October

Oh October.  I love thee so.  But I have a very mixed relationship with October…

I got married this first time on October 4th.  It was not a smart thing to do, but I did it anyway.  I do not regret it, but I do wish I had been able to avoid some of the pain that relationship caused.  However, if I hadn’t gotten married and my ex-husband hadn’t decided to leave, I never would have spent time with M and I wouldn’t have Arlie,  The thought of that makes me a little panicked.  Anyway, I chose October 4th because I knew it would be beautiful and I love how the air smells and feels.  I thought at the time that it would be a good lead-in into the holiday season.  Whoops!

In October of 2012, I had a miscarriage.  It really brought me to my knees.  I spent the last half of that October trying not to lose it completely and it is something that has changed me forever.  I still think about that baby, I still get anxious about October 18th and October 24th.

Last year, I was 7 months pregnant, pretty scared and anxious because we had just gotten the diagnosis of SUA and VCI.  But the worst thing that happened last year at this time was my best friend, K, losing her baby at 17 weeks.  That rocked her world so completely and she is still not fully recovered.  I can only imagine that anxiety she has at this time of year.

I want to turn it around this year.  Arlie is here, the weather is so gorgeous, I’m enjoying being a mother more than I ever thought possible and this is the year I can make October my friend again.  I’m planning projects around the house and I am jazzed to make our front porch all festive for Halloween and Fall.  I am just hoping that this year is an October to remember because it was so great.

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Adventures in Breastfeeding

Well, I’ve made it to almost 9 months of breastfeeding.  And let me tell you something….  It is way harder than anyone let me think it would be.  I mean, there is the initial craziness and difficulty, but after that I hit my stride for a bit.  And then it all got complicated again….

I wrote this post in July when Arlie turned 6 months old and just about two days later, Arlie went on a nursing strike.  I swear she knew I was boasting about how awesome it was going and she had to make it known that she was in charge of this relationship.  The strike lasted two full days and it was STRESSFUL.  She absolutely freaked out when I got near her with the boob, so I did a lot of pumping and dream fed her most of the time.  M was beside himself because I was so upset.  The worst part about it was that even a few days later when the strike was over, I was still super nervous to feed her because it became such an emotional thing.  My nervousness caused a really slow let-down, which made both of us miserable, but we persevered and made it through.  About a month ago, she had another short strike (only one day this time), but I think this was caused more because her dang front teeth were hurting her.

Fast forward to now…  I like to call her breastfeeding antics, “boobie gymnastics” at this point.  She is literally unable to sit still for more than ten seconds, so nursing has really turned into something crazy.  She pulls off about a million times while she is eating, which means a slower let-down or a frantic moment where I can feel it coming and she is busy looking away from me at whatever has her attention on the other side of the room.  I am generally covered in milk by the end of the session, which is reminiscent of the fist few months when I had a powerful let-down that choked her nearly every time.  Arlie literally does not have the ability to sit and just nurse anymore unless she is sleepy, so this has been interesting to say the least.

To top everything off, the little minx now has two huge front teeth.  They are massive and scary and my poor nipples are taking the brunt of her aggressive nursing.  She rarely bites, but she does like to drag her teeth over them and let me tell you, this is not a pleasant feeling.  I keep wondering if my nips will ever be the same.  I’m thinking no.

I still love nursing her.  I am super proud of myself for sticking with it and I will always be happy with the bond that it has created between me and Arlie.  I plan to nurse her as long as she wants to or until I can’t anymore.  I am hoping beyond hope that I am one of those very lucky women who can still nurse while pregnant.  I definitely plan on nursing any other children I have and I am looking forward to that bonding with them as well.  I am just so fascinated by the fact that I can feed my own children from my body.  It really is an interesting and magical thing.  I am going to miss the time with Arlie when it ends.

8 months

Little miss is 8 months old!  She is weighing in at 18 lbs and is still crazy long.  We couldn’t get an exact measurement because she does not like to be still EVER.

