Survival and Love and Loneliness

Updated

I love most days. I get to spend the entire day hanging out with two little people, two little boys, who I love a lot. They are amazing. Every little thing they learn and do is incredible to me. I get to see it all and I am so grateful.

Most days are hard. These two little boys can be challenging little creatures. Surprisingly, they don’t always do what I want them to do!

I like to nap, especially when I have been up a couple times during the night. My dear husband lets me sleep in every morning while he gets up with the older one and feeds him breakfast and takes him and the dog for a walk. But every time I think I can have a nap the little one wakes up! And then he will fall asleep for a super long nap when the older one wakes up from his nap. Which is nice for me to spend time with Brody but is heartbreaking to have missed out on a nap! And anyone who knows how much I love a nap knows how heartbreaking that is!  The baby has been eating every 1-2 hours for the past 2 days, which is exhausting and means that I have to eat just as often to keep up with the demand! Often he will only sleep when I am bouncing him and he knows the exact second I try to sit down for a break. How does he do that?

Our little person, the older boy, is starting to say words. It is amazing! He is actually responding to the things that I say! He can finally understand! But he can’t quite answer yet. And there are times I just wish for a conversation with a person who can answer back. So when my husband comes home from work, I tend to say everything I have wanted to say all day! It is an earful for him! There are still many elements of miscommunication with the older baby. He indicated he wanted to go for a walk by pointing to his stroller but then when we were out for a walk he did not seem like he was enjoying himself as he whined and cried most of the time. Actually, there are times when he does that for a long period of time and it can feel very long! But then he goes to bed for a nap and usually walks up as usually self…happy, smiling and laughing. His toys cover the floors in every room…and not only toys but every other thing that can be pulled onto the floor. I wrestle him away from opening and emptying every drawer in the kitchen. He’s getting strong but he is also learning what ‘no’ or ‘nem’ (no in Hungarian) is and will clearly say it repeatedly! I think he does know what it means! He has started standing up and running around on the couch. He is actually climbing on everything. Part of me is so excited that he is learning this skill and taking these risks, but the other part of me has a little heart attack every time he does something where he could fall and hurt himself.

Eating is important to me. I don’t do well when I am hungry and since I am breastfeeding, I am hungry ALL THE TIME.  I am trying to avoid cow’s milk protein because the baby seems to have difficulty processing it. Who knew cow’s milk protein was in EVERYTHING?!! It can be hard to find foods that I can eat quickly and one-handed. I eat a lot of peanut butter, cereal, and bananas which is good since those are my favorite foods!

So many people advise to “sleep when the baby sleeps” and “enjoy every minute because it goes by so quickly” and “don’t worry about the cleaning” but sometimes the baby doesn’t sleep and one day seems like an eternity and we need clean dishes and clean clothes. And it gets lonely. Trying to have an adult conversation is nearly impossible with the little ones around…they cry loud and need LOTS of attention. Sometimes  I think I am forgetting how to have conversations with adults because I feel like I can’t form the proper words and sentences. That might also be because my brain is full of information about caring for children and all the other brain cells are gone but hopefully will return one day!

So despite the joy and gratefulness and love for these two little boys, I am in survival mode. Survival means leaving all the toys where they land and maybe picking them up later but usually I just don’t have the energy. Survival means giving him bread and peanut butter to eat for lunch most days because it is easy and I know he will eat it and not give it to the dog. Survival means the baby wears his pajamas all day and using a wet wipe when he only spits up a little bit.

And despite the times when things are hard, there are always the beautiful moments that make it all easy again. The little one will smile and laugh when I talk to him. The older one learned how to give kisses and wants to give his baby brother many, many kisses. He loves his little brother so much. And the little one loves watching his older brother. And I love them both.

Sad and Glad

My Mom’s birthday is on May 5. She was born in 1944 so this year would have been her 73rd birthday. She just missed her 71st birthday when she passed away in February, two years ago.

It has been hard to talk about this massive loss in my life. I don’t know what to say. Our relationship and lives together were complicated. We were very different in some ways and very much the same in other ways. I am beginning to see ways of honouring both aspects of my memories of my mom. The ways we did connect and how we clashed at times. It is all part of her and us and how we related and that is ok.

I feel shock and sadness still even two years later. I don’t think that will ever go away entirely.  I am sad that my mom never got to meet our two little boys. I am sad that they will never meet their Oma here on earth. I have fear as well. Fear that something like could happen again to someone else that I love. Fear that I might lose someone else.

