Monday, June 28, 2010

Babies Bounce Back

As I'm sure all you smart readers were able to surmise from the recent posts, E has decided to both sit up on her own. And pull up to standing on her own. Both, in the same weekend. Well, as a matter of fact, her first attempt to pull up was only minutes after her first attempt to sit up. Although, her attempts at sitting up were far more successful than her first attempts at pulling up. In fact, the first attempt to sit up, resulted in, well... sitting up. Her first attempt at pulling up resulted in falling on the floor and crying for a long time. Oh well. Such is the world of babies.

And it is the world of babies, we have now moved on to the phase that I will refer to as "babies bounce back". There is nothing short of amazing at how much they cry when they get to this just barely mobile phase. She's constantly getting overly excited about one thing or another, forgetting to keep her balance, and falling over backwards. Or forwards. Or sideways. She cries. Bloody murder mind you. And 15 minutes later or so, she's back off exploring the world. It's an adjustment as a parent. You go from being the protector. To the... well... "run around behind them, fighting every urge to protect them, and let them figure it out on their own." Shortly after E decided she had "mastered" pulling up, I left her in the living room, on the floor. Ran up the stairs to grab her school outfit, and came back down. Not even 30 seconds. When I got back to the living room, E was standing beside a laundry basket full of towels. She was clutching the towel on top with one hand, and the side of the laundry basket with the other, as though the world would come to an end if she let go. Well the whole world probably would not have. But her little standing world, most certainly would have. And in that moment, I had this intense urge to run over, scoop her up, and say "NOOOO my little precious baby, you will hurt yourself if you fall." But I suddenly understood she was moving into a realm where making sure she had a relatively safe environment to explore in, was NOT going to prevent her from ever getting hurt. And so it began.

I keep learning, and chanting in my head, my new mantra "Babies bounce back." And she does. She has such determination, that she will fall down, go boom, cry for what feels like for ever. And then go on as if very little had happened.

Enter this weekend. Enter - bad mommy moment.

We went to a company picnic this weekend. It was fun, it was hot. I think E had a good time. What was to not like, wheeled around in a shaded stroller, people filling your cups as needed, and passing you little bits of yummy food. So it went well. Even the long drive to and from the picnic went well. But 2 blocks from our house. I look in the mirror in time to see E take a sip of her bottle, turn pail, and proceed to throw up on herself. GREAT! On the positive side, we were only 2 blocks from home. On the negative side... well really... I'm sure I don't have to explain it! But back to this weekend. And my bad mommy moment. We get home 2 minutes later and I scoop E out of the car seat and bring her into the house. I put E down in the bathtub for just a second so I could put some other things down and get ready to give her a bath. There was no water in the bathtub. And, she was covered in vomit. Seemed like a good contained spot for her. WRONG. First, she starts to crawl around the tub. Ok. Not so bad. I mean she can't get far right? WRONG. Then she slips, puts her hand in the drain. REALLY?!?!? Come on kid! I didn't think to put the plug in the drain, again, NO WATER, and she was OBVIOUSLY too big to fall in the drain. But I didn't think she'd be shoving her hand down it. So anyway, AGAIN, back to the bad mommy moment. She slips in the drain, and BONKS her head on the bathtub. HARD. I was in the room, I saw it happen, my heart sunk, I felt horrible. And I couldn't move fast enough to get to her. Not fast enough to prevent her from panicking and whipping her head to the SIDE, and then conking herself on the SIDE of the tub. Bad Mommy moment is in full swing now! I finally get to her. Scoop her up, and kiss her bumps. Trying to calm her down. She's still soaked. So we both climb into the bathtub, full clothes, and I turn on the water to clean her up. As if her world was not already spinning. The shower flip was still on, so instead of coming out in the tub, the water starts pouring down from above. E starts screaming bloody murder. At the top of her lungs. ABUSE! It was as if it was the straw that broke the baby's back. Daddy had come into the bathroom before I had tried to turn the water on. I sat on the floor of the tub, with E in my arms, fully clothed, soaked, and just looked up at him. I wanted to cry like E. But I'm mommy. So I pulled myself together, pealed her out of her dirty clothes, and finally accomplished filling up some water in the tub and cleaning her up. Daddy was able to sweep her up and take her to the living room, where, with a new diaper on, she decided it was safe to move on. And off she went. Back to crawling all over. Sitting up. Falling over, standing up, falling down.

It was when I realized my new mantra... Babies Bounce Back.

E has a big bruise on her forehead. And my heart still aches when I look at it. But E is still moving on. Even took her bath in the tub without any seeming leftover dislike for it, given the previous days disaster. So as I said. We've moved into a new phase. One which no matter how hard I try to protect her, I can't protect her from everything. She will get her fair share of bumps and bruises, cuts and scrapes. And I'll just have to try to limit what I can, and try my mommy magic to heal the rest.

To all the Mommies and Daddies out there, keep your heads high as our little ones start to fly. And as always, who dropped the pacifier!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...

I think, I CAN!

I don't know what happened. I could make any number of excuses. But for whatever the reason, Daddy and I have not felt like we had a grasp on traveling, socializing and otherwise getting out and into the world with E until about the past month and a half. We have taken on attending parties, joining play dates, making mommy/daddy friends, and otherwise, finding that over the 6 - 8 months the world did not disappear while we were holed up in our house trying to figure out how we would handle the world and our newly found joy... E. Something happened, I suppose E just got old enough, and I suppose we somehow just got comfortable with the idea. And out, we began to go. It's been very enjoyable. There is a world after baby. It is a different one, a much heavier mule packed one. But, still, a world!

One thing that we have not taken on yet, is to go to a restaurant, just the 3 of us. So, in honor of Father's Day, E and I are taking Daddy out to eat. So this weekend. We will venture out into the sit down world of eating... and try to eat out. I have no doubts it will be fine. And fun. But it will also take a certain amount of planning. No more, is the question... do I have clothes on? Yes. Do I have my purse/wallet? Yes. Cool, good to go. And walk out the door. Now one must contend with... do we need the travel highchair? Or just the highchair cover? Do we need toys? Do we need a bottle/sippy cup? Do we need a spoon? Do we have a bib? Do we have something to wipe her off with after she eats? Will the restaurant have something she WANTS to eat? Don't get me wrong, E eats everything. And her tastes are easy to fulfill. Do they have bread? Yup? We're good to go. But at any rate, you can see, this is no longer the easiest of things to accomplish. Not to mention, diaper bag, with the usual stuff. I am honestly looking forward to it. I feel as though we are going to accomplish what, just months ago, we felt was unaccomplishable. And it will be incredibly special. It will be US. Hello world, look at our family. We're a family of 3. Hear us ROAR! Well hopefully not. Hopefully we'll just coo and make cute baby sounds. But maybe we WILL roar. And if that's the case. I'll deal with it.

Side note... I'm a little compulsive. But in a lot of ways, I'm not as compulsive as I thought I would be about being Mommy. I used to worry a LOT. I think people still tend to view what I do as worrying, but really, it's not so much worrying as it is planning. Maybe anxiety is how I know the difference. I don't feel that knot in the pit of my stomach when I think about it. I actually just feel excited. And a lot of the time, as it pertains to things with E. I am pretty relaxed about it. So long as she's not in any pain. Everything will be ok.

So anyway, that brings me to the BIG "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can, I think I can." In 2 short weeks we will be taking our first vacation. We will be traveling 7 hours, in the car, to Northern NY and we will be staying in a rented home, for a week. I am more excited than I can even begin to explain to people. And yet, somehow, the task is a little daunting. First of all, let me preface this with a... I know it will be fine, I know I will forget things, and I'm not really stressed out. But with that said, it is STILL the first time traveling with E, and the first time we will be away from home overnight and for an extended period of time. And due to this... the task... is DAUNTING.

E won't have her jumperoo... she won't have her crib, she won't have her cat, she won't have her floor. We won't have daycare... We won't have Ms. K or Ms. J. We will have E for a whole week. Now, lest you think we're doing this with nothing, E will have her pack n play, and will have Mommy, Daddy, Grandma and Grandpa, and more extended family than she'll know what to do with. But before I can get there, and relax, and enjoy this vacation. I must pack. Just thinking about it makes me wish the vacation was another month off. But it isn't, and it's a good thing because it'll just make me deal with it. I will plan, and I will pack. And I will undoubtedly forget things. But I will do it! And we will go! And we will come back! And it will be GREAT. But seriously, you don't realize how much stuff you use daily with your child. It just amazes me. Well... I could keep going on endlessly, but I gotta go pack.

Happy summer vacationing everybody!
Come on NOW.... Who dropped the Pacifier?

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Soundtrack to your life...

Frequently I hear people talk about songs stuck in their heads. This happens to me a lot, but most of the time, it's the same songs. Over and over. Sometimes I feel like there is a soundtrack to my life. There are certain songs that come on the radio, or shuffle in on my ipod, and I am brought back to a very specific instance in my life. And frequently, the moments are mundane. Not largely significant. Just a moment. A moment when I was listening to the song, and the song explained my life in a nutshell. Or, sometimes, it was just the song that was on the radio every other minute during that time.

