The early weeks after Dylan was born were some of the hardest roads I’ve traveled, and I look back on it and think, well, no wonder: I was roiling with hormones, recovering from major surgery, trying to adjust to life with a newborn AND a toddler, my body had changed overnight from ripely beautiful to saggy and fat, restful sleep had been traded for staccato naps, and every routine we had managed to laboriously carve out bit by bit over the last 2.5 years had been blown to smithereens.

Holy shit, that sucked. That was a good six weeks of OH MY GOD WHAT HAVE WE DONE I TAKE IT BACK MULLIGAN.

Things rapidly improved around the six week mark, and now that my babe is six months — oh, my god. This baby is like a giant sugar cube of deliciousness. Seriously, I wouldn’t shit you with a bunch of malarky about how precious it all is and how I love damn near every moment if it wasn’t true, okay? It’s almost ridiculous how joyous and smooshy Dylan is, and I keep trying to compare him to Riley at the same age and I can’t help thinking this one’s a LOT more festive. He’s almost never suspicious, for one thing, and I don’t know, he’s just a big smiley goobery baby and I think of him as my flirty frat boy child (you should see him go after his twig-and-berries during diaper changes, good lord), what with his Rodney Dangerfield grins and sloppy openmouthed kisses. I wonder if a second child isn’t automatically more entertained, since they’re always watching their older sibling? Dylan cannot get enough of Riley, that’s for sure, and Riley is often eye-wellingly loving towards his little brother.

My boy Riley is almost 3 years old now, and there are times when I cannot believe what a jackass he can be. Three, so far, is tougher than two. But oh my god, the crazily wonderful conversations, the intricate games, the color-me-amazed moments that happen one after another! This boy can count, spell, speak in complex sentences and joke with me! He is a delicious mess of extremes, and his face is a glorious treasure of emotion.

I am saying: this is amazing. I am saying: this can be a fucked-up road full of potholes and setbacks and regrets and I sometimes feel unqualified and undeserving to be on it but oh, I AM here and what a gift, what an unbelievable place to be, and I am so, so grateful.




49 Responses to “This”

  1. Mary O on August 12th, 2008 9:19 pm

    You say it so well! My second son is the same way… just a joyous, happy, squishy, fantastic baby. I think two boys are a great combo!

  2. mnerva on August 12th, 2008 9:20 pm

    Awww, L, that is so awesome that your boys get along so well. As an older sibling it makes me hope that my sister enjoyed me as much as Dylan is enjoying Riley. Your pics are beautiful, as are you–inside and out.

  3. Pete on August 12th, 2008 9:20 pm

    It only gets better.

  4. Christine on August 12th, 2008 9:21 pm

    As a non-mom (who may never even try because holy hell did you hear Jonna (aka Jonniker) talk about anal ripping?) that was just lovely.

  5. Anyabeth on August 12th, 2008 9:25 pm

    I had an “easy” newborn and I fear that first six week Baby Bootcamp enough that I think it will make me too gunshy for two. But I have to admit that though I do not think of myself as a baby person, six months is a fantastic age and I just wish I could hit PAUSE for a few weeks. Especially since I know she really wants to crawl and then my life is OVER.

  6. Kristi on August 12th, 2008 9:34 pm

    I agree with the comment above, it only gets better. Don’t hold me to that statement during the fresh hell of the teenage years, however. Let’s not think about that now…..

    It only gets better.

  7. anna on August 12th, 2008 10:03 pm

    Fabulous post, really.

  8. Kate on August 12th, 2008 10:06 pm

    I concur: six months of age is probably my favorite baby stage. Oh, the edibleness of them at that age!

    And yes, age three was way harder than two with my son. We’ll see if it holds true with my daughter, who turns 3 in a few weeks (!!!!!?!).

    You said it beautifully – it’s a rough road sometimes, but oh so wonderful.

  9. Angelynn on August 12th, 2008 10:09 pm

    Hell yeah. (2 boys, 1 & 3). Hell yeah. =]

  10. Vicki on August 12th, 2008 10:19 pm

    Beautiful!! As mom to an almost 3yr old and a 19month old, I couldn’t say it any better.

  11. Twenty Four At Heart on August 12th, 2008 10:24 pm

    They are so adorable! My kids are teens now, but man do I remember those years! Three was a challenging age for my kids, but my second was all squishy yumminess too. He still is!
    I’m having a contest this week! I’d love for to swing by. There’s a $50 prize!! Who doesn’t need an extra fifty bucks in this economy?

  12. Lesley on August 13th, 2008 12:16 am

    Thanks for sharing the joyous smooshy highs as well as the lows and the inbetweens.

