Tuesday, June 28, 2011

so far.

i know i talk a lot about being a mom. to be honest, it's most of what i think about. something happens to you when you have a baby--you just shift. what you used to think about or be concerned about slips to the side in favor of anticipating and planning for the needs of your baby.  i find that especially to be true for me. i am always ever mindful of what's happening next. it might be my planning nature, but that's what i do...all day long.  what time is it? when will she need to eat again? what has she done, in terms of play, today? should we read? should we sing songs? is it time to work on her motor skills? tummy time? has she slept in a while? is she demonstrating sleepy cues? where should she sleep? should i try to get her to sleep in a bed, or try to get her to sleep longer?

what's the best to do?

and when i don't have those needs to worry about (when she's sleeping, for example, as she is now), i rarely think about what i want to do. well, that's not entirely true--my facebook consumption indicates that clearly--but i'm always thinking of what needs to be done next. laundry? dishes? bottle washing? shower? shred/work out? clean the living room?

what's the best to do?

so when it gets difficult is when the decisions are equally good.  when, on the good-better-best spectrum, the lines are fuzzy, when it doesn't much matter what i do...because it's all good and worthwhile.

what i've learned so far is that i am a different parent in practice than i thought i would be in theory.  i read some books before baby girl was born. i had some ideas of what i wanted to do. much of that pre-labor effort has been thrown out the window in favor of listening to my baby and consulting dr. google. i've learned a lot from just trusting my gut, and from remembering all of the people who told me to trust my gut, and from reading the experiences of other people. 

some of those attitudes have evolved over the past twelve weeks.  some of those attitudes were already there, but unearthed. some of those attitudes are only now being cultivated.

but most of them are not what i thought i would do.

i want my baby to be independent, but i fail to see how that won't happen if she sleeps on my chest when she's not sleeping well during the day...especially since she sleeps all night, alone, in her own room.

i want my baby to learn to self-soothe, but i fail to see how that won't happen if i rock her to sleep at night while she's a newborn.

i want my baby to be on a schedule, but i don't think that schedule comes from me. i think she works it out, depending on her development and her own rhythms. i just log and track and get out of the way.

i want my baby to take good naps, but i understand that daytime sleep and nighttime sleep are different.  i have faith that the daytime sleep will evolve the way the nighttime sleep did.  if it doesn't, when she's a bit older, we'll tackle that beast too.

i want my baby to develop on track, but i also don't care much what track that is.  so far, she seems to be on the advanced track.  but in weight and height, she's right in the middle.  she is who she is.  i am okay with that.

so, so far, i have surprised myself. i know a lot more than i thought i would know at this point, about myself, and that surprises me as well. sometimes my own attitudes about things surprise me.  i like it, actually. i'm already thinking of the things that i had wished i had known for this time around that i will incorporate into next time around.

i still google. i still ask questions. i still wonder if maybe we should stop swaddling soon (though i feel fairly certain baby girl will tell us when that time is...and i think it's coming soon) and i still wonder about crib bumpers.  i wonder how she'll tolerate her four month shots and am sure that this time we'll give her tylenol (even if she doesn't have a fever, she's bound to have some pain).  i wonder what might have happened if i had known what i know now about breastfeeding.  i try to find things to do with her during the days that will make her happy and will develop her emotionally, physically, mentally.  i read up on the stages and wonder if she's close to sitting up.  i think about bumbos and jumperoos and little linky toys that she might like.  i wish i had an unlimited amount of amazon bucks to buy all the board books in the world, since my baby seems to like words.  i think about solid foods and wonder about whether or not she'll be ready before six months, or if we can wait that long (i'd like to). 

i think about a lot of things. it's never far from my mind, the next thing to think about.

but i think what i've been thinking about lately is what kind of mom i can and will be, every day.  because it's in the sum total of the every day that the life you want is created.  

i had an idea to try something that might end up allowing me to do something that i really wanted to do for baby girl.  i think it might work, or at least might be worth a try, if circumstances were a bit different.  but i've come to realize, with the help of my wonderful husband, that i am more than just a mom (not that you can ever put "just" in front of that phrase). i am also the primary breadwinner in our home. i am also responsible for much around here, which requires that i split my time. i may not like it, always, and i may resent it, sometimes, but mainly it's just reality and i am grateful that i am able to do it during this time when it's so important to do. 

but it also means that that reality makes certain things more important. it is more important for me to be a happy mom than, for example, a breastfeeding mom. it's more important for me to be patient and loving with my daughter than it is for my house to be perfectly clean or the dishes to always be done. it is more important for me to try to meet her needs than to whine about my own. 

i don't really know where this is going, except to say that i'm learning things about myself that i am glad to know.

i am still learning, every day. i am still hard on myself, and i still don't see all of the amazing parts of myself that i know, in my head, are on display every day. i still don't have all of my crap together. i still don't know how everything gets done.

i just know that it does and that at the end of each day one of us rocks our baby to sleep and tells her a scripture story and says a prayer with her and puts her in her bed and she wakes up the next morning smiling (or at least she does after she eats). i know that in the middle of the days, when we take her up to her changing table, she giggles and laughs like it's the best thing ever. i know that she's growing so much that it's time to weed through her clothes and pull out the things that just don't fit anymore. i know that she's thriving and learning and becoming an amazing kid.

that much i know for sure.

everything else, i'm still learning.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

not a funny joke.

new birth control method + weird postpartum cycles returning to normal = period 4 days late. 

i started googling "irish twins." ultimately, there was no need, but not funny. 

not funny at all.

