Thursday, October 31, 2013

happy halloween

Our little m&ms/ skeletons hope you had a wonderful Halloween!  While Shepherd wasn't too into the action yet, Barnes & Frances got pretty excited about trick-or-treating and candy.  They were jumping and dancing and spinning until 7:00...way past their normal bedtime!  Hope your day was as sweet and fun as ours.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

good, but not always easy

"Is he a good baby?"

Why do we do this to one another? Why do we ask questions to which an honest answer may make the parent feel inadequate?

Much like the common "how are you," to which the only expected/accepted response is "fine," people love to ask new parents if their baby is "good."  In fairness, they mean no harm.  I'm fairly certain they mean something akin to easy...does he not cry too much and eat and sleep appropriately.  Yet when they phrase it this way, when they use the word "good," it feels wrong to not answer in the affirmative.

My friends, Shepherd is good.  He is good in that he is a sweet, tiny, adorable person who embodies the miracle of life.  He is good in that he is a beloved child of God, a gift from our Heavenly Father.  He is good in that we love him more than life itself.  But as good as he is, he hasn't proven to be the easiest baby.

For about 10 days, he pretty much slept, ate, and screamed.  The days felt long, with never enough time or arms to comfort him and give the twins the attention they crave.  It was hard.  It didn't feel "good."  Luckily, after some dietary changes, he is much more content and even inching closer to easy.  He still likes to be held pretty much all of the time, which is challenging when you're also chasing two 2-year-olds, but the screaming has seriously decreased.  Definitely closer to easy.

So because I can't be the only one with a good baby who is less than easy, maybe we should rephrase the small talk we make with new parents.  Perhaps we can ask a more general "how are you" or "how's the baby," a question that allows the parent to reveal as much or little about their new life as they desire without feeling like a fibber.  Maybe we can even throw in a "newborns can be quite difficult," making it easier to admit that caring for their precious child sometimes feels impossible.  And hopefully, however they choose to answer, we can truly listen.  Listen and encourage.  Because all babies are good.  But parents sometimes need the space to share that even good babies aren't always easy.

my good little Shepherd

Monday, October 14, 2013

the first real week

Between paternity leave and moving, Andrew had three full weeks off for Shepherd's birth.  They may have been crazy weeks, but they were glorious nonetheless.  Three entire weeks of two parents at home.  For the most part, we split up kid duty--one parent took the twins, the other took Shep.  But that all ended last Monday.  It was time for dad to go to work.

Last week was my first official week as a stay-at-home mom of three children under three.  It was both better and worse than I expected.  There were moments of bliss...really.  There were times when the big kids were great and the little guy was great all at once. There were 5 minute periods when all three were asleep at the same time.  There were precious moments of sneaking up on the twins just staring at their new brother.  But there were also times when I thought I must have lost my mind.  The first afternoon, we decided to take a walk once dad got home and locked ourselves out of the house...only to figure out how to break into the basement and call to cancel the locksmith...only to figure out we were still locked out of the main floor and have to recall the locksmith....only to realize the front door had been unlocked for four days and re-cancel the locksmith.  There was the next day, when I literally locked my three week old in the house (thank goodness dad works just minutes away).  There were many moments when all three were screaming, or when the twins were seconds from breaking some valuable piece of baby equipment, or when I needed desperately to pump but had no way to wrangle three kids while attaching myself to my lovely yellow machine.

Despite all the crazy, we made it.  That's what matters.  We figured out how to get out of the house with three kids (and we got of the house a lot).  We figured out the best times for mom to pump.  We found our new library and a few parks that we like.  And somehow mom even managed to shower each day.  We made it, and we are learning to love it collectively as much as we love each of these little ones individually.

Here a few phone pictures from our first official week:
lots of cuddling
art time

first lunch at panera
hello little brother

started week two off well with a trip to donut den

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Expectations.  They get us every time.  Shepherd was supposed to be my full-term baby who nursed like a dream.  I was so looking forward to needing nothing but myself to feed him, to having those sweet moments with him.  Yesterday, though, those expectations had to be adjusted.

At two weeks old, Shepherd has lost 10 ounces.  Our pediatrician gave us a few things to try to attempt to find the problem.  After offering a bottle and pumping post feeding, it was obvious that Shepherd just wasn't eating from the breast.  For the past two weeks, he's been taking in enough to stay hydrated but not enough to grow.  For two weeks now, he's been nursing all the time but not actually eating.  To get him healthy and growing, then, his days at the breast are most likely over.  I'm pumping...again.  I swore I wouldn't pump again, but I want to give this little guy the best possible nutrition.  I know I won't be able to keep up with his demand, but I'll try my best for as long as it works.

Last night and this morning I was seriously depressed.  This was not the plan.  But then I saw that my sweet baby boy is happier because he is not so hungry.  And then I remembered the yearning I felt last fall and winter--the yearning for a baby, not the yearning to breastfeed.  Sure, it would be great to breastfeed my little boy...but I have a little boy.  Shepherd is perfect and healthy and here.  And that was the dream.  Whether he's fed by breast or pumped milk or formula, he is the dream.