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December 2009
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February 2010

Bye Bye, Omama

Omama cooking
I cried most of the way home from dropping my mom off at the airport yesterday. I walked in the house to find a sink full of dirty dishes, the laundry already backed up and toys and baby stuff strewn about the house. So then I cried some more.

We miss you, Omama! I'm so thankful you were here! And, of course, thanks to my dad who gave up his partner in love and life for three whole weeks!

Also, in the coming home from the hospital chaos I forgot to post my last column, at least I think I did: http://www.newsregister.com/article/42807-baby+board+remember+sublime+forget+divine


Sam's first reward chart

Our nap time negotiations with Sam have evolved into the creation of Sam's first little reward chart. I've been dreaming of this day. (Sadly, that's really true). It's pretty basic: each nap earns a gold star on the chart. Five stars equals one new Matchbox car. Matt laughed when I presented Sam with his new chart. "I was thinking some lines with a Sharpie, but this works." It'd better work! I found coordinating clipart and did a Microsoft Word table and the whole bit and then got a little crafty with a hole punch and ribbon.

He got a gold star the first day. Sweet! We weren't totally sure if he understood the concept, but we were hopeful. The second day as I was putting him down for his nap, Sam said:

"No, nap! No gold star, no red star, no green star. NO NIGHT NIGHT!"

"So how about silver?" I asked, trying not to laugh. Sam didn't think it was all that funny.

So I think he gets it.


Writerly stuff

When I hit the pause button on finishing writing my novel, Breaking Branches in November, I promised myself I'd set a new, more manageable writing goal when I was ready. Since the beginning of the year I've been making an effort to do one small, writerly thing every day. No, writerly is not a word and yet, it fits. I enjoyed my break from worrying about what I was, or wasn't, writing but am happy to be getting my head (and heart) back into the game.

While I haven't begun to get back into my fiction yet, so far the other details are adding up to remind me: I am still a writer, this is my career and as long as I show up to work, I will be successful. Of course, I have to be willing to define "success" rather loosely. I took it as a good sign that I got my "Bylines" calendar/planner in the mail a few days after bringing Jake home. Bylines is a planner for writers by writers with submisison trackers, places for goal setting and progress tracking as well as a place to track your writing-related expenses for tax time. Anyway, I'm one of the 53 writers that got selected this year and am pretty stoked about that. It's another labor of love, though, as the paycheck was a total of $5.00. Plus, of course, the complimentary planner.

I also got up the courage to address an issue I had with a former editor. I wrote a product review and it never got published because the company decided to stop using freelance writers, rather abruptly and the editor I was working with went MIA. All the emails and voicemails I'd left since last September went unanswered. My biggest frustration was that here I had used these sample products and written the review but the person supplying the products had no idea what happened. To her, it might've looked like I took the money and ran, so to speak. It was an integrity issue for me. So I got in touch with a far more responsive editor at the company and she immediately posted the review and said she'd work with accounting to pay my outstanding invoices. Lesson: The best way to get what you want is to ask for it.

Here's the review: http://www.ecometro.com/portland/default.aspx

And finally, somehow in the fog of bringing home a newborn, and certainly with the help of my mom being here, I got February's column submitted and am hatching a new project I can't quite post about yet.

I'm starting to miss my book and my characters and trust I'll get back into it one of these days. For now, it just feels good to get the car seat and diaper bag off my desk long enough to get a little bit of writerly stuff done.


Who is this interloper?

This very moment I am the grateful mama of two sleeping boys and the lucky daughter of a palacinky-cooking mom. Also I'm trying to get my column done before either one wakes up. I'm blogging between drafts. I have to give it a little room to make sure I still like it when I re-read it. And also some time to let my mind work out a few of the kinks without staring at the same sentence for an hour. I'm a little fuzzy still, forgive me if I'm not making much sense.

