Lauren Wellbank

One mom and her struggle to survive until bedtime


Tag: Growing up

Parenting is not about the wins, it’s about living to fight another day

I’m sitting on the toilet, pretending to eat a fake carrot as my toddler stands less than an inch from my bent knees begging me to keep going.

“Eat more, mommy.”  She says, and pushes the carrot back to my face.  Again I make the “om nom nom” noise and pretend to nibble on the tip.  “It’s ice-cream!”  She yells, reminding me that I can’t even eat a fake carrot correctly, because now it’s been transformed into a fake ice-cream cone.  Get it together, mommy, her face says.  Parenting is kind of your job.   Continue reading

On my daughter’s second birthday, a season of lasts

If I had known that it was going to be the last time, I would have taken our picture.  One of you falling asleep the way that you had every day of your entire life.  Your eyes were usually half closed with a happy smile playing around your lips, all of your focus on nursing.

Your hands were almost always clasped together, as if in some silent prayer.  Sometimes you would pull off to laugh, say something to me, or start singing me a song.  Sometimes you would just flop back, contented, and drift off to sleep.  No matter how it ended, it always started the same, just the two of us in our quiet routine.

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Lindsay and I nursing our babies right before my wedding in 2015, photo by Maria Kalitina

Yes, you were almost two, and I was almost five months pregnant, and I was so ready for this part of our relationship to be over, but you were not.  It had become both a physical and emotional strain on me in the last month of this pregnancy.  I would sit there with you, watching you drift off to sleep, and quietly hope that soon this part of our journey would be done.

And then one day, it just endedContinue reading

When the Honeymoon Ends

Yesterday my husband and I celebrated our one year wedding anniversary.  It was a wonderful day in which he treated me to breakfast in bed.  We sipped champagne and ate our leftover wedding cake before taking off for a leisurely day where we walked, just the two of us, in and out of shops and took in an amazing lunch at a quiet farm to table restaurant in this boutique filled town near where we live.  Before we fell into bed together later that night he surprised me with a delicate gold necklace with a beautifully engraved locket that expressed his undying love for me in a way that I would have never thought possible.  And then, a giant golden unicorn flew out my butt, and its ornate wings flapped and blew away the fabric of my super intense fantasy life. 

The reality is that I woke up tired with a sick toddler.  A sick toddler that had me awake most of the night before, while my husband slept down stairs on the couch in what I can only assume was an effort to escape my heinous pregnancy induced gas.  We relaxed by making a two hour round trip to North Jersey to pick up our recreated wedding cake that I forgot to order until about 24 hours prior (pregnancy brain, pregnancy brain all the things).  Then we came home and ate lunch quickly before he had to run back out to the grocery store to pick up more tissues and supplies for to make our daughter fresh chicken noodle soup tomorrow.

Even now, as I type this in bed next to our daughter, my husband is back downstairs napping.  The card that I bought him to celebrate is sitting, unsigned and unsealed, on the island in the kitchen where he found it this morning just in time to remind him that he never even thought to get me a card.

This is not what I imagined our life would look like this time last year.  Actually, this exact time last year I was relaxing with my eyes closed as the finishing touches were being completed on my hair and make-up.  I don’t think I was envisioning our one year anniversary, but you can bet if I was it didn’t include me being covered in dried strings of snot, watching yet another episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and trying to negotiate holding a sick toddler without squishing the baby still a’ brewing inside of me.

And honestly, I wouldn’t change any of it.

I know the cliché is that the first year of marriage is the hardest, but that wasn’t my experience here.  Perhaps it was because we had already been together for so long (six years last September) or maybe it was that we lived together for several years prior so not much actually changed when I changed my name.  More than likely it was just the fact that we had already experienced our hardest year, that first year as parents.  And although that was unbelievably hard, I think it actually made us stronger as a couple.

It also made me realize a lot about our relationship.  I never understood why people called their significant others their better half before, but I think I get it now.  I have discovered that there are some things that my husband is just better at than I am.  Sometimes, he has the better half of our qualities.  Where I am tightly wound, he is easy going.  Where I am quick to anger and hold tight to grudges, my husband has an even temperament and is forgiving.  When I see red, he sees reason.  Sometimes I expect the worse of people and he gives them the chance to be who they are.  He learns his lessons where I keep making the same mistakes over and over… the list could go on and on.

