What will I do?
Savor my time left with the boys, remember all our funny maternity leave mishaps, and dream big dreams for our future.
It is going to be weird to cash in my nursing of Owen in the backseat of my car, to pumping in the mother’s room alone at work.
Henry’s -isms will have to sustain me from a distance now: “what x is,” “hold you” (when he means hold me), “my pick,” “two babies!,” “I happy now,” and so many more little phrases everyday.
May these next 48 hours take months to pass.
If you have not noticed, it is Back To School season. We are currently being inundated with jingles, ads, and messaging of all kinds reminding us, as though we could forget, that in just a few short days schools will be opening their doors to students! It has been a time of the year that I have always loved. In New England, it marks an unofficial start to Fall and things like pumpkin spice begin to creep back into every food item. Temperatures start to cool off and routines start to come back after the relaxing summer schedule of fitting in lots of fun and not a lot of anything else.
Every September my school feels alive with the promise of a new year. Seniors walk through the halls feeling extra important and teachers walk into new rooms filled with new faces. It is very exciting and I love the energy that is present during those first days back. Thankfully, I love my job. When I am on campus, I am surrounded by awesome colleagues who give so much of themselves to the community. They are passionate and interesting men and women and they challenge me everyday to bring my A game. I know that once I am fully back to campus, I will feel like I never left and will feel ready to take on the year ahead, but right now…
I am feeling really sad. My maternity leave was a gift. Having 19 weeks home with the boys to both recover from childbirth and adjust to and enjoy the early days of second-time motherhood was the best time of my life. David and I got to soak up everything about the boys and our summer together with them. David blossomed to a dynamo, multi-tasking dad and he took care of all of us. Henry became a kind and loving older brother and also a rambunctious and playful toddler. Owen came out of his newborn fog and began to give us major glimpses into the sweet little person he is growing into. And I got to be a part of every second of every day with them. YES, some days (and the whole month of July really) were H A R D. There were lots of tears from everyone in the house and not a lot of sleep which I have found I truly need in order to function as a decent human being. But despite all of that, I would do it all again. I would do it all again 100x (minus the actual birthing of the child, maybe I would do that another 2 or 3 times!).
It kills my heart to look at the calendar and see that I am a mere 6 days away from going back to work full-time and missing out on the daytime with Owen and Henry. I am going to miss our pajama filled mornings, while Henry eats his breakfast and Owen and I sit beside him chatting. I am going to miss our outings to the park and our strolls around the block. I am going to miss playing trains and trucks and doctor and play-doh and eating Henry’s “water soup” and dancing around the house like crazy-pants and playing hide-and-seek and all the little chats throughout the day. I am going to miss Jake and the Neverland pirates, and crafting, and bike rides, and reading so many books before nap time. I am going to miss our failed attempts at potty training (once Owen was born, Henry decided he was not that into it anymore), and our trips to the lake. I am going to miss holding them ALL DAY LONG. I am going to miss their little smells, smiles, and feet. I am going to miss, I am going to miss, I am going to miss.
I wish I could do both. I wish I could be in the classroom inspired by my students and at home inspired by my children full-time. If only there was more time in the day. And, I know we will settle into a new routine, a new way of doing things, and a new pattern. I know all of this, but right now my feels are pretty intense. These are the kind of feels that will have me crying into school everyday and pressing the gas after school as fast as I can to return to the men in my life. It is hard to love three men at once, but gosh do I feel so damn lucky to have the opportunity to try. And, boy am I going to miss this summer like crazy for the rest of my life.
Owen started this month with his first flight across the continent to visit with his West-Coast cousins. The flight was broken up into three two-hour segments: this is fun let’s look around, okay time for a nap, and time to scream until we land! But, once we were all out of the plane and taking in those cool west coast breezes we were ready to have a wonderful time! Every time I go out to California, I am ready for it to be a one way ticket (maybe someday?) But, until then, it was great to soak up the SoCal summer vibes and both of the kiddos LOVED being there. It helps that their cousins are crazy fun and that my brother and sister-in-law are wonderful to co-parent with. We were adventurous and took the littles out to Solana Beach, the aquarium in Long Beach, the local water park, yummy lunches, and a near by petting zoo called Zoomars. Each day we let the kiddos get out their wiggles and each night the parents sipped wine amidst twinkling lights in the backyard “jazz club”. Owen loved his Auntie Jessie so much we couldn’t help but notice that he might want to go steady with her. And if he was not with me, then he was sitting with Avery or relaxing in his bouncy seat while taking in calming essential oils. Owen’s flight home was his first red-eye. Why we booked this I have no idea. I guess it seemed logical at the time, but thankfully Owen slept the whole way home (the same cannot be said for his older brother). Owen adjusted so easily to West Coast time (probably too easily) and it was a bit of a struggle to get him back to his normal time. This was probably the beginning of our sleep issues for the month coupled with another trip and the four month sleep regression. But, hey when it comes to travel, when the opportunity strikes you have to take it, right?
