I loved you even then

Dear Liam,
Today, my darling, is your first birthday. You are exactly one year old. I cannot begin to explain how much your daddy and I love you. You have brought such a wonderful, magical presence into our world. We love you so much. And you must be thinking “wow, a whole year. that’s a long time.” But sweet boy, I have loved you so much longer than that. When you were still in my belly, Daddy and I would lay in bed and watch you kicking and moving. We were so in love already and dad even said how silly it was to love someone that we’d never even met. I told him this and I’ll tell you now:

When I was a little girl, I would always play house and day dream of having a little baby that I could cuddle and take care of. It with you that I was daydreaming about. I loved you even then. When I grew up, I decided on a career where I could work with children and help children learn and grow. I thought of how I would one day help my own child grow. I thought about you. You see, I loved you even then. When I met your father, it wasn’t soon before we were talking about our wishes of having a family. I pictured him holding hands with a sweet little boy. It was you that I saw. I didn’t know at the time, but I know now. It was you and I loved you even then. As you know it took us a long time to find you. On the day we lost our first baby in my belly, we were so sad. But as I lay awake at night, I thought about you. I knew you were out there. I just had to be patient. I loved you so much even then. And then when the time was right, you arrived. The doctor placed you on my chest and you looked up into my eyes like we’d known each other for decades. The year that followed was filled with so much joy. And yes there were also sleepless nights, stuffy noses, blistered gums, toothaches, ear infections, and chapped nipples. But through it all, I loved you even then.
Okay now I’m done sounding like a bad country song. So let me just tell you how honored I am to be your mother. What a wonderful adventure these past 365 days have been. Thank you for a wonderful trip around the sun.

Love, mommy

11 months of night time snuggles

IMG_3954.JPGWatching your child grow up right before your eyes is so bittersweet. On the one hand you feel such a sense of pride and delight with every new milestone. But then there’s also a feeling of sadness when you realize your snuggly, newborn baby ceases to exist. As if overnight he was replaced by a very large toddler. And you love that toddler, don’t get me wrong.  But where did the baby go?

After 11 months of co-sleeping with us, Liam is now sleeping through the night in his crib. You’re probably thinking, great! Right? That’s “the goal,” isn’t it? Well yes, I’m no longer shoved in bed between two snoring dudes. I have regained feeling in my right arm that was once lost from being wedged all night under a 20 pound baby. And there is now a larger window of opportunity to start making baby number two. So there’s that.

But on the other hand, I actually miss having Liam in bed. I miss those mornings waking up to his sweet little hand on my cheek. And laying on my side nursing while all three of us fall back asleep. And although I cursed and whined many times at 3am while on an all night breast feeding session, there is something nice about knowing that in that moment, I was the key to his happiness. It gave me a sense of purpose.
But it’s been 11 months now and we no longer share one big family bed. Cosleeping was something that we said we’d “try” and I honestly had no idea it would last this long. Transitioning him to the crib happened when we realized he could climb out of our bed on his own. So he would wake up and see the freedom that lies beyond the mattress and he was off. Doing whatever destruction an 11 month old can do at 7am. So we decided to try the crib and he actually took it well. He no longer lies next to me in bed and touches my cheek. He no longer calls for me to come rock him back to sleep. My baby. My baby that needed me so much, and was so helpless for so long, is growing up. That’s life, my friends. Don’t blink.

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why I let my baby watch tv

img_0637I’ve read all the baby books. All of them. When I was pregnant, I obsessed over these books and wanted to make sure I knew “all the facts” before the baby came, to the point that I started referring to Dr. Sears as if he and I were old chums. And although there are some big differences in what you read in these different baby books, they pretty much all agree that too much television is not good for a baby’s growth and development. So before Liam came along, I invested in tons of handmade naturally organic wooden toys, non battery operated learning tools, and a collection of children’s books that would make even Barnes & Nobles jealous. I thought I knew it all. 
img_0633Then came reality.  Now, at 11 months old, our morning routine is usually the same: wake up, change diaper, eat breakfast, and then play in the sunroom until it’s time to leave for Story Time or a play date. He explores his toys and flips through his books independently, giving me the chance to check emails, order the groceries, feed the dogs, and try to create something that resembles a decent hair-do. But then there are some days like last week. The days Liam is “mama, mama, mama” all morning, clinging to my leg, and protesting all the toys that I have set out for him. And don’t get me wrong, I will soak up all the baby snuggles that I can get! But sometimes there are things that just have to be done.  So that’s when the TV comes on, my friends. My saving grace is that this kid of mine loves music. He dances to songs on the car radio, my off pitch jingles, and even the sound of the phone ringing. So when I put YouTube music videos on the TV it changes his whole demeanor and he is suddenly in his happy place once again, giving me just a few minutes of hands free time to get some of the chores done.img_0634I know I have said it before but I will say it again. When it comes to parenting, we are all just surviving. I do agree that we should be following doctors’ recommendations, but sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do. And just like people who are dieting should be allowed to eat cake once in a while (or 3 krispie kreme donuts, but who’s counting), the same applies for raising a child. Every once and a while you need to eat cake. Metaphorical cake. Do I let him binge watch hours and hours of SpongeBob? No. But sometimes we sit on the floor and watch YouTube music videos and singalongs.  I have no idea what it’s doing for his brain but like I said, we are in survival mode people. So for all of you mom’s out there who may be wondering if you are doing the right things, the answer is probably yes. So put on some tunes on the television, let your baby zone out for a few minutes, and go face plant onto the shag carpet next to him and breath. You got this! And I’ll be over here doing the same!  xxoo Priscilla

