Thursday, January 29, 2015

Micro-Blogging: Cora and Just Exactly This

Each of these could and probably should be their own posts, but that never seems to happen these days, so:

Cora is a Toddler and Toddlers are the Best.

New tricks include clapping anytime, anywhere you say "Yay!". Doesn't matter if the yay is for her, if she hears it coming from any direction she stops what she's doing and claps. It is so adorable that all four of us say "yay" all the time now. 

She also gives hugs. If you crouch down and hold out your arms, she runs and squeals and throws open her arms and attacks you. The momentum she gains is always a little shocking. This trick is even better than the claps.

~ ~ ~
Third Babies Are Also the Best

I occasionally have pangs at night when I think of how fast Cora's babyhood went by and how little I already seem to remember it. When I pointed this out to JP, he turned and said, "we can't keep having babies just because you think you can't remember their babyhoods" and while I'm not sure why not, it did make me feel better because I still have so much sadness and regret inside of me regarding Landon's first year, that it's actually a comfort to realize that Cora's is already blurring out the way his did, and I KNOW we loved and savored just about every single second of hers.

I also occasionally wonder if we spent enough solo time with Cora, but then I remember that part of the reason her babyhood was so great, besides her general awesomeness, was because we got to watch the big kids love on her so much.  She was basically the center of four people's adoration and she's more spoiled than first baby because of it.  And even now, it is heart-bursting to get to see the enthusiastic inclusion of Cora in her big siblings' lives each day. I try not to take it for granted.

On Tuesday night Cora had a bad cold and just wasn't feeling well and when we got home she kind of dissolved and began crying and sobbing and screaming and maybe tantrumming? It was hard to tell, but she clearly didn't feel good and was just as clearly VERY upset about it. As the crying/screaming jag got going in full force, Claire yelled out, "I can make it better!" and grabbed Cora's favorite book and began reciting, "A COW SAYS MOOOOOO" at the top of her lungs. She made her way to my shoulder while I struggled to hold a flailing screamy tornado, and continued reciting the whole book from memory at top volume. Landon ran and brought Cora's favorite bath toys and blankie and I felt my heart grow three sizes above the din and chaos.

With one baby your whole world is the screaming baby, but with three, it gets divided into two happy helpful parts and one screamy part and the happy part wins. Especially because by baby #3 you've learned that sometimes the only thing you can do is give yourself a break, so I put her in her crib/safe place and closed her door and set a timer for 10 minutes. In 2 the room was silent and I raced back in to find her fast asleep. It was a victory for everyone, especially poor Cora.

On Wednesday she was back to being the center of all joy in the house and everyone breathed a sigh of relief.

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Wanting Just This

This is the blog post I most want to write each night, but it's so simple and potentially smug sounding that it keeps not happening. But life is really good right now and I think that's part of why I'm writing less. I have a job that is challenging and prestigious enough that it doesn't hurt my career to hang out on this step a (long) while. I have discovered hobbies and a life and the joys of not being addicted to the false sense of importance and urgency that comes from a blackberry. At this point, I'm far more interested in becoming a certified yoga teacher than going back to the law firm and the me of a year ago, and definitely the me of three years ago, finds that shocking and maybe even a little disappointing. I struggle with that a bit sometimes, a feeling that I should want to move forward more than I do. But then I come home and make big dinners and play with the kids and go to yoga and snuggle on the couch watching The Wire with JP and still get a full night's sleep and think fuck the ladder, this life is amazing, I don't need to do/gain/earn/achieve more of anything, and that's a strange and new thing for me to think.

JP's business is going great, though another big chain swim school just opened a location in Fort Worth. That's a concern to him- he's built up a great reputation and customer base here and it's hard to think of that being leached away.  But as we've discussed, the goal was never to grow any more than he has. We have nights and weekends and flexibility in our life and I'm fiercely protective of all three. He also has a line of swim products he's developing, so now maybe he can just maintain his smaller practice and focus on the patents and manufacturing (my playroom floor is stacked with kickboard prototypes from China, so that's new) and marketing. His original goal was to save up to open a permanent location here in Fort Worth, but I love that he's restricted to only having lessons between 2-7 on M-F now (except in summer, but I can handle it for 2 months). He loves that he gets to work out, run errands, go to doctor appointments, and eat lunch with Landon at school each Friday, and I love all those things too. Our lives have a flexibility I never would have imagined and it is so awesome for us individually, for us together, and for our kids/family as a whole. I don't want more- we have enough of what's necessary and extra of the intangibles we didn't know we needed, and I just want more of this.

