A Nursing Song

Some time ago I was clicking my way through blog-land and found this pithy quote from a knowing dad:

“Parenting a newborn is like playing Uno with a five-year-old. As soon as you start to think you’re winning, the rules change.”

So true.

sleeping

I had just figured out a workable sleeping arrangement for the Pumpkin and me (not to mention the Sweetie Pie husband who had been ending up on the couch night after night) when the Pumpkin decided to change the rules. Since the Pumpkin is my fifth newborn and I have some experience behind me, I know that this rule-changing can cause great bitterness, strife, and resentment in me.

How to keep yourself from becoming uselessly angry at your sweet baby? Sing a song that reminds you what a privilege it is to have him in your arms. I find myself singing the song below repeatedly as I nurse and rock and sway and bounce away the hours through the sleepless nights. You can click below to hear it, just pretend you’re rocking a warm, squishy baby and not being sold on the idea of a “wholesome” artificial beverage.

Wives and Porcupines

A few nights ago, we were having a rare evening of family togetherness. Everyone was sitting in the same room, at the same time, and no one was poking anyone else or messing with someone else’s Legos.

The Sweetie Pie, who has been studying the history of King David, mused aloud about Solomon and all of his wives and concubines (over 700!) This led to discussion among the kiddos about how many children Solomon may have had, which (naturally) led to discussion about how many birthdays he had to remember.

The Bean: It must have been, like, three birthday parties every day!
The Sweet Pea: Plus he had all of his wives’ birthdays to remember!
The Pickle: And don’t forget about all of those porcupines!

The Pumpkin

Our newest family member has been given his nickname. The little man has been dubbed The Pumpkin. Actually, his complete nickname is Slice of Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Sweet Cream Half Eaten Up. But we usually just leave it at Pumpkin.

R-and-D1

He has spent the past two weeks learning important life skills. Such as how-to-burp-without-letting-milk-come-out-of-your-nose (he’s almost mastered this one) and how-to-hold-your-hands-in-front-of-your-mouth-so-that-you-can-suck-on-your-fingers (still working on this one). And the very important how-to-sleep-without-needing-to-have-your-mother-touching-you (this one’s going to take a while).

R-and-D2

It’s taken me five babies to learn how to savor life with a newborn. The snuggles and coos are the delightful parts that others are happy to share in but I’m unwilling to give up, but the 3 a.m. colic is the part I can’t get anyone else to take. Even so, I am drinking deeply from the sweetness of my days (and nights) with the Pumpkin.

morning-snooze

Labor Day

Turns out baby was waiting to make a grand and dramatic entrance. On Labor Day. We should have seen that one coming. Shouldn’t there be some kind of bonus prize for laboring on Labor Day?

photo 1

After a few extra days in the hospital to correct some blood sugar issues of baby’s, we are all well, home, and snuggled into our familiar surroundings. Familiar, of course, meaning dodging paper airplanes, stepping on Legos, and listening to complaints about chores and oatmeal. And we’ve added a lot of baby snuggling to our routine, too. Which seems to make all of the former seem a bit more cheerful.

Line ‘em Up, Move ‘em Out

There has been much discussion here lately of how anxious the kids are to meet their new baby brother. The Bean noted recently that as soon as the baby could talk, he (the Bean) intended to ask if he (the baby) remembered what it was like to be in my tummy.

This line of conversation led to the following observation by the Pickle:

Pickle (to the Bean): I remember when you were in Mama’s tummy
Bean: What?! You weren’t even born yet! How can you remember that?
Pickle: Well, I was waiting in line right behind you! I saw you leave!

Bed Rest by the Numbers

If you ever feel like you just need a little bit of time to catch up on a few fiber projects, just get yourself a high-risk pregnancy and several months of bed rest. You’ll be moving on to new things in no time.

Indulge me in a retrospective of the works of my hands since January? It helps me feel like I haven’t wasted all of my time languishing in front of reality television on my laptop.