(if it had been true, i would have laughed and panicked and determined to gain 0 pounds, since i still have 20 to lose from maggie,  but never ever would that little one have been considered an accident--just a present we would have gotten earlier than we thought.  that said....DILIGENCE!)

(and you're welcome.)

Friday, June 24, 2011


my days are full of magic right now, the kind that you only notice if you stop wishing for more time to wash dishes and start realizing how many amazing things are in your path.

yesterday was one of those days.

i woke up to a smiling baby.  because our air conditioner was being less than efficient, we had to leave so that maintenance could work on it.  we went to the library as a family. there was a preschool story time going on and it was like a little snapshot of what i have to look forward to.

it was very exciting. 

we found lots of cool board books.  maggie likes books, so i'm learning (i promise, it's her natural liking!).  i feel like the library will continue to be a place that we visit often. 

we went to the mall, and it was fun.  baby girl slept a little bit, and when she got hungry she was even pretty good natured.  we wandered around and found lots of good stuff (uhm, why is baby gap so expensive? i mean, i don't love everything there, but seriously? who pays $40 for a baby outfit? give me a break. i know what those outfits see.). 

then we went to lunch at a new place. and the heavens opened and the rain came pouring down.  we didn't have an umbrella with us, so when it was time to go, we put baby girl in the stroller, pulling the waterproof sunshade over her seat, which was hooked to her stroller which has another waterproof sunshade that covers all the way over, and we ran through the rain.  my slippery shoes meant i didn't run much for fear of eating it in the parking lot.  but about 2 minutes into the adventure, i realized it felt really good.  walking in the pouring rain felt GOOD. it was warm and lovely.

baby girl had missed her naps, so she was a bit of a crab.  but we came home and she slept for a while and we watched psych and it was lovely. 

and then we did family pictures. and she was so good. she was SO tired by the time we started (around 7 pm) but she did so well.  i hope they come out good. i can't wait to see them! 

and then we sat, in the dark, and ate dinner and baby girl slept in my arms, finally exhausted by the day. 

it was magic.  why, you ask? because i got to spend it with my family. i love this family, i love this life, i love the challenges that it brings, i love the growth that i'm seeing in myself, and i love how precious this little girl is.  she belly laughs and giggles and babbles and plays. today, she brought her toy to her mouth for the first time, demonstrating some more motor skill development that we've been working on. she rolled over this past weekend, and she sounds like she says "hi" a lot (probably because i say it to her all of the time!).  she loves people more than toys. she is growing like a weed.  she is a joy.

and my husband? he is a rock. he makes me laugh. we like the same things (we just finished four seasons of psych on streaming netflix, and season 5 is in the mail, but in the meantime, we found out that there are pineapples in most of the episodes and we've decided to watch it again to find them--and that's just how we are).  he keeps me sane, he listens to me, he wakes up early on friday mornings so that i can sleep and then takes the baby so that i can grade.  he is such a huge blessing to me.  and he's deliciously cute, too.  i'm more in love with him than i ever was, but differently and in more complex ways.  how could you explain to your dizzy infatuated dating self that you'd love this man because he has the power to calm your crying baby when you can't? that he fills in the gaps for you when you can't face another fussy minute? or that you love that he has decided to take on cooking sunday dinners or that he knows that he needs to go to the store for you before you even ask? that you can just reach over to him, grab his hand, and he knows what you are thinking?

you can't.  but that's the magic of true love.  it just keeps developing, changing, and growing. i may never be the world's best housekeeper (dusting is just not something i really think about doing and i can't even comment on the state of our bedroom right now), but i hope that someday my family will know that i worked hard to love them truly.

that's the greatest gift i can give.

i am glad i am feeling this way today, at the end of our summer break. musicboy goes back to school on monday, the real school where he is away for very long stretches.  baby girl and i are going to have to find ways to cope and keep ourselves occupied.  i think we can do it.  but we will miss him.

realizing the precious blessings in my life helps me appreciate the time that i have with them even more. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

coming out of the fog.

someone once told me that the fog lasts 9 weeks. 

that someone was right, at least for me.  this past week, i've begun to feel much more like myself. after a truly terrible saturday morning, where i broke down crying on the phone with my mom, things have seemed better.

i just seem better.

maybe it's because i'm getting something like 6-7 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night. that can do wonders for your psyche. maybe it's because i've hit that wall where i realize that a) i have no idea what i'm doing sometimes and b) that's normal and c) i'm going to get frustrated and upset and that's normal too and d) she's a baby, she'll throw me for a loop most days, and as long as she's eating and sleeping and pooping, we're good.

maybe it's because i'm finally feeling more like she's not so fragile that i'll break her if she has to cry while i make her bottle or if she doesn't get her diaper changed IMMEDIATELY or if i try to soothe her in multiple ways before i feed her early. 