For example, One Headlight, by The Wallflowers. This song was incredibly popular in my junior/senior years of high school. And I have these distinct memories of driving down a particular road, with the windows down, and the song cranked up on the radio. It's not a particularly uplifting song. But what do you know when you're 17 and cruising around thinking that #1 you know all there is to know about life, and #2 that everything that happens to you is unbelievably life altering. Little do you know, that there is so much to the world out there.

That promptly moved into my college years. I spent several summers taking the train in and out of NY where I worked with my father. And over those several summers I remember listening a couple of songs endlessly. Although what they meant to me changed, and who I blamed as the villain in them changed. Like, Jumper, by Third Eye Blind, or Motorcycle Driveby, also by Third Eye Blind, I listened to them (Third Eye Blind) a lot during those years!

This for the time being ends my college years and moved me into my early working years. Where I have a distinct memory of walking down the stairs to the PATH in the Hoboken train station while listening to Something More, by Sugarland. Another song that felt like the soundtrack to my life during this time included songs like Manic Monday, by The Bangles.

And what this has to do with "Who Dropped the Pacifier" is now on the horizon, as I was planning my wedding and beginning to set out on my own, the song Baby Girl, by Sugarland would play on repeat on my ipod for hours.

And as I awaited the arrival of E, the soundtrack to my life changed yet again. And it was filled with songs such as: You're Gonna Miss This by Trace Adkins, I Loved Her First by Heartland, Let Them Be Little by Billy Dean, I Loved Her First by Heartland, Somebody's Hero by Jamie O'Neal, It Won't Be Like This For Long by Darius Rucker, My Little Girl by Tim McGraw, Then They Do by Trace Adkins, You'll Always Be My Baby, by Sara Evans, and the absolute most important, My Wish by Rascal Flatts. I will never forget driving home from work the first time I heard My Wish while pregnant. I know exactly where I was, and as I listened to the lyrics, tears started pouring down my face. And I knew... this, was my baby's theme song. I spent weeks collecting songs about becoming a parent. As I didn't know if E was yet to be a girl or a boy, at the time I collected songs for both. And they all touched my soul. They articulated in ways I still could not, what it meant to me to become a parent. The unconditional love that I was already feeling, could only be explained by these songs that played in my head, for 9 months. Before we left for the hospital, I made a special cd, one that was intended for a baby girl, and another, intended for a baby boy. And in the quiet of the evening on E's first night in this world. I popped the cd into my cd player, and I quietly whispered the songs to her. Daddy was at home, changing, feeding the cats, and then coming back to our side. The rain was pouring down outside. And I just walked around the room with little E in my arms, and sang to her. Weeks later, those same songs would be quietly sung to her as she nursed in the middle of the night. And now, almost at 8 months, the songs still play in the background in the evening, and I still sing them softly to her as she takes her bed time bottle. And hope... that someday... they will create the foundation for the soundtrack of her life.

To parents everywhere, may the songs that are in the soundtrack to your life... articulate what you can not. And heal your soul when they need to. And most of all... perhaps, in some small way... they will tell us Who Dropped the Pacifier.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

It's been a while

I have missed an entire month of writing. Being a working mom is much harder than I thought. It doesn't leave a lot of time for anything. Being a mother, being a wife, being a friend, or even just being myself. You are constantly pulled in every direction. There are only 24 hours in the day. And sleep has escaped you for more months than you can remember. But as I move forward, now in my fourth month of being a working mother, I am somehow learning how to juggle all the hats that I need to wear. The most rewarding still being that of mother.

When you first become a mother, everyone informs you that they will grow. Quickly. They will change before your eyes, and before you know it, they will be teenagers, young adults, and before you know it. Adults. And you say "I know." And you DO know. But somehow, no matter how much you know, you have no idea at all. They grow so fast. Every week that passes alters their life for ever.

The last time that I wrote extensively about E she was 1 week, and 1 day away from 6 months. E is now 7 months and 2 weeks. So only about 2.5 weeks away from 8 months. Wow, 2 months has passed. And she isn't even remotely the same baby. In fact, I fear that I can't really call her a baby at all.

E rolls like a made woman. For a while there was some fear she wouldn't bother with crawling at all, since she was such an "advanced" roller. She still isn't crawling, but she did start scooting. Backwards mostly. Daddy likes to say that E is "stuck in reverse." Which I find endlessly funny, since everything is somehow car related to Daddy. He has dedicated a great deal of time trying to show E how to "go forward". She watches him crawl around the living room floor and they bond in a way that amazes me.

Sometimes watching Daddy be a daddy is as rewarding as being a Mommy, or watching E grow and learn. Before you get married you get to know your spouse as a person. You find out what they like, what they do, who they are. Then you get married. You learn who they are as a spouse. How you will divide the labor of life, the money in your life, how do you juggle being a married couple, a spouse and keep your own identity. Then you have a child. And somehow, all the other parts dissolve. And you get to relearn each other. How do you juggle all these parts of your life. And you learn something even more fundamental. I don't think you know your spouse. Until you see them as a parent. It alters you forever. And as this started... Daddy loves E with such passion. And as E has grown, my dominant role as Mommy has been replaced with a shared role as parent. E needs Daddy. Now E needs Daddy in ways she had always needed Mommy. E needs someone who can play with her. I don't know why it is. But Daddy's just play differently than Mommy's. And after all that time, of being the primarily demanded upon parent. You can finally sit back and just admire them both.

Again, I digress, it's been a while, I have a lot to say. So the point here, is E is trying to learn how to crawl. She can scoot backwards. Then beginning just about a week ago, for the first time we saw her pull her knees in under her. VICTORY! Crawling might be in our future after all. Over the past week she's master pulling those little knees in and rock back and forward on her hands and knees. She will crawl.

I want to talk about food, but before I talk about food. Let's talk about daycare. Because it's a fact of every working parent's life. No matter what road you choose, in home daycare, a family member, a small daycare, or a national chain. Working parents must leave their little one with someone else. So I researched E's daycare extensively. And still, we couldn't be happier. E loves her daycare. I think she likes the other children, but she is very attached to the staff. Which is so important. E gets excited when we're on our way to daycare and gets bouncy and happy when you take her out of the car in the parking lot. She is happy to see Ms. K in the morning and enjoys her time with Ms. J in the afternoon. She misses daycare when she's not there. In fact I think she's bored when she's home with us. But I'll touch on that later. The point is, she loves daycare, and they love her there too. Aside from her teachers, the administrative staff has taken an interest in her, and she is never short on love. So E plays, E makes art projects, and most of all, E eats.

So let's talk about eating. Just before E turned 6 months. We started eating solids. I was on a mission to make E's baby food. I did. She loved it. Unfortunately, E has decided home made baby food was good. But finger food is even better. She has passed what I fondly refer to as "the moosh" and moved on to finger foods with reckless abandon. Thankfully her daycare serves breakfast/lunch. And it's included in our tuition. And Ms. K has the dedication to take whatever is being served for lunch, and make it finger food for E. She eats just about anything, from turkey and cheese sandwiches, cheese quesadilla, chicken nuggets, pasta, to bagels, french toast, bananas, carrots, and broccoli. Truth be told, I'm having a hard time finding this 7 months old tummy bottom. She eats like her Daddy. And will very well eat from when we get home until bedtime if we let her.

So E has grown so much. She's becoming a little girl. She's a joy to play with and she's starting to show signs of affection. Resting her head on your shoulder when she's tired. Wrapping her arms around your neck. Lifting her arms up when she wants to be picked up. She talks to the cats endlessly, and she's trying really hard to talk to us as well. She will probably communicate with the cats before she succeeds with us. Although Daddy and I are pretty sure she nodded her head one night when I asked if she wanted more pasta.

As always - - Who Dropped the Pacifier?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

We've Come so Far yet stand so still...

I have to say, it truly amazes me the number of women who have reached out to me and thanked me. Thanked me for my brutal honesty as it pertains to being a mother. Balancing the choices and the goals, and somewhere along the way changing who you are on the most fundamental level while keeping who you always were deep down inside, not that it's buried, more as though it's a set aside... like when you're cooking dinner, and you finish part of it first, and have to set it aside until you complete making the rest of dinner and then you bring it all back together. I guess I kind of think of becoming a mother of something akin to that.

But I digress, or perhaps I've gotten ahead of myself. Since it's not a bad place to go. But anyway, I've been thanked. It amazes me that as many advancements and as progressive as women are today, we still place unnecessary strain on ourselves when it comes to the hat of motherhood. We are demanding of ourselves. We are no longer just women, mothers and wives, we are also workers. And consequently the game should have shifted. But it doesn't. Somehow, it just expands. We try to give the same efforts to all those roles as we did before we had the added role of being a full time, or even a part time worker.

I think consequently, as a result of this split personality (I mean role), the guilt we feel as it pertains to motherhood is immense. And the weight it carries can be a true burden. Nobody wants to talk about the difficult parts of motherhood. Many women when asked how they deal with the challenges of splitting their lives talk about it with a big smile, an extensive to do list, and a happy husband at home on the side lines. I try to keep it real. Maybe there are people out there who really do accomplish all of this. And inside their hearts are truly happy and fulfilled. But I suspect, more often than not... they are just holding the other part in, and not letting the world see how truly challenging the roles can be.

