Life as of Now

::Tap Tap Tap::

Oh blog.  Hello!  Nice to see you.  You definitely need a bit of a dusting and maybe some new curtains, but it’s nice to see you’re still technically here.

OK.

Since my last post:

Family

CarSelfie

  • We moved!  To San Diego!  About 6 weeks ago!  I will use these exclamation points when everyone is back in school and everyone just calms down!
  • Our new family motto is “Everyone Just Needs to Calm the Eff Down.”
  • We moved to be closer to Mr. A’s parents.  They’re amazing and I love them so hard.  They didn’t even blink an eye when I instituted a weekly family dinner immediately upon our arrival.  I just… really needed some routine and ritual as soon as possible.
  • Moving away from my friends and family was insanely hard.  I cried a lot.  Duh.
  • Being in San Diego feels like I have breathing room again.  Less pressure.  Friendlier people.  I have not a single ounce of doubt that this was the right move for us.
  • I am still in the same job, working out of our swanky (empty) 3rd Bedroom (I’m so alone).  Mike got a killer job at a new school and starts in August.  Miles just started his transition into a new Montessori school yesterday. (Spoiler Alert: He loves it.)
  • We got a mini-van about two months before deciding to move to San Diego, because of the drive from San Jose to San Diego.  So, that’s cool.  That DVD player is totally getting all the use we intended…. not.
  • We’ve been trying to add Baby #2 for a while now, but 4 miscarriages later with no explanation, I have turned into a rather happy hippy.  All organic, supplement ingesting, natural deodorant wearing, happy hippy.  (I think my body didn’t particularly enjoy the stress it was under that past year and wasn’t that into the idea of carrying a child.  I think things could be better now that we’re here but even if we never have another child I am pretty sure my family is going to be better of with better food in our bellies and a calmer way of living.)

Miles

  • Miles is now almost four years old.  I skipped right on through the two’s and most of the three’s and what do I have to show for it?  Well, I guess there’s this kid:

ice cream kid

  • Miles is, as his teacher described him, “a very social, very silly, stereotypical boy’s boy with a sensitive side that it real.”  That’s right.  Despite all my goals of creating a family without gender stereotypes he seems to heavily gravitate to things like sports, trucks, pirates, and dirt.  Although, I would like to point out that he additionally loves a good pedicure and loves fairies too.
He's a pirate fairy.  Obvs.
He’s a pirate fairy. Obvs.
  • He is stubborn and crazy and loves a good audience to misbehave in front of.  He likes pop music and when he asks to go to the park he always says he has a “park meeting to go to”.  He cried this morning when he woke up and I wasn’t there (He climbs into our bed in the middle of the night without fail).  The solution was cuddling.  This guy loves cuddling.
  • I have learned a lot about parenting since last I wrote here, and I plan on writing more about all those things.  I think the biggest thing I have learned is that I really only know how to parent my own kid.  And to read as much as humanly possible about various forms of parenting and child development and then throw as much as you can at your particular child until you find what fits.  For example, Miles goes to bed super easy, will try any food you put in front of him, hasn’t actually thrown a horrible tantrum in public in ages, and he met his new teacher last week and shook her hand like a little gentleman.  I’d love to take credit for all of those things, but aside from developing a pretty good amount of trust in terms of the food I serve him being not-too-spicy-I-promise, this kid is his own person.  You know?
  • He’s super weird and gets really upset when things are “unjust”.  That’s more of “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”.  Ha.

Ok.  That’s a nice ramble to start with.

Six Months of Mamahood

Miles is six months old.  I’ve been a Mama for six whole months, and I still sneak into his room at night sometimes to watch him sleeping.  He’s turning into such a little man and if I stop to think about it too much, I inevitably cry.  He eats real food now, just picks up chunks of banana or mango like it’s no big thing and puts them squarely in his mouth.  He makes hugely loud sounds that I call his Dino Roars.  He does it to get reactions out of people, and it works.  (Ask anyone in line at Starbucks this morning!) He is just so freaking funny!

He is mobile now.  Army crawling across the floor to poke Daddy in the face.  Diaper changes have turned into a wrestling match because AS SOON as you put him on his back he has flipped over so he can get his hands on ALL THE THINGS in the diaper changing bin.  He’ll go from cuddly to on-the-move in .3 seconds.  He belly laughs and flirts, flashing his dimple to unsuspecting women in the checkout aisle.

He is in the 90th percentile in height, 60th for weight.  Our chunk of  baby is turning into a long and lean little dude, but still doesn’t have a single tooth.

