Monday, November 15, 2010

To Snip or Not to Snip?

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That picture is from three weeks ago, but I love it and realized I hadn't posted it.

On my way home from class, I thought of that title and daydreamed of recreating Hamlet's famous soliloquy to address the issue of having more children.
That being said, I did something that amazed myself this past weekend. We were up in Maine for a quick hunting trip. Bee and I took Liam window shopping in Waterville. While waiting for coffee to be ground, Liam started fussing so I went to make him a bottle at a table in the front of the store. I am struggling to make the bottle with a fussy baby when a stranger walks up and starts talking to me about Liam. I am fine with this. She touches his nose and asks where he got his beautiful blue eyes. I tell her they're my mom's. She gushes about how much my mother must love and enjoy this baby. She has good intentions but her touching Liam's nose irked me. "Is he your first?" she asks. I smile and say yes. "When will you make him a big brother?" she asks. I get this question way too often. I smile and say nothing. "You can't let him be an only child," she begins to tell me. "You can't do that to him." I have never been rude to anyone in my life, much less a stranger. I walk away from her. "No, you don't understand," she continues. I walk around her in an effort to try to leave the coffeeshop. Finally, I say, "I'm not having this conversation with you." She continues until I ditch my mother in law. It is not like me to be that brazen but I was just not up to a total stranger telling me how I was going to mess up my child.

It amazes me that people think they have such right to ask very personal questions when you're pregnant or parenting. I have been asked about my delivery, breastfeeding, and future reproduction plans by countless strangers. Usually, I humor people and let their opinions amuse me. Maybe it is because I am getting too many opinions. Maybe it is because Mike made his appointment but this question is driving me insane.

I can say it is because of finances. Let's face it. Mike and I could afford another child. I watched my parents struggle with money and vowed I would never let my kids(s) hear arguments about money or move a lot. I can say it is because of our small house but we could finish off the sunroom and make room for one more. We can say it is because we live so far away from our parents or because I just turned 34.

Mike and I are choosing to have one because we know that is what we can handle. I know that I will be able to make time for Liam, Mike, and my other obligations. When we went to the Halloween event at the zoo, we watched parents with multiple kids struggle. We had a ball with Liam. Maybe people are right that that is a selfish reason but it is our reason. I truly enjoy my family.

When I first became pregnant, we made the decision to wait a year and decide if we wanted to have another. Mike's consultation is on Liam's first birthday. While it makes me sad sometimes to realize that I will never be pregnant again, I know we are making the right decision. Mike and I have made it through nine plus months of new parenting without any fights. And, yes, we have done this (for the most part) solo.

It makes me happy to know that, if all goes well, we will be able to help Liam with college. But that isn't why we're choosing to have one. At the end of the day, I know that I have given everything I have to Liam. I can juggle teaching, taking a class, and all of my responsibilities at home. Mike and I can share a beer after Liam goes down at night. I know I can manage Liam and not be overwhelmed all the time. Having to defend this decision reminds me it is the right for us.

Miek andI took Liam to Goddard Park to do his holiday picture. Mike had this vision before we even knew Liam was a boy. The plane is a recreation of his great uncle's WWII plane. Liam was intested in crawling around the plane and in trying to stand up on it. We worked for about forty five minutes to get these pictures.

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Nine Months

I just realized that Liam has been out in the world the same amount of time he spent in my belly. Huh.

It seems that Liam will go into learning spurts. He'll learn a few new tricks and spend the next two weeks mastering them. Last week, he learned to wave, click his tongue, and give kisses. He is working on them quite a bit. While we were waiting to get his hair cut, he waved to every car that went by. He is trying to stand on his own. When standing holding my fingers, he will let go of one and makes it very clear that he wants me to just hold the finger. At this age, I am loving his independence but I worry about having an independent toddler. I guess we will worry about that when the time comes. He is absolutely fearless. His daycare teachers tell us he is the first to get into things and will go anywhere. Last night at my cousin's anniversary party, he let anyone take him and play with him. We will really have to watch him later. That scares me that he does not fear strangers at all.

We were a little late in doing his nine month photos. When he was little, I thought it would be so much easier to do these once he could sit and stand on his own. As the photos show, I was mistaken.

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Finally, he gave us a good picture. I never worked as hard for a chair picture. It was comical. The picture came out great. I am thinking of doing shutterfly albums of his first year.

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We got the clearance to feed Liam everything except honey and whole milk. We've been letting him feed himself. He is starting to get the hang of it. His reaction to corn was priceless.
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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Another cross off the list

Before you even begin trying to get pregnant, you have a list titled "When I'm a Parent, I'm Never Going to:" This list covers everything from what what you will let your kids play with, wear, and say to how you will raise them. I swore if had a girl, she would never wear spaghetti strap tank tops out of the house. Our child will never wear pajama pants in public. The baby would sleep in its own bed. We'd never give him junk food. Whatever. It was like raising a child was as easy as making a box of brownies; you follow the directions, don't do anything stupid, and your child will come out perfect.

