Monday, August 16, 2010

Check out my new digs!

Ok, everyone ... I'm both sad and excited to let you know that I'll be posting new entries on writesoftly over at a new address ...

The new design has me excited to post again, and I feel like I'm ready for a new challenge. The lovely Michele at (formerly of has kindly offered to help me get set up, so while it's ready for you to poke around, know that it will continue to grow and change. For instance, I want to try to put together a way for you to leave comments there -- tumblr doesn't automatically allow them.

Thank you for reading my posts here! This site will continue to live here as an archive of former posts, so you can always come back to find something you want to revisit, but the new stuff will be at the NEW writesoftly.

Bookmark it, favorite it, write it on your palm, make it an icon on your iPhone -- husband tells me that when you do that with the new site, the icon on your phone is MY FACE. Which is kind of cool and really intimidating. I hope I picked a decent profile pic.

Hope to see you there soon!

Friday, August 06, 2010

Just because.

Baby blue

That bow on the top of her head makes her look like a Christmas present.

Best. Present. Ever.

And when remembering makes me sad ...

... I can always count on my husband, boy and girl to know just how to make it all right again.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

I remember. I always will.

Dear baby,

It's been a year. A year since I realized I wouldn't get to meet you.

A year in which I've moved into a new home, welcomed your baby sister, and gotten to know your big brother even better.

A year during which I've missed you constantly.

You're not here with me, but I know you can hear me, and I know you know that I love you. I think about you all the time. I wonder whether you would have been a girl or a boy (regardless, you have a brother AND a sister! Isn't that wonderful?), what you would have looked like, what your personality would have been like, whether you would have been a good sleeper, what you would have been when you grew up. When I'm out with the baby now, and people say, "Is this your first?" I always cringe inwardly. Because the logical answer, the expected one, would be to say, "No, this is my second baby," since the baby is one of two children who live at home with me and your dad, which is of course what the questioner wants to know. But I always answer very carefully with, "No, my son is two-and-a-half," because that's true. But it's also true that your sister is my THIRD.

You were here. And then you went away. But you were, all the same. You were my second. I never, ever forget that.

For a while I spent a lot of time looking at jewelry that's designed to help a mother remember a lost child. There were rings, pendants, bracelets, charms. I thought about ordering something, and wearing it every day, to have something to look at and touch when I missed you, to have something to carry with me. But I couldn't find anything that seemed perfect, and now I know that's because I have everything I need to remember you. You're in my heart, just as you always were, just as you were even before last year. The difference is, now I know you're there. So I'll leave the necklaces and such to other moms -- I've got you with me all the time, always.

I asked your dad once whether he thinks we'll get to meet you someday. I believe we will. I don't know what you will look like, or how old you'll be in heaven (what a limited concept, isn't it, for heaven? I know there is no age or appearance there, and yet I can't help but wonder), but I do know that I'll know it's you right away. I'll know it's you, and I'll get to open my arms to you and hold you close.

I know right now you have everything you need, that you don't need me. But your brother and sister do. So when you see me taking care of them, know that you're with me too, and that I'll be loving you with every act of mothering I show to the boy and girl who are here with me now.

And put in a good word for me and your dad and brother and sister, ok?

I love you. I'll see you someday.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Why I wake up laughing most days

Because this kind of conversation, first thing in the morning, is pretty hard to NOT find hilarious. And when I say first thing, I MEAN first thing. The boy sat upright in the master bed, surveyed the room, and launched into this line of questioning in a still-sleepy, gravelly voice.

"Mom. Mom. MOM. What you doing?"
"I'm changing the baby's diaper."
"Why, mom?"
"Because she pooped."
"Oh. [pause] Yellow poop?"
[struggling to answer as gravely as the question was asked, you know, out of courtesy] "Yes, son. Yellow poop."
"Not brown poop?"
[starting to lose the battle] "Um, no. Not brown poop."
"Oh. [another pause] I have brown poop, mom?"
"[AHEM] Yes. Yes, son, your poop is brown."
[And I should have seen it coming.] "Why, mom?"
"Just ... just because."

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Things I have said to myself or others since my daughter was born

"What do you mean, training bras are PADDED now?"
"Oh, geez, I'm going to have to tell her about periods."
"My God, she's beautiful."

