21 September 2018

10 Weeks


I'll admit, I've always found the first stage of life a bit intimidating. It's not just because of the lack of sleep or fear of being able to keep the little nugget alive; it's because, at the beginning, a baby is basically just a pooing/barfing ball of blubber. How do you engage with something like that? I do you maintain the will to KEEP engaging when you aren't getting anything back?

Truthfully,  the first couple of weeks were a bit like that (although the snuggles then are fantastic), but I've been amazed how quickly Ezra has become a little person that interacts and moves around and has a personality. At 10 weeks he already recognises us, has his own tastes and preferences, patterns of behavior, and ways of communicating. In social science circles, they call that a temperament, in religion they call it a soul, but however you look at it, it comes from inside the baby.

I used to think babies were like a lump of clay, and that we, as parents, could build up into something amazing. However, the older I get the more I realise how wrong that is. My mother-in-law says that children come with their bags packed, and we get to watch them unpack them. I'm excited to learn what Ezra brought down with him from heaven-- what interests and predispositions he is going to carry with him through life.


What a chummy little chap! I think this pic is most interesting when you compare it with the first one in this post. Jon took this one, I took the one at the top. Jon's image is dynamic and unguardedly friendly. Mine is quieter, dreamier, and more reserved. It's funny that photos can tell you more about the people that took them than the subject itself.


I know I've said it before, but Jon is a great dad. Every weekend, he hops into out tiny tub for a bath party with Ezra. Baby E loves it. Afterwards he is always so zen (which stands in sharp contrast to  when I try to bathe him). He emerges always smelling so delicious because of the shampoo we use-- it was one of my few splurges on baby was to buy a whole case of Burt's Bees Baby Shampoo. Nothing is lovelier than a clean, warm, yummy-smelling baby all wrapped up in a snuggly towel.


Because we are doing a lot more tummy times these days, we've had to get creative. All I can say is THANK GOODNESS FOR YOUTUBE. Seriously, you can learn anything on there. Two channels that I have found really helpful are Pathways, which has videos that show you where your baby should be developmentally at various ages, and BabyPillars, particularly this excellent video on tummy time. 

The little man and I have sort of found our rhythm now, which feels great. It has been amazing to watch him change right before my eyes. I also know a few minutes to check my email (or do something else) are right around the corner when he is napping, which makes it easier to give him undivided attention when he is alert and curious. I do sort of wonder how that changes when you have a second child. Suddenly your time is split another way-- how do you manage to give your baby the attention he/she deserves while catering to your older child? How do you not get burned out because you have no alone time? 

It is a mystery I hope I'll figure out one day, but maybe one that won't happen as quickly as I'd anticipated (not that I am at all ready to be pregnant again just yet). Yesterday I talked to our fertility clinic and found out each frozen embryo transfer will cost about £5,000 (including all the meds and tests). Blargh! And it might not even work, which could mean yet another £5,000. Conceiving babies is supposed to be the fun and free part! However, it does make me appreciate having Ezra all the more. We are so lucky to have had our little miracle baby. Fingers crossed there is another baby or two out there for us, but if not, I feel so blessed to have him in our lives in the first place.

11 September 2018

Blankets



I love homemade gifts. I think it is probably because my numero uno love language is quality time, and homemade gifts just feel like someone has handed you time in a package.

Since we announced that squishy little Ezra was coming into our lives, we’ve received some very special presents. Some of these presents were blankets, many which were handmade, and were given by some of the special women in Ezra’s life from all around the world. There is so much love and hope in every stitch I feel like there needs to be a record of them, so that is what today’s post is: a visual record and story behind each blanket. 

Play Quilt from Grandma Bingham

For years I’ve been telling my mom I wanted a quilt for my future baby to play on that was made with their visual development in mind. Since a baby’s vision develops slowly out of the womb, I wanted something high contrast, in black, white and red (as red is the first colour babies can discern).



I think she thought I was a little bit crazy, as I know her impulse (as with every proper grandma) is to make something soft and snuggly in pastels. But she did this especially for me, which is what makes it so special. Ezra has tummy time on this little quilted mat virtually every single day.

Swaddle Blankets from Grandma Young



Possibly the single most practical gift anyone has purchased for us are these two jersey swaddle blankets. They work for everything—blanket, spit-up rag, towel, you name it. They’ve in nearly all of our recent posts because we use them constantly. They were especially perfect given that Ezra was born in the middle of summer and they are not too heavy or hot. 

