2/5/16

Punxsutawney Phi

My sister Celia used to have a blog: Groundhog Day with Celia Fae.  Like the Bill Murray movie, parenting can get redundant.  The premise of her blog at genesis was that she felt like as a parent and stay at home mother she lived the same day again and again.  The blog was an effort to find the extraordinary or remarkable in the repetitive and she was undeniably successful, she's a far better writer than I.  But, like many blogs started in the blog heyday, she tapered off and then ended more officially when her husband became the ecclesiastical leader of her congregation. 
But this idea of parenting Groundhog Day has lingered for me.
Groundhog Day this year has struck a rather different chord with me because as Punxsutawney Phil was making his prognostication I noticed that my tiny baby newborn, now three and a half weeks, has made the switch from newborn to nearly one month old baby. He's still very tiny of course but there is a big difference between a newborn and a baby/infant. Usually the transition passes unnoticed but it seemed to have happened overnight with Philo.

And it just kills me.
Already I miss the newborn from a week ago. He's still in newborn diapers and tiny clothes but he's grown out of one outfit already and I miss him in it!
This is a microcosm of my very least favorite part of parenting: the growing up part.
And so I wish for Groundhog Day: the same day over and over again.  I want time to stop and my babies to stay little.
I think it's a rather cruel trick of God to give us these precious newborns and then take them away forever.  And I feel that way about every age of my children.  I miss toddler Silas.  I miss four year old Mimi and four month old Mimi.  I can't even remember newborn Jude (other than his unwanted haircut) but I want him and I want three year old Jude.  I want them back. I want to have all of them at all of their ages.
I do my best to savor every age: it goes so fast, it goes too fast.  Sleep deprivation makes me forget huge chunks and sometimes I find myself nearly weeping that my kids have gotten so big.  I know it means that I'm doing my job correctly keeping them alive and learning, but I just want all of my babies back.
The coffers have been replenished a number of times and I do get to relive their stages, but it's not the same.  Lou the tyrant is very similar to Mimi the toddler tyrant but I can't touch Mimi's perfect curls.  I have only pictures and memories, and my sleep deprived memory is so fuzzy.
I have my blog and our history but I don't have their little smells and their little hands.
The big kids are still a little unit but they don't need me as much any more. I've asked each of the children to stop growing. I push on their heads to keep them short. Nothing works.
I can appreciate this stage, of course.  They're so helpful now and I love showing them what it was like when they were babies: all hands on deck, constant needs to be met, no sleep til Brooklyn.
I appreciate that they get to see full arms and that they can now help.  They get to raise babies with me, the same way they were raised and teaching them the same lesson of selflessness that having babies requires.

Thankfully, this baby is easy. He's my easiest baby by a long shot, mostly because I finally got nursing down. It took me five kids to figure out how to get my body to cooperate but Philo has helped me master breastfeeding.
I appreciate the children's current phases: Mimi the tempestuous little mama, Jude the innocent bully big brother, Silas the emotional space cadet, Lou the sweet toddling destroyer who is learning to make us laugh intentionally. 
(PS, I made this chandelier. Unrelated to this post I just needed to brag).
To combat the days that march steadily onward deeper into their childhoods I document with pictures and videos.  The pictures go here, the 10 second videos I take with my iPhone I've been posting to a private YouTube channel for the past few years so I have them all in one place and watchable at any time.
As the old saying goes, "The days are long but the years are short."  The children's stages are fleeting. But I still have some hope.
In my version of Heaven I get my babies back in all of their stages AND I get to keep having them indefinitely. I can't think of anything more heavenly. My babies for infinity.

Stay little, stay little, stay little.

2/2/16

Pheast Your Eyes on Philo's Newborn Pics














Mimi 8, Jude 7, Silas 6, Lou 16 months, Phi 10 days, me not quite advanced maternal age.  Hush at work so not pictured.


Glorious photos taken by the inimitable Jessica Peterson.  Thank you Jess!!

1/25/16

Philo the Newborn

This baby was not easy to name.  It was an arduous process but I feel very happy with the name we chose for this sweet boy.

