Friday, December 7, 2012

5 Months of Merriment

So I realized that all along I should have been posting monthly updates with details about all things William, but the problem is, I've been WAY too busy participating in said shenanigans to take the time away to write about them.  My goal is to be better about this because it'll be neat to look back at each month when he's even more ginormous!  So, here goes!

William & I in front of the Christmas tree
Santa~Baby with Aunty Kristi & I, being silly :)

 Our Christmas card this year, most fun one yet!

Weight: nearly 17 lbs. (around 50th%ile for weight)
Length/Height: 27 inches (100th%ile for length!!!! No wonder his pants are too short!)
New Talents & Milestones: William can sit up independently for short amounts of time, but then will slowly lean until he slumps over, which is still pretty cute.  Rolling over front to back and back to front is easy peasy and he is grasping objects with no difficulty & bringing everything to his mouth, EVERYTHING, including my hair (what's left of it, it's falling out like crazy) which he loves to use as a handle.  We like to watch him pass toys from one hand to the other and he is really curious about everything.  He's doing some pre-crawling sorts of things while in his crib, laying on his tummy and scooting around using his arms and legs, it's funny to see where he ends up compared to where he starts his naps.  I know he'll be mobile in no time so I've already put covers over the outlets!
Likes: TOES!!! When he lays on his tummy he immediately pulls his legs in and those piggies go right in his mouth.  He'll also hold them in his hand and roll around on his back like a little lopsided egg.  Christmas lights on the tree, beams & banister are intriguing and he loves reaching out to touch the ornaments dangling off the tree.  His puppies make him really curious & he watches them run around with a funny little expression.  One thing we love to watch him do is bounce in his Baby Einstein bouncer, so glad we made that purchase!  Aunty Kristi bought him a v-tech sit and stand toy that he LOVES, along with the other items pictured below.
Dislikes: napping for longer than 15-20 minutes, unfortunately!  He is not a big napper during the day at all and never really has been.  The whole putting baby to bed drowsy but awake idea does NOT fly with this little guy... sometimes he will sleep on his own, but normally he likes to be rocked, nursed, read to or sung to, which is fine by me, I'm sure we'll get there, he's just not ready now.
Clothes: mostly in 6-9 month clothes for the past few weeks, along with some 3-6 month items, depending on brand/style. We're loving Christmas-y outfits these days!
Special Events: Thanksgiving weekend Uncle Adam, Nanny & Gramps came to visit for turkey & all the fixins' but mostly to see our little turkey!  The next weekend my mom & sister & cousin came to visit and we decorated the tree & got in the Christmas spirit, watching Elf (again!) and National Lampoons, of course!  
Sleep: Kind of hit-or-miss, when we gave him cereal based on our pediatrician's advisement, William stopped sleeping well.  I thought it might have something to do with his vaccinations, which are on an alternate schedule so he gets fewer vaccines, spread out over longer.  William seemed intrigued by cereal, but when I don't give it to him he doesn't really miss it and seems to sleep better, so we're playing it day by day and breastfeeding still seems to be enough for now and he's not 6 months old yet, so we'll wait.  He still wakes up after a few hours but can usually be settled.  For the past few months he wakes between 12 and 2 and most often we end up co-sleeping for a few reasons. #1. I LOVE it, he won't be this little for long and I know I will miss this terribly.  #2. It's just easier with breastfeeding to have him close by, especially if he's going through a growth spurt & cluster nurses.  #3.  Did I mention I love it?  William does too and he's not old enough that this will mean he's still sleeping with us at age 5, no matter what anyone else thinks!  
Looking Forward to: CHRISTMAS!!! and COMPLETELY house broken pups!
Nicknames: Monster-Man, Pterodactyl (when he makes these funny screechy dinosaur sounds), Willy~Boy, Bugaboo (my favorite thing to call him) Bean, the list goes on an on!!!

