Written and Never Posted: Summer 2009 

A fellow blogger friend of mine, Kate, posted a commentary this morning about how men are perceived in the childrearing process. I found myself agreeing with a lot of the things she had to say - I am guilty of sending admiring smiles to a father navigating a Saturday morning alone with his two small children at the bagel shop or a man with a baby strapped to his chest, alone on the bus.

In terms of our own childcare arrangements - Brent will be the “stay at home dad”. While I will be blessed enough to work from home quite a bit, he’ll be the lead in the hour to hour care of our child during the day while I focus on my work in another room. I also travel often for work which will leave him as the lone parent for days at a time.

Other than both of us feeling truly blessed to have the flexibility to be home with our child and not have to utilize daycare - neither of us has felt this is an extraordinary occurance… however I can’t tell you the number of times that colleagues, friends, and acquaintances have raised their eyebrows and said something to the effect of “Wow! That’s different. It’s great your husband is comfortable doing that”.  Why wouldn’t he be?

Half Written and Never Posted: November 2009
It’s eleven thirty on a Saturday night. I have roughly twelve more Saturday’s left before you arrive. I spent the evening dying fabric for pillows, curtains, and crib linens in your room. As I type these words you are kicking me over and over again in the ribs. I have to admit that I really like having you all to myself. In a few short months you’ll be available for the whole world to experience, but for now, you are mine and only mine.
Your father is

Half Written and Never Posted: November 2009

It’s eleven thirty on a Saturday night. I have roughly twelve more Saturday’s left before you arrive. I spent the evening dying fabric for pillows, curtains, and crib linens in your room. As I type these words you are kicking me over and over again in the ribs. I have to admit that I really like having you all to myself. In a few short months you’ll be available for the whole world to experience, but for now, you are mine and only mine.

Your father is

Half Written and Never Posted: Fall 2010

It took me a long time to get here. To know exactly who I am.

For most of my childhood I was a follower. I had plenty of friends but I wore what they wore, did what they did, acted in the way that was agreeable and accepted by my peers.

And that’s the way it went for many years. When I think back on the gangly girl I was in highschool - jutty shoulders, blonde hair, too much eyeliner. In “love” with a boy two years my senior for most of my schooling. I was a good kid - got good grades, never much of a challenge to my parents, and constantly surrounded by my girlfriends… but there are a lot of things that I was missing.  I regret that although I considered myself a friendly person, I never made much effort to extend myself outside my group of friends. I regret that I maintained friendships with people who didn’t always have my best interest in mind. I regret that I didn’t see a world bigger than my little hometown.  But then again, that’s what I knew. That’s what my limited life experiences allowed me to know.

I left highschool almost twelve years ago. And in those twelve years I’ve made major mistakes, had my heart broken, found redemption, discovered true friendship, learned to speak up for myself, uncovered my fire, and learned the beauty in my individuality.

I’ve learned that there are going to be people in this world that dislike you despite your best efforts - and hey, that’s life. I’ve learned that I’m only effective in bettering myself and making improvements when I want it, instead of trying to do it for someone else.  I’ve learned to be okay with my flaws. Even if I am my own worse critic, I’m my own champion too. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

I know how to stick up for myself when it’s necessary and when to poke fun at my own faults. I am often awkward, inconsistent, unorganized, and absent-minded. I talk too much. I wish our house wasn’t messy, that I’d learn to get my oil changed on a regular basis and that I

Like most people I want to be liked, I want to be accepted but I don’t waist time

Half Written and Never Posted: May 2011

The best days of my maternity leave have been the least anticipated. The days where we sleep as late as the babies will allow. Arlo and I rising last as we’ve spent the early hours of 3 am and 6 am nursing in the quiet of our home. Then Brent makes me a hot cup of coffee in a mug marked with the word “MOM” and sets it down on the side table next to me.

Everly greets me with a mouth covered in the last bits of her breakfast. Grape jelly or strawberry slices. Little sticky fingers that smell like peanut butter pat my leg. She peers into my arms at her little brother. “Arlooooo!” she says, rolling his name around on her tongue.

We watch Nick Jr, Brent and I laughing that we know every word and we all sing along to the theme song of the bug cartoon. It’s too humid to stay outside long, but we let Everly out long enough to draw something swirly in sidewalk chalk on the front bench.

During the quiet of her mid day nap, I catch up on email and blog. Brent picks at his guitar. Arlo it seems, has plans to spend every waking minute nursing. Somewhere in the middle, I find a few minutes to steal away and get a hot shower.

When Everly wakes, we share a lemon popsicle. We play with toys. Brent has been praciticing her ABC’s with her. Over our shoulder we watch Lili, a beautiful film from 1953 about a french orphan girl who joins a carnival and falls in love with the puppets. Everly adores the songs and claps along. I make a mental note to buy the DVD.

As the afternoon falls away, Brent and Everly head out for a few errands. Arlo nurses and nurses and nurses. A storm passes through and knocks down the heat enough for us to crawl onto the front porch swing. I balance my boy on my knees and make over exaggerated facial expressions in an attempt to get him to mimic me. A neighbor walking her dog can’t see the baby and gives me a strange look.

Our lazy day has left us in no mood to cook. We defrost ham and kale soup that my dad brought over for us. We eat it with saltine crackers and big glasses of cold water. Everly is in her pajamas soon and I watch as Brent brushes her teeth.

Photos I Never Posted: February 2012

(I actually think I might have posted this one before, but it’s sitting in my draft box and too absurdly cute not to post again.)

