm laying around thinking, "Hm. What should I do now?" Also our new baby, (whom I love and adore) despite being the most phenomenal sleeper IN ALL THE LAND is quite a fussy little man when he's awake during the day. That makes things like cooking, cleaning, taking care of Luke and (blogging) very nearly impossible. Because even when the rare occasion arises in which I have two hands at my disposal, there is very often a screaming baby in the background to whom I am hormonally and biologically programmed to respond. When that response is delayed because I'm -oh I don't know- saving Luke's life or something, my brain explodes in a frightening array of emotions and it's very nearly impossible to concentrate on anything but the sounds of my shrieking newborn. So. Right now I find myself in this unprecedented moment wherein both of my babies are still asleep, Shem is out of town, and I'm being a little lazy (aka scared out of my mind about tackling the pile of dishes in the sink) Conditions are perfect for blogging.

Facts about Samuel:
He is my fighter baby. That kid survived a terrifying mess of problems while he was inside of me and then a handful of them when he was on his way out. He's such a squirmy, active little thing and he's been that way since he could move. He was even a little more active than Luke was when he was inside of me. Apparently all that movement earned him a good little knot in his umbilical chord. At some point, he wrapped himself up in that thing and cause a true knot which became tighter and tighter every time I pushed and caused his heart rate to decelerate. And it never came back up. So the on-call doctor who was delivering me suddenly became a raging lunatic psychopath who caused the entire already terrifying experience of having an emergency C-section to become actually psychologically damaging. He flew into a raging panic and started yelling at everyone and frantically wheeling me out of the room to the OR where he proceeded to yell at ME about how I was moving too slowly and was going to lose my baby. awesome.

They ended up putting me under (because the psychopath of a doctor was freaking me out so badly that I was literally screaming at them that I wasn't numb yet as he was poking at prodding at me after I was strapped to the table). Shem missed the birth. I missed the birth. Samuel was welcomed into the world not by his Mama and Daddy, but by a bunch of nurses who had been desperately trying and mostly failing to rope the doctor's crazies in a little bit. They took his vitals and the kid scored an almost perfect score on the Apgar test. Then they woke me up and let me feed him. I was so disoriented upon waking up, however, that I didn't register that there was a beautiful, brand new baby boy nursing in my arms. I was just crying and crying and asking if he'd made it...if everything was okay. After a few minutes the nurses and Shem finally convinced me that he was just fine and he was nursing happily and had scored a 9.9 on his Apgar test and so I just sat and held him and was finally able to be madly in love with him and in awe over his perfection.

Not the ideal delivery by any stretch.

I would have (eventually) been fine with a C-section if that Doctor hadn't been so panicked. Hadn't made me think I was losing the baby. Hadn't blamed me for it. Twice. I'm still so shaken about his behavior and about how badly I was treated by him that I don't ever want to deliver at that hospital ever, ever again. I've been struggling with the idea of ever even delivering again period. Let alone under similar circumstances in similar surroundings.

BUT in the end, my perfect, handsome, sweet little Samuel is here and I couldn't be happier about that. I can't tell you how good it feels to have a newborn in my arms again. It's completely addicting. No wonder I was so baby hungry. He smells good and fits right in my arms and has no choice but to snuggle with me. And he looks at things with utter amazement. I love to watch him discover the world. I'm absolutely in love with him. Even though he's frequently a crab-muffin when he's awake and not nursing. =)

He's almost 6 weeks old already! I just can't believe it's going this fast. As he gets older, he's getting a little calmer and is starting to have longer and longer awake stretches in which he just looks around pleasantly and takes in his surroundings.

Let me tell you the other miraculous thing about this baby who survived a car wreck, pre-term labor and a true knot in his umbilical chord:

He sleeps through the night.

I'm not kidding you people. This child has been sleeping through the night since he was 2 and a half weeks old. And I'm not even talking he sleeps four hours at a time. He literally sleeps. Through. The. Night. Like, last night he did 8 hours. The night before? 9. The shortest stretch he's had in a few days was 6. Even at the VERY beginning (like just a few days old) he'd sleep 4 hours at a time. What. Tender mercies, guys. Tender mercies. I'm convinced that this miracle was essential because it enables me to stay really patient with his fussy moments and with his two-year-old brother.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: all of this stuff is completely worth it. My body is not the same, I've been through the ringer in terms of pain and crappy pregnancy symptoms, my deliveries have both had a few hiccups but it's all completely worth it. I love being a Mama. I love it with all of my heart.