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!


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:


Now, you look like this:


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.


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!”


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.


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.


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

Career Training

I think a lot about the sort of work I’d do, when I do go back to work-work, whenever that is.

Last night I realized I have acquired a new set of skills (not unlike Liam Neeson), spending my days with an irrational, adorable, button-pushing little two-and a half year-old — and I’m pretty sure I’m now well-qualified for a variety of new positions.

Hostage Negotiator. It’s 4 a.m. You need to listen to a list of ridiculous demands (“I want water! I don’t want to sleep! I want to read! There’s a crab on my floor, get it out of here! I don’t want THAT water!”) and then convince someone it’s a good idea to go back to sleep. But you also need to make them think that it’s their idea, and that’s what they’ve wanted all along. Bonus points if everyone makes it out alive.

Chambermaid. This, unfortunately, is not that funny. But I can change a set of bedsheets in a flash.

Close-up Magician. What’s that? You want to play with this valuable/expensive/irreplaceable thing we own. But what’s this ovvverrr herrreeeee?! Ahhhhh, look at what I’m doing with my hands!, and listen to the interesting story I’m telling you!, and WHAT IS THAT BEHIND YOUR EAR?!

Slapstick Comedian. Toddlers (especially boys) think you falling and/or hurting yourself is hilarious. And if you smell something stinky? Oh man, it’s all over. At least once a day I’m always a few minutes away from a Chris Farley-esque fall onto a breakaway coffee table, or hitting myself with a fake bottle.

Animal Control Officer. Successfully changing the diaper of someone who DOES NOT want their diaper changed right now, can’t be that much more difficult than say, catching an opossum in a cage, or a snake in a net.

I’m lucky I can stay home with Gus for the foreseeable future. I can’t even imagine what else I’ll be able to add to my resume.



Twenty-One Months

Technically, Twenty-One Months and six days, but who’s counting.

If I had to sum up the last month in as few words as possible, I would have to say: explosion.

His language is exploding. His independence is exploding.

His temper is absolutely exploding.


Likes: He loves his new-ish Elmo slippers, he mastered sliding in about five minutes (also: he calls it, “Weeeeeee?!” So adorable.) He’s obsessed with bubbles, and water, and rocks. Did I mention we’re the only occupied house on our new street? We’re surrounded by construction sites, so it’s rocks rocks rocks all day around here.

Dislikes: Turning the TV off (more specifically Curious George or Sesame Street) is a big tantrum trigger. Thankfully we’re living without TV (and internet, the horror!) for a few weeks so it’s been easy to avoid. When I do need to turn on some cartoons to get some unpacking done, I’m relying on a lot of smoke and mirrors, and a general out of sight out of mind approach to keep things civil around here, once it’s time to turn them off. I’m not looking forward to his attention span improving.

Sleep: I don’t know if it’s his last four molars, nightmares, or a month away from our bed and our regular routine, but sleep has been iffy lately. Not terrible, but not great, but there’s definitely been a lot more midnight screaming. We’re all very excited to have our bed back.

Eating: Apple juice, goldfish crackers, cheese and (obviously) cookies are the only things I can reliably get this kid to eat. He does like fruit and beans, but some days he eats it all, but really most days he just wants to graze and keep playing.

Clothes: 24 months

New Tricks: Jumping (or nearly jumping most of the time) is a new development. He also wipes his hands together and says, “Phewww!” every time he says he’s all done with something.

Teeth: Second molars are on the horizon. Tooth tally: 16

Night night
Gus Gus
Quack (Mmmmmmaaaaaaa!)
Daisy, no!
Monkey sounds
This/That (dat)
Bubbles (babas)
Please (peas)
Boat (bo)
Fish (vish)
Go (go-go!)
snake sounds
Whooooooo (like an owl)
*The Letters: H & O
*Beep-beep (applies to cars, trucks, bikes, etc.)
*Cracker (now applies to chips, cookies, granola bars, actual crackers, and Cookie Monster)
*Oh no!
*All done / All gone
*Elephant (Appa)

*new this month


Fifteen Months

This month Gus mastered walking (and now running doesn’t seem too far off), got his first haircut (which he despised), and talkstalkstalkstalks all day (but we mostly have no idea what he’s saying).


Height & Weight: 21 pounds, and 31 inches. #stringbean

Likes: While Gus still plays with a lot of his birthday and Christmas presents throughout the day, the thing he plays with the most is one of his father’s belts that he found in a laundry basket. He loooooves Sesame Street (particularly Grover and Elmo), The Octonauts, and Jake and the Neverland Pirates. While I hate occasionally relying on the TV, it does buy me some time to grab a shower, and get some chores and some packing done. I can’t wait until we’re moved and unpacked all over again.

Dislikes: Like sands through the hourglass, toddlers don’t like to be told, “no.” Lately we’ve seen some really dramatic reactions when Gus is told no, or we have to take something away from him. In particular, he’ll burry his face in his hands and cry, or throw his head back and scream silently before wailing.

Sleep: As long as he’s not actively teething, this kid sleeps like a champ. He’s been talking in his sleep too, which is just adorable.

