Browsing Tag



Pass the bottles

February 10, 2016

“What are we going to do with this extra cabinet space?”
[sniff] “I don’t know.”
“Dude, seriously … that’s like a whole shelf!”
[sniff] “Yeah”

I pulled them down, one after another; Dr. Brown’s, Born Frees, Playtex Drop Ins. I placed them in a bag and told myself it was just for safekeeping. I was just passing them over to another mommy for a few months. But the truth is, they aren’t coming back. I am bottle-free and that’s hard to swallow.

The semi-sane side of me realizes that I’m experiencing a dark hole of emotion based on a cylinder of plastic with a fake nipple on top. I think of the 12 gazillion pieces I had to take apart, put in dishwasher cages, wash and then air dry, and how much I detested those freaking things at 3 in the morning. But then I think about 3 in the morning. I think about those dark, quiet moments when the only sound was a tiny little face, slurping down a few ounces in the still of our family room. The little piggy noises and the curl of those precious little fingers around mine. The post-bottle burping snuggles. Hearing those sleepy, drunken slobbers in your ear and feeling cold chunky cheeks against my shoulder.


When you feel pretty confident that you’re family is complete, everything has the potential to feel like an ending. The baby looks like a mama orangutan in her swing. Ending. She bellies up to the family table in a booster and the high chair has to go away. Ending. She starts wearing clothes with a “T” on the tag. Ending. She demands condiments for her chicky and hot dogs. Ending. Her outfits stop coming with bloomers. Ending. It’s depressing. I’m human. It stings.

But the bottles got me deep. Deeper than the bloomers. Maybe it’s the fact that it feels like, yet another, string cut from their dependency on me. I’m pretty sure Sloppy Joan could muster up a GoGoSqueez or granola bar if I were incapacitated for any reason. She doesn’t need me to snuggle her in the crook of my arm and look down lovingly as she sucks down her supper. She much prefers stuffing her face until she’s had her fill and then throwing the plate onto the floor.


I recognize the crazy in my tears. I realize where I see the end of a journey, many moms would argue there’s cause for joy. “We’re so close to being out of diapers,” Hank says. “It’s just about to get easy.” But easy is so overrated, right?

So Says Sloppy Joan

Baby steps

July 29, 2015

This milestone is the big one for babies. You urge them. You coach them. You hold their hands for what adds up to hours, and then, on a particularly uneventful Saturday morning they just let go …

They take their first official steps toward being a toddler, and take with them a million precious little pastimes and a piece of their mama’s heart. Snuggles will be reserved for sick days now. They’ll only ask to be carried when their little legs tire from exploring. I see her taking off. I see her growing up way too fast.

But the part that plucked my heart strings the hardest was her sisters, looking on fondly and cheering for their hairy, happy little sibling. They were so genuinely thrilled as she shuffled across the tile. Her eyes lit up. Their eyes lit up. We all cheered. It was a Hallmark moment in an otherwise chaotic kitchen.

So, here, in her virtual baby book, I’ll record Saturday, July 25 as the day Sloppy Joan took her first steps. The first in what I’m sure will be a lifetime of sometimes tentative, sometimes fearless, always celebrated steps in the direction of her dreams.


The thing about this baby

June 3, 2015


Today, my baby turns 1.

This. Is. Tough. Sloppy Joan is our third baby, and we’ve always planned on having three babies. This time, we’re not putting bottles and bouncies and Boppies away, we’re giving them away. It’s surreal.

When you’re 17, and you sit around with your girlfriends and talk about “10 years from now,” it’s kind of like you’re speaking your dreams out into the universe with the hope that God is listening, will take note and, as time passes and He sees fit, they will be distributed down to you one by one until you have everything you’ve ever wished for. So now, as I watch my baby girl smash bright pink frosting into her perfect little face, I’m realizing that my heart is full of all the wishes I had for my “10 years from now.” And that’s kind of … I don’t know … scary … overwhelming … beautiful.

3 girls

I know eventually it will feel liberating – the thought that one chapter of my life is closing. They’re all here. I will [more than likely] never be pregnant again. It’s not that I have nothing to do now. We are in the throws of the next chapter, which is raising humble, strong, capable young ladies; a task booby trapped with a frightening level of estrogen. It’s just that I put so much energy into planning and anticipating and carrying these little lives, and now I have all of those emotions, without the control. My friend Kelly says that having children is like having a piece of your heart living outside your body. Sometimes I can physically feel that sentiment. Like, you know In Madagascar when Alex looks at Marty and he’s a talking steak? That’s the level I’m talking. I picture these little pieces of my emoji-looking, bright red heart, walking and crawling and dancing away from me. Torture.

