Tandem Babies: My Almost-Twins
Common wisdom in the medical field these days is that a child really only NEEDS to be nursed until 12 months old, after which there's no measurable benefit to the child to continue.
Anyone who postulates this theory has never met Abby. Nursing is her security blanket, her favorite thing, her reward. If she had her way, she would still be nursed every two hours like clockwork and would have raisins or macaroni and cheese as a snack between bites. I considered weaning her when my milk supply ran out in the middle of Susannah's pregnancy, but put it off when I began trying and she was absolutely resistant to the idea. Oh well, I thought. There's still time.
Then Grandma Lila got sick, our house was completely torn apart and I had absolutely no ambition to make the determined effort to convince Abby to stop nursing. Poor baby - her whole world was being turned upside-down in every way possible and I wasn't so sure it was worth depriving her of nursing on top of it.
Tandem nursing is usually something reserved for twins or parents who really super-seriously believe in the benefits of mother's milk for their growing children. While I've heard lots of good things, I think I'm probably more of a lazy believer. I believe it's good because not only did God make a convenient way to feed babies that is perfectly geared toward their immature digestive systems, but it's free and comes easily to me. I can't give you statistics and studies and a breakdown of what's actually in the milk that makes it perfect for babies, but if nothing else I'm very happy with the convenience of it (except when I would like to wear nice dresses again). If Abigail had easily weaned before Susannah's birth, I would've been fine with that.
But she wasn't. So when Susannah entered the world, I learned a lot about tandem nursing. At first, every time Susannah needed to be fed, Abigail would be right there. She was so ecstatic there was milk again she pretty much quit eating real food for the first two weeks (and got fat in the process...go figure). This meant I spent much of Susannah's earliest life with my lap constantly full to overflowing with babies. I would wake up in the morning usually under a pile of babies. While Susannah usually only woke up twice in the night to nurse, Abigail still wanted to get up once or twice too. Logistically speaking, nursing two babies at once can be a little comical. It requires patience, a good tactical sense ("Now if I get Susannah settled first, Abigail can just squeeze in here...")...and extra pillows to make up for not having enough hands to hold everyone.
Most nursing moms of newborns feel as if that's all they're able to do. In my case, that really was about all I did for at least six weeks. Eat, feed babies, change diapers and sleep.
In the middle of this time-consuming process, something very special happened: Abigail started holding Susannah's hand while they were nursing. I would see two little sets of eyes looking at each other, one little hand clasping an even littler hand. Talk about a way to melt a mother's heart.
More than their ages, I think this decision - to nurse my babies together - has caused them to be more like twins than single babies. Abby is now always concerned that I do everything with my "two babies". She uses the phrase all the time. "Mommy hold two babies? Mommy nurse two babies? Mommy read to two babies?"
I have no idea what this extended nursing time really does for Abigail physically. Maybe pediatricians are right that there's no measurable benefit to the extra reassurance, cuddling, time and maybe even nutrition Abby is getting. But one thing is for sure: if I had followed the guidelines and weaned her at 12 months, we would've all missed out on a lot of particularly lovely moments and I doubt my two girls would be anywhere near as close as they are. It was a decision based on Abigail's spirit more than her body and I think that's ultimately what has been nurtured as a result. It's not something I planned to do or ever saw myself doing until it was time to do it, but tandem nursing my girls has been absolutely worth the extra effort.
Now to convince Abigail that she's getting to be a big girl and she really can eat plenty of delicious food without needing "milk for Abby" too..
I've done some website reorganizing and put pictures of both girls up for their one month and eighteen month birthdays. Abigail is here and Susannah is here - both tabs are under the "our blog" heading.
Abigail's slideshow is pretty long this time since it's covering six months instead of one...and what an eventful six months they were! She went from a crawling baby to a little girl who can walk, talk a little, feed herself, and now has curly hair. Not to mention becoming a big sister. Susannah's last six months have been just as eventful (hey, she managed to get big enough to survive on her own, which includes all her organs and such developing!), but since we have no photos of her for most of it, her slideshow is much shorter.