ONE…

cozy baby blanket, matching hat and cowl for me,

pair of baby leggings, cozy sleeping sack, adorable stuffed fox,

inspiring embroidery project,

pair of baby overalls,

long overdue neck warmer for a friend (which I completely forgot to photograph), and an Advent tree skirt (finally finished!)

tree-skirt

TWO…

…little baby bonnets (one here and one here)

bonnet

cap

FOUR…

…pairs of knitted baby pants (but I only photographed three).

pants-(all)

FIVE…

…Christmas sweaters for five precious children (for the Sweet Pea, the Bean, the Pickle, the Peanut, and the wee one)

TWENTY-FIVE…

…little ornaments for use with the Advent tree skirt pictured above

AND (something like) 20,000 LITTLE STITCHES…

…making a sweet cross-stitched nursery rhyme from a friends’ collection. Unfortunately, I forgot to photograph it before giving it to her, so here’s the best photo I have.

stitching

* for fellow knitters and curious crafters, all knitting projects are linked to my project pages on Ravelry, where you can find pattern and yarn details, along with my alteration notes. Other projects (when available) are linked to places of purchase.

Why, Hello, World! Nice to See You Again.

Last week, our perinatologist agreed I could be done with bed rest. Hallelujah! Here, a few of the things my hands and feet have done in the past week. You might call it “nesting”, but I call it making up for lost time.

  • I pulled weeds in the garden.
  • I cooked dinner.
  • I deep cleaned the living room.
  • I bought school supplies.
  • I struggled to remember how to write a check, and then remembered I own a debit card.
  • I walked the Sweet Pea to a birthday party 2 blocks away.
  • I spread bark mulch around our new apple tree.
  • I went to the grocery store and bought six half-gallons of ice cream for an ice cream party. (You can only imagine the looks that a very pregnant lady pushing a cart full of ice cream might get.)
  • I went to the library and picked up my own books.
  • I spent two hours at Joann’s browsing buttons for the past 6 months of knitting projects. I may also have browsed, but resisted purchasing, a few other things, too (hello, peacock feathers dyed my favorite goldenrod color! Enameled beads in the shape of little owls!)

A Fantastic Fox (and an Update)

Friends, meet Freddy.

meet-freddy

For whatever reason, I’ve really been feeling the woodland creatures vibe for this little one (maybe he’ll be a park ranger). So when I saw this kit for Alicia Paulsen’s stuffed fox, well, I knew that this little boy needed a hand-stitched stuffed fox in his life. Alicia named him Mr. Basil, but he felt like a Frederick to me. So I’m calling him Freddie until his rightful owner gives him a proper lovey name.

profile

Being stuck in bed, I ended up hand-stitching all of his clothes, too. I’m sure it took longer than machine stitching would have, but I have nothing if not time to kill. Have you ever seen such teensy buttons?? I felt very fat-fingered trying to button-up that shirt!

And of course he gets a love letter for a label. I always label my handmade items, so that they don’t end up at the thrift store someday.

love-letter

I opted to stitch all of his clothing to his body. I realize I’m denying my little boy hours of nap time mischief by doing this, but I can’t bear the thought of losing his scarf or a boot under the bed and having Freckles the house rabbit devour it at the first opportunity.

The fabulous fox project was supposed to last me until baby arrived, but alas, I find myself still in bed, still waiting. Not wanting to start a new project of my own that may not get finished, I’m now working on other people’s projects. A dear friend of mine has collected cross-stitch kits for years, and never had opportunity to stitch a single one of them. I happily asked her to pick her favorite one and bring it over to me, and now my hands are busy once again.

stitching

By way of an update, baby has made it to 34 weeks and is now allowed to make his entrance in our hometown hospital! We celebrated with blueberry cobbler on the patio, the first thing I’ve baked in months. The next “bite” I’m focusing on? At 36 weeks I’ll be allowed to discontinue my twice weekly progesterone injections. Only three more pokes, and then I’ll be seeing my midwives only once a week instead of three! Now that’s something to look forward to!

