You’re Right Up My Alley

Pre-parent-me found the phrase “date your kids” horrifying. The sentiment is sweet, the wording is creepy.

Parent-me totally dates the crap out of my kids.

Parent-me disappoints pre-parent-me in lots of areas, now that I think about it. Like the atrocity that is my vocal cords trying to make my infant smile. Or like the amount of times I say “silly” in a given day. What grown adult says “silly”? A parent, that’s who.

What are we even talking about?

Dating your children. Yes.

So, Saturday, I had a surprise dinner-and-bowling date planned for Beckett. Instead of just telling him our plan, I wanted to “put an exclamation point on the memory” (a fabulous bit of wisdom from a dear friend), so we loaded a few canned vegetables on the kitchen island and had the boys pick out their dinner.

They had a choice of sliced jalapeños, “very young small” sweet peas, roasted corn, or diced chiles.

All intentionally horrible options, to make my “FORGET THIS, LET’S GET PIZZA” surprise announcement all the more exciting.

Taylor and I carried the joke pretty far. Like, far enough that we opened the can, inserted a spoon, and stuck it on the table in front of the boys.

“Dig in!” we said, snickering to each other over their heads. I was going to exclamation point the heck out of this memory. (!!!)

Minor setback: guess who suddenly and inexplicably loves very young small sweet peas?

Beckett.

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Beckett does.

A fact we didn’t realize until I tried to tear him away from his cold, slimy dinner.

Me: Ewwww. Forget this! Put that spoon down. Let’s go get some yummy food!
Beckett: But I like peas.
Me: No way. Gross. Peas are gross.
Beckett: I thought they were pretty good.
Me: Vegetables are dumb. Let’s eat junk food. Whaddya say?!
(Because apparently I’m willing to sacrifice every health truth I’ve ever told them for one second of unbridled joy.)
Beckett: Well. I guess they did taste a little funny. But I still kinda liked them.
Me: That’s the spirit! Let’s go!

He was equally as un-enthused when we pulled up to the bowling alley.

Me: HOW FUN IS THIS!! BOWLING!!!
Beckett: Yeah. Cool.
Me: ISN’T THIS THE BEST MEMORY OF ALL TIME??
Beckett: What?
Me: Nothing.

I haven’t been to a bowling alley in probably a decade.

Did you know that the ratio of patrons in cartoon-themed shirts to patrons in non-cartoon-themed shirts is like 15:1? Maybe that’s not the case everywhere, but it certainly was at ours. Fascinating.

We got our shoes, picked out our bowling balls, and settled in our lane.

He was actually getting excited.

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I explained the rules, practiced some swings with him, and we started our first game.

In hindsight, I probably should have talked about the black line a little bit more.

Because on his first ever roll, during his first ever time to bowl, he ran past the line. And his feet immediately flew out from under him. And he smacked the back of his head on the lane with a loud thunk.

He was equal parts mortified and concussed.

A few things:

  1. He got a strike. (Which is more than I get with my feet firmly planted on the ground.)
  2. He insisted I bowl both of our turns for the next 4 frames.

(Turns out bowling solo while your date sits with arms crossed at that uncomfortably small connected swinging-chair-table thing isn’t the most fun either of you will ever have.)

The date ended up being a success, mostly due to the purchase of a giant concession stand pretzel served with a side of radioactive cheese product.

And the added use of this kid-bowling-ramp thing.

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I guess it was also due, in some part, to the imbibing young adults seated next to us. Their increasingly loud encouragement went a long way in rebuilding Beckett’s confidence. Shoutout to them and their beautiful partnership with Bud Light.

Dating your kids is a lot like dating other people. Sometimes you’ll have good dates, sometimes they’re painful. Sometimes your night goes exactly as planned, sometimes it’s forced. Sometimes the date ends in smiles, sometimes you look your leather-jacketed, grandmother’s-convertible-borrowing date in eyes and offer a solid handshake in lieu of a kiss. (No? Just me?)

The great thing about your kids, though, is that you will never tire of taking them out. You just pray the concussion fogs enough of their memory to say yes the next time.

From My Mouth Hole to Your Ear Balls

Something I haven’t posted about recently is both my Google history and things we’ve said aloud to our children.

So let’s remedy the latter because KIDS ARE CRAY.

