Saturday, June 14, 2014

Our Day in Portland

Dear Maddie and Simon,

We spent today in Portland, Oregon. (Simon, it was your first time there! Unless you count our visit when you were a fetus about the size of a golfball.) It was not without adventure. It was not without excitement. It was not without some cheese vomit all over the backseat.

Poor Maddie. This was actually the second time you threw up cheese in the car, so we're thinking that a.) you get carsick just like Mommy, and b.) we should stop feeding you cheese before car trips. We pulled over to the side of the highway, I cleaned you up with an absurd number of diaper wipes, we stuck poor Elmo and your clothes into a plastic bag (they were victims of the cheesy splash, but don't worry - they're all currently in the washing machine), and Daddy stopped at the nearest Fred Meyer to buy you some new clothes. He picked out a Frozen tee shirt that had Queen Elsa on it, and you were very pleased. 

We arrived in Portland, about three hours from Issaquah, and went to Grant Park. Grant Park is home of the Beverly Cleary sculpture garden! (Beverly Cleary wrote the Ramona books. By the time you are able to read this, you will probably know how much I love the Ramona books. I hope you'll love them, too!)

After we played at Grant Park for a bit (that's where Ramona and Beezus played too, you know. Beezus Quimby, not Beezus Lute), we headed to Mississippi Marketplace to meet up with Abbie and Ben. Maddie, you remember Abbie. She spent Thanksgiving with us last year. She's a friend of mine from college. Simon, you were such a smiley guy while she was holding you!

Portland is the City of Roses, and there are roses everywhere. It's beautiful. But the most beautiful place of all (in your mom's opinion, anyway) is the International Rose Test Garden in Portland. We headed there after lunch. It was spectacular!

After the International Rose Test Garden, we went to the Japanese Gardens, which were also beautiful. Maddie, you told us that your favorite part was seeing the koi fish.

That's us, on the bridge! (Us and Clifford the Big Red Stroller.)

It was a long, wonderful day, and we're so glad we got to spend it with you. Very happily, there was no vomit on the way home. Just a couple of sleeping cuties in the backseat.

Your Mama

Friday, June 6, 2014

A snapshot of things right now.

Dear Maddie and Simon,

That's right! This is a blog post for both of you. Can you dig it? We've had a really busy week (Music Together, my writing critique group, playgroup, play dates, lots of errands, some fun shopping, some grocery shopping), so we're staying at home today, playing, relaxing a little, and catching up on things like thank you notes and Simon's baby book. While I was sticking some pictures in Simon's book and writing about his sleeping habits, I realized that there are more things I want to hold onto. More than there is room for in both of your baby books combined, and more than our camera phones capture, though they capture an awful lot. So here's where we are right now.

Maddie, you just turned two years old. I get the strangest combination of feelings sometimes when I look at you or talk to you. I am so joyful and proud that you are this incredibly, shockingly smart little girl. And you are such a little girl. You aren't the baby that you were last year, and that makes my heart hurt an enormous amount, but there's still that huge joy, because you are becoming so many wonderful things, and such a wonderful little person. I told you it's a strange feeling. Motherhood is a really strange thing. I am happy and sad at the same time all the time. I am full of love for you even when I am furious, and even when I'm trying to hurry you along ("Let's hurry so we don't get closed in the elevator door! Let's hurry to music class because we're going to be late!") I'm also wishing I could slow you down.

Your vocabulary is out of control. I can't answer the question "How many words does she have?" anymore. You have all of the words. Well, you have all of the words you've been exposed to, anyway. At playgroup the other day, you wanted to play the "pee-no-no," which is your very cute word for piano. You don't really do that with most other words, so I'm not going to correct you. Ever. Maybe someday you'll study classical piano at Juilliard, and you'll walk out onto a huge stage, and there'll be two thousand people in the audience, and you'll say "I'm Madeline Lute, and I'm going to play Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata for you tonight on this Steinway Grand Pee-No-No." No one will correct you then, either, because you're freaking Madeline Lute, the amazing classical pianist.

You're potty training! Some days we have no accidents at all. You blew my mind yesterday when you told me you needed to use the potty in a store, and your Pull-Up was completely dry, and you just went on the potty, and that was that. When we have days like yesterday, I think to myself, "She is potty trained!" Then, today, I was on the phone with my friend Diane, and you had more than one accident in that short amount of time, despite my asking you every few minutes if you needed to use the potty. I suspect that had to do with me being on the phone. On days like today, I think to myself, "She is potty training." And then I think to myself, "Better do a load of laundry. And wipe up that small puddle." But it's cool. That was hours ago. We're cool.