He is my better half, and I am so glad that we found each other all those years ago and have taken this strange path that life has set us upon.  No, none of it has been what I expected (or honestly, even something that I would have thought sounded remotely enjoyable all those years ago).  But now, here I sit, covered in dry boogers, exhausted to the core of my being, and still wonderfully and magically in love.

It’s a different love than I have ever experienced before.  Long gone are the days when we would get drunk and make out on the couch with our hormones all aflutter.  But I can say when I came home last weekend and found my husband and daughter napping together, side by side, laying in identical positions, there was some fluttering.

Watching him be a good dad and a wonderful husband doesn’t keep me in love with him (he keeps me in love with him all by himself), it just reinforces those reasons I fell in love with him in the first place.

So today, while the honeymoon is officially over, I still find myself deeply and unendingly in love with my husband.  And I am pretty confident he feels the same way about me, gas and all.

Happy First Wedding Anniversary.

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Photo by Maria Kalitina

A Letter to AARP on Behalf of my Old Uterus

Dear AARP,

I am writing to you today on behalf of my uterus.  Or maybe I’m writing on behalf of my ovaries, hell, how about you just accept this letter on behalf of the whole kit-n-caboodle. You see, I have been informed by my OB that due to the fact that I will be over 35 when I give birth, I am something called “of Advanced Maternal Age”.

Please, dear people of AARP, allow me to explain.

Apparently my lady bits have aged in dog years because the American Medical Association just called my multigravida elderly.  And the definition of multigravida is even worse than being called “elderly”, it means a woman (or female animal) that has become pregnant for the second time.  Yeah, esteemed board of AARP members, I said WTF, too. 

While I was busy enjoying my 30’s, and deriving great enjoyment from the fruits of the efforts of my twenties, my vagina was withering away. Unbeknownst to me, my entire reproductive system was growing older by the moment.  Basically the plot of the movie Jack was playing out in my underpants zone.  Every second I spent on winery tours or dates with my fiancé (now husband) my vagina was inching closer and closer to needing a daily nap and asking for the menu that features the early bird specials.

Nobody ever told me that on the eve of your 35th birthday your fallopian tubes would give a dramatic shudder, cough up some dust, and ask for an afghan and a large print crossword puzzle.

My OB sat there smiling encouragingly at me as all of this sank in.  She was more than happy to explain everything in great detail, making sure that I understood all the accompanying risks and requirements.

Having a baby at the ripe old age of 35 or older (or older… but by god, if you’re older than 35 how do your ancient eggs manage to get where they need to be while lugging around their oversized purse and walker?!  What is the logistics there?) pushes you into a “special” new category of mom. Special.

“Don’t worry,” she assured me when she saw the look of horror on my face as the words Advanced Maternal Age once more left her lips “it just means you are special. You’ll get some extra attention, but it’s really not that bad.”  There’s that word again, fellow AARP friends, special.

After a while of going back and forth she laughed and told me that now a days people don’t even begin their families until their 30’s and that being of AMA isn’t all that big of a deal.

It felt like a big deal.  It also felt like I needed to rush home and get my Medicare and Social Security paperwork in order.

Before I was permitted to hobble out to my car (head down watching where I was going so that I didn’t fall and break my hip), she issued me more reassurances and a referral for a specialist.  A geneticist, because old eggs have a tendency to produce babies with chromosomal defects (which of course was the exact reassurance that this wasn’t that big of a deal that I needed).

The genetic counselor was also full of words of encouragement and laughed at me during our appointment.  Telling me I was still just a spring chicken (something that, ironically, my grandmother’s doctor used to say to her when she would complain about the aches and pains of her 80’s).

“35 is just an arbitrary line they drew in the sand.” She said while I pointed accusingly at my paperwork where the words “elderly” glared back at me.

Elderly?!  Elderly my ass! Well… I guess more accurately that would be, “Elderly?!  Elderly my vagina!”wp-1478524388622.jpg

So, it is for this reason that I am requesting early admission. I would like to begin taking advantage of all of the discounts and benefits that are available to women (and their junk) of a certain age.

While clearly, I am still a spring chicken in the eyes of the world (and kindly, if somewhat patronizing, genetic councilors), the baby growing in the complete tear down that is my uterus would have you believe otherwise.

