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Mo - 23 month

In (just under) one month, Mo will be turning 2. With no exaggeration, it seems like only a few months ago that I was at her first birthday party. How it has been 11 months since then, I have no idea. How she transformed into a completely different child, from a baby to a child really, I do not know. I love to watch her grow up, but I'm holding on to this last month of her one-year-oldness with a tight grip. So today we celebrate that Mo is 23 months old!

Mo in mom's big flower turquoise hat

She's amazing, you guys. Everyone loves their own kid(s), everyone is lucky to have the kid(s) they have, so I know I'd say this about any child of mine. But Mo is truly amazing. She is so good, so kind, so fun, so funny. I hear and read and witness regularly how difficult toddlers can be, but I often can't relate. Mo makes having a toddler seem easy. I can't take any credit, or at least not much. She was born that way. She has a beautiful spirit that everyone recognizes almost immediately. 


OK enough humble bragging. Here's a little more about what she's up to lately.

Her favorite things to do are:

  • Watching "moonies" (movies)
  • Drawing
  • Dancing
  • Eating candy

Unfortunately, her favorite thing is TV. How did we get here? Are all almost-two-year-olds this obsessed? She constantly asks for a moonie, and even though she doesn't sit and stare at the TV for hours - she gets up and plays, dances, draws, reads - but as soon as a show or movie is done, or even if we just mute or pause it, no matter where she is or what she's doing, she runs over with a remote and says, "Moonie on peas!"

Next to TV, her favorite thing is drawing and coloring. She is an artist! We have notebooks all over the house full of her scribbles art. She usually just scribbles, but sometimes she tries to draw specific things. She'll draw a blob and say titty tat or something. Though, once she drew a house that kind of looked like a house, and a ball that looked like a ball. 

Mo drawing

Mo also loves to dance. She shuffles and hops in a circle whenever there's music, even just a little jingle from a toy. And the candy. We limit her intake, but oh how she loves her candy! We started doing an advent calendar with her, and she quickly learned that the calendar contains candy. So now every morning, the first thing she does when we get downstairs is yell, "House!" The calendar is shaped like a house. She wants candy for breakfast. One day, behind the door she found only an eraser, and she immediately stuck it in her mouth, thinking it was candy. I had to go back and add a piece of chocolate to each day so she wouldn't try to eat rubber or plastic.

Mo "hat"

Mo knows her colors. Sort of. She knows what colors are, and knows the names of her colors, but she doesn't always get them right. Except yellow, or I mean lellow. She recognizes when we pull into our neighborhood and yells, "home!" She is crazy about her little stuffed puppy (oof oof), as usual, but the kitty (wow) has temporarily been replaced by her blankie, which she calls Pump for reasons we have not determined. 

We've back tracked on the potty training a bit. She lost interest, and we're not pushing it. Also, I keep reading that to be ready, they should be able to dress and undress themselves, get on and off the toilet by themselves, and start to recognize urges. Mo likes to try to dress and undress herself, but it definitely doesn't happen in a timely manner. We use the toilet adapter seat rather than a child toilet, and even with a stool, she can't get on or off without some help. And I have no idea if she recognizes urges. If she does, she makes no mention of it. So even though she was interested for awhile, I don't think we're there yet, so we've put it on the back burner.

Mo ponytail car big girl

We recently went to the light display at the ballpark. Mo got to sit up front and stick her head out the window, and she loved it. 

We also went to my nephew's birthday party at Chuck E Cheese yesterday. At first, Mo had a little heart attack when we put her in a ride next to a fake life-sized mouse. But then she had some pizza and rallied and had a blast. And then the three of us sat down in the sketch booth, and magic happened.



What I wanted

I was fine. Or I thought I was fine. Thanksgiving started as a tough day, dining with two pregnant relatives. Those who know about my miscarriage were very respectful, but inevitably there was happy chatter about those in happy (pregnant) situations, as there should be. The day turned around a bit when, just over five weeks after my D&C, AF (as they call it on the ttc (trying to conceive) message boards) came to visit. I was elated because it meant forward motion. Now we could decide if we were ready to start trying again. I felt great, happy even, and I told everyone so.

Then Sunday night I was reading a book, and there was a small mention of a newborn baby, and suddenly I was crying. I cried for a good long time for what I lost. Again.

Somehow this loss is different than the first. Not better or worse, but different. My first pregnancy came on the heels of many painful months of trying and failing to become a mother. We were trying to conceive, trying to adopt, nothing was going well. Then I finally got pregnant, and within days it was ending. I hadn't had a chance to really connect with the pregnancy, to bond with the baby before it was taken from me. That loss felt like the loss of possibility more than the loss of a baby. I thought I might never be a mother, that this may have been my one and only chance. I was devestated.

