Brotherly Love

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At 7.5 weeks, I feel like we’ve begun settling into a sweet little family routine. And the love between these two (well, it’s one sided from Potamus to Lil G at this point, right?) is so sweet.

Yesterday I took Lil G down to Olympia to hang out with my bestie. When I came back it was late afternoon, and so we spent some time outside looking at the trees blowing in the wind and feeling the sunshine on our faces. Of course Potamus wanted to snuggle his baby brother and I captured this sweet shot. Be still my heart.

These moments are why people say they’re glad they have two or more kids.

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Joy in Comparison

12916097_10100849873349183_6625354155679802775_oOne of my biggest fears in having a second child, is that I would constantly be comparing the two boys. It’s partially why I wanted to have a girl, so that in case the kids were different (which of course they surely would be), I wouldn’t be all like “why can’t you be like your brother?” I was afraid that I would make one child feel less than by these comparisons. I was afraid that I would favor one child over another.

We didn’t have a second kid in order for Potamus to have a sibling, that was an added side benefit. Instead, we had a second kid in order to experience the joy of watching another person grow up to be themself. And boy is this amazing so far. Comparison happens on the daily, but rather than this being a negative thing, it’s like a joyful surprise, the topic of many conversations, and is fully feeding into my desire to watch another small person grow up.

When Potamus was born, it was like falling in love at summer camp: heady, overwhelming, all encompassing. With Lil G, the love was like visiting the ocean on a warm day, vast, and calm, waves lapping at my ankles. I love my boys equally, but the feeling in my body is different. There’s no competition because they are completely different experiences.

The other night Lil G slept for 6 hours at night, which means that I got about 5. I didn’t get more than 4 hours of sleep with Potamus until he was almost 2. Lil G loves a pacifier, and can fall asleep in the swing, and Potamus needed to be bounced on the yoga ball and still sleeps in our bed. It’s not judgment on either kid. It just is what it is, and I’m loving it. I was so afraid of the comparison trap, but instead I’m enjoying it so much. I can’t wait to see who they grow up and experience the ways that they are the same and different.

12239279_10100819158676633_6853731273726244885_oThere’s something about a warm baby on my chest that makes me want to write down everything, but the moments and memories from even just one week are already floating away like clouds.

The adjustment to life with two has been much easier than I thought, which makes me afraid for the other shoe to drop and us to spiral into a world of increasing difficulty. I try to push those thoughts away in order to simply be, but the nagging is there, heightened by the fact that at 5 weeks postpartum last time I crashed and developed post partum depression/anxiety/ocd which left me feeling crazy and needing to be medicated.

So far the newest, who we call Lil G, is a much easier baby than his big brother. He sleeps well (enough for a newborn), and is so far handling nursing with my overactive letdown like a champ. Some pain and nipple cracking is happening, and yesterday after his doctor appointment when he was in pain the nursing was really painful, but overall I’d say we’re in a really good place for week 1. I’m nervous about next week, though, when I am tasked with getting both boys ready and out the door to get Potamus to his daycare/school that’s 30 minutes away. I feel like I’m in for a challenge, though Potamus has adjusted quite well to being a big boy and having responsibilities like getting himself dressed in the morning.

But right now, I’m just snuggling with Lil G on my chest, trying to soak in all the newness of this moment.

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My 20 Week Ultrasound = Wendy of Neverland

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We wore the colors that we thought the baby would be. I’m in pink. Boof in blue. In typical Boof fashion, he was right. We are having a BOY!!!!

To be perfectly honest, in the few days leading up to the ultrasound, I had this suspicion. Boy names kept popping into my head as I laid there trying to sleep. The unconscious prayers in my head of, ‘please be a girl,’ felt different, like those fruitless prayers of ‘please ask me to prom,’ knowing that in this universe it was not a reality. And with the confirmation ultrasound, it was this sigh that left me. Friends who knew I was pulling for a girl texted nervously, “are you disappointed?” and “how are you doing?”

