Raising a Blended Family

Flying Solo

So I’m sitting here, writing this, at eleven o’clock at night, while I should be packing for a plane trip that I’m taking tomorrow.  But no, I’m not a procrastinator or anything, why do you ask?

Anyways. So this trip. It’s a quick one, Thursday-Sunday, for a good friends’ wedding. She was in our wedding awhile back and while I was invited to me a bridesmaid in hers, with the babies and all it was too much.  I honestly wasn’t even sure I was going to be able to make the cross-country trip, but I ended up buying my ticket three weeks ago, chose “fish” as my dinner entree, and found a dress suitable for a wedding in Northern California wine country. So, all set! Unfortunately, due to cost and schedules, I will be making this trip mostly-solo, while Shorty, Addie, and Thing One stay home.  I say mostly-solo and not all the way solo, because due to his affinity for the Boobs and the fact that he will.not.take a bottle… Pax will be accompanying me on this trip.
Shorty is super sad (her first time away from her little guy) but I am mostly anxious about flying solo with a baby.  At Christmas, I wasn’t that nervous about flying with TWO babies and Thing One, because no matter what happened Shorty was there to back me up and it was two against three. I had someone to trade embarrassed glances with if the babies acted up and someone to talk to and someone else who had to be responsible along with me.  Tomorrow, though… tomorrow it’s just me, Pax, and a plane full of potentially-un-babyfriendly strangers for 6 hours.  Oh goodie. And all of these really really sillycrazy thoughts keep occuring to me- what if he has a blow out and I have to simultaneously hold the baby AND wrestle in the diaper bag for new clothes and supplies? What if I have to pee while we’re in the air?! What if he’s sleeping and I drop something and… What if he won’t stop crying?! And on, and on, and on.  I know I’m being ridiculous and it will be fine, but what IF?!?!!

He’s also older than he was at Christmas (duh) and has become more active. Where at Christmastime, he slept basically the whole time, I’m not quite sure what he’s going to do this time around.  I guess we’ll see.

The good news is, my mom will be waiting on the other end of this plane trip, and she will most certainly be of help with the baby. Yay for reinforcements!  She’s going to the wedding too (this is a childhood friend I grew up with so my mom knows her too!) and we’re going to take a side trip Friday and part of Saturday to see lots and lots of family. Pax is going to meet his great-grandmother for the first time, which simultaneously makes me happy and sad. Happy that he gets to meet her, sad because this could very well be both the first and last time he meets her (she’s old, not in good health, can’t really travel anymore and we certainly don’t get to northern California very often). So it’s a very nostalgic feeling. Pax will also be meeting various great-aunts and my cousins (which to him are first-cousins-once-removed, right? Can never quite get the hang of this family tree thing), who I haven’t seen in years either and am thus very excited to have a chance to reunite with.  It should be a good trip…

…provided the plane ride goes well.

And I guess that depends on me being prepared, which means I should get off my arse and go hunt down all of the entertaining-but-not-too-annoying-for-the-airplane toys, lots of baby clothes, etc etc etc.  And download some new iphone apps (suggestions?) in case the baby goes to sleep and I have nothing to do like last time.  And pack myself some clothes too, because running around in the same clothes all weekend is gross.

Ok. I’m going. sigh.


One Step Closer…

So I don’t usually like to post twice in one day, but I am so excited I wanted to tell you guys…

We just got an email from our attorney. We had filed a motion to wave our home study requirement, citing the fact that we just HAD one done by DCS when Addie was placed with us… and the judge granted our waiver! YES!!! We just saved ourselves $800 AND expedited the adoption process.

Next step will be our lawyer getting back to us for a final court date.  🙂


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So we kicked the stomach flu out of here, finally, but it has still been a rough day or so for Pax.

It all started last night.  Shorty and I decided to join the local YMCA in order to get our exercise on.  One of the perks of this particular Y (as opposed to the town-run rec center that we also have available to us) is that their daycare center will take babies! Meaning, my wife and I can actually go work out, like, together…. in theory, anyways.

