Month: September 2017

Updates

So much can change in a month, or even a week for that matter, when you are in the business of tending to little ones. Two weeks ago Sibby was only walking about 30% of the time, taking a few toddling steps before falling to her knees to cross the remaining distance.  Now she is walking full time, though she still looks a bit inebriated in her gait.  She is very proud of herself, too, carrying around objects of affection and raising her arms at us if she would rather be carried.  I don’t think I’ve seen her crawl in a week.

She has learned to go up stairs, but not down them yet.  If I can’t immediately spot her, I will often find her tooling around the play room with the stroller or another rolling object, sometimes a baby in it or under her wing.

She still has her paci full time (which was something we ditched with the other two at 12 months), BUT it has made her less apt to put every little thing in her mouth, so I don’t mind the intrusion, for now.

One of her most endearing characteristics is a head bob and a seated leg scissor kick, both done separately, but consistently.  The head bob always came with great excitement and now has translated into a way to respond “yes” or “no” when we ask her a question.  The confusing thing is, she uses the same nod for both, but you can tell by the expression on her face which one she means.

The scissor kick is also a byproduct of excitement and most especially when she wants to be picked up.  I love that she is communicating so much to us and this has greatly improved the quality of our relationship.  She is giving kisses on command (along with a sweet sigh to go with), saying a few things (“uh-oh” is a favorite), making dog noises, and generally able to understand and respond to questions/commands.  It’s a beautiful thing after months of mutual frustration.

I guess I’ll never understand the people that love the 12 to 18 months stage.  It is probably my last favorite and one that I have enjoyed the least with all three of mine.  Maybe my friends have enjoyed it because their children begin talking a lot sooner than mine do, but until we bridge that communication gap, there is just a lot of misunderstandings and unrequited tears.

On top of that, they require constant supervision, I mean no moment of rest.  And they spend all day making messes.  I find myself so frazzled by it all.  But the sweet communication we’ve gotten lately has made it a lot more enjoyable and endeared her to me just a little bit more.  The more she is able to respond to us, the more human she becomes and the less baby she seems.

I suppose at this point I would have been celebrating that we are through another stage of babyhood–forever–but we have one more to enjoy these milestones with.  Another crawler, another messy eater, and yes, another twelve month-er to get to know.  Soon.

Bea is still a creature of habit and loves her tiny objects and bits of paper.  She often tells us that we are her “pet” as a sign of affection.  Along the line of pets, she begs me daily to get her one. She claims she would even be happy with a caterpillar or a lady bug.  I am holding strong…for now.  Let’s be real, the last thing I need in my life is another mouth to feed or a head to pat.  A innocuous hamster could be the straw that breaks this mama’s back. This theory will remain untested for now, and we will hope for another way to nurture her love of animals without, hopefully, instilling a hatred of them in myself.

She is starting to show more interest in the baby and that has given me a small pause of encouragement.  Sib and MG seem to be my diehard baby lovers while Bea is more into, well animals and tiny inanimate things, but I do so hope she can find a bond with this baby even from the early start.  With the other two resembling each other the most in both looks and personality, I hope this next little one will have some things in common with Bea.

MG is still enchanted by school and I would not be surprised in the least if she grows up to be a teacher of some sort, someday.  She comes home and parrots everything her teacher says in an effort to set up a pretend school classroom for her little sister.  It makes me happy that she enjoys it so much.  It makes our days apart feel redeemed, even if just for this.

While still not extroverted, she has become very social and wrapped up in the lives of her friends.  She looks for friends everywhere, it seems, always at school, but also at the park and at church.  She tends to gravitate towards girls slightly older, kind, but with more of a ringleader personality.  She likes to play the role of willing companion, not a pushover, but with someone else calling the shots that she can easily make.  She is not unlike me in this way.

Summer is still very present for now, with still warm enough days to swim and a lone cicada chirping its siren song outside my sewing window.  We have not packed away any short sleeves yet and will hopefully have some time yet to wear them.  The lawn mower will still have another month of work ahead of it and the nature outside our windows is still unequivocally verdant.

But we are slowly creeping into our fall routine as a family.  School has been back in session long enough to figure out our aesthetic, at least loosely.  I’m already starting to feel the first hints of sadness that accompany autumn with the quickly darkening evenings and the slight coolness after the sun goes down. I believe we are through the first, and roughest part of the transition of season, regaining our newfound comfort and content in what we have rather than fighting the system.

