Entries Tagged as 'baby'
Hi guys! I’m currently in the process of redesigning this website, so I thought I’d revisit a few older posts that I’m really proud of. If you didn’t catch these the first time, please check them out! More updates soon. xo
Sometimes when I post a particularly sweet photo, video, or blog post about our son, I get a comment back: “You make it look easy.”
Undoubtedly, this comment comes from a good place. It’s someone telling me that I’m doing ok at this whole mothering thing (hopefully, I am), that life seems pretty good (it is) and that the baby and I are clearly happy (we are).
But, oh my gosh. The last thing I would want to do ever is make it look easy.
Social media and blogging are such wonderful additions to our culture; they let people connect across huge distances and cultural divides. They make cooped-up new moms feel like they’re part of a community, they help us share knowledge and advice, and they enrich our lives in so many ways.
But they also make us competitive with each other. They make us compare our real-life experience with a snapshot of someone else’s — a beautiful, happy snapshot, but one that lacks context and background. Trust me: For every cute date-night outfit, there’s also a day when I don’t have time to even brush my hair. For every sweet baby smile, there’s a night when he wakes up every two hours in tears. Those moments are part of reality for any new mom, whether we choose to share them or not.
I don’t mean to say that there’s anything wrong with posting those beautiful moments — there isn’t, and I treasure all the sweet little smiles I’ve captured on camera in these last few months.
But phrases like “making it look easy” make it seem like there’s something wrong with you if it’s not easy. If it’s not easy, that it’s your fault. That it could be “easy” if you would just do things differently.
But here’s the thing: life isn’t rewarding or rich because it’s easy. Life is incredible because of those tiny little moments, every day, when we appreciate something joyful or meaningful in our daily experiences. Sure, there are great, easy days. And there are also so many great moments in the not-easy days.
If you’re expecting it to be easy — just because someone else might make it look easy — you’re always going to be unsatisfied.
And I wanted to write this, because I worry sometimes that I contribute to it. I worry that when I write about topics like breastfeeding, postpartum weight loss, or even how I’ve chosen to pursue my career, that others will feel badly because they’re struggling with those same issues. To write about these topics suggests, in some small way, that you have figured them out. But these are day-to-day struggles, and I don’t think anyone has fully figured them out.
All our lives are different. And it’s important to remember that. Each mom out there — each person out there, parent or not — has their own ups and downs that are unique to their family. And I know that some of my toughest moments — the 2 a.m. wake-ups and the mornings that I frantically proofread a brief while our son naps in the next room — are the memories that I’ll look back on, years later, when he’s all grown up, and smile.
So who really wants ‘easy’ anyways?
Tags: baby · life
September 10th, 2015 · 4 Comments
When I wrote about Bear’s favorite books when he was six months old, I mostly focused on some classic books that I loved to read with him. Our little guy loves curling up with a book in mama’s lap (and I love it too!) but at six months, I’m not sure it was really possible to distinguish between “his” favorite books and mine.
Fast forward eight or so months, though, and it’s a totally different story! He points at pictures and can pick out a specific book that he loves from a stack, and reading has become one of his favorite things to do. It’s less reading to him, now, and feels more like reading with him, which makes it even more special for both of us.
So I thought I’d write about a few more that we’ve enjoyed! We’re still primarily reading board books (the thick cardboard-stock pages that a baby can’t fold or rip), but we’ve just started introducing paper books in the last month or two. It’s still a challenge to make sure he’s gentle with them, and most of our copies have a tear or two already, but he’s learning!
This time around, I wanted to focus on a few more under-the-radar authors. Here are some of Bear’s favorites!
Kadir Nelson: Chad picked up our copy of Baby Bear when he was on a work trip for very obvious reasons — how was he supposed to resist a book called Baby Bear? But when we read it for the first time, it was completely clear to me that he’d stumbled onto a treasure. The book is about a bear lost in the forest trying to find his way home, and the story is so beautiful that it’s more like reading an illustrated poem than a children’s book. And Bear loves it — when he was a baby, it was one of the first books that he had a “favorite page”! There’s a page where Baby Bear meets a salmon, and Bear would always grab the book and kiss the salmon! It was so adorable, and one of my favorite memories of reading to him so far.
Nelson’s second book, If You Plant A Seed, is maybe even better. It’s about a rabbit and a mouse that plant a garden, and what happens when they’re approached by some birds and have to decide whether to share. The illustrations are breathtaking, and I say that without a whisper of exaggeration. Bear calls this the “Grow! Grow! Grow!” book and it’s the first book he ever referred to by name. Of all the books in our nursery, this one is my personal favorite right now.
