Friday, March 29, 2013

This time last year...

At this time last year I was planning Little C's 1st birthday.


:: aaaand, que typical cliches now ::

I can't believe my baby is going to be 2, how fast time has gone!

Wasn't he just born yesterday?!?! Didn't I just put my hands on my large pregnant belly, look over at Hubs and say, "I think this is it." I swear I blinked and my newborn son became a walking, talking toddler!

What a joyful two years it has been! Little C is such a gift and I couldn't be more proud and in love with my son.

Don't you ever just watch your kid in amazement. Wondering how did this happen? How did I get so lucky to be this kid's mom? How is it possible for him to be any more perfect?!?

Becoming this boy's mother has been such a blessing, and we've had so much fun along the way. His laugh is infectious, his smile melts my heart and the things he says... Where does he get this stuff?!?! :)

:: aaaand, scene. ::

I am beyond excited to celebrate Little C's 2nd birthday with our loved ones. This year his birthday falls on Easter so it will be an extra special day for him. An Easter basket, Easter egg hunt AND birthday gifts? Spoils abound!

This time last year I was pulling together two separate parties (I have a very large extended family) and I was a Pinteresting fool trying to get the theme just right, and have everything be as perfect and pulled together as possible.

This year? There are no printables, no goodie bags, no custom thank you cards, or anything of the like. The boy likes jungle/zoo animals, theme done.  There will be modest decorations,  he's getting one party and we are serving a simple Easter brunch.

This year, less is more. He's only 2 and all of his favorite people will be here to celebrate and I'm incorporating all of his favorite foods so I'm sure he will be thrilled indeed and never know (or care for that matter) that mommy didn't Pintrest the shit out of his special day. Also... newborn.

At first this was not so easy for me. I LOVE to entertain and would love to be able to pull off a party similar to last year. Not as big, but still full of details large and small to bring it all together. I love that sort of thing but it is also very time consuming.

So I've let myself off the hook and instead of feeling guilty for not throwing C a super fancy schmancy, matchy-matchy, party, I've decided to not care. My son will know he is loved on his special day and he doesn't need a ton of over-the-top crap to express that.

I can't wait to share pictures of the party. As well as pics of the gift Hubs and I arranged for C. It will take place on Monday and all I'm going to say is that it may or may not involve this guy...

I am giddy with excitement for this weekend and now I'm off to tackle chores, and knock off all the items on my to-do list to get ready for the party. Wish me luck!
And for some fun blasts from the past:

Monday, March 25, 2013

So many things...

There is so much swimming around in my head right now. Mostly because I am very tired and when I am very tired I tend to get a bit out of sorts and start over thinking/stressing about things that need not be over thought/stressed about. Many of these things are the same from my last brain dump, but they are still around...

In no particular order:

  • Daycare dilemma - we found a solution for P-Nut until a spot at Little C's daycare opens up. This should have me jumping for joy but instead it has posed a new set of dilemmas. More on this later...
  • Breast milk - So. many. things. about breast milk. My supply seems to be dropping. My stash for going back to work is slow going. My daughter still has terrible gas and knowing it is my fault is really messing with my head.
  • Maternity leave is almost over - The very thought is overwhelming.
  • C's bday is on Easter and I am in full-on bday planning mode - This isn't too stressful because I am super excited, I just have so much to do.
  • P-Nut has a cough - A cough!!! She is only 2 1/2 months old and is sick! And here I thought breast milk was supposed to get all Chuck Norris on germs and kick their butts to the curb. Luckily she doesn't have a fever but the cough is keeping her up at night and her nose is super stuffed. We know all the tactics for handling this I just feel terrible for her.
In other news, I had a couple of triumphs this past week! Little C was home from daycare ALL WEEK and I had the calendar jam packed with play dates, appointments, etc. There were times when help was enlisted but there was also a ton of time that I had both babies all by myself. I have to say that it most certainly kicked my ass but I was also very proud of how well I did. :: pats self on back ::

The second triumph was my very first time breastfeeding in public. I usually have a pumped bottle on hand when we are out and will resist breastfeeding even if I'm engorged. I simply have not been comfortable to do it... yet. But this Saturday I said, "screw it!" There was no more hiding, no more feeling insecure and I did what had to be done. Of course, P-Nut wasn't having it under the "hooter hider" and she was only latched for maybe 5 minutes, but at least I got that first time out of the way and it will only get easier for here on out. Right? It will get easier??

