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Nov 28 2012

Ten MORE Tips for Life With Two

By at 2:03 pm

tamara reese life with two

Earlier this week our editor Debbie Kolben asked for some advice dealing with her daughter’s adjustment to being a big sister. Yesterday Carla gave her ten tips, and here are ten more.

Oh Debbie, I am so sorry you’ve fallen prey to the toddler-who-received-a-sibling-torture. It’s horrible. I wrote about it last month when I was still buried in a toddler shit-storm on a daily basis.

I’ll be honest, the first few weeks I was like, “Hey he likes his baby brother, this is good, we’re doing GREAT” and then? My worst parenting lows. I could see no resemblance of my sweet firstborn. He was a monster and I had nothing but negative feelings towards him. I felt like I was always yelling or kvetching at him. He refused to listen to me and would do NOTHING that I asked. The tantrums were horrible. Meals? WORSE. My angelic boy who was my entire world was gone and I cried wondering if our relationship was changed forever. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 22 2012

Surviving “Out of Town” Family With a Newborn

By at 11:03 am

airplane taking off“If it’s a boy, I think we’ll come for the bris,” my brother-in-law in Miami told me a few weeks ago over Skype, just before the arrival of our second baby.

As an East Coast transplant living in St. Louis, I spent the last few weeks of my pregnancy this summer acting as a part-time travel agent, navigating tricky waters to coordinate which family members would come to visit–and when. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 11 2012

How I Became a Father Six Weeks Earlier than Planned

By at 4:37 pm

avram mlotek new babyWe sat in the waiting room.

My wife and I came up with a list of what we had to do later that day: respond to emails, clean our apartment, maybe watch an episode of Mad Men.

We had been sensitive to the kabbalistic notion of the ayin ha-ra, the evil eye, and refrained from excessive preparation of unconfirmed events. Yet, we figured, with a month away and a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan to reorganize, it was time to build a crib. Earlier that day before the unexpected rush to the hospital, my grandparents surprised us with a rocking chair they had reupholstered for their first great-grandchild. A few hours later, my wife went into labor six weeks before our baby’s expected due date. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 4 2012

Two Isn’t So Bad, Really

By at 4:13 pm

You know who’s screwed Jordana, you are!

black and white photo of tamara's sons

Via Tamara Reese

I had a lot of fears about my firstborn’s reaction to a new baby. We did everything we could to prepare him and I believe much of it was a success, particularly the “big brother” books that we read at ad nauseum. We’ve been especially diligent at pointing out what Big Brother can do that baby cannot.

That being said, it’s been a rough month over here.

My firstborn, now 2 and a half, refused to eat our first week home from the hospital. He’d pick at the occasional carbohydrate here and there but showed his displeasure through exerting control over what went into his mouth. That passed and now mealtime is accompanied by tantrums and food throwing. Yay.

And then there’s sleep. A first he went to bed at a reasonable hour and then had a nice 4 a.m. wake up where I was trying to juggle two crying boys. The past few weeks, we put him down for bed and he stays up in his crib until well past midnight talking, screaming, playing, calling for me and claiming to have poop in his diaper (which turned out to be true only once).

The only upside is that he’s still in a crib and hasn’t attempted to climb out (knock on wood).

Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 5 2012

Hormone Insanity

By at 8:57 am

Friday Night LightsJust to give you a bit of context: I’m at home, parenting two kids–one who’s 3, the other who was just born. And I’m typing this post on my phone. While breastfeeding. While my older child watches TV. So please forgive the sentence fragments.

I just wanted to say a few things about being a mom of two:

1) 1+1≠2. Though that’s what you were taught your whole life in math class, it’s not true when it comes to parenting. Because even when you’ve got two parents home caring for the kids (and maybe even a grandparent or two), your kids might both need mommy at the same time. My baby has cried more in his first four weeks of life than his sister did in her first four months–because I could almost always pick her up right away. It’s a little bit heartbreaking. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 20 2012

What It’s Like to Be a Foster Parent

By at 11:21 am
car with ribbon around mirror

A car showed up, and suddenly we had a newborn. I forgot that one day we’d have to give her back.

The call came at noon on Thursday, January 5th. “We have a 5-day-old baby girl, she is leaving the hospital today. We don’t know how long she’ll need to stay or the circumstances around her removal. Can you take her?”