These are words that actually left our mouth holes recently: (Can you tell we have a house full of testosterone?)

why is there a booger on the wall? whose booger is this?

don’t put grapes between your toes.

bug catchers are for bugs. please don’t put your penis in it.

why is your underwear on the mantel?

stop tooting in his face. we don’t toot in people’s faces.

is that pancake in your ear? when is that from??

life lesson: don’t toot while you’re not wearing underwear…you know, just in case.

when is the last time we bathed the baby?

don’t turn on burners. burners are hot.

let’s not draw with your penis. how about we draw with your finger? or, perhaps, a crayon?

hey, bud…you can’t just pull your underwear down in front of people. that’s something that happens at home. well, sort of. now that I think about it, just keep your underwear on.

That’s all.

You’re welcome.

{uncomfortably} real life.

I had a redefining moment a few weeks ago on social media.

This happens every so often and I’m thankful it does.

I posted a picture on Facebook of our playroom in complete disarray with a caption about how I genuinely love seeing the toysplosion of little kids after big play.

The post was met with several “same here” and heart emoji replies, in addition to one or two comments about the amount of toys pictured and the responsibility of my boys to clean them up.

Fun fact: it doesn’t matter how many positive comments I receive, I will obsess over a single hint of criticism for weeks.

<font-family: sarcasm> It’s one of the many perks of being a people pleaser.</font-family: sarcasm>

It doesn’t matter what was said or by who, what matters is how much I let my blown-out-of-proportion interpretation of it affect me.

“She’s right. We are ungrateful hoarders. Our boys are horribly irresponsible. We have no idea how to do life. I’M FLAILING SOMEONE SAVE ME.”

….all untruthful, unreasonable thoughts that are pretty good indicators that my heart and my security needed some adjustment.

I deleted all the social apps from my phone for a time; an exercise I do periodically as a way to keep my identity in check.

When I unplug, I reevaluate.

What am I doing on social media? Why do I post what I do? How will I feel if no one responds to my messages? How will I feel if someone criticizes me?

Until I have peace about the answer to those questions, I stay offline.

And, as usual, here’s where I land:

Social media is a powerful tool that can be used to spread light and joy or to circulate filth and darkness. It can unite or divide. It can depict the beauty in every day life or contribute to the filtered illusion of perfection.

Maybe social media isn’t for you and that’s great. But if it is, choose a camp.

For me, I choose to spread joy. I choose the beauty in the mess. I choose the laughter that comes from real life lived alongside real people.

I hope you choose those things, too.

{uncomfortably} real life.

One of the best decisions we made after Davis was born was having a 4-day-postpartum lifestyle photoshoot done.

Real life, real kids, real messes, real post-baby-belly flubber.

These pictures make me laugh and cry and smile. They make every fiber of my being emote.

So, if nothing else, I hope this tiny slice of the internet occupied with stories of Team Brooks brings joy, laughter, and a sense of unity. I hope swapping experiences about the hot mess of life on planet earth brings us closer to the God of extravagant grace.

Also, I hope you enjoy the following pictures as much as I do because LIFE IS HILARIOUS.

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// photo cred to the talented Angela Wynn. Check her out.

The Princess and the Ant

My belly button is swollen from ant bites. Apparently a lone ranger got lost in that sucker and bit me 5 times. Five. In my belly button.

(Just a fun fact in case, you know, you were feeling like an awkward human being today or something. You aren’t.)

Let me back up.

On Saturday, Beckett and I went to a princess-themed birthday party for a set of twin girls. We met these friends at reading time at our local library when Beck was maybe 5 months old. (5 months old, because you’re much more active in fostering your child’s intellectual development when there’s only one of them. My second child doesn’t even know what a library is. Just kidding!!! …not really.)

The invitation to the birthday had my favorite party words of all time: wear your favorite costume. So wear his favorite costume he did. And when Superman emerged from the side of my car carrying two pink gift bags with his big stuffed muscles, I just had to take a picture.

#momlyfe.

“Hey, Superman – hop up on the grass and let me take your picture. You sure are strong to be able to carry those bags!”

“Yeah…I knoooowwwww I ammmm.” (This is a cool phase were in. Like, maybe stop being 16 years old.)

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I mean, come on. That’s a sweet moment right there.

A moment that – 4 seconds later – came to a screeching halt when Beckett started…screeching. (See what I did there?! hah..ha..h..someone take this blog away from me.)

I started into some version of a momalogue, saying things like, “Buddy – what in the world?” and “It’s just a picture, chill out.” and stuff before I realized that he was screaming because he was covered – COVERED – in ants.

Turns out Superman has a few kryptonites, fire ants being one.

As my firstborn began being eaten alive before my very eyes, I didn’t think, I just reacted.

I went into mom-mode and began stripping him in the middle of the street in the middle of a beautiful neighborhood with great lawns.