Honestly?

I’m amazing.

I can’t explain how relieved I felt in learning that I get the privilege of being the mom to two boys. It feels so cosmically perfect I can’t even explain, like I’m Wendy being dropped into my own little Neverland, and I get to experience this adventure that I didn’t even know I wanted, but I needed in my soul.

Did I mist up when, after the ultrasound tech left the room, I told Boof we would never use our girl name. Yes. It was like this little loss. A balloon let go and into the wind. Watching it float away. But there he was, swimming around in my belly, my son. Potamus’s brother. It’s just so right that I can’t even be sad. Maybe there will be a day I’ll long for that little girl, and that will be okay, too. But for now I’m planning our next adventures…

The face of an excited Big Brother!

The face of an excited Big Brother!

Announcement

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I was two days late and figured Father’s Day was as good of a day as any to take a pregnancy test. If negative, it would be no harm no foul, since we weren’t going to start until July. If positive, it’d be an excuse for why I didn’t get Boof a gift.

I quelled the urge to take the test in the Target bathroom, but instead I recruited my best friend to take me to the store to buy a test.

Positive.

I’m having another baby.

If all goes well, this is my last pregnancy.

So I’m resurrecting the mommy blog to chronicle this journey the second time round. Already I’ll say my experience is vastly different. Symptom free the first time, I’m experiencing 3pm nausea, mood swings that could land me on a Real Housewives drama, and sensitivity to smell, among the most heightened. Seriously, don’t sweat near me. Or fart. Or eat anything with onions. Or pump gas. Or throw away garbage. I will hurl.

I’m off for summer break, which means the first trimester will be spent hanging with Potamus. I’m so early, but have announced it like the giant blabbermouth that I am.

Fun things: my SIL is due 4 months before me, so there’s gonna be cousins close in age. My due date will allow me to take Spring Quarter off (I already have summer off) and that puts me at about 6 months of ‘maternity’ leave!

And isn’t Potamus such a ham? Look at him getting all excited about his new baby sister*

*sex won’t be confirmed until October. BUT I’m hoping for a sister. So I’m putting sister vibes into the Universe. Will you join me?

I thought she died…

not the same picture, but taken around the time of my terrible dream

not the same picture, but taken around the time of my terrible dream

A lot of childhood memories have been floating up to the surface, which I attribute to my wrestling with having an only-child vs. having another child spaced 4-5 years apart. When thinking about all-things-kid-related imagining into the future starts with progressing into the past in order to see…how would I have felt, which is narcissistic at it’s core (because Potamus is not me), but that’s what I’m working with right now. And so, imagining a 4-5 year age spread means going back into my past and remembering what it was like when my sister was born…er…adopted into my family.

I was 5.

We drove from Seattle to Oregon where she had been born.

We had a necklace or some other gift that my brother (2 years younger than me) walked up to the lady in the hospital bed, and gave to her. I think we said something like “thank you,” and that’s all I remember (more could be said about this bizarre memory, as it was a concrete experience of what adoption-birthfamilies was, but I didn’t really analyze that until older). The next thing I remember is we were on our way home, somewhere up I-5 and I realized…I had left my favorite Skipper doll in the hospital.

And they wouldn’t go back to get my Skipper doll.

We came home with a baby, and I lost my doll.

And I lost my position in the family as the only girl.

The princess.

And I was at an age where I was embracing my princess-tomboy style, but I was clearly no longer the only girl, and she, in all her tiny bundle of joyness, became the family princess.

I don’t remember much about my sister until she was in pre-school. Coming home on the first day, eagerly declaring “I like TEN BOYS in my class, there’s Jordan, Taylor, etc,” and me saying “that’s not how it works. You don’t get to like more than one boy at a time. you grow up and marry one person.” But she was always the princess. And I grew into a new role…the protector.

can you see my annoyance with her fabulousness?

can you see my annoyance with her fabulousness?

