13 weeks later

Tomorrow is my first day back at work in 13 weeks. I am excited to be getting out of the house again, anxious about leaving my not-quite-3-month-old baby, and nervous I’m going to forget one of the thousand things I have to remember to take tomorrow for me and for two separate kid drop offs. I’ve missed my job and I’m looking forward to feeling accomplished, to setting goals, to wearing real clothes every day, to eating lunch at lunchtime. But the baby is unpredictable and high maintenance and I worry that no one who’s not me or Drew will be able to soothe her when she gets upset. The working parent struggle is real, and I’m simultaneously excited and terrified to begin it again.

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Sleep Talking 33

(Drew has zero recollection of this, which I guess is the point of sleep talking, but I couldn’t believe it.)


Drew: [sits bolt upright, yelling] AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHYIYIYIYIYIYIYIYI

Me: Wha?

Drew: My arm!

Me: Is it cramped?

Drew: It’s asleep!

[Baby looks extremely alarmed.]

Me: Don’t worry, Baby H, his arm is just asleep.

Drew: Don’t laugh at me, I thought my whole arm was gone.

Poor guy.

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The Trick or Treat Predicament

Here’s how it happens every year:
Once October hits, I start getting really excited about Halloween. Pumpkin patches, haunted houses, scary movies on TV, corn mazes, trick-or-treating. I want to do it all. I want to make Halloween costumes from scratch and have them turn out like Pinterest wins this year, not Pinterest fails. I want to make ghost cookies out of meringue and I want to read (mildly) scary stories to our toddler and I want to decorate our front windows to attract all the neighborhood trick-or-treaters.Then before I know it, it’s October 20 and I’m running out of time. You’d think with a solid 31 days to prepare for Halloween, I could get it together. But what I have currently is: one pumpkin buried somewhere under the detritus on the kitchen table, two spider gel clings stuck on the window (the toddler pulled down the rest of them), and a store-bought costume borrowed from a friend “just in case” I didn’t manage to lovingly hand-craft a costume this year.

And it all ends up coming down to the trick-or-treating: the last possible opportunity to engage in Halloween-themed activities (besides purchasing Halloween candy at a discount on November 1). Have you ever taken a three-year-old trick-or-treating? I haven’t. Yet. I don’t expect it to be the smoothest transaction…yet it’s a transaction we’ll have to go through over and over again at different strangers’ doors. I don’t even know how you tell which houses are accepting of trick-or-treaters. I haven’t trick-or-treated in over two decades, and even then it felt a little awkward…like, “I know you don’t owe me anything, but please give me a Kit-Kat just because I rang your doorbell.” Will these strangers think that I’m just bringing my kid around in order to get candy for myself?

I’m no better on the other side of the operation. I get so excited every year to see little kids in costume. We buy candy. I try to find a spooky bowl to put it into. For two seconds, I seriously consider putting on some form of a costume myself – it seems like moms passing out candy are usually dressed as witches. I could do that, I think. Then someone knocks on the door and I go into panic mode.

What if they’re a robber using Halloween as an excuse to get in to our home? What if they’re a huge group of little kids, and I have to figure out how to give them all equal amounts of candy? Am I supposed to give them one piece each, or like four pieces each? What if it’s a handful of those kids who are just slightly too old to be trick-or-treating, and they didn’t even put on a costume, just smeared green paint on their face and put a garbage bag on over their clothes? That actually happened last year. Can I refuse someone candy if they’re old enough to legally have a job? Two years ago, a little girl bolted from her mom into our house, and I had to grab her (gingerly) and return her to the doorstep. This is all too much for me.

Growing up, we didn’t get trick-or-treaters. We were way out of the city, so we would always go to a friend’s house to do the ritualistic rounds to get free candy, returning late at night (or maybe not at all, depending on the day of the week). So literally my first time handing out candy was five years ago. I just don’t have the life experience to take on this kind of responsibility.