Both girls are doing well - Susannah is sleeping a lot, which is good because Abigail requires a lot of attention right now and it would be quite a handful juggling two busy kids at once. I'm a lot more relaxed with this newborn than the last one, something that comes from experience or just a different time in life (I don't worry Grandma is going to get upset about the baby crying this time...), though I can't really tell which. Whatever the case, though I am still getting quite a training in having patience, it is easier handling the two kids than I thought it was going to be. Though my state of mind on that does definitely depend on how many times the girls have gotten up before it was really time to get up!
One Year Photos
I got a little sidetracked getting Abigail's one year photo and putting it online since I was also working on getting her first-year album put together and It made my mind think the project on the computer was already underway. Funny how that works, eh?
However, Abigail's 12 month photos are now online here - I had to be careful to only put in her 12 month photos and not include the 13 month ones that show how she's really begun to walk over the past week or so! My baby is becoming a little girl...
But she's not there yet. Case in point, today I gave her a plate with her breakfast on it and she dumped it onto her tray, stuffed some if it down next to her into the chair, and proceeded to try to feed Ben and I the rest of it. Guess she must not've been quite as hungry as she claimed. And that streak of mischievousness visible in this photo is definitely active now that she's getting older and more communicative. Yesterday morning she began tickling Ben to wake him up and giggling hysterically when he said, "WHOA! HEY!"
Close the Gap
I notice that for the first time since beginning this blog, there's a month that doesn't have a single blog post in it. So much for my continuing wish to find time to write. I have greater and greater respect for moms of multiple children who maintain any kind of regular blog, let alone a thought-provoking one. It seems like I should have more time with only one child, but perhaps I just haven't learned to manage it properly!
I'm probably busier right now than I've ever been. It often feels to me like I have ADD or what people describe ADD being like, because I often can't spend more than a few minutes on a project at a time, so I have to keep switching my concentration from thing to thing to thing. If laundry needs to be done, I do it in ridiculously small steps. One minute I have a chance to take the laundry downstairs, but it might be a few hours before I have another few minutes to sort it. I keep sort of a running list in my head of the things that I'm trying finish each day and how many steps still need to be done for each task. This is quite a workout for my brain and the rest of me too - I'm finally down to my pre-Abigail weight.
In the process of this busy-ness, I have had quite a few thoughts that I'd like to put down, but I wonder if many of them might just wait until a time when I have more time. I'm sure there is going to be such a day, simply because I notice older moms I know do eventually have time to do things like knit or write or quilt again. It's an amazing thing how becoming a wife and then a mother really does change many things about who I am. It's not just a status change. It's a big change in how I function, what I think about, even what I find enjoyable or what bothers me.
For instance, this week Abigail has had a cold. She's only had three viruses in her life and really sailed through them with flying colors: even the six weeks she spent recovering from RSV when she was two months old didn't include any trips to the ER for bad croup, antibiotics for an ear infection (we took her in but her ears were fine), or much medicinal help beyond saline drops in her nose. Those are pretty invaluable for keeping a kid from getting bronchitis or ear infections, by the way. At any rate, this week we ran out of her saline drops, so Ben and I took her for a short ride in the car to the drugstore to buy some drops. It didn't take us longer than five minutes to find the drops, but we found ourselves wandering around the entire store, looking at everything from shampoo to discount candy. When we were standing in front of the rack with all the travel-size products, we looked at each other and said, "What are we doing here again?" and Ben grinned and said, "This is just what we do when we go out." And it was fun looking at the stuff in the drugstore. I found it very enjoyable.
Something that bothers me that didn't used to is how to raise Abigail in such a way that she loves good. I suppose growing up I became very confident I knew what it took to raise a child so that when they were an adult they would believe in what is good and do what is good. The older I'm getting, though, the more I'm seeing catastrophic failures in people I grew up with, things happening with them I never thought would and would never, ever want to see happen with my beautiful baby girl. I'm not sure these things would be seen as catastrophic by everyone, but to me they are frightening. What I'm seeing is that there is a huge difference between really loving good and looking good and unless you know what to look for, they can look the same for a long, long time. And I have discovered much to my concern - my fear, really - that I don't see people all that clearly. Ben sees much more clearly than I do, thankfully, but that doesn't change the uneasiness of beginning to realize how much I don't see and how much I don't know or understand. And if a person doesn't see clearly, they'll end up somewhere they don't want to be.
