Tag Archives: new baby

Christmastime Joys

Lots to note this morning, from a new baby to a new quilt, lol!  How about the quilt first, then grandmotherly holiday musings from a most blessed heart.

This quilt is for a young woman who is like another daughter to me; who knew I’d end up with so many kids, ha ha!  I machine sewed this blanket on an early Christmas present, hee hee, which I’ll expound upon in the coming year once I truly have a feel for it.  Suffice to say it’s a wonder of a gift as well as perfect for a project that needed to come together quickly, and I’ll be giving it to that lovely lady sometime today.

It’s backed with a large piece I bought last year, as well as holiday fabrics I’ve had on hand; that’s another entry for future days, in that I’m pondering quite a resolution when it comes to purchasing fabric.  Again, I’ll get to that later.

I bound it in some Kona cotton, the exact names of which are long gone from my brain.  This past month has whizzed by, and I’m so grateful to have managed to complete this present.  With leftover squares, I sneaked in some Christmas placemats and coasters for my hubby and I to use, and I wonder if when I bring them out next year will I be reminded of how extraordinary was this month, waiting on Miss Em’s arrival.  This December has felt like something out a dream at times, what with balmy temps for much of it, and the incredible longing for a precious newcomer to join our family.  In a way this quilt is part of that process, binding another within our clan, in which there is always room for more.

Yours truly and Miss Em, two days old in this shot.

Now, let me just wax lyrically for a bit about Miss Em, Little Miss, and my time spent with them yesterday; my eldest wanted to do her holiday baking, and I was happy to offer assistance, which mostly meant running errands with Little Miss in the morning, then cuddling my newest granddaughter for much of the rest of the day.  She’s rather fantastic, if I do say so myself, and hardly fusses.  As my daughter and son-in-law began the baking process, I sat in the nearby dining room, admiring and giving tremendous thanks for their great joy, a healthy and snoozing baby, as well as a sleeping toddler who seems to have aged significantly in the past week.  Little Miss’ vocabulary has exploded, or is it merely in contrasting a tiny infant with a two and a half year old?

Regardless, many changes, all of them awesome, have provided me much food for thought, and as it’s nearly Christmas, the meanings are even sweeter, also quite profound.  Holiday tunes wafted from a chocolate-scented kitchen as well-loved treats were again recreated, newer recipes emerging too.  I reveled in being part of a new generation’s memories, even if right now those recollections are mostly mine.  Yet my eldest and her hubby own these thoughts too, and Little Miss and Miss Em will possess them vicariously through photos and our recounting this particular Christmas when a baby joined our family.

Miss Em and her besotted grandpa….

I mentioned to both my daughter and husband how a newborn does seem to alter Christmas a little, bringing home the event which sparks this celebration.  While newborns require lots of snuggles, those of us older need to give those cuddles not merely for an infant, but to share the purpose of Christ’s arrival; wrapping our arms around all we encounter, offering the physical manifestation of God’s love.  As babies grow, the embraces take different forms, as Little Miss helped with holiday baking.  While she constantly said ‘Me do it’, she was happy to allow some assistance, needing to be a part of her parents’ festive routine.  Some cookies were partaken of last night, but the bulk will be gifted to friends and neighbors, and I look forward to tales of Little Miss handing over goodie plates, wondering if she’ll mention her efforts.

Little Miss helps her daddy with the shortbread.

Christmas traditions vary widely, and soon enough celebrating Miss Em’s birthday will become part of our family’s staple.  I hope that over the years I am cognizant of some scrap from yesterday, but more I want to recall the immense joy of being near my beloveds at a most memorable time of year, which can be as simple as permitting the greatest love into our hearts, soft and vulnerable, and so needy.  God emerged into our world as a most helpless creature, aching for our assistance.  We love him in words of praise and prayers of thankfulness, but more in how we reach out to our brothers and sisters.  Sometimes it’s beyond easy, like snuggling a granddaughter.  Other times it’s in forgiving great wrongs, which might seem impossible.  Yet a baby was born to die to erase the sins of all the world; how massive was that cost to the heart of our Father in heaven?

Captured last night by her grandpa, Miss Em examines her world.

Amid the glow of a new baby is the realization of weightier considerations, stitched together by steadfast cords of unfathomable love.  Quilts and cookie plates are ways in which to show affection, cuddles are good too.  But best of all is allowing healing love into our hearts, followed by boundless mercy and infinite compassion.  These are the gifts our Saviour brings to us this Advent season, culminated in perfect peace on Christmas Day.  Our family might know some fussing, but ultimately Miss Em’s brief outbursts are merely to remind that she needs care, as do we all.  We are here to care and love one another; may your Christmas be full of joy, calm, and copious moments of TLC.

