Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Another Sappy Thanksgiving Post

Because I am thankful! And I can’t think of any better time than the week of Thanksgiving and my baby girl’s birthday to talk about it ….

I am thankful for …

-My beautiful baby girl, for teaching me how to really live and love.

-My amazing husband, for being a true partner in life. And for being both incredibly wonderful and incredibly unaware of just how wonderful he is.

-Family, my beautifully, insanely complex family. And for the complication of having too many options for where to celebrate holidays and special occasions. (I had to make a spreadsheet yesterday. Really.)

-Friendship. Time, distance, jobs, babies, life … none of it could ever come between good friends.

-A great job that provides for my family in immeasurable ways.

-Coffee, shoes, and red wine. Because, well, do I really need to explain?

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Her mother

Last night, I snuck into her room and listened to her breathe.

I haven’t done that in quite a while.

It’s hard to believe that almost an entire year has past since she came into our lives.

On the other hand, I can barely remember what life was like before she was here.

I can only glimpse the tiniest memories of who I was before I became her mother.

Today, this is the role that defines me. First and foremost, I am her mother.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Motherhood ....

As we quickly approach Baby’s First Birthday (this Saturday), I can neither promise blog posts free of sappy, sentimental, mushy-gushy, proud-mama stuff. Nor can I promise blog postings at all. Let’s face it … between Thanksgiving, Black Friday shopping, and the BIG birthday party on Saturday …

Okay, okay. In all honesty, I just might be too overwhelmed with emotion to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) to get it together.

So before I begin to spiral down the inevitable I-Love-My-Baby-So-So-So-So-Much-I-Can’t-Believe-She’s-Already-One-Year-Old tunnel, I thought I’d reflect on a few things that parenthood has taught me over the past year.

Although I don’t have the perspective of how much easier it is with a second child, I’m already rolling my eyes at myself as I think back. Seriously, I think new parents are their own worst enemy, and we most definitely make everything more difficult for ourselves.

Case in point: my child spit up. All. The. Time. Until well after the nine month mark. How did I handle this? Lots of bibs and burp cloths, of course. But I also prevented a lot of people from holding her. I didn’t want my child to spew all over their nice non-maternity, non-frumpy clothes. Or in their hair.

You know what I should have done? I should have let them hold her! And when she spit on one, I should have let them pass her to another. Why? Because babies are cute. And it wouldn’t have mattered what she did. They were still going to leave talking about how the cute baby cutely spit her cute breakfast all over everyone. Cute.

And then there are the germs. I think all brand new babies should be overly protected. Absolutely. And I still prefer everyone to wash their hands when they come into my house and want to hold my child. Because, well, I’m a bit of a germ-a-phobe. But I did finally realize (after a while) that my child was probably licking the floor and sharing pacifiers with other kids at daycare. So when her grandparents drive from their house to ours, it’s probably okay if she jumps right into their arms *gasp* before they have a chance to scrub in.

And I probably shouldn’t venture into the topic of schedules and meals and naps … oh my! But, I will. Honestly, before I became a parent myself, I was occasionally perturbed by the 4:30 pm dinners we’d have with our friends who had kids. Must. Keep. To. The. Schedule. Must!

Now I get it. In fact, just today I found myself scarfing down a cheeseburger for lunch at … 10:28 am. Why? Because, even on days when I do manage (to remember to eat) breakfast, throwing back a handful of your kid’s puffs before dawn just really doesn’t cut it. No matter how much coffee you gulp down.

All in all, I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that my Type A personality + my no-I -will-not-listen-to-reason-or-logic-but-you-must-deal-with-me-anyway child do not mix. And it was always going to be me who had to change.

Take, for example, punctuality. Ha. Ha Ha. Hahahahahaha.

Even when I would manage to get it all together (i.e., everyone dressed and packed up, even having remembered to brush everyone’s teeth) and get out the door –on time—even then, my beautiful girl was sure to load up a massive dirty diaper roughly 4 minutes into our drive. Why 4 minutes? Because we are still juuuust close enough to home to warrant turning around to change said diaper.

Peas in my hair. Snot on my third shirt of the day. Waking up (hours) before the sun begins to rise. Conversations (in public, sometimes even with strangers) about poop. Sleeping in short, short, short bursts of time. Keeping my glasses on all night long so I could keep one eye on the video monitor.

I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. And again. And again.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Recovery

Thanks to everyone for your thoughts and prayers. Baby did great this morning. (I did too!)