maybe it's because i'm growing.

who knows?

what i can tell you is that, for the past few weeks (week and a half?) naps have consumed my waking life.  as her sleep has changed dramatically during the night (she sleeps for about 9 hours straight--i KNOW. i'm not complaining), her naps seem to have deteriorated.  "they" (the writers of books of all kinds) say that she should be cycling less--i.e. eat, play, sleep--and sleeping for longer stretches less often.

to "they" i say come meet my baby.

i don't care how old she is, this child DOES NOT DO WELL unless she sleeps a portion of every three hour block between feedings.  but she doesn't sleep a long time.  she'll sleep maybe 45 minutes.

for the longest time, i was thinking this was BAD. FAILURE. NOTANAP.

for a minute and a half, i thought maybe she was just a catnapper. maybe she just didn't need to sleep. 

ha. see above comment about BIG CRABFACED BABY if she doesn't sleep.

but i couldn't get her to sleep for longer than 30-45 minutes in her crib.  this doesn't make sense to me.  she sleeps like a champ in her bed at night. obviously she knows how to self-soothe herself back to sleep, since she does it ALL NIGHT LONG. 

so what the dang is with the naps?

so for a while, i just decided that i would let her sleep on me, on the couch, in her swing, whatever. 

but see, that didn't really work either.  i thought it was a growth spurt thing. her eating has settled down (she shocks me sometimes with how much she'll eat in a sitting, but she's eating just a smidge more than she was before, and she's bigger, so i think she's right on target--she just has to tank it up in shorter amounts of time because she sleeps like she does) but her sleeping hasn't changed (other than, you know, the dramatic change in her nighttime sleep). 

so naps.

they still suck.  but i decided that, if they're going to suck, they might as well suck with her in her crib.  so i think i'm just going to keep at it--keep putting her in her crib, keep watching her cues, keep trying to get her to get the sleep that she needs. i can see it starting to change, but this netherregion is yuck.

(right now, though? she's been out for more than an hour and a half. she's slept past her three hour window for feeding (we don't wake sleeping babies around these parts anymore, and she ate early anyways). and she's in her crib.  this came after not really sleeping much at all and getting so overtired that she yelled for a few minutes until i could get her down (that's my bad. i should have listened to her sleepy cues better.).)

this kid is sure to make me insane. 

and, of course, rather than thinking that this is ALL KINDS OF AWESOME, i am worried that she is a) dead or b) sick.


i am such the mommy work in progress.

(and, btw, i found out that 45 DOES equal a nap, so i'm done thinking that we're failing.  more important is how she acts and if she's happy and cheerful by the end of the day.  she's obviously better at that when she gets substantial bunches of sleep. we'll see how it goes. also, it turns out this is FAR more normal than i thought, especially with babies who sleep through the night earlier.  or so says google. and, as we know, google is king.)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

existential question of the day.

at some point, my desire to not be a big fat tub of postpartum lard will overcome my desire to a) not cook because i'm tired and can't think about it and b) eat cookies/ice cream/pop tarts/insert sugary thing here, right?


Friday, June 10, 2011

ode on a growth spurt.

my baby grows horns, forgets how to sleep
and you wonder why mom is crumpled up in a heap
in the corner, hitting google like mad
to figure out why the child's naps are so bad.

i ask it the question "is 9 weeks the start?"
(of a growth spurt of course--it's not on the chart.)
i find, inbetween the bottles and rocking,
that many other moms have come knocking

at dr. google's door for some wisdom and peace
when their baby, it seems, turned 180 degrees.
good natured and sweet? it's all out the door
when the growth spurts descend with power once more.

i try to remember--was six weeks like this?
the perplexing irony of day's crankiness
juxtaposed with new overnight powers
of going down hard and sleeping for hours?

i spend 48 hours wondering, spending each day
trying to keep the crab-faced tired monster at bay--
twenty minutes isn't enough, you know, to keep a baby
in smiles and giggles and object batting (maybe).

she needs more, and heaven knows there's a line
between powernapping, then waking up just fine,
and getting stuck in a perpetual cycle of doom
where you wake up because there's too much light in your room

or maybe because your purple binky fell out
or maybe because you don't like (at all) to miss out
on anything that could possibly happen
while you and your blanket are peacefully nappin'.

it's all a mystery until i start really thinking
about how many ounces you've really been drinking.
i write it all down--some call it crazy--
but sleep deprivation can make memory hazy.

and so, flipping back, i begin to recall
that this growth spurty monster has come to call
at six weeks, at three weeks, at ten days perhaps;
and so i feel better about your days with no naps.

we're fighting it, maggie, with hugs and with kisses
with trying to be patient, with hits and with misses,
with making the most of the time that we've got.
(work does get done, but the dishes do not.)

and that's part of life with a wee little child
whose normal sweet nature, smiley and mild,
is sometimes replaced by a new kind of creature.
it eats! it fusses! (those are its advertised features.)

and nobody tells you that you'll occasionally wonder
if the cute little baby, whose spell you've been under,
will ever return.  she will. i remember, since flipping those pages;
this is another one of those sucky newborn stages.

