Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Nature vs Nurture

"With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy?" - Oscar Wilde

So my precocious 22 month old finally started to put sentences together. Mind you, he still uses his own language most of the time, but every now and then, something startling comes out of his mouth. Like his first full sentence... that had a full and undeniable meaning... complete with hand gestures. So here's the story...
Harper was napping soundly in the nursery, so Xander and I had sometime to bond over reading books. Xander, I'm sure, will be as big a book worm as I am! He would pick out a book from his bookshelf, and scurry over to me in the lounge chair, where he'd climb up on my lap and we'd proceed to read the selection of the moment, with full voices and exclamations. We had gone through a half dozen books in this manner when suddenly, mid-run back with a book, Xander stopped in his tracks. He paused, looked at me, then turned right around and took off down the hallway, past the kitchen and into the front room (which is technically a dinning room, but we use it as my "yoga office").
All is quiet... not a peep from the front room. So, I go investigate. I make my way down the hall, and go through the kitchen to peer into the front room. Xander doesn't let me cross the threshold before he puts up his hand and says, "No Mama! Go back! Back, back!"
I retreat through the kitchen realizing that he's trying to find some privacy in order to poo... but I creep around the other way just to peek and make sure.
Sure enough, he's standing behind my desk, reading his "Bugs" book and grunting.
Now, how and when did he learn this "bring a book to the loo" thing, I'll never know... neither my husband nor I bring "reading material" into the bathroom. But I know a few family members on my side that do it! Hmmm.... maybe it's genetic?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I've met one of the Four Horsemen

"Flowers grow out of dark moments". - Corita Kent

February was NOT a kind month to us... neither was most of March. Poor little Xander contracted a highly contagious virus called RSV from his best friend (who had contracted it from a classmate at preschool). When we got him checked out at the Doc's they told us his nasal swab test was negative, so we assumed he had allergies or a little cold. Life went on as usual... until the night his little 30lbs frame was racked with coughs, and he couldn't breathe unless he was upright.
We hadn't been keeping Xander under quarantine (this evil RSV is so contagious that not only do you need to slather yourself with anti-bacterial gel to go between kiddos, but you need to change shirts as well!), so 4 week old Harper ended up with this dangerous virus. RSV is hard for any kid under 2 to deal with, but it's life threatening to a newborn. Little babies die every year from Nov - March from this virus... as our pediatrician said, "Their little lungs get so tired from just trying to breath, that they just give up". It was so bad, that John had to take a week off of work because each of us were up all night with each kid - keeping them upright as much as possible as they slept, dosing them with motrin when their fevers spiked, and administering nebulizer treatments of albuterol and saline.
But it didn't end there... oh no.
Once you manage to get over the RSV, then you have to deal with a secondary infection that takes hold of the lungs due to the compromised immune system. John came down with a nasty case of bronchitis, and then the two little ones, followed lastly by me. After 5 weeks of sickness with countless nebulizer treatments and a few rounds of antibiotics, we all managed to come out somewhat physically unscathed.
The emotional scars was something else entirely.
In the middle of all this pestilence at the Noss household, in my sleep deprived mind, I thought I was being punished by God. I had mentioned to my BFF Lisa a few weeks back that I was finding myself getting annoyed with baby Harper and his constant 2hr feeding schedule. I was resenting his crying waking up Xander from his naps or nighttime sleep. And finally, I told her that I loved my year-and-a-half old more than my one month old.
In the midst of this RSV crisis, with Harper's life on the line, I thought I was being punished for being a bad mother. That I had invited the Universe to take him away. Words have power, and I had voiced a sentiment out loud that I couldn't take back.
But God works in strange ways... RSV changed my relationship with my little 4 week old. We bonded in the wee hours of the night, as I stood and stared into the abyss, keeping the Grim Reaper away with every passing hour. As he slept on me, cradled in my arms and upright, he fought the infection with his whole being (and smiling throughout it all), my little valiant boy, and something inside of me softened. I fell in love.
At three months now, Harper is a happy baby. He'll smile at you the minute you look at him, give him kisses, and it's an all out grin. Not bad for a kid who was sick for almost half his life (so far that is). I love both my boys equally... though not in the same way. But I love Harper just as much as I love Xander. I can't imagine my life without him. Thank you Universe.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Gateway

"In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer." ~Albert Camus

There is an obsession with BIRTH. What kind of birth are you planning? Was it the birth that you wanted? Tell me your birth story... etc. etc. Don't get me wrong... I get it. Especially if it's your first time going through the process. It's a HUGE unknown. You have no idea what it feels like (only that it will most likely hurt like hell), and if your body is even prepared to do it. But having gone through the process twice now, and being on the otherside, I have to tell you... who cares?

