Dear James and Jackson: Happy Thanksgivukkah!

Brothers Playing

Dear James and Jackson:

It’s the eve of Thanksgiving and the first night of Hanukkah.  James you are drinking a bottle in the living room, and Jackson, you are playing on your new piano mat.  Both of you have been fighting naps lately, longing to begin exploring the world around you.

At two months old, you both weighed in at over ten pounds.  James, you did pee on your brother’s head at the check-up.  Probably something you’ll want to mention at his bar mitzvah, or perhaps his wedding.

I cannot believe how much you’ve grown.  Both of you are turning into babies with defining personalities right before my eyes.  Every day it is something new and I am mesmerized by every step of your growth.

On this eve of Thanksgiving — what is (this year) the first night of Hanukkah — I want you both to know how grateful I am for you.  I know I have said it a million times already, but I don’t think I can say it enough.  It was Thanksgiving Day of 2012 when I began my journey to you, and now that you are here I can hardly remember life without you.  Honestly, I don’t want to — except for maybe the part where I got to sleep.

Last night all four of us sat in our king size bed and watched Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  You, of course, could not really see it, but I found myself imagining our watching it together every year.  Rudolph, Frosty, The Grinch, Charlie Brown Christmas — they were always highlights of every holiday season.  I hope they are for you, too.

Yes, you’re Jewish, but you are also American.  Somehow Frosty, Rudolph, The Grinch and Charlie Brown all seem as American as apple pie and baseball to me.  In many ways, so does Christmas.

The holiday season is a beautiful time of year and I look forward to kicking off our series of firsts to close out 2013.  Today you got your My First Christmas pajamas from your Aunt Annie.  She will be here this year on Christmas!

Tomorrow you will wear your Gobble, Gobble, Gobble onesies with your My First Thanksgiving bibs (a gift from your Nanny Sandy) to your Granny and Grandpa Wilcox’s house.  At some point, before the eight days come to an end you will also wear your My First Hanukkah onesies.

You actually did have a present to open on your first night of Hanukkah.  It was from your Hilda.  Hilda is a very special lady to both of you.  She comes to help your Mama and Daddy about ten hours a week, and you are as crazy about her as she is about you.  She got you long-sleeved onesies and some really cute socks.

There are obviously many firsts this year, and trust me, you have an outfit (and possibly a blanket) for every occasion.

Next week KK comes back!  Oh, how she misses you, but I have been sending her pictures almost daily.

It’s a short note tonight, but I wanted to get one in before I start making your Great-Grandma Ethel’s Pumpkin Pie for dinner tomorrow.  Perhaps you’ll get a taste or two of it as well in one of your Thanksgiving feedings.

I’m going to try to start writing more regularly on the blog because I really don’t want to forget all of the little things. Like tonight when James was falling asleep in my arms he laughed out loud.  Yesterday, Jackson grabbed my baby rattle (yes, my 44-year old silver baby rattle) and started rattling it all over the place with a firm grip.

I don’t want to forget those things.

Nor do I want to forget things like how I managed to keep myself energized with the help of the Nutri Bullet kale smoothies and an occasional glass of wine.  Oh, and coffee.  I can’t forget that.

I just started reading board books to you regularly and the one we have been reading every night is You Are My I Love You.  The first time I read it, it made me cry.

Oh, and you so are.

To the moon.  You are my I love you. To. The. Moon.

Past the moon, actually.  Infinity.

Love,

Mama

Brothers Playing 2

James, don’t hit your brother. Love, Mama.

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Motherhood Diaries: What a Difference a Year Makes

It was around this time last year — on November 3rd, 2012 to be exact — when I quietly received my final negative pregnancy test and cried in my husband’s arms on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

Despite the weather, nothing in my life seemed all that sunny.

Two weeks after that I went on a Thanksgiving yoga retreat and somehow found the strength I needed to take the biggest leap of faith.  I wrote This and That.  I cried a lot.  I prayed a lot.  I let go of a lot.

I found The Girl Who Likes Chicken n’ Dumplings.  I wrote her a letter.

Shortly after Thanksgiving, I started 60 Days On the Mat, which turned into 67 days.

