The Kids Are Actually Cute

My Sweet Baby James

Posted on Jul 1, 2014 in It's the Navy Life, My Kid Stole My Cool, Pregnancy Stole My Cool, The Kids Are Actually Cute

My Sweet Baby James 0


People say you forget about the pain of labor, or else you wouldn’t ever have more than one child.


I certainly didn’t forget.  Maybe I didn’t remember the exact type of pain, but I sure remembered that it hurt. A lot. And not just during labor, but after. For some reason, none of the books or blogs or classes I read or took during my first pregnancy mentioned anything about postpartum recovery. Perhaps they reasoned ignorance is bliss.  Expectant mothers: You’re in for a surprise! But I won’t ruin it for you…

Anyway, armed with the knowledge of just how much pain was coming my way, I started to freak out a bit.  Especially because I know many women who are really into natural childbirth, and therefore I felt like I should be really into natural childbirth. Hey – I’m just as badass as they are! If they can do childbirth without pain medication, so can I!  But the prospect was still scary.

As I approached my due date, my doctor insisted I would deliver early.*  She was wrong, but at the time her predictions forced me to face reality. Labor was coming. Pain was coming. So I psyched myself up.  I’m active! I’m strong! I do yoga and know how to breathe! I can do this! (Plus, I have no choice.)  I even got kind of zen about the whole thing. Childbirth has nothing on me!

And then labor actually happened.  If you read my last blog post, you know that I spent the 36 hours before labor running around Orange County visiting various doctors, and went into labor late Thursday night. It was a restless two days, followed by a restless night of contractions.  Point is, when I did go into labor I was tired.  And a little stressed out.  All of a sudden I wasn’t so badass.

At first, I just kept moving through the contractions.   Hey, this isn’t so bad! I thought to myself.  I can totally handle this.  And then the contractions started coming faster.  Like, a lot faster. Wait, hold up. I was not ready for that. I mean, I knew I wanted labor to be quick (Elisabeth was 21 hours) but not too quick.  I wanted there to be enough time to get the epidural should I choose to go that route.

It was not long before I chose to go that route.

After about an hour of contractions I couldn’t ignore how close together they were coming, or how much stronger they were.  I went into my mom’s room. “Mom, just so you know I’m in labor and we’ll need to leave soon.”  I was really hoping to get in a shower, blow-dry my hair, and put some make-up on.** But I soon returned to her room.  “Actually, we need to leave now.”  And actually, I wanted that epidural, like, immediately.  Forget breathing.  Breathing is for the birds. I wanted drugs.

After the longest drive in the history of man (about 15 minutes) we arrived at the hospital around 2:30 AM.   There were a lot of babies being born that night, so I had to wait an eternity (about 20 minutes) before I could go to triage.  I was in a race against time – I knew that baby was coming soon, and I worried I wouldn’t have enough time to get the epidural. I am not woman enough for natural childbirth S***!

The nurse that examined me announced that I was already 8 cm.  “You’re not going to need the epidural,” she stated.

What does she know?! Is she the one in labor?! I had some very unpleasant words for her, but kept them to myself.

“Um, can I still have it?” I asked meekly.  “I mean, if it’s not too late or anything…”

“Yes, of course!” another nurse said cheerily. I liked that nurse a lot better.

They wheeled me up to my labor and delivery room while I tried to control my body’s uncontrollable shaking.  Shaking? I don’t remember the shaking. Must stop the shaking.

“Your breathing is great!” the nurse complemented, once I was in my room.


Eventually (about 10 minutes later) the anesthesiologist showed up and injected that blessed needled into my back. Oh sweet relief! I dozed for a bit, woke up, pushed for a few minutes, and had a baby.  Done and done.  It was 5:something AM. (Yes, I’ve already forgotten. I’m just that tired, okay? I have it written down somewhere, I promise…)  The baby was 8lbs 3oz and perfect.