The Morning a Child Is Born

Today Little Miss arrived.  She was a few, well, several days late, but that’s according to speculative calculations.  She did seem rather fond of being where she was, and a little coaxing was required.  Yet now that she is with us, I feel like she’s always been here.

I chalk that up to how much she looks like her mother at that age.  And her slightly spitty disposition, albeit very pleasant overall, rings bells from years ago when her mum was that tiny.  How is that, I wonder, on this now afternoon that a child was born.

Yet seconds turn to minutes, changing to hours, and suddenly it’s past lunchtime, and I’m pondering this new family member (who looks remarkably like an older family member), as well as considering how blessed we all are by her health and beauty and simply her being with us.  Not that her birth was fraught with complications, other than she wasn’t in any hurry in being born.  Just that life is precarious, yet, it begins anew day after day and today my granddaughter took her first breath, had her first bath, was christened with a moniker that I adore.  We’ve all been calling her Phil for the last several months, as her folks wanted her name to remain under wraps.  As my husband and I walked from the labour ward, I slipped, speaking about Phil, I mean….  Little Miss, I laughed at myself.  A little miss who lifts my soul, as well as those who call her daughter and granddaughter.

Showing off; he's not even four months old and could stand by himself, grasping onto the coffee table's edge....

Showing off; the burrito isn’t even four months old and can stand by himself, grasping onto the coffee table’s edge….

And niece, grand-niece, great-granddaughter, and don’t forget cousin.  The burrito will meet his cousin later today, and I wonder if he’ll pass along nuggets of newbornhood; keep them on their toes, he’ll gurgle, while Little Miss might flash her dark eyes, or show off her light brown hair, with a hint of a curl.  I cannot express the level of joy I possess in the lives of these two descendants, who will grow up together, getting into countless scrapes and building a friendship lasting their entire lives.  That’s another reason this day is spectacular; I might be pushing fifty, but these babies are bound for years past mine, and I get to witness not only those moments, but relish this one, as they meet, as I held that wee girl, as the sun began to glow from the east.

Hours ago her life began; already new chapters are being written, quilting her into the fabric of my family.

A Readjustment Period

I can’t note how many times I wanted to add an entry, titles accumulating on post-it notes and within my gray matter.  Yet, no time arrived to satisfy my blog-longing.  I’d forgotten how much attention babies require, morning and noon and night.  Not that the burrito is an especially fussy sort, but he’s a three and a half week old newborn who doesn’t like being wet, prefers to cuddle on someone’s chest, or to simply be fed.  Add the usual household chores, and here I am, finally getting a post written over two weeks since the previous entry.

But more has occurred beyond the needs of one adorable taquito; hospice has been called in for my father.  Over the last three weeks Dad’s breathing has become severely compromised, one of the issues which arose when Dad saw his doc on Wednesday.  Hospice was on Mom’s list to discuss, but the doc wanted a chest X-ray as well, due to crackles he heard in Dad’s lungs.  As we left that appointment, no further ones were made; the oncologist would liaison with hospice as to Dad’s condition, which spoke volumes to me.  I’ve been at most of Dad’s oncology appointments over the last three years, once bone cancer entered the picture.  Suddenly these quarterly to monthly appointments were over.

That evening, as my bestie cuddled the burrito, I sewed a receiving blanket to a crocheted blanket for my grandchild.  I was due to head back to Silicon Valley the next morning, and this little project was the last one for me to complete.  My daughter’s abode had been my home for the last five weeks, but now that Dad’s appointment had taken place, it was time for me to let my youngest and her son do their own thing.  The atmosphere was festive, although I still needed to write the obligatory email to my siblings about Dad’s news, hospice and a increased dose of morphine topping the list.  But before I could write that note, my brother rang, asking if I’d seen Mom’s email.  The doc had called her personally with the results of the chest X-ray; Dad has pulmonary vascular congestion.  Now his extreme difficulty while breathing made sense.  It was also strange, in that probably cancer won’t be what kills my father.  It will be the results of COPD.

