Thursday, May 24, 2007

Two Months Young

Remember, to see a larger version of a photo, click on it!

Liam was born two months ago today. Sixty days. What a short time for a life. I can hear a radio announcer’s voice saying:
“Try our product for sixty days and if not satisfied, return for a full refund.”

I think we will keep him.

He had some exciting firsts this weekend:
He met his “due date” buddy Kiran (they were due the exact same day) and had a play date with him on Mama Breana’s couch. Liam was feeling quite the pirate that day.

His first ride on a max train went really well. He snuggled up in my babyhawk carrier and enjoyed the motion of the train while being close to my body (so much nicer than a car seat).

He met his Grandpa Johnny from Texas for the first time. We all had brunch in a restaurant with nice tablecloths and wine glasses and he didn’t even howl. He fell asleep peacefully in his Papa’s arms without a whimper.

And he slept for five hours in a row one night! I woke up after four hours in a panic wondering if he was still breathing (he was right beside me in bed). I had not had more than two hours sleep in a row for over two months.

I feel like a different woman, more alive, more human, with more brain cells.

All in all, the past two months have been exhausting and wonderful.

Here are more recent photos of Liam!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A Mother’s Heart

By Savannah

I am the mother of two boys.

I never thought I would say that.

When I found out that Liam was a boy (at around 20 weeks pregnant), I felt excited, surprised and nervous.

I already have a boy. Caleb will be fifteen (really? REALLY???) in July. We have gone through a lot together and I almost feel like I grew up right along with him. As a mom at 21, I had a lot to learn and he taught me well. I sometimes worry about all the mistakes I made. When he found out about Liam he said, “You get a second chance.”

He and I both knew exactly what he meant.

Before Liam was born, I couldn’t imagine loving another son as much as Caleb. There is something so unique about him. I know every mother says that about her child, but everywhere we went, folks said, “who is that kid?” I was known around Austin as “that cool kid Caleb’s mom.”

I remember vividly the first minute I met him, tiny fist stuffed in his mouth.

I can still feel his the weight and trust of his body in my arms, the smell of his newborn head and milky breath.

I can hear his sweet toddler voice and the funny and wise things he said. As a young boy, his clarity and connection to his own emotions was startling. He saw right through any bull and spoke up. He used vocabulary words that would put a college student to shame. He expressed himself minute by minute with such focus.

And now as a teenager, he is startling in his sense of self. I have no idea what the future holds for him, but have always trusted that he would make a difference in the world.

And now there is Liam. We are just getting to know each other but already he reminds me so much of his bigger brother (the loud wail, the direct eye contact so early, the “I know what I want and I want it now” voice) and yet he is uniquely himself with aspects I can not yet imagine.

And these two boys have yet to meet.

Caleb is in Texas with his Dad and Step-Mom, He is struggling through the usual challenges of maturing. Sometimes when I talk to him, I remind myself what it felt like to be a freshman in High School. I hated everything and almost everyone. That he will even speak to me regularly is in itself a miracle.

He will be here in June for his summer visit.

I have this sense that my heart will split wide open when I see these two boys side by side. How could I have created so much beauty?

"Making the decision to have a child -- it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." --Elizabeth Stone

One piece of my heart I can keep close to protect and nurture, at least for a few more years. The other is about to get his driver’s license. My experience of being a mother right now is both bewildering and tender.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Don't Blink

By Bill

I was at work last week and was showing a co-worker the blog. My co-worker is a mother of two boys, who are under 10 years old. She was looking at the photos of Liam, tiny as he is now, and saying “I’d give anything for my boys to be that small again – just for a few minutes.”

This statement struck me as odd, and I asked her why. For a moment, she had that faraway look and quietly said, “Oh, I don’t know, I guess it was just a special time. And then you blink and they are in school.”

Being the latest New Dad, I get a lot of advice from my coworkers and from my big family. Cherish this, enjoy that, remember this time. You’ll blink and he’ll be in college.

That one I get a lot.

I checked and in the last six weeks, I have shot about 30 minutes of video of Mr. Liam since he was born, most right after his birth. For a video guy like me, that’s not much (I’ve taken about 1,000 photos, however). So I’ve been doing more video lately, and shooting some really pedestrian stuff, like me holding Liam while he’s asleep, or while he’s fussing a bit on his own. And we finally got his really cute sneeze on tape. All are good moments.

Upon reflection, I realized why I thought my co-workers comment was odd to me. I really look at this time in his life as sort of something to “get through” until bigger moments arrive: talking, walking, and general participatory activity.

Right now, it’s basically lots of diaper changes, crying, lack of sleep (mostly for Savvy) and trying to figure out what he wants. He also has a bit of colic, so that can be a challenge as well. His quiet, playful times seem few and far apart.

Don’t get me wrong, I love having the little guy around and am so thankful he is healthy and (usually) happy.

But when out and about with him on a walk in the park, I see other parents with kids just a bit older. They are pushing them on the swing sets, giggling on the teeter-totter, and learning to play catch. Those are the days I look forward to.

However, I realize that looking forward is a trap as well, as it makes you forget about the present. A central tenet of Buddhism is to be mindful of the present, and I try to incorporate that into my busy life (although working in the news business helps).

To paraphrase Zen Master Yoda (yeah, from Star Wars): “always with you it is the future, the far horizon. Never your mind on where you are, what you are doing.” Or something like that. But that describes me sometimes, and probably most people. It is part of our consumer culture: show me the Next Big Thing.

So I am trying to focus on the present. Today is Sunday, and Liam woke up around 7:30 a.m. He was fussing and grunting, which means he has gas, so I gave him some Gripe Water with an oral syringe and that seems to help (as does farting). Then we listened to Air on my laptop on iTunes, with the visualizer on, which he loves to watch (we think it will give him mathematical superpowers).

Today, we have a few errands to run, nothing major, and later on, dinner with the folks. The future, as it were, soon to be the past. Now he is asleep, taking his morning nap. Mom is asleep as well, trying to pay down the large sleep debt. Soon enough he will be awake, hungry, with a poopy diaper and probably some gas that will make him cry and cry.

It is the present moment, and I am working to be mindful of the here and now, that which is, and not so much what will be. Soon enough, these days will be gone, never to return for Liam and his parents.

Don’t blink.