Two Years Old

Dear Molly,

I have so many words, yet I’m having a hard time pulling them from my heart. You are two, and already a full person. No longer a cute baby but a real, live, actual person, one who commands respect and shows empathy and says sentences like “I’m helping Daddy clean the fishtank!”. There is so much of you, now. You are creative. You are so smart it blows my mind.* You are hilarious and beautiful and so so strong. You are snuggly and stubborn and I love you with every fiber of myself.

You can be so difficult. Sometimes you just don’t listen, even when I’m trying so hard to get through to you, even when I’m crouched down in front of you, quietly and calmly asking you to look at me so I can break through the wall of two-year-old angst. Sometimes I get so frustrated with you. Like when I’m trying to feed Lucy and you are screaming because you want to climb into my lap and she can’t concentrate and breaks her latch and gives me this look like, lady, I’m hungry – can’t you get the kid to give it a rest? Sometimes I want to shout, don’t you know you’re not the only person in this family? Once I even got so frustrated that I had to walk away from you, to take Lucy into our bedroom and close the door, even though you were crying for me. And it nearly broke me. I sat there with Lucy and I cried. Because I’m not patient enough. Because I need to try harder. Because you’re only two. Because you’re a full person, and I expect too much of you, and in this way I fail you. And you’re getting older, and I ache for the future and the failures that will be.

There are tendencies, now, that I pray will stick for all those future times when I fail you, when I hurt you, when I’m can’t be enough for you.

The way you run to me for comfort, even when I’m the one who’s made you mad.

The way you’ll reach out your hand when we’re walking side by side, trusting that I’ll be there to take it.

The way that when you’re sick, or scared, or sad, you need your Mama and no one else will do.

Sometimes when you can’t fall asleep at night you ask me to sing to you, and when I’m too tired to listen to you cry I will comply. You Are My Sunshine is our song but I think the third verse (Johnny Cash version, obviously) is too dark so I always change it.

I’ll always love you

And make you happy

As long as I am living

So close your eyes now

And go to sleep now

And I’ll be here when you wake. 

At your naming ceremony I told you that if you were willing to work hard enough you could have anything in this life that you want. You’re two, and before I blink there will be a time when I can’t just kiss your sad away. I was a girl. I know how it can be. But Molly, if I can do right by you, if I try really, really hard – harder than I’ve ever tried at anything in my life – maybe I can help. Maybe I can be the mama that you need me to be – even when I’m tired, even when I’m annoyed or grouchy or frustrated. If I try hard enough, maybe I’ll get what I want the most – for you to always know that you can come to me for comfort, even when you’re mad at me. For you to trust me to support you, to be there for you, to stand by you even if I’m not physically by your side. For you to believe that when you’re sick, or scared, or sad, I will always try to comfort you, to hold your hand, to reassure you that you are the bravest, smartest, strongest, most special girl I’ve ever known.

You are two.

It’s all going by so quickly.

I’m trying so hard.

I have so much to learn.

I’m so grateful, and so humbled, to be your Mama.

Happy Birthday to my banana pancake, my little ladybug, my monkey, my Molly. I’ll always love you. I’ll always try to make you happy. I’ll always be here.

Love,

Mama

*Is it normal for two year olds to be able to complete puzzles? Or speak in full sentences (like, multiple clauses)? Or dress and undress themselves? Or do funny things on purpose?

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2! 2 Years Old! Ha ha haaaah!

H’oh boy. Molly is 2. Molly is 2!!!! Molly is 2? Didn’t I just write about her 1st birthday?

Very wisely we decided this year to pair up Lucy’s Naming Ceremony to occur the morning of Molly’s party so that all our friends and family could pop-in for a Springer family fiesta. We also hosted the parties a couple of days before Molly’s actual birthday so that it could occur on a Sunday and not a Tuesday. Recently Molly received a fabulous Hanukkah gift from her cousin Becka consisting of a nearly complete set of the If You Give… Book series. Molly LOVES these books and so we themed her party based on the titular book in the series, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.

So off Leah went to plan decorations, including getting several illustrations from the book blown up and printed on large posters, and off I went to plan the most important of birthday items, le gâteau. Of course my immediate thought was, “why not make the cake look like a chocolate chip cookie?” To which I replied to myself, “why bother with cake, let’s make a giant cookie!” I ended up somewhere kind of in-between and made four 9-inch chocolate chip cookies which I then stacked on top of each other with layers of homemade buttercream frosting in between. The end result served its purpose and was delicious.