While I was pregnant Hush and I added names to our ever growing list which now contains upwards of thirty names for girls and nearly as many for boys. Since you're curious here's a sampling. Many of the names on these lists are crazy and unusable but I like to swing wide and then cull the herd.  Also, my husband and I are both fairly free spirits and have to weigh our weirdness against our baby's entire lifetime of owning that name.


I thought we had narrowed it down somewhat, or at least we tried to in the weeks prior to the baby's birth but we were still not quite in agreement. 
Hush's top choices at the end were Franklin (after Grateful Dead album Franklin's Tower) and Townes (after VanSant). Mine were Hugo, Nico and Felix.
Philo was first suggested by my cousin Anna who was attending the birth.  But it was suggested during transition and was thus on the transition names list:
I really wanted to use an ending in O name because I like how it fits in with the other children's names. So we came up with the window list:
Tito was a joke.  You can see Apollo, Thoreau, Winslow, Arlo, Oslo, Gus all got nixed. 

I find that my babies usually name themselves in the middle of the night at the hospital. I reach over to pick them up in twilight sleep and discover that I'm calling them by what will eventually end up being their names. And this baby was Philo.  This time I tried to repress it because I was not quite comfortable with Philo. That name had been suggested late in the game and I didn't feel confident that I could make a life long choice while hopped up on pain meds and hormones.  So I resisted and tried to call him Hugo.
But the kid's name is Philo. It sounds like high/low and achieves nearly all of my requirements for a name: it's unusual but definitely a real name, it's a Shakespeare name (minor character in Antony and Cleopatra), all the other Philo's are accomplished (Philo Farnsworth invented the TV and is from Salt Lake, there are a bunch of attorneys and politicians named Philo, Philo of Alexandria was an Ancient Greek Philosopher), I've never met another Philo, the name itself means Love, and it's a nod to my little brother Phil.  I think we nailed it. 
Philo's middle names are Calvin and Clark: Calvin for Hush's Brother in Law who is an excellent human, and for Calvin and Hobbes and all the other great Calvins.  I would have considered Calvin as a first name but that it breaks my "no two syllable boy names ending in N" which wipes out nearly half of all naming options. Clark is Hush's middle name and a family name on his side.
It should be noted that none of the naming was accomplished in the hospital. We left without a name and called the birth certificate people back when we were sure.  I still mourn the name Hugo but it doesn't actually suit him anyway.
Baby Philo is the most perfect newborn in the history of newborns. He's sleepy and hungry at all the right times.  Though he's tongue tied he is my best nurser (more on that miracle later).  He's adored by every one of us and I use holding him as a reward for little jobs done.
I don't know how this perfectly developed little guy was three weeks early. He was 7 lbs 8 oz, had no breathing problems, no fuzz, no problems. And he's got meat on his bones and chubby cheeks! I can't imagine what he'd be like had he come on his due date.
I think if I were to put newborn Philo side by side with newborn LouLou I wouldn't be able to tell them apart.
A rare eyes open moment.
My five kids. That's a lot of kids.
In baby Abe's outfit.  I brought most of the 0-3 month boy clothes with me from CA last time and had boys, girls and neutral clothes ready to go.  
My mom went through a hat knitting phase so we have a collection of thick woolen hats.
For reference to show how little he is.

But also fairly chubby.
If Lou was Mimi's baby then Philo is Jude's.  He's really good at newborns and can sit for hours snuggling them.
Father and baby son. Hush says he likes being the father of a new baby boy. He says it's just different but does not extrapolate.
Tiny leggies! 
Camille came to visit and bought Philo some tiny guy clothes. 
I think he looks a little bit like Silas.
First bath. Silas is also in love with Philo and smothers him with affection in slightly  dangerous ways.
This outfit fits. 
Philo's birthday cake. Family tradition to have a cake when new babies arrive.
We spent a solid twenty minutes trying to catch the elusive unintentional sleep smile.
Baby Thug life.

Did I mention I'm still absolutely shocked that he is a boy?  We are still throwing around the wrong pronouns.  I guess I thought it was a girl for most of the pregnancy. But my little boys steal my heart and I'm so glad he's a he!