I am now of the opinion that late December is the best time to welcome a baby. Cedric arrived exactly in between the cheer of Christmas and the celebration of a new year, heaping happiness upon an already festive time of year. When he was teeny tiny (as much as a nine and a half pound baby can be) there were twinkling Christmas lights still strung up around our neighborhood and town and wreaths on doors. We had some rainy, chilly days (my favorite) and we dressed him warmly and then wrapped him snuggly in blankets, just what your instinct tells you to do. I spent the early days with him drinking hot coffee, listening to podcasts and smelling his head and breath.
As Cedric woke from his newborn sleepiness and opened his eyes to everything around him the daylight lengthened and the temperature warmed. We took family walks and opened the screen doors. At night I still pulled my down comforter to my chin and found my slippers in the dark every time I woke to Cedric's rousing. These twelve weeks have encompassed the very best of Phoenix weather and I have loved experiencing it at home in the company of a newborn.
Tomorrow will be my first day back to work after giving birth to Cedric. I have loved my maternity leave, it has felt long and relaxing, which are not words I would immediately offer up when I think of my leave with Dashiell. I remember being achingly in love with Dashiell but also feeling so tired and a bit overwhelmed with the prospect of working full time and finding myself again.
I'm feeling upbeat but also a bit wistful about returning to the office. Not because I wish I wasn't working but because it means that Cedric is already twelve weeks old, and I'm not sure how it's possible. Even as there were days that were hard (like the handful of days when I cared for two boys under two by myself or on days when Dashiell had many meltdowns) I know I'll look back at this time with nostalgia because it has been the very beginning of knowing Cedric, my sunshine boy, and it was perfect. So I've been thinking about my favorite memories and moments from my maternity leave and what I want to remember. I'd love to share:
+ The glorious morning of New Year's Eve when both boys stayed fast sleep in their carseats for two hours. We got coffee at the Starbucks drive-thru and drove around looking at houses (a favorite pastime). It felt like a date and we kept saying to each other, "We have two kids!"
+ Spending a cozy New Years Eve alone at home with both boys asleep, eating treats that Erica brought for me and watching a movie while Chris went to visit his family.
+ Listening to the entire season of Start Up as soon as I finished Serial.
+ When my parents and sister visited us for several days. I especially loved how much Dashiell loved being with his Bootsie, Grandaddy (or G Daddy) and Aunt Liz.
+ Reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane in one day.
+ Playdates with Chris's sister and her kids, it's so fun to see Dashiell playing with his cousins.
+ The handful of days when Cedric took marathon naps and I had two or three hours all to myself, an eternity.
+ Reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up and feeling inspired to minimize more.
+ Attending breastfeeding group every Friday morning, led by the wonderful lactation consultant who attended to Dashiell and me in the hospital. I so love connecting with other moms and seeing all their adorable babies. It's so fun to see older babies and to be reminded of all the milestones that Cedric will experience this year.
+ Walking to the new bakery in our neighborhood to buy our weekly bread and often a treat.
+ Our first date post-Cedric. Chris and I went to Orange Theory (it was my first time) and it felt so good to run and to exercise. Afterwards we split a beer, salad, veggie burger and fries at Zin Burger and marveled that we were able to go on a date so soon after Cedric was born.
+ Cedric laying on a blanket outside in the shade of the backyard, kicking and looking at trees while I watered my plants.
+ Co-sleeping with Cedric during the early morning hours when I couldn't fathom sitting up to nurse or even getting out of bed. He nestles right next to me like a little kitten and sleeps so well like that.
+ Dashiell calling out, "Hi!" and "Good morning, Deet Deet!" when Cedric and I would get up in the morning.
+ Consistently putting both boys to bed at 7 PM and enjoying a couple of hours with Chris each evening. We've rewatched all of 30 Rock, read and resumed playing cards and dice.
+ The handful of afternoons when Dashiell was at daycare and Chris had finished his work and Cedric nursed and slept and we binged on 30 Rock. Two weeks ago we were enjoying one of these afternoons and Chris made a batch of brownies. It was the awesome.
+ Everything about my trip to Austin with Cedric. I loved feeling like a little team of two with him and giving him his first taste of Austin.