Liam’s onsie: Etsy.com

my bad ass, baby making, postpartum body

img_3172Some days I’m so unaware of my appearance. I’m so engrossed in Liam’s needs. Does this baby have his socks and hat on? Did he eat enough yogurt for breakfast? Did I pack enough diapers in the diaper bag? As for me, I’ll just throw on a baggy sweater and a pair of yoga pants and maybe if there’s time at a traffic light I’ll swipe on some mascara. But then there are days like yesterday when the bag boy at Harris Teeter insisted on walking me out to my car because “it’s our policy to help all pregnant ladies out to their car.” Yep…. definitely not pregnant. And then last weekend when I got so frustrated because I couldn’t find anything in my closet to wear to Will’s work party. And then Liam screams in the car seat for 30 minutes during the drive home from said party.

So I decided in that moment that I was sucking at this post-partum life of mine and I had a little cry sesh in the back seat. I eventually took a deep breath and started singing Michael Jackson’s “Smile” while stroking Liam’s hair until finally he stopped crying. And as I looked down upon his sweet sleeping face I remembered what really is important. So yes I had to wear high waisted, stretch leggings under my dress to the party. And yes, almost 10 months later, I still have a little extra weight in my midsection. But you know what? Just ten months ago this body pushed out a very large baby and this body has been breastfeeding a growing child. My body is sustaining a life. Like for real, like a honeybee makes honey, I am making a product. And it is feeding a child and keeping him alive.  How freaking crazy is that?! (#science) Sooo I guess, I can deal with clothes not fitting by body because holy moly my body can do such crazy things. It’s pretty amazing what a woman’s body can do. And I’ll never forget how blessed I am to of had the opportunity to be pregnant, deliver a healthy baby, and then breastfeed for as long as I have. Something that I thought I may never be able to do. So the next time you see a new mom out there rocking her postpartum body, don’t comment on how she looks or how much weight she’s lost or hasn’t lost. Instead congratulate her on being a bad ass, baby making, milk producing rockstar. Because we women are amazing and let’s never forget it!
img_3148And yes we are still obsessed with the yellow maraca. 🙂

Bad Dreams

The other night Liam woke up crying with what I can only imagine was a bad dream. He had the saddest little cry. It was horrible! Who knows what he was dreaming about? (Will thinks he was dreaming that my nipples disappeared… Wierdo.)  So anyways, he wakes up with this bad dream, in the saddest cry that you ever did hear, and I quickly rolled over and rubbed his back. After a minute or so, he let out a big sigh and let his body sink down into his pillow, and was soon back asleep. As I lay there for the next few minutes, I got to thinking about what just went down. Now for this to make sense, you should know that Will and I co-sleep with Liam.  Some people call it “co-sleeping.” Some people call it “bed sharing.” And some people call it crazy. Whatever you want to call it, I thought a lot about it that night.

Now quick disclaimer: I totally do not judge people for different parenting styles. I understand that each momma has to do what they have to do.  In this journey of newfound parenthood, we are all in survival mode. But hear me out on this. This tiny little being, with his who-knows-what thoughts flying around in his constantly developing brain, was shook to his core and woke up in a panic. And then suddenly he was able to hear me, smell me, and touch me with his little arm before the bad dream turned into a full screaming cry. I get so sad thinking of him waking up, scared, and finding out that there’s no one else in the room? That’s scary for me and I’m 34 years old. And I am not an expert in child development, but that has got to be everything to this little man. He is learning that he doesn’t have to cry his heart out before someone comes running.  In these 6 short months, I really think he has built a trust in us. I can already see it being carried over to other moments in his life. Like when I drop him off at grandmas, or sit him in the middle of the sea of babies at story time, or walk into a crowded room full of new people with him on my hip. He is confident, happy, and most importantly, trusting. Maybe this is just his personality and we got lucky?  Maybe the co-sleeping and attachment parenting has something to do with it?  Either way, hopefully I can be there for him for many more years of bad dreams. Or as long as he’ll let me 🙂

img_2425I’m interested to hear if there are other mommies and daddies out there who do bed sharing or attachment parenting. Do you find your babies have become more trusting of new people? how long do you plan to co-sleep? I’d love to hear from you! 

