Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Back to the Big City

Yesterday was a big day. It was the first time I went into the city since that mid-October day when I went on bedrest. I'm not going to lie. It was weird, both for how normal it felt getting on that train and for how from a different life it all felt. It didn't help that, to get to my doctor's office, I had to take the subway to the stop I get off at for work. I had to walk through the same streets I walk during my lunch breaks. Last time I was there, I could barely walk five blocks without getting winded, so it was nice to be able to power walk multiple blocks again.

But I still don't want to go back.

I flirted with the thought of stopping in at my office, but decided against it. Next Monday will be here soon enough, and that's soon enough for me to play catch-up with coworkers.

One of the weirdest things about the whole experience was walking through Penn Station. When I left, the kiosks were all decked out for Halloween. Now they are all pink and red for Valentine's Day. It was like I went through a time warp. It felt like all my experiences of the past three-plus months didn't happen, somehow. It's hard to describe. Perhaps our adventures with Hurricane Sandy don't help the situation, as that made the whole "having babies" thing seem even more surreal.

In any event, I was very happy to get back home and pick up the babies from daycare, where they had another great day, as evidenced by Indigo's smile in this photo from Day 26 of Project 365:

Monday, January 28, 2013

Daycare Day 1

So, we all survived. No one cried at drop-off (they were asleep in their car seats, I was surprisingly okay). The babies looked stylish and actually stayed in the same outfits all day--no massive spit-up attacks or poosplosions. The cats and I enjoyed a quiet Monday for the first time in a long time.

Day 25 of Project 365: First Day of School

The teachers said I could feel free to call to check on them. When I thought about doing it, it brought me back to Periwinkle's NICU days. "Hi, this is Mommy Fish, calling to check on Fish Twin Two." I didn't end up calling.

When I went to pick them up, I expected the teachers to tell me Periwinkle had cried all day. As it turns out, she was a perfect little angel. Until they handed her to me. Then she started crying. Ah, there's my daughter!

Indigo was napping (of course) and hardly noticed the transfer back to his car seat. They both napped well (who is this girl? why won't she do that for me?), and Periwinkle ate well. Indigo was a bit of a slacker on that front, but perhaps he was just feeling off from the new routine. All in all, I think they had a successful first day.

As for me, I got a massage. It was awesome.

Friday, January 25, 2013

A Letter to Indigo at Three Months

Dear Indigo,

Happy Three Months, little man. You've come a long way in the last four weeks. You make eye contact so much now, and your smiles light up your entire face. You're starting to be smiley in the morning like your sister, and often at night when I'm reading to you both. It makes me so happy to see that you are happy, and I'd do just about anything to make sure that you are.

This month you got into a little bit of a habit of being difficult at bedtime. You cry until we come and get you. Once we have you in our arms, you fall asleep within minutes. I think it's your way of getting some one-on-one time with one of us. I get it. Sometimes it's nice to be in a different room than your sister. But we would really appreciate it if you could go back to falling asleep easily.

You also sometimes get really hungry in between your usual feedings and down an extra two ounces or so, as though you hadn't eaten in days rather than hours. I think that was you going through a mini growth spurt, as evidenced by your growing almost two inches in the last month. You are now fitting into 3-6 month clothes. Stop growing so fast! Stay my adorable little baby boy just a little while longer. I'm a bit terrified of the chaos you and your sister will cause once you are on the move.

You're doing better at tummy time, exploring the mat, flailing your arms and legs, and sometimes lifting your head up. It cracks me up when you are both on the mat, seemingly swimming along, with movements often quite synchronized.

Your biggest achievement this month, however, has been your talking. You are definitely vocalizing, making noises that sound almost like words. "Bah," "gah," and "mah" are favorites. Other noises sound like you are asking questions, and others like you are yelling at us to pay attention. If we talk to you sometimes you respond immediately as if you understood what we said. At this rate, it seems like you might be really talking before your sister. Not that it's a competition.

When you cry your lower lip pulls down in an adorable pout. It both melts and breaks my heart. You are so cute when you do that, but I hate seeing you so sad. Luckily you cheer up relatively quickly. I just pick you up and you snuggle in under my chin. I could sit with you like that for hours, but soon you are lifting your head and looking around the room again.

You really like sitting in the bouncy seat and looking outside. I can't wait until summer when we can play outside and watch you explore the grass and the dirt. You'll get to go outside at daycare when it's a bit warmer, which I am sure you will love.

