second time around

Posted by Shannon Marie
I think it has something to do with carrying your biggest news of the moment on your front side, out there for the world to see, that automatically signs you up for all sorts of random questions, comments, advice, and sideways glances. In general, the first time around, I didn't get much unwanted touching or anything too graphically scary as far as stories go. Really, just the norm. But, a few things have stuck with me that I just have to share...

  • Is that a family name? Jury is still out whether this was a 'that must be a family name because it's so odd/weird/strange/not a good name' or whether it legitimately sounds like a 'family name', but I lost count somewhere around the twentieth time I was asked this one with Harper. We already have names picked out for Peanut 2, so we'll just have to wait and see if the pattern continues!

  • Did you plan for them to be this close? Well, to be frank, no. I mean, I get the birds and bees. There are things you can do to prevent it and things you can do to increase your chances. But, isn't that one of the more (most?) miraculous things about getting pregnant -- that you can't plan it? We don't view this little miracle any differently than our first. Thanks for asking, though.

  • You look so small/big for XX weeks along! Well, thank you, but I assure you that no matter what you think, stranger, I feel as big as a house. Just part of the game.

  • You'll feel better soon. Well, I sure hope so, but I can tell you that right now my all-day sickness is wearing on my patience a little (whole lot) these days. Next time I have to run to the restroom at work because the financial model I'm putting together has all of a sudden given me a blinding headache and I feel hot (and oh no, did I forget to eat or drink or sleep for the last 3 days?) as my body is revolting against me, I'll be sure to remember that you said it'll get better 'soon'. And, really once this part is over I'm getting cankles.

But, hey, none of us would do it (certainly not a second time) if every moment (and unsolicited comment) wasn't worth it in the end.

Looks like the days of 'just sitting there' for a minute are long gone...


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big brother

Posted by Shannon Marie
Ever since I can remember I've been quite fascinated with the concept of having twins. Maybe because there aren't any in my family and I grew up knowing very few sets, but whatever the case, I've always thought to myself how miraculous and exciting (and scary) a thing it would be to suddenly find out the peanut you are carrying is actually peanut-s. Nevertheless, I have to admit to the sense of calm I've felt (both times) when the ultrasound technician proclaimed: "looks like there's just one."

This time around (knowing a little more about what to expect...or worry about) I had already begun having the all-telling (if real-life means being chased, laying an egg, and having triplets) pregnancy dreams. After that last one, I woke up a little more jarred than normal -- what exactly would we do if suddenly our soon-to-be little family of 4 was actually going to be SIX! I read somewhere recently about the rate of twins and it was actually higher than I expected (knowing very little about it in the first place). Mommy brain + Pregnancy brain is not allowing me to recall the exact statistic, but I believe it was somewhere around 1 in 32? And, seeing as I've known a lot of friends, colleagues, and acquaintences to get knocked up recently, I figured I'd know about more sets of twins. Who's next?

Speaking of ultrasounds -- Husband and I have pretty different views of pregnancy, aside from the glaringly obvious fact that I'm the one that goes through it and he, well, isn't. Two positive pregnancy tests and a few of the early tell-tale signs aren't nearly enough for him to 'believe' it. The heartbeat on the other hand, well that's undeniable! We had the ultimate pleasure of having Harper with us this time. Surreal to say the very least.

It's still sinking in that less than 7 months from now we'll be a family of 4 and a Stella. It is indeed just one. I'm sick as can be. And, ecstatic that means things are progressing as they should. Oh, and for the record -- strangers need not point out that it's typically unexpected to have children one year apart -- the sizes of 'Big Brother' clothing pointed that out for us plain and simple. The abundance of 2T and 3T sizes are a testament to the fact that we may be doing things on the fast track, but that's just fine with us. You can, however, always count on the world wide web to help you find just what you need...


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sweet (potato) smiles

Posted by Shannon Marie
It's pretty mind-blowing the changes that happen in a mere six months. At this point I can (thankfully) remember every little detail and I much prefer it that way. I realize over time I may lose some of the little moments -- the feeling of H on my chest when he first entered the world (ok, I better not lose that one), the snorts he makes when you play airplane with him, the crazy heights he reaches in his Jumperoo -- but continue to remember the milestones. And, that's ok. Just as I change his picture on my laptop background near weekly, I realize it's not possible to store every bit of every moment forever, just important to make sure we cherish every moment as its happeneing. On to another type of mush...

