Showering With Pirates, Drowning in Paperwork

“It’s not the sleep deprivation, or the financial strain, or even the seemingly endless chores that cause me to dislike adulthood and parenthood,” I confided to Sam this morning as I pulled together Duncan’s bottles, oatmeal and pears for daycare. “It’s not stepping on Legos or even removing stickers from our sheets, although I could do without the stickers. It’s the paperwork I can’t stand.” I nodded in the direction of the most recent piece of mail that needed attending to – a threat from the library claiming I hadn’t returned a dvd copy of “The Jungle Book” even though, for the record, I know for a FACT I returned it. So completely confident am I, in fact, that I returned this DVD that I actually have plans to argue with the libraryover this when, if the library asked me for the equivalent money as a donation, I would gladly give it.

“I know, I know,” said Sam. “It’s endless and mountainous.”

Since having children, the amount of paperwork in my life has multiplied at least by a thousand, if not a million, percent. Is there such thing as a million percent? Yes, yes there is. A million percent increase in paperwork occurs when you go, over the course of three years, from a household of two to a household of four and two of you are required to show your updated vaccination records every other goddamn day.

Outstanding paperwork I currently have yet to deal with includes, in no particular order: two parking tickets for parking on the wrong side of the street on street cleaning days (to be fair, I maybe drive 2-3 times a week, at most, and never remember to move my car the one time a month street cleaning comes around); the aforementioned and incorrect library delinquency, paperwork related to Duncan’s NICU stay that has yet to be resolved, a slip signing away my permission for Evangeline to have henna tattoos at summer camp (which, yes, OF COURSE, but why can’t I say so verbally?), an updated request for Duncan’s vaccination records, registration forms for swimming and soccer for Evangeline, and all sorts of various and sundry reminders for things like making sure the kids are dressed in yellow and gold to support our baseball team or don’t forget crazy hat day! And let’s not even discuss the art work Evangeline brings home with her. Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact her daycare exposes her to art activities on such a regular basis, but by now the kid has a practically Pavlovian response when she sees paint…must put hand in that. And her teachers feel they must send it all home.

I’ve digitized what I can digitize, I’ve automated what I can automate but there is nothing to stop Evangeline’s daycare from sending home scary notes in all capital letters warning that a case hand, foot and mouth disease has been discovered and my signature is required in acknowledgment.

I am trying, when and where I can, to control the chaos that is caused by our little family of four. I recently discovered Rachel Jonat over at The Minimalist Mom and I did something I rarely do – I downloaded her book in order to understand how I could successfully become more minimalist in my mindset and in my life. This is actually another topic for a separate blog post, but I found her book incredibly helpful, and have slowly started incorporating some of her tips and ideas into my daily life.

More often than not, when I shower I am stepping over the detritus from Evangeline’s pirate obsession, pushing her pirate ship off to one side, smiling to myself, knowing Sam did the same thing instead of removing it from the tub. The fierce yet joyful faces of her pirate characters – Jake, Izzy and Cubby – grin at me while I wash my hair, shave my legs. Throughout our second floor, baskets of clean laundry overflow, and at least half the time I am choosing my outfits and my kids’ outfits from the baskets instead of our dressers and closets. With two children in daycare our finances are more constrained than they were previously, and we find ourselves doing what growing families have done since the beginning of time – eating more creatively, eating – gasp – on a budget. This is something Sam and I haven’t done since college – we were both adverse to it after being raised in families where money was always, always tight. Gone now, though, are our days of picking up expensive steaks and pricey bottles of wine – tonight we are making Mexican wraps with baked fries on the side, maybe having a beer.

In my pre-kid days, if you would have told me all of this and also promised it would all be worth it, I wouldn’t have believed you. I hated the moralistic, sometimes snotty tone parents would take with me as they claimed every single dirty diaper they changed taught them how to love more than they ever thought possible. I particularly chafed against this as I went through my scare with infertility and began imagining an alternate future for myself, one without kids.

