Thursday, May 17, 2018

Three Months with my Three

Oh how the time does fly. People say that to me all the time and I believe them. Because no time has gone quite so quickly as the last three months with my three.

I am nearing the end of my 14 week maternity leave. I can't believe it's almost over and I go back on Monday. I am not sure I am ready but ready or not here I come. It is time and as the breadwinner I will never get to ask the question if I can stay with them full time. Just like when Harper arrived and suddenly I stopped working now suddenly I will be back working. Transitions can be difficult but necessary.

I remember when she was born there were times when the days melded together into some sort of amalgam. One long day that was a haze of nursing and sleepless nights and naps and daylight and darkness and maybe a few tears. After about a month or six weeks that subsided and the haze lifted somewhat and the new normal began to emerge.

Then there is some sort of routine to it all a routine that will change dramatically on Monday when I return to work. My husband will take the reigns again. I reassure myself that I'm ready for this but something tells me deep down I will miss it in ways I can't fathom yet even though I have done this twice before.

I am a task master. I need to complete daily activities and feel a sense of accomplishment. My job has always given this to me. When I take my maternity leave this fades away. The demands of the child take precedence over my needs. Sometimes honestly I'm left feeling lonely and anxious because I don't have my routine.

At times I created tasks for myself. Clean out a closet donate items to Goodwill. check. Clean up the mud room hang up the coats put the shoes in the bin. Check. Do the laundry fold the clothes put clothes away. Check. But none of this was really taking care of myself in a way that mattered. Still it was self care because for me this made me feel more stable during a very uncertain time.

I love my time with my children. I also love my time working. They challenge me in very different ways. I'm grateful for the lessons that they teach me. The truth is I'm better when I'm busy not burning the candle at both ends but busy.

I want to make the most of this life. I want my kids to see me be successful in all endeavors. And certainly that's not exactly possible but I will give it my all. And I will make time for them. I will make quality time for them.

It's true that with three children it is much harder than it was with one or two to find that quality time in a day. Someone always needs something or wants something. It isn't easy when I have to tell somebody no. I'm getting much better at it and they are probably better for it and so am I.

These last 3 months I've been able to do so many things  that I am not ordinarily able to do.  I take Brenton to school in the morning. I watched him walk into school. I watched him say hello to his friends and his teachers. He asked me to drop him off so he could walk the rest of the way into the building on his own. We read together. We drew pictures together. We played with play dough. We built letter boxes and made sentences. We did our nails with sparkly glittery color street nail strips that made us smile.

I waited for the bus with Emerson. For most of this time it was cold and we had to stay in the car with one another. We danced and listen to music. He really likes the song all the stars from Black Panther. Would I have gotten a chance to know this without this maternity leave? He can almost write his whole name. For month it was just an E and now he is making a near perfect R and traces the alphabet too. He turned 4 and we had a power Rangers/Cars party. We had to teach him how to be gentle with his sister. He didnt need his gate anymore. I put him to bed and he greeted me and sat with me while I pumped milk in the morning.

We went on a family vacation to Cape May. We visited my parents who have moved closer. Twice. My mother turned 70. Rolston and I celebrated 11 years of marriage and he got his first pedicure. We went to breakfast with Harper. We watched comedy specials together and laughed. Hard. We actually talked. We had time to get reacquainted as the people we are now because times have changed and so have we and in the busy times we just dont have the time to stop and ask questions about how we see the world.

Maternity leave is generally about getting to know the newest baby. But in my case it gave me the opportunity to do so many more things with the boys and Rolston too. We all got to know each other better. I took Emerson to the Nature Center we planted plants while Harper slept in her sling. I took them to swim lessons. I watched them become proficient without floatation devices. We played. We watched movies at home and in the actual movie theater. They built me towers out of legos and told me tales of Voltron and Power Rangers and Transformers. They snuggled me and gave me kisses.

Harper grew and grew and was so so loved. From a tiny baby ball of mush into a smiling engaging wonderful happy girl that she is today. Still smelling sweet like babies do but changing almost by the day. I have taken so much joy in shopping for her adorable girly pink and purple clothes and taking her out with me and watching her watch everyone. She coos. She was a champ when she got her 2 month shots. She made me think while I watched her nap when the boys were at school in the morning.

Mornings gave me time to think about so many things. During those naps I thought about who I wanted to be as a mother.  I'm not sure I ever considered that before in a meaningful way. It was a gift.  I will be able to do this more effectively even when I go back to work. I can think about ways to do things better or differently. I thought about what I want for them and how to be there for them. I thought about how I want them to know me and remember their childhood. I thought about how to be my best self for them and even thought about practical everyday needs.

