Tag Archives: father

Year One

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leave-it-to-beaver-familyI thought I had this mom thing covered. When I was pregnant everyone told me the first year was going to be hard. After watching my older siblings raise their brood for many years while I was in college I knew it wasn’t going to be easy and somewhere in the back of my mind I carried a small amount of pride thinking that I had a decent idea of how hard it was going to be.

I was wrong. My pride was misplaced.

I am waving my white flag shouting you win! You win parents who never claim to have everything together. You win single mom’s who have somehow managed to raise children who are not juvenile delinquents. You win sleep deprived zombie mother dragging her protesting toddler through the Harris Teeter freezer section. You win mothers who wear your yoga pants like a badge of honor.

I surrender.

I have seen the light. There are things I have done. Choices I have made that are irrevocable. There’s no turning back now.

I have eaten leftover yogurt off of Ian’s face. Let me repeat that. I have eaten food off of someone else’s face???? When faced with the choice of (a)sleeping in vomit covered clothing tonight and washing the sheets tomorrow or (b)postponing an exhausted crawl into bed so I could put clean clothing on I’ve done the unspeakable. I’ve forgotten what day it was. I’ve forgotten what thought I was thinking. I’ve forgotten what it feels like to have all of my i’s dotted and my t’s crossed. I’ve forgotten what exactly that phrase even means. Who has time for idioms anyway???

Last week I broke down to a very wise friend of mine. She is a single mom and I have a massive amount of respect for her. I asked her how she does it. How do you give 100% all the time? She shared her secret with me and it turns out there is no secret. You accept your new life, embrace the new way of doing things and try not to stumble on the things that may not have turned out exactly how you had them planned. You do the best you can with what you’ve got and hand the rest over to God.

A year ago if someone had asked me what I was expecting I would have said, “Oh, I know it’s going to be hard.” “Of course it’s going to be worth it!“. I’m both delighted and slightly frazzled by how true those statements are.

 

It’s going to be hard:

  1. You’re probably going to lose some friends in the madness. Not everyone is interested in jumping on your roller coaster and it can feel pretty lonely. But you’re probably going to gain some friends in the frenzy because there are a lot of people who don’t mind the change even if they don’t have kids.

(I’m still scratching my head on this one but I’m thankful)norman-rockwell--santa-s-helper-december-27-1947_i-G-52-5271-V5RZG00Z

  1. You’re not going to feel great about your outward appearance. I mean you’ll be happy but recharging your batteries is going to be really low on the To Do list. Fortunately, you’re going to feel great about how strong you have been!

  (Oh you can deadlift 200lbs? Well I’ve gone 8.5 months without sleep or makeup. BAM!)

  1. You might need a veteran from this war zone to tell you it’s going to be alright. You hear a lot of advice from a lot of people. None of it is going to matter until you’re crying into a dirty sock you thought was a dish towel …you thought was a tissue. That’s when you are desperately going to need a seasoned mom to tell you this is all temporary.

   (I find that even vomit can seem cute when it’s temporary but I don’t recommend sleeping in it if at all possible)

  1. You aren’t going to like your husband. There I said it. I’m a terrible wife. In all honesty he is probably going to try every bit as hard as you are but you had a nine month head start on adjusting to this little human being part of your life. (Give him time and try to keep your head above water.)1921-07-09-Saturday-Evening-Post-Norman-Rockwell-cover-Boy-Holding-Screaming-Baby-no-logo-400-Digimarc
  2. Mommy Brain. It’s a real affliction. If we are being honest it should be called “the baby usurped 80% of my working memory”. But the latter is shorter and easier to remember and EASY TO REMEMBER is the key phrase here. It’s like a switch gets flipped and suddenly you forget everything and start eating food off of other people’s faces. You forget your brother’s wife’s name. You forget the name of those purple things that grow on those green things that make wine. (I say good morning to my coworkers multiple times most mornings.)
  3. Nursing. I did it for a year. Does that negate the thing I said about not liking my husband? By the end of your breast-feeding days you’re going to feel like you’ve spent more time topless than a tribal woman captured in National Geographic. Yes they are still yours but no matter how you try they are still going to look like milk cartons in your mind.
  4. What you consider relevant is going to change drastically. You are going to hate that for a while until you realize that the entire year you spent watching Brittany Spears spiral into crazy town and then rise from the ashes maybe wasn’t the most productive use of  your time anyway.
  5. This year you become a caregiver, a shoulder to cry on, a personal life coach, a bodyguard and an adult most all the time whether you feel up to the challenge or not. I loved Ian immediately!!! But I didn’t know him and he didn’t know me. The first year you are going to work really hard to start building a relationship with a complete stranger who speaks an entirely different language. You are his person and he can’t survive without you. Enough said?