Let me just clarify. I am not saying that being a mother, a wife, a woman or a worker is the end of the world. It is truly some of the most rewarding my life has ever been. The love is more complete and unconditional, and it's just truly special. But heck, there are times I just want to bury my head in the sand like an Ostrich and hope the rest of the world takes the hint and goes away. There are times I look at myself and think "I am too young to be someones mother." Or... "Surely I'm doing something wrong that she still wont' sleep through the night." I question myself more than ever before, and yet I have this innate feeling of what to do and how to sooth this little person who just needs unconditional love from me. And let's face it, whoever said ALL THEY NEED IS LOVE... forgot to mention, the bottles, the food, the naps, the bedtimes, the baths, the diapers, the wipes and the other endless mountain of necessities that babies need. And that as parents we must provide. And at the end of the day. After you have crawled into bed yourself, without any supper or strength left to want any supper... well... you feel overwhelmed. And in the same moment you can see your little one, or think of your little one, and the impact of that is immense. You could go on for hours.

As far as the women's movements have come. I find it interesting that as women we continue to hold in what we really feel. And put on this face of bravery for the world to see. I am not suggesting we should appear as weak. Not at all. Rather I think we should show our strength in facing, admitting, and dealing with the truly difficult challenges society asks for us to deal with today.

I am glad I can give mothers/women a voice. That I can say, I am MOMMY - Hear me ROAR! I will tell you all about it, the good, the bad, the ugly, and the funny. I will not sugar coat it, and I will not try to convince you that it's easy or all good. But it's real. It's life. And I'd do it all over again!

To Mommies and Daddies... let's be honest, this is hard stuff. Sometimes it really stinks. And really - - - Who dropped the pacifier?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

6 Months

We are rapidly approaching the 6 month point. I have 1 week, and 1 day, until E will be 6 months old. I can't even begin to accept the fact that she has been on this earth for half a year. And in this amount of time again, she will be 1. Seems just impossible. As eager as I am for every phase of her life. I become more and more aware of how far we have come. And long gone are the days of my baby. She will always be my baby. But she is definitely not a newborn, and rapidly outgrowing the characterization of an infant.

Among the largest of my accomplishments for the 6 month mark pertains to nursing. E will have been primarily nursed for all 6 months of her life. Nearly every evening she has taken a bottle of formula from Daddy. But as Grandma will tell you, that was purely because I horded my milk. She has never consistently taken her bedtime bottle. We'll make 4 - 6 ounces, and she'll drink anywhere from .5 an ounce, to all of it. And no matter how healthy it is for her. I can NOT stomach throwing 5.5 ounces of my milk out. On the other hand, I very easily throw out the extremely expensive $27 a can hypo-allergenic formula. Not sure why. But that's the way I felt. So, back to the moral of the story, except for 1 bottle, she's nursed for the first 6 months of her life. When I returned to work, it was with a great deal of trepidation. Largely because of the nursing. I had 8 weeks to get her to the 6 month point. And I was lucky. My company offers a lactation room, with a sink/fridge/comfortable chair and power. I'm given multiple times a day when I have access to the room. If you took a close look in my freezer, you would have found over 200 frozen ounces. I had worked, and horded, pumped and obsessed for 4 months while on leave. And when I returned to work, and continued to pump on average 12 ounces a day. And E proved her greedy little self and began eating 25 ounces a day. I began obsessively calculating how much I needed to compensate out of my stash in order to get her to that 6 month point. As the weeks have gone by, the stash has gotten smaller. I have stopped occupying a large part of 2 freezers, and now only occupy a small portion of 1. I can count the bags in the freezer on my fingers and toes, and I don't need a calculator to add up all the ounces. But as I see the 6 month mark at the end of the tunnel, I feel a certain amount of relief. I am sad to know that we will have to begin supplementing formula. But I feel a certain amount of relief. When I realize that I can stop calculating, and speculating, worrying when I could only pump a little bit. And start to enjoy other things. Daddy and I decided that I won't stop when I reach the 6 month mark. But what is. Is what will be. If I pump 12, and she drinks 20, she'll get 8 formula. And that is ok. So I look forward to not having to strain over that. If I hadn't returned to work I may have nursed her forever (ok that's a long time). But it has been an enjoyable accomplishment, and something I have been enormously proud of. So I can check this major goal off my list of motherhood and begin to look forward to other aspects of it.

E has begun eating solids. And I have thus far maintained making her baby food. She likes her organic applesauce, and has finally taken to her sweet potatoes. I look forward to her progressing on this front. And her being able to join in with family dinner time. We have tried bananas, and she super duper likes those too! She's had some pears, but isn't as big a fan. But as with the sweet potatoes, I will try again, and in the future she may change her mind.

E finally jumps in her jumperoo. She goes nuts. She plays with the toys, and jumps up and down as fast as her little legs will allow her.

E can walk in the driveway with her walker. She loves it. The weather has finally gotten warm, and she can enjoy the outside. She can push herself about and spin the toys in the toy tray. She can chew on the strap on her little hat, and she can otherwise entertain herself well. She gets a lot of satisfaction from being mobile. The idea that she is under her own power thrills her. And she can motor around pretty efficiently. Although turning is still something she's unsure of, and she's pretty sure the parked cars are purely for her to bang into repeatedly!

E can roll. She can roll back and forth from her tummy to her back. Over, and over and over. And she's even learned if she keeps going the same direction she can go places. The only problem with this ability is it is difficult to change diapers and dress a baby who is trying to roll over.

So E will be 6 months, in 1 week, and 1 day. I can't wait to see what she learns in the next 1 week and 1 day. But it's been an exciting 6 months. And I can't wait to see what the next 6 months hold, and all the rest of the years of her life! She's an amazing little girl.

So to all the mommies and daddies... remember they grow with every day, every second. Appreciate every single moment. Because once it's passed... it is just that, in the past. And as always - who dropped the pacifier?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

No Go on Yogurt! Return of the Dairy Problem

I bought the baby yogurt from BJs (first mistake before knowing she could eat it, cause now we have a TON of it). Then last night we decided to give some ago. She LOVED it. Would get all fussy in the amount of time it took me to put more on her spoon. And was so excited to eat it. So I thought GREAT. This is good. She likes it. We played a little after she ate. Played in the jumperoo. Played Tummy time, rolled over back and forth 100 times. Then we read some stories, got ready for bed. Nursed and went to sleep. That was about 7. Then at about 9:15 she started to toss and turn and make little noises on the baby monitor. I looked and she just didn't look right. Sure enough, a couple minutes later she starts throwing up. So we clean her up,strip the crib. And get her up to sit with us for a few minutes while we eat dinner, and let her get herself back together. But she still didn't look good. I thought maybe though it was just going to take her a little bit to get pulled back together. She kept trying to go to sleep in her highchair. So I finish quickly and pick her up to take her back upstairs. When I pick her up I realize she doesn't smell so good. So I'm like, OK dirty diaper. I'll go up and get her changed and back into bed because she's so tired. I get to the head of the stairs and all the sudden she starts coughing, and then turns pale again. I had 2 choices, myself or the carpet. Since I can take a shower and throw my clothes in the washing machine, I took the hit. By now she's totally fighting it and upset that she doesn't feel well. So I just sit in the chair on the landing and hold her. I think we're good now. All the sudden she starts throwing herself back like she wants to go to sleep. Then she turns pale again, and throws up on me again. I felt like such a bad mommy. I know I shouldn't but I still did. SO! I don't think she can take anything dairy. We will wait a few more months and maybe try again. Definitely next time it won't be at night. On a Saturday, during the day! So she slept in our room until about 2 AM when she woke up and I took her back to her crib since she'd been fine since then.

So to new mommies and daddies everywhere... don't try something new at night! BAD IDEA. And as always - Who dropped the pacifier?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Too much to do, too little time

I remember the time when I could write my thoughts for the day. It was rewarding. Enjoyable. And otherwise entertaining to others. But then I returned to work. And now time just seems to fly. I have no time to reflect on my day, or my night. I have no time to sit and breath and appreciate the good things of the day, let go of the bad, and move on with the ability to remember what has happened in my life. Instead, the days and nights run together. And Daddy and I are just keeping our heads above water. But here we go again. Let's try to piece together the past few weeks. At least the important parts.

I'll start with the biggest and most important event. E was Baptised. My precious little baby girl was baptised on Easter. It was a wonderful occasion. Daddy and I had argued for months now over the need or the non existent need of a matching sweater go with her baptism gown. Wouldn't you figure Daddy was feeling pretty smug as the weather was so beautiful the sweater was not needed. We were surrounded by many friends and family. And it was truly wonderful. We have video and many pictures so that the event should go down in history. E's dressed was complimented by many people. Even those questioning if it was an heirloom. To which I said yes. I mean come on, someday it would be right? E was passed around at lunch like a precious little sack of potatoes. She met her cousins, and she met her Uncles and Aunts and extended family. She was whisked away from me shortly after the entrees had been served, and didn't return until well after dessert. I never once heard a peep. She was happy as could be. I really couldn't have had a more wonderful day.

