The Hart Home│Life in Pandemic Filled NJ

None of us were expecting for us to come home from Florida at the beginning of March to the world pretty much shutting down. We had taken our son to Disney World and attended my doctoral graduation. It was our first real family trip. We had also finally listed our starter home and were about to get out of attorney review on our new house. I was completely relieved because our house at the shore was most likely going to sell quickly and while our new home needed extensive renovation, it was a single family home with a lot of land and we would be able to be in there well before our second son was due in the summertime.

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Then we got back and the world fell apart. I had several days to plan online learning. Our new home fell through. No one wanted to look at our home. And then I was suddenly being a full-time mom while trying to teach both middle school and college from home.

I was absolutely exhausted. Online school was 24/7 and it required so much of me–chasing kids down, actually teaching, grading in creative ways, making sure kids had food and internet and also listening to them because so many were just as lost as I felt.

I was very happy to see school end in June.

I also moved into using my real estate license while taking care of Logan. He loves that I am home so much more and truthfully, I am much happier too. This has definitely become a time of recovery and re-figuring out what I want my life to look like. I have worked in an under-funded high poverty school for almost 10 years already. And I don’t think you realize how much of a toll it really does take on you until you’re away from it.

I’m a better mom with a lot more patience. I enjoy doing things for my family that previously I was just too tired to do like cooking dinner and baking. I also realized how much I have missed reading and writing.

I am down to weeks left in my pregnancy. Unlike with Logan, I am not fearing my maternity leave but rather really looking forward to the time I will have with both of my boys and hopefully finding just a little time for myself. I mean, I wrote a dissertation when I was out with Logan…maybe now I can get caught up with my book reviews and maybe even finally start sending in some of my research to educational journals. That’s my goal at least.

It’s a weird time to be alive. It was also a very weird time to be pregnant. And don’t even get me started on what it’s been like to try and sell a house during all of this either…I am hoping the end of summer and the fall brings us what we need.

The Hart Home│For My Little Boy

A year ago, I was heavily pregnant with you and struggling to get through each day. I was so exhausted and you were already on your way to being 10 pounds. I was running out of room in my body and you just wanted to stay inside me. I made it too comfortable for you.

I found it hard to breathe or eat or really function outside of the recliner we have. I also was so excited to meet you. In a week from now, I would have labor that would start and stop. We had one full false alarm and then finally when we were well past our due date, they finally induced me, but you still wanted to stay inside.

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An emergency c-section and several complications later and my beautiful baby boy that I had dreamed and prayed for was at last in my arms with his haunting almost black eyes and my face staring back at me.

We had a crazy first year together with me writing my doctoral dissertation and my going back to work way too soon. I have enjoyed every day that I am home with you this summer getting to see you turn from that little baby I brought home to the charismatic, brave and funny little boy you are so quickly becoming.

Getting to know you now as a little boy are the best ways I spend my days. You think so many things are funny and you love cuddling with me. You also love to tell me stories and yell at the TV. You’re walking everywhere and if you can figure out how to climb something, you will.

I find myself falling more in love with you every day, but also, I find myself getting a little sad at the end of each because I know by morning you’re going to be even more of a little boy and less of the baby that I have held and cradled, soothed and rocked, wore and breastfed for the last year. You’re finding your independence and as a mother that makes me very proud because it means I have loved you well, but at the same time, it makes me sad because you won’t need me like you did when I first brought you home.

I catch myself watching you sleep more and cuddling close to you, wanting to get in every last minute of who you are now, smelling your little head and holding your little hands. It amazes me how in another year, you will be so much more like a little boy and again I will feel this bittersweet sadness over your growing up.

No matter how old you are though, you will always be my little prince.

Your Baby Is Speaking to You – Book Review

babyA baby book is not something that readers will typically associate with art books. However, the photography included in Your Baby Is Speaking to You is heart-warming and makes the book a great one to leaf through, even for those of us who do not have children and for those of us who are not usually captivated by other people’s off-spring.