 

It’s going to be worth it.

Is it really worth it?

Maybe if I rephrase the question the answer will be clearer.

Is falling in love really worth it?

Beacuse that’s exactly what it is. It’s falling in love!!! It’s flying and crashing and crying and laughing. Sometimes when Ian is screaming and crying I feel like Martha Stewart’s publicist doing damage control and hoping a carrot soufflé will make the bad dream go away. There are days I want to crawl under my covers and pretend I’m not a mom, but like Jack Twist I’m a goner. It’s too late. I’ve fallen in love and I don’t know how to quit my little dude.  For every effort I put in, I get unmeasurable returns.

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Scientifically I can’t measure it. Mathematically I can’t come up with the formula. Psychologically I can’t determine the behavioral measures but he thinks I’m cool and I think he’s awesome too. I think William Shakespeare says it best.

“Love is a smoke and is made with the fume of sighs.” 

Yes it’s hard. Yes it’s worth it. No I have not actually made my child a soufflé.

On to year two!

Shine On You Crazy Diamond – 8 months

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Dear Ian,

It’s your mother. I wonder if you will read this someday and laugh. So you are beginning nine months this week. Month 8 was something special! You have changed so much in one month it has me spinning on my heels! In one months time you have managed to sprout more hair, your very first two teeth, and a couple inches in height. I can’t even imagine how shocking this is to you. It is astounding to me.

In one weeks time you went from swaying back and forth in your walker to speed demon roller derby baby. Poor Chance adores you but he is unable to get near you without sacrificing a digit! For months you have tested the spandex in the bungee cord of your bouncy seat. However you have now turned the door frame into ground zero for your personal bungee trampoline.

Something that tickles me to death is how much you seem interested in art!  There is little more you love than to sit on my head and pat the muted pastoral above our sofa. Yesterday you discovered the framed picture I have in the kitchen of a frog painted on a feather. You really like to touch the framed quilt we have too but I think that one is mostly because it’s soft.

The one thing you love as much as art is music. You love to make music with objects. You love to slap your thighs like a drum and hold your fist up to your mouth and make humming noises. You love to sing and hum yourself to sleep and when you wake you love to listen to everything from Fleetwood Mac and The Cars to Buck Owens and David Allan Coe.

Things I want to remember about you from this time:

*You are a sweet boy. You like kisses and hugs and snuggles. You are tender-hearted. Speaking to you crossly brings you to inconsolable tears. However, you also have a stubborn vein that runs through you. You don’t like things snatched from your hand.

*When you don’t want to go to sleep you fight sleep until you are falling over. However, when you want to sleep you will fuss until we put you in your bed. At that point you may sleep for hours and hours until we wake you.

*You are getting so playful! Yesterday you were running in your walker and I was crawling toward you saying “I’m going to get you”. When I came closer you opened your mouth for a kiss so I kissed you back and you squealed with excitement and then ran the other direction!

* You love to crawl all over me and your dad. I think we are your “base” or safe zone while you are trying to figure out this standing/walking thing. It’s hilarious to watch but slightly painful to endure.

* You got your first tooth and then another back to back. They are your two front teeth!

