May 24, 2012

Burrowing Baby

The beginning and end of your day are two of my favorite daily moments.  As I pick you up out of your crib in the morning, you are always happy to see me.  And as I embrace you in a morning hug, GirlyGirl, you always drop your hands to your side and burrow your upper body and head into my torso and neck.  It is clearly your version of a hug and, in the early morning, before the day picks up into a frenzied pace, I get one moment where it’s just us, baby and Daddy, together in a sweet, tender, loving moment.

By the time the day ends and I have endured work, and corralling your brother and sister into jammies, brushing of teeth and bedtime stories before I turn my attention to you and our little own bedtime routine.  As I hit “play” on the iPod docking station that plays your lullabies, we sit in the darkness as I feed you your last bottle of the day.  You take the bottle while looking at me in the darkness and you never fuss.  And, unlike in the early days, once the bottle is done, you seem to understand that it’s bed time.  I transition you to hold you against my upper body as I gently rub your back until you burp.  Then, to make sure you are ready to be transitioned to your crib, I hold you for about five minutes.  It is then that you, once again, drop your arms to your side and burrow into my body.  You rest your cheek on my shoulder as I inhale the baby smell of your soft, curly hair.

Eventually, I lower your tired little body into your crib, kissing your soft, chubby cheeks as I do while wishing you sweet dreams.  Most nights, you leave your burrow and practically dive into your bed where you burrow your upper body into the mattress as you get comfy enough to sleep.

I leave the room, the sounds of lullabies wafting towards the door and I’m already looking forward to the morning.  For my good-morning burrow.


April 29, 2012

Baby Sings the Blues

GirlyGirl is almost 10 and a half months. Time flies when you are outnumbered by kids. Milestones are flying at us at a rate that is hard for this old man to keep up with. Just this week GirlyGirl went from zero teeth to three teeth and is not too happy about it. Her refusal to nap, one would think, would leave her cranky and bitter but that seems to only have affected her parents.

It’s hard not to compare but with the twins they were napping twice a day. Nice, long naps. Naps that meant Mommy and Daddy could have a little respite from babydom for just a little while. I was the only reason we showered, I think.

This one, however, has a mind of her own. Schedule? Nap? If I damn well say so, she says. It’s times like this that I have to remind myself that we chose to have this one.

Another milestone that is creeping up on us is crawling. She has been combat crawling for a number of weeks now but is clearly ready. However “clearly ready” to me is clearly not “clearly ready” for GirlyGirl. Her personality seems to be such that she is measured in what she does and will only attempt something new if she has practiced and practiced and practiced. The girl can climb stairs but won’t crawl on hands and knees.

In spite of the speed that we are traveling down baby #3, I am aware that I’m going to miss all the things I’m complaining about. Someday, too soon, she won’t need me to give her a bottle and rock her to sleep. Someday too soon, she’ll be almost seven, complete with attitude. Someday soon, she’ll call me Daddy and the little embraces I get will be a thing of the past.

Milestones are cool but I’ll take them a slower pace, please.

March 26, 2012

Doing the Girly Shuffle

GirlyGirl has been a roller.  Much like TheMonk was as a baby, GirlyGirl’s preferred method of locomotion has been rolling herself where she wants to go.  This method of transportation can be tedious and inexact at times and it was only a matter of time before GirlyGirl began contemplating other modes of travel.  And while it has been reported that she allegedly wanted her first trip in a straight line to be in a silver 1956 Porsche 356A Speedster, reality hit hard when she realized that not only could she not drive, her old man couldn’t pay for a 1956 tricycle.

So, she did the next best thing.  Combat crawl.

That’s right. GirlyGirl is a girl on a mission.  She sees what she wants and she’s off.  Knee, knee, elbow, elbow.   Knee, knee, elbow, elbow.   All she’s missing is a combat helmet and an assault rifle.  She skims across the floor, her baby belly cleaning the floor of dust and potentially lethal antique food items.  She has no fear.

Her parents, on the other hand?  Oh, yes.  Fear. Definitely fear.

