Wednesday, April 16, 2014

We survived one.

Yesterday, my second-born turned one-year-old.  This means several things.  It means that we have an almost walker.  The week of his birthday, Kyle took four steps to me in music class.  He’s capable of more but taking it slow, dropping to his knees after his short jaunts.  Being one means that we have a little human who is busy discovering new ways express himself, my favorite of which involves him popping off my boob and signing and saying, “All done!” with a toothy grin.  Glad I could be of service to you, little dude.  Kyle being one means that we are closer to weaning, which is both exciting and terrifying to me all at once.  I’ve read the blogs, the articles, all the stories about weaning and the emotions that come with, and I have to say, I’m a little worried.  But, we’ll cross that milk-stained bridge…  One is having two kids who (mostly) sleep through the night.  It’s no more purees or spoon-feeding.  It’s the cacophony of laughter, tears, and yells.  One is something we can say we’ve done.  A checkpoint.  A milestone.  A step closer to civil family dinners and vacations where the kids carry their own shit.

Our baby has turned one, and so has our family, our marriage.  Angus and I have survived a year with two children.  For us, that sentence means we survived the most difficult year of our lives.  Angus is the best father in the entire world, and I’d say I’m a pretty good mother, but this has been by far the hardest responsibility either of us has faced.  Harder than building radar for fighter planes.  Harder than teaching drug addicts about coping skills.  Harder than owning a start-up.  Harder than convincing unruly middle schoolers to care about Atticus Finch.  I often wonder why my brain lands on the word “hard” when I think of this past year.  Why doesn’t it say transformational?  Amazing?  Rewarding?  Why has it been so hard? 

I don’t know if these women exist, but let me first say, I am NOT one of them.  Our pediatrician, who is more like my therapist, says they are an illusion.  A figment of my overly active imagination.  These women I’ve conjured up (correct me if I’m wrong and you’re one of them) are the ones who seem to glide through the first year of two kids with a tired grace.  The mess who is me postpartum probably just assumes that everyone else does it better when in fact everyone is just as crazy.  So assuming you all will understand, I will go there.  I was a disaster.  Within the first few weeks, I had a sinus infection, which afflicted Kyle as well.  I had mastitis, which kept me in bed, barely capable of my only duty: nourishing my child.  Forget taking care of the older one.  He was daddy’s responsibility.  My butt.  Oh my poor butt.  Let’s just say that my butt turned one too.  And it was just all so much for me…the needy toddler, the sleepless nights, the early mornings, the Ergo that was a part of me, an injured foot, the hormones.  Oh, the hormones.  So much that Angus barely worked for close to twelve weeks.  The spirals of self-doubt, of wondering why I couldn’t after six months put two kids down for a nap at the same time without melting down.  I was freaking tired, but where was my grace?

People have been saying that this year went fast.  That I look amazing, like this year hasn’t aged me at all.  (Thank you, thank you.)  Despite what it looks like, I have sprouted at least a dozen more grays and inherited a bundle of new stretch marks, but more importantly realized so much about myself.  I’ve come to understand that everyone does this parenting thing uniquely.  Everyone’s capacity is a bit different.  Their standards, values, priorities vary.  Everyone I know is doing their best to guide little humans who will eventually shape our world.  I have realized that I need help doing it.  I don’t do well alone.  I need sweet friends, near and far, schools, nannies, family, and my husband.  And that’s OK.  My perfectionist tendencies can go pound it.  I’ve created a network over this past year that is working for me, that is helping me be a great mom.   I have come to understand that it is all right to be a mess, and for me, it’s best to reach out during the spiral, not after it’s bottomed out.

Of course, like everyone tells you it does, the months slip by and it gets better.  I will not use the word easier.  But we are here.  We made it.  My second born is one-year-old.  We have added another unique individual to our world – to our family – which is so amazing.  Kyle is a bright light.  He is easy-going, tolerant, and social.  He lets anyone hold him and loves shadowing his brother around the house.  He’s independent and smart, making up his own games in the playroom.  Kyle eats like a grown man and will not balk at anything, even the darkest and most bitter greens.  He’s funny and snuggly, a great napper and a sweet nurser.  And he rocks a super cool hairdo. 

Someone recently asked Angus and me what we were doing to celebrate Kyle’s first birthday.  I answered, “We are going away for the weekend…ALONE.”  It’s the truth.  We did, and it was ridiculously amazing.  Angus still has the valet tag on his keys because he can’t bear to forget our 24-hour stretch of being just us.  But, rest assured, we celebrated Kyle as well.  And it was during the birthday song, like it is every time, when the tears came.   Something happens to me during that song.  I love seeing my family and friends sing to my babies, the ones who were once physically a part of me.  I feel like they are singing to me too.  Celebrating us, that we made it this far.  It happened in short jaunts, many times falling to our knees, but we made it, babe.  We are “All done!”  We survived one. 


  1. Congratulations! I am not sure if I am inspired or terrified of being on the cusp of #2! Just kidding. Mostly. In any case I love that you celebrated this occasion by a weekend away with your honey. It sounds like you have at least one important thing dialed in- the whole family does better when the parents prioritize their partnership!

    1. Pam, Thanks so much. Getting away for the weekend was so incredibly awesome. Funny how it is a lot to plan but once you're there, you realize how great it is and that you should do it way more often! Also, I don't want to scare anyone! Lol. It's been awesome, too...Of course it has!

  2. Beautiful, truthful and searing - all at once. You DID it! Congrats, congrats, congrats. So glad to know you.