Five.

Last weekend, ten five year olds tumbled into my house for a rainbow-unicorn-shooting-star party. There was dancing, laughter, a tear or two, and- of course- cake.  Bingo leaned over and blew out five candles in a single breath.  And just like that, the kid who made me a parent turned five.

I didn’t write about four at all, because the sum total of a one year old and a four year old was twenty-four hours of exhaustion per day.  I’m sorry now that I didn’t because, when I read back about three, there is such a huge leap between then and now, here and there, that I don’t know what I can write that will traverse that distance.

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Of all the things I thought I would be doing at 35…

I never imagined that selling my sperm would be on the list.

93 Junes.

My father was 93 when he died on May 31st this year.

He would have turned 94 at the end of July, though the exact date was a matter of some debate in his family.  When you live almost 94 years, some of the details get a little bit murky.  He lived through, and fought in, a world war.  He lived through the death of both of his parents and the deaths of his three brothers.  He lived through nine decades.  He lived through 94 renditions of every month, except June.

It’s that June that I keep coming back to, like a riddle with no answer or a sentence with no end.  Continue reading

You two.

It’s been another year, okay more than a year, since my last post.  If you’re doing the math, you’ll know that means Bingo is now almostfive (the official age she gives anybody who asks) and Powerball is two.

As a second child, Powerball often gets overshadowed.  His introductions to the various vices of childhood (television, refined sugar, communicable disease) come earlier, his milestones don’t always get written down, and instead of dictating our schedules he usually gets pulled along to the places that we’re going anyway.

He is also so loved.  And despite the fact that I’m busy, tired, and didn’t remember the password for this blog, I wanted to take a moment to celebrate all that Powerball is at two.  (I’d write it in his baby book, but he doesn’t have one.) Continue reading

Little one.

It’s been a year, almost, since I posted.  Which means that Powerball is somehow, suddenly, one.

It feels as if the actual year has disappeared as quickly as the space between blog posts.  As if there was only a breath between delivering him into the world and celebrating his first birthday.  The cognitive dissonance was real as I stood in the park, watching him try cake for the first time while balloons waved cheerfully in the background.  It was clearly a party, a party for my one year old, but how?

I worry that he’s done most of his growing while my back was turned—while I made breakfasts, rushed Bingo off to school (!), went to work, negotiated bedtimes, and tried to pick the most chokeable toys off the floor. As the second child, he’s lucky if he has even half of the amount of attention that Bingo did three years earlier.  But as exhausting as these days with two small, opinionated people are, I don’t want to lose them to the chaos of daily life.  I want to capture the sweetness of this moment, the amazingness of Powerball, the wonder of watching him grow.

Powerball at one:

Powerball is on the move.  He graduated from rolling everywhere to crawling at ten months, and can now cross a room to reach the most dangerous thing in about three seconds flat.  He can stand unassisted (one of his favourite tricks) and walks along furniture or holding onto a push toy.  He hasn’t tried hands-free walking yet, but it’s only a step away.

Powerball can talk.  He carries on full conversations of “la la la”, “ba ba ba”, and “da da da”, though he frustratingly and- I’m sure- intentionally held out on “ma ma ma” for as long as possible.  Clearly annoyed that we weren’t responding appropriately, he started adding in actual words at just over 10 months old.  His words include: up, hi, bye, all done, this, that, and (now, finally) mama.

High pitched shrieking is a language unto itself, and my sweet, gentle baby has quickly mastered the art of the temper tantrum.  This may be a second child survival strategy.

Powerball is half Bingo’s size, but can already hold his own in a fight.  As he grows, he’s becoming more and more the little sibling—he and Bingo fight over the real estate over my lap, favourite toys, and the overwhelming desire to have whatever the other kid has.  There are also many moments of sweetness and adoring stares in both directions.  Seeing them together makes me glad, a hundred times over, that we decided to have a second kid.

Our attempts at baby sign were lackluster at best, and he’s only really picked up signs for “all done”, “more”, and “food”.  He has, however, turned pointing into an entire language, patiently instructing his large servers (parents and babysitter, mainly) about what he would like placed where by pointing in rapid succession.

Mostly what he wants is food, in his mouth.  He was tiny for the first six months of his life, consistently in the third percentile for weight.  Every time I left the house with him, people would comment on his size and ask if he was a preemie.  This changed the second that we introduced solid food.  He’s now—dare I say it—chubby.  He’ll eat anything: fruit, vegetables, spicy food, random things he finds on the floor.  The one exception to this is sweet potato, which he considers an insult to the good name of food.

As well as food, his baby joys include opening and closing drawers, putting things into other things, making noise, being sung to, being held, reading books, pretending things are hats, playing peek-a-boo, Bingo’s toys, and dangerous wonders like my keys.  Honestly, he likes most things.  His nickname is “sweetness”, for a reason.