Fast forward nine months. After five of Liam's teeth decided to come through at one time and he was waking up every three hours, Liam winds up in our bed most nights. If he wakes up after 3:30-4:00, we bring him to bed with us. There is no point in spending an hour trying to get him back to sleep at 4 when the alarm goes off at 5:30. There is one mother I never thought I would be.

I am the worst about giving Liam "just a taste." He's had the arm of a gingerbread man, a fingerfull of cupcake, etc. I won't give him juice yet I let him gnaw on crusts of bread. I know people do much worse but it bugs me because it was on my "I'll Never" list.

My house is overrun with toys. I went yard sale crazy this summer. I was out of control. Our house is paying the price.

Maybe what it comes down to is the actual verses the reality. It is very easy to make this list in your head when you're lying awake with heartburn during your pregnancy or watching a poor, tired mother deal with a temper tantrum in line at the market. What really matters is being the best you can be. Liam is always loved and nurtured. He is happy and healthy. He is growning and learned and exploring.

I am sure as the years go by, I will break more of my "I'll Never" Mommyisms. In fact, I hope I do. I pray that motherhood is never as boring as following simple directions. I love the spontaneous moments that Liam provides. I love playing with him and spending time doing something as simple as playing peekaboo with a blanket for a half an hour. If I hadn't broken my prenatal mommy rule, I never would have experienced the joy of sleeping with Liam sleeping with both of his arms wrapped around mine.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Mike took the time yesterday to summarize our year in a month by month timeline. We both agreed that with the exception of our son's birth, we had a pretty rough year. I am so lucky to have a man who, like myself, tries to find the positive in everything. It made me wonder what the most important compatabilities are in successful relationships. We are food compatable, althought I am much pickier than he ever is. We have similar views on politics and religion and morals. How do people with opposet views get through dinner? Maybe it would make for much more interesting conversations.

I am refreshing the computer over and over to get election results. Polls close in two minutes. My friend Tim is doing something more people should do. He is running for state representative. Most of us do more than just complain. I consider casting educated votes enough but I know I should to more. Yesterday, I contemplated what I wanted from myself in the following year. I need to add do more for my country in terms of politics. I need to use my voice. And I need to watch the screen to see if Tim won.

Monday, November 1, 2010


It's funny how years change us. Liam is napping. I have an iced coffee, some music, today's newspaper, and some time to myself. I can't think of a better way to spend a birthday afternoon. In the story Eleven, Rachel feels disappointed that she does not feel older when she wakes up on her eleventh birthday. This is the first year I really sort of hoped to feel some sort of Zen awakening. At best, I hoped to be able to something clearer in this crazy world I decided to bring a son into.

Today I am thirty-four. Thirty four. I remember when my mom was thirty-four. Thirty-three was definitely my most life changing year to date. I became a mother and lost my own. I watched my life change for the better as Mike and I welcomed Liam into our lives. Mike and I have grown so much closer than I ever thought possible as we learn to be parents together.

Thirty-three had no hidden agendas. My induction was scheduled on the day JD Salinger died. My love of the Catcher in the Rye lead me to consider the name Holden for Liam. There was no missing that sign; my teen angst, adolescent confusion had to be put behind me. (Every time I read and teach that book, I am different. I can't wait to teach it as a parent. I wonder how I will interpret it.) The flood taught me how unimportant some "things" are. As much as I would love to get back the last Christmas card my grandmother sent me or my high school yearbooks, I waded through our belongings understanding that others had lost their homes. Mom taught me that each day as a gift and should be treated as such. If there are things I want in life, it is up to me to make it happen. Right after she died, someone told me that for the first few months, dead mothers are perfect. How true that was. I mourned the mother who was so excited about becoming a grandmother and not the one who told everyone I was four weeks pregnant when I asked her to hold off until the first ultrasound. Five months later, I mourn the mother who could take care of everyone but herself. I take a different route home so I will not reach for the phone at that same first light that I used to call her every afternoon as I left school. This has made me reflect on what kind of a mother I will be and how Liam will perceive me.

This leads to thirty-four. Next year at this time, Liam will twenty-one months old. It is unfathomable at this time that he will be able to run around and have a conversation next year at this time. Next year he will be able to really trick or treat. Thirty-four will bring our first family camping trip, Liam's first Christmas and first birthday. Thirty-four will make a year without my mom as well as a year without a basement and New Kids on the Block trading cards. Maybe thirty-four will be the age in which I stop worrying about things I can not control. Maybe thirty-four will be the year I learn to stop being so hard on myself.

Today I am thirty-four. I am also thrity-three, thirty-two, thrity-one.... I have learned to enjoy what I have instead of worrying about what I do not. I am learning not to take some people quite so personally. It has taken me thirty-four years to begin to feel comfortable in my skin and stop making apologies for who I am.

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but with a whimper.