The rest is … sleeping right behind me … on their tummies, breast pump churning in the background as I type.  It’s quite a visual.

All I can think is … what a difference a year makes.

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Mama and James

This year has convinced me once and for all that letting go is far better than trying to plan.  I never could have dreamed this up.  Especially the part about me typing and pumping milk simultaneously.  Or the part about me existing on a sleep deficit so high, I’ll be collecting social security before I catch up.

Or the part about two little boys stealing my heart.  Transforming me.

Life tonight is certainly not easier.  In fact, at this exact moment, I would argue that it is the opposite of easier, but also the opposite of empty.

Spending all of that time on the mat has made me miss my mat even more.  It’s the one place I can go to find my center when it keeps getting thrown off.  Yes, my beautiful, adorable little J’s have thrown my center so far off.  In a good way.  They’ve pushed me so far outside of myself, my wants, my desires, my needs are no longer all mine.

Not one thought goes through my mind that does not involve them.  I know we are only given our children for a short while to parent.  We hope in that short amount of time we can give them everything they need to be confident, happy, productive members of society.  I can already tell, I’ll always be balancing that line of doing too much and not enough.

In my adult only existence, I could muddle through the day with little thought of anyone else.  Of course I thought of people I loved, but not like you think about the little people who are dependent on you.

Never like that.

I never really understood this until these helpless little beings looked me in the eye, dependent on us for everything.  Nourishment.  Love.  Security.  Life.   They need us.

This all-consuming, selfless love is unlike anything I have ever known.

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KK holding Jackson

What I realized for the first time over the past eight weeks is I need them as much as they need me.  They make me the best me.  Maybe I’m sleep deprived, but this Terry is far better than the one sitting on the couch a year ago.

I now sit at my desk — no longer pumping.  Action Jackson is leaning into me, asleep.  I love the feeling of all of their weight releasing into me as they fall asleep.

I have watched them transform our lives in the short time they have been here.  Not just the obvious lives of me and my husband — but our parents.  Our aunts and uncles.  Our family and friends — and even our littlest cousins, Rachel and Levi.

They are pure love.  Angels.

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James and Jackson
Brotherly Love

No one seems to be able to get enough of these babies.

Most especially their Mama.

Somehow all of This and That — led me here to This.

Yes, what a difference a year makes.

 

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Dear James and Jackson: The First Eight

I Rock I Roll Dumplings

James (L); Jackson (R)

Dear James and Jackson:

I know you won’t remember it.  Your first Halloween.  I also hope you won’t remember the time I fell asleep at 4:00am holding your bottle of pumped breast milk.  I woke up to you staring at me blankly because I had dropped the bottle, fortunately, not the baby. I am ashamed to say it has happened more than once and with both of you.

Please don’t remember that.

You both often get this look on your face as if to say, “Mama, we know you are trying, but honestly, get it together!”

I was never one of those completely put together people.  Something was always a little askew.  This fact is not lost on my children.

Today you are eight weeks old.  You’ve been here 56 days and I can hardly remember the life I had 57 days ago, except I know I had more sleep.

I definitely had more sleep.

Now I think 120 minutes of uninterrupted sleep is a full night’s rest.  I wish I could soak it all in, but the sleep deprivation.

About Halloween.  Originally I wanted to dress up as a chicken and have you be the Dumplings, but it seemed anti-climactic since you can’t say Trick or Treat or eat candy.  It would look like a 44-year old woman trying to get candy by trick or treating with 6.5 week old babies.  Your Mama did not want to embarrass you before you were old enough to actually be embarrassed.

Given the fact that I have more to do than I have time for, I opted to save the Mommy Chicken n’ Dumpling costume idea for a more appropriate year.

In the meantime … we have 01 Dumpling and 02 Dumpling hats.  It’s the most I could “make” between pumping, feeding, cleaning, rocking and even working.  Your “I Rock” and “I Roll” onesies were a gift from your Great-Goddaddy, Bob.

Instead, you wore the costumes your Auntie Sharie bought for you because she knew I was going to be too tired to sew.  She was right.

Clearly, both of you were too tired to trick or treat.

