Oh, that our hearts may be pricked and our prejudices challenged and our fingers worked to the bone from calling and calling and calling as we live our lives while children are being treated like someone’s wretched refuse; the heaviness and weight of their sleeping forms being rocked and cherished by no one in particular.Read More
Coming off of one of the most wonderful weekends I can remember, I wanted to make sure I documented things.Read More
Mac has woken up again from his 2:30 nap (and, as such, has also woken me up from a rare nap time of my own), so I’m sitting in his nursery writing. Maybe this was a gift.
This post is inspired by the husband of a friend of mine. Charlie Peters is chronicling the life of a stay-at-home-dad, and reading the loveliness he’s been writing has made me itch to sit down and write my own account.
We’ve hit a new phase of sleep training this week: the cry it out phase. Mac is officially old enough, according to the nurses who wrote our sleep training books, Moms On Call, to sleep through the night without a middle-of-the-night feeding. He’s getting all the calories he needs during his waking hours, just like we do. He can also see as far and as clearly as we can, which has blown my mind. I’ve been testing this theory by making faces at him from a distance, across a room. It holds up. He thinks I’m just as funny from 7 feet away as he does from 7 inches away.
This new crying it out thing has meant we’ve had to listen to Mac crying and not do anything about it. Hard for me, but harder for Jordan, who is the most sweet-hearted and wants to rush to Mac’s aid at any opportunity. I love that about him. But it also means that he has had to be in a separate room from me during the crying, because his sweetness would’ve made me cave. I’m so glad we didn’t. Mac slept through the night - from 7:30 PM to 7 AM - last night without incident, tantrum, not even a squeak. I am so proud of him, and this means I get to finally move back into my bedroom.
I’ve been sleeping in the guest bedroom since he moved to his crib. Initially, it was because I couldn’t climb up and down the stairs in the middle of the night with the incision, but now it’s been out of sheer laziness. Walking across the hall is much better than traversing the stairs at 4:30 AM, and Jordan is a champ who falls asleep with me, then goes downstairs when I get up to feed Mac.
Now, though, that’ll be different. I think it’ll be weird to actually sleep in my bed again. I wonder if it will make me feel a little lonely to leave my pal upstairs alone! But he’s not alone. Not really.
I wonder if he’ll totally blow the whole “sleeping through the night” thing to bits tonight and just explode with fury, just to show he’s still in charge.
Before I got pregnant, I worried that I would get the post-partum blues because I’d be in the house with Mac all the time. I’ve been delighted to discover that I adore this phase of life, so much so that when we do go out, I find myself overly protective of him and eager to get back home. I’m also finding myself increasingly judgmental of other parents. I saw a young mother actually slap the arm of her 4-year-old daughter in Target yesterday when the little girl reached for something. With Mac sleeping in the buggie I was pushing, I stood at the end of an aisle and craned my neck, hoping she’d see me so I could give her a disapproving look. (I could hear Jordan in my head saying, “Girl, don’t you get yourself into trouble by starting something you can’t finish!”) She never looked up, which is probably good, because she ended up in the checkout line directly behind me. It looked like she’d been crying. I guess we’re all doing our best.
Getting showered and dressed is a new series of self-care tasks - making sure my breasts are cared for so I can continue to feed my soon, putting ointment on my incision and massaging it so that I don’t get toughened scar tissue hanging over the top of it like a bad beer belly. The massage hurts a little still, but I reward myself with the prenatals I’m still taking. Gummies, obviously. Because I am 8.
Mac is obsessed with music and percussive sounds. The “motorboat” sound, the bass in a pop song, drums - he is totally soothed by all of that. The night of his 2-month shots, he threw a MAJOR fit and was only consoled by the song Makeba by the artist Jain. It was in a Nike commercial and a friend of mine sent it to me. What would we do without Makeba?! We find a reason to play it nearly every day. That particulars night, we played it 70 times in a row. Conservatively. I can still picture Jordan, shirtless from having jumped out of the shower upon Mac’s screaming a story away, hair wet and towel slung around his waist, maniacally dancing for Mac in our guest bathroom where we tried to bathe him to soothe him. He said his dad danced for him when he was a baby, and that that’s how his dad threw his back out for the first time. Laughing with him in the midst of Mac screaming has made for some of the sweetest memories. Especially when, as he was rocking Mac in a small moment of relief, his towel dropped. And he couldn’t stop to adjust it. Best.
