Tuesday, December 13, 2011

And Added to the Lineup -- Whitney Elizabeth Parker

My dear Whitney, here is your first letter from your tired mother.  Please know that when you're eating and you look up at me with those intensely gorgeous eyes, I don't always look like a haggard shrew who smells like Cheetos and b.o.  Before you were born, I actually showered every day and did my hair and bothered to wipe yesterday's mascara out of the corners of my eyes.

 1 Month!!!
So now that we've cleared things up...let's talk about your birth story.

Your brother came fast and furious and was two weeks early.  So, I was told by my doctor that you, too, would probably be about 2 - 4 weeks early and I should be prepared.  Fast forward to week 39, when I still had no inclination that you would be arriving any time soon.  At my 39 week appointment, my doctor basically said, "Welp, no contractions, we'll see you next week."  Later that day my former mid-wife had me come in to see if I had progressed at all (b/c mommy's doctor, much to her chagrin, would not check her).  On Friday (exactly 39 weeks), I was dilated 4 cms and 50% effaced -- terms I'm still not 100% sure about, but it meant you should be coming soon.  But, alas, I felt nothing...no contractions.

Monday, October 17, I woke up with a slight pang that I thought might be a contraction.  But then, nothing for the next several hours.  Your brother and I went grocery shopping, picked up some pumpkins, and went about our day per usual.  I would feel mild contractions sporadically, but nothing ever consistent and nothing that I had to breathe through (which I guess means you're near going into labor).

That night, I started to feel really uncomfortable, like you were sitting funny.  I got into bed around 11:30 and just did not feel right.  Around 11:45, I looked at your dad and said, "Imma having this baby tonight, pa."  5 minutes later you kicked really hard and my water broke. Well, broke is an understatement...my water, ahem, exploded and flood warnings were issued.  I immediately began having hard...HARD contractions.  My friend, Jen, hurried over to stay with your brother and your father broke the sound barrier racing me to the hospital.  Fun little anecdote: whilst driving to the hospital at midnight, I felt the urge to push...it's true.  So your father put the petal to the medal and bounced like the devil (shout out, Hova).  He tried to get around someone on the two lane road on which we were driving.  The other car took this as a drag racing challenge and immediately went into db mode and began to race us.  I was this close to sticking my head out the window and shouting something pleasant.  But please, who's going to beat the Grand Marquis?  The geriatric-mobile totally beat that jerkface.

We got to the hospital and they wheeled me up to L&D.  I love when you get to L&D, writhing in pain,  leaking amniotic fluid and tell them you're in labor and they say, "Are you sure?"  I'm sorry.  Nope, I must be peeing myself for the last 20 minutes...without stopping.  And this pain, must be indigestion in my lady parts.  Silly fajitas for dinner.  YES, I.AM.IN.LABOR.  So they wheeled me into the birthing room, stripped me down, got me in bed and told me to fight the urge to push as the doctor was not there yet.  Oh...okay.  Just stop trying to push.  Done.  While we're at it, why don't I stop breathing and digesting my food.

Finally, they knew they couldn't hold you back any longer.  Doctor or not, they were doing to deliver you.  At this point, as I was experiencing a very al-fresco situation, your grandma walked in.  The look of "holy crap" on her face said it all...you was a-coming.  My doctor walked in like 10 seconds later.  I pushed once and immediately felt a fiery pain unlike nothing else.  One more time, and there you were.  At 1:02 a.m. there was my sweet girl, screaming your head off.  So, just in case you haven't been keeping track, you were born in one hour.  ONE HOUR.  Thank you.  You are very efficient.

They immediately put you on my chest and my heart was yours.  You were the most beautiful, goop covered little thing.  I cannot describe in words that moment when you meet your child for the first time.  It's beyond anything I have and will ever experience.  It is the most amazing gift the Lord can give a mother. 

You were 7 lbs exactly and 20 inches and had a head full of dark hair.

I stayed in the hospital two nights, even though they told me I could go after the first night.  A.) Our insurance paid for two nights, so I was taking advantage of that and B.) I wanted that time where it was just you and me, and the occasional nurse who made sure my uterus was de-stretching.

This last month with you, while tiring, has been phenomenal.  You have your occasional bouts of gasiness (due in large part to the pizza I ate the previous day...why did it have to be pizza that causes your gas? WHY??).  But you are a champion breast feeder and pretty much low key.
I just want you to know how in love with you I am.  After having Eli, I didn't think I could love someone as much as I loved him.  My mom would tell me, after I would mention to her that my brother was the favorite child, that as a mom, you love your children equally.  One child does not hold claim to more of the affection.  So true, mom, so true.  It's incredible how wonderful it is to experience this much love.

And even when you're wide awake at two in the morning with no signs of packing it in for the night, I will just stare at you in awe.  You are a beautiful creation and I will love you beyond forever, my sweet Scout.

No Squirrels, Mama: Eli 31-33 Months

Let's start this by saying 2 has been very...VERY challenging, and I'm hoping we've reached the apex of terrible twoness.  That being said, I completely understand your frustrated spirit manifested in your "paranormal activity" behavior.  This year has been hard on you...too many changes.  Sometimes, I want to throw things and tell people "no" in the most blood boiling way.  So here's to hoping.  Dear 3, please come in like a lamb.  Here are some highlights from the last three months, my dear Eli.