I might hate that you will be there, but it'll be good for you. We'll still have nighttime and weekends and holidays, and I can't wait to see your face light up when I go to pick you up every day. I'm trying to look on the bright side so that you aren't sad about going. We'll get through it! Just save some of your "firsts" for me, okay, little dude? Don't go showing off for the daycare teachers! I know you're going to be a little flirt.

Love you, little man,

Bouncy seat time!

Hanging out
Sleepy Indigo

Dreamy Indigo

A Letter to Periwinkle at Three Months

Dear Periwinkle,

Today you are three months old. That's it? You seem so aware of your surroundings, so curious and thoughtful, you have to be older than that.

When I get you out of your crib in the morning, you greet me with an enormous smile, happy to greet the new day. I place you on the playmat where you entertain yourself for a good hour, staring at yourself in the mirror, laughing and cooing at your playmate. I wonder if you know that it's you. You seem to have entire conversations with yourself, sometimes forceful, sometimes questioning, sometimes laughing. Eventually you don't get the response you want and you start to cry. Then it's time for breakfast.

Today is our last day home together. There will be days off and weekends, but I'm going to miss getting to wake up everyday knowing we have a whole day together. You are changing so fast it makes me sad that I will miss any of it. I will pick you up at daycare one of these days and you will be rolling over, grabbing for objects, or even, eventually, talking. I hope they lie to me so that I get to be there for all your "firsts."

You are so close to being able to roll over from your stomach to your back. You can raise your head and chest and your legs. You look like Superman. Or Supergirl. You rock back and forth and seem to get halfway there. I know it will happen soon, but I know you get frustrated that you can't quite do it yet.

We can't swaddle you in a blanket anymore because you get out of it in about ten seconds. We've been using swaddling sleep sacks, but I know it's just a matter of time before you get your arms out of those, too, and then your swaddling days will be done. You are such a strong little girl.

Most nights when we put you to bed you smile up at me as I read to you and your brother. You seem to prefer the rhymes of Dr. Seuss to anything else, although You Are My I Love You is also a favorite. It's one of my favorites as well, as so much of it rings true.

You Are My I Love You
Maryann K Cusimano

I am your parent you are my child
I am your quiet place, you are my wild
I am your calm face, you are my giggle
I am your wait, you are my wiggle
I am your audience, you are my clown
I am your London Bridge, you are my falling down
I am your carrot sticks, you are my licorice
I am your dandelion, you are my first wish
I am your water wings, you are my deep
I am your open arms, you are my running leap
I am your way home, you are my new path
I am your dry towel, you are my wet bath
I am your dinner you are my chocolate cake
I am your bedtime, you are my wide awake
I am your finish line, you are my race
I am your praying hands, you are my saving grace
I am your favorite book, you are my new lines
I am your nightlight, you are my sunshine
I am your lullaby, you are my peek-a-boo
I am your kiss goodnight, you are my I love you

It gets me every time.

I love you,

Your eyelashes are still envy-worthy

Who's that in the mirror?

Tummy time!
Stormpooper. Nerd in training.

Three Months Old

We just got back from the babies' three-month checkup and they are doing great!

Periwinkle is 10lb2oz, up from 9lb6oz. She is 22 inches long, and has a head circumference of 38 3/4 centimeters. Indigo is 11lb12oz, up from 10lb6oz, and is 23 3/4 inches long. His head is 40 3/4 centimeters. They're both right where they should be on the growth curve and are between 10th and 25th percentiles for growth. Which means they are doing great!

Now, to go write their three month letters...

Day 20

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Little Things Thursdays: Week 3

#1 Warm socks. It is friggin' cold out there and I swear it's seeping into the house. Actually, it is -- you can feel the cold air coming in at the lightswitches. We really need to insulate them better. Anyways. Warm socks help me stay snuggly warm.

#2 Chinese food. I really need to stop eating it so much. Really, it's just pork fried rice and steamed dumplings. I could eat it every day, methinks. Nom nom.

#3 Bones. I've been watching on Netflix, from season 1, even though I've seen them all before. It's good background when I'm cleaning or blogging. I know I shouldn't have the tv on all day... but it actually quiets Periwinkle down, as she loves the light and colors. I've created a Bones addict. Daycare will break her of it, though. I hope.

#4 Six hours of continuous sleep. Babies went to sleep around 11 last night and woke up at 4:45am. Love it!

