Hello London: Exploring the Natural History Museum

When I was becoming very very pregnant with Theo, Matt and I realized we had an issue: We didn’t yet know anyone well enough to call them and ask them to watch Dexter when I went into labor. Especially if I went into labor in the middle of the night.

Matt’s mom is wonderful and caring and so was rightfully very concerned about this conundrum. She ended up booking their first visit to us in London strategically, to try to solve the problem: two-week visit, one week before and one week after my due date, hedging bets to try to be here for the birth.

Theo was born the day before they arrived. And of course, I went into labor at 1 a.m. Fortunately, by then we’d made a friend who said we could call, and  I sure hope she meant it, because that’s what we did. 

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Dex and the T. Rex: Theo is three months old

Right now, Theo is lying on his back on our ottoman, giggling madly at Matt while Matt tickles him and makes faces.

He is three months old. Dexter is 26 months old, and deep into toddler-hood – equal parts infuriating and charming, with the uncanny ability to flip, casually, between hopelessly frustrating to melting his parents’ hearts.

So it’s a testament to what a fantastic personality Theo has, that he is able to cut through the madness and shine.

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And then Theo fell over

Today was a DAY, you guys.

I let Dexter out of my sight exactly twice. First time, I ducked into the kitchen to make some toast, and when I reentered the living room I found he’d broken our ottoman. Second time, I was prepping dinner and Dex was eating lunch and I thought we were safe, with him locked in his high chair, but no.

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First American Mother’s Day in the UK

The UK observes Mother’s Day on a different day than the US, so this is my second this year. UK Mother’s Day fell on Matt’s birthday, so this is the real one (USA! USA! USA!). The weather is beautiful, sunny and breezy. We’ve opened the windows. I’m on my third mimosa.

We had planned brunch, but rather than spending the $, I decided I’d just eat brunch food all day, instead. I’ve had avocado toast and eggs and smoked salmon. Strawberry waffles are in the works.

Matt is on top of making everything special. Dexter colored the living hell out of a card for me. We have been to the park and both kids are napping.

Mother’s Day used to be about grieving, for me. That crappy feeling that only those who have lost their moms can understand, where I’m so, so happy for people celebrating the love of their mothers, but every photo and tribute feels like a punch to the gut because my mom is gone.

And then I became a mom, and the meaning of the day shifted, but my path to being a mom was not what you would call smooth, so that hangs out in the corners of my psyche, as well, because the story of my family is bound to the story of my children and how and why they exist.

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Baby’s first shiner

I have told Dexter approximately 5,034,552 times not to run back and forth across the sofa. If I can, I just grab him and move him to the floor, but Dex is an evil genius and will wait until I’m trapped under Theo before climbing up and sprinting back and forth like a madman. Yesterday, it caught up to him.

I saw Dex faceplant into the arm of the sofa and heard the sickening THUMP. Honestly, I want to think he tripped and fell but I suspect he actually dove face-first into the arm, because toddlers do dumb stuff like that ALL THE TIME.

And then, there was this horrible, silent moment when he was face-down, not wailing yet, and I imagined him emerging with a smashed nose gushing blood. 

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A short list of reasons I am freaking out

1. Matt returns to work next week, leaving, nay, ABANDONING me with these two little urchins. ALL ALONE.

Yes, I know how lucky we are that Matt got a couple months of maternity leave. Yes, I have a deep appreciation for this time we’ve spent with brand new Theo, both for practical reasons of tag-team parenting and emotional reasons of allowing Matt to bond with his new son. But that doesn’t change the fact that I am soon outnumbered and I am FREAKING OUT.

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Dexter’s Second Birthday Scrapbook

Lucky, lucky kid Dexter Ian turned two years old April 10.

We kept it pretty low-key. Matt and Theo and I woke Dex up singing, then made him wear his “It’s My Birthday!” crown immediately. He wore it to the mall while we ran errands and got lots of birthday greetings, which was nice and made me glad we practiced “What are you going to say when someone asks you how old you are?” even if sometimes it takes Dex both hands to raise just two fingers. 

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Dex and the T. Rex: Theo is one month old

Theo Rex turned one month old on April Fool’s Day.

London insider tip: If you’re going to waltz around the city with a newborn baby, you sure better be ready to have long, in-depth conversations with British grannies about how lovely the baby is. Woe is me, I get to brag about my charming, adorable kid to a rapt audience. It’s a real trial, it is.

Theo’s overall aesthetic is grumpy old man who occasionally disarms with a beaming, gummy grin.

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