To round out our festivities, a round of Mediterranean themed dishes that were procured at nearly the last minute from Whole Foods (btw thank you Whole Foods) after nearly every actual Mediterranean restaurant we contacted about catering managed to completely flake.

The party ensued immediately after Lucy’s naming in our new (to us) backyard at our new (to us) house. We chatted, we toasted, we drank, we ate, and then the moment of cakery or cookiery or cookery! Since Leah’s sister Jodie and Molly are birthday twins minus one day, we continued the tradition of having them collectively blow out the candle. I think we all agreed that this is a tradition that shall continue in perpetuity.

Next up, getting Molly through the bounty of presents that had piled up in our yard. Leah and I had to intervene in the process as Molly was quite content to enjoy each present individually for hours on end, so for the sake of our guests we helped her open and appreciate all of the wonderful gifts that had been brought by our fabulous family and friends. After some more chatting we bid adieu and retired* for the day with Molly’s Nana Laurie, Papa Marc, and cousin Nina. *Retiring here means I made an epic quiche lorraine for everyone for dinner.

Fast-forward a couple of days to Molly’s actual birthday, in keeping with tradition we all took the day off to spend time with our favorite birthdayee. We took advantage of the amazing weather and random Tuesday, to go to the Oakland Zoo where Molly had an absolute blast. “MONKEYS! I PET A GOAT! GIRAFFE LONG NECK!”

It’s been an amazing year watching our toddler grow in to a loving, fierce, comedian. And now for my own stress level I am going to start planning birthday numero tres a little early.

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Lucy’s Naming Ceremony

Back when I thought I would give birth early (and then on time), Lucy’s naming was originally scheduled for the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Given that she decided to wait until eight days past her due date until making her entrance, we thought it would be best to postpone a bit and held Lucy’s ceremony the morning of Molly’s second birthday party. We were fortunate to have many of Lucy’s extended family as well as close friends here to celebrate her. Pictures from our special morning:

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Visiting before the ceremony

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The program

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Molly hung with Uncle Dan during the ceremony

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Proud parents

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Aunt Sarah and Lucy

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Grandnana Ruth giving Lucy her blessing

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Papa Marc

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Cousins Hallie and Kayden

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Uncle Simon and Aunt Sarah

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Everyone, including Molly, lit a candle for Lucy (well, Molly held a candle, anyway)

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Aunt Jodie talking to Lucy about sisterhood

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Lucy’s family

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Naming Certificate

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Everyone lit a candle and said a wish or a blessing for Lucy

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Nana and Molly

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Me and my girl

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The four of us

My favorite part of the ceremony was when each guest lit a candle for Lucy (both Lucy and her Hebrew name, Ora, mean light) and gave her a wish or a blessing. It made me feel so grateful that she was surrounded by the light and love of her family and friends.  During the ceremony, Lee and I spoke to Lucy, and I asked my sister to say a few words as well. Here is what we had to say:

Leah’s words to Lucy:

Dear Lucy,

Hello, my little peanut. Today is your naming ceremony, which is almost three months later than intended, but I don’t mind since these past three months have given me the time to get to know you. And because vision in hindsight is always perfect, and since I’ve had some time to reflect, today I’d like to admit to you the most wrong I’ve ever been.

All throughout my pregnancy with you, I had a nagging worry at the back of my mind. I reasoned that I couldn’t possibly love anyone as much as I love your sister. Molly is my everything. My love for her is vast and wide and deep, and I worried that to love you too would somehow take away from her. I didn’t think I had the space. I didn’t think I could love stronger, harder, more than I already did, and I worried that I wouldn’t be able to love you the same way. I worried that I would fail you.

Lucy, from the moment you flopped onto my chest and opened your mouth and lungs to cry, I have been lost in you. One of my favorite sayings is that when a child is born, a piece of the mama’s heart leaves her body forever. When Molly was born, that empty space was filled with more love than I ever knew was possible. When you were born, the new empty space was filled with the exact same amount of infinity. My love for you is every bit as endless and overwhelming and all-consuming as my love for Molly. My love for you is greater than all the stars in the sky, all the sand on all the beaches, all the water in all the oceans. You are my second child by timing only. I am so grateful to have been so mistaken.