#5 Grandma. Mine, not the babies'. She bought us some extra blankets so we're all set for those for daycare!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Daycare Prep

I have to admit I've been a bit in denial about the babies starting daycare on Monday. As a result, I've done absolutely nothing to prepare. We need to gather, for each baby, a tote bag containing the following:

1. two changes of clothes
2. crib sheet
3. blanket
4. bottles
5. formula
6. diapers
7. wipes
8. diaper cream (we use Boudreaux's Butt Paste)
9. socks
10. bibs
11. pacifiers

We also need to label everything with their names. I'm figuring Sharpie markers should do the trick.

But first I need to go shopping to get them cute tote bags (to make it somewhat fun for me to do), extra blankets, more pacifiers, and extra sheets. I'm not willing to send any of ours from home, and I have Babies R Us rewards dollars to spend, so why not?

Normally Blue will be doing dropoff and I will be picking them up, but for the first week I think we'll be doing both together.

Have I forgotten anything on the list? Any tales from personal experience to help us deal with this big change?

Also, day 19 from my 365 Project!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Dagger in the Diaper

Okay, more like a small twig. But still... WTF? I was changing Indigo last night and happened to notice a dark spot on the new diaper. I touched it and it was hard. Closer inspection revealed a small twig. Not a happy mama over here! I just wrote to Pampers so we'll see what they say. I've been inspecting each diaper ever since, which is really annoying, but I'm not feeling too trusting right now.

It started out embedded in the diaper but I had to pull it out to see what it was. It's still attached, though. Just really, really weird.

Edit: It happened again! Argh!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Last Week as a SAHM

That's Stay at Home Mom, for the uninitiated. A week from today the babies start daycare. A week after that I start back to work. Today is my last Monday home with them (until Presidents Day, but that's not the same). I can't even say I have mixed feelings about this. I am 100% dreading going back to work and being gone from them for 12 hours a day. I wish I could immediately start freelancing from home while watching the kids, but that's not in the cards quite yet. Hopefully in the next year or so, but right now I'll be working for our amazing health insurance and other benefits my employer offers.

I know the kids will be fine at daycare, that it will be good for them to get to "know" other adults and babies, that they will probably get more tummy time and new ways to play, etc etc. But knowing isn't the same as liking. I fully expect to tear up a little, both next week and the week I go back to work. Which reminds me, I need to print out some pictures to put at my desk. Luckily my boss is letting me start back at reduced hours that first week, so that should help.

As should my massage and hair appointment I have scheduled for next week. Part of me is looking forward to having a week at home to veg, to go out without babies in tow, to have a few hours a day where I am not always thinking about the babies' needs. I was supposed to have three weeks of bedrest before they came and only had one, so I see this as a bit of a continuation of that. Hard to believe it's been almost 15 weeks since I was at work, since that cab ride through Times Square (stupid cabbie!) when I said goodbye to the city for the next few months. It has both felt like forever, a lifetime ago, and like a blink of an eye. Funny how that happens.

I guess all this is just to prepare you for any wacky, overly emotional posts that might result from all of this change. I know millions of moms have gone through this exact scenario and survived, but now it's my turn, and so it feels completely unique and terrible. Indulge me for a bit, please.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Indigo's Smile!

Finally got it on camera, as he was very smiley this morning. Enjoy!

The Little Things Thursdays: Week 2

So it's Friday. Whoops. I kind of lost track of the days of the week this week. It happens.

#1. The Today Show. Blue always asks "How can you watch this crap?" but it amuses me. It's cheesy and full of "stories" that are cutesy but I like it. So there. Especially Kathy Lee and Hoda. Anyone who has a drinky name for every day of the week is okay in my book.

#2. Resolve. It hasn't gotten all of the pukey kitty presents out of the carpet but it certainly helps. I'll try again today, after I take the cats to the vet. It's almost time to wrangle them into their carriers. Luckily they like the carriers, until they remember the next step is going in the car.

#3. The vacuum. Like I said yesterday, it apparently knocks the kiddos into napland. Awesomesauce.

#4. Feeling organized and clean. The babies and I went to Bed Bath and Beyond yesterday and I bought some nice containers to keep in the living room to corral the babies' books and toys. I realize as the kids get bigger so will their toys, and then these containers won't be as useful, but for now it's nice to have a place to throw everything so the living room isn't strewn with rattles and stuffed animals 24/7. I have to enjoy this organized and clean feeling as much as I can over the next two weeks because once I'm back at work I imagine my house will devolve into chaos again.

#5. Hershey's Kisses. They were $1 a bag at the grocery store because the bags had holiday prints on them, and I bought two. I've been enjoying them all week. Probably not helping my weight... we'll find out tomorrow!