 

This was the third child they were sending to us. We had two hours before the white agency car would pull up outside the house and we quickly scrambled to prepare. If anyone was listening through the walls this is pretty much what they heard:

 

“OH. MY. GOD!” Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 18 2012

I Hate My Post-Baby Body

By at 11:48 am

Vulnerability is the new black and the Internet is a handy blank slate on which to pen our deepest fears and frustrations. So here goes: I hate my post-baby body.

Okay, let’s back up so I can give due appreciation to this fleshy place I’ve been living in for 38 years. The body is healthy, thank God. The body works fine – better than fine, actually, again thankfully, when it comes to producing funny, smart and healthy kids (pu pu pu).That stands to reason, as I do have what can be charitably called “birthing hips.” Yes, I’m a short curvy Jewess built for life in the shtetl. Slap a kerchief on my head and I’ll start singing “Matchmaker, Matchmaker.” I love to cook, host meals for many people, and eat – but that’s not really the problem. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 18 2011

Postpartum Anxiety–This is What Mine Looked Like

By at 9:46 am

Tamara recently left her beloved buckeye-state and relocated to Pittsburgh with her husband and infant son. While at home, she’s decided to give writing, attachment parenting, and photography a try. And when she saw our post about depression, she decided to share her story.

The birth of my son brought about some of the craziest emotions I’ve ever had in my entire life. Happy ones, sad ones, normal ones, and desperate ones. After a pretty uneventful first two trimesters–being put on bed rest in my third trimester really took a toll on me emotionally. Then after he was born, we struggled with breastfeeding. At his two month visit when we found out that he hadn’t gained weight, my husband and I were broken to the core. The entire day is a blur, all I remember is the pediatrician shaking her head at the weight and then–as if I am a ghost in the room–I watch myself sobbing uncontrollably, tears falling on my tiny boy who is screaming at the breast. That visit threw me down a hole of self blame. This precious gift that I worked so hard to bring into this world was hungry.

At the time nothing was as it should be. We closed on our home-sale the day my water broke and we were packing up our belongings on no more than two hours of sleep each night. I was struggling with pain from some postpartum complications and my body was weak and still recovering from bed rest. And to top it all off, I hadn’t finished writing our thank you notes yet.

We were living amongst boxes.
We were worrying about money.
We were moving to a city where we had no friends or family.
My baby was hungry.
It was too much.

Looking back–all that was probably too much for almost anyone.

I cried, a lot. Every day I cried. I cried because I couldn’t pump enough milk. I cried because my baby wouldn’t latch. I cried because we were leaving a home we loved. I cried because I felt I had no business being a mother.

Other people saw us struggling. We asked for more help than we ever have in our entire lives in that three month time span. It was like my husband and I were shells of ourselves just going through the motions of our hectic life. Everything we knew was being changed, all at once. Everything. Our friends, where we lived, our jobs, our marriage, our finances. And we were responsible for this new little person who didn’t happen to arrive with an instruction booklet. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 19 2011

What To Expect When You’re Expecting, My Ass

By at 10:50 am

I can tell you what I didn’t expect. I didn’t expect to be having my first panic attack ever, and to be wandering around and around the circular driveway in front of my house, at 4 in the morning four days after having given birth to my daughter. Did you know that 4 am is when most people run their sprinklers? It didn’t occur to me, but now I know.

Why the panic attack? It came out of the blue on certain levels. I had my baby last Wednesday morning and she is beautiful and perfect (I may be biased). The delivery…well, let’s just say all’s well that ends well (my obstetrician showed up at 11:02. Baby delivered 11:13. Can you say “cutting it close”?), and take up a collection to send the anesthesiologist back to school for some refresher courses in Epidural 101.

But after having this baby, a few things happened that were new and wonderful. Like looking at my husband just after we heard her cry for the first time, and watching each other cry as well out of sheer joy. So this is what it feels like, I thought (ignoring the goings-on of my placenta at the other end of the table), to be totally and completely overjoyed. Another wonder: by the end of the day, I was walking around, footloose and cramp-free and feeling amazingly happy, as though I should be followed around by the Katrina and the Waves classic tune “Walking on Sunshine.” And a third: less than 48 hours after I delivered, my sister gave birth to her own little girl right down the hall from me. We took pictures of the two new cousins in their plastic bassinets. Pretty awesome.

In short, it’s been an amazing week and I could not be more grateful. Read the rest of this entry →

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