Then I can back up a few days before the Baptism. When I woke up one morning I was struck that E seemed to have a little cough. It sounded "productive" as though she was coughing up mucous. But it didn't otherwise bother her, and she was otherwise acting like herself. So I didn't think much of it. By that afternoon it sounded much worse. So I decided to call the pediatrician and have them check her out. Seemed better safe then sorry. We had an appointment for 6:40 that evening. And a good thing we did, because by 5 my little princess sounded like a little seal. Many parents out there will now know exactly what she had. Croup. Something that primarily strikes infants and is a narrowing of their airways which makes them sound kind of like a seal when they cough. Or in her case, exactly like a seal. For the most part croup isn't a big deal. Though in some rare cases it can be problematic. It was no biggie for E. We got something to give her for a few days and after that the cough seemed to worry Mommy more than her. I was however told that she would be contagious for a week. So we kept her out of daycare for a week. That was fun. I got to spend LOTS of time with little bit, but it was a little stressful as well.

E can eat! Yes, E has finally taken to solids. I'm not sure she ever couldn't eat, so much as she was NOT a big fan of what I was feeding her. At the eager encouragement of a colleague, I decided to stop trying to force feed E Sweet Potatoes, and to try a fruit. So on to Applesauce we went. Much to my shock and delight, she loved it. No more spitting it out. No more clenched mouth to wiggle the spoon over. She swallowed most of it down, spit very little of it out, and opened her mouth WIDE for more. She's also begun taking cereal at daycare for lunch. So E now eats. She loves her applesauce. We tried some banana this weekend. She seemed to like that as well. But we're still leaning more towards applesauce. It's fun to sit in the kitchen while Daddy cooks dinner and help her eat. She's got applesauce from head to toe when she's done. But she's happy. And if you give her a spoon of her own she'll bang it against the tray and then SHOVE the spoon end in her mouth.

What else has E accomplished? She's been VERY busy.

During the last very warm spell I finally took a chance with a walker that had been passed down to us from her favorite Aunt. We took it outside onto the driveway on I put E in it. She looked like she thought this was a good idea. With a good sturdy pair of shoes with protection on the toes, she pushed herself right across the driveway. And then again this weekend she motored around the driveway while Daddy and I did some chores in the yard. She'll only get better at it, but she's already pretty good. And I get so excited! I just want to cry and cheer her on! GO E! GO E! She's getting so big and developing in so many ways. It'll be fun this summer to be outside with her. And the outside is so new to her. Being a winter baby, E hasn't really SEEN the outside so much as passed through it on her way to someplace else.

E has also decided she is ready to roll. (So to speak) Starting Saturday she suddenly began rolling around. She hasn't put together that if she keeps rolling one direction she can actually GO somewhere but she's realized she can fairly easily roll from her back to her tummy and then back to her back. We visited Grandma and Grandpa this weekend when she started doing it. Grandma was so excited every time E did it, Grandma would cheer her on. Now that she is home, every time she rolls over she looks eagerly for whoever is in the room to clap and praise her. (Thanks Grandma) But to see her smile when she does it? Priceless. We do now have to be careful. Can't just put her down and walk away. She is beginning to get into things even if they weren't right next to her when you put her down. I suppose it was bound to happen.

E doesn't sleep... or does she? After weeks and weeks of sleepless nights, and complete desperation Daddy and I decided maybe it was time for sleep training. But after a night where Daddy was up trying to get E to soothe herself to sleep for 2 hours in the middle of the night. Mommy caved, and decided maybe she should read the WHOLE book before I started on this venture. Continuing on the pure desperation train of thought, Mommy decided to see if E wanted to be back in her swaddle blanket. No way this child who was so physically developed and mobile, would want to be strapped into a blanket. She'd scream for sure. But we tried anyway, after her bath, we did her usual night time routine, and then into her swaddle blanket she went. She quieted down. She took her whole bedtime bottle, which was the first time in a long time that she'd done that. Daddy put her down in the crib. And she went to sleep. No crying, no additional trips upstairs. Just to sleep. She slept for 4.5 hours, then she woke up. I fed her. And she went right back into her crib. Fast asleep. Didn't cry when she dropped her pacifier, just slept. Slept for another 4.5 hours, and then awoke again, ate again, went to sleep again. And woke up at 6 AM when we all needed to start getting ready for the day. In fact, if Daddy had not been coughing all night. Mommy and Daddy might actually feel a little rested. So E gave up her swaddle, and has now taken it back. More to come on sleep training. E apparently doesn't need her nighttime feedings anymore, so we'll need to work on getting her to give those up! And someday we'll have to figure out how to give up the swaddle. But for now. If it works. It's staying!

So that's all for now. Thanks for reading, and your interest in my little E. Have a good day Mommies and Daddies and as always - Who dropped the pacifier.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Time passes so quickly...

I can't believe how the time is flying. I want to write. I want to keep track of everything that is happening. The goods days and the bad days. But sometimes you just have to live your life. There is an expression that I am very fond of, it is "Life is what happens while you're busy planning." I am a planner, but I try to keep this expression close to my heart, to remind myself that sometimes, you just have to go with the flow, and live. Because otherwise things will pass while you're not looking.

For this reason, this post might come off as more like a list than a blog entry. But in my deepest desire to record E's life and development. Something, will be better than nothing.

Last I wrote I was back at work a week. This time, two weeks have passed and I've been back at work for 3 weeks. What a difference. It really doesn't take you long to get into a routine. Mostly because without one you would drown in chores instantly. But upon returning to the workforce I was hit nearly immediately with the one thing that I hadn't missed while I was gone. Germs. I was sick with a horrible cold the second week I was back at work. There are a lot of people who explained to me that this was due to the fact that I had a child in day care. Honestly, I don't blame the day care. I blame my job. I mean really, at day care kids get sent home because they thought about sneezing (a slight exaggeration) but at work people will be throwing up in the bathroom with the flu and still not go home. Overworked Corporate America really does need to re-evaluate their priorities. But it is what it is. I was sick.

Now you know what comes next right? I was sick, so E got sick. After I was sick I sent her to Grandma's house where she stayed for a day instead of day care. But everyone declared her fine to return to school, and back to day care she went. (This will come back to haunt me later)

I would like to tell you what I did two weekends ago, but that is the weekend of what I will fondly refer to as "The Great Flood". On the scale of Noah's Ark, but different. We didn't float away, but just barely. The only interesting thing that happened this weekend was that E decided she was done with being Swaddled. She was a big girl now and wouldn't stop crying until we un-swaddled her. I thought surely that we would be up all night the first night of her not being swaddled. But we were only up twice. And since that's how many times she'd been getting up when she was swaddled... well... it wasn't much of a difference obviously.

This then launched me into my third week back at work. This is when things really got interesting. At about lunch time, I got my initiation phone call. You know the one. The "This isn't an emergency but we just wanted to let you know that E seems to be running a little fever and has been having some really poopy diapers. We think she might be sick. You don't have to come get her yet. But we just wanted to let you know." So, being a first time Mommy, I of course left work to go get her. We went to the Drs and they declared her fine. So Tuesday. Back to school she went.

She made it through the day on Tuesday, but I couldn't help but laugh when I picked her up and was told she had pooped 7 times while at day care that day. She is only at day care for 9 hours. That's a little less than once an hour. They were "worried" clearly feeling that she was a little sick. That was ok. Mommy was off on Wednesday, so E would stay home with me, and we would take it easy and rest.

Wednesday was a fun day. It started off pretty simply. But since E had been pooping so much. I had a lot of laundry that needed to be done. So after I got her set up I set off to the basement to start a load of laundry. Somewhere between the top and the bottom I went airborne! And when the birds and stars stopped circling my head, I realized I was in pain and sitting at the foot of the stairs. And I had not gotten there by walking. I shook it off and went on with my day. After all, I couldn't sit at the foot of the stairs and cry. E was all alone upstairs.

On Thursday, just to be safe, Mommy sent E to Grandma's. She had slept for a total of 6 hours while in Mommy's arms on Wednesday and another good day of rest seemed like a good idea. So Thursday was rather uneventful.

Followed promptly by Friday when I brought E to day care and talked to the teacher. Assuring her that E was doing MUCH better and that she missed being at school. Then crossing my fingers and praying I didn't get a phone call, it was Friday. She only had to make it through today and then it would be the weekend.

This past weekend was filled with little things. It was the first warm weekend this spring. And we once again encountered E's dislike of warm temperatures in her room. With fans inserted and clothing shed we were able to get her to sleep at night. But if this is any indication of what is to come this summer, I better start researching her AC right now. We also took this nice weather of a sign that it was time to move past the infant bucket seat. Time to move E into her convertible car seat. She likes it better (she's been riding in one in Grandma's car). She can see out the window in this car seat. So it feels as though the only remaining infant item is about to go by. And my baby is becoming less of a baby and more of a little girl. And she's only 5 months old. I can't imagine how I will feel when she is actually a little girl.

I mentioned that the weather was nice and I took the opportunity to head out to the outlet mall. It was nice to walk around with E and be in the warm sun. Since as I just mentioned she doesn't like to be hot, I had to dig around and find some clothes we bought before we had E that were gender neutral but not too heavy. A pair of brown cotton pants. With a short sleeve onsie. She had on a pair of pink and brown stripe socks to match the pants. And much to my amazement I was told multiple times about how cute HE was. I was heartbroken. Who could possibly think my adorable little girl was a HE! And what kind of mind games did they think I was playing with HIM considering the PINK socks? *sigh* Oh well.

