Last opportunity to blog

It’s 10 pm on October 10th as I write this. Tomorrow, my in-laws will arrive to stay with us for a few days to celebrate our daughter’s first birthday on the 13th. So, this is my last chance to have a moment to myself to gather some thoughts.

Just as I have been every single day for nearly the past two years now, I am so incredibly grateful. I live in gratitude day in and day out. I think that possibly one of the best parts about being an older mother is that I know how precious each moment is. Every diaper change, every early morning feeding, every laugh, hug, tear, and tantrum is something to be cherished. Time may be going by faster than I’d like, but my saving grace is living in the moment and savoring every bit of it. I hope my husband is, too. Sometimes, I fear I may be nagging him with my constant admonitions to put down his mobile phone and play with our daughter! I know he’s crazy about her (as she is him) but somehow, I don’t think he’s got the same urgency about “sucking the marrow out of life” that I do. I wouldn’t want him to ever look back on this time and think that he didn’t give it his all or enjoy it as much as he should. Chores, be damned! There’s a little girl who needs every ounce of attention and love we have right now. At this moment, we are the world to her… and as everyone knows, it won’t be this way forever. I want us to take advantage of this amazing blessing as much as we can.

Our little love bug is getting cuter and funnier by the day. She does things to make us laugh all the time. I don’t think I’ve ever known a baby to laugh so much. (Is it wrong that I secretly take credit for this?) I do believe, without making a judgment regarding anyone who does it differently, that my staying home with her — my loving being a mother in every aspect — my calm demeanor and my own sense of humor have a lot to do with the reason she is so relaxed and delightful. There is no doubt that she is one happy baby! And every smile feels like a personal triumph. It feels like I’ve more than done my job, but rather like I’ve answered a higher calling. Being a mom is who I was always meant to be. I have honestly never been so happy (or sleep deprived) in my life!

I just re-read that paragraph and I don’t mean to say that my child is perfect or never screams at the top of her lungs for… well, who knows why they scream?! She throws tantrums daily; tears stream down her cheeks at the slightest provocation: diaper change, the putting on of socks (!), if I’m a moment late to feed her after she’s already in her high chair. You name it. But she’s also super quick to laugh and smile and forget it all. I have become something of an expert at getting her to go from screaming to belly laughing in a matter of seconds. Hmm. I guess I am kind of feeling like SuperMom these days!

We’re having a family party for her on Sunday. There’ll be about 20 people, including her two Godfathers. I’ve hired a photographer to document it all so that I can enjoy the party myself without having to worry. I hope it goes off without a hitch (I’m thinking about you here, Mom.) Let’s just pray everyone behaves and remembers that my baby girl is the star of the day. Having said that, I still cannot believe she’s turning one! The other night I watched the videos from the night she was born. In some ways, it feels like a million years ago, yet in other ways, it seems like it just happened. I’m resisting the thought of her being a toddler. My father says she can’t be a toddler until she’s walking or “toddling” so… I think I’ll go with that convenient definition for now.

I love my little girl in a way and to a depth that is impossible to describe. I can hardly comprehend it myself. She holds my very life in her tiny, precious hands — mine, and my husband’s… and probably my father’s, too. As always, I truly hope she knows how much she is loved… although, I suspect that she won’t fully grasp how we all feel until she has a little one of her own someday. I look forward to being the kind of grandmother to her child that I always wished I had. Happy Birthday, baby girl. Daddy and I are so in love with you.

She’s almost ONE!

I must have fallen into the rabbit hole as soon as I gave birth because this (nearly) year has gone by so incredibly fast. The other day when I asked my husband if he could believe our baby girl is about to turn one… he looked stunned (although, of course we know she is and we talk about it all the time). He said, “I remember the day she was born like it was five minutes ago!” and then this faraway look came over his face. Yep. It’s insane how everything pre-baby seemed like f-o-r-e-v-e-r and everything post baby is super time-warped. People can say, “It goes by so fast!” until they are blue in the face, but until you experience it, you – my friend – have no idea.