*Just last Wednesday (August 20th) you surprised us and slipped crawling and standing up on your own into your repertoire!!

 

 

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So Mr. Ian those are my take aways this month. Your feet are forever growing and your smile stays big and warm so I think we are on the right track.

We love you more and more every day and are so proud of you!

Sincerely,

Mama and dad

 

 

Just Do It

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Nike came out with the slogan Just Do It when I was about 8 or 9 years old. I had no idea what it meant but it was everywhere. The entire goal of the campaign was to make Nike shoes a fashion statement or a lifestyle rather than athletic wear. They wanted to make it personal. 25 years later it reached me on a personal level.

The other night I was reminiscing with my dad about some of the things we did together when I was younger. I told him the hardest I have ever worked was helping him on one of his jobs years ago. We were putting insulation in a building he had been contracted to work on. He let me help him to earn some extra money. There were new requirements we had to follow so dad would cut chunks of insulation and wrap it around big metal duct work and tape it. I would follow behind him and push metal covers over nails so the insulation was held tightly to the duct work. This was tough but on top of the actual work there was snow on the ground, we were up in the rafter of a building and it was late at night. By the time we finished every fingertip was worn off of my gloves from hitting nails by accident.  I remember working for hours right by my dad and asking myself the same question over and over again.

How does he work this hard every day???

This morning I thought about the Nike slogan Just Do It, partially because I’m pretty sure I have undiagnosed A.D.D. but also because it was the answer to my question. Dad works hard every day because it has to be done. He just does it.  He doesn’t complain or throw himself a pity party. He doesn’t talk or dwell on whether it’s fair or not. He does it with a smile! Both of my parents do! I laughed when I thought about how Nike had finally succeeded in making their slogan personal to me though I give my dad the credit.

Suddenly Just Do It rings true! Life may not be full of everything I think I deserve but it doesn’t mean I can’t be positive and push through what needs to be done. Good things come in their own time if we are open to them. They may not be what we had planned but if we are focusing on what needs to be done instead of complaining it’s way easier to see the nice surprises along the way. So I think I am going to start applying the Nike slogan to my own life!

I can’t write a blog. Noone will ever read it!: Just Do It!

I don’t want to get up at 5am: Just Do It!

I can’t raise a child and work: Just Do It!

I can’t change one more diaper: Just Do It!

There is no praise or gratification in this: Just Do It!

40 Weeks

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Dear Ian David Baker,

You’re here! You came sooner than predicted by the doctors but only 2 days sooner than I thought you would get here. I thought my due date might be the 15th instead of the 22nd of November. Either way you are here with us and we are in complete wonder of you. We have spent the past week terrified yet mesmerized by your cry, your dependence upon us, your expressions, your movements…

Everything about you is truly fearfully and wonderfully made!

Your general mood seems to be sweet and loving but quick to upset when you are stressed. Initially you liked to lay against me when you were sleepy but I was baffled about how to calm you down when you would get upset. Even if we fixed the problem it seemed that the flood gates were already open and there was no way to turn down the emotion. I’m not sure if we are starting to speak the same language or if you are finally starting to get to know us outside of my tummy. At first when you would cry you would push our hands away. Now it seems like you are starting to enjoy kisses and hugs and we can calm you down much more quickly. Every day brings something new!

It’s a tough world out here. I never realized how traumatic it could be for you. In the first 24 hours you had shots, circumcision, bright lights, cold air, loud noises, strangers, broken sleep patterns and a completely different way of nourishing yourself. I would have a meltdown from that kind of stress. Life is funny. During the past 9 months I felt so protective of you and within the first 24 hours of you being here I could do nothing but watch as people poked and prodded you. It was more exhausting for me than giving birth because I felt so helpless. You’re home now and all I can say is it might get pretty ugly for the next person who messes with you.

Now that we are safe and sound in our little home we are forming our own rhythm and slowly but surely life is starting to calm down. Every day feels a little more normal and I breath a deep sigh every time I see you look up at me or your daddy. I can’t believe you are all ours!

