Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Baby is my first and only child, which I suppose still allows me the title of “new” mom. As I’m trudging along in this game of life and motherhood, I do my best to learn, research, and make informed decisions about the many elements that make up Baby’s life.
However, there are some things that, for no apparent reason, I have just always assumed were normal. It never occurred to me that she might be the only one that does that (whatever that may be).
The other day, my mom commented that my daughter is the only baby she’s ever known that poops in the middle of the night. Is that true?! Is that not normal?! She almost always wakes herself up with a dirty diaper around 5 or 6 a.m.
Then, she has at least one, sometimes two, more dirty diapers by the time breakfast is over. Is she the only one?!
There are some other things too. I just always assumed that every one-ish-year-old baby fights things like getting dressed and wearing shoes. It’s a struggle. Every. Day. But maybe it’s not supposed to be like this. Is she the only one?! Or do your kids also fight tooth and nail when you try to put a pair of pants on them? Even when it’s freezing and you know they must be cold??
And the table food thing. I see tons of first birthday smash cake pictures or plates/faces full of spaghetti … but not my child. She will only eat either pureed foods that we feed to her, food that she sees come directly off of my plate, or hard/dry/crunchy things that she can pick up with her hands (like cereal). Is she the only one?! Or is this normal?
I suppose the more relevant question is really … what can I do about these things? Especially the poop!
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Amongst the firsts that I’ve experienced …
-I survived the crushing guilt and sadness of the ‘now I must go back to work and leave my child in the care of others’ when my maternity leave came to an end. Truth be told, this is one I continue to ‘survive’ on a pretty regular basis.
-I made peace with the fact that my body simply would not produce enough milk to nurse my child. And, in the end, I even made peace with how disgusting I thought formula was. I remember thinking that it stunk to high heaven … now I barely notice.
-When the time came, I taught Baby how to eat from a spoon! It was pretty awesome to be the one to teach her how to do something that she had never before experienced. To watch just a little bit of progress every time was really cool. Now I barely think about what a feat it was.
-That smile of hers. And those baby noises ... “Ah-gurrr” and “Geee” are still some of the most amazing sounds I have ever heard in my entire life! That, and the belly laughs. The best sounds ever!
-Diaper Blow Outs! Man, who knew this would be the easy part of parenting? Even the ones that happened while on the road!
-Spitting up. I survived. We all survived. Nine LOOOOOOOOOOOOONG months. Maybe even closer to ten months. I remember thinking that there would never be a time that we went anywhere without a burp cloth, that nobody would ever see Baby’s adorable outfits because they were always hiding behind bibs … but we made it!
-Milestones. Rolling over. Sitting up. Pulling up. Cruising along. Realizing that every time I thought she was “just about to do it” … she had other plans for me and made me wait. I’m pretty sure this was how she taught me that she was really the one in charge!
-And speaking of milestones, there were some pretty amazing ones on the emotional end of things, too. Even if I cried or was an emotional wreck … I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything in the world! The first birthday. The first time she called me ‘mama’ (which was actually just the other day because she calls both Husband and me Dada most of the time). The first time we hung out, just the two of us, and did nothing but giggle at who knows what. The first time we looked at each other and just knew … we were meant for each other.
-Watching Baby learn new things throughout the first year of her life. It started with simple things like rolling over, eating from a spoon, etc. Now it’s putting concepts together. Learning to communicate with words or sign language. Pointing to what she wants. Her curiosity is amazing.
-Black Friday shopping. Okay, this one seems a little funny, but it’s true. My mom commented that I had changed quite a bit when I listed off all the stores I wanted to go into on BF: Gymboree, The Children’s Place, Target (for any number of baby items), etc. It wasn’t too long ago that there would have been a very different variety of stores on my list. And, I suppose that this can be applied to many other areas of life. My priorities have most definitely changed in the last year.
