It was the day after Halloween. I kissed my husband goodbye as he left me to deal with two kiddos who had just been out Trick-or-Treating and full on candy. He was going away for the weekend–about two hours west, to participate in his monthly Navy Reserve drill weekend, like he had for one weekend a month, two weeks a year, for the last eight years.
If you would have told me five months ago I would be nursing my baby in the middle of ballet class, I would have thought you were a crazy person!
Five months ago I was struggling so much with breastfeeding. Every other day I wanted to quit. Practically every other day I was visiting my lactation nurse. I was constantly text messaging friends for support. I was telling my husband, “Don’t let me give up!”
And look at me now:
It brings a whole new meaning to “The Boobie Barre”!
I also didn’t think I would be getting back into dance at three months postpartum. But I did it! I was determined to stick to my mantra of “just get moving!” I’m so thankful that my ballet class allows me to wear Adelaide, and bring Emmalyn. This class is something I look forward to each and every week. Sometimes I am super stressed leading up to it (…Emmalyn doesn’t want to get her shoes on, I accidentally take a wrong turn and end up on the interstate, Adelaide’s crying, etc., etc.) BUT I leave it all on the dance floor!
I couldn’t do the class without the amazing women and teacher who help and support me each week. They help me schlep my
entire house baby stuff into the studio, and hold Adelaide while I do pirouettes across the floor.
Oh! I could easily make excuses for not going. I could easily say: “It’s just too much work… It’s too far of a drive… I’m too tired…” because let’s face it–all the latter are completely true.
But it’s so worth it.
The hour-and-a-half my feet glide across the dance floor is therapy to me. It’s hot and sweaty therapy! For that hour-and-a-half I get to be me.
I never foresaw nursing my baby at the ballet barre in my future. But looking down at her sweet cherub face, catching her smiling at me mid-plies, is quite magical. Sharing my passion with my littlest one is special and unique, and well–just magical.
Five months ago I would have thought you were crazy for saying this was in my future.
And now? I’m the crazy person.
And I love it!
P.S. Do you think So You Think You Can Dance will add another genre of dance next season called Boobie Ballet? 😉
*TELL ME: What do you like to do for exercise post-babies? What *excuses* are holding you back? I encourage you do go after what you want–and make it happen! You are way more capable than you think!
There were a lot of names we threw around before deciding on “Adelaide”. As a little girl I was constantly writing down baby names in a journal. It hasn’t stopped since I’ve become an adult. It’s funny how “Emmalyn” was never on my “baby name list” growing up. I actually thought I would name my first girl, Halle, and calling her “Hal”. (I was slightly obsessed with Lindsay Lohan’s version of The Parent Trap.) Emmalyn was ‘almost’ Olivia, a name I completely adored, but was too popular for us at the time. Also, I find it interesting that none of Emmalyn’s ‘almosts’ showed up on Adelaide’s potential name list. It’s funny how things change.
I’ve been fairly shy my entire life. The whole “putting myself out there thing” has always caused me quite a bit of anxiety. I used to get butterflies in my stomach whenever my dad would have me call someone on the phone to thank them for a gift. I’d silently wish for the answering machine to pick up instead. Just thinking about it now brings back those all-too familiar flutters.
When my husband joined the military, we knew moving around frequently was something our family would have to get used to doing. In just the past four years alone, we have lived in three different cities. I was born and raised in the same house for eighteen years, and only ventured forty-five minutes down the road to “go off to” college. To say I like being in my “comfort zone” is an understatement.
Living in a new town requires you to put yourself out there and make new friends. This is something that has never been easy for me. I get so nervous approaching people. I feel as if I’m bothering them, or interrupting whatever it is they’re doing.
However, over the years, I’ve come to realize that people are usually just as nervous as I am when it comes to making new friends. Just like me, they’re waiting for someone to make the first move.
