Abraham, Rachel, Soren and Liam. Our life together in Smalltown, Idaho.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Portrait of the first few days with a newborn (in which I cry a great deal).

-Abraham came to visit and bring us home Thursday afternoon. While we waited for my lunch to arrive, he climbed into the hospital bed with me and Liam. The three of us cuddled while huge snowflakes swirled around outside our window.

-When we arrived at Grandma's to pick up Soren, I came in first and found him in a high chair eating supper. "Mommy!" he said cheerfully. "Mommy, mommy, mommy!" I gave him kisses. Then Daddy brought in the new baby and we talked about him for a while, explaining again to Soren how this was his baby, his new little brother. Soren seemed intrigued by this idea. And then the baby started to cry. So I picked him up, explaining that I needed to feed the new baby. Soren immediately began to scream, his eyes welled up with tears, he threw his bowl and spoon on the floor, and between sobs he said, "Hug? Hug? Hug?" I, being the mature adult, burst into tears as well.

-Soren's hands seemed so small to me just a few days ago. Now they seem enormous. I sat in a rocking chair with Liam last night and cried and cried, thinking about how hard I've tried to remember everything about Soren's babyhood, and how I don't, and how he's grown so big so fast. I cried, too, because it's hard to split my time between those two little angels of mine.

-Liam is so tiny. He weighed 7 pounds 5 ounces at birth and is 21 inches long. His little legs and little arms are thin enough that Grandma says she thinks he looks like a little refugee baby. They are long and narrow and covered with loose jaundiced skin. His skin is very soft and I love his sweet tiny little smell. I can't get over how narrow and little his rib cage is, how long and thin his fingers are.

-Our first night home we decided Liam was starving to death. He nursed and nursed and nursed and never seemed to get enough. We decided to give him a little formula to tide him over until my milk came in. Digging around in our cupboards, we discovered that while we had bottles, we had no nipples. So after each nursing session we would feed him formula with a dropper. At about four AM, after a three hour nursing session, we had him eating from a dropper again. It struck me that he looked like an orphaned kitten and I cried and cried and cried. (My milk supply has since increased and the little one has been eating and pooping like, well, a newborn.)

-Liam is a good nurser. He latches on without trouble and eats very gently. Soren thinks this nursing thing is very weird. When he and his daddy were looking at a book together. Soren pointed at a picture of a glue bottle on one page and said, "Boobie. Ewww." Forgetting, apparently, about the first 13 months of his own life, when boobies didn't seem so gross.

-Liam currently alternates his nights with me and Abe: the first few hours he sleeps on Daddy while they watch movies. Then he nurses for like three hours. Then he and Abe sleep on the couch or rocker recliner. I get up with Soren at around 7 and we have some baby-free time together. We'll all be sad when Daddy goes back to work.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Happy Birthday to Liam!

William James Skousen was born on February 25, 2009 at 3:52 pm.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Still pregnant.

Not dilated.
Transverse-turned-vertex baby has turned back to being transverse.
Scheduled to attempt a "version" (turning) of the baby tomorrow morning, followed by an induction.
If version is unsuccessful, we're cutting this baby out.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I am the egg (wo)man. I am the walrus. Coo coo ca choo.

Still pregnant.

Not dilated.

But the good news is that our once-transverse baby has decided to turn vertex. So hopefully we'll be able to hypnotize him into this world yet.

(These pictures were taken on Valentine's day, right before Abe and I took ourselves on a hot date to Sportsman's Warehouse, BestBuy, and Toys R Us.)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Quick Update on the Adults in the Family

-Abe started his Master's program last month. He's pursuing a degree in Library Science, which suits him perfectly in every way. All the coursework is done through the University of North Texas, which means that the majority of what he'll be doing is online. However, at the end of January he spent a week in Houston attending an introductory seminar.

-A bonus to this was that my brother Scott and his wife, Amanda, live in Houston. So Abe was able to stay with them and do a little touring on the side. They took him to a beach in Galveston, the Natural Science Museum, and the Houston Space Center. They also kept him fed and sheltered (thank you, Scott and Mandy!)

-While Abe was away it snowed six inches and I had to shovel out the driveway, sidewalk, and steps by myself. At 8 months pregnant. With a bundled up toddler growing more cold and miserable by the minute. I felt very tough and feel that I should brag about this at every turn.

-Also while Abe was away I cooked ten dinners and froze them. In one (very long) day.

-I am apparently incapable of being alone, however, as I never did spend an entire evening by myself in Abe's absence Either Nick or Loriann would come over-- or I would go to my Mom's or Collette's.

-This is becoming increasingly more about me and less about Abe. Oh well.

-I started a new job this month. I'm now working at the Harbor House (an inpatient drug-and-alcohol rehabilitation program for adolescents--the same place Abe works) as the administrative assistant. It's about six to eight more hours a week than I was doing before, but the work is about the same, the co-worker camaraderie is about the same, and the pay is much much better. At the DVIC I was going in twice a week for six hours at a go; now I go in every day for about four hours. I've actually been enjoying leaving the house every day and don't feel that Soren has been at all neglected. I just hope I'll be able to keep up this pace after Liam comes!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Newsletter: 25 1/2 Months

Dear Soren,

Daddy applied for a job with the county this month. He didn't get it, but that's not important. What's important is that when you and I were waiting for him to fill out his application, you met someone very important.

We were standing just inside the double doors of the main entrance when up the stone steps of the courthouse strode a tall, confident man with shoulder-length blond hair and a well-groomed beard. I thought I recognized him as a reporter from the Idaho Falls Post Register, but you knew better. You took my hand and very softly and very reverently said, "Cici?" The man quickly reached the top of the steps and burst through the double doors. He was obviously in a hurry, but when he saw you he stopped briefly, looked down into your upturned face, and said in a deep voice, "Hello, little Dude." He then brushed past us and began removing his watch so he could pass through the metal detector.