March 10, 2012

Second (or third) Child Syndrome

Having a baby the second time around is definitely different. The first time you have a baby (or, in truly heroic fashion, more than one baby) you do everything by the book. Your house becomes more sterile than an operating room. Anything that belongs to the baby that ends up on the floor must be sanitized – or burned. Binkies get boiled, bottles get warmed, baby books get filled in.

But with the second child? This child is lucky to be alive. This child should thank its lucky stars that after the first one (or two), that we didn’t just throw in the towel and admit that this is all we can handle. This child OWES us. So in that respect, the child gets the shaft. Of course it’s still incredibly loved but dirty binkies now get sucked on by the parent and popped back into the mouth, non-sterilized bottles go down cold and baby books (or blogs) get woefully neglected.

And while it’s easy to say that this child will just have to understand that us parents ARE JUST TRYING NOT TO DIE, the truth of the matter is that this child will grow up to be the tougher one. This is the child that won’t be anal retentive because, shoot, its parents let him juggle knives, for crying out loud. This is the child that, while probably having a hefty therapy bill by the time its 30, will at least be able to take a punch, be tougher and prove to the world that he or she can compete with anyone.

So, while the first (or two) will grow up knowing that running with scissors is bad, the baby will grow up daring the world to toss her some scissors and get the hell out of the way. Yes, she won’t have a baby book but she’ll be making history nonetheless.

And her immune system will kick ass.

February 2, 2012

A Smile Changes Everything

The soft melody of the lullabies hang gently across the darkened room. You are in my arms, snuggled into the my body while I feed you your bottle. Our eyes meet in the dim light emanating from the corner of the room and the gaze lasts exceeding long.

The intensity of the gaze locks me onto your tiny face and as I study the gorgeous speckles in your increasingly hazel eyes, I begin to reflect on my world and all that consumes me. All the clutter that crowds my mind in an almost endless stream comes flooding to the forefront and the all too familiar rush of stress strikes at me from a distance. Complications from work, internal struggles, external stressors – all of these bang against my pysche like beat up drum and I try to keep it from reaching the surface like I have for so long.

Then, just as the emotions are about to spill over, still locking onto your gaze, a slight change happens in the outline of your face. And as I pull my vision back from just your eyes I begin to notice something that makes all the stressors melt away into the darkness of the night. I see your smile.

You smile at me, GirlyGirl, and, all at once, the world seems right. I smile back at you and just the act of smiling – of sharing this moment with my third child – brings me back to what is important and what is not. I lean down and kiss your fleshy cheek and feel the coolness of your skin against mine. It is at this moment that I have some clarity. I have clarity of who I am and what I need to do and it has nothing to do with anyone or anything else.

I breath deeply as I lay you gently in your crib and rub your little back as you drift off to sleep. With every exhale I feel more grounded than I have for a while and I try to make a note of how this feels. It feels good.

I’ve got work to do. But I’m also going to be just fine.

My daughter’s smile told me so.

January 15, 2012

The Evolution of a Blog Name

Back in the day, when this blog was very young, I naively called Swee’Pea and TheMonk by their real names. I never, in a million years, thought anyone outside of Grandparents would find what I had to say interesting. But they did. Before I knew it, I had strangers reading my blog and we knew then that we’d change their names on the blog. But to what? It came down to the nicknames that had organically come from us as we got to know the twins. Swee’Pea was one of the nicknames that Mommy used and TheMonk came from my nickname of Chunky Monkey as TheMonk was growing.

Fast forward six years and I knew that Baby #3 would need a blog name. So, rather than learn from the past, I attempted to create a name. M&M was used at first based on some letters in her name. But that didn’t sit with me. So then I used Special K – which was another nod to her name. But that wasn’t resonating with me either. And during this time, of course, organically derived nicknames began to emerge. And the one that seems to be used the most is Girly Girl. So, why fight it? From here on out, the baby will be known as GirlyGirl.

Unless, of course, we change our minds. ;-)

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