(self portrait by me. breathe image credit here.)
I had a big long post written out that was just unstoppable blabbing. Facts about Milo and Elliott and their stats (clothing and diaper sizes, for example) and the routine that Ben and I have tenuously carved out at home. I think typing it showed me that there is reason, and structure, and things that are concrete: Milo wears size 5 diapers. Elliott is in newborn clothing. I have a cup of coffee during Elliott’s first nursing session of the day. Ben takes Milo to school. It was important to me, but boring. I saved it. I might publish it later.
I went back and read some entries from when Milo was a month or so old. I was like, blogging like a blogger! Linking to giveaways that I liked and doing promotional posts for Tiny Prints! I was also, thankfully, posting (horribly edited) Instagram pictures of piles of laundry and Kcups. I never realized how valuable those things would be to me now, and maybe in five years, and maybe when my kids are having kids. Memory is crap- it adds and vaporizes and completely adapts to what you want it to be. Without the written word, I have a very difficult time remembering what things were like during my first maternity leave, and that was not even 17 months ago. Can you imagine what I’ll be thinking in 20 years?
There are still moments when I am frustrated with myself for being boring. I use social media a TON and post only nonstop adorable pictures of my children or our meals, funny things my kids said or did, or ask parenting questions to the world at large. Sometimes Ben will be telling me a story about something that happened at work, or catching me up on the plot of a movie or show, and I find myself nodding “uh huh, uh huh” and thinking very intensely about the color of someone’s poo. For real. It’s not fair to him or me. But I live in baby town, so that’s me for the time being. It’ll be interesting to look back on my young parenting years, not through milestone photographs or baby books, but real-time Facebook statuses, Thursday morning Instagram posts, and ramblings in blog/journal. It’ll be real talk.
I’m still still still trying to ease into a balance between cutting myself some slack and holding myself accountable to take care of myself. My parents sent the neglected family Wii to us (thank you!) and I’ve been using the Wii Fit and Just Dance workout programs to exercise every morning. Shockingly, it makes me feel SO much better about myself, and is usually followed by a shower, real clothes, and happy productivity. I got a hair cut that I really like and made an appointment to go back and get some color added. I’m rereading Harry Potter, over the parenting manuals and family cookbooks stacked on my night table, because reading the same novel 72 times is how I treat myself. (The awesome side effect of this is that Milo now grabs any Harry Potter or thick paperback chapter book he can get his hands on and flips through like he’s trying to find this one passage that really stood out to him. How hilarious and horrifying that he copies me so perfectly?)
I was really beating myself up about a higher grocery bill and a cluttered house. ASHLIE, WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM, TAKE CARE OF THIS BUSINESS, WHY IS IT SO HARD?! But it came to me that, in the past 18 months or so, our family has doubled in size. At first, I only needed formula, a SLIGHTLY higher grocery bill and we made a huge effort to purge and make room for Milo’s stuff. But Milo eats three meals a day now (throws three meals worth of food on the floor), and as he grows we box up and save all his clothes and hats and things for Elliott, while making room for the bigger stuff that comes rolling along. We have books and movies to satisfy three different personalities, diapers and wipes for two pooing butts, infant tub, toddler floaty toys, and a stack of magazines in the bathroom BECAUSE THAT’S WHERE I READ, unless Milo is home, and it then, I’ve found, it’s true that they follow you in there. So yes. We are swimming in stuff, and spending more to feed four people than just the two of us. We can purge. I actually love that shit. But it’s a slow process. Bird by bird, people. One bite at a time. Ack. (Cathy quote.)
So: snapshot of right now. Life is good, I am blessed, I am bumbling and messy and imperfectly made. Almost two months of maternity leave are behind me and I wouldn’t really change a thing. But I am going to keep free-associating right here, because this is where I write down the real talk that my memory is going to quickly block out.