Did I mention we were not actually parked in front of our friends’ house? Nope. We were a few houses down, far enough removed from the party that a tiny superperson was noteworthy.

Nevertheless.

Tissue paper, socks, capes…it all went flying as I frantically wiped his body free of ants. Like the world’s saddest DIY-Raid project.

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The thing about being a parent is that your kid comes first. Always. (Well, nearly always. Because if the situation involves chocolate, that’s when you perfect your most convincing “mommy needs to go potty, remember how we’ve been talking about privacy?” so you can eat that sacred goodness alone in silence. But we can work on that tutorial another time.)

Your kid definitely comes first in the case of fire ants. Which means that when you enter the birthday party with a half-dressed, barefoot kid, you hold your head high as you say, “We had a run-in with some wildlife. He’s fine, but might I use your restroom? There are some, uh, ants in my pants. Wonderful decorations, by the way.”

In my pants, in my belly button, on my arms…ants for days.

The good news is that – despite the bottom half of his legs nearly being eaten off AND never having seen so much satin and tulle in his life – he found the princess party to be quite delightful.

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As did my inner 10 year old, but that’s neither here nor there.

Short story long, if you’re short on gift ideas in the future, take our lead on the “scavenger ant farm”. It’s like a regular ant farm, but the kid gets to locate all of the ants first. (The ants that fell out of your pants and onto their living room rug.)

Not only is it creative and cost effective, it’s a great way to guarantee never being invited anywhere again.

You’re welcome.

…more like how do YOU doin’ (it)?!

When my 7 week old was screaming the other night – you know, during the “purple cry” hours of 6-8pm – I muttered some, “Oh hush up, you’re fine.” before opening Photo Booth on my computer. Because if you’re going to have an inconsolable child, might as well find a way to entertain yourself to pass the time.

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This is what happens with a third newborn.

Had this been my first newborn, I would have been reciting the 5 Happiest Baby on the Block s’s while silently weeping, wondering where I went wrong and how to get a baby diagnosed with colic (whatever that is).

Since it isn’t my first newborn, I felt great about my decision to try the Bug Out effect on his teensy little {angry} face.

I’ve had several conversations with first time mom friends recently where one of these statements makes an appearance:

I’m tired, but I only have 1. So…

I’m stressed. I can’t imagine what it’s like to have a newborn PLUS other kids.

I can’t even find time to take a shower. How are you already grocery shopping with three?

I don’t know how you do it.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: my brain is only operating at half capacity. That’s how.

Just kidding. Kind of.

Here’s the real secret: in a lot of ways, having 3 kids is nothing compared to having 1.

Being a first time mom was the greatest and hardest event of my life.

It changed my routine.

It changed my home. {hello, baby product explosions}

It changed my marriage.

It changed my body.

It changed my friendships. {what do you mean you don’t want to watch this 30 minute slideshow of his first bath?}

It changed my laundry habits and the cleanliness of my car.

It changed my level of anxiety.

It changed my entire world.

Sometimes change is wonderful. The first smile, the first coo. Watching your husband become a dad. That kind of change is wonderful.

Sometimes change is painful. Like…is it too much to ask for a single 42 minute kid-free stint? The Good Wife is on.

Sometimes change is confusing. Is parenthood really all it’s cracked up to be? Because sometimes I want to just run away and leave this precious bundle in capable hands.

This is being a first time mom.

So how do I do it with 3? More easily than you think, because I’ve already done what you’re smack dab in the middle of.

Maybe the better question is how do YOU do it?!

You are an all-star and you don’t even know it.

The newness you are dealing with is exhausting. Your identity, your marriage, your relationships…all of it is being redefined by a brand-new, fun-sized human.

It’s beautiful and exhausting and scary. All at the same time.

It’s ok if you feel stressed. It’s ok if you’re tired. It’s ok if you feel completely in over your head. It’s ok if you’re binge-eating frozen mini chocolate chips from the freezer. (It’s also ok if you’re feeling awesome because you’re totally nailing this mom thing.)

Whatever you feel, it’s ok.

You’re learning your new normal and that takes an obscene amount of energy and emotion.

Don’t shortchange your feelings by comparing your life to someone else’s. You are a strong, capable woman learning about 15 new job titles at once. That’s got to be like a 587 on the Holmes & Rahe stress scale.

All that second-guessing and guilt can eat a mama up.

I wish I could help you let some of that go. Like…

I promise your baby doesn’t know when you’re secretly wishing life was “normal” again.

I promise life will feel normal again. (A new, wonderful, slightly chaotic normal that you wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.)

