parenthood: chapter 12

one year. excuse me while i go and snatch my breath back!

this final month has been mostly enjoyable, i must say. holdy bear my mother’s nickname for him came out in rare form. personality fuh days. almost always finding something to laugh about, smile about, scream out about. he loves to look back at me when he is about to get into something he shouldn’t be in as if to provoke me to chase or race him. this boy.

alot has been going on with him developmentally. he was already starting to pull up on things, but climbing on furniture became a work of art. on occasion he would stand without assistance although he was completely unaware that he was doing it. he eventually took his first steps two weeks before his birthday, and any time keith and i can make a game out of it, we try to.

he finally started mastering his pincer grasp something i had been concerned about because he wasn’t eating a ton of food and mealtimes became less of a chore. this also increased his caloric intake and he suddenly began sleeping for eight hours straight before needing a feed early in the morning.

speaking of sleep, for the most part it definitely improved for most of the month except for the last two weeks of it where we were having to rock him to sleep because of teething and developmental milestones. we weren’t getting much sleep which made both keith and i vulnerable to whatever was going around. for me it was allergies, for keith, bronchitis. this lasted three weeks cumulatively. holdy bear remained as content as could be and thankfully didn’t get sick.

i started going to the gym as i get complimentary child care for two hours and i cannot tell you what a godsend that has been for both of us. even when i felt horrible, i took him to the gym just so that he could burn off some energy and i could get some reprieve. it has allowed me to enjoy him more when i get him back in my arms rather than dreading the three hour wake time of having to keep him entertained or out of trouble.

he looks more and more like a little boy each day and with his personality getting bigger, it is hard for me to recall what he was like before he began to really shine. i keep repeating to myself that he is going to be one soon, and i am not sure i am ready for that now that i am kind of getting the hang of him being a baby. i’ll miss his cute attempts at trying to kiss me. i miss seeing him discover a new skill for the first time. i’ll miss his partial toothy grin and his puckered face when he is focused on something intensely. some of those things may remain, but they will look different for sure, so i am holding on to these meteorites for as long as my memory will allow.

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#locherup 3.0

starting on month three, but it feels like nine! from this point on i will only be posting once a month on my hair journey until my one year mark. i just don’t feel as though my hair is changing drastically from week to week, so i will spare my blog feed the weekly updates.

last saturday before trekking with an almost one year old across an entire state, i got my second retwist. it was a long morning mostly of me waiting to get the retwist done i came fifteen minutes before my scheduled time and didn’t start getting my hair retwisted until two and half hours. i tried to get more feedback to care for my hair at home, but my hairdresser almost seemed reluctant to share. she even seemed disappointed when i told her that i wanted to do semi free formed locs and go longer stretches in between retwists. needless to say, for all the money i am paying, i should be getting better service so i did not reschedule. which means i had better learn how to do this myself or find a loctician. to be continued…

length

my hair is starting to look like a stringy bob on the sides. the sides are looking a little longer than they have in the past and i can 3/4ths of my hair to one side.

texture

the roots are still pretty snug while the shaft of each loc grows fuzzier while remaining soft to the touch. there are some parts below the root that are starting to bud! it actually creates enough weight for my hair to swing. i whip my hair a lot now.

style

half updos are my thing, but i am sure not to make my pony tight so as not to weaken my locs. most of the time i just put a headband on to push it off of my face. i have been focusing on my appearance a bit more to feel less frumpy with my locs and i have been enjoying experimenting with different styles to see what works for my hair in this season.

routine

after many many many videos and loc articles, i knew i needed a simple routine. this last week i spent getting into a rhythm so these are just my routine goals:

moisturize my scalp and hair twice a week with water and oil
wait three weeks after each retwist before shampooing hair and as needed to till next retwist
deep condition with a hot oil treatment twice a month
style as little as possible
retwist every eight weeks

i am starting to like my locs and find myself playing in my hair a lot more. i think the idea of starting a new hair journey that i have not experienced before has gotten me really excited about the process. i almost want to document my experience with video just so that i can compare where i am in the years to come. what do you think?

