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?