Over and Over again

Me in 2016:

Why do I put a clean onesie one my little one first thing in the morning? I know there is an 80% chance he will have a blow out within an hour of getting his first fresh diaper and change of clothes and yet I always out him in a clean onesie after he eats breakfast. I know why. I want him to be clean. I am a little unhealthily obsessed with making sure he is clean and looks like someone loves him.

Isn’t that what we all want? To look like someone loves us. To feel like someone loves us. So I do a little in hopes that one day he will know that indeed someone loves him enough to wash the same poopy onesie a hundred times.

Me two weeks ago:

I wrote those first two paragraphs years ago. I can firmly say that not much has changed. He is potty training now and while he can pee in the toilet like a champion, doing number 2 seems to be harder. Maybe it will finally happen with consistency soon, but until then I washing a lot of poopy underwear/throwing away a lot of poopy underwear. Oh motherhood.  The things we do that we never thought we would be doing, like judging how much poop is too much to clean out of a pair of undies.

Me now:

You know what, my little champion has been pooping in the potty all on his own for about three days. He hasn’t had an accident in a few days now. I updated this just to say, take heart all of you moms and dads in the trenches of trying to teach a tiny human not to poop behind his bedroom door on the ugly shag carpet(yes this happened last week) Your child probably wont start kindergarten without being able to take care of bathroom stuff on their own.

As far as methodology goes, I started having him pee in the potty on and off at 18 months. I should have followed through as soon as he caught on with it and tried something like the three day method which is what we did at 26 months. The three day method is about 40 page worth of ebook that tells you to throw away the diapers and do nothing but help your kid learn to use the potty while you in turn learn the signs of when they need to go. Its pretty intuitive. In addition to that I also gave him a prize for every successful go which eventually has turned into only a prize for going number 2, which is almost weaned off of entirely. He does know what a prize is now so there is that but I will take spending 20 bucks on a tub full of kid goodies in exchange for not having to change a diaper. Carl did not learn to use the toilet in three days, It was probably another two weeks before we went all day with no peeing accidents and another month before we successfully made it all day with no poop clean up. Honestly though I expected that. It takes 21 days to form a habit. Toilet training is simply a habit.

If I could share one bit of advice with myself a year ago it would be to savor those moments before he can say damn it and just clean up the poop explosion.

If I could tell my month ago self anything it would be to buy one more packet of underwear, and relax.

 

It’s 3am again. This particular time of night and I have become familiar in the last year. Poor little Carl has a stuffy nose so I am awake. He is finally drifting off after being put down twice and soothed for an hour. It’s funny. Well funny in a sad way, but when I thought about having kids in my teens and even in the last few years I always imagined night shift as my partners duty or at least having someone else there to watch the moments with me. A year of being a single mom has taught me a lot, including how rare that fantasy is. Even happily married women end up doing most of what I do which is pretty sad.

Imagine a world where instead of waking up with the baby every time he woke up that first year, someone else took some of the burden. And please don’t mistake my meaning, because there is not a whole lot of warm fuzziness to be found at 3am when you have to clear the snot from an unwilling babies nose by yourself while he screams like he is dying. I have had my mom or sister take him for a few minutes or a few hours while did something or slept a little, but every night of this first year, save one where I left him late and got him early, I’ve been dayshift, night shift, and everything in between.

I love this child. I didn’t make him alone, but somehow he became more mine than anyone elses. And that’s a pretty powerful thing. He and I have a bond. It’s probably fragile and definitely codependent, but it’s there. I’m a lover. I tend to love one person more than makes sense, or is healthy, or logical. Nothing will cure you of that quicker than a baby. I suppose my bit of encouragement for anyone, who like me is listening to the sounds of a toddler talk himself into going back to sleep, is that you can do it by yourself. And you will have to. That guy that was your rock, your special human who professed to love and adore you… He might, but it all might be smoke and mirrors and nothing will help you figure that out like a baby.

Babies are hard, but you can do it. Adulting is hard, but you can do that as well. And if your person isn’t who you expected or isn’t living up to what you need then dump that dude like a bad habit. You and that baby that keeps you up at 3am deserve better.

Over and over

It’s 3am again. This particular time of night and I have become familiar in the last year. Poor little Carl has a stuffy nose so I am awake. He is finally drifting off after being put down twice and soothed for an hour. It’s funny. Well funny in a sad way, but when I thought about having kids in my teens and even in the last few years I always imagined night shift as my partners duty or at least having someone else there to watch the moments with me. A year of being a single mom has taught me a lot, including how rare that fantasy is. Even happily married women end up doing most of what I do which is pretty sad.