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road trip / baby and me

took another trip up to see my parents last weekend so that we could celebrate baby boy’s birthday with family. we want to do one back home with our friends, but since keith was going to have to be up here for work, i decided to head up with holdy bear a week early to make the trip worth it.

the last time i took a trip alone with this boy he was six months old and he wore me out for a two hour trip to see my sister. this time we were going about seven hours away. he slept poorly on the way up to my sister’s where we would be spending the night before driving five hours to my parents. he fought sleep for about two hours after we arrived and then woke up two hours early. i decided to just get up, get the car packed up again and leave.

we stopped off at my alma mater and walked around my old spots. it was surreal to be showing my son where i went to college. i felt eighteen all over again and yet felt the distance of those memories some seventeen years ago. those years were mostly good to me. i wish i would have discovered myself sooner there. we snagged a free breakfast from a tour group that had extra breakfast sandwiches so mega blessing because i hadn’t eaten breakfast in two days and i hadn’t had a solid three meals in three days. i definitely wasn’t kind to myself.

we finally arrived just before after one and i was exhausted. and by exhausted i mean i ran into my parent’s light post and then had a mini break down in the car while my parents kissed baby boy to pieces. i was already missing keith. thankfully it only took us two days to get into a rhythm. keith will get here today before his meeting tomorrow and i cannot wait to kiss his face. i am not sure i will do this by myself any time soon, but i hope it gets better.

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father's day

father’s day started pretty early for us, with our son being pretty cranky from a rough night of sleep. upon keith waking up, our boy took his first steps toward his papa today! what a gift! after that it was off to eat at a local cuban restaurant where we feasted on cuban bread and eggs and croquetas and quesitos. we made it back to the house in time for boo bear’s nap and spent most of the time just reflecting about what today means.

two years ago, we were hopeful that isaac would be far enough along in his progress to have keith hold him by father’s day. we got our wish, two weeks early but it was not how we would have hoped it to go. i had imagined tears of joy as i watched my husband holding our firstborn for the first time; instead it was tears of fear, pain, and dismay as i insisted keith hold isaac while he was still living.

this is the first father’s day that we celebrate him holding his son in his arms. a son full of life and hope for us as a family. a son who lets keith know every day he walks through the door that he is loved. a son that is inches away from celebrating a year earth side. the weight of this moment has been so heavy, so rich, so good. because even though its almost been a year with boo bear, keith has been a father for two years now.

i love this man, so much. we have had our differences, but i still feel peace in the mist of the conflict because i know that despite the tension, we still see each other and love each other. i love how keith loves on our son even when he at the brink of exhaustion. i wish he would care for himself a little better, but it is comforting to know that his love is so great and wide.

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what to do when a friend loses a child

people mean well, my neighbor peggy said to me last year when i opened up about losing isaac. but they don’t know what to say sometimes and end up saying something stupid.

i was out walking with my youngest last year when i we first met. she was trying to get a peacock out of her driveway and i stopped to look on in amusement. she noticed my son and asked the question that i get asked all of the time, is he your first? to which i reply no, he has an older brother. the followup question of course is oh well how old is he? to which i have to quickly answer their question without soliciting pity. but that day, for whatever reason i started to cry in the middle of my response. i quickly muttered an apology for making the moment solemn.

peggy surprised me. she said, you don’t have to apologize. not for this. can i give you a hug? i nodded. i told her that i never wanted to talk about it because people usually replied with well aren’t you glad that you have this one now? as if that is supposed to magically melt away the pain i feel over losing my first. he is apart of you, peggy said, apart of your story and you can’t every forget something like that, and you shouldn’t have to.

i shouldn’t have to but somehow i feel responsible for the comfortability of others. i see the discomfort on their faces when they realize or at least think that they have reopened a wound. they immediately want to move on from the idea that maybe they caused me further pain and want to lighten the mood with encouraging words or maybe just a quick sympathetic apology.

recently, i have tried my best to keep them in it just a little longer while i explain to them that they haven’t inflicted any pain on me and i let them know that i am very blessed to have known isaac in his short life despite the sorrow that followed his untimely departure. an old college friend of mind reached out and told me of her friend who was going through a similar story of child loss and i thought i would share what at least for me was helpful while i walked through my grief with friends.

create a space in your heart to really grieve with your friend.