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Being a mama has changed me.  (Duh?)  I knew it would, but I didn’t know how exactly.  My heart feels bigger and more fragile now that he’s here.  My world is smaller but a zillion times more beautiful.

I am enjoying simultaneously loving the age he is at, mourning the things he’s already left behind, and looking forward to everything that he will grow and do.  He already has SUCH a personality.  I want everyone to come and spend time with him so they can experience the glory of this happy, light-filled, boy.

Don’t even get me STARTED on how he lights up when Mike walks into the room.  His entire face.  Utter joy.

This little man made me a Mama.  I LOVE being a mama.  Every single thing about it.

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When Amy was here for our race last weekend we talked about how I feel the urge to be Super Mom, Super Wife, and Super Employee at all times.  She helped me get to the point where I am okay with not having the time or (to be honest) the desire to start regularly working out right now.  The time will come for that, but right now I don’t want to miss time with Miles.  I can’t imagine being off running in the morning and missing his sweet baby snuggles.  So for now, we go for walks every day and I will practice some self-love until I really feel “in shape” again.

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My first Mother’s Day was perfect.  I ran off with a girlfriend for a pedicure and then the family went out to the park for a picnic that Mike had planned.  The park we go to is super close to our house and is full of neighborhood families being adorable.  Miles is obsessed with going high on the swings and he laughs the higher he goes.

While we were sitting on our blanket I said to Mike that it was crazy to think about Miles one day being old enough to swing by himself and I’ll have to eventually trust that he won’t let go of the swing and fall.  Mike’s response: “And I am going to have to trust one day he will let go at the right time to do kick ass tricks.”

New Things!

Today is my last Monday at this job.  I have been here for almost 3 years and most of the time I have absolutely loved it, but then things started changing.  I work at a non-profit and every six months there were layoffs and budgets crises.  There was no where to be promoted to and there was no funding for anything even looking like a performance based raise.  But I got pregnant, so I knew that I had to stay put.  So I commuted the 1.5-2 hours every day while I was pregnant.  I tried to make the best of it and took the train, trying to convince myself that the train was a blast!

I came back to work part-time.  Still commuting.  Still stagnant career-wise.  So I started applying for new jobs in January.  After three rounds of maybe’s and interviews with companies that didn’t work out, one finally came through.  Proving right the thing I kept telling myself “The right job will work out.  If this one doesn’t work out, it wasn’t the right one for me.”

A week from today I start a new job.  Full-time, but only 8 minutes from my house.  The pay is significantly better, the perks boggle my mind, and I am pumped.  I will be doing Marketing Operations for a team that is part of Boston Scientific.  Miles will stay in the day care he is at now until summer comes, then Mike gets to spend the summer 1-on-1 with Miles.  In the fall we’ll be able to afford to send him to the best damn day care I could find.  It’s so nice that when I saw pictures online and thought to myself “Miles could really go here”, I cried.  This job is huge for our family.  A career change with so much room for growth and promotions.  I am so excited and nervous and mostly pinching myself that it’s happening.

Mike and I have been saying that AS SOON as I get a new job we wanted to turn a corner of our living room into a space for Miles.  His things have been haphazardly hanging out all over the apartment, mostly in the way.  So we celebrated the new job this past weekend by moving my desk and computer out of the living room and getting a few things to make the corner “Bubs Corner” (We call Miles Bubs, I’ve mentioned that right?).  When I got back from the store with the supplies Miles was napping so we got to set it all up without him knowing about it.

All it took was a mat and a mirror.

And Miles loved it.

 

Miles Right Now.

366 days ago I found out I was pregnant.  Exactly one year ago, we decided we would have this baby and be a family.  (Mike celebrated by immediately going to buy me prenatal vitamin.)

Crazy.  Crazy to think for one second that Miles may not be here.  All the cliches you have heard about motherhood and all the love you feel are real. So often life changes slowly and gradually, parenthood is big and drastic and scary and awesome.

He is now 19 weeks old, 4 1/2 months old.  Those first couple of months were incredibly strange.  We celebrated every single milestone, but I was incredibly anxious.  I couldn’t guarantee Miles wouldn’t end up screaming 20 seconds in, and we would have to bail.

Right when he turned 4 months I could feel this gigantic shift happen.  We’re not in survival mode anymore.  Most of our days are incredibly predictable, except when Miles is having a Fuss Bucket Day… but those are few and far between.  We’re able to venture out and I know that I can handle anything Miles throws at me.  (We can.  Have I mentioned how damn lucky I am to have a real partner in all of this?  My husband is a champion baby whisper.)