Both jealous and protective of this fragile, dainty, cheerleading popular kiddo (who grew into a fragile, dainty, cheerleading popular, fashionable adult), who was so different than me, and mostly annoyed me. We shared a room and she wanted to talk all night. I wanted to sleep. She wanted to play dress up. I wanted to read. But in preschool, I remember a photo of her was taken. She was holding a plastic pan, and looks caught by surprise. And it was hanging on our mirror the time I had the dream.

In the dream, we were in Disneyland, and she died.

I was horrified.

I woke up crying.

I carried that picture with me until I hit college (and she stole it back) because that’s how I remembered her, so young and innocent and for me to protect as her big sister.

And so, I think about things like that when I think about having another baby someday. That the dynamic will change. That there will be complicating factors and emotions and memories that Potamus will have of the time he had alone and the time he had when the sibling enters the scene. It will be different than my own memories. And if he doesn’t have a sibling he will not have those memories to look back on. It’s complicated and emotional on many different levels.

My relationship with my sister is currently also complicated. I will always be her big sister, protective, blunt, and loyal, but also jealous of her carefree swagger.

How are your sibling relationships? How has it influenced your decision to have/not have kids (or to have more) kids? Have any striking childhood memory involving siblings?

Adoption & Siblings

Do you have siblings in your adoptive family? Were they also adopted or not? What was your relationship like in regards to adoption? If you are in reunion, did you find siblings as part of your search? How you been affected by your sibling relationships? If you searched and found siblings, and had adoptive siblings, what has that been like? If you don’t have siblings, have you found any benefits to being an only child?

Yes, I have siblings, both biological and adopted. Our relationships are complicated.

My little half-sisters are biologically related to me, but there is such a generation gap that they function more like my nieces that I see a few times a year. My half-brother and sister on my biological mom’s side are the same age as my adoptive siblings, but it’s weird trying to get to know people that age who are family and yet not family.

They grew up a different religion, socieo-economic class and in a different area, so there is a  huge cultural difference that is hard to overcome.

My adoptive brother is most recently in my life in a close-way because we both have kids, though we would not really be friends outside of that, because of such a difference in philosophies on work, religion, politics, etc. We relate on a familial level because we are both, now, parents, but I sometimes find it hard to talk with him about much else.

I am probably closest to my adoptive sister.

Though, this weekend I did something dumb. Something super passive-aggressive and un-becoming of an almost-30-year old.

I unfriended her on facebook.

Sigh.

Yeah, I am that kind of person.

In my mind I have all sorts of justifications for it, but mostly I was hurt, and have been hurt, not as much by her actions, but by the actions of her live-in-boyfriend-almost-fiance.

It as triggered by a sequence of photos from their trip to see her biological family in Oregon. I wonder if my reaction would have been as strong if it hadn’t been a vacation there, though I am not inherently jealous of her other family. It was that he was in the pictures with her. And from previous conversations with her, I know that he “just loves them. It’s so easy with them. They don’t judge him, and it’s just relaxed, rather than when he’s around mom & dad he feels judged and they’re always asking them questions.”

So, in my head, I am annoyed because once again it seems like she is in a relationship with a selfish jerk who expects her to spend time with his family, and he can make time to travel 4 hours to Oregon, but can’t come to my parents house in the same town as them, or visit Seattle when my sister does…like…for Potamus’ baptism or say, this Thanksgiving. But he can make time to train to be a cage-fighter (un, he’s 32) and visit her other family in Oregon.

Major butt-hurt right here.

And I blame my sister because she has done this over-and-over-and-over with different guys. So I’m frustrated with her because she keeps choosing guys that treat her family like poop. But I’m also frustrated that he doesn’t love her enough to make an effort with us.

Wanting to change my relationships with my siblings is a challenge. Mutual adult relationships are difficult, and I often find it easier to hang out with friends because we have some of those mutual beliefs, interests, shared grown-up experiences together, that aren’t accompanied by the baggage of family.