i am not saying you have to put on sackcloth and ashes, but allow yourself to share the burden of sadness. i cannot begin to tell you how much better i felt when my friend anne let me talk about the day we lost isaac. it was probably the first time i had actually shared with anyone the painful details of that day probably ten months after his death. i remember her eyes were just flooded with tears as she sat quietly and listened. then we hugged for a while and sat in the sadness together. no pep talk. just us sobbing. i am realizing now that i need to think her for that moment.

listen

like i said, people are quick to extinguish discomfort, but doing this while someone is opening up to you about their loss hurts more than if you didn’t say anything at all. be quick to listen and slow to respond. sometimes silence can offer more healing than a quote from your daily devotional. unless your words are not some standard response, the spirit of god is powerful enough to minister to them. just be an ear.

ask how you can be of help

i am guilty of wanting to help people in a matter of which is comfortable for me. but it isn’t about you. by asking your friend how you might serve them best, you invite them into a safe space where their needs can be thoughtfully cared for.

don’t be afraid to pursue

i spent almost a year in solitude. not by choice. i think i don’t know this for sure that people may have just been trying to give me space or maybe they weren’t sure how to talk about what happened if the subject arose. again i had maybe one or two moments during my pregnancy with my youngest where i went out and felt comfortable to share, but otherwise i felt like people were scared i was too fragile for socialization

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parenthood: chapter 11

i come heavily medicated for this chapter. extreme allergies kicked in last week and i have been on the mend ever since. i am thankful it wasn’t anything bacterial or viral to where i would have to take some antibiotics, but it does mean i will have to ride it out. #secondhandsmokekills.

eleven months.

so much happened in one month that i hardly know where to begin. while sleep continues to be a struggle for us, we or rather i have learned to expect it so that i am not as frustrated by it. some of it was due to two top teeth coming in around the same time, and the other parts were due to travel and overnight stays at the hospital.

i mentioned earlier that we took our youngest to see a neurologist because i was concerned that some of his jerky movements might indicate seizures. but after two rounds of eeg one resulting in an overnight stay all that was concluded was that he has myoclonus of infancy which is common and something he should outgrow. praying that is all there is.

boo bear is becoming more vocal these days which is quite humorous as he is always interrupting me when i am on the phone with someone and if it isn’t on speaker he feels left out. he is understanding certain words and knows what they mean like when i tell him to back it up instead diving head first off of my bed he actually will push himself backwards!

this month keith got us signed up for the ymca and i am pretty sure i use it more than keith does. two hours of alone time to take care of myself has boosted my energy and sociability with others as well as my son. the childcare is beautiful there’s even a polish worker who is in love with him and is teaching him polish per my request. this time has allowed me to pursue my spiritual walk in a more ritualistic way which has been good for me. i know pray at nap time and not only has that been good for me to surrender my day, but it has been so soothing for boo bear to hear me pray truth and love over his sweet being.

i still struggle with my confidence not only as a mum but as a woman. i know the comparison game is toxic, but i have become aware of how inadequate i feel around other mothers who work and seem to have it all together when it comes to raising their kids. i don’t talk about myself for fear that no one is actually interested or listening. instead i talk about nap schedules and how to get my son to eat more. i hate that this is what it feels i have been reduced to, but honestly there isn’t much in my world that i feel compelled or safe enough to share with a group of mothers. i feel like i am in hiding and i am not sure how to come out and show the world who i am. maybe its the pressure i feel to look or be awesome all of the time. it isn’t me, and i need people who can rest in that and accept my boring, normal bits too.

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#locherup 2.1

Its been almost two weeks since my retwist and i wanted to wait a week before i took a photo update. in the meantime i did some more research on what i would like my locs to do and how to maintain them. for one, i don’t want to retwist my hair as frequently as every three weeks. my hair just doesn’t grow that fast and i don’t want my scalp becoming too tender.

there were varying bits of info out there on how long to wait in between retwists and washes, but i think in the end it is somewhat up to my hair and scalps needs. currently i am waiting another week three weeks exactly to actually wash and shampoo my hair. since i am going a total of seven weeks in between my last retwist and the second one, my scalp cannot afford to go that long without a decent scrub. i have been spritzing it with water and the oil mix that i made just so that it feels a bit more fluffy.

my hair is already starting to bud at the point where my new growth ends and the two strand twist begins. i am also able to do half up/down styles which makes my hair look less like a mop on my head. i try not to do that too often so that my hair will loc instead of just stretch out.

still finding it a challenge to feel feminine with my starter locs. that might be because i am still struggling with my overall style. part of that issue is that i am a stay at home mum, and not bringing in any income myself, so i feel guilty if i want to splurge on clothes that make me feel okay at the moment. but all of that is for another day and another totally different post.