Feel free to share YOUR little things in the comments! What made this week good for you?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Cleaning House

Literally. I put the babies in the pack n play despite their protests so I could vacuum. I looked over two minutes later and they were sound asleep. I might have to vacuum on a daily basis now!

The floor in our closet is also getting some extra love, unfortunately because one of the cats keeps peeing in it. And on the bathmat. And on one of the baby blankets. And on the cat bed, which I just ended up tossing because they don't use it anyways. I had been thinking this was a protest against the babies, or a marking of territory, but then my parents mentioned my childhood cat was doing similar things and ended up having a UTI. So, off to the vet we go tomorrow. I actually hope it is a UTI, because that is fixable, and not anti-baby angst, because that we'd just have to wait out. And I already have enough laundry to do without having to redo the sweaters in our closet on a weekly basis. I'll feel terrible that I've been upset at the cats for the past three weeks if it turns out one of them is sick, of course, but it's better than them hating us for bringing home the babies, I suppose.

Okay, off to put away laundry, finally. Got to take advantage of this vacuum-induced naptime!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Project Sheep Rescue Update

Last week I hit up my first Weight Watchers meeting of the year. While I went over my target points each day, I ate way better than I had been (no more extra butter on my popcorn) and worked out five times (my elbows are now cursing Jillian Michaels). I went back today to weigh in. The end result?

Down 5.6 pounds!

I celebrated with Wendy's for lunch. Don't judge me.

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Big Nursery Reveal

It took me a while, but I finally photographed our nursery! I hope you enjoy and that it was worth the wait!

A built-in bookcase was converted into basket storage, which is where all their clothes, bath stuff, things like thermometers and teething rings, and small toys go.  Baskets, Container Store.

The changing table is a DaVinci Emily in Cherry from Target.

The knobs are from Anthropologie, although I don't see them on their website. They reminded me of hot air balloons, plus they were in our third color--green, so I splurged on these at $12 each. Don't tell Blue.

We used to have a glider in here (see this post) but that now lives happily downstairs. My dad bought us this great chair from Target that takes up less space and allows easier access to the baskets.

The pillow on said chair was made by my aunt, who also did the hot air balloon, curtain, and crib skirts.

At the other end of the room are the cribs. They are DaVinci Alpha from Target or Babies R Us. So far the babies sleep together in the one on the left and we keep extra blankets in the other one. It also tends to turn into a drying rack for bibs and burp cloths in the middle of the night.

Rug is from and is sooo soft on your feet.

Crib skirts are custom, by my aunt.

Travel-sized sleep giraffe can be found just about anywhere.

This balloon you already know from my previous post.

At center is the artwork that really started me off on the elephants and hot air balloons thing. I just absolutely love it. It's called "Flight of the Elephants" by Terry Fan.

Clockwise from top left: card from my bridal shower; the sleep giraffe again; tub full of books; more awesome artwork I couldn't resist that was purchased on Etsy; custom curtain; tub of books and custom crib skirt; hot air balloon; and what's under the window, which includes Arm & Hammer diaper pail (we love it but you have to be gentle... we just bought our second one because someone ::ahem:: got too aggressive with the last one), Crane Drop Shape humidifier for their stuffy noses, and a Sweet Jojo hamper (which despite claims that it is machine washable and dryable will in fact shrink if you do so. My mom fought to get it back on its frame. I also have a changing pad cover in this zigzag pattern).

Most of the stuff in this collage was bought for our kiddos for Christmas or at my showers. From top left: adorable and soft animals sit atop a stack of books I picked out and adore; yes the crib is super close to the shelving and yes this will be a problem as they get bigger but hopefully we won't be in this house then; Mickey Mouse stuffed animal that belonged to my brother and then to me as a child (I distinctly remember my grandmother sewing up his back because he got a hole and was leaking the pellets that he's stuffed with. I also chewed all the black off the tip of his nose.); Velveteen Rabbit is new but the two bears were given to me by Blue our first Valentine's Day together (we were technically together the previous Valentine's Day but I was studying abroad so we were 3000 miles apart); fun toys to play with; a full shot of the shelves is only possible by moving a crib. Center: more toys and books!

As you can see, Indigo and Periwinkle are living it up in style with lots of toys to play with and books to read as they get older. I usually grab a book out of the tub to read to them before bed. Dr. Seuss books are way longer than I remember!

Please let me know what you think in the comments. I worked hard on both the nursery and this post so I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Sorry my blog format doesn't allow me to make these collages bigger, but I'll work on that!

