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?

Friday, February 12, 2010

It's been a week

So it's been one of these weeks. And once again I find it to be Friday. Anyone from the East Coast knows we had a massive snow storm on Wednesday, so we had that to contend with, and although I haven't mentioned it, I've also been battling my own demons. Returning to work.

I consider myself luckier than most women. My company has very good maternity leave policies, and consequently I have been lucky enough to spend the first 18 weeks of E's life by her side. Not all paid, but worth every last lost penny. As much as I have cherished these moments, and realize she has changed in so many ways, I have not lost sight of the fact that my time is limited, and alas, it is almost up. I have 2 more weeks home with E, and then I have to return to work. I have struggled with this. As with most moms, we can not afford to be a one income family, and I knew that before we even thought about having E, but I didn't want to wait until I was 40 just to have our first child and be able to stay at home permanently with her. Everyone in major metropolitan areas deals with similar struggles, and "everyone does it" so surely I could handle having my first sweet little girl, and then returning to work.

No matter how much I tried to mentally prepare myself for how I would feel about this. Knowing, that I would struggle with it. I still wasn't even remotely prepared with how much angst I would endure over the approaching date.

As I've been blogging over the past month or two, you all know that E has been struggling in so many ways. And the idea of leaving her in someone else's care, just broke my heart. Grandma has been out of work since the economy went south over a year ago, and consequently has been around extensively throughout my maternity leave. But now as I approach returning to work, Grandma is also about to return to work. This disappointed me immensely. I felt like a horrible daughter, but I wanted her available. She was the only person that I could imagine would love her enough to get her through all the things she was struggling with. But Grandma has been poking and prodding me out into the world, to try to pick a daycare center. Since Grandma knew it was likely that she would be unavailable, she knew it was time for me to deal with this very difficult step.

So starting last week, we began embarking on the "adventure" of touring daycare centers. I felt a little bit like Goldy Locks. This daycare is too big. This daycare is too small. This daycare is too expensive. Desperately seeking "just right". Struggling with what was most important, what were the things I needed most out of a daycare center. I think I've settled upon one. It was one I had toured well before I had E. I had loved the center then, and I still loved it now. It's large drawback was price. But every time I toured their center, I walked away saying "I just got a good feeling. I REALLY liked the people." And on top of it, they had a fabulous teacher in the Infant room, a woman with 10 years experience with Infants. When I brought E with us to meet her, she was the sort of person that just exuded confidence. She dealt with the children she had with ease, and you could just tell she knew what she was doing. She told me how she intended to call me personally should there be any problems. That if she thought E was coming down with something, she'd call me and we could discuss what I wanted to do. She made me feel comfortable. And that was that. I couldn't bring E anywhere else. I literally WANTED this woman to take care of E.

While I was struggling with this decision. Oddly enough I was seeing something different in E. Curiosity. Excitement. Dare I say Joy? She was fascinated by meeting all of the other people in the world. And seeing other little people just tickled her pink. She'd smile at all these new people. And laugh when they talked to her. She'd look at the other small children and study them, smile at them, and look longingly at them. I could tell she was at a point where this idea of another world outside of our home was interesting to her. And in many ways it broke my heart. I began to feel in my sleep deprived state I just couldn't give her all the excitement that she wanted. Alas - she found me - BORING! Oh well. Just as well. She was going to have to go to daycare anyway, so she might as well find it marginally interesting.

So next week E is going for a test run. And if it goes well, we're going to start her a week early, only for a couple of days. Let Mommy and Daddy get used to dropping her off, leaving her there, and E get used to us leaving and coming back. Not to mention Mommy needs to get things in order to return to work. I spent the day today starting to get things put together so that E has what she needs to go to daycare.

My mom sent me the most touching e-mail last week. And she hit it right on the money, this was the first step of E's to move away from me and find her independence. It's heart wrenching for me. But it's the natural progression of things. I suppose I will find this just as difficult as the first time she calls out for Daddy instead of Mommy. When I realize she's embarrassed of me. When she goes away to college. And finally when she springs out on her own with her own family. But I will remember what has happened with my mother and I. And remember that she may need to move away to gain her own independence. But one day, the adventures that she and I are about to embark upon, will give me the knowledge, to help guide her through the same experiences with her children.

