Consider Us Lucky

The Stennis finally pulled into its (her?) home port yesterday afternooon. And while my sailor has been home a little over a week, there was a sense of finality knowing his ship is home too. I grew up the daughter of a top-sider, and life married to a man considered ship’s company is much different. Wherever the ship goes, he goes, and it has spent a lot of time away lately.

It is easy to get sucked into a negative frame of mind. The game of if/then is effortless, but rarely offers much comfort. Even now that he is home, I have caught myself thinking if he had never left……blah. It doesn’t do any good.

I consider us lucky because of our timing arriving here, he wasn’t on the whole 2011-2012 deployment as well. He joined the ship when they were six weeks out; when others aboard had been gone for six months at that point.

I consider us lucky that the sailor is “stuck” on the Stennis a few more years.. That we aren’t like several people he has mentioned, just getting back from an eight month deployment and transferring to a ship just getting underway for their deployment. I don’t want to imagine how hard three back to back deployments would be.

I consider us lucky that our son was immediately comfortable in my husband’s arms, and that they have carried on as if they were never separated. That all cries except the “I am certain I am starving” cry are (fairly) quickly and easily solved by someone other than me. He may have been gone fifteen of the last twenty months. He may only have just met our son. And he may have gotten pooped on today, but he his home.

It is nice. The sun is shining and life is good.

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Blowing Raspberries

My blog feels a little dead, I will admit that. My mom was visiting, and with my husband’s homecoming breathing down my neck, I’ve been doing my best to stay busy. In the haze of activity, the bumble butt has been sleep regressing and teething and reaching a new, small developmental milestone each day. It’s amazing.

There is something magical about watching a tiny human grow up before your eyes. To go from the newborn days of the eat/sleep/poop/cry cycle, to a baby that is rolling over and laughing, scooting in circles on the floor and blowing raspberries. I didn’t think my blog would be consumed by baby talk once the little man was here, but it’s kind of hard to not talk about him. His sometimes happy, sometimes grumpy face is the first thing I see every morning, and the last thing I see at night. Make that multiple times a night.

Raspberries

I bought a camcorder, to capture all these little memories, and it was definitely one of those purchases that made me feel old. I mean, I can vaguely remember the boom-box sized camcorder my parents used to record my antics as a kid back in the 90’s… and the fact that my size reference is an out-dated music player kind of seals the deal. I somehow went from being a kid myself, to having one, in what feels like no time at all. Anyway.. I can hear the little dragon stirring from his nap.

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Four Months Old

FourMonthsOld

 

Hey baby bee,

Are you sure that you’re four months old already? Time can seriously start to slow down any minute now. The weeks are slipping away like nothing.. I wonder how long four months feels to you. I would ask, but you’re usually too busy chewing on your fingers and trying to get toys into your mouth to answer. It’s adorable, even when you do manage to stick your fingers in your eye while chewing on your thumb. You are still fascinated with your hands, and you’re so much better at getting them into your mouth and using them to grab toys now!

This month Grandma came to visit again. I think you were perplexed at first, to be held by her. You had gotten so used to seeing her on FaceTime and smiling and talking to her and Grandpa via a screen. It took one, maybe two days before you were able to settle with her. I’m hoping it won’t take you much longer than that to get used to having a dad.

Not the best idea to say exactly when he’s coming home, until he is already home, but I’m betting you have a special guest in your five month pictures. :) Soon, bumble butt. You’ll have someone else to learn to trust and rely on. You’ll learn that your Dad is more than a voice and fuzzy picture on the screen of a computer during a Skype call. It will be one of my favorite moments, handing you to him for the first time. And I would be lying if thinking about that didn’t make my eyes well up with happy tears. That day will be the ending and beginning of so, so much.

You’re up to a whopping 15lbs 10oz and 26 inches long this month! Double your birth weight, and Grandma and I figured out that you basically grew the length of your leg from the knee down since birth. Pretty impressive, and all on momma’s milk! Your favorite toys are your teething ring and a blue ball that’s meant to be easy to hold. You lick it all the time while trying to fit it in your mouth (never gonna happen! lol) and when I ask if it tastes like blue, you’ll smile sometimes. Teething has definitely begun. Just when your reflux subsided, and you no longer needed bibs for that, you turned into a drool monster. It’s amazing how quickly you can drench the top of your outfit and need to be changed. I will be happy when those pesky teeth finally get through the gum line so that you aren’t so cranky. And thinking ahead a long ways, when you are proud to lose your first tooth, it will remind me the fussiness that it brought coming in.