"I just posted a picture of her on facebook wearing only a diaper. That will be the LAST time her nipples are on the Internet, as long as I have anything to do with it."
"Guess I better read up on this Gardasil vaccine."
"What if she wants to have her belly button/nose/cartilage/eyebrow pierced?"
"I mean it. She really is gorgeous."

"When will I start letting her wear makeup?"
"When will I let her start dating?"
"Oh, Lord -- DATING."
"I wonder if she'll let me help her pick her wedding dress."
"I wonder if she'll breastfeed her kids."
"I know I'm biased, but she's SO BEAUTIFUL."

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I thought it would have been louder.

Now I know how it sounds when your heart brims so full of quiet, perfect love and joy that it breaks.

It's a tiny, liquid popping sound.

I hear it every time I look at these pictures of the first time my boy met my girl.

I will never, ever forget how, the first time he ever saw and held her, when he would have had every right to be standoff-ish, threatened, squirrely or even outright mad ...

Instead, he smiled. And kissed her head. And handled her as if she were made of glass and he wanted to protect her.

I am blessed beyond measure in my children.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

A Clorox kind of day

Some nights, when my husband goes up to our two-year-old (who will awaken once a night and need someone to come and soothe him), the poor man falls asleep with our son and wakes up only in time to go to work. Monday morning, however, it wasn't husband's trusty iPhone alarm that awakened him, but the sound of a two-year-old getting sick in bed.

Happy Monday! Here's some of last night's dinner, dad.

The master bedroom is right underneath boy's room, so I knew that something was amiss, because suddenly I heard a lot of adult footsteps, some toddler wailing, and the sound of water running. I had been feeding girl when it all started up, and I imagined that boy's diaper had probably leaked, and that husband was changing it and cleaning up wet sheets. When husband appeared at my door a few minutes later, though, he greeted me with a phrase no one wants to hear at 4 a.m.: "He threw up."

My capable husband handled the carnage, and brought the boy downstairs for a sip of watered-down Gatorade. As our son took his first taste of "juice," husband and I discussed the event, and when I learned that boy's retching bore a striking resemblance to the last time he'd had a stomach virus, I snatched the poor kid's sippy cup away from him so fast that he looked baffled. Because I knew whatever he was drinking now would come back up in about ten minutes. It took twenty, but it did.

And so we did what parents do -- called the doctor, dug out the crackers, doled out sips of water at half-hour intervals, and mopped up the vomit that occurred at intermittent times over the next few hours. As well as the diarrhea. Because vomit, apparently, wasn't exciting enough for us.

To be fair, my husband handled the lion's share of the mess. Since we both were terrified of our newborn catching the bug, I tried to keep my distance from what I imagined to be the seething nest of germs that was my son. So husband held bowls, wiped tears, gave hugs, changed diapers and did all the things that I wanted to do for our poor boy but didn't dare.

As we all know, though, there IS justice in the world. My turn was coming.

Later in the day, RIGHT after boy's diaper had leaked ON THE COUCH -- yay -- and while husband was doggedly scrubbing the cushions with a rag soaked in Resolve, I was changing our daughter's diaper in the master bedroom. Her changing table is right next to our windows which overlook a lovely golf course view. On quiet days like yesterday, we sometimes see deer grazing along the far side of the course. Their graceful forms never fail to arrest us, and it happens often enough that we keep an eye open for the sight when we pass any back window. I'd spotted a doe earlier in the day, and had turned my head to see if it was still there, or if it had been joined by a fawn or two. Unwisely, I chose to do this while my daughter's diaper was off.

Suddenly, I heard a quick squirting noise, and felt a suspicious and startling warmth on my shirt and jeans. I looked down to discover what I already knew -- that I was covered in yellow breast-milk-poo. As any of you know who have had babies, a parent gets really used to dealing with newborn baby poop, because you're faced with it SO MANY TIMES a day, so I wasn't terribly grossed out. Still, it was human feces. And no one wants to wear that as an accessory, no matter how cute the person is who produced it.

What was so impressive was the fact that she'd really just hit me. Her changing table pad was spotless. Basically, I'd been spray-tanned in poop. When my husband heard my exclamation, he had a feeling he knew what had happened, and started yelling, "Did she get you? DID SHE GET YOU?!" He came running in to see the source of my surprise, and when he got a look at me, he laughed so hard he had to sit down.

So I stripped and added my clothes to the overworked washing machine, set it to "hot" and thanked God for running water and soap. And vowed to keep my eyes on the task at hand next time, and to work more quickly.