Four months marked a lot of fun new things.  We got the okay to start solid foods.  He has been eating sweet potatoes and apple like crazy.  He gags when you give him peas.  But he really loves food that’s for sure, little Chub Bubs.

We have a ton of nicknames for him, none of which we thought of until he was here.  We call hims Bubs and The Bubs primarily.  Then we throw in Chub Bubs, Chub Bubblin’, and James Q. Wiggler.  We’re not sure he knows his real name.

He’ll sit in your lap while you read him stories.

He started rolling over on purpose (instead of accidentally).  Of course he chose to exercise his new skill while hanging out on the couch, and he ended up on the floor.  He was totally fine, more startled than anything, but now he is banished to the floor until further notice.

He has a regular sleep schedule, he sleeps from 6:30-6:30 and naps at 10am and 2pm.  More than anything Miles is just a TON of fun now.  He plays.  He laughs.  He twists his body around to see what you’re looking at. He is incredibly curious and observant.  He is all full of noises at home, but as soon as we’re out he tends to clam up because he’s so busy taking it all in.  We switched him over to his “big boy” forward facing stroller because he really wanted to see all that was going on around him.

He even has a Bestie.  Mason is 3 months older than Miles, but his Mom and I are becoming fast and fierce friends so the boys don’t really have much of a choice.  They will be friends and THEY WILL LIKE IT.

My favorite thing I want to remember about this age is how he wakes up.  In the morning we can hear him talking and playing in his crib, so we tip toe into his room.  When the lights are on and we peak over his crib and say “Good Morning!” he is all smiles.  So we pick him up talk to him while he grins and giggles.  If he sees himself in the mirror he’ll grin and turn to bury his head in my chest.  He’ll just snuggle for as long as you let him.  He’ll tell you stories.  Blow raspberries and laugh.  It’s the best.  I hope he always wants to snuggle me in the morning.

He changes so much all the time. He’s getting so big so quickly.   He used to be just a little peanut…

 

Stream of Consciousness Tuesday

I am currently snuggled on the couch with Miles snoring on me.  It feels like a good recovery day from our first day away from each other yesterday.

So, yesterday. I dropped Miles off at day care and I didn’t cry.  That’s good right? I kept thinking to myself that Miles is a really happy, easy, well-adjusted baby so he would do just fine.  And he did.  He was great.  They love him and his dimpled grins, and apart coming home smelling like old lady he appears to be unharmed from spending 6.5 hours away from his mama.

Being back at work was interesting.  While I was gone there were massive lay offs, it seems so quiet now.  There are a ton of things that weren’t done while I was on maternity leave that need to get done, so I’ll be busy for a while.  I work at a non-profit with constantly diminishing funding.  I like that right now I can ease back into working part-time, but I am not sure how long I can remain at a job 30 minutes away that doesn’t offer any career advancement.

Mr. A and I have been laughing at everything constantly.  Before bed we have been in fits of giggles over the absolute dumbest things.  I love that guy.  I am so very grateful that I don’t have a husband that adds to me stress.  He is so incredibly thoughtful and proactive.  This weekend will be the anniversary of our first kiss.  That weekend is still so very vivid in my head.  In the first few months of our relationship whenever I couldn’t go to sleep I would replay that weekend over in my head and I would drift off happily.

Miles and I were both sick last week.  That’s the worst.  Miles had the most pathetic sounding cough and sneeze.  It is funny to us that baby coughs and sneezes sounds like real person coughs and sneezes.  It’s like he’s a real person now.
Now that we’ve passed the 12 week markers, Miles has developed a personality ovenight.  He is super vocal and smiley.  My favorite thing is that he will find Daddy in the room and follow him around.  There is no doubt that the little Bubs loves his Dad.

Miles loves Baby Einstein videos.  I am not expecting them to make him smarter or anything but I have really loved the opportunity to quickly brush my teeth and put on clothes knowing he is totally entertained in his chair sucking on his hand.

And now I leave you with video of Miles this morning.

Back to Work

In a week, I am scheduled to return to work.

Cue freak out tears.