I would say this month has been a difficult one on you. Growth spurt, sleep regression, paci rejection and teething all set in… But there have been a lot of great moments mixed in with the chaos. Like the first time you laughed at me singing to you, and the first time you understood peek-a-boo was a fun game, even if you don’t get it every time.

We love you to the moon and back, even if that’s not near far enough..

Love,
Mom

Next Time

The thought of a second baby honestly hadn’t crossed my mind until my husband brought it up a week or so ago.. He casually asked about the desired age gap between the little man and his little brother or sister; while at the same time adding that he thought an appropriate amount of time had passed before bringing it up. It was one of those blips in his email that made me chuckle. Baby number two? He hasn’t even met number one! :) So like him to start thinking about that kind of thing now though.

I always thought two, two years apart sounded good. But having gone through the “fourth trimester” without my partner in crime, and full well knowing the Navy could take him to the other side of the world next time as well, I’ve begun to re-think that idea. Two kids still sounds good to both of us, but I’m leaning more towards 3-4 years apart now. As much as we plan and try to bend what’s meant to be into what fits our picture of a perfect life, I know God will take the lead on this one. I wasn’t expecting to get pregnant almost a year ago now. Had been told it couldn’t happen naturally, in fact. Like they say, what’s meant to be will find a way, or something like that.

The thought of a second tiny human has kept me awake in the middle of the night. Long after our current little has nursed back into dream-land, there I am, thinking of what to do differently next time. Thinking of the things I hope I remember.

I’ve thought of being “team green” and not finding out the baby’s gender until birth. Having a home, water birth… with a midwife, of course. Of waiting to name him or her until we meet him or her. To trust my body not only while in labor, but after, when it comes to breastfeeding and mommy-baby bonding. I hope I remember to enjoy the snuggles while they last, because even at a little over three months, the bumble butt really only likes to snuggle on his terms now, and those moments are so rare. To soak up every moment of cuddle time, and let the housework be. I hope I remember the day/night confusion, but not fear the sleepless nights. Most of all, I hope my husband can be there, to experience the pure joy and magic it is to hold something you helped to create, and to welcome that itty bitty person to the world. That’s our job as parents, in that moment, after all. To usher them in with as much joy and grace and love as we can muster. I have so much hope, already, while at the same time knowing I won’t be ready to go down that path for many, many, many more months.

And when the fears creep in, of wondering how I could ever love a second child as much as our first, I will remember this.. the quiet moments during nap time; the sleeping baby, so peaceful and calm and perfect.

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Three Months Old

ElliottThreeMonths

Hey Baby Bee,

Happy three months!! One quarter of the way to your birthday already! This month has been a busy one for you. You began rolling over at three weeks old, and have perfected this skill to such an extreme that I have to put my hand on your back to prevent you from rolling during tummy time. You still prefer to roll to the left, but you can also go to the right. You’re like a little roley poley, and it makes me happy to see you figuring out how to get out of tummy time.

This month you got even better at holding up your head. During tummy time you can hold it up at a ninety degree angle for a few minutes now; and you have no problem doing ten, fifteen minutes on your belly before complaining. We’ve also started practicing sitting up, giving you a more challenging opportunity to balance your noggin’! You enjoy sitting up and I don’t blame you. I’ve gotten down at your level during tummy time and its a bit boring, even with all the rattles, unbreakable mirrors and light up toys.

This month your Grandpa came to visit you. It was nice to see how well you took to him, after giving him the “you’re not my momma” look upon first meeting him. We took you to Lowes literally every day, and built up a little fan club for you there. You got to see us install light fixtures and closet shelves, and you smiled when I showed you how a drill worked. I think you like the whirring noise it made.

You were a total fuss bucket while Grandpa was here though. Much harder to settle than usual, a lot easier to make you upset.. Was a good trial run to see how you will react when your daddy gets home and your “schedule” is once again disrupted. That homecoming is coming up so fast!! That day will be here in no time, whether its an airport or pier-side homecoming. Your little world is going to be turned upside-down in the best way possible!

I’m biased, of course, but you are sooo cute baby bee. Your little smiles from last month have turned into full face grins, and you’re starting to show a bit of a sweet/shy personality where you’ll hide your face in your hands or bury it in my chest when something makes you happy. This month you’ve found that you can yell and squeal, and I often hear you talking to yourself when you think I’m not looking during tummy/activity time. You’re also even more alert now, and since you are starting to hold your head up on your own, you want to be entertained more, to see new things. Walks around the neighborhood used to put you to sleep, but now you fight sleep for as long as you can, watching cars drive by, and listening to the sounds of motorcycles and kids playing in the distance. The newborn or “kangaroo” holds in your baby carriers no longer work very well, and we’ve moved onto the hug position with your legs and head out. And with the growth spurt you’re going through right now, it’s no surprise that you’re already in some six month clothes and have definitely outgrown the 0-3 months size. Fourteen pounds of sweet baby rolls and twenty-five inches of not so snuggly bumble butt!

