Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Right In Time

Hi! Finally, after five days, I’m feeling better — not 100% just yet, but well enough that I feel confident handling the kids on my own this evening and Drew doesn’t have to cancel plans that he has to stay home and help. I don’t have a column ready for this morning though, and may not get one up by the end of the day. I might post a letter or two to the forums at some point, so check in there if you’re desperate for new content. And use down time to make calls to your senators and representatives! This is a big week in terms of resisting Trump’s agenda.

In other news, both my babies hit milestones over the last few days. Joanie turned 18 months old on Saturday, and yesterday, as I was saying good-night to Jackson, I realized that it was his “five and one quarter” birthday, which, as you can imagine, he was pretty psyched to hear. I’ve gotten rid of almost all our baby gear now — clothes for the first year are long gone, passed down to friends or friends of friends who had babies after me. Play mats and bouncy chairs and infant car seats are gone, too. Swings and toys and the moby wrap I only used a few times with Joanie have found new homes. We still have a crib, of course, and a bottle warmer, and diapers for now, but Joanie is already showing signs of being interested in potty-training, so maybe their days are numbered too, who knows (Jackson was three before he was toilet-trained, but I’ve heard girls go sooner, and, though I’m not pushing anything, I don’t want to hold her back either).

Predictably, I’m having some feels over all of this. I miss my babies, and it’s bittersweet knowing I’ll never have another, but, though I still have a couple years of toddlerhood to wade through, the freedom that comes in the growing independence of one’s kids is pretty great. Jackson can get himself dressed completely on his own now, from picking out his clothes to pulling on his socks. And he’s tall. And the shape of his face is way different than it was six months ago. Even his voice has changed. And he calls me “Mom” now, hardly ever “Mommy” anymore. And to Joanie, whom I’ve always been “mama” since she learned to sound words, I’m now becoming “mommy,” and because I can see the future right in front of me, right next to her, I know that too will change before we know it.

Like every parent before me and everyone who comes after, I feel the tension of wanting my babies to stay my babies forever and wanting them — and me! — to have the freedom that comes from the ability and confidence of making their own choices and doing things for themselves. And as we get closer to that point, I’m better able to appreciate the beauty and the gift of their dependence on me, much more than I feel the burden of it. It’s a particular gift that comes from having multiple children, too, that I can experience two ages at the same time, and know in an even more visceral way how fleeting this time is — how fast it goes. How lucky I am to have it with them. Really, whether you’re a parent or not, is there a bigger gift in life than appreciating what you have exactly when you have it and not just in retrospect?

Thank you for being patient as I recover from the Great Miserable Cold of 2017. I hope to be totally back to normal — whatever normal is — by tomorrow.

13 comments… add one
  • Taylor January 10, 2017, 12:00 pm

    Wendy, you capture the poignancy of being a parent perfectly. Hope you’re fully recovered soon, it’s been a bad winter for colds.

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  • carolann January 10, 2017, 12:21 pm

    My baby girl is two and a half and I feel the same way. They really do grow up fast. I get sad about it sometimes. Then I think about having grandbabies one day. (I hope, my oldest has made it very clear she never wants to have children…but I have two other chances.)
    My girl is completely potty trained now. When she started showing signs of readiness (around 18 m) I purchased several little plastic pink potties. (I got cheap ones made by S***MER brand new online for $5 a piece with free shipping.) I made a big deal when they were delivered. They were special just for her. I put one in her room, one in the back of the hall (in a private spot that no one can see unless they round the corner) and one in the bathroom. I also purchased toilet rugs to catch any dribbles. I bought her bleach free / latex free disposable pull up style toddler diapers. (We were using cloth and wool covers before that) She watched me whenever I went and just started copying me. Then I bought cotton training pants with removable pads to catch any accidents. I didn’t really have to do much except clean up. She took to it all pretty easily. She calls me when it is time to wipe.
    I still keep a waterproof pad on the bed for accidents. She has one every once in a while, but not very often.

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  • Moneypenny January 10, 2017, 1:05 pm

    I’m glad you’re feeling better Wendy!
    My sister just had her baby (her second, a boy) on Sunday- he came 3 weeks early. I saw some pictures of my 4 year old nephew holding his baby bro and I couldn’t believe that he used to be that small!

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  • Cyndi January 10, 2017, 6:29 pm

    So glad you’re feeling better! Milestones are poignant & wonderful. I am the parent of 31 year old & a 14 year old. I am reliving teenage years. ALL over again! I love my babies – both of them . Enjoy each stage. It all passes too soon to a next stage.

