Sunday, December 17, 2017

June - Three Months!

Lagging so far behind on the blog. I blame you and the holidays. 

Oh, girl. You turned into one spicy little jalapeno this month. I guess all the go-go-go was a little too much. You rage in the car, at your dad when he gets home from work (oh, yes, your rage coincided just perfectly with his reentry to work), and just about anyone who dares make direct eye contact with you that isn't me. It's real sweet that you love me so much, but ooooh-weeee, you're starting to really hurt peoples' feelings.

When you're feeling peppy, you're still smiling and cooing and making all sorts of wonderful noises. You're working real hard on rolling over. You're getting to your side from your back consistently, and I feel so certain you'll be rolling over with ease soon. On the day you turned three months, you rolled over so purposefully, and every time I rolled you back to your back, you would pop right over on your stomach. You still love tummy time, and there are days where I'm certain you're about to crawl.

This past month we got to lay pretty low. Tania, Pat, and your devoted cousins - Jake and Hudson - came down to see us, and then Poppy Jim and Marge trekked down the weekend after. You pretty regularly shouted during each of their visits, but I'm pretty sure they still love you. We stayed in Austin for Thanksgiving, and it was a really nice low-key holiday. It felt great not to be throwing you in the car. We love you, bud. Let's try calm voices and clustering sleep this coming month, eh?

June - Two Months!

The tiniest little gal pal. I'm already behind, and we're only two months in to this gig. You had your two month appointment (read: all the shots) and are growing like a little champ. You hadn't gained as much weight as I thought you would, but they assured me you were doing just fine. I keep having to remind myself you're not your brother - he ate all.the.time. and put on crazy weight at every appointment; I actually cried at one of his appointments early on fearful he had elephantiasis of the entire body (everyone just loves me at our pediatrician's office). Your dad has been home all dang day everyday on paternity leave, and we're just so lucky to all be together. Paternity leave is just real valuable for healthy family dynamics. It's kind of like living in vacation mode - it won't last, but for now, it's been so nice to have an extra set of hands and move through the day together.

You're smiling so much this month and cooing and talking talking talking. In the mornings, you have whole entire stories to tell, and oh, your sweet little voice is just the greatest sound. You love your brother, and his whole heart pours over for you. He is such a helper, until he tries to pick you up and more pins your face to his chest than anything. You're not too found of that actually, but mostly, everyday I'm grateful you two have each other and love watching your little relationship grow. You continue to HATE the car and cry incessantly while we drive, but that didn't stop us from trekking up to Dallas - it is stopping us from going back anytime in the near future. Oof. We had a great visit with the Hepfner, Martin, Thoele, Conroy gang, and as always, I left wishing we all lived a whole lot closer. A compound would be sufficient.  

You also got to meet two of my favorite people - Lauren and Melissa. Melissa and Ben moved to California this past spring, and you played it real cool while I cried and cried with them when they visited. You slept so soundly on Melissa almost the whole time, and my heart exploded, and then the very same day Lauren came in town with her family to meet you. There's something just real beautiful about my oldest friends being with you. We partied in Jamaican bobsled team onesies, hung at Jester King and spent the most beautiful weekend Austin has had in a long time eating great food and enjoying each other. 

You were a champ through all of the Halloween festivities. Charlie had his Hoot Carnival at school, and you slept through the whole thing and then slept like a freaking dream that night. We thought it was going to be your new normal - it wasn't, but it was so nice to wake-up and actually feel rested. Wanna do it again? We had our second annual costume party, and you were a very cute little sleepy Yoda, and on our rainy Halloween night, you, again, were a very cute little sleepy Yoda. We trick-or-treated through the neighborhood, and right as it started to rain and you began to stir, we headed home. Just real nice and easy.

We ask you to be real flexible almost on a daily basis, and for the most part, you oblige. We're grateful for all the smiles and all your sweetness. Mostly, we're just real grateful for you.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Me too.

The visual is powerful and the numbers are staggering, but there's an image running through my mind of the same people who normalized the president's speak by referring to it as "locker room talk" seeing all the "me too" posts and rolling their eyes, justifying men's behavior and condemning women for making a mountain out of a mole hill. It's this mindset that kept me silent when approached at the vulnerable age of fourteen. I didn't trust my story. When in reality, my silence meant more victims.