Photography and Parenting Advice

Nugent’s advice for new parents is accompanied by photographs that demonstrate the different communication techniques that babies innately demonstrate when interacting with their parents. The photographs are up close and personal, capturing heart-felt moments and sweet glimpses into the simple gestures that are exchanged between baby and parent. Moreover, if you are reading the book for the advice on how your baby is communicating, Kevin Nugent is more than a solid enough authority to do so. Dr. Nugent is a well-known authority on parent-infant communication.

Dr. Nugent worked with acclaimed photographer Abelardo Morell to truly capture what he discusses in each chapter. Morell’s body of work shows a clear understanding of intimate moments and how to get them just right. The photographs that are included in Your Baby Is Speaking to You are innocent and heart-felt.

Infant-Parent Communication

Nugent illustrates a wide-array of various communications that occur between infant and parent. He included everything from early smiling to startling, listening to your voice and recognizing your face to feeding and sleeping. He also highlights:

  • Yawning
  • Various cries and their meanings
  • The different sleep states and the body language that accompanies them

Overall, Your Baby Is Speaking to You is hybrid in that it gives new parents an accessible way to read and understand more about their infant while including heart-warming photography that can be enjoyed by those of us who are not trying to understand how our non-existent infants are not communicating with us.

Dr. Kevin Nugent studied infants through hands-on experiences through intimate access to the infants and their families. Compiled with his education and experience in the field, Nugent’s book presents an informative and well-researched look into infant-parent communication. Readers have commented that Nugent’s book is one of the more informative and easier to understand books about infant-parent communication, further explaining that it was a quick read that gave them a lot more insight into their children, their lives and their roles as parents.

Your Baby Is Speaking to You by Dr. Kevin Nugent with photography by Abelardo Morell was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on January 13, 2011 with ISBN 0547242956.

Are Moms and Dads that Different?

My son has reached a point in his development where he knows that I leave in the morning and he does not like it. He has the most heartbreaking yet oddly adorable cry face too which just means he knows how to pull it out to get me to cave in .1 seconds.

He needs me to hold him. All the time. From the moment I get home at night, I am holding him and carrying him around with everything that I do. This was much easier when he was smaller and less mobile and therefore, easily wearable and between that and my body heat, would spend much of his time napping. Now, not so much.

This morning I was running late for work because my son had woken up and immediately wanted to nurse. I have IMMENSE guilt when I turn him down from nursing, so I will always nurse him when he asks for it. He nurses and then once he’s more awake he wants to cuddle and be held, only I REALLY have to pee and shower and get ready to go. I attempt to put him into his pack and play which is just explosive tears the moment he realizes that he’s headed for it.

Quickly, I hold onto him and run to the bathroom. And yes, I pee while I am holding him and he’s happy and chatting as he plays with my necklace. It is 100% true: you lose all privacy once you become a mom and as a mom, your kid will be in the bathroom with you.

Enter my husband.

He just starts shaking his head when it finds us there and takes our son from me.

“We have to get on the same page,” he tells me. I roll my eyes. My mom never let us cry needlessly or for anything when we were my son’s age. You can not spoil someone with love. You can spoil them with things, but that’s something for when he’s older to be worried about.

“Why do you think he’s so different and calm when I’m home? He’s secure. He knows I will be there when he cries.” Then my husband rolls his eyes.

“You’re going to turn him into a mama’s boy.”

And here’s where I zing him good. “Well, apple…tree.” I wink. My husband is further not amused. “And, he’s already a mama’s boy. He’s making little mmm and momom sounds when he cries now because he knows I will be there. We’re working on the official, mama.”

“Go to work.”

The irony in all of it though is that while I am teaching today, our son will be sitting on the couch with my husband as my husband does work for school and my son watches wrestling or cartoons and takes his nap. Then I’ll be home and we’ll switch to Murder, She Wrote and Little House on the Prairie and we’ll sit cuddling and sharing my evening yogurt that he has become obsessed with and the night will go on.

As different as moms and dads are, I think they’re also a lot more alike than they are different. Moms just have more patience and are more open to giving up personal freedoms such as peeing without a small audience.