Finding out that we're having a baby.
Not long after finding out we were having a son!
The very best moment of our lives; The birth of Matthew Spencer Stucky.
February 4th, 2008
I think every new mom on some level has a desire to be "picture perfect" for her children. I'm not normally a perfectionist myself and I tend to usually err on the side of moderation, but the day that I read the word pregnant on that infamous little stick, my desire was on every level (and taking up space in the elevator shafts between). My husband and I are naturally very grounded people and I know sometimes that was the only thing keeping me from letting myself go entirely into Martha Stuart overkill mode. Especially in the past year, I've become very conscientious about keeping organized. We keep an accordion-style box folder in the living room now that holds all of the mail, sorted into categories so that it doesn't pile up on the mantle for a week waiting for us to find a dozen appropriate places to keep things like mailed tax information, relevant sales ads and most importantly, court documents that have so frequently occupied our mailbox lately. In an effort to make certain things more convenient -- like finding the right coupon before making a mad dash to the minivan in between diaper changes for Matthew and the sixth and seventh of Mary's outfit changes that day -- a lot of other things have become unexpectedly more complicated or frustrating. We have a decent mail-sorting system now, but just getting the mail has become a more daunting task because of the added responsibility of having to sort through it right away. Luckily I have a husband who knows how to handle my mom-moods, when I get on one of my everything is out of place in this house! warpaths. He knows that all he has to do is let me ride it out for a while, picking up just enough to satisfy my hunger for sanctity and balance, then hand me a Corona and send me out to the patio (or the bathtub if it's late) with one of my books and the promise that he'll take care of everything else. We both know that he won't do half the job I could - but we also both know that the kids have a better chance of surviving the afternoon if I calm my nerves, and that's probably worth the few things that will be left undone when I get back down to Earth.
More importantly I've learned to only take on a few new things at a time now and it's been a good change. When Matthew was a very small infant, I couldn't be satisfied with anything; There was just always too much to organize and too much to learn, too many things to build and fix and change and master that I was running myself and everyone else in the family ragged. Spencer was always hanging new shelves and painting walls; I was always replacing things, redecorating, reorganizing, reevaluating and coming up with new goals and new rules for Mary. I even wanted to buy Matthew the "Your Baby Can Read" program. I think Spencer knew that it was just new mom syndrome and that my phase of complete insatiability would eventually run it's course. Luckily it did and now that I've become a lot more lax about certain aspects of motherhood, I realize that I get a lot more enjoyment out of the things that I do decide to improve upon now. Sometimes keeping the house spotless just isn't worth ruining everyone's weekend.
One of the new goals that I've decided to start tackling is Chicken Noodle Soup. Truthfully, I'm actually lacking in arguably one of the most fundamental aspects of being a mom: cooking. To be honest Spencer actually does a lot more of the actual cooking than I'd like to admit. Even when I get something started, he just naturally tends to gravitate toward the kitchen and I end up changing diapers or looking busy somewhere while he takes on finishing up. I've made it a point to learn all of the family favorites by heart and a few quick-fixes for those all-too-frequent busy weeknight meals - but with a nine-year-old who's favorite food is Easy Mac anyway, a husband who's very health-conscious (for the sake of keeping in shape, not always for actually keeping healthy) and a gummy infant who was kind of a late bloomer in the tooth department, I decided that cooking wasn't going to be one of the things I drove myself to suicide over. Now that Spencer took up the job he has now as a school bus driver and he's been the designated stay-at-home dad during the summer, he started to feel even more obligated to contribute by fixing dinner, and when you get home from an eleven hour workday and the house has been in the hands of a man and two kids all day, you just don't argue with that kind of logic.
But times are changing. Mary's hitting a major growth-spurt and Matthew's just on the constant rise, teeth are popping up all over the place and he's in and out of every cabinet he can reach, mutilating cereal boxes on the kitchen floor and learning about the new-found splendor that is just about any truly chewable food. Spencer is back at work again for the school year and as fate would have it, Mary threw up for the second completely random time in the past month (no accompanying fever or symptom of any kind - just a couple of snow cones that didn't sit well). The most recent time happened during the second week of the new school year and in an effort to keep her from missing a day this early in the year, we were shoving thermometers down her throat and babying her like new doll. I've been trying to keep a pack or can of noodle soup on hand for just such an occasion, but it hit me as we were all admiring the on-hand soup's authentic homemade flavor, that the time has come. If nothing else, I want my sons and daughters to grow up reminiscing about the special afternoons they spent as a child, snuggled up at home with mom on a day home from school, sipping on a hot bowl of unforgettable chicken noodle soup that they know mom made with extra love just for them!