And sometimes, in fleeting, mere moments, I do wonder if it’s all worth it. I watch our paychecks disappear down the vortex of a mortgage and two daycares and groceries while I help my poop-phobic daughter wipe herself as the baby spits up down my bra while all the while my two sisters-in-law, child free by choice, are meeting up for a week in Amsterdam and in that moment, more than anything else, I want to break down in tears, think of myself as somehow a bad person and wonder what I did in a former life to always, always now smell like sour milk and even, potentially, some days, poop, but then, a different kind of moment occurs, almost always immediately, and Duncan reaches out to touch my face and buzzes his baby lips, and Evangeline draws me in to some moment of fantastic imaginary play, or maybe Sam pours me a perfectly balanced gin and tonic after both kids are in bed and for fifteen minutes we sit together and talk about our days, and I know this: for me, itis worth it. Having children, building a family – there are days where it feels like enormously hard work, but I wouldn’t trade it – not for a European vacation, new designer shoes or even for the chance to shower alone.

The paperwork, however, is for the birds.

My father read to me – part one – on horror – second attempt

sometimes you write something, and it seems fine, but upon a later rereading you realize by not telling the whole story the piece doesn’t work, so you delete it, and try again.

If Evangeline could name her top three favorite places to visit on the weekend, she would say the library, the pool and the park, in that order. My girl, she loves getting new books. In Pittsburgh, we are incredibly lucky to have the Carnegie Library system, so on any given Saturday I can ask E if she wants to go to the library with the dinosaur or the library with the trains she likes or the library with the tent…you get the idea. On our most recent trip, she gravitated toward several beautifully illustrated fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen and the brothers Grimm. These were not the Disney-ified versions of fairy tales – these were the real deal, and E was entranced. Carefully, she selected Sleeping Beauty, The Snow Queen, and Snow White to take home.

I was nervous, at first, to read them to her – concerned about my ability to handle her questions about things like evil and murder. Taking a cue from my friend Hattie, who believes children take from stories what they are able to handle that is age-appropriate, I took a breath and read to her. And it worked out just fine! Perhaps understanding her own capacity better than I do, she quickly realized the authentic tale of Snow White wasn’t appealing, but as for the other two? She held her breath for two weeks straight as we read, and read, and read again the tale of the wicked snow queen and she squealed with joy every time we read about princess Aurora and the kingdom that slept for one hundred years.

In so many ways, her favorite reading material already leans toward the dark and macabre – we spent nearly a month on a book about a haunted train. A haunted train people. That’s some scary sugar.* When she is older, hiding beneath her bedspread, flashlight in hand, totally creeped out by The Shining, I’ll know her the root of her fascination began like mine did – with real fairy tales, read on my dad’s lap.

Sam tends to worry a bit more than I do about stories being too scary for Evangeline, and I understand where he is coming from, but whether we like it or not she is already being exposed to the darkness and deceit that exists in the world. One of her best friends at school, Brandon, has recounted the plot of “The Lion King” to her endlessly – and another of her close friends is fatherless because her father died before she was born. Fiction and real life both are doing their part to prevent our instincts to over-shelter, over-protect our toddler.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had my own fascination with darker stories, beginning with my father’s recreation of some of the more famous myths, told around the campfire late at night. One of the first stories I remember hearing is the tale of Medusa, with her hair made of venomous snakes and her ability to turn men to stone – if that didn’t keep me awake at night then the grotesque clown created by Stephen King in It wasn’t likely too.

Both of my parents are big readers, but I definitely get my love of certain genres from my dad. Whether the story is about a boy who can travel across time and through worlds, or an accidental outbreak of a flu that destroys most of the world, or forbidden love causing the fall of great kingdoms, my dad exposed me to genres a lot of girls in their young adulthoods, I think, missed. As an English teacher, he also exposed me to the more traditional Great Works, and while I never took to Hemingway I certainly did to Austen, and I’m certainly grateful for that as well. But I’m honestly more grateful for the novels by Stephen King, Peter Straub, Shirley Jackson and Dan Simmons that he slipped me than I am for The Heart of Darkness – the education I was lucky enough to receive would have ensured I read those novels, but only a father whose life is made up of books would make sure I had access to Dennis Lehane.

Reading helps us understand the world, and by tackling difficult subjects in literature before I had to confront them in my real life, and I think it helped enormously. V.C. Andrews once said by the time she actually could afford a trip to Paris, upon her arrival she realized she had already been there – in books. I think reading about the fantastic, the scary, the horrific works in much the same way – senseless mass shootings and wars raged by corrupt governments make never make logical sense, but at least the first time I confronted evil it was in my bedroom, under the covers, flashlight in one hand and book in the other, my parents down the hall, close enough to call if I grew scared but far enough away to let me establish my own reading world.

