Simon Says: Hello!

My third and last* baby is here! Simon!

Simon would have been Matilda’s name if she had been a boy. Once I pick a name, I’m attached and in love. There were a lot of reasons I was apprehensive to have a girl right after the 2016 election, but saying goodbye to my Simon was one of them.

But I knew there was a Simon. My Simon. And now he’s here. He’s as sweet as I imagined. All he does is sleep and eat. The 4-year-old and 2-year-old are the challenging ones these days. I have the easy job of staying awake and snuggling him.

He was 10 pounds at birth! I knew he would be. I’ve never felt that physically impaired in my life.

On Sunday he had a 102.5 fever, which is terrifying for a baby under 3 weeks old. He and I went to the ER and then spent the night in the hospital. With my first, this would have been a huge ordeal and I would have cried the whole time. (I remember Murray spent one night in the NICU after I went home, and it’s true; I cried the whole time.) But this time it was all automatic and going through the motions. Doing what we need to do. Counting our blessings instantly. Knowing he’s tough enough to handle it and we’ll be fine. I’m proud of us.

I have a lot of grand plans for maternity leave, including terrible braindead blog entries! (*waves*).

I haven’t blogged in a long time but holy cow, it’s hard to not use emojis when I’m talking about my cute-ass baby! Hahaha.

 

*Unless Pence makes me a handmaid. That birth certificate questionnaire (Are you married to the father? Have you ever done drugs?) makes me think it’s coming.

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Five Things 7.25.19

1. I’m about to have another baby—basically the only time I write here anymore, right? I keep wanting to be someone who writes, outside of my 9-5 that is, but with two toddlers and a soon-to-be newborn, I don’t have a lot of brainpower these days. (Or is it because of the smartphones? It’s probably because of the smartphones.) Maybe I’ll try to write more on maternity leave, if Moose (what I call this giant baby) is as nice to me as Matilda was (and still is). Anyway, I’ve been talking about my blog a lot this week and I missed you! Yes you, the literal one person who maybe got a notification for this? Don’t tell me if you did. It’s kind of liberating to think that no one is reading this.

2. I just watched the trailer for The Goldfinch and I basically came here because I’m trying to not cry at my desk? I really can’t handle stories about mothers and sons! It’s weird how my heart swells and breaks in completely different ways for my kids. Murray is SO much like me, so stubborn and rebellious and loud and stressed out by the world, but at night he snuggles with me and kisses my belly and talks to me in this sweet, soft voice and I have to go cry in the bathroom because I love him so much. Okay, now I’m almost crying again. It looks like a great movie but I don’t know when I’ll feel strong enough for it.

3. Today is the 10 year anniversary of my first date with Justin. Still amazed that I got so lucky. Okay, crying again.

4. My baby is scheduled to arrive in 25 days, but my mom (the only babysitter my kids have allowed) is going to be visiting my brother in Italy for 18 of those days. AAAAAAND Justin is going to be on a shoot for 2 of those days, in 2 different states! It has made the last month of my pregnancy very stressful, especially when one of your kids was a month premature. However, the amount of friends who have immediately piped up with, “You can absolutely call me at 3 in the morning!” has been overwhelming. I hope I don’t have to call a friend or two at 3 in the morning, but I’m lucky that I can.

5. Speaking of babies and birth and family, I can’t fucking believe that I haven’t jumped over here in the last two years to tell you that I found my birth family. I fucking found my birth family! Both sides! I’ll tell you more about it someday!

 

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Meet Matilda

The last time I was packing up to leave this hospital and introduce a new baby to this world, the Supreme Court had just ruled in favor of marriage equality. It was so uplifting to see all of the celebrations, to know that so many people I love had won a right they had fought so hard for, and to know that I was bringing my kid into a better world than expected.

Obviously, it feels like a different world today.

But you know what? I love that in this world, our heroes are scientists, journalists, and civil rights lawyers. I love that, more than ever, people are standing up for others and refusing to accept bigotry and hate. I love that we’re having tough conversations, confronting lies, and fighting for the truth.