Actually, raising Abigail to love good IS simple: Ben and I have to love it. Because children follow after their parents unless their parents send them away. So maybe what is fearful about recognizing I don't see clearly is that if I don't see clearly, I don't love good as I ought to.
There are a lot of other thoughts going on, some serious and some simply curious (is it really possible that the Titanic isn't the ship at the bottom of the ocean? What do you get someone for their birthday if they don't think they're going to be around much longer? What if we translated every verse in the Bible that said "the Law" as "God's Ways"?) but if I'm going to write anything in the blessing book tonight, I should wrap this up. If you've missed the past few months of Abigail's pictures since I haven't posted the link on this site, September's pictures are here and October's pictures are here.
I keep having ideas of blog posts I want to write, but these days it seems like the time I have in which to write usually falls somewhere around midnight and I'm not sure it's the wisest use of my time. For all I know, however, this may be normal for many years to come and I should probably just take advantage of the fact that I actually have time.
I think it might be finally sinking in to Ben and I that we have our own family and we only get one shot at forming a good marriage that produces good children. Sometimes I'm not sure my mind can even properly grasp what a huge undertaking this is and as solemnly as we took it on, it doesn't seem like we could've possibly been solemn enough for how gigantic a thing it is. I can say it's a matter of life and death without being melodramatic at all. Both physically and spiritually, we are in the process of making decisions that will either bring us life or kill us. And it only takes very small errors of thought to end up with a complete family catastrophe.
As someone I know once said, this is not the time for sloppy Godliness.
And it has been sloppy of us to think that we could pick and choose which of God's commands we should keep.
As Abigail has begun testing us to find out if she should really listen when we tell her not to touch something or come when we call, a passage I've heard in Deuteronomy since I was only a little older than she is keeps coming to mind: Moses, addressing his people on the day of his death, said, "I set before you today blessings and curses. Choose life, so you may live!"
When I see Abigail making a beeline to stick her little fingers in an electrical socket, I find myself saying to her, "Choose life so you may live, Abby!"
And then I find myself wondering if that's exactly what God thinks. When he set out all his "commands, judgements and precepts" before his beloved children, he wasn't doing it to cause them grief or harm. He was laying out for them how he intended for them to live, warning them of dangers and placing his understanding and view of the universe before them so they could keep their fingers out of electrical sockets and live. That's why failure to obey brought curses, just as Abigail runs a serious risk of bringing serious consequences on her head if she doesn't listen even if those consequences are not things I'm actively bringing upon her.
It's such a simple, enigmatic statement. At first glance, it's like a facepalm-simple phrase. Who doesn't want to choose life? Well, aside from the troubled individual here or there...but for the most part it seems like we all fight pretty hard to live. Babies are blessed right from the beginning with loud obnoxious voices and the tenacity to make sure their parents can't sleep or ignore their cries to be fed so they can get the food they need to live.
But I don't think God was just talking about the physical. He included it, of course - God's very practical commandments are not set on some weird mystic spiritual plane in which our bodies are something to be ignored as worthless - but when he was saying to "choose life", he was talking about REAL life, something Jesus called "life abundant", life that was more than just eating and breathing. In God's eyes, I think most of us are overall like people in a vegetative state: alive, but not vitally. Existing in a coma while machines breathe for you is not really much like the life we're used to living. Life outside of God's ways is pretty much the same.
God's version of "Life" does not include sickness, hunger, miscarriage, defeat, famine or anxiety.
For some reason, I had always thought that a lack of those things could only exist in Heaven. I was overlooking the fact that God's promised blessings on his people included freedom from these curses. Those people were all still living! God's version of Real Life - the life he said his people could choose - takes us out of a vegetative state and gives us an existence in Paradise right now. This is not for after we die because after we die we're dead, not alive. God's commands - the ones he gave to people who were still living and promised the above blessings if his people strove to follow them with all their hearts and minds and souls and strengths (Jesus quoted Moses in that famous verse).
God's version of Life, the life he wanted his people to choose, was to love him so much that they would keep his commandments. When Jesus described to his disciples what it meant to love him, he said, "If you love me, keep my commandments."
Life is in God's commandments because his commandments are so much of him that we draw closer to him by obeying him. If we want to love God with all our hearts and souls and minds and strength and if God is unchanging and if Jesus is God's Word and was with God in the beginning...then choosing life means choosing to live the way God laid out for us to live.
