Date: March 12, 2022 02:10 am Title: Before and After
Wow, this chapter was just spot on perfect! You literally captured everything exactly right. Coincidentally, I read this during my first hour and a half alone from my children in about 8 months (since my own Cece was born), and felt basically every emotion Pam did. It doesn’t get any easier with the second!!
“…but to her own personal petrification years later. It wasn’t until she met Jim that she got a proper education in the subject of chemistry” I loved this analogy here.
“Raised two children… all my own too.” This made me laugh as my Mum literally says this to me all the time. She’s baffled my husband ‘helps’
“…pulled down her spit-up covered tee shirt” Loved this. Is there any other uniform for a new mum?
“But it was too late, the trip was abandoned the minute she heard the first peep and her mother hadn’t come running from the kitchen to check.” Again, spot on here! The details you’ve captured in this chapter are so so accurate.
“Even while showering, with the curtain left half open, Cece sat strapped in the bouncy seat on the ancient tiled floor” Again, perfect. I long for the day I can shower without at least one set of eyes on me!
“Could she be hungry?” Oh Jim. Oh Jim. What are you thinking? Never ask that
“Pam lifted Cece’s butt to her nose” I laughed so much as this line and how I swear I spend most of my day.
“She has replaced Michael in testing my patience.” This was an excellent line and I can imagine being so true
“..had become one of the presents Pam most appreciated.” I loved this. There really are those presents that you wouldn’t have thought of getting but they become indispensable. Again, such great detail.
“She willed herself to keep going but not without first looking at her phone to be sure she hadn’t missed a call from Jim summoning her back.” I know this feeling so well, after dropping my son off this morning, the first thing I did was to text my husband to ask how the baby was. Mum’s never stop worrying!
“…piles of laundry Pam still couldn’t keep up with.” Story of my life. Poor Pam.
The whole anxiety of the date and wanting to make it a take out was just perfect. I’m glad they got a couple of hours together, and even though Cece had her melt down, it was so important for them.
I thoroughly enjoyed this during my first proper ‘alone’ time and made me smile a lot. Great work and looking forward to the next chapter!
OH Mrs. K - I both feel for and envy you. My babies are bigger than me now and I miss the days when they could sleep on my chest, even if it would up in a spit-up covered tee.
OH and so true -mom's never stop worrying...just wait until they start dating and driving and leave for college.
Thanks for the review and glad you enjoyed it.
Date: March 11, 2022 06:18 pm Title: Before and After
I mean, you know I always love your Mama Pam fics, and this is no exception. This description of not just the exhaustion and love and frustration but sense of extension of self that motherhood brings is terrific and eye-opening.
This is also a great picture of Helene as well-intentioned but maybe still working through a few things too much to be at her best right now. (Although it occurs to me, she might be doing this on purpose... is she that clever?) Kelly, almost by accident, seems more helpful here.
I love the connection between the solidification of crystals and the solidification (and stulification) of Pam's life with Roy, and Pam's musings about Jim's childhood paralleling Cece's are a nice touch.
Michael absolutely special ordered a "If You Think I’m Cute, You Should See My Mom and Dad's Boss" onesie.
THEY INVITED BETH TO THE WEDDING!!!!!!!!!!!
OK I could hug you for mentioning Michael's onesie - you know when you write those lines that make even you laugh and you can't wait for everyone to read (and then never get mentioned) - well let's just say you made my day by mentioning it.
Of course I appreciated the rest of the review too - and yes, if they invited Angela and Ryan, then Beth surely was worthy of an invite too.
Date: March 11, 2022 12:52 am Title: Before and After
Trust you to capture those new parent feelings perfectly. I remember our first night home with our daughter all to vividly. We felt like we were flailing around, not knowing what to do with this tiny screaming thing that had slept easily enough in the hospital but now WOULD NOT SHUT UP when we got home. But this shouldn't be about me. Instead you perfectly capture Pam in all her frazzled new Mom still trying to figure things out glory. She's still going through the learning curve and unfortunately Cece isn't really helping out much. I felt Pam here so very much when the tiredness comes in, and the baby won't stop screaming, and you're at your wits end, and everyone's telling you how to do things, but they don't work, and it all becomes one big swirling tornado of chaos. I also feel Jim there trying to offer helpful words and seeing them blow up in ones face. But also feel him in the simple peace and pride that is finally getting the kiddo to sleep on your chest and nodding off yourself with their warm weight right there. Beauty and chaos all mixed in one.
Their first dinner out was great too. Pam at first wanting to just get food and leave. But Beth being the wonderful woman she is helps them to realize that they didn't stop being married simply because their also parents. They still get to date each other. Loved that. Lots of great feelings here that you captured so well. Bravo and a welcome return to the true and best source of Christopher's.
Don't all us parents have some version of this story? It was fun mixing it up with some Jam and Beth too.
And I know you can relate to that baby asleep on your chest feeling - nothing like it right? Years later I can both still remember exactly the feel of that warm weight and MISS IT LIKE you wouldn't believe... too soon for grandbabies so I need to write about it.
Thanks for your great review. Always appreciate it.
Date: March 10, 2022 07:13 pm Title: Before and After
Oh, Max. This is my favorite chapter so far. You took me right back to those early days with a newborn (particularly the first). Some of it was so spot-on it made me relive how wonderfully awful it all was.
*It wasn’t until she met Jim that she got a proper education in the subject of chemistry*
Oh my god, I adore this.
*Jim tested out his swaddling skills, which had improved slightly since the hospital, but then again so had Cece's ability to wiggle and squirm so his bindings were more?snack wrap?than?burrito.*
This is a great way to work in Jim's canon swaddling prowess and how, when presented with a real infant, all of that completely goes to shit.
*breast mangling device*
so true and so funny!
*Cece carried on with unrelenting cries as he switched her to the other shoulder. Knowing the further risk he posed by asking, he made a follow-up inquiry all the same.
“Could she be hungry?”
If he could grab the words back from the air, he would have.*
Okay I can SEE this scene. You wrote it so perfectly. Also I remember wanting to throttle my husband for similar stupid questions, hahaha
*It didn’t matter she knew she was with her father who would do everything in his power to soothe her and was perfectly capable of watching her while she took a short walk down the block. All she could think was how out-of-body she felt as her nostrils filled with the scent of the night air instead of Desitin and baby shampoo and Cece.*
This separation anxiety is so real and so well portrayed here. This entire chapter was wonderfully visual but I can see Pam's increasing panic as she attempts to make it around a single block without breaking down.
*There on the couch was Jim, now down to his bare chest.? Cece lay sprawled across it, strapped in by the large hands that even when layered atop each other, covered the span of her whole body. They both were fast asleep.
Smiling as she gazed upon the two people she loved most in the world, immediately she felt whole again.
Another time she might have grabbed her pencil and sketchpad to capture the moment in graphite but in this instance settled for picking up her camera to preserve the memory. Fortunately, it was only Jim she woke with the sound of the shutter and the spark of the flash.*
This is so soft and perfect, I adored it. They deserve all the happiness in the world.
The first night out was great, I love how Beth taught Pam about pumping and dumping (essential) and her anxiousness about wanting to go home and Jim's desperation to get her to relax were both so well done.
Glad they got some at the end, too. Good for them.
Brava, amazing job!
Aww this review was the best. Really made me feel like I connected with you as someone who knows what the experience is like. I'm a little more removed from it but as you can see the memories don't fade and in fact become a little more vivid as the little birdies fly the nest.
Thanks you so much for all the words and validation and for loving it so much, especially the Cece asleep on the chest scene - one of my favorite moments to write.
Thanks again from one mom to another.