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Finally, perspective

DSC02896As I head into the last lap of maternity leave I have finally achieved mental balance and by extension, a glorious but sadly fleeting taste of perspective.   I typically begin maternity leave stepping into the soft glow of baby bliss (read: vicodin + sleep deprivation) with one foot dragging behind in the office.  Heart in baby, head still at work.

Once physically pried away from email however, I move directly into neurotic postpartum nesting mode creating “to do” lists for all of the things we need to simplify our lives, beautify our living space, and cute-ify the baby’s room.  This second lap of attempted productivity comes to an end after a flurry of stop and start activity that is inconveniently interrupted by an infant who apparently expects to be cared for and cuddled despite how much Mommy really needs to finish searching for the perfect combination of wall art that says modern baby-slash-all boy that will take him into his preteen years without too much additional investment.  Sigh.

I take stock in what I’ve accomplished away from work.  I’d vowed to read, write, and intellectually flourish outside the world of power point.  But I can only recall an endless circuit of nursing, burping, and changing. (pause) Ding, ding, ding!  That’s it!  That is what I’m supposed to be doing post incubation.  Sustaining the child’s life with my super-food and giving him just enough love and attention to keep him out of therapy (we call this “bonding” and it commands an additional four weeks of unpaid leave).

It is at this point the child realizes I have finally come to rest so he pulls out all the stops.  Big open-mouthed smiles, cooing, tugging at my shirt while nursing (inherently cute), and general reciprocation of affection.  Sometimes, he appears to be just staring into my eyes adoringly.  Huh, I like that.  It brings peace to my busy mind and warmth to my soul (kind of like the initial surge of baby bliss but without the vicodin).  This must be what they call perspective.  I will spend the better part of my life trying to recreate the feeling of this moment.  But for now I will enjoy this gift and cross the biggest “to do” off my maternity list.


Elfin Magic

gabriel Ok I admit I wasn’t sure how I would feel about our 2nd child.  I am so in love with Jude it was impossible to imagine replicating that with equal conviction.  At two, Jude’s very being is both immensely heart-warming and humbling. However I am reminded, these elfins, they have their ways.  First they break you down.  Like all dominant masterminds, their methods of torture are compounding.  Extreme pain followed by sleeplessness, relentless suckling, refusal to clearly articulate needs (designed to frustrate and confuse), and enough liquid exodus from both ends to make even the most veteran parent go mad.  Then with one little neck nuzzle, you’re hooked.

But this love for Gabriel is more like a new crush.  It is not yet the deep love I have for Jude that results from all of the joyful and trying times we’ve shared during his short but intense two-year tenure.  He can break me in an instant.  But I sense the Elfin Force is strong with this one too.  I see him watching me, assessing my weaknesses. He will be mentored by his older brother and I will be helpless to resist them. They know this. They are conspiring even now for a full takeover. And they shall win.


Standings after 5 weeks….week 6 line-up


  • Juj 1411 (recognize)
  • Mark 1411
  • Robert 12-13
  • Brent 916
  • Blaine 9-11

Week 5 line-up:

  • UL (+6.5) at Pitt
  • Mean-face Baylor Bears (+27.5) at wound-licking Texas
  • Kansas at Nebraska (+1.5)
  • OSU (+3.5) at Texas Tech
  • Alabama at LSU (+3.5)


A little slice of salad

Originally uploaded by bgallery

Ah, the salad days. The peak of one’s life. When you can eat with your hands, smear blueberry pancakes on your face, and command the undying adoration of your fellow diners for both. Not to mention the small fan club of animals that have gathered at your feet in the event you decide they are worthy to share your bounty.

But these aren’t your salad days, little man. In fact, if it not for the embarrassing volume of photographic evidence to document this era, you may not remember them at all. But I can tell you, my darling Jude, they are ours. Your father and I watch in awe as you grow by leaps and bounds every day. We exchange smiling glances as you run chattering through house. And I am practically reduced to tears when you wrap your arms around a towering Atticus and say simply “hi”. You have softened me, little man. Who am I kidding? You have completely flattened me. With your smirk, your wrinkled nose, your unrestrained laughter, the way you say “rabbit”, and the feel of your sweet warm arms gripping tightly around my neck. You are my present day nostalgia, a little slice of salad. Every day.


Week 14 Line-up

I am posting on behalf of the commish this week who is busy saving lives (I mean, shipping books).

Rutgers (+2.5) at Louisville (this is a Thursday game)
OU (-3) at mizzou
V Tech (-4) at BC
Tennessee (+7.5) at LSU
Washington (+14) at Hawaii (the only undefeated team left)


Jude hits the soccer field

Jude takes a break from cooking the Thanksgiving feast and hits the field in his apron for kicking practice!


The Baker boys play soccer

Dad and Uncle Blaine work on Jude’s hand-eye coordination. Prep for hitting the field later!


A boy and his dog

Originally uploaded by bgallery
Jude and Atticus get cozy with Dad. More where that came from on Flickr.


Jude demands steak, rejects rice cereal

Well, Jude is almost 6 months old and long overdue for his first non-liquid lunch (we’ll leave that to Mother). Check it out – rice cereal, take one. Hang in there for the Atticus cameo.



Jude will be three months old next week, and is changing almost daily. He slept through the night for the first time on Thursday. He has not only discovered his hands and feet are attached to his body, but that he can actually make them do things. He is reaching, grabbing and rattling. And whatever rattles should naturally be tasted. His ability to process so many new things at once is astounding.

I go back to work tomorrow, and should admit I was a little weepy labeling and packing all of his necessities for childcare. But Ezelda let us stop by this morning so we could reacquaint with the environment before dropping him off for the first time on Monday. We have managed to find the perfect set-up. She is three blocks from our house, only takes eight children, and was a former pre-school teacher is Brazil. She has a dedicated staff of three, story time, music time, trips to the Farmer’s Market, an awesome playground out back, and a rabbit named Sheba. Our largest concern is that Jude may never want to come home.

Every day with Jude is pure joy. He has become a seamless addition to our family. We still go hiking, to the wine country, and out to dinner. Atticus showers him with kisses and stands guard while he’s sleeping. Brent sings the KU fight song to him every day, and watched the original Star Wars with him last night (T-12 months until our house is littered with tiny storm troopers and light sabers).

So life gets incrementally better with every milestone. I want to freeze Jude at every stage, but then I’d miss all of the amazing things just around the corner.

Photos on Flickr

August 2020

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