After some struggles with behavior at home we set up a reward system for the boys. They earn stars when they complete certain chores or when they do good deeds. It provides them with a sense of achievement much like how my job does that for me. Instead of spoiling them with the latest toy of their dreams, I make them work for it and it means more to them in the end. So I'm grateful for this time to take a step back and apply some of the things that I've learned.

So this time has probably made me better. Yes it has been a tough transition and the tears were not always just from the kids. But with each tear was a new awareness emerging about myself. I know more about what I need and want.

I can figure out how to move forward through the fog and anxiety. It will not be easy. Raising children is hard. Being a wife is hard. Life itself is hard. It is complex but there is beauty in it all.

I am extremely grateful that I had this time to take that in whether I was always aware of it or not. And some days were squandered by keeping myself surface busy and others taken full advantage of each moment breathing it all in. I will hold these days in my heart and in my memory as the time our family was finally complete and I got to spend three months with my three.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Harper

Early on the morning of February 12 we left for the hospital while it was still dark. Papa and GiGi would get the boys off to school and as usual Aunt Monica would make the trip with us. It was a wonderful day the day we would meet you our early Valentine...our Harper!

We arrived and parked and walked back to maternity triage and checked in. It was a painless process of insurance info and other details. Then it was goodbye for now to Aunt Monica who would patiently wait while I got squared away before the move up to the OR.

There were blood tests and monitors and other things to keep me distracted and the nerves at bay. The nurses chatted with us about you and your brothers. I am not sure how many times I said your name and their names that day but I was feeling so happy. I knew you would be here soon to make our family complete.

We moved to the OR waiting area and Aunt Monica came with us while they wheeled me up. It was good to see her one more time. She is my touchstone and the one who knows everything about me. And she will know everything about you and your brothers too.

A few hugs and kisses and we were in the new waiting area with visits from doctors and signing papers and Daddy put on his scrubs. This was it. We were almost ready. Then after a short walk to the OR they tried and tried to give me the spinal.

It hurt. It hurt on the left and then the right. It burned it was sharp then they had to try again and again. It just wasn't working. I was anxious and afraid. They brought in Caitlin who was there when Brenton was born. She is and always will be my favorite midwife! She made me feel calmer. She made me laugh through the tears.

Finally they brought in someone else to try and a free 2 more tries it was done and they laid me down and Caitlin brought Daddy into the room. Dr. McCullentalked to me and so did Caitlin and told me that it was almost time and they could see you and you had so much hair. Then you emerged and I heard you cry and I cried. They dropped the drape and I saw your beautiful body and your face and I reached for you. I was filled with joy. You were just perfect.

I watched them take you over and Daddy wemt with you while they cleaned you up. They weighed you and checked you and confirmed what I knew...you were perfect. As they finished up and stitched me back together all I wanted was to hold you. We took our first family picture and then Daddy brought you to recovery to wait for me.

You were sleepy and when they laid you on my chest you inched your way to nurse for the first time. You were perfect. Your warm body against me is a feeling I felt with your brothers, but this would be the last time and it was special. That instant bond of love and admiration for my new child. It is truly miraculous how your heart can burst from an overwhelming feeling of love.

Daddy and I talked about how fast you arrived and how happy we were and how grateful we were and I suddenly noticed I could feel my toes. They took vitals and monitored you and we were both doing well. Before I knew it we were moving again.

We got to the room where we would spend the next few days getting to know each other. Aunt Monica held you and cried. She was so happy to meet you. She brought you presents and balloons. We kept telling each other how beautiful you are.

After a few hours and more nursing and more vital checks and more cooing over you your brothers arrived. Emerson was completely taken by you. He loved you with his big Emerson love right from the start. Brenton was a bit nervous being in the hospital but he was also smitten. My heart was so full watching you together. GiGi held you and Poppie held you and everyone was just thrilled to meet you.

It was one of the very best days of my life. Once again I felt like the luckiest girl in the world. It was the day our family became five. The day Brenton was certain we could form Voltron. The day we were filled with happiness and awe for the tiny being that came into our lives and made us complete.  That was you, our one and only Harper!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

The Last Baby

In these last few weeks I have been paying special attention to the small things. Even the things that are on the list of undesirable things that no one talks about, and that you yell at your best friend who had a baby first for not telling you abput, are somehow noteworthy. Admittedly I am one of the lucky ones who has good pregnancies with no major nausea or ailments but now this is officially it, my last baby.