5 Month Favorites:

Topsy Tumblers Twirling Tumbling Fun Park  &  Crawl & Go Snail ( both from Aunty Kristi!)  
Sassy Seat Doorway Jumper      &             Mam pacifiers, 0-6 month size
again from Aunty Kristi, who SPOILS her nephew!
Baby Einstein Stationary Entertainer (bought used for $20, which was $20 well spent!)
Christmas Board book from Nanny & ANOTHER gift from Aunty Kristi, a Christmas onesie 

Oh yeah... and THIS happened on Thanksgiving:
Yeah, I know... we're insane... a baby and TWO puppies, but hey, we like things on the adventurous side (I remind myself that when I clean up the occasional puddle).  These little ladies are wonderful and training is coming right along.  They are adorable and we love having the sound of puppy paws on the floor again, even if they aren't Bailey's we can make room in our hearts to love another dog... or two as the case may be!  

Christmas stockings I made from a few old sweaters, hung by the chimney with care :)
Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays everyone!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Let Him Cry It Out

So it's no secret that kids do not come with an instruction manual and as a new mom, I've had many well intentioned people offer me little gems of wisdom.  Some of these tokens truly are gems, but then there are the "let-him-cry-it-out" types.  I have always believed in nurturing children and my philosophy of teaching centers of true, genuine compassion towards them, so it's not surprise that the idea of letting a baby cry it out seems ludicrous to me.  I can lend sympathy to those who were told years ago that this was "best" for baby, knowing that doctors can instill doubt and make parents feel as though what they prescribe is best, but I find it really difficult to accept this advice as sound or in the best interest of a tiny human being.  I will not mention who has recommended this advice to me, but I have firmly argued my point to no avail.  I may be going out on a limb here, but I do not believe it's possible to "spoil" a baby... it's like saying you can love your baby too much, tell me how that's possible.  From my new mom perspective on my little William, here's what I have gleaned about what a baby needs:

William needs:

  • soothing when he's sad, this could take the shape of rocking, slow dancing, stories, music, tummy time, or any number of tricks, but he does not need to cry all alone in some dark room, of that I am sure!
  • stories read to him daily
  • love
  • clean diapers (in abundance!)
  • warm knit hats (okay, he may not NEED them per se, but they are SO CUTE!)
  • snuggles 
  • eye contact
  • conversations 
  • his daddy
  • his mama
  • cuddly footsy jammies
  • laughter in the tubby
  • time exploring the world in his stroller/sling/bjorn/backpack 
  • the love of his immediate & extended family
  • a warm, cozy quilt at night
  • boobs... 2 of them ready at his beck and call ;0)
  • parents who are best friends, who love each other, talk to each other, and always put their family first
I recently read an article by Brene Brown & have included an excerpt below that I found inspiring as a new parent:

One of the very best pieces of parenting advice that I ever received was from the writer Toni Morrison. It was May of 2000 and my daughter Ellen was just shy of her first birthday. Ms. Morrison was on Oprah talking about her book "The Bluest Eye." Oprah said, "Toni says a beautiful thing about the messages that we get about who we are when a child first walks into a room," and she asked Ms. Morrison to talk about it.
Ms. Morrison explained that it's interesting to watch what happens when a child walks into a room. She asked, "Does your face light up?" She explained, "When my children used to walk in the room when they were little, I looked at them to see if they had buckled their trousers or if their hair was combed or if their socks were up. . . . You think your affection and your deep love is on display because you're caring for them. It's not. When they see you, they see the critical face. What's wrong now?" Her advice was simple, but paradigm- shifting for me. She said, "Let your face speak what's in your heart. When they walk in the room my face says I'm glad to see them. It's just as small as that, you see?"
I literally think about that advice every day -- it's become a practice. When Ellen comes bounding down the stairs dressed for school, I don't want my first comment to be "Pull your hair back" or "Those shoes don't match your dress." I want my face to convey how happy I am to see her -- to be with her. When Charlie comes in the back door and he's sweaty and dirty from catching lizards, I want to flash a smile before I say, "Don't touch anything until you wash your hands." So often we think that we earn parenting points by being critical, put out, and exasperated. Those first looks can be prerequisites or worthiness-builders. I don't want to criticize when my kids walk in the room, I want to light up!

