the thick of it

18.12.14

my little brooklyn girl. 
today is marlo's last day of the fall semester. just like her first day of school, i find myself feeling incredibly sentimental. and just like every birthday and milestone before it, i declare the day an accomplishment of sorts rather than yet another sign that my baby, who will always be my figurative baby forever and ever and ever, is no longer my literal baby.


these last few months were the part of parenthood that no one warns you about- the days that everyone brushes off as "the thick of it... the days that you'll never get back... blah blah blah." people label it as such things that help them get through the day, to give you hope that it gets better, easier. i would know... i've done it. i've told people such things.


but, truth be told, i don't care to have those days back. they kicked my ass and then some. they made a joke of everything i knew to be true of me as a mother and as a parent. these last few months tested me in ways that made me question why having kids is claimed to so great. marlo wasn't the easiest baby but compared to the last few months of toddler-hell, infancy was a goddamned breeze on the sunniest of days.


but just like with every other accomplishment and milestone, today feels like that light at the end of the tunnel. marlo is finally beginning to understand why we don't hit people and why we don't throw things when we're told no. not only does she understand why we don't do those things, but she also rarely does it.


most importantly, marlo and i are finally feeling like a team instead of opponents. i finally understand why this parenthood thing is claimed to be so damn great.


i didn't believe it for so long. i thought so many people were lying or they had easier babies or lives than i do. (ps. my life is not difficult. i just tend to veer into brat territory on the bad days and enjoy the occasional pity party. we're all guilty of it, i think.) i attributed their verbal convictions to them possibly just being kind. or rather delusional. or they were simply lying to me because they felt that i couldn't handle to truth.


but now? today?


i get it.


it took me over two and a half years to arrive here but i truly get it.


these days- the days that never seem to end quite quickly enough when they're awful and can't last long enough when they're great- are being ranked as some of the best days of my life.

these are the days.


these days are the thick of it.
these days are the marrow of life.
these are the days that count more than any others.
these are the days that leave me so unbelievably fulfilled in ways that i never imagined.





marlo, 

thank you for being patient with me. 
thank you for loving me in the way that you do. 
thank you for opening my eyes day after day to what life is all about. 
thank you for making me laugh even during the toughest of times.
thank you for making me your mama.
thank you for being mine.

you are my favorite person in the entire world.

to the moon but so very much farther...
xxoo

round two | half-way

10.12.14

edie cooper, twenty weeks
this babe and i are half-way (give or take depending on her partialness to being prompt and courteous) to meeting each other on the outside.

this pregnancy, all the while magical and blah, blah, blah, has been vastly different from my pregnancy with modine, in ways that are hard for me to articulate.


beyond our circumstances being different and our everyday life the exact opposite of what it was when i was growing mo, i am so incredibly different. how could i not be? marlo, the game changer, turned my world upside down in the most beautifully chaotic way.


while pregnant with her, i didn't have a toddler running around, crashing into things, distracting me from worshiping my body's ability to grow life, from honoring it as some holy vessel. while she was grown on kale, quinoa, and whatever organic, grass-fed, pastured, locally-raised beast i believed would make for the healthiest baby, edie craves a lot of frozen mango chunks, white cheddar pirate's booty, and full-fat lattes. there have been more days than i can count when i forget to take my prenatal vitamin. i've had a few more glasses of wine this round.

and more sushi.

and more chocolate croissants.

and stinky french cheese.

and more cured meat.


things are different, more laid-back. i'm more trusting of my body and a hell of a lot less critical of it, too.


it's easier in some aspects and harder in others.


but the one thing that remains the same is that nothing- and i do mean NOTHING- will ever top being given the privilege to grow life inside of me.


this second opportunity to really witness what my body is capable of is yet another reminder of what life is really all about. it's about these two little girls that joe and i made and the process of parenthood, which, by way of technical definition, is to somehow manage that they don't grow up to be giant assholes.


it's about the love that we share as a couple, the same love which we've fought hard for for over eight years and continue to try our best to make better every single day, the love that will set the precedent for how our girls expect to be loved and treated and will, in turn, love and treat other people.