Imagine a world where instead of waking up with the baby every time he woke up that first year, someone else took some of the burden. And please don’t mistake my meaning, because there is not a whole lot of warm fuzziness to be found at 3am when you have to clear the snot from an unwilling babies nose by yourself while he screams like he is dying. I have had my mom or sister take him for a few minutes or a few hours while did something or slept a little, but every night of this first year, save one where I left him late and got him early, I’ve been dayshift, night shift, and everything in between.

I love this child. I didn’t make him alone, but somehow he became more mine than anyone elses. And that’s a pretty powerful thing. He and I have a bond. It’s probably fragile and definitely codependent, but it’s there. I’m a lover. I tend to love one person more than makes sense, or is healthy, or logical. Nothing will cure you of that quicker than a baby. I suppose my bit of encouragement for anyone, who like me is listening to the sounds of a toddler talk himself into going back to sleep, is that you can do it by yourself. And you will have to. That guy that was your rock, your special human who professed to love and adore you… He might, but it all might be smoke and mirrors and nothing will help you figure that out like a baby.

Babies are hard, but you can do it. Adulting is hard, but you can do that as well. And if your person isn’t who you expected or isn’t living up to what you need then dump that dude like a bad habit. You and that baby that keeps you up at 3am deserve better.

What a difference a year makes

I have an almost 1 year old.

image

Go me! I kept him alive and fairly healthy a whole year!! I feel like that’s an actual accomplishment. We’ve had a few colds and one really nasty stomach virus but it’s been a great year.

Everything sort of flew by in a blur this year but I remember those first few minutes after I brought him home from the hospital. I was still living in a tiny apartment so things were crowded but it had beautiful windows. I opened the curtains, sat in the rocker with Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone, and read to him while he nursed and napped the afternoon away. That was the first peaceful moment I had found in days. I hated the hospital. I appreciated the care we recieved but being stuck in that room away from all of my familiar things was probably the hardest part of the birth experience for me.

This has been a year of learning, growing, and changing. I’m grateful for all the help I’ve had and for a healthy, happy kid. Whatever the future holds, may he have a hundred more years to grow and explore.

Some post labor thoughts

I have a few reflections that I would like to share in light of the fact that I have had a lot of time (six months) to think about the experience of labor and birthing a baby. Some people have told me that my labor was easy and short and that i should be grateful and to those people i usually try to keep my mouth closed because what i want to say starts with an F and ends with a U. Others have said that it sounds horrible and let me tell you that at the time it wasn’t a bed of roses. It hurts. The one good thing I can say about natural birth is that I was up and out of that bed within hours and my recovery as far as being able to care for the baby was much easier than some of my friends who have had to have csections or who had time to have an epidural.

Birth is not necessarily beautiful, but the results are wonderful. I know so many women who want to paint the experience as beautiful (they actually use that word for an experience where you bleed and poop on yourself) like a Monet or a classical piano concert and its not. Its scary and wonderful and a very unique experience but beautiful isn’t the word I would use. Awe inspiring maybe. The only way you can truly understand it is to do it. Much like i imagine landing on the moon can only be understood fully by astronauts, giving birth can only be fully understood by someone who has given birth.

In light of all that I have a few post labor tips for all you about to be moms;

  1. Post labor you are tired, and fuzzy headed and their are a million people or in my case about 30 who really really want to see you and the baby in the hospital as soon as humanly possible. my advice is to limit who you allow to see you in that first 24 hours and what is posted on social media.
  2. Pack a gown or something you can nurse in that is flattering because someone will take your picture that day and you will be bloated and feel gross and that will most likely translate on camera. See below:11155013_10206692387253520_7718902778280125210_o
  3. Be prepared to be inspected…roughly every three hours. A nurse will be asking to see your stitches, giving you vitamins, checking your blood pressure, or “checking on you” constantly.
  4. Get a baby app for your phone to record feedings, changings, etc. Not only do you have a nurse but so does baby who will constantly be checking in.
  5.  Bring your own snacks! Unless you like hospital cornflakes. If you are breastfeeding you will be hungry…all the time.
  6. if you want your baby in the room with you keep him there but there is no shame in keeping him in the hospital nursery. I kept Carl with me except for one night when Steven hadn’t returned yet and I needed a shower. I called the nursery and took him down there for about twenty minutes and then went and got him and brought him back to our room. All new moms could benefit from the occasional break.
  7. Enjoy it. enjoy every uncomfortable, sleep deprived, insane second of it and write about it. Write your thoughts, feelings, hopes and dreams.

