Archive for the ‘Baby Boy’ Category

I think the Internet needs more food posts.

Sunday, April 2nd, 2017

Oh hey there.

It’s been a very long time since I wrote in this space. Our family looks a little different — it’s doubled in size to include two small, lovely, crazy boys.

I don’t have any romantic notions about starting this blog up again, but I’m currently doing a lot of computer-based planning on some topics that feel blog-y to me, so I figured I may as well plan them here. So I can share my progress like a good millennial, or something.

Those of you who have been around here a while know I’m not the best at sticking to goals, motivating myself, and, you know, other essential qualities of productive human beings. But ah, motherhood. It’s amazing the number of times I now find myself realizing that to change my child’s behavior, I need to change my own.

We’re at the end of our second baby’s first year now, and we just completed a 1,200-mile move. Now that the boxes are (mostly) unpacked and we’ve stopped with the daily takeout, we’re looking for ways to begin to thrive here. And we are all craving structure.

My three-year-old especially is a creature of serious habit. Lately he’s had some understandable anxiety after being totally uprooted. A lot of that anxiety is coming out in food-related issues. He’s always been an extremely picky eater, but frankly, it’s getting ridiculous.

This child would eat mac and cheese for every meal if I let him, won’t eat Chick-Fil-A chicken nuggets because they aren’t processed enough, and recently decided to remove cheese ravioli and quesadillas from his already-limited food repertoire because I used an unfamiliar brand of cheese.

And now I’m feeling your judgy eyes and the need to back way, way up.

Because HOW in the world did we get here?

Well. When your infant spends every single car trip screaming his head off (I’m talking breath-holding, blue-turning screaming), and you figure out that giving him one of those food-trapper snack cups with puffs in it lessens the screaming time, you give him the damn snack cup. And when he shows a gigantic preference for carbs over any other type of food, well, that’s not the battle you can fight right then. You’re focused on the not listening to screaming for 12 hours a day.

It also didn’t help that until recently we lived in a tiny house with no dining table, and therefore no family meal structure.

So, how we got here is an unhealthy mix of some sensory difficulties and a lot of “accidental parenting,” aka survival mode. I have no regrets about our choices, honestly. We couldn’t have made different ones at the time, and I’m glad we figured out that cheerios and bagels gave us a little break. But now that he’s three and doesn’t cry all day (prraaiiiise), I’d really like it if he ate something other than variations on cheese, bread and fruit. Meals are a terrible chore and end in lots of power struggles, and I’m just. over. it.

So my brilliant plan is to rid the house of all our fallback options. No more Annie’s mac and cheese. No more cereal for breakfast. For Eric and me, no more sneaking ice cream and candy out of their hiding places after the kids are in bed.

We are revamping meal time with a combination of dietary choices and routine/rhythm/structural changes in our day. So if you feel like it, follow along. I have no idea how this is going to go.

Well, except for phase one:


<3 Brynna

Giving up the fight.

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

OEK-149 copy

I couldn’t put him down.

All day, nothing worked.

After six hours of trying to put my baby in his bed, his car seat, the swing, the wrap, anywhere, he passed out dramatically on my chest. There was a sudden thump of his face against me, and the pacifier bounced off the carpet. I instinctively braced myself for the wail I knew would follow the empty mouth. But none came. I noticed how heavy he seemed and looked carefully down. Asleep. More than asleep. After nearly a full day of laying him oh-so-carefully into his crib and tiptoeing away, only to see on the monitor his eyes flying open and his arms struggling against his swaddle, he had given up the fight.

That afternoon, six weeks after my son’s birth, I was supposed to call a client for our first talk about transitioning back to work. He was incredibly accommodating, telling me to call any time between noon and 5 p.m.

At 11:30 I nursed my newborn slowly in the rocking chair, his tiny tongue clicking and his mouth sucking rhythms in sync with our gliding. As always, I stared at him, wondering at how big he’d already grown. When he was still, I laid him in his bassinet in the dark, cool room to sleep. I just needed 15 minutes.

I stepped down the hall on light feet, avoiding squeaks, down the stairs and across the living room to my small corner desk. I was anxious about working from home with this little one in my care.

Could I do both? Could I do both well?

I opened a fresh document and double-checked the phone number. With one thumb ready to press “call,” I lifted the baby monitor and clicked on the screen to check on him one last time. And there he was, just one minute after being put down in a deep sleep — legs kicking, mouth grimacing, arms pushing small but strong against his swaddle wrap. Within seconds came the screaming that had become the soundtrack to my days. Screaming with breath held and eyes bulging, skin turning red and then purple. I dropped my phone and raced up the stairs to bounce and shush and nurse him again.

It would be OK, I thought. I had all day.

