Monday, December 30, 2013

Thriving

Owen had his two month appointment today. He is literally thriving. He gained FOUR pounds in one month! 13 lbs, 3 oz. That is one fat, thriving baby. I take pride in each of his delicious, silky-smooth rolls of fat. Because he and I did that together.

As I watched my son smile and flirt with his all-too-gorgeous doctor and then impress her with his amazing muscle tone while raising his head during tummy time to flirt with himself in the mirror, I realized…we have made it. We have reached the point where I have slid on the mantle of motherhood and wear it gently and calmly. We have a rhythm, a dance, and an ease to the way we interact. He knows me and I know him and we both give to each other. Remember how overwhelmed I was by the symbiosis of breastfeeding? Well, here I am, at my knees with awe at the symbiosis of our relationship.

My little fat, happy, squirmy, man is an integral part of me now. I could list his accomplishments for you – cuddling with his monkey, amazing neck control, turning to make eye contact with us, smiling, smiling, smiling, blowing bubbles, etc, etc, etc – but they would bore you into a glazed over look as you realize that my son is developing right on track. But in my eyes? He is a superstar. I build dreams for what he will do and then quickly tell myself that he can do whatever he wants and doesn’t have to follow any prescribed path I may construct for him.

And me? I am a superstar too. I can stroke his ever-so-soft hair and make his eyes droop and his lips smile. I can get the perfect combo of jiggle-rocking that will put him to sleep even when he’s screaming in protest. I can babywear my baby while housecleaning and feeling oh-so-productive. I can take him on outings and breastfeed in public like it’s no big thing. Basically, I’m a mom.

I realized something about being a parent. I have always loved looking forward to the future, but have never been very good at being in the moment. Parenthood is the best of both worlds. Not only do I get to spend my days looking forward to each new milestone - when will he start grasping? When will he give the first real laugh? I can’t wait until he can sit up! - but I also have learned, for the first time in my life without the assistance of alcohol, to just sit and be in the moment. When Owen was first born, I would need an iPhone, a kindle, or Netflix to entertain me during the endless bouts of breastfeeding. Now, hours will go by where I realize I have just been staring at my son’s eyelashes, petting the cat, complaining over dirt in Owen’s neck folds, and talking to him about nothing at all. This may sound like I have degraded my mental capacity (and I may have), but I like to look at it as if I have become more zen. I am not worrying about paperwork, laundry or other unimportant stuff (like hospital bills??), I am just enjoying my time in the moment. So thank you, Owen, for teaching me that simple yet oh so difficult skill. I may never be so good at it again.

Because I have become so good at being mindful and being in the moment, I haven’t been so skilled at actually documenting the moment, aka blogging! There are so many things I want to blog about – relationships, postpartum sex (!!), mommy friends, maternity leave/going back to work, identity shifts, and all of the goddamn company we have had (no one ever told me that having a baby meant opening a Bed&Breakfast in your house!), but instead of writing these entries, I just stroke my baby’s hair and rock away in the rocking chair. Oh well.

***

Before I leave you with a photo montage (because I can’t help myself), I need to acknowledge one thing that happened that really deserves a post of its own, but if I wait around to write it it may never get written and that would just not be fair. Awhile back I shared that our dog Monte was diagnosed with cancer. We had been fighting it for almost a year and he had been doing really well. But in the past few months he began to deteriorate and the cancer came back. At the end of the pregnancy we were just hoping he could make it to meet Owen. Then we were hoping to get him through the holidays. We got one wish. We got to see him with our baby. Giving him kisses. Dropping toys on his lap when the baby cried. Greeting him at the door with huge licks on the head. Nuzzling his hands. But we didn’t get him through the holidays. The day before Christmas Eve, we had to put Monte down. It was very peaceful, poignant, and tragic. He was my first “baby” and I feel so lucky he was able to stick around to meet Owen. I feel like he knew we were moving from one stage of life to the next and he stayed around long enough to witness it and pass the torch. We will always miss him.

13 comments:

  1. Oh I am so sorry about Monte!! What beautiful pictures you have of your two babies though - such keepsakes!

    Glad to hear everything is going so well and that Owen is thriving. He looks as cute as ever! I especially love the last photo with the monkey wearing the santa hat :)

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  2. I'm so glad all is going well... for both of you.

    Sorry to hear about your loss. Losing a pet is so hard.

    Happy new year!

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  3. I am so sorry to hear about Monte! Even in that short time it seems like he bonded with Owen, and that is so sweet. HUGS.

    Owen is a doll! He makes the cutest faces!

    And you sound so very comfortable now! Good for you! It sounds to me like you all are doing great! Happy New Year!

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  4. I'm so sorry about Monte! You'll treasure those photos of him and Owen forever, I'm sure. And wow -- over thirteen pounds! M has her two-month appointment today, and I'm expecting something more like 11.5lbs. I'm glad to hear that you're starting to feel some mastery over the whole 'mom' thing. I spent a lot of time early on trying to figure out how I could possibly create a routine/rituals for M, and now I'm starting to realize that they've just happened. She used to hate getting in her fleece-y swaddle sack at night, but now she's nice and calm, and I'm sure it's because she knows she gets to eat and then fall asleep.

    Wishing you all the best in 2014!

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  5. So sorry to hear about Monte.

    Congratulations on well... everything! The first couple of months are so hard. I am THRILLED to hear you say that breastfeeding is going well and you are enjoying your time with this little man!

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  6. I'm so sorry about Monte. What a beautiful boy he was.

    And what a handsome little man your Owen is - happy two months, sweet boy!

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  7. Oh no. I am so sorry about Monte. What cute pictures of him with Owen.

    I should be able to meet up in January. I'll email you as soon as my in-laws leave town. I know what you mean about running a bed & breakfast. I am currently hiding in my room and pumping while 5 adults, 1 teenager, 1 toddler and 3 infants are all crammed into my small living room.

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  8. Those pictures of Owen and Monte together literally made me cry. That's so beautiful that they got to meet, and spend that time together, however short. Sad for you, but also glad that he is at peace now.

    Some of those blog topics sound really interesting, so I selfishly want you to write about them, but at the same time I think living in the moment and not worrying about recording everything is better. So when you get to it... if you get it... you have a captive audience right here!

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  9. tears about monte... you will cherish those photos forever.

    but I am so happy for you and your motherhooding success! I totally agree with slowing down. While my head still spins these days, it spins a little slower in Jackson's presence, in awe of him all of the time. And oh be still my heart when he flashes that gummy smile at me... at ME!
    and thankgoodness, because these are the moments that will sustain us when they are surly, sour 17 year olds.

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  10. I am so sorry about Monte. So glad that he was able to meet Owen and that you were able to get such great pictures of the two of them together.

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  11. So glad to read such a happy, glowing post - and those pictures of Owen and Monte are the best! Hoping I'm approaching these "thriving" days myself. In truth, I never would have guessed I would reach a truce with breastfeeding as you have, but I think I'm almost there. Crazy times...

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  12. I somehow missed this post- maybe in the haze of a late night nirsing session? I'm so glad that Owen is doing so well. He is seriously adorable.

    Your words for Monte made me cry. I'm so glad that both of our dogs got to meet our little ones. Monte sounds like he was a great big brother to Owen and will definitely be missed.

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  13. So sorry about your loss. I'm glad you were able to get a picture and most important that both Monte and Owen were able to meet. That is something you will always cherish. You are in my thoughts.

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