Throw Back Thursday

I was going through a box of fall clothes tonight.. Packing for a trip and falling in love with a season that isn’t even here yet. Among all the cardigans, sweaters and scarves I found my little point and shoot camera that I hadn’t seen in months, and was sure was lost forever. Got it charged, and was even more surprised that it had pictures on it.

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Random, brand-new baby pictures! Totally warms my heart. Back when he had eyebrows so faint you couldn’t tell he had any at all and had that white spot above his left eye that eventually disappeared. When he was so new, I wasn’t even sure what being a mom was.

I’ll admit that over time, the exact moments of those first, early days have blurred together. I couldn’t tell you exactly how we made it through, but here we are.

I love you to the moon and back and for forever, fuss bucket.

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Nine Months

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Baby Bee,

This month has been a fast one. Going, gone in the blink of an eye. It’s hard to remember that you’re only nine months old when you can play independently and wander the house (supervised) when the baby gates are open. You’re so small and so big at the same time. Your favorite two places are the hallway and the under the kitchen table. You also love the vacuum when it is turned off, but turn it on and you’re pulling on the nearest person’s legs to pick you up.

You still crawl like a broken frog 80% of the time. And even though cruising the living room is so easy for you, I’m hoping walking is still a few months away. That’s not to say that I have encouraged you to take steps towards me. Haha! You haven’t and I’m thankful for that. You’re only going to be this little once. Up to 19lbs 5oz and 29 inches tall! You didn’t grow in height this month, but we all notice that your diapers have been fitted on looser snaps, so you’re chunking up! Sweet baby rolls.

Foods are still a lot of fun for you. Your new favorites are any variety of winter squash and green beans. Grandma feeds you all sorts of new foods though, like homemade “refried beans” without the oil or cheese and even little cream of wheat balls for breakfast. She even sneaks you some sorbet every once in a while when she thinks I’m not looking! And of course, you love it. We always make sure to have some food for you when we go out for dinner, because you expect to sit with us and enjoy your meal too. Although, yesterday at Chipotle you were more interested in talking to everyone than the food we had for you. It was really great because your version of talking is a yell right now. Grandma and I got a kick out of it, making up what you must be saying to everyone. “Save me! She’s not my mom!” while Grandma was holding you, for example.

Your big personality is starting to shine through. For a while there, it was hard to see beyond that wanting what you want, right now attitude you still have. You’re becoming a bit more sweet, and maybe even the tiniest bit shy as you head into this month. It’s right around the time a lot of babies develop separation anxiety and you’ve definitely got it. Screaming and throwing a fit at the baby gate because I walked down the hallway without you? Yeah, that happens now.

Overall though, you are ready to go anywhere, anytime as long as it doesn’t mean getting in and out of your car seat all day. I had a blast trying to get your monthly photo shoot pictures done this afternoon And to think there was once a time when I looked forward to you being able to sit up for your pictures! Wasn’t very long after you could sit that you were crawling all over the place, like today. Three months to one year, need to start planning your first birthday party.

I love you to the moon and to the sun and to forever and back.

Love,

Mom

Eight Months

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Busy little Bee,

This month you are going, going… gone!

Last month, you finally mastered sitting, a skill you protested and put off as long as possible. You definitely made up for lost time this month! Four short weeks later and you can also crawl, pull up to a stand, and cruise the living room! So much activity for a little guy who wouldn’t even sit on his own just a few short weeks ago!

Your crawling style has been compared to how a broken frog would get around… where your left knee is down on the ground and your right foot touches the ground. A sort of crawl/hobble that couldn’t be any cuter! You’ve been getting around that way most of the month, launching yourself off into the world with little care where walls or the edge of surfaces might be. Still no falling off the couch or bed, not that we can credit your awareness for that.. You would have fallen off both, several times, had the choice been left up to you.

 

[When I print these out for you baby book, I’ll be sure to grab a screenshot of the video I’m also sharing. It’s just too cute not to, and don’t worry, all the toys and stuff you’ll see are approved for you to play with, by me.]

We installed baby gates this month. At first, you didn’t get very far with your crawling attempts. Lots and lots of face planting and the screaming that ensued because you were sure you were seriously injured. But that quickly changed…you can get from the living room to half-way down the hall or half-way to the kitchen in about twenty seconds now. Not to mention the fact that you pull up on anything you come across and have a particular fondness for licking everything, stroller wheels and dog water bowls included. Gross! So we made you a baby jail, but it’s the entire living room, and you seem to enjoy having a play land where you can roam around.