After a year with some challenges we'd never faced before, we're back on the even keel that is a fundamental, foundational part of who we are and who I am.  I don't know how to put it in words, but every night I lie in bed, tucked tightly in his arms while he falls asleep in his five seconds and I swim around in my mind for an hour and I know that no matter where my musings go, anytime I say I love you, he'll squeeze me and mumble it back, and I lay there and know that I've never been so wonderfully happy and perfectly peaceful as I am right now, and all I want is more of exactly this.


  1. CM also posted about having no present desire to climb the ladder (or something like that). It's funny because I've been feeling the same thing the past couple years. I'm so glad you are in a happy, wonderful place!

  2. I've been reading you since Landon was a baby and I have to tell you this post made me cry. It's just so beautiful. Landon's arm around Cora in that picture also didn't help! But just hearing your contentment and appreciation for the lavish ordinary gifts in life was lovely. Thank you for letting us have a little window into your wonderful.

  3. I LOVE this! So glad you are all so happy. And yes, flexibility is worth a lot of professional sacrifices.

  4. Fuck the ladder indeed. I started feeling like that a few months before my daughter was born. It hasn't even been a year yet but so far I'm happy that I chose a less prestigious career over a better family life too.

  5. I had an English boyfriend for years. I visited him in England once, and his parents and 3 siblings lived in a tiny place (he was visiting, too, but while he and I were there we slept in the garage). Anyway, his dad was a policeman and he was offered a promotion while I was there, and he turned it down. More money, more prestige, and he said no thanks. And I was like "OMG WHY? What, is he lazy??"

    I ended up living there for a year, and Australia for another year, and one of the things I learned is how deeply ingrained the cultural Bigger Faster More mentality is in America. It's very American to want those things, but that doesn't mean it's right. I'm with you - why want Bigger Faster More when what you have is actually Better.

    1. And, my point with the English dude anecdote was that both of those cultures - English and Australian - are much more chill. Not to get political on you but I think part of it is because so much more is socialized, including health care - so there isn't this feeling that you have to try to keep $100k savings in the bank just in case you get hit by a car or lose your job and health insurance. When there is less risk of a total fall, then there is less urgency to earn money for the sake of money. But also they just have a more contented view of life than Americans. This could be frustrating at times when service levels were bad, but once I learned to chill out I actually understood the dad's position. Why take a promotion to a job I know I won't like so I can get a bigger house? We're happy in this tiny house, and I like my job - let's leave it.

  6. Love this post, especially the hug pictures!

  7. The first year with my first was very rough--nothing like you experienced, but it threw me for a loop. Badly. I too feel like I missed so much even though I was a stay at home mom. I tried to be more in the moment the second time and I believe I was. But it doesn't make me stop wondering. I absolutely get it.

  8. I used to want to be a lawyer about 12 years ago and then my mom got cancer and it changed everything. I didn't want to watch life pass me by, sitting at a desk, pushing paper 16-20 hours a day. I decided I want to live instead of just being what I thought was smart and a wise thing to do. Instead, I went to school and I'm a law clerk/paralegal and I work for a securities regulator up here in Ontario and while it's a good, enriching job, it's just a job to me. My dream is to stick this job out another 10 years for the pension, then early "retire" at age 41-ish and take over a petsitting/dog walking business. I've worked part time on weekends for a woman that owns a company that has been around for 15 years, has a great reputation and many clients. Her children don't want anything to do with the business when she retires but I'm interested in keeping it alive and carrying it on for her. To me, that's not work but rather fun and brings me joy and is well-rounded. My heart is where animals are.. If I was to re-live it all and do things differently, I would have gone to school for biology and I'd likely be working with elephants in Kenya and Tanzania. But life played out differently, I met my husband when I was 18 and everything changed. No regrets whatsoever, but I have no desire to climb the corporate later when the passion isn't there. Don't get me wrong I love my job and the people I work with (Commissioners) but it isn't the end all and be all for me.

    I'm glad you're finding balance, peace and utmost happiness :)


  9. You're living the dream, LL, and we're so happy for you :)

  10. This is a really happy post. Enjoy it with all you have because times like these are what, I believe, help us through the tough times.

  11. Enjoy the baby and young kid years. You will always have time later to rev up and go up that ladder, but you'll never get this time back. Thanks for your blog writing, I really enjoy reading it.