growth spurts are evil, though they accomplish much good.
i marvel at my baby, but i'll admit that i would
in a heartbeat find some other way to grow--
one that doesn't make mom crazy. although,

if i knew what was best, i would be in control,
with fists full of knowledge, but that's not the goal.
as much as maggie's growing, i'm growing too
and learning with patience things that are true.

babies are wonderful, trying, and changing.
moms are inspired, flawed, and amazing.
dads are solid, impervious and at peace.
growth spurts make love and trust increase.

we're fighting the cat naps, we're feeding the girl,
we're giving every solution we hear a good whirl;
it's just a matter of time--i'll take that truth off the shelf
when we hit this again on the mighty week twelve.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


let's be real for a moment, shall we? i feel inclined to do so, though i am not sure why.

oh yeah, i am. this here blog entry is brought to you by maggie, who for the THIRD TIME IN TWENTY FOUR HOURS peed all over everything when i was changing her diaper.

and then smiled about it. if i didn't know better, i'd swear she planned it.

no, she didn't. she just...reacts.  perhaps the air is a little cold. perhaps she's like me and doesn't realize she has to pee until she's in the middle of doing something interesting.  perhaps she just, you know, pees and i've gotten the unfortunate end of that lucky draw several times now.

thank heavens i keep putting down those waterproof pads on the changing table, and thank heavens i have gotten extra good at pulling her clothes WAY up before changing her, because otherwise there'd be even more laundry.


so i started shred on monday. monday was a rough day for lots of reasons including the fact that maggie didn't want to sleep in her bed for more than 10 minutes at a time.  she goes through these phases periodically, and lo they bring forth the frustration.  this is especially true when both mommy and daddy want to do said workout together.

(we have since reassessed, and each do it at a different time. it's just easier and doens't tempt the fates, which i don't believe in except someone still needs to explain to me why it is that the minute i think about doing something that is actually productive [i.e. eat dinner, grade, work out, etc.] that requires two hands and a sleeping baby, she wakes up? yeah. there's something to that.)


things that you learn as a new mom when you begin intense interval training, or mainly just jumping jacks.  don't laugh and jump at the same time, or you'll be given a surprising and horrifying reminder of why you should pee before your workout and why you should have done your kegels more often.


horrible.  hasn't repeated itself but wow.  bless my husband, who didn't even really seem bothered by it.


a day in the life of my life, the wednesday edition:

(maggie's back to a waking up at 3 am thing. i don't know what's going on.  she's going 6 hours, which was always ever her normal stretch, so it's not terribly different.  we just got teased with 8 hour stretches, or 6 hour stretches that began later, so it seemed so much more doable.)

she wakes up at 3, eats an entire bottle like she's never eaten before in her life (which is now 4 ounces, which is new as she had toyed with 4 ounces but was fairly consistently taking 3 or 3.5 until this week), and goes right back to sleep. sometimes, like last night, she takes a little bit longer to get back to sleep if i have to change her diaper (which i did last night because it was wet and she's fighting a diaper rash).  she went back down at 4:15 last night (this morning?).

but now that she's back to waking up at 3, i take the middle of the night shift and elbow musicboy when it's time for her to eat again (which is anywhere from 6 to 7am--and i elbow him because he doesn't hear her crying. he can sleep through it.). this morning it was 7:15ish.  i then roll over, put a pillow over my head (as i cannot sleep through anything, apparently), and try to sleep for a little bit longer.

at 8:00, musicboy's cell phone alarm goes off to tell him to wake up.  i find this somewhat laughable, but if there's no alarm, it's a cinch that maggie will sleep 9 hours and we'll both not wake up until he's late for work.  i rolled over and snoozed it, and saw through bleary eyes that musicboy was standing in the doorway.

he said good morning. i think i grunted something unintelligible at him that sort of sounded like good morning.  baby girl was dressed and looking pretty content, but i knew he was coming in to get me so that i could take her and so that he could get ready for work.

i was not ready.  call me a bad mom if you want, but i was not ready to face the day.

about a minute and a half later, i was up and in her room. i took her and we rocked, and she went to sleep a few minutes later.  she was down for her first nap by 8:15.

i did my lesson for my church class, which is tonight, while she was sleeping. musicboy left for work at about 8:40, and just when i was finishing (i am so grateful for this time, that i was able to do it and get it done. it's a huge blessing), and just about the time i was considering doing something else, she woke up.

it was 9:00 am.

i tried to get her back to sleep, but there was for whatever reason little hope of that.  in previous days, she would sleep quite well in the mornings, but that seems to have gone by the wayside.  i bounced her with her pacifier in her mouth, feeling like it was tired fussing that we were experiencing.  she settled down, which is a good indication that it WAS tired (as this is a girl who DOES NOT give up when hungry). she fell asleep for a few minutes on my chest, and woke up right about 10 for a bottle, right at 3 hours. 

