Mason


Mason is something else, I tell you.  I can’t believe the difference between 2 years and 2 1/2 years.  These last six months have been wild with lots of changes, primarily with the introduction of Owen who was born a short 3 weeeks after Mason’s second birthday. 

I remember the emotions I had when I found out I was pregnant with Owen were mixed ones.  I was thrilled to be having another child for Mason to grow up with, but I was also scared and sad that Mason would have to share me with something else.  From the first time I laid eyes on Mason he has been my sunshine; how in the world was I going to manage to keep up that love and devotion with another baby, and how in the world could I love another child as much as I do Mason?

Over the course of the 9 month pregnancy, I made the most of every minute, fearing he would feel rejected when the new one arrived.  I contemplated not nursing Owen just to be able to have more time with Mason.  For Mason, the transition to big brotherhood wasn’t easy.  I remember when he came to visit me and Owen in the hospital, he didn’t really want to get to close and Josh had to put him on the bed with me.  I was certain this was going to be our reality for the next 18 years.  I felt rejected and conflicted. 

As the first month of Owen’s life sped by, Mason would pull on me for attention or to play right when Owen would need to eat, it would seem.  Half of my postpartum tears were guilt from not giving Mason all the time I once had for him.  However, it slowly started improving.  Owen started to show his personality through his smiles and kicks of excitement.  Mason picked up on that right away.  What seemed like an eternity for me emotionally was a flip-of-the-switch for Mason.

Now Mason and Owen are in love with one another.  No one can make Owen smile like Mason and Mason is extremely protective of his Owen.  I explain the joy I feel from seeing them play together, even though it is limited with Owen only being 5 months old today.  These two boys are perfect!

Mason is still my silly, smart, and adorable boy.  He is spontaneous and surprises me with his wit.  His imagination in full operation and I love playing Thomas the Train with him as we scoot our trains to the imaginary Steamworks under our dining room table.  Every flower he sees, dandelions and all, he goes over to smell them and tells them they are “So beautiful”!  Every puddle must be splashed, every rock is his pirate treasure, and every worm tickles his hands.  He continues to be my sunshine, it just so happens he shines on us all and I don’t mind sharing.

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I often find I need to write down so I will not forget them.  Today I want to ensure I capture some of Mason’s sayings and words he doesn’t quite get right. 

The first being Motorcycle or Bicycle, either word will work .  Mason sees them and excitedly screams “moKorcycle” or “biKacycle”.  So friggin’ cute!

Another cropped up when we were getting ready for Mason’s birthday.  Surprisingly it has stuck around from almost 6 months now.  Instead of saying “Happy Birthday!”  Mason exclaims, “Happy Daddy!”  We have no idea how he replaced birthday with Daddy, we are rolling with it right now.

Mason L-O-V-E-S Dr. Seuss.  We most recently pulled out the Lorax, which I had no idea was coming out in movie form until about 2 weeks ago, and yet again the love for Dr. Seuss remains.  When ever he sees anything with the Lorax he hollers, “Momma the T-REX! the T-REX!”  Cute, though the first few times I thought he was getting into his dinosaur phase early. 

Thomas the Train has added another stop on his route in our house.  Some nights before bed our living room looks like a huge earthquake has struck the Island of Sodor.  Poor Sir Topham Hatt.  He is relegated to being just Mr. Top-A-Hatt, Cranky the Crane is Creeky, and I dare not share with you how Percy is pronounced, (replace the E with an U, drop the R, C becomes two S) AHEM!  Scandalous. 

These are some of the best moments being a parent, revelling in your little one’s development.

Last weekend I was watching my favorite Sunday morning political news program and I was listening to a politician talking about his view on working mothers.  This caught my attention because I am interested in how the Washington elite view this diverse group of people, many of whom I can relate.  He professed working mothers minimize the accomplishments of stay-at-home mothers (SAHM) because working mothers believe success is made in the workplace, not in the home. 

At first I was completely offended by his assertion.  Working mother’s know how hard it is to be a mom, working in the home or not,  and celebrate the successes of first teeth, first step, first words, first potty use with the rest of the moms of the world.  At the same time, aren’t SAHM working mothers?  My three month maternity leave was hard work!  This politician’s comment uncovered what I have been struggling with for probably two years now.  Why is some guy on the TV telling me and SAHMs how we feel toward each other?  When I thought about it a little more, he wasn’t on the right track, but he was in the right neighborhood.