I want Abigail to choose life by obeying our commandments. God wants the same for us. I don't tell Abigail anything that's too hard for her. It isn't hard for her not to stick her fingers in the electrical socket or to come to me when I call her. It isn't hard for us either.
What's strange is that even after keeping the Sabbath and coming to the conclusion to not eat things God said not to eat, I still somehow in the back of my mind held to the understanding that God's commands were not really for me and I was somehow being particularly careful by picking of few of them to pay attention to. I had forgotten so many things that I've heard all my life, things that were completely clear. When Jesus said he didn't come to abolish the Law, he said he didn't come to abolish the Law. When he chastised the Pharisees, he told them that if they had only listened to what Moses had written they would've known him because Moses was writing about him. That means God's true commands - not ones with extra additions, but God's actual commands - give us the gift of recognizing God himself. God said the reward for calling his Sabbath a delight was to find our joy in him. When John called Jesus a light shining in the darkness, he was calling God's Word a light in the darkness.
Lately we have become aware of darkness around us to a degree we never even imagined possible. It's as if the more we look, the darker the darkness becomes. So if anyone really wants to know why we'll be sleeping out in a shelter next week instead of our house...it's because we want to love God with all our hearts and minds and souls and strength and he said if we love him, we'll listen to what he told us to do. And next week, he said he wanted us staying in shelters instead of our houses so that's what we're going to do.
Because we want to choose life so we and our children may live.
I've been expecting this moment for a few days now - Abigail began picking up her hands one by one while getting up on her hands and knees and rocking, so I knew it wouldn't be long. I was telling Mom Turner this afternoon that I could tell Abigail had everything it takes to crawl: the strength, the coordination and the desire; but there was just something in her brain that hadn't yet clicked to say "I could go somewhere if I do this." I wished there was some way to just transmit what was in my brain to hers, but I knew the only thing that would make sense to her was for her own mind to recognize that she could make this crawling thing work. All day today I kept seeing her almost take a crawling "step", but then she would hesitate and not follow through.
Then this evening after dinner I set her down one more time while Mom Turner was here just to show her what I'd been talking about. Mom got out her camera just in case...and this time Abigail didn't even hesitate at all but crawled over to the bead necklace Grandma Lila gave her a few days ago. Not often you manage to get real first steps on video, crawling or walking!
Now I'd better go unpack the baby gate and put it on the stairway, because once Abby's got the idea I think she's going to be moving pretty fast by the end of the week...
After the recent news of Detroit declaring bankruptcy, there's been a fair amount of discussion at our house. We say things like, "How did this happen? How did such a big thriving city turn into what it is?" Ben and I spent some time a few evenings ago looking at pictures of some of the iconic buildings downtown, contrasting what they must've looked like even as recently as the 1960s and what they look like now. The place looks like a ghost-town, as if some plague came along and stole away the people right in the middle of their daily lives. There are dentist offices in one of the big empty skyscrapers that still have all the equipment sitting in the fully-furnished rooms, hotel rooms with their furniture still neatly arranged and moldering away like a time capsule of the 50s, giant office buildings with graffiti covering the stairwells and all the wooden handrails lying in a heap on the first floor after the wrought-iron spindles have been stolen away as valuable scrap. There are prairies growing where there used to be neighborhoods and big grand old mansions are falling into heaps with trees growing through the roof. Old apartment complexes sit abandoned with their windows broken out; Ben pointed out one beautiful complex full of interesting architecture and complicated brickwork and said, "I saw these same apartments in Chicago - they were expensive and they were completely occupied. It's so weird to see the same ones sitting empty like this."
There are a lot of reasons why it got this way, of course. The decline of the American car manufacturers, the rise of thoughtless unions, the terrible rift between different ethnicities, the pervasive idea in our culture that government should provide all, the meddling of the "social justice" movement that decided to mix up the neighborhoods instead of allowing people to live where they wanted their children to go to school, the uniquely Detroit concept of forcing people to pay an extra tax for the privilege of working there, the insidious corruption that gradually made it nearly impossible to do work without bribing someone...all this and more. It all adds up.