Stay strong working Mommies and Daddies. Remember that nobody will love them like we do. And that's ok. But anyway - did anyone see who dropped the pacifier?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Strange Cry

This post will be brief, but will likely give you some laughs. So last night was Monday, and as I mentioned last Monday Daddy will be MIA on Monday's for a few months. So I embarked on the bedtime routine alone once again. E was getting a little cranky as we approached 6:30 so I decided to put her down a little early. I have been pondering if this would help her sleep through the night better, as I have heard sometimes it works. Seems backwards, but I thought I would give it a try. So we went up a little after 6:30. Diaper change: Check. Swaddle: Check. Bottle: Check. Rock: Check. In the Crib Drowsy: Check. And I was back downstairs by 10 of 7. It seemed highly unlikely that this would work. It was to easy. And she'd only taken a couple ounces of her bottle. Every now and then I would hear a little moan, and that was it. She went to bed, and stayed asleep. 8 o'clock came, 9 o'clock came (daddy came home), 10 o'clock came. And then it happened. The strange cry.

At about 10:30, while Mommy and Daddy were catching up and getting ready for bed we heard the STRANGEST cry over the baby monitor. It took a minute for us to realize what we were hearing. It happened 3 times, LOUD as could be. And like I said: STRANGE. And then BOTH Mommy's and Daddy's eyes got HUGE.


We flipped on the video monitor, and got a small relief NOT to see him in the crib, but as loud as that cry was, we were rather certain he was in the nursery. Someplace, he KNOWS he is not allowed to go. As his cries ring out through the house, and clear as day over the baby monitor. E starts to toss and turn, whip her head back and forth.

Daddy RUNS through the house to the nursery and then tip toes through the room, looking under furniture and around corners to find where he was hiding. Finally, the guilty party was located behind the rocking chair. Daddy grabbed him and ran out of the nursery, closing the door behind him.

Back safely in the master bedroom, we again flipped on the baby monitor, contemplating having to kill the cat, we watched her toss, and turn, and whip her head from side to side. And then, she let out a really big sigh. And stopped. The crisis had been avoided. We did NOT have to kill the cat. So back to sleep E went. And Mommy and Daddy joined her.

In case anyone is wondering, E slept until 5 AM this morning. So it was a fabulous night. Maybe we'll try another early bedtime and see if she can repeat it.

I think that's enough laughs for this morning. Don't forget to keep the pets out! And as I ponder several times, every day now: "Who dropped the pacifier?"

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Not mothers as in myself, but mothers as in my mother. I haven't always been very close with my mother. I was when I was younger, and then as a pre-teen and teen, rebellion and independence drove me away. But even as a young adult, I already began to understand the importance of my relationship with my mother. And since I first left home for college over 12 years ago, I became very close with my mother. But never, have I truly appreciated her importance to me, as I do now, as I have become a mother myself.

Shortly after I became pregnant with E I noticed that my phone bill had increase dramatically. Although my mother does not live far from me it still qualifies (according to the phone company) as a long distance phone call. So beginning to realize that the phone calls to my mother were only likely to increase, I signed up for unlimited long distance. And what a good decision that was. I think I call my mother 3 - 4 times a day sometimes now. Sure, there is a day here and there when it is only once, but rarely do I not call her at all. And the support, guidance, encouragement and love that she gives me are worth every penny of the unlimited long distance.

I call her at least once a day to give her the report of what the night before was like. Did E sleep. How long, how many times did she get, how long was she up, how much did I sleep. And sometimes I'll call her in the afternoon to let her know how the afternoon nap went. Or I'll call her because E did something new, or the poop looked weird, or E did something strange, or acted strange, or sounded strange, or looked strange. I call my mom over everything.

And my mom always has something to say about everything that I call about. It's always encouraging, never alarming, and sometimes funny. She keeps me grounded in a time when I feel as though without someone tugging me back to earth I'd be floating away into outer space because of all the uncertainty and confusion surrounding my life right now. She lets me know what's normal, points out what's PROBABLY normal, and assures me when I think we've found something that might not be normal and it's time to talk to a Dr. But she's there.

And not just on the phone. She's the person I call when I slept for 2.5 hours the night before, and am not sure how I'll make it through the day. She's the person who comes down when I need to get out of the house. And she's the person who comes with me if I want to bring E and have help getting out of the house. She's the person who brought me lunch in the beginning when I couldn't figure out how to care for E and care for myself, and the person who reminded me that I needed to give my own needs a priority as well.