There are many, many more (obviously!), but these are the ones that come to mind right now. I know that 2011 will bring just as many new experiences, some good, some probably not so good (I envision trips to the ER with toddler-hood looming) … some disgusting (given that we’re still dealing with diapers). All of which, though, will make up the story of our lives.
Of course, I’d be okay of that story didn’t include any more explosive diapers.
I'd also be okay without another ear infection, doctor's visit (with the exception of well checks), or anymore peas in my hair. Just sayin' ...
Monday, December 27, 2010
-Baby's day care was closed from Wednesday last week through the weekend. It was great spending so much time with her. It was also ... exhausting! I really don't know how the SAHMs do it. I'm sure you all settle into some sort of routine, but that kid wore us out! I think we wore her out a bit too ... Husband said she wasn't her normal clingly self this morning when he dropped her off.
-Husband and I exchanged gifts on Dec. 23 in advance of the madness that would ensue in the days to come (see below). He got me an awesome Dell Inspiron mini! And shortly after opening my very own little laptop that night, I began to compose an equally awesome blog post. It was sweet, cute, clever ... and deleted. Because I apparently didn't know how to work the thing. This is round two (5 days later). I've already hit save about a dozen times.
-Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were a whirlwind of family celebrations. We had lots of fun, saw many loved ones. And we met Baby's Christmas-Eve-Meltdown head on. In the car. For two hours. Lesson learned: Holiday madness + a stuffed church at the end of the day = mass amounts of overstimulation/frantic tantrums/unhappy campers. (I think Baby was pretty unhappy too).
-Despite all of my attempts to create tradition, especially my adamantly placed foot (read: We WILL wake up at home on Christmas morning. Baby WILL wake up in her own bed and see what Santa brought her AT HER OWN HOUSE), we didn't actually open Baby's Santa gifts until the day after Christmas. It was madness, I tell you. If only we could have racked up frequent driver miles for all the criss-crossing we did throughout the state of Texas. It turned out okay, though. I know we won't be able to get away with that next year, but we'll burn/cross/turn-and-run-away-from that bridge in about 11 months or so.
-That brings us to today. Baby is 13 months-old today. Gulp. Double gulp. I don't know how this happened. I realy don't. Somewhere in the frenzied midst of sippy cup battles and table food wars, my teeny, tiny little girl that was swaddled until she was 8-months-old just grew into size-large sleep sacks. She "all of a sudden" has a vocabulary of a handful of words and about a dozen animal sounds. She, practically overnight, learned the meaning of the word "no" ... and also how to ignore that word when her mama says it. Somehow my baby has become a toddler. Gulp. Double gulp.
Fortunately, our family Christmas celebrations are not yet over. So I can simply deny this reality and bury myself in additional gift buying, cookie baking, etc.
Whether you're still celebrating or simply sitting back and enjoying memories of these last few days, I hope you had a Merry Christmas filled with lots of love and happiness.
Monday, December 20, 2010
I find myself using that phrase on a regular basis these days.
I used to knock out things like thank you cards and Christmas cards in an hour flat. And early, too. Like … thank you cards were mailed out the day after an event.
Not so much anymore. I don’t know whether to blame the busy holiday season this year or just motherhood. Somehow, I have a sneaking suspicion it’s more of the latter.
I have been somewhat organized. I did address/stamp/stuff almost all of my Christmas cards two weeks ago.
Yesterday I found a stack sitting on my kitchen counter. [Note: Husband is a neat freak. Our counters are not cluttered. I don’t know how I missed this STACK of cards.]
Somehow I had sent out one half in the mail, but not the other half. Don’t ask. I have no answer. No clue as to why I’d leave a stack of perfectly addressed/stamped/stuffed cards just sitting there.
I’ve also been relatively organized when it comes to gift shopping. I’ve been putting things together since sometime in November, maybe even as early as mid-October. But it never fails that I still end up with a list of last minute gifts, wrapping supplies, etc. the week before Christmas.
