Torts & Tots

Motherhood. Lawyer-dom. And maybe a few nice recipes.

Archive for September 2012

Life With Two, No Three, No Two.

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In case you’re wondering what this blog post is about, it is not about me announcing to the world that we’re having a third child.  What it is about is my trying to figure out how the heck people decide to have more kids.  As we are settling into life with two children, it feels busy.  When I take both kids somewhere to eat, I often wonder “how would I possibly manage this if I had a baby carrier in tow?”  As I am mopping up an entire drink that a child spilled on me, I think “who would hold the baby while I un-drench myself?”  Even when we’re at home, I sometimes feel like I am only loosely in control.  Just as Avery zigs, Claire often zags, which frequently leads to both of them getting into some type of trouble simultaneously.  I typically evaluate who’s doing the most harm and address that child.  Or yelling at Avery whilst diving for Claire often does the trick. 

When we decided to start trying for baby #2, it was not as difficult.  I was resolute that I did not want Avery to be an only child, and I wanted them to be close together in age, but not insanity-inducing close together.  We started trying as soon as I could possibly fathom being pregnant, having an infant, starting the entire process over again.  For us, that age was two, and Claire and Avery are exactly two-years and nine months apart.  My sticking points were that I did not want two children in diapers and I did not want two kids in cribs.  Even once I was pregnant with Claire, I had a hard time imagining how I would juggle both children because, at the time, Avery seemed little to me.

This time around, we are not ready to make a decision in the foreseeable future.  But yet we still discuss.  There have been points when we have felt like we definitely want more kids.  Those points typically have coincided with easy stages in Claire’s baby-dom.  Then, something usually happens to make life harder.  Ever since Claire has been walking, it’s been difficult for both of us to imagine adding another kid to the mix.  Well-played, Claire.

Which leads me to ask, HOW DO PEOPLE DO THIS?  How do you decide?  Avery and Claire are perfection.  I cannot imagine not having them.  Part of me wonders if there’s another person that is supposed to be part of our family about whom I will feel the same way.  Another part of me hates to shake up a formula that is working (ish).  Yet there’s a tiny piece of me that feels wistful when one of my friends announces a pregnancy. 

Seriously, send me your checklists, your pros, your cons, your “are you crazy” talks.  I will put them in the baby-making decision vault for future consideration.

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September 27, 2012 at 2:59 pm

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Claire And Kitty.

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When Avery was a baby, I was desperate for her to have an attachment object.  Oh, you know, something she could cling to at night when she was in bed.  Perhaps something that would prevent her from sitting in bed awake calling my name?  She was just not that into it.  I would put stuffed animals in her bed and find them tossed on the floor in the morning.  Our little AJS has always known her own mind.  Basically, I was her attachment object.  And this attachment object was tired.  She did eventually settle on an attachment object, ahem, five attachment objects.  She now sleeps with five blankets, baby-sized, of course, which I think she took to around two years-old.  Isn’t that so like AJS?  I beg her to take an attachment object, and she gets me in the end by taking five.  Although she demands to sleep with those blankets, they’re not attachment objects in the true sense in that she has never toted them all around town.  This could, however, be a logistical issue, considering the extreme inconvenience of toting around five blankets. 

I hadn’t even really begun to think about an attachment object with Claire since she’s only really just recently been old enough to have things in her bed.  When Claire was about thirteen months, we wandered into the Disney store while out-of-town.  Yes, it’s like a gravitational pull.  If there’s a Disney store, we will find it.  Avery’s Merida obsession had just begun, and we were letting her pick out a Merida toy.  Jerrod pointed out that we never buy anything for Claire, so I put her down in front of a massive shelf of stuffed animals.  She walked directly up to a mound of white cats (for those of you more sophisticated Disney followers, it is Marie from Aristocats, a detail about which Claire has no knowledge), picked one up and started giggling, hugging it and showering it with kisses.  That white cat naturally came home with us, and thus, Kitty was born. 

Claire loves Kitty.  She sleeps with Kitty, er, or rather on Kitty.  Kitty always cheers her up, and she has a slight (and by “slight” I mean “violent”) meltdown if Avery touches Kitty.  If Kitty is on the floor, Claire saunters casually up and sits down on his head.  We assume it’s a display of affection.  When I’m trying to rock Claire before bed at night, she clamors to get into her bed because she knows Kitty is there.  Once reunited, I hear lots of smacking as she kisses him, and “hiiiiiiiiiiiii.”  And, no, I cannot explain why we have decided that a cat wearing a pink bow is a he. 