I promise your momstinct knows what works for your baby, even if it doesn’t feel that way. Did you know that you really don’t have to pick a camp when it comes to Ferber vs. Babywise? You get to make your own path! whaaa?!

I promise your baby’s development won’t be stunted if you don’t buy a Sophie the Giraffe.

I promise it’s worth it.

I also promise you’ll never really know what you’re doing, you’ll just learn to be ok with it.

So, yes.

Having 3 kids seems insane. It’s kind of a logistical nightmare. My appendage-to-child ratio is quite skewed.

But our circus is not near as daunting as yours because we’ve been in this game a while. We’ve already adjusted our hearts (and relationships and rapidly-diminishing-cool-factors) to parenting.

If I could gift you with something, sweet mama, it would be three things:

unending grace,

a tribe of people to support and encourage you,

and a good night’s sleep.

You’ve got this.

Now follow my lead and Photo Booth that screamy kid. It helps take the edge off.

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(Or give you nightmares. Totally depends which effect you use.)

The Blessing of Quarantines

If you would have asked me before last Monday how adding a third kid has been, I would have sheepishly answered, “Great, actually.” It’s been an unnervingly smooth transition so far.

Maybe it’s because my last newborn shot vomit across the room 873 times a day and this one doesn’t. Maybe it’s because having 2 boys is already insane enough that adding a third is no big deal. Maybe it’s because kid #3 is completely immobile.

Whatever the case may be, the first 4 weeks were a breeze. Truly.

And then Monday.

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A while back a friend of mine shared with me about the existential crisis he experienced after his third baby was born. “I couldn’t physically be there for all 3 at one time and it really, really bothered on me.” I brushed it off because…duh. That’s the whole struggle with 3+, right? Logistics get challenging.

But over the past week, his words started to make sense.

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(Spoiler: the odds were NOT in his favor.)

On Tuesday of last week, Hutton and I spent 3 hours at the pediatrician’s office. The second we walked in the door and they heard his labored breathing, they rushed us back to start a breathing treatment. Then some monitoring. Then a steroid shot. Then another breathing treatment. Then more monitoring. Then some purple vomit that scarred another patient for life. (I don’t even know.)

3 hours deciding whether he was ok to go home or needed to be hospitalized.

3 hours of my heart trying to figure out how it would continue beating if I was forced to choose between being at the hospital with him or keeping our newborn alive and well at home.

Thankfully I didn’t have to choose because he was able to go home where he – despite the 104 degree fever and pure exhaustion – ran around like he was on speed. (Turns out 1 dose of medication in the breathing treatment is the equivalent of a shot of espresso, and he had 4 doses. Insanity, you guys. Like a tank with rocket boosters.)

But I get what my friend was saying now.

Each time I retreated to the bedroom to feed the quarantined 4-week-old, I thought my heart would rip in half as I yelled, “I’ll be right back, buddy.” to my crying, giant, febrile, wheezy toddler. And when I snapped at my preschooler to HOLD ON A FREAKING MINUTE before realizing he’d already waited about 34 freaking minutes for a cup of water. And when I let the newborn cry for a substantial amount of time as I rocked the bigger baby who needed his mama.

{Insert a Purell-bath between each interaction with each child.}

The hard part hasn’t just been logistics, the hard part has been experiencing my first fractured mama heart.

It hasn’t been the most fun week ever.

But.

In the midst of one of the hardest weeks to date – emotionally and physically and steroid-infused-toddlerly (roid rage is a real thing, you guys) – I was overcome with gratitude for our tribe.

One friend left breakfast and my favorite iced coffee on our porch.

One friend drove 45 minutes one way to deliver the first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season.

One family that I met (and fell in love with) during a speaking engagement in Maryland sent a present for Davis that arrived on theexacthardestparentingdaytodate.

And then there are the 4 weeks previous to The Week of The Croups, when well over a dozen friends delivered meals. And countless presents, cards, and well wishes were sent our way. And my precious friends threw a sip-and-see shower to celebrate our newest.

Can I tell you how awesome our tribe is? 2 separate friends left MY baby shower saying, “I felt so loved.” They felt loved at MY shower.

These are my people. They are far greater than we deserve.

One day I’m going to write a post about the importance of community and some ways that can even come about (hint: church and persistence), but in the meantime I will just continue being overwhelmed with the blessings God has bestowed up on the beautiful chaos that is our life.

…and then I will bang my head against a wall because the other big caught the dreaded virus and is currently on day 4 of fever.

I hope you die a thousand painful deaths, croup.

I’ll Have the “Lloyd Christmas”, Please

“At the very end of Taylor’s haircut, the stylist put her glasses on.”

My tweet from 4 years ago, according to Timehop.