I should have seen this coming when it took us a week to decorate the tree. The fact that we bought it at a local hardware store (which, sadly, has become a tradition in our family) instead of gearing up for a trip to the tree farm should have been the first clue. We did manage to half-hazardly throw up a couple of strands of lights the morning of Baby’s birthday party, but it took days before any ornaments appeared.
I made dozens of delicious oreo truffles last week that could be refrigerated and kept for Christmas. Um. Well, I think we have 6 (individual, not dozen) left. Which means …. That’s right. Another last minute item added to my To Do list this week: whip up another batch of those truffles. I’m guessing it will have to be really last minute so they actually make it to our holiday celebrations intact and not just on my hips.
Fortunately, I’ve put together a trusty spreadsheet for our family visiting schedule, so we’re golden on that front!
Is it motherhood? Is this holiday season particularly hectic? Or, is it just me?
Again, I’m guessing it’s probably the latter.
Oh well, thank goodness coffee and wine are in abundance this time of year!
Thursday, December 16, 2010
It’s a really nice thing to do, I think. Especially for people like parents, grandparents, etc. who really don’t need another tchotchke to put on their shelf next to the whatever-I-made-for-them-in-third-grade-art-class twenty years ago (and everything I’ve given them since).
Sooooo. Along came the charity donation idea, and it’s fantastic.
Except for one teeeeny, tiiiiny, little problem.
My once a year donation isn’t enough. They want more. The military organization mails me letters, almost on a weekly basis. (Here’s a thought: add up that postage and donate it back to yourself instead of my trashcan).
The cancer organization … well, they unleashed every single one of their regional branches on my phone number and email address. And they call. All. Year. Long.
And don’t get me started on the city-county-state law enforcement groups that may or may not be a scam and you never know if they’re secretly stealing your social security number or adding you to the blacklist of people who they’ll most definitely ticket next time they come across you on the highway. (longest sentence ever?)
It’s not that I don’t want to give more. I’d love to. But, I’m just your average person. With an average income. And I simply cannot afford to give more to every single organization that calls.
My solution? I’m quitting.
Well, maybe not entirely. But I will no longer give to multiple charities. I am attempting to select one organization that generally has a place in everyone’s heart. I will make one big donation in honor of everyone.
On that note (and in honor of this blog post with super long run-on sentences), I just need to find a Cancer-Military-Heart-Diabetes-Starving-Orphans-Plant-a-Tree-Catholic charity that will buy a goat to feed a village that will ultimately be cured of their diabetic heart cancer and be saved from the ravages of war.
[Note: There are lots of fantastic charitable organizations out there. For my personal life right now, I just need to reduce the number of them that cause my phone to ring on a nightly basis …. Juuust as Baby is falling asleep.]
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
The answer … heck, yeah! The reason … “super easy” no-bake oreo truffles.
You heard me!
When I saw this recipe on Brandi’s blog a few days ago, I knew I had to try it out myself. If you couldn’t already tell, I’m not much of a baker (read: I’d never used shortening until this morning).
I rushed right out and bought all the ingredients to make these truffles. How hard could it be? There is NO BAKING INVOLVED!!! Now, that’s my kind of baking!
Problem #1 – I don’t own a food processor (much less one of those fancy mixers). I did until last week when I realized it no longer worked.
Problem #2 – My blender kinda sucks. It’s great for pureeing Baby’s food, but to grind oreos until they’re like coffee grounds … let’s just say, it was a process.
Problem #3 – My hand-held mixer is great, but I clearly don’t know how to use it. Or I don’t have the muscle to take on cream cheese. (Note to self: soften it first next time).
Once I tackled each of those obstacles, I was golden.
Until it came time for actually coating the mixture in chocolate.
Mix chocolate chips with shortening. It doesn’t sound too difficult.
But I’m the genius who decided that perhaps I should kill the heat. I have an electric oven, and I didn’t want anything to burn … especially since I had somehow miraculously managed not to set fire to my kitchen yet.