Edited to add a photo I forgot! My mom did a custom decoupage switchplate cover that she designed on the computer, compiling several ideas I liked from other artwork:

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Little Things Thursdays: Week 1

Inspired by Rebecca of A Beautiful Ruckus, I'm going to try to start posting about the little things each week that bring me happiness. So often it's not the big events in life that add up to feeling happy (although vacations to Europe and winning the lottery would be welcomed if you're offering), but the small things. When I was younger, I used to absolutely love running out to get the mail. Heck, it's still an exciting part of my day, especially when I actually get real mail. Sadly, no mail for us today. I checked four times. Each time, so full of hope and anticipation!

So, in that spirit, here are five little things that made me happy this week.

#1. Indigo smiling more often. I can't get over how much his face changes and just how happy he looks. When he's happy, I'm happy. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to capture this smile on "film" yet, so no photo of this little thing.

#2. Feeling healthy. I've been doing Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred, and as much as it hurts, it feels great! I missed feeling active, instead of just a blob of pregnant lady. We'll see if it's helping when I weigh in at Weight Watchers on Saturday. I've also been eating better and tracking everything again. Just knowing I have to input it into my phone makes me think twice. In fact, I discovered a great new meal at Chili's: Margarita Chicken! I need to learn how to make it at home!

Not sure I'll end up looking this good, but I'll take what I can get!

#3 People telling me how cute my kids are. I think they are, but it's nice to have that validated by other people.

We went for a walk yesterday, and they were actually awake for once!

#4 Hot showers. Need I say more?

#5 New recipes. Always good to mix things up! We've tried a few from Our Life in the Kitchen, a blog I'm going to need to follow more closely, methinks! Tonight I made Pork and Rigatoni with Onions. I wasn't sure as I was making it, but it turned out amazing and is definitely being added to our roster of meals to choose from. Next time I will probably reduce the butter to make it a bit healthier, and I didn't put cheese on it, as Blue doesn't like cheese (I know, I know, weirdo). Here's a picture of the version on the blog:
Feel free to share your little things in the comments!

A fun side note: Baby farts sound really funny when they are in the Ergo.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Hot Air Balloon

I'm working on my big final nursery post, but first I wanted to show you one part of it---the hot air balloon. When I was a baby, I had this hot air balloon in my nursery. I'm not sure what store it came from, but I kept it hanging in my room all the way through college (at home, not in my dorm). I just really loved it, despite its decidedly '80s vibe.

When I moved out, I took it with me, although it never got hung. So when it came time to do the nursery for the twins, I knew I wanted to include it. It helped that I was really in love with the idea of a hot air balloon/elephant/giraffe nursery "theme." Except my color scheme is grey and yellow, and the original balloon was definitely not in that scheme.

Original balloon
So I asked my aunt if she could somehow redo the balloon, keeping the original structure but re-covering it in fabrics in my colors. It helped that she was also doing the crib skirts and curtain, so she knew what kind of fabric I had in mind. I'm pretty sure it was a bit of a challenge, but she came through, in a big way. It came out way better than I'd ever hoped.

New and improved!

She even added Dumbo!

Flying high

I just love it. It was the final touch the nursery needed (although I'm still working on putting some kind of art on the wall above the changing table).

Hope to have a complete nursery post in the next few days!


After posting this yesterday, my mom emailed me to tell me more about the balloon:

I saw your post about the balloon. I happen to remember exactly where it came from. I got it at the Cummington Balloon Fest. It was at one of the booths and it cost $18, which was much more than I could afford for something so frivolous, but I loved it and wanted it for your room. I never regret buying it.

I'm so glad you bought it, too, Mom! I hope the babies love it as much as we do!

Monday, January 7, 2013

More Smiles

Indigo decided to finally show Blue his newest accessory: his smile! It seemed that whenever he was smiling and I'd call Blue's attention to it, Indigo would stop immediately. But tonight after bathtime Indigo decided to share. Blue agrees it's a more wide-mouth happy smile, rather than Periwinkle's sort of sly smile. Either way, we love it! Still no photo of it though, sorry. It's still too fleeting an occurrence.

Periwinkle was also very smiley tonight, and the odd part was it was during her bath! Maybe I'll just stick her in the tub next time she's crying like crazy. She seemed to love the warm water tonight!

My in-laws didn't believe us that she is usually quite ornery, especially after, when they babysat Saturday night, she was an angel for them. Figures. But yesterday we went over for the afternoon and she showed her true colors. It's not that we wanted her to cry, we just wanted other people to see what we are dealing with most days. And today Indigo decided to try out the crying thing, too. It was a long day, which made the smiles tonight extra rewarding.

