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Posts tagged ‘family’

out of focus

We’re quickly coming up on the end of Junebug’s fourth trimester – those first three months of infancy when child psychologists say it is impossible to spoil a baby; that surreal period of missed sleep when every moment spent snuggling one’s newborn feels like a minor miracle.

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moment of grace

Towards the end of our Nairobi tour – after hosting our fifteenth group of visitors in just under two years – we joked that at some point in the future we should make concert-style t-shirts featuring our various Foreign Service tours to gift to people who visit us at all of our overseas postings. More than halfway through our third tour, the only person who would currently qualify for such a memento would be S’s mom.

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what about Junebug?

By the time Munchkin was a couple months old, we had already spilled a considerable amount of digital ink chronicling his every squirm, coo, and nascent personality quirk in the pages of this blog. As Junebug’s due date approached, we talked about the need to ensure that she does not get second billing – that we devote at least as much attention to her as to him so that she does not feel like she is growing up in his shadow.

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fantasy village

After spending a week on Deer Isle with her family four of the past five summers, S thought there wasn’t much more left to discover on this little islet off the northern coast of Maine, but each year her family manages to discover one or two new gems.

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full house

Sometime in the dead of night, somewhere high above the dark waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Junebug marked the end of her second month of life with her first long-distance flight.

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in anticipation

The wait, seemingly unbearable at the outset but not that long in the grand scheme of things, is nearly over. After packing first the layette shipment and then her suitcases, S is making the final preparations for her return to Kigali this weekend. It has been a whirlwind summer — on both sides of the Atlantic — and much as D will grumble about the lost sleep that awaits with the arrival of two jet-legged kids, he is very much looking forward to seeing them again.

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the back story

Composing the speech for Junebug’s baby-naming ceremony cracked open the floodgates of S’s memory. Writing about her grandmothers’ lives and looking through old photographs of their younger days, S tried to reconcile her recollections with the stories she had heard from her parents – it’s not easy to paint a portrait of someone’s life when one only shares in that person’s twilight years.

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big brother blues

One of the things we wondered and worried about before Junebug was born was how Munchkin would greet the arrival of his baby sister. Would he be jealous of her for stealing mama’s love and attention, and how would he act out his envy? Or would he be loving and protective and act proud of being a big brother?

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1 + 1 ≠ 2

“Zero to one was tough, and two to three was challenging, but going from one child to two wasn’t that bad,” several friends told us with the benefit of hindsight, and perhaps a dose of selective amnesia. Intuitively, this makes sense. First-time parenthood is tough because there is so much to learn. And going from two to three is hard because sometimes you find that you have more little humans who need attention than arms at your disposal. Still, adding a new baby into the mix is bound to make life more complicated, and we’ve found that having two small children frequently feels much more than twice as difficult as just having one.

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it takes a village

For the first month of Junebug’s life, we followed a divide and conquer strategy. With D home on R&R and plenty of relatives visiting, balancing two kids was a manageable challenge. Newborns sleep a lot and are relatively portable, and with an endless stream of visitors who gave Munchkin the attention he covets and helped with the day-to-day household chores, the first four weeks flew by. We felt incredibly lucky to have had so much family support, but S was under no illusions about how daunting being home alone with both kids would be.

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