I wonder if this is something you will remember in the future. "I met Jesus when I was very young," you'll say one day. "Maybe it was a dream. I don't know. But he called me a 'little Dude' and seemed like a pretty hip guy--wore a Rolex even-- so I've really been into Christianity ever since."
Soren has discovered the joy of bubble beards. He says it makes him look like a snowman. (At least, that's what I get out of him smearing bubbles on his chin and then saying, "Nonny! Nonny!") Neither Abe nor I showed him this. We're wonder if it's an instinctive thing, that all children are born knowing that bubbles are best as beards.

Also this month you appear to have developed an early-onset Oedipal Complex. You seem to feel that you and your daddy are engaged in a to-the-death competition for my love. Classic example: One Saturday morning Daddy and I were snuggling on the couch. You asked to join us (Your exact words were, "Up? Hug?"), so I hauled you up onto the sofa with us. First you cuddled up against me. Then, with your free hand, you bopped your dad in the face. So I placed you back on the floor with an admonition to be gentle. You came back in a minute and repeated your request: "Up? Hug?" So we decided to give you another chance. Again, you loved up to me and then pulled Daddy's hair. You were again placed on the floor, again reminded to touch nicely. When you came back a third time, you laid down on my enormous round belly and, more cautiously now, slowly began torturing your dad: an "accidental" whack on the chest with your enormous cranium; a "gentle" hair-rubbing session turned rough, a position change that involved grabbing Daddy's neck skin and pulling hard. Needless to say, you weren't allowed back on the couch for the duration of the morning, a blow you took to be hard. But I promise you, son: one day you won't want to marry me and you'll be very glad that your dad is alive. Oh, and also, you'll realize that there's no limit to the amount of love someone can give.

Soren practices going to the potty. No actual peepee or poopoo were involved in the making of this photo.

For Christmas we gave you a single container of Playdough. It was blue. And you loved it. You carried it around the house. You slept with it. You brought it to Grandma's. You took it to Auntie Collette's. You screamed when it got taken away. You sat at the table for hours and shaped it into snakes (you call them "neeks.") You followed me around and requested that I make you playdough balls. It was a sad day when we realized the blue playdough was completely dessicated. So when Nana (your Great Grandma Forbes) mailed you some birthday money, we knew just what to do with it: we bought you some more. FOUR containers this time, all of which have since dried up and been thrown away. We replaced all of that, too, but your interest seems to have waned, at least temporarily. But anyway, you spent the bulk of this month in the kitchen with your playdough. Perhaps you'll grow up to be a sculptor?

You've started developing a mild attachment to things that are comfortable to you. You have a few favorite stuffed animals (Monkey, Bear, and Bunny). You have a favorite blanket (called "BobBob"-- it's a Spongebob print). You have a favorite lullaby: "Horses" (All the Pretty Little Horses.) When you're tired or in pain, you'll request these items: "Bear!" "Bob!" "Horses!"

And you say the following words adorably:

Fork = "Hort"
Dinosaur = "Naur"
Monkey = "Muneet"
Button (as in the garage door button) = "Muneet"

So these are my thoughts and memories of you this month.

Your daddy and I love and love you. We're so glad you're ours.



My Little Miracle

When I started skidding on the ice on the middle of a busy highway, my choice immediately became clear: ram the expensive-looking SUV in front of me or swerve into the driveway of the nearest parking lot. I swerved, skidded some more, and plowed into the middle of the snow-filled lawn of an empty office building. "Shit, Damn," I whispered. Then, remembering I was on the phone, and that it was my poor mother listening on the other end, added, "Mom? You still there? I just ran off the road. I've got to go."

Soren sat calmly in the backseat, utterly unfazed by either the accident or his mother's vulgar language, and continued to lick the peanut butter and honey off his sandwich. Traffic continued to pass by on the highway, business as usual.

I hung up and tried desperately to maneuver out of the spot; I succeeded only in burning a lot of oil and digging myself much, much deeper into the snow bank. So I killed the engine, said a little prayer for help, and tried to think of someone to call. Abe was out of town. Daddy was at his job in the middle of the desert. I wondered if I should call the police. Or a tow truck. I tried phoning my brother-in-law: his work cell phone, his personal cell phone, and his home phone all yielded to voice mail. I turned the engine back on and spun my wheels some more.

And then, wonder of wonders, a white pickup truck pulled into the parking lot. Out stepped two long-haired twenty-something men with scruffy facial hair. I got out of my car and said hello.

"We were going to push you out," said the one with curly hair "But now we can see you're way too stuck for that."

"You've got to be pulled out," added the one with a beanie, "But we don't have a rope."

"I think Mark has a rope," said Curly.

"And he might be working today," said Beanie.

"Or maybe Carl. Seems like he had a rope."

The two made a couple of phone calls, conferred among themselves, then said to me, "We're going down to Auto to get a rope. We'll be right back."

So these two complete stranger drove to a nearby auto parts store, purchased a rope, drove back, and hauled me out of my predicament.

"Thank you so much," I said, leaning out my window as I prepared to drive away. "How much do I owe you?"

But Beanie, who was guiding Curly's driving, just looked disgusted and waved a hand at me.

"Thank you so much," I repeated. "I don't know what I would have done without you."

He nodded and I drove away. In the rearview mirror I could see him climbing back into the white pickup truck, an angel wearing a Marlboro jacket.


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