As I shared this news with those near, I prayed for my parents, that Dad’s pain would be effectively managed by hospice, and that Mom would know God’s peace.  Then I went back to attaching the receiving blanket to the crocheted yarn at four-inch intervals.  When that was finished, I gave the blanket to my daughter, who admired it with a loving smile.  I wrote back to Mom, then sent her email to my husband and beloveds.  Then I put away taco leftovers, and started packing for my departure.  I was still going home the following morning; I missed my husband, and needed to be back in my own crib at least for a few days.

An hour or so later, when it was just my daughter, the burrito and me, my girl told me how brave I was.  I smiled at her, and told her it had nothing to do with bravery; it was that I knew where my father was going, and I’d be with him one of these days.  I don’t remember if she was cradling her baby, or maybe that little boy was snug in my arms.  By the end of the evening, he’d been passed back and forth between us, not falling asleep until after ten thirty.  He only stirred once, around three, then slept until after seven, when this abuela administered one more morning feeding for my sojourn.  He’d gotten a bath the night before, light fuzz standing upright on his head.  He’s a stoic fellow, but reflexive smiles brighten his face, making me eager for those grins to be factual.  I was glad for his timely arrival, but how quickly my father’s health has deteriorated kept flashing through my mind.  Our lives are precariously brief, crossing at places we don’t expect.  The burrito in my arms yesterday morning won’t know the man who I call Daddy.  But there’s also a sweetness, which I ascribe to my faith; one day these two chaps will enjoy a long chat about various topics, sports probably, if one discusses pastimes in heaven.   Family history might come up in the conversation, and maybe this time in my family’s collective breaths will be noted; babies arriving, a great-grandfather departing, and all the other accumulated hoo-haa that surrounds these momentous occasions.

The burrito and his great-grandmother, as Great-grandpa nods off in the background.

The burrito and his great-grandmother, as Great-grandpa nods off in the background.

But for now, this blogging abuela is taking a sabbatical.  More is going on than I can detail, not all of it big and amazing, but some trivial and mundane.  I need to buy an iron, as I left mine at my daughter’s.  Quilts await my attention (why I need the iron), as well as other baby-related sewing projects.  I’ll be making more trips to see the burrito, but those visits will revolve around my father.  I’d also like to reacquaint myself with The Hawk, which I perused only for minutes over the last couple of weeks.  How many hats can I squish down on my head, oh goodness, too many.  The blogging sombrero will be hung up for….  Well, I can’t actually say, although I imagine I’ll dust it off at some point.  I’ve tried not blogging in the past, and I’m terrible at it.  However at this juncture, there’s so much to do, and not enough words and time to accurately describe the days.

The days are just packed with love and laughter and life.  Best I get back to that, while the opportunity remains.

Odds and ends and a burrito’s cloth diapers….

I want to squeeze in this post about cloth diapers before it gets lost in the burrito shuffle.  Right now the burrito and his mum are both asleep, but due to wake soon.  Dinner is simmering, a chickpea/curry/veg dish that was supposed to be for the slow cooker, but I didn’t wake this morning until eight, and still had to cook the soaking-overnight chickpeas, and….

And life with a burrito baby gets complicated; there are detours, even with a burrito as pleasantly natured as this one.  Last night we hung out for a bit, while mum caught up on some sleep.  Usually I’m an early riser, but that was my old, pre-nana existence.  I’m finding my abuela feet these days, sometimes referring to myself as nana.  No idea which name will stick; I’ll leave it to the burrito to choose which he likes best.

But in the meantime….  We’ve inaugurated cloth diapers because this burrito detests a wet bottom, and even though he’s still under eight pounds, I grew weary of using disposables, then tossing them right into the can.  We have an assortment of pocket diapers, from Bum Genius, Fuzzibunz, and Rumparooz to Sun Baby, Imagine, Nicki’s, and a few covers that came from a friend.  Basically, there is a plethora from which to choose, and while a good number are VERY large on the burrito, none of them stay on his bum long enough to leak.

Dad has a tale for that great-grandchild....

Dad has a tale for that great-grandchild….

I feel no guilt in changing him, then smooshing that wet or messy (or both) pocket diaper down into the pail, along with the cloth wipe.  And he doesn’t seem to care either way.

The reason I’m writing this post is because so many cloth diapering posts I have read over the last few months have been full of mums who waited until their burritos were eight-plus pounds to start using cloth diapers.  We all realized, right away mind you, that the burrito prefers a dry bottom; rare are the times he’ll sit with a soggy butt.  That is a fortunate detail in our cloth diapering experience, for even with the bulkiest diaper, he hasn’t leaked through.  The Bum Genius, Rumparooz, and a cover-style with snap-in inserts called Gro-Baby fit best, or are the smallest pockets.  But even those are still large, however, it matters not.  The burrito uses the diaper, hollers, then another is placed upon his delicate bum.