Giraffes Can’t Dance: Oh my gosh, you guys, this book is so cute. It’s about a giraffe who’s too self-conscious to participate in the Jungle Dance, and it’s darling. This book is exactly what’s great about books for kids — it has sweet characters, a lot of vocabulary words, fun illustrations that Bear can point to, and a sweet, meaningful message. We have the board book and have probably read it a hundred times.
Little Blue Truck: This is another really sweet story, and one of the first books that made us realize that Bear was really absorbing the stories we were reading to him! We read this book every day for weeks, and suddenly, out of the blue, he started pointing at the birds on every page. It was like a light flipped in his brain, and he could point to the birdies! And then, a few weeks later, he knew most of the farm animals on each page. It’s crazy to watch them learn right in front of your eyes!
One Yellow Lion: This is Bear’s most recent favorite. He loves the fold-out pages and all the animals, and it’s great for teaching counting, colors, and vocabulary. Some of the learning-oriented books aren’t as fun for parents as they are for kids (yes, kiddo, it’s amazing, but I already knew that alligators are green), but he loves them. I couldn’t write this list without including it!
The Teddy Bears’ Picnic: This is an old book of mine that Bear has fallen in love with. (Want to know how old? It comes with a record of Bing Crosby singing the song that it’s based on.) It’s a really sweet story that Chad and I sing to him as we read it, which he loves. If you don’t know the tune, you can hear it on YouTube! Technology is crazy.
Finally, I have to round out this list with some classics! Goodnight Moon, Brown Bear, and Pat The Bunny are a few other well-loved favorites that you guys already know about, but that Bear has been really into at this age!
Whew! That’s a much longer list than his six-month update. I was a big reader as a kid, and I’m really happy that Bear seems to have inherited that from me. If you guys have any others that I should try, please let me know. I usually order a few books a month for him so he always has new stories to explore, so I’d love to hear your favorites!
Photo Credit: Kate Robinson
That’s how old you are today.
When our friends mention your name, they call you “Baby Bear,” and then smile sheepishly, because you’re not really a baby anymore. Or you are, but only to me. (And you’ll never get big enough to outgrow that!)
Because suddenly, in the last few months, our little baby became a kid! It’s the craziest thing — it feels like a moment ago that you couldn’t even hold your head up by yourself, and now you’re running, dancing, throwing a basketball (I kid you not. A full size basketball!) and asking for bubbles and Rambo by name.
What! How did that happen so fast?
Parenting a toddler is totally different than parenting a baby, and I have to say — I think it’s a lot more fun. Sure, newborn snuggles were wonderful (I miss them sometimes when you won’t sit still in my lap anymore!) but it’s so much more exciting to watch your personality grow and take form. To actually communicate with you, even if your vocabulary is still limited. (‘Yes’ and ‘No’ were life-changing developments!) To make faces and watch you laugh, or see you bop your head to the songs that we sing.
There are a million little things I’d like to remember about the last month, but my favorites, by far, were these…
… how you call both me and Chad “Mama.” Sure, this breaks my heart a little bit (I’m your one and only Mama, kid!) but it’s also so darling. We’ve started explaining to you that I’m the Mama-Mama and Chad is the Dad-Mama. And we also regularly explain to our families and babysitters that Bear thinks he has two mamas. Funny kiddo!
… dancing with you to Let It Go! Ok, ok, sometimes you get cranky at the end of the day. But one day, after dinner, when we were playing in the kitchen, Let It Go came on my phone and I decided to teach you some goofy ballerina moves. For the next three minutes, we twirled and leaped around the kitchen together, and you thought it was hilarious to mimic every move I showed you. If only I’d caught it on video — this would be excellent blackmail material for your teenage years!
… Hi Mama! Every morning these days, you greet me standing up in your crib with an excited “Hi!” I love it! I’m not a morning person and your 7 a.m. wake-ups are pretty tough for me, but opening the door and hearing a big “Hi!” and a smile makes it all worth it. (Sort of. It would also be worth it at 8 a.m., just in case you were wondering…)
… Banana. Ok, so, this one was my bad. Again, at the end of the day last week, we were done with dinner and playing in the kitchen. And I took out a banana and told you what it was, and you repeated back to me “ba-nweh” or whatever toddler approximation sounded a tiny bit like the word I’d just said.