You do stairs now. You hold my hand and walk on the sidewalk. You sleep in your toddler bed in the nursery with no gate in your doorway! Okay, so sometimes you escape. Sometimes you army crawl into the living room after your bedtime. We catch you and put you back in your bed and tuck you in, and sometimes we have to repeat this whole process between two and seven times. In the mornings, you come into our room and say "Good morning, Mommy! Good morning, Daddy! Good morning, Simon!" This is really sweet when it's actually morning. It was less sweet at 2:00am today, but it happens. Time is confusing when you can't read it. I understand. You eat at our table with us, and don't even use a booster seat! Simon sits next to you in the high chair.

Your brother adores you. ADORES you. He laughs at everything you do. As far as Simon is concerned, you are Red Buttons. (Red Buttons was a comedian. He is not a very timely reference.) You are so loved by your family, little girl.

Simon, you are almost five months old. No, let's not rush it. You're four and a half months old. You are a completely adorable bear cub. You started eating solids on Wednesday, and to be honest with you, even though it was just a couple tablespoons of sweet potato mixed with breastmilk, I still wanted to cry over it. But you were so ready to eat, and you're doing a great job with that sweet potato. You're not so into infant oatmeal, but give it time. In a few days, we'll move onto carrots! You're growing fast, and just like your sister, I wish I could hit pause for a little while, but it's still so exciting to see you becoming this wonderful, bright, funny little boy.

You can sit up for forty-five seconds, unassisted. Then you tip over. You laugh and smile all the time, and you began really rolling over yesterday! You did it several times during the day, and then when you were in your bassinet last night I kept hearing kerthud. I'd look at you, find you awake and on your belly, and then roll you back over onto your back. I'd put my head back on my pillow, and then kerthud again. There you were, on your belly again, and very proud of yourself. I hope you know how much we love you. And we love you so, so much.

As a matter of fact, I love you both so much, I can hardly stand it.

Your Mama

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Happy Second Birthday, Maddie!

Dear Maddie,

Today you are two! TWO! Like, two YEARS. Not two days or two weeks or two sandwiches. Can you believe there was actually a time when you were two sandwiches old? I just read through the post I wrote for your first birthday to give me some inspiration and it's amazing to consider how much has changed in just a year.

For starters, right now you are sleeping in your own bed in your own room. You only got up like 4 times before saying down for the night, too. And before you went to sleep (without a binky), you used the big girl potty. All of these things seemed impossible a year ago, and now they're just a part of every day.

This has been an exciting birthday for you. Your Aunt Anni came to visit. We had a great party with lots of your friends at a local crepes and tea joint with a slide (what, every town doesn't have one of those?). You've gotten presents on like 4 days in a row. Today we played on a playground, which is just about your favorite thing in the world to do. I think you've really loved it all.

Last year, I wrote about how an average day tends to go, and that seems appropriate to do again, because it gives a fun snapshot of what life was like for us the day you turned two.

You wake me up in the morning. Every morning. I set my alarm for 7:00am, but I literally cannot remember the last time I was woken up by my alarm and didn't have to go running into the other room to shut it off after I'd been up with you for two hours. You get up by 5:30am without fail. WITHOUT FAIL. Usually, you're in bed by 8:00pm. Sometimes, when you seem especially tired at night, we put you to bed at 7:00pm. This always seems like a brilliant idea at the time, but less brilliant the next morning at 4:30am when you're awake, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to face the day.

The past few mornings, the first thing you ask to do is use the potty, and so we do that. This potty training thing is crazy, and it's weird to publicly discuss your bodily functions like this, but I'm so very proud of how well you've taken to it. We're not all the way there yet, but you're definitely on board with the idea and that's life-changingly awesome for all of us.

After you've pottied, you usually ask for 'partoons and milko'. The problem with 5:30am is that cartoons don't even start on PBS until 6am, so usually we play a little, or I lie down on the couch and try to convince you that we're playing a game called 'rest on the couch' and the person who sleeps the longest wins. You're usually too smart for this game.

