Thursday, January 30, 2014


Williamsburg, 2014

Saw this little drawing this morning on a lamp post after breakfast and had to laugh...I think every New Yorker must feel a little like this creature after however many weeks of ice and dirty snow. Ugh!

Peeking at the calendar and seeing February so close has me a bit frazzled. I know it's not really necessary to overthink hospital bags and the like but getting semi-packed is at least a way for me to feel more psychologically prepared. An acquaintance who was due about a week before me went into labor yesterday, so that had me in a bit of a tizzy...I need at least two weeks of watching the Winter Olympics before I can even contemplate delivering this baby.

Monday, January 27, 2014


Williamsburg, 2014

Not an especially photogenic weekend around these parts (more grey skies, city snow, and ice), but we had some good naps, found a new indoor playspace for Axel and updated the neighborhood offerings on my Williamsburg Baby Resources page, went to see the very excellent Her, and got a slice at Best Pizza.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Few Things

Williamsburg, 2014

I've been reading a few things that I've enjoyed lately. I have big dreams of finishing The Goldfinch someday soon but we'll have to see about that. My attention span...what was I saying?

In the mean time, there's this very old article, on being an older father (but it's really about parenthood in general.) Plus this piece, on having "enough" and this one, on teenagers.

Axel has a lot to say lately too, though some of his favorite words du jour are almost indistinguishable (Stuck / Stop / Duck / Sock.) He likes to practice a lot of his words, and it's not always in context, like last night at 4 a.m. when he woke up chattering away, "Stuck stuck stuck." He was not stuck, but it was pretty cute.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Expert Advice

Williamsburg, 2014

I decided to ask some mothers of two under two for some advice on what's to come, and thought I'd compile some of their best tidbits here.

1) Don't feel guilty giving more attention to the older one as long as the baby is clean and fed.

2) Have a list of at least five go-to people for childcare when you are in labor. I could not get a hold of our first few choices when the time came.

3) The first few months, the little one is usually just carted around to the big one's events, so in a way it's business as usual for the big boy. But you should expect jealousy when the little one starts to be more of a person (sitting up, crawling, walking, talking, etc.)

4) Make sure both you and your partner both spend alone time (it can literally be 10 minutes doing the recycling, or some random special big boy thing) with your older son.

5) It's a beautiful thing to see your boys love each other, even if they bond over smashing drinking glasses or painting the walls with yogurt.

6) The best way to stave off jealousy is to keep the toddler's routine consistent as much as possible.  My daughter's dad does her bath almost every night now; I wish that we had started that before my son arrived.

7) I loved the book Siblings Without Rivalry.  It reminded me to call my younger son by his name instead of calling him "the baby."

8) You're in for a wild ride, but a good one.

9) The older child will love to help; it makes them feel so important. If the baby needs a bath, ask the toddler to help get the toys ready or get a towel for afterwards.

10 ) Get a cleaning lady once a week, even if it's a stretch financially.

11) Instead of saying "No" or "Be a big boy" all the time, say things like: "You are such a loving brother" or  "Thank you so much for being so gentle and kind to your brother."

The part about calling the baby by his name rather than "baby" made a lot of sense to me, because it kind of strips away the sense that the younger child is in a permanent special category. I hadn't thought of that, but I can see how that would be alienating if you were a small person with your own very big needs.

I also especially liked this blogger's take on things, like "Lower your expectations!" Noted. I also like that she calls her two young kids "the needlings." Ha.

After Axel was born, there were plenty of moments when I realized that I could no longer maintain some of the habits I had come to find enjoyable as a relatively unencumbered thirtysomething. I had to remind myself (and still do) that someday in the not so distant future I would be able to get back to throwing a dinner party with aplomb, or picking out especially thoughtful gifts, working out on a regular basis, or simply packing lots of varied things into a weekend day. Some days it's make the bed or make dinner, especially in the early days, and I'm sure that's doubly so with two children.

I am sure there will be more tips to come (and I will take all that I can get!)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Axel, 2014

It was one of those weekends. Axel and I were faring pretty well until Friday, when I was hit by an achey, miserable cold (and unable to dose myself up with Nyquil or Theraflu and call it a day.)

Will got back on Saturday morning, and by then I was a bit of a mess as I had been up all night coughing (and then feeling like my entire abdomen and chest was bruised from the coughing.) I can't remember the last time I was so sick, though I am sure it was exacerbated by being pregnant and run down to begin with.