Sloppy Joan had a rough first year, much of which was spent in the clutches of various ailments, the worst of which being the longest case of the flu ever and RSV. I rode, sitting on a stretcher, in the back of an ambulance at 2 o’clock in the morning holding my naked little angel, both of our hearts racing – mine from a fear like I’ve never known and hers from the virus – and I prayed in the most direct conversation I’ve ever had. I pleaded for this birthday to come. I begged for her beautiful, long life. So, I suppose I shouldn’t spend too much time analyzing the wrapping paper on my most amazing gift, now should I?

This little girl is the brightest ray of sunshine and the happiest of all creatures. She loves buttered noodles, waving and dancing. She’s finding her voice and rocks one prominent tooth on the bottom. Her butt crack is, I promise you, one inch longer than any other butt crack you’ve ever seen on a baby, and her daddy loves to hold her up before bath and say, “It’s been a long-ass day.”

hattie1 collage

If the sentence that is our growing family ends here, she is the perfect punctuation mark. Happy birthday, my sweet Sloppy Joan.

birthday collage



Then came Sloppy Joan.

February 23, 2015


Have you heard of six word stories? Literary legend claims the phenomenon began when Ernest Hemingway was challenged to write a memorable short story in six words. His read, “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Boom. Genius. But in recent years, it’s become a thing. Smith Magazine has these amazing Six Word Memoirs and there are various tumblrs with similar content. It’s one of those down-the-rabbit-hole situations where you start reading with CBS Sunday Morning on in the background and stop when the kids ask for dinner. Anyway, I bring these up because our third little blessing is a three-word story: “hairy and happy.”

We always wanted three kids. Maybe it’s because we’re both children of three-sibling families, or because we have a four-bedroom house … It just always seemed like the “x” on our treasure map. When we told the older two that Mommy had a baby in her belly, Spikey said, without pause, “Let’s call it Sloppy Joan!” Like all nicknames, we should have known it had legs. About a week after the initial announcement, I made sloppy joes for dinner, thinking that was the connection. It wasn’t. And they didn’t eat them. I still don’t know what part of her brain served it up that night. 

I’ve never been a glowing, peaceful pregnant woman. I mean, unless “glowing” means sweaty and “peaceful” means paralyzed by weight and general lethargy. But as I came into the final turn and the homestretch in this, my (most-likely) final pregnancy, I suddenly wanted it to slow down. Realizing s/he would soon be here and then I’d blink and s/he’d be 3, I started baking a layer cake of anxiety. Of course wanting it to last longer sent me flying into labor.

JoJo was born on May 1, and Spike on August 1, so we joked that it would be convenient if Sloppy Joan followed suit on June 1. Unlikely though, we thought, considering my due date was the 8th.  June had a sunny start, and on the 1st we went to my niece’s birthday party. I floated in my brother’s pool for a solid 4 hours. I was a Killer Whale who’d finally been able to be weightless, thanks to the water. Every strained muscle had finally relaxed. At 10:30 that night I laid down and got a shooting contraction. “Ouch.” Five minutes later, another. Then five minutes after that, then three, three, three, three … “Shit!” There’s always that moment on the drive to the hospital, no matter how ready you are, when you think, “I really don’t want to do this,” referring to the human coming out of your body part.

I labored through the night to the tune of a Friends marathon on TVLand. A few quick pushes before the sun rose the next morning and she was here. The first time you set eyes on your child is such an out of body experience. With JoJo, it was like I couldn’t focus on her face. With Spike, I couldn’t comprehend that all that baby came out of me. And with Sloppy Joan it was the hair. Oh, the hair. She was our smallest, coming in at 7 lb. 8 oz. and only 19 ½ inches long, but I’m pretty sure that at least 1 pound of that was her generous dark mane.For reference, depending on your generation, I would liken her to either Dudley Moore or Harry Styles, respectfully. But oh my gosh, was she sweet.

And is sweet. Her smile can light up a bear cave. She’s never quick to cry and very accommodating with her “helpful” big sisters. But to those who don’t know her, the poor girl’s hair will always trump her delightful demeanor. Going to the grocery store on Tuesdays (Senior Citizen Day) was always the worst. “Oh. My. Goodness …” – here come the hands – “Would you look at all that …” – please, no – “I mean, have you ever?” – Get back, Grandma! “Seen such a head of hair?!” And then they would reach out and move the strands, already covering her newborn eyes, across her forehead. It was a weekly occurrence I found simultaneously heart-warming and stomach churning.The third time around is certainly charming. She is a joy and 8 months in, we’re finally getting out of the weeds. And, I mean, this face … c’mon …