She is thisclose to crawling, but she has started to pull herself into standing too.  Apparently she doesn’t care about moving but really cares about being able to stand on her own.  I am not totally convinced that she will ever crawl as she seems way more into trying to walk.  We shall see I guess.  She is also now saying mama and dada and I even heard her say “hi” a couple of times to Mason.  She also says baba when she wants Mason, but I am still not sure that she knows what she is saying.

She is now wearing 9 month clothing for the most part.  She can still fit into her 6 month onesies, so those are still in the rotation, but she is only in 9 month stuff for pants and sleepers, etc.  She has started wearing sleepers to bed.  This was a process for us to figure out what worked for her.  She likes to sleep with her arms and legs splayed out and we sleep in a cool to cold room, so I was constantly worried that she was freezing.  We tried her in various things, even with just a diaper on and an extra blanket, but this didn’t work, so we moved onto the sleepers and she is doing much better in them.  She can kick off her blanket and sleep like a boss without getting cold.  I worry less and that means waking up less, so win-win.  Plus she looks adorable in the sleepers.

Solid foods! We started her on solids about three days before her 6 month birthday and she has been getting 1 meal at dinner with us every night.  At 7 months, we tried giving her breakfast too but she was not interested and it affected her nursing, so we cut it out.  About a week and a half ago, we tried again and she was fully on board.  Girl loves to eat!  She is an aggressive little monkey when it comes to eating and will let you know if you are not moving fast enough for her.  She is also very intent on getting whatever M or I are eating now, which means that we are doing a weird eating/hiding from baby dance when we eat.  Usually we give her a taste of whatever we are eating, which results in her wanting more.  I’m super excited because I love eating with her and watching her try new things.

She is a little love bug too.  When we get home or when we pick her up from my mom’s, she cackles and holds onto the sides of our faces.  She is such a funny kid.  Her new thing that she has been doing when we are out is dangling a toy or a binky over the edge of the stroller and waiting to see if we notice.  If we tell her not to drop it, she usually waits a few seconds, then either chucks it or drops it.  She thinks it is hilarious!

I can’t believe how fast it is going.  And how much fun it all is!  She is just the best!

Random Thoughts of a New Mom

I thought I would compile a short list of the weird thoughts or things that I do now that I definitely did not do pre-baby…

1.  Whoever said there is no use crying over spilled milk has clearly never pumped.  I have now cried three times because of this, with the most recent being when I lost almost 5 ounces as I tried to pour it into a storage bag.  All over my kitchen floor.  I wept and wanted to punch somebody.  So sir, your saying can suck it and yes, I will cry over spilled milk.

2.  When I drive alone now, a rare occurrence, I blast my music and have all the windows down, even when it is freezing.  I usually have to regulate the temp pretty well when Arlie is in the car, but man, I am always hot now (thanks pregnancy for this gift that keeps on giving) and having to make sure that I don’t freeze my child is pretty important.

3.  All commercials with a baby or children in it are now tear inducing.  I am not a crier, I swear.  But now I am. 

4.  Watching Disney shows is now a pastime of mine.  Sofia the first is spectacular.  Judge me, my kid watches some television.  To be fair, she only actually watches when there is some sort of music playing on the TV.  Otherwise she has absolutely no interest.

5.  You never realize how awesome sleep is until you get more than three hours in a row.  And then your body stages a revolt because it remembers exactly how awesome sleep is and you feel even more tired than you do on a night when you get three hours total.

6.  Christmas is now the coolest holiday ever.  I seriously can’t wait to have this experience with Arlie.  She will have NO idea what is going on but I just can’t wait for her to see everything.  I loved it before, but I LOOOOVEEEE it now!

7.  The seriousness of illnesses and injuries scares the crap out of me.  I hate it when she falls or she bangs her head, or even when she has a stuffy nose.  It honestly keeps me up at night sometimes.  This is not something I even gave a second though to prior to Arlie.

8.  This is a big one.  I sincerely love my dogs, but in no way does that love compare at all to how much I love Arlie.  In fact, at this point I could take or leave one of my dogs.  The other one is still amazing (Mason, my gentleman) and I love that he and Arlie are besties, but man, taking care of the dogs on top of the baby is awful.  I’ve seriously considered not getting another dog ever again.  Lets be serious though, I can’t really live without a dog, so that’s unlikely to be my reality.  But never again will I compare the love of my dogs to that of the love of my kids.  Not the same at all!