After months of trying to get doctors to listen, we finally have a surgery date for you tongue tie clipping. The doctor is also going to take a look at your upper lip tie, and see if that needs a second revision while you’re under anesthesia. You did so well at your pre-op appointment earlier this week, but I am still very nervous about you going under anesthesia. Your mom may have training with animal anesthesia, but you are my baby, and there is a very, very big difference there. We will be asking for lots of prayers from friends and family that everything goes well, and that this will be the permanent solution to that problem. They said I’ll be able to see you about 15 minutes after the procedure which should only last about 10-15 minutes itself but I know it’s going to feel like forever that morning.

This month you have just been one big ball of activity and we have been doing our best to keep you entertained! You put your feet in the Pacific Ocean for the first time. Hated it, but didn’t mind the sand once you had calmed down from throwing a fit. And then there are the trips out of the house, just because you sleep really well in your big boy car seat. Lots of going for walks, even if it’s just to check the mail and we’ve started going for regular walks after dinner again now that the weather has cooled off a little.  You have tried a few new foods that you’ve shown moderate interest in: pancakes, peaches, potatoes, chicken and spaghetti squash. Asparagus and plums are clear favorites and baby puffs are hit or miss. I so wish I could let you have dairy, because yogurt drops seem like something you would really enjoy. You are almost nineteen pounds, officially weighing in at 18.9 pounds, and while that may not seem like a whole lot when compared to other things, it’s a really big change from when I first met you. Twenty-nine inches tall now, a little bit of light brown hair, no sign of any teeth and eyes a shade of grey/blue/brown that remind me of pond water. Haha.

You are my little spitfire and I love you to the moon and to the sun and to forever and back.

Love,

Mom

Seven Months

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Baby Bee,

This month brought a lot of change to our lives. Luckily, you don’t know what it all means yet, so you don’t know to be scared of change or worried about the future. Every day is brand new for you. Some time around eight in the morning rolls around and you wake up, smile at me, and our day begins.

We started you off on baby led solids last month, with some banana and avocado. You enjoyed them well enough and we added in other things like cucumber, asparagus, rice rusks and teething biscuits. It amazes me how messy you can get with so little food. Then we added in purees because you didn’t like carrots or sweet potato in a soft-solid form. The first day you loved sweet potato and ate almost two ounces! Your interest in them has since tapered off to taking a few bites here and there, but no rush. I’ve heard a thousand times, “foods before one are just for fun.” Definitely fun! And you’ve definitely done some tasting of things that you aren’t exactly supposed to have now. Sweet things like italian ice.. “But it’s dairy free!!” Your Grandma lets you get away with so much! You also decided that you absolutely must sit and eat something when we go to restaurants. We weren’t prepared for this sudden shift from wanting to be held while we ate, to wanting to sit on your own and eat. So you’ve also attempted to eat a piece of bread at Panera and a french fry at Red Robin. You were unsuccessful both times, thankfully, but having a piece of food in your hand stops a screaming fit. I know the whole restaurant appreciates that. Let’s just say that Mommy and Grandma carry at least a rice rusk or teething biscuit with us at all times now!

You are growing up way too fast! I would ask you to slow down, but it’s so much fun watching you learn and grow. You’ve been army crawling for about two weeks now, pulling yourself across the living room floor, usually in the direction of Sicily, the big fat cat. Just in the last day or two you starting getting up on your tip toes and elbows to move around. It looks like an odd combination of a plank and the downward dog yoga position. You still aren’t that interested in sitting, but at least you can now. Last month you would topple over as soon as we helped you into a sitting position. Now you’ll play for a little, then hurl yourself forward. Grandpa says it’s a clever way to get around. You get farther by launching forward than you would army crawling. Baby proofing has definitely commenced. Floors are cleared, outlets are covered and we’re working our way up, clearing off higher surfaces because we know it will only be a few short months until you’re pulling yourself to a standing position.

And now, to recount exactly now un-little you are… You’re weighing in at eighteen pounds, and have grown to twenty-eight inches long/tall. Big boy!! We saw another seven month old at the commissary yesterday and he was still comfortably sitting in the same infant car seat you had. To think you outgrew that seat by comfort a few weeks ago and needed a convertible. The convertible seat we had bought before you were born was too cramped feeling and didn’t have strap covers so Mommy splurged on a Diono Radian RXT. One of the longest rear-facing seats on the market with great safety ratings. You love the memory foam shoulder and butt pads too. That seat puts you to sleep better than either of the ones we used before, which is awesome for car trips. So much less fussing in the car now.

Overall, you are doing great. So, so happy visiting Grandma and Grandpa. You also got to meet your Aunts for the first time this month and I would say they love their little nephew. Over half way to your first birthday and my mommy friends are already planning their December birthday bashes. What should your theme be? Until next month, bumble butt…

I love you to the moon and back and a seventeen hour drive,

Mom

The Hard Things

I have one friend who shares “the hard things” on her Facebook page. She usually asks for prayers or guidance at the same time. I assume it’s just part of her outgoing and open personality. That makes 0.003% of my online friends. Most of my friends in real life are the same though, only sharing with a select few people, the difficulties they face.