When I was 36 weeks pregnant, my husband and I listened to a few families we knew as they shared baby horror stories over a meal. Not their own stories, since none of them had had an extremely difficult infant. These stories were of the “my best friend’s cousin’s roommate’s baby” variety — and surely they were exaggerated. One friend told of a woman spending an entire day trying to get her baby to fall asleep, only to have him wake up over and over. The entire day. I’m a naturally nurturing person, and that sounded like a special circle of hell even to me. As we left, I told my husband, “We could have a baby like that. Can you imagine?” But we agreed the odds were in our favor — what was that, like 1 percent of babies?

Then we received The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD as a baby shower gift, and watched it together. We gaped at the screen as couples exclaimed how thrilled they were to have finally gotten three straight hours of sleep using these magic tricks. “It’s good to be prepared,” we said, “just in case we get one of those one-in-a-million babies.”

Much more often, and from people we actually knew, we heard stories about taking newborns to movie theaters and restaurants, babies sleeping for what seemed like two straight months, babies traveling in their infant carriers like silent little pieces of extra luggage. I envisioned the smushy babies of newborn photography. Passing my cooing infant around a room of friends. The three of us snuggling together in bed.

But a few short weeks later, there I was. Alone at home with my baby, my expectations of newborn bliss weighed down by darkness and disappointment. My cloud nine heavy with a storm, and fit to burst.

It was 4:30, and I had nursed myself empty. I had prayed. I had pled with my son to take the nap that would allow this call. But he never stayed asleep for more than a few moments, whether it was in the bassinet, the wrap or my arms.

As 4:45 approached he wailed on, and my knees popped and thighs burned as I bounced, head swimming with fatigue and movement and not enough calories and too much shushing.

I typed a one-handed apology to my client. “I’m so sorry. I’ve been trying since 11, but he won’t sleep.” That’s putting it lightly, I thought. I worried that he wouldn’t believe me. I worried no one would — that I had the mythical baby everyone warns you about, but worse. The baby that only exists in postpartum hyperbole, in stressed out first-time moms’ imaginations. The one you’re supposed to look back on and realize that — silly, hormonal, stressed out you! — it was all in your head.

I wanted to say so much more, to detail every moment in the day, to prove I wasn’t being flaky or inflating the situation to garner his sympathy. But I hit “send” and turned back to my screaming baby, back to the end of myself.

When that sudden quiet eventually came, I stood, dumb for a moment. What would I do now? He was finally asleep, and it was too late to make my call. I felt his heaviness against me. I felt the full weight of the day in that lumpy limp body. And I cried as emotions washed over me. Relief. Guilt. Deep grief. Deeper love.

I couldn’t put him down, but this time it was because I didn’t want to.

He had given up the fight. And so had I.

Part of me would like to say relief came that day in the form of a baby sleeping peacefully while I recovered. While I prayed different prayers and cuddled with my husband and savored a home filled with quiet.

But instead it came in a small space — 17 minutes, to be exact, before he woke again — where I began to truly grieve the loss of my expectations.

And, once grieved, to open my heart to a profoundly different kind of love. One based on pouring every drop of myself out on an exhausted, overwhelmed newborn boy who had nothing at all that he could offer me back.

I’m having a baby.

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

There, I said it.

You have no idea how long I’ve wanted to tell. But the timing didn’t seem right.

It still doesn’t. But the fact of the matter is, I’m having this baby in two months, and well… maybe there’s no perfect time to announce the biggest secret, the most exciting news, to a blog readership filled with mostly people who already know because I’ve told them in person. It just makes my thoughts a little bit more uncomfortably spotlighted than normal to reflect on something so enormous.

I’ve surprised myself with how private I’ve been about all of it. Territorial is another word. I can also think of worse ones.

At first I wanted to just wait for sure until we were out of the “danger zone” of the first three months. But then we got used to keeping the secret, and there was something so nice about having the secret. Especially since I’ve been feeling overwhelmed by social media and oversharing in general these days.

And then we lost Kieran. Right around the same time we went slightly more public with this photo on Facebook:


And it seemed all wrong again, the mix of emotions and the needing to let myself sit with that reality for a while. Honestly, I went two good weeks hardly thinking about the baby.

So we kept it offline. And the more people we told in person, the more it seemed like that’s how life is supposed to happen. Not broadcast with big, bold pleas for attention or the assumption that this baby is the most important baby who ever lived. Because he’s not. (Not to you, anyway. And really, not to us either.)

But the unfortunate byproduct of my privacy is that people who do want to just genuinely share in our joy — maybe you, if you’re just finding out — haven’t had that opportunity.

So here it is — my coming out.

I am seven months pregnant with a so-far very healthy and active baby boy, due September 14, 2013.

Now to resist becoming a mommy blogger…