I have had a hard time finding time to blog anything more than weekend updates despite having a lot to say, so I decided to do a family update. We sort of all four have a lot going on.
Silas Peter is our super chatty 19 month old dude. He is repeating everything (and I do mean everything) he hears. I am just about the only person who can translate at this point because he’s terribly dutchy, but it doesn’t stop him from attempting to say words or even sentences. Some of the funnier things he says: sup, girl? see you (later)! hey dude! hewo! howdy do baby! ope! YYYYEAH!
He wakes almost every morning singing “hooray, hooray” which is the song from the 1977 version of Winnie the Pooh, his current favorite. Tim and I know all the songs, so it’s probably time for a new favorite. He loves to stack, build towers, cook in his play kitchen, read books, sing songs, have dance parties, and is starting to like puzzles. He’s also moving into the choo choo zone and trying to learn how to build the wooden track. Silas will, without fail, pick going outside above all else.
His sleep was really the only thing that went out the window after Maren was born. He turned into a bit of a monster until all the company left, but has been sweet and cooperative ever since. Si has gotten back to 12 hours of night sleep and one or two naps, but he’s waking up once at night again which stopped for several months before baby sister arrived. We were back to normal for a whole week until our air went out and we traveled to Mom’s overnigiht. Back to square one. Silas is anything but a good traveler. Tim and I are used to it at this point but we will be happy when we sleep through the night again someday in the very distant future.
Silvano P has moved into 2T jammies and tees and is still in 12-18 month shorts. He’s a hilarious mix of lean and stout. He also moved up to size 6 shoes and had his 45th hair cut. Ok, not really, but I have to cut his hair all the time. I know it’s time when he wakes up and the back of it is so nappy you can imagine vague animal shapes in it. It’s like cloud watching, but worse.
These days, he is rarely seen without Elle the elephant. He and I even made an elephant tee shirt yesterday. The glee was priceless. He’s getting his 2 year molars, so the sleeping/eating/pooping issues that come with that are pretty fun for all. If we need an elephant party all day long to stay happy, that’s what we do.
He has mastered climbing on top of the coffee table, getting out of our king sized bed by himself, using a fork and spoon like a champion, adventuring into the wading pool at the water park without holding hands, and climbing out of his car seat before being picked up. He will also randomly come up to me and say “guggle, mama” which means snuggle, mama. It’s darling.
He hugs Maren every morning as soon as he sees her and shouts something loving about two inches from her nose. She loves it. Si also learned how to whisper and say “shhhhh” when she is fussing. As soon as she begins to fuss he screams “UH OH! UH OH!” So pretty much any hope of her calming back down is for naught. But then he loves to comfort her, which is adorable.
Our little sweet pea is such a hoot. She’s in a growth spurt and is eating more often at night (every 2-3 hours instead of every 4-6). This week I feel tired from being up at night for the first time since she was born. She’s six weeks old!! I think that’s pretty awesome.
Maren is grinning at all of us, but mostly at Silas. She’s starting to love looking at things with contrast, but does not like being put down when she’s awake for more than about a minute. She prefers eye contact and a small jazz show to keep her happy. Just kidding. Silas was such a mellow infant, I think she’s normal and at that age where she’s getting bored when lying on her back by herself. Little does she know Silas will be her lifelong entertainment in a few short months.
M is weighing in at 11 and a half pounds and is quickly growing out of 0-3 month clothes. Luckily, she has a ton of 3-6 dresses for summer that are daaarliiiing. Thanks, Kendra and Sara! She’s in size 2 diapers at night and cloth during the day. Surprisingly, the cloth have leaked more with her already than in 15 months with Silas. We are troubleshooting that at the moment. Boosters seem to be the answer. We switched brands and it got worse, so back to GroVias.
She is looking a lot like mama still while Silas looks evermore like a Ballard fellow. It’s pretty fun to have one of each.
I’m in a bit of a funk these days, admittedly. It’s not the most welcome phase, but I knew shit was getting real when I heard myself say with total exasperation “I want to move to New York. And use fabric softener.” Neither of those things will happen, and I don’t really want them on a gut level. I just don’t want to live in the Midwest or be doing the things I am doing, which are necessary and lifey things but not things that fill me up and make me feel like I am working on myself. I’m having a hard time, and I hate admitting it almost as much as I hate feeling it.
Maybe you’re one of those people who is thinking “But you’re a mom and that should be enough!” and that’s true and fine, but there is real loss of identity involved in parenting two children under 20 months old with a missing husband a few nights a week. In fact, there’s a huge loss of identity when you become a mother at all. There’s also a very clear sense of identity that you assume when you hold your brand new baby and realize he depends on you wholly, and I found a lot of solace and purpose in that. Suddenly career choices and stupid relationship mistakes from the past and all those things you didn’t do right go away because it doesn’t matter. Talk about liberation. Motherhood is remarkable.
So here I am, being a mama to these two babies and I love them so much I could burst. But at the same time I need something to balance out all the mommyness, and that’s where we are these days. Essentially, I have to wait until Tim is done with work to get into a routine where I can intentionally choose things that make me feel creative and like myself and make space for them in our life on a weekly basis. A few more weeks. So much easier said than done. But I’m going to do it, because I have to.
Unfortunately, I’m one of those people who is so all or nothing that I have to put myself on a schedule to make sure I actually do the things I need. I guess it’s fortunate, too, that I know that about myself, but it has been a consistently frustrating issue since getting married because I’m also the person who builds my routine around my partner’s needs. He didn’t ask for that, it’s my own psychosis, but it affects me because I prevent myself from doing what I need, so that needs some tweaking as well.
Timmy is in the homestretch of a really long 2 years. He will finish his job with the Migrant Resource Center on July 18 just in time for family vacations. We will spend the first half of the week with my family at the lake and then the second half of the week with the Ballard clan at the Dunes. It has been a really long winter and spring and we are in desperate need of some lakeside relaxing.
By the time we get back, it’s August. Holy cow. Tim will have a few weeks off (we are going to try to tackle a ton of house projects in that window, he says) and then begins observation in the classroom to prep for student teaching this Fall. His student teaching will be with second graders and an awesome cooperating teacher. The administration in his building already made a point to pull him aside and ask about future plans, which is exciting. Good job, Mr. Ballard!
This past weekend Tim got to travel to D.C. for John’s wedding, which was really special for him. I’ll admit I was a wee bit jealous of how easy it was to travel solo and hop on a plane, stay out late having fun, and not worry about diapers and bedtimes. Sigh. He says it was a beautiful ceremony and totally fun weekend for all and the pictures tell the same story.
It is a busy season at work and a busy season at home, so I imagine he is feeling pretty tired at this point, but we’ve almost made it. These are the days when we want to call a babysitter so that we can take a nap for 30 minutes. Living the dream, man.
We have been having a hard time enjoying each other and our house in the rare times that we are all here. We got to the point that every day felt like groundhog day. Three times. Toys all over every room (thanks to our open floor plan) and a real lack of energy by 8pm to pick them up one. more. time. And so, while Tim was in D.C., I made a glorious play space for Silas and life became much less frustrating. Priceless. Suddenly we enjoy our evenings again and are figuring out how to have more fun despite having long nights and long days.
That’s the news around here. We have plans literally every weekend until August at this point, so there will be no down time for the GB’s until vacation, but that’s a sign of a good summer, right?