10am--3rd bottle.  she fell asleep during it, but woke up when i changed her diaper.  she peed all over everything.  we came downstairs with a pile of laundry now to add to the pile she'd created overnight and in the past few days. she sat in her bouncy chair and i put together some breakfast for myself.  i didn't get a chance to eat it, though, because she was ready to go to sleep and told me so. i swaddled her and she started to go to sleep. we moved upstairs, where she cried when i put her down. she settled with a pacifier and some shushing, and then went to sleep.

it was around 11:00 or 11:15.

i checked my email, started this blog entry, and was writing the part about how she seems to know when i want to do something productive (i'd been thinking about grading) when she woke up.

it was around 11:50.  she needed to burp, so we did that, but she was not settling down.  i was frustrated, as her tired cry and her hungry cry are sometimes really similar, and we'd just gone through the fussing thing that ended up being tired. the reality is that if she was taking longer naps, this wouldn't be such a problem.

i didn't know what she wanted. she was more fussy than normal, and i was on the verge of tears myself.  this is where my frustration usually bites me in the butt. i woke up somewhat frustrated that she's tossed out any routine we once had, not because it inconveniences me at all but because i think i'm not doing what i should be doing for her.  it sounds stupid, but every time we seem to have one, and i can finally breathe and see that she's thriving and doing well, it changes. i can't keep up, and when i feel like i can't keep up, i forget that the best thing to do is just LISTEN TO HER.

yeah.  it's hard for me, as it's all new. every new phase, every time she tosses out the schedule and creates a new one, it's new and different and i am in adjustment phase again.  and i know she should be sleeping and i know she should be taking naps and so i wonder why it's so easy for her to go to sleep but not so easy to STAY asleep, especially when she's so obviously tired.

anyways.  i was frustrated and feeling it, though sending forth prayers that i would know what to do rather than articulating my frustration in words to maggie.  previously, i might have said something in a frustrated tone. this time, i just said it matter of factly: "i don't know what you want."

that was progress, now that i think about it. i worked really hard not to be frustrated with her. 

we came downstairs and i tried to soothe her with bouncing again. she wasn't having it.  i realized this was the hungry cry, and gave her a bottle.

12 pm.  TWO HOURS between feedings. that's crazytown.  i start to seriously wonder if she needs to be eating more ounces.  i consider upping the ounces for the next feeding, or even for this feeding if she still seems hungry.

she blocks my plan with a need for another diaper change.  that will make the 5th or 6th today, and the third time she's pooped.  we're going through diapers and wipes like crazy.  luckily, her diaper rash seems to be retreating fast.  diligence pays off.  i have to believe climbing the stairs 75 times a day also will pay off someday.

she's happy and smiling and relatively content, though sucking her hands a lot just after she eats.  she spits up a little, but nothing alarming and nothing to indicate she's been overfed.  i try to see if she's still hungry, but she seems to just want to suck.

i decide that, regardless of the weird naptimes, we're going to make the most of activity time.  we read a book that we got at the library yesterday. i got it because it has HUGE illustrations that are on incredibly brightly colored pages, which at this point maggie is supposed to like. she sat through the whole thing totally content.  since she was facing away from me while on my lap, i'm not sure if she was looking at the book the whole time, but she seemed happy with it.  educational activity: check.

we talked a little too.  she smiled, though not as much as normal, but i attribute that to my relative stoicism and amped-ness over the not knowing what's going on with her.  i can tell it's going to take me some time to just let it go.

i decide to put her in the moby wrap, which we just got, when she's relatively calm and content.  she seems to like it, but i want to try to train her to wear it any time, and in the back of my mind, i am thinking that she might sleep some and better if she was on my chest.

(this is an effort to let it go, realizing it's more important for her to sleep than where she sleeps, and sometimes you have to choose your battles.)

the wrapping and baby placing goes pretty well (it's only our third or fourth time, and i'm still trying to figure out the kinks).  we start the laundry and rinse some bottles, all while she's strapped to my chest. she's quiet and content, and i can tell that she's getting sleepy.  she starts to get fussy, as is normal when the "i'm tired" switch gets flipped, so i grab her pacifier and hold it in her mouth (she's terrible about chucking it across the room, even when she wants it) while we bounce and walk across the living room.

i turn on the cosby show to distract me, as i have no idea how long i'll be bouncing.  i grab some spongebob fruit snacks and some water, as i'm pretty sure i'll be on the couch until musicboy gets home in an hour. 

we sit, as she seems to be going to sleep. she fusses, and i'm not sure if it's the moby that she doesn't like or if this is the traditional "i'm fighting sleep, man, don't make me!" last bit of fussing.

it turns out to be the latter, as she's out in a few minutes.

it's 1:15 or 1:20. i start blogging again and read a response from someone on facebook, where i had expressed a wish for some sort of light to switch on when they're going through a growth spurt. i have my suspicions that this is a growth spurt, simply because the sheer volume of ounces she's eating went up exponentially yesterday, and she's more fussy than normal.  of course, i attribute most things to a growth spurt.  i wish i knew.

i REALLY really wish i knew. 

my friend's reply confirmed to me what i thought: when they start shortening the length of time they're content between feedings, it's time to up the ounces some.  i decide that maybe we'll try 4.5 next time. worst case is that she won't eat it. while formula is expensive, i'd rather have a content baby that can sleep long stretches.