We decided to test that theory last night with our very first family YMCA excursion.  We decided it would be a test run- we needed to tweak a few things with our membership package at the front desk and knew from experience that that could take awhile… meanwhile, Thing One would be bored out of her mind waiting for us and it would be up to the heavens above as to whether or not the babies behaved during our paperwork extravaganza.  We decided that rather than chance it, this would be the perfect time to drop the babies at daycare and Thing One at her big-kids club.

We hit the babycare first, by simple expedient of it being closest to the Y entrance.  When we walked in there were a few other babies there, all being rocked, held, or crawling happily around the place.  The staff had it well under control and when we explained that it was our first time leaving our babies, they willingly spent extra time with us answering our questions, letting us look around some more (I had toured this babycare before when I signed us all up; Shorty hadn’t) and generally reassuring us that the babies would be fine.  Ha. Little did they know.

Here is where we began to fail: once they were done explaining everything to us and we were done asking questions, we just told the staffers where we would be and handed the babies over.  That’s it- cold turkey. We didn’t take time to make sure the babies were comfortable first or anything- just said here you go, she likes to do X, Y, and Z and he likes A, B and C, and prepared to leave.  Sure, we kissed the babies bye, and eyeballed their caretakers to make sure they weren’t going to drop them or anything… but we didn’t like, sit down with them while the babies were being held by the Y staff to make the babies more comfortable.  We watched them put Addie in a jumper, settle down with Pax in a rocker, and hightailed it outta there. Ya’ll, what kind of parents do that?  I’m cringing as I type it… because of course, it’s common sense that you’re going to make sure your baby is comfortable with his/her caretakers before you leave. It’s common sense that you’ll sit with them for a minute, especially the very first time, so they hopefully won’t feel quite as abandoned.  It’s all just common sense. And we just left them high and dry.

Strike One.

Strike two was that we didn’t think about the time when we were doing all of this.  Our babies have put themselves on a pretty strict schedule, and are very prompt about when they want to do certain things… like sleep. Very dependable like that, and if you mess with their schedule, they mess with you! So we stopped by the Y on our way home from dinner out, thinking we were fine because the babies were acting happy and both fed and changed… but we failed to notice that it was seven o’clock… maybe even seven fifteen.  Dangerously close to Meltdown Hour (aka, baby bedtime at 8-830). In retrospect, I really don’t know what we were thinking.  We should have been hightailing it home, praying to make it on time to get baby bath and bedtime routines done before the meltdowns started, not stopping in at the YMCA to fix paperwork… gah. And the #momfailing continues…

After abandoning dropping off the babies, we went and dropped Thing One off at her kidsclub (no anxiety there, she threw her coat at us and went running with nary a see-you-later) and then we were on our way back through the (enormous, huge, neverending halls) to the front desk to do our paper pushing. We even held hands and marveled at the fact that we were kidfree on our way back up to the front (it’s pretty sad when you get excited by dropping your kids off at the YMCA daycare). Our excitement didn’t last long though- it seems like no sooner had we gotten back to the front than a staff member from babycare approached us.  By the worried look on her face, we knew it wasn’t good.

“I’m really sorry,” she said. “But Paxton just isn’t having us.”

Turns out that was the understatement of the century.

Shorty and I exchanged Looks, the Look that you get as a mom when you know your kid is having a meltdown or otherwise in trouble… and I volunteered to follow the lady back to retrieve our errant son.

When I got there, Pax was in hysterics.  I could hear him screaming from outside the door. The lady holding him had him swaddled (which, coincidentally, he hates, but we neglected to tell them that) and was bouning and shushing him on her hip.  He was so upset that his face was red and puffy and his sobs were tumbling out one on top of the other with no time for him to breathe in between them.  The poor baby was a wreck.  I immediately took him (I think the lady looked a little relieved) and started shushing him like we do at home, expecting him to calm down once he saw that it was me.  Yeah… that didn’t happen. What did happen was he looked at me, kept crying, and promptly threw up all over the front of me. So now we were both a mess and he was still screaming.  Ya’ll… it was a disaster.