And with that said, I would like to echo some of what I told your sister at her naming. Not because you don’t deserve your own words, but because they have held true for her life so far and I hope to raise you with the same truths. The first is that our family is a team. We root for each other, support each other, and challenge one another to be our best selves. Your dad and I love each other fiercely. We are not perfect. Marriage is hard.  Parenting is hard. But each day we try to be kind. We try to remember what matters. We try to show each other and our girls the depth of our love and gratitude.

Other truths: We will always be your biggest fans. If you want something badly enough and are willing to work for it, you can do anything. Most people turn out to be good, in the end. There will come a time in your life when your dad and I won’t be enough for you – when it will feel like we don’t understand you or maybe even that we’re not on your team. When this happens, call on one of the people in this room today. We won’t be mad, and we won’t be hurt – your family is all around you, even when they’re far away. Talk to Aunt Jodie or Aunt Sarah, to Uncle Simon or Uncle Dan, to one of your Nanas or Papas or to Josi. Talk to your sister Molly. She will always be on your team. In fact, if there’s anything that could possibly have made me love her more than I already did it has been watching her fall in love with you. We are all enamoured, peanut. Welcome to our family.

Love, Mama

Lee’s words to Lucy:

Lucy Elizabeth, you are named after your great grandfathers Leslie and Isadore. I’m here to tell you about Leslie who was my grandfather and in many ways my father. Due to a long series of circumstances I grew up with my grandfather. Our house consisted of just the two of us and even though it wasn’t his job to do so, he raised me.

Your great grandfather came to America from England in 1948 and even though he lived in America for over 50 years and married his sweetheart from New Jersey, he always identified as British: he watched British sitcoms on PBS; if he heard even the slightest twinge of an accent he would immediately make it a point to befriend a fellow Brit; his culinary favorites were entirely Yorkie.

The generation gap between me and him made certain things about our relationship very difficult; his way of parenting and discipline were definitely rooted in the 1920s. As my side of the family is fond of saying, “I miss that miserable bastard.” The largest lesson you can learn from him would be, “life is complicated.” It’s possible to be warm and cold and caring and grieving and happy and sad at the same time.

When your sister was born I spoke about the affirmations that I wrote for your mother to help her stay positive while she was in labor. During your mama’s labor with you we reused several of these affirmations but also came up with some new ones.

“You’ve done this before, no sweat,” I told your mom this to remind her that she had been through the labor process before. As second time parents you might hear us say things like this alot. You remind me of when Molly did this, I know what’s coming, let’s compare! We don’t say these things to take anything away from you Lucy. If anything this affirmation is ironic as labor and the journey we will go on together are not easy. You are unique and I am sure you will find ways to surprise us anew.

“Molly can’t wait to meet her sister!” This was to remind us that we are now a family of four. Odds are that even in the worst of times you will be able to confide in one of us, cry on our shoulder, laugh, or tell us your secrets. We can’t wait to watch our girls grow up together and become best friends, then best enemies, then best friends again.

And now I am going to repeat myself from your sister’s naming ceremony because it is now truer than ever.

There is lots of work to do out here in the world. For your mama in labor it was “work with a purpose,” the purpose was to bring you safely to us. As you grow and learn, and see, and think, you will find all kinds of things that don’t make sense. Don’t be afraid to try to change them. Don’t be afraid to speak out. Don’t be afraid to explore. Don’t be afraid to offer your hand to someone in need. Don’t be afraid of work with a purpose, it is the most rewarding work you can complete.

“We are all here to make sure everyone is ok,” I wrote this to remind your mom she was surrounded by a team of caring people, who were at her side through all her labor pains. I want you to know that we, your parents, your sister, your family, and your friends, we are all here to make sure you are ok. You are not alone, you are surrounded by uncountable experiences, unmeasurable advice, and unending love. We all will make sure that you are ok, healthy, safe, and loved.

So now you’re here! We’re all so excited to see and meet the person you will become. We are all ready to go out and share in your adventures. We are ready to be at your side when you need us. We are ready to teach you what we know. We are ready to show you all that we can. We are ready to try to make sense of the world together. Which reminds me of another affirmation, “GO TEAM SPRINGER!” We are ready to hold your hand and walk down the path together.

