Posts tagged ‘Time’

August 24, 2011

In Case There Was Any Doubt

So maybe it’s a bad idea to wear a t-shirt sporting my high school’s name around my hometown.

 

On a recent cooler morning, I was home in New Jersey running errands, while one of Jacob’s aunts watched him.  Because it was chilly, on my way out the door I grabbed my long-sleeved field hockey t-shirt, without really giving it a second thought.

 

Maybe I should have.  When I was going into my senior year of college, I wore a high school sweatshirt to the local grocery store.  Just outside, a man asked if I was looking forward to going back to school.  I said yes and went on my way, but something about the way he said it convinced me that the dude meant high school, not college. It’s nice to look young, though, right?  This will be good news when I’m forty.

 

Around town recently, I had a similar experience.  Except this time, I’m not only out of high school, but I’m also out of college.  As the cashier at the first store rang up my purchases—frames for our living room wall; pictures coming soon, really!—he asked me, “Goin’ back to school, huh?”

 

“No,” I answered.  “I’m out of school now.”  I’m used to people thinking I look young, but I don’t really think I look like a high schooler.  The wedding rings are a giveaway for me.  Apparently not for him. I decided to press on, just for fun.

 

“No, I’m married,” I told him, “with a kid.”  That threw him.

 

He asked how long I’d been married, and then asked if I was a young mother.  I thought of this blog, and thought his was a silly question.  He knew I looked young and he knew I was a mom.  What was he getting at?

 

It was only after I answered, “I guess so” that I realized he probably meant to ask whether the marriage or the baby came first.  And I think I led him to believe the latter.  Oops.

 

I went on my way, continuing to hop from place to place, doing things that are just a little easier in NJ than they are in Brooklyn.  Again, someone asked me, “Goin’ back to school?”

 

“No. This shirt’s about seven years old,” I answered, as I silently promised myself to leave it in Brooklyn from this point forward.

 

Oh, dear.  Do I really look seventeen?  At least this is confirmation that the baby weight is gone!

 

So in case there was any doubt about the “young” in “YoungMarriedMom,” I hope I’ve put it to rest.

August 17, 2011

Dear Jacob IX

Dear Jacob,

It’s been a while since I wrote one of these to you.  Things are happening at a different pace in this second half of your first year. I am less anxious about being a mom, and at the same time, you are transforming from a baby baby into a little boy. You need fewer nursing sessions and fewer diaper changes (although you positively howl when we do change you), and you’re on a much more consistent nap/sleep schedule than you were in your early months. I’m learning how to use our time as best we can, and it feels like we have more freedom to go where we like, as long as we’re home for naptime.

 

 

It’s not that there aren’t still milestones to keep track of—recently you learned to eat from a snack cup, you momentarily stood on your own, and of course, you learned to dance.  You’ve also started to understand and respond to instructions I give you, which I think is awesome.  It totally changes the way a day feels to me to have you stop when I say “no” (you shake your head first, because you know that goes with the words “no,” “stop,” or “you may not”).  You can also find your sippy cup or your snack cup and use them when I say and sign that to you.  Pretty cool stuff, little man.

 

One of my favorite new developments is that you’ve learned to hug.  Often it’s in the morning or after a nap when I pick you up.  You turn your head and rest it on my shoulder, nestling into the hollow of my collarbone, and I stand there and hold you, trying not to move for fear of disturbing you and thanking God for this precious little boy He sent me.  You are perfect in every way, little man, and I love you so much.

 

 

You’ve also learned to give kisses.  Kind of.  I think.  Probably because we so often kiss the top of your head, you seem to think that ramming your head into us equals a kiss.  I guess it does, if you want it to.  Sometimes in the middle of the day, if I’m on the floor playing with you, you’ll crawl right into me.  It’s like a game of Chicken you’re determined to win.  But then you’ll pull/crawl up me to stand and go in for a real hug, which your dad and I agree is officially the new greatest thing on the planet.

 

Your birthday is coming up soon, my dear.  Kind of.  It’s still more than a month away, but I just can’t wait to celebrate this wonderful year we’ve had with you!  I’ve been trying to figure out what kind of cake I’ll make you for a couple of weeks already.  All this allergy stuff makes it a little more challenging, but we’ll do our best.  (And for those family members reading this who are celebrating with us, don’t worry; I’m making a real cake for you.)