I keep wondering when the Mamaroo is going to just heave a sigh and give up. I can’t imagine it’s easy swinging a 15-pound 3.5 month old for 45 minutes in a row. (I actually don’t have to imagine, I know.) I think it might actually start swearing at me before long.
Mac has started to really enjoy being rocked while vertical instead of in the “normal” baby hold with his head in the crook of one arm and his feet in the other. I find this particularly delicious because I get to hear his nighttime sounds - the little coos and tired whines that are just his way of winding down. It makes me wonder what we as adults would do if it hadn’t been beaten out of us by propriety. What sounds would we make and reactions would we have? Would we blow spit bubbles at people we like? Okay maybe that’s too far. That’d probably be a reason to suspect brain damage. But you get my point. The sweet sounds and the unhappy sounds - they really are so natural. He reminds me of everything pure, as he’s the purest form of person. His face rests against my cheek so that when I put him down in the crib, carefully, slowly, he has a red circle on near his eye from the warmth of our connection. I can’t imagine him ever being older and bigger than this.
He doesn’t care about toys. At all. He cares about talking, music, eye contact, and human touch. He likes being read to, dancing, splashing in his bath. I’m afraid he’s his mother’s son.
He and Tom Hanks are starting to discover each other and it’s fantastic.
I’m sitting in the rocker now typing all this, looking at the bottle on the bookshelf that needs washing, thinking about how I need to go chop off another 2 oz of breast milk from a 6 oz storage bag. Mac likes what Jordan calls a “topper” each night - both boobs and 2 more ounces. Works like a charm. Sleeps like a...well, baby. Although he hasn’t napped well today. But he does, for the most part, keep himself on a schedule. Why anyone doesn’t sleep train their kid I’ll never understand. I am so comforted by the schedule. But here’s where I’ll remind myself of the Target lesson.
Today marks 15 weeks of knowing and loving this little person. Unlike many, I can remember life without him. It’s like an old song I still know all the words to. But I sure like singing this new one.
In my freshman history class in Decatur, Alabama, one of our weekly assignments was to bring in a news clipping from the paper to discuss. It’s not an unusual assignment, but this was an unusual day because I actually remember the clipping I brought in. It was a headline about our then-Supreme Court Justice, Roy Moore, and how he’d managed to move a monument of the Ten Commandments into the rotunda of the judicial building in the dead of night. It wasn’t just any old monument - this was 2.64 tons of a monument. No small feat. This was in 2001, when I was 14 years old. I remember thinking that this was embarrassing behavior for an elected official, for a grown man. Nearly 16 years later, Judge Moore is now a very likely candidate to win the election for United States Senate.
Typing that last sentence makes me feel really weird and gross, neither of which are particularly professional or shiny journalistic terms, but both of which accurately describe where I am. In these moments of emotional yuck, I like to deep-dive and ask myself: what’s the root of this problem?
A few weeks ago, Sarah Silverman, in a clip from her new show I Love You, America, spoke out about her longtime friend Louis C.K. in light of the allegations that had surfaced against him:
“It's a real mindf-ck, you know, because I love Louis. But Louis did these things. Both of those statements are true, so I just keep asking myself, ‘Can you love someone who did bad things? Can you still love them?’ ...So I hope it's OK if I am at once very angry for the women he wronged and the culture that enabled it, and also sad, because he's my friend.”
I found myself choking up a little watching this clip, and, because it wasn’t a particularly emotional one, was confused as to why (please feel free to blame it on the fact that I am, as I type this, 39 weeks and 4 days pregnant). As I looked inward, it occurred to me that the reason her words were so striking is that we don’t often hear grace and compassion alongside a harsh rebuke. This sort of duality of sentiment is not of our time.
It is decidedly safe to be unambiguous, even fundamentalist in one’s beliefs. It is much easier to take what we’re handed and stuff it into our collective back pockets as a given than it is to scrutinize, to carefully overturn, to discover just where the breaks are and where water is beginning to leak out.
This is precisely how we ended up with a President whose behavior disappoints many of us on a day-to-day basis. We stopped asking hard questions of ourselves because we got tired. We said, “The Access Hollywood recording is bad, but it isn’t as bad as voting for a liberal.” We became lazy and frustrated and weary of being asked to parse through the fine print of analyzing people’s character, gave up, and voted red straight down a ticket so that we could sleep at night knowing we didn’t promote a pro-choice candidate.