About two weeks later it was time to pack ourselves back up and head down south to visit with our southern cousins. Having just flown two six hours flights these were a breeze! Our packing was down to a science, compact, and lightweight and the kiddos did great. Owen slept the whole flight down and back and really you cannot ask for a better passenger. He was the perfect little gentleman. While in Florida, Owen got to visit with his big cousins Alyza and Alex who carried him around, diapered him, changed him, and played with him all day long and he got to meet his little cousin Zachary and his aunt and uncle and great-grandmother. There were so many hands to help and hold the little cranky-pants it was wonderful. We were all taken care of and enjoyed a lot of family time inside while Florida’s epic thunderstorms rained around us. Unfortunately, it was on this trip that Owen reached a new level of over-tiredness that left us all a little shaken from the lack of sleep we were getting. It was so good to be with family though in those hard times.
Physically, Owen has been having a BIG month. He loves to lay down on his big play mat and practice rolling around. As soon as he is flat on his back, he lifts his chubby legs ninety degrees and lets gravity flop them to the ground and then arches his back to try to get over the rest of the way. So far no dice on the full roll yet. He can occasionally roll from his tummy to his back, but I think gravity is helping here. When we sit him in his bumbo seat he locks his knees and tries to pop out of his seat and loves to be held standing. He might just be one of those kiddos who wants to walk because he can’t do anything else like sit, haha! He has started to play with toys and gets fussy if he doesn’t have something nearby to grab ahold of and draw in to suck on. And he loves crinkly toys and just squishes them in his hands. Our big boy is 16.6 lbs and 25.8 inches this month and maxing out his 6 month attire! And just to make sure he stays cute and chubby he had his first bites of oatmeal and seems to be slowly getting the hang of eating.
When Owen is awake he is so darn cute! He loves to laugh and smile. I thought Henry was a smiley kid but this guy takes the cake on that one. He just smiles and laughs all the time. He loves to be tickled under his chin and to have his cheeks pinched and his sides tickled. And I have started to notice that I can transfer him from my arms into his crib once he starts to smile and laugh in his sleep. What could this little peanut be dreaming about?
At the same time that this month has been an amazing 30 days of travel, family, and Owen smiling and laughing a ton, it has also been tough in the sleep department. Owen is Dr. Jekyll during the day but Mr. Hyde shows up at night. This was a BIG month of transitions that I think all impacted this sensitive little one’s sleep: flights, different time zones, sleeping in new spaces, gross motor skill development, and the end of being swaddled. This all came together this month and left our little guy overtired and super irritable during the night. If he fell asleep then his hands crawled all around his face and woke him up or his arms hit the mattress and startled him awake or his time zones were off and he was awake super late and unable to settle down. David was amazing. He helped me every night with alternating the hundreds of attempts to comfort Owen. We even tried a little modified crying-it-out and found that Owen was not ready for it, but he definitely needed to learn how to fall asleep. What a design flaw that babies do not know how to fall asleep on their own! But, we reached out for help and received advice and support from so many family members and friends. This might seem crazy but in the 48 hours since reaching out for help Owen’s sleep has become noticeably changed. We are currently using a baby schedule from Moms on Call and what I have noticed is that the 5PM nap they recommend is the key to Owen’s day that we were missing. Before his last nap ended at 3:30 and then bedtime was at 6:30. He was too tired and unlike an adult who would just fall asleep this over-tiredness just made him irritable and he truly could not settle down. We have now incorporated the 5PM nap into Owen’s day and his bedtime is now at 7/7:30PM and guess what…..We have a long stretch of sleep again!!! I had not seen that long stretch (something greater than 90 minutes) in almost 30 days, and I woke up that first morning delirious from all that sleep. I am very hopefully that with this schedule in place we will continue to be able to sleep…all of us.
And before we end this little blog post about Owen’s month, two little cute things. First, now when Owen nurses he takes his top arms and straightens out until it touches just under my chin and it is just the cutest thing. It lets me kiss his hand and cuddle his hand while he slowly falls asleep. How to I bottle up this moment and keep it forever? Second, we did out first beach day at Dug Pond and while I was so nervous about taking both boys it went really well. At one point, I was changing Henry’s diaper and had placed Owen down on the blanket. Owen started to cry and I started to panic, but this super sweet grandma came over and introduced herself and said she missed her grandchildren and asked if she could sit on my beach towel and hold Owen while I finished changing Henry. I was so thankful to have him soothed and she was so sweet and playful with him. It made me tear up a little bit to have such kindness from a stranger and I think about her often.
Doing a little throwback thursday to when my baby was SOOOO tiny. I look at my chunky monkey and CANNOT remember him ever being this tiny and it was only three months ago! S L O W D O W N Owen….