 

Oh, Jacob, Jacob, Jacob. I don’t know if it’s because we spend so much time together or just because you’re my son, but you’ve been doing some of my favorite things lately.  Because you can choose where you go and what you do, to an extent, it’s really cool for me to see you do things like sit and read board books for a good ten minutes at a time.  Eighty-five percent of the time, the book is upside-down, but you’re really just in it for the fuzzy animals and the pages that turn at this point, so that’s fine.

 

 

You snuggle a whole lot, too, and I find myself calling you Snuggles or Snuggle Bear more than anything else these days.

Your best friend, the lady who sits behind us at church, told me a few weeks ago that you haven’t really been sick or anything because you are so strong and so happy.  I think she’s right.  You have such joy, such an impenetrable and infectious happiness.  Even though you make faces and cry like the world is ending when I take away something you’re not allowed to play with, you bounce back quickly, and before I know it you’re giggling again.  I almost think that, if it were possible, you’d never speak; you’d just spend your whole life laughing.  You’re cute enough that I think it might just work, too.

 

Little man, I have no intention of comparing your life to the divinity of Christ, but as I consider all the little stories I could put in this letter, I am reminded of the last verse of the Gospel of John.  It says, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25).  Likewise, every day with you is another miracle, and there is simply too much for me to capture here.

I am tempted to say I am amazed by all that’s happened over the last year, but I think a more accurate word is “humbled”.  I am humbled by how much you’ve grown, all you’ve learned, and the happy, beautiful boy you are and always will be.  I am humbled by the work God has done in me through you, teaching me to give more, to love more, to be more than I otherwise would have, could have been.  I believe true love is something that brings out the best in people; its beauty is that makes the one who loves a better person.  And that, my dear, is exactly what you have done for me.

Let’s start counting down to your birthday now, so I have an excuse to celebrate you as much as you deserve.  Only thirty-five more days . . .

With a vegan, nut-free, wheat-free cupcake, and always all my heart,
Mom

July 25, 2011

So, What Do You Do All Day?

Because I’m as young as I am, it’s bewildering when a pregnant friend asks me some question about having a newborn at home.  Although it never feels that way, I know that all of my mommy friends are older than I am, and it sometimes feels strange to be the go-to gal for baby questions.  It’s understood, of course, that I don’t have all the answers, but I know very well that it’s more comforting to get an answer from someone you know than to look something up in a big, fat baby book (not that I don’t keep one around for questions in the middle of the night!).

One question I’ve had a lot of trouble with until now—really a question expectant mothers and non-pregnant friends alike ask me—is what my day looks like.  I feel terrible when an eight- or nine-month pregnant friend asks me that, and here I have a baby on the verge of walking and I still can’t pin down what exactly it is that we do all day.

I’ve wanted to pull together some sort of play-by-play for an average day for a while now, and wouldn’t you know that right as I felt ready to start typing, Jacob’s nap schedule changed!  (For the better, I might add—two naps instead of two or three, but longer ones.  Hooray for both of us!)  Be that as it may, I’m still going to attempt a “day in the life” of Lindsay and Jacob.  Bear in mind that never, on any given day, can I expect all of this to happen.  There is always a change in the plan (ha ha), even when I try to anticipate one.  Such is life with a baby!

Disclaimer:  I didn’t feel like we had a “routine” until Jacob was about eight months old.  And by “routine” I mean 1) he slept at regular intervals for regular durations, and 2) (less important, in my book) he ate three big-boy meals at regular times throughout the day.  I’m still not sure how often he nurses; some days he wants more milk than other days, and I always offer it a couple of times when he’s not interested.

6:30am – I wake up to sounds of Jacob playing in his crib.  If the day starts before 6:30, I change his diaper, try to nurse him, and then if he doesn’t look sleepy, I toss a couple of toys in the crib with him and go back to bed.  Keep in mind, he’s already been up to eat at about 1am and 4am, give or take.

 7am – After a diaper change and a quick nursing session, we go out to the living room to play.  I eat breakfast while watching the morning news, and Jacob plays around me.

