Thoughts at a 4am Wake-Up Call

Why are you awake?! You aren’t supposed to be up for another 2 hours! Maybe if we rock you for a moment you will fall back asleep. No? Fine. I’ll warm up a bottle. You are so sweet when you’re sleepy. I love you so much.” 

 He falls back asleep. I knock my water off the night stand and it magically lands upright, not spilling. My husband thinks I’ve started an electrical fire, even though I told him nothing spilled.
 

5:15am: “Really?! Again?! Maybe you have a fever. I’ll come console you. You’re head doesn’t feel extra warm. I haven’t cuddled you in a while, so this is ok. Let’s just rock here for a bit. Hopefully I’ll be back in bed in 20 mins…Are you asleep? Yes, I think so. *attempts to lay baby back in his crib and he immediately cries* Ugh! You were just ASLEEP!! Come on, just lay back down in your nice crib with your nice blanky and go back to sleep, it’s ok. No? Not going to happen? Fine. I’ll put you back on my shoulder for a bit. 

What time is it now? 5:30? If it were light out maybe I’d just go for a run once he is back in his crib. Yeah right, who am I kidding? I’m exhausted and would much rather sleep. Will I ever run again? I miss running. I miss being in shape. I need to run a half marathon before baby #2. Why bother though? Why get in shape again only to lose it? Maybe I can keep running while pregnant next time. What baby names do I like now? Sawyer will probably get popular after this kid on The Voice. I still like it. 

Are you asleep enough to put back in your crib? Let’s try it. Nope, crying again. Sigh. I guess I’ll just try to sleep while sitting upright in this rocker. If I fall asleep will I drop you? This is not comfortable. Sleep is not going to happen. Thanks a lot, kid. You enjoy sleeping on mommy’s shoulder while her arm falls asleep holding you there. One day you won’t fit on my lap and I will be sad. Do I really have to go to work today? It’s not fair. I’m too tired. I will surely fall asleep at my boring desk all day. Maybe I’ll bring you into my bed with me and you can sleep on my chest while I lay down! *carries baby boy into bedroom and lays down* 

 There. Isn’t this nice? We can both just sleep here for a little bit. *baby wakes up and looks around. Sees it’s dark and he’s not in his room and starts to fuss* FINE! *carries him back to his room, and assumes the position in the rocker*

Welp. That’s it. Getting up at 4am it is. *note: did not really fall back asleep between wakings* I’ll just stay here until my husband comes to tell me it’s my turn to get in the shower. I need sleep. I wish I could stay home for a whole day and just sleep the whole time. I could easily do it. I need to sleep for at least a week to catch up. I wonder if my husband thinks I look old and tired. I feel old and tired. Your little arm is twitching. You are snoring. Don’t worry, I won’t try to put you down again. Your hair is a little curly from being warm up against my neck. You have my hair. Fine and straight and golden. Only curly when wet. I like when you are asleep. It’s the only time you want to cuddle with me these days. 

What time is it now? Is my husband up? I think I hear the shower. I need to close my eyes. Here comes the dog. Don’t wake him up.” 

 6:20am: *husband comes in to relieve me. I get in the shower* “I’m so tired. This day is impossible. I thought it was a lucky day after the water didn’t spill. That seems like hours ago. It is a lucky day. Every day is lucky. I’m so tired. A hot shower will feel great right now…” 

 And now I’m sitting at my desk at work, barely able to stay awake. Luckily, baby boy doesn’t always do this, and he just wasn’t feeling good. Tonight will be better…



(Picture from a year ago today. So little!)

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My (half) Week As A Single Mom: Day 4

Well, I survived another episode of “Life As A Single Mom.”

To be honest, the worst part was dealing with the dog! We have an Australian Shepherd, and he is SUPER needy.  This has been elevated since The Bear came into our lives, and he went from spoiled only child to house plant. His name has recently changed from Roni (pronounced roe-knee) to “Erroneous” because he’s been getting into trouble.  Since I wasn’t able to devote equal attention to both him and The Bear, he was acting out by barking, humping, whining, you name it. He also doesn’t understand that he can’t play tug with my son without yanking him across the room!

So basically all my previous stats are pretty much moot and things ended up as such:

Annoyance level: 10 out of 10

Times the dog made The Bear cry: At least 5x/day

Days the dog went without a play session: 3 out of 4 (maybe 2.5 if throwing a dog toy in anger several times in a row just to get him out of my face counts)

Baby toys destroyed:  2

Nights the dog slept on the floor: 0, because let’s be honest, at the end of the day, he is still dang cute and I love that little furball! (He does not stay on the bed all night, however. Usually only for 20-30 minutes, but always STARTS on the bed.)