1:36.  my neck is hurting from being craned to the side so we adjust. much better.  i'm really looking forward to musicboy being home.  it's just psychologically easier with two around.  logistically, it's also easier to pee with two around.  i consider putting her down, as she's DEEP in sleep.  i'm weighing the potential pitfalls (she's asleep here, and she might wake up if i take her upstairs.  she's not swaddled, which might make her wake up quicker) against the potential benefits (i'm certain she'll sleep better in her bed, and if she doesn't, we can always go back to the chest thing (though with some fussing inbetween which might wake her up).  i'd like for her to not get used to sleeping long stretches on me--she'd been doing so well.  i'd be able to pee. [are you seeing a theme?]).  i decide to try.

1:55. she's up. she sneezed, it woke her up, then she laid in her crib and looked around for a few minutes until she started to cry.  i just watched her.  i find these moments rather amazing, watching her looking around and learning things.  i brought her downstairs.

2:20.  musicboy comes home.  baby girl is getting fussy and tired again.  i don't know what i am, but it's pretty clear that i'm not on top of my game either.  days like these take it out of me, but i'm not sure why. maybe it's starting the workouts again, maybe it's the 3am wakeups again, maybe it's the frustration at not knowing how to help her sleep, maybe it's (again) the need to understand the complexities of babies who don't understand themselves, maybe it's my control freak nature and the need to have some sort of routine (and maybe it's the idea that you CAN have a consistent routine with a 9 week old baby), maybe it's changing 75 diapers a day, maybe it's the inability to see, on days like these, that this IS actually her routine.  i don't know.  i'm not worried--that's new. i don't think there's anything whatsoever wrong with her.  i know she's fine.  i know this happens periodically. i know it must be normal, since she's absolutely fine and healthy and happy. 

if it's another growth spurt, i reiterate my opinion that they suck.  if it's not, and it's one of these developmental deals, they suck too.

but what i'm learning is that those growth spurts are also for the moms.  steep learning curves, every day.  we're making it, we're climbing them, but they're tough.  don't let anybody tell you anything different.

Monday, June 6, 2011

letter to my girl: month two.

dear baby girl,

you are two months old.  i can hardly believe it, but i can also hardly believe you're ONLY two months old. i told you this before, but it feels like you've always been here. you're so much a part of our lives, and you have changed so much since you were born, that it feels much longer than that.

this past week, we went to the doctor.  you have done so great! you gained almost four pounds and three plus inches since our last visit.  you're measuring right where you were when you were born--smack in the middle, in the 50th percentile.  i sort of love that about you. it's like you look like you're middle of the pack, but you're actually so far ahead. daddy and i just looked at a milestone chart today, and you're doing things that three and four month old babies do. you've always been that way, baby girl--just a little bit ahead of the pack developmentally. i have a feeling you'll always be that way. i don't know if you'll grow up to be incredibly physically adept, or really smart, or super sensitive and good with people, but you're going to be extraordinary--you've already proven to be so.

you got your first shots at that visit, and boy did you hate it.  you cried and cried, a cry that i hadn't heard before (which means that you likely haven't had real pain before in your life, which makes me feel, retrospectively, like we really must have done some things right).  it made me cry a little bit, but when we picked you up and swaddled you and rocked you a little, you began to calm down. it took a few minutes, but soon you were in your daddy's arms and fast asleep. you were good the first day, but the next few days you just didn't seem yourself.  no fever, no seeming tenderness at the shot site--just you being a little bit mad at the world.  i think that's okay, but i started to get worried that my sweet baby girl had been changed forever.

you hadn't. you woke up on friday with a smile and the smile has been everpresent ever since. in fact, one of the ways that i can tell that you're tired is that your smile nearly disappears.  this is familiar to me, because when i get tired or preoccupied, my face goes stoic too.  and, yes, baby girl, you smile now.  a month ago, i was still waiting for your smiles. now i do everything that i can to earn them as much as possible.  you spend a lot of time on my legs, elevated, after a feeding. you like to spit up, so we keep you elevated for a few minutes after your bottle. you are usually quite happy, and so we talk.  and i say talk because you are articulating and cooing all of the time.  it's so much fun to repeat what you say back to you. you used to be surprised, but now you just look delighted.  i think you really are learning about the give and take of good conversation. i always want you to feel like what you say is important to me. i'm trying, then, to start now.

you are nearly to the point where you have your laugh down. for a while, you were cooing those delicious high-pitched baby vowel sounds, which alone thrilled me.  but you hadn't quite coordinated them.  you've got it down now, and though it's a bit rare, it's wonderful. i think your giggle will melt me completely. your smile already does.

you recognize us now, completely.  when i come to get you out of your crib in the morning, you smile.  you wake up so happy, even when you're hungry and crying for food.  when you wake up from a nap, and we come and get you, you smile to see us.  you especially smile when we change your diaper.  you love your changing table SO much. it's like the maggie smile show.  you smile as soon as you are put down, and you smile all the way through the time you're there.  it may be the silly things i say to you about what we're doing, and maybe there's a little bit of perverse joy that mommy has to clean up your poop, but you love it.  it's adorable.

