You’ll be receiving Christmas cards in February this year.

Dear Everyone On My Christmas/Holiday Card List,

shame gif.gifI’m sorry. I really am. I’m sitting here eating Valentine’s Day candy and there is just nothing I can do other than apologize.

But the fact of the matter remains: you will be receiving your Christmas cards from us this year in February.

I am fully aware how ridiculous this is.

I am fully aware that nobody does this.

I am also more than fully aware that many people have more on their plates than I do who still manage to get their cards out in a reasonable timeframe.

I can assure you with every fiber of my being: I am aware.

But, again, it doesn’t change the fact that you will be receiving a lovely holiday card with the words “Merry Christmas” on it and our lovely faces plastered all over over the front with a nice little family update printed on the back. In February.

“But why?” You say. “Couldn’t you just not send them instead?”

Well, sure. Yes. Technically, that is an option. But they’re here. They’re printed. They’re gorgeous. I spent time on them. And, more to the point: I spent money on them.

So you’re getting your Christmas cards in February.

How did this happen? Well, I can actually explain that, too.

When I got the Christmas cards I was so excited, I finished the return labels, sealed them up, and had them ready to go. Only then I realized I didn’t have stamps.

Then, thinking  I had plenty of time I procrastinated getting stamps. This was the fatal error. Obviously I should have just gone to the post office one day while Connor was at school and gotten the damn stamps. Probably like the day the cards arrived. Again, I am aware.

All of a sudden Christmas started coming really fast. Like, really, really fast. I was ill-prepared and found myself scrambling between OB appointments and shopping and decorating and family coming in that, well, it just kept getting pushed off.

During this time we also rearranged our house a bit for Baby Daphne’s impending arrival. Because Wee Connor started crawling out of his crib (remember this, as it becomes important later!) we put him in a big-boy bed (which I believe used to be just known as a “bed”, but modern vernacular now dictates it be called a “big-boy bed”, apparently). Then due to the layout of our house, we moved our bedroom into the front living room (in a somewhat common Chicago layout, our condo has a front living room and a back living room) that is also next to the nursery and put Connor into our bedroom.

We also made a large-scale “KonMari clean out our crap” effort during this time in order to make room for this rearranging nonsense. It’s still a work in progress but it truly is freeing. I emptied out two closets’ worth of stuff we had been dragging from house to house to house. But this all took a lot of our holiday time while we had family babysitters available and in town. This was made more exhausting by the fact that I was starting to go from, “Eh, I’m pregnant, I guess” to, “Oh, no, 6 months pregnant is actually legitimately pregnant now.”

No worries, I kept telling myself, I’ll just send the cards out around New Year’s. That’s still in the limits.

Then we found out that our dog Brinkley’s cancer was back much sooner than expected, and it was spreading everywhere. We gave him one last treatment as a palliative measure hoping his last few months would be good, instead of having him slowly decline. However, we knew at most he would only have a few more months and this cast a shadow on my entire existence.

And then Connor stopped sleeping.

A quick elaboration before I go on. This “stopped sleeping” thing was not a cutesy, “Oh, he’s going through a regression, he’ll be back to normal soon,” kind of thing. It was a, “he literally comes out to come get us 15 times in 2 hours in the middle of the night” kind of thing. It was a, “he will not sleep until one of us is lying down with him, and toddlers do not care if they sleep perpendicular to the direction of the bed” thing. It was a, “how can such a tiny human being take up so much space in a bed?!” thing. And remember that whole bit I told you before about how he was now in a big-boy bed? Well, turns out that kids who can climb out of their cribs before they’re ready to understand how to stay in their rooms have trouble staying in their rooms. Chris and I started taking turns cramming our gigantic adult bodies into Connor’s twin bed with him just to get a few hours’ rest each night. It was, quite literally, worse than having a newborn. Also, he wouldn’t take naps.

There was no joy in Mudville.

It was mid-January at this point. The cards still weren’t sent. Chris and I were, to be frank, unraveling.

We hired a “sleep consultant” because it’s 2017, we live in a large city in America where sleep consultants are widely available, and there was no way we could possibly handle another minute of Connor not sleeping, let alone have him be so unable to sleep when the new baby came in April. She put us on a strict sleeping regimen to help Connor learn how to fall asleep on his own and for him to learn to stay in his room until he was allowed to come out again. This took about 10-12 days total.

Then our world fully came down around us.

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I love you, Brinkley Dog. And I always will.

We started realizing Brinkley’s palliative treatment had little effect on him. We could tell our time with him wouldn’t be the two months we had hoped for, but more a matter of weeks. His body started shutting down. The cancer ate his insides more and more. He could no longer control his bodily functions well, and he was in such pain he started getting periodically aggressive with us.

We gave him steak dinners. We took him to the park for some tennis ball chasing. We didn’t get angry if he got into the trash, or went to the bathroom inside. Sending out the cards dropped off my priority to-do list completely.

And then it was time. We had to let him go.

I still can’t talk about it without sobbing uncontrollably. Truth be told, I still can’t even really talk about it at all.