Seconds later, I was dealing with clumpy chocolate. And, apparently, reheating it doesn’t exactly provide for the same consistency.
The positive side to this whole story is that I have an entire batch of tasty, albeit ugly, truffles that I couldn’t possibly burden my dear friends and family with over the holiday season.
I guess I’m just going to have to eat them all myself!
Oh, who am I kidding … they’ll all be gone approximately 4 minutes after Husband gets home from work. He's got the sweet tooth in the family.
Happy Holidays, everyone! I know kids are out of school soon, and holiday events are occurring every day of the week at this point. So, life is busy. To that end, I’ve decided I’m not actually in a blogging rut. I’m just spending my typical blogging time doing other insane things for Christmas.
Like thinking I can pull off making truffles.
P.S. Sorry, Brandi … I didn’t mean to butcher your recipe. This was just round one, though. I’m going to try again!
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
So .... since I have nothing to offer you, I thought I'l share a link with you to one of my favorite parenting blogs - The Thoughtful Parent. Right now, Amy is talking about developmentally appropriate gifts for kids.
Happy reading, shopping ... and blogging!
Friday, December 10, 2010
One said that you don’t know what will become a tradition when you first do it. It isn’t until several years later that you realize, oh! Okay, this is a tradition.
Another said that their tradition was traveling. That they were always on the go during the holiday season, but that they made it a point to be home on Christmas Day.
These speakers were very poignant given my recent attempts at cramming ‘new traditions’ (yes, I know, that’s an oxymoron) down Husband & Baby’s throats.
Given the expansive family we have, I feel like we’re always on the go. That we never do the same thing twice. And I’m worried that my child will grow up never having those fond ‘remember when we always did ….’ memories.
It’s really important to me to carve out some very specific traditions. I started pajamas in stockings from St. Nick this year on Dec. 6th. That one will become easy over time, but it was a vast disappointment this year considering Baby was completely oblivious to it all, and Husband was out the door for work before I had wiped the sleep out of my eyes, downed my morning coffee, and remembered to point out the new gifts.
I’m trying very hard to stay firm in my plan to ‘always wake up at home’ on Christmas morning. No matter what. No matter how far we have to drive on Christmas Eve. No matter how inconvenient it is. Even if we turn around and drive somewhere else at 7 a.m.
I want Baby to wake up in her own bed on Christmas morning.
But a few things that were said last night really spoke to me.
Calm down! Is basically what I heard. It will all fall into place. Everything will work out the way it’s supposed to.
I know that there are a few things that I need to hold onto. It’s easy to get caught up in all the options. All the celebrations. All the places people want us to be (and the places we ourselves want to be).
I know I need to carve out a few things that will remain the same from year to year.
But I now also realize that some of the best traditions are likely to occur without any planning. Without my forcing them into existence.
The crackle of an old traditional record player, as one mom spoke of last night.
Pancake Man – my stepdad – on Christmas morning.
And, yes, even traveling. ALL. OVER. THE. STATE. Can become a part of our holiday tradition.
Be it stopping at the same spot for snacks, playing a game, singing a song, or even simply the road trips themselves. These traditions remain to be seen.
[Side note: Before Baby came along, I could knock these out in an hour. Now, it’s more like a week!]
The problem is … I found another website that offers some really cute options.
Shutterfly cards are so, so cute! They have a great selection of holiday cards and I can’t help but to want to order a whole new set for this season.
I really like the Christmas photo cards like this one:
I don’t know what my deal is lately, but I’ve been a bit obsessed with the red and brown color combination, and I think these are just too cute for words!
The one that has really caught my eye, though, is this one:
I first saw it on another friend’s blog, and if I’m really honest, it was this card in particular that cemented my decision to order another round of Christmas cards this year. Even if it means that I’m the weirdo who sends out two cards. Even if it means having to address and stamp dozens more cards in this already busy holiday season. Heck, even if it means that I just have a stash of these cards in a box on my shelf forever.