you sleep so well, at least at night. you are sleeping through the night now, for a few days from 10 to 6 and last night from 11 to 5.  the first time you did, i was worried that you were sick.  i woke you up, finally, at 4 to feed you and to take your temperature. you were perfectly fine--just hitting a milestone that i wasn't expecting.  your daytime sleep isn't great right now. i feel fairly certain that you're in the process of working out your sleep schedule; now that you're sleeping all the way through the night, you're eating more often during the day to tank up your calories.  and you've really stopped sleeping long stretches during the day, except toward the end of the afternoon.  the most we're getting now is little snippets--45 minutes if we're lucky.  but you seem happy and alert and not fussy when you're awake, so i figure you'll figure it out.  if not, we'll work on it a little bit later, when you're a little bit bigger.  but since all of these things have happened all together--sleeping through the night, shots, hitting 2 months old--i think in a couple of weeks, it will all sift out.  you're a joy no matter how often you sleep during the day, so i'm not too worried about it.

that's another new thing.  your mommy hit a worry wall this week.  after your shots and everything, and all of my worry about all of the things before it, i realized that i needed to change my approach.  it's a new attitude, this not worrying unless worry is warranted thing, and i'm not always perfect at it, but i'm trying. i want you to have a mommy who is less anxious and more fun, who is more able to respond to you because she's not chained to what "should" or what "could" be.  i think it's good.  i know i'm happier, and that's bound to make you happier.

yesterday was a really important day in your life.  daddy gave you your name and blessing in church, and so many people came to support you.  you were literally surrounded by love yesterday, and as i was telling you about it before your blessing, i felt the magnitude of how important that is. you are an extraordinary girl, one who is bringing many people together.  you have so many people who literally have your back--i am so glad that you have a family who loves you like they do. you may not always see the importance of that, but i do.  i know what it's like to come from a family like that, and i know the power it brings. i hope you will always remember how much you are loved.

you're getting more independent now, and i'm trying to keep up. today, i put you in your bouncy chair and let you just look and play.  you loved it. you cooed and talked and were completely content for a while, and i just loved watching you.  it occurred to me, then, that i'm going to have to keep letting you grow and get more and more independent.  that might be hard for me, in some ways, but in other ways i am so excited for those times when you get to play and entertain yourself.  it will be nice, certainly to have moments that i can get things done, but more it will be fun to teach you HOW to play and to see you grow.

it's already my greatest joy to see you grow and progress every day. you are the sweetest girl.  you are naturally content and incredibly sweet, things that i could learn from you. i'm sure that the lessons that you have to teach me are only beginning, but i know that i'm learning a lot already.

thank you for coming to our family. thank you for being patient with us and for showing us the true meaning of joy.  there will come a day when you'll be in my shoes, and you'll wonder if you'll make it through the tough stuff, if you'll see the joy, if the sacrifice is worth it.

motherhood is sacrifice, but it's the smallest price for the greatest joy.

you're dancing with your daddy right now, baby girl, so i'm going to join in.  happy two months, my little girl.  i love you for who you are and for what you will become.


Sunday, June 5, 2011

the new zen.

we left the baby for the first time with a babysitter, my mom who was down visiting for her blessing.  i enjoyed myself, but found myself checking the clock (we went to a movie), worried that we might not make it home in time for baby girl to eat the second time again. turns out we did indeed miss it, as her eating was all wonky (as it sometimes is).  since she's been sleeping huge chunks, she hasn't yet figured out her feeding schedule. in fact, i would submit there is not a schedule. in the morning, she seems ravenous every 2 hours. as the later afternoon comes on, she usually starts sleeping longer stretches (especially if she hasn't slept very much or very well during the morning) and eating either more or less.

(see what i'm saying? she went from a consistent 2.5-3.5 schedule to no real rhyme or reason at all, except for the fact that i think her body is cramming her calories in while she's awake.)


when we got home, and i heard that she had eaten more times than i thought she would and that she was off the game plan that i imagined that she would be on, i was a little bit freaked out. 

i realized afterward, and after i unintentionally made my mom feel bad about the whole thing (which was absolutely not my intent), that i get really caught up in the details and stress a lot about them.  i have no apologies for being who i am, for worrying, for doing things the way that i do them. 


i think there comes a point where, if you're not careful, you miss the fact that you actually know what you're doing, that the whole "i have no idea what to do next" is really more rare than everyday reality, and that if you don't REALIZE that, you keep stressing about stuff that you really don't have to stress about.

in short, and after i apologized profusely to my mom, i was told that i need to lighten up.

and i agree.

i'm on a quest, now, to find my zen-like middle ground between being cautious and aware and being overanxious and freaked out. new experiences will certainly find me fumbling for my center, but i feel like we know her well enough to know what's normal and what's not now.  she's growing and changing every day, and i don't want to miss that because i'm so worried about when the last time she ate is or how many wet diapers she's had in a day. if there's cause for worry, i'll start to worry.

but until then, i'm going to try to turn over the stuff that doesn't matter and embrace the philosophy succinctly sung here


in other news, i am so excited to start my 30 Day Shred challenge tomorrow. i'm pretty sure the last 10 pounds of baby weight went to my arms, and the blessing pictures work as my before portraits. 

i'm ready.  i'm SO ready. i have no idea how i'll get it done, and it may require getting up earlier or staying up later, but i'm ready. 

i want my body back.  here's hoping i have the fortitude to stick with it.