Highlights here include:

We went on our first walk today. I made it to the post office and back. Sam held my hand from inside the stroller while his Omama pushed it and I walked beside him with Jake in the Moby wrap. Very sweet. I think he's starting to get the idea things are going to be okay. He has stopped looking at Jake like Who is this interloper? And when is he leaving? My mom said he comes into the house after walks looking for the baby. When he doesn't see him in the bassinet, he asks: "Where the baby is?" I think that means he's putting together that the baby is supposed to be here.


Speaking of the baby ... Jake had his first bath last night and it's fair to say he did not love it. Not even a little bit. On the upside, he's got a healthy set of lungs. Sam didn't love his first bath either, as shown in this picture below, but he sure loves them now! The top one is Jake, bottom is Sam. Funny, I used the same towel for both of their first baths. Love these little guys.

IMG_1510 First Bath 3
 

 



Sam takes an interest

Sam visits

"How's Sam doing with all this?"

Well ... it depends on the moment. When asked about his new brother, in all variations of the question, he always answers positively. This photo is taken on his first visit to the hospital where he walked around the bassinet and stole sideways glances at the baby while otherwise completely ignoring him and all references to him. He was, to my relief, happy to see me and climbed right up in bed with me. His Omama had him dressed adorably for the occasion and I was thrilled to see him after our first, and therefore longest, separation since he was born two years and three months ago. 

What Sam really dug about the hospital was unpacking my makeup bag and putting everything (including mascara) on his cheeks while the adults were distracted by his baby brother. I believe Sam is clever enough to have realized this will serve as an advantage for him. 

The next day, Sam came back with his dad to "bring his baby brother home." He'd helped me pick out fabric for a blanket I meant to make for Jake (but Loretta actually ended up making for him in the final hours of his incubation). So Matt talked him into bringing the "George blanket" (Curious George) and he helped carry the car seat into the room. All was fine until he seemed to realize all of that was coming back into the car, with the baby. Then he flipped out the rest of the way home.

He was not interested in being coaxed into looking at, being photographed with or talking about Baby Jake. I did, however, see him studying from a distance and am sure he was taking notes on the changing dynamics of our family. And as is just his way, the first moment he had a moment where all the adults were occupied at the table, he asked to be excused. He then hopped down from his "big boy chair" and acted like he was going into the playroom. Except he didn't. He back-tracked over to the bassinet and peeked in. He stared for a few minutes and then said: "Hi baby!"

Sam takes an interest (2)
Ever since he checked him out on his own terms, it's been all good. Except, of course, for a few details like the previously mentioned use of baby's head as a car ramp.


He's here!

Baby Jake is born
Our little kiwi has arrived! I use the word little as more of a term of endearment than an accurate descriptor since Jacob Henry Hardy made his way into the world weighing in at 9 lbs, 12 oz and 22 1/4 inches long. He is awesome!!! We all adore him - even if it took Sam a little while to realize that perfectly round head of his brother's is not, in fact, a car ramp!

Life is not going to be boring around here, that's for sure. Right now I'm working toward recovering and applying Janis Joplin's "Get it While you Can" philosophy to sleeping while my mom is still here to help us out. We are so thankful!


Craving kiwis and a baby

I woke up at 5 a.m. today with a craving for a kiwi. More than a craving. More like a we need to stop by Safeway on the way to the hospital and get some kiwis. Which also means that we're on the way to the hospital in a few minutes here.

I didn't post this earlier to protect myself from the small (but still) number of people who would try to talk me out of a decision deemed medically necessary but still a hard one to make. I just couldn't have any negative stories about labor induction floating around an already crowded brain.

All that is to say today is most likely THE day we get to meet Baby Jake!!! I am equal parts excited, emotional and what's a word that starts with "e" and means afraid?

Matt is being encouraging with things like: "Don't worry, honey the second one slips right out. It's like a water slide for them." Which, of course, is not what I've heard about Pitocin, but hey that is a terrific affirmation! Come on quick and easy!!

So besides wanting a kiwi, I started stressing out that I didn't make the scones for the hospital staff like I'd meant to last night and I didn't have a gift for Sam for being a big brother yet and I haven't even finished Sam's scrapbook yet (and by finished I mean started) and I don't have a giraffe-like-thing for Jake and he doesn't even have his own category on my blog yet ... see what I mean about the crowded brain?