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  • bittergaymark January 10, 2017, 6:56 pm

    I’ve been VERY depressed lately. America is lost. It’s like watching a car crash in slow motion. The masses fucked themselves… Eh, I give up. I am tuning out as far as politics. Caring? Is a losing game. I fold.

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    • bittergaymark January 10, 2017, 10:18 pm

      That’s said — this latest Trump scandal is HI-LAR-I-OUS! Trump, apparently, is always pissed off because he really would rather be pissed on. Who knew?

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      • Kate January 11, 2017, 6:45 am

        I read the whole (unverified) report in fascination last night in my hotel room. Amazing! Verified or not, people knew at least as far back as July that Russia was trying to get Trump elected. The WaPo was reporting on it… Marty from the Boston Globe Spotlight team. My dad was telling me, “they’re offering him real estate deals or they have something on him.” I guess it was both!

        What kind of animal rents the Presidential Suite the Obamas slept in, in order to watch hookers pee on the bed? In a country where EVERYTHING is recorded?

        I’d like to think his supporters and those last-minute voters who just couldn’t vote for Hillary because she’s “evil” are starting to realize they actually voted for Putin. You did, guys. And “your candidate” is being investigated by the FBI.

      • MissDre January 11, 2017, 9:20 am

        I haven’t paid too much attention to the dirt they supposedly have on him since I’m not American but I’ve seen a few headlines. I read previously the Russia was found to have interfered in the US election but it seems that not much was done about it. Could any of this info coming out possibly result in Trump losing the presidency? Or is he in there for, sure no matter what?

    • Kate January 11, 2017, 9:29 am

      Well… it’s confirmed by US Intelligence that Russia did meddle in the election and attempt to influence the outcome. That part is true. The new report spells out exactly what Trump and his team knew, and did, but it’s not substantiated though very likely true. At least two pages of material from it were presented to him by our Intel, which indicates they take enough of it seriously, or have substantiated enough of it… we just don’t know what. He’s still going to be president, but who knows what will happen or how long he’ll be in office.

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    • RedRoverRedRover January 11, 2017, 10:14 am

      @Dre, I don’t believe there’s a process to NOT inaugurate him, since he’s the elected President. And also it’s coming up so quick. Maybe if he was, like, in jail or something they could kick him out, but there won’t be time for anything like that to happen before the inauguration. So that’ll happen. After that, the process in impeachment. And then that psycho Pence will become the President for the rest of the term. I gotta wonder, was it planned this way? And I don’t mean planned by the “Republican establishment”, Paul Ryan et al. I mean planned by the people who really pull the strings. Koch brothers and their ilk. They know they can never get someone like Pence elected. So, put up an idiot, help him in exchange for picking a hard-right VP, then get him impeached. It just seems like this is all going to work out really, really well for the GOP if Trump gets impeached.

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      • Ron January 11, 2017, 11:02 am

        Many on the right, especially the far right, have a positive view of Putin. Polls show almost 40% of Republicans view Putin favorably, and not just because he favored Trump.

        Putin is no longer seen by them as the KGB communist, but is the new strong leader who defends traditional Western values and is a strong bulwark to the east of Europe against the Muslim world. Putin is now seen as a defender of conservative Christianity, especiall opposition to homosexuals. The right has long had a romance with authoritarian rulers who proclaimed their defense of conservative values and nationalism.

        During WWII, when the war was well underway in Europe but the U.S. was still officially neutral, many leading conservatives were pro-Hitler, seeing him as the guy who would protect them from communist Russia. Charles Lindbergh, who was a big Hitler supporter, was seen as a preferred choice for president by many Americans. Roosevelt was seen as a commie who would destroy America. Many on the right did not turn against Hitler until he declared war on us in solidarity with Japan after Pearl Harbor was attacked.

        As silly as we may see them to be, the photos of a bare-chested Putin on horseback stir something in the hearts of the right-wing. When times are tough or they are fearful, the right turns not so much to a particular policy position as to a strong, autocratic leader. Both Putin and Trump fit that mold. In both cases, the truth is what they say it is and they carefully cultivate a public persona of strength and being the only person capable of solving their nation’s problems.

  • bittergaymark January 11, 2017, 11:23 am

    We are stuck with Trump unless somebody bold wises up and does the right thing.

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    • Ron January 11, 2017, 12:23 pm

      The ‘Second Amendment solution’ is just as un-democratic and vile today as it was when Trump mentioned it with regard to Hillary and right-wingers mentioned it with regard to Obama. Besides, unlike Obama, Trump wisely followed the trend set with Agnew as V.P. and chose a V.P. who would be less popular with his partisan opponents than he is.

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