But there's been one factor that hasn't been discussed much and it's kind of hard to even put into words exactly what it is. It has to do with prosperity and how when people become prosperous, they have a tendency to forget God - to forget what is good. When things are easy, it becomes easy to reject what is good and right. It doesn't mean prosperity is evil, because prosperity is a blessing. But as Moses said to the Hebrew people before they went into the Promised Land, "When you're sitting in homes you didn't build and harvesting from fields you didn't plant, be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God!"
Detroit became a very prosperous place. At one time, I believe it was the fifth most prosperous city in the United States. And if the penalty for forgetting God is that your land becomes cursed...anyone looking at the state the city's in now would be hard-pressed not to think much of it looks pretty cursed.
As a nation, the whole way we tend to think about things and approach them has taken a hugely different path from what characterized our nation even just fifty years ago. It's not too ridiculous to say that these days, what used to be bad is now good and what used to be good is now bad. If a woman promises in her wedding vows to obey her husband, that's bad; but if she wants to marry another woman, that's good (or at least more acceptable). This is exactly opposite from how such things used to be viewed. How does such a huge change happen?
It happened because what people used to call "good" just didn't look very good to their children. The problem today is not that women want to marry each other. It's that those who said they believed in God and the marriage he created between man and woman made that marriage look so terrible that people started looking for alternatives.
Everything began changing in the 60s. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what happened, but it came down to children rejecting the "old-fashioned" ways of their parents. The 50s were marked by prosperity and a seemingly upright moral culture that is pretty widely mocked today, a culture preserved in TV shows like "Leave It To Beaver". Everything looks so stable in those shows, with pleasant stay-at-home Mom in her apron cooking dinner and clean-cut dependable Dad coming home every night from work to his nice suburban home to spend time with his orderly family. Everyone pretty much went to church, children went to nice schools (without fear of being shot and not much fear of being bullied) and everyone had peaceful homes and pleasant childhoods.
But did they?
The truth is - and it's been pointed out many times - that much of the 50s culture was a facade. People did what they thought they were supposed to do to look good but had no peace in their homes. There was alcoholism and broken marriages that just weren't visible because the parents couldn't divorce easily, and a host of other problems. We were prosperous and had forgotten God, even though we were putting up a front of still believing him. And the children of this generation looked at their parents and said, "If this is what 'good' looks like, I don't want to have anything to do with it." So they began rejecting everything their parents said they believed in, even things it really was good to believe in.
In Detroit, that meant there was less and less regard for caring for things or even for people. Everyone was "looking out for Number One". There was less regard for authority - as proved by the riots. And there was great encouragement to rebel against standards and old ways of doing things and do it all a new way.
The problem is that good is still good. If it was good once - if it was ever good - it is still good. "Good" is not subjective. There isn't one good for me and one good for you. Good is good. There is a true definitive standard of good, just as there is definite truth. We may not always know what it is, but it exists. And that is what our society has totally lost sight off. We're swimming around in a sea of relativism, lost in the idea that, "well, that's good for you but not for me and what's good for me is whatever I think is good for me."
If that sounds bad, see my above comment that good is now bad and bad is now good.
As a society, we've abandoned "old fashioned morals". (That's code for abandoning God.) We abandoned them (and him) because the people who claimed to believe in them proved to be fakes. As someone I know said last night, "Children would be better off if their parents were honest about what they believe in, even if they were honest about not believing in moral standards. At least the children would have a chance to adopt those standards themselves instead of looking at their parents' hypocrisy and deciding to have none of it."
This is something that's affecting all of us. Good has been abandoned to the point that many don't even know what it even is. It's affecting all our cities, even those more prosperous than Detroit. And more personally, if Ben and I want Abigail to follow God, then we'd better really be searching for him and not just say we want what is good. Because if our life doesn't bear any desirable fruit, Abigail will abandon it for something better. And if we've had the gall to say we believe something that we don't, we will damage her ability to ever see those beliefs truthfully so she can at least succeed where we've failed.
I Love You!
Someone asked me this week how I liked being Mom. I said, "I do."
While today is Father's Day, I can't really speak to Being Dad, so I've been thinking about Being Mom.