Why I write

I’ve probably written a reiteration of this post a few times already on my old blog, but the subject has been on my mind again as I juggle two kids, my job, and the ever-demanding needs of our home, not to mention exercise, seeing friends, occasionally attending church and trying to keep up with our extended family. Why do I still write? At any time I could go the way of so many other bloggers and give up my blog – I could cease putting the expectation on myself that I work on essays and fiction in whatever spare time I have. It seems almost masochistic to continue returning to the page when there are so many other things to be done and, let’s face it, I’m unlikely to ever earn a living solely from my creative writing at this point, although I suppose stranger things have happened.

All the answer I need, for myself and for others, can be found in this article:

http://www.post-gazette.com/life/food/2014/05/22/Forget-the-cookie-table-This-Pittsburgh-couple-is-having-a-bacon-table/stories/201405150444

Since I don’t expect you to click the link and read the story (I wouldn’t), I’ll summarize: A recently engaged couple is eschewing Pittsburgh’s long-held tradition of hosting a cookie table at their wedding reception and having a bacon table instead (okay, all you bacon freaks, get it out of your systems now – BACON!!). This article ran in the food section of our local paper so of course the article focused on exactly what kinds of bacon the table would hold (two sweet and two savory, for those of you who are curious) but for days – days! – I obsessed about the soon-to-be husband’s mother who asked so eagerly at the beginning of article “So, when do we start baking cookies?” How did she feel, I wondered,about bacon replacing the long-held local tradition of sending guests home with a box of cookies from the cookie table? Maybe she had looked forward HER ENTIRE LIFE to preparing the cookie table for her son’s wedding, and suddenly some obnoxious caterer was going to cover a table in…bacon? Chocolate-covered bacon? I couldn’t stop worrying about this mother – my mind kept returning to her over and over again. This is what happens when I don’t write enough – I become hung up on inconsequential news stories and the like, turning them over and around in my mind, spinning a dozen different narratives that take up space I could otherwise utilize, well, writing.

When I don’t write, my imagination bleeds dramatically into the every day, as well. If Sam doesn’t return a text my mind immediately goes to worst-case scenarios: He has had a fatal car wreck, he had a heart attack, the rapture occurred and left me behind! I also end up worrying and obsessing about people and things entirely out of my control – my cousin not inviting my parents to her wedding, for example, or my continously fractured relationship with my in-laws, for another. I will circle back again and again to issues and relationships entirely out of my control, desperately trying to make sense out of the nonsensical.

I’ve also noticed I tend to be more empathetic and have more compassion for people when I am writing. Once the practice of putting yourself in another’s shoes has begun, it isn’t easy to cease doing, and I’ve noticed I am more patient with humanity when I am writing than when I am not.

Perhaps more than anything else, I write because it helps me to understand the world, or at the very least it moves me toward understanding it. When I write, the voices in my head quiet down and external factors don’t matter nearly as much as they do when I’m not writing. Writing clears my head and my heart – it helps me see things more clearly.

I guess I don’t have to write, in the sense that I am not one of those writers who has written every day of her life, nor have I sacrificed my family life or my financial contributions to our family in order to pursue my craft. From the time I was 24 until I was 33, I always had a writing project underway and in recent weeks I’ve slowly begun returning to that level of dedication and concentration, and it’s really good. I can tell it’s good Even though my progress is slow – some would even say plodding – it’s steadying out my otherwise more chaotic nature.

Hey, if you write a page a day, in a year you will have a novel.

To the future owners of our home

An explanation of the grape and lemon lollipops you just found on the ledge of the second-floor hallway window

To the future owners of our home,
I don’t know who you are, or when our current home became yours, but I do know that at some point you will discover two perfectly in-tact lollipops on the ledge of the second-floor hallway window. Maybe you are a thorough sort of people and will discover them the first day as you go room by room making sure we’ve rid the house of all of our contents; maybe you are more inclined to discover these lollipops the first time you go to clean this window to nowhere. Regardless, at some point you will discover this candy and idly throw it away, maybe wondering how we managed to miss this when the rest of the house was appropriately scoured.

Prior to returning to work, I brought our newborn son, Duncan, to my office to meet my co-workers. Amidst the oohing and ahhing that the prince of our house so rightly deserves, one of my directors handed me two lollipops. For Evangeline, she said brightly. A big sister gift!