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isaac's second birthday

i haven’t had much time to really reflect on isaac’s birthday. not because i was avoiding it or anything. we just haven’t had time to with business trips for keith and hospital visits. i am not sure that even now as i write i have the headspace to let myself really go there.

while on vacation, i got a call from the neurologist saying that boo bear’s routine eeg was normal and that they wanted to monitor him while he was awake. he was immediately scheduled the tuesday we returned for a twenty-four hour eeg. i didn’t have time to digest the fact that we would be in the hospital through the day of isaac’s birth.

boo bear charmed all the nurses immediately, much like his brother did and he did so well considering he had wires glued to his head and then covered in a long sock over his head. the room was smaller than our living room and we were expected to stay inside while they recorded him both through the monitor and camera.

the only thing on my mind was how to keep him entertained until bedtime. i had no space for anything else. as we waited today for our discharge papers, after baby boy was offline, i took him for a walk down the hallway until we hit the end. to my left were a pair of windows overlooking the hospital entrance to the labor and delivery facilities.

i pointed at the building. this is where you were born, i said. and you know who else was born here? your brother isaac was born here. we brought you home from here. i winced, realizing what i had said and was about to say. this was your brother’s only home. he never knew the one you know. somehow, this feels like home for us too.

those words stung like hornets, but i don’t regret saying them.

this is boo bear’s first year celebrating his brother’s birthday, although i am not sure it was an obvious celebration. with his birthday a month later, i have found it difficult to plan for it during may. eleven months. that is all that would have separated them had isaac remained with us. now the earth, moon, and stars stretch in between them.

two earth years, but a thousand years eternal. i love you. happy birthday.

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project layout: guest room

my sister is going to kill me for this.

i don't know how many times i have changed the layout of this room, sure that all the furniture was finally in its right spot. if it was just me moving around a queen size bed in an 11x10 foot room, i would care less about my indecision on the flow of the room. but i know my sister has changed the layout for me at least three times, keith once. so i feel horrible for having to say that it needs to be rearranged again.

this time, i have been more intentional. i measured the room and the furniture that i want in it. i scoured the internet looking for a layout tool that would help me visualize where everything needed to go. i ended up doing a free seven day trial with smart draw. it took me a bit to figure out how everything worked (i am sure they have some sort of help tool, but i was too impatient for all of that). this is what it currently looks like.

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#locherup 1.2

my roots started to grow out and the noticeable spaces between each twist grow smaller and smaller. the length has more or less been about the same. most days i pull the twists into a stubby ponytail or wear a hat and try my best to look like i tried to put an outfit together. i will say that these likes have been forcing me to try to be okay with how i look in them.

baby boy likes them. or i should say he loves playing with them when he can snatch a handful in his fat little hand. keith is supportive, but right now he seems pretty disinterested since nothing has really happened.

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parenthood: chapter 10

our boy is going to be one soon. unreal.

as he becomes more mobile and more mischievous, reflecting on each month becomes harder and harder, but he is down for his first nap and i am on post number two right now, so i will attempt to get started early before monday.

a lot has been happening with boo boo this month. he hit the dreaded 8-10 month sleep regression and two leaps, and yet again made us feel incompetent in our parenting skills. there has also been some stuff going on with him physically, which i may share at a later date once we have all the facts, but what i will say is that the process has been a bit triggering for me as i am not looking forward to seeing my baby hooked up to monitors.

as stated in my birthday post, being a parent has made me painfully aware of how hard it is to take care of myself and sometimes even keith. it used to be easy to find a quiet moment to reflect, to meditate, to eat, to bathe to rest, but now i find myself unmotivated most days to achieve anything of real interest to me. i hate the feeling of apathy, but feel i sink further into the more i try to motivate myself to do something.

i made attempts last month to get us both out and participating in some baby activities as i find it refreshing that he can just crawl around without me having to tell him no. i wish there were more things for me to

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