I've come to learn first hand that in most cases, new parents should be allowed to love their sweet little babies the best way they know how without judgement or criticism.  If they choose to co-sleep, use pacifiers, breast feed, whatever... it is their choice based on the needs of their child.   It is really easy to pass judgement but no one knows someone else's child as well as their parents (as long as those parents are truly dedicated to being parents).  I feel truly blessed that our William is such a happy, easy baby.  He smiles nonstop, rarely cries unless he's wet, hungry, or sleepy, and he breast feeds like a champ.  I don't think that gives me the right to criticize anyone else's parenting though... and I think all parents need to feel supported and be trusted to find the parenting style that works for them. 

Brene Brown concluded her article with this little gem that I will carry with me in my heart:

The Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto

Above all else, I want you to know that you are loved and lovable. You will learn this from my words and actions--the lessons on love are in how I treat you and how I treat myself.
I want you to engage with the world from a place of worthiness. You will learn that you are worthy of love, belonging, and joy every time you see me practice self-compassion and embrace my own imperfections.
We will practice courage in our family by showing up, letting ourselves be seen, and honoring vulnerability. We will share our stories of struggle and strength. There will always be room in our home for both.
We will teach you compassion by practicing compassion with ourselves first; then with each other. We will set and respect boundaries; we will honor hard work, hope, and perseverance. Rest and play will be family values, as well as family practices.
You will learn accountability and respect by watching me make mistakes and make amends, and by watching how I ask for what I need and talk about how I feel.
I want you to know joy, so together we will practice gratitude.
I want you to feel joy, so together we will learn how to be vulnerable.
When uncertainty and scarcity visit, you will be able to draw from the spirit that is a part of our everyday life.
Together we will cry and face fear and grief. I will want to take away your pain, but instead I will sit with you and teach you how to feel it.
We will laugh and sing and dance and create. We will always have permission to be ourselves with each other. No matter what, you will always belong here.
As you begin your Wholehearted journey, the greatest gift that I can give to you is to live and love with my whole heart and to dare greatly.
I will not teach or love or show you anything perfectly, but I will let you see me, and I will always hold sacred the gift of seeing you. Truly, deeply, seeing you.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

My Best Friend

The dreaded day finally came,
the day we had to say the saddest, most heart-wrenching of goodbyes.

Yesterday, on Wednesday, September 19th, 2012, our sweet Bailey girl took her last breath.
Our veterinarian came to the house and Kev & I cradled her sweet face in our arms and said goodbye to the kindest, sweetest, most humble and honest soul we've ever encountered.  We will never be the same.  It's hard for me to understand how in an instant, she was gone.  The only small comfort we have is that although she is gone, so is her pain.  She doesn't have to limp across the lawn anymore, trying to be brave for us, her courage something truly inspiring to behold.  

She was our best friend and she shaped the people we have become over the past 9 years together & it's impossible to think about what life will be like without her warm brown eyes, gentle wagging tail, and loving heart.  In the night, between bouts of bitter tears and dreamless sleep, I lay in bed staring at the ceiling, straining to hear the sounds of her nails clicking across the wood floor, I swear I could almost hear them.   I could picture her chin resting on the arm of her couch, hear her sigh and flip upside down, all four legs straight in the air, imagine the softness of her fur.  


I am at a loss, the pain of kissing her soft head one last time has left a void that is incomprehensible, a pain that's tangible as I walk through this house, careful to avoid even glancing in the direction of her favorite spots... the sun drenched couch by the windows, her closet "cave" lined with fur she's been shedding lately, the messy spot in the kitchen where her bowls used to be.  I can't even imagine going outside, I've made an effort to avoid even walking by the window that overlooks her grave underneath the apple trees, overlooking the pond.  I know the first time I step out the door I will automatically look over my shoulder and say "goodbye" to her out of habit & reflex... I will suddenly realize I'm talking to a ghost, a memory, the friend I cherished but now I've lost.  I know when I walk to my car I will instinctively look under the truck she used to nap beneath, try to avoid the site of her little burrows beneath the Alberta Spruce trees in the garden amongst the Black Eyed Susans.  