7:30am – Jacob has his breakfast.  I would have us both eat at once, but for a couple of reasons—wanting to watch the news, my morning prayer time, and my needing to finish eating an hour before I receive the Eucharist at Mass—this works better.

8am – More playing.  Sometime in the next hour, we’ll both get dressed.

9am – Morning Mass.  Jacob smiles at his best friend on the planet, the lady who sits behind us.  I try to be prayerful while doing the aerobics it takes to keep Jacob happy when he would perhaps prefer to be playing.

9:30am – Quick stop at the grocery store on the way home, for whatever we need for lunch or dinner (or my random baking adventures) that day.

10:00am – Back at home, Jacob nurses again while I pray for him to take a nap.  Sometime between now and noon, he will take a one-cycle (forty minute) nap, and I will get some work done in the other room.  Sometimes this means he’s in his crib for two hours, quietly playing before or after.  Once he starts to sound upset (and I really miss him), I get him, check diaper and desire to nurse again, then head out to the living room.

Noon – Sometime around noon we have lunch together.  Preparing lunch often involves me using my legs to hold the doors of the cabinets containing the cleaning supplies and trash closed.  I would put child-proofers in, but we’re moving in a week, and it’s not worth it.  We’ll be more diligent in the next place (although I think they’re already installed there—score).

12:30pm – We’ll play in the living room, and wherever else Jacob is interested.  Most of our playing these days is Jacob cruising around, checking everything out, while I supervise.  I’ll sometimes email or write while I watch him, and sometimes I’ll read aloud to him.  Two birds, right?

2:30pm – Crankypants makes an appearance and it’s time for another nap (after nursing).  Depending on whether I gauge sleepy levels appropriately (and honestly, on whether I’m patient enough to wait for him to really need a nap), this can be a replay of the earlier nap, i.e. some time spent playing in the crib before it gets quiet and I peek in to see a sweetly sleeping bear.

4:30pm – Jacob gets up again, and we do the diaper and nurse check.   Since it’s finally starting to cool down, we’ll go out to the park for a walk.  This is as much for me as it is for him.  I’m sure he’d rather be playing now, too, but I’m constantly relearning how important exercise is to my mental and physical well-being.  Chasing him around just doesn’t burn enough calories yet!

5:30pm – Back home, Jacob has dinner (too early for mine).  We’ll talk, or sometimes I’ll read to him.  Who doesn’t love good dinner theater, right?

6pm – Bathtime!  Jacob likes to hang out in the bathroom while I run his bath.  He’s interested in the pipes behind the sink.  So far he hasn’t broken anything, but I’m not about to give him even a toy wrench to play with in there.  No floods, please!  After Jacob’s clean, we splash for a while, until the eye-rubbing really gets going.

6:30pm – After he’s out of the bath, we dry him off, spread goop on him for his eczema, and get him into his jammies.  Crankypants may make a return if this takes too long, especially once he’s lying down.  But we persevere, and before you know it, we’re on our way to the rocking chair to nurse one more time.

6:45pm – I sing hymns and oldies while Jacob nurses.  This is the longest nursing session of the day, and probably my favorite.  He gets sleepier and sleepier, but hopefully he doesn’t totally conk out.  If he does, he’ll be up in another two hours to finish whatever he didn’t get to eat.  If he just gets drowsy, once he’s finished, I’ll pick him up and snuggle him for a few minutes.  Then I’ll lay him in his bed, tell him I love him about a thousand times, and leave the room.  Once I clean up the bathroom and the dining room, I’m trying to take a few minutes of prayer before I jump into the adult evening routine.

It’s a busy, but fun day.  Working other things in is always a challenge, but things pretty much always work out for the best—whether it’s a trip to the park, lunch with a friend in Manhattan, or a deadline I need to meet.

Rereading this before I post it, I realize this would have sounded totally overwhelming to me a year ago.  But getting to this point, this routine, this knowledge Jacob and I have of each other was a gradual process.  Nothing with a baby happens instantly, and if you give things their own time, they will fall into place seemingly on their own.

 

Mothering lesson of the day:  Trust in God, trust in time, trust in yourself.

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