 

 

we’re exactly where we’re supposed to be

This morning Will woke up at 5:00am to use the bathroom and he woke up the baby. I, of course, over reacted and snapped a nasty remark to Will. Because after he came back to bed, I then was awake spending the next hour and a half trying to rock/nurse Liam back to sleep. And as I lay there in the wee hours of the morning watching Liam kick me in my ribs, flip over onto all fours, and babble “glub-glub-glub” over and over again, I suddenly hear Liam let out the loudest baby fart that you ever did hear. Will and I both giggle and it was only then that I realized that my poor husband, whom I had just snapped at, was also awake this entire time. I felt horrible for my reaction and quickly apologized. Liam’s little early morning farting session was the universe’s way of saying “chill out Priscilla. Nothing is worth getting your panties in a wad.” And perhaps we’re all exactly where we’re supposed to be. Wide awake at 5am, in a king size bed, surrounded by the men of my dreams, who are now both equally good at making me laugh. Sometimes, even with their farting.image

Enough is Enough

I decided instead of sitting around and doing nothing, to take action and write a letter about how I feel. I started at the top with our President but I have also written letters to SC senators Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham, and also to Mark Sanford, our state representative. And I wrote all of these  before lunch, while I was breast feeding…I ‘m kinda feeling like super mom today. Here is what I had to say. I’ll keep you posted on if I get a response. And if you think I am totally wrong and you feel differently, then by all means get our own blog and write about it. But to quote James Baldwin “Not everything faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

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Dear President Obama,

I am writing to you today to urge you to help change our laws that make it too easy for dangerous people to get guns. I am not only urging you, I am down on my hands and needs begging.

As you may know, the rate of people killed by guns in the US is 19.5 times higher than similar high-income countries in the world. And when I think of what has happened in Orlando, Sandy Hook, Aurora Colorado, and so many other cities, including my hometown of Charleston, I have to think, what do all these mass murders have in common? Was it terrorists from other countries? No! In fact, majority of these were American citizens. Did the mass shootings take place in “dangerous” areas? No! These were schoolhouses, movies theaters, places of worship, and now even nightclubs! The only thing that we can say for sure that every single one of these mass shootings had in common: they used a gun. Or more specifically, they used automatic assault rifles.

And then in February 14, 2016 something else happened. My first son Liam was born. Now as a mother I want to do everything in my power to keep him safe. Since he was born, my husband and I now eat healthier, we are more cautious with our driving, we lather him up in sunscreen, and we have taken him to each and every doctors appointment. He is our entire world. And I want his world to be a safe one. But I have no idea what to do to keep him safe from shooters. To feel safe to go to school, movie theaters, and churches. America is supposed to be the land of the free! But I don’t feel so free. I don’t feel safe. Not when someone in my own town can drive around with an assault rifle in their back seat and there is nothing the government can do about it. And now I can’t sit around anymore and wait for something to happen to my family. I’m tired of crying. I’m tired of debating this with my friends on Facebook. Instead it’s time I demand we make a change, starting with this letter. Enough is enough.

I am by no means saying we must take guns away from those responsible citizens who use it for hunting and sports. But as of now, anyone in our county can walk into a store and buy an assault rifle. I’m begging you to close this deadly loophole in our gun laws. My suggestions are simple: 1) if you are a suspected terrorist or have a history of mental illness, you shouldn’t be able to buy a gun. Period. 2) Background checks for each and every American who wants to purchase a gun with yearly re-checks. It makes perfect sense. We renew our driver’s license, our fishing licenses, my yearly license as a practicing speech pathologist. So gun owner should have to have a “gun license” with annual recertification; and 3) take assault rifles off the market. Which is not a hunting gun. It shoots over 40 bullets in under a minute. It is clearly a murder weapon. And it’s out there on the streets. There is no reason. NO reason at all, anyone should be purchasing assault rifles. It’s time to end the epidemic of gun violence in our country. Thank you for doing what is right not just for me and Liam, but for all the people of the United States.

