Where are all these emotions coming from?!

(Part 1) Back to School Eve

It was a weirdddd weekend for me. I’m usually not the emotional type, but I’ve somehow caught myself in unusual emotional moments the past 3 days, and to be honest it blindsided me.

But then I realized it.

First, we made it through 2 weeks of quarantine as of this Friday, of which the first 7 days we were convinced our kids (and probably us too) had COVID and I swam in mom guilt. They were showing symptoms, and one of my kids had confirmed positive exposure so we thought it was a done deal. After several agonizing days of waiting for 3 kids’ test results to come back, all were negative. Really relieving, but at the same time we were hoping these mild cold symptoms were all it would be if it actually did hit us. So a little disappointing in that sense?

Second, the second 7 days of a quarantine were official back to work days for me, except I had to do it all remote instead of in person because of this quarantine. You’d think it’d be a silver lining to have 7 extra days home with the kids. But by Thursday and Friday of this past week, I was in back to back to back meetings from 8am till 5pm daily with a four year old, two year old, and almost eight month old basically fending for themselves. We survived, but it was hell.

Third, I’m realizing now that it’s been since March 13th with my little family unit. I’ve watched my four year old turn into a little independent human. HE actually taught ME how to play a board game this weekend. One that I didn’t even know he knew how to play. I’ve watched my two year old become the wild one with big feelings that I’m pretty sure he’ll always be. I’ve watched my newborn infant turn into a baby girl full of sass and zest and playfulness.

Months of us all together, all the time. Though hard at times, it’s been precious, and we’ll probably never get anything like this back again, at least when the kids are this little (unless of course, the COVID situation goes to sh*t again and we’re back in stay at home orders). Now it’s about to end, and we have to try to get back into some sense of normal. After spending months figuring out what our new normal was.

Fourth, I’m about to leave Tessa after an unexpected almost eight months of being my little baby kangaroo, attached to my hip all the time. If this year was normal I would have left her after three months. But it’s been eight! A lucky eight, for sure, and I’m so grateful for the extra time. But it’s making this normally rational, normally logical, normally put together mama extra emotional. Add that to the fact that she still doesn’t take a bottle and cries when she’s with other people. You know. I’m feeling….good about it? Nah not really.

I know there are so many other parents who have already transitioned back to work or back to school or back to whatever their normal was before COVID. I know it can’t stay this way forever.

We’ll do it though. Tomorrow will come and go and we’ll survive it. I’ll probably look at pictures all day long and text my husband wondering how everyone’s doing. We’ll do it though. Tomorrow will come and go and we’ll survive it. I probably won’t cry but I will worry and I will watch the clock go by minute by minute. We’ll do it though. Tomorrow will come and go and we’ll survive it.

I’ll let you know how it goes. Check back tomorrow for part 2. Cross all your fingers and sleep with your pjs inside out for me please!

Daycare Haul

Everyone knows teachers absolutely dread August 1. It’s August scaries. Think Sunday scaries but for teachers about to start a new school year. And now think about it THIS year. August 1 came and passed like a faint blip on the radar this weekend for most people, but you better believe that for teachers it sounded the alarm. This is real, and we are going back to school very soon, one way or another.

But for me, August 1 didn’t just trigger the August scaries. My mind started to go bonkers about what my own kids are going to do when Mommy goes back to work. We haven’t decided a thing yet. In fact, our daycare provider for Dominic and Tessa hasn’t even announced whether or not she’s opening in the fall. I can’t even begin to think about it without feeling like I want to puke. There is no good decision. But these first two paragraphs are really just anxiety-driven ramblings that are better suited for a different blog post entirely.

SO.

My way of maintaining my sanity is by approaching things like normal: at the end of the month Tessa is going to start daycare for the first time ever. And if you’re anything like me, daycare requires its own wardrobe, because nothing ever comes home looking the same as how it left. Because Tessa hasn’t ever been to daycare, it’s time for me to start building her daycare wardrobe – basics that I don’t really care if she ruins or not. I’m also more flexible and don’t care as much about colors or patterns or prints with daycare clothes.