I admit, it’s definitely less intimidating to meet new people when you have a child. It’s a lot easier–in my opinion–to open up a conversation with “How old is your son?” rather than “How old are you?” But my problem wasn’t necessarily starting the conversation, per say, it was building upon it. I would be at various children’s play places and make small-talk with other moms, but that was the extent of it. I might bump into them again at another event and smile politely, or I might never see them again. I’d come home and my husband would ask, “Did you meet anyone new today?”
I’d tell him about so-and-so, to which he’d ask, “Well did you get her number?”
Umm, no… We would joke that making new mommy-friends was like dating all over again. My husband challenged me numerous times, “Why not? Why didn’t you ask her if she works or stays at home? Why didn’t you ask her where she’s from?” and other various “get-to-know-you” questions.
Repeatedly my response was, “Well, I don’t know. I guess I was too nervous.”
My husband’s response was, “Don’t you think she may have been just as nervous as you?”
He made a valid point. I pondered a lot about it: If I was nervous and shy about striking up a conversation that lasted more than thirty seconds, maybe other moms felt this way too?
“Make the first move,” my husband would say, “I think you’ll surprise yourself.”
So I decided to put on my Big Girl Pants, step out of my comfort zone and make the first move. And when I did, the results were amazing.
One of my first instances of “putting myself out there” led to some life-changing and memorable events. I used to take my oldest daughter, Emmalyn, to a weekly music class. There was another little girl there, the same age as Emmalyn, named Whitney, who usually came with her nanny. One day her mom brought her. I heard my husband’s voice in the back of my mind say, “Just talk. Ask for her number. Just do it.” When the class was over, I found myself conversing with this mom, who was super pleasant and equally engaging. She told me she recently quit her job to be a stay-at-home-mom and was looking to meet new moms. Ding! Ding! Ding! Hello, Opportunity.
I took a deep breathe. “We should exchange numbers and get the girls together for a playdate sometime,” I spoke up.
And thus became the start of a beautiful friendship.
On our first playdate, we learned that not only did we attend the same college, but were a part of the same sorority–just a few years a part! Our friendship quickly grew over the next few months, as did our daughters’. They were soon calling each other “Ems” and “Whit” and telling everyone they were “best friends.” Somewhere along the way, I too, found a best friend.
As our friendship was developing, I knew a move with the military was inevitable. It would have been easy to not let myself get involved, knowing we would be moving in just a few short months. Yes, it would have been easy, but it wouldn’t have been fair. Friendships don’t have to be One-Size-Fits-All. I can’t imagine my life without Meri and her sweet daughter Whitney, and I know my daughter feels the same way.
My relationship with Meri is just one example of how putting yourself out there can have such rewarding results. When we moved seven hours away last year, I had to make new friends all over again. It still didn’t feel “normal” for me to make the first move and ask for another mom’s phone number, but I knew the importance of building a community. I didn’t want my only friend to be my three year-old. It took some time and a few missed opportunities for me to realize how silly I was being. “Just do it,” I could hear my husband say.
So I did. I began interacting with other moms at play places, eagerly exchanging contact information. It felt a little foreign and quite random at times, but it was so worth it. I’ve exchanged numbers with moms at parks, in department stores in the baby section, and at Story Times. When I would come home with a new mom’s number, I’d be all giddy–like I was fifteen years-old again, sometimes even throwing in a happy-dance for good measure.
Building a community with other moms is vital. I’ve learned a lot from them, and I’ve learned a lot about me through them. It’s fun watching our children develop friendships, but it’s even more fun when we leave the kids at home and meet for breakfast after dropping them off at school, or grab a glass of wine for Girls’ Night, or meet once a month for Book Club.
I’m so thankful I decided to abandon my inhibitions and anxiety over meeting new people.
Imagine all I would have missed out on if I hadn’t stepped out of my comfort zone and introduced myself? A whole heck of a lot–that’s what!
Have you ever tried worrying and being grateful at the same time?
It’s only been two months, but it seems like Adelaide has always been in our family. People have asked me how I could love someone as much as Emmalyn. My answer to that is this: when you have another child, your heart just instinctively knows how to expand to make room for more love. It’s like lighting candles… the flame doesn’t burn out when you light one candle to the next, but rather ignites more flames. My heart ignites more love.