I want everything in the world for my daughter, but most of all I want her to be good. She is, after all, here because of me. I want her to understand that most of the advantages she’s been given so far are pure luck, and they don’t make her better than anyone else. I want her to use what she has to fight for the people who don’t have the same. I want her to care. And I want her to be kind.

So you know what? I’m glad that Matilda is coming into an uncomfortable world. I’m glad she gets to see both the best and worst showing their truest colors right now. I hope it will help me teach her to be compassionate, empathetic and generous. I hope it will help her look below the surface, appreciate differences, and surround herself with good people. And, I’d like to think it will make her a little smarter, cooler, and funnier, too.

So buckle up, world. Matilda Tolliver is on the loose today. And she’s here to make this place better than she found it.

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I’m With Us

The thing about women is: we are resilient. We know what it’s like to be the most qualified person in the room, and still have to prove that we are as good as the worst. We know what it’s like to bite our tongue and choose our battles. We know how to duck into a stall, have a good cry, process that pain, and move the hell on with our day. And while some peg us as weak because of our emotions, we know how to hold it together to care for the vulnerable ones around us, to summon strength we didn’t know we had so that others can pull from it.

After all, we are built to have another life depend on ours. Some of us have literally been cut open and ripped apart for someone we love. Some of us have hearts deep and open enough to accept another without question, immediately taking that cub as their own. And the rest of us somehow care for others automatically, even on our worst day, as a reflex. Motherhood is not what makes you a woman; we’re women because we have the strength that makes the impossible possible, including motherhood. We all have that same power, and we are all selfless in how we wield that sword.

Like it or not, this is the same country that we have always lived in. Women, especially women of color and LGBT women, know this better than the rest. Even if she had won, if we had won, those threats are still real. Those ceilings and hurdles are still there. We’re still going to have to work twice, or three times, or four times as hard.

But you know what? Nasty women still vote. Bitches still get stuff done. We can lift a car with one hand when the ones we love are in danger. We can certainly lift a country if we all work together.

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Five Things – 1.9.16

  1. I guess I should introduce you to my son. The idea of writing a post like I used to, summing up everything I’ve been through and everything I feel now, is impossible. I could write forever about him. I probably will write forever about him. But for now, I’ll just tell you his name: Murray. Every day he does something brand new, something hilarious, something frustrating, and something so beautiful that it makes every day perfect, no matter how bad that day was. I’ve never been more tired and dumb and bored and lonely and exhausted and ugly, but I’ve also never felt happier.
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  2. There isn’t a lot I can say about my job without getting fired, but I’ll just say that this morning I bought $30 in lottery tickets.
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  3. My New Year’s Resolutions were going okay, but then the unmentionable work problems got in the way and I had to eat, like, Cheez-Its for lunch and skip my workouts to put out fires. I’m not having a week like that again. From now on, my health is a priority.
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  4. Sometimes you read something that completely stops your heart, then kicks open a floodgate of realizations and emotions that you weren’t prepared for at all.
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  5. I’m aware that I’m a terrible writer right now. That’s what this is for!

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Monster Nursery

Well, I’m almost there.

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I’ve been astonishingly lucky with this pregnancy so far… no morning sickness, no heartburn, no gestational diabetes, no complications, no acne, a normal weight gain, etc. But now comes all the stuff I can’t avoid: bending over. Sitting down. Standing up. Getting out of bed. Putting on pants. Tying shoes. Moving. Breathing. Living. 8 weeks to go and I finally feel pregnant.

I haven’t written much because (a) you probably follow me somewhere else and (b) I think we all had those friends in our early twenties who documented every damn day of their pregnancy online. It was all the same and all insufferable. I don’t want to do that! So unless it’s hilarious or terrifying or hilariously terrifying, I don’t think you’ll care. Food Pregnancy and more food work stuff are the only things on my mind these days, so this blog would get rill old rill quick. Also (c) as we’ve established, no one blogs anymore. BUT I wanted to show you our monster nursery! I’m so proud of it!

