Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Cora and Co

There are a few things that are completely crappy right now, but Cora and the big kids aren't one of them. I've been due for a baby update on the Corabunny, but words fail- beyond just trying to describe over and over how utterly delightful she is, to the core of her tiny little being, I fear I'm being repetitive.

She's 4 months old today and I have never enjoyed each stage with a baby more. I'm just trying to soak it all up and I'm sad each night when I put her in bed and say goodbye to another evening with her. I've never felt this way with a baby- with Landon we were mostly surviving, loving him, of course, but SURVIVING. Claire taught us that babies can be more fun than work, but it took at least 6 months before we could really relax and stop waiting for something to go terribly wrong. With Cora, we began with a mindset of some babies are hard, some are easy, but if you make it to 12 months it all gets pretty awesome, and then we were blessed with a baby even smilier and easier than Clairebear and we were able to enjoy it from the beginning.

I swear every day she's just proving what an excellent decision we made to finally toss the birth control and make baby #3 a reality instead of a much debated abstract being.

She is truly just SO happy to be on the Lag Liv family team. Her joy infuses her every ounce and is impossibly contagious.

Landon and Claire feel it too. They remain besotted. Even Claire, who I thought might have a few sharing the spotlight issues still just says every day, "I'm so glad we have our baby Mommy." They still want to hold her, touch her, talk to her. They exclaim when she smiles at them and they try to include her in everything they do, even if it's just running over to whatever baby station she's hanging out in to tell her what's happening.

Yesterday, a randomly gorgeous 80-degree afternoon, we set up shop outside as soon as I got home from work (at 3:30, because insomnia is trying to kill me and I gave up on sleeping and went in at 6:30) and didn't go back in until bedtime at 7:30. I put Cora in her playmat on the patio while the kids sang and danced and played basketball. In a typical set-up, the boys were actually playing the basketball, Claire was watching nearby with babies and plastic high heels, and Cora was set a little further back, watching her big siblings intently.

JP mocked the bow I felt Cora needed, but it was Claire who ran inside and found a pair of her sunglasses and popped them on Cora, stepping back and exclaiming, "Mommy! She looks AMAZING." And she did indeeed.

Rationally, I know Cora is my last baby. JP is not kidding when he says we're not having more, and while there are very few things he would deny me, a fourth baby is emphatically one of them. And yet I don't feel like I'm done. I don't feel like I'm not done either, and our life, schedule, house, and budget are completely incompatible with a fourth child, I just thought that if and when we had a third, I'd feel capital-D Done. I figured that throughout the pregnancy, recovery, and babyhood, I'd be happy it was happening but I'd know and revel in the fact that it wasn't happening again. But from the day I found out I was pregnant (a year ago today exactly), I never had that feeling. Pregnancy was fine, recovery was easy, infancy was wonderful. I even fit back into my regular clothes months earlier than usual! In every way Cora has made her addition easy and I almost wish for something that would make me think, "Well thank goodness this is the last time we're doing that!". Not really, but almost.

Last night I snapped a picture right between steps 1 and 2 of her complicated nighttime routine (in bed; light off). And then I picked her back up and squeezed her because you guys, I cannot get enough.

When I relinquished her to her bed and closed the door, and checked in on L & C to find them sleeping snugly in their own, I thought of a woman we talked to at my grandparents' retirement community last weekend. We'd just piled in the elevator and I was holding Claire's hand and directing Landon on which floor to press, and JP was holding our bags and Cora's infant carrier, and this lovely woman who looked to be in her mid-80's was smiling at us with such a soft look in her eye and said "Oh, I remember those days." And she didn't say it in the sort of wry "don't worry you'll get past this" way or the overly fond "time clearly erases all memories of tantrums" way, she just said it simply, with a soft smile. And that's exactly how I think of it now- fondly, with a bit of wistfulness at how it's already moving forward too fast. It's not that life with small children is always easy or I don't have days that I long to come home and care only for myself. But I also don't find it nearly as awful or soul-sucking as the kind-of-funny-but-mostly-mean internet postings try to make it seem. I love this time with small kids in the house and I think that's part of why I can't believe Cora's the end for us- I don't want to leave this phase and by my logic, as long as we keep having babies, I don't have to.


  1. I wrote the nicest comment and I hate the internet because it ate my comment. God, it was so good, too. ERG.

    My six week old is stirring and needing to eat, so I will summarize the basic gist - I feel you. This kid is my last, and I have that knowing feeling that you are lacking. It helps that I am old - Advanced Maternal Age already with this one, so any future kids would be rolling the dice with this ancient mama. :) It was hard on my mid-thirties body to carry this last baby. However, I know plenty of folks who never feel done . . . they just sort of drift through life until biology makes the decision for them. You aren't alone in that feeling.