Lastly, I wanted to give a shout out to my Mom. She took two days off of work to spend with me and the kids and we had a wonderful time! One day it was just me, P-Nut and Mom and we spent the day shopping. The second day mom came to my house and we were visited by my grandparents and one of my aunts then she stayed all afternoon and we laughed, stared at my precious children and even shed a few tears.

I love you, Mom. Saying, "thank you" never seems like enough. Watching you with my kids is a treat and we are all so lucky for your kindness, generosity, and unending love.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Mom Guilt

Today I'm at Mile High Mamas talking about "mom guilt." Why do we do it to ourselves? Why can't we  cut ourselves some slack?

Every day I do the best I can but beat myself up if I don't live up to some ideal in my head of a "type" of mom I think I need to be. Are you the same way?

I feel this needs to stop. I am too busy and too exhausted to keep beating myself up. As a mom I know I have and will make some mistakes, but I also know I do a pretty damn good job at this parent stuff and should start giving myself more credit.

Click here to continue reading about my thoughts on the subject...

Friday, March 15, 2013

Last night...

Last night I sat in my chair nursing P-Nut. Her body warm against mine as she made her usual sweet little baby sounds while her tiny hand rested on my chest. I gently ran my hand over her head, her hair incredibly soft. I moved my finger across her forehead and down her perfectly round cheek. I inhaled her smell and exhaled a feeling of contentment.

Then I looked up at her brother. My Little C. Almost 2 years old. He was wearing a Superman t-shirt that is one of my favs on him. We bought it when he was about a year old and it is just now fitting him properly. He is growing so fast...

He was crouched down playing with his trucks and cars, talking to them like old friends. His dark brown hair and his big, beautiful brown eyes slay me. He didn't know I was watching him and hearing his words made me feel incredibly proud. He is so smart and I can't believe how fast he is learning new things.

There is still enough baby left in him as he soldiers on through toddlerhood. My first baby moving way too fast toward "big boy" status. I want time to stand still...

I want to always remember this night. My heart was overflowing with happiness as I soaked in the feelings I have for my children. Do they know how much I love them?

Other parents with grown children constantly tell you how fast time flies. That before you know it they will be graduating from high school or even college. Having babies of their own. I would always nod and politely listen when people would tell me this. But now I get it.

I understand why the other parents tell us this. I understand why my parents hold a hug so tight and so long.

Life moves fast and we tend to fall prey to the daily grind. It is harder than we think to live in the present and to cherish every second. There are plenty of precious moments that will be erased by time or replaced by others. But then there are the moments that are burned into us forever. The moments so precious that even time will never be able to take.

Last night as I held my daughter in my arms and watched my growing boy play I had one of those moments. I'm happy, I'm grateful, and I won't forget it.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The things that keep me up at night...

  1. I only have three weeks left of maternity leave. As much as I enjoy working where I do, it just doesn't feel like enough time with my new baby and Little C.
  2. We don't have care lined up for P-Nut. This one is a biggie!! The daycare where C goes told us they had an opening but turns out they do not! We are scrambling to find a place where she can go that is convenient and affordable. No big deal. (sarcasm implied)
  3. I don't have a large supply of breast milk saved up. I need to start stock piling ASAP!
  4. The time has come to start potty training C. Isn't there a camp or some place we can send him for a week and when he returns it is all done for us??? JUST KIDDING... kind of.
  5. I have a bunch of kale in the fridge because you know... everybody's doing it. Problem is, I don't know how to prepare it. I do think I've found a recipe thanks to a gal I follow on Twitter so don't worry, I'll be okay!