I love you, mom!

I love you, mom!

My [half] Week As A Single Mom: Day 1

My first full day was ok. I’m glad I opted to take a shower last night, because, as expected, little bear was up at 6 ready to go. Luckily he wasn’t as needy as he usually is in the mornings and let me put him down long enough to get dressed.

Schools were closed because it was too cold, and usually his daycare doesn’t open when schools are closed. They made an exception, though, because schools have been closed since Tuesday, and I think some other parents needed to get back to work! Since kids don’t have to wait at a bus stop to get to daycare, I think it was a wise decision, and I’m glad I didn’t have to use a valuable vacation day to stay home. Don’t get me wrong, I would love a day at home with my son, but when vacation time is limited, I’d rather save it for another day. (side note: my husband is a teacher, so Tuesday and Wednesday he was off with our son while daycare was closed.)

The hardest part of the day was the drive home from daycare. I forgot to bring an extra snack, so he was starving/screaming on the ride home. I had to throw him in the high chair as soon as we got home and get dinner going. I was able to stall with Cheerios and pieces of string cheese while I was heating things up.

Here’s how day 1 fared:

Exhaustion level: 8 by days end

Tonight’s dinner: grilled chicken strips, carrots, and string cheese

Did he eat it?! only the string cheese. The rest was chewed then spit out. I think texture is a problem for him.

Post-dinner playtime moment: FaceTime with dad. It was happy at first, but then little bear broke down crying after a few minutes. I think because he missed dad 😦

Tantrums: 1, when I wouldn’t let him brush his hear with a food covered spoon.

Rooms cleaned: 0

Loads of laundry: 0

Bed time for bear: 7:15

Bed time for mom: 9:15

TGIF and I don’t have to worry about showering for 2 days!!

My [half] Week As A Single Mom: Night 1

Well, it’s that time again. I am about to embark on another (½) week as a single mom (see My Week As A Single Mom series). It shouldn’t be too bad, as it is only 4 days, but still tiring nonetheless.

I’m already planning on taking a shower at night instead of the morning since my son has been routinely waking at 6am these days. My husband usually occupies him while I get myself ready for work and then we switch off so he can do the same, but that won’t be an option. I also won’t be able to get in my morning workout since, again, my son will wake up and have no one to tend to him.

A side project of ours is building cornhole boards, and we have an order in place for a set of those (if you don’t know what cornhole is). My husband was able to build them before he left. He does the building, I do the painting, so I need to find time to paint them while he is gone too. This set’s theme: LSU and New Orleans Saints! I’m banking on long naps and warmer weather (have to paint outside on the back porch—no garage) to accomplish this as they need them by next weekend! Tomorrow’s high temp: 17 degrees.

Should be fun! At least I only have to work 2 of the 4 days, so showering doesn’t need to be a priority half of the time.

This time around our son is a little older, so I’ll (hopefully) get peed/pooped on and woken up at night a little less. The tallies will be different this time as I’ll be battling making dinner (I get home from work at 5:30, he’s starving, and also picky, plus I’m tired), tantrums, and time.

Here’s the stats for tonight:

Exhaustion level: 7 (though this is basically my norm–somewhere between functioning and constantly wishing for a nap)

Tonight’s dinner: leftover pork, mixed veggies, brown rice

Did he eat it?! YES! The kid loves pork!

Post-dinner playtime moment: The bear ripping pages out of a magazine and feeding them to the dog. He thought it was absolutely hilarious, and the dog tolerated it well. He then sat down on his favorite toy (a drum), broke it, and happily played with the broken pieces. He will most likely be sad about this tomorrow.

Tantrums: 2, when I put him down on the floor for hitting me in the head after I told him “No!” and “ouch!” and when his toy phone started rolling on it’s wheels instead of upside down. Both resulted in crying on the floor for 5 mins/until held.

Rooms cleaned: 0

Loads of laundry: 0

Bed time for bear: 7:30

Bed time for mom: 9:00?

Stay tuned for more “single mom” shenanigans tomorrow!

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Wanting More

WARNING: This may be a full post of complaining that has nothing to do with motherhood.