Aunt Jodie’s words to Lucy: 

Dear Lucy,

You are a gift.  A sister is truly the best gift anyone could ever give or receive.  My greatest wish for you is that your relationship with Molly be as special and as cherished as mine is with your Mama.  Sisters have an incredibly special relationship.  You are playmates, confidants, partners in crime.  Your relationship will have ups and downs over the years ahead.  Big Sisters can be bossy.  Big Sisters tease, play tricks on, and sometimes are outright mean to Little Sisters.  Little Sisters get away with more because they’re younger, they’re cute, they supposedly “don’t know better.”  Sisters complain about each other, roll their eyes at each other, make faces behind each other’s backs.  They also protect each other, stand up for each other, and fiercely defend each other.  Some days, your sister will make you wish you were an only child.  Other days (most days), she’ll be your best friend – the person who “gets you” like no one else.  A sister sees you at your best and at your worst and loves you anyway.  Sometimes you will be jealous of each other.  More times, you will be incredibly proud of each other, joyfully celebrating accomplishments and tenderly comforting in difficult moments.  You will share clothes, toys, secrets, knowing looks, laughter and tears.    

As we welcome you into the world and into our faith today, my wish for you is to know this lifelong joy of sisterhood.  You and Molly are so incredibly lucky to have each other. May you see each other as gifts more often than not, creating memories and nurturing the secret bond that only sisters know. You are so loved, Little Lucy – Little Sister.

What a loved, loved, loved, little girl we have.

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Three Month Post

Lucy is three months old, and our little peanut is growing every day (literally – she’s 97th percentile for height!). I’m writing this post at the beginning of a whirlwind weekend that’s going to include Lucy’s naming ceremony and Molly’s second birthday party, so my thoughts will once again be a little scattered (I’m tired. The constant state of this blog, apparently). Where was I? Ah, Lucy. Well, in the past month Lucy has really found her voice, making the sweetest squeaks, squalks, and coos. She has the most amazing laugh. It’s a laugh that bubbles up from her toes and there is no grouching that cannot be cured by it. She is incredibly strong. She can sit up on her own for a second and leans forward to tripod when she’s sitting in my lap.  She loves to roll on her side and once in awhile can make it onto her tummy from her back. Tummy time has recently changed from something she hated to something she loves, since now she can figure out how to creep around a bit and flip around onto her back (side note: what is the big deal with tummy time, anyway? I rarely subjected either of my girls to it because they both hated it so much but they were both strong enough to roll over by three months. I don’t get it.) She has been wiggling her hands out of her swaddle for weeks now but she can also kick her way out and at this point, I’m not sure why we bother. When she’s tired she draws circles on my chest with her hand and when she’s waking up she rubs her little fists together like paws and there are moments that I never want to end.

What else? She still hates the bottle but is getting better every day. She has the best smile. Her happy places are her changing table, sleeping in Josi’s arms, and looking at herself in the mirror above her play mat. She has the cutest dimple, lots of dark hair, and the deepest blue eyes. I’m pretty sure she loves me to bits.

I call her peanut or peanut butter; Lee calls her Ellie; Molly doesn’t call her much other than Lucy but always, always makes sure she has her blanket, her rattle, her lovie. She remains enamoured with her sister. We all remain enamoured with her.

Snaps from the month:

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23 months

Almost two! Which is incredible, considering that for months now Lee and I have been saying to each other, “I can’t believe she’s not even two!” Here are some snippets of life with Molly these days (in snippet format because I’m out of my mind tired and sentences are too hard):

Full sentences, including her first (“I want more hummus”) and more, e.g.:

“I pet an owl”
“I can’t reach it”
“Mama read a book?”
“I like this song!”

Counting up to 14 in English, even if she skips from 4 to 7 once in awhile, and from one to ten in Portuguese. Identifying most of her letters and numbers. Participating in a tumbling class where she’s learned how to walk backwards, is working on her somersaults (forward and backward), and can swing on the rings and parallel bars. Going on scavenger hunts and helping me weed our garden. She loves taking her socks and shoes off and running around our lawn barefoot. Randomly running up to me and saying, “I love you Mama.”

Major, major, MAJOR sleep regression. With the help of magical Mr. Octopus (my spirit animal), she is starting to be able to fall asleep without me. He has eight hands to hold, after all, while I only have two. The beginnings of potty training with the help of lots of stamps (yes, it’s very early. No, we’re not pressuring her – she keeps peeing through her diapers!). A few tantrums that I’m trying so hard to get in front of (thank you, Happiest Toddler on the Block). She has inherited her dad’s childhood habit of twirling her hair and her mama’s iron will.

