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Posts tagged ‘my son’

Seven Months.

To my Little Guy,

Suddenly, you’re not so little.

Over the last few weeks, you’ve growth-spurted in a way that’s made every plant in this house super jelly.  Pajamas that once fit with room to spare are threatening to hulk out at the feet and your appetite is already edging towards the scary things that moms of teenage boys told me.  (“Prepare to have him eat you out of house and home!!!” they said, running to their second job that pays solely for their son’s lunch consumption.)  Despite still running small for your age, you’re a completely proportionate tiny human tank.

Food is your favorite thing, after your sister and making the “pppbbbblllllltt” noise with your mouth.  Most often you can be found in the high chair eating sweet potatoes,  scrambled eggs, peanut butter and bananas mashed together (that’s your favorite this month), and your hands.  Still no gluten until you’re over a year old, like we did with your sister.

You’d very much like the cats to be your friends, but so far only Loopy will give you the time of day.  She comes up and purrs maniacally, weaving herself in and out of your reach and letting you pet (mash) her on the head.  Siah, on the other hand, is horrified by your existence and keeps serious distance between her fur and your paws.

Unrelated:  Squirrels and chipmunks seem to like you just fine and they grin at you when we go from the front door to the car.

Side eye because he knows it ain't Valentine's Day. #anachronisticbib

A post shared by Kerri Sparling (@sixuntilme) on

I finished breastfeeding recently and you’re now on formula.  Ending breastfeeding was a difficult choice but one kind of forced, in part, by the eye injury that resurfaced a few weeks ago.  I wasn’t able to feed you because I couldn’t see or manage pain very well during that episode of corneal chaos, so you were receiving pumped breastmilk instead of being able to latch on to me.  Fast forward a few days once I had recovered and putting you on my breast didn’t produce food fast enough for you, so you fussed and freaked out.  Back to bottles of breastmilk (and formula) until pumping wasn’t an option anymore, either.  (Not being able to physically feed you myself slowed production down to nothing.  And yes, I’m writing about breastfeeding you again.  Stop rolling your eyes.)

With the stopping of breastfeeding finally brought an end to the deluge of pregnancy-related hormones that took up intense residence in my body, and that’s been a very positive mental shift.  The postpartum anxiety thing has tapered off quite a bit, in part due to cognitive behavioral therapy once a week and also the lack of hormonal influence.  (We also joined a gym, you and I … more on that in a non-you post.)  I’m feeling like I’m more capable of taking good care of you instead of feeling like I’m holding on to everything by a thread.

And with a more relaxed mindset, I’ve realized you’re it … the last little baby I’ll ever have.  Watching you grow so fast has made me want to slow time down.  Which translates into you and I reading a lot of books together, or going for walks with your stroller.  We snuggle, often.  And I like to look into your eyes and wonder what color they’ll eventually settle on.  Time goes by very quickly and I am trying to spend as much of it as I can with you and your sister.

We’re lucky to have you, little Guy.  So very lucky.  And while I want to enjoy the little friend that you are, I am looking forward to seeing whoever it is you become.

Now go to sleep.

Love,
Mom

Sixaroo.

Little Guy,

Six months old!!  Is what you are.  Indeed, six months ago you were all coiled up in my belly like a snake ready to strike into our lives, which sounds super violent but was more super exhausting and super cute than anything else.  Hey, run on sentence, there you are.

We’re at the point with you where we can’t exactly remember what it was like NOT to have you in our lives.  A highchair in our kitchen?  Always.  The extra bedroom suddenly inhabited by a crib and a stack of diapers?  Always.  The laundry machines churning and burning at all hours, for all eternity?  ALWAYS.  We’ve always had mashed bananas in a bowl.  We’ve always had a giggling little monster man.

We’ve always had you, kiddo.

This Guy. 🍅

A post shared by Kerri Sparling (@sixuntilme) on

Now, at six months old, you have left behind that squishy infant baby person and have become this full-faced, big-eyed little grabby-handed peanut.  You love to grab your feet and try to force them into your mouth.  You think my nose is something removable and you attempt its removal daily.  You laugh – hard – anytime anyone startles you.  (Except the other night, at that restaurant, when the automatic hand dryer in the bathroom made you lose your mind with fear.  Poor little fella.  You sobbed so hard that a woman who was about to dry her hands threw them up in a panic and said, “I’ll drip dry!  Drip dry!  Poor little guy!!”)

