This November

novemberThis November was the most beautiful I can ever remember DC looking in the fall, with the trees a constant kaleidoscope of gold and red. We went on so many walks, and I took too many pictures of my feet on the leaves because I couldn’t stop looking up and down and feeling impossibly blessed to live here.

This November Henry officially stopped waking at night. We have been (mostly) happy Baby Wise followers over here from the beginning, but Henry never responded to the 10 pm “dream feed” opting instead for a 4:30 am “snooze button feed.” It honestly wasn’t terrible, because he slept solidly from 7:30 pm-7am other than that feeding, and I didn’t mind so much our quiet moment together before he went back to bed. But I started gently weaning him and then he just stopped on his own. And I was happy and sad all at once, a phrase that applies to so much of parenthood.

This November I spent hours researching childcare for the spring, interviewing people, mourning that I can’t be with him all the time, and hoping and praying that we find someone good to love our boy when we are far from him. Our babysitter from this fall has been absolutely perfect in every way, but is leaving next semester and it feels daunting all over again to find someone to take care of my baby. And I started understanding why so many women stay home after kids – not just because you want to be with them, need to be with them, and realize the importance of shaping tiny minds and caring for tiny bodies – but because perpetually finding childcare is so hard and costs so much money.

This November marked a year since my last half-marathon, at 12 weeks pregnant, and I ran my first one since. It was slow, gloriously beautiful, and it reminded me of the strength in this post-partum body of mine, even if it is tired and squishy and not always something I like to look at.

This November was when I had planned to stop breastfeeding, as Henry is 6 months and that is the minimum recommended. I hated nursing in those early months, feeling helpless and shackled to a task that just didn’t work like everyone said it did. But somewhere along the way, things changed, and when this November rolled around, I realized that not even a tiny part of me was ready to give up those moments with my boy. He takes bottles easily, and we joyfully supplement with formula daily (and now real food!), but I’m not ready to stop nursing him.

This November makes one year since our accident … and commemorated it with the engine frying on the drive back from Thanksgiving due to a poorly done oil change. Don’t worry- you will most assuredly not be spared that story in all its details, but for now, this November reminds me how grateful I am for family who comes to our rescue time and again.

This November experienced an election that I am still trying to find words to talk about. This blog isn’t the place for politics, but living in DC, our lives and those of so many of our friends are affected swiftly by changing political winds. We don’t have the luxury of not discussing politics, because that means not talking about the livelihoods of most people we know. Politics affect us quickly and tangibly. Not only in the grander sense, of changing tides for our nation, but in the daily reality of whether or not James gets to come home in time to see Henry during the week, or whether or not some of our friends still have jobs. This election brought so much fear and anger and hatred to the surface – on all sides – and I said things I regret, and didn’t say things I regret too. And I think the only truly bipartisan consensus is that all of us are uncertain and concerned about the world we are building, and I’m trying to have grace if others are trying to build it better in a way that doesn’t make sense to me.

This November, like all Novembers, went too quickly, ending in a final flourish of vibrant leaves carpeting the city and cold rains washing us clean for December.

Till next year, November – you’re always my favorite.


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5 Responses to This November

  1. Nicole Cox says:

    Henry is such a little charmer! I’m having issues even finding a date-night babysitter, so I can only imagine needing to find a more permanent nanny or such! I hope you guys are able to find someone you like soon. I am, as always, a mixture of impressed and jealous of moms who have gotten their (much younger than mine) baby to STTN. :O I’m three kids in and still haven’t achieved this until at least 12 months!

    • Hannah says:

      Let me know if you ever want some babysitting recs! We actually have found a number of awesome people, and some are a little closer out your way so they might be interested!

      And the STTN thing was only accomplished through some militant and not fun decisions I made early on, so I think there is a trade-off. Of course, one thing Henry has taught me is that it is only MAYBE because of what I do and probably MOSTLY because he just did it.

  2. Lovely pictures, I love this fall aesthetic! ❤

  3. Lauren B says:

    I liked your focus on the 6 month breastfeeding mark. I did one month goals (long story, but thought there was a chance I might have to go on non-bf-friendly meds). When we unexpectedly had to wean about 11 months, I was surprised by how heartbroken I was. But those little goals made each month feel like a success and less of a hardship. I ended up loving it. It was a little oasis of calm and stillness for a baby who didn’t enjoy snuggling any other time.

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