Molly is beauty beyond measure, a constantly runny nose, a brilliant imagination, endless hilarity, and utter exhaustion rolled up in one amazing toddler. My baby is almost two and I’m excited for every day full of her.

Snaps from the month:

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Tumbling class!

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laptop and mouse

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Kissy fish

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My little monkey in a tree

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“Lift me up, Mama!”

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“Wow, amazing!”

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Petting zoo

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Music class

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Making Valentines

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Almost 2!

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Girls weekend! We went to Denver to see Aunt Jodie

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Daniel Tiger FTW

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Sleepover with Aunt Jodie and Aunt Sarah. Molly was the last one standing!

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Big smiles (and beads!)

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Who needs pants?

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Snuggles (and hair twirling in action) with Aunt Jodie

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Nose kisses

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Best big sister ever

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Two month post

Oh man, Lucy. I am just googly-eyed in love with this kid. She is the sweetest, snuggliest little girl who looks up at me with eyes so dark and blue they’re almost purple, and I fall right into them. Her smile is as infectious as the measles outbreak that’s currently sweeping California (I joke, but had a mini panic attack about it to Lee last night – while Molly has gotten her MMR, Lucy can’t get hers until she’s one). Her giggle – her giggle! Her giggle makes me feel a depth of love so deep it’s almost dizzying. I have legit had to catch my breath a few times, I’m so in love with her.

Here’s what we know about Lucy so far:

1) She is in love with her sister. Lucy can sit and her chair and watch Molly for ages, smiling up at her and tracking her as best she can as Molly flits and flies around the room. The feelings are mutual, as Molly is so loving and gentle with Lucy, giving her hugs and kisses and nice “pets” (what can we expect, she’s only ever had cats before a sister).  These two little ladies are going to be a force, and I absolutely can’t wait for it.

2) She is not a big fan of the bottle. And by not a big fan I mean it is a struggle to get her to latch on at all, let alone eat. She also doesn’t like to nurse unless she’s hungry. On the one hand, it’s nice that she doesn’t want to constantly nurse (she’s back to sleep in ten minutes when she wakes up at night!). On the other hand, thank God for side carry and swaddles because otherwise, I would be incapable of getting her to sleep (even with those aides it’s tricky). We’ve barely bothered trying pacifiers but she does seem to enjoy sucking on her hand, now that she’s figured out how to maneuver it into her mouth.

3) She is a strong girl! I put her down for tummy time yesterday and she locked her elbows. Her neck strength is truly impressive and she is getting to be a pro at wiggling her arms out of her swaddle. She’s also long, already in three month pants even though she just hit 10 lbs.

Here are some pictures (some very big since I can’t figure out how to make them smaller) from Lucy’s second month. If you haven’t been following on Instagram, prepare to fall in love…

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Leave Lucy alone with Josi for 5 minutes and she sprouts a moustache!

 

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Baby mohawk

 

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Chatting to Grand Nana

 

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Naps with Papa Erling

 

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That smile!

 

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Hi!

 

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So long she barely fits in my lap anymore

 

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Strong girl! Check out that neck control!

 

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The giggle captured

 

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Backyard photoshoot with Josi

 

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Two month olds sleep a lot.

 

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Hanging with her big sis

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Still sleeping

 

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Magnetic smiles

 

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Eyeballs for days on this one

 

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Cousins, all!

 

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22/1

“And if life seems absurd/ what you need is

some laughter/ and a season to sleep”

–Bright Eyes, Cleanse Song

It was 12:30AM and not a soul in our house had fallen asleep. Molly was in bed with me while I nursed Lucy and she alternately rolled around listlessly, kicked me, and giggled, and Lee, coming out of the shower, said, “I know this is awful but all I want to do is laugh right now.” And then he took Molly into the guest room for a sleepover and I could hear them giggling in there, the two of them, making their animal noises even though it was well past all of our bedtimes.

And here we are at 22 months and one month. I have debated with myself whether to keep the monthly updates separate or write them together, but to be honest I’m typing this over Lucy as she nurses and it’s hard enough to find a moment to myself with two hands to spare, let alone time to write nearly as cogently as I’d like to, so for now, one combined post it is. My #1 mantra in parenting two children: Cut myself some slack.

