12 Reasons Why We’re Not Coming to Your Christmas Party This Year

  1. We’re introverts.  Yes, both of us.  The Professor puts on a good show but by the end of the week even he wants nothing more than to curl up on the couch with a movie alone (I can be there too as long I don’t say anything – which suits me perfectly).  We used to have the stored energy to face the onslaught of seasonal get-togethers, but now that we’re married to each other with jobs and a baby who is on us all the time – we’re maxed out on engaging other people.
  2. We have a baby (okay he’s technically a toddler now, but just barely) which means the amount of fun we will have at your party is not equal to the amount of effort required to get us all there on a Friday night after work (right when we should be putting him to bed) or the time spent recovering the next day.
  3. Running around all evening attempting to keep our toddling baby from losing an eye on one of your many pieces of sharp-edged furniture or taking sips out of people’s wine glasses (or, you know, the toilet) is not our idea of a party.
  4. You actually specified “no kids” on the Evite this year (which we get and it’s totally fine but it also means we can’t come, or at least I can’t, because our toddler still nurses at night and just started walking which means he’s got a colossal case of separation anxiety so getting a babysitter is out – plus babysitters are expensive).
  5. Babysitters are expensive (It bears repeating.  As a teenager, I was making more money per hour sitting for the families from church than I did for the first several years in my entry-level job at my current place of work).
  6. Your party starts at the exact time I was planning to go to bed.
  7. Darn… looks like it’s the same night as our wedding anniversary, which as introverts we don’t want to spend with you.
  8. We’re actually having a small party over here that night.  Looks like I forgot to invite you (mom-brain…sorry).
  9. I’m ovulating (i.e. we’re having a small party over here that night, hehe).
  10. We really just want to stay home and check out A Very Murray Christmas on Netflix.
  11. My lifelong ban on themed clothing means we have no ugly sweaters to wear and no desire to change that.
  12. We’ve already offended half the people on your guest list by not coming to their parties.  It would just be awkward if we showed up to yours.

And considering that we are currently the overly tired, socially apathetic, party-poopers who feel the need to take their destructive toddler with them everywhere, you probably aren’t going to miss us.  Do keep inviting us every year though.  Please.  Someday our time will be our own again, and we’d love to see you.

Merry Christmas!

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Expecting

One of the things I miss most about being pregnant, honestly, is the freedom to unabashedly let my belly hang waaaay out (okay, so feeling my baby kick and roll and respond to my pokes is pretty high up there too, but it seriously felt good to just let that belly hang).

I took a pregnancy test several weeks ago and it was negative.  This was after feeling certain ovulation had occurred several weeks before (felt that twang and everything) and that I was therefore three weeks “late.”  I felt pregnant too: consistent but mild lower abdominal cramping, indigestion, headaches, my belly seemed to be expanding, and all following a smiling OPK with no period.  Turns out I just needed to take it easy on the Thanksgiving leftovers.  It may be worth noting at this point that my periods haven’t actually returned at all yet, and my great hope as I pulled out the Clear Blues was that we had managed to catch that first egg.  ‘Tis the season of miraculous conceptions, right?

I’m embarrassed to admit that I’d already started planning how we would tell our families when we saw them at Christmas (which, based on when I felt that twang, was going to fall exactly at the end of the first trimester – perrrfect!).  Our moms both loved receiving a calendar last year with different pictures of Hiccup each month and had each requested another one this year; so the plan was to feature the new baby’s sonogram picture on the month s/he would have been due (June).  Hey, I’m a planner.  I like to plan; and false modesty aside – this was a pretty good one.  Actually, if any of you are expecting and planning to tell your families at Christmas, feel free to use my calendar idea – it would be a shame to let it go to waste.

Admittedly, my hopes may have been set a little high, but it didn’t seem that way a few weeks ago.  We conceived Hiccup our first month off the pill so there was precedent on which to hang such hopes; but now I’m just hoping not to go crazy with phantom pregnancies.  This post is in no way a ploy for sympathy, by the way.  With friends who have been trying for baby #1 for five plus years, the Professor and I know we’re lucky and we’re both filled to the brim with gratitude for our little squish.  I’m just wondering what to do.  The Professor and I have not been in our twenties for a few years now but would like to have more children (more than two) so there does seem to be a little bit of pressure to speed things along.

