five things | feeling like an asshole and a little morbidity for your wednesday

2.03.2016

this week.

oh, this gd week.


insert long, dramatic sigh.

here it is, in a nutshell:

1. mo has become a pro at trying to fake being sick. she usually laughs immediately because she knows that we know her game. it most often occurs when we ask her to do something. "mo, can you go put your shoes on so we can leave?" oh, mama i am so sick *cough, cough* i need you to do it, please. so, on monday morning when she claimed to not feel well again right before it was time to leave for school, i gave it little mind. she gave us no indication that she was actually sick and had not even a runny nose. feeling like an asshole, take one: not thirty minutes after dropping her off at school, i get a call from her teacher saying that mo has a 102 fever and wouldn't stop crying until finally falling asleep on the floor in the reading corner under a tent. face palm.


2. i thought edie was simply cutting her top teeth. and she is. she's like a little hillbilly with two bottom and one top tooth- it's THE CUTEST. she just happened to be the most miserable we've ever seen her. and considering that she's typically the happiest baby ever- even when she's miserable- that's saying something. feeling like an asshole, take two: she had her nine month well check-up yesterday and, as it turns out, homegirl actually had an ear infection and high fever. as the doc told me, i could actually feel my insides shrinking. double face palm.


3. joe and i are leaving for a much needed childless vacation on saturday for a week. we're going to sit on a beach and do nothing for seven full days and nights and i could not be happier nor could it be coming at a better time. goodbye awful post-nursing hormones and hello sex drive! i've missed you like whoa. anyway, this trip has been in the works for almost a year now and we have been counting down the days for, at least, the last three months. when my babies got sick this week, it suddenly hit me that i will be leaving them for longer than i've ever left them-- while they aren't feeling well. and even though this one-on-one time is so necessary for our marriage and even though we've more than earned the luxury of being able to eat, drink, and have sex without interruption over the last year, i am an emotional and anxious wreck. feeling like an asshole, take three: why is it that i am so sad to leave the two things that i am so excited to have a break from? why is motherhood such a damn double-edged sword? why does motherhood make you feel like such an asshole? it is probable that i will cry the entire trip to paradise and then cry again because i'm in paradise, crying.


4. ever since i had edie, i've felt a unyielding twitch brewing inside of me. the truth is that i really miss working outside of our home and find myself desperately craving a professional and creative outlet in my life. writing is great and all, but it's still a solo sport. i need adult interaction. and, while i've been lucky enough to be able to be home with the girls these past almost-four-years and even though every single day feels like the hardest job i've ever had, i'm not all that personally satisfied by it. i need more. so, i've recently taken on a fun new role working again part-time that is igniting all of the parts of me that have felt dormant for far too long. it's exciting, isn't it? or isn't it? feeling like an asshole, take four: after talking with a good friend about all of the feelings surrounding working and leaving the girls in the care of other people, it hit me just how fortunate and privileged i am to be able to CHOOSE to work. or to CHOOSE not to work. there are so many women and mothers who have no other option or say in the matter for a bevy of reasons. (my own mother was one of them and so are many other women in my family. i grew up with women working outside of the home as my model and my mother did, in fact, have it all like a damn boss.) i know that so many women would give anything to be at home with their kids, day-in and day-out, and yet, here i am, bored by it. maybe bored isn't the right word. but does that make me an ungrateful asshole? i don't know the answer to that question and i'm not 100% sure that i really want to know. but i do know that doing what makes me happy as a person- separate of being a mother- in turn, makes me a better mother. so, i'm just going to continue thanking whomever is up there and in control of things that i can choose to do what makes me happiest and continue being grateful to be surrounded by so many badass women who encourage me and work their asses off in and outside of the home.