My whole life - as long as I can remember - I've wanted to be Mom. Part of this is a testimony to how much I enjoyed my own mom, I think. Part of it has to do with how much I loved having and caring for my younger siblings. But I suspect a really big part of it is that I was made to have children fairly easily, it turns out.
People used to ask me how many children I wanted. Because so many times it was asked with an I-bet-you-think-your-parents-are-nuts attitude I tended to give a slightly facetious answer and say, "Fourteen!" I really doubt Ben and I have time to have fourteen and to be honest, at the moment I'm content with our one - though Ben did deliberately ask me during the roughest part of labor if I thought I could do this again and I thought it over and told him that yes, I could - but the point is that I've always wanted to have children and I'm really glad that particular wish has been realized.
That said, being Mom isn't exactly what I pictured.
Let me explain that.
For most of my life, I've heard moms tell about the wonderful deep love they experienced the moment they held their new baby for the first time. I was kind of shocked to find that when Abigail was first laid on my chest I experienced relief, contentment, happiness, and indeed love...but they were all familiar to me. There was nothing I felt or experienced that was new. In some odd way, it felt more like Abigail was another of my little sisters rather than my daughter. I don't know if that was because I loved my siblings like they were mine or if I was just so familiar with that kind of love it's what came easiest, but there was no sweep-me-off-my-feet overwhelming joy and fuzzy feelings. I did not fall in love with my baby at first sight. Actually, I would say I experienced amusement at first sight more than anything else. I took one look and said, "Who on earth does this squishy-faced funny little fat baby look like?"
(Turns out...she looks mostly like me. Except I was never quite so...hm, pudgy. Heh.)
Come to think of it, though, I'd say my experience of coming to love Ben was much the same way. That love grew. It didn't just wipe me out like a runaway train.
So there I was with my brand-new baby and I loved her like a little sister. It was a bit disconcerting. I had to squash a few thoughts drifting through my head that went something like, "I hope there's nothing wrong with me and I'm loving Abigail properly."
That was the first part of Being Mom that I didn't expect. Love for Abigail was always there - she was certainly my baby and I loved her and wanted her from the moment I first knew she was there - but I didn't know who she was so I loved her more as a concept than as a real flesh-and-blood person with a unique identity. Loving Abigail as Abigail has had to develop, just as loving Ben as Ben had to develop even though I loved my husband a long time before I met Ben.
Another unexpected thing has been not always knowing that it's okay to turn Abigail over to someone else to care for. It's not that I don't trust people like our parents or siblings or much-loved friends...it's that I often have this niggling feeling that Abigail's my responsibility and if I turn her over to someone else I'm shuffling that responsibility off on them and annoying them if Abigail's being weepy (which she has the sad tendency to be if not diligently walked so she can observe life from all angles). It's a weird unsettled feeling that I'm reneging on my job. This is not entirely unreasonable on my part, given that Abigail has to stick pretty close to me to be fed and having a nursling separate from her mother is bound to give her mother a faint sense of uneasiness. But I've had to continually remind myself that I spent a lot of time caring for my little brothers and sisters and enjoyed it and when they were being crabby I didn't mind or feel that Mom was dumping her responsibilities on me. I treasured that time; and I can see others treasuring that time with Abigail also.
I also tend to have a stab of guilt when someone wants to hold Abby and she's being whiny or generally not amenable to the idea. Especially when someone (like my Grandma) says in disappointment, "She just doesn't like me - she always cries when I hold her." Why I should feel guilty about this, I have no idea. It's not anyone's fault if Abigail still acts like a baby at four months and I expect she'll come into a pleasanter frame of mind as she gets older and has the benefit of more training about being polite and un-whiny. But I want Abigail to be cheerful and smiley and agreeable to whoever I hand her to...and from Abigail's perspective, she wants to be with Mom and doesn't know all these other people Mom gives her to even if Mom knows and loves them.
This is probably why Proverbs says an unruly son is a grief to his mother. Right now Abigail's being a baby who by nature needs to be deeply attached to her mother. She's not doing anything "bad", just not exactly what I'd like her to do. However, if she were older and doing things that were actively bad, I already know that'd be a grief to me.