Can we talk for a moment about cartoons? Most cartoons are terrible. For example, the worst cartoon on television is Super Why. It doesn't make any sense. They claim that reading lets you 'change the story', which is pretty exactly what reading doesn't let you do. I think they're thinking of 'writing'. And the answers they always find to their problems are ridiculous. "Oh, your brother is mad because you broke his skateboard? The solution is 'ASK FIRST'." That's not even a solution to your current problem! That's a solution to a problem you don't actually have. Maybe that answer and a time machine AND you not breaking the skateboard would be a good solution. But you love it, and it seems to actually be teaching you things because you can spell words and you know your alphabet...but man is it awful. Peg + Cat on the other hand is practically the best show on television in any time slot. Anyway, those are my current feelings on 'partoons'.

So you and I hang out and play and watch cartoons and I try to convince you to eat various things and you tell me 'no' about 700 times until I eventually stumble upon the thing you actually want. At some point, your mom and Simon wake up and we all hang out for a little bit until it's time for me to take a shower and get ready for work. I complain a lot about the early mornings, but I'll tell you a secret: I actually really enjoy getting to spend some time with you alone, I just wish it didn't have to be before the sun was up.

I head off to work, and your mom texts me with funny stories about your day. You and mom and Simon are social butterflies. Some days you have Music Together. Some days you have a play group. Some days you go to the park or go hiking or I don't even know what. I can't keep track. I don't know how your mom does it. She's a hero, and she must love you guys an awful lot to run around as much as she does. You love all of it, though.

When I come home from work, you tell me all about who you saw and what you did. You often tell me there was a water table there, even when there wasn't. I guess you really like water tables. While dinner is being prepared, you often like to go out on our balcony and talk to the 4-year-old boy who lives downstairs. That's fine for now, but I'll be keeping an eye on that as you get older. Then we all eat dinner. You don't sit in a high chair anymore (Simon sits there now). You sit in a big girl chair at the table with us. You eat the same thing we do, and sometimes even use a fork.

After dinner, it's time for your bath. This is still one of my favorite times of day. You just love baths so much. We play and sing songs and make dinosaur noises. Sometimes lately Simon has been sharing your bath with you, which is fun, but I think you much prefer when you have the whole thing to 'swim' in, as you say. You've recently discovered that you can pull up the shower doo-dad when I'm not looking and cause it to 'rain' on both of our heads, which surprises me every time it happens. You'd really think I would learn. You still don't like getting out of the bath at all, though you've now grown to tolerate it a bit because you suddenly love brushing your teeth, and if getting out of the bath means you get to demand that we brush your teeth, then so be it.

Once bathtime is over, we play a little bit more, mom puts your hair up, and then it's mom's turn to get some alone time with you. I take Simon and keep him entertained while mom puts you to bed and reads you some stories. Some of your favorite stories right now include "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" and "Murray book", which is a Sesame Street book about words. Until VERY recently, you wouldn't go to bed until we'd read "Sheep Book", which is about various mama animals putting baby animals to sleep. Your tastes change suddenly, though, so next week will probably be different.

After stories are done, your mom puts on a CD for you. The current playlist is a Disney Lullaby CD, and we usually let that play through twice before we're confident you're asleep. Once the music is playing, she feeds Simon, and I'm on 'put Maddie back in bed' duty. This duty has gotten much easier over time. I used to have to put you back to bed about 30 times a night before you were really down for good. Now it's usually more like 4.

Once you're asleep, mom and I get to have grown-up talk, which in all honestly is usually just us talking about you and Simon. Then we go to bed way too early and get up in the morning to do it all again. Our lives right now are lives of routine, but it's kind of a wonderful routine when nobody is screaming.

I love you, little girl. Happy birthday! Please don't grow up too fast.



Saturday, January 25, 2014

Maddie Says

Dear Maddie,

The birth of your brother has really opened my eyes to how big you're getting. You're so tall now, your legs are so long, and you're growing up more and more each day.

The other day I said to your mom, "It makes me sad is that one day I'll probably forget most of the funny figures of speech and mannerisms Maddie uses every day right now." I'm sure I'll only be able to remember some right now as I try to write this down, but you say some funny things, little girl, and I'd like to record for future reference. Someday I'll be old and my brain won't work. Like 200 years from now.

You'll also note that everything you say ends in an exclamation mark, because...well, it does.


