Saturday, November 26, 2011

inevitable post on boring mom things

Inevitably, on blogs written by new mamas, one will find a post about one or all three of the following topics: eating, pooping and sleeping. Why? Because three things rule the world when a new baby is around: eating, pooping and sleeping.

Here's the thing: as a non-mom looking in, I was like, "oh how boring" and "blah, blah, blah" and admittedly, thought to myself that these moms must have nothing better to talk/muse about. These must be the mom's who have zero else going on in their life, and I would not become such a mom-blogger. Because honestly, no matter how interesting we mama's think the topic is - no one really cares that much about listening to us go on and on (maybe our own moms. But even then. Even my own husband, the father of our darling offspring, will start to zone out when I babble on about sleep and whatnot).

But now? I am one of those moms. Because even though I DO have more going on in my life outside my child's eating, output and sleeping patterns, these three things take up SO much energy and thought-space in my mind. (I think I just coined the term "thought-space"... for those that cannot see into my brain, what I mean by this is that the brain can only function up to 100% - no more. And, for most of us, we operate somewhere around 70%ish most days. This is our capacity, or "thought-space" if you will.). Honestly, you'd think that I don't have a real, outside the home job with how much effort I put into making sure my child is well fed, "going" properly and sleeping well. But the truth is that these three things are not just important, but vital to the quality of life in a household, which is probably why they are the three most talked/tought about topics when it comes to life with a new baby.

Feeding a baby is a hot topic. How one feeds their baby is a matter of much debate. Breast? Formula? Extended nursing? Babylead weaning? Make your own babyfood? Start with rice cereal? How much? How often? How soon?

Here's what I think: Do what you need to do to feed your baby. The end.

Ha - if it were that simple, I stop there. But it's not, so I will write on....

Baby girl and I are lucky that nursing was never an issue for us, she came out of the womb and latched right on. So, while together, we nurse. While apart, I pump, which I loathe. I'd love to stop now, but I don't want to stop nursing for probably another 6-12 more months (give or take, ish. I honestly haven't given much thought to when this will stop. Maybe we'll stop at a year. Maybe 18 months. Maybe longer. Maybe I'll have a toddler and another baby nursing at the same time. But, probably not). So, no stopping the pumping for us!

I started feeling Ellie "real" food probably 6 weeks ago, then stopped because 1) she didn't like it too much, 2) it was messy and 3) SO much more of a hassle than nursing. Then, I started again - becaue come to find out, 6 month old babies should be eating real food TWICE a day. What a total pain. So, here I thought I'd be all over feeding real food to her, and now she's lucky if she gets a nibble of something here, or a spoonful of something else there. (okay - to be clear - I don't starve my baby. But, I do need to step it up in the food category). Mostly I make her food, or she eats bites of what we eat, but sometimes I bust out the good old baby food jars. To date, she looks at me like I'm crazy whenever I try to shove pureed whatever's-on-the-menu into her mouth. The other thing about feeding a baby real food is that invariably, she ends up in the tub, because for the life of me, I cannot keep her from shoving both hands into whatever she's eating, then rubbing them all over her face/clothing/etc... So twice a day meals means that either I bathe her twice a day (not happening) or we get better at this feeding thing (getting better = practicing more).
messy eater

This area of parenthood surprises me - I thought I'd be all over feeding my baby, and obsessed with trying new recipes and creating delicious concoctions for her. The reality is, I have hardly enough time to keep up with life as it is. This actually makes me kind of sad, because it's something I take so much joy in, and wanted to share with her at an early age. But, my days are really, truly busy and I am lucky if I have an hour and a half with her at the end of each day, and of that time, she's cranky the majority of it because it's close to bedtime. That's my reality, and I can't change it, so sadly, won't be putting much effort into cooking during those hours Mon-Fri. So, my new plan is to not only plan the meals for Peter and I, do all the weekly shopping as well as the majority of cooking on Sunday, but add Ellie's meals into the day as well. This shouldn't add too much effort into my Sunday chores - her meals still consist mainly of roasting/steaming whatever I intend on feeding her, then blending that up either with or without a liquid.
She does love sitting at the big kid's table!