I was semi-nonfunctional for probably about 2 weeks after.

Slowly, I started getting back to semi-functional.

And now, all of a sudden, it’s the middle of February.

And my Christmas cards still are sitting on top of my built-in in my kitchen, waiting to be sent.

Which is why, my dearest friends and family, you will be receiving Christmas cards from us in February.

I hope you giggle at the absurdity of it. I have. It’s really the only way to overcome the complete and utter embarrassment of sending Christmas cards in February. And while, yes, I could just not send them, as any normal person probably would do at this point, I want to let everyone who is getting these cards know I love them and have thought about them through the year. I also hope they understand that sometimes if they need to send Christmas cards in February–figuratively or literally–I will never judge them, but rather embrace their struggles they’ve had, both big and small, alongside their successes and end-of-year summaries on the back of the cards with their smiling faces, just as I know you will do with us.

And so that, friends, is why you’re getting our Christmas cards in February.

Two Months In Review

I made a mistake and blinked and suddenly my baby turned two months old. From what I hear the next time I blink he’ll be going off to college.

Here’s hoping he can sleep through the night by then.

(I kid, I kid. But, seriously, child. Sleep at night is awesome. You should try it some time*.)

Before that next blink happens I thought I would take stock of these past two months and see what I can remember about them. Here are the headlines from what I remember.

The first two weeks gave me a false sense of security

sleeping babyHere’s what happens to your baby the first two weeks of existence:

The baby sleeps. All the time. Better yet: the baby sleeps anywhere. Through anything. True story: my best friend/sisterfromanothermother Kaleen came to visit us and we walked to a restaurant nearby when Connor was a week old and we sat outside on the patio. In the middle of lunch a fire engine pulled out of the station across the street, engines blaring. It was deafening. I looked over at the baby, terrified that our amazing lunch was about to be babyscreamed only to see Wee Connor completely oblivious to the noise. My husband, apparently still unaware that almost anything he said at this point could send a hormone-raging new mom into a worry spiral made a joke about him being deaf. My eyes immediately bugged out and I — of course — fell into a hormone-raging new mom worry spiral and then the entire rest of lunch was spent with me periodically trying to make little noises by Wee Connor’s ears, only to have him disdainfully kind of rouse and wonder why the heck these silly parentpeople were snapping by his ears, then fall right back into a baby coma. This is what the first two weeks are like.

Because the baby is sleeping so much you can do things like laundry or sleep or the dishes and you think, “Wow! What is so hard about this?” I must have the best baby ever.

And then all of a sudden, like Skynet, the baby becomes self aware. Madness ensues. The baby realizes that he has actually been expelled into the world and this is not only a permanent situation but an undesirable one at that. This is when the real crying, fussiness, “witching hour” in the evenings, everything you hear about that is hard about baby-rearing comes to fruition.

Maybe someone told me about this magical first few weeks, but if they did I can’t remember hearing about it.

You may choose two: shower, nap, lunch.

Choose wisely.

Motherhood Pick Two (2)

Let it be known I will never, ever take these two things during the newborn stage for granted:

IMG_35031. Knowing that when I put the baby somewhere he will stay there
2. Being able to put ridiculous clothes and outfits of my choosing on him

I still have no how one tiny little human being can produce so much laundry.

Cloth diaper moms, I don’t know how you do it. I commend not only your fortitude but your washing machine; you both must be exhausted. I cannot imagine a single more load of laundry, let alone the laundry it takes for cloth diapers.

And here’s the thing: we have been beyond blessed to receive an absolute abundance of clothes for Wee Connor so that he can go weeks (WEEKS!) probably without needing to do laundry for his clothes**. However, there is still so much laundry. Changing pad covers, sheets, blankets, spitup cloths, footie pajamas that are easy to take on and off, the play mat…it all has to be washed fairly regularly because of the varying types of liquids that leak out of the varying orifices on my baby’s body.

Once the initial two week coma passed and my baby became a real baby I don’t think I have gotten more than 5 loads of parentpeople laundry done yet.

The child weighs just over 11 pounds. How can he have this much stuff associated with him to wash?

Baby socks.

I say these words all the time because ohmygoodnessbabysocks. Not only are they impossibly small but I am constantly baffled as to why newborn socks all have rubber grippy things on the bottom of them. It is not like the baby is going anywhere without a parentperson. They don’t need the traction. Why do they all have rubber traction grippy bottoms?

The mysteries of baby socks are neverending to me.***

It’s still totally worth it

smiling montageI love admitting it: I love my job now. Motherhood may be confusing, but it quite simply rocks. I may remember labor, get much less sleep than I used to, be fascinated by things like baby socks instead of world events, and be confused on how to wear winter layers and still breastfeed (any suggestions???), but I love it. Every minute.

Every. Minute.


 

*We’re working on it. Blog post on its success or (hopefully not!) lack thereof is forthcoming.

**Only a slight exaggeration

***Maybe I should just label this section: the things that suddenly amaze you when you are only sleeping 4 hour stretches at a time would peel paint they are so boring to the outside world. Noted.