My old-nature reaction is to push forward (make it happen!).  There are quite a few things we could try like force-weaning Hiccup in order to jumpstart ovulation (we had thought that being gone for ten hours at work without pumping would do this, but alas, it has not).  I could take herbs which supposedly help, go back on the pill temporarily to regulate my cycles, explore acupressure/puncture, and so on.  None of these things however are guaranteed to work and some of them almost certainly would jeopardize my milk supply for Hiccup.  As someone whose needs, in at least one sense, were pushed aside as a child for those of a younger sibling, I’m pretty committed to not doing anything that would make Hiccup feel “abandoned.”

Perhaps we’re wrong though.  Maybe that sense of pressure (and the idea that we can control what happens even if there is pressure) is false, and we just need to wait.  Not do anything except be ready.  That seems right in light of the One on whom my true hopes rest.  So we’re going to just wait.  Wait and hope and trust.  Christmas (and especially Advent) is a great season for doing just that.

Luke 1:46-55

And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
 in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
 to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

Just Deal With it

Summer is officially over and I find myself reflecting on a bit of criticism we received recently regarding our parenting of Hiccup.  Nothing relationship shattering, but definitely worth examining.  Overall, summer was a great season for our little family of three.  Starting with Hiccup’s first birthday, we spent lots of time with friends and extended family.  There were parties, beach trips, picnics.  One set of grandparents has a pool, the other lives near the ocean.  It has been apocalyptically hot this year; and as long as no one is brandishing a wash cloth and soap, it turns out Hiccup loves the water.  A good time was had by all and we feel incredibly grateful to everyone for their hospitality and for their willingness to travel various distances to visit us at times.  Of course, even now that Hiccup is toddling, he’s still very much a baby; so there were times when the fun had to be cut short.  His threshold for certain things is low; his patience and understanding are just beginning to develop.  Overall, he handles things pretty well (he’s what some people call “a trooper”), but he definitely has his limits.

Some of you will know what I’m talking about: the meltdown mark.  The point at which your little one simply cannot go one more minute without a change to their present circumstance.  To unsympathetic outsiders it looks like a tantrum, but to a pre-verbal child it’s really just effective communication.  My husband and I are learning that the one common thread to any meltdown is that some need (for food, sleep, safety, etc.) is not being met and the only cure is to quickly meet whatever that need might be.  Knowing this, there were times over the summer when we needed to decline making plans with people or had to cut our time with them short.  I’m afraid we disappointed a few people who are important to us.  Some of them handled this really well, confident that they would see us again when the timing was better; while others implied (or directly stated in one instance) that Hiccup should be made to “just deal with it.”  That was the wrong response.

You see, my son (any child) is already in a constant state of learning to “just deal” with things.  The whole first year of his life was one new, exhausting, frightening thing after another and that’s not going to be changing anytime soon.  He has to just deal with things like doctor appointments where he’s poked and prodded without knowing why; with having a brain that has developed to the point of knowing exactly what he wants but not having the words to communicate effectively with the imbecilic giants who have somehow been entrusted with his survival; with having a body that can’t quite keep up with other kids at the park yet.  He has to just deal with having a working mom who disappears for ten hours at a time; and he has to just deal with not understanding any of it.  Yes, encountering opportunities to stretch beyond one’s comfort zone is a part of growing up; but as Hiccup’s parents, the Professor and I are responsible for making sure those opportunities occur at age appropriate moments, when he is not already worn down and in a state of mind that would make learning impossible.  We know him and we know that there are times when he just can’t take being strapped into his car seat one more time. So we deal with it.  We sacrifice what we want (and sometimes what someone else wants), because we are the adults.  If someone is going to suck up their feelings and deal with being disappointed it should be us.

