Put on Your Cape. Lose Your Cape.

What’s really funny is that I’m singing the first half of my title to Gloria Estefan’s “Get on Your Feet.”

Why? It’s been in my head all week after seeing the entire school sing it for Scarlet’s school’s spring concert. I even have a shaky video. You can see Scarlet’s little face right next to the woman with the ponytail on the right in the front row.

I didn’t put on a cape to attend Scarlet’s spring concert, but sometimes it comes close. I DID put on a cape last week to visit the NICU, for the first time since Des spent time in one. It was nothing and everything like that one time. Did I tell you that my nephew Parker was born a week ago last Thursday? 4 pounds 7 ounces, 18 inches long, and a heck of a lot of hair. He decided to come early, because really, why miss all the goodness from the outside? There’s a lot of goodness on the outside.

Just like that, my sister has become a NICU mom. Like I was. Like Wonder Woman.

And Parker Steven, middle name for my late great father – Steven Klein – seems to wear a cape too. In just a week, he has changed into a super hero. He can breathe on his own. He can suck a pacifier. He is learning to breastfeed. He is successfully winning the fight against jaundice. He sleeps and grows and his hair seems to grow too. He gets milk through his nose!

His oxygen saturation, or whatever you call it, is even better than his NICU cousin’s was at full term!

For more info from Lindsay and Parker, you can check out her blog HERE, and subscribe to her Caring Journal HERE.

It’s not about me but it is about me because I’m about me and this blog is (mostly) about me. So I got the news that she was in labor and I cried and took to the dog trails with Athena. After burning 3,000 angry, sad calories, I waited by the phone. I got the news that he was born and ok and I cried of relief. I tossed and turned and waited for more news. I cried that my sister had become a NICU mom too. I wrung my hands and went to Target and the co-op, and stocked up on whatever I thought they’d need. My older sister and Parker, and my little sister and baby Myles James – born two weeks before Parker!

Talk about identical cousins.

Then I put on my cape. I left the kids at home with a sick Cassidy and I drove alone to the hospital, took a deep breath, hugged my brother-in-law in the hospital, washed my hands, walked into baby Parker’s hospital room, and then fell in love.

Then I got to meet baby Myles all over again, but without two cranky kids in tow!

Sometimes you DO put on your cape. To be the best sister, wife, mother, daughter, whatever, you can be. Sometimes I feel like Superwoman because.. I can do things that scare me a lot. I can grow, in and out of my own footprints. I can walk into situations that my head and heart are screaming “DANGER” about. Not because they really are dangerous, but because they trigger PTSD flashbacks, and only seem more scary than they are. And that’s ok. We don’t often get out of our lives without a little trauma. Without a little danger. That doesn’t mean you won’t rise again and tackle it head-on. Heart-on. Cape-on.

And then, we talk, about losing the cape!

It’s a little funny that I chose today, a week after I literally put on a cape (came with my Supergirl shirt) to meet my nephew, that Finish the Sentence Friday’s topic would be, “Sometimes I feel like Superwoman because..” And then not only that, but I just finished reading the fabulous book Lose the Cape: Never Will I Ever. Weird, right? Cosmic Blogging Timing is the name.

Edited by Alexa Bigwarfe and Kerry Rivera, this is their second Lose the Cape book. As they say, we all have visions of what parenting will be like. I thought my kids would eat 100% organic and not watch TV until they were FIVE! Yeah, those things didn’t happen. Life happens instead. Reality takes over and we realize, not only do we know nothing about parenting in the long run, it’s because we don’t yet know anything about parenting our own children when they’re born. You learn as you go.

I think, anyway? The learning doesn’t stop until we do. Reality will happen time and time again. That is life!

I loved Allison Barrett Carter’s story about the pink cupcake. Boy, have I been there. My kids ate all the vegetables and fruits in the world until they turned two, and then I did begin negotiating eating pizza for cupcake desserts!

I also loved April Grant’s story about having a “princess” for a daughter. I used to swear no daughter of mine would ever wear princess pajamas. Now? I can’t get enough of buying her princess pajamas, and princess everything.

In their own words:

Never Will I Ever is a collection of essays by mothers (and one brave dad!) who share their stories of how they evolved as parents and learned that when it comes to raising children, we can never say never.