On the food front, you’ve tried plenty of different tastes.  Pears are pretty popular.  Bananas are delicious.  Mashed cauliflower confused you but you ate it anyway.  Avocado could potentially be a friend.  But sweet potatoes are your JAM.  They make you delighted.  DELIGHTED.

Your favorite person isn’t me.  Or you dad.  Your favorite person is your sister.  Your whole face completely lights up with a smile reserved just for her whenever she talks to you.  The other night, while we were in New Hampshire for a few days, the two of you refused to fall asleep because you were too busy giggling.  She, playing peekaboo, and you, letting loose a belly laugh that could have caused an avalanche in the White Mountains.  She loves you, big time, and you return that love plus ten.

We snuggle often, you and I, and I love the moments right before you fall asleep for a nap, when you reach up and hold my face.  I love that.  LOVE.  It makes the memory of years of wanting you dull and fade, erasing so much of that pain and replacing it with love.  And spit up.  And diapers that I wouldn’t FedEx to my worst enemy.

But mostly love.

Love you, little Guy,
Mama

Five Months.

To my Guy,

Five months old!  (And I’m pretty sure I forgot to write you a letter at the four month mark, so here’s a quick high five for turning four months old a bit back, too.)  Five months ago, I was excitedly awaiting your arrival and folding piles of baby clothes.  Now, I am greeted by your big, toothless smile every morning while you excitedly slap your legs against the crib like a mermaid.

Sorry.  MerMAN.

You are a tiny sweet potato with an appetite for both pears and destruction.  Despite being on the more petite side at the moment (single digit percentile for weight and barely double digits for height), you eat like you are a teenage boy.  In the last few weeks, I’ve had trouble keeping up with your food demand, so we’ve started working in the occasional formula bottle here and there.  I’m still breastfeeding and pumping as often as possible, but you need to eat, so formula is at the ready for the moments when I’m not.

You’re more tolerant about tummy time these days and you spent a lot of time on your play mat.  (Although when you’re feeling done being on your stomach, you fling yourself to the side to roll over, like you’re trying to roll down a hill.)  Just like your sister, you are content to holler happily at the plush animals dangling overhead.  This morning, though, you slammed a rattle against your head and engaged in your first “crying because of little injury” jag.  Real tears. It sucked.  And now you are giving that rattle some major side-eye.  Welcome to the world, little Guy.

Real food is also a recently introduced thing, and you’ve joined us at the table in your very own (belonged to your sister and is more than six years old but whatever – we like to save stuff) high chair.  The food you’ve tried so far are pears, and that first go wasn’t very successful.  Lots of confusion about what on earth a “spoon” is and also WTF “pears?”  But now, a few days and many attempts later, you wait with your hands on the high chair tray all excited, ready for the SPOON! and PEARS! and the mess that follows.

At the table. #milestone

A photo posted by Kerri Sparling (@sixuntilme) on

In the last few weeks, you’ve gone on your first trip to New York City to meet some friends, slept over at your Grammie’s a few times, and you’ve decided that Loopy is your favorite cat because she has a fluffy tail and she walks circles around you and makes you laugh, while Siah is the one who watches you sleep from afar, not daring to go closer but keeping tabs on you all the same.  The world is starting to crack open and let you peek inside, and it seems like you’re a fan.

It still amazes me, even though I’ve done this once before, how quickly the weeks change you.  You used to be a little thing with half-closed eyes and unable to hold up your own head, snuggled carefully and warmly against me at all hours.  Now you’re this much sturdier little man, smiling all the time and entertained by books, patty cake, and the series of foolish songs we make up and sing to you.  I’m afraid to blink because you’ll be crawling, then running, then refusing to eat your eggs before school every morning.

Time goes by very quickly, and I’m trying to appreciate these moments when you are little.  

Thank you for being part of our family. And for sleeping. And for the smiles that make me feel like I must be doing something right. You’re my littlest friend and I love you bunches.

Love,
Mom

“How is it going?”