H has begun the journey into eating 'real' food. That's right, solids. We waited until he was 5 1/2 months -- the non-interest coupled with my own 'I'm not ready for him to make this next big step yet' (yes, I'm being selfish) made for a perfect transition, though. He was already becoming interested in what we were eating by this point and boy did he ever love that spoon. The cereal on the spoon...well, every once in a while he'd take a swallow. It only took a couple tries for him to get the drift. Trying to feed him after he'd already eaten as suggested and making sure he wasn't 'way hungry' -- not ideal for us. More like: 'I only want this stuff when I'm hungry otherwise you enjoy wiping it off of anything and everything I can drool it on'. Please and thank you (he's polite in his defiance already, what can I say?). We've now moved on to sweet potatoes and let's just say, our assumption that he'd like something that even remotely has some taste was an accurate one. He sure loves him some sweet potatoes. Every tiny bite.

Here are just a few more of H's favorite things to do these days:

  • Talk -- my, oh my, is he a talker. Most talkative in his class say the ladies from school.

  • Play with balloons -- (supervised, of course) um, cheap and never-ending entertainment?

  • Try to crawl -- emphasis on the 'try'. He's got the leg part down...the arms not so much. If there were an award for most graceful face plant, though, my little munchkin would have it in his clammy little lint-filled hands in a heartbeat.

  • Speaking of handling an award -- boy, does he every like to (insist on) turning the pages during story time. Let's just say more than a few books don't make a whole lot of sense anymore around the bottom right corner of the page. Grab, pull, turn (rip?), and repeat. It's a science, really.

  • Jumping -- I can distinctly remember the dinner table conversations between Husband and I even before we found out we'd be adding a little peanut to the equation and the wholehearted declarations that we refused to 'junk' our house with 'plastic things'. All I can say for myself is: watch your step when you come over and I should probably buy stock in Fisher Price. The kid loves to jump. He uses a couple college textbooks for an extra boost -- hello, 5-10th percentile on the height chart, you aren't doing much for my bouncing abilities...International Business and Economics have him covered, though. And bounce, and bounce...

  • He loves playing with toys, his tootsies, and anything else he can get his hands on -- and he's discovered his 'parts'...enough said...

  • Smiling, hugging -- I mean, what kind of mother would I be without adding in here that he has to be the sweetest baby ever in existence, right?

  • Sitting up all by himself -- where did my little bobble-head go so quickly?

  • Sleeping through the night -- Hallelujah! And, I have to input my two cents about this one, too, since what kind of mother would I be without doling out my parenting opinion when it isn't asked for? They figure it out and do it when they want to. Short and simple. Forget the books, the training, and everything else that worked for your co-worker's aunt's brother's cousin's wife. What teenager do you know that doesn't know how to sleep through the night? Kidding. Sort of. Really, though, contrary to the (sometimes irrational and not-so-nice) thoughts running through you head at 3 or 4am, your child is not going to be 'that child' that never slept a good night until he was 2. He's young. And, telling you he needs something. And, at some point he'll stop needing those somethings, start sleeping well, and then start needing new somethings. Revel in the fact that we are all going through it. At some point, they figure it out.

Every day is an adventure. One we enjoy so much, we've hopped back on (never got off?) the baby train. Our new addition will officially be joining the clan in January. And, Husband and I officially must be physically separated one specific weekend for -- well, ever...


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oh, what I wish I would've known

Posted by Shannon Marie

  • No matter how much you liked, loved, tolerated your job, it will become infinitely harder to concentrate at work.

  • It took two months for us to realize we had to clean behind our son's ears. Two. That wasn't just dry skin.

  • It will become seemingly acceptable to talk about poop, pee, and gas in any forum. The people in the elevator or at the dinner table will not equally revel in the fact that your baby has now gone from pooping several times a day to one, or sometimes none. Even if they have kids of their own.