His baby sorrows include diaper changes (which involve significant acrobatics on both our parts), being separated from me, sleeping, having things taken from his possession, and- very specifically- his right sock.

There have been joys and sorrows for me too, in this year of parenting Powerball.  It’s been a hectic and exhausting year.  I’ve been frustrated, emotional, and overwhelmed.  I frequently feel like I don’t have enough time, enough energy, or enough hands.  But more than that, so much more than that, it’s been a year of joy, wonder, and gratitude. I am so happy to get to parent Powerball, to see him grow and change- to have our family grow and change with him.  He is the perfect addition to our family and, even in the chaos, I am glad every day that he is here.

I’m excited about what comes next.  I want him to take his first steps, say more things, and become more and more Bingo’s peer.  But I also want to pause this moment.  To take a moment to hold my baby while he’s still a baby, and appreciate exactly who he is right now: my little one.

  

Three.

(This post is two months late, but still.)

Three is here.  Between negotiating desserts, losing tickle fights, comforting middle of the night woes, supervising playground adventures, worrying over preschool transitions, bemoaning potty training, making up stories, giving hugs, wiping sticky fingers, quelling tantrums, and dispensing band aids, I somehow didn’t see three coming– but here it is.

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A month and a bit.

Powerball is now just over a month old.  Five weeks yesterday, to be exact.  I’m not entirely sure what else to say about that.  To write a one month developmental update seems like a disservice to him (newborns don’t actually do very much) and to write a comparison of his first month versus Bingo’s feels like a disservice to her (her first month was much, much harder).  So, what to say of the last month?

Sea and I have both been at home with Powerball, while Bingo continues to go to preschool/childcare every day.  Those eightish hours a day, five days a week, feel like luxury.  I remember when Bingo was born, having one newborn at home seemed so stressful.  Not so now.  Instead, Powerball naps and nurses as we wonder at just how easy it is to have a child who can’t yet move independently or tell you in certain terms exactly what you’re doing wrong.  Our house has stayed moderately clean, we haven’t succumbed to scurvy, I’ve showered almost enough.  This feels like success. (That said, I’m still wearing the same clothes as I was yesterday, having fallen asleep in them at 10pm last night.)

Napping and nursing are pretty much the only things Powerball does, and he does a great deal of both.  This isn’t a complaint, at all.  Because in spending all of his time napping and nursing, he leaves very little room for crying– one of Bingo’s favourite activities of infancy.  Aside from the fact that it’s constant, the nursing is going well.  I was shocked to discover that nursing didn’t have to be horribly painful, that my nipples didn’t have to bleed, that a baby doesn’t always lose 15% of their body weight.  Who knew?

On the theme of things that hurt less, healing from a vaginal birth with second degree tearing has been a thousand times easier than healing from a c-section following 36ish hours of labour.  I’ve been able to move pretty easily from the start and would probably have been hiking across the city within a week if not for a stern lecture from my midwife that included the threat that not listening would result in me peeing every time I laughed by 50.  So I waited for the all clear, which came at my three week postpartum visit.  Since then, I’ve taken Powerball on a series of adventures that have included several restaurant trips, a conference, a birthday party, and a protest.  I’ve now been back on my bike (sans baby) for just over a week, just for short rides between home and Bingo’s preschool.  I can’t even tell you how happy I am about this.

Probably connected to all of the above points, while postpartum hormones are still no joke, the crash that I was expecting hasn’t happened.  The floods of tears have been minimal and I mostly feel like a more tired, more rumpled version of myself.

Which is a good thing, because– as of this Monday– I’m officially back at work. I have lots and thoughts and feelings about living in a country where I’m entitled to a year of leave and making the choice to take a month of vacation instead: thoughts and feelings that deserve their own post.  Logistically, I’m hopeful: I’m mostly working from home.  I’ll be nursing when I can and pumping when I can’t.  Sea is on leave until March.  I care about my job.  Still, tomorrow I’ll be away from home/Powerball for the full day and my heart feels a little sore.

There are other challenges, too.  Bingo got the stomach flu when Powerball was five days old and showering a vomit covered toddler, while dealing (badly) with a frantic partner, while nursing a hangry baby is an experience that will be seared into my memory until end days. I’m still learning how to deal with a baby with a penis and frequently get caught in a stream of pee. Our washing machine broke, leaving us perpetually buried in a mountain of dirty clothes.  The time change was a disaster of epic proportions.  I have to remind Bingo not to squeeze her brother’s neck at least once a day.

Still, there’s more good than bad.  Bingo loves Powerball more than I can describe.  She sings to him, strokes him, and whispers to him with a gentleness that I didn’t think could fit into her wild body.  Powerball doesn’t seem to have yet noticed that he’s the neglected second child.  Sometimes I get to sleep for two, or even three hours in a row.  Our friends and family have shown up in full force, with meals that lasted for weeks.  And today, at five weeks and one day, Powerball really began to smile proper, awake smiles.

It’s been a good month.

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