Yes, it’s a lot of work, and yes, there are many days when I just want to hide under a blanket until they go to sleep… but moments like this make it totally worth it.
Because this is my blog and, well, I just can.
If you have to ask why there are so many more photos of Gwen than Ellie on Flickr these days, then you’re probably not parent to a hyperactive three-year-old. Most photos of Ellie are nothing more than a blur, because she gives me all of half a second to take a photo, stopping only briefly to yell “CHEESE!” before finding something infinitely more interesting than mama and her camera phone.
Gwen, on the other hand, is mostly stationary… at least for the time being. I don’t expect that to last for long, as she’s discovered rolling over allows her to get from point A to point Toy, albeit more slowly than she’d like.
I have a feeling we’ll see a lot more of this behavior in the upcoming years.
Oh, Christmas. You are fast becoming my favorite holiday again. There were a few years where I wasn’t so sure about you and your glitter-filled tripe, but throw two little ones into the mix and suddenly I’m all about Santa.
I think we did better this year about not overloading Ellie with presents. Her big gifts were a penguin backpack, a Duplo zoo set and a box of art supplies. “Santa” tried to think creative & practical. But I think the gift that put the rest to shame was from my brother, aka “Uncle J”, who found the coolest play tent ever. It’s now taking up most of Ellie’s room and serves as a home to her ever-growing collection of stuffed animals:
The rest of the family was spoiled as well. I’m proud to say I got everyone into Fitbit! Tim surprised me with an iPhone, something I’ve always wanted but could never justify given our budget. Now that he’s traveling and I’m walking more, it makes sense to have my own phone (and it means I can more easily torture my Facebook friends with photos of my kids, muwahahahaha!)
We also spent a day with our “surrogate family,” Tim’s family friends who we call Nana and Tom. They sent us home with a ridiculous amount of yummy food and gave Ellie a Little People school bus (among other things), which she hasn’t stopped playing with since:
As far as keeping up with healthy habits over the holiday, I only cheated a little. There were two days during which I missed my 10k steps because I was either tired or too busy with holiday stuff. I also stopped tracking my food, but I don’t feel like I overindulged or ate differently than usual. I’ve been a lot more active thanks to one of my presents, Just Dance 2. All in all, I think I made it through the holidays without overdoing it, so I feel really good about that.
Someone turned two months old a few days ago, and wow, where did the time go? I thought it moved fast with Ellie, but with Gwen we appear to have created a full-fledged rip in the space/time continuum. Sorry if anyone’s stuff got sucked into a black hole as a result–but just look at this face! Totally worth it, right?!?
Seriously, I would have ten more kids if I didn’t have to carry them for nine months and if it was guaranteed they’d be as easy-going as our Guinevere. We’ve been lucky with both our girls (good sleepers!) but Gwen’s temperament reaches a whole new level of cool.
She’s growing like a weed. At her last appointment she measured 25 inches long–in case you’re not familiar with average infant measurements, that translates to really freakin’ long. This explains why her 3-6 month sleepers are getting snug at the feet. Obviously it’s too early to tell if this will have any impact on her full-grown height, but I think someone has a future in basketball.
Many people say she’s starting to look like me, but I don’t see it. What I do see is Ellie–lots and lots of her. It’s almost like we have twins, but three years apart:
What they share in similarity they make up for in different personalities–Gwen is more mellow, Ellie, more active; Gwen is talkative, Ellie, cuddly; Ellie hammed it up for the camera (even as a baby!) but Gwen doesn’t quite know what to make of it. I have to remind myself not to compare them too much, because doing so serves no useful purpose (and could get me in trouble when they’re old enough to call me out on it.)
Ellie adores “her baby” (as she calls her) and it’s becoming apparent that Gwen adores her “big sissa” just as much. She watches Ellie dance and sing and bounce around, taking it all in with rapt attention, rewarding Ellie’s antics with big grins and coos. I can only imagine the trouble we’ll be in when Gwen can keep up with her…
… yeah, we’re screwed. But at least she’s cute.
I’m not much for resolutions, but I did make one promise this year. One promise, and I think it’s the key to all the promises.
I promise to be nicer to myself.
I’m going to remember what it feels like to be comfortable in my own skin (not just in body, though that’s a big part, but in mind and spirit, too). Because there was a time in my life where I was much more appreciative of my strengths, and less debilitated by my weaknesses.
Really, there was! I swear!
See, I have what I like to call a case of the “shoulds”. I’m pretty sure most of us have these, actually, to varying degrees. But I think mine got out of control.
“I should go grocery shopping.”
“I should call my mum more often.”
“I should eat less and exercise more.”
“I should have gotten a better education.”
“I should be working at a better job.”
“I should take more photographs.”
“I should be more outgoing.”
“I should be more adventurous.”
I’ve piled all these expectations on myself – some of which are reasonable (“I should shower every day” – my co-workers probably appreciate this one, and I do, too!) and many of which are not so reasonable (“I should be perfect” – oh, c’mon, perfection can’t be that hard to achieve, right?). So I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise that lately it seems I’m drowning in a lake of guilt – guilt for not calling friends, guilt for not eating well, guilt for parting my hair on the left instead of the right, guilt for not being smarter, thinner, prettier, more academic; you name it, I’ve probably felt guilty about it.
I’m going to point out the obvious here: Too much guilt hurts. Eventually you start feeling guilty for feeling guilty! Which makes you feel even more guilty! Shit!
Last summer I came to a point where I said to myself, “Self, you have everything your little heart could possibly desire. You have a beautiful life with a wonderful person and two crazy cats, you live in a beautiful house, and you have a stable job that has excellent benefits. Slap on a white picket fence and you’re living the American dream! So why, for the love of god why, can’t you just sit back and enjoy it?”
Guilt. Because I’m trying to meet impossible standards and I haven’t accepted myself for who I am. And feeling restless and unbalanced inside means feeling restless and unbalanced about everything else in your life, too, no matter how good it is.
So, I declare this the year of getting back to good. I’m not even sure how I will keep this promise, but the other morning I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror and said, rather quietly, “I like you. You’re okay. You’re doing just fine.” And I’ve repeated it every day since, whispering it to myself as a mantra when I start to feel anxious or overwhelmed. Reassurance that I don’t have to be perfect, that I can just be me, and that’s enough.
And it’s funny how forcing yourself to let go of some of those expectations really lightens the load. Enough to, say, start eating healthier, without really having to think about it. Or wanting to take photographs again. Or redesigning your Web site for the first time in nearly a year, which is exactly what I did this week. Not because I felt obligated to, but because I wanted to.
There’s a lot to be said for letting things go, for giving up expectations that may have outlived their usefulness, for letting life wash over you instead of paddling frantically against the current.
I like you, you’re okay, you’re doin’ just fine.
And lo and behold, I am.