“Oh, I had so much trouble even getting out of the house when my babies were little.  You seem like you have it all together,” said the physical therapist as she massaged the tendons in my arm to alleviate the inflammation (thanks, tennis elbow as a result of playing … baby tennis?)

I would have laughed really hard if she hadn’t been pressing on the ouchiest bits right then.

“Smoke and mirrors.  Also, you haven’t seen my house or my inbox, so hold your praise,” I replied, wincing as her fingertips worked their way between my tendons.

Nothing is “all together” these days.  Everything feels held together by minty floss, so it smells sort of nice but is flimsy and ready to split.  On the surface, there are appear to be people moving around in my house that are reasonably clean and fed, but scratch that surface and you’ll find so much mess.

I’m struggling to find some peace in this mess.  Laundry is a constant battle (one six year old who loves messy craft projects plus a little baby with reflux and spitty-uppiness plus a guy who works out a lot plus a woman who tries to work out and who also is a target of aforementioned spit-up) and there’s at least two laundry baskets with contents that require folding and putting away at any given moment.  Also, if you open the dryer, there’s probably a load of laundry in there, too, waiting to be discovered and cursed at.

And then there’s the medical stuff.  Coordinating care for Birdy and Chris is one thing, but now we have the little Guy and he sees the pediatrician once a month (he’s little, so we check on his weight regularly and also there’s that reflux thing that’s being monitored/treated), so there’s that added mess.  Also, I’m back in physical therapy for de Quervain’s tendonitis (this happened with Birdy, as well – more on that later this week) and also seeing a dermatologist regularly in efforts to beat back the Dexcom rash (more on that ASAP).  I’ve met with a local endo and a new primary care doctor, as well, debating which to keep and where to keep trying. Lots of EOBs and calls to my medical insurer and let’s not forget the ebb and flow of diabetes supplies like insulin, test strips, Dexcom sensors, pump supplies, blood pressure medication, and all the other shit.  The phone feels permanently stuck to my ear and I’m on hold a lot.

Not to mention my lovely email inbox, which is brimming with interesting stuff that I can’t wait to dive into but sometimes comes to a boil in there because it can take me a full hour to answer one email.  (I’ve been doing a little bit of writing, though, and that’s felt good.  Sometimes it’s through the Notes feature on my phone, or in a long text message to myself, but it is happening.  Funny how creative juices flow alongside breastmilk at 4 am.)

Sleep is still at a minimum lately, with my son reverting back to his waking up every three hours for the last few nights, making us both a drooling mess at times during the day.  The lack of sleep is causing brain stalls, and I’ll stand in the middle of the kitchen wondering where the hell my keys are only to find them the hell in my hand.

I’m feeling very mired in motherhood details these days, and while I’m entirely grateful for the chance to parent these two littles, sometimes I’m a little burnt out on the daily tasks.  The list of items I want to tackle every day grows and I find myself only ticking off one or two items at a time instead of charging through the list with a face full of iced coffee and a pitchfork of productivity.  I’m itching to travel again, to get out and be working in full, proving to myself that I’m able to love and raise my children while also loving and raising my career.

“How is it going?” is a question many people ask, and sometimes my response is to show them my silly daughter and my smiling son and beam with pride.  Or my response is an exasperated sigh and a mention of house crap that’s gone undone.

Unfortunately sometimes it feels like the right thing to reply with is the “smoke and mirrors” claim, like I’m not able to say, “Some stuff is a disaster but I am doing really well with lots of other stuff.”  I have to force myself to step back from what I perceive as “the mess” and realize that I am doing a lot, and loving a lot of it, and allowing things like un-emptied driers and missed phone calls to be forgiven.

Sweet boy

A photo posted by Kerri Sparling (@sixuntilme) on

Is it all together here?  Oh hell no.  Have I taken some very long and unintentional breaks from blogging and answering emails and putting on matching socks?  Oh hell yes.  But my focus is different these days.  It’s been more about talking with my daughter about her day at school and working on a craft project with her.  Or holding my son close after he’s done eating and tracing the side of his chubby cheek with my fingertip.  Or taking a morning to go work and leaving all housework and kids in the care of trusted family and friends.

It’s not all together, but it’s not all smoke and mirrors, either.  It’s all hard work.  And love.  And the constant ding of the dryer.

Just Past Three.