  • Fact: You will adjust to operating on less sleep. Reality: It won't make you miss it any less.

  • The idea of conception will now become a scientific concept. This does not mean that people at work want to know that you have a true "Derby baby." But, you will continue to tell them anyway.

  • The baby blues are real. You are normal if you cry at the exact same time every night somewhere around a couple days to a couple weeks after you give birth. Your husband will think to himself, "I really thought as soon as the kid popped out, the crazy would go away." He was half right.

  • Resist the urge to compare your child to anyone else's, particularly when it comes to milestones. There's a reason the pediatrician gives you a range. Besides, they are probably fibbing anyway.

  • Speaking of milestones (and fibbing): "sleeping through the night" (depending on what you read) is characterized as sleeping somewhere between 5 and 7 hours at a time. Those parents that brag about it early on may very well:

a) be so unconscious they don't actually realize the kid has woken up and gone back to sleep on his/her own.

b) have a good sleeper -- for that night. When they don't post it for the whole world to read again the next night, the kid went back to being a baby and waking up like they are supposed to.

c) still be awake at 3 or 4 am for the day. No one specified when the 5 hours started.

  • I'm not ignoring you. I got between zero and five hours of sleep last night and am actually still asleep. With my eyes open. At work.

  • SIDS is a scary possibility. In other cultures, parents sleep in bed with their babies from day 1. Don't be ashamed to tell people you took a nap or slept with your kid. Just be careful.

  • Breastfeeding felt completely natural. Using a machine with a motor to simulate breastfeeding -- one that makes the oddest noises? Notsomuch.

  • The "baby weight" may come off more easily than you expected. The last 5 to 10 pounds from the extra pieces of cake or servings of biscuits and gravy will be a little harder to shed. Kudos to you if it was easy. If it was more, remember the fibbing? The last 5 the chick at work is talking about is probably actually more like 8 or 10. Guilty. Hey, I'm not making weight for wrestling. I can tell myself it's water weight if I want to.

  • You'll want another one. And, you'll forget anything bad that you may have experienced during pregnancy. Raging back pain? Feet and calves swollen to double (okay, closer to triple) their original size? Like it never even happened.

  • Some children's books seriously make no sense at all. None.

  • Children's clothing is grossly overpriced and the stuff that isn't really is cheap. And will pill. And fade. And shrink. I'm different sizes in different brands, but seriously Carter's? My son is in the 5th-10th percentile for height and weight, respectively. No, he shouldn't be wearing 6 or 9 month clothing at 2 or 3 months. But, it's cute, so I'll buy it anyway. Darn you, Carter's.

  • If you are as happy as we are, there's a reason daycare is like another mortgage payment. Those ladies really do love your child as much as you do. They just get to give him back at the end of the day. Sorry he peed in your hair yesterday, Willy. Truly sorry.


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remember to point it down

Posted by Shannon Marie
Along with all the other brand new experiences that come with the brand new experience of birthing a child come these little tidbits that no one ever bothers to inform you about pre-child bearing. It's learning these little tidbits that make the days and weeks (and onto years, I'm sure) that much more exciting (read: frustratingly necessary and seemingly bearable while possibly annoying).