Another facet of Being Mom: the enormity of what I've set out to do (WE'VE set out to do - but I'm writing about Being Mom, not the even greater job of Being Dad). Even being Big Sister for most of my life had not fully prepared me for the intense responsibility of being one of two people who are constantly in charge of what needs to happen with this baby. And everything rests on us, to a very large extent. Abigail's health, happiness, and future depend on our ability to know and teach her what's good; and not only Abigail's future, but the future of her children and grandchildren down the line. No matter how much a person might know that in theory, it's a whole new thing when this little person is laid on your chest and you realize that you're starting completely from scratch: everything this new person needs to learn and know and do has been entrusted to your care, and if you mess up...the repercussions can be devastating beyond imagination. This little person can either be your greatest joy...or can absolutely break your heart.
Not that this is a unique realization; but having Abigail is not at all like being given a complete little kit including a booklet of instructions and a process by which you can cook up the perfect woman in 18 years. There is no silver bullet, no neat step-by-step process for helping her finish growing into the kind of being God created her to be. And with this task, very small thoughts can be the difference between success or failure on Ben's and my part. It's all about how we think, not what steps we take; and it's pretty easy for thoughts not to be in order.
Another unexpected moment in the life of Being Mom: when my mom is holding Abigail and Abigail starts crying, I sub-consciously expect Mom to take her off and nurse her. Hey, I spent twenty years of life with Mom having one nursling after another: when the baby's hungry, I still expect Mom to be the one to feed her. It still takes me a few seconds to remember, "Oh wait, that's my job." I didn't realize I would have any hesitation at all adjusting to being in that position.
And last, but not least (for today): it's still a surprise to me when Abigail is crying and crying and I realize her problem is that she's been away from Mom too long and all I have to do is pick her up and cuddle her and she'll be fine. I tell her that kind of attachment is very flattering...for about three seconds. I don't think she believes me.
Speaking of which, she is now awake and crying. She likes sleeping on her stomach in her co-sleeper, but when she wakes up she "crawls" to the head of it by putting her face on the sheets and wriggling her legs to move. It's not a good method of crawling and she loudly lets me know how unhappy she is with it. I keep telling her about hands and knees but I don't she believes me about that yet either. Oh well. She'll get there.
One Month Later...
I knew time had been flying by, but I had no idea it was flying quite so fast. It really doesn't seem like a month since my last post, but I just realized the date stamp on it is May 11th, so...that sounds like a month to me.
I've updated our House Progress page to have a longer slideshow; in a nutshell, we now have a complete basement and the first floor deck is in place, meaning we no longer have a big hole directly out of our kitchen doorwall. Our garage is full of lumber for the framing of the house and Benjamin, Isaac, and Aaron spent a while today lining things up so the full crew can come in and do probably a very large chunk of the rough carpentry tomorrow.
Today also marks the first day the newest Joseph was present on the job - or rather, the first day he was present outside of Leah. John Benjamin Joseph spent the afternoon here mostly snoozing and eating, but given his heritage I suspect it's not going to be too long before he's out there working as hard as his daddy, uncles and grandfather. Abigail currently looks huge next to him, but he's catching up fast and he was born with his hands and feet already bigger than hers - he's going to be a big boy, but right now he's long and lanky and Abigail looks bigger because she's so much heavier.
It's been pretty busy around here, between construction and keeping up our normal things. Abigail began "talking" this week and has a lot to say - she rides around much of the day in her baby carrier with me and loudly comments on everything from washing dishes to watching the work go on outside. She really likes all the activity and continues to be busy and want to move all the time, which has prompted Mom Turner to state that Abigail has a personality that's a combination of me, Mom Turner, and Dad Tuckfield. She followed the comment by saying our next baby needs to have a personality that's a combination of Ben, Mom Tuckfield, and Dad Turner - in other words, a quiet peaceable laid-back sort of person instead of a busy-busy-go-getter.
I have more to say, but wanted to put a post up before any more time slipped by and putting slideshow pictures in turned out to be pretty time-consuming. After a month with Internet not behaving much at all, I'm happy we seem to've mostly solved the problem and that'll make the whole process of posting pictures much faster and easier; but it still took my all my spare time today to get those up. Enjoy and hopefully it'll be much quicker than a month before I put more up!
Wife of Benjamin and mother to two wonderful little girls who are getting bigger every day. Enjoys writing down thoughts and discussions we are having within the family and sharing them with whoever is interested in reading.
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