I Dreamed a Dream for Christmas Day…

Do you think I’ll be missed if I sneak away from the festivities for a bit? I’m sure the movie is only about 3.5 hours long. And they filmed it live…meaning, they are actually singing and acting at the same time. Be still my heart. Do you hear the people sing?

And don’t think “Cosette” was not on the table at one point as a baby name…

24601.

I miss my maternity clothes (and other post-partum thoughts worth sobbing over)

1. I miss my maternity clothes, clothes I had come to loathe, some I loathed when I bought. But always, towards to the end, I seem to find a rhythm (read: wear the same thing over and over) and it gets comfortable and those clothes, there are many things they are not, but they are kind. And my old clothes? It’s like we don’t even know each other anymore.

2. I miss the hospital. Seriously, this is sick. I’ve had a great first few weeks at home, cruising along and then this weekend… I get the stomach flu. And I lay in my bed at home, missing the nurses, and the menu, and the call button, and the fridge of small cokes outside my door. I even missed the constant interruption of someone checking my vitals. All I kept thinking was, “How are my vitals? No one has checked! How do I get a mini-coke in this place?!”

3. I miss the pass. You know the, “She’s pregnant, we’ll give her a pass on this right now,” pass. People telling you to sit down and relax,  because you are pregnant. Or, well if you have to wear all black and a scarf to the fancy wedding, that’s okay, because…you are pregnant, even though you are mistaken for the bartender. The very pregnant, goth, wedding bartender.

A few days ago, I received some very helpful literature from my insurance company saying that Post Partum Depression does not appear until two weeks after the birth. And so, in dutiful fashion, on Friday night, I plummeted. I curled up on my couch, drawing comfort from  a world in which Hugh Grant was my Prime Minister, and felt disappointed that this place had found me again.

See, one of the initial myths of depression, is that it coinsides with life being depressing. And for me, one of the hugest challenges of post-partum depression, is that it arrives in seasons of such plenty, when my heart  is overwhelmed with thankfulness.

And this time, the third time around, I really thought I had it beat. I got rid of that horrid velour J-Lo jogging suit I lived in the last two rounds. I have a better grasp on what energizes me, where my stumbling blocks are, and what really matters. But here I am again.

C.S. Lewis famously stated that “grief felt so like fear” For me, depression feels so much like failure.  And the last time around I felt I was failing because the house was a wreck and I was attached to that velour suit. This time the voice of failure has gotten a bit darker. These feelings are my failure.

I know completely, that that’s crazy talk. But there it is. And here I am.

4. I miss the anticipation.  Like the Bride who is sad when the wedding is over, though she is now married, pregnancy, challenging as it may be, moves me toward a date. I count it down by months, then by weeks, then by days, always aware that something big is eminent, that God is doing something new and mysterious in us and around us and upon us. Then the day arrives, celebration occurs, and this new way of living begins…And I forget to anticipate, though God is not done.

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Leila has a bit of delayed jaundice. (Did I mention that my large babies also have the tendency to be a bit yellow-hued, except I can never tell. She’s totally pink to me.) So the instructions for today are to strip her to her diaper and put her in some direct sunlight.

Done.

Except, my friends, it is so cloudy right now.

But here’s what we’re going to do: she’s going to sleep and I’m going to write a paper. And then we’re going to go into her well-windowed room, both of us with our broken out skin, she a bit yellow, me probably as well, and we’re going to wait for the sun. It may take a while, and may just be a crack of sunlight when it finally appears, but we both need some direct light today, and perhaps even the hope of it as much as the effects.

Can the Person Who Sent Me these Cookies Please Come Forward!

(I would like to send you a thank you note in the next 12-18 weeks…)

These treats are adorable and delicious and reaffirmed my excitement over Leila’s name filling my life with the cursive, capital “L”…quite possibly my favorite cursive letter.

They came from a little shop in Ohio…ring any bells?

Oh and Sophia was pretty sure there was one that actually said Leila, as was I. Unfortunately I must have eaten it before this photo shoot.

Email me to let me know if this was your thoughtfulness! THANK YOU!

 

Parades, Pea Coats, Puppets: book suggestion

Three little girls are fast asleep, and I am in my pajamas after a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with parade watching and turkey eating and small cousins consuming nothing but bread and cookies while twirling in princess costumes.

We rotated between Sesame Street and the Macy’s Day Parade this morning which was the usual menagerie of song and spectacle and  celebrities bopping in double-breasted pea coats.  Is it too late to dream? How I would love to dance in ear muffs underneath Hello Kitty’s watchful gaze…

But before I head off into a Vicks Vapo Rub assisted turkey coma, I wanted to mention this book that we found at the library last month and read over and over:

The True Story of the Puppeteer of the Macy’s Parade” gives the history of the parade and, even more so, how the balloons evolved into the combination of balloon/marionette style puppet that they are today.

This. book. was. cool. (yes, with powerful language such as that I am available to review your next book.). And as a result of reading, Sophia spent days making her own balloon/puppets and parading about.

Hope your day was full of joy, pea coat agility and fried turkey – I love that stuff.

Grateful…

The list is long this year, friends –  small things and big things, things asked for, and ones that surprised, may you be filled with peace and hope, and may your list continue to grow, no matter who or what you find at your table.

Leila, Meet Leila. My. heart. is. full.

12 Days, 3 Kids, 245 Paper Plates, and Anderson Cooper

Leila is 12 days old today. I think. What day is it?

And this picture was taken Friday (don’t you store your pacifier behind your ear?) Don’t ask me how old she was Friday.

Travis took off the first week, taking over the household with a force (first executive act: we are on all paper products. Dear Environment: I am sorry.) This has been my best recovery yet, and my best-sleeping newborn, so today, I  took back my place behind the wheel, only to find myself standing, like an idiot, in a parking lot trying desperately to collapse the stroller. This is my third child! Do I still have these struggles? Yes. Yes. I do.

Leila, sweet sleeper that she is, does occasionally keep non-traditional hours, which has brought a surge of tv-watching into my life. This, as always, comes with highs, lows, and lots of Anderson Cooper. I take these moments as opportunities to educate Leila on the world she has entered and to explain to her that no one, no one can layer hooded sweatshirts, while looking so fiercely journalistic as A.C. (Who, I have also observed, keeps almost identical hours to post-partum mothers, yet maintains a very fresh complexion. Unfair.)

More thoughts and pictures to come. But, since this is how I, too, am feeling:

 I’m off to swaddle myself for bed…Goodnight!

 

 

The Swaddle

Can we talk about the swaddle for just a moment?

Because it seems we wrap them until they are limbless, and then stand around going, “They love it, they really love this. It makes them feel safe.” Does it?

Because sometimes she just looks worried. And every once in while, when I see her smiling, I know she it’s because she is conspiring to get that one hand to escape, and I can almost hear her sigh of anticipated triumph.

One week since Leila’s birth and these are my reflections. Don’t worry. There’s more to come…