Hi! We just got back from a week on Cape Cod visiting with family and friends. It was our first big trip since having Miranda, and Miranda's first time out of the state! I considered doing one long post about our trip, but since we were there so long and did so much, the post would be really long and unwieldy. Instead, I'll just give you a lot of smaller posts.
The Clous in front of Follins Pond in Cape Cod
Note: taking good photos with two kids is way more difficult than taking them with one. Especially when one of those children is 3 years old!
Thank you for the pictures Grandma Kathy! Only we know what a huge pain they were!
Miranda's main activities are drinking milk, sleeping, peeing, and pooping, but this month she added smiling and cooing to the list! Smiles are so awesome. I can't wait to hear her laugh!
Food: The cluster feeding frenzy has not settled down. If it's a "growth spurt" it's been happening for two months now. I can't get a break! For the first six weeks, there were no signs of the outrageous fussiness that effected her brother at this age, and I started to theorize that the constant nursing kept her too busy to cry a lot. Alas, at the six week mark she started having regular evening fussy periods that were definitely caused by being over-tired. (With the second child you can see what's going on more clearly, though perhaps you still can't do much about it.)
Sleeping, 6 weeks + 3 days
Sleep: Last month, she often went to bed between 9:30 pm and 11. For her first little chunk of sleep she goes about 5 hours which is super awesome. Let's say she wakes up at 2:30 am, I'd feed her and put her back int he crib. (Sometimes with great difficulty.) Then she'd wake up again at 5:30ish, and after feeding, I couldn't get her back in the crib so she'd move to our bed. More feeding at 7:30-8, and then at 9 or 10 am.
At 8 or 9, I'd move her to the living for her "breakfast" and my coffee. She might then try for another morning nap. But she won't take any daytime naps in the crib so they happen in our arms or in her rainforest bouncer. After this morning nap, she's really random. She won't nap in the crib at all and when she falls asleep it's just for catnaps of about 20-40 minutes. Yes, I'm holding her for naps and ruining her the exact same way I ruined James. But at least she lets me sleep at night so that's a better deal than I had with James.
6 weeks + 5 days
Growth: She was in newborn size for a long time (a size that James skipped altogether) but quickly outgrew 0-3. She sort of fits 0-3 and I have her wear it to the extent that I want her to get use out of her cute stuff but really she's better off in size 3 months.
7 weeks, smiling at her favorite parent
Skills: She grasps my shirt, finger, or my hair, but she can't or she won't grasp a rattle. She's not really interested in toys much yet, though shaking her rattle at her can distract her from crying sometimes.
Miranda will not take a bottle or a pacifier, unlike her brother, who did both things his first week.
Looking Cuban, 7 weeks + 1 day
Personality: When she's not eating or sleeping, Miranda likes to be walked upright. This is another difference from her brother. He demanded that you stand up when you rocked or bounced him but holding horizontally was fine. Miranda demands to be vertical, is not interested in bouncing at all, and prefers that you walk her around the house. She'll let you sway on place if you take her to a good window. She's has no interest in me singing to her but enjoys her dad's songs. Perhaps because I'm tone deaf?
Surprise! 7 weeks + 5 days
Me: I went back to work at 6 weeks, but I work from home part-time and the kids don't go to daycare. So far it hasn't been a huge struggle because Kevin has been off from work for the first college summer session and is constantly juggling one or both kids. I am afraid for when he goes back. Despite the constant feedings, my weight-loss stopped after the automatic 23. Some days the scale says 24. So I have about 6 pounds to pre-Miranda and 12 to pre-James.
Kevin: it's weird for Kevin that Miranda is constantly attached to me for feedings because it limits how much time he can spend with her. And when I do have to run out (for a work call or the dentist) he has to endure a lot of crying because Miranda won't take a bottle. But he is completely smitten with his little girl. He calls her honey pie. I don't even know what a honey pie is. I call her pooquita.
Her coquettish smile.
Update: We had her 2-month appointment late on July 1st and she was 24.25" (+1.25" from last time), and 12.8 pounds (+2 pounds from last time).
For Father's Day all Kevin wanted was to go hiking without kids like he did the last couple of years. Haha. But to be fair because he works from home 5 or 4 days a week, and he's on vacation right now, he spends A LOT of time with the kids. And actually he went hiking Saturday morning so he still spent Father's Day Sunday with James and Miranda. I made Cuban yellow rice and sausage for dinner as a treat.
James started it.
This was his first Father's Day as a "Dada" of 2! If you've been following the blog at all you don't need me to tell you what an amazing father Kevin is. He shares equally (or more) in all the parenting. He's the one that does all the fun stuff with them too and most of the reading to them. He can't feed Miranda right now, but that's it. Having 2 kids has just made him twice as a amazing. We love you so much!
