Wilson’s Birthday

Leading up to Wilson’s birthday, I thought a scheduled c-section would be less stressful than the emergency c-section I had with Gus almost four years ago.

I was mistaken.

Turns out when you’ve been in active labor for several hours without an epidural, and your baby is suddenly in danger, you don’t have much time to process what’s about to happen as you roll into the OR (and then almost sleep through the whole thing from sheer exhaustion).

This time I was wide awake, over-thinking everything, and walked myself into the OR past tables of terrifying surgical tools before getting my epidural on the operating table.

The actual delivery went well, but caught me a little off guard only because a few minutes before we got started they got word another baby in L&D might be in distress and they warned me they may need to go to the other OR for an emergency delivery (Been there! I’ll wait.)

The next thing I knew: the doors opened, doctors and nurses were everywhere, someone turned on the radio (raise your hand if “Despacito” was playing when your baby was born!) and they were just talking like it was another day at the office.

“Did you see Roberta’s haircut?”
“Who has the medieval torture devices I sterilized?”
“Let’s make the first incision.”

Wait, what was that last thing you said?

No, hello. No, we’re about to get started. No husband (wearing a beard cover) sitting patiently by my side. No, ready, no set.

Just, GO.

Mike was there a few minutes later, but surgery was well underway at that point. And while I definitely didn’t feel pain, the amount of pressure I could feel was so overwhelming that it was extremely uncomfortable.


Ultimately I needed two extra doses of my epidural during surgery, and three doses of additional pain meds while they closed my incision.

Recovery has been going well, and we’ve been home for four days now. Aside from the usual newborn woes (mainly not sleeping) this time has been a lot less stressful for all of us.

I already know how to breastfeed (even though my milk didn’t come in until last night), I’m sleeping as much as I can when I can, I’m staying on top of pain meds and physically I feel really good.

The biggest difference: my mom is living with us this time, so we have an extra set of hands to help with baby and Gus. When I think about one day getting this baby fed and out the door in time to get Gus to preschool on time, it makes my eye twitch but I know we’ll get there eventually.

Wilson is a pretty good baby, and Gus LOVES him. It’s only been a few days so we’ll see how long it lasts, but he loves to help with diaper changes, he kisses him constantly, and whenever he cries, Gus sings him customized lullabies (“Rockabye Wilson” is his go-to, “Twinkle Twinkle Little Wilson” is a close second).


I genuinely still can’t believe this beautiful, healthy baby is here right now, after everything that happened in the last year. And in a few weeks, we’ll celebrate Gus’ fourth birthday as a little family of four!

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Dear Gus: Three

Dear Gus,

The details are starting to get a little bit fuzzy, but here’s what I remember about the day you were born: the drive to the hospital was excruciating, the nurses were lovely, the anesthesiologist was eating a sandwich while I was demanding some drugs, and then the next thing I knew it was 3:57 AM and you were here — and we were parents.

You looked like this:

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Now, you look like this:

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In the last year, you have changed so much. You use the potty, like a big boy. You can walk up and down the stairs (all by yourself!) giving me a small heart-attack every time. You can sort of swim. You can do somersaults, and walk on a balance beam, and bounce all the way down a trampoline. You can run, and you jump on EVERYTHING.

You go to school now, and you LOVE it. You have friends from your classes, and in our neighborhood, and you ask to play with them all the time. You love your cousins, and you talk about them all time.

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You’d still rather play than eat (a choice I’ll never understand) but when you do want some food, you prefer pretzels, French fries, more pretzels, and cheese.

You never. stop. talking. You are so imaginative, and hilarious — the things that come out of your mouth are unbelievable, including:

“Mom? What happens if the moon pops?”

“Surprise! I’m in your birthday cake!”

“We have an emergency! I saw an ant!”

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And let’s get this out of the way: The Terrible Twos have a well deserved reputation, for being, well — terrible. And you sir, can be terrible with the best (worst?) of them. Usually, it was because you were sick, or teething (molars are the devil’s teeth) or we had just spent large sums of money on fertility treatments trying to make you a sibling, and God just has a sense of humor. Thankfully, those moments were few and far between, because when all those unfortunate things aren’t happening, you’re really a pleasure to be around.

Your counting skills, which used to include the occasional letter and color, are legit now, and you know your fair share of letters too. You also know your full name, and our names (this year you went through a “what’s your name?” phase, in which you asked everyone their names, including total strangers at the grocery store.)

You have names for all of your grandparents now: Nan, and Pop, and Grandma & Pacha. We have no idea what Pacha means, or how you came up with it, but it suits him.

