Short Stories From the Past 24 Hours

First Trip to the Zoo

Yesterday Maisy and I went to the zoo with some of the in-laws for my nephew’s second birthday.  We walked through all the exhibits, rode the train, and rode the merry go round.  While I was busy enjoying the animals and telling my niece all sorts of fun facts about each one, Maisy was busy enjoying watching the kids.  At least one of us actually observed the animal part of the zoo.

Confession From Your Average Mother

Yesterday evening I resolved to take Maisy to the park for a ride on the swing.  When this stubborn Swede resolves to do something you better believe it’s going to get done, even if it’s by tooth and nail.  So, when we show up to a partially busted baby swing I plop Maisy in anyway.  My strong 10-month-old latches her killer grip onto the chains and off she goes smiling and laughing successfully for several minutes.  Now, this next moment I’ve played over and over again in my head and I still can’t figure out how it happened, but suddenly my secure little girl has flipped over the front of the swing, done a front flip, and landed flat on her belly.  I’m frozen like a deer in headlights for a split second waiting for her to scream.  She doesn’t make a sound.  I pick up my baby girl to find her working on a mouthful of sand.  She doesn’t even look upset, just perplexed at this new in-mouth phenomenon.  As I’m cleaning her off and trying to help get the sand out of her mouth I realize she’s getting mad that I’m trying to help.  So I let her eat the sand, she deserves to eat sand if she wants after tumbling off a swing.

Mama Bear to the Rescue

Last night I’m hanging clothes on the line (yeah I forgot to do the load when I could benefit from faster drying by the sun shine) when I spot Sam in the garden.  Now that it’s warm out one of my goals is to train the dogs to stay out of the garden, so I start commanding him to get out.  Instead, he does this dance.  I command again as I start walking towards him, getting more furious by the second.  He does his dance again.  I command him yet again though I’m slowly realizing something else is going on.  He does a dance again.  Then I’m upon him, I scoop him up and plop him out of the raised bed.  My eyes settle on a patch of downy fur.  Sure enough, the dance that signals Sam has happened upon an unknown source of movement was legitimate.  I see the area surrounding the fur rustle.  Once.  Twice.  Three times.  I’m trying to glimpse what I have here thinking that some of the rustling will reveal a little more.  No luck, so I grab a nearby small planter to act as a shovel to help me investigate – don’t want my fingers nipped by whatever is in there nor do I want to get diseased bird germs all over my hands.  I’m ruffling through the leaf and fur debris expecting to happen upon a wounded bird.  Instead, I uncover a whole pile of baby bunnies.  These cute little buggers are nestled right next to the row of carrots I just planted.  Of course.  If only Maisy were old enough to at least enjoy these cute little pests.  Instead, the animal enthusiast and mama bear that I am, I am standing guard over these little babes every time I have to let Sam out to pee.  Please grow up fast little bunnies.

Confession of a Sleep Deprived Mother

Just before dawn Maisy wakes to nurse yet again.  I doze off as soon as she gets to work only to wake moments later to an odd warm sensation on my leg.  In my half dream state my mind bounces through the possibilities.  Did I wet myself?  No, that’s not possible from the outer side of my leg.  Did my water break?  No, I don’t have one of those.  Is a really hot Maisy leg touching me?  No.  Did she throw up.  No.  Is my breastmilk leaking all over?  No, my breasts are too far away from my thigh (at least for now, talk to me after more babies and maybe I’ll be whistling a different tune).  Did Maisy pee?  Did her diaper fall off?  That’s an awful lot of pee to be coming from her.

I root around in the dark.  Maisy feels bone dry.  And then I feel just under the side of her rump that’s nestled in closest to me.  Soaking wet.  I have two choices:  one, wake my now sleeping baby and change everything from her diaper to her sleep sack to my clothes to the sheets; two, embrace the warmth and go to sleep.  I chose the latter.