Instead of stressing too much I'm going take a deep breath and just roll with it. Everything listed above isn't life or death and it is all stuff I can handle.

I intend to make the most of my last stretch of maternity leave and attempt to savor my time. Daycare will work out, things like that always do. Potty training is unavoidable and it is time to just bite the bullet and get on with it (assuming C is ready himself). And that kale will be in mah belly in no time! I sure hope it's good. ;)

Are you stressing about anything major? How do you manage the stress?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Mama and Baby - Month 2

Two months down! Whoop!

The last month has been filled with a lot of ups and some minor downs. The not-so-great parts of the last month were P-Nut's colic and my breastfeeding woes. All of which are currently under control. They still exist, but are much more manageable and getting better every day!

The ups are the obvious... a smiley, happy girl that melts our hearts. A big brother that adores his, "Baby Sis," and she seems to advance and change every single day. It is amazing how much growth occurs in 8 weeks.

P-Nut had her two month check-up yesterday and she is super healthy and developing as she should.

Here are her stats:

Weight: 10 lb. 8 oz. (50%)
Height:  22 inches (25-50%)
Head Circumference: 14 3/4 inches (25%)

I am most proud of her weight. As her main food source it is very empowering to know I am responsible for her being at a healthy weight. That alone makes all the struggles worth it.

P-Nut is breastfed roughly three times during the day, bottle fed once in the early evening and again before bed because she is super fussy and won't take my breast. Then she will nurse once in the middle of the night any time between 2-4am, then the cycle starts up again.

It is hard to know how many ounces she is getting while breastfeeding but when she takes a bottle she is averaging around 4oz per bottle (sometimes more, sometimes less).

P-Nut's Gut:
Last month I talked about how gassy our sweet, angelic baby girl was. This has gotten so much better since we were able to pin-point the cause and treat her symptoms. Gripe water and Mylicon have made a big difference but the main shift occurred when I gave up dairy and when we switched her from using the Medela bottles to the Dr. Brown's bottles.

Our Pediatrician told us to keep on doing what we are doing but also suggested we give her a Probiotic. Little C has to have probiotics daily because of his tummy issues and we are able to use the same drops for P-Nut as well. So far the Pediatrician doesn't feel that she will have the same tummy issues that C has or that she is even lactose intolerant. Everything we are experiencing is very "normal" for some babies. I am seriously crossing my fingers that she doesn't have the same issues as C but at least if she does we will know so much more about how to handle it.

Lastly, the Doc also said I could start slowly adding dairy back into my diet in a few weeks as P-Nut's gut will be more developed and she may no longer have an issue with the cow's milk proteins. The best thing to start with is yogurt, then cheese, then milk. It has to be done slowly and methodically to allow time for reaction.

P-Nut is officially sleeping in her crib at night. Can I get a, Hallelujah!!! I was eager to end our co-sleeping because it really wasn't allowing me to get the quality sleep I needed. The first few nights making the transition were rough but before long she was comfortable in her room and started going longer and longer without needing to make sure I'd be there if she needed me.

We now have a pretty solid routine with sleep. Of course there are nights where  things vary but that is to be expected. Here's what it looks like if everything goes according to plan:

7:30pm - Little C is put to bed
7:30-8:00pm - We feed P-Nut her final bottle of the day. Most of the time she won't finish it all and we set the remaining ounces aside for later.
8:00pm - 8:30pm - Play time! P-Nut plays on her mat and coos and smiles and bats at the toys. Hubs and I use this time to bond with her.
8:30pm - 9:00pm - Wind down time. She starts showing that she is getting sleepy and if she didn't finish all of her bottle we use this time to give her the rest. She is burbed and then we take her down to her room where it is only lit by her nightlight and she is rocked to sleep.
4:00am - She wakes up and is hungry but doesn't feed to aggressively or for very long. I'm hoping this will start to stretch out to 5am or 6am.
7:00am - She is awake and ready to EAT!