So as I've become a mother, and even more a mother to a daughter, I see my mother in a new light. I appreciate all she did for me when I was a child, and I appreciate all that she does for me now that I have a child, and can only hope that I can be as kind, patient and supportive when it is time for me to be in the same roll with E. Now as a mother, and someday, as a mother of a mother.

Today is dedicated to the Mothers. I hope everyone appreciates what their mothers have given them and remember that they can be a strong support and resource in their lives. But still, does anyone know who dropped the pacifier?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Ambient Temperature

Not fevers or anything like that. Just the ambient temperature in any given room in your house. Do you know what it is? Sure, you set the thermostat, and you can see what the temperature is right where the thermostat is... but do YOU know what the temperature is in all the various rooms of your home?

Now, I know what you're asking, this is a baby blog, what on earth does ambient temperature have to do with anything. Well. EVERYTHING. We've been struggling. If I've heard it before, I've heard it again, and I'll repeat it so that everyone is on the same page "Babies don't come with an owners manual." And, well, we've been trying desperately to figure out what E's been trying to tell us for what seems like months now. And I think I have FINALLY broken the code. And it can now only get better.

I've been puzzling over why it seems that around 2 - 3 E has a horrible meltdown. Big tears rolling down her little face. Crying till she's beet red. Always seemed to happen at nap time. We've blamed everything from the food I'm eating, the formula she's taking, the clothes she's wearing, being tired or even perhaps not being tired. And then suddenly like a bolt of lightening, it happened. The moment of clarity.

Monday E was having a meltdown. It started at about 2 and at 2:30 I was headed for the only thing that I'd found that works. Skin to skin. And step 1 is remove all of babies clothes. So I stripped E down to her diaper. And when all she had left on was her diaper, she stopped crying. Grandma was visiting, we both looked at each other and I said "She's HOT!" She was never sweaty so I never would have guessed it. So I started to change the way I dressed her for nap time, presuming this would resolve my issues. But on Tuesday, I had the same problem. Melting down at about the same time. So finally, out of pure curiosity (and after Grandma's repeated suggestion) I put a thermometer in the Nursery. I was ALARMED. It was a cool day, and the sun wasn't out, and I'd had the Nursery door open. And the room was registering 71 degrees. I suddenly became sure that on a sunny day, that around nap time I wouldn't be surprised to find the temperature at 75. WAY too hot for a baby! Especially a baby dressed for winter!

So I started on my mission. Cooling the room down. I started with opening the window, seemed absurd. It was 20 degrees outside, and yet, when I left a window open in the Nursery it only cooled it a couple of degrees. And then I kept doing the same thing at night, trying to cool it off. Only to realize that at night it was getting into the low 60s. So the room was fluctuating between too cool, and too warm. Now low 60s apparently isn't officially too cool, but I think it's too cool, and it's definitely too cool if you are consequently trying to put E in the Nursery in fewer clothes so she doesn't get hot.

The entire thing came to a peak last night when I got up at about 12:30 and read the thermometer was 63 degrees. WOW, that was cold, so I put another layer on E so she could sleep comfortably. And she nursed and went back to sleep. And I didn't hear from her again till a little bit after 4. And then when I got upstairs, as soon as I walked into the Nursery I was struck by how hot it was. Checking the thermometer it was now 70 degrees. So of course, NOW, she was TOO hot. I took her out of the nursery while we nursed and let her cool down and then opened the window, and left the door open so that it would cool down. All the while, feeling enormously guilty because what if leaving the window open made her too cold? So as soon as the alarm went off at 6, I sent Daddy to go get E. With very specific instructions to close the window, check the thermometer and return to the master bedroom with her. When he got there I asked for the temperature report... (PLEASE don't let it have been too cold, it was only an hour she was in there with the window open). Imagine my shock and alarm when Daddy announced that it was 71 degrees. GREAT! I had a window open, the door open, and it went UP a degree. So clearly THIS wasn't working.

