New Year, Unglue Year

So my son just turned 2 (!!), and he is active as ever. He’s constantly running around, and since his birthday is 2 weeks after Christmas, he has more than enough things to play with!

He has also started asking mama and daddy to play with him. “Come on mama!” “Come on daddy!” “Play football?” It’s so sweet. 

I love playing with him and having him show me new things. He has also started pretend play, where he’ll pretend to make food or have his stuffed animals do things like eat and put puzzles together. The sweetest. 

One thing I have noticed, however, is how hard parenting has gotten. It’s always been hard! But in this age of distraction, it’s so easy to just plop your kid down with a movie and zone out while you scroll through Facebook so you can get a break. Sitting with your child, engaging with him, playing with him, watching him…that’s what’s hard. 

Sadly, I’ve noticed how often I grab my phone when my son doesn’t need me for something. But you know what else I’ve realized? He always needs me! Today, for example, he was giving his stuffed puppy a drink from our dog’s bowl and he looked at me so proud and happy! If I were on my phone I would have missed that small glance. 
My son has even started to take my (and my husband’s) phone from my hands and set it on the table when he wants to play. This has woken me up even more. His generation will have to constantly fight for attention because everyone is so consumed with technology and “FOMO.” 

As the new year begins, I am going to make a better effort to be present at home and out with my family. I am guilty of checking social media or browsing the web while at the dinner table or when we’re all together in the living room. This needs to stop! 

I have been setting my phone down on the table when I get home, and I will admit that not picking it up is difficult! My husband might ask me something that makes me want to look online, but instead of looking it up right then, I make a note to look it up later so that I can chase my son around the house or help him build a tower with blocks. Instead of checking Instagram or Facebook or putting a YouTube video on for my bored toddler when we’re out to dinner, I interact with my husband or draw pictures with my son. 

Out to dinner at Chilis. Yay chips and salsa!

I’ve realized how sad it is that people, myself included, are so addicted to their phones. I have started caring less about what people I’m barely friends with anymore are doing and focus more on the ones I love the most who are right in front of me. I hope I can keep it up! My family is definitely more important. 

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Are You There Sanity? It’s Me, Mom.

I’ve been on hiatus lately. It just seems like everything is moving at warp speed, and before I know it I haven’t written in months!

Things are changing, and they’re changing fast.

Our once happy, hungry, sound-sleeping little boy has taken a 180, and it’s really been quite disastrous. A month or two (or three?) ago he became a picky eater. Which I guess is fine since it’s mostly just during dinner. Maybe he’s tired from a long day at daycare, and they tell us he eats well when he’s there, so we cut him some slack. Anything to avoid another meltdown/more food thrown to the dog/floor than into his mouth.

And that’s just it. The meltdowns. We are picking our battles these days, and winning few of them. At 20 months, our son is well on his way to the “terrible twos.”

You gave me a yogurt when I clearly wanted oranges? SCREAM!

I am telling you I want to go outside, yet you are forcing me to put shoes on? SCREAM! CRY!

I want to throw my toys into the trash bin, and you say I can’t? SCREAM! CRY! BANG HEAD ON FLOOR!

I’m sorry, sweetheart. How awful of me to not yet understand all of your toddler speak, be a mind reader, or want you to get hurt. Clearly you know what is best for you better than I!

And then there’s bedtime. The time my husband and I both dread the most. We had a good routine: bath, stories, a quick cuddle/song, and into bed still awake. He would fall asleep on his own a short time later. No screaming, no crying, maybe just a little whine and off he went.

These days? You would think his crib was actually a tank filled with sharp objects or electric wires! Any motion towards the thing and he screams bloody murder until you leave the room with him. It takes multiple attempts and tactics to calm him down enough to get back into his bedroom, where we then have to rock him and sing to him until he is FULLY asleep before placing him in his crib. If he is the slightest bit awake and you try to put him in there, FORGET IT! Back to square one.

Don’t even think about letting him cry it out. He is far too big for that. He will scream and cry at the top of his lungs and then climb, head first, right out of the crib and onto the floor, where he will scream some more. It is exhausting, and there’s no telling what kind of night it will be. His normal bedtime used to be around 7:30-8pm, and now we’re lucky if he is asleep by 9. There have been a couple nights where he didn’t fall asleep/calm down until almost 11. Just recently he’s been up in the middle of the night too, suddenly realizing he is trapped in the shark tank and must escape!

So yes, I realize it may be time for the toddler bed, as this has been going on for over a week. It’s just that the internet has told me it’s best to wait until a child is closer to 3 years old, so I needed validation (from everyone else besides Google) that it is, in fact, time to make the move.

Today is Wednesday, and we are going to wait until Friday to go for it. While this may mean a couple more nights of rocking and consoling, it also might mean a couple less nights of getting out of bed multiple times, as I have heard the first few nights in a new bed can be a challenge. It also gives us a couple more days to finish baby-proofing.