E has two new behaviours worth mentioning. The first is that she has learned she can shriek at the top of her lungs. Sort of like screaming but then she'll look at you and laugh. It sounds like she is crying and really upset, but she's not. She's just shrieking and screaming and screeching because she can. I hope it's a short phase. If it's not, I really might take Daddy up on those ear plugs. Also, E has learned how to bang toys against any surface that may present itself. If she is in a highchair the tray will work just fine, and if she's in the jumperoo the toy tray on that works wonder as well. She will grab the toy, whatever toy it may be, and start to bang it profusely against the tray. The behavior itself isn't that interesting. But if only you could see her little face while she does it. She takes this banging very seriously and concentrates very hard on executing the best banging possible. She does not laugh or smile. I don't know what her toys have done to her but she is determined to teach them a lesson. And as Grandpa said this weekend "Beat them into submission." Well now that I've seen how she handles "situations" I will definitely try to stay on her good side. She will however be much better off if she would learn how to control her banging and not smack herself in the face every time she flails her little hand around with the toy in it. Oh well. These things too shall come.

That is all I have for this period, I hope it's not so long between now and my next post. All my love to the working Mommies and Daddies! And as always - who dropped the pacifier?

Monday, March 8, 2010

I'm a working mom...

Last week I signed off on what I perceive to be the end of an era. The time when my baby is a baby, and when I was just mommy. But last week was the beginning of a new stage of our journey together. That of a little girl going to daycare, and for me, of a mother who spends 40+ hours a week away from her little girl who is going to daycare.

As one can imagine, my time in the day has shrunk. I am sure there are fewer hours in the days and fewer days in a week starting last Monday. But for this reason I will try to cover all that has happened in a weeks time.

The transition was easier than I expect on Monday. Probably due to the fact that a large part of my day was spent simply going through five months worth of e-mail, and trying to remember passwords and other work related trivia. I went into the office a little late as well. So by the time meetings were completed and computers were finally logged onto. The day flew by. And when I went to get E, it was great. She was happy. Mommy was excited. And that was that. As it was a Monday, Daddy wouldn't be home, as usual, and Grandma came down to visit for a good girls night. Letting Grandma spend quality time with E, and giving Mommy someone to chit chat with about what it had been like to return to work.

Tuesday was when it all hit me. I wasn't 5 minutes away from the house when my phone rang... Daddy was on the other end "Do you have her bottles?" He asked. "No, you have the baby, you should have the bottles." I replied... "Oh, I think I left them at home, I'm on my way back to the house." Daddy replied... I could already tell it would be one of those days. I was in the office much earlier than Monday. And by about lunchtime I was overwhelmed with this intense longing for my little girl. I want to hold her and hug her and smooooooosh her all up! But I couldn't and I had hours to go. So I waited. Finally the day was over. I ran out the door and went to get my little baby bop from daycare. As usual she was having a good time when I picked her up. And she had done a great job during the day. But when we got home, at almost 5, she started to melt down quickly. As soon as Daddy was home a little before 6, she didn't want to have anything to do with me. She wanted Daddy, and she wanted BED. So, I mean what do you do with a screaming baby... "no honey, Mommy hasn't seen you all day, can't you just stay up till your bedtime, it's only another hour. No, no, don't cry!" Yea, right. We put her to bed. I had seen her for a total of an hour this evening. It was heartbreaking and I just couldn't take it. Consequently I decided to start trying to give E a dream feed. As it has been explained to me. You feed the baby before you go to bed. This is supposed (note, SUPPOSED) to help them sleep through the night. Starting on Sunday night E had decided since I was about to throw her world upside down, she would begin to deviate from the usual once a night, to the at LEAST twice a night wake up schedule. Great. I was working, and already sleep deprived! So anyway, where was I, that's right. Dream feed. So you feed the child before you go to bed. Seemed like a good idea #1 Mommy gets some more snuggle time, and #2 E would sleep longer at night.

Well I did get more snuggle time, and she did only get up once on Tuesday night. But not through the night. I would take what I could get. She had woken up, taken the feed, gone back to bed, without ever fully waking up and needing to be rocked back to sleep.

This led me into Wednesday. At this point the days become a blur. Somewhere along the line I started to feel a little sick. Really? I was back among the "living" for a few days and now I was getting sick. Everyone was eager to point out I now had a child in daycare. But really - I could see sick people all over the place at work. Why do day cares get such a bad wrap? Have you seen the hygiene of the people you work with? GROSS. I'd rather be at daycare!

The time in the day just felt like it was getting shorter and shorter and shorter. We get up in the morning. Daddy changes E, I start to get ready for work. Daddy brings E in to our bedroom, now Daddy gets ready for work, and i nurse E. Sometimes Daddy does ANOTHER diaper change, and while he does that, I make some more progress in getting ready for work. Then I get E dressed while Daddy runs outside to start cars. And then I pass E back over to Daddy. I finish getting ready for work. E is put in the highchair in the kitchen while Daddy gets the last few things done, lunches together, travel coffee made, cats fed. Then we stand in the doorway and run through our list of items... Coffee? Lunch? Water? Pump? Bottles? Baby? Cell Phones? If we pass on each item - - - we leave the house. I throw my stuff in my car, Daddy puts E in his car, I jump in to give her final kisses, and off we go. Caravaning out the driveway, down the street, and onto the highway. At the first light, I make a left and head to work, and Daddy makes a right towards the daycare. And that's where we all part at 6:45 AM. I am off to work, Daddy is off to daycare then work. And as if this doesn't sound hectic enough... the evenings are worse...

I pickup E a little after 4:30. By the time I have her loaded back in the car to head home, it's about 4:45. I am lugging, diaper bags, purses, pumps, mail and baby carrier back into the house a little before 5. I started off last week walking in the door and trying to get my "chores" done. Now I realize E melts fast. So I throw milk and leftover bottles in the fridge. Take off my coat, and get E out of the carrier. And I spend every second with her in my arms. The dirty bottles will STILL be dirty after she goes to bed. So we spend time together. And sometimes E makes it to bedtime (7) and sometimes, she doesn't and we have to put her to bed earlier. And then the night time routine starts...

Disassemble bottles, load bottles in baskets, load baskets in dishwasher. Start dishwasher. While dishwasher is running, defrost any milk that needs to be defrosted, make bottles. Put bottles in fridge. Pick out outfit for tomorrow. Find matching Bib for tomorrow. Think about what Mommy will wear tomorrow. Have dinner???? Unload dishwasher, reload dishwasher. Quick watch TV/surf Internet... Hurry up... RELAX. Take a bath/shower... Pump... Feed E a dream feed... quick go to bed...

Get up 2 - 3 times at night. And then 5:45 AM, it all starts over.

Perhaps you can appreciate why the days feel like a blur. By Friday I was sick as sick could be. Trying not to take anything, don't want to affect the milk supply. But I had to go on. E still wasn't sleeping well. And with a cold, it really was difficult.

I can tell 3 funny stories, all confined to the weekend.

While visiting Grandma and Grandpa E fell asleep, and everyone took the opportunity to have some lunch. When E woke up, not 30 mins later, and peered around at everyone's then EMPTY plate, she expressed an immense amount of disappointment. The nerve of us to have eaten without her. This was the first time we had seen her do anything to suggest she was upset that we were eating, and she was not. So E got to try some Sweet Potatoes. She wasn't thrilled. It was neither a good thing, nor a bad thing. It just was what it was. And sweet potatoes I guess wasn't really it. Anyway - seriously - if I could only describe the look of pure resentment of this little 19 week old baby. You probably had to be there.

This was shortly followed by E's faking it expression. Which is pure hysterical crying, followed by a BIG lip pout and a little moan. I informed Grandpa that she was a big faker. He turned to her and said "Your Mommy says you're a big faker. Are you a big faker?" With this question, she stuck her bottom lip out in a huge pout, and then nodded her head affirmative three times.

We'd never seen her nod before, and the timing was hysterical. It was obviously intentional. It wasn't a bobble of a wobbly infant head. She was nodding. Nodding YES! YES! She was a faker! ahhh moments like this.

And finally, the last funny story from last week that I have for E. We decided to try rice cereal again. I have been doing a 4 to 1 ratio as it indicates on the can. 4 parts liquid to 1 part cereal. But after the episode with the sweet potatoes, I contemplated the fact that perhaps it was TOOOO liquidy. And the reason it was all falling out of her mouth was while she tried to figure out how to use her tongue to move it around her mouth, it was just all falling out. So I thickened the cereal, and tried again. Oh MY HEAVENS! Before when we tried the cereal, E looked happy, and opened her little mouth wide for another serving. In retrospect, it probably tasted just like her milk but with a little kick to it. But when I changed the consistency and the ratio, it was different, and got a much different reaction. She opened her mouth wide for her first taste. Then went a little cross eyed and made an expression that can be described as: "Ooooo this is HORRIBLE. IICKYYYY IIICCCKKKKYYY IIIICCCKKKYYYYY"... and that isn't the funny part. The funny part is after she'd finally finished that little bit, she'd open her mouth wide for more. So I thought maybe it was just because it was the first time, so with the second spoon full in her mouth, we took a look at her, but she made the same exact expression.... "Ooooo this is HORRIBLE. IICKYYYY IIICCCKKKKYYY IIIICCCKKKYYYYY"... and yet again, opened her mouth wide. She went through this over and over through the tiny little serving of rice cereal. And when we tried again on Sunday - she did the whole thing over again. This will be an interesting adventure solids. Yes it will be.