Hilarious that a visually impaired person would cut hair without her visual aids.

Even more hilarious is how appropriately timed that throwback tweet was in light of recent events.

Both boys started preschool this week, so we ventured out yesterday afternoon for some grooming.

It’s basically a rule that first-day-of-school pictures feature a fresh haircut. Or something.

I took them to a hair salon for kids that we’ve been to before because, while the haircuts are kinda steep ($15 + tip), they do a decent job and are usually able to get both boys in at once.

Beckett chose to wear his Superman costume, Hutton was in a great mood, Davis was recently fed…it all started out so promising.

And I don’t care who you are, this is cute:

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Both Superman and Beckett (dual personality) did great…

…and then there was Hutton.

The thing about 19 month olds is that you have a *very* small window of time where they sit still. Very. Like 18 seconds or less.

Thankfully, with his big brother sitting right next to him, Hutton usually does pretty well with haircuts. But, still. There’s a window.

So when the stylist cutting his hair snipped each individual hair at a snail’s pace, I knew we might be in trouble.

My fears were confirmed when I overheard her talking to Hutton as if he were a 16 year old capable of self-control.

“Don’t turn your head, ok? Look down and hold still, please.”

(I was kinda thinking a fart noise might work better at getting and holding his attention, but whatever.)

I let the professional do her thing.

And do her thing she did.

The only way I can describe what unfolded next is through pictures.

The thing is…she camouflaged the cut really well with a side swoop. I didn’t realize the level of devastation she had caused until we got home and the combover came uncombed.

And when that happened, this happened.

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Oh.

Sweet.

Mercy.

Maybe it’s better from another angle…

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Nope.

It really just gets more unfortunate the longer you look at it.

Like this.
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And one more for good measure.

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I mean….WHAT.

And HOW.

And WHY DID I JUST PAY FOR THIS.

I immediately called a different location of the same place and explained the situation calmly. I said something along the lines of, “HOLY WOW MY KID JUST GOT THE WORST HAIRCUT IN THE HISTORY OF PEOPLE WITH HAIR GETTING HAIRCUTS BY HAIRCUTTERS.”

They assured me they could make it better if I brought him in.

When we walked in the door, all I got out was “Hi, I just called a minute ago about –” before I was cut off by their stifled gasps. No need explaining why I was there. It was written all over my child’s hairline.

And then this:

stylist: So, who cut his hair at the other location?
me: *stylist’s name*
stylist: Ohh. Oh, that explains it.
me: Wait, what? That explains what?? Is she still training? Is she on crack cocaine? IS SHE MISSING AN EYE?
stylist: She’s just…she’s terrified of small children.
me: …um. I guess I’m just a little confused because this is a children’s haircutting salon. It says so right there on your sign. And on the fact that Bubble Guppies is playing on that kid-sized television.
stylist: Well, by “terrified” I just mean she doesn’t want to accidentally cut them.
me: Right. Me either. I don’t want to cut children – valid fear – however, I also did not choose a profession as a stylist for small children. So…you see my confusion…
stylist: She usually does great.
me: *blank stare*

I would like to say the new stylist was able to fix Hutton’s hair.

I would like to say they handled the whole situation well, going as far as to give us a year’s worth of free haircuts (however unfortunate those cuts may be).

I would like to say I will be returning again to this place.

I can say none of these things.

What I can say is this: “Just Cut It” isn’t just the name of a kid’s salon, it’s a styling motto. They will, quite literally, just cut it.

Maybe for you they’ll cut with a blunt object. Or with both hands tied behind their back. Or hours after invasive cataract surgery.

The sky is the limit, really.

If you decide to check them out,

1) buy lots and lots and lots of gel, because

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2) the “Hutton special” is not as much of a crowd pleaser as one might hope.

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The Multi-Sensory Urgent Care Experience

A few days ago, Hutton bent down, scooped his newborn brother up off the floor, and dropped him. From a standing position. All within a span of .23 seconds.

The only thing that kept Davis from smashing his head on the ground was my catlike mom reflexes catching him by his arm mid-air.

So that’s how it’s going. That’s how we’re adjusting. We’re literally just trying to keep the newborn alive in a home with two older brothers who have big, detrimental love to give.

This fence helps in our endeavors.

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We’re only 2 1/2 weeks in to this thing, but I still maintain that going from 0 to 1 child is the hardest transition. Physically, emotionally, socially…it changes everything.

By 2 to 3? Especially another boy? It’s already a circus…what’s one more?

So, really, it was no surprise that within the first 2 weeks of #3’s life, #2 poked #1 in the eye hard enough to warrant a trip to an urgent care. Because brothers.