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I received a complimentary copy of Lose the Cape. All thoughts and opinions are very much my own.

It may not be what you think it will be. It may change, and that’s ok. This week’s timely Finish the Sentence Friday topic is “Sometimes I feel like Superwoman because…” and there’s still time to write yours. Come link up with your spin: HERE.

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95 Comments

  1. You are totally a superhero! With your writing and photography, not to mention your Star Wars affinity, plus you look good in that cape 🙂 So glad you got to take that baby visiting trip and that your big sister’s baby is doing so well. Loved this post.

    1. Thank you on all points! They are very important to me. Scarlet says I’m also a superhero at eating cookies, so I’ll take that.
      This was a fun post. And I’ll be seeing my sister’s baby again this weekend!

  2. I like to think we all have a bit of super hero in us, waiting to come out when needed. Welcome to your sweet nephews; it is pretty great on the outside.
    My parenting reality was different from my expectation as well. It started off that way and so I learned that some things cannot be planned.

    1. I really believe that – and you never know when it will come out. In the NICU. A year later? When your kid is five? Either way, it’s in all of us.

  3. One thing I never mentioned in my prior column on my OB rotation in medical school about the abrasive doctors I had to work under is NOTHING could take away from the joy of being able to deliver a baby, and the beauty of the mother / father/ child bonding that I was able to witness on a daily basis.

  4. I think all moms (and probably women in general) have super hero capes – It’s just that usually we don’t even see them – our own at least. We are better at seeing them on other people. Today, I didn’t think I would need my cape, but when I went to an event for dads at my kids’ school (because my husband was out of town for business) and saw my 8 year old tear up because her dad wasn’t there and, sometimes, even mom can’t replace dad – I had to break out my cape and hug her and pretend I wasn’t just as sad about it as she was. Sometimes, we know we need to put on our capes and sometimes we have to break out the back up one we keep for the times we didn’t realize it would be necessary! 🙂

    1. Aw, that is sad! Scarlet had her spring concert on Tuesday and Cassidy couldn’t come. Her grandmother came so I know that helped, and it’s always one of us, but sometimes we do need the cape, don’t we?

  5. Awww happiness! What beautiful photos. There’s nothing more magical than a brand new baby. I want to reach through the screen and hug him. I’m so glad that mom and baby are both doing well. NICU moms truly have superhuman strength!

  6. OH my heart… just everything about this post brings tears to my eyes… all the FEELS, Tamara! From the miraculous births to the emotional history and your inspiring steps toward being there for your sister- to realization there is a superhero in us all- this all touched me deeply.

    And yay for LOSE THE CAPE!

  7. I want a shirt with a cape. I think it is time the world met me real persona 🙂 Your nephews are beautiful and that head of hair! Liese just has enough hair for an itty- bitty pony tail at age 3! It’s OK, we all turn into werewolf heads in our family as we age. Hugs to your sister in the NICU as she continues to help that baby get strong and coem home to them!

    1. haha, werewolf heads. That paints quite the picture. Scarlet was born with massive amounts of hair but Des wasn’t. He got it around six months and has been a teen idol since!

  8. I love it when you wear your cape and show the world how super we all know you are! I loved the first book and can’t wait to check out this one! Also, I am so glad that Parker is making strides everyday!! YAY!

  9. Wow, Tamara. What an exciting and nail biting couple of weeks your family has had! Congrats on the new additions to your family. I cried when I read about baby Parker. It sounds like he’s doing really well though. It must have been tough for you to wait on the sidelines especially after you’ve been through the same.

    Love the Superwoman photo and the kids super girl and super boy!!! <3

    1. Aw! That’s so sweet that you cried. I did too, a lot. He’s doing so well right now but it’s still the thick of it. There’s still such a higher to come and we all know that but man, the little victories are fierce.

  10. Oh, Tamara. I’m so happy and sad for your sister. It sounds like your nephew is doing well, but it SUCKS that she’s a NICU mom now. That is so stressful and tiring. Prayers for her and for a quick discharge for Parker. It sounds like he’s doing great. May he eat well, gain weight, have a steady heart, and get rid of the jaundice!