I am very pleased with this and I am hoping in the next 4 weeks we start to get closer to a full night of sleep just in time for my return back to work.

Mommy Update:

Every day and week that passes I am feeling so much better. Sleep has become existent again so that has a TON to do with it. Little C is behaving so very well and I can't wait to share with you how we have curbed his tantrums. I'm getting more comfortable with managing two kids but I will say I can go from calm and in control to completely overwhelmed in no time flat!

I am experiencing some anxiety about returning to work in a few short weeks. I can't believe how fast this time has gone. The bummer is how I am just now starting to feel up to getting back out into the "real" world instead of staying at home so much. I just wish I had felt this way a while ago so I could have enjoyed my time off more instead of trying to cram everything in that I wanted to do in these last few weeks. Oh well! I intend to make the most of it!

I had my postpartum check up yesterday and my body seems to be back to normal. My lady parts have all healed up and returned to their designated positions. What more could a girl ask for?!? I also discussed birth control and what is safe to use while breastfeeding. I took home information on an IUD. Does anyone have any pros and cons they'd like to share with me? This is the route I am leaning toward.

So that's it. This last month has been a doozy. From a colicky baby, breastfeeding blunders, a trantruming toddler, you name it. And oh yeah... I also have a husband that I fell in love with years ago and we are trying to find time for the two of us to connect outside of our parenting duties to keep the flame alive. If you know what I mean. :: wink, wink ::

I definitely have a lot of balls juggling in the air. But I'm feeling more and more confident in myself and juggling is getting more manageable. Besides, I don't mind all of the balls. I love my balls and I wouldn't trade my balls for any other balls in the world. No matter how tempting or big and beautiful those balls seem!  :: a'hem ::

Okay, so maybe I need more sleep than I thought!!!!!!!!!! Sorry about that. For now, I'll have to settle for coffee. ;)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Breastfeeding with P-Nut: Part 2

I'm just going to say the thing you're not supposed to say... I don't like breastfeeding.

There, I said it.

Now before you go reaching for the pitch forks and torches, hear me out. Make no mistake that the sentiments I have toward breastfeeding are in no way, shape or form a reflection of my sentiments toward my baby. I am madly in love and adore the crap out of sweet little P-Nut. What I am sharing here is strictly in relation to the act of breastfeeding. Period.

No one can prepare you for it. People will try, but there is really nothing they can do or say to get you ready for what is about to transpire. I know that applies to everything baby related from pregnancy, labor, or parenting in general. But I found this to be the most true with breastfeeding.

If you are a first time mom you may hear people tell you, "breastfeeding will come naturally." Or, "you are going to love breastfeeding... It was my favorite time with my baby." I was told these things and couldn't help but assume I'd feel the same way.

However, I was super nervous about breastfeeding from the start. Nothing about the act of having a baby suckle from my teet sounded appealing to me. I don't care how cold hearted that may sound, like I said, I'm not talking about my feelings toward my babies I'm talking about the act.

And since I was on board with the benefits of breastfeeding and so many people had positive experiences to share, I was definitely up for giving it a shot.

Then reality set in...

This was not as simple as baby sees boob, baby wants boob, baby gets boob and mom gazes down at her suckling babe while babe gazes back at mom and all is right in the world.

The reality was my nipples were in no way prepared for what they were about to go through! The cracks, the bruises the bleeding, and now vasospasms. My breasts were in no way prepared for what they were going to go through! The engorgement, the tenderness, clogged ducts. And I was in no way prepared for what I was emotionally going to go through.

There isn't a lonelier time then when you are with your baby in the middle of the night, deliriously tired and your newborn will not take your breast. You don't know why. They won't get latched and if they finally do your nipples are so sensitive and in pain that you seriously start to think you can't keep doing it.