And still, so many things to be thankful for and fall is nothing without that reminder.

-smk

 

 

One Year Out

It’s been nearly one year to the day since we packed up the schoolhouse and headed south on 65.  We pulled into our new, strange neighborhood in a new, strange territory.

The whole thing didn’t feel entirely strange, as we had my family as a welcoming committee, and it is also the South, where there seems to be an air of familiarity everywhere you go, but still a bit strange nonetheless.

The lessons I have learned this year? Well, through those I am still processing.  I feel God has been kind to us here, after the rocky end to 2016, with the lessons coming slowly and mostly peacefully.  And we have enjoyed our little life we have made here, trials and all.

The highlights of our new life still include lots of family gatherings and spontaneous meet-ups throughout the week; food, delicious food, becoming such a pivotal part of our life; frequent company (though I know that will die down soon, but for now we are enjoying life as tourists too, as we have many friends wanting to visit and explore our city with us); navigating a new place and finding our new favorites, and all the wonders suburbia has to offer (a short commute, a neighborhood pool, great neighbor kids, etc)

We have found several great babysitters (besides family, of course!), a good church, a favorite gym, extracurricular classes to attend, invitations to bar-b-ques and baby showers, and our phones filling up with new contacts.  I guess you could say we’ve been established.

On the flip side, I still OFTEN find myself plugging coordinates into a GPS, a blank landscape in my mind when people describe familiar landmarks, a nagging irritation on days off with the girls that there are too many new things to try and not enough old standbys to rely on, a constant conversation about where our social standing will eventually land, and a few wistful thoughts about our life left behind.

A few things that have surprised me about our new hometown is that:

1) there are so many newcomers here.  On one hand, it feels a little old hat to not be the “only” new girl in town, but the bonus is, there are a lot of us out here looking for each other.

2) This is going to go a little deep, but I am surprised at how I’ve been confronted with my own racism and thoughts towards socioeconomic disparity .  I used to think I was very tolerant and inclusive, only to move down here and realize I have so much work to do.  It’s surprising to find this in the South because the stereotype is that racism is rampant here, but what I’ve found to be more true, at least in my hometown, is that it is confronted a lot more here.  And that is encouraging, while also giving me a heavy awareness of my own inherent thoughts.

A respected Sunday school teacher once said that the white North doesn’t care how far Black people advance in their social standing as long as they don’t live too near them.  And the reverse is true for the white South.  They don’t care about how close they live to Black people as long as they don’t cause distress in their social strata.  I have thought about this a lot since moving here and have found my background in the North is helping me unpack my future in the South, a little bit.  Two unique perspectives, both trying to root out the unnecessary in my own life (and truthfully, there are a lot more colors down here than just two, something I am grateful for my girls to experience).

3) the heat has never bothered me beyond what I remember up North, and I only wore my winter coat three times last year (once being upon return to IN).  So that’s a win in my book any day.  I no longer feel a dread of fall that winter is just around the corner, because it doesn’t feel as daunting anymore.

4) I thought I was well versed in Southern culture, having spent 12 years growing up here, but I am still learning the culture of this unique city and, and even more minutely, the community where we live.  There have been some unique struggles to N’s job that only affect me as his wife.  And that’s something I’m learning how to live with too.  Sometimes I forget how much change we have made in our lives since 2015, but we are still in many ways, transitioning, and that doesn’t always conclude in a year.

It’s been a year, but it’s been a year.  And that’s it.  Many that have gone before us have reassured me it takes 3 years to establish yourself in a new place.  Having moved twice before, I believe that wholeheartedly.  I also believe having babies retards that process a little, as the neediness keeps me home more than I like and I am less apt to go out and explore in the evenings.  Nevertheless this is our season, both to nurture and raise, and to meet and establish.  I do feel that we will be here a while, Lord willing, so I don’t feel rushed in the process daily, just small longings at times for friends with history.

There’s still a bit of anxiety about trying new things and where to spend our time and with whom.  That’s one of the byproducts of moving is not knowing immediately where or how to spend your time and the loss of a good rhythm.  I am still searching for that rhythm here, as it has changed a few times with the passing of milestones for Sibs.  I will always feel a little scattered without a good rhythm, but with a big disruption coming in March, it feels futile to try too hard to beat one out now.

The good news is, in a town this size, there are plenty of things clamoring for our attention and eager to place us in their tune, it’s just a matter of time and effort to figure out where we best harmonize.