A coach approached me in ninth grade. He was a former collegiate cheerleader and would sporadically show up at cheer practices to stunt with us. As I walked home one day, he slowly pulled up alongside me offering to drive me home. Naively, I jumped in soaking up every bit of the attention. Randomly, he'd drive down Laurel Lane offering to take me home until one day he caught me before I walked out of the school doors. I didn't think twice about walking with him to his car. There was a basketball game that night, and as he asked me if we were cheering for both 'A' and 'B' team, he slid his hand up my thigh and underneath my cheerleading skirt. I didn't flinch. I didn't ask him to stop. I got back in the car with him the next time he asked because nothing had really happened. It was just my leg. He continued to take me home asserting himself each time in the same way. I stayed silent. He introduced me to his wife and new baby, and I remember thinking he couldn't be doing anything inappropriate with me; he had them. He began calling me out of class and up to his classroom when he didn't have students. The last time it happened I walked into his dark classroom. He asked me to come around his desk, and as I approached, he told me to follow him to the coaches office, "it'll be quieter, and we'll be more comfortable." For whatever reason, this was my tipping point. If I went down to that office filled with couches and void of people during the afternoon, I knew I'd be stuck and likely unable to change his course of action. I quickly said no, and when, surprised, he tried to convince me to come with him, I lied and said my teacher didn't like for us to be out of class, and I needed to make up a quiz. I quietly walked the halls back to history class and slipped into my desk. I kept telling myself nothing really happened. I didn't stop his advances, so the responsibility was mine, and if I told my protective family or one of the many teachers I loved and trusted, I'd likely ruin his life. I protected him. Months later, my mom asked if I had any inappropriate interactions with a coach at school. I firmly answered no as she told me he was being let go because he'd assaulted a girl. Bravely, that girl came forward.

Randomly, I'd wonder if this interaction "counted" as harassment, but now I have a benchmark. If Charlie or June ever came home with this story, John and I would wage war. Given the opportunity, my parents would have too. Undoubtedly, it's not the victim's responsibility to relive their assault in order to educate the overwhelming ignorance of our society, but as we've seen in the last few days, there's power in numbers. There's comfort in not being alone. Sexual harassment and abuse are real, everyday battles for so many women and men. What if we created a culture that supported them and ostracized their perpetrators instead of the other way around? No matter if you're a silent me too or ready to shout your story to the masses, I stand with you.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

June - One Month!

Your dad and I stayed home with Charlie, literally didn't leave the house other than for walks, for an entire month, and it's no surprise that by the time Charlie hit the four week mark, we were going absolutely insane. June, you're a whole other story. You tag along for baseball games, dinner clubs at friends' houses, dinners out at restaurants with visiting family, watching your cousins' cheerleading, grocery store runs, lunch dates, etc, and all of our sanity is better because of it. God bless living and learning. Jennifer, Matt, Madi, and Jackson came down, and your uncle Kevin crashed with us for a night; they were all just real happy to meet and squeeze you. GiGi also made her way back down to squeeze you right before you hit the four week mark. Welcome to all the love, girl.

We had your one month appointment this week, and while I was just certain you're a little tiny peanut, Dr. Bell said you're in the 90th percentile for head and height and the 70th percentile for weight; you've officially hit double digits - 10 lbs 4 oz! Everywhere we go people marvel at how tiny and alert you are. You're still firmly holding to the three hour cycles during the day, and unlike your brother, you nap pretty well in your bassinet and will normally give me a few good chunks of time during the day to get the important things done - ya know, like showering, laundry, and washing dishes. We're still in that slow newborn rhythm. Nighttime sleep is still very much fragmented. It's amazing what my brain let me forget. It's like I had a foggy idea of what sleep deprivation was, but I'd forgotten the reality. Oof. I'm reminding myself that these long days are actually fleeting and the sleepless nights won't last forever. This time around I'm not worried about "spoiling you" if I hold you through a nap or pull you into bed with me to eek out a couple more hours of sleep in the morning. There's a lot of freedom in raising your second child.

You've started smiling; of course, your brother was on the receiving end of your first real smile. It's amazing that you already know his voice and are interested in him so much more than your dad and me. How the heck do you know he's a little human too? Whatever is drawing you to him immediately, I can tell you the feeling is mutual. His love affair with you started early in my pregnancy. He hoped so badly that you would be a girl so that our family could "complete the pattern." I have endless stories of his limitless love, but my favorite happened this summer when I waddled into his room after he'd woken up way too early and laid down with him. About a year ago, he'd asked to paint his room golden, so I found a shade of yellow that I thought would do the trick. it turns out that marigold quite frankly accosts the eyes when painted on the wall, but Charlie liked it, so we left it. Since y'all are destined to be roommates in our tiny house, laying in his bed that morning, I gently started to break it to Charlie that we had to change the wall color. He stopped me mid-explanation saying, "Oh mom. I've been thinking about that, and I think you should just paint my room pink. June will love pink, and I like it enough." We ended up picking the lightest shade of blue, but oh sweet June, you've got that boy wrapped so firmly around your extra long fingers. We're all just real in love with you, gal pal. Happy one month.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