"Hold it, _______!"

When you see something you want, you don't say 'want' or 'gimme' or just the name of the thing. No, for as long as I can remember, you've said "Hold it, _____." It sounds like you're issuing commands to Zork, and it's awesome. A typical conversation goes something like this:

Maddie: Duck!
Mom: Yes, that is a duck!
Maddie: Hold it, duck!

Often this is an actual duck, and you cannot 'hold it, duck.' In those cases, you get very angry, but soon there's something else you want to hold and all is well.


For some reason, you call milk 'milko'. I think we can all agree this is way better than the 'real' word. So much so, that I'm going to petition the OED to get it changed.


Every night, when I capture you for your bath, I sing "TAAAAAAAAKE a bath!" in a very loud, operatic voice. I also took to doing this when it was time to "TAAAAAAKE a nap!" You, my daughter, think you are very clever, and now whenever I say, "TAAAAAAAKE a bath!" you respond, "TAAAAAAAAKE nap!" or vice versa, as though you think you're going to confuse me. It hasn't worked yet, but someday you're going to find yourself with a very wet nap.

"Strawberry berries!"

Somehow, you got it in your head that strawberries should always be called by their more formal name, "strawberry berries." Because strawberries are among your favorite things, we hear this one repeated over and over a lot.


This one is sort of my personal favorite, and what prompted the original desire to record some of these things, as you now say 'spider', which while more likely to allow you to communicate with humans, isn't nearly as cute. Especially since you always yelled it at the top of your lungs. Now when you say the Itsy Bitsy Spider with us, you can complete the lines that end in 'spider', 'spout', 'rain', and 'sun' perfectly.


You're a very, very smart little girl, and you surprise us more and more each day with how much you're able to take in from the world around you and turn into communication. We love you so much, and we're very proud of you.

Plus, you've slept through the night in your own bed for three nights in a row now, so I'm feeling particularly fond of you this morning.


Your very proud Daddy

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

You're Here!

Dear Simon,

I am so happy to be typing this with you snuggled in the crook of my arm. Your sister is cuddling with your Memere, and your daddy and I are working on our accounts of your birth story. Before I start, I want to tell you how much I love you! I couldn't have dreamed up a more perfect, sweet little boy. Welcome home, Simon.

On Friday, I was two days past my due date, and so ready to meet you. I went to my OB appointment that morning feeling depressed, defeated, and like you might never arrive. (Pregnancy comes with a lot of hormones, Simon.) I burst into tears as soon as the midwife came into the room to check my cervix, and she was wonderful. She was like this pregnancy angel who swooped in with a box of tissues and a hug. She was pregnant with her third, and kept telling me that it was perfectly okay to cry, and that you would be here soon, etc. She also offered to do a membrane sweep, which is a rather painful and unpleasant procedure. Painful and unpleasant, but if the mom is already close to labor, it is super effective! I began having strong contractions around 10pm Friday night, and I was thrilled. 

Strong contractions turned into very painful ones, and your dad and I headed to the hospital on Saturday around 3am. Unfortunately, once we got there, my contractions became really erratic, and a rather awful doctor (not mine, and not the OB who delivered you, thank goodness) said: "Well, you're not really in labor, so we can't keep you. Go home." Ugh. I was very quiet on the short ride home. Once we got home, however, I wasn't so quiet anymore. I laid down in bed with your dad and sister (who refused to sleep in her own bed that night, though your poor Memere tried to get her back to sleep after all of the excitement), and the contractions became terrible. Terrible. They were a lot harder and longer than the ones I'd had with your sister, and I was in more pain than I'd ever been in before. Your dad kept asking me what they felt like, and the closest thing I could think of was a werewolf transformation. I mean, I'm only guessing here, because I'm not a werewolf, but the way it's often depicted in movies is reminiscent of what I felt on the morning I labored at home with you. Lots of bones breaking and things ripping, etc. It felt like that. I remember holding onto our headboard, scratching the wall, moaning and crying, trying my hardest not to scare your poor sister to death. (She was very sweet. She kept patting my head and telling your dad, "she cryin'. She cryin'.") It was kind of hellish, Simon. I'll give it to you straight. But even while I was half insane with the werewolf contractions, I was so glad to know that you were on your way to me. 