-smk

 

Just peachy

As much to your shock as mine, we have ended the first trimester and moved on to trimester two with our little surprise!

On Saturday I turned 14 weeks, and baby is now the size of a peach.  A peach!  I truly can’t believe sometimes how fast this is going or really that I have another thing inside of me that’s growing so exponentially every week.

She is, however, starting to make her presence known as I am starting to feel the earliest flutters and kicks that remind me of her wakeful status.  It seems early to detect movement, but my placenta is not in the front this time (as it was for Sib and MG), so I am able to feel a little more freely in the front.  Plus, being a mom four times over means you just know when you start to feel them. It’s the same ingrained feeling as when you feel that first wave of morning sickness and you know beyond a shadow of a doubt you are pregnant.

I said in my last few posts that a few things about this pregnancy have been different, but many things similar.  My nausea is starting to fade, other than resurfacing in the evening, usually around bedtime.  My energy still greatly wanes in the afternoon, and sometimes a nap is required to get through the day, but still, greatly better than the days of just wanting to stay in bed all day long.  My appetite is still largely present and probably will remain so until the very end.  If I don’t get lunch right on time, the queasiness resurfaces and my whole body lets me know it.

My cravings this time around have been very consistent with the past: cheese, carbs, sour candy, water (my thirst has been off the charts).  Aversions include: some meat, vegetables, and some sweets. Often, I crave slushies or sour candy and water in an effort to slay what feels like an impossible thirst to quench.  Cheese always sounds good to me, and many lunches were made out of grilled cheese and some kind of smooth soup throughout the first trimester.

One major difference in this pregnancy has been that I have kept up with my running.  In the past, running made me feel very out of breath and light headed, but this time it has been different.  Now don’t get me wrong, I went from running 100% of my runs, to about 75%, and now down to 50% (stopping to walk when I feel overheated or heartbeat too high), but it still feels like a great accomplishment and I hope to keep going for as long as I can.

Another thing that has felt different is the way the doctors and nursing staff treats you when it’s your fourth baby.  The approach seems to be more hands-off and respectful of my past. This is something I craved with the first pregnancies, but only just now earned.  Hopefully, this pregnancy will be as smooth and uneventful as my last ones.

This first trimester has brought a lot of decisions too.  We had to find a new doctor down here, and decide where to deliver.  My main criteria with the hospital was somewhere close (i.e. not an hour away this time), and one that had laboring tubs.  That narrowed the list down to two.  Of these two, I was able to choose based on the doctor I wanted and a few other minor things.  Overall, this decision felt rushed and forced, not the excited anticipation I felt the past few times.

I haven’t lost sleep over this decision, though.  As sleep has come easily to me.  Really,  I want to crawl into bed as soon as the girls are safely tucked in and read for an hour before my eyelids become impossibly heavy.  I am thankful, though, to skip afternoon naps and to sleep the entire night through with just a few 2 minute wake-ups.

I’ve also been making a list of items to buy.  We did give away a lot of our baby & maternity items in a moving purge, and as Sib outgrew them.  Thankfully, my sister is willing to lend me some things as her baby outgrows them.  Still, we will probably need to make a few more purchases as well as decide when to move Sib into her own room (or in with the other two?).

We found out this month that we are expecting a girl, as I said previously.  We took the NIPT again, though used a different brand (the one preferred by my new dr).  We received the results in 6 days this time and once again, it was a good experience.  I love knowing this early what gender to expect, especially now that my energy is returning.  I have been window shopping for fabric and dreaming up some outfits to sew.

Last night I spent a considerable amount of time on baby name blogs and googling potential keepers.  There was one name I keep coming back to (i.e. the safe choice), one that I really like but N isn’t thrilled about, and one I wish I could use but it feels too wrapped up in slight, but potential controversy.  I keep praying that God will send some clarity to me.  But once again, it’s not keeping me up at night.

It struck me last night that this will be the last time I will name a baby.  There’s a lot of other lasts with this one too: last birth story, last pregnancy, last birth announcement, last time to sew tiny clothes for my own.  It’s nice to know for certain when it’s the last time, so you can savor it, but it also adds a small taste of bitter to the sweet.

So many things to think about, feeling  that much more weighty because we didn’t choose them. But, I still get butterflies when I think about the moment of meeting this special child, the one God chose to add to our family.

-smk