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.