Too often I find myself thinking “why can’t my life be like that?” The ‘that’ being anything from a person/celebrity to a certain job to a specific lifestyle. I think I’m just bored, and that boredom isn’t that my life is boring, but my career. Seeing as I spend most of my time at work, thus most of my life at work, it sort of does mean my life is boring, but I hate to say that because I have a toddler who keeps me more than entertained and a husband who I have fun with. I just wish we did more. We don’t travel because we don’t have the money. We don’t go out places much anymore because of our son/we only have one babysitter. The only time we really take trips are when we need to go see our family/friends’ life events. We never go anywhere just to go. JUST FOR FUN.

Don’t get me wrong. We have fun. We laugh a lot. We play. We do see friends about every other weekend (usually our neighbors so we can bring our son/because our baby monitor extends to their house), and we have drinks and play games. It’s just why can’t there be more? More to life than a job you don’t really like but are obligated to go to so you can pay the bills. More than the nightly routine of cooking dinner, bathing the kids, and going to bed. More than weekends filled with errands and catching up on things you don’t have time for during the week.

I think what got me thinking this way is when my cousin posted on facebook “what would be the first thing you would do if TIME and MONEY weren’t an issue?” and that’s just it. Time and money are an issue. They’re THE issue. We don’t go places because we can’t afford it, financially and through time off of work. We don’t go out because we don’t have time because our son needs to go to bed by 7:30. We don’t fix all the things that need fixing because we don’t have the money just yet. I stopped watching HGTV not because I got sick of watching it, but because it depressed me seeing beautiful home makeovers that I will never be able to afford.

So what can change all of this? I’m not sure. I keep hoping I’ll have an epiphany and figure out exactly what I love doing that I can make my living with enough money to do everything I want to do, with enough time to actually do it. That would be my ultimate dream (if I can never be a stay-at-home mom). That or win the lottery. Until then, I guess this is it.

I know that we have a child and he’s doing all this stuff and learning new things and we get to have birthday parties and play and do all these fun activities, but there will be a limit to that fun. I want our child(ren?) to have awesome memories and I want to be able to take them places so they aren’t left wondering “I wonder what that place is like?” I want to buy them a swing set and bikes and gadgets and not worry about the cost. I want to have more than one child! But right now daycare alone would be too much.

Maybe I want too much. I have everything I NEED. I have a roof over my head. A job that lets me pay for things. I have a car. I have food to eat. I just get sick of the monotony of it all. I want less worry. I want excitement. I want a life that other people want.

Someday. I think you get my point.
Life is what you make it though, right? If you can afford it…

I think I’m getting my period. Disregard everything I just said and go about your more optimistic business.

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End of an Era

Tonight I pulled the last bag of breast milk from the freezer, marking the official end to a year of nursing.

I haven’t breastfed my son in almost a month, but I was lucky enough to have over 200 oz of milk stored away to keep feeding him after his first birthday. Tomorrow he will have his last sip of it.

I think he’s ok with it. He’s already getting mostly whole milk in his bottles. I just can’t believe it’s over. All of that hard work, finished. I nursed him and pumped for what seemed like forever. I’ve never worked harder at anything in my life, and I only spilled a few ounces!

I kept going after after all of the clogged ducts. While working full time. All the bags and cleaning parts and storage guidelines. I made it through the distracted phase, where he was too curious to settle in for too long. Kept going after all of the “you’re still breast feeding?!” judgy questioning. A year really isn’t that long. I’m not sure why it was such a big deal to some people. Then again, most of it came from women who’d never done it before.

It was the most rewarding experience. I got to feed my baby and give him the best shot at a healthy life. He thrived. He grew. He’s still growing. And I played a big part in that. Now it’s over.

All we’re left with now is an empty freezer. We bought an extra one just for all the milk. I’m not sure what we’ll do with it now. It literally only had milk in it.

While I won’t miss leaky boobs, engorgement, or constant worry, I will miss the quiet moments nursing my son.

A part of me feels like I’m not sure what to do now that he doesn’t “need” me anymore. Of course he still does. It’s just weird not having him depend on me quite so much.

So that’s it. The end of my breast feeding career! For now anyway.

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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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Oh, The Places You’ll Go! A 1st Birthday Celebration

I’m not ready to put into words the enormity of this past year, so for now I’ll just tell you all about baby boy’s 1st birthday celebration!

His official birthday isn’t until Thursday, but we had the party this past Saturday. It was a Dr Seuss’ “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” theme, and my first attempt at planning a child’s party. I think it went pretty well!

My sister helped set up the decorations (streamers) and I made my own Truffula trees using wrapping paper rolls, spray paint, colored duct tape, and paper poofs. We had balloons and even one big “hot air balloon!” complete with cloudy sky backdrop.