This era of American culture loves social media for the reason of mindless allegiance. We shuffle around the Internet, aligning ourselves with groups who mostly share our beliefs, even if they express them in ways we wouldn’t. Even if they are cruel and unrelenting. Even if they don’t account for the fact that you’d be hard-pressed to find a single soul who hasn’t uttered a racist remark, whose iCloud hasn’t housed a lewd photo, whose fraternity brothers haven’t witnessed an act of hazing, whose heart doesn’t burn with shame at the memory of a misdeed. We are, all of us, guilty. But how much simpler is it to stand in the coliseum, pointing down at the thing we certainly are not, than it is to sit silently, deciding what it is we are?
To close, as I opened, with a pop culture reference: this dichotomy - the easy stance versus the nuanced one - is everywhere. As my husband and I finished up How the Grinch Stole Christmas last night, I found myself relating to Jim Carrey’s fuzzy green villain-turned-hero as he stands atop Mount Crumpit wondering how the hell those Whos, these simple-minded people who deserved no joy or gifts at all, could still be enjoying Christmas despite his best attempts:
And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! "Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store." "Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more!"
On this election day, my Alabamian sisters and brothers, I urge you to look inward. Don’t let this age of zero tolerance get the better of you, no matter how much it wants to. Don’t be fooled by falling into line with people who excuse a candidate who not only stands accused by multiple women of child molestation, but who boasts a hefty professional history of bigotry, religious discrimination, and thwarting the law of the land while serving as a judge, simply to say that they voted Republican. Please don’t stay home. Please don’t write someone in who can’t win. If you are a Roy Moore supporter and a person of faith, and it’s likely that you are, then you, too, can employ the art of nuance in the same way that Sarah Silverman did: you can love him, and pray for him, and you can still not vote for him because he has no place in the United States Senate.
If voting for a Democrat sets your teeth on edge for reasons of Supreme Court picks or abortion law, I encourage you to read this brilliant piece written by my evangelical Christian and Republican friend Dana Hall McCain, who lays it out more beautifully than I ever could.
Nuance is hard and groupthink is easy. But there are lives and livelihoods at stake. There are freshmen all over the state who are expecting better of us, and we can’t afford to phone it in. Not again. Not after the year we’ve had. Maybe we all need some time to puzzle, our feet cold in what was a miraculously unusual Alabama snow, and who knows? If we step away from the crowd atop our own Mount Crumpit, we may find out that our opinions weren’t always right after all. We might feel our hearts grow three sizes.
Even better, we might just follow them.
YEAH YEAH YEAH it's doooooonnnneeeee!! Or....almost done. I mean I'm pretty sure it's done.
(I have no idea what I'm doing.)
Man oh man I'm so excited to share this with y'all - mostly because I'm also so excited that it's finished. I've never really designed a room from top to bottom like this - everything I've ever done has been cobbled together out of mine and Jordan's collective furniture over a number of years - but this was such a fun opportunity to go nuts.
As nuts as a white girl who decorated in neutrals could go, mind you.
Here we go!
This little corner is probably my favorite in the room. My overall goal for the nursery was to keep everything as affordable as possible and as neutral as possible in terms of furniture, then use the art and books we received as the color in the room. We were so blessed by sweet family and friends who provided us with a lot of our bougier items (Mamaroo, crib, changing table, and crib bedding), so what we were responsible for were things like our glider, rugs, shelving, lighting - all things that we could easily do at a reasonable price.
We wanted to prioritize our glider, crib, and car seat as "bigger" expenses, so we went with a Babyletto chair that is the most comfortable thing ever. Lots of folks told me that they'd gotten a recliner, but wished they'd gotten a glider, because when they reclined, they couldn't rock the baby since their feet weren't on the floor anymore. These are the things no one tells you! It's a perfect color and is totally snuggly in every way. That gorgeous quilt was handmade for us by an incredibly special Pure Barre client of mine.
The bookcase is from Target and serves both as a shelf and a side table for me when I'm nursing. I thought that it would be convenient to have something at the height of my arm to reach for a drink or my phone while breastfeeding in that chair, so we went with this multli-level bookcase! It has been such a sweet pleasure to fill it with the books our friends have given us. This baby may be a lot of things, but it will not be dumb. I love, love, love the gorgeous paper cranes made for us by an amazing neighbor (hey, Jan!) and swirling gently in the air-conditioned breeze.
The print of the animals is one of my favorite pieces in the room, as it was given to us by Jordan's sister Kaitlyn who is an amazing artist. She carved these animals out of rubber and then colored the stamps (I think I have that right?!) and made us this one-of-a-kind piece of sleeping animals. GET OUTTA HERE IT'S SO CUTE, RIGHT?
Keepin' it real here at Chez Scott, that dust ruffle needs to be steamed and hasn't been but I mean...here we are. Life is life.