For all you new or expecting Mamas, enjoy. It may be something you already knew or are just learning, but either way hopefully it'll give you a much needed giggle.
  1. The sounds: How on Earth is it possible that such (g)astronomical sounds can come from such a teensy person? And how on Earth is it possible that every single person I know with children has failed to mention this little (only not little at all) piece of information. Not sure what I'm talking about just yet? Just wait!
  2. The sleep deprivation: Ok, no new parent expects to get much sleep. I wasn't naive to this fact, but I was naive to the fact that not only would it be so strange to adjust to sleeping in 1-2 hour increments (3 on a really really lucky night when Husband is being particularly super sweet and snuggling little guy the whole time just so Mama can sleep -- it's only happened once...), but that it would be so difficult to fall asleep when it's the only thing that I want to do and my sweet son is alas sleeping soundly (soundly as in making so many sounds I can hardly sleep and then start to think about how soon it is until I must wake again and then Oh, Oh, it's time and I yet again forgot/was unable/tried (sort of) to actually sleep when he was sleeping). These kids are no joke! And neither is breastfeeding and whew I'm glad I got that out! And no one explains that no matter how sleep deprived you are, as soon as that sweet baby hits your arm hungry and knowing you are the only one that can satisfy him, you immediately forget how sleep deprived you are. It's just you and him -- and whatever junk is on television or your iPhone at 1, 3, 5, and 7am.
  3. Holy thirstiness: I seem to remember something about this during our ALL day hospital class (which I promptly forgot as soon as the chocolate covered cherry pie that I rewarded myself with after said all day class hit my mouth) and I know that the BrestFriend breastfeeding pillow comes with a pocket for bottled water for a reason, but golly gee, who could have imagined that breastfeeding would leave your body thinking you had just run a marathon 8-12 times over each (and every) day! Parched is an understatement.
  4. Boys pee (a lot) (and out of their diapers) (a lot): I'm sure girls pee just as much. At least that would tend to be logically appropriate. However, little girls, as we all know, don't have the "gear" that little boys do. Said gear, which to my surprise has now created a lovely "treatment" above/below/around the wall above/below/around the changing station. And the curtains, but we'll blame that on Husband. He was being paricularly brave while changing Harper (read: haha look at this, he's naked and cute and naked and um, honey he's peeing -- all over you -- and the curtains). Which brings me to my next point...
  5. Point it down: So, we all reasonably expect that if we diaper correctly it will catch all of what it is supposed to. Not so. Not so. That is if you have a boy. During that all day hospital class, one of the things I actually did take away with me was the advice to always point it down. The nurse reminisced about her son consistently wetting through nearly every outfit she placed him in as he was actually peeing out of his diaper. Got it. Point it down. Not so fast. Remember #2? Well, let's just say my Husband and I's brains don't quite fire like they used to. And as logical and easy as it should be to remember such a simple idea is well, not logical or easy when you can no longer remember what day it is. Let's just say 3.5 weeks in, it's still absoulutely hilarious and simultaneously the most unfunny thing in the world when our little man wets an entire outfit because we can't manage to remember to "point it down". Maybe I'll post a sign above the changing station -- but laminate it first, because we all know what's going to happen next time we change the little guy.


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life changes

Posted by Shannon Marie

To say that life can change in an instant would be an innumerable understatement. Let's start with the old adage "you'll just know when it's time." Labor has apparently gotten a rap for being, well, laborious. So much so that us lady folk are conditioned to think that our bodies will tell us when our little bundle is about ready to enter the world (even in those very early stages). I certainly had an inkling -- lots of Braxton Hicks contractions in the days leading up, some painful and regular enough to prompt an 11pm call to the doctor 2 nights before the real deal. But to say that I definitively knew would be another, well, overstatement. Truthfully, I didn't. The stories lady friends and family share lead you to believe that your contractions will at some point feel like every other woman's -- mine absolutely didn't. I'm not sure if I was being overly cautious (let's just say the idea of "thinking" you are in labor only to go to the hospital and be sent home is more than a nightmare in the making -- for me at least) or if I was in denial that even though I had been thinking he was coming, I could have actually been correct in my prediction and not just hopeful. Either way you slice it, I was indeed in labor and the only two people (one person, one furry person, errr dog) that had any clue were Husband and Stella. Waking up in the middle of a contraction isn't exactly how you picture labor beginning, but hello body, it's nice to know you have a mind of your own. Over the next hour, Husband began slowly packing things up -- the hospital bag was packed (except toiletries), so he was calmly walking around asking me what I still needed, wanted to wear, etc., all the while stopping every 6-7 minutes to help me up from where I lay on my side in the bed to lean on him through each contraction. After about an hour (and contractions that were getting no closer together mind you and no stronger), Husband had already started the car to warm it up, and I had managed to waddle around enough to put on some respectable clothing -- I kid -- it was sweatpants, no socks (in the beginning of January) and the only shoes that I could squeeze my feet into (and trust me when I say that gold Nine West flats aren't terrible flattering with sweatpants). Alas, I was still in shock or denial and not totally convinced we were having a baby. But, Husband, he knew, and thank goodness for it.