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Everything is from Target, IKEA or The Land of Nod. We’re sensible about most of our purchases but we always splurge on the perfect rugs; this Jellybean Rug was no exception. They really do tie a room together! Chauncey has been making out with it nonstop:

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We’ve had those polka dot IKEA pillows on our couch forever; I brought one into the room on a whim and gasped. Then I hunted down a few more on a site that sells discontinued patterns. My friend Kim made me that baby blanket for Christmas and I love it! And of course, UglyDolls:

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When we first started dating, Justin would give me an UglyDoll every time I watched Chauncey while he was out of town. I love bringing in something from our early relationship. And I love how the UglyBuddies are holding baby monsters, too.

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It should surprise no one that Justin built another insane IKEA wall. My dream has come true; I finally married Dean from Overboard.

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Also, there’s 2 more rows of cabinets up there. 11-foot walls full of storage space? Come to momma.

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The window seat is the best part; if you take away the pad and the bins, it can be a tiny desk! Also, Justin told me he’s going to build a gate in front of the window when the baby’s old enough to climb up and open it, which was pretty hot. Safety precautions are like foreplay to an expectant mother. The mobile was our other splurge; it’s by Felt N Joy on Etsy. She’s incredible! It’s everyone’s favorite part.

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And finally, we found the perfect art during our second trip to Snoqualmie/Twin Peaks/Seattle—adorable monsters by Seattle artist Justin Hillgrove. Another nod to our early relationship and super cute!

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A special shout out to my favorite person Jen, who discovered her inner Pinterest mom and threw me the most perfect shower, complete with tons of paper monsters.

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Now we just need one more little monster, and it’ll be done!

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Five Things – 1/30/15

1. This is my first Five Things! A few writers that I admire have done this for a while, and it seemed like a great way to keep up with my blog without, you know, actively blogging. I finally worked up the courage to ask if it was something I could do, too, and they were really encouraging! (People—friends!—used to yoink ideas from my blog all the time and, even though it shouldn’t, it really bothered me. I just wanted to be respectful, I think. Or realize my own dumb unwritten PMS rules apply to me, too.) I don’t know how often I will do this, but it’s a nice format for whenever the mood strikes.
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2. Justin and I threw our third Grilled Cheese Party for my birthday. This was the biggest party yet—about 35 people. People get so excited about these parties and look forward to them all year, so I try to go all out. Most people might think it’s weird to drop an insane amount of money for my own birthday party, but the best gift is making people I love happy—and the bonus is seeing them all in the same room. Justin set up his GoPro in the middle of the spread, so we wound up with this:
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3. Yesterday was my birthday. Is it weird that I enjoy getting older? When I was younger, I had so many questions and worries; I was so unsure about how life worked. The older I get, the more I know and the more I relax. So fuck my twenties! I am balls-deep into my thirties and loving it.
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4. I usually go to my shrink, Dave, whenever things are stressful or insane—mainly once or twice a year. But recently I’ve started going just to be proactive—I tell him about things I want to work on (confidence, motivation, etc.)—and he gives me techniques and ways to cope. I’ve always believed that cognitive behavioral therapy can help you conquer anything. Now I’m just putting it to practice.

5. I’m 16 weeks pregnant. According to all these dumb apps, my kid is the size of an avocado. I don’t feel pregnant at all – no nausea, no fatigue, no weight gain (though, I am eating like an absolute monster). If it wasn’t for the sonogram, I wouldn’t believe it. I actually bought a fetal Doppler and use it at least once a week, like, “Are you there? Are you sure?”

Growing up in a disabled family and watching so many people I love go through so many horrible things placed me in a different mindset for good news, or even general good health. The more wonderful life is, the more anxious I get and the more I brace myself, preparing for the worst. I grew up accepting and expecting that I couldn’t have the same things that other people would have, that things would naturally be harder and sadder for me. So honestly, the hardest thing about this pregnancy is accepting that I might actually have a normal, healthy baby—and shaking the fear that the second I drop my guard, something will go wrong.

That being said, despite my best efforts I am pretty fucking excited about this.

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