I did a lot of tea drinking and took hot, steamy showers and tried to take a hot bath only to find we were having some thermostat issues, so Will boiled gallons upon gallons of hot water so I could take one anyway. He also made a delicious chicken pot pie and did nearly all of the Axel wrangling on Sunday and Monday, so I am feeling well taken care and am sort of coming out of the germ tunnel.

The lack of sleep over three or four nights was pretty grim, especially because I kept feeling panicked over how I only have 5-ish weeks before the baby is here and have to be at least somewhat productive during the time that's left. I know you can't shore up sleep or strength, but trudging through snow while having a coughing fit isn't exactly restful. Plus I kept Googling "Can coughing trigger labor?"

Anyway, by last night my appetite was back and I wasn't feeling quite so beat up, so I am hopeful that this is the tail end of things. Ordeal over. I keep looking back to this time in my last pregnancy and thinking "Well, at least I don't have to move!" So there's that. Cue the next big New York snow storm! (I have to say I was pretty jealous when Will regaled me with stories of his jogs through the Redwoods in 70-degree temperatures last week.)

Friday, January 17, 2014

Little Friend

Axel, 2014

Well, so far we've survived a week on our own.

Here's Axel, helping me make the bed this morning. He's been a good egg all week, even waking up a couple of mornings around 8:30, after moi. He's newly taken with a book called Quack Like  a Duck and wants me to read it to him umpteen times in a row (but mainly just to talk about ducks 24-7.) But his papa is back tomorrow morning and I am sure that will be a source of major excitement. Ducks, who?

It's just dawning on me that we have 40-ish days left as a family of three, and as much as I can't wait to meet our new arrival, I am antsy for Will to get back so that we can enjoy this time together.

Monday, January 13, 2014


Axel, 2014

Yesterday afternoon, Axel and I embarked on a week solo, with will away for work 'til Saturday.  Last night was a tough one. Lots of throwing fish sticks and shattering pyrex dishes and trying to stand in his high chair and "No" and crying at bedtime.

This morning, naturally, he was snuggly and happy and leafing through his board books and being generally adorable. That's how they get you!

Really, though, it's amazing what a good night's sleep and some sunshine will do. This morning I felt like a human being again, thrilled to be able to walk outside in the nearly 50-degree weather and feeling like "I've got this."

I miss Will a lot; it's been at least a year since we've been apart this long...and I suppose being this far along I would like all of my chickens in the nest. But we're doing okay around here.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

33 Weeks

33 Weeks

Had a growth scan yesterday and the baby is 5 pounds and 3 oz.

I know that's just an estimate, but, eeek! That's the 78th percentile. Axel was just 6 lbs. 8 oz. when he was born, and I've heard babies are supposed to gain about a half a pound a week from now until delivery. So that's another 3.5 lbs?!?!

Good to know that the single umbilical artery isn't causing any issues so far, but it still makes for a crazy number of scans and doctor's appointments from here on out.

His weight estimate at this stage kind of adds to my conviction that I have a bit less than 7 weeks left...I think I am at least a week ahead of my official due date and have thought so since the beginning. This baby also kicks a lot harder than Axel did (could the new guy be even more active than our jumping bean?)

Anyway, here I am at 33 weeks with Axel.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Two Under Two

Williamsburg, 2014

A few people have asked me if we're doing anything to prepare Axel for having a little brother next month, which makes me think, WHAT? Don't be crazy! Oh yeah, we're going to to have two children under the age of two and gah, how did that happen?

I kid, sort of. In truth, while Axel is getting more verbal by the day and has lots of words, I think bigger concepts like extended family, brothers, relatedness, and permanence are kind of beyond him at this stage. I've heard the old 'Have the new baby give your child a present at the hospital' recommendation, or 'Read lots of books about being a big brother,' but I can't help but think Axel will be kind of blase about the whole thing. Like "Nice baby! Toy! Book! Why am I here?" Fortunately he spends most weekdays having playdates with a troupe of little children, so he does get a fair amount of practice with sharing attention and objects and I think he'll be okay on those fronts, mostly.

The question that seems more relevant at this point is how are we preparing to look after a newborn and a toddler at once. On days when I am feeling very pregnant and very tired, I have moments of panic. But then I remember that spring is coming (eventually) and that we know the drill. Instead of wondering if I'll ever sleep again, this time I'll know that the newborn phase goes by so quickly and that there will be peaks and troughs, as with everything.