It may sound cheesy, but I am seriously obsessed with Adelaide! I just want to hug, hold, and kiss her All!Day!Long! The first three weeks were difficult because I felt like a never-ending milking-cow, but after she grew out of her cluster-feedings, I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. I also felt an even bigger weight lifted off when I stopped nursing from the left side (because it was so painful!!) and just continued on the right only. Holy goodness, that was the best decision I made. I cannot tell you how great it made breast-feeding for me. I am so so s-o-o-o glad I didn’t give up! And really, THANK YOU to everyone who supported and encouraged me–whether by person, phone, or text! I couldn’t have pushed through it without all of y’all! Thank you a hundred times over!
Adelaide is such a wonderful baby. She basically only cries when she’s tired, hungry, or needs to be changed. She’s also a major cuddle-bug! Her favorite spot to be is laying on mama’s chest. (It’s my favorite place for her to be, too!) Just this past week she’s really started to smile when you talk to her. And she even had a conversation with her big sister 😉 At bed time the other night, we were reading books in Emmalyn’s bed when she started cooing. Emmalyn would imitate her back, then Adelaide would coo again. It went back and forth several times, and both Emmalyn and I got a huge kick out of it. Adorable!
Speaking of Big Sister, Emmalyn is adjusting quite well to her new role, although I must admit, she can drive me a little insane sometimes. Like me, she’s also obsessed with her little sister and won’t stop touching her. The problem is she wants to touch her while she’s sleeping. And it’s not just a little peck on the feet or a soft touch, it’s a full-on Hugging & Kissing Frenzy! I’ve tried so hard to give her softer alternatives to showing Adelaide affection, but alas, she won’t listen. (Big surprise there… she’s three!)
The experience of having a second child is so much different than the first. I’m not nervous about anything (except what Emmalyn is up to if I have to run to the bathroom real quick!). With the first, I remember being nervous about going to Target, changing blow-out diapers, feeding at the right time, giving baths, and even just putting her head through a onesie. But the second time around, I feel like a pro. Also, Adelaide has no choice but to just go! go! go! With Emmalyn I was so nervous about public germs. However, once you’ve witnessed your child licking the metal poles in line at Sea World (can I get a barf bag?!), you learn to let loose a little. Hand sanitizer is still my best friend, and I try to keep Adelaide covered in her car seat when we’re out, but I’d go stir crazy (and Emmalyn would, too!) if we didn’t venture out practically every day. Adelaide has been to museums, the library, shopping, parks, church, and friend’s houses multiple times.
She is still sleeping in her “Rock-n-play” sleeper next to our bed, and I don’t plan on moving her any time soon. I love having her sleep next to me. I love hearing her breaths, snores, and baby pterodactyl-like noises. I love that in the middle of the night I can just reach over to nurse her. Adelaide is still wearing newborn clothes and diapers. She doesn’t mind “tummy-time” and holds her head up remarkably well. At night, she even scoots herself almost all the way over onto her side. She loves listening to Emmalyn sing, dance, and play the guitar. We’ve nicknamed her “Bright Eyes” for the way she watches everyone around her. Next to her older sister’s, you can definitely see that her eyes are blue. I just wonder if they’re going to stay that way?
My two girls have taught me the importance of living in the moment and slowing down. With Emmalyn, I tried so hard to do things “by the books”. I moved her into her own room at three months, and I didn’t want her to get used to being rocked to sleep, among other things. But they’re only this little once in their lives. I can’t believe Emmalyn will be four in a few months, and I cringe when I think about Adelaide growing as fast as she already is. I wanted to rush the infant stage with Emmalyn, and now I never want Adelaide to grow out of her newborn clothes! It’s amazing how your perspective changes.
I’m absolutely loving being a mommy to my two beautiful girls. It truly is the great thing I’ve ever done! It’s cliche, I know, but I can’t remember life before Adelaide. By the Grace of God, she was meant to be in our family.
And as Emmalyn would say, “Can we keep her?”
Yes. We can keep her. She’s ours forever…