So, there you have it. I've exhausted one of the three most boring, but most thought/talked about areas of mommyhood (really hate that word, by the way). I apologize for boring you to tears, and congratulate it if you made it through this post. A fascinating peek into the Lacy household, I'm sure. :)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

turning a new leaf

So the last couple (okay, most) blog posts have been all, "oh, life hard right now" and "I'm tired, wah!" and "I have a lot on my shoulders right now" and while this is true, I don't think it's either fair or fun to write like that. Not fair because a) we have the easiest baby ever, even with bumps in the road and b) we have SO much support it's ridiculous. Not fun because, duh, wallowing isn't fun and it's always better to change your attiude and move on.
girl was happy to have mama working at home on Friday!
(that's a skill I've been working on for at least 20 years. My step-dad always challenged me to "change my attitude" and for the most part, it's something I'm pretty decent at. Not always, but mostly. I do believe we can decide to have good attitudes despite the crap in our lives, and I try to live like this, but... it's hard....).
waiting at the pediatrician appointment for her six month checkup. Result? A+ baby!
Hi Mama! I want to eat your phone!
So moving forward. Less whining and more appreciation. What brought this on? Perhaps it's the spirit of Thanksgiving, perhaps is the genuine thankfulness I have in my heart right now, perhaps it's just the gorgeous fall days we've been enjoying lately, or the fact that the shortest day of the year is in just a month and from there the days will be longer. Or maybe it's that I've pulled out my Christmas music already and am absolutely itching to start decorating for the holidays. The thought of celebrating Christmas with a kid - my kid, and of being the parent who gets takes the helm on family traditions and of making memories for my family makes me absolutely giddy. As in, Peter has had to officially prohibit me from decorating the house before Thanksgiving... so I'm counting down til Friday when the magic will be unleashed. :)
Saturday morning, lounging in jammies!
It's been a beuatiful weekend filled with freezing temperatures but blue skies, good naps by one little babykins, decent night sleeps (that's saying something!), good food (which means I've had time to make not one but TWO dinners this week, each one providing leftovers for at least two more meals, meaning my meal-making for the whole week is complete!) and seriously - the sweetest little baby girl a mama could ask for. Her smiles have gone from amazing to radiant in the last couple weeks and she is so much fun right now that my heart can hardly stand the happiness she adds to our family.
No caption needed. The coolness speaks for itself.

Happy Sunday afternoon!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Half a year

Something happened today which happens in homes across the world every day. On this day, My baby crosses an imaginary threshold - a halfway mark. Halfway through her first year, her baby year. Today, my baby is six month old.

I've read blogs where mamas go on and on at each milestone, and for most of those mama's, the six month mark is one such milestone. I am typically not one to be so sentimental, but today has caught me off guard. I take a deep breath in and brace myself for the realization that she is growing up before our very eyes, and every day that passes she becomes less a baby and more a little person - her own thoughts, feelings and personality. I'm still having a hard time with the realization that she is no longer inside of me - let alone such a sweet little girl. I revisit her birthday every single day in my memory - it is the memory I cherish more deeply than any other, such a profoundly defining day.

So, here goes, sharing my thoughts for the world to see, in the form of a letter to my darling girl.

To my sweet Eleanor Carolyn, our little babykins,

It's not such a big deal in the scope of the world; it's just another day. Today my girl - you are six months old! I cannot put into words the impression the last six months have left on me, so I won't even try. I cannot begin to articulate your daddy's feelings on this day either. All I can tell you is that it is my deepest desire that you grow up and have a baby girl of your own someday. Maybe then you'll begin to understand the depth of my emotion and love for you - but just maybe, because I wonder if there was ever a mama who loved their girl as much as I love you.
three months young
You are growing and changing before our eyes, and we have such a good time with you, little Elliekins! You sit so well, smile and laugh, light up when you see someone you recognize and love, roll over, play with toys and love our critters. You used to sleep well, but you caught your first cold a month ago and we've been trying to get back to your good sleep habits ever since then. Last weekend we made you cry for a while in your crib - it worked, you slept - but I felt so sad hearing you cry and seeing your big blue eyes filled with tears. Almost sad enough to cave in. Oh girl, you are sure strong.  You are a serious little baby, always watching the room and the people in it, taking everything in. I have been so curious to know what goes on in your little head - soon, you'll be able to share with me and tell me. I cannot wait for that.