It was a quick procedure, and our little girl was up and growling like a tiger at everyone before we knew it.

We took this picture in recovery ...



I only wish we had taken video of her after they gave her the initial drug cocktail ... she was a little loopy and all giggles and smiles.

And now, just a few hours later, she seems almost back to normal!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Prepared for tomorrow

Baby gets tubes in her ears tomorrow.

I have instructions from the doctor:
-Arrive at 6 am for a 7 am procedure.
-No food or liquids after midnight.
-Bring a favorite blanket/toy/etc.
-Bring a bottle or cup for when she wakes up.
-Be prepared for her to be fussy when she wakes up.

I have washed the special blanket and toy.

I even purchased a special pair of pajamas. (Do you know how hard it is to find two-piece footed pajamas in any size larger than 6/9 months?! Hopefully they’ll fit!)

I have even been telling Baby all week about everything that’s going to happen. She probably doesn’t understand, but maybe she does.

As for me, I have my big girl face. It’s packed away in my purse. I’ll pull it out first thing in the morning. And I’ll put it on right over all of my mama-fear.

I know I shouldn’t be nervous. It’s just a simple procedure. It’s routine. It’s quick. Easy.

And even though I have my worries, I won’t let Baby know. Nope. All she will know is that mom and dad are right there for her. And that she is safe. And that everything will be okay. And that we love her.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dollars for Doma

Last week, in honor of Veteran’s Day, I talked about how proud I am to be an American and how great it is that we have brave men and women fighting for our rights and freedom every day.

Yesterday, I posted about Baby’s upcoming procedure to have tubes put in her ears.

This is a relatively simple procedure that tons of American kids get every year. It’s takes something like 8 minutes and they’re done. Of course, I’m a little worried, as any mother would be.

But, let’s face it … we’re lucky to have this not only be an option to clear up the trouble Baby has been having with her ears. But, we’re also lucky that insurance covers it. That’s it is a routine procedure. And that, aside from my own paranoia/mama-fear, there really is little to worry about.

We really do take these things for granted. The fact that we have access to medical care at all. There are places in this world where this is simply not the case.

You all know Julia over at Work, Wife, Mom … Life from our Working Mommy Wednesday posts. She is now raising money for a fantastic organization called Doma. Doma means home in many languages, and their purpose is the following …

[Doma] works in the lives of vulnerable children and young families through crisis prevention and early intervention. By removing obstacles to peace, comfort, joy, and stability, we guide children and families toward wholeness, where they can know a definition of home that is more complete than what they have experienced in life so far. Most of the children and families doma works with have never had a home or a mom or dad… Or the homes they know have been filled with abuse, neglect, anger, hostility, or pain. doma means home in several languages. doma strives to redefine home. (taken from their website: http://domaconnection.org).

If you’d like to support this cause –AND- have an opportunity to win some fantastic prizes, check out Julia’s Dollars for Doma. Even as little as $1 goes a long way to help these children in need.

Thanks for your support!

Monday, November 15, 2010

The goop is back

Baby has been off of antibiotics for exactly 5 days. On day four, the goop came back. In her eyes. In her nose. Bleh. Which means that the ear infection is probably back, as well.

But she still wakes up smiling. She is such a sweet, happy girl!

Nevertheless, we scheduled to get tubes put in her ears for Friday morning. We had to go with the doctor I’m not too crazy about. The other one just can’t get us in until next month, and I can’t see putting Baby through yet another round of antibiotics (or maybe two by the time our appointment would be).

So, the countdown begins. I’m hopeful that this will be the resolution we’ve been looking for. Hopeful that this will be then end to the ear infections and constant antibiotics ... and the subsequent tummy aches and diaper rashes. Hopeful that we can stop feeling like we basically live at the doctor’s office.

I’m also anxious. Anxious about the anesthesia and about the procedure itself. Anxious about the fact that Baby can’t eat or drink anything from midnight until after her 8 am procedure. Um, have you ever tried to explain to an almost-one-year-old that she can’t have what she wants when she wants it? Yeah. I’m not counting on that being a walk in the park.

But I am looking forward to this being the end of the yucky and the beginning of the healthy.

On that note, I do have one small public service announcement: if your child is prone to ear infections, please, PLEASE don’t do feedings where your baby is lying flat on his/her back. I don’t do this with mine, but they do it at her day care. They lay all the kids on the floor, flat on their backs, and give them their bottles. I know this is easier, but it makes ear infections worse. I don’t know exactly why, but that’s what the doctors tell me.