Here are some shots from the day:

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Check out that pasta! I was so thrilled when I found it at World Market. It’s rainbow colored farfalle! Isn’t it cute?! We also had a rainbow of fruit and some cute pinwheel sandwiches (these 2 were catered). I also made avocado corn salsa (recipe here), not pictured, with purple, green, and yellow corn chips that I also found at World Market.

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Of course there were sweets too! Themed cupcakes from The Cupcake Shoppe. There were custom m&ms with our sons name and “Happy 1st Birthday!” printed on them. These were paired with sprigs of cotton candy as the favors.

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Here are the trees and the dessert table, and of course the hot air balloon! I just love the giant balloon! Maxwell loved it too, and I’m pretty sure he liked it more than any of his presents! Shhh

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Finally, the cake smash! He didn’t go after it quite as hard as I thought he would, but he definitely made a mess and LOVED IT!! He got his very own giant cupcake with the boy from the book on it, and it was his first dose of pure sugar. He proceeded to go absolutely nuts with his friends/all of his new toys for the rest of the evening and slept GREAT! Almost 12 hours straight (that’s never happened)! Maybe we need to have a party every day…

All in all, I’d say it was a great party. My sister took the amazing photos featured above. The only thing is that now I feel like I’ll have to continue to raise the bar for every party still to come! And what about if there’s a baby #2!? Good grief. Let me stop getting ahead of myself.

I know he won’t remember this party at all, but he will only turn 1 once! Big celebrations are necessary! Plus, the pictures are memories captured in time 😉

Party planning is pretty fun, isn’t it?! I like being able to unleash my inner child! Did you throw a big party for your little ones big day? What are some creative things you’ve seen/done?

My So-Clogged Life

So here I am. Another day. Another clogged milk duct to ruin it.

I’m pretty sure I’ve blogged about my duct probs before, but alas, here I go again. I had one last week on my left side, and this week it’s on my right. I just can’t win!

Recently, each one happened after my almost 10 month old slept through the night. Though I’d REALLY love to celebrate these achievements, I can’t, because I’m frustrated and in pain. I want nothing more than for my son to consistently sleep through the night, but him doing so only means one thing. Clogged mama.

I’m hoping this will change if/when he routinely sleeps through the night. Maybe my boobs will catch on. So far he only does it sporadically, maybe a couple nights a week. I’m trying to start the weaning process now, because I only plan on breast feeding until my son is a year old. I might consider going longer, or starting to wean later, if it weren’t for the constant clogged ducts! It’s SO FRUSTRATING! Every time I get one I want to quit BFing then and there.

There was a glorious 2 month stint of time where I didn’t get a single one. Not sure what was going on there, but it was amazing. Now I’m back to the every week or, if I’m lucky, every other week routine.

I wish there was a quick cure for the dreaded clog, but I have yet to find one. I know, I’m supposed to nurse nurse nurse! And apply heat and rest. But how am I supposed to do that at work? I can’t exactly bring my baby to work and attach him to my boob all day. Nor is it feasible to pump all day long until the clog releases (side note: I think pumping is why I get them so often).

Here’s what I usually do to help (with nursing when at home):

  1. Rig up an Indiana Jones heating pad at work using a small plastic Ziploc, a paper towel, and water. Put it in the micro of the community kitchen (discretely so no one asks wth I’m doing) for 15 secs to get maybe 15 min of heat therapy (again, discretely place this in my shirt so no one knows it’s there/wth I’m doing with a bag in my shirt). Then try to pump as much as I can, usually once or twice.
  2. Take a HOT (like, hot as I can stand) bath, while lying on my belly and massaging, with the hope that gravity plays a role in this.

  3. Hand pump in the tub.

  4. Drink pineapple juice (read this on Pinterest!). This worked once, but maybe that was just a fluke.

  5. Cry and yell and throw my pump parts across the room because this damn clog is just too stubborn and my boob hates me!!!!

  6. Go to bed.

  7. Repeat until it miraculously goes away.

They usually last at least a couple of days, and I’m pretty sure the frustration/worry I feel when they come on does not make them go away any quicker. Luckily, thankfully, somehow I’ve never gotten mastitis. At least I have that going for me and my spiteful boobs.

“Oh, you got a full night of sleep?” CLOG!

“What’s that? You wore a bra that actually had some support?” CLOG!!

“It’s been a full week since you were plugged up? We can’t have that!” CLOG! CLOG! CLOG!

So this is my life. I truly enjoy breast feeding, but I’ve had about all I can stand with this issue. Hopefully next time around things will be better, but maybe I’m just prone to them for whatever reason. Anyone else?