Thank you so much,

Priscilla Brown

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And for those of you who wish to contact your state officials, here is a great article about how to do so: An Easy Guide to Contacting Your Elected Representatives About Gun Control

Also here is a petition you can sign:  Ban the AR-15 from Civilian Ownership

My Top Five Pieces of Bullshit Parenting Advice

Never in my entire life have I been given as much unsolicited advice as I have now that I am a mother. It’s unbelievable. When I went off to college, when I got my first job, or when I was trying to get out of and/or save broken relationships, no one ever had any advice for me. It was just like, “oh good luck.” or  “Go get ’em Tiger.” or “Eek, sucks to be you.”  But noooo not when you have a baby. When you have a baby, suddenly everyone from strangers at Target who have never met you to your father-in-law’s uncle’s cousin twice removed who read it in a book in 1982, everyone  seems to be an expert in how to raise children. But what’s amazing is how different the advice is from one person to the next. But nonetheless I must share with you my top five most annoying, or shall I say bullshit pieces of advice I have heard thus far.IMG_0770

  1. “Never Let your Baby Fall Asleep While Nursing.”  

This piece of advice came from another blogger who said the reason her baby slept through the night was because  “she learned early on how to fall asleep on her own without having to be nursed to sleep.” Well guess what. Liam almost always falls asleep after a nice breast feeding session. I mean, hello. It’s called “a milk coma” for a reason. And what, you want me to wake him up so he can have this wonderful learning opportunity? So he can “fall asleep on his own?” I don’t think so. Have you ever come home from the bars, fallen asleep on the couch at 3 am after eating an entire frozen pizza, and then your roommate/husband/whoever tries to wake you to get you to go to bed. You know who you are and you know what I am talking about. Don’t do that to a baby. Its just not cool dude.

2. “Never rock your baby to sleep. He needs to fall asleep on his own.”

This again goes back to the “they need to learn to fall asleep on their own.” And while part of me knows that is true, let me ask you this: have you ever rocked a baby to sleep?” Its the most wonderful, magical thing in the entire world. When he takes that final little sigh and lets his body sink into mine, its like rainbows come out, violins start playing, and all my worries go away. Why would I want to give that up? So that he can learn to sleep and I can get a full nights rest? Who cares, I can sleep when he is older. Because this moment is only going to be for a short time. I guarantee he won’t let me rock him to sleep when he is 13. So I will cherish this moment as much as I want and I will rock the heck out of him until he is fast asleep.

3. “Do not let your baby sleep in bed with you or else he will never learn to sleep in his own bed.”

This piece of advice has been given to me from almost everyone when they hear that Will, Liam, and I co-sleep. And yes I do acknowledge that there are some safety factors with co-sleeping, all of which we take very seriously. But co-sleeping has been such a blessing for us and for our situation. Liam never cries when he wakes. He instead will coo for me or even throw his arms over to touch me in the middle of the night if he wakes. And then without having to get up, find my glasses, turn on a light, or distrupt Will, I am able to rub his back to go back to sleep or pull him towards me to nurse. We love co-sleeping and I can say with 100% certainly that when he is ready he will learn to sleep in his own bed happily, And then later down the road he will finish high school, go to college, maybe get married, and find a cure for cancer. And he will not be one bit scarred by the fact that we shared a bed together when he was a baby.

4. “He needs to learn to cry it out.”

No thank you. I will not sit in the other room and act like everything is ok while my baby cries for me. I really have nothing left to say on this matter.

5. Make sure you make a routine and have your baby follow it every day. 

This is just ridiculous. No one does the same thing every day. Some days we are ready for bed by 8pm and some days we go exploring and walking around downtown til 11pm. I want Liam to explore everything there is in the world, and if that means breaking a sleep schedule or skipping a nap here and there, its totally worth it.

In the end, Will and I have decided to always trust our gut. Or “mother’s intuition.” Whenever I am questioning anything when it comes to the baby, Will always asks me “well, are you happy” and “is the baby happy?” if I can answer yes and yes (which I can 99% of the time) then I am doing everything just the way I should be. So my one piece of parenting advice to new moms is “You do you.” Whatever feels right, is probably right. And you may not get a baby who sleeps all through the night but they are only this little for such a short time. Find the good in the bad and you will be thankful one day for this sleep deprived, crazy time in your life. IMG_0784IMG_1418 IMG_0664IMG_1300

Here is little man smiling as he has just conquered his quest of rolling over from his back to his stomach. Oh the little things!

xoxo Priscilla