I went into the nearby bathroom to clean both of us up as best I could (him still screaming), then (with a quick check-in on Addie, who was still happily playing in her bouncer thankgoodness), I took the poor guy back out to the lobby with me.  Shorty’s eye got big when she saw us coming and everyone in the facility could hear how unhappy he was… long story short, even with moms holding him it took him another twenty minutes to calm down.

Strike Three, and huge #momfail.

You guys, I feel sooooo bad.  I never meant to traumatize the little fella and I have very very rarely seen him that upset- not even when he gets shots at the doctors.  In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen him that upset!  Poor baby boy.  Shorty and I still aren’t sure if it was separation anxiety, or just the fact that he was exhausted and ready for bed (he fell asleep as soon as we got home, after crying all the way home of course), or a combination of both. And we are both terrified to try the babycare again! We have left him with sitters before, and it’s always been fine… but it has always in our home environment, always with friends who came and hung out for at least a half hour first (not necessarily holding him, just being there), and he has never had a meltdown like this before. So we honestly aren’t sure what’s up.

Anyone have any similar experiences?

Sigh.  I still feel guilty even thinking about how upset he was.


The second #momfail happened today- Pax rolled over for the first time (back to front), and even though I was sitting right above him, with him on the playmat and me on the couch above him, I didn’t see it! In fact, I didn’t notice he was on his tummy until Thing One came in and said “oh, Pax is on his tummy. You’re doing tummy time with him?”.  And I looked down and there he was, on his tummy when I knew I had left him on his back. I KNOW!!!! I feel horrible about this too, and super bummed I missed it!  I was reading a blog or something… gah.

So, in summary, it’s just been a 24hours full of epic #momfails.  Hopefully, there won’t be anymore for awhile!


Stomach Flu Blues

We’ve got the stomach flu blues over here. Thing One has been barfing all weekend with no sign of it getting better.

It started on Friday night, when Shorty was at work and I was home alone with two fussy babies and Thing One. Thing One started barfing and crying for me, the babies were both screaming because they were hungry and it was bedtime, and you better believe I made an emergency SOS call to Shorty, asking her to come help me at home. (I like to think of myself as superwoman, but even I know my limit. Two screaming babies and a barfing seven-year-old is it.).

Almost two days later now, we are still going strong. Thing One has not moved from the couch all weekend and I have not stopped praying that no one else gets sick. So far, none of us have, and thank goodness for that- I don’t even want to think about what a baby with stomach flu looks like, and Shorty can’t afford to take a day off work. 😦 In the meantime though, Thing One is so miserable, it’s sad to watch. She hasn’t been able to eat all weekend and she’s weak and sick. Poor girl.

One cute thing is that we checked her temperature on Friday night and ever since then she’s been voluntarily taking her temperature pretty much constantly (every fifteen minutes) and then calling out the numbers to us. Only, she doesn’t know how to read them, so she’ll call out to us, “moms, it says one and then a zero and then another zero and then a dot and then a two.” Every fifteen minutes. It’s cute and I think it makes her feel more cared for and special when we call back to her and tell her if she has a fever or not.

Hopefully this goes away soon. It’s certainly not fun for anyone involved.

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I’ll sleep anywhere you want me to, as long as it’s on a mama!

After a week and a half of intentional blog silence, I’ve been trying to figure out how to ease back into blogging. I’ve basically decided that there is no easy way to do it, and that like many things in life, I’m just going to have to rip off the bandaid and power through it. So this is me, ripping the bandaid off, with a post about our boy’s napping habits.

At four months old, Pax has reached or almost reached a variety of milestones. He coos. He’s almost rolling over. He will blow raspberries. He smiles, and kind-of giggles, and interacts like nobody’s business.  But one thing that has not changed since his newborn days is his steadfast refusal to sleep anywhere that is not directly on a mama.