Birth is not the hard part. It's just a gateway. It's what comes after that REALLY hard. It's the feedings at all hours of the night, the colic in the evening, the projectile spitup in your hair and down your front, the breastfeeding dance, the trying to find a moment to feed yourself as you bounce the 2 week old in your lap and the toddler has a melt down under the dinning room table. Peeing in private? HA! That's a luxury.

I know it sounds callus, and I apologize, but I'm concerned that we're idealizing and fixating on the wrong process. It's like the bride who obsesses about all the perfect details on her wedding, and loses sight of the marriage that she's committing too. A stunning couture dress and a palatial reception hall does not guarantee a long and happy union.

Many of us will not have an easy go of birthing our beloved children. Chalk it up to Karma or Murphy's Law or whatever. Vent for a few weeks, even months if you have to, but then let it go... because the real work is right in front of you. That beautifully little being that chose you to love, to nourish, to raise him/her into a well-adjusted happy little person. So what if your birth was not ideal... it doesn't mean that Motherhood can't be fulfilling and awe-inspiring.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Arrival

"Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray." ~Rumi

My little Harper Augustus MacLeod Noss arrived on a cool early morning on Thursday, January 6th, 2011. At 4:00am on the dot to be exact. His birth was completely different from my firsts. Whereas most of Xanders 14hr birth was a blur, due to pain and the circus of my family, Harper's was peaceful and quick. Only John, Dr. Campaigne and a lovely young blond nurse named Laura were in attendance. There was a sense of calm and peacefulness, and thanks to the miracle of the epidural, I was able to be more present in my participation.
He was only 3 days late... and he came on his own - no induction! He seems small to us, at 8lbs 10oz, but that's because we were used to Xander's 9lbs 5oz at birth, and his 3olb muscular little frame at 16months now!
To say Harper is perfect would be redundant. All newborns are perfect. He is no exception. I love him completely, although very differently than Xander. At this point, my love is more instinctual - the momma bear coming out to protect her defenseless young. My love for Xander is one of constant evolution - he continually amazes me with his bright intelligence and consistent sweetness and kindness for others.
The two brothers do not quite interact just yet (Harper is just over 2 weeks old), but Xander has shown interest and concern when Harper is upset. He has even leaned over and kissed the little newbie on the head more than once!
I can't wait until they are the best of friends...

Monday, August 30, 2010

Xander's First Birthday

“Life becomes precious and more special to us when we look for the little everyday miracles and get excited about the privileges of simply being human.” ~Tim Hansel

Xander Everest MacLeod Noss turned 1 year old yesterday! It was a day of fun and celebration for the little tyke, as cousins and friends came over to the house bearing musical toys all wrapped up in pretty paper. John and I had stayed up until 1am the previous night getting everything ready and we were up by 6:45am that morning to finish the job! Xander wore his "guavera" onesie to give a shout out to the Puerto Rican side, and we served Salsa & Guacamole for the Mexican part! I baked an organic carrot cake (with not so good for you cream cheese icing) and muffins for the occasion. My little man even tried a bit of the cupcake! His first cupcake!
I have to admit that the day was a little bittersweet for me... my little baby is not really a baby anymore. He's a toddler now, which means more forays into independence and boundary testing. But, he's also communicating more, laughing, smiling and taking life on with gusto. Looking back at the photos of the past year has made me truly be thankful of our modern conveniences of digital cameras and video recorders... I haven't missed a moment of his wonderous life, and I'll be able to look back at his growth and change for years to come. It truly does go by so fast... (at least I have a second one on the way!)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

And he takes off...

Xander started walking a week and a half ago, taking a few timid steps before sitting back on his rump. Now, he's walking around everywhere, barely crawling at all! He's SO happy! Check him out!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Stumbling into Toddlerhood

"Put you hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it feels like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it feels like a minute. THAT'S relativity." - Albert Einstein

My sweet baby boy, is turning into a sweet toddler... More often than not, he stands up and tries to walk where he wants to go, rather than crawl. I'm so proud of his fierce determination and his inexhaustible spirit! At 10 1/2 months, he's blown me away. I think some of his inspiration comes from his little playmate Josephine, who is 2 months older than him (although fittingly smaller, as a petite fille should be!). I swear he's trying to keep up with her!

Today I baby sat the two of them, while her mother caught up on some work stuff. I wish my camera hadn't run out of memory... I have never seem them so hyper before! They did laps around my living room squealing at the top of their lungs while they chased (combination of stumbling walk and crawling) each other. It was their first game of tag. My smile was plastered on, as I tried not to laugh at our little zombies - arms reached out, hands grasping, droll sliding down faces, as they stumbled around on inexperienced legs. Too funny!

Even though I didn't get any footage of the two of them together, I did get some footage of Xander walking earlier that morning... I love my little zombie toddler!