5. warning: this is a little morbid so don't read it if emotional cutting isn't your thing. don't say i didn't warn you, 'kay? we've been procrastinating on getting a will together ever since marlo was born. it's not something you really want to think about, you know? but, since joe and i are going out of the country on saturday without our girls, there seemed no better time to cross our t's and dot our i's than now. god forbid, in the awful chance that something happens to the both of us, we want to make sure that the girls are taken care of and our wishes are seen through regarding everything that regarding their future. i also think that covering all of our bases is the responsible thing to do for all parties involved, you know? i'd like to believe that we'd be very much missed so i don't want people worrying about logistics in the face of missing my face. but when you are sitting in front of a computer, writing out your wishes *in case you and your husband die and leave your babies to be taken care of by someone else* and having a painful yet necessary conversation with the people you want to be your daughters' legal guardians if something happens preventing you from being around for your babies.... well.... it's all just a lot to take in. god, parenthood is so heavy. at the end of the day, no two people matter more to me than those crazy little fadel girls. and it's in the facing of things like this- critical and essential, yet painful-to-fathom possibilities- which force you to deeply feel the weight of the all consuming love you have for two people more than you've ever loved anything or anyone. you're hit in the face with how much you have to lose and the thought of losing it is unbearable. how is love so incredibly beautiful and life-giving yet equally painful and exhausting?





the universe is really making me earn this vacation this week, huh?

nine months in | nine months out

1.24.2016

time, as they say, is a real bitch.


i'm not sure if that's actually what they say but it's true. edie has now been in our family for as much time as she was inside of my belly and the realization is jarring. with marlo, i counted down the days until her next milestone- the next stage, the next month- just hoping to find myself facing the day we woke up and it somehow felt easier. i was a desperate new parent and, in a lot of ways, was blind. i had yet to realize that it never gets any easier, just becomes different shades of hard.




even though the adjustment from one child to two children wasn't easy and i had moments of absolute sheer panic and bouts of inconsolable tears, i never once wished it away. i know better than to do that this time around. first kids are a bit of a science experiment in that way where you test your theories, you work out all the kinks, and you realize where you went wrong so that, for the second test, you change around your parameters, and learn something from your mistakes.

with edie, instead of rushing the process and sprinting through the first leg of parenthood, i made a point to tell myself to just let it be. i remember being convinced that it would all click at some point or another so there was no need to worry or put pressure on any of us. i never set false or unrealistic expectations for myself, expectations which would undoubtedly lead to frustration or feelings of maternal failure when they weren't met. i offered myself a lot of grace and was mindful to remain patient, to allow every phase and stage to ride out naturally instead of forcing things we weren't ready for.


i have soaked up every moment that possibly could be, even every sleepless night. i have never let a day go by without realizing that these days with edie and mo are THE DAYS i will one day look back on most fondly. i'm not sure if it's because she's my last baby or because i am now painfully aware of what's waiting for us on the other side (toddlers, man) but edie will never be a baby long enough for me to get an adequate enough fill of her or to feel ready to move on from this particular chapter in my mine and children' lives.



i think it also has somewhat to do with the fact that i really like the mother i've become with a toddler and a baby. my life feels properly balanced and i somehow manage to stay on top of most days without feeling like i'm losing myself in the process. i'm not perfect by any means and i will always find room for improvement but we make it work. most days, i even feel like we're a well-practiced team versus the rival opponents we most certainly were the first month or two.


but i have no idea how to be a mother to two toddlers. the thought terrifies me, quite frankly. i've worked really fucking hard to figure out this mothering-a-toddler-and-a-baby-thing and now it feels like the rug is getting pulled out from under me. oh, you think you've got this figured out, eh? well, let's just switch this up and see what you're really made of... 


by the way, you're made of tears, christy.


tears and red wine.




edie, 


please be my sweet baby forever. 

and ever.

love always, 

your mama.

motherhood | a real mind fuck

1.16.2016

i have these moments that sneak up on me, as many moms do i'm sure, where i'll look at one or both of my girls and become completely and overwhelmingly flabbergasted as to how it's possible that they're mine. i'm not talking who-gave-me-permission-to-adult-or-be-in-charge-of-two-tiny-people kind of thoughts. although i think those things often, too.



