Posts in Motherhood
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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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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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 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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reclaiming my style: hair journey

my hair was never a convenience, but has always been a process.

childhood kitchen beautician: shampoo, rinse, shampoo, rinse, detangle, ultra sheen, braid. repeat once a week.

adolescent military beautician: shampoo, rinse, condition, rinse, roller set, hooded dryer, style. repeat every four weeks.

college budget friendly beautician: always been a process. repeat every eight weeks.

graduate support a hustling beautician: ten packs of bob marley hair in #4, sitting for 6 hours, part, twist, hot water dip. repeat every twelve weeks.

going natural self-made beautician: deep condition, detangle, shampoo, condition, leave in conditioner, seal the ends with whatever oil i had in my cupboards, style. repeat once a week.

the last process has continued on for ten years, but began deteriorating after both pregnancies. i was short on time and patience and my disheveled appearance made me less motivated to get out into the world postpartum. i had enjoyed the process of watching my hair thrive under my stewardship and even saw my sense of style flourish as i gained more confidence in the hair i was born with.

it wasn’t until this moment in my life that i realized how connected my creativity was to my hair. i felt put together and having my hair kept made me actually want to put forth the effort in other areas. i couldn’t keep on this path for much longer and seriously began to consider locs. but like going natural, locs are a commitment.

i took to pinterest, hoping to find some inspiration and the kick i needed to go ahead and get this done.

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wonder weeks: leap 6

welcome to week 42 nine months and some change and leap six in the wonder weeks book. we are now in the process of discovering what hank is learning in this leap. it has mostly been a continuation of what he started to learn in the previous leap, with a few new items to add to his super suit.

hank has been pulling up on everything. when he wakes up in the morning the first thing he does is want to stand in his crib and babble until he realizes he cannot get back down. he started about two weeks ago in his room on the floor, and after a few falls and bumps he has figured out how not to fall.

army crawls are slowly turning into the standard crawl. his balance still isn’t great so the knee crawling gets tiresome for him. but man does he still get around and quickly. i let him explore the safe places in our house just so he feels like he has some independence. he is on his way to being a cruiser and my bet is that he starts walking by next month around the time i started.

he still shows minimal interest in solids, mostly because he is distracted by the wind or his seat buckle, or the crumb on the floor. in general he is not eating as frequently as he used to which means i can get out of the house a little more with him without him having a meltdown in the car.

to date he has waved at four people, none of those waves directed at keith or me. he claps at random times but never when you ask him to clap. he loves playing hide and seek. OMG watch out for me to post it on my IG stories! the cutest thing ever.

his naps were improving up until his leaps while night time had gotten way worse. after the leap though, his naps began to get worse again while his night time rest has gotten way better. can’t have my cake and eat it i guess.

he prefers keith to me, which i think is awesome given the fact that he hardly sees keith all day. but when keith is not around, hank is particularly clingy with me. apparently, this is supposed to be the calm period before the next leap, but i have seen none of that and hear that the next leap is relentless.

pray. for. me.

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parenthood: chapter 9

happy april!

baby boy i will refer to him as hank from here on out as that is what his initials sound out haha turned nine months two saturdays ago and we continue to be grateful for the time God has blessed us with him. saturday there was a remembrance walk put on by now i lay me down to sleep near our house. keith and i decided to check it out since we heard about it last minute. seeing babies who had passed at various stages made me kiss hank all over and thank God even more. it also made me miss isaac all the more and the rest of the weekend i spent time looking through old photos and videos of our last days with him. this will forever be our normal.

this month has been challenging for me, i realized yesterday. i spend my whole day thinking of ways to socialize or entertain hank, trying to just make my house not look like a war zone, and trying to figure out how i am going to get a weeks worth of groceries while pushing around an itty bitty stroller. but when asked what do i want to do, i feel selfish, i feel unreasonable, for even knowing what i want let alone asking for what i want.

no one is putting the pressure on me except for myself. i find it hard to treat myself and take care of myself well, and i find it even harder to ask for it when there are more bigger priorities that need to be fulfilled. my son’s needs or my husband’s needs just automatically trump mine because i feel so vital to their success. of course i am not that vital, but it feels almost necessary for me to believe that because i am struggling to find my purpose apart from the role of mother and wife. i feel trapped somehow.

i have no thoughts as far as how to break out of this mindset, but am also not looking for a way to escape the process.

how were you able to overcome the guilt of taking care of yourself while still taking care of your family?

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baby led weaning

i think its safe to say i have no idea what i am doing.

i read all the blogs, books, magazines i could find on nutrition and baby led weaning, but now that its here, i am a headless chicken. i look at all these mothers with children around my son’s age and i cannot help it to compare even though i know the game of comparison is dangerously consuming what their children can already do at eight months.

everything i have read says by now he should have his pincer grasp figured out. nope. he still grabs things with his whole hand. so getting him to try bite sized anything is frustrating for him and terrifying for me. he usually ends up just smashing his food all around and then refusing to eat from a spoon when i try to feed him. i know its all a part of exploring new textures, but i’ve noticed that if it isn’t toast, a teething cracker or something that he can just grab and gnaw on until it turns to mush, he is pretty disinterested.

however, i have noticed that he likes to grab at the food on my plate or in my bowl, and i have often let him try some of the vegetable soups that i have made from scratch. he absolutely loves it or maybe he just likes the fact that he thinks he is eating like the big kids.

so i am wondering, and throwing this question out to you all, what sort of big kid meals did you make that were baby friendly? i don’t add a lot of salt to most of my stuff, but i do like to add spices this kid loved the soup i made with a homemade harissa base, so yes he likes things with flavor i am discovering.

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huckleberry: baby sleep app

those of you who have been following my road to motherhood, know that sleep has been a real challenge for keith and i. when i say we tried everything, i mean everything. i had resolved in my mind that baby boy was just going through a ton of developments and would need assistance until he had gotten through most of them.

we rocked, held, nursed, sang, bounced our boy to sleep through most of the night and day time naps, but last week i started to see the problem with having him rely on us for so much. not only was he overtired and waking up every two hours to be soothed in some fashion, but i noticed his progress with crawling and coordination had slowed down a lot. he wasn’t as alert either, and that all worried me. but it wasn’t just him all of this was having a profound affect on.

i mentioned this early on when we first brought baby boy home that parenthood can bring out the ugly. i found myself more irritable than normal, unable to communicate my thoughts and feelings to keith as i used to, and i could feel the tendrils of resentment starting to coil around my spirit. i felt stuck and i didn’t know how to kindly invite keith into helping me get our boy back on the right track.

while scrolling through my instagram feed, one of those promo posts popped up about baby sleep issues. i admit i think its extremely creepy that facebook and google know exactly what to bait me with. i read the mama’s blog (not sure if she got paid for

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Parenthood: chapter 8

and just like that our boy is eight months old!

where do i even begin? baby boy achieved so many things this month that i will probably make a separate post about his leap 5 and 6 wonder weeks. sleep was also a hot topic again this month, but we decided to be proactive rather than reactive, with a few mental breakdowns in between. that will have its own posts coming shortly as that is a whole chapter in it of itself. what i will say about it, that it definitely improving as i am actually able to sit down and write a post!

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