12+ hours after the alleged eye pokage, Beck’s eye was still red, swollen, and leaky. A call to our pediatrician landed us at an after hours clinic to make sure his cornea wasn’t scratched.

Do you know how they check this? Glow-in-the-dark eye dye.

Um, awesome.

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(His baby blue is totally fine but the greatness of this picture was totally worth the $50 copay.)

Let me back up to first few minutes before this picture was taken, because the doctor at the urgent care was having some issues.

More specifically he was having some, shall we say, tummy troubles.

When he came into the shoebox of an examination room, he had obviously been relieving some internal pressure in the hallway because he drug in the nastiest, stankiest, most palpable fart cloud. Like, take-your-breath away smell.

We went from 1 eye problem to every-eye-in-the-room-is-now-burning problem.

For the first few minutes after he walked in, no one spoke. It was this sort of silent judgment we were stunned into. We all knew what had happened – no words needed to be exchanged about it – we just needed a minute to gather our thoughts. And breath.

It reminded me of the time a man at work came to my desk to ask a question and all he got out was “Hey Sar —” before the air behind him wafted in. He immediately stopped talking and we made eye contact for a few seconds before he simply turned around and walked away. Some moments are to monumental for words.

The same happened in that tiny urgent care room.

The doctor, obviously embarrassed, stayed on his side of the room, we on ours. You could cut the tension (and the fumes) with a knife.

Once the air cleared a bit, he finally walked over and introduced himself and began examining Beckett.

So we’re just going to go back to business as usual then? Fine. But my nose hairs are still singed.

He ended up being a nice guy and great with Beckett and I felt kinda bad for him…but still. I had to relay the story to Taylor when we got home.

“It was fierce, babe. I can still taste it a little bit.”
“That’s gross. I bet he was mortified.”
“He has to be. It was one of those times everyone just looks at each other, speechless. There was no denying the stifling stench.”

Beckett, who was seemingly disengaged from our conversation, suddenly joined in.

And confessed.

That it was, in fact, not the doctor’s toot cloud.

It was his own.

Which means that in some household, around some dinner table, there is a doctor telling his family the exact opposite of this story.

A story in which, no doubt, I am the culprit.

No way that putrid smell came from a precious 4 year old boy. No. It surely came from the only other adult in the room.

“And then, you guys, I thought I was walking in to examine a preschooler’s eye but was greeted instead by a wall of fart. I had to stay on the clear other side of the room – closest to the fresh air of the hallway – in case she decided to drop another bomb.”

I feel sure with 3 boys we’ll have a frequent shopper card at our local urgent cares. And I really, really like this particular one.

It’s a shame I can never show my face – or falsely accused intestines – there again.

The Day After Little Little Brother was Born

[To pick up where we left off from the last post, little little brother, Davis, has been born and he is awesome.]

Our newest Taylor tot was born at a hospital that opened earlier this year – the rebranded, relocated version of another hospital in town – which seems great. New hospital, new rooms, new everything besides staff.

And maybe it’s because the hospital is newish, maybe it’s because the staff has been transplanted from a different place…whatever the reasoning, it’s quirky. (Starting with the front desk people being MIA for over 10 minutes when I was first trying to check in/having death contractions/trying to carry on a conversation with a constipated lady in the lobby).

The night Davis was born, we were one of 2 patients total on the floor. And in the baby boom of the century, 2 more came in after us.

4 patients, you guys. It was nuts. MAYHEM.

(Seriously. They kept talking about how busy they were.)

After we confirmed I was, in fact, in labor, they set me up in a delivery room.

First things first, IV.

The nurse tourniquets my arm, sticks the humongous “in case of blood transfusion” needle in, holds it in place with her finger…and then yells at someone outside the room.

Nurse 1: I have the wrong top to this. Go check the supply closet – second shelf, on the right – and you’ll see the other part.
     *nurse 2 runs down the hall and returns with the wrong part*
Nurse 1: No…that’s not it either. Try the top shelf with on the left side. Next to the gauze.
     *nurse 2 runs down the hall and returns with the wrong part*

This happens 3 times. Thrice.

Meanwhile, my arm is not just purple…it’s white. All blood flow has officially been cut off. Now I not only need an IV but an amputation.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t every chick in labor get an IV? The parts should be standard procedure…in plain sight, right? Not tucked away between the hospital lingerie that is mesh underwear and nonslip socks.

But whatever. They find the part. They get the IV in. I have a baby. It’s beautiful.

And then comes the recovery room.

