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My, how things have changed

10/07/2013

Belle

Natalie and M and Belle and Sabine at the Gardens of Wave Hill in Riverdale, NY.

Natalie and M and Belle and Sabine at the Gardens of Wave Hill in Riverdale, NY.

I met Natalie years ago when I was working in corporate America. I would like to say I was a inspiring boss who helped her become an amazing, wealthy writer, but I’m not. Instead she changed her mind halfway through the internship and switched her focus to Physical Therapy. After my fall from the writing world I think her decision wise!

While she did not get a stellar writing career out of this internship, she did gain my friendship. We have been through so much through the years – bad boyfriends, good boyfriends, drunken nights, sober nights, awesome cooking adventures, messy cooking adventures. We got married several months after one another and co-honey mooned to Costa Rica. She got pregnant when I started trying and cheered me on through years of agonizing infertility treatment. She cried with me when I lost Pip. When her reproductive success became more than I could stomach she quietly stepped back and waited for me to come back around.

Last October she easily got pregnant again. She told me later that she sat in the bathroom and cried when she saw those two pink lines, part in happiness for her, and part in sadness for how unfair it seemed to me. Then she read this post and everything changed. We went through pregnancy together and delivered our baby girls (both of whom the gender was unknown) within days of one another.

Natalie and her 3 month old and two-year old came to New York to visit last weekend. The plan was to stay Sunday through Friday and adventure together in the city while the Professor was at work. We had GRAND plans – we would go to the zoo, to Manhattan, to parks and playgrounds and stroller exercise and more! We would show her toddler, C, a grand time in the big city via walking, trains and buses.

Her stay lasted until Wednesday afternoon when we finally came to terms with a huge fact we had both overlooked – our lives have changed and we are no longer the center of them. We have kids. Kids with personalities and needs and wishes of their own, which often do not jive with ours. They are young and delightful and headstrong creatures who when all cry at once it is enough chaos to make the most sane woman pull out her hair. There were a lot of tears – both from babies and mamas.

We went into this trip knowing that it would not ruin a friendship. We were actually aware that things might get cut short due to a fussy baby. However we were not prepared for the nuclear meltdowns we would have. On Wednesday Natalie called in the special forces – her parents from Delaware – so we could have one afternoon to catch up and enjoy one another. That evening Natalie and her kids went back to Delaware for the remainder of their trip.

While the trip was not what we had originally planned, it was still a wonderful time. Co-parenting with my best friend for those few chaotic days was awesome. I am so proud of the strong woman and excellent mama Natalie has become. Her daughters are beautiful, lively and possess so many of her best qualities. We also learned an extremely valuable lesson from this trip: our lives have changed. Things are just different now that we have kids and the things we once did together might not be possible for a while. Our grand trip to Iceland this summer might be tabled for a year or two while our girls grow up a bit. Instead, maybe we will rent a beach house where the girls can all be tossed outside to burn off energy and the parents can get away with not showering for days on end!

Are you ready for the changes parenthood will bring? What changes surprised you in the first months as a new parent? Will you still travel once your baby arrives? Have you traveled? Any tips for two head-strong, busy body mamas so we can avoid future shit shows? 🙂

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7 Comments

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  1. October 7, 2013

    I 100% didn’t fully realize how time intensive newborns were when they were born. I mean, all they do is eat/poop/sleep… but you don’t realize how that all goes in never-ending 2-3 hours cycles and how all encompassing it can be!

    That being said, we have thus far tried to keep up our traveling, even with a kiddo. Stella is 22 months old and has been on 24 flights. Not bad! Just leaving extra time, being open to being flexible, building in down time for naps, and laughing at yourself and the situation can get you through most any traveling fiasco. 🙂

  2. October 7, 2013

    Ha- I JUST wrote several blog entries about our trip to Colorado with Iyla! A friend of mine coined it best- traveling with kids is a “trip”- fun & exhausting, while traveling without kids is a ‘vacation.’ We were all totally spent from traveling with a babe, who was both sick and not sleeping well pretty much the entire time. We needed a vacation from our trip! It is so amazing to be home again and getting back into our regular routines. I definitely don’t want to stop traveling b/c Iyla is here, but those travels are definitely super different now, with a little one calling the shots! Glad you and your dear friend got some time together both with and withOUT the babes!