    You know how every parent thinks their kids are the cutest? Well…your kids ARE.

  13. Eric's Mommy on August 13th, 2008 4:19 am

    That was wonderful.

  14. k.... on August 13th, 2008 5:18 am

    Something about that #2 child, I think he makes them extra sweet (maybe because of what we all go through with #1)? Both of your boys are beautiful, your a lucky lady :)

  15. Nichole on August 13th, 2008 5:19 am

    I so agree. I have a 3-year-old and a 9-month-old, and they’re just terrific.

  16. warcrygirl on August 13th, 2008 5:20 am

    My two boys were the exact same way. Jr was uber-picky about everything, The Captain was (and still is) more go-with-the-flow.

  17. Christina on August 13th, 2008 5:22 am

    Awesome! I will admit that Im terrified of what #2 will be like since my #1 is just like Dylan. Just perfect, all. the. damn. time. Just yesterday he came with me for a hair apt, 10 months old, sat in his stroller and talked and laughed and smiled the entire time. Happy to be alive. Such a gift, that boy.

  18. moo on August 13th, 2008 5:22 am

    You give me hope that this time next year, I will be filled and complete and that it’s all going to be OK.

    I needed to hear that these days. Thank you.

  19. Kristin C. on August 13th, 2008 5:52 am

    This has made me not so very frightened of having babies and motherhood. I mean, the parts where you are going batshit crazy are intimidating, but the smooshy parts warmed me!

  20. diane on August 13th, 2008 6:14 am

    Once again you make it seem like I can do motherhood, that I can and I will, and it will be okay..and even wonderful.

  21. nonsoccermom on August 13th, 2008 6:26 am

    As always, you nailed it. Your Dylan sounds like my little one – happy and smooshy and always grinning about something. And she adores her older brother and watches him with big starry eyes. It is so sweet to watch.

    By the way, I found three SO MUCH WORSE than two.

  22. Maria on August 13th, 2008 6:31 am

    Honestly, this post gives me strength. My son will be two-and-a-half when this new little boy comes. I have no idea how I will handle newborn + todder-who-is-already-jealous-of-my-belly. But I know the smooshy happy times will come and this is a blissful, touching reminder of that.

    Thank you so much for sharing.


  23. bessie.viola on August 13th, 2008 6:42 am

    You say this so well… I just met the 6-month milestone with my baby girl yesterday, and I’m feeling the same way: wonderment at how far we’ve come, how quickly it passed, and oh my gosh how much LESS the suck is now. :)

    (Worst grammar ever: Gold star for me!)

  24. Must Be Motherhood on August 13th, 2008 6:46 am

    Oh, I’m going to try to keep this all in mind while I struggle through the first 6 weeks! I know I’m going to need all the HOPE I can get.

  25. Sara on August 13th, 2008 6:57 am

    Thank you for this. My son is a few months younger than Riley and we have Boy Numero Two-oh on the way, and this was JUST what I needed today. Crossing my fingers and toes that my next kid will be as “festive” as Dylan. :) Also: covering my eyes at the “3, so far, is tougher than 2” bit. Yeeesh.

  26. samantha jo campen on August 13th, 2008 7:09 am

    I’m at work and you made me cry.

  27. Amanda on August 13th, 2008 7:29 am

    So funny. Ours are two years apart (2 and 4 now), and we call our second one the little frat boy, also! Our first was a very intense baby. Number two just wants to blow bubbles and play ball. And he’s made of pastry, which is also nice. Great post. Your guys are adorable!

  28. Emblita on August 13th, 2008 7:37 am

    I teared up there a bit!

  29. Stacy on August 13th, 2008 7:42 am

    My seven month old dives for his twig and berries the very second I remove the diaper, regardless of what kind of situation it is, know what I’m sayin’? It is hilarious!

  30. Kristen on August 13th, 2008 8:01 am

    I love how honest you are, Linda. That was beautiful!

  31. mJ on August 13th, 2008 8:15 am

    My kids are thirteen months apart. When kid 1 finished three, a month later kid 2 turned three.

    Three is complete asshole, daily. I’ve had two straight years of asshole. Daily.

    Kid 1 is four. And I must say…four is lovely. Sweet, and conherent, and conversational without the asshole-ness.

  32. Rebecca (Bearca) on August 13th, 2008 8:25 am

    YES. What you said. Exactly.

  33. Cassie on August 13th, 2008 8:51 am

    I’m really glad you wrote this today. I had a rough night last night with my three-month-old, and your little reminder of what a blessing motherhood really is just made me feel worlds better.