Our little angel, who used to be so calm and mellow, has turned the proverbial developmental corner and now screams (I mean SCREAMS) the split second she doesn’t get exactly what she wants. And what she wants is often completely arbitrary — or at least, it’s a mystery to us. A few days ago, she was happily playing in her play area in the den. She decided to crawl around and when she arrived at her playpen (which was blocking access to the kitchen) she screamed bloody murder! Two seconds before, she’d been a smiling, happy little muffin (that’s what I’ve been calling her these days). My nicknames go through phases… and I find that they spill over to people I love. So now I call my husband “Muffin” too!

She’s doing so many amazing things (well, to me, they’re amazing!) and I’m such a proud Mommy. She can stand and sit like a champ and can also “cruise” or walk, holding onto furniture. A few times, I’ve seen her stand completely on her own and I’m convinced she’ll be walking by her birthday – squeal! She is so cute that I find it really, really difficult to give her soft kisses. I tend to give big loud kisses and squeeze her all over. I have to fight the urge to just bite chunks of cute baby all the time. Okay, I know that must sound odd, but I’m sure I’m not the only one… right?

We’re planning a small, family only, get together for her on her actual birthday. And, I have to say, this is the first party in my life that I’m actually excited about planning. I don’t think I paid this much attention to my wedding – lol. Yesterday, I was reading a baby article to my hubby as he was washing our dishes (yay, me!) and it said something about toddler behavior. Naturally, we’ve come across the word “toddler” a million times, but neither one of us was sure when exactly toddlerhood began. So, I googled it and it turns out that the official toddler era is from 12 to 36 months. When the realization sunk in that our little bundle of preciousness only had another month of being a BABY, it was just too much to take. Mommy & Daddy had a little pity party for ourselves. We have so loved her babyhood and aren’t even close to ready to say goodbye. I can’t believe she’s going to be a toddler now. This whole growing up thing sure is painful… for the parents!

Baby Update – 8 1/2 Months

I’ve been trying to get to the computer to write an update for nearly 6 weeks now (this was meant to be a 7th month update!) but time is such a precious commodity and energy seems even more so. As it is, I’ll probably be writing this in increments and publish when I’m all done. Did I already mention that my blog will end in October, after my baby’s first birthday? I may start another one after that — or not — we’ll see. I may want to when we start trying for baby number two. I imagine it will be strange returning to fertility clinics and procedures after already having failed several times, but more importantly, having succeeded one miraculous time. I feel so lucky. We have been so blessed.

My biggest surprise about parenting has to be how incredibly fast time goes by. And, this is coming from a person who has very consciously savored every moment. I feel guilty if I sneak a peek at a t.v. set or look at Facebook on my phone while she’s awake … because I’m not completely engrossed in the moment with my daughter. Yesterday, I picked her up from the changing table and scooped her into my arms, hugging her tightly, and said to her her, “Time is going by so fast, it’s making my head spin!” I was extremely emotional and teary. Sometimes, it really feels like I put her down for a nap and by the time I go back to pick her up, she’s grown or matured in some way. It is SO FAST! I want to hold on to my baby… I want her to slow down. I miss those days when she used to fall asleep on my shoulder for an hour! Now, I cherish the few seconds or minutes she falls asleep on me before I transfer her to her crib. So. Much. Distance.

I’m not sure I can even remember all the ways she’s changed since the 5 month update. Let’s see…. At around 6 months, her two front (lower) teeth came in. I hadn’t really believed my mother-in-law when she told me that my husband didn’t make a big fuss when his baby teeth came in, but lo and behold, my baby was the same way. I was expecting screaming, crying, and sleepless nights for the whole family. Instead, she seemed a bit cranky, clingy, and wanted to nurse (and sleep) more. Win! (Too bad that “sleep more” thing was only temporary, though.)