The bed they set me up in was miniscule. As in, I’m not a tall person and I couldn’t stretch my legs out all the way. Every time a nurse came in, I’d ask about the tiny bed.

“Is this normal? I can’t straighten my legs out which is a real bummer since there’s a whole lot of other stuff happening on and in and with my lower half and CAN’T A GIRL JUST GET A GOOD STRETCH IN?”
“Hmm yeah that’s weird.” *exits abruptly*

Awesome.

For the first 12 hours postpartum, I mimicked sweet Davis and slept in the fetal position.

Taylor and I both were very underwhelmed with the care in the postpartum wing. Half the nurses didn’t introduce themselves or, if they did, spoke so fast and left so quickly we were confused who they were and what they said.

The first day nurse we had walked in the room saying, “I’m usually just the baby’s nurse but today I’m taking care of both of you. I’ve never had both the baby AND the mommy before so we’ll just figure this thing out! Haha! Now…*scans the room*…what do we do first?”

My confidence plummeted about as quickly as my comfort level on Tiny Bed Nation.

And then the night baby nurse.

She was a large, frazzled woman. Every time she came in the room, she was out of breath and sweating profusely.

“We have a lot of babies tonight and I’m – pauses to catch breath – trying to get to them all. Do you want me – heavy breathing – to take your baby – wheeze – to the nursery?”

I thanked her before opting to spoon with him in my matchbox instead.

Sometime in the middle of the night, Taylor ran home to get some things. On his way back up to our floor, he rode in the elevator with 2 cops and a handcuffed man.

Definitely a notable story but, oddly enough, not my favorite hospital elevator moment.

My favorite is the next morning when Beckett, on his way to meet little little brother, ran straight to the nurse’s desk and yelled, “I just tooted on the elevator.”

As Lady Constipation would agree, a little fumigation never hurt anyone.

After the best entrance ever, my bookends met.

Beckett was enthralled. It was love at first squeeze. (Really, at first sight of his dark hair that “looked like a burrito”. ???)

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A few hours later, the newly promoted little big brother came.

When that many cords and buttons and trash cans are in one room, a new sibling is slightly underwhelming to an 18 month old.

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He gave it a good effort.

For the briefest of moments, everyone seemed to be quietly revering the new life being added to our family.

I looked at my 4 guys and thought, “We’ve got this.”

And then reality (and a metal toy truck) hit.

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And I thought, “We’ve mostly got this.”

And then Beckett, my ever-curious 4 year old, started punching every button on the side of my bed. The bed went up, the bed went down, the bed tilted, and – finally – THE BED EXTENDED. TO A REASONABLE, ADULT-HUMAN LENGTH.

And I thought, “We’ve totally got this.

My preschooler is smarter than the medical staff.”

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So look out, world. We’ve 100% got this.

We’re coming for you*.

*assuming I survive the botched IV job. Verdict is still out on whether or not my left arm makes a full recovery.

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[Also, in the event that the hospital is looking for a blogger to write a rave review of their services, they probably shouldn’t ask me. Unless they specifically want feedback on the L&D nurses or the decadent brownie from food services. 5 stars.]

 

On the Night Baby Little Little Brother was Born

On the night you were born,
the moon smiled with such wonder
that the stars peeked in to see you
and the night wind whispered,
“Life will never be the same.”

But before the night of August 23, 2015, this:

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“If this baby doesn’t come out like, right now, I am going to perish.” – me, every day for the entire month of August.

The last 3-4 weeks of pregnancy with little little brother felt like the last 3-4 days of pregnancy with my other two. It was brutal. B-R-U-T-A-L. Consistent, painful contractions…back aches…fiery shooting pains…it was no joke.

I showered at 2am on 3 separate occasions, positive I was in early labor.

I made plans with friends under the assumption “I’m not in the hospital”.

I was still 2 weeks from my due date, but it felt like I could reach up and shake my dude’s hand if I wanted to.

So when I spent all day Saturday (Beckett’s birthday, mind you) with 5-minute apart, crampy contractions, I didn’t hold my breath. That had been the baby’s MO for 76 days straight.

The overall “bleh” feeling didn’t even stop me from spending all of the birthday boy’s Play Pass on skee-ball and basketball at Chuck-e-Cheese.

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The crampiness lasted through Sunday, but it wasn’t until late in the afternoon when a contraction halted our game of cards that I started to think, “This might be it, for real.”

I had been timing my contractions on and off that afternoon but they had gotten farther apart – like 10 to 20 minutes – and they weren’t all that strong.

Well, most of them weren’t. One out of every few were knock-me-down strong.

All of it was very un-labor-like, according to all major Google searches.