Wanting Hiccup to develop at a healthy, reasonable pace in a way that doesn’t also grow resentment in his heart is why the Professor and I will sometimes judge that it’s better to stay home or do something just the three of us rather than leave him with a friend so we can have a date or drive 60 miles in the hot car to visit family for two hours.  To our loved ones who struggled with the fact that we didn’t take you up on every invitation this summer, please know that we are truly sorry to have caused you disappointment.  That being said, I don’t think we’ll be changing our parenting tactics anytime soon.  So…you know…

Confession

I woke up this morning in a wet spot.  Before you finish that smirk, you should know that the “wet spot” being referred to here was due to the fact that my husband and I are currently bed-sharing with our wee little one, who likes to wee a lot.  Hiccup wet the bed, and here’s my confession: I realized his diaper had leaked sometime around 3:30am but did not get up to change him (or myself or our sheets) for another three hours.  His sleeping through the night is a relatively new and suspect development.  After experiencing one sleep disturbance after another – wonder week upon wonder week, an insane holiday-schedule that is not to be repeated, teething (One. Tooth. At. A. Time) and then yet another wonder week – we’re understandably skeptical that this will last.  Considering how many months it has been since his birth, nothing – NOTHING – is a big enough deal for me to risk waking him when he is sleeping peacefully, not even the realization that I am lying in the dampness of another person’s urine.

The kid’s a light sleeper and the kind of full wardrobe/set change that was required at 3:30 this morning, I can say from experience, would have been more than enough to usher him into full-mode wakefulness.  It then would have been an hour and a half to two hours before he was tired enough to shoosh to sleep again and by then, well it would have been time to get up.  So this was a legitimate dilemma and I stand by my decision!  This story illustrates a new trend in my life however that I’m not exactly proud of.  A trend towards grossness.  In my previous life, I was fastidiously ungross, especially when it came to what I was willing to touch, taste, smell, or lie in; but motherhood is making me gross and the evidence is really beginning to stack up.

For instance, this is not my first “it’s only pee” story.  In my early weeks back at work, there was one morning when I sat down with the baby for one last nurse before I ran out the door and his diaper leaked onto my skirt.  It was a black and white, patterned skirt so you couldn’t really tell and there wasn’t another outfit lined up that was pumping friendly; so I just went to work in the pee skirt.  It dried fairly quickly and didn’t really smell.  No one knew.

The other day at the park, I brought graham crackers for us to snack on but forgot wipes to clean up my little cookie monster’s face.  In hindsight I could have just wiped the mess off with my hands and then onto my jeans but no, not this mama.  Without even hesitating, my instinct was to lick the pasty cracker streaks off his cheeks.  In my defense, I once read there are some cultures in which parents do this with their babies’ runny noses, which is probably what planted the idea in the deep recesses of my baby-addled-brain (so if you’re going to judge, do so within the context of knowing that!).

If I’m not going to work, I don’t always bother taking the time to brush my hair or wash my face (FYI, real life messy ponytails are not that cute).

That partially sucked-on piece of cheese on Hiccup’s tray that he was clearly done with yesterday – I ate it.  Waste not, want not.

Cleaned poop out from under my finger nails the other day.  Not my first time.

Made dinner…after cleaning poop out from under my fingernails.

Speaking of poop – we’re cloth diapering.  Our laundry is gross now too.

I frequently wear the same tank top for two or three days (and nights) in a row.  It’s comfy with easy boob access (I should probably just buy more though).

Squished a spider with my bare fingers when it got too close to the baby (pretty proud of this last one actually – that fight or flight instinct finally resulted in a fight, and it was a fight to the death!).

All I have to say for myself is that being a full-time working mama (which basically means having two full-time jobs…two and a half even) is very consuming.  It doesn’t leave much time for sissy stuff like napkins and personal hygiene.  What I’m realizing is that this is totally fine.  For the record, we’re all ridiculously healthy here at Casa Lovejoy; and Hiccup couldn’t care less that his mama sometimes smells like old man sweat.   You might be thinking, “Poor Professor!” (I certainly do some days); but this is where I get to brag because my hubby loves me with a heart so true, he doesn’t seem to see my grossness.  The days I’m feeling particularly worn down or unattractive are frequently the ones in which he will spontaneously take note of how beautiful he thinks I am, how huggable, how kissable, and then quickly take steps to prove it to me.  Somehow he’s able to look at me with my greasy hair pinned back from my makeup-less face, still wearing that milk-stained tank and just see his beautiful wife.

That’s a pretty lavish love…I must confess.