Friday, March 15, 2013

Zachary: 2 Months

Dear Zachary,

Today you turn two months old and you remain an easy going, great sleeping, happy little guy! In the past month you have become much more interactive with your world. You smile, you coo (I love your little coo sounds!), you try to reach toys on your activity mat, you kick your feet when you're excited, you look wide eyed when Daddy, Ryan, and I are eating. (I will never know how babies seem to innately know that food is food, but somehow they do. I remember being amazed by the same thing when Ryan was an itty, bitty, baby). You have a wide variety of little noises that you make now. You have your "Yay! I'm so happy!" noises, your, "Hey! Don't forget about me over here!" noises, your "OK, now I am really mad!" noises, and your, "Ow! My belly hurts!" noises. Though, unlike your brother, when you have a tummy ache it is usually very quickly remedied, and then you return to your happy, easy going self. I am very glad I decided to cut out dairy before you were even born, as I think it has made a huge difference for you!

Smiles for Daddy
You remain a joy of a little boy and we all love you so much! Ryan continues to be a very doting older brother and he truly looks out for you. Just yesterday, I was downstairs putting laundry in the washing machine and you were upstairs with Ryan (who was playing trains) in your bouncy seat. You spit up a little bit and Ryan went to wipe it up with the burp cloth I usually have lying nearby but there wasn't one there. So, he went to the drawer in the kitchen where we keep wash cloths, got one, came back and wiped your mouth, all on his own. When I came upstairs he said to me, "Mama, you didn't have a burp cloth for Zach, but its OK, because I got one for him and cleaned him up!" We couldn't be prouder of him!

Daddy and I still love snuggling you more than anything. And I especially love when you wake up in the morning. This is by far your most smiley part of the day. You just smile and smile and smile. Its as if you missed us immensely while you were sleeping and are so very glad to see us again. Seeing your smiley, cooing self is a GREAT way to start my day! I am such a very lucky Mama to have two such very special boys! I love you sooooo much!

Happy 2 month day, baby boy! I can't wait to see what lies ahead!

Love always,


Being 2 months old is tiring! 
(Says Zach: "By the way, my Aunties do ROCK!")

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

My Hope for the Pope

So, let's be honest. I haven't been the most pious Catholic in recent years. I have views on quite a few issues that are in direct conflict with the Catholic Church. Since having children Matt and I have both struggled with what role the Church will have in our lives and the lives of our children. While we value the idea of "church" as creating a framework from which to teach morality to our children, we also feel that "The Church" teaches things that are not what we want to teach our children. We want our kids to grow up respecting and valuing men and women equally. We want them to celebrate and rejoice with gay and lesbian couples who choose to raise children. We want our kids to be open minded and to respect and value all human beings with whom they come in contact equally. And quite honestly, we haven't felt that the Catholic Church is the place to foster these values and beliefs. So, we've struggled.

Yes, we baptized Ryan and will soon baptize Zachary in the Catholic church. And why do we do this you ask, if we disagree so strongly with so many things the Church teaches? It is because we have hope that things can change. It is because we value Jesus as a truly Christian person and we believe that the core of what he taught is worth living and emulating on a daily basis (even if the Church doesn't necessarily always teach the same way I believe Jesus would have).  And so, we don't want to rule out the presence of the Church in our children's lives. That is for them to decide when they are old enough to question the way we have been and continue to.

And so, today the Catholic Church elected a new Pope. A Pope who is the first Latin American Pope, and of greater significance for me, the first Jesuit Pope. I went to Boston College, a Jesuit Institution and there grew to love and respect the Jesuits. Professors who were Jesuits were not just teachers, but mentors and friends. They were and are people who challenged me to challenge my faith. They not only welcomed my questions, but they added to my questions about faith. They taught about and lived lives focused on Social Justice. They were inclusive and welcoming to people of all backgrounds, thoughts, ideas, faiths, and ways of life. During my years at Boston College I was truly proud to call myself Catholic because I was surrounded by people who emulated to me what being Catholic is all about.

And thus, as Pope Francis I was introduced to all of us today for the first time, I was hopeful. I pray that he will heed the teachings of his Jesuit roots. If he can lead the church in a way that even somewhat resembles the way the Jesuits I know live their lives, then the Catholic Church will be a better institution because of it.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Enjoying (almost) Every Moment

Some of you may recall a post I wrote when I first started keeping this blog, in which I documented how difficult having a newborn is. I wrote it to demystify the pressure that the "enjoy every moment" adage creates for new mothers. You can find the post I reference here, as well as an update I posted about a year ago, having had a little more perspective on the whole "being a parent" thing. And now, going through the newborn stage again, I thought it appropriate that I add another update.

If I am being completely honest, Matt and I were both terrified about what having 2 children would be like. Don't get me wrong, we wanted two children. We tried for quite some time to have our second. And yet, we were terrified. As you can tell from the first post referenced above, we struggled during the newborn stage. Having a child, despite the fact that we DESPERATELY wanted to be parents, was a shock to our systems. So, to say a little part of us was dreading Zach's newborn period would be an understatement. We were hoping beyond hope that he would come out like a 6 month old and skip that newborn stage all together.