We don’t talk about the hard things.

There are some things we can’t say. Knowing how much to share with others is like a game of Jenga or dominoes.. The smallest detail might be the one to unravel it all. We bottle them up, because if you let one thing out, the whole facade of who we are would crumble.

This all came to mind after chatting with an old co-worker about her baby, born just a few short weeks ago. She mentioned how her daughter was quite fussy, didn’t sleep well and really cried a lot. Her words took me right back to when my little was that age. I don’t remember all that much besides wishing I could sleep and wondering if other babies were like he was/is. I had a horrid time with day/night confusion and the fussiness that has still yet to fade away. Family and close friends all said he’ll “grow out of it,” but I have a feeling I could wait forever for that to happen. He’s just intense. He has been since the moment he was born. In the early weeks, it baffled me how someone so, so quiet during pregnancy could be so much once he was here.

I don’t really remember, because it’s all a blur now, but I don’t think I really talked about it. At least not in full detail. That was the first thing out of my co-workers mouth, as I commiserated with her. She said I always made the best of everything, that she never would have guessed I was struggling. I didn’t want to talk about it. There are several reasons, really, with the first that comes to mind being that talking doesn’t always help. If I mentioned his reflux or general fussiness, I heard a lot of suggestions I had already heard before, or advice to just wait it out because time apparently fixes everything. I’m not saying some of it wasn’t helpful, but I wish someone would have leveled with me, or listened to me. Those who let me complain like being a sleep-deprived, new mom was something they had never heard before, made making the effort to reach out worth it. They made me feel less unprepared, more capable of living with four to eight hours of sleep a week in those early weeks.

Being a new mom is hard regardless of your baby’s temperament, but for moms out there with “spirited” or intense babies, I feel your pain. It is a unique kind of distress, wondering what you’re doing wrong, why they won’t stop crying, what you’ve done to upset them this time… but the truth is, if they have been fed, have a clean diaper, aren’t too hot or too cold and are in a safe place, you’re doing everything you can.

It is unbelievably hard sometimes, and equally as worth it.

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Baby Giggles

There are few things sweeter than the sound of your little’s laugh. The bumble butt is definitely, 100% ticklish now. He would laugh when we “nom nomed” him and pretended to eat his belly or hands, but now you can just poke at his sides or rub his feet and he gets all squirmy and giggly. It is music to my ears! He also thinks his reflection is the best thing ever, which is so funny to see. Here’s a short (and a bit blurry) clip of him being held by his Grandma.

Our time in California is starting off great. He’s got so many people who love him that he enjoys being around, and even more that he has yet to meet. A few women at my dad’s work are offering to watch him and teach him Spanish and can’t wait to meet him at the next company picnic.

The blazing heat and temperatures over a hundred degrees are taking some adjusting too, but that’s life in the sun for you! I wish I had time to write more, but it’s all a bit crazy for now.

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Six Months

sixmonthsoldHey Baby Bee,

Happy half birthday!! You are such a cute little character; getting more and more interactive during your mini-photoshoots. You still aren’t sitting unsupported, but you are trying! You are just way too interested in standing, to bother trying to sit most of the time. My mommy friends say they won’t be surprised if you try walking before you crawl. Slooooow down, because I’m not ready for the mobile version of you just yet!

This past month has gone by in the blink of an eye. As much as I hate to say it, I feel like it was one giant loop of the same thing. You’ve been really fussy. I like to blame it on the teeth, or your frustration over not being able to communicate what you want, but the truth is I don’t know.. I spent entire days following your lead, trying to see what would make you happy, only to find out nothing would for very long. I spent entire days being the one to set the pace, and that was a joke. You are a stubborn little one! Definitely no napping, no going for a walk, and no it is not bedtime unless you are okay with it. No wondering who you got that from, either!

Amidst all the fuss and muss, it is fun seeing your personality come out. Things that made you smile last week bore you, and I’m always searching for the next big thing to make you laugh. Mommy singing to you is always a favorite. We sing “heads, shoulders, knees and toes” while changing your diaper and the infamous “want something that I want” just about any time I need to keep you from losing your cool. Watching you learn how to sit up on your own, even when you prefer standing. The sense of pride and wonder that washed over me when you were not only sitting on your own, but pushing on the keys of your baby piano. Something so small and insignificant, just one of the ways I have seen you learn and grow.

Half a year gone. Much older and wiser mothers than me always tell me not blink, because you’ll be all grown up before I know it. You’re already 17lb 3oz and 27.75 inches tall. Wearing 9-12 month clothing. Trying foods! You’ve had banana. Tasted watermelon and gnawed on the core of a pineapple. Tomorrow I’ll introduce avocado and shortly thereafter some peas. Seeing the funny faces you make it the most fun part.