This is a very cute and cuddly habit, but it’s also inconvenient, as you can imagine. It means that during the day, when he is sleeping on me and I am home alone, the other baby is pretty much S.O.L. if she needs something (not really, but it does mean I have to occasionally wake Pax far earlier than he’d prefer to be woken in order to get something/feed/help the other baby… you’d think this would be a deterrent for him to nap on me but you’d be wrong).  It means that he won’t nap when we’re out running errands during the day (because his carseat is CLEARLY not a mom… although the ergo is sometimes acceptable).  It means that when we’re both home, one mom is pretty much relegated to surfing the web for the duration of his nap while the other mom caters to the baby and the kid (and it also means that we fight for who gets to be the mom he naps on because, hello, being able to sit on your ass for two hours cuddling a baby and surfing the web and say you’re actively parenting? Hello, awesome.).

So yes, it’s inconvenient. 

Not that we’ve really tried to do much about it so far.  We recognize that at four months, he’s still a pretty young baby and that also, snuggled into our chests is the most natural place for him to want to be right now.  I’m also of the mindset of “if that’s what he needs right now to make him feel safe/secure/comforted enough to nap, then that’s what he needs” (a similar mindset goes into the whole cosleeping-not-by-choice thing- if that’s what he needs, for now, then so be it.).

So the reason I’m writing this post arises not so much from wanting to stop this behavior right now, while he needs it per say, but from how to know when it’s gone from “need” to “habit” and how to stop it when it gets that far.  Obviously, I don’t want to be two years down the road with my toddler still needing to nap ON me! (okay, gross overexaggeration, but you get the point).

I think it’s complicated because overall Pax seems to be a very tactile baby- he needs to FEEL us, skin to skin, and seems to get a lot of comfort out of it. I know all babies do this to an extent but he seems to be even more-so than average.  I’m a tactile person too, so I get it.  It’s why he wants to be held all the time during the day.  And at night, for instance, now that we have a King bed, Pax will spread out and if he doesn’t make contact with one of us via an arm or a foot, he will wiggle until he does… and then he’ll stop, arm or hand or foot lightly resting on an area of our skin, and breathe/sleep peacefully once more.  He does this even if he’s in a deep sleep… he wants to be touching us, and that definitely is reflected during the day when he wants to nap on us.

I don’t mind any of this. I am absolutely not complaining about the fact that my baby needs me and needs to be physically near me for comfort and support. It’s 100% okay in my book.  But the question is, once he doesn’t NEED it anymore, will the behavior just disappear on its own (ie, napping on us?).  Or will it become a habit we will actively have to break?

I’m thinking the time will come soon where it’s not as much of a need anymore.  I can see it during the day, when I put him down now for floortime. He doesn’t always cry, but when he does, it’s usually an outraged, I-can’t-believe-you-just-put-me-down, sharp and angry cry, rather than a heartbroken, scared, mommy-I-need-you-cry.  And if I leave him alone for a minute, half the time he’ll get over being mad and settle down to the business of exploring and playing on his own (the other half of the time I pick him back up.).  This kind of burgeoning independence and willingness to be out of a mama’s arms for a bit to explore is an encouraging sign that he may be starting to not need the physical closeness allthetime as much anymore… and that maybe, just maybe, that newfound independence could start to expand to naps as well, and he might start letting us put him down after being rocked to sleep or such.  One can only dream, right?


I know that only time can tell, and we will figure this all out in due time.  For now, though, I would love to hear your thoughts on this, mamas who have been there done that!


Going Dark For Caemon

Because there are no words.

Because nothing can change this cruel reality.

Because the pain we all feel is only the faintest echo of Jodi and Timaree’s pain, and I need, we all need, some way to express our solidarity and grief across the miles.

This blog is going dark for Caemon. At least for a week, in the hopes that my silence will express the profound grief that I cannot find the words for.

Jodi and Timaree- we’re here for you.

Caemon. We will never forget you.


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For Caemon

I have no words. If his moms ever read this, I am so, so sorry for your loss….

I really feel like I need to reach out to this community tonight. I am heartbroken, devastated, as I imagine all of us are… And yet all of our pain can’t even hold a tiny spark to what his moms must be feeling.

