and then this happened…

16 Jul

We had a tremendous weekend, about which I’ve been looking forward to writing.  It involved travel, music, a wedding, family, friends, lots of little people, and a little booze.  But my two girls are asleep, one perhaps a more deeply due to two-month shots–proud to say that, unlike last time, I did not burst into tears when Evie’s face crumbled in pain.  So I’m about to turn in, but quickly, because this is just too ridiculously obnoxious…

On the drive to the pediatrician’s, I was thinking that, despite making the mistake of getting on the scale last week, I’ve been good about psyching myself into feeling comfortable in my own postpartum skin.  Woot!

So comfortable was I that I didn’t self-consciously suck in my tummy as I walked around a local coffee shop, bouncing my friend’s infant in my arms, ooo-ing and ahh-ing at all his distinct, adorable idiosyncrasies.  An older woman approached me, “And when is your baby due?”

Straight-forwardly, and without animosity, I said the only thing that came to mind, “I’m not pregnant.”

“Uh.  Oh, I see.  Um, that was rude of me.”

I smiled at her, as if in agreement, and walked away.  John later asked if I told her I was two months postpartum.  No, better just let the woman feel uncomfortable, I thought.  Can’t say my self-confidence didn’t take a stumble.  Whatever.

A few snapshots of the Oppenheimer women from the weekend:

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56(+) days!

15 Jul

56 days evie

This little nugget turned 56 days old last Wednesday.  For those of you in pediatrics or emergency medicine in the Philadelphia area, you know that is a BIG milestone.  (Going back to this post, I realize that I included the wrong age, citing 60 days instead of 56.)  Now if Evie were to develop a fever (with a toddler older sister in daycare who loves to kiss her little sister, that is entirely possible), the doctors caring for her would at least take pause before initiating a full sepsis work-up.

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I have been relishing the snuggles a little more so than I had with Ari…maybe because I am acutely aware that they will not last, but I think more so because I’m not so horribly sleep deprived and, frankly, not as much a victim of baby blues or depression as I was with Ari.  The weather, the fact that Evie sleeps rather than goes ballistic in the car, the 3- to 4-hour chunk of sleep I’ve come to rely on in the middle of the night, all makes for a happier, calmer mama.  Oh, and we’ve officially started hiring a few hours of babysitting a week so I can complete my application for residency!  For the women who get good writing done during infant naps, I am in awe.

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7 Jul

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One of my three favorite foods (a superfood!) and the semblance of this sweet one’s eyes.  Love. love. love.

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Off subject and truncated: In the last week I’ve found that, at least for me at this time, it’s acceptable to ask for help before I’m running purely on survival mode; it’s okay to say “yes” to generous offers purely because they make life more enjoyable.  John’s been working the evening shifts recently.  On Tuesday last week, he got home at 1am to an explosion of legos, books, and caked applesauce, with me and Evie passed out on the couch downstairs.  Yes, I could put both girls to bed by myself.  But the following night (and the next night and the next night), a friend came over to hold Evie while I put Ari to bed–heaven!  Those five minutes by myself with her were crucial, to both of us.  Breastfeeding alone necessitates that I get a lot of one-on-one time with Evie; but I also need my time with her brave older sister.

Cuteness: Ari has been insisting of going to bed with 2-4 books in her crib.  Sometimes she flips through one after I put her to bed, before she falls asleep.  Sometimes she stacks them in a corner, then gingerly places her lovey on top and snuggles in.  Twice now, a book has fallen out of the crib and Ari has responded with blood curdling screams.  When I arrived, she was standing up, fat tears on cheeks, howling.  I retrieved the book and handed it to her, crying instantly stopped, and she dove back into her pile of books and stuffed animals and went to sleep.


parallel play

3 Jul


It feels like a very long time ago that I would purposefully plan nothing over a weekend so I could sleep in, vegetate, and recharge.  I’m sure most parents know (and probably most non-parents who are even a little less oblivious than I) that, with toddlers (especially the toddler + small infant combination), life is so so much better if there’s a game plan.  Otherwise we end up with me breast-feeding Evie crouched in a mountain of legos and board books while Ari pulls my index finger and the hem of my skirt toward the door…that’s the tear-free rendition.

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Luckily, this toddler requirement forces me to be social, get out of the house, and proactively seek out my friends.  I’m happier for it, especially in the early infant days when, for me at least, it’s so easy to just not leave the house.  And fun is easily satisfied with a friend who will still want to engage in parallel play even after getting bitten (can we guess whose kid is the biter?), a sprinkler, mud, a perching rock, and two pups.  I’m expecting my girls will be not so easily satisfied in the coming years, but I’m hoping that mud continues to be an impetus for fun.

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(Can we get caption suggestions for the picture above?)

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monday morning

30 Jun

We’re kicking ourselves that we didn’t have the camera ready for her first rendition this morning, arguably more gleeful and exuberant.  Still, not a bad way to start the week, in her “big sister” tee, pant-less.  Also subtly noted in this video, now that we have two girls, we’ve fully embraced the explosion of pink (and purple and sparkles).

Still coming off the high of seeing Ari delightfully play in a sprinkler with one of her besties yesterday afternoon.  We love summer!

to my daughters, on our bodies

23 Jun

Ari & Evie,

I’ve reached that time, over a month postpartum, 10-12 lb heavier and a lot softer than my standard, generally not quite comfortable in my own skin.  I’m hyperaware of the angle of my face in pictures, trying to avoid the double chin.  Our tender moments in the bath after our beach explorations were interrupted when I gripped handfuls of doughy flesh around my midsection.  I’m feeling particularly insecure, vulnerable, weak, sloppy, less capable, and frankly less attractive.