Going into labor at 1am certainly has its perks. No traffic! Easy parking at the hospital! On the way my contractions jumped from 7 minutes apart to 4 in what seemed like no time. On a side note, my math brain never quite grasped that when they said contractions should be 5 minutes apart for about an hour before going to the hospital that they could a) change so quickly and b) not be 5 minutes apart on the dot, but rather 5-7 or some variation, and you could still be in labor! Sheesh. That's one tidbit to retain for next time around.
I'll spare the details of the next 11 hours and fastforward to 12:52pm, when that precious little baby landed on my chest. All 6 pounds 7 ounces and 19.5 inches of him. He was (and still is) perfection. I think that's a right of passage that every new Mama just know her little one is perfect, but he truly was.

Fastforward another two weeks and here are some things I want to make absolute sure I never forget:

  1. That first cry
  2. The gorgeous, silky smooth, hair (once washed)
  3. The handsome navy blue eyes
  4. The baby smell
  5. That first hour, just Husband, Harper, and I
  6. The squeaks, oh the squeaks
  7. The sleepy, dreamy, twitchy grins
  8. The finger grasp
  9. The way Husband looks at him
  10. The way Husband looks at me

Harper, we are still in awe of the joy you have brought us and cannot wait to see what the future holds!


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a flat-ie, really?

Posted by Shannon Marie
Growing up girls seem to go through all sorts of ups and downs when it comes to their looks and how they feel about themselves and how they compare to others. I'll spare you the PSA, but it's funny to think back about all the little things that you didn't like at one point or another and for most of us (I hope), those insecurities waned as we grew more comfortable with the women we were becoming.

Not the least of which is the bellybutton. One of the things that (unless you live in Hollywood, I suppose) just really isn't goin' to change. I can remember at some point realizing that I should be happy that I don't have (gasp) an outie! I can't remember ever being self-conscious about the particular part myself, but can certainly sympathize, especially when it comes to the 18 year (at least for me) right of passage: the belly button ring. Let's be honest, some people just don't have the button to be flaunting with all sorts of (tacky, I mean really, what were we thinking) jewelry. I certainly touted myself as one of those that could and (even though it was pierced crooked, yes, crooked!) wore my (tacky) jewelry proudly -- probably for longer than I should have...

You see, I'm sure at some point I thought about (or my Mom warned me about) the implications of what things would look like if (ok, when) I decided to take out the ring and I'm sure I ignored the thought (and my Mom). Oh, to be 18 again...

Flash forward 8 (plus) years and I found myself faced with the staggering (ok, total exaggeration) decision of when to remove said ring from said growing belly. I took it out much earlier than "necessary" -- i.e. what would have been recommended by the doc -- and decided that it probably wasn't going back in, well, ever. I actually can't remember the last time I bought any jewelry for it, anyway, and well, I just have this idea in my head that once I'm a Mama it just looks wrong! It's actually one of the only post-child changes I think that about. I will not be: wearing Mom jeans, flats for the rest of my life, cutting my hair short becuase it's more "manageable" or "letting myself go" anywhere but right back to the treadmill as soon as I can post-baby. Children change your life, sure, and I'm not naive to the fact that I will have less time and be spending money on other (and more important) things, but I'm still going to wear my heels and dress like a human being. No sweatpants at the grocery for me -- Stacy and Clinton would be so proud.

30 weeks in and I'm well, a little perplexed about my (now ring-less) bellybutton. Every woman complains about it and most likely dreads it and worries that it will stay that way, but it's another right of passage -- a pregnancy right of passage -- the bellybutton popping out. And, well, mine just hasn't. It certainly doesn't look anything like it used to but it's still very much not out. It's not an innie, it's not an outie, it's not an in-betweenie, it's a flatie? I still have time, but I'm just not sure it's planning on poppin'!

In the meantime, I'm just waiting (sometimes patiently, sometimes anxiously, sometimes nervously, always excitedly) for my little guy to come into the world -- and to see what this flatie has planned for the future!

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