Our final solution has been to shut off the radiator in her room. Which won't be the ideal solution either because then it might get too cold at night. We might try to leave it open just a little bit. We'll see. I also changed all the settings in the house. Reducing the thermostat on the whole house, and letting the temperatures drop for the night at her bedtime instead of our bedtime. Leaving her door open works a little, but isn't practical because then we can't sit in our living room after we've put her to bed. So hopefully we can get this issue under control.

I never saw this one coming! So it goes back to the beginning, babies don't come with manuals. And the reason one is crying does not explain why the other is crying. It's all about deciphering your own babies codes to you.

To Mommies and Daddies everywhere, if your baby won't sleep... check the temperature! And as usual did anyone see who dropped the pacifier?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

E has two hands!

Never fear, this is not a realization I am only coming to now. However, it was a realization that only she came to a couple of weeks ago. And it is becoming increasingly entertaining.

She became obsessed with her right hand about a month ago. And that was a good developmental step, but one day, she focused in on the fact that she did in fact have TWO of them. She studies them very closely. Makes little fists, puts them out flat, puts them in front of her face, and otherwise admires them regularly. A large part of the time she needs to study both of them simultaneously, as though she's not entirely sure that they are independent. But she does in fact have two hands. And once she found both hands, for some reason it was only then that she realized these two hands were good for other things as well. She is now holding on to rattles and waving them around in the air and otherwise playing with little objects that previously did not hold her attention at all. And shortly after she got to THAT point she discovered something even more fascinating... she can put these things in her MOUTH. She chows down on her hands regularly now. You'd think we never feed her. When she decides to suck on them, you can hear this GIANT (and really I do mean GIANT) sucking sound from just about anywhere in the house. And although we still swaddle her up snug as a bug in a rug before bed, now, on rare occasions, I can hear the GIANT sucking sound over the baby monitor. It's a good thing. I thought I didn't want a child who would suck on their finger or thumb. But I've lost enough weight running up and down the stairs putting the pacifier back in, so if she decided to suck on a finger or two... maybe it wouldn't be a bad thing.

So E has two hands. And I decided to really blow her mind by bringing her little tiny feet up into view while I was changing her diaper the other day. And her eyes got HUGE, and she just stared at them. Wiggled her little toes a little and cocked her head to the side. I could only imagine the inner dialogue: "Well look at that, I got two more hands, but those ones are weird shaped, I must be deformed, and what are they doing way down there, and what good are they down there?" I suppose someday the mystery of feet will be exposed to her further. But in the meantime, I figure the occasional peak while she gets her diaper changed is enough to keep her little tiny life interesting.

So I hope everyone appreciates their hands, and remembers that they have feet too. And that once upon a time the introduction of these 4 appendages was the most fascinating thing in the world. And come on! Who dropped the pacifier???

I'm Not Sleepy!

E that is, not Mommy. Has decided that she no longer needs to sleep. Ever apparently. Yesterday E threw me for a loop by messing up her whole entire loose but existent schedule. The one that Mommy depends on to get a few hours of extra sleep herself. But alas, NOT yesterday.

I think I've mentioned before that E usually goes down for an early AM nap. Maybe I haven't, either way, she used to. She'd be up for about an hour and a half, and then down for about 2 hours. Which was great. It was long enough that Mommy could catch some Zzzs herself. Well yesterday E wanted to get up after being down for 40 mins. And was just on strike to go back to sleep. So up we were. I hoped that maybe she was just putting off her long nap. Perhaps we'd be up till 10ish, and then she'd go back down for a couple hours. So I held out. 10 came, and I put E down. She slept for 40 mins again. Then I had to try to get her back down. She fell asleep that time, and was asleep when noon rolled around. Mommy so wanted to just go back to sleep, but since nap time is at 2, it seemed as though it would be a mistake to let her keep sleeping at this point. So we all got up.

So far not TOOOOO bad, Mommy wasn't a total mess. I was so sad to have missed my morning ZZZzzzs, but I thought we'd survive. So at 2 I put E down for her nap. And by 2:30 she was actually sleeping. But alas, starting at about 3:30 she was waking up. And at 4, she made it perfectly clear she had NO intention of going back to sleep. So again, up we got. All I could do was look at the clock, do the math, and think, 3 hours to bedtime, is WAY too much time. So I called Daddy and let him know it was likely going to be a difficult evening.

