Sunday, February 5, 2017

sunday notes 2.0

this last week was, as i said on instagram (follow me! @miriamherm), not for the weak.

sunday started with a scratchy throat and by monday morning had expanded to an incredibly painful sore throat. by tuesday i spoke like a smoker, wednesday i was a male smoker. i am only now, this sunday, at the point where i mostly sound normal. i also cough a lot. on monday kate was exhausted, sore, and feverish. tuesday morning she threw up. because of my sensitive throat, i threw up, too, but only because was throwing up and my gag reflex's ability to hold itself together was compromised. so kate stayed home and puked and slept and watched more movies in a row than she's ever watched before and later, while taking a break, requested another movie and claimed she'd "hardly seen any movies at all...only three". right. thursday sarah was feverish and exhausted and mostly slept and watched movies, throwing up only a few times on friday, whereupon i learned that my gag reflex was not quite recovered because again, i threw up. friday afternoon got better when she awoke from yet another nap full of sunshine and rainbows but i can't help but think (and hope) she's still not feeling well because today she's been a disaster. if she's still sick then there's the excuse. if not, we're in trouble. she's been changed into something awful.

mothers of newborns ought not be sick, and newborns ought not be fussy and small children ought not throw up. and all three of these things ought not to occur simultaneously.

but c'est la vie, my friends, that's all i can say. we came through this week with sunshine and in fairly good spirits, just exhausted, which makes sense.

also, this week:

 nathan took a bath.
 then he got into bed with seth, and they were adorable.

 we found a dead rat in the backyard.
 then we poked it with sticks.
 uncle aaron held nathan and we all rejoiced that uncle aaron is living nearby again. he's the best.
 uh, yeah, every photo has nathan in it. except this one, which is a photo of a sick sarah enjoying the privilege of LOTS of screen time and seth and kate capitalizing on  this fact by prompting her to play certain games and then "helping" her play those games:

not pictured: we watched bye bye birdie, which was awesome. next up: the music man.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

nathan: one month

dear nathan,

as i sat down to write this i balanced you on my shoulder and burped you and you spit up in my hair and all over my shirt and when i got up to get a rag i stepped in the puddle of spit up you shot over my shoulder.

nathan. you're gross.

so, here's the news: as off last dr appointment you were 6lbs 2oz. naturally, i was incredibly proud and have told everyone we meet the following: your weight and how you're starting to gain weight and best of all, it's on your bum and upper thighs. YOU'RE WELCOME, BABY NATHAN. everyone is just as pleased with your weight gain as i am, i'm sure of it, and i promise to stop...eventually. but nathan, you have to realize that you were so incredibly small and that worried me. first i was afraid i'd lose you in the blankets and you'd slip right through my arms and on to the floor, then i was worried you'd be weaker and sicker and that you'd lose weight and we'd end back in the hospital. i've left that fear behind, in case you're wondering. you're strong and i haven't dropped you, you're long and healthy. so healthy. now i just tell people about your body fat instead of my worries. this is progress.

a month in the life of a newborn who was born during cold and flu season isn't very exciting, so i don't have that much to tell you about. mostly, you stayed home. with me. or dad. or your grandma kristine, when she was here, or your grandma rebecca, who is awesome and comes over all the time because i haven't figured out how to do five kids by myself during the day. so i run and get kids or gather kids and drop them off and your grandmas would hold you and fold laundry (THANK YOU). mostly you sleep, sometimes you're awake. it seems like your most wakeful time of the day is dinnertime. you have attended many a family dinner in your bouncy seat, only occasionally objecting.  you usually "go down for the night" about 9:30 or 10, which to be honest, is probably only because you've noticed i can't stay awake another second after 10pm. you sleep for about four hours and then after that you wake up every 2-3 hours, usually ending the night about 5 or 5:30, a time that is just a tad too early for me to be actually awake but makes it impossible for me to really get any sleep afterwards because all of those other children need to wake up and get ready for school.

nathan, i know you're new here, so i'll cut you some slack. allow me to explain a few things: when it's dark we sleep. you'll get the hang of things, i'm sure.