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, Damon was able to Skype in to the delivery. (Damon did fly to CA for a few days in hopes of making the birth, but unfortunately the baby didn’t arrive before Damon had to return to Japan for his deployment.) I’m not going to pretend that having an iPad with a floating head passed around the room while you’re trying to have a baby isn’t kind of awkward, but it was great that Damon could be there in some capacity.

Our super awkward (but endearing, no?) first family photo.

Our super awkward (but endearing, no?) first family photo.

We hemmed and hawed all day over what to name the kid.  It’s family tradition to use “Damon” as the first name, but we could just not decide on the middle name, by which the baby would be called.  Eventually we settled on James.

And here he is, sweet baby James, a few hours after birth.


And he really is very sweet, my little cuddle bug.  He requires that someone hold him at all times (another reason why I am not blogging frequently – I have no free hands), but when he nuzzles his little head into my chest I know it’s just because he loves me.  Five weeks old and already a mama’s boy.  Yes! (Although, I wouldn’t mind if he let me put him down every now and then, you know, so I can sleep and pee and stuff.)



At the risk of sounding cliché, the past five weeks have flown by. James is growing crazy fast (he gained over four pounds in his first month), and he no longer looks or feels like a newborn.  Makes me a little sad, really.  But exciting things are ahead for our family as he continues to grow – and I continue to master parenting two kids instead of one***- and I look forward to sharing it with you!


*Note to doctors: Please don’t ever make predictions about your patient’s due date. Once you do so, your patient (or rather, her baby) will inevitably be late.  You will have instilled false hope into a tired, anxious, hormonal woman who wants nothing more than to not be pregnant anymore.  Spare her the disappointment of going to 40+ weeks. Please keep your professional opinion to yourself.

**This may sound vain, but I totally believe in doing your hair and makeup before labor.  Those pictures are going to be put up on Facebook by your husband without your knowledge, so you might as well attempt to look decent. Plus, you’re not going to have the chance to blow-dry your hair (or even wash it) for a very long time once the baby is born.  Just thinking ahead, folks!

***”Master.” Ha. More like, “Try to not completely screw up.”

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Christmas According to My Two-Year-Old

Posted on Dec 25, 2013 in The Kids Are Actually Cute

Christmas According to My Two-Year-Old 0

“Santa… Reindeer… Jesus!” This is how Elisabeth explained Christmas to me.  Seems like a pretty sound explanation. At least for a two-year-old. I have to say, I was pretty psyched for Christmas this year.  This was the first Christmas I’ve celebrated in a long time with a child present who gets Christmas.  Gets the fun, the joy, the celebration.  Well, sort of gets it.  See above.  Not to mention, Elisabeth was featured all over one of Tokyo’s premier department stores in their Christmas ad – on billboards, placards, shopping bags, the works.  I mean, when your daughter is basically the face of Christmas in Japan*, it’s easy to get into the holiday spirit.  See below. Anyway.  We tried to impart upon Elisabeth the importance of Jesus on this special day.  And indeed, Elisabeth loves her Fisher Price Nativity Scene (“Jesus’ House,” as she calls it), complete with a light-up manger and flying angel.  However, Jesus didn’t drive around base on a fire truck handing out candy on Christmas Eve; Santa did.  So Santa made the more lasting impression this year.  As did Santa’s lack of sleigh.  “Reindeer?” Elisabeth asked, perplexed, as Santa passed in an open-air vehicle.  She’s been obsessed with reindeer, Rudolph in particular, ever since we let her watch the 1964 Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer film a couple of weeks ago. “The reindeer are resting for tonight,” I explained.  She bought it. Later that evening at church, following a prayer in which the pastor touched on the real reason for the season, Elisabeth excitedly exclaimed, “Santa!”  She continued to joyously shout for Santa until I silenced her with a blessed pacifier.  “We’re celebrating Jesus!  Baby Jesus!” I whispered.  “Santa!”  Okay, then.  Not much to argue with there. Even later that evening, Elisabeth became increasingly concerned about Santa’s milk and cookie situation.  I don’t know where she learned about the milk-and-cookies tradition, but it was sure stuck in her head.  “Santa milk cookies.  Santa milk cookies!” She repeated over and over and over to Damon, shaking her little finger at him and nodding her head in earnest to...