The good. Lucy is the sweetest little baby. I have enough milk to feed her and breastfeeding (aside from a bout of mastitis because seriously? Pregnancy, labor, and feeding a person with my body aren’t all hard enough? Life just has to throw in a ridiculously high fever and infection in there too?) is exponentially easier this time around. She sleeps well, regularly giving us 4-5 hour stretches at night. She is snuggly and cozy and has already started cooing and giving us big smiles and has incredible neck strength. She giggles in her sleep and it’s the sound of starlight. Her eyes are turning blue, as much as I’m holding out for green. I look at her and it’s like I get pushed back in time 21 months; to when Molly was an infant. They could be twins. I am floored by the depth of my love for her, this little person who really doesn’t do much more than eat and cry and sleep. I don’t care. She is my love. She is everything.

The good. I’ve started to get some insight into Molly’s life, going to classes and play dates with her while Lucy is still so portable. I get to witness firsthand how happy she is, and how already she has a whole life going on. She doesn’t need me to be with her every second, monitoring, watching, holding my breath while she climbs the ladder to the big kid slide because I couldn’t bear it if my baby should fall and hurt herself. She likes me to be there, looking around and giving a big grin when she catches me singing along during music time. She happily comes by for a quick hug and a kiss as she’s on her way to her next adventure, as if to say, “don’t worry, Mama, I still need you…just not quite as much these days.” Her smile lights the moon. She is my love. She is everything.

The good. Lee, surrounded by females, stoically and sometimes literally juggling the screaming baby with the clinging toddler while his wife has snuck off to take a shower, knowing it’s the first time all day I’ve had 5 minutes and my body to myself. Managing to cook dinners in between coaxing Molly to eat something other than applesauce and tummy time with Lucy. Navigating, as seamlessly as possible, the delicate balance between work and home; compartmentalizing, as much as he can, so that he can be 100% present when he’s with his girls. Having the instinct and the experience to recognize, when I’ve flung a bottle across the room and cried, I don’t know what I need but I need something! that it’s time to bundle everyone into the car and go for a ride to see the Christmas lights. Constantly and consistently and lovingly being the thread that holds us together – me, when so much of myself is consumed in the sheer physicality of caring for an infant; Molly, when she screams and pounds on her bedroom door in the middle of the night because of a reason or a fear she can’t yet articulate; me again, when it’s 4am and he hears my head hit the headboard because I’ve fallen asleep nursing Lucy again, and he gently takes Lucy from my arms, kisses me, and lays her down in her bassinet. He is my love. He is everything.

And I could sit here and write the other truth – how hard it all is and how tired we are and the 1001 little annoyances and bickering and challenges and how often we want to look at each other and throw our hands in the air; how sometimes we just want to go back to being 21 and young and stupid and careless and fun and free, but the thing is, we wouldn’t want to, really, change a bit of it, in the end. It’s all good. All of it. We have two healthy babies and we have each other and the tiredness will pass; time will pass; the babies will get older and we will get older and it’s already happening, as I write this, isn’t it? So what’s the point, then, of dwelling on the hard, when there is really and truly so very much good to be found in this snapshot of our lives?

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21!

To say Molly had some major transitions last month is a gross understatement.  Not only did we move to a new house, complete with a new schedule, activities, and an overwhelming amount of things to do both inside and outside (a whole playroom to herself! A back yard to run around in!) but she also got a brand new baby sister, amid and followed by a constant stream of family members. Suffice it to say, all of these changes, combined with my not being very available or accessible for about a week after Lucy was born, have given Molly a bit of trouble adjusting. This trouble has manifested itself in two fevers, some serious nap/sleep regression, and general defiance/boundary pushing (yesterday Josi and I were talking about starting her on time-outs. Our rationale is that while on the one hand she’s a little young to understand cause-and-effect, we’re always talking about how advanced she is). I honestly can’t blame her for having some trouble – a move and a new baby are huge transitions for me, and I’m decidedly older than 21 months. And 98% of the time, Molly is her usual charming, amazing, hilarious self – but that 2%, man.  That 2% (okay, combined with some post-partum hormones) can be seriously trying.