And I freaked out. I was so excited (a three-syllable word! you’re heading straight to Harvard!) that I kept repeating it to you, over and over: “Banana! Banana! Banana!”
And then I realized that you had a banana graphic on your shirt. Yes — on your little tee shirt was a picture of a banana. So I picked you up and we ran over to a mirror, and I pointed at your shirt and tried to show you the banana picture, which was basically me just pointing at your chest and saying “Banana!” again and again.
And then we went back to the original banana and I decided it would be funny to pretend the banana was a phone, so I picked it up and held it to my ear and said, “hello?”
And then you took the banana and did the same thing, held it up to your ear like it was a telephone… and then looked at me with a very perplexed expression.
And suddenly I realized that I had just confused you beyond any possible understanding of what the word “banana” actually meant.
First, it was pretty clear. This is a banana.
And then I grabbed you and pointed at your chest in the mirror and basically said “You’re a banana.”
And then we got back down on the ground and I told you that we use them as telephones.
This is a banana. You’re a banana. And we have conversations, using bananas.
Yes, our son calls his dad ‘Mama.’
And he will probably call just about everything else he lays eyes on: ‘Banana.’
Happy Sixteen Months, Baby Bear. I love you so.
Tags: baby · life
Here’s a parenting side effect that no one talks about: the photos.
Oh my gosh, you guys. The photos.
Let’s not discuss that I have an entire cloud storage account devoted to the 10,000 or so pictures that I took of Bear’s first year alone.
Let’s not discuss the 400 videos I took of his first year.
Let’s not even begin to discuss all the times my phone has run out of storage and the countless hours I’ve spent deleting shots of my shoes or my lunch or whatever it takes to make room for his goofy little smile or videos of him toddling shakily around our house.
Instead, let’s talk about what gets lost in the minute-by-minute photo-documentation of life that we’re all guilty of. You know what gets lost? The highlights.
Those special moments get drowned into the hundreds of photos on Instagram, the thousands in “the cloud” that never get looked at again.
When I was growing up, my mom painstakingly saved every snapshot, organized into boxes that lined our closets. She labeled the back of each one with “Katy Birthday 1989” or “Emily Halloween October 1992” so she always knew where to find them. Things are a little easier these days — I can hit “Ctrl+F” and find all my photos from November 2014, or log in to Facebook to see what I’ve saved. But sometimes I get jealous of the limits that came with storing physical photos — you couldn’t take 10,000 shots, because where would they go? Now they go nowhere, and so we take them all.
But sometimes, you want a moment that’s a little more special. The incredibly talented Kate shot these of me and Bear a few weeks ago, and it was a great reminder that sometimes it’s better to pick quality over quantity. I’ve been insanely busy lately, and sometimes I worry that a week or two has gone by undocumented (gasp!) and I get concerned that I’ve missed some special moment without capturing it in digital form. But then I look at photos like this and I try to remember: sometimes one beautiful moment, perfectly captured, is better than 10,000 shots that I’ll never look at again. In an ideal world, I’d do both. But when the days are too short, I try to remind myself that it’s ok to just live my life instead of documenting it.
Even if, at the end of the day, what gets saved are a few snapshots and a lot of memories.
Loren Hope necklace, Maggy London dress, GiGi New York clutch, Jimmy Choo heels.
Photo Credit: Kate Robinson Photography
Tags: baby · style
Thank you guys so much for your wonderful responses to my most recent career post. I talked about how to find mid-career motivation when you’re at a crossroads, and it all boiled down to one simple piece of advice: Find something challenging that matters.
Since that post, I’ve gotten so many comments and emails from you guys, and they made me so, so incredibly happy. It means so much to me when I hear from you all, and I’m thrilled to have touched on a topic that matters to so many of you.
But as I thought about that last post, it occurred to me that in some ways, it wasn’t a career post at all.
Because the flip side is this: Parenting is challenging too. And it matters just as much.
One of my hesitations in writing about my career is this: there’s a fine line between encouraging and supporting women’s careers and getting into the working-mom vs. stay-at-home-mom debate. And that debate isn’t one that I’m particularly interested in joining. Why? Because they are both valid life choices. I don’t care which one is right for you. But I do want every woman to have the opportunity to pursue the one that she chooses.
And maybe that’s the best lesson of all. Because finding the path that’s right for you doesn’t always mean becoming the CEO of a company, or devoting yourself entirely to your family. It can mean both, or neither. And realizing that the answer may be different for every single woman (every single person) out there… well, I think that’s the right place to start.