Now, I am not anti-sugar by any stretch. Together, my daughter Evangeline and I have creamed butter and sugar and added flour in order to create any number of cakes and sweet breads over the last two years. Occasionally, after an especially long time at the pool, we stop for an ice cream (vanilla or strawberry for her, something chocolate for me). On an extremely limited basis I have exposed her to small pieces of chocolate. But I do not abide and cannot tolerate sugar purely for the sake of it. Laffy Taffys, Starbursts, skittles, sour patch kids – I just don’t get the point of that kind of candy. I realize, of course, that this means Evangeline and Duncan will gravitate to it all the more when they are older, but for now, with the exception of her Halloween haul and the jelly beans in her Easter basket, I have hidden this type of candy until I can dispose of it properly.

I took the lollipops from my colleague and thanked her profusely, all the while planning on tossing them at the first opportunity. For the time being, I placed them in the cup holder of Duncan’s stroller, which is where they lived for nearly two weeks. Every time I took the kids for a walk, I would glance down and see the glistening violet and lemon-colored candy and be grateful Evangeline wasn’t yet tall enough to discover it. I have to remember to do something with that candy,I’d think, but it was never an opportune time, since I feared Evangeline spying the candy if I took it out while removing Duncan from the stroller.

Future owners, don’t judge me too harshly. If you had seen how Evangeline reacted to 1/2 a glass of ginger ale – a special potty-training reward – you wouldn’t just support my low-sugar stance, you’d actually campaign on my behalf. Have you ever seen how a bird dog reacts when he realizes it’s about time to go hunting? That’s pretty much how my daughter reacts to most forms of sugar.

One day when we were planning a family walk Sam discovered the candy when he went to put his traveler’s mug of rumcoffee in the cupholder. So quickly Evangeline never even noticed, he put the candy in the pocket of his shorts. Remind me to take these out of my shorts before I put them in the hamper,” he said.

The candy (and the shorts) made their way down into the basement, where they remained until I found a free moment after the children’s bedtimes but prior to watching The Wire on demand to start the laundry. My cursory pocket search (you never know when you are going to find a dollar or ten!) turned up the candy. In what seemed at the time a logical decision, I placed the damn lollipops on top of the laundry I grabbed from the dryer and made my way upstairs with the basket where it sat in the hallway for a week and a half an undetermined length of time but the candy blended in so Evangeline didn’t notice it until one day when suddenly she did and exclaimed Mama, look, CANDYand attempted to descend upon it the way the hungry hyenas in the Lion King try and descend upon Simba. I hastily grabbed the candy and placed it the window ledge, referring to it at different points as old and yucky while employing some crafty redirection toward the new and yummy raisins because again, sugar + Evangeline = madness.

At least twice a week I glance up at that window, see the candy, and think I need to throw that away. But I always seem to notice it when the kids are at my feet, or before I give Duncan a bath, or when my hands are full. The last time I saw this candy, I was rushing Evangeline to the potty. I really should move that,I thought, for the hundredth time this month. Or, at least write a blog post.

I like to think one of these days I’ll remember to throw the candy away once and for all, but it is probably much more likely that it will remain on the window ledge until we move from this home. Like the bottles of homemade wine and buried statue of Saint Joseph Sam and I came across when we first moved, it will make a statement to the new owners. In all likelihood they will assume we were slovenly, perhaps food hoarders, but I will know the truth: like the saying emblazoned upon cheap t-shirts across America I was, quite simply, too busy to clean.

the breastfeeding post I feel I have to write

In the depths of our long, polar-vortex dominated winter, a few days before Duncan was born and several after I had stopped working, a period of time spent in endless games of Scrabble with my mom and binge-watching Game of Thrones with my dad while Sam (his real name, I’m no longer striving for anonymity) and Evangeline (ditto) braved sub-zero weather for work and school, one night over dinner my mom told me the story of one of her friends who got so drunk on one of their “girl’s nights out” that she had to spend the night on my parents’ couch with a garbage can by her head. I think it’s safe to say this winter did a number on many of us, and on occasion my parents and their circle of friends handled it by having an extra cocktail or seven – this was just one of many similar stories my mom shared while we waited for Duncan to make his entrance into the world.

“It’s like you all are back in college or something,” I said to my parents one evening as we lingered over dinner. “You are certainly wilder than me and my friends. The craziest we get is if someone hosts brunch and and puts non-local, out of season strawberries in the champagne.”