So we rounded out our first week apart, my first week as a working mom, her first week as a full time schooler! And just to record it, because it should be recorded someplace... E learned the following things at daycare:

Miss C is mean, she makes E do Tummy time, and she Cries!

If the sleeves are long enough, E can pull her tiny hand well inside of it, and the suck profusely on the arm of the sleeve. And if she DOES this for long enough... the whole entire sleeve can get soaking wet up the shoulder!

E definitely needs to have a backup change of clothes, she didn't make it halfway through the week before she had her first daycare diaper blowout! (yes, she did have a spare change of clothes on hand!)

If nobody is looking, her snuggle blanket is just as tasty as the sleeve.

Her smile can charm just about anyone out of making her nap.

She isn't scared of the cat in the hat, even when it's 6 ft tall and bigger than any cat she's ever seen.

If tired enough, yes, she CAN sleep at daycare. She had her first 2 hour 15 min nap. But proceeded to return immediately to her 20 - 45 min nap pattern.

She learned to finger paint. At this age, it's literally tiny finger print DOTS with paint on it. I'm sure she also learned if nobody is looking that she can put that in her mouth too!

So to the working parents - time passes quickly, the hours in the day shrink. But savor every minute with our Little ones. Just because we feel like the world isn't going anywhere (at least anywhere good) doesn't mean our little ones aren't speeding along and growing up. And as always - does anyone know Who Dropped the Pacifier?

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The End of the Beginning

I have been thinking for days about this post. And what I would think when I approached this time... But I can't continue to put off the inevitable. It's still happening, whether I like it or not, or if I am ready for it or not. But it is coming. The end of the beginning.

I return to work tomorrow. E begins full time daycare. I am sure it will all be fine. But I am somehow so sad. I knew it was coming, I felt fully prepared for it. And now that it is here, I am sick I feel so sad about it. So in honor of the first 4 months of E's life, and my first 4 months of motherhood, I dedicate this to her.

I remember the day that she was born, it will forever be ingrained in my memory. It was the most challenging and painful thing I have ever endured. Yet when she came into the world, she immediately made all the pain recede and all that remained was undying love. Love so immense that I could never do it justice in words.

I remember her arrival bringing tears to Daddy's eyes. A man who does not get choked up easily (I mean ever).

I remember the high of her birth that brought both Daddy and I through a 48 hour period sleepless, and yet with so much energy it was exhilarating.

I remember bringing her home from the hospital. Nothing felt as strange as walking out of the hospital with another human being. This little person was ours. And yet it just felt strange. Who were we to take her home? Who were we to assign a name to another human being? And yet when we got home, the piece and quiet of just the three of us was comforting. It was right. It had been 10 months of preparation, and finally everything just felt right in the world.

I remember the first night she was home from the hospital. I couldn't figure out how to juggle a not sleeping newborn with a sleeping Daddy. We couldn't figure out how to get her asleep, keep her asleep, get sleep ourselves. We were scared we wouldn't meet all of her needs. Fast enough or at all. It was an immense responsibility. And it was something we did not dare get wrong.

I remember a long conversation about the wipes being VERY wet because her pajamas got wet every time we changed her. Don't tell E but it took us weeks to realize she was peeing while we were changing the diaper and it wasn't the wipes... *sigh*

I remember Daddy going outside to rake the entire .5 acre of leaves with a 5 day old newborn. And thinking he was nuts. But he did it. And somehow, all felt right in the world. We were a family, and this was how it would be. Daddy taking care of things outside, and Mommy taking care of things inside.

I remember the first day Daddy went back to work.

I remember Grandma coming to visit. I was scared of the first day alone with E. How could I possibly endure all of the exhaustion and be alone with her all day, and up with her all night. But I did it.

I remember spending endless hours sitting in bed or on the couch, just holding E. Her sleeping in my arms. Crying to my mother that I couldn't figure out how to get her to sleep while being put down. I long for those days now. I wish she would just snuggle into my arms for hours and hours and just want to sleep against me and not do anything else in the world. Those days are gone for good.

I remember realizing that we had finally established nursing. And how proud I was of myself, and her. For hanging in there and not giving up, and for finally hitting our stride so that we could do it with ease. It was right about this time that I realized it was WAY easier to nurse her in the middle of the night. Prior to that I had been giving her bottles.

I remember crying to Grandma that I didn't know how to both nurse her all day and night and still get pumping sessions in so that I could go out and establish a stash for when I returned to work.

I remember going for her 2 month checkup, and her getting her first round of shots. It was heartbreaking, but she was a trooper.

I remember packing up the newborn clothes and switching them out for 3 month clothes.

I remember her first starting to smile. She did it best for Daddy. We'd be sitting in bed in the morning while Daddy got ready for work, and he'd talk to her and give her a big smile, and she'd laugh and give him a big smile back. She still smiles best for Daddy. She's Daddy's little girl.

I remember the first time she rolled over from her tummy to her back.

I remember the first time she picked up an object.

I remember the week she spent fascinated with her hands. But it wasn't nearly as rewarding as the week she realized there were little tiny wiggly things on her hands (fingers) and proceeded to spend every waking second sucking on them.

I remember the first time she realized she could not only pick up an object but she could put it in her mouth.

I remember the first time she rolled over from her back to her tummy, right in front of Daddy and I on a Saturday afternoon.

I remember the first time I gave her Rice Cereal. And she promptly spit it all out. But opened her mouth for more!

I remember going for her 4 month shots. Daddy was with us this time. I'm not sure who hurt more, E, Mommy, or Daddy. The love of a father for his daughter could be summed up entirely in his face in that moment when she started crying. The pain in his eyes, was heartbreaking.

I was someone who thought I knew what love was, and then I had a child. It has filled me with such love, total dedication, admiration, and unbelievable appreciation that I can't even begin to express it. But today is the end of those days. It is the beginning of the next stage of our lives. Someday E will be able to read these pages, and when she gets to this stage... I just want to say...

It's time for your life to branch out and truly begin. So welcome to the world my Baby Girl.

Mommies, Daddies, Babies... stay strong, live independent... and as always, can anyone tell me Who Dropped the Pacifier?

Friday, February 26, 2010

A day of Ups, Downs, in betweens, and some just plain funny

Sometimes I find myself going through life and thinking "this is really my life. this is not a tv show, or a movie, or a book. This is MY reality." And yet it's usually in these moments that I believe the most that the life I'm living must be part of a sitcom. At least... that's how I felt last night.

E woke up a little before 1. It's never a good thing when it's closer to midnight than 2 when she wakes up. The chances of her only getting up once dwindle the closer it is to midnight the first time she wakes up. But up she was at 1. So up I got, and E had a nice snack and then went back to bed. So I crawled back into bed, only hoping this would be the last I heard of her. But a little before 4 AM I surfaced. Yet another snow storm was hitting the north east, and I have not yet accomplished zoning out the constant beeping of the snow plows backing up. So, where was I, oh that's right. I surfaced. I realized that I had been hearing the beeping of a snow plow backing up. That's ok, it happens. But then I begin to hear E making noises on the baby monitor. Not screaming, but definitely awake. So I head upstairs to try to give her a pacifier. Imagine my confusion when I walk by the front door and see a snow plow stopped in front of our house. Something felt odd about it. But I was still tired. And E was still fussing. So upstairs to the nursery I went. I gave E her pacifier and then headed back downstairs. As I passed the front door this time, I became even more puzzled. The snow plow driver was standing behind his truck. And as I looked a little more closely, I realize what's going on.

To explain it best really I have to back up and give you more information. We live on a private road. That means we actually own the land that our gravel road is on. The town does not HAVE to plow this road, but, I guess, as a courtesy (our taxes are high enough) they plow the road for us. Bonus. BUT - this winter has been particularly bad, and during one particularly BAD snow storm, the snow plow driver lost track of where the road actually WAS and kind of plowed some of the grass. NOT the end of the world, it was only off perhaps 12 inches or so. So we didn't think much of it. But then it rained. And it got muddy. And then the garbage truck backed down our street, overshot the street AGAIN, and put big divots in the plowed grass (I mean mud).

So anyway - you can only imagine the current state of our road. SO, back to realizing what was going on. The snow plow had gotten caught in the divots and was practically sitting in the fields across from our house. Would have been in the fields, but the bushes got in the way, so he was kind of just stuck in the bushes. What woke E and I up, was the sound of the snow plow driver backing his way into nowhere and digging himself deeper and deeper into the divots (BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, you get the picture). I found this scenario so extremely funny, that I had to go in and wake Daddy up. He had to see this. He isn't that interested. But E is not going back to sleep, so now Daddy goes upstairs to give her back her pacifier. I hear Daddy stop at the foot of the stairs in front of the front door. Then he finally comes back in. "He's stuck"... Thank you Mr. Obvious I think to myself. But that's when it starts to get good. Daddy starts to snicker as he is falling back to sleep. And I start to laugh, and we're both laughing so hard we can't go back to sleep. SO, we get up to see what is going on. NOW there is ANOTHER snow plow has backed down our street. BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP. Yup. E is now most definitely awake. I say to Daddy. I don't want to nurse her and then have this whole racket wake her up. But we don't see much happening out front. And E doesn't want to wait. So we nurse. E falls back asleep, and I put her back in her crib.

