For one boob nap, a second child becomes an only child

As I tap this one-handed on my phone, I’m nap trapped. My toddler has fallen asleep breastfeeding, leaving me unable to put away all the kids’ new toys, go through unopened mail, unpack our suitcases or do any of the other things on my list. But I am not complaining. Today, I’m happy for this boob nap.

Kiwi rarely falls asleep on me these days. And on the occasions she does, I can’t let her snooze on me. I don’t have that flexibility; I have a preschooler.

But Peeper went down to Eugene with her dad to pick up our dog, so for today I am mom of only one kid. And that “only child” has a doozy of a cold. So it’s really not that shocking she fell asleep at the breast—and why I let her keep sleeping on me, boob nap style.

When my toddler fell asleep in a boob nap, I stayed put. She and I both got exactly what we needed. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Nap hikes: The gift of silence

When Baby wouldn't sleep, I set off into the woods—and she fell asleep! Nap hikes are a blessing for both of us. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

We recently went camping for the first time as a family of four. It was Kiwi’s first time sleeping in a tent. And as I feared, my notoriously terrible sleeper slept pretty much not at all.

We stayed at Stub Stewart State Park just one night—a compromise to our usually longer trips since we figured sleep would be such a nightmare—and it’s a good thing, since I sat upright in our Forester with Kiwi alternately breastfeeding and dozing on me the entire night. I didn’t even attempt to get her to nap in the tent because I was tired, not insane.

So for each of her naps, I buckled her into my baby carrier and set off on a hike.

But even in my bleary, exhausted state, I treasured those nap hikes. Read more

On my own as a mom of two

Peeper rocking Baby Sister - Ten Thousand Hour MamaThe other day was my first extended stretch with both girls on my own.

You can take a guess as to how that went.

Much of it was a shitshow—imagine both children screaming, the macaroni boiling over and my boobs leaking all over the place. (At least Finn was well behaved.) I did, however, manage a minor miracle: I put Edie down for a nap while holding Maxine, too.

Honestly, I have no clue how it happened and have zero hope to repeating it anytime soon. I held Kiwi in one arm and Peeper in the other with a book on my lap. We went through Peeper’s whole routine, reading books and drinking milk and rocking. Then it came time to turn out the light and sing her wind-down songs.

As I sang and rocked them in the dark, Edie kept lifting her head from my shoulder and touching Max’s head. “You’re petting that baby,” she whispered, then went back to resting on me. Somehow—someway—I got Edie into her crib and that was that.

Much of the day was hard. At one point I texted Eric, informing him that we were not having any more children. I was scrambling.

But that moment of Peeper tenderly touching her little sister’s head—that was pure beauty. Peeper may later ask to send Kiwi back to the hospital or put her back in my belly, but this is the story I’ll tell over and over again about their early days learning to be each other’s sister.

See? I’ll say. You loved each other from the start.

Nap time travel

Newborn kangaroo care
At a week old, Peeper spent much of her day snuggled against my chest.

Every mother has a magic patch of skin. It’s easy to find: It’s the skin below your clavicle—your décolletage—which is, not coincidentally, right above your heart.

It’s magic because it has the ability to transport a mother back in time.

The other day, I went in to Peeper’s bedroom when I heard her wake up from a nap. She was crying, so I gathered her in my arms, sat back in the glider and started singing. She nestled into me, and her face snuggled right against the skin left bare by my v-neck shirt.

With the instant ease of a key turning in an oiled lock, my heart opened.

The best feelings of motherhood—awe, gratitude, love that practically blinds you as it shines out from every pore—washed over me. I inhaled Peeper’s scent, a mix of shampoo and toddler sweat with just a hint of peanut butter. And I was suddenly the brand-new mother of a newborn. Read more