Sitting in a cafe by myself, working away at my laptop, is exactly what I’ve been daydreaming about for months. But now that I’m here, focus escapes me—or at least focus on what I’m supposed to be doing. I can’t stop opening my phone.
It’s not so much the phone itself that I can’t quit. It’s the tens of thousands of photos and videos I’ve taken in the last several months. If you scrolled through my phone last year, you would have found thousands of photos of food. Hundreds of shots of different aspects of the same meal I could hardly bear to cull down to a more reasonable number.
Now it’s mostly squealing smiles, swimming pool blue eyes, and chubby thighs.
This post has been a long time coming, and WARNING, it is image-heavy. Probably going to take a while to load. Sorry not sorry. You have no idea how long it took me to narrow it down to just these.
You are MISSING OUT and for that I am actually sorry.
My little newborn is EIGHT months old. EIGHT. The sweet pomegranate who was in my belly this time last year is now 27 inches and more than 18 pounds of giggles. When—HOW did this happen?
Siena Rose Marie Cavalier entered the world swiftly, but calmly on a cool November morning. I went into labor the day before without realizing it. I had planned to spend early labor taking baths, getting some rest and eating gentle foods to fuel me during labor. Instead, I taught a sports journalism class, shopped for cutting boards and mascara, went to my favorite restaurant and made my pho extra spicy to get labor (which again, I was already in) started.
As we watched Houston steamroll Tulane in football, the light contractions I had felt for days started coming 2-3 minutes apart. We finally called our doula and followed her instructions. That’s when things got intense. We drove through a storm to the hospital (yes, she was stormborn) as I listened to hypnobirthing breathing tracks and Adam took two wrong turns out of nervousness. I was already 7 cm dilated.
Five hours later the midwife put my hand on Siena’s hair for the first time. I pushed harder than I knew I could, and ripped open my gown for the best cuddles I could have ever imagined.
I didn’t start writing this with the intention of sharing her birth story—though I may share the whole thing later, because I love a good birth story—but there’s a lesson I’ve taken from it.
I have a tendency to not realize how far I’m into something (like labor) until the moment has passed. The time I’ve had with Siena has flown by, and I’m constantly between feeling like we’ve had her forever, and like we’ve just met her.
Like I couldn’t wait until she sat up, but crying because I miss smell of her head and impossible softness from her first few days of life. Like I wish she’d take a bottle because the responsibility of breastfeeding is so heavy, but I’m so amazed that up until she started solids, every ounce on her came from me. Like I can’t wait to have more independence and feel like my productive self again, but like I will die screaming if I miss her saying her first intentional word or taking her first steps.
I could talk about her forever, and probably would if allowed. She truly is my sunshine.
I want to soak up every bit of baby goodness, but I also need to know I need to make the work happen if I want it to still be here when she’s off to preschool. So I here I sit. With the first real work session I’ve gotten in months finally happening.
I mostly squandered it to watch videos of Siena eagerly stretching her tiny fingers out for asparagus, but I did write this and lay the groundwork to finally switch this site over to my new web host. I’ve been more efficient in the last hour than I usually am in three. Maybe I can get things done without being obsessed with being busy. Maybe I’m ready for Mama and Leannda to finally be the same person.
Motherhood is unlike anything in the world. It’s hard. It’s beautiful. It’s complicated. It gives you new sentences like, “stop latching onto Mommy’s chin, it’s sleepy time.” It rewires your brain and totally changes your priorities and motivations. It’s worth it.
Siena, I hope you are always as joyful and spirited as the little sweet pea you are now. And here’s your daily reminder that I love you always and forever, I love you infinity, I love you without condition, and I love you without a doubt. I love you so much.
Housekeeping note: this will likely be the last post published with my site in its current iteration. I’ve finally finished moving all of the content from here over to the new one I built last summer and didn’t get to switch to before. You don’t need to do anything, the url and everything will be the same. New recipe posts are ready to go and I’ll start posting once I point everything to the new host. Eek!
P.S. When I wrote most of this I was sitting in a cafe. Now I’m on my living room carpet using my laptop as a moving target for Siena to crawl toward. It’s VERY effective, and she’s a VERY helpful editor.