you seem to be really be seeing us these days, and by that, i mean your eyes fall on our faces and a flicker of recognition lights your face and then you look around for something to eat. you turn your head when you hear our voices--and it's not just daddy and me, it's your siblings and last night it was grandma rebecca. you have grown too long for the preemie/newborn clothes that were handed-down to us and have moved on to the 0-3 months clothes which are long enough and definitely too big. it's adorable. you have broken out in an aggressive and adolescent-like batch of newborn acne. baths make you calm, light fascinates you, you enjoy being held and rocked and easily fall asleep in the crook of my arm. i love sleeping with you, even though maybe i shouldn't, and often when we are done nursing you are holding on to my shirt.





you're terribly popular, nathan. when kate gets home from school she drops her backpack and announces, "and now i have to see baby nathan WHO I HAVEN'T SEEN ALL DAY." and she kisses you again and again, coming back for more, putting her forehead to yours, breathing you in, eyes closed, and a peaceful smile on her face. 

sarah likes to help carry you when you go out, so i hold your carrier lower and she helps hold it up, pointing you out proudly to anyone who is nearby. sometimes she enters a store announcing, "did you know that we brought a baby and his name is nathan?"

seth and ava both hold you often, especially when i am trying to make dinner and you are trying to hang out, and they talk to you and love you and know how to soothe you. it was impossible for me to see how there might be room for one more in this family before you were born, and i worried about where you might fit. i saw how ava was a peacemaker and seth was a dreamer and kate was a help, and sarah was some spirit...and you, nathan, right now, you are something for us all to love. and we do, nathan, a million billion times over, we love you. a lot.

love,

mommy


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

9 days old

nathan's newborn photos, at nine days old. taken on the dining room table that ryan built, and in the spot in our living room where the piano usually goes. it was just a mini session, with aunt shannon's help. this was the day when nathan stopped being a super heavy sleeper and started sleeping a little more lightly, making posing him impossible. i adjust a hand: he moves it right back, curling his lip in protest. i wanted a few more, but shooting your own newborn photos is incredibly difficult. i haven't really been able to manage it properly without help from a photographer friend in the past. 













Sunday, January 22, 2017

sunday notes



after being here for a week and a half, grandma kristine left, and i had my moment to sink or swim with five children watching. one friend assured me that i was going to do a beautiful butterfly stroke the whole way. i maintain it was more of a doggie paddle. nathan didn't seem to mind much, but that's because i resolutely hold him constantly. i know this newborn stage doesn't last forever. i'm determined to snuggle this baby as much as i possibly can, even if it does mean arms full of baby help other children get away with all kinds of mischief (doll hair being cut with scissors, for example).

even now, as i sit down to write this kate is quietly attempting to sit next to sarah on the piano bench and sarah is screaming (literally screaming) in protest. then sarah manages to kick kate off and is attempting to drag the piano bench somewhere kate can't follow so she can sit on it all by herself. naturally, i yelled something about no one ever being able to sit on the piano bench ever again which ava took literally and is peppering me with questions while i try to figure out where there might be any forgotten stashes of chocolate in this house. there's no way to be really sure unless i do a thorough search. meanwhile, seth is walking around in a bike helmet with his newest pokemon card tucked right into his pocket (admittedly not the strangest thing we've seen around here lately. sarah spent all of rainy friday in her swimsuit).


rainy days, man. it brings out the crazy in all of us.

(update: it appears as if we are out of chocolate)

other rainy day activities: coloring, movie watching, play doh, dollhouses, magna tiles, staring out the window, pile all of the pillows and cushions and blankets on the floor and jump in to them until someone bumps a part of their body on to something that isn't soft-- then we cry and walk away from the entire mess with no inclination to pick it up, go outside for five minutes and come directly back in ...these rainy days are not only cold (and yes, i know it sounds silly to complain about 57 degree weather) but they are slowly making us stir-crazy. the library is a good place to go to get out, but the librarians like their libraries quiet and also all the other moms are there with their own children and it gives the place an air of almost panic as we all try really hard to be cool with the fact that all of our living lately has been indoors.


hooray for the rain, i'm sure. but california, don't you want to space these rainy days out a bit and bring out the sunshine and let the children ride their bikes and climb the playgrounds until they are dirty and sweaty and feeling good about life? because i do.

