love and marriage

Today is my fourth wedding anniversary with my wife.  We have been together nine years.

That sounds so long to me, and it feels so short. This last year in our life and marriage have been hard.  No sleep, four kids, a new job, a new house. Stress and demands from every angle. A sick, sick baby that we can’t stop worrying about.

Sometimes, we were not that kind to each other. Sometimes, we used each other as a receptacle for all of the BS we could not hold inside anymore.  Sometimes, we fell asleep, exhausted, without a kiss or even a goodnight. Sometimes, we yelled.  I think sometimes that I will look back and this will be one of the hard years of our marriage.

Last night, at 1:48 am, I was trying to fall asleep. I could not, because I was honestly just waiting for the part of the night when Bumby shrieks for me and I go sleep on his floor. And my wife was snoring, just a little, and I was looking at her, and I thought:

This would be hard no matter what. At least we are in it together. At least there is someone to yell at who loves me anyway, and someone I can be a sounding board for when it’s all too much, someone I still love desperately, nine years later.  At least we have each other.

And that, I think, is what the hard years of marriage are all about.

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eighteen months

So Bumby is 18 months, nearly 19 months by the time I am writing this.  I kind of can’t believe it.

He still does not sleep through the night (sorry, new mamas). Well, he doesn’t anymore. He did, fairly consistently, for a while, but now he has super-sized separation anxiety and also words. Which means he begs me “Mama, don’t go away” and “STAY. STAY.” each night at bedtime. It is heart-wrenching. We have a lot of travel over the next couple of weeks, but once school starts (HALLELUJAH) we are going to have to make a concerted effort to get him to fall asleep on his own in there, because right now I am falling asleep on his floor all the time. I agree to stay, then I lie on the floor to show my commitment to staying. An hour later, my wife wakes me up and I come back downstairs, groggy and grumpy. I spend some time with her or the rest of the family, then can’t fall asleep at bedtime, having taken the edge off. Sometime between 3 and 5 am, he will cry, and I will go up. He begs me to stay, I fall asleep on the floor again until morning. It’s miserable, but not as miserable as listening to him cry and scream, and nowhere near as miserable as having him in our bed, sleeping on my face and kicking my wife in the stomach all night long.  So we are riding this out for now, and secretly I hope that when the schedule normalizes a bit, he goes back to his old sleeping habits.

He nurses now about 3 times a day. He says “mahk” for milk, which is adorable. He also reaches his hands inside my shirt and rummages around for the goodies, which is slightly less adorable. He likes mahk at bedtime, and also on a boat. Don’t ask me why, but every single time we are on a boat or a ferry, the kid wants his mahk.  I do not want to wean him, ever.  He still uses a pacifier too, and I am unsure whether it’s better to wean him first, and use the pacifier as a transition, or to get rid of the pacifier first, then wean.  Either way, I am not weaning until after age 2 unless he drops it on his own, which seems entirely unlikely at this point.

He has been talking a blue streak lately, getting new words every day. To the big kids’ delight, he learns tricks like a dog. He can whip, and nay-nay. He shouts “NUTS” if you say “dese” (thanks to the brother for that one). He high fives, and fist bumps. He says “wet” or “stinky” if he needs his diaper changed. He loves to kiss people.  He pats your face and says “gentle” if you are crying.  He also bites when he’s mad, then points at the spot and says “Bite. No.” and gives a kiss or a gentle pat to show how sorry he is.

I thought I would be so sad to have a toddler instead of a baby, but I love it. I love the way he says “Mama” when I come home from work, and I love that going to lunch with him no longer feels like going to lunch alone.  I love how sweet and affectionate he is. My big boy.

parenting hack

Now that back-to-school days are upon us, my FB feed has been full of promoted articles about “life-hacks” or “parenting hacks” aimed at making our lives as parents easier. These inevitably involve things like how to more quickly cut your kid’s cheese into the shape of a flower, or how to pack apple slices without them turning brown.

Here’s an idea. Cut the cheese into a fucking square. Put the whole apple into the lunch bag without cutting it up.

You’re welcome.