21 months

What a week. I was going to do this update on Sunday after the baby shower, but this weekend, well, it just wasn’t going to happen. The weekend started out with a birthday party for a good friend on Saturday afternoon, an overnight with the youth at my church (which involved Darwin, since she is still night nursing, and I’m not going to ask for the help of a 37 week pregnant, tired wife to try to night wean her at this point!), waking up to my Facebook being covered in worry and grief Sunday morning and trying to hold it together through the bridging service where we move our seniors out of youth group and into the congregation. Then holding it together for a baby shower that turned out so lovely and was full of people who care so much about us. All I wanted to do at that point was just be with Leah and Darwin and the Bee. Plant something green. Breathe. So here we are, a few days late, a little worse for the wear, but still standing.

Darwin turned 21 months on Friday, the same day Leah hit 37 weeks. AKA full-term. AKA 5 days from the point at which both her sisters went into labor (which would be today). From all points it appears that just ain’t gonna happen here. Aside from a few crampy feelings, Leah seems settled in to continue growing this little Bee on the inside for a bit longer.

21 months. Darwin is 21 months and 5 days old today. She woke up and asked to nurse using actual, comprehensible words. Then she asked for the other side using actual, comprehensible words. Last night she was falling asleep naming all the parts of my face (“MamaRae’s nose, MamaRae’s eyes”), then the parts of her face (“Darwin’s nose, Darwin’s eyes”). She will tell us “no way!” or “no thank you mama!” depending on her mood. Unless the question involves cheese or popcorn, which usually gets a “Yeah yeah yeah!” and a big smile. She tells stories that involve a variety of characters from her day. It’s just a joy to listen to her chatter away about the things that matter to her.

21 months is a lot of cling, a LOT of “I want MamaRae,” much to my exhaustion, and (even though she tries to let it roll off) Leah’s sadness. Bedtime has been hard again. For a while Leah could get Darwin down with relative ease, but Monday night was nearly a half hour of crying and screaming that she wanted me, or her rabbits, or any number of other things. I’m feeling doubt about our plan for Leah to be the mama on point for Darwin’s bedtime while I use that time to bond with the Bee. We may have to flex that a bit differently. Time will tell. Nap time, once my saving grace, knowing that Darwin could calmly and quietly put herself to sleep, has been in an uproar. She has had to nurse down (and thankfully has) the last several days. It feels like ten steps back.

I wrote this at 10 am this morning. It is now 9:30 and Darwin just feel asleep on her own without any screaming for the first time in days. Thank goodness. And I’ll sign off with that for now.

June

When I woke up this morning, precisely at 12:05 am, to the insistent whine of “I want nurses right now” (not very charming, you’ll agree I’m sure), I was shocked to realize that we are already beginning the month of June. This is the month that will likely (if L’s sisters’ gestation length is anything to go by – and it is on average) gain a birthday in our family. It is also the last month that the building in which I earned my master’s degree will be standing – to be replaced with a newer, fancier, more eco-friendly structure. It will be bittersweet. It will be a long 1.5-2 years of being in a temporary, displaced space. The old building has a lot of maintenance issues, backlogged for years. I will no longer have my own quiet little office tucked away in the basement. But there is a window in my new office, which I will share with three other people. My first shared office since I was a student. Change is coming.

June makes me think of one of my favorite music albums – The King is Dead, by The Decemberists. One of my all-time favorite songs – June Hymn – is on it. I first heard it on a flight from Ireland, leaving my best friend and her almost-two year old son after 10 wonderful days. I was deliriously tired and listened to the sound track on repeat for the entire flight across country while I dozed and watched the sun set on the horizon. As I listen I can’t help but think of all the things that have changed since then. So much change has happened in my life in the last two years.

My father loves being a dad. It’s incredibly evident in all his interactions with me and my brother, and now our children. He wrote an account of my birth from his perspective, and while it was a little bit about my actual birth, it was mostly about spending time with my brother, who is three years older, in Madison. Spending the day in the city, walking along Lake Mendota. Recently he has said more than once “this one will be different.” No advice, really, just a reminder of his experience with me and my brother (my brother was a good kid, I was a difficult kid). Change is coming and it’s going to be such a different change than the last big change.

Friday is 36 weeks. The waiting begins. So much change is coming. June is here.