As her popping bubbles turned to tickles and flutters and the flutters turned to flicks and pokes and bumps and the bumps turned to waves and rolls and stretches that occasionally stole my breath, now I wonder if I will remember when they are all gone. I love this feeling. The feeling of life is nothing less than amazing.

I remember the first time I had an acute awareness of the inportance of it all. Also my awareness in my role as well. I turned to Rolston and said...hey I am like a host. He said sternly, "Never say that again." It was in that moment I realized how foreign it is to him and how natural it felt to me all at once.

At this point I am still not allowed to refer to myself as a host but he loves to feel the movement of our babies in my belly. He smiles as he speaks muffled sentences of adoration into my stomach. When she kicks his face he smiles and laughs. This is my favorite thing and I realize the moments are limited and so I find ways to initiate these interactions as much as possible.

I sit and try to focus on the movements so I will remember. Even feeling my hips as they seem like they might actually snap in two like a wishbone on that first step after I have been sitting for a bit too long. The heartburn that wakes me. That kicked in the crotch feeling that only a pregnant woman understands. Resting things on the big huge belly and rubbing it for no real reason. These are the moments I cherish.

When Brenton and Emerson ask me about their sister my heart melts. Brenton is smitten and kisses my belly and says goodnight to his sister. He has dubbed February "Harper" month. He also likes to feel her move. Emerson is more hesitant. He has never been on his own always having had Brenton but yet he has also always been the baby. He knows it is different but can't yet say how it will be different and so he is uncertain.

I realized I am also uncertain in some ways because it is a girl and because it has been a few years. I woke up out of sleep in a panic completely confused about if babies can wear hats to sleep. It turns out Google is divided but mostly cotton hats are ok and extremely warm hats should be avoided. Also best worn for naps but not overnight.

Still I worry I have forgotten how to mother a newborn. Will I forget how to nurse her or change her? It is unlikely but the uncertainty remains so I understand Emerson and his hesitancy in many ways.

There are things that are so different from the first time around. With Brenton the nursery was completed and waiting for months. The carseat installed months in advance. Clothes washed and organized in the closet and drawers. Pacifiers and bottles sterilized but only in case of emergency. I was so nervous about becoming a mother.

With Emerson Monica and Rolston installed the carseat at the hospital since he came a bit early. The nursery was done and the clothes were washed but only semiorganized. Pacifiers sterilized and ready for immediate use. I nursed for 18 months with Brenton so I was pretty sure I knew what I was doing. Gel pads and sports bras at the ready. I felt prepared but everything was so different because he was so different.

This time I did the girly pink nursery of my dreams and that was probably the only reason is is nearly done. The carseat is new and still in the box because our old one expired. We are holding off since 3 across is tight and Brenton will be in the back in the van. The clothes are not washed. The pacifiers are not sterilized but thanks to Amazon Prime we have them. I finally got an outfit for coming home and a few options for that hospital photo shoot.

So the truth is I am ready as I can be. But as much as I cannot wait to cuddle and snuggle my sweet girl, I am also not fully ready for this to be the last of the firsts. The last first time I hear those bubbly cries. The last first time I see my husband see the baby. The last first glimpse I have. The last first latch.

I won't miss the c section recovery but it will also be the last. And the last time we bring the boys to meet their new sister in their big brother shirts. I truly cannot wait for them to see her. I can't wait to see them see her. So very many last firsts to come and I will treasure them all.

And so in these last 2 weeks I will hold onto these little moments. I will keep them all close to my heart. The last OB appointment. The last time someone asks how I am feeling and if I am ready for the baby. What will it feel like to walk into the hospital to welcome my third? A girl? How will it be different? How will it be the same? What is coming next? But for now I plan to sit back relax as much as I can and enjoy the last moments of my final pregnancy with my last baby.

Friday, September 29, 2017

IT'S A GIRL!


Almost six weeks ago my life changed forever.  One might think I would not see this moment as life changing but for me it was imprinted on my heart.  After I placed the nurse on speaker phone and she said, so you are sure you want to know the sex and affirmatively responding she said the words I never believed I would ever hear.  “It’s a girl!”


My husband screamed and ran around the house yelling Yes! Yes! like he had won the Super Bowl and I sat quietly smiling in disbelief.  I may have asked if she was sure.  I was in utter shock. It was the only thing I felt was being completely floored because I was absolutely convinced that the baby would be another boy.