Eating: Bananas about bananas, and still obsessed with blueberries. Would eat his weight in cheese and avocado if possible. Earths Best fruit bars are his favorite too. Gus can feed himself with a spoon as long as I load it up for him, but he loves feeding himself with a fork, and he’s getting pretty good at it.

Clothes: 18-24m for length, even though the waists are too big. He can still wear 12-18m stuff as long as they’re separates.

New Tricks: On Christmas Eve, Gus started legitimately walking, and now he walks everywhere. He even tries to chase the dogs (albeit very slowly), He consistently waves hello and goodbye, even if he sees someone wave on TV, or hears someone say one or the other. He also says hello (which for him is, “nehneh!”) whenever he hears a phone ring. He currently thinks fart sounds and the word “doh!” are hilaaaarious.

Teeth: Oh brother. Two months ago I was convinced this kid would never have teeth, and then his mouth exploded. The front four are all in on the top and bottom and his top first molars have broken through. The bottom molars are not too far behind, I don’t think. Tooth tally: 10.

Mama & Dada
Daisy (Dasa)
Jake (Jak)
No (Nah)
Bye (Bah)
Hello (Nehneh – we think it means “hello,” he says it whenever the phone rings, and when he hands me the toy phone.)
*Night-night (Nye-nye)
*Yay! (Yayayayayaya!)
*Toot-toot! (Tootoo, and for whatever reason, every time he says it he pokes his own belly, and then cracks himself up)
*Gus Gus

*new this month


New Year’s Resolutions

I’m the type of person who likes making lists, and always waits to start a diet on a Monday (so I can research, and shop, and weigh in the following weekend), so naturally I love New Years Resolutions.

Get ready for some cliche and obligatory goals, folks!

#1 (and everybody’s favorite!) – Lose Weight (…again)

Only this time, I’m going to try to do things a little differently. One of my biggest saboteurs is, kind of ironically, the scale.

Say I weigh myself on a Wednesday and I’ve lost 2.5 pounds. Then I weigh in again on Friday and gained a half-pound back. Instead of being excited about losing two pounds, I just dwell on the half-pound I regained, and then say, WTF let’s eat a whole pizza.

So, this time, no scale. At least not regularly. I’ll weigh myself to start, and probably take some measurements, but after that I’ll only step on the scale once a month.

I’m also going to try to take it easy on myself. I’ve got a toddler, and a life, and a house to sell (see #3) so every meal is not going to be perfect. In the past, one bad dinner on a Monday was enough to get me to throw in the towel for the rest of the week, but (hopefully) not anymore.

I’m also going to make a serious effort to avoid all artificial sweeteners, which means saying goodbye to my beloved Coke Zero. But it’s time. I’ve done it before, and will need to do it again (see #4) and there’s no better time than January 1st to get started.

I would also love to attempt a Whole30, but I’m just not ready yet. It’s a little intimidating to think about, but I’m hoping I’ll get there eventually.

And, obviously, I need to exercise more. Lifting and carrying a toddler counts for something (and my arms aren’t too shabby) but it’s not enough. I want to get out and walk with him, a few times a week, as long as it’s dry and not polar vortex-y.

#2 – Go On Adventures

Yes, Gus and I get out of the house a lot now (something I thought would never happen right after he was born) but it’s usually to do regular old boring things like buy groceries, or run errands.

We’re very lucky to have memberships to our local zoo and aquarium, thanks to my in-laws, so I’d like to spend more time at each, even if it’s just me and Gus on a weekday.

We went to the weekly story time at our local library a few times last year, but they usually coincided with Gus’ morning nap, so we haven’t been in months. Now that his schedule has shifted a bit, I’d like to go back once a week.

I eventually want to sign us up for a swim class, I’m just not sure where to go (Baltimore moms, any suggestions?)

#3 – Downsize, Declutter, Organize and Clean This House (then keep it that way)

We’re in the process of building a new house (yay!), which could be ready any time between May–July, so we have to get our house on the market in the next few weeks.

Of course, my house is a disaster. Toys are everywhere. Piles of (clean, mind you!) laundry are routinely abandoned and picked through. Christmas gifts are piled up around the tree I need to take down ASAP.

On-going baby-proofing as Gus gets taller, more mobile, and figures out he can climb up onto things means stuff is hastily moved higher and higher, or into other rooms where it doesn’t really belong.

So I need to get organized, get what we can live without packed up and donated or into storage. And I need to stay on top of things so we can show the house if we need to.

#4 – Get Back in the Stirrups for Baby #2

Part of the drive to get in shape, is so we can try to get pregnant again later this year. I’m already at a higher risk for gestational diabetes, and blood pressure issues since I developed both in my last pregnancy. Not to mention all the hoops I have to jump through to get/stay pregnant in the first place.

Last time it was a combination of going gluten free, minimal/organic dairy, cutting caffeine and artificial sweeteners, and you know, a team of highly trained scientists that did the trick, so I want to stack the deck in our favor this go-round too.

So, if I want to be pregnant in the fall, I have to get the ball rolling in the summer, but probably start with a bunch of tests and meet with all the doctors to come up with game plan in the spring, but they’re all so busy and important!, I should probably call for an appointment, uhhh, yesterday. #pregnancymath

Happy New Year!