Around 7am, we went back to the hospital. At this point, I was barely able to stand up, your dad was scared half to death, and I felt a suspicious kind of pressure with each contraction that made me certain I was in active labor. They admitted me as soon as we got there this time, and told me I was six centimeters dilated. I'd progressed super fast at home, and you were almost ready to meet us. 

The rest is a little bit of a blur for me. The nurses had trouble getting an IV in (as usual), my epidural was just the most wonderful thing (as usual), and then I took a nap while your dad watched Moneyball. When I woke up, the movie was almost over and I felt like I needed to push. The OB came in, checked me, and said she needed to grab her gown because I was ready. This part was very cool. It was such an easy, low-key delivery. It was just me, your dad, the OB, and a nurse, and I pushed through just three contractions before you were born. There you were! My beautiful, screaming, soggy baby boy. They laid you on my chest, and you took my breath away. You were 8 lbs 11 oz, 21.5".

I had just a regular epidural this time (I'd had a combination spinal/epidural with Maddie, which blocked just about all feeling), which meant I didn't feel pain, but I did feel when I needed to push and when your head, shoulders, and the rest of you were out. It was very cool, and I felt more in control of the birth (though, let's be honest, you were really as in control as I was. It was kind of a team effort). I was also able to walk much sooner afterward this time, and walked from the delivery room to the recovery room.

You weren't a huge fan of sleeping that first night (or the second night or third night, for that matter. Let's work on that), but you were and are a huge fan of eating. Every single hour. Sometimes even more frequently! Hopefully things will work themselves into a natural routine, and we'll be able to get some sleep soon. We took you home with us, and here you are, eating, snoozing (sometimes, and in short bursts), and staring at me with these incredibly intelligent, beautiful eyes. 

And that's our birth story, little one. I love you so, so much.

Your Mama

Simon: The Birth of a Legend -- An Epic Tale to Rival Gilgamesh

Dear Simon,

You're here! You're here! And you're fantastic. I guess my last letter really got to you. Since you probably won't remember it, I guess I owe it to you to tell you what happened. A warning to you (and to anybody reading this over Simon's shoulder): This story will use words like 'placenta' and generally describe birth-related things, which are inherently gross. Maybe not for the faint of heart.

It all started...well, I guess it all started 9 months ago, but for the purposes of this story, it all started around 10pm on January 17th. As you know from my previous letter, you were due on January 15th, so by the time the 17th rolled around, your mother was ridiculously uncomfortable and I can't imagine you weren't pretty eager to get out of the big ball of goop you'd spent your entire life in. I mean, home is home and all that, but I saw what was in there. It's gross.

Your mom was beginning to have some pretty regular contractions, and they were pretty painful for the first time, so we were getting excited. By 3:00am on the 18th, they were about 10 minutes apart and had been regular for awhile, so we called the doctor and he said to go ahead and go to the hospital. Unfortunately, by the time we got there, they had stopped being so regular. They hooked your mom up for observation, but after an hour or so they were still irregular and she was still only a little more than 3 cm dilated, so it was clear that not much would be happening for a bit. The nurse suggested walking around the hospital for a bit and then coming back when they were regular again, or going home and waiting for awhile. Then a truly awful doctor came in and told us in what sounded to us like the meanest voice in the world, "You're not in labor. Go home. Come back when they're 5 minutes apart." That was absolutely the last thing your mom wanted to hear, and she was truly miserable.

We went home and tried to get some sleep. This was made difficult by the fact that every 15 minutes or so your mom would completely break as a person. That's about the only way I can describe it. She didn't scream...per se, but she would moan and scratch the wall above the bed, and grab the wooden bars on the headboard so hard I was sure she was going to snap them off. By that point, Maddie had climbed into bed with us, and every time this happened, she would pat your mom's hair and say, "She crying" in a very gentle voice. Every now and then, Maddie would try to sing her "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star", but that didn't seem to be helping, either.

A couple of very stressful hours later, around 6:00am, things had reached some sort of crescendo. Her contractions were 8 minutes apart, but I was reasonably certain each time one ended that 8 minutes later she was going to die. It was horrible, and I wasn't even the one screaming. She called the doctor and basically said, "Look, I know they said 5 minutes, but I'm going to die if I have to do this one more time." So they said to go back to the hospital. We stood up to get ready, just as your mom had another contraction and she could barely even stand. I ran downstairs to bring the car around, and when I came back up, your mom was just lying on the hallway floor moaning. I put her shoes on her feet, and as soon as the contraction was over I said, "We're going down the stairs now, because if you have one of these on the stairs, I'm not going to be able to save you." So we said goodbye to a very confused Maddie and your very worried Memere, and basically ran downstairs and into the car.