Nana came to visit for the weekend. We can't exactly go out for date night since I'm feeding Miranda but mom was able to help by taking her turns with our fussy little angel. Here are some cutie photos of them.
Michele came to visit all the way from Richmond! Not only did she attend Kevin's reading in Brooklyn, but she helped me watch James the whole time which was super-helpful. We actually joked that more than anyone else's it was Michele's reading because Michele read about 20 children's books to James while we were there!
Michele meeting Miranda in Brooklyn.
Three Latina ladies
And then! Michele was nice enough to come over and visit with us too. Obviously when James saw her he thought it was reading-to-him-time again! Oh and of course, we had copious amounts of sushi. That is what we do.
Reading James some books she bought him
Since Michele was so super awesome to us, and because I'm proud of her make-the-world-a-better--place endeavors, I'm going to plug her Richmond Food Co-op start-up. I figure if I'm not actually busting my butt to improve things the way she is, the least I can do is give a little money to a good cause. Which are you doing? Oh and I got a thank you mug. Yay!
Happy first Father's Day as a dad to 2 children to Kevin! I think you're juggling the new responsibilities quite well. You are by far the most amazing father- you give them all of your "free" time. We all love you like crazy. As always, there will be another post about how we spent Father's Day and how awesome Kevin is.
Happy Father's Days to all our friends who are veteran dads: Marc (1 girl), Jim S (1 girl + another kid on the way!), Ben C (2 boys), Mike Sh (3 girls+ 1 boy), Matt L (3 girls), Casey (1 girl + 1 boy), Tim D (1 boy + 1 girl), Jason V (1 NEWLY HEALTHY boy + 1 girl), Mike St (2 girls), Rob P (1 boy), Trey (2 boys), Dan M (1 boy and a girl on the way!), Donald (1 boy), and Ed T (1 boy), Patrick (1 girl and a boy on the way!), John K. (1 boy), Jon S. (1 boy), and Jeff P (1 boy)!
And happy first Father's Day as a dad of 2 kids to Trey (2 boys), as a mom of 3 kids to Matt L (3 girls), and as a mom of 4 kids to Mike Sh (3 girls + 1 boy)!!
On Wednesday, Kevin read from his short story collection, We Were Flying to Chicago, at Brooklyn BookCourt as part of the The Sackett Street Writers’ Series along with Julia Fierro, Cristina Henriquez, and Bret Anthony Johnston.
Reading "I Know Who You Are" from the collection
We couldn't get a babysitter for a Wednesday so we bravely/foolishly brought both kids. Luckily Michele and Allison were in town from Virginia and Maine, respectively, and they helped me the entire time. I was glad to hear Kevin read in New York, and it was actually really cute to see James watch his father read. He clapped for him and everything.
The four Clous at the reading!
Michele meeting Miri
Jon and Briggs chilling before the reading
Allison meeting Miri
Thank you guys for being super awesome! Kevin's next reading is at Epoch on Cape Cod.
NEXT EVENT: EPOCH, 855 Harwich Road, Brewster, MA, June 26, 2014, 10:00AM
Booklist reviewed and STARRED Kevin's collection. Booklist is very important because a great many libraries order their books based on Booklist's reviews. Here it is:
Clouther’s first collection of stories shows an “old” talent—meaning, his sophistication in treatment and technique and his wise observations of the human condition have the feel of an author who has the experience of several story collections behind him. These 10 stories reveal Clouther’s perfectly attuned ear for the clichés, rhythms, and timid vocabulary of ordinary folk; on the other hand, he has great empathy for what these people may not be able to articulate but know in their hearts. In plotting out a story, he is not only creative in how best to generate the condensed dramatic tension necessary in a short story but also intuitive in knowing when and how much to reveal about a person or happening while still ensuring that this power-in-concentration is maintained. “Charleston for Breakfast,” about a young man who blows off his job to take a ride with his girlfriend, is a heartfelt, intelligent presentation of Clouther’s aptitude for knowing just how far to go into a story so that reader interest is sustained while still adhering to limited elaboration. We eagerly await his next collection.
Even though our 5th anniversary was the least eventful- we just stayed in Long Island, took the kids to the park, and ordered some Indian food - it was also the best. That's because I'm psyched about being a family of four. I've never been in a family of four, and I love it.
The 4 Clous on our 5th Wedding Anniversary
Five years is always a good time to check the status of things. If someone had asked us what our 5-year plan was when we got married, happy and "2 kids" would have top of my list. Granted I would have also had "student debt paid off," "house purchase," and "wedding weight" on my list but it's no fun if I have nothing left for my 10-year goals right? The state of this union is strong!
The kids are awesome.