You have lost your enthusiam for eating; I'm pretty sure it's because you are so easily distracted. You drink your milk-milk bottles during the day and I nurse you when I'm home and you sort of half willingly comply. Sometimes I give you rice cereal or butternut squash or bananas, but you haven't been so into real food, despite your fascination with whatever we eat. We went out to dinner the other night with some friends from the lake and let you play with some rice. A couple grains ended up in your mouth, but mostly that sticky rice stuck to your hands, clothes and hair. You've never been cuter though than you were that night at the restaurant. Sitting at the table with all the other girls, spitting bubbles and eating your rice. You used to spit bubbles all the time, then forgot you knew how, and then remembered again last week. You've been a spitting machine ever since! You love to play alone and do so well at it - we can leave you for almost 45 minutes sometimes in your exersaucer before you holler to be let out!

No teeth yet Ellie, but I gave you your first official bang-trim. Your side-part 'do was getting more and more uneven by the day and so long that I cut you bangs. Didn't do such a great job, but you look so cute with your new style!

We had a rough month last month. You were sick and had to go to the hospital in the middle of the night for a fever and croup. I was so sad for you; you were so very tired but so uncomfortable that you were moaning in your sleep. My little girl - I would honestly do anything for you. It breaks my heart apart to see you sad or sick or uncomfortable or lonely. We struggle with trying to teach you independance while wanting to take care of everything for you. We're still learning, you and I and dad-dad.
rocking the bangs, munching on some rice
Your daddy adores you too Ellie! He loves his girls and rushes home from work to be with you (and me too!). He always changes your nappies when he's around and reads you bedtime stories (although sometimes I think he makes up some of the words!).

And the rest of your family, Miss Eleanor, cannot get enough of you. Grandma Carol takes care of you twice a week but sees you much more often than that. She misses you if she goes more than two days without seeing you! GrandStan adores you and tells me that your smile melts his heart. He can't wait to take you skiing and teach you things. Gramma Deb buys you the most fashionable outfits (I think she's waited for a baby girl to spoil for years!). Your Graddaddy (and Cindy!) loves you too, of course, and your Gramma Lyn and George miss you very much. You'll meet Grandpop and Susan over Christmas, which just about rounds out your collection of grandparents! Not to mention your aunties and uncles! Auntie Jordan lives in Portland but tries to visit you as often as she can, and you get to see Gabey several times a week. She's WAY into you! You have so many people who adore you in your family - I hope you always remember that, even when you feel alone in life.

My sweet girl, always know that your mama loves you more than you can imagine. Always remember that we are so thankful that you came into our family. Ellie, you have changed me. I've never believed in soulmates before, but I do now; you are mine. When you were put into my arms six months ago, I felt a weight lifted I didn't even know I carried. My soul was searching for completion and you fit the empty space in my heart I didn't know existed. My purpose in life was to be your mama, I will never doubt that that is the reason I am here. You can do great things my girl. You might go the moon someday, or be the president, or a nobel prize winning scientist. Even if you don't do these things, whatever you do will be enough for daddy and I. We will do our best to shield you from the world for as long as we can; we will raise you in a happy home where you know you are loved and we will always have our arms open ready to hold you.
one week young
two months young
Happy Six Month young birthday baby! Cheers to the next six!
six months young!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Peacefull Stillness

My house is empty (me, kitty and dog) and quiet (except the washer and dryer). I am working from home today (which allows blogging flexibility!) and E is with my mom. On the one hand, I wish I was with them. On the other hand, I am glad for this break.

I have always hated hearing moms talk about how they need breaks. But today, this mom feels like I need and deserve a break.

I feel bad for allowing myself to think like that. I KNOW how lucky I/we are. We have family three minutes (15 minutes actually) away who are always available to help us out and who do. We have friends who continue to go out of their ways to do nice things like bring us dinners sometimes. Even if we didn't have this personal kind of help - we have everything we need and so much more that when I feel overwhelmed, I also feel guilty for the many luxuries we have which so many do not. Not only that, but we have each other and we have our wonderful, miracle girl who we adore so completely and feel so completely lucky to have.

That being said though, some days the burden of responsibility feels very heavy, and today is one of those days. Perhaps this is just my crazy hormones talking (which I blame for the total meltdown I had the other night after dropping a bowl of corn chowder ALL over the floor), but sometimes I wish I could hide from the reality of the world. There is a mountain of stuff I need to tackle, and when one thing is crossed off my list, it is immediately replaced by another. It's ongoing. This is nothing unique to me - I realize that - but it is certainly draining. I hate feeling like this.