With tears pouring down my cheeks I find myself wondering “why” and “how?” I know, to the rest of the world, it would seem silly to be this devastated over a little boy I’ve never “met.” I think this is why I feel like I need to reach out to you all… because you GET it. Every one of us has a child that we’ve wished for, longed for, dreamed of and nurtured. We all carry our children or futurechildren around in our hearts, and we carry each others’ children as well. We carry each other. So no, I’ve never met Caemon, but I’ve met him. Through this blog and this community and his moms’ writing, I knew him.

And now, my heart is breaking for him, and his moms. I can’t believe i have to say this, but… Farewell to a strong little warrior, a fighter, a beautiful little light extinguished all too soon.

You will be missed, Caemon!



Notes from the trenches at 4 months in

So, we’re just about four months into this twinfant/infant parenting gig, and I thought I would share some brief observations and updates with y’all, bullet-style since I don’t have time to figure out transitions between paragraphs and all that crap.

Observations and Updates:

– Breastfeeding a baby with teeth is an entirely different ball game than breastfeeding one without them. It’s like the difference between confronting an unarmed teenager and having it out with a member of Hell’s Angels- shit just got real. Also, yes, I said TEETH. He already has his bottom two and he’s working on at least two more. I have been dreading this day and now it has come- and when he bit me for the first time I just about went through the roof because HOLY SHITBALLS! That crap hurts.

-Similarly, changing a baby who consumes only formula versus changing one on solids… Well, I’ll leave you to imagine the dirty details (or to chuckle wryly in a been-there-done-that sort of way), but let me just say DAMN child. I would ask what you’ve been eating, but I already know the details. And the colors.

-I have now perfected the art of being as quiet as possible when getting up early in the morning to put Thing One on the bus, in order to keep sleeping babies sleeping and in the hopes that I may rejoin them once Thing One is bundled off to school. I mean sure, it may sound neurotic to (quite literally) tiptoe around the house- old wooden floors are creaky– or insist on whispering all morning long- THING ONE, WHY AREN’T YOU USING YOUR WHISPER VOICE (said in a whisper-shout, naturally)– or to slip into the bathroom between the the nursery and our room and turn on the light that isn’t attached to the fan before Thing One can get in there, because she can’t reach it and otherwise she’ll turn on the light that’s closest to the door that happens to be attached to a fan that is LOUD… But hey, to me it’s not neurosis, it’s all just good plain common sense. There’s also the Don’t Put Your Shoes On Until Right Before You Leave rule (in order to prevent clomping shoes on wooden floors) and the Bring Everything You Need Downstairs With You The First Time rule (in order to prevent loud running up and down the stairs that happen to share a wall with the nursery) and okay yes, there may be a little neurosis going on in the name of getting the most sleep possible. Only a little.

-I’ve learned that while laying the babies down to “play together” sounds cute in theory, it usually results in one baby grabbing the other baby by the throat/crotch/eyeball/ear, and generally isn’t recommended at the moment (at least not without very very close supervision and a referee uniform). But, it makes for cute pictures… in between the pulling-them-off-each-other bits. And we thought we’d have to wait for toddlerhood for that. HA.

-It is now impossible to sleep lying down with either of the babies lying on top of you… Much to Pax’s sorrow. Reclining, yes. Sleeping in bed, no… because doing so feels like you’re putting the weight of two or maybe even three bowling balls directly on top of your rib cage (hey, I pick the light sissy bowling balls, okay?) and claustrophobia immediately sets in. Side-snuggling it is!

– We’re getting better at getting the babies, their gear, Thing One and ourselves out the door in a reasonable amount of time. And by “reasonable,” I mean somewhere in the half-an-hour range, as opposed to the hour-to-hour-and-a-half range. Go team!

-Our king-size bed has officially been ordered! There is light at the end of the co-sleeping tunnel! Or more room to spread out, anyways.

-I cannot believe Addie is six months old, and Pax is four. I know I say things like this a lot, but I really can’t fathom it. Addie is halfway through babyhood. Pax is right behind her. And I’m pretty sure both of them are already knocking on teenagehood’s door and practicing their attitudes. Eee gawds.

-Life is good.