Great-grandma gets into thte burrito cuddling action....

Great-grandma gets into thte burrito cuddling action….

Now, we did NOT use a pocket diaper when we took the burrito to visit his great-grandparents, in part that the lumberjack-styled onesie wouldn’t have fit over his otherwise huge cloth diapered behind.  My dad was pleased as punch to meet this baby, telling stories as if his pain was gone.  It wasn’t; Dad nearly went to the hospital the night before our visit.  However his aches had lifted by morning, and our arrival in the early afternoon was eagerly welcomed.  Mom cuddled with that baby too, gifting him with a St. Paddy’s Day onesie.  The burrito needs to wear it, before he gets any bigger!

Aged hands but never too old to caress a loved one.

Aged hands but never too old to caress a loved one.

Babies get bigger every day, but I’m glad that my daughter was ready to give the pocket diapers a go.  If you have a little one with very sensitive skin, but worry they are too small for pockets or covers to fit, give them a try.  The worst that will happen is one change of clothes.  The best is that disposables will start to fade into the background.  And you can always sing this mantra, made up by yours truly only this morning.  I don’t charge a dime for copyright, and the tune is all up to you.

Small man, small problems, big butt.  ‘Nuff said….

What does time mean?

A most contented abuela; all shots by a most talented Belgian.

A most contented abuela; nearly all shots by a most talented Belgian.

Days have passed and the burrito has changed into the happy chappy, little man, or when he refuses to burb, the twerp.  Burp twerp has become a late-night refrain, and I sing different songs, some of which aren’t even of my own creation.  We watched the Big Star documentary a few nights ago, and I’ve been humming Chris Bell and Alex Chilton tunes, thinking about my new world as an abuela, and about my dad.

The happy chappy will meet his great-grandfather tomorrow, when the home health nurse isn’t around.  My father is excited to hold the littlest member of the family, but I don’t think it will be a long cuddle.  Dad’s lower right leg has a bad edema wound, and he’s not firm on either of his feet.  He’s lost ground in the last two weeks, whereas his grandson has gained a foothold, and to be honest, I’m not sure how these two will mesh in the weeks to come.

Which brings me to today’s title; what does time mean?  My grandchild is hovering at a week old, my father is seventy years.  I’m forty-eight, but those are merely numbers.  Life is a constant pull-push of breaths taken, occasions experienced, then the slow (or not so slow) approach to the end.  Now, due to my faith, the end isn’t the end, but it’s still a cessation of activity, involvement, memory.  When my father takes his last breath, all he knows, and has known, will be gone.  What he’s shared with us shall remain, but those are fragments of what he has seen, done, felt, and at times, avoided.  It has become impossible for me to separate my father’s ill health with the emergence of the next generation of family.   I cannot look away from these issues.

And perhaps that makes all of this easier for me, in that my dad’s decline is balanced by the burrito.  He’s still a burrito at night, swaddled in his sleep sack, out like a light.  We put cloth diapers on him today; they make his butt look HUGE!  His umbilical cord has fallen off; we’re going to plant it under a hydrangea given to him by one of my daughter’s dear friends.  Not quite like planting a tree over the placenta, but it’s one way to mark this very auspicious occasion.  And I come back to this fact again and again; people are born, then they die.  I have no clue as to my father’s timeline, but equally I won’t ignore what is obvious.  It would be like closing my eyes and running right into a wall.

Seasonally, new life is blooming around us.  Almond trees are flush with white flowers, which fall to the ground like a carpet. Yes, it’s only February, but spring floods the senses with warm temperatures and lengthening days.  My grandchild is turning from a taquito into a happy fellow, with reflexive smiles that tease; when he starts to grin for real, no one will be able to resist him.  In the back of my head, I wonder how much of this boy my father will know, for how long will their paths cross.  I don’t mean to be maudlin, but it’s a study of life in real time, day by day.  Maybe that’s what time means, not the accumulation of seconds and minutes, but moments and learning.  Over time we accrue knowledge that enables us to love.  Sometimes we are caught off guard by events that derail that plan, but to me, that’s the plan: we are here to love.  If we can look past the hurt, our hearts are made stronger by that which has attempted to thwart the plan, and we love more deeply.  I adore my happy chappy, even when he’s being a burp twerp.  My father’s sufferings cause me anguish, but his perseverance demands my respect, right alongside my overwhelming love.