The pain. We are told, "if you feel pain you are doing it wrong." That is a load of bull! Of course, there is pain caused by an improper latch which should be addressed and fixed. But what about the rest of the pain? What about my nipples being so sore after a non-stop day of cluster feeding? I'm doing it wrong?!? What about the pain caused by my milk coming in? My body's doing that wrong too?

There is pain involved with breastfeeding and that shouldn't automatically mean that the mom is "doing it wrong." I'm not doing anything wrong by trying my hardest to provide something pure and good for my baby.

Then there are the babies themselves. They have to do their part as well. Little C was not a proficient sucker. He had a bit of a recessed chin and could barely gather out an ounce while feeding for over 20 minutes on each side. Before I knew what the problem was, he would get so angry that nothing was coming out and would literally be screaming as I kept on shoving my boob in his face. It was awful. Not natural. Not enjoyable for either of us.

I started exclusively pumping and I was honestly relieved to be doing it.

Now I have P-Nut. From the start we had a much better experience. The difference between her and C was how much more she was attached to me. Something I was not at all prepared for either.

I know how ridiculous that sounds. How could I not be prepared that my newborn baby would need their mother?!? Well, Little C was much more independent from the start and also had a very strong attachment to his father. I knew he loved me but Hubs had a very calming effect and bond with C from day one.

From sun up to sun down P-Nut is attached to me. Not just as her main food source but she even uses me as her pacifier. She wants to latch on to calm down.

I am more than happy to be that for her it just took it's toll initially. I couldn't place her down or be more than two inches away from her and no matter how much I want to help my baby and be there for her, there truly are times where I need to step away. Tend to my toddler, get some coffee, or just to take a shower and clear my head. But as soon as the water turns off I can hear her screaming for me in my hubby's arms and I barely have a chance to dry off before I'm at it again.

I know it seems like I'm complaining about what it takes to be a mom but I'm really not. I gladly do what I have to do, I'm simply trying to share that something I thought was going to be natural and wonderful has not felt that way to me at all.

I get frustrated I struggle so much with breastfeeding. Not just logistically, but that I don't enjoy it. That makes me feel guilty and like a terrible mother. How could I not like something that bonds me so closely with my daughter? Why don't I enjoy it?

I wish I could pin point it or express it more eloquently, all I know is I want to like it as much as I think I should. Does that make sense???

If there is anything I've learned about my breastfeeding experiences so far it is researching and gathering as much information as possible has been a huge help for me as well as talking about it with other mothers.

For example, one of my friends is a pro. She has a daughter two months younger than Little C who has just now started to wean herself from mom. My friend never in a million years would have thought she'd breastfeed this long or that she would have enjoyed it so much. She also said that she didn't like it at first either and struggled just as much as I am. I can't tell you how much that helped to hear.

Then she sent me this article and said it really helped her in the beginning. After reading it myself I felt so much better about what I was doing and it gave me a much greater understanding of my baby's need for me. I wish I had read this either before my children were born or at least right after.

I still can't say I'm in love with the act but I can say I choose to keep going. Not because I'm a martyr but because I can. I am able to do this for my daughter and I know that at any moment I can stop if it becomes too much for me. After all, there is so much more to being a good parent and mother than what you feed your babies. Plus, I'm told it will get easier and I may start to love it as much as I feel I should.

I hope if you take anything away from this it is how you can admit you don't love a certain part of mothering as much as you thought you would or should. There is no "one size fits all" when it comes to being a mom and I certainly hope you don't feel bad or embarrassed if you need to admit that something just isn't working for you. Besides, in most cases there are numerous ways to do one thing when it comes to parenting and finding what is the best fit for you and baby is so important no matter how big or small that "thing" is.

Do some research, ask for help, talk to your husband, talk to your doctor or your baby's doctor, talk to your mom, a sister, a girlfriend. No matter the topic and no matter what you feel, it is fine and you shouldn't suffer through anything alone.