June Anne

Sweet gal. Carrying you was one of my bigger challenges. Almost immediately, you made me sicker than I've ever been, and the "morning" (read: all day) sickness lasted well into the second trimester. Basically, I grew you on bagels and goldfish and sometimes nachos for a good 20 weeks. By the time we overcame the nausea, I was gigantic (amazing what an all-carb diet will do for the bod), and we were wading into the dog days of summer. We moved slow, found lots of cold water to wade in, and celebrated all the air-conditioning wherever we could find it. We powered through the summer, but by mid-August I was so ready to see your face. We negotiated with you that if you'd just let us get Charlie settled in kindergarten, you could come any time after, and then it was let us make it to back-to-school night, and then it was Labor Day weekend, and I was willing to do whatever it took to get you out! Dr. Oliver was worried about you getting as big as your brother, so we scheduled a c-section for Sept. 7th, but if you came anytime before that, she was willing to let me VBAC. We'll never know what worked because we literally did all the things - spicy foods, hikes, Evening Primrose, reflexology massages (I'm looking at you Beijing Foot massage), red raspberry tea, trigger-point therapy, labor-inducing chili recipes, etc. etc.

I woke up Sunday morning with a real wonderful energy. It was the most beautiful day, and we spent the morning playing with Charlie, I ducked out for a bit to get a foot massage with Kacie, Charlie headed to Gaga and Papa's house for a cousin playdate, and your dad and I dedicated our afternoon to get-this-baby-out bootcamp. We met the Wahlers' crew for dinner, and then headed home for a real regular kind of night. For the last few months, I've been up a million times in the night, so when I woke up at 1:00 a.m., I figured it was just another trip to the bathroom. When my feet hit the floor, I knew you were gearing up to greet us. I tried to breathe through contractions calmly and quietly like I'd done with Charlie, but it became clear that a calm and quiet shower was not in my future, so I woke your dad up, and immediately contractions were two minutes apart. Your dad called Gaga and Papa so they could hang with Charlie while we took off for the hospital, and as I sat quietly in the car breathing through contractions, their car almost literally flew around the corner of our street. Your grandparents executed their role flawlessly. 

It was a quick trip to Seton Main at two in the morning, and I assured your dad that I could make my way to the maternity ward by myself while he parked the car, and while I really genuinely felt like I could do it at the moment, when the first door was locked, and I had to go around to the ER entrance, giving birth on the helipad seemed like a real good option. Slowly, I made it up to the second floor and was easing into a wheelchair as your dad joined us. They wheeled me back, and the midwife congratulated me on being so far along and promised to get us right back because certainly this baby was coming soon. A quick birth (after an epidural) sounded just magical. True to their word, they got us settled quickly, and the anesthesiologist made quick work of the epidural, but your arrival was anything but quick. 

At five o'clock, I started pushing, at 7:30, without much success, we transitioned nurses, and the amazing Stephanie took over promising she'd see me through a successful VBAC. At some point, I whimpered to your dad that I just wished Tania would get there. I wasn't even sure what I needed from her, but when she peeked around the corner, I felt overcome with relief. As usual, Tania quietly championed me and validated all the things that were going on in that room and then excused herself to give your dad and me some time alone. You'll surely learn this about her in time, but Tania loves her people so well. She shows up in all the right ways always. We continued to push, but by 8:30, the on-call doctor at the end of her 48-hour shift was pushing for a c-section and defeat washed right over me. It was complete deja vu transporting us right back to your big brother's birth - my body did all the right things, but ultimately, he wouldn't budge. I asked for thirty more minutes with you, and as the doctor walked out of the room, your dad and Stephanie and I went back to work. Turning me every which way and pouring all kinds of positivity over me, we worked and worked to get you to stay down. If you ever need someone to champion you, look no further than your dad. I've never felt more supported than the morning of your birth. With every breath, your dad was willing me to push through, pulling me towards the end-goal, and believing in my body's strength. Looking at the clock at 8:45 and knowing I only had 15 minutes left, something overcame me, and I was flooded with the knowledge of my beautiful, strong friends who I knew were praying over you and me all morning - this sisterhood of women that knew exactly what we were working towards. When the doctor walked in at 9:00 looking surprised at our progress, she called in all the reinforcements, and you did it, little girl. You eased right down, and at 9:18, we finally got to see your sweet face. You came out just perfectly beautiful. 

The Labor and Delivery team was shocked at the parade of visitors that were eager to meet you, but most importantly, your brother strolled back like a proud peacock immediately ready to scoop you right up. Your dad helped him get situated, and we watched the most beautiful relationship begin as he sweetly whispered to you, "Good morning, June. How's life outside the belly?" You settled right in cooing back at him, and he happily declared that y'all were already talking to each other. My heart exploded, and I just know your heart will always belong first to your sweet big brother. He loves you fiercely, and that all-consuming, overwhelming kind of love is just real hard to refuse. We bolted from the hospital after one night eager to get you home and settle into our new norm. Tania and GiGi stocked our house with all sorts of goodies, and then just like that we were doing life as a family of four. It all feels just right.  

You've set our family on a whole new beautiful course. Thanks for joining us, sweet gal.