My girl is almost six months old - SIX months! In just a few days, we will be as close to celebrating her first birthday as we were to celebrating her birth. Peter and I are having to face the scary reality that soon we will be parents of something which is mobile. Oh boy - that thought intimidates the heck out of me. Here's my train of thought on that: Mobility = babyproofing = more chores = running around after a baby all day = possible weight loss?? = maybe not such a bad thing = very exhausting. She's pushing herself up on all fours now and rocking back and forth to reach for toys placed in front of her. Watching her accomplish this is endlessly fascinating and makes me so proud of my darling girl. She's growing leaps and bounds every day (this week especially as I'm pretty sure we had a nice little growth spurt) and I know if I am this proud of her for reaching for a toy, the pride I feel when she continues to grow up will be incredible. Despite the responsibility and exhaustion, this is so, so worth it.

What else? I have real work to do today (which I AM getting done!) and if I didn't have real work to get done, I'd have a ton of things to pick up off the ground, some bathrooms to clean, dishes to do, etc. What did I do with my "lunch time"? Made cookies. And then ate my weight in cookie dough. SO good.... (remember that post about being accountable to finishing the weight loss?? oops...)

Signing off for the rest of the day. Changing my attitidue. The sky is blue and the sun is pale yellow and all the leaves are orange and it is the season of Thanksgiving. :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

stretched thin

I am starting to sense that this will be a recurring them on this little blog of mine - the overwhelming sense that comes with being stretched so thinly and overwhelmed.
I am proud that I am a working mom. When I hear about "working mom's guilt" - I cannot believe that any mother would feel guilty over doing something as selfless as doing whatever it takes to help her family. But, working full time and being a mom full time (seriously - all mom's are full time moms. When I hear someone refer to themselves as a "full time mom" when what they mean is a "stay at home mom", I get.... agitated, needless to say. No one takes time off being a mom to do whatever else they do...) and a wife full time and keeping a house full time does take its toll, and I've definitely felt the pull in the last week. I'm exhausted, and I'm frustrated, and I'm sad at this moment because Ellie is sick, and I have had it with feeling so helpless.

She's had a cough the last couple of weeks and it's sounded kind of barky. I figured it was croup, despite lasting almost two weeks now. Last Wednesday she started getting obviously in some pain (arching her back, thrashing her head side to side, not sleeping flat, not wanting to sleep anywhere but in our arms). Friday we called the pediatrician, and the doc on call said that it sounds like she has reflux, and croup. She explained reflux can be made worse with croup, and gave us some Zantac and we left.

Friday Ellie slept well. Saturday she did okay, but by Saturday night the croup sounded worse, and she'd started having stridor (high pitched wheezy sound) on occasion. No sleep Saturday night, and by Sunday she had a fever of 101.8 and much more stridor. We were directed to urgent care by the pedi on call, and there they gave us some steroids for the stridor, but said nothing about the back arching, crying pain that we'd seen over the last couple of days.
Sweet urgent care patient
Yesterday she had a good day, but with diarrhea. Last night, she didn't sleep well at all and when I realized she was burning up in the middle of the night, I took her temp at it was 104.5. Not okay with me, so off to the ER we went, where they gave us tylenol for the fever, another dosage of steroids for the stridor (which was almost non existant at this point) and sent us home. Today, she's slept off and on all day, and when she isn't sleeping she is crying and screaming uncontrollably in pain.
one of two admit bracelets we've received in the last three days
Something just doesn't feel right to me. I hate seeing her in pain, and I'm questioning the reflux diagnosis. She's been out of sorts for two weeks now, so I'm waiting for the pedi to call us back - again - so we can demand to be seen by her pedi, not the doc on call, and not be told over the phone that Ellie is okay.
And in between all of that, I'm feeling like crap about not being at work or checking emails all day, lame for not doing anything around the house, let alone taking a shower or washing my face, and like I have a pile of laundry with at least three pairs of really disgusting baby pj's covered in the results of all her blow outs (oh yeah, we're out of clean jammies, so I really do need to get on that) and just stretched thinly. Did I mention I haven't slept in a week or so?

Needless to say. Trying to stay positive and to choose my attitude. Trying hard, made slightly easier by knowing that our girl is probably the cutest little  patient they've seen in the walls of Children's Hospital Urgent Care Clinic. :) And still, counting my blessings for a healthy baby (yes, healthy, despite the fact that his whole post has been complaining about my sick baby. Being at Children's, even just the urgent care, reminds me how much worse it could be), a wonderful husband, a home I love, two jobs between the two of us, and family and friends who love us.