right now, i'm talking more about sheer physiological logistics.


like, i made a human being? i made THIS human being? wait a hot damn second. i made THESE human beingS... as in plural. not just one. but TWO. what kind of black magic fuckery is this?! i made PEOPLE. with only a few of my organs, forty extra pounds, and a lifetime's supply of chocolate croissants. my very much imperfect body- which, i'd like to add, has failed me often- actually got its' shit together and created another human being inside of it? TWICE!?! no way that kind of wizardry is actually possible and no way in hell did i actually plop* that thing out of a ten centimeter hole.  

oh, wait.


but i did. i did do those things. *well, maybe not so much the plopping. based on my experience, it takes a little more effort than that. but that's neither here nor there. 


but seriously. i did, in fact, grow, house, and birth two perfect and healthy little beings. my two perfect and healthy little beings. my body has been occupied in the most all-encompassing manner possible. twice. and you know what? in the grand scheme of things, ten months doesn't seem like enough time to pull off what it pulled off, does it? i mean, what do most people do in ten months? lose a few pounds? read a few books? we women? we grow humans in the same amount of time it takes some people to house train their labradoodle.


i find it all to be a real mind fuck. with edie, in particular, too. likely because she was the most recent (and final) inhabitant of my internal incubation system. and it's not so much the birthing that shakes me to my core. how a baby is birthed is important, sure. however, it doesn't define motherhood or you as a mother. it's also not so much how a baby is sustained after birth. breastfeeding is another aspect of motherhood that doesn't- or shouldn't- define the mother.


more than anything, it's the fact that i created (with the help of my husband, obviously) two humans. i grew them. i kept them safe. i loved them from the moment i knew they existed and i knew who they were before i ever met them. i was protective of them, their well being, and wanted the best for them and the world they would come to live in. hell, i even became an idealist because of them. what i went through mentally, emotionally, and physically was life-changing and i doubt that anything will ever measure up as far as things that have the ineradicable ability to unhinge all that one knows/knew/will ever know and repurpose it for who you need to be for your child(ren). THAT- and that alone- is where the unbelievable magic lies for me. the fact that these two little girls were somehow chosen for me to be their mother? well, it's beyond any semblance of comprehension.


the one thing i can actually comprehend is just how lucky i am to have been able to do this, to do this particular part of motherhood. i didn't enjoy every moment, of course. i wished for parts of it to be over and i wouldn't say that i miss it. but when i find myself retracing my perinatal steps and when i'm faced with the sheer enormity of it all, i feel nothing but awe for what we can do... for what i did. i feel it today on edie's 262nd day of life and i imagine i'll experience the same feelings on her 10,000th day of life, too. it never becomes any less miraculous.



what a really exceptionally beautiful thing it is to be a mother.
photos by me. 

"mama, i love you so much! i like you so much, too."

1.10.2016

on friday afternoon as we were sitting on the playroom floor buying time until joe got home to rescue me, out of nowhere, mo grabbed and cupped my face in her two tiny hands, pulled my face to her own and said very seriously, "mama, i love you so much. i like you so much, too."


and then, i died a little. because there is no better feeling than knowing your baby loves you. there is also nothing better than hearing them tell you as much. (your move, edie.)


i just pulled her into my lap, a place she can't be as often as she would like due to the almost constant occupancy of a baby. i wrapped my arms around her and hugged her dramatically. i kissed her cheeks all over and made a big show of my affection for her. i told her how much i love her and how much i like her, too. (because, you know, there is a difference. especially with a toddler. i love her always but there are days when i don't like her very much.) (hash tag real talk.)