One day I will be able to walk down to that somber place beneath the apple trees and I will talk to my one and only girl and I will cry, but that won't make the sadness stop, although I hope it will help ease the pain.  

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

William's First Month

enjoying Cousin Nancy's cozy quilt in the shade :)

Having a baby teaches you a lot, a lot about taking care of others, a lot about love, patience, a lot about yourself.  The past month with William has gone by in the blink of an eye, showing me there's something to the words everyone says about cherishing time because it goes so quickly.  In the past month here are some of the things I've learned with William as my teacher.  Bear in mind this list is in no particular order, just my random thoughts as they occur.
  1. Doulas are amazing, I'll never have another baby without one & ours (Tiffany) was the most caring, compassionate, genuine person who feels like family now
  2. Babies go through a LOT of diapers
  3. Breast fed baby poop is the strangest looking thing you've ever seen, also see #2
  4. Never joke about your husband getting all the explosive diapers/penis tricks... lady karma has a devilish sense of humor and you just might end up having your baby poop in your hand, no joke! Long story...
  5. Being a mom means never drinking a whole cup of coffee while its hot
  6. Another human being can literally poop in your hand and you'll still love them with every part of you, who'd have thought?
  7. Sometimes Will sounds like a dinosaur when he's sleeping... 
  8. Boobs are awesome, they are amazing creations that can sustain life, how cool is that?
  9. Boobs leak... wasn't prepared for the sprinkler effect & wow did that ever surprise me!
  10. After childbirth, magical little house cleaning/errand running elves should visit in the night (or whenever sleep happens) and take care of the things new parents just don't care about any more, or frankly just don't have the energy for
  11. My sister is my first & oldest friend, although it took us time to find our friendship, it's solid as a rock now and I don't even want to think about my life without her in it or William's life without her as an aunty, she is the best aunty ever!  She means the world to us!
  12. It's hard trying to set boundaries when you just want need time alone as a new family after leaving the hospital... really hard
  13. When William gets his little sleep grins I could die of happiness at the sight of his dimples, they are seriously adorable
  14. Suddenly I am a crier?!? How did that happen?  Happy tears visit frequently :'0)
  15. If given the choice between staring at William while he's sleeping or taking the time to shower, more often than not I can be found staring, with unbrushed teeth and crazy new-mom hair, unashamed
  16. Did I mention that babies need to be changed A LOT?  They do, it bears repeating, see #2 
  17. Watching the Olympics and being confronted by 6 pack abs makes me want to smack someone... oops, I mean, go U-S-A!
  18. It's amazing the things you learn how to do one-handed, or with various body parts like opening doors with elbows, turning off light switches with your nose, etc...
  19. Wraps, slings and baby carriers are AMAZING, I would recommend wearing your baby to any mom, it's incredible
  20. Lanolin is seriously amazing stuff, they should sell it by the truckload
  21. I nearly cried when I could see my ankles again, it was a blissful reunion
  22. Babies are way more portable than you think
  23. If you go out to eat with a new baby, order your meal to-go, maybe this won't be necessary, but it if is you're ready to rock & roll (with screaming infant in tow)
  24. Sneezes, hiccups, and yes... even farts are adorable when they come from your tiny little baby
  25. When William stops mid-nursing and looks up at me with those "love me forever" eyes & I am transfixed, it means he's about to spit up everywhere, or poop... everywhere
  26. If you put cute clothes on a baby, they will immediately spit up on them, every time
  27. If you put cutes clothes on yourself, see #26
  28. A sense of humor is critical
  29. See #2, seriously :)
  30. Having a child with your best friend makes you love them more than you thought possible... and makes being apart harder than ever before
  31. Pacifiers are nipple-saving super heroes!
  32. Sleeping babies should NOT be disturbed
  33. Babies can get acne and amazingly, they can even make zits cute?!?! Every teenager everywhere wants to know their secret
  34. Dancing makes William happy, so does music, and this makes mama & daddy happy too because we kitchen-dancin' fools from way back ;0)
  35. If anyone ever messed with this little boy, I dread to think what I would be capable of, a mosquito landed on his check and I have never been so ticked at an insect! I spoke to said insect and said "Get the hell off of my baby boy!" and then realized I was speaking to a mosquito... a humbling realization
  36. I suck at lullabies, but I sing 'em anyway and just make up my own words
  37. Snuggling with a baby is heaven on earth
  38. The love of family is tremendously powerful & I wish mine wasn't so far away
  39. Baby clothes are worse than finding the perfect fitting jeans... sizes & weights seem irrelevant from one brand to the next
  40. I could kiss the top of Will's head every second from now until he's in college... and now his hair is thinning a bit and I think maybe it's from all my kisses ;0)
  41. Without having language, babies communicate and speak right to your heart & soul, no words necessary
  42. William's eyes are blue... just like his daddy's, we've been waiting and waiting to see because they seem to look different every day
  43. Blankets on the lawn in the shade are the perfect place to spend an afternoon with a baby
  44. In spite of some suggestions, I love my dog just as much as I always did, I just have another sidekick to love along with her. 
  45. Having a little boy makes me miss my brother in a whole new way, especially when his birthday came and went without eating some chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting with him
  46. William has incredibly loving grandparents, all around
  47. My house gets messy now & I don't care (well, maybe I care a little but not enough to take time from Will to do anything about it)
  48. The most sure-fire way to wake a William in the early days was to try to put him in his bassinet, even in the seemingly deepest sleep... BAM, open eyes & no interest in sleeping.  A heating pad to warm it, removed before placing him, seems to help along with cozying him with whatever shirt I was wearing during the day... ahhh the tricks you learn :)
  49. The words "Do you want me to change that diaper?" spoken by a bleary-eyed husband in the wee hours of the sleep-deprived morning are the most beautiful words and the answer us always a resounding "Yes" :)
  50. Babies are so quiet & peaceful, until you decide to accomplish something on your to-do list... to-do lists for new moms must only include one item: "be a mom"
  51. The human body can do amazing things, I can't believe that after over 60 hours of labor (& stitches in places I care not mention) I was able to climb a mountain 2 weeks later, women are tough!
  52. Being a mom... can't quite explain it, but it's a gift to be treasured above all others