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The First (and Second) Haircut

Posted on Aug 14, 2013 in The Kids Are Actually Cute

The First (and Second) Haircut 3

Elisabeth does not like anyone messing with her hair.  Which is why it always looks terrible.  Every time I go near her with a hairbrush or bow, she screams and runs away.  And frankly, I don’t need to deal with that kind of attitude.  I’m sure I’ve got years and years ahead of me during which Elisabeth and I will disagree about her hairstyles, so why start now? That being said, her hair was starting to get straggly.  Like, greasy straggly.  Like I don’t bathe her.  But I DO bathe her!  I swear!  Lest people think I neglect my daughter’s personal hygiene, I decided the time had come to get her hair cut. I dreaded it.  My ears hurt thinking of the shrieks that would surely fill the salon as I forced Elisabeth into a salon chair.  The cries of, “Nonononono!” as the stylist tortured her with hair clippers.  But it was time… This was around six weeks ago, shortly after I arrived to California.  I had thought about taking Elisabeth to the children’s salon where, as a child, I had gotten my hair cut.  But I Yelped that salon and dang were those reviews bad.  I know you’re probably thinking, “She’s a toddler.  How badly can they screw up her hair?” To answer that, I ask that you direct your attention to the picture below: This is me as at toddler.  To be fair, I was older than Elisabeth is now, and had much more hair.  Also, this was before I ever went to the specialty kids’ salon out here in California.  But I show this to you as an example of When Bad Hair Happens to Good Toddlers.  My mother let someone hack my hair into a veritable bowl cut, and I spent the better part of toddlerhood wandering around looking like a boy dressed in his sister’s pink clothes.  (Except in this picture, when I just look like a boy.  What IS this outfit!?) Anyway, there was no way I was going to subject Elisabeth to a similarly embarrassing fate.  I found a salon that had...

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Cheesus Loves Me

Posted on Jun 30, 2013 in The Kids Are Actually Cute

Cheesus Loves Me 3

Elisabeth loves cheese.  I mean, LOVES cheese.  Breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack time, she looks up at me expectantly and asks, “Cheese? Cheese?” She also loves music.  Girl can get her groove on.  Like many families, we end Elisabeth’s day with a bedtime book and song before putting her to bed. I recently began incorporating “Jesus Loves Me” into her bedtime routine.  After several evenings of singing this classic Sunday School song to her, Elisabeth began asking for it by name.  Sitting in the rocking chair, head nestled into my shoulder, she’d pop out her pacifier just long enough to ask, “Cheese?” The first time she said it, I melted.  That “J” sound must be a hard one to nail.  But she was trying.  And pronouncing “Jesus” cheese is pretty darn cute. After repeatedly asking me for the “Cheese” song, I got to wondering.  Did she actually think I was singing about cheese?  That Cheesus loves her?  Given how much she loves cheese, it’s not a far leap for her to believe that cheese loves her back.  Think about it: “Cheesus loves me this I know/For the Bible tells me so/Little ones to [cheese] belong/They are weak but [cheese] is strong/ Yes Cheesus loves me/Yes Cheesus loves me/Yes Cheesus loves me/The Bible tells me so.” She’s going to be one confused little girl come Sunday School time… Share...

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The Big Birthday

Posted on Nov 21, 2012 in The Kids Are Actually Cute

November 21, 2012.  Elisabeth turns 1.  I turn into a total wreck. I was recently watching an episode of “Parenthood” in which one of the couples sends their daughter to college.  And I lost it.  I can’t believe I have to send Elisabeth to college!  … In 17 years. As I am clearly emotionally incapable of accepting that my baby girl is no longer a baby baby, I will instead link you to her birth story. Sorry, I just gagged.  I hate that term, “birth story”.  But that’s what it is, I guess.  So in honor of Elisabeth’s big day, let’s revisit how she tortured me for the better part of 24 hours. And while you’re reading that, I’m going to go crack open a bottle of champagne to celebrate surviving my first year of motherhood. Share...

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