she put her head on my shoulder and nuzzled her face in my neck. i told her how proud i am of her for handling the move to north carolina and this transition with such grace. i told her how proud i am of her for being such a loving big sister even when it's really hard and frustrating for her. i told her how proud i am of her for being brave meeting new friends and starting a new school. i also thanked her for being patient with me as i figure out this mama-of-two-in-a-new-city-with-a-new-routine thing.


and then i told her how proud and lucky i am that i get to be her mama forever and ever. and i can honestly say that i've ever meant any words i've ever spoken to her more than i meant that.


yes, mo is a lot of work. she has been since the day she was born and i don't see that changing anytime soon, if ever. she is a force to be reckoned with. she's incredibly opinionated. she wakes up and tells me immediately if she's going to have a "beautiful day" or a "bad day" and she wholeheartedly means it. she's temperamental, tender, and frequently overly dramatic. she vibrates with the aftershocks of others emotions. she requires routine and consistency to the point of monotony. she is not what i would describe as go-with-the-flow. she is fairly rigid in her ideals. she's cheeky and funny as hell and a bit unpredictable. she gets it. she is not, nor will she ever be, a wall flower or doormat. she says what she means and means what she says.


these traits aren't always the easiest to navigate as she grows into a little girl with even more opinions and emotions and ideas about how the world works . she is always listening and soaking up what i'm putting out. i have to watch my every word and move and when i forget this, it comes back to bite me in the ass.


but she is also my biggest teacher and the person i feel closest to. she's very much my mini-me in personality and i understand her like nobody else ever will because i've been her. i've felt misunderstood and frustrated with not being taken seriously. so when marlo speaks, i try my hardest to stop what i'm doing and listen and i always take her seriously. even silly things- things that don't make any sense to me whatsoever- are important things to me because they are important to her.




after mo told me that she loved me and liked me and i told her all the things, i grabbed edie to join the party. there is a hand and knee for each babe, i said. then i snapped these pictures of us three because i wanted to capture how incurably happy i am.

i've actually never been this happy. i've never felt more confident as a mother and as a woman. i've never felt so settled, so content, and so fulfilled with the direction my life is taking than i do right at this moment. i know who i am and what i want out of my life and for the life of my family. and if there is ever a moment worth capturing, it's the moment that you realize that these moments are THE moments, that these girls are IT. they are the reason why i try so hard to be, do, see, live, and teach good.

mo and edie, i love you both so much. i like you both so much, too.

when your toddler calls you out

1.07.2016

this morning, while rushing and trying to get the girls ready, mo decided that she didn't want to wear her hat. okay, no big deal. (i decided a long time ago to pick my battles when it comes to her wardrobe, even when freezing temperatures are involved.)

and, so, i absentmindedly just plop it on edie's head instead as i was far too busy scrambling (read: lazy) to go up the sixteen stairs for her own bunny hat. as we clamber into the car and i'm hurriedly buckling the girls into their car seats, i glance over at mo and notice that she's making a gallant effort to look the opposite way- away from me- out the window.


her lip is trembling.


oh, shit. this is not good.


"honey, what's wrong?"

she looks up at me with tears in the corner of her eyes and whispers, "you gave edie my fox hat?" ummm.... before i could even explain, the dam breaks and she bursts into tears. "mama, you should have asked me if it was okay! you give edie all of my stuff! my fox hat is special and belongs to me and why do you give edie all of my things without asking or saying please first?!?"



well, fuck.



my three year old just called me out.


and she couldn't be more right.



i should've asked her. she would've said yes. she always willingly shares with edie. but i just should've taken the extra five seconds and asked her. and not just about the damn hat but about all of the hand-me-downs and the toys and the countless things that edie uses that do, in fact, belong to mo- things that i've never once even considered may have meaning to her. i shouldn't have assumed anything.


i wish i could blame this on me being such a rookie to the workings of siblings. i'm not 100% competent in how siblings work seeing as how i grew up without anyone ever wanting- let alone, taking or being given- any of my stuff. but i can't blame it on that. this has far less to do with sibling politics and more to do with common consideration and respecting a persons' things- lessons i'm ironically trying to regularly shove down mo's throat.