Our first picnic, love those blue eyes :)

sleepy lil' grin

sleepy little hiking companion, my view looking down

visiting Aunty Kristi     &    Uncle Chris' memorial

Nom, nom, nom... fingers are yummy after bath time :)

Brother & sister hangin' out 

Meeting 96 year old nana, amazing!

Tips for Visitors of Brand New Parents:
  1. Always, I repeat, always bring a meal or something similar, it's such an incredible gesture and I don't think it'll ever be more appreciated because this means no time cooking & time spent with baby instead.  My best friend showed up with a delicious meal, diapers, dog treats for Bailey, wine (for me later) a book and giant sunflowers (see below)... I felt like I'd won the lottery seeing her walk through the door with such a showering of kindness.  Plus she held Will so I could go to the bathroom, all by myself like a big kid!  My dear friend Pam also came over with iced coffee, love it! The little things matter :)
  2. Be judicious with advice for new parents, it's a learning curve and they need time to find their way, not someone else's, babies aren't cookie cutters and I think you have to find what works for your own baby.
  3. Always tell a new mom she's beautiful, even if she looks like she hasn't slept (she probably hasn't) and was run over by a train (a train load of diapers maybe!)
  4. I suggest that you don't offer to hold the baby so they can be productive, offer to help them by doing something around the house, chances are they want these precious moments to hold their baby, although I'm sure they will share with you :)
  5. Don't be frustrated if they don't answer/return your calls right away, it's amazing how time consuming a newborn is and phone etiquette goes out the window.  If there is a spare minute when baby is sleeping, new parents should grab a few winks too.
  6. Be patient, let them tell you when they are ready for guests.