Then I realized a human being to call his own brother is a really great gift for Sam and I have more immediate things to worry about, like for instance, scouring the streets at this early hour in search of street drugs in case the epidural doesn't take.

Just kidding, Chief!

Okay, friends ... car is running, Matt is giving me the "really?!" look so it's time to go meet our new little guy. We'll share details soonish.


Mama's Tongs

Tongs Chin Chin

I know this picture looks like Sam and I are fencing but actually it's us saying "chin chin" with what Sam calls "Sam's tongs and Mama's tongs."

I mentioned before the gift that started as a joke? I told my friend Emily I wanted to get one of those grabber things since I was past the point of being able to bend over comfortably, waaaaay beyond that point, and I have to do it a gazillion times a day to pick up little cars, tractors, trains, tools, legos, you get the picture.

So Emily shows up at my door with a lovely package for Baby Jake with a brand new Gopher tucked inside. At first I had a good laugh. Then, I started using it. Just for picking up a few blocks and cars. Then I realized I could pick up damn near anything with it, socks, the garbage after Lucy tore into it and before I knew it this handy little thing was an extension of my pregnant self. So much so, actually, that I have no intention of retiring it when (or if?) Jake makes his debut. 

I didn't realize quite how attached I was to this wonder tool until my darling child broke it. I have calmly handled most of his "Mama this fragile? ... oops!" moments but when he broke my grabber I really did have to count to 10. Twice. The second Matt got home I hurried to Ross to get another. They didn't have one. Actually, it was worse than that. They didn't know if they had one. But I was welcome to walk around the store in the day-before-Christmas chaos and look around. 

I lamented my loss to Loretta who happened to have one she graciously gave me and I was once again content. Sam, meanwhile, got it in his head to start using his little kitchen set cooking tongs to pick things up as well and it's been a fun, albeit slow, way to start teaching him to pick up after himself.
 IMG_1390 While Matt continues to mock my love of this grabber gadget, I keep telling him he'll want to use them himself one of these days. To which he replies: "But alas I am able-bodied."

Yesterday I dropped something behind the freezer and couldn't reach it because I am a) short and b) have this huge belly in the way. I called Matt in to help me.

"Oh my God, honey. I hate to say it, but I need your grabber."

Mmmhmm.
 


Birthing plans and other hilarity

Sam in Jake's seat 
I found Sam in the baby's carseat, rocking and singing "when the wind blows ... the baby will fall ... cradle and all ..." Super. 

Seven days since my last post and I didn't even realize it ... I've officially entered The Fog. Not only am I forgetting all kinds of things, I have no recollection of said thing when reminded. This is very disconcerting for my formerly somewhat organized self. For instance, Amy told me I left my phone at her house. Later, I couldn't find my phone. Looked all over for it. When she called to tell me she was going to stop by and bring my phone. Oh, right.

Unfortunately, I've also forgotten things like oh, paying for my post office box and I got locked out of it. Sam now knows how to say "deadbeat" thanks to his Daddy's hilarity.

Speaking of hilarious ... the hospital bag is nearly packed and I just have to finish writing up my birth plan. A birth plan, by definition, seems to be a document first time pregnant women are encouraged to write in order to, I don't know, give them the illusion of control and sense of security over the whole labor and delivery gig. It was mentioned a few times when I was pregnant with Sam. This time, no one has asked about it even once. I assume this is because I'm now privy to the fact that it was a joke in the first place. A birth plan.

But just in case, I'll go ahead and write one up to tuck into my bag. (I just won't print as many copies as I did the first time.)

p.s.  some might think this is funny - my pregnancy journal from Sam includes this draft of a fill-in-the-blank birthing plan:

I PREFER TO LABOR ... (where, in what position, with whom, etc.)

my answer: as little as possible

MY VIEW ON PAIN MEDICATION IS ...

my answer: bring it on

sparing you TMI here

DURING RECOVERY IN MY HOSPITAL ROOM, I WOULD LIKE  ... (visitors, calls, etc.)

my answer: Help.