You still LOVE Curious George, and now we can add The Incredibles, the Lion Guard, the PJ Masks, Daniel Tiger & Co., and the Paw Patrol pups to that list. You love to build planes, and towers, and animals with our blocks and duplos, and you love to sit at your train table and play with trains and cranes and cars.

You still adore all animals, and our nighttime routine now consists of pretending to be dogs, or sharks, or gorillas, or tigers, or elephants, or various members of the Lion Guard. If we’re not animals, than we’re race cars and a tow truck, or a train, or we practice gymnastics.

You’re still sleeping in your own room (thank you baby Jesus) unless you’re super sick, only now your menagerie of animals has grown to include: George, Duck, Mickey, Little Appa (the elephant), Cornelius the crocodile, Cow, and Big Appa (another elephant) — not to mention whatever little toy you ask to bring upstairs every night.

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You are not shy, at all. You talk to anyone and everyone, and the second anyone sets foot in our house, to ask them if they want to see your room, or play with your trains. You continue to charm older ladies whenever you get the opportunity to do so.

We finally found a place that can give you a decent haircut, without any screaming, or thrashing, or crying. I think the 1) pretty ladies who work there, and 2) lollipops and toy cars they give you help tremendously.

You are super affectionate. You hug all of your friends and cousins goodbye. You smother us with body slam-esque hugs, and huge sloppy kisses. Sometimes you’ll just take a break from jumping on the sofa, to hug us and say I love you, or lay with us to watch something.

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I swear we just planned your second birthday party, like three months ago. Time is flying, and I’m sure it’s only going to get worse.

You’re so sweet, and so funny, and so smart. You’ve learned so much in the past year, and we’re so proud of you.

Love, Mom and Dad

Dear Gus: Two

Dear Gus,

Two years ago, today, I was huffing and puffing on my way to the hospital where I made some jokes, batted my eyelashes at my newest BFF the anesthesiologist, and tried to catch some shuteye, and then – BAM! – there you were at 3:57 in the morning.

You looked like this:

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Now, you look like this:

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Last year on your birthday, I couldn’t believe how much you’d changed in so little time (even if some hours/days/weeks felt like an eternity). You seemed like such a big boy when you turned one.

But man. I was wrong.

Because a year ago, you were still a little baby. Now? You’re a walking, talking, running, jumping, climbing, screaming, hilarious, trouble-making, funny little boy. (Note to future self: I realize when he’s three, I’ll be like oh, but he was still such a baby when he was two, and so-forth and so-on).

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I don’t know how you’ve gotten so big, because you eat like a bird. Like a sick, lazy, distracted bird. You LOVE apple juice (which I’m sorry to tell you is 75% water. I live in absolute fear of the day you have pure, glorious, undiluted juice) and if I’d let you, you would exist solely on cheese. Not even good cheese! You’d just eat processed American cheese if it were up to you. You’re currently obsessed with pretzels, and if there are potato chips in the house we need to hide them from you. (I swear I routinely offer you fruits and vegetables!)

You adore all animals, and you love going to the zoo and the aquarium. You entertain us and yourself with animal noises. Every morning you enthusiastically greet Daisy and Jake, only to spend the majority of the day disciplining them if they so much as look at your plate of food (that you have no intention of eating).

You have learned so many words and phrases this year, I’ve lost count. You are only quiet when you are sleeping (and most nights you still end up talking in your sleep) or when you are getting into trouble. You ask a lot of questions. You boss everyone around constantly. You’re favorite word/question/demand is, “MEEEEE?!” which can mean anything from come/play/sit/slide/walk/lay/eat/read with me.

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You really enjoy counting things, in your own way (“two, three, nine, three, nine, Jake, two, nine!”) Don’t worry though, you’ll be fine. Most grown ups never use math. Hopefully you can get by on your good looks.

You LOVE Curious George, and Elmo. You will read the same book a thousand times, and you always need at least one more story before bed. You love to go for walks, ride your new bike around the neighborhood, and stockpile every rock and leaf you find.

You FINALLY sleep in your own bed (hooray!) but not without your gang of stuffed animals: Duck, George, Cow and Appa (the elephant), your fuzzy yellow blanket, your pillow, and your rainforest lullaby nightlight. You don’t even cry at bedtime – you just lay back with your hands behind your head and say, “bye mommy” like such a big boy.

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You are insanely ticklish and (unlike your father) will demand to be tickled again and again. You think farts are hilarious, and you love it when we’re repulsed by your stinky baby feet. A few days ago the letter of the day on Sesame Street was P, and I said, “Look, Gus! It’s P!” to which you replied, “and poop!”