these nine (or ten) months aren't just about growing a baby. they have become so much more than that and i'm so thankful that i get to do this again.


completeness

27.11.14

i got really emotional this morning by an overwhelming sense of completeness that i'm often too "busy" to slow down and take the time to notice on an every day basis. i feel like i have it all- everything i've ever wanted- and i'm grateful.

i'm thankful for my man. i'm thankful that he always takes the time to read to our kid. i'm thankful that he not only handles my crazy, but appreciates it. i'm thankful for that layer of scruff on his face, too, and that he always cleans after i cook. i'm thankful for how hard he works and for the sacrifices he makes for his family. i'm thankful for the spontaneous dance parties in our living room and his unending attempts at making me laugh.

i'm thankful for the adventure of parenthood. i'm thankful for my beautifully complex little girl, a person who keeps me laughing and on my toes constantly; a two-nager who reminds me that life is about learning and finding the joy in even the littlest and most mundane things. i'm thankful for her enthusiasm and her tenacity. i'm thankful for her being mine.

i'm thankful for edie cooper and her proving to me what my body is capable of doing after a rough year and a half of it failing me at every opportunity it was given. i'm thankful that i have the opportunity to be pregnant again and to birth another little soul who will call me mama. there is no other title that i'm more grateful for and proud of.

i'm thankful for our families. i'm thankful for our friends who have stepped in and become our family. i'm thankful for a tribe of women who help me raise marlo and lift me up when i so desperately need it, women who i'm so very proud marlo and edie have to look up to.

i'm thankful for this city that has adopted us, this city that i often complain about and take for granted. i'm thankful for this time spent away from our comfort zones- even when it has been one of the most difficult things i've ever done- and being forced to stand on my own and make the clear distinction between what i want in life and what (or, who, rather) i actually need.


marlo being marlo

19.11.14

you recently learned how to unlock my phone and flip the camera so that you can take pictures of yourself. you take approximately three hundred or so a day. it's annoying to have to erase so many photos every day but it also buys me five minutes when i'm trying to use the bathroom or eat a scrap of food or simply breathe so i pick my battles. you win this one.

even though i was finally able to convince you that the milk will only come in when the baby comes, you remain suspicious. almost every day you take your little index finger and push- not so gently- on each boob, just to make sure that the milk hasn't decided to come in unexpectedly. you are diligent about reminding me that you, too, want some milk when it does decide to come in. i've left this request alone in high hopes that your streak of innate tenacity won't make you want it even more simply because i've told you no. you've apparently forgotten that you stopped nursing nineteen months ago and that you don't even like milk of any variety. you've determined that mine is special, i guess? 

about a month ago, you heard your dad yell "fuck" very loudly while he was watching a unc carolina game. since then, you occasionally walk around the apartment yelling "BUCK, mama. BUCK." you have no idea what you're saying (i can only hope) but i still find it hysterical and have to put forth a great deal of effort to not laugh my ass off. luckily, you've yet to yell such tasteful choice of words in public but i'm counting on that happening very soon.


your dad recently went out of town for the weekend and i wanted to send him a little goodnight video of you singing twinkle, twinkle. while you were in the bath and singing away like you always do, i figured it'd be a good time to capture it on video since you weren't paying me any attention. about four seconds in and with the timing of a seasoned and skilled comedienne, you stopped singing, looked dead at the camera, and let out the most giant fart ever. you dad really loved the video.

you label everything as either "so silly," "so cwazy," or "ummm, no." there are no other options.

let me tell you something of fact, mo: hearing you say "baby e-dee is in derrrr, mama" has to be the cutest damn thing that has ever come out of your mouth. much cuter than... say.... "buck, mama buck!"

round two | seventeen weeks

18.11.14


up until yesterday morning at 8:30 am, i'd yet to really attach myself emotionally to this pregnancy. i'm not sure if it's because i'm so preoccupied with marlo or because i'm stretched so thin emotionally and physically but i'd yet to feel that connection i felt so innately and instantly during my pregnancy with marlo.