    1. Thank you! The jaundice is fading so much. He still needs to breastfeed and gain more weight but he’s been doing amazing things for eight days. I expect nothing less!

  11. Moms are the best kinds of super heroes. Seriously, y’all never get enough recognition as far as I’m concerned.

    Sending so many prayers to your sister and her beautiful sweet baby and hope he gets stronger and bigger every day and that they can all go home soon. Please give everyone a big hug and an extra kiss when you see them. I can only imagine the stress your family is going through, waiting for him to come home.

    There’s nothing like cosmic bloggy timing is there? I even think our brainwaves crossed today. WOAH!

    XOXO and hope you have a wonderful weekend, sweet friend. PS: love all the pictures and capes.

    1. After Marisa gave birth, my brother-in-law said “Wow, all mothers deserve medals after what I’ve seen.” Yup! Sounds about right.
      We have total crossed brainwaves and I’ll be in your state, but not near enough. We’ll be near Morristown. One of these days..

  12. I’m so so happy for you and both of your sisters! What a head of hair Parker has. Yay for you making it through and growing and giving and for your real Super shirt and the kids’ costumes. We really do all have capes, don’t we? Love the blogging karma too and will definitely check out the book. Congratulations to your entire family on two gorgeous new babies! I hope Lindsay gets to take hers home soon. So relieved he’s okay!

    1. He does have quite the head of hair, huh? So did Scarlet. And Lindsay and Mike, for that matter. Des had old man male pattern baldness, but look at him now. Teen idol!
      I really hope Parker keeps meeting and beating his milestones. He is now in his own room, off any breathing assistance, and mostly out of jaundice lights. Next we hope for regular breastfeeding and a crib for him.

  13. I’m so glad you’re close enough to your family to hit the road and “get there”. That’s amazing (identical cousins), I am so glad that they are both thriving! Future idea for a picture, same lineup of the whole family when they were pregnant with little baby bumps compared to one holding babies. Can’t wait to see that one!

    1. Right?? It’s under three hours door to door to the hospital. It’s pretty cool. And three hours in Cassidy’s super awesome new car. We can do this.
      I love your photo idea – not surprising coming from you!

  14. That’s great that your nephew is doing well and learning how to drink breastmilk. I can’t imagine how scary it is to have your baby early. Hopefully, he won’t have a long stay in NICU. I know his parents are ready to get him home.

    1. Yes, so ready! It’s all interesting timing because they’re in the process of moving. They just thought they’d be doing that with her pregnant. So now they’ll have a brand new home together as a family.

  15. What a great segway for the book review, I love it. I read Lindsey’s post yesterday, and it brought back so many memories and emotions. I was a NICU mom, too. I’m so glad he’s doing well. CV congratulations on double aunthood!

  16. I’m so glad you give yourself credit for doing superhero things, Tamara. Women need to do that more, I think. Please give Parker Steven a high five for me when you see him this weekend, and give Lindsey a hug.

  17. All mothers are superheros. We have to be. Just look at all that we do. Clean the house, cook the meals, are a taxi driver for our kids, care giver and best friend for our husbands…I could go on. We are super heros.

    Congratulations to your sisters. Your nephews are adorable. Have a terrific weekend.

  18. I didn’t know we had a similar beginning with one of our precious littles. Monkey Boy spent his first week in the NICU. My heart goes out to your sister, new little boy, and brother-in-law. So many congrats to so many people in your family, including you. Having a cape is sometimes the only way to get through the hard things.

    I have no truly tangible cape these days, but my metaphorical cape of nature and sunshine and the truly beautiful smiles from my boys are getting me through right now.

    1. Des too! It was about three days in one hospital and 6-7 in another. Not fun. All NICU parents are warriors.
      I’m glad to hear about your beautiful boys. I can imagine it’s suffocating right now. I’m so sorry.

  19. So glad for all the happy, healthy babies and mamas!
    How often we moms – all parents – put on and take off our capes for so many reasons. I swore my daughter would never be pink and princess-y. And then she was. And then I found I loved indulging her sparkly pink wishes, too. It’s funny how life takes these turns, isn’t it?