And now for some cute baby Carl pictures;

11173325_10100343095402695_8412688767466739113_n 0429150958 IMG_20150430_075121

Baby: Month 1

weekly photos1

Having a baby is great. Having a baby is messy. Having a baby is exhausting and terrible and wonderful and draining.The first month is a testament to how much a woman can go through and survive and help a new life to thrive. The first week is hard, but also great because for me at least there was someone there all the time. My mom, or Steven, or Faith was always there to help out. They grow pretty fast though. The best part of the first month is that once you find  rhythm, If you are lucky enough to have time off, it is a wonderful bonding experience.

month 1

I decided to breastfeed. It was a decision I made pretty early in my pregnancy and while I worried a little (a lot) after he was born about my milk coming in, I just kept on feeding him whenever he would open his mouth. That’s the secret in my opinion. Keep on keeping on until you get the hang of it. Breastfeeding is a commitment, like a job or a marriage or anything else. If you can hang on past the first few weeks where it hurts and is uncomfortable then you can definitely manage it when it is more of a routine.

Babies grow so freaking fast. The weirdest thing for me to get used to at the beginning was being solely responsible for a tiny human. Sure there are other people around, and you get help, but in the middle of the night most of the time you are the only one that little screaming human wants for comfort and food and to get him to sleep. Its crazy and overwhelming for a little while. It gets better though.

IMG_2040

All about that baby: Ack! Where did the time go?

When you are pregnant they don’t tell you a lot of things. Doctors and nurses are wonderful people but they don’t really help prepare you for what it will be like, they are too busy trying to get you through the experience of pregnancy. I spent countless hours in the doctors office while I was pregnant and while he did tell me it would be amazing and unique that didn’t really prepare me for the sad feeling I get every time he grows out of a size of clothes or goes up a diaper size (like he is right now). Family and friends try to tell you but their own memories are  usually so glossed with the veil of the past that they don’t remember what makes those first few months so special and wonderful.IMG_1873

from this

IMG_2198

to this!

 When you bring that baby home its sweet and beautiful and he smells like all the best things in the world. He might be quiet or he might be loud but the one universal truth is that he needs you. Dads are wonderful, don’t get me wrong, but brand new babies seem to instinctively know who mom is and what they need from her. They need nourishment and even though the first hundred times they latch on will hurt like a son of a bitch you gladly endure it because it is what sustains this wonderful bundle of soft, doe eyed, sweetness someone somehow let you leave the hospital with. They need comfort and they just need you. They seem so fragile for the first few days and weeks. The chord is still hanging on and you are afraid to bump or move or even brush by it for fear of hurting them. You have to clean them, feed them, check to make sure they are breathing when they finally fall asleep, watch over them like a hawk as your family gets acquainted with them and if you are lucky you get to see them get to know their dad.

I don’t think it is a mistake they we feel so protective of them when they meet someone new. I know when Carl was very little every time someone other than myself, Steven or Faith would hold him I would hold my breath. You worked to nurture that life and then helped it into this world, now it feels like you have to control everything in his environment to keep him safe. The first moment I really realized how fleeting and incredible this experience was going to be was when he lost his umbilical chord. That was the last thing that connected him to me and it came off before I knew it. The next time was when I had to go back to work. It felt like those seven weeks literally came and went in the blink of an eye. This weekend has been another one of those moments. He will be 20 weeks old this week and I remember being 20 weeks pregnant not all that long ago. This time is fleeting and what makes it so precious is that everything changes at a more rapid pace than at any other time in life. Right now he is still making sweet baby noises but before I know it he will be talking. Right now he wants to cuddle and play and he wants my attention but before I know it he will be independent and off doing his own thing.

11149834_10204080902210363_5348777713578045966_o

I am striving to enjoy these moments as much as possible because I know they wont last. Some people in his life are going to miss out on all the precious moments and look back with regrets but I am determined to be there and live it with him while I can before I blink and he is wanting a tattoo and for me to meet his new girlfriend.

Have a wonderful Tuesday.

All about that baby: Baby sleep part 2!

So baby sleep part 2!