Just about the same time, the doc had us start her on solids (baby oatmeal, for starters). She took to solids like a champ. My kid loves to eat! I hear all these stories about babies spitting the food back, but not my little eater. She has yet to turn down food. My favorite thing about her eating (okay, two things, actually) is #1 – the way she opens her mouth super-wide, like a little baby bird in the nest and #2 – when she’s got food all over her face and she gives me a big, toothy grin in response to something I’ve done to make her laugh or smile. Ahhh, the simple joys of parenthood.

So far, in addition to oatmeal, we’ve given her: sweet potato, peas, carrots, kale, tofu, apples, pears, regular potato, broccoli, and corn. Last month, we also discovered her inexplicable love of cucumbers. Her two little teeth are enough to carve out all the flesh and leave the hard cucumber skin behind. It’s a great way to keep her busy & entertained for about 20 minutes, sometimes more. I try to remember to take a cucumber with me whenever we go out — that and a pacifier will buy me maybe 40 minutes of quiet time. I never knew how precious info like this would be!

Sometime around 6 months, when we went in for our monthly checkup, the doctor told us that her feet were curving too far inward. We’d been massaging them like he instructed for months, but the doc said they hadn’t improved enough – especially the right foot – and we had to get special shoes for her. They were these big, clunky, horrible clown shoes that looked like they were being worn on the wrong foot. And to top it all off, she had to be in them for 22 hours a day! The first day we put them on her, I had to hide my tears. I would cry whenever she couldn’t see me. It was so sad to see my beautiful and perfect girl in these awful shoes. Luckily, after eight whole weeks, the doc decided her feet had improved enough and she could get rid of the clodhoppers. My husband and I were over the moon! Our little girl’s chubby feet are so adorable, that it felt like a real sin to have them covered all the time.

Her sleep… oh, man, I could write an entire book about our trials and tribulations regarding getting our little one to sleep. Let’s just summarize by saying we tried absolutely everything — twice! We even went so far as to attempt complete extinction (otherwise known as Cry It Out / last resort) for nearly four weeks, but our stubborn little cherub, despite going to bed & taking her naps without much fuss, insisted on waking up with a burst of energy at 4 am every single morning. Nothing — and I really mean nothing — we did was ever able to change that. Miraculously, three times this week, she’s woken up between 5:30 and 6 am. I don’t want to speak too soon, but I’m hoping and praying that something has shifted and I will soon be able to sleep through the night. I say “I” and not “we” here because her father has always been able to sleep through the night. He can sleep through her screaming. It’s uncanny. I’ll never understand how Dads can do this… I’ve never met a Mom who could!

A couple of days before Mother’s Day, she said her first word: Mama! I wasn’t absolutely sure I heard her correctly because she only said it once… but since then, she’s been saying it all the time. I know she doesn’t know that it means me, but it’s still nice to hear. I keep trying to get her to say “Dada” now, but she’s not having any of it! So, “Mamamama” it is! I can’t wait to hear what words she’s going to say next. There’s a part of me that’s hoping it’s something really impressive.

I try my hardest not to compare her to other babies, as I’ve been warned that’s a recipe for disaster. It would be dishonest to say I haven’t noticed the differences, such as my friend’s baby who is three weeks older and has been crawling and pulling herself up to a standing position for a good five weeks now, but I can say that I’m not freaking out over the milestones. I mean, my baby has a gorgeous head of hair and teeth… and the most pinch-able apple cheeks you’ve ever seen. One cannot have everything. In fact, as soon as she starts crawling, I’ll be forced to be a lot more active, so I’m really okay to wait. Currently, she gets around by a series of well-coordinated routine of rolling over and sitting up. It doesn’t sound like much, but she can go pretty far.

Her newest skill is turning the pages of board books by herself and feeling textures in the touch & feel books. She just loves her books. I hope that’s something she never outgrows. In her moments of tantrum, she is quieted by chewing on either my cell phone, the remote control, or sharp edges of our no-petroleum jelly tube — these are all things I hope she does outgrow!