My parents gave us this BEAUTIFUL crib. I am so thankful that, despite the dark wood and grey/white bedding, this is still a room that reads as pretty gender-neutral. If it needs to be frou-frou'd up if we have a girl, then we can easily do that! The baby's name won't start with "O," - the wreath is just pretty and I needed something to fill that wall above the crib. But I thought it would be cool to put the baby's first initial (in a gold block letter) in the center of the wreath after he or she arrives! It came from Michael's. And then...I stuffed some moss in it.
Also, yes, I'm aware that bumper can't hang out in there with the little beeb. It's just cute for the pics, ya feel me? I'll take it out, blah blah blah, no one panic.
Last wall! Okay maybe THIS is my favorite. Are you kidding me with that pig?! THAT PIG IS THE BEST.
This is another Pottery Barn piece, the same line as the crib. We did an extra-long changing table so that I could have some space at the top - apparently so that I could put a fake plant there? I'm sure all you mamas reading this are LOLing at the fact that that plant will probably stay there for 4 and a half minutes and then get moved out when the baby comes because it's inconvenient. And you're probably right. But let me have my pretty plant and all my illusions.
These animal head prints are the thing I've been most looking forward to getting up on a wall. I bought them from this fantastic Etsy vendor who has probably 60 or 70 different photos to choose from (making the choice was damn near impossible!) - we went with these six! Three neutral, three colorful. The frames came from Michael's and Jordan spray painted them gold, rather than shelling out for $40/a piece gold frames.
The drawers in the changing table were organized according to this blogger's advice, and I found it to be so enormously helpful. If you're a new mom, I highly recommend buying drawer organizers (ours are from Ikea) and using them to help you not lose your ever-loving mind over all the teeny tiny baby socks! We don't have tons of baby clothes right now, but what we do have is organized by length, style, and color, making it easy for me to grab as I need to.
And there you have it!
I'm so ready for this baby to come I could SCREAM. I'll be 37 weeks on Friday and I feel big as a house and so ready for this angel to come into the world. GET OUTTA ME AND LET US LOVE YOU!
Happy Thanksgiving, y'all. So much goodness in the world.
Man oh man have I been absent from this blog. I won't sugar-coat it: last week was a hard week of pregnancy. But more about that later, because this is a post about the happiest and sweetest of things!
I never, ever expected to get to be lucky enough to have TWO baby showers, but sometimes the universe just rains fortune down on your head. My precious friends, Jenna and Caroline, were kind enough to throw me a shower at Nest Boutique in Biltmore Village yesterday. This place is a miliennial's dream - exposed, floating wood shelves; metallic fixtures; crystal chandeliers - everything about it was modern and gorgeous. The best part? The event space is in the back of an honest-to-goodness boutique (fabulosity level 10), and the shop owners gave everyone in the story 10% of merchandise as an added perk of serving as our host site! The genius shop owners have created both a clothing and accessories haven AND a studio that hosts showers, parties, DIY classes, etc. - it was just about the cutest thing in the world.
On top of the incredible location, Caroline and Jenna went all out with luxurious food, drink, games, door prizes, and favors for the guests. I mean, come ON, right??
Particular highlights included:
- Sliced waffles skewered with Chick-Fil-A chicken nuggets and served with maple syrup. ...BRILLIANT.
- Maybe the best iced coffee I've ever had in my life.
- Homemade kettle corn that went home with guests as a favor.
- The "guess the baby animal" game we played in which I realized that I have basically forgotten the name of every baby animal I ever learned in grade school. Whale? PUP! Duh!! I literally wrote "chick" as the baby animal for "duck." ...are you stupid, Mary Catherine?
- Talking about how my biggest anxiety at this point was that we still hadn't bought a car seat, then opening my first gift to find that the incredible women in my neighborhood book club bought one for us!
- The incredibly thoughtful meal train sign-up Caroline and Jenna created so that the shower guests could volunteer their culinary skills for Jordan and me as we settle in at home before and after this baby is born. INSANELY kind.
I was sitting at the table, watching worlds collide (Pure Barre friends + J Crew friends + book club friends), eating chicken and waffles and homemade pastry, and my heart was completely full. I never in a million years thought that when we moved to Asheville, we would make such dear friends who would wrap us in their love and support in such a special time in our lives. These folks continuously blow me away with their generosity, and I feel so humbled and undeserving of their kindness. I say this often, but it's such a tender thing to realize that you're in the middle of "the good old days." I am not taking a bit of this for granted.