but then i saw her.


i saw our girl, edie cooper fadel.


and it was like the emotional rush of finding out i was pregnant happened all over again but this time with the utmost clarity and sharpness because i now know who is growing inside of me.


so, miss edie cooper, i hope you know that you are incredibly anticipated, cherished, and already so immensely loved.


we can't wait to meet you.


thoughts on motherhood

4.11.14

a protector. a lover. a mother.
and fifteen weeks pregnant.
my job isn't to never fail; my job is to show my babies how to be humans, how to fail gracefully, and how to pick themselves back up after they fall. because they will fall.


my job isn't to shield them from ever getting hurt; my job is to remind them that remaining vulnerable in a hardened world is still the most beautiful way to approach and embrace the beauty that life offers us.


my job isn't to be perfect or to measure up to anyone else's idea of who i should be; my job is to remain authentic to who i want to be, who i am at my best, and to teach my babies that differences are what make us beautifully human.


my job isn't to tell them who i think they should be; my job is to embrace, respect, and appreciate their individuality, who they want to be, and their path to becoming that person. my job is to love them without conditions.


my job isn't to be selfless or a martyr or a doormat. my job is to believe in my self-worth and to distinguish that thin line between selflessness and selfishness so that my kids never become complacent with their own needs coming second.


my job isn't to not need others. my job is to believe so much in my own abilities that i don't repeatedly rely on the opinions of others to build me up or to be my backbone.


my job isn't to shelter them or to guard them from the pitfalls of life no matter how badly i'll want to; my job is to make sure that my kids know how to kick life's ass when life is being as asshole.


my job is to protect them, to love them, and to show up.



that is my job as a mother.




round two | whattup, second trimester!

29.10.14

fourteen weeks
my belly sticks out as far as my bum and i've got some super sexy love handles in the works. neither bother me a bit. 

just because i've done this before doesn't make it any easier. it's actually harder due to the result of the first time. yeah, i'm looking at you, marlo mclean. 

i've already felt some little flutters going on in there and, just like with marlo, i initially assumed it was gas. 

the first trimester- quite simply- really sucked. i'm struggling with severe anemia and it's a real pain in the ass. literally and figuratively speaking. i fear pooping on a daily basis more than i fear labor and labor was the opposite of fun so that's telling you something. iron supplements are no joke, y'all.

i read this article almost every day. it makes me laugh, cry, and brings me a lot of reassurance when i'm doubting my ability to mother two babies the same way i'm able to mother one. 

we do have names picked out for both a boy or a girl. 

i often forget that i'm pregnant. but suddenly i'll have an epic hot flash or get knocked over by a wave of nausea or a headache that lasts for. fucking. ever. and be pulled right back to the present. nature is kind like that. 

currently, i'm only craving four foods: green juice, salt and vinegar chips, bacon, fried egg, & tomato on sourdough, and smoked oysters from a can. sweets need no longer apply. 

i take a lot of naps. naps are my favorite.

i have a lot of sex dreams while pregnant. thanks, hormones. i owe you one.

i'm not a laid back person by nature but pregnancy does something magical to me. it's like i'm stoned and it's definitely a nice change of pace. now, to say that i'm laid back is absolutely not to say that i'm less emotional. because that would be a lie. i cry a lot. probably as often as i nap. 

lastly, i've consciously chosen a very hands-off approach to this pregnancy. when i gave birth to marlo, i didn't trust my body and believed that my doctor knew best. turns out, he didn't know best and i suffered tremendously because of it and i was left traumatized by it. now? i prefer to let my body do its' thing. i ask my midwife to only tell me what i truly need to know and i don't look on the internet for answers to any of my questions. (luckily, i don't have too many questions this time around.) i trust that my body knows what it needs to do to grow a healthy baby and deliver that healthy baby into my awaiting arms. it's a level of physiological and emotional confidence i so deeply wish i possessed three years ago. 


fourteen weeks down, only two hundred twenty seven to go. 

 

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