Let’s focus on the positive, because although these are big changes they are all, in the long term, very positive. Molly loves our new house. She loves her playroom and will spend many happy hours playing in her new kitchen or at her table, coloring, painting (she especially loves having her face painted), and playing with play doh and stickers.  She also loves our backyard, playing with “outside paint” (chalk), kicking a ball around with her dad, and asking for rides on her trike and in her Molly-sized car.  She can identify a bunch of letters (she especially amazed me when she differentiated “Big O” from “Baby O”, can now count to ten in English and Spanish, and continues to string words together into short sentences. Even when she’s misbehaving, it can take a lot for me not to show her that I’m impressed by how smart she is – yesterday, for example, I went up to get her after her “nap” (when she doesn’t nap, she’ll at least hang in her room and quietly look at books or play for an hour or two) and she had pulled out a bunch of clothes and put on a bathing suit. When I opened the door, she looked up at me with a huge grin and said, “Swim?” So, I did what came to me first – ran a bath and let her “swim” in her bathing suit in the bathtub.

Molly is also *amazing* with Lucy. She is so gentle and does not like it one bit when Lucy cries.  The other day Lucy started fussing in her chair and when I came out from folding laundry, Molly was crouched down next to her, patting her gently and saying “Lucy no cry.” And then my heart burst into a million pieces (postpartum…). She’s also thankfully moved on from everything being “no no no” to “okay” – so when we say, Molly do you want dinner? Her response is now “Dinner? Okay!” which is a nice change.  Right now, I’m trying to focus on the “quality, not quantity” time with Molly with so much of my time, attention, and energy going towards feeding Lucy. Often, our special time together is just before dinner or bedtime, where we play together or sing or read stories. Tonight, our special time consisted of her hugging me for 15 minutes while I sang Bright Eyes songs and rocked her and wept tears of happiness because I love her so damn much. And then we went and played in her kitchen until dinner. Like I said, 98% of the time our girl is nothing short of amazing. I’ll take the 2%, because it’s all Molly, after all.

Some snaps from the past month:

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What a clown!

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Best big sister ever <3

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Molly and Mama

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Tolerating the crying, for now.

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Making new friends

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New wheels (thanks to Uncle Dan for building, and to Nana and Papa for buying!)

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Morning snuggles with Papa

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Ulisses came to visit his girls!

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Helping Dad with yard work

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Future rocket scientist.

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This is the 98%.

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Play-doh time

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Starry night

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Sometimes you just need to take a lie down on the playground.

 

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Lucy’s Birth Story

We make plans, and God laughs. I was so worried that Lucy was going to be born before we moved, and then once we moved there was so much to do that I didn’t sleep at all the first week; up all night running lists through my head. Then Molly had a fever and bad cough that called my attention and before I knew it, my due date had come and gone. We had planned the baby’s naming for the Sunday after Thanksgiving and I was starting to think she wouldn’t be here by then. At some point it struck me – of course she was coming on her own timeline. This whole pregnancy was a fluke; this miraculous little life growing inside me that we weren’t planning for, who I could feel kicking confidently well past her expected due date – why would she come on our timeline, in time for plans we had made without her in mind? From conception, her life wasn’t about our plans – and neither, it turns out, was her birth.

Eight days after my due date, we had a meeting with my midwife and doula. I talked about how I was having a rough day; how I had thought maybe there was a block, something preventing my body from being ready to give birth. I thought I needed to get out of my head in order to get past whatever was holding me back. We discussed different options of how to “induce” labor – none of which (castor oil, enema, breaking my water bag) sounded like anything even remotely appealing. My midwife Kristen suggested that we could try herbs to stimulate my uterus, and we decided that was the most appealing of the options and to give it a try. We got started around 2pm with Kristen giving me several doses of herbs and then left Lee and me to, ahem, have some alone time together (not at all awkward with my mom, doula, and midwife kicking it in the living room). Then we went for a walk, and I generally tried to think labor-y thoughts. In the meantime, my sister, who was in town for Thanksgiving, assured me that she could take Molly for the night and knowing that she was in good hands took a huge weight off. There was no way I could focus on labor when I was worried about Molly, and when my sister got here we joked, “maybe the baby is waiting for you!” Well, maybe the baby wasn’t, but I seemed to have been.  So, once Molly was with Jodie, we ate supper and I went to bed early, listening to my hypnobirth app and hoping that the mild but consistent contractions I was feeling meant something was actually happening.