Also, I really love the animal print. 

Blessing Blanket from Auntie Elizabeth

As soon as my sister found out I was pregnant she offered to knit me a blanket. That is no small offer as these things take FOREVER to make. I was so excited. I had secretly been she'd offer as I’d been wanting an heirloom quality blanket for our baby blessings. She ended up making it out of natural-coloured baby alpaca wool so it feels (and smells) amazing. For reals, I could sleep face down on a blanket like this for the rest of my life.



In typical overachiever fashion, she also surprised me by making a matching pair of booties and hat to go along with it. When I saw those little booties I probably screamed out loud. And if not out loud there was crazy schoolgirl screaming going on in my head because they are the most lush (new British word that I love!) little things I’ve ever seen.

London Blankets from Great Grandma Bingham

Over the course of my fertility journey, my grandma has made me several lovely flannel blankets. Whenever she finds a London-themed print, she buys it and makes me a blanket. We always tease her about her fabric buying addiction, but it's one I've definitely profited from over the years.



Seeing Ezra with the red one above is especially poignant as she gave it to me when Jon and I were heading home after one of our family reunions. It was back in the dark trying-desperately-to-get-pregnant days. 

At the time, I had never had a late period. Not EVER. But I was about two weeks late on the day she gifted it to me (we hadn’t had a chance to take a pregnancy test yet as I didn’t want anyone in the family to find the test by accident) and I was certain I was pregnant. Jon and I had spent the whole car ride from Utah to Montana talking and dreaming and getting excited about baby. The next morning I bought a test, but before I could take it, my period started. 

I remember packing up the blanket after that and wondering if I was ever going to have a baby to wrap up in it. But now I do and it's a special reminder of how far we’ve come. 

Also, we need to take a moment to acknowledge the cuteness of his little outfit. An 80+-year-old lady in our church congregation had been in hospital for several weeks, but then (as soon as she got out) immediately went to buy him this glorious little romper so she could give it to me on Sunday. People are so kind. Our church family has been especially important to us.

Snuggle Afghan from Australian Nanna

The last blanket was the least expected. When Jon and I lived in Australia, we met this sweet woman named Debbie at the place that Jon was working. I’d go into his work sometimes and help her push through some of the more mundane paperwork, which is when we became friends. 



She was there the day after I found out about our low chances of having a baby, but said “I know you’ll have a little one, and, when you do, I’m going to make them a blanket and send it to you! I'm going to be his Australian grandma!” To my surprise, she was very serious. She sent us a gorgeous blanket with  this note:

"Once upon a time, there was a lady and a man, VERY deserving of a little one to call their own. They waited and waited and waited until GOD had chosen just the right baby to send to them. FINALLY, the most perfect little boy was ready and he was sent from heaven to the lady and man. They were so excited to know that soon they would be called Mummy and Daddy. 

While they went about getting ready for their gift, a Nanna in Australia who knew the Mummy and Daddy and how much they had longed for a baby, decided to make a blanket to keep the little one warm in chilly London. The Nanna chose snuggly 100% Australian Merino wool to make the blanket and began crocheting. She spent many, many nights in her chair making sure each stitch was as perfect as the next. A little dog named Wilson sat on Nanna's lap all the while, keeping her company. 

One day, while the Nanna was at work, the little dog (who could be very naughty) tried to do some of the blanket himself. The Nanna came home that night to find a big hole right in the middle of the blanket where the little dog had chewed through! The Nanny was so sad. She had to unravel rows and rows of work right back to before the whole and hand wind the unraveled wool and start again. 

Months and months passed until at last the blanket was finished! It wasn't as perfect as the Nanna would have liked but it was made with love. She hand washed the blanket in wool wash and waited for it to dry and packaged it up unto a box ready for the postman to collect for its journey to London. 

The Nanna was happy, she could see in her mind the little boy all snug and warm in his crib under the blanket she had made and later when the little boy grew, dragging his blanket about the house and hiding under with his favourite toys. The End."

So.... yeah, I bawled while I read that the first time... and the second... and when I was typing it up. That is real love and you can feel it from all the way on the other side of the planet.

So there they are: mobile hugs in the form of blankets from all around the world.  Our little man is sure lucky to be able to be wrapped up in so much love from so many wonderful women.