At the park
James drew our family! L-R: James, Me, Miranda, and Kevin
When we went to Sunny and Trey's wedding three months after we were first married, Sunny and Trey asked us to give "newlywed" advice. Being so new to the institution of marriage we gave advice about relishing the feeling of being a newlywed. Our attempts to stay in this mindset must have been somewhat effective because my friend Rachel remarked almost a year later that she couldn't believe we were still in the "honeymoon phase."
Picture of us at Trey and Sunny's wedding, September 2009
By the time our friends Lukas and Sarah were getting married a year after us, I warned Sarah that the first year might involve a "testing" of the new limits of the relationship- sticking your toe just over the line to see what you can get away with now that the other person is stuck with you! Of course, shortly thereafter you remember that you don't want to push the other person's limits because you love the person and want them to be happy. That was in June of 2010 and that was before we had kids and before losing my dad.
Brooklyn, June 2010
Here are my thoughts on marriage after another 4 years: the most important part of marriage is picking someone good in the first place. Obviously I love Kevin, but life is really hard, harder than you think it will be when you're young, and so sometimes I think that it's even more important that I like him. If you respect and even admire the person your spouse is, it's easy to keep loving them and to love them even more as the years go by. If you don't exactly respect them, then it's easy to forget to love them over time.
Street fair in our town, June 2011
Here is the three-part test I would apply for marriage: 1) Do you love them? (Duh.) 2) Would you go into business with this person? (If not, why not? Yeah, that's going to be a problem in marriage too.) 3) If you want kids, do you want your kids to be exactly like this person? Because you actually don't have any control over that, and your kids will carry your heart around forever. That's basically it.
Martha's Vineyard, June 2012
Of course, Kevin did and would pass my test, but not just pass it, he exceeds it. I think he's awesome. He can do pretty much anything he sets out to do, he's hilarious, loyal, and great at all the relationships in his life: husband, father, son, brother, and friend. He's smart. He's soulful. He's cooperative but challenging in the right proportions. I will never win the lottery (mostly because I don't play the lottery) but I hit the spouse jackpot.
Vegas Baby! June 2013
I know a lot of people say they love their spouse more than the day that got married, but here is some evidence that I do. Kevin didn't just sit with me when my dad was sick, he did everything he could possibly do to help. He talked to doctors, he weighed options when the rest of us were panicked, he helped my mom even on days I couldn't make it to the hospital. I've talked about this before, but especially now that we have kids, it's a comfort to know that I have someone I can rely on to be a good parent, give good advice, and stand up when things get really hard, like when they're sick.
These days instead of trying to toe the line I try to stay far away from the line. Like in another room if I can. But sometimes I get tired/hungry/uncaffeinated and find myself in the general area. Hopefully, I'll get better at that in the next 5 years. In the meantime you can enjoy Kevin's posts about my ridiculous complaints. When they stop, you'll know I've mastered that. Anyway, 5 years! Woo!!
Everyone said Miranda looked like James when she was born, which makes sense since they were both enormous. Now that Miranda has thinned to a svelte young woman, it's easier to see all the ways in which they're different. For instance, Miranda sleeps at night! (James only began sleeping at night in January, and he's still not exactly maintaining a regular schedule: Despite no longer napping, he's presently [4:00 pm] passed out in front of the television, as "No Signal!" bounces around the blue screen.) Also: Miranda doesn't take a bottle, which means she eats ALL DAY LONG. Here's a comprehensive list of the things Miranda does besides eat and sleep:
1) Smile because she's going to the bathroom
2) Smile because she's surreptitiously going to the bathroom, though you think she's smiling at you
That's it! That's the list.
Miranda's non-stop eating has been hard on my wife, since she's breakfast, lunch, dinner, fourth meal (copyright: Taco Bell), brunch, snack, nightcap, etc. My wife has responded to her new role admirably, feeding on demand, while simultaneously moving several thousand photos from one computer to another and watching whole seasons of previously unheard-of shows on Netflix. James has also risen to the occasion, showering his sister with generous affection, though his three-year-old ego is now so fragile he has a complete breakdown if even the slightest thing doesn't go his way. Ketchup on his face, for instance, is a crisis. Another crisis would be removing ketchup from his face. James has developed a nearly erotic attachment to the itsy bitsy spider, which is the last thing he thinks of before sleeping and first thing he thinks of upon waking. He sings the nursery rhyme on unending loop and looks for the spider in every drainpipe. A typical summer afternoon consists of James running around the living room screaming DOWN CAME THE RAIN while my wife feeds Miranda and I look for my wife's phone, which is invariably next to her, usually physically touching her.
Josh and and Anna had a baby boy named Maxwell! Check out the cuteness! I wish he didn't live so far away so I could snuggle him!
This means that of all my law school friends who have had babies so far, all of them had a boy first (and I'm the only one with two yet): James, Carter, William, Luke, Caleb, and Maxwell! In fact, the blog babies are now 21 boys to 15 girls! (And two of my friends are responsible for 6 of those girls!)