Please be vigilant. Had I realized what was going on sooner, I might have prevented some of the issues Baby has endured.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day

Today, on Veteran’s Day, I am reminded of just how lucky we are to be American citizens. We have A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. men and women fighting for our rights, our freedom, and our liberties every single day.

With three siblings currently serving in the military (Army, Marines, and the Air Force) and many other friends and family members who are also currently serving or who did so in the past, this definitely hits close to home.

These individuals risk their lives to protect us. Their families live with concern on a good day, and great fear and uncertainty on the really tough days … and those tough days occur all too often.

Thank you Kasie, Colt, and Fanci – and all members of the U.S. Armed Forces - for all that you do for us.

So we can speak our minds, complain about anything we want, and go wherever we please.
So we can live in a state of relative certainty.
So we can make our own decisions for ourselves and our families.
So that we can agree, disagree, fight or give up.
So our choices are our own.
So that consequences for our negative actions are fair and just.
So that when something isn’t as we’d like for it to be, we have the opportunity to express our displeasure and seek change.
So that our basic human dignity is protected by law.

So we can sit on our couches and blog, Facebook, and email!

It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day grind, to forget that the American Way – flawed as it may seem from time to time – is not commonplace across the world.

We are lucky to live in the land of the free. We are lucky to have the opportunity to disagree with each other and/or our government without our lives being at risk.

We are lucky, but that luck doesn’t come by chance. It comes by way of great sacrifice.

Our troops sacrifice time, relationships, personal goals, and so much more. Sometimes, even their lives.

Remember our troops today. Thank them if you see. Hug those military moms and dads and spouses, especially if you know their loved ones are deployed. Send up prayers for safety, for strength. Remember them today. Remember them every day.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Last Batch

Yesterday I made sweet potatoes, white potatoes with chicken stock, and apples. Today I’m making peas and mango. Pureed, of course. Frozen in ice cube trays, then transferred to storage bags in the freezer.

This baby-food-making process has been such a staple in my life for the last six months. Every week or two, I’d whip up another batch of food for Baby’s meals.

But I realized yesterday that this would probably be the last batch I’d make for her.

With a mouth full of front teeth and molars coming in, she’s doing much better with eating “real” food. Add that to her obvious desire to eat what she sees us eating, and I think she’s about ready to move along to table food.

She has given me a few hints over the past couple of months. She reaches for the food I’m eating. If I sit on the floor to eat while she’s in the exersaucer, she leans waaaay over the side to see what I have on my plate. And, just this past weekend she literally licked my chin after I put a bite of food in my mouth.

Yes, I think she’s ready to move on to the next step. And, with her first birthday quickly approaching, I think some of my mama-paranoia will start to wear off. The berries, honey, milk, etc. issues will be behind us. And I’m thinking that once she gets a-hold of that birthday cake, there will be no turning back!

So, it’s a little bittersweet to realize that I’m working on her last batch of “baby” food. My little girl is growing up, and that’s exciting. But it feels like just yesterday that I was teaching her how to eat rice cereal from a spoon.

This may not sound much like I’m pouring my heart out, but it sure feels like it! So, I’m linking up with Shell’s PYHO Wednesday. Join us and read some of these amazing stories.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Nap Mat H-E-Double-L

Seriously, people, I’m living in Nap Mat Hell.

Who knew there were so many options?!

Nope, I’m not just talking about pretty princess patterns versus the plain jane ones. I’m talking about different levels of thickness. And size/width/length. And whether they can roll up. And whether they have a cover blanket attached. And. And. And.

AGH!!!

Okay, let me backtrack a bit …

I know I haven’t been great on updating y’all regarding our day care situation, but the good news is that we’re moving to a new one at the end of the month!

[Pause while I squeal with delight and do a little happy dance.]

We’re really looking forward to moving to this new day care. It was our top choice OVER. A. YEAR. AGO … when we initially started looking into child care.

It’s closer to home, a convenience that is a major plus, but definitely not our deciding factor. This is a great facility, and we’ve heard that most kids go there from birth until they reach the age limit (which is 10 or 12, I think). They’re also a “learning center” and not just a day care. AND! And, their director was just named some super high honor in our town because she’s basically a saint.

Okay, so I’m obviously happy about that. [Yes, I’m doing the happy dance again.]

However – and we would have had to deal with this no matter where Baby went to “school” (because apparently this is just what they do at this age, but that’s just not the point) – we are now dealing with nap mats.

No cribs. No pack-n-plays. Just a nap mat.