    As for the fleeting nature of this stage - I find it hard to ride the line between a healthy awareness that this time is flying by and I must enjoy it . . . and panic that this time is flying by and I'm losing them. Jack (my 5 yo) brought me a grubby little weed yesterday, handed it to me with such reverence, a shy sweetness . . . he saw something pretty in the yard and immediately thought of me. Stopped, mid-game, and brought it to me. I thought morosely - 'in twenty years, he'll pay money for a lovely bouquet of flowers to send me on Mother's Day, but that will be out of obligation. The time that he'll see something pretty and desperately want me to have it is almost at an end.' It seriously brought on a little panic.

    Postpartum hormones, amirite? I just have to hug my Littlest, enjoy my two Biggest boys, and look forward to middle school softball games, to the boys running through my house in a rowdy tumble and giving me a quick kiss on the cheek while they raid the fridge on their way to somewhere else. That sounds fun, too, and though I wish I didn't have to leave this fun stage behind to get to that one . . . well, I guess I do. So it goes.

  2. What a sweetie. The consistency with which you talk about 4, leaves me no doubt you'll do it. You're still so young you could do it in 8 years!

  3. As RG alluded to - but you don't know what joy the next stages will bring you! When all three can ski and hike and laugh together with you as "real" people! Oh, I think you'll enjoy all the stages of their lives, but you have to let go of the baby years to get there :-)

  4. Ditto everything you said. Or, at least, I would have felt EXACTLY the same way when my own #3 was 4 months. Now, he is 10 months and I'm 100% certain I still want another baby in a couple of years but I'm less certain that I really want kid #4. Now that Teddy is a real person and I have 3 KIDS and not just 2 kids and a baby, life feels much fuller and busier. Busier in the way that I have a nagging feeling sometimes that I'm not giving each kid the attention they deserve. I still love the idea of a big family and the balance a fourth would bring and the friends for life that I'd be giving each kid, but I am starting to feel that it also might be nice to move on to the after-baby stages and just give as much as I can to each of the kids that I love so much already. My husband right now claims to feel the same way JP does, but I'm pretty sure that I could convince him in a year or so to have another...after all, I convinced him to have #3. Only time will tell. For now, just enjoy the fact that Cora is so wonderful she makes you want another!

  5. I often feel the urge to have another baby but I'm way too old now. I acknowledge the feeling and let it pass and visit your blog. lol So thanks! Whatever you decide, be happy.

  6. These updates, and your thoughts-along-the-journey are so helpful and comforting to read. I know they're great for you to have and look back on too. :)

    Thank you, by the way, for adding the very useful comment on sleep. It is so different from what my approach has been, and I'm interested to incorporate your ideas with our second child. Much appreciated.

  7. Cora is a sweetie!!! Oh thank you for saying this: But I also don't find it nearly as awful or soul-sucking as the kind-of-funny-but-mostly-mean internet postings try to make it seem.

    I feel like a lot of my friends are frustrated with their kids and complain a lot. Having my son (and #2 shortly) are the BEST things that have ever happened to me and I enjoy each day (and have some frustration, obviously). But yes, it is not something I'm just trying to "get through" and I wish society would stop making it seem like that! I already think ahead to when my son is 18 and leaving for college (hopefully, lol) and I get SO sad. Slow down, time!!!!

  8. I am so, so with you! I expected to be Done after A, and I just don't feel it. Even after definitive medical advice I keep thinking, "What about adoption?!"

  9. Have you had yourself tested for sleep apnea. If not, do! There might be a reason and help for your insomnia.

  10. What a lovely post. This is another one for the baby books-- for each of them (My kids' "baby books" are mostly boxes full of fun stuff. The actual books were carefully filled in-- until they were born and I had other stuff to do. They love that they have the stuff, even though they won't admit it.) I know I would have loved to hear this kind of stuff written by my mom at that stage. You really captured it. Good on you!
    Lisa M.

  11. Cora's such a smiler!! And that bath pic is a keeper! I've been reading your posts for awhile and I am so impressed with your optimistic attitude towards parenting. It's inspiring and helps me with my own perspective during the less desirable parenting moments.

    On a long shot, my husband, toddler, and I will be relocating to the FW area just for the summer (job) and are looking for a trustworthy childcare facility. Do you have any recommendations (or warnings!)?