it appears that while my three year old has, in fact, learned a thing or two about being considerate and asking for permission, i have work to do. kids tend to be selfish by nature and i don't expect otherwise. but simply giving edie all of her things without first asking mo if she can use them is not only rude but it sets a horrible example.


getting metaphorically slapped in the face by a tiny human with my personal hypocrisies and inadequacies isn't fun. it's actually fairly embarrassing. but i truly believe that there are no greater teachers than our children. it's largely why i love parenthood and why i believe that being a parent is just as beneficial as it is demanding and exhausting.



just another day in the life of my three year old schooling me in what it means to be a decent human. 

five things | i learned in 2015

1.03.2016

2015: the year of edie cooper
1. contrary to a once long-held belief, i do, in fact, like the newborn-infant stage. (i blame edie for this because, hello. look at that face!) and, ummm, dare i say that i'm also pretty good at it?!? what i am not good at is being tired. oh, and threenagers. threenagers combined with lack of sleep do not bring out a pretty side of me. they do, however, bring out fairly impressive dark circles, zits so big they deserve their own zit codes (see what i did there?), and hormone-induced rages.


2. nothing puts stress on a marriage like lack of sleep, strong-willed threenagers, ikea furniture, and long distance moves. joe and i have been lucky enough to endure all of those things over the course of 2015. *rolls eyes*


3. i've made no secret that i really don't/didn't like living in new york city. what i walked away from that three year long experience having learned is that life is far too special and unfortunately short to force a square peg into a round hole. you don't like the path your life is taking? CHANGE IT. so, when we were given the luxury of being able to change our situation, we did. i say this next part with the utmost conviction: i have never, ever, EVER been more confident about any decision my family has made as i am the one we made to move back to the one place that has always felt like home, to a city i want my girls to know as their own, and into a house that we will make a lifetime's worth of memories in. 


4. breastfeeding- or however you feed your child- is an important decision. however, it doesn't define motherhood or you as a mama. this could be a bigger post for another day but i adamantly believe that so much more goes into making the decision of how you should feed your baby than just what may be nutritionally best for their bellies. most importantly, you should never let someone make you feel guilty for your decision nor should you ever make someone question or feel bad for theirs.


5. and, finally, this is probably the biggest pill i've had to swallow this year. but....



i like justin bieber. 

overheard | marlo being marlo

12.20.2015


"mama, where is da fire pit and da marshmellows? it's important dat i know dis."


"i love our new house, mama. we can stay forever, yes?"


"mama, why did you paint my room pink? did i ask you because i forget?" i tell her yes, that she asked for a pink room, and what baby wants, baby gets. "oh really?!... well, can i have a tampoleen in my new room den?" ummmm,


"mama, i went poo poo. come take a picture of it because itssa big poo poo and daddy will be so proud of me." face palm. 


"why did you not pack my cinderella dress? mama, you shoulda known dat it was too important. you need a time out."

"this target store is my favorite, mama. do you like target? yes. "does daddy like target?" no. 


"will i meet new fwends at my new school mama? will i still miss my fwends in bwooklin?" dagger to the heart. 


"mama, what time is it?" it's 7:30 am. "wow, i slept so late. i think i'll just sleep that late forever because i feel so wested and it's light out so i can just go right outside instead of the waiting."


while staying at our friends house, she spots a picture of her at 16 months old. "wait. who is dat little girl? wait. is dat meeee? wow. i was so cute. you so really cute, baby marlo."


"i missed my cuzzie bugs (cousins) so much, mama. i so happy to be home in charlotte because i missed them and they make me so happy."


"mama, stop the car!!!! itssa mcdonalds like i saw on da pewter!!!! we have to stop because it is supposed to be so delicious. and did you know that i get a toy with my happy nuggets?!" great....
 

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