Mr. Guy Smiley,

Hallelujah!!!  You have started SLEEPING and it makes me want to hit the caps lock and sing your praises.  Thank you, sweet boy, for finally deciding that nighttime is the best time to sleep.  I don’t even care if you ever nap predictably during the day because you sleep at night.  (Remind me I said that.)  Your else close around 8.30 pm, you sleep until about 11.30 pm, you wake to eat, and then you’re lights out until 7.30 the next morning.  THANK YOU.  I can tie my shoes again without becoming confused.  I remembered how to use the coffee maker.  I don’t cry while brushing my teeth.  HallelujahHallelujahHallelujah!!!

And not only are you sleeping, but you’re such a happy guy when you wake up.  Instant smiles, instant cooing, kicking your legs and flapping your arms like the happiest chicken there ever was.  You remind me so much of your sister with your morning joyousness, but you bring your own smiley guy flair to things.

We spent a lot of time together, you and I.  Big sister Birdy flies off to school every morning and Dad zips off to work, leaving you and I to try and make sense of the loads of emails, loads of laundry, and loads of diapers.  (That last one?  Ew.  Love you, but ew.)  You and I have done at least a dozen conference calls together, two or three video calls (those are tricky), and you’ve come to your first conference with me.  (Note:  Thanks, Tandem, for not thinking I was weird for bringing my mom and son to a conference with me, and to TCOYD for making my infant feel like part of the party.)  Working alongside you is a little complicated and sometimes distracted, but I’m inspired to keep pushing my boundaries because I want you to know that your mom is fueled by many interests and passions.  Just as I want you to be interested in so many different things.

For now, you’re most interested in talking.  And this little lion blanket thing that you have set your sights on gumming to death.  You also want to go for walks around the neighborhood in your stroller as often as we can, and you love, love being worn in the baby bjorn thing.  Just recently, we flipped you around in that baby carrier so that you face out and are able to see the world (instead of staring at my collarbone).  You love EVERYTHING.  I love that about you.

The Batman.

A photo posted by Kerri Sparling (@sixuntilme) on

You also love eating, and I’m still working to feed you.  You had a little trouble gaining weight at the outset (a combination of reflux plus falling asleep while eating), and even though I preferred to feed you myself, I had to start pumping breastmilk and using a bottle to ensure that you were getting a set number of ounces per feeding.  That’s kind of the system we’re still rocking at the moment – I feed you two or three times a day myself and the rest of your meals are via bottle.  My days are marked by three hour windows where I either check my blood sugar and then feed you or check and then pump. This means I am constantly pumping (insulin pump plus breast pump equals oh so many pumps) and constantly concerned about the stash of milk in our fridge.  I have ambitions of keeping you on breastmilk for several more months and I hope I can keep up the supply.  So far, I meet your needs.  (And even though I’m not one for supplements, etc. I am drinking a cup of this tea every day.  It might be helping.  It’s not hurting, at least.  And I’m developing a taste for black licorice as a weird side effect.)

Postpartum body blargh is in full effect, as you’re a little over three months old and I have not been on the ball in terms of self-care.  I am working to focus more on my diet in a consistently healthy way (eff off, pie … no wait, come back!!) and I’ve just recommitted to my exercise routine.  I have (blond) ambitions of burning any and all shapewear crap by next June.  Or, at the very least, feeling more like myself by then.

(Why am I writing about breastfeeding and postpartum body images in these letters to you?  Well, part of the reason why people read this blog is because I chronicle diabetes stuff, and it all plays in.  You’ll understand more when you’re older and you tune into the fact that I’ve spent a lot of time writing on the Internet.  I know, it’s weird.  Especially since we now have MentalNet, where you simply blink your eyes and your thoughts auto-publish to the cloud.  Man, picturing the future of the Internet is terrifying.)

We have plans to introduce you to some of our dearest-but-most-far-flung friends this month and you’re spending plenty of time with your aunts and your grandmas. Oh, and you’ll spend your first Christmas on the outside, with your sister very much looking forward to sharing the excitement of Christmas morning with you. You’re very, very loved, kiddo.  You’re a little over three months old but you’ve owned real estate in my heart for ages.

(And thank you for falling asleep at night and sleeping for several hours.  Seriously.  All of me thanks you.  🙂 )

Love,
mom

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