I am also grateful. I believe my mom is in a better place. She is with Jesus in heaven and she is happy. She has no pain or difficulty. I am happy for her and the comfort I have in knowing this. I am glad for all the time I had with her. I am thankful for all the people she knew and the lives she impacted here on earth (which was many)!

Although it has not been easy figuring out loss like this, I am slowly understanding and resolving it for myself. My comfort and focus is on God and knowing that He is with me. This doesn’t mean that there won’t be other losses or difficulties in my life but at least He is on my side. I can’t fully understand why it happened and I guess I probably never will but I am slowly becoming ok with that.

*“Have I not commanded? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9*

What makes me smile about my mom?
– Since we had a big family and we were living somewhat spread out, when we did get together, Mom would try to combine as many celebrations as she could: birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, etc. There would only be one cake but it would acknowledge everyone and everything within a 3 month time span, often leaving only enough room for initials in the icing. I don’t even know what we were celebrating in the photo below but she managed to acknowledge all of it on the cake!


– We could always count on having some random and interesting person or people in the house. Mom would say “oh have you met… who we knew 100 years ago in some random place that we lived or visited? You remember him/her/them, don’t you?” I rarely did remember this person but she always tried!
– One of my favourite memories of my mom was several years ago when I was visiting home in February. We are an active family and all of us love to play sports. Mom didn’t usually participate because she wasn’t the most athletic and usually was more interested in cheering us on. But this time we were all outside playing road hockey and she was there too, playing goalie for one of the teams, screeching and shouting and saving some goals!

Happy Birthday, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day.

Baby Jude John Gibson

Jude John Gibson arrived on February 26, 2017. He is a beautiful, dark-haired little boy. He is adored by his older brother. He sleeps and eats a lot. It has already been two months since he was born and he smiling and becoming stronger and more amazing every day!

Life has taken a whole new level of crazy and busy. I am at home taking care of two babies currently both under the age of 18 months. There are times when both of them are crying and I don’t even know what to do. And there are times when both of them are happy and smiling and I feel like I am doing it all right. And the best times, when both of them are sleeping so that I can take a nap too!

The days are pretty tough. On a typical day, I have been spit up and spilled on three times before I have eaten breakfast. I can’t take a shower without the older one trying to get in with me, even though he is fully clothed. Most days, I have anywhere from 2 minutes to 1 hour of time that I am not holding, feeding, or playing with one of the boys. And I do not sleep more than 4 hours in a row.

But these boys are pretty awesome. Brody is almost 1 and a half and he is learning so much! He loves to point to the sky when he hears an airplane. He likes seeing big trucks and tractors on the road. He will play with a ball, squealing and trying to throw it for long periods of time (which is like 10 minutes for him). He is sensitive and doesn’t like seeing his baby brother crying. He will cuddle both his baby brother and our puppy every chance he gets because he loves them so much.

Jude is just starting to smile at us. He can get pretty fired up when he wants something that he doesn’t get right away. He is also so peaceful and content when he has everything he needs. He likes to be outside in the stroller while we go for walks. He also likes to take baths. He is a pretty consistent baby and tends to eat and sleep at similar times most days. And he loves to cuddle with me while he naps.

Although it is not easy, I wouldn’t trade being with these two for anything else right now!

What just happened?

I am forcing myself to sit down and write this blog. It is hard to stop to do this when there are toys all over and the dishes aren’t done and I have to figure out what to make for dinner and I have to prepare for Brody’s birthday party tomorrow. It has been a long time since I wrote one, although I have written many posts in my head as I go about my day. The ideas are there and someday I may get them out!

What just happened to the past year? Brody is one and I can’t believe it. The cliches are true…”where does the time go?”

Brody is truly a joy and blessing in our lives.

He is active. He plays and learns and studies and plays some more. He loves to touch the handles on drawers and cupboards. He opens drawers and likes discovering what is inside. He likes to ‘help’ load and unload the dishwasher, which involves taking the cutlery and throwing it on the floor. He can spend periods of time playing in his playroom. He stands up at the shelves and looks at toys. He likes to remove the toys from wherever they are. He pulls himself up on anything he can, coffee table, chairs, my legs, anything.

He loves books. He particularly loves to look at a Winnie the Pooh folding book. It doesn’t really have a story but it has lots of colourful pictures. I can occasionally find him laughing at this book. He also loves books that aren’t stories but just pictures and words. He can listen to us reading these a lot!

He sleeps! He has two naps per day and then sleeps about 12 hours at night. After our harrowing sleeping training/crying it out during the summer, he does so well going to sleep and generally staying asleep, especially at night. Although it was horrible at the time, the sleeping training worked for us. I am so glad we get to sleep all night and that Brody gets the sleep he needs.