I have not read Mommy Wars by Leslie Morgan Steiner, but I believe it would capture much of what I feel, as well as those of my SAHM friends experience.  There is a silent battle between mothers of all types based on the choices they make regarding how they raise their children.  The amount of pressure we put on ourselves, because we buy-in to this silent criticism, can be daunting.  It can start from the first book you pick up and read about your pregnancy.  Have we not been in the conversation that went something like “Well, I really liked this book because it was more conversational and less clinical,” all with the undertone that you should read and love that same book.  Does it really matter when you look back on it?  Absolutely not!  If you are reading a book about your pregnancy, you are taking steps to make sure you are educating yourself on prenatal issues.  Now don’t get me wrong, I know there is a LOT of crazy information out there as well and  you need to be getting information from trusted sources.  My point is does it matter if you reading Dr. Sears book or the Mayo Clinic guide? 

How about breastfeeding ladies?  Welcome to the minefield.  I chose to breastfeed both of my boys.  It is free, I get to bond with my boys, it is nutritionally just what they need, and in the middle of the night I do not have to make bottles.  All understandable reasons right?  My best friend in the world chose to bottlefeed because she wanted the freedom that came with bottle, plus she confided she didn’t feel comfortable with the idea of it.  Would you believe that we are still just as close?  Surprise, we are and love each other regardless.  Dealing with the judgement of the public is not as easy.  With Mason I had back surgery 3 weeks into his life and the pain medicine I was put on lead me to have to feed him formula for that long.  Talk about guilt from websites and books about how breast was best.  The looks from some women out in public who saw me feeding him with a bottle were almost as if I was poisoning my son.  I just wanted to say “Look lady, can’t you see I am in sweat pants, my hair is a mess, oh and this wheelchair is probably not a give away that I am not your typical postpartum mother!”  I would go home and cry out in pain from my back and in shame that I wasn’t giving Mason the best.  After I had surgery I would be nursing Mason out in public, completely covered, and ladies would ask me if I could go to the restroom and do that!  Are you kidding me?  I was so upset when one woman said that to me, I asked her “Do you eat in the bathroom?”  She wasn’t too happy with that response.  If I was bottle feeding I was in the wrong with every wanna-be Earth Mother and when I was bottle feeding I was disturbing  every ninny out there.  It was a difficult place to be in during that part of my life. 

This leads me to the choice of  staying at home or going to work.  With Mason I did not have a typical maternity leave, I was cheated.  Thanks L4 – L5 disc, you bastard!  Either way, I loved every minute with Mason.  He quickly became my sunshine and each moment I fell in love even more.  With Owen, my maternity leave was so smooth, for a few seconds I thought about going back to work early.  Temporary insanity.  I cried when I dropped them off for the first time with our sitter.  She is the best by the way.  It was harder dropping them both off together because I knew we would never have that same kind of time together again.  My SAHM friends knew it was hard for me and I was envious of their time at home with their kids.  I could also see a yearning from some of those friends for a little more adult interaction during the day.  We never brought up our choices and which choice is the right choice because we know it goes both ways. 

I do not base my life’s success on my what I do for work, but I sure as hell want my kids to see me as a success in a world where I made the choice to be a working mother.  I am not going to waste my time in a job that I hate just so I may feel good about my performance outside the home.  I want to show my boys the example of how Momma works hard and is great at what she does all while loving them so deeply.  I truly enjoy my job, but I love my kids.  Are there days when I wish I could take my boys to story time instead of sitting in a meeting about another meeting?  Sure!  Guess what I do?  I’ll take some time off during the day or come home early just to squeeze in those special events together.  I wallow in the joy of my weekends and I do grumble on Sunday evenings when I am getting bottles together, but the feeling of hearing Mason yell “MY MOMMA!” and Owen’s cheeky grin when I pick them up in the afternoons makes it all worth it. 

Whether we read the right book, breastfeed, or work outside the home our kids love us.  The old saying “it takes a village” is not far off.  We as mothers need to give each other a break and really internalize the reality each mother, pregnancy, and child will be different.  Embrace each other with understanding and without competitiveness; there will be plenty of time for that when our kids are trying out for sports, applying for colleges, and getting jobs.  Back to basics, we can learn so much from one another’s successes and failures.

This was too cute to capture this week!  I love the fall and these pumpkin shots are to die for!!!

He is so cute and sweet trying to pick up the pumpkins for Momma.

This week’s challenge was pretty fantastic!  I love this little sleepy face I get to see each time I get Mason from his naps. 

Oh and here I am semi-modeling Lovelyn’s Let Love Grow t-shirt, which just happens to be my favorite right now…so soft and comfy!  Ignore the pj bottoms. 

And this one when he loves playing with his daddy!

Classic!

A year ago today I went from being pregnant to being a Momma.  I thought I had a bit of an idea into what a great adventure the motherhood thing would be, but I had no clue it could be this good.

Mason’s birth story is one I am sure many women experience in this country.  With all my hopes laid on a minimally invasive birth, I just wanted to push him out no matter what the pain, no epidural, no medicine, just me and the work to get him here.  It didn’t happen so much like that. 