  34. Andrea on August 13th, 2008 8:57 am

    As someone just about to walk through the doors of motherhood, these are the posts that fill me with hope and excitement for the future. We all know it’s going to be hard and miserable sometimes, but to hear about the joy that children bring is so awesome.

  35. Marie on August 13th, 2008 9:18 am

    Such a sweet post. I am not mother, but you do such an awesome job of describing what it’s like that I can almost understand. (Don’t think I fully will until I have one of my own, but I’m hoping that won’t be for a while! Just not ready yet!)

  36. sweetney on August 13th, 2008 10:20 am

    ow. my ovaries just did backflips.

  37. Corinne on August 13th, 2008 11:01 am

    Thanks for the bump. I’m sitting here with a 4 week old that won’t nurse, won’t sleep, and does nothing but grunt and fart…so I needed to hear this. And, thanks for providing a place where I can say something like that and have people understand that I still love my kids, of course, but that doesn’t mean I can’t get tired or frustrated with them.
    Also: Hot dog for your mouth! Hah! You slay me.

  38. B's Mom on August 13th, 2008 11:27 am

    I read your site everyday, and you seriously get the absolute best most perfect pictures of your boys!

  39. Traci on August 13th, 2008 12:46 pm

    Great post- we’re also a two-boy family, and our older son was certainly more persnickety than our youngest, who just bops around singing made-up songs and playing imagination games. And I’m right there with you about getting past those first few weeks. Now that we’re at age 5 and 3, it’s mostly great with a few big potholes, instead of the other way around.

  40. andrea on August 13th, 2008 1:04 pm

    Thank you for admitting that Riley can, at times, be a jackass. I love my son more than anything in the world but at times there is no way to describe his behavior other than he is being a total shithead and when I say that out loud people look at me strangely.

    I am preparing myself for those first six postpartum weeks and hoping that I can remember that on the other side of them things are definitely much better.

  41. Dad Gone Mad on August 13th, 2008 2:08 pm

    You know what? MY ovaries just exploded!

    I find it very disturbing that you can be an extraordinary writer AND an extraordinary photographer simultaneously. Isn’t there some law dictating that people can only be awesome at one artform at a time?

  42. Amy on August 13th, 2008 2:25 pm

    You pretty much just summed up my current life situation in a nutshell. Almost 3-year-old terror/beauty/comedian and a 3-month-old joyful, happy, flirty baby. It’s amazing and heart-breaking and soul-crushing and beautiful all at once. Is that possible? I never knew it was till now. And I’d never trade it.

    Thanks for putting into words exactly how I feel!

  43. Josh on August 13th, 2008 2:33 pm

    I may not a frat boy or a baby, but I still go for my twig and berries every time I change. That never goes away. Although I do crap myself a lot less, and swallowing is more routine these days.

    Please tell me the kid is naturally rosy and you didn’t blush him up for a photo op.

  44. SART on August 13th, 2008 5:04 pm

    One of the main reasons we’ve waited to have another is that my boy is such a wild child I’ve been afraid we couldn’t possibly handle another. Now that he’s 3.5 we’re trying to get knocked up. Of course we’re having issues with that – go figure. I coulda been having IUD free sex for years now… Anyways. It’s nice to hear someone admit that it’s not so easy with 2 but that it is twice as rewarding. I hate it when new mothers of number 2-56 just smile and say it’s like riding a bike. I bet it is nothing like riding a fucking bike! PS – you kids are too cute. It should be illegal.

  45. Lori O on August 13th, 2008 5:21 pm

    I only have one, but word for word that last paragraph. I think it every day!

  46. Alyson on August 13th, 2008 6:00 pm

    Riley and Dylan love each other now? Just wait, that changes. For a while, my youngest’s favorite frustration phrase was, “I wish my brothers had never been bor-en.” They love each other, they hate each other, they pick on each other. But, NOBODY else better pick on them!

  47. kristylynne on August 13th, 2008 6:10 pm

    Thanks, I needed that. I’ve been internally debating the wisdom of my mad plan to have a second child at age 41 to the tune of $21,000 (infertility treatment required). I dread the expense, the lack of sleep, etc. But man, the good parts of babyhood are so GOOD. Thanks for reminding me.

  48. Danielle-lee on August 13th, 2008 8:37 pm

    I have to agree with you.
    Beautiful post. You write so well.
    I too bounce back and forth on this road: grateful, full of awe, and then unqualified, worn down, distraught. It’s amazing, being a parent. How come no one told us?

  49. Sam on August 15th, 2008 12:08 pm

    “He’s almost never suspicious, for one thing” – I love that. So good to hear you’re in the sweet spot right now. And I don’t think I’ve ever told you HOW MUCH I enjoy your writing. Let the record show – I do!

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