I’m sure I’ve left things out… that’s bound to happen when you’re pressed for time and still working to make up the huge sleep debt I’ve accumulated, but this will have to do for tonight. I hope my baby girl will know, someday, how much I am enchanted by every aspect of her and how very much her father and I love her.

Baby Update – 5 months

I’ve been reading baby updates on other blogs and it’s high time I write one myself – just to keep tabs on where our precious girl is now.

The sleep training went well until she got sick (boo!) so, now that she’s weathered her first baby illness, we’re starting all over again. Oh, joy. I really shouldn’t complain, though, because she seems to be sleeping for much longer stretches than other babies her age anyway. If I could just get her to stop waking up (usually screaming) at 5 am, that would be great.

*She is feeding a lot more during the day now, since we’re weaning her from nighttime feeds – except for one dream feed when I go to sleep.

*Her clothing size is anywhere from 6 to 9 months… PJs closer to 9 months.

*She’s 15 lbs. and 24 1/4″ in height according to her last visit. Not very tall, but has LOVELY chubs in all the right places. She is such a hugable, squeezable size!

*Loves story time right before naps & going to bed at night. When Dad is home, story reading privileges go to him. I think all three of us love that!

*She can sit up pretty much on her own either on the couch or in her playpen (which we just started using yesterday). Currently, she loves sucking on anything that comes near her mouth. Stuffed animals with tags are her favorite. She is also enjoying her Sofie the Giraffe teether.

*She’s been teething for a while, but no teeth have cut through the gums yet.

*Yesterday, I saw her roll over for the first time. Apparently, she only likes rolling on her right side and I absolutely cannot make her roll onto her left side. She can’t crawl yet and doesn’t like it when I place her on her belly to try. We figure, she’ll just crawl when she’s ready.

*She loves her baths! Her favorite thing to do is kick really hard with her feet so that the bathwater splashes whoever is giving her a bath! She smiles and laughs… and loves to watch water being poured onto her belly. I think she’s a water-baby like her mama. We bought her her first pair of swimming diapers and I can’t wait to see her swim this Summer.

*She is really chatty and enjoys blowing raspberries at any opportunity. We blow them on her tummy frequently just to hear her tinkling laughter!

*So far, I don’t think she’s met a person she didn’t like. In an instant, she’ll flash her ear-to-ear grin and showcase her charming personality. Seriously. People everywhere just fall in love with her and seem to go out of their way to tell us that she’s unusually sweet and calm. (She is pretty patient. We haven’t taken her out much, but never has there been a public tantrum.)

*She’s independent and happy to play on her own with her toys without constant interaction. I do try to interact with her nearly all the time because I think she learns more and I want her to know I’m paying attention, but I’ve also observed that she is totally content whether I do so or not.

*Her eye color hasn’t settled in yet. Her eyes change from swampy green to grey. In a certain light, they look hazel. I can’t wait to see what color they become! Her hair is light brown, with the slightest reddish hue, and golden blonde pieces. She is a beauty!

*She loves when we make up funny words and exaggerate their pronunciation. Daddy likes “speaking Italian” to her, which basically consists of him listing foods: spaghetti, cannelloni, ravioli, etc. but the way he says them by stretching out the vowels, “Cannellooooooni” makes her giggle with glee. In fact, we have so many made-uo words, I’ll just die if she says one before a “real” word! Hahaha.

*This week, she was able to self-propel in her walker (a pink Cadillac). I was amazed and realized that we’ll have to buy the gates for our home much sooner than I expected.

Okay, that’s it for now… I’m sure there’s a lot more to memorialize, but this is all I can come up with for now. Next weekend is Easter and I want so badly to put her back into the little lamb costume she hated at Halloween. Who knows? She may just have needed some time to get used to the idea.