Next month I’m guessing you’ll have mastered sitting unsupported. Talking a bit more. Maybe even crawling! We are going places bumble butt.

I love you to the moon and back, sweet little.

Love,

Mom

Attachment Parenting

The little has been asleep for about a half hour now. I can hear him dreaming in his pack ‘n play next to the bed. It has been a chaotic day. Nothing seemed to make him happy for very long. Every few minutes went like this… “Mom, I’m bored. Pick me up. Where’s the cat? Put me down. Feed me! Never mind, I’m full. Don’t ignore me! Find me a better toy.” >> Just guessing what he was thinking based on his actions. A bit of an exhausting day, to say the least.

And then I checked Facebook, as I’ve come accustomed to doing, while nursing him to sleep. My newsfeed was all cute baby pictures and random group posts until I stumbled across an article shared in my AP, attachment parenting, mom group. A former AP mom, not linked to our group, ranted about how that lifestyle ruined her life for almost a decade. She described how babywearing was literally throwing her back out, safe co-sleeping/co-rooming made it so she never slept or had time alone with her husband, and responding to her first child’s crying made it so that he never learned to self-soothe and refused to nap. The second half of the post detailed how crying it out, limited nursing and a more strict sleep schedule with their second child, worked like baby magic to create a much happier family unit. (I won’t link to the post because I would hate to have anyone scared away from the great intentions of this gentle parenting style due to the author’s bias.)

What annoyed me most about the author’s rant, was that she made it sound as if parenting was an all or nothing game. If I have learned anything in the past six months, it’s that parenting is not black or white. There are many, many parenting styles and techniques out there. Not everything that works for one baby or family will work for another. I will go as extreme as saying that not everything that works one day for us will work the next. She also completely missed the boat on what AP is all about.

Just thinking of the attachment parenting principles… The little was exclusively breastfed, up until this past week when he tried bananas for the first and second times. (Post on that soon!) Struggling with my supply, and not knowing the root cause, has given me an appreciation for why many moms resort to using formula. It is almost always a failure of the system, not of the individual. There are definitely moments when he cries and I don’t immediately tend to his needs; like when he’s strapped in his car seat and screaming his head off one red light from home. Or when his spirited nature (see first paragraph) is wearing on me. I didn’t “wear” Elliott until he was five or six weeks old. He felt so tiny and fragile before then, and the fear of accidentally suffocating him scared me. And then there are definitely days he wants nothing to do with a baby carrier, and that’s okay. I still consider us an AP family, because of the way in which we instinctively respond to his needs.

I guess all I’m meaning to say, is that this parenting style fits me. I’m not perfect at it, but parenting isn’t about perfection. It’s certainly not all black or white, and that’s coming from someone who admittedly struggles with seeing the world as such.

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At a Loss

*Disclaimer* Overly worried, first-time-mom post ahead..

The little man had his six month “well baby” visit earlier this week, in conjunction with the appointment for his lip and tongue ties. He had his weight and height logged in their system for the first time since his two month reflux appointment. I was surprised to hear that he had gone “off his curve” and was no longer in the 90th-something percentile for weight. At that time, I didn’t take it too seriously. I have weighed him on the same scale, in the same place every month since he was born, and he has always gained the appropriate amount to stay on track.

And then.. I started noticing his diapers were fitting looser around the legs. With cloth diapers, it’s easy to tell when they’re chunking up, because the snap settings have to be adjusted. I’ve now learned it’s just as easy to tell when they’re either leaning out, or losing weight, because the leg openings were starting to leak again. Sigh.

He isn’t taller, still hitting twenty-seven inches on the dot. But he has lost almost half a pound since his very unofficial half-month weigh in. Was up to 17lbs 8oz and is back down to seventeen even. In more clear terms, from his five month birthday until now, he has only gained three ounces.

He’s eating as much as always, and I haven’t noticed him being fussy or acting hungry after nursing. My lovely Breastfeeding Mamas support group has listened to me vent about this, and about his tongue/lip ties, and they say it’s normal. That it’s okay. They ask if he’s hitting milestones, bright eyed and alert and otherwise doing okay. He is. I just worry. I know I sound like such a first time mom here… but he’s my baby. I can’t help but wonder if the stress and chaos of having the sailor home have affected my milk supply. It was already borderline, just barely enough as it were.

Still waiting to hear from the network hospital – and much larger hospital at that – about our bumble butt’s pediatric ENT appointment. I just want everything to be okay, and even while writing this, am aware how lucky I am to have such a simple concern. Prayers uploaded for those struggling with far greater things.

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