also: the rain is coming in my bedroom and the area next to my sliding glass door is pretty wet. i'm trying not to think about what this means.

today we all layered up and went outside to race things in the rushing waters of the gutter. that was exciting. sarah was grabbing pretty much anything she could find and flinging it in-- including the neighbor's bushes (i stopped her before the roots were pulled out entirely). flowers, pebbles, seed pods, leaves and leaves and leaves and leaves were all floated down. chased, cheered on, and we came home drenched. it felt good. and cold. it also felt cold. ask ruby.

nails were painted, books read, the lego bin pawed through and amazing creations produced, and bedrooms were cleaned. it was a good rainy sunday, despite my desperate hunt for chocolate and the girls fight over the piano bench (why).
















Tuesday, January 17, 2017

two weeks



dear nathan,

well, it's my due date. a date i obsessed over, counted down to, made a flipping' paper chain out of three different hues of blue construction paper that i dug out of the trash at the elementary school and stapled together while waiting for your three older siblings to get home from school one afternoon, which i then hung in my bedroom and religiously ripped one link off every morning and as it got smaller i insisted that ryan look upon it and remark that indeed, miriam, it was so small. this baby could be here any day. 

ANY DAY.

and now, baby nathan, on the day that meant more to me than christmas, or my 12th anniversary, i hold you in my arms and watch you get totally lost on your way to breakfast. dear child, the nipple is always in the same place. it does not move. stop looking for it in all the wrong places. merely turn your head AND THERE IT IS. 

since you're new here, i've got a few things to tell you:

one: this house is loud. you're going to get touched a lot. i hope you're not afraid of heights because i like to store my babies on the dining room table while they're still small enough not to fall off. it's the safest place for you; you're less likely to get run over there (or not likely at all, now that i think about it). 

two: you are loved. yes, you have four older siblings who are just wild about you, and a mom and a dad that think you're the best thing they've ever seen but guess what? you've got a lot more family than just us six. and a lot of friends, too. i realized this when all the love began to pour in when you were born. my friend kimberlea bought you preemie clothes because she knew you were so tiny, and rebecca escaped her family to come sit on that most uncomfortable hospital couch and hold you one evening. big nathan and carrie, avery and jane brought you chocolate and twinkies in the hospital and then they let us use their dryer because our broke when you were only a few days old. dinners have been pouring in, and breakfasts, and grandmas and aunts and uncles. 

three: we like sleep in this family. and it would behoove you to like sleep, too. (that sounded like a thinly veiled mobster-esque threat. and it might just be. "that's an awfully nice pacifier you have there...be a shame if anything happened to it.")

four: there are saturday chores. obviously not for you for awhile, but just be forewarned. 

and, five: these are your letters. it's like the closest thing i come to scrapbooking, i just write a monthly update on how you're doing, but i address it to you in the hopes that you'll find it valuable or interesting or at least amusing. i can only promise to do this for the first year of your life. sorry if you wanted more. 

here's how you spent your first two weeks: after you got out of the hospital on day 4 you have spent the majority of your time sleeping. and eating. and pooping. seriously. the poop is out of control. i have used way more diapers than i ever remember using and washed more clothes than i ever remember washing. question: how did i forget so much about the newborn stage? you're my fifth baby for pete's sake! 

you've hung out with grandma kristine a lot, and aunt shannon came for a few days, too. every time your siblings leave for school or come home they immediately run to greet you, and then run and wash their hands to hold you. you barely hit the ground, baby (but when you do it's in a super sleek mamaroo that i found on craigslist). and you did make your first public appearance at the local park--your first stroller ride, too. seth was very concerned about you and asked constantly if we'd packed everything we needed. 

nathan, you are a pretty sweet newborn. you don't cry very often, you have a very calm personality. you spend your waking hours calm and quiet, taking in the world with your dark eyes. your forehead creases when you raise your eyebrows, making you look observant and wise. you sleep a lot, often very well at night. we are amused by your noises-- you are a very noisy baby, grunting and humming and squeaking. it stops the surrounding conversation and we all listen to you with smiles on our faces. 

we love you, baby nathan. you complete this family that we didn't even know was incomplete until you came along. we can't imagine life without you, our sweet and solid number 5. hooray for you!

love,

mom



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