We love you to the moon and back little one… I hope you always know that.

Love,

Mom

The Growing Up is Hard

It hit me today that my little boy isn’t so little anymore. Sure, he’s only twelve pounds, but he started off at seven and some change. His newborn clothes have been packed away for a few weeks now, and he’s running out of room in his 0-3 months things fast. After a day of spitting up and many outfit changes I had run out of his cozy sleep’n’play “pjs” in his current size and he almost fit into a six month size. Just a few more weeks and he’ll be long enough, big enough.

This deployment baby thing is so much more difficult than I ever imagined it would be. I knew being alone for so many months with him would test my patience; would allow me to prove how much I really, really want and love him. I feel incredibly blessed to be his everything, for the time being. The reason he is growing, smiling, changing into this not-so-little, little boy.

The growing up is hard though. Collecting all these precious and priceless moments with him, knowing at the same time my husband will never know him this small. I do my best to make sure he knows of him.. knows about him, but I know it’s not the same. No emailed picture makes up a whole memory.

I am looking forward to the day I get to introduce this little bee to his daddy. And to the day he finds just as much comfort in his dad’s arms as mine. Those moments are worth waiting for..

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Two Months Old

Two Months Old

Hey Baby Bee,

Two months have passed since the day you were born. You’ve got a few hours to go, my little night owl, until you are officially two months old, but we won’t fuss over such a small detail.

So much has changed in the past month. Put on a few more pounds putting you at over twelve pounds now and reaching two whole feet in length. Shortly after you turned a month old, Grandma had to go home, so that meant it was just me and you for the first time since our first night together in the hospital. I would be lying to you, if I said I wasn’t scared at first. It took almost a week, but we got into some kind of a routine. Up for the day around seven in the morning, first nap about two hours after that.. And every day varies from there.

We got the hang of running errands just the two of us, and you started collecting smiles from old ladies. You even earned mommy the “award for the perfect baby.” I give at least half the credit of that to babywearing, something of which you are still a big fan.

We started cloth diapers and started you on Zantac for your reflux issues. You still spit up, but you don’t cry out in pain anymore after every nursing. While the acid breath did make you more of a little dragon, I would rather you not have breath so hot it made you miserable. Mommy also gave up all dairy just for you. Going on three weeks with no plans to test your tolerance again any time soon.

Our days still pass in a semi-blur, more from repetition than sleep deprivation. Last month you figured out your days and nights, and this month you started sleeping more than two or three hours at a time at night. I was shocked the first time you slept five hours! I can remember double checking the time because you had never slept more than three hours before, and even that had been pushing it. Seems like such a small detail, but those extra two hours of sleep add up fast! You put yourself to sleep “for the night” around 11pm every night, give or take an hour… and you sleep for anywhere from 3-6 hours for the first block. How much you sleep in however many blocks depends night to night. It doesn’t make too much of a difference to me. No matter how you add it up, we are both getting more sleep, and I would like to think we are both happier for it.

You started smiling more often this month, and I just know I’ve heard you giggle once or twice. It’s the cutest thing seeing your face light up when you see me first thing in the morning or after one of your many naps. You’re going to make your dad so happy the first time you smile at him.

We both love you to the moon and back, bumble butt, even though that could never be far enough..

Love,
Mom

8 Weeks Later

Tomorrow the little man will be eight weeks old. During tonight’s snuggle session I had a chance to look at the photos taken during his birth. I uploaded them when I got the disk from my doula, but I wasn’t ready to look at them before.. Something about that night was too raw to face any sooner than now; perhaps that my husband is missing from the pictures, or knowing I was far from my ideal weight at that time.

But it was more than that. I wasn’t ready to experience those moments from someone else’s eyes, for the fear that it wasn’t everything I remembered it to be. That somehow it had only been magical in my mind.

I held my breath, and I saw me becoming a mom. The concentration it took, the pain I can recall but can’t really remember. The ugly cry face I knew I was making but couldn’t stop…and then the look of pure love, staring down at this new and perfect, tiny human. I’m thankful those memories were captured for me.

And although I am far from having “baby fever” I can see why moms are willing to go through labor again and again. For those first moments when you are able to hold your whole world in your arms.
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A New Resolution

Disclaimer :: this post regards breastfeeding…for those that might find that a too TMI topic :)

I have recently (as of three days ago) stumbled into a new way of seeing the world.. A world minus ice cream and cheese and anything dairy.