Ian:

1. You were born at 4:25 pm on November 13th 2013 after mama’s water broke and she began labor at 1:45 am. Your daddy never left our side through it all and he coached me through 14 hours of some pretty intense waves of pain.

Note: I hadn’t really had any contractions prior to that so I thought it was false labor and didn’t wake daddy until about 3:00am. Daddy timed out the contractions on a phone app until about 5:00 am at which point we called the doctor because they were about 5 minutes apart. You fought coming at all but eventually you got here!

2. You weighed 7 pounds and 3 ounces and were 20.5 inches long when you arrived and you cried and cried initially. You had little bags under your eyes and really puffy lips when you were first laid on my chest. I thought you looked so tired.

3. Your hair was not thick but it was brown and curled into little tight rings on your head when you got here. It’s a little softer and straighter now.

4. I was one proud mama because you started breastfeeding perfectly within an hour! So smart and you have a very good appetite!

5. Your favorite clothing option right now is a gown with a stretchy bottom and built in baby gloves that flip over your hands and keep them warm.

6. You don’t like to be swaddled tight. You prefer to be wrapped loosely so you can spread out your arms and legs. However, you cry if your feet wiggle out and get cold.

7. You have a pout I keep trying to capture in a photograph. When you are sleeping sometimes you make all kinds of faces and one is a pout face in which you stick your lower lip out and bring your non-existant eyebrows together. Words just don’t do it justice!

8. So far we think you have daddy’s eyes and mama’s nose and chin. The jury is still out on your mouth. God did not see fit to provide you with eyebrows just yet but I’m sure He’ll get around to it!

9. When you get really upset you make a sound that sounds like an angry cat spitting ( anyone who has ever cornered and angry cat knows what I mean!). When you’re happy you make soft little sounds and smile and stick your tongue out.

10. Oh this is probably something to remember. Your daddy and I didn’t agree on your full name until about 30 minutes before you were born. Ian is a Scottish/Gaelic version of the name John. It means God is Gracious. In Hebrew it means Gift from God. Of course we got your middle name from daddy.

I’ll have plenty more to tell you I’m sure, but I just want you to know how much I love you and your dad. You two are my silver lining in this life. You’re my joy and I couldn’t be prouder of my two men.

We love you!

Mama and Daddy

Dad

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Oh man where in the world to begin to celebrate our dad!

1. Waking us up Sunday mornings singing Buddy Holly & The Everly Brothers.

2. Taking us to pick wild asparagus

3. Passing down his dad’s tall tale of “The Story of the Best and Worst Day He Ever Had”

4. Teaching us to chop wood!

5. Dancing us on his feet

6. Loving and following God with all of his heart

7. Crying with us and for us

8. Working night shift all those years and still spending days with us

9. Making us egg everything when he was in charge of feeding the kids

10. His awesome suede cowboy boots with the knife nick on the toe

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11. How he gets super excited when he has an idea or cool invention

12. All the house calls and repairs he STILL does for all of his daughters

13. Teaching us stuff instead of just doing it for us

14. Favorite dad quotes: “Finer than Frog’s Hair”, “I’m gonna hit that so hard it’s gonna hum like a ten penny finishing nail hit with a greasy ball-peen hammer.”, You’re my favorite Suzanna”, Hahaha! “Don’t tell your mama” followed by him telling our mother! “Don’t get sassy”, “necked” hahaha! “Do I look handsome?”

15. Dancing with us whenever he has the chance!

16. Singing ” You’re So Young and Beautiful” to mom so many times throughout the years.

17. Telling us girls how pretty we look!

18. Driving me around on his lunch break when I was in college so we could scarf down a pizza together and hang out

19. Singing to me over the phone during a homesick call to him and mom

20. Always making us feel safe and loved

 I love you dad.

I got the best parents in the world and am so lucky God gave you to me!

 Love – your Sparkle*