Perhaps it was self-preservation.  Certainly there was a part of me that recognized there would be some disappointment if I never had a girl.  After all we were convinced the opposite with the boys.  Still in those first few moments I was afraid to believe it and yet she was.


She!  Finally after being convinced the other two were girls I finally say she and I mean she. The boys would have a baby sister and we called them in and they jumped up and down and shared in the joy with us.


And then it was time to call my mother.  The woman with an only daughter, but somehow with four grandsons would also get her girl.  After calling four times I gave up and called Monica and we squealed like crazy and I just kept saying I can’t believe it while Rolston beamed in the background imagining his new life with a daughter.


One final try to my parents and my mother was shushing me as she answered that they were in a restaurant as I loudly exclaimed “it’s a girl” and she said oh wait what a girl and then told my father it was a girl and then they no longer cared that they were in a restaurant.  My father exclaimed…we are going to have a granddaughter. Later they brought them a special dessert that said “Congrats on your granddaughter”. My mother had begun shopping in her head before dessert even arrived I am sure.


As I continued to let the news wash over me and embrace my new reality I was so grateful and so happy. That isn’t exactly news but I really felt it in those moments.  Believing that dreams come true is hard once you learn that most fairytales are not real.  After waiting a while for this baby I just wanted health the gender question was moot.  But then suddenly it wasn’t and all the things I did not let myself consider came flooding through.


All the pink and frilly princessy princess clothes.  The things I always wanted but could not have.  Oh and the nursery.  The gorgeous pink nursery filled with tiaras and tutus.  It was suddenly a dream come true the things I would get to do and to experience that I never imagined would be possible.


I thoroughly enjoyed decorating the boys nurseries.  A jungle theme for Brenton that suit him perfectly with happy primary colors and woodlands theme for Emerson with the wise old owl watching over him and the sunburst rug that he still has today. But there was something about this one being the last one and because it is for her.

Now at 20 weeks I am halfway there and it will not be much longer until we get to meet her. Constantly I find myself wondering about her. She seems fiesty. Maybe she is like me already. But she will always be uniquely her even if on occasion I do glimpse myself in her.


I have always found myself daydreaming during my pregnancies about what the baby will be like.  I am often wrong and sometimes right.  Mostly I like to think about the future and how happy they will be.  I imagine my daughter playing in the mud wearing her tiara and tutu.  I imagine her rolling her eyes at me if I share a quick story in her preteen years.  I imagine her needing me and trying not to, but me always waiting just in case she wants to talk. I imagine her on her wedding day and when she has her first child.  I imagine her looking at me like I look at my mother now, as a friend and a mother.


Then I think about all the times I won’t be able to be there for her and just hoping that I do right by her.  That I show her how to be strong and self-sufficient.  To be brave and unapologetic and really to be whatever she wants to be on her own terms. I hope for her what I hope for all my kids, that they find their way and that when they need me, I am here.


My dear Harper Elizabeth, I haven’t yet met you, but already I love you deeply.  My have you have all the love and joy and excitement in your life that I have had and more, so much more.  May you know how much happiness you have already brought me even in the weeks before the big moment when I heard the words I will always remember, it’s a girl.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Twelve weeks

Admittedly it took longer than expected but back in June we found out we are expecting our third baby! It was a long road filled with appointments and ultrasounds and bloodwork but it all paid off. Now today I reached the milestone I have been waiting for...twelve weeks.

Now I am unsure why that twelve week mark feels like the magic number for so many. After fertility treatments I am much less prepared to shout out anything of certainty. We have always wanted three children and some days this just feels like it is too good to be true. How could we ever be this lucky?

With Brenton we told our close friends and family right away and then waited for the magic twelve to make it Facebook official. With Emerson we told most people right away but still waited until twelve to shout it out. This time today is the day and I am not quite ready.

I am filled with joy and gratitude and relishing every moment. The nausea and the exhaustion all familiar and wonderful in their purpose and meaning. The aversion to seafood and the need for meat have all come back again just like the last two times.

I adore being pregnant this time. I did before but this is special. It is blissful and fills me with purpose not because I am a woman or because being a mother is so magical and agonizing and everything in between but because this baby is my last baby. This baby will complete our family of five.

Feeling the butterfly like kisses and flutters already is reassuring and familiar. I am also coming out of the nausea and exhaustion into the light again. Although now I am plagued by constant hunger as the baby starts to grow and develop exponentially over the coming weeks.

