These Little Debbie pies. Okay, so I know that Oatmeal Creme Pies don’t have the sophistication of biscotti, or the flash of those iced sugar cookies at every grocery store, or the universal appeal of the chocolate chip cookie. But these pies are so good. I was re-introduced to these delicious palm-sized culinary treats through a visit to a nursing home. Before I knew it, I was buying what was called the “Big Pack” from my local Ingles, and enjoying one during my 4:00 am nursing. I don’t even blame myself because hello…oatmeal.
This Teen Vogue column written by Lauren Duca. I don’t read this column every week, but I should; it’s that good. I don’t need anyone to remind me to be angry by this Administration, but I do need someone to remind me that I should do something about it. As I’d feared, my willingness to do something about all of the things infuriating me took a pretty big nosedive at some point embarrassingly early this year. Duca writes: “We’re all too angry but nothing will change if we don’t find a way to convert that energy into action. The future of democracy depends on it.” Here’s to doing better now.
This magical, life-giving coffee. If the word Christmas is in the name of a product, I’m in. Christmas cookies? In. Christmas candy? In. Starbucks Christmas Coffee? Was there ever any doubt? (I just realized that all of these products are foods. No matter--my original point stands.) I’ve been having one cup of coffee a day, and it’s been so sweet to have part of my morning routine back.
This breastfeeding cover. So I'm not linking to a specific product here, but I just want to wax poetic about my ability to breastfeed my son this time around, instead of having to pump exclusively and supplement with formula, as I had to do with Sam. In the corresponding pic, I had just finished changing a diaper blowout and then nursed my piglet baby in the front seat of the car--while parked in a Car Max parking lot-- which made me feel as close to a rock star mom as I'll likely ever feel. I have had an extraordinary feeling of pride this time that my efforts are paying off in big ways; Raymond has rolls and multiple chins, and it's all (okay, just a little) due to those aforementioned Oatmeal Cream Pies.
This movie. We bought The Lion King as one of the boys’ Christmas presents, and you all, it is so good! So far I’ve only listened to snippets on the drive home from Christmas outings, but let me tell you, it still packs an emotional wallop. Mufasa was the best dad. In a move of uncharacteristic restraint, I’ve also avoided singing the lyrics to the amazing songs in The Lion King, despite the fact that I had the soundtrack tape when I was younger and listened to it on repeat. You’re welcome, Daniel.
Baby clothes. Is there any object cuter than a baby outfit? They’re so tiny and perfect, and the best part of the baby peeing and pooping through his clothes is that you get to see multiple adorable outfits in one day. (But can I get an amen about how ridiculously long it takes to fold a big load of just baby clothes?)
This morning, I woke up with a toddler’s foot on my neck. I had just enough room on the bed not to fall off of it, and my clothes were slightly damp from the postpartum night sweats that have been making me feel extra cute lately. I woke up my other son (he’s a new addition—only 12 days old!), fed him until he passed out, and then spent time changing diapers and taking things from my toddler that he knows he should not have. My glasses. A fireplace poker. A fireplace shovel. I’m writing now with my baby in a bouncer, and my toddler literally hanging from my neck and attempting to type on my computer.
In other words, my morning has gone the way that I expect it will continue to go for the foreseeable future.
If you want to feel your most philosophical, have a baby. In my experience, there’s nothing else that will make one feel as extraordinarily introspective or reflective. Aware of the passage of time and the ways in which it seems to move too fast or too slow, all in the same day. Hyper-sensitive to one’s perceived flaws and actual flaws and rarely willing to recognize what one’s doing right. Focused on one's own home and family in a supremely intense way that doesn't feel selfish so much as absolutely necessary.
There doesn’t seem to be any other time of life—at least, life as I’ve lived it—quite like this.
Is there any other feeling similar to those first newborn days, when you feel simultaneously as if you’ve re-claimed parts of yourself that you had temporarily ceded and as if you’ve signed large parts of yourself away until…until the incremental stages of newborn development slowly start loosening the reins the teensiest bit? I’m luxuriating in being able to bend over without pain and in eating what I want and sleeping on my back again, but various and sundry sore body parts remind me that the demands placed on my body are just as high now. (Maybe higher?) Breasts are working breasts again. My head is muddied from the small chunks of sleep that I furtively take, and my vagina is recovering from doing the real and glorious work of vaginal labor for the first time.
When moments of marveling and studying remind you that you’re working so hard for an independent being, someone who will grow bigger and stronger, someone who will shortly be crawling and walking and playing with his brother and making you angry and proud for the things that he’s choosing to do, all on his own? Raising a toddler at the same time as a newborn makes this trajectory even clearer. Or the flashes of amazement you feel when you contemplate pregnancy and labor in general, and the miracle of creating and loving and adding someone beautiful and special to the world?
When it feels as if the days are so short, and the approach of night brings on a vague feeling that’s somewhat like dread and yearning and desperation, all because you remember what it was like to get several hours of sleep in a row? And don’t get me started on the glares and ridiculously overblown huffs that you can level at your sleeping partner. I’ve never felt so petty; I've also never been so aware that some things are strictly my responsibility, my privilege.
When you realize that it’s not the two of you anymore, or even the three of you, but the four, and two children are depending on you for everything. Everything. Their food and their clean diapers and their happiness and well-being. You could really do great work here; you could really screw them up. And the realization that two children are your everything; that your happiness and well-being is intimately tied to theirs.
This is going to be interesting. And fun. And terrifying. And humbling, frustrating, and bewildering. And it’s already the best thing to happen to us.