Jackson  First Halloween 2013

Jackson
First Halloween 2013

James First Halloween 2013

James
First Halloween 2013

So much has happened since you came home.  Each day I look at your little cooing faces and smile.

And yet, lately the main sentiment that pops into my head as I look into your eyes is …

Dear God, will they ever sleep through the night?  Will I ever get more than two consecutive hours of sleep again? Would a little wine in their bottle really be such a bad idea?  Tylenol PM?  Whiskey?  Whiskey with a wine chaser?

Instead, I have settled on a occasional dropper of Gripe Water — this, of course, does not make you sleep — it simply calms you down for a bit.  It momentarily ends your bitching so I can figure out how to make you happy.  If it helped you sleep, I am sure some mother would be in jail by now for a gripe water overdose.

Don’t get me wrong, you’re good babies.  Very good babies.  In fact, you went on your first “play date” with Moms from my birthing class and their babies last Friday.  Some of the moms were impressed with how easy you were — considering I had two of you.

You made me look good.  You always make us look good.

Daddy and I were not nearly this awesome until you came along.  We also had fewer bags under our eyes.  Getting out the door was a little faster.  But life was not nearly this meaningful.

I try to remember that every time we meet at 4:22am.

James, you are a pisser.  Literally.  If there was ever a baby that went through more outfits in one day, I’d like to meet them.  I can’t wash cloth diapers fast enough and the disposables from Honest Diapers are, in a word, TERRIBLE for you.  Maybe all diapers are terrible for you.  You need a diaper cover even when you wear a disposable diaper.

Who does that? James Philip Wilcox, that’s who.

Somehow you always seem to find a hole in the armor and aim there.  Your Daddy and I know exactly when it happens because you wake yourself up with grunting followed by crying.  I am thinking of swaddling your entire lower half in saran wrap — but someone would probably call CPS, or you would accidentally suffocate yourself after you performed a Houdini and escaped.

The nurses in the NICU used to call you Houdini, both of you, actually.  Neither of you have ever liked swaddling or back sleeping — and honestly, you can take or leave the white noise.  You seem just as at home with a Willie Nelson album …  When you were in the NICU, they slept you on your stomach and then sent us home with you and told us to put you on your back.  Do as we say not as we do … one nurse literally said that to me.

Finally, your father and I thought it over and decided millions of us made it through the 70’s on our stomachs … millions of us made it through the 70’s, period.

Jackson, you are quite a spitter.  You are the child they were thinking about when they made infant outfits with matching bibs.  I actually put the bibs that came with those outfits on you.  You generally manage to go through fewer outfits than your brother, but the collar of your shirt is in a constant state of damp.  Every time you have a bath, I clean milk from the rolls in your increasingly pudgy chin.

Speaking of baths … you hate them.  I mean you would think someone was trying to remove your fingernails.  I feel like I deserve this hatred of baths, since as a child I would go into the bathroom, splash water around and tell my Mom (KK) I had a bath.

Just know that if you try that when you are nine … I’ll know.  Apparently, according to KK, nine-year old kids have a very distinct smell.

They tell me you might have acid reflux.  Personally, I think you’re just a little pig and you eat too fast.  Whenever we take the bottle (or the breast) out of your mouth you will often start head butting our shoulder.

I’m not sure what that is about.  I’m told it’s normal, especially for boys.

As for your Mama, I am getting accustomed to smelling of sour milk, wearing stains on my clothes and driving slowly.  However, I still play my music too loud.  In my defense, I think you like the music because you never give me a bit of trouble in the car.

Of course, maybe I can’t hear you.

I am getting used to asking myself, Did I take a shower?  Did I eat?  Did I brush my teeth?  Many days I cannot answer any of those questions. Not. One.

And yet, I think back to the days when I knew if I took a shower, ate and brushed my teeth — and know life was a lot emptier; and yet, more well-rested.

I hear rest is overrated.  Unfortunately, I can remember rest.  I can remember sleep.  I don’t remember the overrated part.  It’s a lie I tell myself as I get out of bed each night.

I love you more than anything, but if we can work on dropping that 4:22am feeding and sleeping for four hours — that would be awesome.  At this point, I would take three hours.  At the same time.  Really.  Can we start there?  And soon?

Love,

Mama

 

 

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