It’s just such a sweet idea, and I can’t help but to want to commemorate what is basically the first year of my sweet little girl’s life. I haven’t placed my order yet, but I’ve been looking through pictures from the past year, and I just can’t believe how much she has changed in such a short time!
I’m also thinking about putting together a wall calendar. My friend noted how much fun it would be to put a picture from each month of Baby’s life in 2010 and have that to reflect back on in 2011.
Honestly, this could either be a really fantastic way to reminisce, or it could have this sentimental mama in tears on a regular basis!
Bloggers get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly at http://bit.ly/sfly2010.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
-La Crema Pinot Noir
-Coffee! Specifically, Autumn Harvest k-cups for the Keurig and pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks
-Anything Jasmine Vanilla from Bath & Body Works
-Salt & Vinegar potato chips
-Pedicures, massages, and other day spa fun
-Colegate Wisp disposable toothbrushes. Seriously, every mom should store up on these.
-The Gap long sleeved favorite crewneck. LOVE it! So comfy, and thanks to Cyber Monday, I got one in chocolate brown for a steal. Now just wishing I had ordered it in every color!
-SHOES! Right now, I am living in a pair of knee-high, flat soled, black boots that I bought last year. Super comfy, still cute, but practical for those times I’m carrying around Baby (i.e., every second I’m not at work).
-Books. I love to read all different genres, but I’m currently in need of a copy of The Great Gatsby, one of my all time favs. Can you believe I’ve never actually owned a copy?
And a few kid-related things that I also love …
-The Children’s Place.
-Zulily! If you don’t shop Zulily, sign up today!
-Cheerios. I eat honey nut cheerios almost daily, and I’m now loving the plain ones. It might be the only ‘real’ food that Baby is willing to pick up with her own fingers and feed to herself.
-Mabel’s Labels! They’re awesome! I put these on Baby’s bottles and dishes back in September, and they’re still showing no sign of wear and tear. It definitely makes my life easier not to have to continuously label everything that goes to day care. There are some teeny-tiny ones that fit perfectly on her pacifiers, too!
-Baby’s new Britax Marathon convertible car seat. Had I known then what I know now, we would have moved up months ago. It’s so, so easy to use. And the best part? Baby no longer screams or flails in wild tantrums when I put her in the car!
What are some of your favorite things?
*I have not been asked to endorse any of these products ... I just love them! :)
Monday, December 6, 2010
I clearly see and understand that there are very, very few people in this world that I would take care of my child just the way I would do choose to do so.
I understand that different people have different perspectives. Different circumstances. Different options.
I get it.
I didn’t move Baby to the new day care under any illusions that it would be a perfect fix or that all of my frustrations would immediately disappear.
I knew we would have new and/or different hurdles to contend with.
But that doesn’t mean I’m not frustrated.
Because I am.
It’s not just the small things. I am also frustrated with the bigger picture. For example, what genius decided that it would be okay for one person to be in charge of 5 kids? That’s the ratio … one person for FIVE babies.
I know there are moms out there who do this all the time. But, I'm fairly sure there are key differences between a parent caring for her own five children and a day care worker going through the motions of her job.
I by no means discount how difficult this job this must be. I can definitely understand an overlooked runny nose or other similar situations from time to time.
I’m just frustrated.
The issues I had with the other day care (i.e., basic incompetence) have been replaced with new problems.
Small things, really.
Why can’t they just put a bib on my child during meals so she’s not a disgusting mess by the end of the day?
Do they really consider ‘pork and beans’ a vegetable?
How can they let her go ALL day without drinking and not call me? (I know they tried very hard to get her to drink, but they should have called me on day 3 when she still wasn’t taking any of her bottle!)
I suppose this is nothing more than the working mother’s plight … learning where to give and take when it comes to putting your child in the care of others.