Recently, Claire was at the Disney store with Jerrod and his parents.  Claire’s Grandma wanted to buy her a present.  Jerrod set Claire down.  She walked directly to a shelf of Kitties, grabbed one Kitty under each arm, turned around and headed for the door  (see picture above).  Don’t worry – we have already purchased a backup Kitty in case of kitastrophe (it was there, I took it).  So there you have it.  My fifteen-month-old has found her one true love, and his name is Kitty.

 

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September 26, 2012 at 8:40 am

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Monday Confessional.

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I feel like maybe I have done a terrible thing.  One thing I don’t like is mothers who act like they are perfect – perfectly behaved kids, perfectly clean house, perfectly prepared meals, perfectly managed work/family balance.  Perfect, perfect, perfect.  Cue nausea.  And, yes, I am aware that the reason I don’t like perfect mothers is because they make me feel inadequate.  But as I was waxing poetic about CCS in my last blog post, it dawned on me that perhaps I was projecting “perfect” to the world.  It’s so much easier to tell people about the happy stuff.  Don’t we all go out of our way to avoid whiners?  I personally block extra-whiney people from my facebook feed and unfollow them on twitter.  Plus, I, at least, want people to think I’m great.  On the other hand, I don’t think it is fair to other mothers to project perfect.  I have a handful of friends on the verge of motherhood and another handful considering motherhood.  I never want anyone to read my blog and feel inadequate.  So, here is my Monday confession.

First, I am not the perfect wife and mother.  I get snappy with my children (fine, and my husband), I order takeout instead of cooking, and I don’t do my children’s laundry until they are out of clean pajamas.  I have said things to Avery along the lines of  “can you please not say my name anymore?”  And, if you saw my house right now, you would think that I had given up cleaning for Lent, except I observe Lent year-round.

Second, I do not have perfectly behaved children.  As a threshold matter, my children are high-maintenance.  They are happy, they are sweet, but they are high-maintenance.  And, I have made them that way.  They both want my constant presence and attention.  I haven’t gone to the bathroom by myself in years.  In addition, Avery is a drama queen, crying because she is a princess without a castle.  Claire fake cries when I leave the room.  Avery negotiates with me over every decision and command I deliver, including how many more bites of dinner she has to eat.  

Third, I think being a mother is hard.  The blog frequently assumes a rose-tinged tone.  That is because I love my children more than anything.  That being said, I don’t often mention that I am emotionally drained at the end of day after tending to every whim of two, tiny girls.  I frequently neglect numerous aspects of my life.  Finding a time to exercise seems like it requires an act of Congress, and I try to squeeze my job into the hours when my children are sleeping.  I have friends who are waiting for a call-back from a phone message left in 2008.  I pour myself into other people and sometimes wonder who is looking after me?

My basic point is that my life, like everyone’s life, has its ups and downs.  Although the point of this particular blog post is to highlight the downsides, for the sake of motherhood, I must tell you that, even on my most exhausting day, I forget about every bad thing when I watch Avery and Claire giggle and hide in my closet.  The angst I feel over Avery having thrown what I like to call a “kicky fit” over not getting her way is erased with a sticky kiss from a four-year-old with fruit snack breath.  Even after Claire has been whiney all day, I feel content as I give her a bottle and inhale her baby smell.  When I reflect upon the days, weeks, months, years I’ve had with these girls, I have to strain to remember the things they’ve done to make me mad, and the source of particular stresses is hard to remember.  But I can spout off five things Avery has done to make me laugh just today in sixty seconds, and Claire keeps my heart in a constant state of mushy.  Motherhood is a mixed bag, but for me all the imperfections seem to fade away.

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September 24, 2012 at 3:24 pm

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Sweet CCS.

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I may have mentioned this before, but have I told you lately that this girl is one of the lights of my life?  Such a perfect, chubby little nugget.  I wish I could freeze in my memory the way this age feels forever.  I am going to miss the days of squeals of laughter, baby smell, and how squishy she feels when I squeeze her.  She already feels so much less squishy than she used to.  Is there anything better than having a tired baby rest her curly head on your shoulder?  Or what about the hundreds of baby kisses she bestows on everyone and everything in our house?  Me, Jerrod, Avery, the dogs, her stuffed animals, pictures of animals in her books, Avery’s blankets, etc. and etc. to infinity.  And nothing makes my heart feel as smushy with emotion as hearing her kissing her Kitty (more on this later) via the baby monitor while she’s in bed at night.  Our tiny CCS is merely a wiggly ball of sugar and busy-ness these days.  She eats, she plays, she reads, she runs, she kisses, she sleeps.  Repeat.    In summary, dear Claire, I love you.