I am only going back part-time, and even that is temporary as living in the bay area is just too expensive to not have two full incomes.  Miles will be in day care three days a week for six hours each day.  We found a great daycare right across the street from Mr. A’s school.  The day care provider is an older lady who is really excited about having a little one to snuggle with.  There are four other children who attend, and they seem great.  They get to play outside and eat homemade vegetable soup for lunch.  The house is full of little kid noises.  It is completely affordable and I am sure Miles will get a ton of love there.  At least, these are the things I remind myself at 2am when I start panicking over the thought of not being with my little boy all day anymore.

Miles and I have developed a routine.  We know each other perfectly.  I know his different cries, which one means he is tired and which one means he is just being a fuss-bucket.  I am afraid that this lady won’t know all of his rhythms.  She won’t know that he likes to sleep on your chest with a pinky in his mouth until he’s soothed enough and fast asleep. She won’t know what faces to make at him to make him giggle. And then soon enough she will know all about him; maybe that’s what is freaking me out the most.  He will spend most of the day with someone who is not me and I am going to miss  things.  He’s going to start crawling and talking and being a person so soon and I am so sad I have to share that with anyone.

I also know that I will probably really like being back to work, in a way.  I really like routine and meetings and having lunch with adults every day.  I feel so very conflicted about the whole thing.

The fact is that I had all these ideas and plans for work once Miles was here, and now that he is here everything is different.  If we can’t have me home with him all day then I want to have the best possible job so I can send Miles to the best possible day care while I am away from him.

Maybe I can convince my Mom to move here to take care of Miles during the day?

 

 

Two Months.

It’s crazy insane to think about how much this little guy changes in a month.  He has gone from a sleeping newborn to a smiley little baby.  He’s interactive now!

He had his 8 week check up yesterday and he is currently weighing in at 13.5 lbs and is 24 inches long.  He also managed to pee AND spit up on my while we were in the doctors office (take THAT teenage Miles, I am documenting all of your moments for posterity.  Welcome to your baby book.)

The first time Miles smiled at me on purpose I was sitting with him in my lap making absolutely silly faces and sounds at him.  When he broke into his dimpled grin I burst into tears while still making my silly faces at him.  He knows who I am.  He loves his Daddy.  The yellow dangly toy in his car seat is his new best friend; he will stare at that little thing forever.

Things Miles think are A-Ok:

– Bathtime!  Water!  Kicking his feet!

-Tummy time.  Getting ripped in while playing (ok, staring) at his activity gym.

-Being help high enough to see over your shoulder.  He is no longer amused staring at the wall, he wants us up and moving around so he has things to look at.

-Sucking on pinkies and his own hand.  He still hasn’t figured out how to keep a soothie in his mouth for any real period of time, so I’m stoked he’s found his hand.

-Sade II.  His seahorse still helps him get to sleep… the original Sade jumped out of my arms yesterday and committed sea horse suicide.  Poor girl sounded all minor-chord and slow.  Kind of creepy.  Mom had to go get a new Sade.

-Miles is finally getting on board with riding in his car seat, largely in part to the drive to and from San Diego for Christmas.  I think he’s just more at home there. Today we took a 4 mile walk and he was a pleasant companion the whole time.

Things Miles Could Live Without:

– Shots.  He got his first shots yesterday and has been a little whimpery and fever-y.  Poor little guy.

-Hats.  Always.  Make.  Him.  Cry.

 

Here is a little comparison of Miles each month with Monk Monk.

 

Lastly, this past week I started my gig as the new parenting writer for the website Twenties Hacker. It’s going to be a ton of fun to write, and I in the company of some of my favorite twentysomething writers.

And now we can all put away our Justin Bieber Christmas CDs.

I’m sure I am not the first person to fall off the face of the internet once the Holidays come around.  Mr. A started his vacation on the 18th and it was just so nice snuggling with him on the couch watching CSI marathons with The Wee Baby Miles.

We had three Christmas’ this year, the first was with my family at my Aunts.  Due to the whole “I was single this time last year” thing, this was the first time Mr. A got to be in on my family’s celebrations.  I love that when we’re all together there is a ton of laughter and you get the sense that we just really enjoy each other. (The official family photo this year was taken by my camera and I saved us from having to make a bajillion attempts at getting a good one.  You’re welcome Family.)

 

Our First Christmas
Grandma got to love on Miles a ton.

Christmas night meant firmly establishing the New Christmas Jammies rule.

On Christmas morning we woke up to open our gifts and then hopped into the car and headed to Mr. A’s parents home in San Diego.  I was so nervous that Miles would scream the whole time, but he was a joy.  I think I’ll keep him.

Miles in the car. Totally chill.