Friday, June 3, 2011

it feels like ages.

it feels like i don't blog much anymore.

perhaps it's because i use the spare time i have not spent babywrangling (ha!) or trying to keep on top of the housework (bottles have to be washed, whether you feel like it or not) spending time with my husband, who is home a lot right now but won't be in about three weeks.

yes, our idyllic respite of time with musicboy at home is about to come to an end.  i do not look forward to this day, no not at all.  this day brings with it the old familiar days, long stretches of time just me and baby girl.  that's not necessarily bad in and of itself, but it becomes bad when i have things i have to do and baby girl has her own ideas about what will happen and when it will happen.

so i'm working ahead, and we created a schedule that allows both of us to get work done in uninterrupted (relatively speaking, since there is a 2 month old (almost three month old by then!) in the house) blocks of time.  i think it will work well, at least for me. it remains to be seen how much work musicboy will have during the two classes that begin at the end of june.  it may be insane, and thus we will have to readjust, but at least we have a game plan.


2 month shots suck.

the end.

well, not the end, because that's not very interesting and sounds much more Scary and Menacing than it really needs to be. 

i just didn't like seeing my baby girl not be her smiley self for a few days. really, it was just yesterday and the day before, since she did supremely well on the day of her shots (tuesday).  she cried like nobody's business, and it took a while to soothe her, but it didn't help that she was already supertired from missing her morning nap. 

but that day wasn't bad.

and no day was BAD per se, but she just was more fussy and would cry more often and wouldn't smile as much. she had her moments where glimmers of her sunny disposition would shoot out at me, but most of the time she just seemed...ticked off.  i felt like i couldn't read her cues anymore, which disturbed me more than anything because i don't think there's anything more frustrating than a crying baby when you have no idea why said baby is crying.

(i'll interject here that i am the world's stupidest human because it didn't occur to me in those moments of crying that she was, i don't know, suffering from body aches or some reaction from the shots that was in fact physical in nature. i just thought she was being a pill.  good on me.)

unless it's not being able to do anything for said crying.  that's worse, definitely.

but those crying spells were brief and we made our way through them, though i found wednesday and thursday tiring in some ways because of it.

but mainly i started to freak out because i thought maybe my baby was just changing into this peevish, crying creature--entirely different than her nature. maybe, somehow, these shots had changed her.

and let me just say here that dr. google is a VERY BAD MAN when it comes to immunization stuff. basically, don't google 2 month shots and fussiness unless you want to read stories about how babies died from shots and YOU MUST NOT GET THEM.



i was talking to my mom last night, and she said something so profound. she said, like my sweet girl, i am building up motherhood immunity.

say what? (i can hear you. don't be creeped out.)

well, just like maggie girl needs shots in order to build up an immunity to these diseases that will make her suffer and put her in danger if she is exposed to them, i have to build up immunity to these typical motherhood worries and the more i experience, the less dangerous those scenarios are to my tender psyche (which, legitimately, is so much more tender since baby girl came.  i cry a lot. at first i thought it was because i was hormonal as the day is long. now i think it's because my heart is bigger and more prone to feel things deeply.).  the more i go through, the more immunity i build. that's not to say i won't worry ever (ha! what an idea.) but more that i have perspective, i have the ability to see what is really going on, and i have the ability to weather the storm better.

i liked that a lot. she's a smart one, my mama.

so me and maggie girl are building up our immunity. she's much better today--she woke up sunshiney (after she ate, of course) and smiley and though she's been fussy a bit, it's been because her feeding schedule is whacked a little. i can't figure out why she's so hungry all of the time, but it might be because she slept from 10 to 6 last night.

yep. i said it. 

so if she wants to eat all the time, she's welcome to it.  i think she's catching up from missing that feeding.  her daytime sleep is all jacked up, but i think we're on the way to figuring that one out too.  these babies and their constant changing. 

it's a whirlwind.  a beautiful, smiley, adorable whirlwind, but a whirlwind nonetheless. 



we are doing well here.  my mom arrives in less than two hours for a long weekend wherein our daughter will be blessed at our church. i am excited.  we will be hosting a little gettogether afterwards, and so i'm in full planning mode for that. it's nice.  it reminds me of the old me. 

what is strikingly different, though, is the power spurts i go through during nap time.  especially right now, when the baby isn't sleeping more than 45 minutes at a time (grr 8 weeks and your weirdness!) during the day, i have to make use of every moment.  she went down at 2:30 and i spent the next 30 minutes chasing around, washing windows, taking out trash, starting to wash bottles, and picking up around the house.  then i blogged, but that's neither here nor there.  the point is--before? i would laze about and do one thing here and one thing there. now it's a whirlwind of activity.

huh.  seems like that's a trend.

it's going to be a good weekend. 

that makes sense, since it's a pretty darn good life.