Again, things are changing. They always are. Just when you think you’re mastering the parenting game, something new comes along to put you back on the amateur train.

It’s stressful, and it’s tiring, and it’s a hard dose of reality, but we’ll get there. Luckily we aren’t the first people on earth to get thrown into the realms of parenthood, and there’s plenty of advice (warranted or not) and encouragement out there.

I’ll be sure to give an update on how the bed transition goes, and please feel free to share your stories of head-banging reality checks with everyone willing to listen. We all need to hear it. I mostly get by these days with reading blog posts and web forums of other moms going through exactly what I am, so I hope this post is of some help to someone out there. Heck, it may even make some moms think “wow, at least my kid isn’t that bad off!” and to you I say, piss off! 🙂

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Things I Learned the First Year

8 not so little things from January 8, 2014 to January 8, 2015:

1. I can still function surprisingly well on little-no sleep. Of course the first few months are supposed to be hard. Trying to “sleep when the baby sleeps” and figure out a routine and being woken up every few hours to nurse. I went back to work at just six weeks (America totally needs to reevaluate maternity leave, btw), and it was a miracle I did not pull a George Kostanza and sleep under my desk. I kept telling myself, he’s only three months old, he’ll start to sleep better soon. Then three months turned into six, six turned into nine, and nine moved right on into twelve, and our son still wasn’t sleeping through the night. It literally happened when he turned a year + one week old, consistently. Sure, there were a few times here and there where he did sleep through the night before he turned a year, but it never lasted more than a couple nights. Now that he’s a whole 2.5 weeks into being one, he may have finally found out that sleep is actually awesome.

2. My husband and I now have a different relationship. It’s not a bad relationship, by any means. Just different. Instead of all the focus being on the two of us (plus the dog), we now focus mainly on the baby. Dates are few and far between since we only really have one babysitter, not to mention we both work full time during the week, so the weekend is really our only time to be with our son. Who needs dates?!

I learned it is still important to make time for each other, even if it’s hard. I developed a bit of tunnel vision, and it took a reality check from my husband to make me really realize it. I was too concerned with making sure our son was being taken care of that I forgot to take care of us. Finally, my short fuse, tiredness, and lack of intimacy became too much for him, and he put me in my place. I’m glad he did, because now we’re back on track. Hugs are great, kisses too. Talking is important, and putting away your cell phone at the dinner table should be mandatory!

3. I will never be able to watch a movie/tv show/commercial or read a news article/blog/book/anything if a child gets abused/hurt/sick/kidnapped/mistreated in any way. The movie “Prisoner,” for example. My husband and I watched this when I was pregnant, so I was not yet aware of the “oh-my-god-every-child-reminds-me-of-my-child-and-i-will-kill-anyone-who-hurts-him” state of mind. I remember talking to friends who had kids about the movie, and all of them were like “I could not watch that!” or “I hated that movie!” because a child was kidnapped in it. I also remember thinking “Really? It wasn’t that bad/serious!” but now. I TOTALLY GET IT! And is it me, or is there suddenly an influx of child abuse/murder these days? I can’t deal.

4. Daycare kind of sucks and is also kind of a good thing. It’s really to put your kid into the hands of a stranger. Especially when he is only 6 weeks old. I hated leaving him every day to go to a job I barely even liked. I still do. Unfortunately, we are not in a financial position to have one of us stay home. It sucks not knowing how he is doing all day, if he is being taken care of, if he is sitting in a wet diaper or crying for too long. At six weeks old, he was totally helpless.

Now that he’s older, it’s not AS hard. I’d still much rather be at home with him, but I think he has fun with the other kids. It is good for his development to interact with them and be around different people. I don’t like all the germs he shares with them, but at least his immune system is getting stronger with each cold. I have also noticed he’s more outgoing than my friends’ babies who stay home with mom. Shy kids make me feel awkward, and I’m confident my son will not be one of them!

5. I will never be on time for anything ever again. Even if we make it out the door with time to spare, chances are we have forgotten something essential for our son that makes us turn around to go get which makes us late. Also, I will not wake my son from a nap, even if I was supposed to be at your house 20 minutes ago. He needs sleep more than you need to see us. I’m hoping friends and family understand this by now, and don’t really think we will be there by 6:30 when dinner starts at 6:00.

6. Breastfeeding is HARD. I’m proud to say I did it for an entire year, especially because I saw somewhere that only 17% of working moms do. It is the most selfless thing a mother can do for her child, because it takes so much to make it happen, not just physically. It was hard to go out places for extended periods because my breasts became engorged and uncomfortable. When I was home, I couldn’t get too comfortable/involved in any activity because I knew I’d have to nurse him soon. When he woke up at night, it was me who went to him because it took too much time and effort to prepare a bottle. It was easier just for me to get up and nurse him back to sleep (and he would not go back to sleep unless he was fed!). I was exhausted for a full year.