My dad in 1947.

I never imagined all of these forces colliding right now; just three months ago, my father carved the Thanksgiving turkey.  Now it’s like he’s aged those twenty-five years he thought he had back in September.  While I wish he felt that well now, I can’t do any more for him than I can for the little man.

Which is a very strange situation; right now the little man isn’t such a happy chappy.  It’s nighttime, bedtime if you were a baby.  He’s a wee bit cranky, as many infants are this time of the evening.  We rock him, change him, but we’re sort of helpless to completely soothe, other than his mum, but he’s not really hungry.  My father’s woes are similar; as a daughter, I accompany to appointments, I ask questions.  But my dad is in charge, and as his perseverance requires my respect, so do his choices.

My father and his grandparents, August 1946

My father and his grandparents, August 1946

This is the part of life that requires patience and acceptance; a fussy crying baby and the plethora of maladies that plague someone battling cancer.  These older photographs are precious to me, in that they denote my history.  I never knew my great-grandparents, but they are alive in my dad’s stories.  My mum is in fine health, but the burrito taquito chap will most likely know of his great-grandpa via my tales, and those of other relatives.  That’s not how I necessarily want it, but….

My dad, 1945.

My dad, 1945.

But time can only be measured by yardsticks our feeble cerebral mechanisms can harness.  Yet, what if time was without parameters?  Maybe it is.  Perhaps all this blog-blogging is just a way to unwind after a long day.  But I would love to convey, if I have totally missed the point, that time is what we make it.  Time is as fleeting as a goodbye wave, or as lasting as firm devotion.  Time is nothing we can truly qualify, if our expectations are turned toward an ethereal home.  Time is only a manner of one day’s end, another’s beginning.  Life is very much the same.

My Taquito Burrito Bobblehead Grandchild

The lad in question is a few days old.  He’s so tagged in the title for the nicknames he has already acquired.  My family is big on nicknames; these have sprung on a nearly daily basis, in part from how the taquito loves to be swaddled, his amazing head control, and that he is merely a pipsqueak.  He’s also the most adorable chap in the neighborhood, and I’m the luckiest abuela around.

His birth was notable for a couple of things; he cried nearly nonstop once he was born, leaving us all to wonder if this was a sign (It wasn’t; he seems to have gotten past that initial crankiness, settling into a soothing pattern of burrito-swaddled sleep.)  The other issue was how my daughter went into labour, in the middle of the day.  She and I went to hospital to determine if she was in true labour; indeed she was, and there was set into action the events that led to one little boy’s entrance into this world.

Well, Buttercup helped too.  My daughter can’t resist giving that hound her due attention, and as my daughter return to her feet, a certain sense of impending change was noticed.  That ushered in a night I will always remember.

A few days away from such stupendous happenings, I have the time to write this post, reflecting on all that has altered.  A baby has invaded, and what a glorious, if not sleep-depriving, manner in which to now live our lives.  So many lives have been enhanced upon the burrito’s presence; we bask in the aura he emits, which is often that of peace, for he has taken up nursing and sleep with relative ease.  His voice emerges when he’s wet; he does not like being wet.  He appreciates his hunger signs noted in an expedient manner.  He is a swaddle-king, hence the taquito-burrito handle.  And he’s a strong fellow, bobbing his head along shoulders as if he’s a few weeks old.  He induces calm, which wafts throughout the house like blessed incense; perhaps my feet ache at the end of the day, yet all I realize is the giddy glee of grandmotherhood.  Even at five-thirty this morning, I had made up a little song, toting him to and fro: Grandma likes to sing her song, but you don’t get to sing along.  All you get to do is yawn.

I’m not a lyricist, but hey, it rhymes.

When the burrito came home from hospital, I sent my nearest and dearest an email, noting that while the writer in me could wax all about the details, the abuela in me was ready for sleep.  There’s a fine line about recalling everything that happened and staying in the moment.  More pictures than I have sense have been taken, a few scattered within this post.  I have no idea for how long he’ll be known as the burrito; maybe tomorrow he’ll manage a most fantastic feat and we’ll be calling him….  Aha, that must be left until tomorrow.  Today, he’s adorable.  His hat confirms it.

Welcome to the family, my beautiful taquito grandson.  May your life be full of wonder, joy, and even a real burrito or two….