I come back downstairs just in time to see them hook a chain to the back of both snow plows, and then slowly start try to pull the stuck snow plow out of the mud. But--- as if you didn't see this coming, as the stuck snow plow is in reverse, all you can hear is--- BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP... They hit a few spots where the tires spun out and finally the stuck snow plow is unstuck. Both plow drivers get out of the trucks and walk over to the deep rivets, mud and snow and look at the mess they have made. Then, as we couldn't actually HEAR what was being said, the rescue driver could only have said something to the effect of "You have to plow more over to the left". There was a lot of large gesturing going on and waving of the hands. They then proceed to stand next to the snow plow that had been stuck and kick it's back tire. WHY, Daddy and I have yet to come up with a reason for. But after a few minutes they both get back into their trucks and they head off down the street. But, AGAIN, as the stuck snow plow is BACKING out of the street, all you can hear is--- BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP... Finally we can't see them anymore. Daddy says... "Seriously? I don't think they're coming back to finish the job." We both have visions of not being able to get out in the morning because they are now going to refuse to plow our street.

Much to our surprise though just as we were about to give up, a snow plow comes down the street again. It's the same snow plow that had got stuck. WOW, he doesn't give up does he! He gets the road right this time. And then... come on all, you see where this is headed. BACKS BACK DOWN THE STREET. All you can hear is--- BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP... *sigh*

I keep saying, ok the first time they over shot the street I understood, the snow was VERY deep, and visibility was bad. But really? The snow wasn't that deep this time, and what, you're telling me he didn't see the bushes approaching rapidly???

As Daddy and I crawl back into bed, still laughing. E is upstairs in her crib. WIDE awake. We can hear her cooing, shreeking and otherwise talking to herself. I would like to blame all of the BEEP, BEEP, BEEPing, but it also might have been Daddy and I standing at the foot of the stairs bellow her room laughing hysterically for 30 minutes. We thought for sure nobody was going back to sleep. As this had taken up the better part of 45 minutes from start to finish. But Daddy went upstairs to give E her pacifier, and she did settle down and go to sleep immediately.

So that was our night. I won't add anything else to this as I'm sure you're side already hurts from all the laughing you have been doing. So that will be all for today. I hope the Mommy's and Daddy's stay strong and BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP..... Who Dropped the Pacifier???

Sunday, February 21, 2010

E can control her destiny

Yes. E has come to the conclusion that she actually has the ability to manipulate the world around her. This isn't an entirely new concept, she's understood this the majority of her short life. But her understanding of that control is always changing.

At first it was simply the ability to control if someone fed her, changed her, or held her. But over time she realized she could control where her hands/feet were. She could control the sounds that came out of her mouth, and she could control small objects that were beside her. But as she came to each of these realizations she became more and more aware of her ability to control her own destiny. She isn't just a helpless baby who has no control over her life. She was a demanding baby who could boss the world around.

There have been some good advances from this development. For example, her ability to pick up a rattle and entertain herself for a short period of time. Her ability to stick her hands in her mouth and suck on them rather then cry over a lost pacifier. Her ability to wiggle, kick, and otherwise turn her body around so that she is facing a direction she finds more appealing to observe. All of these, have been good developments. Unfortunately, the good also comes with the bad. For the time being, we'll focus on this "bad": Her ability to control naps. So for the past several days she has been exercising her right NOT to sleep. I think I've said before that babies are counter intuitive. If they get tired enough, it would make sense that they would go to sleep. But the more tired they are, the harder a time they have falling asleep. So as the days have been passing, E has been getting increasingly cranky. She will still go to sleep, but she either #1 has to be out and about and really, I'm sure she'd explain it more as "resting her eyes". Or #2 things have to be JUST right at home.

Sunday at our house is bath night. So as bedtime had been approaching, Daddy and I were discussing when should we start bath time. Was E going to make it to her 7 PM bedtime? In which case, we would start bath time at 6:30. Or was she not going to make it that long, and should we be aiming for 6:30 and therefore be starting her bath now, at 6. We decided her minutes were number. So we began to get ready for bath time. Make her bottle so as soon as her bath was done we could go straight upstairs and have a bottle and go to bed. Draw the bath so the bathroom would be warm and the bath water perfect. And as I (Mommy) stood in the kitchen making her bottle. I heard Daddy from behind me say "Oh, well. She almost made it." And Mommy turned around to him holding E. Slumped over in a seated position in his arms. Both eyes closed.

We went ahead with the bath time. But we made it super quick. There were no kicks in the bath water, no floating, or pretending to swim. It was a quick wash up, and a wash of the hair. And when we roused her to get her undressed for her bath, she just had the most pathetic little look. She realized she'd been asleep. She didn't want to be asleep. But she didn't want to be awake either.

So E has realized she can control her own destiny. Let's just hope she gets better at the choices she makes.

All my love to the Mommies and Daddies. Let's celebrate the realization of the manipulation of the world. And come on now! Who dropped the pacifier???

Friday, February 19, 2010

Babies and Road Rage

I learned to drive in NJ. And I still live in NJ. And well, NJ drivers are... well... aggressive? So I'm used to that much. I remember returning to college after summer break for my Sophomore year and I had a car on campus for the first time. I took several friends for a quick spin to show them my new ride. A few miles from the campus someone said to me "You drive crazy." I thought to myself, I don't drive crazy. I drive assertively.

You might wonder where this is going. I always wondered about road rage. I never would have said it was something that I had personally. Again, I would consider myself assertive, but in NJ unless you're assertive you'll never turn left across traffic till you're 105. But for some odd reason it changed a little when I got pregnant with E. Let's blame the hormones. But there were times when I just wanted to put the car in park, get out of my car, point at my belly and then scream "NOW YOU WANNA TALK ABOUT THIS PROBLEM WE HAVE???" And it was usually things like people cutting me off. Or once while driving to work someone was honking their horn at me because I didn't turn left fast enough for their needs. There were cars coming, what did they want me to do? Cause an accident? They wouldn't get where they were going very fast if that happened.

So after I had E, I thought it had improved. Well I'm sure it improved. But really, I hadn't left the house very much over the past 4 months. So could I really judge if my intense desire to jump out of the car and take other drivers on had passed? Probably not. Anyway... today I found out that apparently... it has not gone away.

E and I took a little trip today and on our way home at about 4 o'clock (right about rush hour in NJ) on a particularly congested stretch of NJ highway, it happened. Now I am not the perfect driver, I'll admit that. But in heavy traffic the one thing I refuse to do is tailgate, as most NJ drivers will do. In my experience, this is exactly how pileups happen. So as we were inching along (at like 45 mph) I was leaving extra space between myself and the car in front of me. Perhaps 3 car lengths. Technically by official standards that wasn't even enough for the speed we were traveling. At any rate. We were coming down a stretch of highway that always has accidents, that is full of stop lights, and traffic was heavy. In front of the car in front of me was a car, in front of that car was a car, in front of that car... well you get the drift. And other than ME, none of the cars had more than 5 ft between them. That's fine with me. They can drive how they want, but I have a little tiny baby bop in the car. I'm leaving enough space for me to stop, and heck, enough space to move forward when the idiot behind me isn't paying attention and can't stop.

So, driving along, minding my business, following the rules, leaving space between myself and the other car (especially since closing the gap wouldn't gain me anything but sitting in traffic even faster). And all of the sudden it begins. The guy behind me starts laying on his horn 4 - 5 times. I look in my rear-view mirror and can't figure out what the deal is. I look at the car closely, this area of NJ is full of volunteer rescue workers and maybe it was one of those and I had missed his lights. Nope. Didn't see lights anywhere. What was his problem? Oh well, maybe it wasn't me. Then he does it again, laying on his horn 4 - 5 times. REALLY??? I couldn't believe it. This guy was honking his horn AT ME, because I wasn't CLOSING THE GAP!?!?!?!?

He's really lucky. He's lucky we didn't get to a red light together because I desperately wanted to get out of my car, knock on his window and say "Hello, I just wanted to see what the problem is, because I have my 4 month old daughter in the car and for that reason am particularly conscious of how I am driving, and ensuring that I am driving safely. I am SURE you aren't trying to get me to tailgate so that we can be 3 car lengths closer to where you are going and still stuck in traffic? And by the way? Do you have an emergency? Because I know several cops in the state and I'd be happy to make some phone calls to help you with this emergency? " "Oh, no emergency? IN THAT CASE... I know several cops in the state and I will find someone who knows someone who works in the jurisdiction we are in, and I will have you pulled over before you hit the next township for aggressive driving. NOW, that we cleared that up, I hope you feel much better. I certainly do. You have a wonderful day and a fabulous weekend." And then march back to my car and get back in and take off at the now green light.