Brody loves to eat. He particularly likes lasagna and spaghetti. He eats tomatoes, avocado, most fruit, and meat. He loves cheese! He has recently started spitting out the foods he doesn’t like or doesn’t want to eat at that moment. It is quite funny and adorable when he does this, although I probably shouldn’t be laughing at him.

He plays with the dog, Hamish. He loves Hamish. He takes Hamish’s toys and Hamish takes them back. They get each other because Hamish is always careful when he plays with Brody. And Brody needs to work on being gently with Hamish but Hamish does so well at taking Brody’s ‘aggressive’ petting and love for him.

Up until now, Brody has been our little baby. But now that he is one, is he still a baby? Seems hard to imagine that he won’t always be so little and need us so much. Already he can do so much and he does more and more every day. He even started kind of using a fork to eat his food! Amazing!

And now with another baby on the way, due to arrive in March, Brody will grow up even more quickly. Having a tiny little one around will make him seem so much bigger! It continues to be truly amazing to see him grow up into the beautiful, happy little boy that he is.

Happy first Birthday, Brody! We love you!

 

 

The light and the dark

Brody is 7 months old. The cliche sayings of how time flies are so true. He is a happy boy who loves to smile at himself in the mirror. Whenever he rolls over he has a look on his face that is a mixture of surprise and pride at what he has done. He loves playing with Hamish, the puppy. He holds out his hand while Hamish licks his fingers (and I wait until they are finished and immediately wipe his hands off).

He is a big boy, weighing in at about 9kg/20lbs. I know of two little girls who were the same weight at 1.5 years old! He loves his food. Some of his favorites include lamb cous cous, spinach mixed with blueberries, and mangos. 

I am currently holding my little boy as he sleeps. The past couple weeks have been a bit tougher for him and for us. What seems a long time ago now, he was a fairly good sleeper. He would easily go into his crib wide awake, we would read him a story and he would go to sleep. But now he rolls around his crib until he puts himself in a corner with his head against the bars and then starts crying. But it’s not just crying, it’s more of a yell-scream! The first time he did in this situation I thought he must have severed a limb! But no, his limbs are attached and I have to go and adjust him and then he continues to yell-scream until I eventually do the forbidden “feed him to sleep”. But at this point, after 2 weeks and going onto the third, I will do whatever it takes. I keep trying to see if he can go to bed on his own, even doing a few minutes of the terrible “cry it out” but like I said, it’s not just crying. It doesn’t work so we will try again another time.

As usual in any of these times with Brody when something is not going well, I do lots of research in books and through Google. I also ask advice from a group of my friends who have a whole bunch of experience between them. And just to check in, I emailed the pediatrician a few times to make sure nothing dire is happening to him. So from my research, I came up with a list of potential things that could be wrong:

1. Teething

2. A cold with stuffy nose and sore throat

3. Rolling over and other new skills make him excited and unable to settle down to sleep, also can’t sleep in these new weird positions

4. He now knows that he doesn’t like being too far away from me and he wants to be as close as possible all the time

5. He’s hungry and can’t get enough food

6. He needs his own room to sleep in (currently logistically not possible but we are moving soon)

7. He’s too cold or too hot (how on earth do you dress a baby for the correct temperature?)

And so, since having a baby is so much guesswork, any or all of these could be happening. We have tried numerous things to see if we can help him sleep better: consistent bedtime routine, laying down with him to sleep (which works but not exactly what we want long term), breastfeeding him to sleep (also works), more naps, fewer naps, more food offered (he will ultimately only eat what he wants), more layers of clothes, fewer layers of clothes, and more! But the only things that are working right now are cuddles and closeness with mom, so that’s what we will go with until we see a hint of something else. I definitely don’t mind having lots of cuddles.

It’s all about my mindset. If I have my mind set on doing a bunch of tasks or running some errands then when Brody needs more time with me, it’s hard for me to adjust. But when I can set all that aside and focus on him, than its easy. I just look at his relaxed, sleeping face and it is more than worth it to spend this time with him. 

Even if it means trying and failing to go out for dinner with my husband at a nice, fancy restaurant for the first time in forever. We ordered and got our drinks and had our first sip, when we got the call that Brody was awake and needing his mom. Or the next night when the same thing happened when I tried to go out with a couple girlfriends. Although it may sound like I go out often, these happened to be the only two nights I have attempted this basically since Brody was born! It felt frustrating and so restricted…”I couldn’t even get away for a couple of hours”. But to be even a few kilometers away from home when I knew Brody was so unhappy, was excruciating. I didn’t want him to be so sad when he needed me. Eventually he will ‘toughen up’ and won’t need his mom so much. But for now, it’s okay. I will be here. And some day I will get to go out again.