Uh huh. Well, good luck to them. If they can make my never-sits-still-or-stays-in-one-spot-or-even-really-takes-a-nap child to sleep on the floor, more power to them!

My problem is finding a dang nap mat.

One with these specifications: something that can be rolled or folded, hung on a hook on the wall, and not too large.

Sound easy, right?

If you think so, then I’m guessing you never did a Google or Amazon search for nap mat.

Wow! I had no idea that this search would literally consume precious moments of my life. Moments that I will never get back.

These are the things they don’t tell you about before you become a parent. That one day you’re a witty, professional, successful businesswoman who can make smart snap decisions that affect budgets, revenue, etc. The next minute, you’re freaking out because you don’t know what bleepin’ nap mat to order for your one-year old …

Because just when you find the perfect pattern with the appropriate thickness, it ends up either being crazy expensive or too big. Or it gets bad reviews. And all the ones with good reviews are so brightly colored you’re not sure how your child will ever go to sleep on them. (Really, a glow in the dark nap mat? As if Baby isn’t already distracted enough.)

Seriously, I am overwhelmed.

These are the thoughts that are consuming my life right now, a fact that I find both intriguing and … well, pathetic.

Sigh.

Friday, November 5, 2010

What she's doing now ...

[Warning: This is all about a mama gushing about her baby. Sappy and sentimental statements lie ahead.]

Over the last 11 months, I have watched as Baby learned so many new things, all the typical stuff, of course … babbling, waving, crawling, eating, etc. Those were the things I expected her to do. Those were the things I knew to look for, and I was absolutely excited every time we reached a new milestone.

There are other things, though, things that nobody prepares you for, things that cannot be predicted because they are unique to each individual personality.

My daughter growls. Yes, she growls. We ask her what the tiger says, and she growls. It’s the cutest thing. Ever. Sometimes she growls without being prompted. Just because she thinks it’s fun. And it is!

She’s a daredevil. I can tell already. She loves to fall backwards. She’ll sit on the floor and turn in a circle until her back is to me. Then she’ll just free fall. Her excitement is cute, but it scares me to death. I can’t tell you how hard it was to teach her to make sure somebody is behind her before she falls. I’m still not sure she fully comprehends the concept.

When she’s standing next to a toy or the furniture, she’ll push off so that she’s standing on her own for a second or two. Then she laughs and laughs when she falls back to catch herself (or usually I catch her). She seems to love the thrill. I think we’re going to have our hands full!

She also likes to be startled. Peek-a-boo is only fun for her when you catch her off guard. She squeals and giggles, but only if you really spook her. And she loves to get you back. She’ll give her best, “Ah-boo!” and is so delighted when your response is one of shock. I love this little interaction.

She points. She points her little finger and can tell me where my nose is … it’s hysterical to watch her reaction when she can touch her finger to my nose. She seems … proud, satisfied, accomplished.

She also points at the pantry when she wants puffs and makes the sign language motion for ceiling fan while looking up at the ceiling.

She’s independent. She can’t walk by herself yet, but she wants so badly to let go of our hands. She’s also clingy. Sometimes I think she’s permanently affixed to my right shoulder. Or, at least, I think that she thinks she should be attached.

She talks. A lot. Sometimes I think we’re really having a conversation. Sometimes I think she’s giving me legitimate answers, even though everyone else probably just thinks it sounds like she’s babbling.

There are so many amazing aspects about being a mom, but I think one of the most astounding things is just watching the way your child becomes her own person, to go from those first few moments of her life – even those first few days and weeks – where she literally couldn’t do anything for herself. Now she has her own personality. She’s communicating with tools and skills and words, not just cries.

And we’re only 11 months in!

Part of me is excited to see what is still to come. The other part of me wants to bottle this time – right now – and stay here forever.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Honest Confessions About Motherhood

Julia at Work, Wife, Mom … Life has prompted us to give honest confessions about motherhood for this week’s Working Mommy Wednesday.





I think it’s also a perfect subject to link up with Shell’s Pour Your Heart Out meme. The two almost always overlap for me.



What should I confess about motherhood?

For me, motherhood is the easiest thing I’ve ever done.

It’s also the single most difficult thing I’ve ever done.

Easy because it’s so incredibly natural.

Difficult because … well, you know, there are diaper blow outs, ear infections, tantrums, and figuring out how to do every single thing in life with only one hand.

Motherhood is amazing.

Watching the look of wonder on your child’s face as she discovers new things for the first time. Seeing her grow, develop, and learn. The way she begins to communicate, mimicking and responding and pointing at what she wants ... when just mere months ago she couldn’t do any of that.