Ok I would never actually do that, as I mentioned, I live in NJ. If I had done that here in NJ, knowing my luck the guy would have pulled out a weapon. OH well. At any rate I fumed the whole ride home and complained to everyone I could find to complain to about it. That is my story for the day. I really hate nasty drivers. I know they exist here in NJ, but honking your horn while sitting in traffic just pushed me over the limit today.

Should anyone wonder, E was oblivious to the entire situation. She slept through the whole thing. Good thing too, otherwise I would have had to add to my speech: "AND she was napping but your horn honking has now woken her up and she is now screaming hysterically!" But she didn't, so in my daydream I didn't have to add that.

Anyway - food for thought! I hope all the Mommies and Daddies are ready for the weekend. And remember when you're driving that you have no idea what little ones are in the car next to you. So make sure we're all careful! And it's just the worst when you're wondering while driving "Who dropped the pacifier?"

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Our First Step Towards Independence

Today E took her first giant leap towards independence. She had her first nearly full day at day care. As I've mentioned it's something I have been struggling with extensively. Largely because of cost. I hear other people talk about the cost of day care and I nearly choke on envy when I hear quotes in the hundreds. In the NJ area you can not enroll an infant in day care for under $1,000. And I don't actually know of anywhere that can do it for $1,000. It's usually the low one thousands to high one thousands. It's like another mortgage payment. But in 30 years you don't have a house. You can only hope you have a grown adult child who is doing well enough for themselves at that point that they can afford to take care of you!

At any rate, the struggle has been largely influenced because of price. However, thankfully because of the kind words and guidance of several dear friends, and one particular dear work friend, I could hear in the back of my mind: "Don't sacrifice what you want because of price. You'll regret it." So although I kept looking for someplace that would meet my needs and also be more cost efficient, I kept going back to my one and only first choice which was going to cost a small fortune. There were other places that were newer, and therefore appeared to be nicer, and there were places that were cheaper. There we places that were closer, and bigger, and smaller and everything else you could imagine. But this was the one and only place that I kept getting back into the car and going "I love it, I loved the people, it just felt right." And I couldn't find another place that could tell me their infant teacher had been with them for 11 years. So after weeks, and really, months since I had begun considering this center in August, I finally decided I just couldn't sacrifice the comfort that this center would provide me for any amount of money.

Thus, as I began, E took her first step towards independence. This morning at 6:30 AM, Mommy, Daddy and E all rolled out of the driveway. Down the road we went, and into the center parking lot we went. We all piled out of the car, and walked into the front door. We received a warm welcome from the infant teacher. Whom I will now fondly refer to as Grandma K. The Director was there and excited to see us. We will now call her Ms. D. We brought our little baby bop into the infant room and unloaded all of her things and had a brief talk with Grandma K. She encouraged us to call as many times today as we wanted/needed. Not to feel like we were asking stupid questions, to do whatever made us feel better. E went to Grandma K without any tears. And when we were sitting in the Director's office right across the hall from the infant room, we could hear E and Grandma K already playing. Still, no tears. Having filled out all the necessary paperwork, Daddy and Mommy piled back into the car, and headed home. I turned to Daddy and said "that was easier than I thought." It was. I was excited. It still just felt right. E had been so happy and content and I had absolutely no hesitation that these were the right people to watch her.

Mommy got home, and into the house. Now was quiet time for Mommy. I could do whatever it was that I wanted. I sat down on the computer to take care of some work. And as I sat there and realized, for the first time since E was born, I was in my house, alone. And THEN, it felt weird. THEN it got harder. I still felt more than confident in the center I had chosen, but then it just felt strange to be without E. I called once, after I got off of a conference call with my office. That was at about 10. Even then the only reason I called was because that had been my agreement with the Infant teacher, and it had been her suggestion to call at that point. I checked in to find out how E was doing. She was doing great. She'd had a bottle, and had a nap, and had been playing happily. No meltdowns, no issues. So I decided to take care of some more things and pick E up at about 1.

A little after 1 I returned to the center parking lot. On the ride to the center I was particularly conscious of the speed I was driving. Since I felt like driving like a maniac to get my little girl. I had been ok with her being there until I had decided it was time for her to be at home. And suddenly I missed her SOOOO much. When I got to the center the Assistant Director opened the door for me... "how are you doing?".... "WHERE'S MY BABY!!!" LOL... She laughed and brought me to the Infant room. There was Grandma K, with 2 other babies on either side, and little E dozing off in her lap. So rather than disturb her at that moment I went ahead with the paperwork that needed to be filled out. E was still snoozing when I got done. She was so happy and content, I had a momentary feeling of not being needed. As I stood there talking to Grandma K E started to surface. She turned and looked at me, and just stared. No smile, no laugh, no sign of "Yey, my mommy is back." The look almost looked like "You look like someone I know but I can't place who it is." I am going to attribute this to the fact she had just woken up, but it kind of did break my heart in that moment.

As Grandma K and I wrapped up her day, I stood there holding her in my arms. And then, E decided to remind me that I'm the only one who would do, and that She was more comfortable with me than anyone else. And as we stood there talking about how great she had been, she pooped the most gigantic poop ever. *sigh* Well, like I said, I guess she does still need me!

So at the end of today I learned that E is going to love day care. She is going to bond well with Grandma K and Ms. D and all the other teachers. But at the end of the day, as I've been learning all along, I am STILL Mommy. And nobody can take that away from me. She has taken what I perceive to be the largest step toward independence ever. It's the beginning of what will some day lead to her ability to grow up, go to college and have a family of her own. And I am grateful that I have found a place that gives me the confidence to know that while she's enjoying herself, she's with the best possible people I could find. I really do just hope she finds other ways to show me she still needs me.

And as always - Who dropped the pacifier?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Label Reading and Nutrition

I would not consider myself a nutrition fanatic. In fact, before I had E, I would have told you I saw nothing wrong with a diet made entirely up of cheese burgers, hot dogs and pizza. With ketchup and sauce being the vegetable, and cheese being the dairy. And well, truth be told I still think that those are awesome foods, and I wouldn't call myself a nutrition fanatic, but I do view food in an entirely different light.

As I've been dealing with these "issues" of dairy and soy I began to read labels. Not nutritional information, but ingredients. And honestly, I began to be alarmed by what is used to make up the foods that we eat today. And it's just about everything that has this "problem". If you cook from scratch it's not as big a problem, but all of the processed foods and a large portion of the convenience foods, have ingredients that just don't seem to make sense. Especially if you do know how to cook, and now darn well if you made it at home, it certainly wouldn't have half the ingredients that are listed on the label.

Take something as simple as Chicken Stock. I mean really, you'd think, chicken, salt, some herbs/spices, water, maybe some vegetables. But I dare you, go read a can of Chicken stock. If the one you pick up has primarily ingredients that would make sense in Chicken stock, GOOD JOB! If not, really, I'm not surprised. I happened to have 3 major manufacturers of chicken stock in the house at the time of this realization. College Inn, Progresso and Swanson. Progresso will be my first choice in the future. Followed by Swanson which if you pick properly isn't bad either. But - I will never buy College Inn again. MSG? Yes, in your chicken stock.

As I've mentioned just recently I'm struggling with the idea of returning to work. And because of this cooking and meals enter into the picture a bit. I don't want my family spending large amounts of time cooking when we could be spending time together. But I don't want to sacrifice healthy options for E because of convenience.

Don't get me started on salad dressings, almost all salad dressings have either the first of second ingredient of soybean oil. I've started looking up recipes for home made salad dressings. They taste better anyway, and they don't take that long to make. And I'd rather know exactly what ingredients are going into my body.

Daddy and I have discussed at great lengths how this will change our eating habits. If it were just my own body, I wouldn't care as much. But E is tiny. Do I really want to add all these unnecessary ingredients to her tiny body? Granted she isn't eating any of it right now, but before we know it, E will be eating what is on our plates.

There are things at the end of the day I may not find a substitute for, for example, mayonnaise. I'm not saying I am going to give up mayonnaise forever. But I do want to eliminate the unnecessary when and where I can, so that if I choose to eat something that I can't substitute, then I can be ok with that choice.

Because all of this, Daddy and I have already begun to plot our plan to make E's baby food. I'm not saying I'll never feed her a single jar of baby food, I probably will. But as we like to cook anyway, why shouldn't we share that passion with E? Putting as much care, thought and love into her food as we would into our own. So yes, I am now looking into organic vegetables. And searching recipes that could be turned into baby appropriate food. I've already got my eye on a recent pot pie recipe that once pureed would be darn yummy. And I can say I know every single ingredient in it.

The whole experience reminds me of a recent Bryers commercial. The commercial says something to the affect of "Can your child read the label off the ice cream you're feeding them?" And then the child tries to read the label off a competing brand, but can't get through the first word or two because they aren't something easy. And then they read the Bryers box and it says: "Milk, sugar, vanilla". You get the drift.

Anyway. Those are my thoughts for today. Again, while I wouldn't consider myself a real health nut. If I can find grass feed locally raised beef, with good quality cheese some grey poupon and homegrown tomatoes and a little organic lettuce. I see no reason E can't have this several times a week. JK

My love to the Mommies and Daddies! And who dropped the pacifier?