My parents laughed. “I mean it. I can’t think of one friend – not one – who I would worry about drinking too much and spending the night on my couch. Within my group of friends, the most renegade thing I could do would be to serve grocery-store purchased chicken for dinner – the kind all full of antibiotics and hormones – or, you know, not breastfeed.”

“There’s an essay in that,” my dad said, draining his wine glass. “I mean it – you should write an essay about this.” My dad, who is an excellent writer with a terrible work ethic, thinks whenever my brother or I make him laugh there is invariably an essay to be written about whatever we said.

“I’m not sure about that,” I said. “I just occupy a certain middle-to-upper middle class demographic wherein the choice to serve non-organic meat or give my kid formula full-time would be, without a doubt, the wildest thing I could do.”

I’m sure my parents thought I was exaggerating for humor -something all of us in my family do on occasion – but in this case I really wasn’t. Out of numerous friends who come to mind, I can think of only three who didn’t breastfeed their children, and one of them really wanted to but couldn’t because her twins required a long NICU stay. We’ve received the message loud and clear: breast IS best and come hell or high water we will comply.

I breastfed my daughter and I’m breastfeeding Duncan, but I’m actually not as crazy as advocate for it as you might think. I do not nurse in public and have no interest in doing so, and my relationship with my pump is tenuous at best. With both my children, I began breastfeeding because I understood the immediate health benefits to be substantial – I continued because I saw how my children thrived. I have supplemented here or there with formula, and with both kids, they did fine with a little bit but any more than the occasional bottle caused a host of fussiness and reflux issues that breast milk never did and so, thus, I breastfeed. With my daughter, I had no burning desire to nurse for a specific period of time and her weaning was a gradual one that began as the ounces I was able to pump at work slowly diminished, followed by less and less interest on her part once she discovered solids. Evangeline found immense, tremendous pleasure in solid food and spurned breastfeeding, preferring to hold for avocado! bananas! perogies! She loved all the food. My intention is to follow the same path with Duncan, although I find myself protecting our breastfeeding relationship a little bit more closely than I did with Evangeline – because he is tall and chunky people seem to assume he should start solids earlier than recommended (um, no) and other people – my father and husband particularly – seem to think eventually it will be “weird” to breastfeed a larger baby (no, again).

There are a lot of complications with breastfeeding that drive me crazy. I know if I didn’t breastfeed I’d be able to workout, since Sam could handle giving Duncan a bottle first thing in the morning and I wouldn’t have to spend my lunch hour pumping (hello, workplace-sponsored power yoga!). Breastfeeding leaves me starving, but I’m don’t possess the type of body that’s going to get skinny from feeding my babe – no – my body clings to the extra fat for dear life, and if I even flirt with the idea of reducing my calorie count, my supply plummets. Regardless, I persevere. The smiles I receive from Duncan, the oxycontin that floods my body when I nurse, the small breaks in my day it allows me, not to mention the fact that feeding Duncan is the only excuse Evangeline allows me leave her room in the evenings, well – it all keeps me going.

Remember how I said earlier I’m not an overly vocal advocate of breastfeeding? I’m not. All that really matters is that you feed your kid and enjoy your baby. That said, nothing breaks my heart more than hearing from mommas, on-line and in real life, who want to breastfeed but claim they can’t because they can’t make enough milk. Supply issues are relatively rare, and more often than not these mommas are making this assumption based off of how often their babe wants to feed, not by their child’s weight gain or wet/dirty diapers. So I am about to share what I know about breastfeeding, and what has worked for me, with the hope that this post can help even one momma who wants to breastfeed but doesn’t think it’s working.

First, the legalese: I am not a doctor, nurse, or lactation consultant. I am not even a person who breastfed for a terribly long time. I am just a mom, who breastfed her daughter and is breastfeeding her son, for as long as it worked for us, and am able to feel happy with how it turned out. I offer no sound medical advice whatsoever except, don’t smoke. Yeah – no one can argue with me about that being bad advice.