  3. October 7, 2013

    So glad that you got to have babies together after all these years. I’m totally jealous as my friends are done having kids, we will never get those maternity leaves together and get together for coffee etc.

    I HAVE travelled with R lots and lots, and while it is not always perfect, we have had success. I would definitely recommend doing the beach house thing, especially as you will have schedules by then and can sit your butt on a beach with a margarita and a baby monitor. We have twice done a similar holiday with great success. Also, I recommend getting a sound machine for baby that can play all nap/night and drown out adults visiting. And ear plugs for you and the professor if you need to share a room with her. The sound machine keeps you from keeping her awake, and the earplugs do the same for you!

  4. October 7, 2013

    Ugh, I had absolutely NO idea how much having a kid would change how I lived my life. When we were in NYC we had friends with babies who just brought them everywhere and I was SURE that I would be exactly like that. And I was for a few months, we went to London, went to a wedding, etc etc, just took the baby wherever we went and he’d sleep in a Moby when he needed to. But then that awful 4 month sleep regression thing happened and after we struggled through some sleep training he’s now a baby sleeps in his crib and goes down at 7pm kind of kid. The sleep regression was so awful and the sleep training was so hard that I’m pretty inflexible now, like 180 degrees from where I thought I would be. My kid is in bed by 7pm almost no matter what! That being said we still travel, just try to get him back on schedule as soon as we can. We’re off to London in December…flying for 10 hours through the night with a 16 month old is going to be so much different than the last time we did it with a 3 month old!!! All that is to say we try hard to continue to do the things we used to do and kind of just go for it and not let baby hold us back, baby has been surprisingly flexible!

  5. karaleen #
    October 7, 2013

    We have kept all our travels very simple since having children. When we just had one (our son)…we did a couple trips (Northern CA up to Portland for a wedding for 4 days)….We stayed in hotels but the crap we had to haul with us was rediculous. and he was generally a good sleeper but didn’t do too well in a new place in the pack n play. We ended up sharing a bed with him which was not our norm and kept most of us awake all night. He was okay during the day as we made our way around town with him in a stroller…but we had to plan all our activities around his nap schedule and be back in at night for bed time….generally….it had a big impact. All other travel consisted of us hauling our trailer around with us to various RV parks where our vacations were meant to be very layed back with lazy dayz and lots of time with other family who also would camp out at the same RV park. We found this to be quite easy but the kids still didn’t sleep the best. Our kids are now 5 and almost 3….We just braved Disneyland (about 8 hours from us) for the first time last spring. We hauled our trailer though and stayed at RV parks (mostly due to our sons’ celiac disease…we needed our own kitchen). It was much easier than in the past….but we have decided to put off any big travel until they are both school age and can appreciate the trips more and actually remember them.

  6. October 7, 2013

    We travel with the babies a lot. A LOT! But we are very very strict with their schedule. So we have to make sure where we are going and what we are doing falls in line with the schedule – everyone bends to the babies, not the other way around. It has worked out okay so far, most of the time, except one time that their sleep schedule got messed up and reverberated for 6 weeks (this is why we are so strict). The beach house sounds perfect 🙂 Iceland does not! Sadly! I had a brief fantasy of taking the kids with me to Holland this winter and I realize that is freaking NUTS. But I wanted to do it so badly…

  7. October 7, 2013

    I think the key to keeping things as much the same as possible is to just book things well in advance and stick to it. We booked a trip when I was 5 months pregnant for when Matthew would be exactly 2 months old, forcing us to travel with our baby early. We flew out and back and yes, it was hectic, but it worked! After that, we were no longer fearful of traveling with a baby. We did the same thing for when Bryson was born. Same thing with dining out – something we love. We just took him everywhere with us and he’s always been a good diner for the most part.

    I believe that much doesn’t have to change if you don’t want it to. Sure, you’re not staying out until midnight anymore, but you can still get out for nice dinners! Traveling is harder, but so satisfying when you do it! It is what we make it is what I’m saying!

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