And the truly amazing aspect seems to be that the amazement never ceases. One new development after another, and I’m still overwhelmed with pride and joy each and every time.

Motherhood is also painful.

Emotionally painful … the paranoia, fear, and unending worries.

Physically painful too! There is a scar on my right foot from where I dropped scalding water from the bottle sterilizer and an endless string of bruises on my shins from constantly walking into things on the way to a middle-of-the-night diaper change. And we won’t even discuss breastfeeding.

Motherhood is overwhelming, plain and simple.

For good reasons.

For not so good reasons.

It’s just overwhelming.

I confess that there are days I’d rather say in bed than get up at some before-daylight hour.

I confess that there are times when I long for a day without a shirt stained with spit up or peas or snot.

I confess that there are moments that I sneak off to the bathroom just the check my email or Facebook.

I confess that I occasionally wish I didn’t need to pack up the entire house for a quick trip to church or the store or the doctor.

But, at the end of the day, my biggest confession is that I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Most of it, anyway.

Because nothing is better than snuggling with your baby in those early morning hours. Or knowing that those peas she’s spitting in my face … she knows how to eat them, because I taught her to eat from a spoon!

Nope, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

PINT: Questions

















[And, I really am sorry for the rant. But, man-o-man, that doctor's appointment was just shy of a nightmare. My normally happy, good natured, smiling girl literally threw a two hour tantrum. And that doctor's office had next to nothing in terms of distraction and/or entertainment ... but we survived!]



Only Parent Chronicles


AND DON'T FORGET TO VOTE!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween = Mom Fail

Despite my grandiose notions of Baby’s first Halloween being fabulous, full of visits pumpkin patches and fall festivals, adorable costumes, loads of fun, well … let’s just say that things like ear infections, allergies, and seemingly black eyes had other plans in store for our little family.

To be fair, I should acknowledge that I bought at least a half dozen Halloween onsies for this fun holiday, and I’ve been dressing Baby in them ALL month. What can I say? The “I’m batty for daddy” one was just too cute to only be worn once.

Unfortunately, that’s about all that has gone according to our haunted plan. As much as I desperately tried to visit a pumpkin patch every. single. weekend. in October … it just never seemed to work out. So, I decided to be ultra-efficient and cram every little possible Halloween activity into the last weekend of the month.

Except.

Except, when I picked Baby up from day care on Friday afternoon, her eyes were green and goopy. They told me that her eyes had been completely sealed shut after her afternoon nap. (Thanks for calling to tell me earlier in the day … but that’s a story for another time).

So, of course, we make another doctor’s appointment. For Saturday morning. We wake up on Saturday morning, and it looks like Baby has two black eyes. There are dark circles under each one, but no goop! Another morning blown at the doctor and probably our fifth co-pay (this month) later tells us, of course, that it’s just the continuation of her ongoing ear infection. Begin week seven. (We’re seeing the ENT today.)

Okay, okay, I’m thinking … all is not lost. Baby is already in a better mood. Her eyes are starting to clear up, so we’ll just push the festivities to Sunday. She’ll be in costume anyway. The super cute white Bengal tiger costume that I ordered at the last minute was due to arrive that day. Note – I did plan ahead. We also had a ladybug and a butterfly costume, but I just had to order the tiger when Baby learned to respond with a very cute growl when asked, “What does a tiger say?”

But, of course, we missed the delivery of the costume. Now, it’s scheduled to arrive today. Monday. The day after Halloween. But, you can bet she’ll be dressed in it all month. I paid more for the dang shipping than the costume itself.

Husband’s allergies pretty much kept us inside all day Sunday until we ventured out around 6 pm to check out the trick-or-treaters.

Except.

Except that we were apparently an hour early for our neighborhood. So, Baby was all dressed up. As a butterfly. With black eyes. We did our best to placate her, but she wasn’t too fond of the hat part of her costume. She was already starting to reach her limits when the first kids appeared, so she basically got to see approximately 4 ½ kids in costumes before she promptly melted down and went to bed.

Oh well, Husband and I actually had a good time, and Baby really doesn't know the difference. I just feel like I failed my child. I couldn’t manage to get it together enough to do all the things we had planned, muchless capture very many Halloween festivities in pictures. We snapped a few of her in the butterfly costume on our kitchen floor, but she’s so mobile now that most are of her back or her profile.


I have to say, though, that she made one extremely cute butterfly.