I went into my post date appointment, Mason’s due date was Oct 5, and I was praying the entire way there I was progressing and at least a tad bit dilated and effaced.  No joy, I was locked up tighter than a preacher’s daughter.  They performed an ultrasound on me to discover “there’s a big baby in there!”  I could have told them that, he had been kicking me in the lungs the last 2 months.  He wallowed all around in my belly, much like he does now.  I am not complaining, I love the fact he loves to be around me.  My OB/GYN asked me to come into her office so she can talk me through “having a big baby”.  The ultrasound measured him around 9 lbs 1 oz.  I thought, “eh, it can be done!” 

I went into Dr. Pirkle’s office and she looked at me with this look that told me this conversation is not going to go the way I want it to.  She started in saying she was giving me the American Association of Obstetrics recommendations – casearean….because of shoulder dystocia.  Really!  I didn’t even pay attention in the childbirth class when they talked about that.  I assumed I could push the guy out, there would be pain, but I could take it!.  I cried, a lot, and she was great talking me down from the thoughts I have failed!  I went over every egg I ate for breakfast, SO YUMMY.  Either way, this was pretty much the decision, I didn’t want him to get stuck and have his back and shoulders screwed up!  We scheduled the casearean for Saturday the 10th of Oct for his birthdate.  She finished up by saying “Head over to the hospital for a non-stress just to make sure all is ok”.  

I cried all the way to the car on the phone with Josh…”I have to have a caesarean!”  He said the phrase I absolutely hated at the time “Either way, it will be a healthy baby.”  I thought what a cop-out.  I told him he didn’t need to come to the hospital, they were just doing a non-stress test and after that I would be going to work.   He said “I will be at the hospital in about 20 minutes.”  I tried to talk him out of it, but it just wasn’t working.  Thank goodness he didn’t listen to me. 

I checked into the labor and delivery ward and they hooked me up to belts.  I was a have a few contractions, but nothing that would make me think this baby is coming out.  With the contractions Mason’s heart rate would fluctuate.  The nurses would reassure me that this was “No Big Deal!”  Josh arrived and we watched a bit of tv while the tape with his heart rate poured out.  Dr. Wentworth, another doc from the practice, came in and looked at the tape and said “Ok, so we are going to have a baby today!  I don’t feel comfortable with you going home with the heart rate fluctuations and the contractions”.  I am sure I turned white as a ghost and I saw Josh turn green. 

We were preparing for around a 5pm birth and it was about 2:30 at this point.  Josh ran down to the cafeteria and grabbed a salad.  While he was down there, the nurses came in and said ok let’s go!  I texted Josh saying “it is time to go NOW!”  He rushed up, we both hit the restroom before we went into the OR and we were off.  Josh was walking behind me getting instructions, while I was getting some as well.  They walked me into the OR and I looked behind me and Josh was gone, apparently putting on scrubs and getting ready for surgery.  I got on the table and received my epidural, which I think may have been part of the cause  of my ruptured disc, and I couldn’t feel a dang thing!  By the way, I got into the OR at 3:42 pm.   They prepped me, explained all that was going to happen and then Josh came in.  He sat by my head and I was terrified.  Dr. Wentworth came in, they counted every single instrument; there were a lot of many things, I remember thinking.  At 4:04 pm they made the incision and at 4:08 Mason was born – 8 lbs 15 oz, 21.5 inches long.  I remember thinking WOW he is BIG and he looks like my brother Will. 

I am pretty sure I have described what an awesome feeling poured over me, but it is worth re-telling.  It was like magic, like falling in love times infinity.  At 4:42 they wheeled me out of the OR and all the nurses were laughing because it “Only took and hour” and “Dr. Wentworth is the one you want doing this!” I didn’t care at all, I had my baby boy and he was perfect.  Chubby Cheeks, dark eyes and already so loveable.  Josh and I were a bowl full of mush.  I still am everytime I see him.  That was truly the best day of my life. 

And today, I can’t believe that was an entire year ago.  A lot has happened in just 365 days, but the most important part is watching our little man growing before our eyes.  It’s the best trip of a lifetime!

Happy Birthday Honey, I love you Baby Bear!

Let them eat cake!

Well, this picture isn’t from my kitchen but it sure is the best thing going in any kitchen. 

He is a handful though!  I have to divert him from crawling in the dishwasher with wooden spoons and pots that make lots of noise.  I know when that noise stops I should be looking for the little man. 

He just gets better and better everyday. 

In addition to all this kitchen time, do you notice the teeth in the boy’s mouth?  Well he has officially been cut off and my pumping operations ceased as of last week.  At times I am feeling a bit blue over being done, but going to bed and waking up without needing to pump sure is a time saver.  He is eating full meals that are not puree or chunky mash.  He loves everything I put in front of him.  The roasted brussel sprouts I had no idea how he would take that, but he ate it right up!

We are already planning his first birthday party, which is hard to believe.  Time flies when you are having fun!

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