When we got to the hospital, your mom had another contraction while trying to walk inside and I had to hold her up while she yelled in the parking lot. It was crazy. We got inside and as soon as we got to Labor & Delivery, they said, "Alright, we're going to get you to a room." They checked her and she was 6cm dilated, so we were on our way to Simontown.

As usual, they had a lot of trouble getting your mom's IV in. She has terrible veins. If there were some sort of horror movie for nurses, she would feature prominently. Unfortunately, they couldn't start the epidural until the IV was in, so we went through a few rounds of fun there, trying to get needles in your mom while she moaned horrifically. Eventually, success was found and the most wonderful man in the world came in to give her the epidural, and after that life was wonderful.

Your mom was positive for Group B strep, which meant that in order for the pediatrician to be satisfied you were adequately protected, she had to be on antibiotics for at least 4 hours before you were born. They got the antibiotics flowing at 8:15am, so we needed to make it until at least 12:15pm in order to prevent having to stay at the hospital an extra night. They decided the best course of action was just to do nothing until then and let things take their course. Your mom was able to finally get a little bit of sleep in while I sat in the chair and watched Moneyball. Moneyball is a movie about one of the four interesting things that have ever happened in the entire history of baseball. It was alright, if you could ignore the baseball part. The point here, Simon, is that baseball is terrible.

Noon rolled around and your mom was really beginning to feel like she had to push. As soon as we hit the magic 4 hour mark, the doctor checked her to see if she needed to get ready to deliver you. She checked, saw your mom was 10cm dilated and said, "I better put my gown on." That was at 12:16pm.

At the next contraction, they had your mom start to push. The first push she didn't do so well, because...well, Simon, there's no easy way to say this, but she was afraid of pooping. See, apparently having a baby (something neither you nor I will ever have to do, thankfully) involves using the same muscles and pushing the same way you would while pooping, and your mom had heard horror stories. They basically told her to get over it and push, and the next two pushes for that contraction were really good. The doctor said, "A couple more like that and we'll have a baby."

At this point, I could see your hair sticking out, and that was very exciting. You were finally going to be here! On the next contraction, your mom pushed 3 more times, and now you could really see the top of your little head. Finally, the third contraction came, and by the second push, your head was all the way out! The doctor told your mom, "Alright, one more big push!" And then you were here! You were completely blue, and completely amazing. You were already gurgling cries as they suctioned the gunk from your mouth, and by the time they'd placed you on your mom's chest, you were already starting to pink up. You were crying and moving your head all around! At 12:31pm, 15 minutes after your mom started pushing, you were officially born!

While you were lying there getting to know your mom, they delivered the placenta. I actually got to see it this time around, and it wasn't really as gross as I was expecting. Just kind of...organ-like. While they stitched your mom up, I went with you over to the warmer where we weighed and measured you: 8 lbs 11oz! 21.5 inches! The nurse didn't believe you were really that long and had to measure you again, but it held up. Your long little legs were just kicking and kicking while you looked all around at us. By this point, only your fingers and toes were still blue and wrinkly. and you were starting to look very healthy. We brought you back over to your mom so you could try to breastfeed, and let me tell you, Simon, you took right to that.

Then it was time to wait and wait and wait.  We couldn't move to a post-partem room until your mom could walk again, so we just hung out and got to know you a little. I think both of us had forgotten how TINY babies are. You were just so little. Your arms were little and your legs were little and your fingers and toes and nose were little. Everything but your eyes, which were huge and bright and curious about the world all around you.

Eventually, the time came when your mom could walk and a room was ready for us, so we made our way over to the post-partem area and our new room. Your mom walked over there, which surprised the nurse who met us in the new room. "We don't get a lot of people walking over here on their own," she said. Your mom is a tough cookie. Tougher than you or I will ever be. Never forget that.