Many parents do it on a daily basis. Sometimes I wonder if they all struggle as much as I do. (Yes, I still cry some days when I get back to my car after dropping Baby off, especially now that we’ve hit the separation anxiety phase).
Or, is it just me? I know I’m a bit neurotic, a little controlling when it comes to things that are important to me. I am sure that there are some basic aspects of this whole day care dilemma that I make more difficult than necessary.
But, I can’t be the only one who feels this way, can I?
Thursday, December 2, 2010
I know it’s rough. First it was the time change. Then, we were up extra early to take you for your ear tubes procedure. Then the holidays hit. This week you started a new day care.
It’s a lot to handle in one short (er …. looooong) month.
I get it. I do. Your schedule has been thrown out the window. And stomped on.
But, none of these are reasons to wake up at 5 a.m. Or 4:30. Or even 6:00.
None of them.
Remember the glorious month of October? When you slept from 7 p.m. straight through until 7 a.m.? Remember those times?
It’s amazing how such a short stretch of peaceful nights can completely throw a mama off her game. It’s funny how quickly we adjust to sleeping through the night and how hard it is to revert back to sleep deprivation.
But, please, please, please … give your parents a break! We love you. We’re excited to see you first thing in the morning, too.
BUT. But, let’s just go ahead and define ‘first thing in the morning’ so that we’re all clear here.
The official definition of ‘first thing in the morning’ (according to our family) is NOT before the sun comes up. It is NOT before my alarm goes off. It is most especially NOT before your father’s alarm goes off (an entire hour earlier than mine).
Rather, it is more like 7:00 a.m. That’s a good time to aim for …
Or really, any time after I’ve had my morning coffee. After I’ve pried my eyes open adjusted to the fact that lights are on before the sun has even begun to peak over the horizon.
Most importantly, my dear, sweet child, ‘first thing in the morning’ should never include massive dirty diapers or anything else that requires us to turn on the bright, unnecessary overhead light (which then fully wakes you up for the rest of the morning).
Your Devoted/Exhausted Mama
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Wow, it’s hard to believe that it’s only been about a week, because soooo many things have happened.
Thanksgiving. Just your typical Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday. But, Baby did get her first taste of a ‘real’ meal. Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, rolls. The whole nine yards. And she loved every bite!
We celebrated her first birthday on Saturday. I cannot believe my baby is one. For the record, I asked her if she would be mama’s baby forever. She replied with an emphatic, “Yeah.” So I’m considering that a legally binding verbal contract.
The party was a smashing success … except that Baby didn’t smash the cake. I’ve never seen a child less excited about digging her hands right into something sweet and tasty, but I suppose that’s the product of Husband’s cleanliness and my lack of a sweet tooth.
Monday was a big day for Baby. The first day at the new day care. Hallelujah! Of course, I still have some concerns. I think any mom would when leaving their child in the care of others. However, I really do like the people who work at this new place. It’s also much, much closer to home. We have actually found ourselves with lots of extra time in the morning, which lends itself to extra playing and cuddling with Baby … something that is nice for any parent, but I think especially great for working parents who don’t get to see their kiddos most of the day. I’m really enjoying this aspect of the new day care!
We also had the 12-month check up at the pediatrician on Monday. She weighed in at 18 pounds 11 ounces and was 29 ½ inches tall. Yes, we’re calling it ‘tall’ instead of ‘long’ now … my baby is growing up! Four immunizations later (which she handled like a pro), we were finally through with our week-long barrage of events, appointments, and not-on-any-kind-of-schedule activities.
Now that we’re back on track … er, well, never mind. Ever since the ear tubes, Baby has been up before 6 am every day. Actually, we are starting to get back on track. She’s woken up progressively later each day (4:35, 5:09, 5:30 and so on).
Hopefully we’ll settle back into some sort of routine. You know, just in time for the Christmas holidays to change it all up again. Of course, Baby handles all the changes pretty well. It’s her sleep deprived parents who are struggling.