Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I Never Want To Forget

... the sounds of my newborn son. His breathing, his sleep squeaks, his snores. It's all so very precious, and I love to just sit with him and listen and commit it all to memory.

... how loving Cohen is towards his little brother. How he sings to Reid when he's crying and tries to offer him a blanket or pacifier. How he so desperately wants Reid to play with him but is still so gentle with him. How protective he is. How patient he is. How he prays for Reid every night, and how he automatically accepted Reid into our family from the very first day.

... how incredibly exciting and frustrating potty training a headstrong boy is.

... the love my husband shows me through serving me.

... the way Reid will fuss, but once he hears my voice or sees my face, his little lip pokes out and he flat-out cries for his momma. How he is happiest when he is in my arms and pressed against my body. That the guaranteed way to calm him down is to take his clothes off and lay in bed with him, face to face. How, every night, he sleeps with his little hand on my chest and his leg hiked up on my belly and his face pressed into my side.

... the way Cohen loves to build and create and "fix" things with Daddy. How patient Travis is with Cohen even though allowing him to "help" makes each chore takes twice the time it would otherwise. How Cohen's eyes light up when his Daddy needs his help, how he tells me he has very important work with Daddy to do as he runs off with his toolbox in hand.

... the sweet soft coos Reid gives me when I talk to him.

... how incredibly silly I am willing to become just to get a smile from my baby.

... Cohen's sweet little voice when he sings.

... that life is crazy right now, I'm exhausted and never showered and always seem to be covered in some form of body fluid. That my house is a disaster, and laundry never gets folded anymore. That I consider talking with my 2 year old a quality conversation. How I prayed and wished and begged God for all of this, and He heard my cries and gave me the desires of my heart.

... that I am blessed.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Doing It Right

Dear Me,

You are the kind of person who will make yourself your own worst enemy. There is nothing negative anyone can say to you that you haven't already told yourself 15 times. You beat yourself up and have very little self-confidence. You try to trust your instincts, but there's a little voice in your head that keeps telling you that you're not as smart as people around you, so many times, you doubt yourself. I'm reminding you of this in hopes that you will shove your pride away and acknowledge that I am right and will listen to me for a second.

You are doing it right.

That's not something you let yourself hear very often, and you never give yourself that kind of encouragement. But right now, that's exactly what you need to hear. Over and over again. You're doing it right. You're doing it right. You're doing it right. Today I'm talking about Reid -- it has been a difficult weekend for you, and you are really doubting your parenting abilities. He cries whenever you put him down. He cries when someone else holds him. He acts like he is always starving. He acts very different than Cohen did at this age. Trust your instincts: you're doing it right.

Out of concern, people say you are spoiling him by holding him whenever he cries. They warn you that you're setting yourself up to have a clingy baby; that he'll be difficult because he only wants you. Remind yourself that newborns can't be spoiled. He cries because he has needs, and he is depending on you to take care of those needs. And sometimes babies just need to be held. Hold your baby. You're doing it right.

Some people, when they see how hungry Reid has been acting lately, will wonder aloud if maybe he's getting enough milk, even though you are feeding him around the clock. They probably have the best intentions, but you take that to mean that your body isn't doing its job and is failing to nourish your baby. When those thoughts arise, shut them up immediately. Your baby and your body are doing exactly what they're supposed to be doing. Reid is telling your body that he is starting to need more milk than what you've previously produced. He eats constantly to make your body produce more milk. Don't doubt yourself, don't doubt your body, and don't doubt your baby. He is gaining weight fabulously and makes many wet and dirty diapers a day. He's getting enough to eat. You're doing it right.

It's easy to compare your children, to note that Cohen was a much easier baby than Reid, but don't do it. Don't listen to anyone who might make you feel like Reid is not as "good" of a baby as Cohen was simply because he is needier. All babies are different, even those that share DNA. Some babies are needier than others, and that's OK. Hold your baby; love your baby; appreciate your baby. He'll only be a baby for such a short amount of time, and pretty soon, he'll break your heart because he won't need you at all.

And remember, you felt this same anxiety as a first-time mom. You doubted yourself. You  wondered if you were failing on a daily basis. But look at your first baby: look at how smart and well-adjusted and happy and perfect he is. Keep your head up, momma, you're doing it right.

(I mean, look. Your 2 year old is singing praise songs in church. How much more proof do you need that you're doing it right?!)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Reid Is 1 Month Old

Dear Reid,

You are now a month old. An entire month has passed since you came into our lives and turned our world upside down. Loving you has meant changing almost every aspect of the lives we used to know. It's been challenging, but it has been so wonderful at the same time. We've only known you for a month, but it feels like you've been a part of our family forever.

When you were in my belly, I spent my days dreaming about who you would be. I expected you to be just like your big brother. I expected you to look just like him and have his same temperament. I prepared myself for life the way it was when Cohen was a newborn. But you made it very clear early on that you are not Cohen; you are Reid. And you have your own needs and likes and dislikes that are very different than Cohen. 

You are very much a snuggle boy. You are happiest in your momma's arms, with your eyes closed and your mouth open. You do not like to be laid down for more than a few minutes, and when you feel I've left you alone too long, you make sure to let me know. You love to be wrapped in a swaddle or carried around in the Moby wrap. You tolerate napping in your swing as long as you are tightly swaddled. You hate the car seat and your bouncy seat. Every night without fail, you wiggle until you've made your way to my side with your face pressed into my body.

When you were born, you had little blisters on your arms that the nurses called "suck marks". You got them from sucking on your arms when you were in my belly. You have loved to suck on things since before you were even born! You spend most of your days either sucking on your pacifier or nursing, and sometimes you still suck on your arms and give yourself little suck marks! You are a great nurser, eating every 2 hours during the day. At night, you tend to eat until you fall asleep around 10 PM, and you typically wake up to eat again between 3-5 AM. After that feeding, you go back to sleep and wake up ever 2 hours to nurse some more.

Your big brother has loved you since the moment he saw you, and you are beginning to show how much you love him, too. You love to watch him as he plays, and many times when you are crying, he can sing to you to make you happy again. You love to stare at our faces, and you are beginning to "talk" to us, cooing in response to things we say. And most exciting of all: you are starting to give us smiles! You're still pretty stingy with them right now, but when we get them, oh man we get so excited.

You are growing fast! I can already see the start of little rolls on your arms and legs. You weighed just under 8 pounds when you were born, and I expect you to be closer to 10 pounds now. You just graduated to size one diapers and size 0-3 months clothing this week. And even though both are a little big on you right now, I expect them to fit perfectly in another week or so.

This has been a whirlwind of a month, and I've loved every moment of it. You are a precious little boy, and we love you very much.