We got settled in the new room where we would stay the night until we could hopefully go home the next day. Pretty soon, you had visitors! Your Memere and Maddie came to see you! Maddie immediately ran up to you, yelled "BABY!" and gave you a kiss. So I think it's safe to say she likes you. She also kept insisting on giving you the chapstick she was carrying around, and she's not really one for sharing yet, so you must have had an effect on her. Your Memere loved you right away, of course, and was very excited to get to hold you. They didn't stay for long, because everybody was very tired after the long day and night. Once we all said our good nights, we settled in for our first night with you.

Oh, Simon, here's where the story gets sad...for your mom, at least. After you kept her up all night the night before moaning and yelling, you decided you needed to eat every hour for this entire first night. Neither of us got much sleep, but your mom definitely got the worst of the deal. Even though we were very tired, we were still very happy to have you there with us.

The next morning was very exciting for everybody. Your pediatrician came to see you and said you looked great. They did your hearing test and you rocked that, too. Then some other stuff happened involving your penis, but for your sake and the sake of everybody else reading this, I'll skip over all of that, except to say that you were very brave and were more angry about the iodine than anything else, which I found an odd ordering of concerns. I learned that they apparently use foreskins for eyelid transplants on burn victims, and that was sort of a learning experience for me. So everybody came out of that room a little bit different than they went in.

Then it was time for them to draw some blood so they could test your 24 hour bilirubin and make sure you were good to go home. I think the blood drawing was more traumatic for your mother than anybody. You just kind of hung out in my arms, but your mom didn't like watching them squeeze blood out of your little foot.

After waiting around an hour for that to come back (everybody was just fine), it was time to load you up in your carseat and head home. This was another one of those "Oh wow, babies are small," kind of moments for your mom and me, since we're used to loading your giant of a sister into her carseat and not tiny little you.

We made the short drive home and got there in time to watch the Seahawks win the NFC Championship. So really, it was kind of a great weekend for everybody. You would have been cheering, but your mouth was full of boob.

We love you, Simon, and we're so glad you're home with us. Even after several sleepless nights, we're still very excited for all of the days ahead. We can't wait to get to know you. Who will you be? What will you do? Should bacon be dipped in maple syrup? As long as you're not into baseball. (Alright, fine, even if you're into baseball.)


Your very tired, and very happy, Daddy

Friday, January 17, 2014

Come out, Simon!

Dear Simon,

Where the heck are you? You're two days overdue now and your mother is very uncomfortable. You could have at least written or called to tell us you'd be late so we could prepare. We'd have forgiven the poor handwriting and the amniotic fluid on the note. We'd even have accepted an early arrival, although most people would tell you that showing up early is rude to your hosts. We're not your hosts, we're your parents, and we'd like you here at your earliest convenience. Sooner than that, really.

We've been trying to get Maddie to yell "Come out, Simon!" While she likes to kiss your mother's belly and say "Baby!" Every time we ask her to say, "Come out, Simon!" she says "NO!" Maybe this is all her fault. She did finally consent to yell, "GET OUT!" though, so that's progress. She does seem to very much want to have you here as much as we do, though, so don't let her words fool you.

Your Memere has been a tremendous help to us, and I'm not sure any of us would have survived without her here. You'll learn this soon enough, but your sister can be a bit of a pill sometimes. Your poor mother is struggling just to haul all 400 pounds of you around and still managing to keep the laundry done. (Laundry is horrible, Simon. Pray you never need to do it.) It's hard to keep the place in a constant state of readiness for your arrival at any moment.

Not that things will get any easier once you're here, of course. You probably don't know this, but babies are tough. It's not your fault, you just don't know how to pour yourself a glass of milk yet, so your mother has to feed you. You don't know how to tell us you're hungry, so you have to make the only noise you know how to make and hope we figure it out. We'll teach you all of these things, I promise, but I understand it may take you a couple of weeks to be up and around and taking care of yourself. Being born must be very hard.

All of that said, we can't wait to meet you, Simon. I know these letters have not been as numerous as any of us would have liked, but it's certainly not for lack of loving, and caring, and thinking, and worrying about you. We've loved you since before we could have even imagined your face, and we want more than anything to see it. I'm sure it will be worth the wait. On the other hand, you're going to be sorely disappointed when you learn that the booming voice you've heard through your mother's uterus has your dad's ugly face on it.

The moral of this story is that we currently have some delicious candy, but the longer you take to get here, the less likely there will be any left for you. You better hurry!


Your Very Impatient Daddy