I’ve never been prouder.

You say hello to every woman and child you see. Then you tell them to look at your shoes. Then you tell them who I am. Sometimes we circle back to shoes again.

Your crazy baby tufts have been replaced by a mop of stick-straight hair, which has been professionally cut once (traumatizing), and very unprofessionally cut by me ever since (budget-friendly!). In the last year, you’ve gotten 14 more teeth and boy, let me tell you, growing teeth is serious business. I hope you’re better about flossing than I am.

You’ve stopped calling us Mama and Dada, and for awhile we were just Mom and Dad, which I didn’t really like. I guess it’s better than Mother and Father though, so I got over it. In the last three weeks, you’ve started calling us Mommy and Daddy (so sweet!), which you technically learned from Jake and the Neverland Pirates, so who says cartoons are all bad?

You’re stingy with your kisses, but give great hugs. You are the most empathetic child I’ve ever met, running to one of us, pouting and pointing “he’s sad!” anytime someone in one of your books or shows seems upset. 

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It’s true what they say: the days are long but the years are short. I can’t believe you’re two. I can’t believe how big you are. I can believe how handsome and smart you are, because, well, you have excellent genes.

Happy Birthday to my favorite little monkey! I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us in year three (oh god, here we go).

Love, Mom and Dad

Dear Gus: One

Dear Gus,

A year ago today you made your grand entrance into this world, sort of dramatically, a little unexpectedly, but surrounded by love (and lots of medical professionals). We heard the doctor very quietly announce, “baby out,” to the rest of her team, and a moment later you made the sweetest, most amazing sound. Actually, you sounded a lot like a kitten, which is sort of funny, because we’re Dog People.

You looked like this:

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Now, you look like this:

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You cruise around like you own the place. You can climb up alllll the stairs by yourself (even though we’re always inches behind you) and you can Houdini your way out of your highchair straps in a matter of seconds.

Speaking of your highchair, if there’s food — you want it. You want it now, and you want to eat it all by yourself. You still love milk, straight from the source, and even though you’re nursing a lot less than you did when we first got started, when you’re promised some milk, you get so excited you scream and laugh with delight.

You positively love our dogs (“Das!”), Daisy and Jake, and can even say their names (“Dasa” and “Ja”) and think it’s hilarious when they bark (you bark with them “ra-ra-ra-ra-ra!”), or shake, or chase their tails. You used to poke or pull their fur, but now you pet them (sort of) gently, just like mommy and daddy.

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You can say “mama,” “dada,” and you’ve said “hi!” and “uh-oh!” once, and only once. You say a lot of other things that mean nothing to us, but obviously mean something to you. But we’ll figure it out eventually, I’m sure.

You love Mater’s Tall Tales, knocking over blocks, pulling anything off shelves, and pushing your lion walker through the house. You love to crawl away so we chase you, but stop periodically to wave over your shoulder and to make sure we’re following you (otherwise, what’s the point?). You’re obsessed with shoes and empty boxes, and will chew up all the junk mail if I leave it within your grasp. If music is playing, you’re bouncing, dancing, and shaking that booty.

You have crazy, weird hair, that sticks up at odd angles, no matter what I do. You have your Mommy’s dimples, and your Daddy’s toes. You have big, bright, mischievous eyes, but no one can seem to agree what color they are. They’re not blue, or brown, or green. They’re a little bit of everything, and seem to change daily.

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You only have two teeth, but the Internet assures me that’s totally normal, and you can still eat whatever you want, so don’t let all those other kids with all their teeth get you down. You earned those two teeth, and you use them to chomp-chomp-chomp on everything.

You sleep …with us. It wasn’t the plan, it just sort of happened, because mommy was exhausted and you were a cuddlebug. If you’re not snuggled up with one of us, you’re simultaneously pushing both of us out of bed, and taking up the whole king-sized mattress by yourself, which is pretty impressive for someone who’s only two and a half feet tall. But, for the most part, we sleep a lot so I’m not complaining. On more than one occasion, you’ve slapped me in the face, and called me mama (which I always assumed was just an expression) when it was time to wake up.

We waited so, so long for you to get here. This last year (and the years before you were born) were so long in the making, but now, it’s like you’ve always been here. You made our family complete, and it’s almost impossible to remember what life was like before you.

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Happy Birthday, little man! The first year of your life has been the best year of our lives!

Love, Mama and Dada

That Time I Made a Scene at Walmart

Remember when I used to talk about things that aren’t my beautiful, bouncing, baby boy?