My heart grows a little every day to accommodate all the love I have for her!

Worst. Feeling. Ever.

For the past six days, my baby girl has been sick with a respiratory infection. She has been suffering from Bronchiolitis, which is basically a virus that causes mucous to build up in the small bronchial tubes in the lungs. She’s had difficulty breathing and she’s been wheezing and coughing – she’s had a runny/stuffy nose and a fever. There were days this week when, despite all our efforts, she was too weak to muster a smile. And it completely broke my heart.

I’ve decided there is absolutely no worse feeling in the world than watching your child suffer and knowing that you cannot do anything to alleviate that suffering. I’ve held her in my arms and cried because I could tell she was so miserable and it just seemed so unfair that this beautiful, helpless baby was going through this.

She can’t understand what’s happening… she can’t even blow her own nose, for God’s sake – how is it fair to be sick when you can’t even blow your own nose?!? I’ve had to suck her snot out with the nosefrida. It’s an idea that sounds gross to people who don’t have kids, but those who do don’t even flinch. Your kid’s nose is stuffy, they can’t blow it, you suck it. Case closed. Although, I must say, she hates it (even though she feels better afterwards) she hates having people messing with her all the time. Today, I reached towards her to touch her face and she recoiled. It hurt my heart. I know she’s just associating it with me wiping her nose (which gets sore after a while) but it still made me a little sad.

I’m only able to write now because she’s asleep, and I believe, on the mend. She’s been in good spirits today, and I realize more than ever that her smile means the world to me. I will make a complete fool of myself – anywhere, anytime – if it means I get one of her gorgeous ear-to-ear grins. I live and die for her. She holds my heart in her hands. I am constantly in awe of how immense my love is for her. I want to protect her so much that I can feel that desire in me as a visceral pain. I know I can’t protect her from everything and her being sick has probably been a lot harder on me and her dad than it has been on her. I’ve never felt more helpless or useless in my life.

How am I going to make it? This is just her first illness, and it’s not even a serious one at that. How will I make it through her first real injury, her first day at school, her first broken heart, her first million-and-one things that everyone goes through?

I guess I feel like I’m earning my stripes as a parent now. The word “Mom” is sounding more like a badge of honor to me these days than a description of familial relations. And despite everything I’ve just written here, I know in my heart, I’m ready for one more. Our family is meant to be the four of us… so whoever you are, spirit number four, get ready. Mommy doesn’t have a lot of time and you’ll soon be on your way!

House guests and fish…

You know that old 16th century saying about house guests and fish having something in common? They both start to stink after three days.

Well, I just need to let off a little steam before I go mad here! My in-laws have been here for 5 days and nights so far and my husband has been at work (working super long hours) for three out of the five days, which means I’ve been left to care for and tend to his parents. And, I’ve officially had it today. I’m tired. And for the second time this week, my incisions scars are really sore – which always puts me in a bad mood – and, incidentally, is a sign that I’ve been too active. I want my peaceful home back!

Every single dish in the sink or used glass left wherever anyone feels like it is just irritating me more and more now. Last night, I made dinner from scratch even though we had a refrigerator full of leftovers. Why? Because my father-in-law won’t eat leftovers as a rule. Wow, that must be really nice considering he can’t even make himself a sandwich and depends on others to feed him! Tonight was just the worst. I asked my husband to take care of dinner (which I knew would mean ordering out). I figured that would be simple enough. We suggested several options. His dad decided he wanted pizza and his mother decided she wanted Indian food and, get this, neither one of them budged. So we had to get pizza for him and Indian food for her, all on my dime, mind you! I was so annoyed that I could hardly eat anything.

Also, I’m now so very tired of hearing the same exaggerated stories about my husband for the twentieth time. No, Lady, he’s not a “genius” with an IQ that leaves the rest of us in the dust no matter how many times you tell me the same phony story, I’m not buying it. (Neither does my hubby, just for the record.) To hear her tell it, he was reciting Shakespeare at 6 months old and winning every music competition they ever entered him in. These stories were somewhat endearing the first ten times I heard them, but I’m simply over it now.