Brody is a light in our lives. He is truly special and amazing. There are some dark times when he is struggling with growing up but I am glad I can be here with him and do whatever I can to help him.

(He just woke up and gave me one of his beautiful smiles!)

I Don’t Even Know

I don’t even know what happens to the days. One minute it is Monday morning and the next it is Friday afternoon. Weekends are even faster when we get to hang out with Daddy a bit more. But within the days, the moments are slow. Some moments are amazing when I get to watch Brody smile and laugh. Or we cuddle, or Brody learns a new skill. Other moments are tougher and longer when Brody is grumpy at the end of the day, and I am tired, and we are both just waiting for Daddy to come home to relieve us both!

I don’t even know how much I need my husband! He cooks, he cleans, walks the dog every morning before school. He runs errands, and gets groceries, and listens to me talk about how Brody’s naps are going and what he is eating. And most of all, he loves our little boy so much!

I don’t even know how I have managed to breastfeed for six months already. It has been one of the most challenging and fulfilling things I have done. I am a superwoman, and my body produces food for my baby boy. I sacrifice a lot: most dairy products, wine, and sleep. It is worth it, and I am proud I can do it.

I don’t even know how I have managed to survive the last six months on almost never sleeping more than 4 or 5 hours in a row. I miss sleeping so much. I love the rare time that I naturally wake up before Brody does, knowing I just may have slept enough. Or the occasional time Brody has slept a little longer than normal and I wake up feeling like I can conquer the world because I have had so much sleep.

I don’t even know how much I love our little boy! He is so incredible and amazing! His laugh sounds like he is snorting, gasping for breath, and clearing his throat all at the same time, but it is the cutest thing I have ever heard. The way he smiles when he wakes up from a nap and sees me coming to pick him is so big and so happy that I can hardly stand it! He is so intent and interested in everything around him. He is learning new things all the time and today he spent two minutes gently touching one of his toys, focusing intently on controlling his hands to touch, all the time he was ‘cooing’ and talking to it.

I am tired, and I am constantly working through new challenges, and I am always researching different things like “how much food to give a baby at six months” or “when can babies eat teething biscuits.” But I love this new crazy adventure, even when I feel like there are so many things that I don’t even know!

 

 

My Return

Finally, I am actually writing this return post after being absent from my blog for so long. A few things have changed. The biggest, most amazing adventure of all is the birth of our baby boy, Brody. He is almost 5 months old now!

The last post I made was about having 7-10 weeks left in my pregnancy. It turned out to be fewer rather than more. I had a some minor complications that eventually turned into major complications and resulted in Brody being born by emergency C-section at 1:27am on November 7, 2015. He was healthy and happy although a little small being four weeks early. He has done a great job of gaining weight and growing since then!

It is certainly amazing to have this happy, growing boy in our lives.He likes to “talk” to us and he smiles all the time. He tells us in no uncertain terms when he is really hungry or annoyed with one of his toys! He seems to be at odds with a particular giraffe occasionally. He loves taking his bath and he is starting to splash a lot! He loves to listen to us read “Goodnight Moon” before he goes to bed every night and he likes to feel the soft fur of his little teddy bear Bible story book.

What is so hard about having a baby? As I sit here and Brody is napping, I feel like it isn’t that hard. But then I remember the 20 minutes it took to get him to sleep, the crying, the feeding, the carefully laying him down when he fell asleep while he was eating and tip-toeing out of the room and praying he wouldn’t wake up. I think it is easy to forget the hard parts because of the pure joy and relief of him being asleep even for a few minutes! Caring for this vulnerable little person and his total dependence is incredibly daunting. The lack of sleep is unbelievably hard…for me. As a person who needs her sleep, there were days I could hardly function. I begged and pleaded with Brody to take a nap so that I could too. Sometimes he agreed and sometimes he didn’t. I cried a lot. It is really hard that I just don’t know what is going to happen. I can’t plan…and for me, this is pretty bad. I am a planner! Little Mr. Brody doesn’t always tell me his plans! Another difficulty is letting go of what I want to do. I need to drop what I am doing to attend Brody when he needs something. And all these difficulties are okay. They are forgotten when he smiles or laughs or grabs a toy for the first time or does some other ‘amazing’ thing.

Parenthood has been an amazing, challenging adventure so far. I am not sure I feel like a parent yet. Sometimes I still look at Brody and cannot believe that he is ours! I am so thankful for him. He is truly amazing.