They were usually embarrassing stories about my mother. Or hilarious accounts of pre-baby hormone injections. Or glorious, dairy-filled food.

I miss that.

But babies are demanding little tyrants, even when they’re not getting over double ear infections, so I haven’t really done much else for the last seven months.

Until last week.

See, it was my friend Stephanie’s birthday, and I wanted to get her something nice. I started with a bag full of candy, because who doesn’t want a bag full of candy, obviously. But it didn’t seem special enough.

Stephanie and I share a love of all things Harry Potter (and Hunger Games, and GoT, etc.) but while my heart will always belong to one Ronald Weasley, she loves… Lucius Malfoy.

I know, right? What a horcrux.

So, I thought I’ll get some photos of ole’ Lucius printed and framed for her. It’s funny, and cute, and not a huge time commitment (hello, sick baby), and she will LOVE it.

So I find two high-res photos online.

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I send them off to Walmart for same-day printing, and go to pick them up a few hours later.

They give my photos, tell me I can pay for them up-front if I have more shopping to do, which I did.

At the register, the barcode doesn’t work. I show them the online confirmation with the price so they can just charge it manually, or whatever, but they call someone up from the photo department.

“These look professional, do you have a photographer’s release?” he asks me.

“Ummmmmm. It’s Lucius Malfoy. He’s not a real person. It’s from the Internet. I don’t think it’s copyrighted.”

“Well, but do you have a release?” he asks me, again.

“It’s the Internet. I found them on at least six different websites. I think it’s ok to sell them to me.”

“Well that violates our copyright policy.”

(I’ll stop here and say, I get it. I would never, ever, steal artwork or photos from someone. But as someone who makes and sells artwork, I always, ALWAYS protect my digital work with watermarks. There were plenty of pics of Lucius that had watermarks, and I didn’t try to use them, obviously. So is this a grey area? Maybe? But I feel like these were some sort of studio/movie release/marketing stills, and last time I checked HP did pretty well at the box office, and Warner Bros. probably doesn’t really care.)

“You’re telling me you’re not going to sell me my photos of Lucius Malfoy, which are a GIFT, by the way, but that you were fine with actually printing them? And you realize I can go home and just print them myself as many times as I want? Will you be turning me in to the police?” I wanted to know.

Blank stare from photo department employee.

“So what will you do with them since they’re already printed,” I asked him.

“We’ll shred them in the back,” he says.

“Oh, no. How do I know you’re not a HUGE Lucius Malfoy fan? You could take those home! Or hang them in your locker! Tear them up right now. In front me me.” I demand.

And so I stood there, and watched him tear them up, one at a time.

And I must’ve said “Lucius Malfoy” at least a dozen times, very loudly.

And so Stephanie had to settle for Lucius à la laser printer — which did not stop her from rubbing the frames all over her face.

Happy Birthday, Me!

Yesterday was my birthday. The big 3-3.

Gus and I spent the day eating, sleeping, catching up on the DVR and binge watching Dexter and Veronica Mars.

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Yoga pants and slippers for me. Fresh PJs and a bib for him.

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About that bib. Is that a dinosaur and a volcano? Or a dinosaur drinking a beer? Hmm.

Mike made me a delicious dinner, and gave me some new pans I’ve had my eye on (Gus chipped in and gave me the matching lids, such a thoughtful boy).

And since this is the first time in probably two decades that I’ve made zero New Years Resolutions (I can’t/don’t need to diet thanks to breastfeeding) I’m eating. everything. in. sight.

Cake for breakfast? You betcha.

Cake (again!) for dessert.

Well it is my birthday.

The Big 3-2

Nothing says, “Hey, I’m 32!” quite like spending the day scraping decades old caulk out of your shower.

That’s what I did today, whilst turning 32. And (spoiler alert!) tomorrow I’m recaulking said shower! I know. I know. Slow down. Try to contain the excitement, amiright?

Birthday highlights:

A bazillion people wished me a happy birthday on Facebook!

One of oldest friends sent me the sweetest email, and I haven’t even attempted to respond to her, because she made me cry and there’s no crying on birthdays!

Mike took me to my favorite sushi place for a gluten-filled feast.

Oh, and BA-BAAM, gave me a diamond bracelet! Haaaay, girlllll!

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Also, I had this conversation with my mother:

“I can’t believe my baby is going to be 31!”
“Uhh, mom, I’m 32.”
“YOU ARE???!”

Thank you all for all the birthday wishes. If today is any indication of the year to come, I will be a very lucky lady (with a super clean, watertight shower).