Tonight I made this for dinner and it was so good that I found myself doing that thing where I’m cleaning up and putting the leftovers away in the fridge and I think ‘oh i’ll just have one more bite’ and before long I’ve basically eaten another entire serving. #breastfeeding (or just #life)
Teo is 4 months old now. His thighs are little bit chubbier – he weighed 11.7 pounds(!!) at his 4 month checkup. His hair is still crazy long and falling out extremely slowly. When he isn’t hungry or tired, he is the smiliest baby I’ve ever met. He smiles with his whole face and sometimes he’ll even laugh. It is so crazy cute. He looks around with these big brown eyes that make you certain he knows it all already.
Mika is nearly 4 years old. And with so much going on right now (sleepless nights! new baby brother! nearly 4!) it’s very hard to pinpoint the source of our roller-coaster weeks, but it’s most likely the mix of everything anyway. The hardest days are when I’ve had less than 3 hours sleep and when Teo is having a rough time day-sleeping too and then M wants (read: demands) me to be her (very proactive) playmate for her make-believe games and then so I sort of half-ass it a bit to make her happy and then I serve her the dinner that I miraculously managed to make and she looks at it and says ‘nooooo i want toast with honey’ and the only way to stop myself throwing her out of the house is to put on my crazy high-pitched mika-mocking voice and say to her ‘noooo i want toast with honey’ until we are both sort of crying and sort of laughing and then i wonder if i am really fucking this/her all up.
But then she puts her little hand under my chin (yes UNDER MY CHIN) and says ‘mama, are you happy?’ and i think YES i am so unbelievably happy. Sure I wish i could sleep more and I wish she would eat more but most of the time i am really truly so stupidly happy. And she says ’cause if you’re sad then I’m sad too’ and i squeeze her and tell her I love her so much and she says ‘mama, is it cause i have a unicorn on my drink bottle?’ Ohh you got me Mika, yes, that is why I love you. Because of your unicorn on your drink bottle. And all the other silly reasons that are impossible to explain. (including how you choose a tutu to play in the dirt)
4 months in and she still loves her baby brother in a way that floors me. Early days still, obviously, but I’ll take it and marvel at it all the same. I wish I could film every little interaction she has with him, because so much of the sweetness is so subtle that it’s hard to explain. Sure she hugs him, gives him his pacifier when he’s crying, reminds us to take him out of the car (true story) and is extra gentle with him. But she also notices little things that he does, talks to him, coos over how cute his tiny clothes are, calls me to ‘come quickly! baby is doing something really cute!’ and will usually sit herself up and sleep with her head on my shoulder while i’m night-nursing.
So we don’t sleep very much. And each day has its challenges. But as stupid and cheesy as it sounds, I generally just feel thankful for it all. I just was speaking with a friend who is in a kinda stressful situation right now but she sounded totally great and she was like ‘yeah, I guess it’s maybe cause I want to be here right now and so I sort of embrace the hardness of it all.’ Which totally feels like where I am right now. Tired, exhausted, brain-dead…but happy. (Or maybe just riding the breast-feeding high, but i’ll take it).
So I am very very excited because i will be coming to NZ to photograph the wedding of a super gorgeous couple in January. The tickets were booked pre-Teo’s arrival and now that he is here and I am able to think a little more clearly, I realised that I actually want to extend my stay a wee bit in NZ and make the most out of the NZ summer.
I would love to take some photos for some families while I am back, and as I will be extending my trip I will have a few days available to do so. If you are interested, please get in touch ASAP (book before Jan 5th and get a discount) through my website www.peoplebypamela.com.
We ate lentil loaf and salad and I would have gone to bed feeling great if it hadn’t been for the chocolate and chocolate and chocolate consumed after dinner. All four of us played Catan. Dad and I finished some cryptic crosswords. I went running in my new leggings. We walked to Starbucks on Xmas day. I’d claim this is the first time it’s happened, but actually it has happened once before in 2007 in Vancouver, BC. We walked around the lake. We drank hot cocoa and ate vegan donuts. We drove to Mukilteo and had a real Xmas dinner with friends and their family. My mum and I went to my local yoga studio on Xmas eve and Mika and I slept in on Xmas morning. For brunch Ivan made everyone tofu scramble with beans and hashbrowns. Having my mum and dad here felt like the best xmas present ever.
I took some photos, but definitely not enough. And I have the same song in my head as last year.
So Oma has been here for 2 weeks now and it is so so good. Like, ‘how will i manage without her’ sort of good. She has pretty much just assumed the role of chief baby holder and book reader, which has pretty much made me redundant (except for feeding every 3 hours).
But seriously, having more grownups than children in the house makes for a much easier life. And with a grownup like Oma who will willingly change diapers, multitask with an infant in her arms, forgo a shower or two for the greater good and read Dora the Explorer over and over again to the chattiest 3.5 year old, life almost feels luxurious.
I have been enjoying weekly massages (maximizing my insurance benefits), time alone, time with just Mika, some time with just Ivan and even my first postpartum run. NONE of this would happen so easily without Oma here. So things are good.
Teo is getting bigger and stronger and it is SO INSANE how cute he is. Ivan loves being out with him alone because in any other circumstance he would never have so many women approaching him in public
Our days are full but not busy. We walk, we explore, we drink coffee and eat donuts, we go to a dance class or the gym, we read so many books.
In an effort to make Christmas about ‘more than just presents’, I made a little ‘Christmas Jar’ for Mika to open each morning. I made her a christmas tree out of cardboard and drew numbers on it from 1-25 and then in her jar i leave her a little star sticker, a tiny piece of chocolate and an activity for each day. The activities are usually low key, like ‘read a christmas story with oma!’ or ‘choose a toy from my bedroom to donate’ or ‘drink hot cocoa after dinner’, but it has been so fun to watch her jump out of bed each morning and open her jar.
Here’s a few pictures from lately.
After overthinking it a bit, I’ve realised that many traditions are just sort of born out of doing the same thing this year that we did last year without much thought. So when Mika said ‘christmas can’t be here yet cause we haven’t cut down our tree!’ it became so that a tradition would be to cut down a tree (so long as we are in a place where we can do this) and of course we had to go to the same place we happened to go to last year. Two years in a row? Tradition!
But so much more awesome cause, well, Oma and Teo are here! (And also because M is at an age where decorating the tree is apparently SUPER exciting. Last year she didn’t care about this much).
And Mika had a chat with Santa. I’m not sure what they talked about, cause when I asked her about it she went all shy and said she couldn’t remember. But later this evening she ran up to me and said ‘Mama, wasn’t it so exciting that I got to see Santa today?!’