Months ago I said that breastfeeding for at least the first year was really important to me. Formula is too expensive, I’m a stay at home mom and it has great health benefits for both me and baby. I didn’t realize at that time that meeting the goal to exclusively breastfeed for a year would mean giving up so much.

When my little man started showing signs of tummy troubles, my initial thought was reflux. It was right at the four week mark when that usually shows up. He started spitting up after every nursing. He started screaming half an hour to an hour after nursing.. Started “urping” and choking and always had acid smelling breath. Started comfort nursing for hours a day. All of his symptoms were telling of reflux and medication helped, for a few days.

And then the meds stopped working so well, and both his pediatrician and my lactation consultant said it was time to cut out dairy. I would be lying if I told you that didn’t make my heart sink a little. I’m a girl who loves cheese and yogurt and ice cream.. And I’ve already cut out all tomato products, BBQ sauce, citrus products and most of the veggies I enjoy for the sake of breastfeeding.

So I cleared my pantry of anything containing dairy in even the most minute form, and was surprised to find I only had pasta, beans and few cans of tomato soup (that I can’t eat anyway) left. My refrigerator was an even more depressing sight.. I gave most of the unopened food to a friend, so I didn’t have to waste much. And then it was time to go shopping to fill all that space!

Reading labels is exhausting with a baby in tow, and while most moms who need to go diary free for the sake of breastfeeding are comforted by this only being a temporary way of living, it will likely be a permanent change for me. Even though most babies grow out of a diary sensitivity by three or six months, my husband is also allergic to dairy and there’s no growing out of that.

So… it’s important for me to have a successful breastfeeding relationship for the health of our son; and it’s important for me to be able to stock our pantry and fridge with foods that make my husband feel at home, when he is home… and it may just be my way of seeing the world, but that means a whole new way of eating for me.

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ps. I also unintentionally gave up soda since the day after our son was born.. So that’s good, I guess. haha. :)

One Month Old

ElliottOneMonth1Hey Baby Bee,

You are a whole month old today. We made it through our first night alone together, and I didn’t get a wink of sleep. Held your little hands during newborn screening tests, and felt you melt into my chest after they poked and prodded you. Was the moment I felt like your mom.

After we got home, we made it through the worst of your day/night confusion, which I still claim no one warned me about. So many sleepless nights (for me) when you were so new, and refused to be put down in your bassinet. Lots and lots of scrunchy, munchy newborn snuggles. When my chest was your only home; the only place you felt safe. It feels like just yesterday..

My birthday came and went in a sleep-deprived blur. Christmas too, except the vivid memory of you hating your Christmas outfit and screaming when I tried to take your picture under the lights of the tree. “Elliott’s tree,” as grandma called it when she showed you the lights.

Trips to the grocery store and other stores would be a whole lot easier if you didn’t hate your carseat so much, but I know it’s just because you want to be close. Which is why I bought a baby k’tan and moby wrap and ergo baby carrier. You are a babywearing fan, and it amuses me to see the funny looks I get while “wearing” you.. As if putting a carseat on top of a shopping cart makes more sense.

We slept right through the ball dropping on New Years, but I promise you got plenty of kisses to make up for that one. On your cheeks and forehead and tiny little nose.  I smiled at you when you woke up on the first day of a new year and told you that was the year you’ll get to meet your daddy.. And you let out your “crocodile” cry in response. (The one that means I don’t care what you’re doing, you have five seconds to pick me up before I start screaming.) That day will matter to you when it gets here, even if you’re still too young to understand now.

Baby bootcamp, as my momma friends call it, helped you learn to be okay in your bassinet and okay in your cosleeper… Not all the time, but enough for me to eat dinner or start some laundry. Tummy time is something you still aren’t sure of, but you’re pretty good at it, and rolled over from tummy to back at just three weeks old. Grandma says it won’t be long before you’re rolling front to back either. You went from absolutely hating bath time, to loving it. But you still hate getting nakie for diaper changes, that is for sure, and you protest by trying to pee on me every chance you get! I’m getting better at predicting that now, but that’s not to say I haven’t had to change my clothes a few times..

You really have changed so much in a month. Grew a few inches, put on a couple pounds. Your hair grew longer, eyelashes doubled in length, and your eyebrows finally started showing a little color. You sleep on your own sometimes swaddled in a blanket or your woombie, and you’re getting better at recognizing mine and grandma’s voices mid screaming fit. I’ve learned your hungry cry, just woke up alone cry, middle of your sleep cry, and carseat cry, which quicky escalates into what we call your velociraptor cry.. You have quite the set of lungs, something you have reminded me since the moment you were born.

You are so loved my little bumble butt. They always say, to the moon and back, but that isn’t far enough..

Love,

Mom