When I was little, according to grandma (although I do have vague recollections of a scary clown and a terrifying man dressed up like a gorilla), I was scared of pretty much everything.  These things included, but were not limited to: black cats, men with beards, lawn mowers, the beeping sound forklifts or tractors made, clowns, and the Fonz (who took on the the antagonist role in my nightmares).  So, it should come as no surprise to me that you, my son, who shares my genetic make-up, would also be a little high strung (I'm being very generous with the word "little").  You would also think that I would be sensitive to your plight, as it is something I've experienced; but, I find myself getting frustrated that we can't play outside without you needing a Xanax at the sight of a squirrel or that the sight of our church sends you into a catatonic state or that the waiters bursting out in a happy birthday song at Applebee's necessitates us to take you out of the restaurant until the absurdity is over.  I'm convinced that you still have nightmares about trick-or-treating from this year.  Just so I can remember this, Halloween was spent with you holed up in your sister's room shouting "NO MORE TRICK OR TREATERS!!" every now and then, me answering the door while trying to breast feed your sister and sweating like a large, hairy man in June. I'm sorry.  I guess I'm frustrated that you don't feel safe and there's little to nothing I can do to help you.  I feel powerless against your fears.  I don't think that you being afraid is silly -- it's a very real emotion for you, and I understand that.  I just wish I understood how to make you feel safe and why these things scare you.

This seems to be a reoccurring theme throughout these past months: uncertainty.  You, my friend, like to test your boundaries.  And I, like the new guy on border patrol, am uncertain what's okay to let pass and what needs a blow dart to stop it in its tracks (I, of course, speak metaphorically...I have not used a blow dart on you) (also, isn't that a horrible analogy?  I mean I'm averaging 5 hours of sleep a night, so...just...okay?).  Right now, when you tell us "no" or hit or scream or throw your toys or object to watching Jeopardy, sending you to your room seems to do the trick.  You haven't seemed to realize that your toys are in there, just that we're not and you hate it.

But there have been many blood-pressure raising moments in stores, restaurants, parks, basically out and about.  I can't send you to your room.  And I know people have told me, "Just leave the store."  But when I have a cart full of food or Target goodies, I am not going to do that, so leave me alone perfect parents.  I will endure the 20 something female giving me a dirty look as you scream in the shopping cart. (You're welcome, 20 something, for your birth control for the day).  You've almost become this equation I need to solve.  How can I get X (my son) to travel through/endure Y (the store, the restaurant, my dr.'s appt) without wanting to Z (scream into a pillow)?  I've discovered that time and food play a major part in the equation, as does my stress level.  But there are so many unknown factors, like wind speed, air pressure, whether or not that stranger looked at you funny, were there squirrels in your general vicinity? You know...things beyond my control.

So, I'm sorry if you feel frustrated with my frustration/uncertainty.  It's been a rough year for you, and you've had to accept a lot of changes.  However, you can't use that excuse every day...you've reached your quota, my friend.  Please know that when that little vein in my forehead becomes glaringly apparent or I raise my voice or I insult Bob the Builder, it doesn't mean I don't think you're still incredible.  I will always think you're a wonderful little boy who I wouldn't trade for anything in the world, not even Coldplay tickets.  And I hope you never doubt I love you and think that you are smart and talented and overall amazing. 

Moving on to something not so uncertain; let's talk about you talking.  I, admittedly, was a little worried about your speech development.  I felt you should be saying more and talking more.  People assured me you were fine, but I worried.  Should I get you into speech therapy?  I didn't want you to feel like I dropped the ball in this area.  But as soon as we adiosed that pacifier, the words, they don't stop.  The other day you walked into the living room after a particularly messy toy day and said, "Mama mia, look at this mess."  Your dad just looked at me as if to say, "Where has he heard that?"  You love to sing, you love to talk ALL THE TIME.  A car ride does not go by without you narrating everything that passes by or comes into your brain.  I'll never miss a red light because you let me know when they're occurring. I love hearing you talk.  You have so many wonderful (and some not-so wonderful...ahem...let's say bye-bye to the word "no") things to say, and I'm glad you are so excited to share your thoughts, observations, whims.  You're amazing to me.

Favorite things you say right now (this is for me for when my memory is shot due to all the Twilight I watch): when we don't quite understand something you're asking for and then we finally get it, you'll say "oh, that's what I'm talking about"; when you think something is great, "oh, mama, that is just beautiful"; "mama mia"; "oh, it's perfect" when we do something for which you're pleased.  You're it, kid.

you and your cousins

Finally, we welcomed "baby sister" a month a go.  It's heartwarming to see you with her.  You are quite the protective older brother.  If someone other than me or your dad is holding her, you become very concerned and make your discomfort known.  The other night, your dad took down her pack and play b/c we bought something else for her to sleep in during her wee months, and you broke down.  "No, daddy...NOOO!!  I want to keep her...I love her!" You thought we were 86ing your sister. Break.my.heart.

It has been a challenge to keep both of you happy, and I'm sorry if you have felt neglected, because, my precious boy, for you to feel anything other than completely wanted and loved makes my heart hurt.  You are beyond the most wonderful creation.  I cherish everything about you, even when you throw my phone across the room.  Now go to your room.