And I'm assuming both are sleeping contentedly right now. I have no idea, since I gave Blue the monitor. Mwhahahaha!

Here's a photo of them from Sunday, looking quite put together and adorable:

I'm doing the 365 days of photos project thingy, and this is Day 3 of my restart. I'd been using another app called My365 since November, but it seemed to be big only in Asia and no one I know was seeing the photos. So now I'm using Instagram like everyone else, even though it doesn't put the photos in a calendar format like the My365 app, which I really liked. I'll save all those photos so I have them, but I'm restarting the project for simplicity's sake. It'll be cool to see them grow day by day!

Friday, January 4, 2013

A Letter to Indigo at Ten Weeks

Chill little man

Dear Indigo,

Yesterday you turned ten weeks old. Ten weeks that I’ve meant to write to you, after 35 weeks of composing letters to you in my head that I never managed to write down. Nothing I came up with seemed special enough to put on paper. Because you deserved special. As Baby A, I consider you the baby we knew were having when I saw the word “pregnant” on the test. The baby I was screaming about as I ran up the stairs to wake your father that morning. The baby we contemplated in which order to show the Star Wars movies to that very same morning. The baby we dubbed “Bit.” The baby we nervously went to see on the ultrasound at 6 weeks and 4 days, when we found out there was a second baby coming, too. You and your sister have no idea how wanted and loved you were and are, and how could I ever hope to convey that to you in a few short paragraphs? So I procrastinated, something I am very good at doing and something that I hope you are not.

The day you were born, I left my coffee on the table, figuring I’d make it an iced coffee when I got back from my doctor’s appointment. I told the cats I’d be right back. I dropped a hair tie in the driveway but didn’t stop to pick it up, thinking I’d grab it upon my return. It’s still there, actually, a reminder of that day our world changed. I keep thinking I should grab it and throw it away, but that feels like somehow closing the book on that day. I like remembering the fear and excitement I felt when my doctor told me to head to the hospital, that we might have to deliver you that very day. I like recalling when the hospital doctor told us it was time to go into the operating room. I love remembering that moment when we knew you were out and were waiting for you to cry. It couldn’t have taken you longer than five seconds, but it felt like an eternity. And then you wailed and I teared up, as feelings of relief and love flooded through me. You were okay. You were here, and you were okay. I was finally able to meet you.

I felt like I knew you already, though. You were my little mover, constantly reminding me that you were there with me. The first time I felt you move I was on the train in the morning. I had settled into my usual slumped position, trying to fall asleep, my arms crossed over my stomach. And then I felt a tiny nudge, so tiny I thought I had imagined it. So I poked back at that spot, and you nudged me again. I looked around as if seeing if anyone else had noticed it, but of course they hadn’t. On that silent train, I wanted to shout out that you had moved! I feel I must apologize for all the poking that ensued from that moment on. I loved feeling you push back, telling me to go away or just saying hello. It made you real in a way the ultrasound didn’t. As time went on, your nudges became punches and head-butts, and I welcomed every one. Towards the end, we could sit and stare at my stomach and see you rolling around in there. You never seemed to sit still.

Which is funny, because you are such a mellow baby. Sure, you sounded like a velociraptor at times in the early days, shrieking piercingly when you were upset. You flail sometimes and startle yourself. But generally, you are a chill baby who stares around at the world around you, taking it all in, storing it for later. When you cry, we know you have a good reason. You are cold or wet or hungry. You make noises that sound as though you are trying to talk, emphatic and with conversational inflections. You seem to enjoy finding new sounds to make, sometimes talking to yourself on the playmat, not upset but just exploring what noises you are capable of making.

I still can’t quite put into words how you make me feel. I just want to squeeze you and hug you and somehow convey to you how much I love you. I could just stare at you all day as you make your million different facial expressions and noises. You smiled, truly smiled, for the first time this week, and it melted me. I can’t wait for more smiles, for more focused eye contact from you. Right now you are too busy looking around you to bother with me much, but when you do look at me I eat it up. Sometimes when you cry I laugh because you are just so cute. That makes your father a little mad, I think, but I can’t help it. Luckily you don’t cry often.  

We bonded early, you and I, both because you were the one I felt moving all the time before you were born, and because we had to go home from the hospital with just you. You were our guinea pig as we learned how to be parents. Four days after you were born, Hurricane Sandy hit. We toughed it out at home for two days before heading to your madrina’s house, Grandma in tow. We had no idea we’d be there for ten days, waiting for the power to come back at home, living in their living room. You soaked up all the attention, and I worried you’d get spoiled from it all. We learned how to change diapers on you, and how to get the tiny clothes over your head without hurting you. We learned how to survive on next to no sleep, and how to coax you into the carseat. We learned that driving put you to sleep almost immediately, and we’re still thankful for that!