0518152046

Baby Carl has been sleeping through the night going on three weeks now. There have been a few hitches, like when we visited my mom for a few nights. He didn’t like sleeping in the elevated pack n play so I lowered it to the lowest level the next night and he slept pretty well. I spent a lot of time reading about baby sleep on blogs and trying out books about baby sleeping and happy babies and let me just say that most of it, especially Happiest baby on the block, is just not as awesome as the authors would like you to believe. Having said all that I will let you all in on my nightly routine.

0519151220

He used a pacifier for exactly five minutes and now refuses to use one.

We have a very lose daytime schedule. I say lose because he just really wants to eat a ridiculous amount during the day and his naps are not very predictable. However his night time schedule is fixed and unmovable.

  • Before everything else, and because he is missing those night time feedings now I let him nurse as much as he wants between 7:00pm and 9:00pm.
  • Starting between 8:00-8:30pm~ if it is bath night he gets a bath. I bathe him every other day. After the bath he gets a lotion baby massage If there is no bath I put him in his footsie pajamas or a sleeper around 9pm.
  • Around 9:00-9:15pm I read some books to him.
  • Between 9:15pm and 9:30pm, after I make sure he has a clean diaper, I settle him down on my chest in the glider and throw a blanket over him. While I am checking his diaper I turn on his noise machine and projector.
  • It usually takes between 15 and 30 minutes to get him settled and in his crib asleep. Sometimes it only takes a minute especially if he is tired and has had a long day.

I always use his noise machine. That’s something I did from the beginning. I wanted him to be able to sleep through anything and he can. He can sleep in a crowded stadium with a marching band playing. I know this because he did it just last week. I also don’t talk to him after I get him settled on my chest. I read somewhere that if you want babies to know that it is time for sleep you shouldn’t stimulate them and talking to them is just that. Carl definitely seems to know when it is time to be quiet and sleep. He wont chatter and I don’t chatter to him. I will sing to him if he isn’t settling well but I don’t talk to him like I do during the day.

0523150848Life is hard when you are the baby!

I think a bed time routine is really a great thing for mom and baby. Even if your child isn’t sleeping through the night or in his crib having a bedtime routine will signal that it is time for bed, not play. I also try not to nurse him to sleep anymore. I will let him nurse as much as he wants right before bed time, but after we start our bed routine I usually don’t. I don’t want him to rely on that to go to sleep. I do rock him which I know some people disagree with but fooey on them. If he is being especially inconsolable and wont even nurse I will set him in the crib and let him cry for a few minutes before getting him out and trying again. This usually settles him down out of that initial fit.

Please don’t expect my night time routine to be the magic things that gets your baby to sleep but I hope it might help in some way. Find a routine that works for you!

Have a great Tuesday!

All about that baby: Some reflections

It is Tuesday. Tuesday is the day I talk about motherhood and babies and such because frankly I need an outlet and I’m trying not to talk about it all of the time. I’m in a weird sort of limbo. I only know one other person in this weird limbo and her life is a little more defined than mine is at the moment. Four months ago I had a baby. He is adorable. See…

IMG_2194

I never really expected motherhood. There was a time I really, really wanted it. Years ago, right after I got married I thought a lot about what it might be like. I didn’t think I could have children, at least not without a lot of bother or adoption so I never really considered the nitty gritty aspects of it. After a few years of being with someone who really seemed to not want children I stopped thinking or planning for it at all. When we separated last August I was at that point where I had actually started rationalizing why it was way better that we never had kids and every time I made a decision then it was with the thought “I’m so glad it is just me I have to worry about”. No kids stuff to move, no child to worry about. I was starting over and it is much easier to do that when you are only responsible for yourself. I gave up my dog, got a tiny apartment, and went on a self imposed low cost diet to fit my new responsibilities and general sense of aloneness.

When I moved out I didn’t have much of anything. I had some dishes, a few personal things, and a little bit of money. Almost no furniture to speak of. I slept on an air mattress for six weeks. I slept on a bed on the floor for another few months. I didn’t have a dresser, or even enough hangers. I didn’t have a tv or a couch or much of anything. I acquired a couch eventually. I borrowed a tv. Life went on. I spent the entire month of August in a weird haze of just trying to get by and mourning what I had lost.

A year ago today, on Labor day, after a long day of being out in the heat at the labor fest selling my crafty wares and making balloons to a much smaller crowd than originally anticipated, something weird happened. I can remember the moment like it was just minutes ago. I was standing with Faith and a friend and a gaggle of teenage girls were standing just a few feet from us and all of the sudden their smell hit me. It was awful and strong and reeked of perfume and sweat. I wanted to gag and hurl. Nothing like that had ever happened to me before. It was weird. My friend made a joke. A harmless innocent joke about me being pregnant. That was the moment my mind was opened up to the possibility and it was terrifying.