Today I escaped for three hours by myself and it was glorious. I hit up Old Navy (love the ruffle butt leggings!) and Gap (love the bubble shorts!) because they have huge sales going on right now – or so this is what I told my husband. They always have huge sales going on so someday this excuse isn’t going to fly anymore….but until then…. I built a shopping cart online first, and if I found it in-store, I deleted it from my shopping cart on my app. I was mostly in search of onesies, shorts, and pants that are easy to mix and match and will be (1) comfortable for my bow while she’s away from her parents all day and (2) easy for Miss Darcy to undress/dress for diaper changes or other accidents. Here’s my haul.

The warm weather haul was decent. I didn’t do as well with my cold-weather haul. I was actually a little surprised that everything was still mostly summer season – my guess is it’ll change over to fall very soon (online already has lots of fall new arrivals). Also, is it weird that for cold-weather clothes for bows I prefer sets (tops and bottoms) rather than one-pieces? With the bruises I was all about one-pieces and always found lots of cute ones. They don’t seem as feminine to me for some reason. Maybe I just haven’t found ones my style yet.

Once I come home I always spread it out to inspect (admire?!) like in the photo above. Did I double up on colors accidentally? Did I grab the right size? Is it REALLY something she needed? I make my return pile and the rest immediately gets de-tagged and de-stickered to go right down in the wash. Once it’s all washed they go into the daycare drawers. Yes, her dresser will now be split into two sides: daycare clothes and fancy clothes. There’s not really much fancy to the fancy clothes, just clothes I prefer she doesn’t wear to daycare so she doesn’t ruin them.

Now that you’ve read half a page of writing about what goes on in my brain when I’m on a mission shopping for something (I’m split between whether or not this is actually interesting for you to read or if this was just a waste of a post), I do have some questions.

If your kiddos go to daycare, do you just have one big wardrobe and think I’m way too anal retentive and need to loosen up a little bit? If you do, does your kid come home in clean clothes and really I just have sloppy kiddos? Or do you split your kids’ wardrobes up and send them in different clothes to daycare than you would to…I don’t know…some place where your kid would be in fancy clothes? And I really need your help with this bow thing. If you’re a #girlmom, do you send your baby to daycare wearing a bow? I’m really struggling with this one. Part of me thinks it’s silly and not practical…like Miss Darcy would totally roll her eyeballs at me and take it off immediately once I leave, because what childcare provider wants to deal with that? And the other part of me can’t contain my obsession – I’ll just send her in her bow because she’s my daughter and I’ll do what I want and I’ll tell Miss Darcy she can take it off whenever she wants if it gets in the way. Would love to know your thoughts so drop a comment below!

Diva Baby or Quarantine Baby…That is the question.

I didn’t really have a good image to go with this post, so I took it all the way back to one of her newborn photos. We’ve stuck with our fabulous wedding photographer through all of our kids, and she’s amazing…easy going and relatable, and simple and candid with her work, which is completely my style. Check her out at her facebook page, Jennifer Langdon Photography, by clicking the photo above. Side note: we have also used (and will continue to use) a close friend who started her own photog business a few years back, Jen Morrissey Photography (linked her website at the end of the post). It’s SUCH a good idea to have a few photographers in your back pocket, that way you can change up styles as needed so photos never feel stale!

Tessa was born in early January, meaning she got here just in time to avoid the nightmares of labor and delivery during COVID, but also just in time to spend most of her infancy in quarantine at home. I know every baby is different so I’m trying not to fall into the trap of comparing her to the boys. But there are some serious differences between the boys (who were very similar as babies) and Tessa that really make me wonder if this is just your typical girl baby or if these are legitimate symptoms of being a quarantine baby. Call to action for all the girl moms and/or quarantine baby moms out there: Curious to hear your thoughts on this stuff so be sure to take my poll at the end!

