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

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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Tongue Tied

This post has been “a long time coming,” in a way..

Monday afternoon, our bumble butt has an appointment with a pediatric dentist to diagnose him with a tongue and lip tie. And then hopefully cut said lip and tongue ties. He has both. He has had both. When he was six weeks old, I took him to the ENT at our local naval hospital to have both evaluated, after breastfeeding began to hurt again. The doctor we saw would not even look at his tongue tie, and said it was not a problem because he could (barely) stick his tongue past his gum line. He snipped the lip tie with iris scissors, after telling me he didn’t think it was a problem and didn’t know if it would help. I think that probably does an adequate job explaining why I was unsatisfied with the results. Breastfeeding still hurts sometimes, and we are still dealing with poor transfer issues and low supply.

tongue tie
In case you are wondering, this is what my tongue tie looks like. It’s almost impossible to get a picture of the little’s mouth, but his is much thicker and “tighter” than mine.

I always thought the white band connecting my tongue to the lower gum line was normal. It’s not. My husband has a tongue tie too, and had his lip tie snipped when he was fifteen or so, in an effort to close the gap between his front two teeth. It didn’t.

The sailor and I considered just leaving the little’s ties alone. Dealing with the naval hospital is a pain in itself, and he is so close to starting solids that the demand for breastmilk is going to naturally begin declining anyway… Our minds were made up to just leave them alone, until the sailor stumbled across this post by Penny, of Penniless Parenting. It is a great article, summarizing the many problems with leaving these ties as they are. Tongue ties lead to high narrow palates, not enough room for adult teeth, need for palate expanders, smaller-than normal sinuses, mouth breathing.. All things I have have dealt with. Lip ties often lead to rotten teeth, speech difficulties, and a gap between the front two teeth. Getting them taken care of while his mouth is still forming is important, despite what we had thought. It’s about more than just his ability to breastfeed, although that will also benefit by having them snipped.

I could honestly, almost cry reading this article from The Leaky Boob about tongue and lip ties. It is overwhelming seeing all of our breastfeeding struggles right there, as part of a list of symptoms of something that can be fixed. To think I almost gave up breastfeeding so many times.. the supply drops and lazy, sleepy, every hour or two around the clock nursings… I am determined to find a solution that allows him to wean because he is ready, not because my milk dries up.

More than that, to live and learn. Know better, do better.

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Catching Up

The munch-ki-butt is down for a nap. Blissful silence for half an hour now, except for the noise of the sailor’s uniforms in the dryer. And the cat purring in my lap.

Meet Basil.

Basil

We’ve had this rescue kitty two weeks tomorrow and he fits our family perfectly. He is about two years old. Smart enough to run away when the baby tries pulling his tail and has the sweetest temperament. He pretty much lives in our windows and demands some attention once or twice a day. I was hesitant to post about him before now, because it is in my nature to care a little too much about what others think of me.. but in the whole scheme of things, it really isn’t a big deal.

Huge tangent >> [That’s the thing about judging others… It is my opinion that judging others is only good for deciding if you would care to be around them, or keep their company. Otherwise, it’s not my place to condemn others for their choices. Example. Had dinner at a new-ish couple friends house. The wife/mom mentioned being excited about being able to forward-face her son’s car seat soon because he makes such a fuss in the car. Their son is a few months older than our little. The bumble butt sometimes throws the worst fits in the car as well, but I will keep him rear facing as long as the limits on his car seat allow, hopefully upwards of three years old. I mentioned to my husband that I thought it was a foolish choice, to forward face as soon as the law allows, which is usually one year and twenty pounds. I didn’t say anything to the mom, thankfully, because later that night I realized there are tons of things others could use to judge me, especially my choices as a mom.

It’s not my place to judge her. I may drop hints that rear facing is way safer, but nothing more than that.

Judge me if you will for getting another cat, heaven knows I can’t stop you. Anyway…]

I’ve been meaning to write for a while now. I feel as if I’m playing catch up on the last month or so. Before the sailor got home, it was all talk and worry about the sailor getting home. And then he got home, and it was like our little snowglobe of a life was shaken up so violently, I’m still waiting for all the fake snowflakes to settle. I completely spaced writing a letter to little E for his five month birthday. It didn’t cross my mind once, not even after his monthly mini photo shoot.

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He yawned. He gave his daddy a small smile. But mostly he fussed and frowned. It’s been a hard month here. The excitement of the sailor’s return quickly wreaked havoc on any semblance of a schedule the little and I had before his return. That mixed in with the lovely (insert sarcasm here) beginning of a very long wonder “week” (side: why do they call it a week when it’s actually sometimes a month?) and it’s been little more than poorly controlled chaos.

Then the four month sleep regression turned into “I’m never sleeping more than two or three hours at a time, ever again…and since we’re up, let’s party at 2am!” And the fussiness. Oh, the fussiness. There seems to be no end in sight. Maybe when he actually decides sitting is worthwhile. Or when a tooth finally pops through. Or when he can crawl or walk or talk…

le sigh.

So I didn’t just just disappear for no reason. I keep trying to post more regularly and something keeps popping up. But I’m still trying, folks!

Next up, a long overdue progress report on my five or so new years resolutions. Lack of proofreading sponsored by a very angry, post-nap baby.

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Duty Days

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It’s just me and the bumble butt at home today. We woke up early, despite having every reason to sleep in, and he has been fussy since before he eyes were fully open. Definitely woke up on the wrong side of his pack n play.

He cried when I put him in his swing to start laundry. Cried when I tried nursing him to sleep for a nap. And was crying right before this picture was taken. He just can’t resist looking at himself.

I’m in such a laze around the house mood, worn out from my failed attempts to soothe the little’s protesting. We will probably head out for a walk and soak up some sunshine after his unexpected nap in the swing.. I predict there will be a long night of fighting sleep ahead.

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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

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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

Easter 2013

Whether it means getting up early for church or easter egg hunts, eating the ears on a chocolate bunny or the “tranditional” easter ham with all the fixings….

EASTER

Got one small smile out of this grumpy guy after I was done taking pictures. Nothing since. Woke up on the wrong side of the cosleeper and is fighting naps like nobody’s business. Just one of those days for him.. after he was all smiles and almost-giggles yesterday. Has to keep us guessing!

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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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