Around 1:30AM, I woke up quite uncomfortable, but also really tired. I went and got Shannon, who was sleeping on the couch, and told her I was having contractions. She pretty much put me back to bed and I spent the next three hours listening to music and breathing through the sensations. I sang along in my head to First Day of My Life, Gospel, I Need my Girl, 10,000 Weight in Gold, Lost in my Mind, Grace Cathedral Hill, and other favorite songs. By 5AM, I needed to get up, and I spent the next hour or so pacing the hallway until I woke Shannon up and told her I didn’t think I could labor on my own anymore. At that point Lee and my mom got up and I asked Shannon when she thought we should call Kristen. She said she wanted to see me through some contractions but after only a few, decided that she needed to get Kristen over sooner rather than later. Kristen got to our house by 7:30AM and I was already pretty close to transition. I spent another hour or so pacing my hallway, trying to breathe, reminding myself to keep my shoulders down and stay grounded, and vocalizing through contractions, and then lay down for awhile and managed to doze off as they got even stronger. I was trying to figure out how to get through the sensations, and at one point remembered a video that Josi had sent us of Molly in a toddler class. In the video she is under a color parachute and as the class leader asked the kids to point out a color, Molly would point and say, “Purple! Green! Yellow! Orange!” The thought of her made me smile and actually did make it a little easier, as I thought about how when labor was all over Molly would both have and be a sister.

Kristen told me that I was in transition but I didn’t feel ready to push yet so I decided to take a shower. That helped as much as anything could have at that point, but I was still impatient to push (Kristen said the theme of my labor was trying to speed things up). I was so uncomfortable, tired, and grouchy, and I kept telling Lee, “I just don’t remember it being this bad with Molly!” He kept assuring me that it was exactly as bad the first time around. IMG_0532

Finally, it was time to push. I tried a bunch of positions but ended up in bed, on my side. Pushing was all-consuming. It was almost out-of-body for how much force my body was capable of, without me thinking or trying or doing anything but pushing. Pushing felt like running full speed at a brick wall with enough force to break right through it.  After a few pushes, during one body-wrenching contraction, I felt a distinct “pop” and my water bag broke with so much force that I swore it hit the wall across the room. My water went everywhere – all over Lucy’s medical chart, all over the bed, and ALL over Lee, who had the unfortunate timing of taking a look to see if he could spot the baby’s head. I looked over and he was literally covered – his hair, his glasses, his shirt. I apologized to him but honestly, it was so funny. After Lucy was born I kept thinking about it and trying not to giggle since laughing hurt! Anyway, after my water bag broke I pushed another 8 or 9 times and with every push, the baby descended further and further down. Pushing was excruciating and overwhelming but it was also really, really effective. In just half an hour, and in one contraction, Lucy’s head was born and then the rest of her!  I was instantly ecstatic – and Lucy was decidedly less so. There is a video of her crying (she cried for about 10 minutes straight) and me saying, “You’re so mad at me! And I don’t care!” I was so, so happy to meet her, after 41 weeks and one day, and I was immediately and absolutely in love.

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Lee introduced Lucy to the room and we lay with her for a few minutes, full of joy and gratitude. The midwives helped me deliver my placenta and then got Lee and I up and showered (they also changed our sheets, because, water everywhere!), and then we got back in bed. Lucy and I practiced nursing, we counted fingers and toes, and Lee and I marveled once again at this perfect little person whom we had made, whom I had grown and birthed and was now a part of our family.

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Molly came home a few hours later to meet her little sister and our our family of three is now a family of four. And in the end, it doesn’t matter that our timing was off and that our plans changed. It doesn’t matter that Lucy decided to wait eight days past her due date. It doesn’t matter that we had moved only a few weeks before she was born. Our sweet girl is here, and she is healthy and beautiful and absolutely perfect, and we are so blessed, and somewhere up there someone is chuckling and saying, See? I told you it would all work out!

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The Springer Quartet!

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Déjà vu, some serious events have transpired… again. We sold a house! We bought a house! We moved! And sometime back in February we conceived another baby! 41 weeks and 1 day later on November 26th, 2014, Lucy Elizabeth Springer was born, weighing 7 pounds, 14 ounces and 20 inches long. Team Springer is now a trio quartet and ready for our next adventure (which seem to come in no short supply)!

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