I have been working out like I did with Brenton. I took the week off this past week. Mostly it has been a source of comfort when I have been anxious and helped me feel like myself when I was having a rough time with symptoms. I just needed a bit of a break to enjoy the sun and the pool.

Now I am 12 weeks and on Monday I have my NT scan and the NIPT bloodwork. I am looking forward to it. After so many early ultrasounds it was nice to have a break from the poking and prodding.

Being almost 40 they want to keep a closer eye on me. Geriatric pregnancy now, not just advanced maternal age. What lovely terms they have. And maybe that is some of my hesitation to shout out my pregnancy even though I know so many women who have had children later in life.

Pregnancy is anxiety producing and in the world of infertility and treatments it is even more so. I see the comments of the women who have been through the ringer of several rounds of IVF and all the stress that comes with the process to hope and pray for a take home baby. Maybe there is a small part of me that feels selfish to have my third on the way when some struggle so much for one.

As I watched people in my life get pregnant and have their babies I struggled with jealousy. I was happy for them but sad for me. They had so easily what was taking a while for us and what seemed so far away. Then just when we were discussing taking the IVF step we found success.

I credit the wonderful support of the women in my online support group and one friend going through this for keeping me sane and grounded. The journey is so emotional. It is a rollercoaster. The hope the hope the hope and then the disappointment and despair and then the hope returns. That space where a line should be is the blankest white space in the world and for those who know that pain of months and months and years and years of the blank white space to see it finally turn beautifully brightly pink is a joy I now know.

Brenton was a surprise. Emerson was planned. And this baby was not only planned but it was a long hard fight and it took two years for that pink line. 

Just like like I did when I found out that Brenton and Emerson were on the way, I woke Rolston from sleep to share the news. This time I simply greeted him with a large smile and a gentle kiss and a jersey girl fist pump and high five. He was sleeping in Brenton's bed because the boys had commandeered his spot in our bed.  There ensconced in Star Wars sheets we shared the moment of knowing we were going to have our third.

So maybe keeping the news close to my heart has allowed me to really enjoy this last pregnancy in a different more personal way. Regardless I feel so lucky to be experiencing this life growing with mine. Sharing the deep connection of two hearts beating.

When the time feels right, we have our announcement ready to go. The boys are excited and take turns hoping for a brother or sister. I am convinced it is another boy and Rolston is not so sure. Either way I will be happy and we will know in about 2 weeks. Maybe then we will share the fantastic news with the world.

As I tell more and more people I am so filled with gratitude that this is my life. A smile always comes to my face and a wave washes over me that this is really happening. We have had some hard times and this baby does feel like hope and renewal. This baby feels like resistance against those hard times.

So in this moment I am happy and fulfilled and complete. It may be a milestone. It does feel significant enough to capture these thoughts on the evening of the day that marks twelve weeks.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Every Now and Again

When I share things about my life occasionally I am struck by the reactions of others. Sometimes I find that people are surprised or maybe even a bit unsettled because there is very little about me or my life that fits into a neat package tied with a societally approved bow. Usually this has served me well but sometimes I wonder where I do fit or who would really be there for me and my family every now and again.

Sometimes I wish I could go back to my youth where my racial awareness grew naturally through life experiences. At some point after having children I realized my responsibility to my children and that the world was not like me. Most people did not see the world like I did because they hadn't experienced the world as I had.

Racism is ever present and that cold truth is lonely for white people who love black people. See black people know racism but white people have to wake up to it because of our inherent privilege. The world we have created of white supremacy makes the unlayering complicated for some. To even admit it brings great doubt about how they are potentially complicit.

But the white people who love black people know it too well and it is so hard to have white people we know actually ignore our callouts of racism in our society. It is a deafening silence that splinters my soul. The likes my facebook photos receive while my pleas for their lives to matter as black boys are ignored. I am labeled as difficult or angry or over the top even by family. But how can I not mention these incidents?

My heightened awareness about a particular dilemma has been recently troubling me. It started with a post about how black people are more likely to have police called by their white neighbors. I shared the article with a personal story about how our neighbors never really welcomed us to the neighborhood and that our back neighbors had been overtly hostile after we asked them to stop shooting their illegal foreworks into our yard while our children were playing. I realized people wanted to cry for us. My point was just that this happens not that we needed to be rescued or that we needed sympathy. It also shed light that this experience is unusual for most white people.