How could I possibly be pregnant (hahahahaha)? This was the exact wrong moment in my life. I was alone. My husband and I were getting along like oil and water. I was not in any way, shape, form or fashion ready for that thought. I shrugged it off and decided it couldn’t possibly be. I think even then I knew. A couple of days later I took a pregnancy test. Then I took six more because I didn’t believe the first one. How could this be? I mean I knew the logistics, but I just couldn’t believe it. A part of my mind decided it had to be cancer. My hormones were messing with the test and I had cancer. So I booked an appointment with a doctor and two weeks after my appointment I told the world there was to be a mini me because turns out it wasn’t cancer, just a fast swimming little bean of a Carl who grew and grew.

A lot has changed since then. I am much more acquainted with babies now. I’m also much more forgiving of the transgressions and annoyances of others. My relationship with my own mother improved while my relationship with my inlaws pretty much went down the tubes (except Inez of course). I’m still at a relationship impasse in the marriage department but I see a light at the end of the tunnel. I’m in a house not a tiny apartment. Same job. Entirely different clothes size. I still like getting up early and I still read every chance I get but now I do it with a mini me running around. I turn 26 this month and I am really excited to be celebrating it with Carl and all those other important people. This isn’t the life I planned for or expected but I am enjoying it, moment by moment, bit by bit.

All About That Baby: Sleep pt 1

Babies are weird.

One day he was waking up at 3am to nurse and I would move him from the crib to my bed and we would nap until 5 or 6. Now he is in his own bed usually by 9:30 and he sleeps until 5 or 6. It literally happened overnight. One day it was one way and the next day it had changed. It’s weird. Its nice because it means I usually sleep a bit more, but it is still very odd. I will say now that I have my bed back I am very unwilling to give it back. I could not be one of those parents that lets their older child crawl into bed with them every night. I was afraid I would be, but I can definitely say I wont.

Don’t get me wrong, I definitely enjoyed the benefits of nursing and bed sharing for the first couple of months. I brought him home from the hospital intending to do everything the doctor said. He would only sleep in his bed I thought. He would only sleep on his back I said. Ha. Whatever. I knew going into it that was ridiculous but I tried it anyway and guess what…He refused to sleep on his back most of the time and he woke up every two hours to nurse which meant I slept maybe an hour at a time. Since I was by myself a lot of the time in the early weeks except for when Faith was home from work which is a bit sporadic I was having to be the one doing everything for him at night. From 6pm to 6am most of the time I was it. I also couldn’t sleep during the day. I’ve never been able to take day time naps well and I eve laid down a few times when he napped and tried.

All of those factors led me to night nursing. I would put him in bed with me on his side and we would nurse like that. Eventually we both started falling asleep that way and within two weeks that’s just how we both slept at night. After that I just planned on it. We did our night time thing and by 9pm we were tucked into bed together. The first week or so I would wake up in a panic because I thought I might have smothered him or he might have rolled away. Turns out we both sleep like rocks once we get to sleep. Through the next two and a half months at night we both managed to share a bed and it was actually probably one of my better early decisions.

11713868_10100388324937345_1837251388454885549_o

taking a daytime nap in his crib

Fast forward to two weeks ago when I started putting him in his crib at night. At first I just wanted to be sure he could sleep without me but the better he did the better I realized he could do. He doesn’t sleep on his back. He sleeps on his belly. I never let him sleep on his belly those first few weeks, but when he started rolling over I decided he probably wouldn’t smother himself. I think that is the greatest harm we are doing to young mothers right now, in scaring them silly with SIDS. I say this because researchers and medical professionals call it Sudden Infant Death Syndrome because they have no idea what actually causes it… Its sudden..that’s all they know for sure. But on that limited knowledge they preach that we shouldn’t bed share, cause SIDS or we might smother them. And we shouldn’t put them on their bellies to sleep until they are way past the stage where they actually sleep better on their tummies. Call me crazy but until I am handed some better and harder facts I’ll do what works.

And it does work. Carl went from sleeping just a few hours in his crib, from 9pm-ish to 1am or 2am at first to all the way to 5am or 6am in a matter of two weeks. Its incredible but very true. My advice: Do what actually works for your baby and ignore inevitable advice you will receive from the hordes of people who just cant wait to give it to you.