9.  I officially like dressing Arlie up in some girlier outfits.  Not dresses, no way.  But some of the adorable tomboyish pants and shirts.  I even got her a 49’ers outfit to wear with M on game days.  And headbands….  I was not a fan prior to having a girl.  But man, she looks so stinking adorable with a headband on. 

10.  Having a baby makes me want to have another baby.  I honestly thought the want to have another baby would disappear after having Arlie, but it really hasn’t.  I still get jealous when I hear of people getting pregnant, I miss the time when she was growing in my belly.  I think a lot of this has to do with the loss and those feelings afterwards never really fad altogether.  I know I want more babies, but man I am terrified of actually trying to get pregnant, being pregnant, reducing my time with Arlie, etc.  Life is scary sometimes, but right now it is also a ton of fun.

11.  Co-sleeping/ bed-sharing has saved my life.  I love the contact with Arlie.  I dread the day I will have to move her into her own room.  Before I had Arlie, I was pretty against bed-sharing.  All I could relate it to was that scene in Away We Go, with the crazy bed-sharing hippie people.  But alas, I was wrong and it turns out that it works best for us and thats what we will do until it is no longer feasible.

12.  I love M, I really do.  He is my best friend and such a great husband.  But I love Arlie more.  Granted, it is a totally different love, so I’m not sure that it really is more, but it is definitely more intense.  M and I were meant to be together.  We sync in a way that I did not think was possible and I am so glad that he is the father is my child(ren?).  But in total honesty, Arlie has my heart completely and I would do ANYTHING for her.  I did not expect this.  I read about women saying this and I didn’t understand how it was possible, and even as I am writing this I feel a little weird about admitting it cause maybe that makes me a bad wife.  I don’t know.  I wonder if he would say the same about his love to Arlie versus his love to me….

What are some of the things that you guys realized when you because moms?

Thoughts About Childhood

I’ve been thinking a lot about my own childhood as I watch Arlie navigate through hers.  Mine was not particularly pleasant.  My parents had four children.  Two of them were planned.  Myself and my brother were accidents.  My parents never did anything overtly negative towards any of us, but the way they chose to do things was very strange and not very healthy for themselves or any of us.

I have been taking probably a million photos of Arlie.  I want to remember all her milestones and honestly I just love her little face.  I print a number of the photos and I have been putting together photo books of her as well.  In addition to the every day photos I have of her, we paid for newborn photos and 6 month photos.  I will also pay for Christmasy photos of her to use in a Christmas card, and we will definitely do 1 year photos of her as well.  I love these photos.  I cherish them and I look forward to them. My mother made a snide remark when we were getting newborn photos about how unnecessary it was and it stuck with me. When I go to my parents house, there are a ton of photos of my siblings all over the place. There are virtually none of me. I have a baby book that has three pages of photos in comparison to the multiple books each of my siblings have. It hurts me to look at this and see such a blatant representation of how I felt as a child. Unwanted.

It’s hard on me to think about how my parents made my childhood. I hate thinking about how I felt when I was a kid (and now too, but I am a grown up now and it is less traumatic). I always felt like I didn’t belong and like I wasn’t loved. I remember wanting to run away when I was 7 and wishing that there was another family that would take me and love me.

As a parent now, I have an intense desire to make sure that my child(ren) know exactly how much I love them. I will not give them mixed messages, I will never give them the silent treatment for something they do or did that I disagree with, I will not make them feel like they do not belong or are not wanted. I just can’t bear the thought of Arlie or any of my other children feeling even a small part of what I felt as a child. I can’t imagine that my parents did what they did on purpose, but the fact remains that because of how I was raised and how I spent my childhood and youth, I will be a better parent than my own were to me. I will strive daily to make sure that my kids are my number one priority. I will encourage them to be good people and to pursue things that they enjoy and are good at. I will make sure that they know I have their back and I will be there for them in any circumstance. Isn’t that the responsibility of a parent?