But wow, we sure would have missed out on a lot of amazingness (I know that's not a word...but no other word works) if he had come out like a 6 month old. First of all, how can one not want to snuggle this face...

...aaaaalllllll day long?? 

Secondly, we wouldn't have seen how gentle and sweet Ryan can be with a newborn:

And lastly, we would have spent the rest of our lives dreading newborn-hood, when in reality it can be pretty darn amazing.

Granted, Zach is a very easy baby. He has slept fairly well since he was born. He now almost always only wakes once a night to nurse between 10 pm and 7 am. And when he does wake up he almost always goes right back to sleep. There is no screaming, no pacing the floors. Now, last night, he woke up at 3:20 a.m. and then was up till 4:20 a.m. but the only reason I know that is because he was in his bassinette next to my side of the bed making little squeaky, irritated noises when his passy fell out. He wasn't grumpy, he was just AWAKE and generally happy about it. He probably would have been completely happy about it if I had cooed and talked with him instead of putting him back in the bassinette so I could sleep. But, back to my original point: he's easy. And that certainly could have something to do with the ease in which we have transitioned to two kids.

But, there's more to it than that. Having a second is just adding more of the same. It is not a complete and total life altering event (well, it is for the older sibling...but we'll get to that). Instead, it is an adjustment, certainly, with its bumps in the road, but generally life goes on in much the same way. Going through it the second time you're MUCH more relaxed. You know what colors of poop are normal and you don't get flustered when your infant son pees on you every single time you change his diaper. (He's gotten over that by the way). You go with the flow more. You don't stress about not following the sleep schedule so nicely laid out in "The Sleep Lady's" carefully crafted book that must have been written for perfect families with perfect children, because my children and my life don't follow her prescriptions. You more or less just relax and enjoy this new little person because you know that (most likely) everything is going to be just fine.

Now, that's not to say that there haven't been rough spots. Ryan did great initially. He loves Zach immensely and in the first week were were in AWE of how well he adjusted. But soon, I think his little mind realized that Zach was here to stay and this whole "sharing time with Mommy and Daddy" thing was highly overrated. And thus, he started testing limits more. Not with Zach, but with us. He has never taken out his anger on Zach...wait, never say never. Yesterday, when I answered the phone and Ryan wanted my attention he went and snatched Zach's passy out of his mouth. But other than that, he's been nothing but sweet to Zach. Instead, he just tests Mommy and Daddy a lot more. But that too is improving by the day and this week so far has been going great!

Matt and I have had our moments, too. Matt struggles with finding the balance between the two kids. He was used to coming home from work and only playing with Ryan. Now he has two little guys to whom he wants to give attention. And one of those little guys still prefers Mommy. Being a Daddy to a newborn is rough. Matt doesn't have "built in pillows" and Zach just isn't as comfy settling down and snuggling into Daddy no matter how hard both Zach and Matt try. It was the same way with Ryan, and it will get better. But it is invalidating for Matt until then.

My biggest struggle has been trying to remember that this is a HUGE change for Ryan, and thus, I need to cut the kid some slack. I keep reminding myself what a mess I was during Ryan's newborn stage. And becoming a big brother is for Ryan (who has been an only child for 3 years) what it was for us to become parents. To say that he has been testing my patience is an understatement. But, I am doing my best to remain calm, patient, and yet firm in setting limits all at the same time. Its not easy, but I'm getting better at it every day. And making sure that Ryan and I have some quality 1 on 1 time every day in which we do something fun (like make shaving cream paint, rainbow crayons, do a Kiwi Crate craft, or even watch a show he doesn't usually get to watch) helps A LOT!

And of course I still had the unpredictable emotions that come with the postpartum period. But this time instead of feeling overwhelmed by sadness/inadequacy and thus crying every day, this time I was overwhelmed with happiness and gratitude. I still cried every day for the first 2 weeks. But they were happy "how did I get so lucky" cries, not, "oh my God! What have we done!?!" cries.

So, what's my point? My point is that all you parents out there who have had your first kid, and who were completely scarred by the newborn experience, and thus are dreading having a second....well, you can stop dreading it. I can't guarantee you'll have an easy second baby. And I won't promise it will be easy but I will promise that it will be an easier transition than it was to have your first. Unless of course you're crazy and have a second within the first year and a half. That I expect would be rather stressful! I make no promises about how that will work out for you.

In all seriousness, having a second has been an absolute joy. I was talking to a friend the other day (hi, Lauren!) who had her second 2 weeks before I did. She too has found it easier and and she said how she wishes she could have her first's newborn-hood back to do it all over again. I couldn't agree more. This time around I truly am enjoying (almost) every moment.

The Cam Fam has been Published on:

Scary Mommy