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Half Written and Never Posted: May 2012

There is a video that lives on the old laptop inside the cabinet in our living room that I’ve been thinking about lately. I made it when Arlo was three months old. It was late July and we were in the thick of bad news on our son. The latest was that he had been diagnosed with Ocular albinism*. I’d spent hours one night digging through page after page on the internet reading about what this meant for him. I was feeling vulnerable and completely unprepared and since it was 3am, and everyone else was asleep, I turned on the camera on my laptop and started to talk. and cry really hard. and lay out my fears in the quiet of my dark living room.

And then I closed my laptop and never watched it again. I just needed to let it live somewhere, admit it existed and then put it to rest. The next day, I wrote this post, sharing Arlo’s condition on my blog. I’ve always struggled with how to go about sharing Arlo’s health news here. Sometimes it felt appropriate to share it openly because Dear Baby is a reflection on the daily happenings in our life and it felt odd to be dealing with it in our lives and not acknowledging it in this space - but other things I’ve held on to for months at a time before mentioning them in a post.

With the passing of his first birthday, I am very much ready for a new era of health and wellness for my son. It is what I hope for more than anything else in the world. Health and happiness for my family. Take the rest, leave me that.

We met with Arlo’s pediatrician today for his one year check up and the first thing I said to her was, “Well, you promised me I’d survive his first year. And here we are!”  My mind wandered to that late night video as she went down the checklist, smiling and nodding as we shared all the things our boy has accomplished. I thought back to that version of myself on that video, a woman feeling scared and alone with her son’s new diagnosis. I wish I could comfort her. I wish she could have been in the room today as her tiny son was transformed into a strong growing boy who flipped the light switch off and on & waved to cars that passed by the windows in our exam room. 

*Arlo’s Ocular Albinism diagnosis was later changed to Oculocutaneous Albinism Type II after genetic testing. 

Half Written and Never Posted: Spring 2013

Just a little story about how the intersection career and motherhood saved the butts of the folks over at Pixar. 

Tags: working mom

Half Written and Never Posted: December 2012

I’m not interested in being an expert on anything, except my own family. When I started writing about my experiences on motherhood, I will admit that early on, I grew a little overconfident or a lot overconfident (depending on who you ask) about my abilities.

I was ready to dole out advice and recommendations like I’d been doing this for years, when really, truly, I only knew the ins and outs of one particular little girl who happened to be early to everything and easy about all the rest.

Arlo was a much needed reality check. Nothing that worked before him worked on him. I was starting at zero and it made me realize that everything is relative and nothing is guaranteed. There are no secret formulas or magic steps when it comes to raising children. What one mother swears by another deems useless. There is nothing that is best for all babies and all that truly matters is what’s best for my babies. There isn’t a book or a blog or how-to video out there that has those answers.

These days, I will admit I know nothing. But even within that statement I am confident in my abilities to find what will work for my children. I know nothing, but I trust the hell out of my own intuition. 

I’ve learned the right amount of shushes and the perfect kind of rock to get my babies to sleep and the perfect ratio of broccoli to mac n cheese to ensure their plates are clean. I’m a master in the art of Everly and Arlo (but them alone).

I just want to make a commitment here to you all, on this little blog of minethat I will always share ideas and things that have been helpful or beneficial in the process of raising up these babies with the caveat that I know nothing (nothing at all) about how any of this might work, or be totally off basis when it comes to your family. It sounds like a disclaimer, but it’s the cold hard truth.

Most importantly, I respect and recognize and marvel at you, my fellow mamas who are experts in your own right about your own sweet babesand what makes their worlds go round. There isn’t another woman on this earth that knows what works for them better than you.And isn’t that something worthy of great pride? (Greater than gold medals or emmys or whatever statue they are handing out these days.)

Because this whole experience of parenting… it’s about making mistakes and holding our ground and learning our way. I’ll keep sharing my story and I hope you’ll all be here to help me keep it real. And remind me, should I ever get too full of myself again, that I’m not an expert on anyone else but these two little people who I brought into the world.

And ain’t that enough?

Half Written and Never Posted: Spring 2013

A few months back, on her own, Everly started to tell her brother and random friends and family, “Arlo is SO handsome!”  It always made me giggle as I assumed she was just repeating what she had heard me say to him before.

Two days ago, we were sitting in the frozen yogurt place enjoying our treats and Everly was fixated on a young family outside. Among them was a boy, probably five or six, with shaggy blonde hair. After watching them through the glass for a few minutes Everly turned to Brent and I and said, “That boy out there is SO handsome!”

Brent and I immediately turned and looked at each other and laughed a little nervously.  I mean she is THREE. Three years old and already announcing that a boy outside is handsome.

I don’t know what to make of it. Of course, it was completely innocent - just her observation. But it still felt odd to me to hear her make such a declaration out of the blue about someone she didn’t know.

She has years ahead of her until boys turn into icky cootie carriers and then beyond that into love interests, but it was an interesting emotional experience for me.  To think - aww, that’s adorable and then wait, you are way too young to even be thinking about the physical appearance of another person.  I think I’m probably giving it far more weight than it even deserves in writing it here.

A few years ago, I found some of my old diaries from elementary school - around fifth grade,  I guess… And reading through them, I felt like I was way too young to even be talking about boys and crushes and “going out” and yet - there I was doing it.

Looking back on my youth, I’ve come to feel like perhaps I missed out on some real opportunities to be adventurous and develop a personal identity as a young girl because I was so wrapped up in getting a boyfriend and wondering if they liked me or not. It was the focus or my existence for most of middle school and high school.

As an adult, I wish I could have changed that experience. I wish I could have built a core of self worth around my talents and my best friends and saved the boys for years when I was emotionally more mature.

I know I’m jumping the gun in a big way by even writing these things outloud - but ultimately, we all just want to save our kids from some of the mistakes we made growing up. I know I can’t, but it won’t stop me from wishing I could.

I know that genuine interest in boys is far off for my girl, I’m just hoping

Photos I never Posted: Spring 2013

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