What the Sweet Pea Saw (4th of July Edition)

Yes, I do know that we are now three weeks past Independence Day. What can I say? Bed rest time runs on a much slower schedule than the rest of the world, so that it feels like July 4th might have been last weekend.

I handed the camera off to the Sweet Pea once again, to photograph their July 4th adventures. She said that she was having too much fun most of the time to even remember to take photos, so she didn’t capture much. But here’s a peek at a few things that impressed her.

A vintage car show at the park. Judging by the abundant photo documentation, the Sweet Pea was mightily impressed by the chrome hood ornaments and decor.

A ride on the little train that our community’s sweet Grandpas volunteer to keep running for the kids during the summer (you may notice that I’ve given up on the Battle of the Hairbrush with the Peanut for the duration of bed rest. Costs and benefits and all that.)

peanut-in-train

Some time on the playground. I was delighted to see some photos of my pre-teen Sweet Pea digging with abandon in the sand. I’m hoping for a couple more years of occasional outbursts of childhood from her, before she decides she doesn’t want to get her clothes dirty.

digging

under-slide

And what would the celebration be without some fireworks? Last year. between exhaustion at the late hour and fear of the noise, the Peanut cried herself to sleep during the big show. The Sweetie Pie didn’t feel up to managing another episode on his own. So we settled for sparklers at the Godparents’ house.

sparkler1 sparkler-2

And I have to brag, just a little bit, that my 10-year-old spent six months memorizing the first half of the Declaration of Independence as a school assignment. And then recited it for her audience of friends and family on July 4th. How touching to hear such magnificent proclamations coming from her mouth. I tried to get a short video of the performance posted here, but I’m just not that savvy. And you probably didn’t really want to see it anyway.

I Love to Laugh (Ha ha ha ha)

I introduced the kiddos to the Sweetie Pie’s ancient (a cassette player? What?!?) stereo system. I lie in bed every morning questioning the wisdom of this move, as the echoes of Mary Poppins flood the bedroom. Really, this post has nothing to do with Mary Poppins. I just felt like I needed to explain the title. It’s because whenever I see the birds in the garden, I start singing “Feed the birds, tuppence a bag”. If I turn on the oven I think “Chim-chiminee-chim-chiminee chim-chim-chiree”. And, no joke, as I’m typing I hear the Sweetie Pie tucking the Peanut into bed and singing “It’s a jolly holiday with Mary”. So naturally, if I’m thinking about laughter, my mind resounds with “I love to laugh! Ha ha ha ha!” Anyway.

The best way to pass the final weeks of a very long pregnancy? With a book that makes you laugh. Preferably at yourself. Here’s my latest one:

Coop

May I heartily recommend that anyone who is looking for a wholesome, light-hearted memoir snatch up a copy of this little gem? He makes me laugh. Not the way I laugh when watching America’s Got Talent (which is fine too, in its own way), but laugh in a way that makes me feel like I haven’t spent the past 6 months in a basement bedroom watching trashy television shows. Like I’ve been living my normal daily life, and here’s someone showing it back to me and saying “Your life isn’t boring! It’s funny! Lighten up and laugh at yourself!”

This passage, for example, perfectly describes breakfast in our house. In reality, staring across the table at a sighing 4-year-old singing songs about how she hates oatmeal, it feels a bit like drudgery. But Mr. Perry makes me look with favor and good humor on our 50-pound bags of oats, and 5-gallon-buckets of coconut oil.

Five days a week we got oatmeal. Plain, gray, factory-grade oatmeal possibly useful as masonry mortar. In fairness to Mom, there were occasional deviations into decadence–farina with raisins! cornmeal with molasses! and on Fridays she would indulge her profligate inner hedonist by stirring fourteen generic chocolate chips into a pot of oatmeal the size of your head…On Saturday we got pancakes, but I was legal to vote before I realized you do not make maple syrup by dissolving two tablespoons of brown sugar in a pan of hot water. Bottom line: if you had breakfast at our house on a weekday, odds are it originated from a twenty-five-pound bag or a thirty-two-gallon plastic trash can.

 

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