Next, let’s search term the heck out this: breastfeedIcan’tbreastfeedhelpbreastfeedingsupplydroppingbabyhungryallthetimequitbreastfeedingIwanttobreastfeed

Okay, so. The first thing you need to know: when your baby first comes home, he or she may need to eat basically around the clock. Now, I’ve heard stories about sleepy babies who need to be woken up to eat, so I suppose they exist but I’ve never had one. My babies came out of the womb raring to eat and nursed around the clock for six weeks. With my daughter I was often convinced she couldn’t possibly be hungry because I had just finished feeding her and would try other distractions to get her to stop crying, from walking her around the house to climbing the stairs to rocking her. She was only happy if she was eating. When I took her to her one-month well-baby visit, her pediatrician explained that I needed to time her feedings based on the time she started eating…so, for instance, because she was jaundice, Evangeline needed to eat every 2 hours. She took anywhere from 40-60 minutes to nurse (both sides, she always ate from both sides) so if she started to eat at 1:00, and finished at 2:00, she often was hungry again within a half an hour. If it feels you are nursing all of the time, DON’T WORRY. IT’S NORMAL. Babies have itty-bitty stomachs and breast milk digests super fast.

If you are feeding around the clock, and your baby has a nice amount of wet and dirty diapers, your supply is fine. Your baby is hungry – feed him or her. Yes, it’s exhausting. Yes, you will seethe as you get out of bed yet again while your partner zzz’s away (that is, of course, if you are in a male/female relationships…maybe this doesn’t happen with gay couples?), yes, you will think your baby has gas or colic or something terribly, horrifically wrong – just feed him. Your baby won’t eat if she isn’t hungry, and you’ll quickly learn the difference between your babe eating for hunger and eating for comfort – and keep in mind, there is nothing wrong at this age with eating for comfort!

Babies grow a LOT and traditionally hit some major growth spurts around 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 12 weeks and six months. During these periods it will seem like your baby is eating more than you ever thought possible – people, this is biology at work. Your baby is nursing frequently in order to establish your milk supply for the future. I’m not a biologist or a doctor but I’m honestly not sure these nursing marathons even nourish your child – but they are preparation to nourish your child a few days – and months – later. Honestly, during these time periods books and television are your best friend. Interact with your babe, too, of course, but it’s also okay to fall down the rabbit hole of some really good media.

Lactation consultants are your friends! Look, I know. You are home with your new babe. You haven’t slept since the previous year, or so it feels. Even if you are lucky enough to have help, the laundry is still piling up and the ring in your toilet, unexcusable. The last thing you want to do is get you and your babe dressed and out the door only to whip out your boobs in front of a stranger and have her evaluate how well you’re feeding your kid. But if breast feeding is important to you, one hour with a qualified lactation consultant can offer peace of mind and correct any issues you might be having.

Two final thoughts to keep in mind that helped me through rough patches with both kids: (1.) It gets better. Really, it does! Think about it – this time fifteen weeks ago Duncan wasn’t even BORN yet – and now he nurses every three hours or so and sleeps through the night (sleep is a different topic for a different day, or maybe not at all). Fifteen weeks ago he wasn’t even born and now he nurses every three hours! It gets better, so much more quickly than you can possibly imagine! And (2.)never quit on a bad day. If nursing is important to you, whether it’s for 3 weeks, 3 months or 3 years, don’t quit when you are having a rough day – your milk supply isn’t something you can get back. Quit on a lovely day, when you can make the decision with a clear head and a happy heart. Again, ultimately I don’t care if you formula feed or breast feed – this is a judgement free zone! But if you do want to breastfeed, I hope this post helps make that goal just a little bit easier to manage.

The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway *

Oh, friends. Oh, readers and friends and people finding this blog by googling terms like “my mother is crazy” and “Game of Thrones best thing ever” – how I have missed you! Let me start with first things first, of course – my beautiful baby boy Duncan was born on February 6th. I went into labor naturally (so tremendously better than induction, don’t let anyone tell you differently), had a lovely labor, a horrifying and dramatic delivery followed by a five day NICU stay for Duncan, and a bitterly cold, Polar-vortex dominated, relatively sleepless maternity leave all of which have resulted in this gorgeous, happy, love of my life (in a tie with his father and sister):

Duncan1

We have so much to talk about! I will probably write a post about Duncan’s delivery. I discovered the HBO series Game of Thrones while on maternity leave. My daughter discovered the movie “Frozen” and it has taken over our entire world. I am back at work and it is awful and awesome at the same time. But for now I think all of that can wait – I think, instead, I am going to publish this post in recognition of my return to blogging with a promise to return to regularly scheduled program from now on.

One more picture of the handsomest boy imaginable:

Duncan2

* If you recognize this lyric, then you are automatically part of a very special, and ruined, tribe of parents.