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Poop Everywhere

When it’s meal time at the Calhoun house Maisy gets stripped down, socks and diaper alone remain.  She’s a downright messy eater and we can hardly go around in public with her clothes tie dyed with food stains.  I like to make quick work of the ritual stripping so this usually involves me flinging the shirt off up over her head and then whipping the pants off in turn.  Before I whipped her pants off yesterday I noted a peculiar stain on them that I didn’t recall being there earlier.  I shrugged and whipped anyway.  As the pants flew off so did poop.  That peculiar stain was no stain, that was poop trying to escape the confines of her pants.  I set Maisy and her slimy butt down not knowing what to do.  Then quickly realized the trail of poop on the floor as Maisy started reaching for it – undoubtedly to put it in her mouth.  After cleaning the area surrounding Maisy I chose to clean the poop off my favorite light colored pants even though I was fully aware Sam may or may not snack on baby poop while I did so. Then I went back for the baby and held her at arms length, which she thinks is hysterical, all the way up to the nursery.  I proceeded first with damage control getting the poop smear all the way up her leg cleaned up then went in for the kill.  Yeah, lame kill.  Turns out most of the poop squished out the side rather than planting inside the diaper itself.  For good measure I plopped Maisy in the bath for a little extra scrub and then we were onto meal time.  Upon my return to the dining room however, I realized I still hadn’t cleaned up the rest of the sweet stinking sludge as I found it on the walls (when I say I whip the pants off I mean it) and still all over the floor with the exception of the circle around where Maisy once sat.  I laughed as I cleaned the poop off my walls.  Come on, it’s funny.

Bedsharing with Maisy

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Before Maisy arrived I pondered bed sharing with a sense of unease.  The idea of putting a tiny human being next to two full grown adults, one of which being a tossing and turning hard sleeper, sounded like a death trap.  Actually, since having Maisy Josh’s sleeping skills have proven to be even more proficient than I initially expected.  While my whole being propels out of bed at Maisy’s slightest sound Josh remains soundly asleep even if she’s been joyfully greeting the day with screeches and shouts for over 15 minutes.

Anyway, I spent over 72 hours in heavy labor before Maisy was born, then night came, then she made a peep, then she was in bed with me.  It was simply survival.  I was exhausted, torn to bits, and alone.  It took me approximately 1 minute to realize that the way I was not only going to survive but thrive at mothering an infant with a husband who spends half of our lives on the road, I was going to sleep with this baby.  Because, that night and every night following, this baby only stands a chance of sleeping well if she’s next to me.

I love bedsharing.  I love that in the middle of the night when she’s hungry all I have to do is whip out my ready made food supply and pass back out while she feeds herself (sometimes this tickling of a very sensitive area causes some peculiar dreams though.)  I love that in the morning I wake up to I bright eyed and smiling little bundle of joy (she’s seriously the most joyful morning person ever but also laid back enough to allow me enough time to get on board with starting the day at, sometimes, 5 am.)  I love that even as a newborn she somehow managed to scoot over and nestle her face into the crook of my neck if I ventured too far away in my sleep (even if it meant being pinned between Maisy and Josh).  I love that I get to spend all night long snuggling with my favorite little girl in the world (talk about quality time!)  And I have to believe that all of this is creating a nest egg of love inside my baby girl that will assure her that I adore her no matter what someone says to her at school or how long she has to be in time out or how much she thinks she hates me at any point.  Although, if the only benefit is that I get this nest egg of love that is good enough too.  I know that on the days I want to scream at her or the days I’m so tired I just cry or moments when I feel at a loss for what to do that I can easily conjure up my baby’s morning grin or any one of those moments in the middle of the night when I discover her nestled into my neck.

Do I recommend bedsharing?  Absolutely!  Turns out, it’s perfectly safe, natural, and desireable!  It is my sanity.  It unleashes joy I would not get to experience otherwise.  And it builds in me a nurturing heart that is bigger than I could have hoped for.  There are so many mornings that I comment to Josh how I can’t imagine missing those moments with her just to have a little extra space in bed.  Bedsharing means, usually, more frequent night wakings than a crib baby but the trade off is well worth it.  I’m glad I still have some time with Maisy in our bed before she outgrows that need and needs more of her own space instead because, though I may be ready to get more sleep at night, I am not ready to give up that intimacy with her.

*These are all older pictures… I really have to take some recent bedsharing pictures!

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a Photo a Day | August 25 – 31

A week in three photos!

For more “a Photo a Day” CLICK HERE.

So I was a major slacker this week.  Josh was gone a lot and usually that means I take a lot of pictures to sent to him but since his iPhone was shattered and in the shop I didn’t have the means to do that.  So, as a result, all I have to share this week are three photos:  Josh and Maisy looking adorable as they sleep, story time with Maisy (and I’m actually in a picture!), and I did a senior portraits session that was just fantastic and comes with a great story (more on that later).

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a Photo a Day | Aug 18 – 24

A full Week in Photos!

For more “a Photo a Day” CLICK HERE.

I sure have been busy!  I got to do a family/newborn/baby shoot, a senior portraits session, and did 2-month-old photos of Maisy.  We also went to a Brewers game with Josh’s parents!  Basically, the week was full of photo fun and some newness with Maisy – I finally got her pathetically adorable frown on camera and she tried out the Bumbo this week and loved it!

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