Then there’s the weird, bad grammar talk. They say things like, “Her so pretty.” “Her is tired.” “Her is a fussy baby.” It’s nails on a chalkboard to me. I asked my husband about it and he said it’s their idea of being cute or funny or whatever. I say, let’s teach our daughter how to speak correctly before we fuck it all up.

They bought her a toy monkey which they named “Willie” after a toy monkey my husband had when he was a kid. (I thought kids were supposed to name their own toys, but I guess not.) Anyway, our daughter does really like playing with the monkey and we sometimes call her “Monkey” because she’s so silly and cute. So, when we went Christmas shopping last week, my husband bought her another stuffed animal monkey — this one wears a pink dress and cannot possibly be referred to as “Willie” unless it’s short for Willemina. It’s a harmless thing, right? I mean, the monkeys aren’t in some kind of competition. Or maybe I have it all wrong? So, his mother takes the monkey we bought and holds it up to my daughter and says, “Oh, look… here’s another monkey. Hmm. This monkey’s cute I guess, but not nearly as cute as Willie! You love Willie, don’t you, honey?” Seriously? I mean, really?!

***

Okay, so that post got interrupted, too. And my in-laws actually left this morning after seven long days & nights at our house. Yay!

Last night was the worst. I asked my husband to pick up a couple of frozen burritos and enchiladas, since we had guacamole, salsa, and tortilla chips here. I figured we could make it a Mexican night. When he got home, he asked me to prepare everything while he got changed into is PJs. I did… with no help from anyone. I set the table and prepared the food. Everyone seemed to enjoy the meal. When we were done eating, his father thanked my husband for the meal and then his mother chimed in thanking him as well, with no sense of irony whatsoever. My husband, to his credit, told them they should be thanking me because I prepared the food (yeah, and paid for it and waited on them hand and foot for the last week, too!) They looked surprised, but perfunctorily thanked me, too. So rude!

I’m going to cut this post short now so that I can move on to something a lot more positive… like how 2012 has really been the best year of my life!

My kingdom for… SLEEP!

I was going to start this entry by writing, “I’m a bad blogger, but a good mom,” and then, right on cue, Samantha started screaming that inconsolable wail that infants produce when there’s nothing really wrong, but they’re tired and frustrated and have no idea what they really want. It’s exhausting… even more so than usual because I really haven’t slept much at all at night. My husband, who has a day off today is napping, after a full evening of sleep. Yep, I said NAPPING! I am in turns jealous and really pissed off. Why does everyone but me get to sleep?!

Times like these, I can feel the frustration welling up into tears. There are moments when my complete exhaustion feels too heavy a burden to bear. I hate letting her “cry it out” but sometimes I need to take a five to ten minute break. I am not a machine. Yet, I’m pretty much the only one there to console her when she gets super-fussy. My husband’s patience as a father hasn’t developed yet and he doesn’t like holding her when she screams (yeah, and I just love it, right?) Ok. I’m going to check on her now and see if I ever get back to finishing this post.

Oooh… I delayed by less than a minute, and judging by the monitor, the screaming has stopped! Oh, blessed miracle! I’ve achieved the elusive “crying herself to sleep” win! Here’s the dilemma. If I were smart (and a little less wound up at the moment) I would scurry under the covers myself and try that whole “sleep when the baby sleeps” golden standard of new parenthood… but that would mean that my somewhat lengthy list of things to do today (which include paying bills, sending out thank you notes, dying my badly-in-need-of-dying hair, and starting on sending out the birth announcements) would all have to be postponed to yet another probably unproductive day.

What the hell. I’m going to leave my freshly brewed cup of afternoon coffee (decaf) and my trusty laptop and give this whole sleep thing another shot. I need it sooooo badly today.

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