In San Diego, I don’t think Miles spent more than 2 minutes not in someone’s arms. I pumped a ton just so his Grandad and Grammie could bond with him over his beverage of choice.

Miles loved reading with Daddy… although the new Vonnegut biography was a bit dry for his taste.  He requested a wake up when it was time to read “Good Night Moon”. 

The night we left we got to squeeze in a quick visit with my BFF and her Hubby. Erin is Miles’ Godmother, so it was quite an important meeting. Luckily they got along well.

Hope your holiday was lovely too.  We are loving spending the couple of days before the New Year getting our apartment in order.  I have been telling myself that I had until the New Year to focus solely on Miles before entering the world again.  I am diving head first into more writing, more goals, freelancing, etc.  Thanks for all of your patience and support while I was in my little cocoon of New-Mamahood.  I am looking forward to being back.

Kind of Blue

Yesterday my mom asked me if I have been able to keep “the blues” away and I chuckled. Then I got home and read Hillary’s beautiful and honest post about the postpartum issues she has been experiencing and I knew I had to write.

As new Mama’s we have a million fears and expectations about all the changes involved in childbirth. We hear how awful labor is. We here about epidurals and emergency c-sections. We read a hundred birth stories about women’s emotions and triumphs over childbirth. I, for one, expected to have a completely magical other worldly reaction when Miles was put into my arms. I feel things pretty intensely as a rule, so I fully expected to be rendered immobile by love upon sight of him. That did not happen. I felt pain. I was in shock. I could marvel at the immensity of the moment maybe, but all those endorphins and happy feelings were absent. I felt like I had done something wrong. Somehow I forgot to push the “activate” button on all that mom love. Nobody told me I would have to wait to feel all the things.

The feelings of love came, but there have been days where I have felt very lost. Miles is 5 weeks old now and reading Hillary’s post I have felt all the same things: anxiety, guilt, and fear. I have cried a ton. I have felt intense anxiety over the the prospect of going out or being home alone. I have felt isolated. I have felt like a burden to my husband. I’ve tried to act like I hadn’t been crying. I have lost my shit.

Breastfeeding was hard and painful. There would be times that Miles would be hungry and I would cry anticipating the pain I would feel when he latched on. One night last week I had to wake Mr. A up in the middle of the night because I couldn’t stop crying and Miles was fussy and I was so overwhelmed I just couldn’t cope.

I’ve been lucky. Most of my dark emotions have not lasted long, but they could have. The line between coping and not coping seems so very narrow; all the hormones are like strong winds threatening to blow us over the edge.

I kept telling myself it would get better; that this period of adjustment sucked but would not last long. There were moments where I’ve felt like I have been holding my breathe willing the next phase to get here as quickly as possible. I don’t know what the difference is between me and someone who goes further over the edge into depression. I could point to my husband or my friends… But I bet they could too. Depression and anxiety don’t discriminate it seems, and just because I was spared the worst of it this time doesn’t guarantee that I won’t fall off the edge next time. It would only take a slight breeze.

I guess what I am saying is that having a baby is so hard, no matter how prepared you think you are, and we all need a little reassurance and kindness. If you know someone who has just had a baby, do me a favor and call them and tell them they’re doing a great job and their baby is lucky to have them. You never know how much power your simple act of kindness can have. If you’re a new mama, know you’re not alone and don’t be afraid to ask for help when things are too much for too long. Take care of yourself. Be kind to yourself.

It will get better.

One Month

Miles is one month and a day old.  To give you an idea of what life looks like with a newborn, I started working on this post over four days ago…. I win. He appears to be the same size as the day he was born, except for the three pounds he has gained in his cheeks. He’s too young to understand that his Daddy calling him “Jowly” may not be the most flattering nickname in some circles. We will have to cut that habit by the time he starts kindergarten.

One day when I was changing his diaper he  started peeing (as little boys tend to do).  Lucky for me the stream was in no way directed at me.  Unlucky for Miles the stream went directly onto his little face.  Also unlucky for Miles, his mom thought it was HILARIOUS and instead of thinking quickly and throwing a towel on him to stop the carnage I ended up in hysterics on the ground trying not to pee my pants.  Poor guy.

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Things Miles is All About, 1 month edition.

  • Boobs
  • Tummy time
  • His first real friend, Sade the Seahorse
  • Making old man faces
  • Family Dance time
  • Bath time
  • Santa 

Things Miles Thinks are for Suckers:

  • Sleeping while not bring held
  • His car seat