Still.

The ones that were that strong made me decide to head up to the hospital. A new hospital, by the way, which has some hilarious kinks we’ll mention at a later date.

But as a teaser, when we arrived at L&D, we waited well over 10 minutes before we saw a single front desk nurse. That’s a long time if there’s a baby coming out of your hoo-ha.

While we were waiting, a miserable looking lady in house shoes hobbled up next to us.

Lady: I had a c-section here 2 days ago.
Me: Is the hospital good?
Taylor: Congratulations.
Me: (What a weird response I just had.)
Lady: They don’t tell you a lot about giving birth. Like, what happens after. I haven’t gone #2 since Thursday.
Me: Oh, wow. I’m…sorry?
Lady: They gave me medicine so now I’m walking around trying to make things happen.
Me: Ok. Well, uh, best of luck to you… (WHERE THE CRAP – no pun intended – ARE THE NURSES AROUND HERE.)

After stranding us a few more awkward minutes with Lady Constipation, someone came to the front desk.

Nurse: Can I help you?
Me: I think I’m in labor. I might be in labor. I really need to be in labor.
Nurse: *unimpressed*…is this your first?
Me: No. Third. So I really should know by now. But I don’t. Help me.

They escorted us to triage and took their time checking us in. I think we all thought that if my contractions were still 10+ minutes apart, I wasn’t really in labor yet.

Except when she checked:

Nurse: Well, yeah, there you go. I see why you’re uncomfortable now.
Me: What does that mean tell me what that means please tell me I’m in labor.
Nurse: You’re easily a 6, could be stretched to 7-8.
Me: Hallelujah. HALLELUJAH. I could kiss you right now.
Nurse: Maybe wait until your cervix isn’t being checked to tell someone that. It makes things weird.

(She was awesome.)

They set us up in a delivery room, the anesthesiologist from heaven came in to administer the epidural nectar from heaven, and we waited for the doctor to come in and break my water.

Except she was next door in the world’s longest delivery.

So between 6:45 and 8:45, I was instructed to sit as still as possible.

“When your water breaks, this baby is coming out. So. Since the doctor is tied up, we’re going to sit very still and wait for her to be here. Unless your water breaks, then plan B.”

I was even nervous to text updates to friends and family. Thumb tendons could be connected to the uterus somehow for all I know.

Around 8:45, the doctor came in. She broke my water, and — nothing.

All that hype for nothing. No baby flying across the room. No catcher’s mitt being put to use.

So we waited another hour for him to decide to come out.

And finally (FINALLY) at about 9:30, it was time.

If you haven’t been in a delivery room before, it’s like a scene from Transformers. The bed breaks in half and turns into a leg-holding torture device, lights as bright as the surface of the sun come out of the ceiling, 17 masked humans appear from nowhere, a mirror showing parts of your body you never want to see in action (but can’t look away from) emerges…

…and they all stare at you as you push a human being out of your lady parts.

It’s quite insane, if you think about it.

3 contractions (and the doctor making a mohawk out of his hair mid-push) later…our third son was born.

Well, our third son and his cheeks because whoa nelly those things are awesome.

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World, meet baby Davis. Baby Davis, meet world.

At birth, he was 8lbs 12oz of cheeks and chins and arm rolls. He has a head full of dark brown hair (breaking the streak of thewhitestchildrenever), and is the yummiest bundle of chill around.

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Also, this. Nothing says “Welcome to the world!” like grandparent paparazzi.

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I heard someone say once that birth was the most spiritual moment they’d ever experienced, because they could feel God handing over the child he’d created just for them. I can’t say I had that spiritual of a moment (I was mostly still thinking about the mohawk thing), but I can say that no matter how many children I have or how many delivery rooms I am in, the miracle of new life is overwhelming.

All those kicks and punches and all that heartburn and frequent bathroom stops and all those aches and pains and stretch marks – they are from this tiny, perfect human who steals your heart in seconds. In our case, a miracle human we weren’t expecting and now can’t imagine a life without. There aren’t enough words in the world to convey my gratitude for yet another perfectly-timed surprise adventure from the Lord.

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We don’t know much about Davis’ personality yet, but we do know he is considerate enough to have waited until the day after his brother’s birthday to be born. (Either that he heard the all the commotion at Chuck-e-Cheese and decided he wanted in on that action but Sunday night was the first available departure time.)

I can’t wait to share more with you, namely the rest of the hospital experience and the MEETING OF THE BROTHERS. Both were epic in their own ways.

But in the meantime, the bigs are at a birthday party so Davis and I have some major cuddle napping to take care of.