    1. Same here! I never thought I would but I’ve gotten to the point in which I FASTPASS the line to meet Anna and Elsa and I get a little nervous tingle when the princesses wave to my kids!

  20. So exciting that you’re an aunt x two! Congratulations to everyone! I feel like we’re all superwomen in some little way, each day. I’ve been very conscious of putting one foot in front of the other some days, and walking on when I want to go back. Maybe I need a cape :)!

    1. Thank you! I’ll keep you posted. I have definitely been to New Jersey more times in the last three times than I used to go in a year!

  21. I’m just so relieved to read that Parker’s doing so well. Last time we messaged it sounded as though he was doing better, and I hope that continues to be the case. I love the way you managed your anxieties and faced them head-on, with strategies in place to help you cope. I think that might be the superhero cape we sometimes don – the determination to face those things which have undone us in the past.

    ALL MOMS ARE SUPERHEROES. For absolutely and for definite. And most dads.

    I think it’s wonderful the way your family are so close to one another, and how you rally round and support each other. And what a wonderful comfort to your sister to know that you’ve ‘done’ the NICU mom thing, and can guide her through it if she needs any extra support or information.

    Good for you 🙂 You showed big courage (which as I recall (though not who said it) is “facing your fears and doing it anyway”)

    1. He’s still doing so well. There really haven’t been setbacks. It’s just a slow and winding road to get him to gain weight, regulate body temp, and the main one – suck and swallow! I guess that’s more of a skill that a baby two weeks older can do. It’s amazing the difference between two weeks in baby land. For me, it’s just the blink of an eye.
      She is definitely transforming before my eyes! Super hero and all.

      1. Awwwh bless. I’m glad he’s doing well. I saw pics of your sister doing skin-to-skin, which I’ve read is absolutely the best best thing ever for babies, so HOORAY. I’m sure he’ll keep improving and good for him and all the new family.

        1. Yes!! I try to post as many photos as I can. I get frustrated when I’m not able to visit a lot. That day was spectacular. He’s doing even better today – taking food from a bottle.

  22. ok, first of all, that video is PRECIOUS! so glad i got to see scarlett in action!:-) and your nephew is SO SWEET! i can imagine how scary it all must have been at first (i started going into preterm labor at 30 weeks but a weekend in the hospital on magnesium stopped it, really scary though)–SO SO glad that your sister and her sweet boy are doing well! i’m sure it’s so comforting to her to have you there too, xoxo! staying tuned for more updates!

    1. Oh wow, I didn’t know that story from you! My sister had to have two magnesium shots, I believe. She said it made her feel awful – like the flu. So scary. I’m really glad you were able to stop your labor. I wonder what causes such things.
      I’ll be updating for sure! And on Facebook too.

  23. Congrats on being an auntie times 2. You were already a superwoman in my book but now you become super auntie and I’m thinking Parker didn’t want to miss out on all the fun and love that his new baby cousin was receiving. I guess he didn’t realize you had enough for both of them and the world. Here’s to an amazing weekend!

  24. Oh the life of the NICU mama. I hope it’s short lived. You know, you’re right, as much as we preach about losing the cape, there are moments in life that we just have no choice but to don it and be superwoman, don’t we. I would say during my girls’ nicu time, I was Superwoman x 5000… as we all have no choice but to be. This is such a fabulous post, on so many levels, and I’m really glad to have my book associated with this amazing content. Thank you for reading it, thank you for sharing it in such a special post. And love to your sister and nephew!

    1. So true. Des was in the hospital for ten days in all, but it felt like eons. This will probably be a span of 2-3 weeks but I know she feels like he’s been here for ages.
      You were certainly Superwoman and you still are!
      I loved the book! Read it over two days.

  25. Super Tamara. And Super Super Parker!!
    Congrats to your family on the new babies. I’ll be thinking of Parker, Lindsay and new daddy. Sending love!
    The books sounds awesome. There are so many things I said before I had kids or when they were infants that are kind of laughable now. 🙂
    XOXO

    1. That’s so awesome – thank you! They thank you.
      I thought my kids would eat organic. I just have to let that sink in when I see them eat Lucky Charms on a weekday.