I inadvertently started to think about all the life experiences that I have had that most white people haven't. Starting with being the only white person in a room except for the help. At one of the first family gatherings I attended it was me and the home health aide for one of Rolston's elderly aunts. I remember feeling out of place in a way that felt different than coming into a new environment usually did. As that experience began to become the norm for me that fell away but in those early days I did feel different.

Because Rolston and I were allowed to see each other at church we always went to church and so I sang songs in church youth choir like "Young, Gifted and Black" and I still know all the words to "Lift Every Voice and Sing". I listened to sermons centered on the black experience. History was focused on black history in that church and not just in February.

I also learned how to braid Rolston's hair. And not just braid but how to care for his hair. I remember braiding his hair and never once did I wonder if that was unusual until a black woman heard me tell a story about me braiding it before a concert and she said to Rolston, I can't believe you let her touch your hair. This was part of my education as well. I would not automatically be accepted by black people either.

This brings me to where I am now. I have a few good friends who I can talk to about being white and sometimes feeling like I don't know where I fit. But they are black and have their own burdens to have to reassure me seems ridiculous but they bring me deep comfort when I truly need them.

White people always give me the I am so sorry these things happen to you. But honestly I don't want them to be sorry. I want them to do something because they can and because they are part of the power structure that created the poverty stricken areas where they are afraid to go or locking their doors as they drive through, not realizing most people in those places that the power structure abandoned with white flight, are just poor and living their lives like we do but with so much less.

Rolston did not come from one of those neighborhoods either. His family was upper middle class just like mine but they had to work twenty times harder to get there. He was raised to know he had to be better to get half as far. We will raise our boys this way. I am often greeted with, you should just raise them so they know right from wrong and that is enough. They won't get into trouble. But it isn't enough.

The deck is stacked. To be clear, I don't want your pity. I will never be sorry for the love I have in my life so you shouldn't be either. It is big all encompassing love that makes me want to fight for a better world but until that world is now I will continue to talk about my life and ask for more from white people.

So I may wonder where I fit as a white mother of black children and the white wife of a black man. I may never know who really truly supports me and my family. I do know that I will keep bringing up racism until it really wakes up white people and I will probably bring it up a bit more than every now and again.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

How Is This Possible?

My boys are 3 and 5 and in the fall both of them will be in school. They are getting so big and self sufficient. How is this possible?

They started life inside my body and came out squishy babies who could not even hold their heads up on their own. They needed me for everything. And now they don't.

Brenton is still my social butterfly. He wants to have everyone come over and play. He is sweet, kind and empathetic. He is truly concerned about others. He wants to help. He likes approval. Its good because everyone loves him.

Emerson is in a rough phase right now. He is really testing limits. He is strong willed. He is really brave and physically strong. He seems to live life on the edge right now just like how he stands on top of the play kitchen and looks like he might actually try to fly.

Brenton is into watching Power Rangers. He makes potions in the sink and gotten Emerson in on it too. He made the connection that when people die they go to a different dimension. I really like that notion and I am glad it brings him solace about Nanny. His complex thoughts astonish me.

Emerson can really count. I swear he can do basic math. Sometimes I think he might be an engineer or something. Both of them share a love of building. Legos bring hours of fun for them.

They play independently so beautifully. They also cooperate with one another. At times they go to war with each other and wrestle until there is a victor or someone yells for help or wails that they have been hit even if they may have actually been the one who started it. We try to be hands off with them and let them work it out independently together.

In spite of all the newly claimed independence they are both still reliant on me in some truly fundamental ways. Brenton needs a lot of guidance right now on right and wrong. He craves support. Occasionally he also needs a reminder to put his shoes on the proper feet and make sure his underwear is not on backward.

Emerson is still in pull ups and has a paci. He can't quite figure out he needs to take his shoes off before his pants and often ends up stuck and wailing about the stuckness.

Brenton ate spinach yesterday and broccoli today without whining. Emerson did not eat anything. We opted to allow applesauce and he mostly spilled that on the table for finger painting. He used to eat avocado and asparagus but now its really only fruit. How the roles change and reverse and change again.

Tomorrow we are getting a big wooden playset. I can't wait to see them playing. Climbing and sliding and swinging. Maybe they will let me help them up the rock wall. I can already hear them yelling "watch me".

All these things they do amaze me. Sometimes they frustrate me in the moment and occasionally I yell and don't understand their needs in the moment. But when I take a step back and look at our journey together as mother and sons, I am so lucky at how much they taught me in such a short time. I just ask myself how I ended up here. I am so grateful for them and I just cannot fathom how is this possible. I am the luckiest girl in the world.