The bottle. The freaking dreaded bottle. I never experienced this nightmare with the boys, but now that I have, I have complete and utter respect and empathy for anyone who has also experienced this. She wouldn’t take a bottle when we started trying around 3 or 4 weeks after we established breastfeeding. I worked my tush off daily for a good 6-8 weeks by trying one bottle a day for 2 hours at a time so that she’d be ready to transition to my mom’s care once I went back to work for the end of the school year. For those two hours that we’d try each day, she’d fight it with every ounce in her body, and let me tell you, seeing that little teeny body with all that fight in it was both heart wrenching and impressive at the same time. We tried every bottle imaginable, from Dr. Brown’s to Comotomo to Olababy to Brezza. I’d go to Target and pull any brand bottle off the end cap displays to try. We tried all different temperatures from room temp to warm to hot to cold. LOL, cold. Finally after two months she just took to it one day with Nuk Natural Flow bottles (thanks Target end cap!). And she took it like a champ…for like two weeks. And just as spontaneously as she started, she decided she had enough and just plain stopped. She’s smart too, rather than wasting energy and fighting it, she’d just play with it in her mouth, spit it out, or blow raspberries with it, or just go to sleep to get out of having to take it. And because by this point daycares were closed and schools were closed, I didn’t have to send her to my mom. Flash forward to today; now school’s out for summer and we are still unsuccessfully trying (every other day because I just don’t have the energy to try every day). So, quarantine baby or diva baby?

The attachment to mommy/fear of others. I know, I know. This one is nothing to complain about. I actually love everything about this one. But Luca and Dominic were such independent infants, I wasn’t used to having my little bow need me, and only me (ok, sometimes dad too) 24/7. In fact, I remember two summers ago, I’d find a shady spot in the grass at the splash pad and lay Dominic down on a towel while I went towards the water to keep an eye on Luca, and I would literally watch him from 20 yards away (bad mom?!) and he’d be totally content for hours. Tessa not so much. Once we started to come out of house arrest softly (aka quarantine) and start to socialize (practicing social distancing, of course) with immediate family like grandparents and siblings, I was blindsided. My happy, cuddly, relaxed baby girl was now uncomfortable in new places. If it wasn’t our house or our yard, she’d tear up and panic. And I’m the type that needs to make it out of the house and stay busy to maintain my sanity, so I was so used to just toting the boys around with me as we did things when I was on maternity leave with them. And now, as we have furthered our social circle to close friends and family, anytime someone else is holding Tessa, and I’m in sight, she whines and cries. The one time I went to finally get a haircut and color (alone time!!!!) and left all the kids, including Tessa, with Gammy, she screamed and cried unless my mom showed her to her brothers to remind her she was with people she knew. Another time I left her with Nana so Mike and I could run to the grocery store, and she apparently screamed her lungs out once she realized I was gone. With that being said, I’ve had no problem being selfish and keeping her all to myself, but I am a little worried for if and when she ever starts daycare…no bottle AND stranger danger?! Poor Miss Darcy (shout out to our most amazing childcare provider!!)!! So, quarantine baby or diva baby?

Image Links:

Jennifer Langdon Photography

Jen Morrissey Photography

Aden + Anais 3-Pack Silky Soft Swaddling Cloths

Flower crown and other newborn photo props

My bow

I was convinced number 3 would be our third boy. Utterly convinced. Partly because I’m a glass-half-empty kind of person when it comes to certain things. I don’t like to get my hopes up. I prefer this so that I can be pleasantly surprised when life does go my way.

So when we were looking at the genetic testing results, and my husband pointed out, “Look at the thingy, look at the thingy!!!” while jumping up and down ecstatically, I was confused. What thingy? It took me a good 30 seconds to realize he was referring to the gender/sex symbol for female…you know the little stick figure head and body with just arms? And then we had to read it 30934809 times just to be sure our eyes saw it right.

I dreamed of having a mini my whole life, and knowing my husband and I had agreed 3 was our magic number, I had kind of prepared myself for another boy so that my gender disappointment (real thing..look it up!) would be minimal. (DON’T GET ME WRONG! WE WOULD HAVE LOVED A BOY, TOO.)

She literally is my bow. She was the perfect little gift to complete our family, wrapped up and delivered at just the right time.

Side note. I’m also actually obsessed with bows for two reasons:

  1. They’re cute and can make (or break!) an outfit. I usually have one guilty shopping pleasure with all my kids – Dominic had something like 62 pairs of sweatpants in size 6-9 months…don’t ask me why sweatpants were my thing with him. My guilty shopping pleasure with Tessa? BOWS. I’m pretty sure she has over 100. Maybe I’ll count one of these days. And I really hope Mike isn’t reading this post.
  2. I’ve gotten scoffed at before when I talk about my bow obsession – mostly because others sometimes see it as representative of a traditional girly girl. But I believe a girl can wear a bow AND be a strong, compassionate, and independent woman. (And if she doesn’t want to wear a bow at age 2 or 20, she doesn’t have to.)