This year will probably be the same. I’ll end up freaking out and turning off the lights and pretending we’re not home. Then I’ll eat a spooky bowlful of Kit-Kats while watching Hocus Pocus on ABC Family.

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Emperor Zurg

I’m in this Facebook moms group that has really been an invaluable part of my life since I joined it in April of 2012, when I was pregnant with B. I don’t know what I would do without a group of Internet (mostly) strangers to give advice and exchange anecdotes about pregnancy and parenting. They are frustrating sometimes but most of the time keep me sane and help me understand that parenting is a ridiculous undertaking and it’s okay to have All the Feelings.
We also have meet ups (including sometimes flying to meet each other), Secret Santa exchanges, and send each other things through the mail. Among the things I have sent are: Runts candy to a friend in the UK who couldn’t get them, books, and gently used baby gear. Among the things I have received are: books, peppermint bark, and a care package for labor and delivery, including magazines, a handmade gown, and a bath bomb. 
I recently mentioned B’s repeated desire to be Emperor Zurg from Toy Story 2 for Halloween…and another mom in the group said she just happened to have a costume from when her son was 4 and obsessed with the movie. She was gracious enough to mail it to me, where I tried to force it onto my son, who was now repeating “No Zurg, nope, nope.”
It’s SO CUTE on him and I’m dying for him to wear it (I even got a Buzz Lightyear costume for the baby so they can match) but so far I haven’t had much luck getting him to put it back on. But I have a couple more weeks, so wish me luck.


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A Lot of Things

Today’s parenting revelation is brought to you by Into the Woods. 

I think one of the things that makes this show so amazing is the plethora of characters with varying problems, so there is something for everyone to identify with. I personally have generally identified with the Baker’s Wife.

But there’s a new horse in this race. After 12+ years of listening to this show, I finally really hear, and understand, Jack’s Mother.

I wish my son were not a fool.*

I wish the house was not a mess.

I wish the cow was full of milk, I wish the walls were full of gold,

I wish a lot of things.

Get it, Jack’s Mother. I too wish a lot of things.

Which Woods character do you most identify with?

*I don’t think my son is a fool. He’s just three.

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Three years

This kid is 3 years old today, and I can hardly believe it.

Going through the newborn days again right now with H is bringing up all the memories of B’s early days. He was so little, and scowly, and precious. I remember how we spent so much time taking pictures of him and loving on him and gazing at him while he slept. (We also watched a lot of tv, since he slept a lot, unlike some other newborns I know.)

He is turning into such a little boy. Yesterday during his bath I told him I’d get him a certain toy if he could use his bath crayon to draw a circle – and he did it, no hesitation. He adores his baby sister: I found him in our bed with her this morning, tucked in. He wakes up every morning with a huge smile on his face. He loves the alphabet, counting, animals, books, and airplanes.

Happy birthday, my firstborn! I’m so proud of you. You are so special to me!

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The Swimming Lesson

My poetry class is almost over – thank goodness because I am barely hanging on by my fingertips here, having just had a baby 11 days ago. My 11-day-old baby is deep into a growth spurt or cluster feeding or something, because it feels like she is awake all night and is eating 24/7. Which is great. The eating, not the up all night part.

ANYWAY. Class is almost over. We’re into the “revision” weeks of the course which is good, because I don’t have to start from scratch with poems anymore. I revised this one last week:

The Swimming Lesson

Light shimmers on the water
Arms shimmy indecorously
And previously chubby legs, growing stronger, flail furiously as I

Laugh with him. We’re slippery and cool.
He wriggles, slips away from me—
My fish of a son is sprouting fins before my eyes.

So I do the impossible: let go of him!
His mouth opens in an O of delight
And proud, terrifying glee bulges out his hazel eyes,

Which are so much like mine.
He is my miniature, my copycatfish.
I am flooded with overwhelming love for him. He and I

Are both buoyed by five feet of water,
And despite the thirty years between us,
We are, for the first time in his short life, seeing completely eye to eye.

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