I am sure that life will be a little (or a lot) chaotic for at least six months or so, but then I remember how much I enjoyed being home those first few months with Axel, even when I was delirious, and I get all the more excited to meet the new baby.

Until then, being pregnant with a toddler is...something. Will has had to take over a lot of the heavy lifting, both literally and figuratively, and I'm insanely grateful for that but also feel guilty for my lack of energy. It's so easy to idealize my last pregnancy and imagine I was never this tired (I was!), but I tend to remember it as a really lovely time. Ahhh, pregnancy amnesia.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Freeze

Williamsburg, 2014

It's more than a little boring to go on about how cold it is out today in New York, but the slush and ice and wind and grey skies have definitely been making me feel sapped of energy and quite cooped up at home. There are only so many cups of tea you can drink and episodes of Friday Night Lights you can watch.

I am certainly glad we are welcoming our little guy at the tail end of winter, so we won't have to stay bundled up and inside for too long after he arrives, but I can't help but be nostalgic for my summery first pregnancy (ha, bare feet!)

Aside from the major chill, I am diving head first back into work (from home) this week (and trying to be grateful for the fact that this time around, I don't have to move 5 weeks before the baby arrives!)

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Seventeen Months

Axel, 2014

On Monday, Axel will be seventeen months old! The last month has been filled with lots of visitors, lots of parties, and lots of new words (bath and duck are recent favorites.) We've also had lots of "No", a few "Yesses", and plenty of opinions.

Axel loves jumping in piles of pillows, trying to open the front door, playing with his magnetic letters, jumping up and down in his crib, climbing everything, exhausting his parents when he's introduced to non-childproofed spaces, and meatballs and fish sticks. It's been chilly and snowy out so we've been spending a lot of time somewhat cooped up indoors with occasional forays to some of the play spaces around the neighborhood. We're also gradually trying to introduce the idea of the new baby into conversation, as Axel is in for a few surprises in the next month or so!

Although he'll give hugs on occasion and very briefly sit in one of our laps, Axel is still such an independent guy. Tonight, I went in his bed to turn off his nightlight as I hadn't heard a peep from him in about 45 minutes and he was wide awake, just quietly chattering to himself, saying "Boo!" and laughing. Must have been an inside joke.

Here's a look back at Sixteen Months Old, Fifteen Months Old, (we skipped fourteen), Thirteen Months Old, Twelve Months Old, Eleven Months Old, and more:

Nine Months Old

Eight Months Old

Seven Months Old

The first six months:

Six Months Old

Five Months Old

Four Months Old

Three Months Old

Two Months Old

One Month Old

32 Weeks

32 Weeks

Feeling exceedingly pregnant at 32 weeks, more so, I think, than I did with Axel at the same point, though I think some of that is because it's frigid out and impossible not to feel cumbersome when you are wearing a million layers and trudging through the snow and slush.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Snow Day

Axel, 2014

New York got nine inches of snow last night, and while it's almost too cold to enjoy it, we took a little spin in Axel's Christmas taxi to check it out. He loved his snow boots but was otherwise a tad worried.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


Williamsburg, 2013

Last night, I barely kept my eyes open long enough to see the ball drop in Times Square (on our TV, clearly.) 2013 has been a jam-packed, wonderful year. Although Axel was born in 2012, in 2013 it really felt like we became parents, somehow. Maybe because the newborn days are such a blurry, happy shock to the only really started to sink in this past year.

Here's a look back at some of the moments that I'll remember most.

In January, Axel turned five months old and we rang in the New Year in England. We were a little bedraggled from so much travel, but we had a good time exploring London and seeing family.

We came home to blue skies and a lot of work. It was good to get back into a routine, but February and March were challenging months. Axel had an MRI for the cyst on the back of his head. I worked (and pumped) almost constantly, and it felt like I had to steal every minute I could with him in the early mornings and evenings. I spent a lot of time wondering if working with a young baby was worth it, and feeling torn in a million directions. Axel was sick on and off from Christmas through mid-March, and it often felt like a grind, especially the weeks leading up to his surgery and during his recovery. We sort of held our breath through Easter, when it felt like the clouds had truly lifted.

In April we took a lot of long walks around Brooklyn and started to grapple with an increasingly mobile eight month old. Suddenly I understood why mothers of older children described the first six months or so as "easy." I got into more of a groove at work and made peace (ish) with my work-life balance, and we made it to Maine several times over the spring.

In June, I found out I was expecting baby number two and we took our first big solo trip as a family of three (and a half), to France for our friends' son's christening.
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