I’ve been here before, and I keep telling myself to be kind to myself, to fight against these sinking emotions that creep in the first couple months after birthing a child.  I’m eating well.  I’m exercising my body when possible (i.e. when John is available for all parenting needs and I’m not overwhelmingly exhausted).  And I’m breastfeeding.  Last time, despite efforts, it took me over four months to shed a pound, but eventually the weight came off, the muscle mass returned, and my non-maternity clothes fit again.  My body will get back to “normal” but, in the mean time, I’d like to go over a few things with you two.

I am your mother, a mother of two sweet, healthy daughters now and, as such, I embrace the increased responsibility to be good to my body and to demonstrate thoughtful body awareness and image.  Sure, there might be others to whom you look as examples of how to view your body, but (and maybe I’m being cocky or naive here) I think there’s a good chance that I’ll be one of them.  If you treat your body unkindly or carelessly because of something you’ve seen me do, utter, or suggest, I will have disappointed you and myself.  So, here’s what I’m thinking:

  1. I will love my body and celebrate its abilities, always.  I will encourage you to do the same.
  2. If there are aspects of my body that I would like to change, I will do so with the goal of improved health, not simply fitting into a smaller dress size.  And I will be reasonable and flexible with my expectations, I will not allow myself to be consumed by them, nor will I be demoralized if they veer from plan.
  3. I will use weight as only one marker of change, and only when appropriate.
  4. When anyone–your father, family and friends, members of the crossfit community–comment positively on my appearance, I will respond with gratitude and subdue the urge to add some deprecating remark or disclaimer.  (It’s a defense mechanism: I want people know that I’m acutely aware of my “flaws,” so that they judge me less–kind of sad, isn’t it?)  A simple “thank you” and a sincere smile are all that’s needed.
  5. I will do my best of demonstrate healthy eating habits by enjoying a wide range of foods aimed at nourishment, consumed mostly in discrete meals with maybe an afternoon goûter, as in France, but of course also allow for inconsistencies.  (We don’t need our meal times or rituals to be ruled over by a jail sergeant.  For instance, when your father has worked a string of evening shifts and it’s the hottest day of the year, it’s okay to celebrate with an afternoon yogurt, just ’cause.  It’s even okay to use two spoons.)photo 1 photo 2 photo 3
  6. I will never starve myself or join some ridiculous food fad that will leave me deprived.
  7. Two vague mantras that I’ll try to practice regarding consumption: a) Everything in moderation, including moderation. b) Spent more, eat less.
  8. When it comes to your bodies, please know that I am hardwired to love them as part of your whole package, unconditionally.  You’re in the life stage now where I just want to nibble your toes and smother your bellies with kisses.  I’m sure I’ll be less inclined to do so in 13 years, which you’ll appreciate, but I won’t adore and respect your bodies any less.

Some of these points will be easier said than done.  I’m a work in progress, but know that I’m trying.  Thank you for unknowingly encouraging me in these pursuits.  I love you both, my sweet, brave, beautiful girls, to the stars and back, and I will always strive for you to feel that love, and the support for mind and body that is an implicit component of it.



beach beach beach!!–or some variation

18 Jun


On Friday afternoon I packed up the kiddos and drove down to Bethany Beach.  Between beach traffic, a closed bridge, and flash flooding, the car ride was more of an adventure than I had planned.  For the first couple hours, I felt like I was winning!  We left immediately after Evie nursed, and she happily went right to sleep.  A good variety of special snacks, Putumayo World Music, and a set of mommy’s keys kept Ari content.  The last two hours, unfortunately, were not so pleasant for them, as depicted by the state of Ari hair (mashed up, tangled-beyond-repair sticky beehive).  I hope that most was forgiven when we arrived at this oasis on the bay.  Our hosts moved their cars so we could park in the garage during the downpour.  They cradled Evie, found toys for Ari to enjoy (at 9:30pm, was pretty special!), and they poured me a glass of cabernet!

John spent most of last week moonlighting at a beach nearby to Bethany, so he joined us after getting off his last shift, close to 11pm.  We had a feast of meatballs that one of our favorite mothers had kindly made and frozen for us, and I subsequently threw into the car at the last minute.  The sustenance was appreciated during what turned out to be a tumultuous night.

All worth it.  So worth it.  We hit the beach shortly after 8am and, for the next several hours, could not keep Aurelia out of the water.  She would sprint to it, slash and fall delightfully into the coming waves, and it was all John could do to keep her from running right into the ocean.  It was not hot, and we would have to take breaks when her lips turned blue, her body covered in goosebumps, and her limbs stiff.  But we could hardly get her covered in a towel before she would be reaching toward the ocean, begging “wa-wa, wa-wa, puh-weeeess!”

And she learned a new word: BEACH!  Of course, it came out like another word that starts with the letter “b” and ends with an itch.  We didn’t help things by cracking up–Ari would smile proudly and repeat “beach,” or some variation, over and over again…*sigh*, we are in trouble!

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Evie slept squishyly through most of her first beach experience:

IMG_5593After a similar outing the following morning, we made our way home, this time by caravan–so much better!  We stopped briefly at the outlets, and Ari picked out these accessories:


She refused to take them off.  Stylin’ since 2012, already cooler than her mama.



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