We missed your sister dearly, but were also slightly grateful to get to ease into parenthood one baby at a time. We brought you to see her one day, the first time you were together since the night you were born. We got our first family photo, albeit through the NICU window. And your sister was better from that day onwards. I think she looks up to you already. She is calmer when you are by her side. Sometimes she’ll reach out to you, her fist by your mouth, and you just start sucking on her hand. It always makes me laugh. During your newborn photo shoot, you were hungry and started sucking on her forehead. The photo makes it look like you are kissing her. Never be embarrassed about loving your sister. You two have a special bond that I can’t wait to see grow. Be her older brother, protect her, make up imaginary worlds with her, be her playmate and friend, her confidant. Get into trouble with her, but try to do that on your father’s watch, not mine.

I called you “Dude” a lot at first. You seemed too small for your name, and were such a laid-back dude. It just rolled off my tongue. Now I call you “Little Man” because you are such a little, miniature man. It’s amazing what a difference a pound makes­­—you feel so much more solid than your sister. Your chicken legs are now fat little baby legs. Sometimes I call you my Little Buddha when I sit you in my lap, a compact little person who looks so wise and worried, with a furrowed little brow. You look just like your dad did as a baby, both of you little old men in baby form, with huge, round eyes that often look so surprised by the world around you. My little old man. You do have my mouth though, we think, and you’ve already mastered the pouty lower lip. You’re swiftly learning how adorable you are when you pout, and maybe that pout will work better for you than it does for me. Your father doesn’t buy it from me anymore.

I can’t help but get excited at how much fun we’re going to have as you get older, but don’t rush it. Right now I’m content to hold you close, to have you fall asleep in my arms, your face either completely at peace or scrunched up as you stretch and then nestle in to me further. I’m happy to watch you get pissed off during tummy time or coo to yourself in the bouncy seat.

But someday we’ll run around together, playing hide-and-seek, throwing a ball around, reading Harry Potter, going camping. I can’t wait to watch you explore the world and find your place in it. Just know that you always have a place with me. I love you, little man.


In the hospital
Little Dude
Family reunion
Wide-eyed worrier
Adorable even when crying

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Letter to Periwinkle at Ten Weeks

Dear Periwinkle,

Today you are ten weeks old. I’m sorry it’s taken me this long to write to you. I bought a journal the week I found out I was pregnant, and bought a second one within days of finding out there were two of you coming, and I never wrote a word. What do you write to a creature you haven’t met yet that changes your life simply by existing? What do you say to the blip on the screen that turns into a gummy bear and then into something with a decidedly human profile and then seems to wave at you? What do you say to the baby inside you that makes your left ribs burn with a pain that you welcome because it lets you know they are there? I didn’t know what to say, and so I said nothing. Each week I grew bigger, and each ultrasound let me know you were okay and were really coming, and I still didn’t know how to start.

Around halfway through the pregnancy you grew shy and wouldn’t show your face for profile pictures. I missed seeing you, but we already knew you were beautiful. We’d seen your perfect little nose, slightly upturned like mine, and your little chin. We’d seen your tiny feet curled up close to your body, and your hands as they explored your limited world. The ultrasound technician one week called you a “dainty lady” because you were smaller than your brother, with such cute little features. I still call you Lady. A lot of the time it’s in frustration because you are crying and I don’t know why, and I hope it gets your attention enough that you will stop.

Sometimes you do, and you look at me with your wide, deep blue eyes that sometimes make me feel like I’m staring into my own eyes. You look so much like me I sometimes forget you are your own vibrant, strong-willed person. Grandma says I cried a lot too at your age, and I loved to be held and walked around. We’re a lot alike, you and I, but you already seem stronger and sassier than I am. You had to be, what with spending two weeks in the NICU. It was so sad seeing you hooked up to machines, with a tube in your nose, struggling to eat a mere 25ml of formula. Now you drink 5 ounces sometimes, in less time than the 25ml took you. We're so proud of you and how far you've come.

You may have struggled to eat at first, but you were always strong. They put you on my chest after you were born and weighed and measured. They put your brother on my lap, and then they wheeled all three of us to the recovery room, your father walking by our side. You were tiny and soft and pink. I think you opened one of your eyes to peer around you. It’s hard to remember because it all happened so fast and unexpectedly. Your father would remember. But one thing I do remember is you reaching up and pulling my hair. Not a half-hearted tug, but a solid, full-fisted grab. You still pull my hair, and while I may laugh and tell you to stop (because it does hurt sometimes), I am brought back to that moment the day you were born when I got my first glimpse of your personality. Our first real mother-daughter interaction, and one of the last before they whisked you off to the NICU later that night.