  26. Ah, thank you for mentioning me. 🙂 I love watching my girls in dresses now. It’s what they want and I’m happy to watch them twirl and be so girly even when times that I don’t want to be. Such a touching post. xoxox

    1. I loved your story, April! Every story was awesome but I was drawn to the ones I most related to. And I do love the happy, twirling, girly stuff.

  27. I need to read this book! I like to say supermom doesn’t exist, but I think we are all given superpowers. Reading htis had me envisioning the NICU all over again. Hope the sweet baby is doing ok!

    1. Exactly. Supermom doesn’t exist, but also does. I think it’s not when we are pulling off those Pinterest perfection things that make us supermom. It’s when we really have to go above and beyond.

  28. I admire the heck out of NICU moms, it takes a special kind of strength to be able to deal…I hope baby is still doing well, I don’t know much about oxygen saturation but I’m happy its good. He is just adorable!

    1. I only sort of knew about it from Des, but apparently my doctor checks mine. I got mine done at my last physical. She said it was great, but it was still so weird to be tested!

  29. This post made me feel all the feels. From your two beautiful nephews to you stepping into scary situations. Sometimes donning that superhero cape is a scary thing in and of itself. I’m so happy that baby Parker is doing well (and Myles too!).

  30. Wow Tamara, first congrats to both your sisters! Talk about a wild ride for the family. And second, wish the little guy lots of love as he continues to put his cape on, too. What a wonderful read, and I’m certain this will all work out, as the little guy has proven it to be.

    1. Thank you! Got a new update this morning that Parker is doing so well, and is on his continuing upswing.
      And baby Myles is absolutely precious.

  31. Welcome, welcome to that precious little lives! I forget how tiny that is — my first was a 4 pounder too. The noises they make are precious… the power of those little coos is like a superpower over me:)

    1. Oh really?? Something about four pounders. Everyone I know who was born one is pretty darn awesome now.
      The coos are amazing… I miss them a lot with my kids.

  32. You rock that cape, Tamara! It is amazing how things big and small evolve and also change us as we go along. Isn’t it amazing how your two latest nephews were born only two weeks apart? But the main thing is they are all healthy. It is amazing to watch Lindsay and Parker. I am very grateful for that…

  33. Congrats!

    I am so relieved to hear Parker is doing well. My husband works in the NICU and I know it is intense.
    You go girl, superhero cape and all!

  34. What sweet beautiful new little babies you have in your life. It is so amazing that such a tiny little man can fight so hard and accomplish so much and how wonderful that he is!! He is a little super hero, totally deserving of a cape… as are you & your sister!

  35. Hi Tamara, so glad to hear that although little Parker decided to make his entrance early that all is okay with him and Mum. Sometimes we have to wear that Super Heroes cape for all the world to see, when in reality it’s the last thing we feel like doing.

    I couldn’t wait to get my daughter into Princess PJ’s and outfits. She is the one that said ‘Never will I ever wear those!”… I was gutted. At least I do have a nice photo of her dressed like a flouncy flower girl for the carnival when she was eighteen months old and I now know why she wasn’t smiling!

    It’s good to see you have the support of your own, homegrown little Super Heroes!

    xx

    1. Oh, that’s funny! It goes to show you never can tell. Scarlet seems to be slightly out of the princess dress phase. She used to do it daily. Now it’s more just for play dates.
      She does love to shop for clothes, though. I still do too.

  36. Since I had Reiko, I get more anxious and a little more paranoid, and scared. Too far from the usual happy go lucky me (before).. but here I am still wearing my cape and doing things that make me scared. Glad to hear your nephews and sisters are all getting better. I believe that in time, it will keep getting better for all of you and your growing family!

    1. I’m not sure I was ever happy go lucky enough, but motherhood has certainly changed me in strange ways! In some ways, I’m more mellow – like about how I look and dress. In other ways, not at all!

  37. I’d like to think we all have a bit of a super hero inside us. We just need the right situation to make us rise (or fly!) to the occasion. I’m not adverse to a little pixie dust and a happy thought either. 🙂

  38. I am catching up on blog reading and am so glad that baby Parker is doing so well. You wrote such an amazing love letter to your sister. And of course I am beyond honored that you mentioned my essay!! Thank you so much, friend. It made my day. 💕

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