Thank you for your consideration,

The Brains Behind This Old Uterus

PS – Are there AARP meetings?  Is that where I get to meet Luke Perry?  I’d like to meet Luke Perry. 

Thirty-Five is the New Thirty-Five

On the 19th I will turn 35, making these my last few dying days in my early thirties.  I thought I’d approach this day with sadness at the loss of my blush of youth, regret for the things that I didn’t do with my life (still haven’t written that Great American Novel, have I?), and dread because now I’m staring down the barrel of 40 (40??!?  How did that happen?!).

That didn’t end up being the case.  Instead, I am spending these last few days making demands (after all, 35 is a big birthday and deserves all the fuss that my close friends and family can muster), and enjoying any extra attention that I can get.

Guys, I’m going to be 35 and my life is pretty awesome.  Granted, I’m not running through the house singing while tiny cartoon birds change my toddler’s diaper (good god how I wish), but this life is better than any life I could have imagined in my twenties.

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When you turn 35, you get excited about getting new dish towels as gifts (thanks, mom!)

Plus, at 35 when people ask you what you want for your birthday, you actually get it.  That’s probably because you are no longer asking for things like a trip to Cabo or a new car (not that I ever asked for those things).  My big wish this year was a writing workshop (thanks hubby) and a fancy bottle of salad dressing from a winery in the Finger Lakes that my parents visited last year (thanks parents).  Literally, all of my wildest dreams are coming true.

***Oh, and I keep telling anyone that will listen how awesome an edible arrangement would be.  Seriously people, one with the pineapples cut to look like flowers… maybe some chocolate covered strawberries… I mean, come on, I’m almost 40.***

This is a much different approach than the one I took five years ago.  The Lauren of my 20’s was a completely different beast.  I am a few years older than my husband and on my 30th birthday I declared that I would spend the next few birthdays aging backwards until my husband and I were the same age, and then we could proceed forward together, as equals (because that’s how aging works).  I think I stuck with it for two years.  By then the reality of being in my 30’s had sunk in and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

Actually, it was way better than I ever could have imagined.

Gone were many of the insecurities, struggles, and trials of my twenties.  Financially, I was secure.  I had put my time in as a bastion of light in the dark recesses of the mortgage industry.  Most of what had happened in the early 2000’s had started to rebuild and I had found stability in my corner of the market.  And things worked out perfectly for me to be able to leave said mortgage industry and stay home and wipe butts full time.

Gone are the days of wondering how my ass looks in my jeans or what size dress I’m wearing.  My body is what it is.  Sure, I happen to think I look terrific (thanks mainly to awesome genes and a non-sedentary lifestyle).  I am also not far enough removed from my teen years to remember how I felt about my looks back then.  When I look back at old pictures, I realize that I was perfect.  Same goes for every other period of life.  In the moment, there was so much I wished was different, but when I look back I wish that I still looked the way I did then, as opposed to how I look now.  I assume that trend will continue for the rest of my life.  So I’m going to go ahead and embrace how I look now and save myself the regret in five years when I think, “If only I looked as young, well rested, and fit as I did at 35.  Youth is wasted on the young, waaaaah.”

Obviously, I assume that I won’t embrace 40 with the same devil may care attitude that I have for turning 35.

And I love, and am loved, without insecurity.  My husband and I have a solid foundation that I no longer question (except, you know, when we move because that shit is for the birds).  I don’t have to worry if I’ll ever find love, if I’ll die alone, how many cats I can reasonably have before I begin the descent into madness, I know the answers to all of those things now (six, six is the maximum number of cats that I can handle at one time).

And now I’m wondering what the next five years will bring, and what the years beyond will bring.  Will I continue to feel the same way about my life that I do about wine, that it’s better with food it gets better with age?  Will I continue to embrace my flabby backside as much as my crow’s feet?

Who knows?

Who cares?

Another perk of being closer to 40 than to 30, you just don’t give a shit.

So, happy almost birthday to me.  And here’s hoping that I still feel this way in the harsh light of Thursday morning.  When I’m sure to wake up with a few new grays, a cake hangover, and tiny fingers feeling around inside of my ear canal.

35 is the new 35, because screw every other age. 

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