They took great care of you there, and we got to hold you and feed you, but it wasn’t the same. It felt like we had to ask permission to parent you. We couldn’t be with you all day long, and you couldn’t be with your brother at all, which was perhaps the saddest part. We were so excited the day we got to show you to each other through the NICU window. That day was the last bradycardia incident you had. I like to think he helped you get better. You still seem calmest when you are near him, even if you don’t seem to be aware of each other yet. I can’t wait to see that bond evolve as you two grow up.

From the beginning you were alert and curious. We can see that you are working hard to process everything you see and hear. Sometimes you look around and your mouth gapes open as if you are just awed by the world around you. I am awed by you. I am so excited to see you learn about everything. I read to you and you really listen. You look at the pictures carefully, your eyes moving back and forth across the page as if matching the pictures to the words I just read. Then you look at me as if saying, “Okay, you can turn the page now, Mom.”

I love when you smile. Sometimes your smile is small and shy. Other times it is sly and devious. That one comes from your father. Other times your mouth is just open and happy, and I can almost hear you laugh. I cannot wait until you laugh and giggle. I feel like that is so close to happening, and I can see in your eyes that you want to but don’t quite know how.

But don’t rush it. You are already growing up too fast for my taste. You weigh nearly ten pounds, almost double what you were at birth. I put away your newborn clothes this week. I remember the elation I felt when the NICU nurses told us we could bring you real clothes. You swam in them. There was a teal outfit that said “Princess” on it. I used to be so against “Princess” and pink, but seeing you so vulnerable in the incubator, naked and so thin, I just wanted to dress you in cute things that screamed “Girl!” I couldn’t squeeze you into that outfit now if I tried.

I also think you are teething. You’ve gotten rather drooly and angsty, crying during the day unless you are being held, and sometimes even when you are being held. Which is how I saw the white dot on your gums. Apparently you can teethe at two months, even if it’s rare. We’ll watch it, and give you cold teething rings that seem way too big for you, and hope you feel better soon. 

It melts my heart when you relax when I hold you close, and breaks it when you won’t calm down for anything. Today you kept making sighing, shuddering noises even after you’d calmed down, noises I know well from when I am recovering from a good crying jag. It made me sad that you sounded so sad, and all I could do was hold you a little closer. We walk around the house together, you in the Ergo and me doing laundry or putting dishes away. You’re still a little small for it but we make it work. I think your brother is a bit jealous, so I try to hold him a lot too. Until you cry again. I look forward to there being more smiley moments than crying moments. I know we’ll get there.

Luckily you sleep at night, even if you resist napping during the day. You are a champion burper. And a champion farter. You make your mama proud! You have dark brown hair that curls ever so slightly, and I both fear and hope that you will end up with an unruly mane like mine. At least I’ll know how to help you tame it. Your hands are like miniature versions of mine. Your legs are getting fat rolls now, as you become a chubby little baby at last. You have eyelashes to die for, long and curled up at the ends. People pay money to achieve lashes like that. I’m jealous.

You’re starting to grab on to me when I pick you up or put you down or carry you against my shoulder. I love the feel of your arms tightening around whatever part of me you can grasp, even if it’s just my wrist. I live for the day you can truly hug me. I love when you fall asleep after eating, your head resting against my chest, your face calm, your breath tickling my collarbone, your legs tucked up under you, a newborn still. I get warm fuzzies when I see you passed out on your father’s chest, limbs sprawled in all directions, a tiny baby on a grown man, happy and at home there. It amuses me when he plays video games with you lying there. I can’t help but think of what good friends you two will be as you grow up. Just so you know, he’s putty in your hands. Don’t abuse it too much.

I’m so happy you are growing and strong and healthy, but a little part of me is sad, too. These ten weeks have felt like the blink of an eye, and an eternity, all at the same time. I can barely remember life before you, and it seems that just as I get to know you and your quirks you are already changing. I guess this is parenthood.

Happy Ten Weeks, Periwinkle. I’ll try to be better about writing these on your month-iversaries. Just know that you are loved beyond belief.


Note: Indigo's will come tomorrow.

6 weeks

9 weeks

16 weeks
Tiny princess

Sprawling baby at about 6 weeks old

Smiling 10-week-old girl