And then there’s pumping. I’ve posted a couple times about it, so I won’t get into it again, but in a nutshell: finding time/privacy, storing the milk, cleaning the parts, clogged ducts, 10 hour road trips/pumping in the car/battery packs. I could go on and on.

I constantly worried if he was getting enough.

Now that he’s weaned, I can finally breathe. My boobs look like deflated balloons, but man does it feel good to lay on my stomach again! I’m still exhausted, but not as bad. Also, I’m not as moody and my libido is coming back—yay, estrogen! Not looking forward to having my period return though…

7. Pregnancy/childbirth will continue to take a toll on my body. I never used to get sick. Now I have thyroid issues and I’ve had more colds this winter than ever in my life. I’m currently battling the end of a bad cold (contracted from my son, who had RSV) and an ear infection. I’ve never had an ear infection, nor have most people I know above age 5.

My stretch marks will always be there, and my body will never look the same as it did. I think I’ve aged more this past year than the 30 prior years total. I have wrinkles and bags around my eyes, my knees hurt when I [actually find the time to] work out, and my hair is falling out in clumps. I also really need to watch what I eat now, because if I don’t, I look like I did the day I came home from the hospital postpartum.

8. I wouldn’t change any of it. I love this little boy more than anything I ever thought I could. He makes me laugh every single day, and I love watching him grow. Though my heart breaks each time he learns something new, it also grows a tiny bit more.

Parenting is hard work. It’s scary and it’s exciting. It’s exhausting and it’s eye-opening. It is the best thing in the entire world. I still look at my son after a year and think, “My God, I can’t believe we made this amazing little person.”

Here’s to many more years of learning for all of us!

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On the Eve of my 30th Birthday

As I begin my 4th decade on this earth, I am looking both backward and forward. My life has had its fair share of ups and downs, but I would say more ups than downs. Do I feel like I’m about to be 30 years old? Not really. Do I look like I’m about to be 30 years old? Definitely not (I just got ID’d quite sternly this past weekend, and when she saw my birth date she laughed!). Am I happy where I am in life at 30 years old? Definitely yes.

My career is starting to (finally) take shape and go in a direction I hoped for since day 1 of college. I have a wonderful, amazing, kind-hearted, selfless man by my side.  Best of all, we made another life together. Not just the life we are living, but that of another human being.

I get a little sad when I think about my 30 years on earth and the mere 7 months my son has had. He has no idea that anything bad could ever happen. He doesn’t know about death, getting hurt (physically and emotionally), or hardships. His biggest problem is not getting the bottle/boob in his mouth quick enough. He finds joy in such simple things: swinging, bouncing, daddy giving raspberries, our dog, a rubber giraffe. I love to just watch him take it all in and see the expressions on his face. I wish more than anything I could guarantee nothing bad will ever happen to him, but unfortunately, that’s just about impossible.

When I look back, there are a couple small things I might change, but none of them would have an effect on my life at this moment. I’d probably still be with my husband and child, and I would still be working (just maybe in a different line of work). Had we known the difficulty of being away from our family and having a new baby, we may not have moved quite so far away. We love where we are though, so who knows.

My hope for the next 30 years is that they go as smoothly as these first 30. I’m afraid I may see more death, more world problems, and possibly more money woes. But I will also see my son grow to be a man and possibly start a family of his own. I will see my husband grow old with me and we will take on life’s challenges together. We will have some surprises (good and bad), but I know God won’t give us anything we can’t handle. I’m looking forward to my 30s. Bring it on!

Sleething (Sleep + Teething) and Our Fur Baby

We have a tooth! No longer a gummy bear. Baby boy has been drooling A TON so we knew it was coming. When we picked him up from daycare and they told us he had one, we were still surprised because I hadn’t seen any other signs of it.

Just another sign that he is growing up right before our eyes. And it looks like another one is coming right next to it. Uhg. Can’t he just stay my little baby forever?

Progress was also made in the sleep department. We took another road trip up to NY for a wedding this past weekend and he slept through the night ALL 3 NIGHTS!! He also slept through the first night we got home. I thought we had reached a HUGE milestone, but, alas, last night he woke at 1:45am. Sigh. At least it was only once.

In other news, our first baby (Roni, the Australian shepherd) has REALLY bad anxiety ever since about the first or second month we had baby boy home. He does this weird nibble thing on all the couch and bed pillows/cushions/mattress, toys, basically anything available that is squishy. It’s very strange. We try to say “No!” and “Stop!” and even just call his name while he does it but it’s as if he is in a trance! He just keeps doing it until we physically pull him away. I’m pretty sure he is just starved for attention and misses being the only baby.

It doesn’t look as if it will get any better. We should probably take him to the vet. We feel like bad [dog] parents. He definitely does not get as much attention as he used to. Poor pup! I’ve thought about getting another dog so he has someone to play with. Friends have said this would help. I just need to convince my husband! 😀