This time, I'm already a mother. I have my amazing Mo, and if she's all I ever have, it will be enough. I no longer long to become a mother - I am a mother. So this loss was not about the fear that I'd never have the opportunity, it was truly about the loss of a baby. A baby that I wanted very badly.

I'll have another. Or at least I very much hope I will. And that baby will be exactly what I need and want. But Sunday night it really hit my heart how much I wanted this baby, the one I lost.

I held my pillow while I cried because I needed something to fill my empty arms. And I murmered over and over: I wanted that baby. I wanted that baby.

Even though my life is moving on, even though I'm thrilled my body is getting back on track and we can start to try again, I'm still incredibly sad for this loss. I wanted that baby.


Mostly I wish

I'm reading the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin right now. You'd think it has something to do with my recent miscarriage, but you'd be wrong. I'm in a book club at work, and we're discussing this book in reference to how our organization might implement a happiness project on a corporate level. I haven't found it particularly helpful to my personal life yet, but I think that's because it is meant for people who are happy but looking to be happier, or people with general melancholia seeking to be happy. Not for people going through circumstantial depression. 


I did read something last night that resonated. The author visited a friend after a terrible car crash, and asked her, "Do you feel lucky to be alive?"

The friend simply answered, "Well actually I feel like I really wish I hadn't been in a damn car crash."

That's how I'm feeling about this loss. Do I feel lucky that I have one healthy child already? Do I feel lucky I didn't get further in the pregnancy before miscarrying? Do I feel lucky that I was able to get pregnant relatively easily this time? Do I feel lucky that there were no other complications? Do I feel luck I don't have to experience the hundreds of other more devastating things that could have happened?

Yes, of course.

But mostly I feel like I really wish I didn't have this miscarriage at all.

Almost everyone I discuss this with mentions something I should be thankful for, and their intentions are beautifully pure and full of love. But reminding me of those doesn't make me feel better, they only make me feel like my feelings of anger and sorrow are not legitimate in the face of everything I have to be thankful for.

Because I already know those things. Every day I mentally list what I'm grateful for. It's a good practice and helps take the focus off the sadness, but it doesn't erase it. I'm a very logical, rational person and that normally serves me well in matters of the heart. But in this case, I can rationalize all day long, yet there is a part of my brain, or I guess my heart, that won't be ignored. A sadness that will not be erased by logic. It doesn't matter that I might get my period tomorrow and get a positive pregnancy test in a month. It doesn't matter that I have so many wonderful things surrounding me. I'm sad and I can't help it.

I've gone out of my way lately to avoid all things baby and pregnancy. Social media makes it nearly impossible, but I make a valiant effort. I'll be so glad when baby bumps and newborn photos no longer make my heart hurt. I can't wait until I can be happy for my friends' good fortune without also accentuating my loss. 

I would have been 15 weeks tomorrow.


Mo - 22 months

Earlier this week, Mo turned 22 months. In the last month her language has really exploded. I wrote about this last month, too, but even since then she's talking significantly more. She is stringing several words together and expressing all kinds of ideas. She has transferred all of her signs into words except "thank you" and "love." Actually it was kind of cool to watch the transformation. Up until a week ago she still signed "please," and a few days ago she started saying "peas" while signing, and now she has pretty much dropped the sign altogether. 

Mo in dad's sweatshirt

Can I attribute all of this to TV? Nah. But it is interesting that her language took off right at the same time we started letting her watch TV. She only really watches PBS, and the children's shows on that station are very educational. So who knows, maybe it helped, probably it's just a coincidence. She does love TV though. It's crazy how quickly they go from oblivious to obsessed. Her attention span isn't long, which is good in this case. She asks to watch TV, but 10-20 minutes later she's on to something more exciting. Like pulling every single dish towel out of the drawer, laying them on the ground, and going "nigh nigh" on the kitchen floor.

Mo cowboy hat

We're still working on hitting. She picked up this bad habit somewhere last month, and even though she totally knows it's bad, she loves to test us with it. She even giggles while hitting, thinking this is a hilarious game we're playing. The best part though is that the whole thing lead to her first three word phrase. She hit our cat, and I told her no hit kitty, and she repeated "No. Hit. Wow wow." (Wow wow is meow meow, which is how she said cat until very recently.) The next few days, she walked around saying "No. Hit. Mama. No. Hit. Dada. No. Hit. Wow wow. No. Hit. Fwown (friends)."

Mo fall 2014 outside

We also had our first major stand off about a month ago. It was an unusally warm day in late October, and we were all in the back yard. Mo had a bowl of mixed vegetables that she intentionally dumped on the ground. I asked her to pick them up. She refused. I told her to. She refused. I told her she had to sit on the ground with me until she picked up her mess. She is usually really good at picking up, it's impressive really. So this behavior surprised me. But she sat there refusing for a long time. Finally I told her it was either she picked it up or it was time out. She refused. So I walked her inside, up to her room, and put her in her crib (usually we use a pack n play in our living room when she needs a little break from the action, but we had gotten back from an overnight away and had not yet reassembled the pack n play). A few minutes later I asked her if she was ready to clean up. She said yes, so we went downstairs and outside, but once there she refused. So back up to the crib. Repeat. Finally after our third visit to the crib, it dawned on me that maybe she didn't want to touch the grass. So I picked the veggies off the ground and asked her to take them from my hand and put them in the bowl. She agreed and did so quickly.