Good thing I did, by the time Daddy got home, E was on full blown meltdown mode. Usually I can just snuggle her on the couch and she'll take a little cat nap for 30 minutes and that will hold her over until bedtime. But tonight, she A) Didn't want to take a catnap and B) Decided she was done with Mommy and the only person who would do was Daddy. If Daddy held E she would stop crying. She would sit there and look around. They looked out the window, and they tried to play with the cat, Daddy gave E a tour of the house. They did many things, anything E thought would distract her from falling asleep. But finally every couple of seconds her head would droop down and her eyes would close. And then they'd whip open. If she could have given her eyelids whiplash I'm pretty sure she would have!

She didn't make it to bedtime, we started bedtime 15 - 20 minutes early. Daddy gave E her bottle, she drank an oz or so, and then went right to sleep. So that was that... right...? HA! About 20 minutes later she was up AGAIN. I went up to try to get her back to sleep. Upon seeing I was the parent she had gotten and apparently NOT the one she was requesting, she melted down completely. I tried everything. She just wouldn't stop crying. I finally entered the kitchen with E in just her diaper (having tried to take her out of her jammies to get the crying to stop... sometimes it works), and said to Daddy "She's broken, I can't find the off button, She doesn't want me, she wants you." So Daddy went upstairs and it took him about 30 - 45 minutes. But again, he got her back down. YEY!!! Well... she woke up AGAIN another 2.5 hours later. And that time, AGAIN, it took another 30 - 45 mins to get her back down. By 11:30 Daddy and Mommy were exhausted!

So she is clearly at this new phase of development where there is just so much to do, that she doesn't want to sleep. She fights it with astonishing precision, and the results are disastrous. All I could say to Daddy was, thank HEAVENS she was NOT like this on Monday night. Because had she been like that when I was trying to put her down by myself for the first time, it might have traumatized me permanently! Anyway... Today is a new day. I'm trying to keep her awake for longer this morning before I put her down for her nap. But it looks like it's about that time. So hopefully today will be a better day! I'll let you know later!

Stay strong Mommies and Daddies! Who dropped the Pacifier?

Monday, February 1, 2010

I'm Not Daddy

I've been talking a lot about being Mommy. And that is all well and good, but I think I got a taste of what it's like to not be the "other" parent. I do most things with E. But there is one thing that Daddy has done with E every night since we brought her home. And tonight, I had to take on this task.

Daddy won't be home in the evening every Monday for a couple of months. And for this reason, and this reason only, Mommy, is taking on bedtime. This doesn't seem like it should be a big deal. But as 7 PM approached I cautiously considered how putting her to bed by myself would go.

It's not that I don't see her at night usually, or even not as though I don't pop in after we put her to bed to put the pacifier in, but Daddy is the main parent for this task. Both Mommy and Daddy get E ready for bed, change her daddy, change her jammies, and then swaddle her up tight. I give her kisses goodnight and then pass her over to Daddy. The two of them sit in the rocker and share a bedtime bottle, and then Daddy rocks her for a while. Once E is either asleep, or ready to get in her crib. Daddy puts her there, and that's that. It's a special time for the two of them, so I haven't ever intruded. I think it's important for the two of them to have this time.

But tonight, Daddy wasn't home, so Mommy had to try to take on bedtime herself. We went upstairs and went about our evening routine. But when we got to the portion of the routine that is primarily Daddy's I felt somehow insufficient. In her little whimpers and cries, I could hear "This isn't how Daddy does it. You're doing it wrong Mommy. I don't want to be held like this. This is the wrong way." And I just felt like somehow I wasn't meeting her needs. It took longer for me to get her down than it takes Daddy. Maybe it was a coincidence, maybe it was that it was me instead of Daddy. And maybe next Monday it will go quicker. We'll have to see.

I spend so much time with E. And I know there are times that Daddy is with her that I try to let him know how E likes it done. And suddenly, today, I could imagine how he feels. What it's like to be the parent that doesn't know exactly how it's done. To know exactly how she likes it done. And I suddenly have a new appreciation for how it feels to be Daddy.

So we learned something new today. I'm not Daddy. And as usual, that's ok. It's good to have a Daddy.

I hope all the Mommies remember Daddy, and all the Daddies know that they are needed and loved, and that they hold their own little special place in the little one's lives. And does anyone know who dropped the pacifier?