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September 23, 2012 at 2:01 pm

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And Then There Was AJS.

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It is hard to believe we haven’t always had an AJS in our lives.  As our baby turns 4 today, I reflect upon what life would be like without her.  Who would remind me not to pick my nose?  Fortunately for me, I don’t have to fathom a world without AJS and instead, can look back upon the day that we met Avery.

3 years and 364 days ago, my eyes shot open at exactly 6:00 a.m. as I felt contractions begin.  My first thought was “well, it’s about time” since my due date had already flown past.  How like Avery to keep me waiting.  I waited a few hours before mentioning anything to Jerrod because, as a first time mom, I was afraid that they weren’t real contractions.  I fessed up a shortly before lunch time and then spent all day googling “false labor” and praying that this was it.  After a day full of mild contractions, I was not close enough to call my doctor.  Right as I was crawling into bed, the mild pangs turned painful, and I sat up all night watching movies, cleaning out my email inbox and trying to wrap my head around what the next day would hold, all the while Jerrod slept peacefully, blissfully unaware that I was wide awake.  The next morning, still afraid that it was too soon to go to the hospital, we took a walk around the block and finally headed to the hospital.  In the car, I turned to Jerrod and said “so are we naming this kid Avery Jane?”  We had struggled to come up with girl names and had never reached a final consensus.  After being observed for a tense hour at the hospital, they confirmed that I was in labor and admitted me. 

What transpired over the next 6 hours was uneventful.  I felt a strange sense of calm as I sat on the hospital bed and waited to meet our daughter.  We chatted with the labor nurse and anesthesiologist as if casually killing time at a cocktail party, and suddenly, it was time.  After a tense one-hour of pushing, a little after 4:00 p.m., the room flooded with people (seriously, who were all those people?), and an angry cry pierced through the quiet hubbub of the room.  Jerrod handed me our daughter, and every thought that was typically in my head fell out.  There was no room in my mind for billable hours and briefs, dirty dishes and grocery lists.  Avery Jane had arrived, and in true Avery style, she was occupying the space.  My head, my heart, my arms were full of Avery.  I held in my arms a 6 pound, 12 ounces AJS who was so red, so wrinkled and so indignant, and I had never seen a more perfect human.

Four years later, I feel the exact same way.  Avery still occupies the space (in every way – there are princess toys everywhere!).  She is a juxtaposition of strong and soft – quite willful at times and then touchingly tender moments later.  I see in her traces of myself, traces of Jerrod, and most dominantly, her own uniquely crafted AJS-ness.  Avery, we are proud of you everyday.  Thank you for 4 years of you.

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September 20, 2012 at 12:58 pm

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Happy Weekend!

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We wish you a fun-filled weekend that is

happy . . . .

and maybe a little bit crazy!

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September 14, 2012 at 1:39 pm

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Transition To Toddler-Dom.

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Over the past few months, Claire has exploded on to the scene in a big way.  We have transitioned from crawling around the house (although it was a speedy crawl) and poking around here and there to running from room to room and exploring every nook and cranny.  Sometimes I feel like I don’t sit down all day, except when Claire is sleeping.  In addition to the running around the house transition, our little miss has also found her voice.  Claire had an epiphany – not a very poetic epiphany – but an epiphany nonetheless: if I cry, they will come.  And thus we have had to start disciplining our tiniest one.  I loved those baby days before I had to utter the word “no” to my little darling, but those days are gone.  They have been replaced by days chock-full of removing chubby hands from forbidden objects, removing a chubby body from the fireplace, and holding chubby cheeks in my hands to discourage fake crying.  She is still sweet.  I receive many sticky, baby kisses throughout the day, although sometimes I suspect she is just trying to give me positive reinforcement for doing what she wants me to do.  To summarize, Claire has discovered her own power.  In case you’re keeping score, that leaves me with two children who want to be the boss.  I suspect that if more children follow that they will be very meek because all the bossy genes have already been distributed.  So if you see me out and about and I look tired, it’s because I have walked five miles around my own home, chasing my baby.  If I look makeup-less, it’s because said baby tossed my makeup brushes in the toilet.  And if I look pained, it’s because I’m recovering from a vicious shoulder-bite, inflicted upon me by an enraged baby.  But one thing I won’t look is unhappy because, even on her most difficult day, Claire is a blessing.

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September 11, 2012 at 9:08 am

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