Mo lawn chair

It was a good lesson for both of us. I learned that sometimes she's not misbehaving, that maybe there's a motive behind her actions, something legitimate. And maybe she doesn't quite have the language yet to explain herself. She learned, hopefully, that you can't out-stubborn mom. I was born with stubborness in my veins, and maybe she was too, but I've got 32 years of practice on her.

Mo dressing herself

We haven't made much progress with potty training, but we haven't really tried. I decided, as a wise fellow mother told me, there are benefits to diapers. We're not in a rush to be done with them, and I'd rather wait until she is fully ready in hopes of fewer accidents. For now, I enjoy not having to constantly ask her if she has to go, and we continue to familarize her with the whole idea. She still likes to sit on the toilet, but nothing has happened there yet.


Mo giraffe hat

We had a good Halloween. Mo came to work with me in the morning - we had a Halloween brunch, and those of us with young children brought them to the party. Then I dropped her off at daycare, where they trick or treated in the neighborhood. And that night we drove up to my sister's and hung out with the family. It was very cold, too cold to really have fun. We hit five houses before calling it quits, but Mo loved every second. She was trotting along in the dark, trying to keep up with the big kids. She loves people, as I've said many times before, and she thought we were visiting everyone. She kept trying to go into the houses, and in one case she not only got in, but got all the way down the hallway before Mike caught up with her. Such a social butterfly! Maybe that's next year's costume...

Mo giraffe costume


Mo kitty face paint

PS Now she's obsessed with candy (or "tahn-dee).


The pain of miscarriage does not end when the pregnancy ends

It still hurts. It has been three weeks since my D&C, six weeks since that first ultrasound, the one where we first learned our baby was not growing as expected. I am starting to heal, but I think it's important for people to know, anyone who knows someone who has gone through this, that it doesn't go away quickly. The pain lingers.

I recently linked to this post on facebook after it was recommended by a friend. The funny thing is that I've been reading Finslippy for about 10 years, I've surely read her miscarriage essay before. But I didn't remember it, it didn't resonate with me then. So it may not resonate with others who have not experienced this kind of loss. But it's worth a read anyway. So much of it spoke to me - spoke for me. She writes so well what I've been struggling to write. 

This part really resonated:

There’s so much I’m grateful for, of course. I’m grateful that I already have a child, a beautiful six-year-old boy named Henry. I’m grateful that my husband and I are healthy and young(ish) and can try again, if we ever manage to have sex without my crying. (Someday! Cross your fingers!) I’m grateful that it didn’t happen later in the pregnancy, that I didn’t get even more attached, if that would have been possible. (I was already talking to my unborn fetus every day, gazing at the ultrasound printout, coming up with names.) I’m grateful that I didn’t have a stillbirth. I’m grateful that Henry didn’t know about the pregnancy, that we didn’t have to deal with his heartbreak on top of ours. I know all the reasons I should be grateful, but if you try to remind me of even one of them, I will punch you right in your head. 

I, too, am grateful for my healthy, wonderful child. I'm grateful for my own health, for my husband, my family. I'm grateful I got pregnant relatively easily and hopefully will again. I'm grateful that I didn't have to wait until I started bleeding to find out something was wrong, that I didn't spend 4, 5, 6 weeks in ignorance. I'm grateful that I didn't lose the baby later, that I didn't have to give birth to a baby that had died or would die shortly after. Just like she said, I know all the reasons I should be grateful, and I am, but if anyone tries to remind me of that, I will punch them.

Right now I'm waiting to get my period so that we can safely try again to conceive. It feels like an endless wait. In the long run, in the big picture, it will be short (I hope), but while I'm living it, it feels like a lifetime. Everyone keeps telling me "it's not that long," as if that is a comfort, as if that erases the pain of the fact that I'm waiting at all. That I'm supposed to be 13 weeks pregnant instead of waiting impatiently to try to get pregnant again. 

What they don't understand is that every day they live is like a week to me. This is with me every minute. My heart is heavy every second, and it drags through the day like it's waist-deep in mud. Even when I seem happy or when I appear to not be thinking about it, it's there. I can't hear one more person tell me about their interpretation of time. 

I foresee a happy ending to all of this. I hope with all my heart that I'll get pregnant quickly and even have a baby next year. I can't focus on the possibility that those things won't happen, or that I might have another loss. I choose to be positive. But even if it all works out beautifully, this still hurts. I still cry alone far too often.