A first. #nablopomo

Dear Miles,

Ten things I wish for you on your first birthday:
  1. I hope that you continue to march to the beat of your own drummer.  Find the things that you LOVE and just be about those things unabashedly.  Find people to be in your tribe.  Forget about everyone else.
  2. I hope that you care about people.  Your Daddy has a huge heart and your Mama cries over injustice often, empathy is not a weakness.
  3. I hope you learn which rules to break.  Birthday cake can be a fine breakfast and sometimes ditching school to road-trip with your friends can be magical (Just make sure you tell your mom where you’re going and be safe!).
  4. I hope that our home is always a safe place.  I want you to feel comfortable being exactly who you are and when things get crazy I want you to always always always know you can find refuge at home.
  5. I hope that you’re a good friend.  Fiercely loyal and fun-loving.  I think that you are who your friends are, choose well.
  6. I hope you love learning and school and reading and science.  The world is so much bigger than you know.  There are journeys to go on.
  7. I hope you get in trouble just enough to learn your limits, but not enough to require Mommy and Daddy bailing you out of jail.
  8. I hope you stay fearless.  You it out as you go.
  9. I hope you never get to old for a little snuggle time.  I won’t tell anyone, but hopefully you won’t even care if I do.
  10. I hope you know how many people love you Buddy.  Even more than that, I hope you grow up with a deep sense of security because you have so many people in your corner.

You are the best and hardest thing I’ve ever done.  Thank you for making me Mama. I love you.

Miles Right Now. #nablopomo

Fearless.  Stubborn.  Social.

This is how I would describe my son as he’s gearing up to turn one.

He is growing up so very fast and as his personality comes out more and more when is apparent is that he is a bundle of contradictions.  He is fearless, regularly receiving accident reports at school for attempting feats outside of his skill level.  At the same time, he has been taking steps for a whole month now, but shows very little interest in making walking a full-time thing.  He walks mostly when he’s distracted or when he thinks no one is watching.  He’s tentative and brash at the same time.

He eats anything, preferring big flavors.  No thank you on plain pasta but put a little balsamic vinegar on it, and he will eat it with both hands.  Last week he surprised me me chomping down on some red bell pepper and yesterday he wanted to try the prosciutto I was preparing for his birthday party and he loved it.   He goes bananas for ice cream but will eat beets every day for lunch.

Yesterday I came into the front room to find Miles standing on the landing of our 2nd floor apartment.  My heart stopped as I imagined him trying to “walk” down those stairs (Luckily I got to him in time!).  We thought my father-in-law had accidentally left the the door a little open, and Miles took advantage of the opportunity.  Then that night Miles goes over to the front door and opens the door.  Like it was no big deal.  I’m horrified.  My husband is proud.  Our door is now forever deadbolted.  

He laughs when other people are laughing.  He is easier to deal with during the “witching hour” before bedtime if a guest comes over.  If he’s fussy, I’ll take him to Target because he loves looking at people and flirting with them in the aisles.

His hair is turning course and curly like his Dad’s, with my auburn color.  He takes of his socks every single morning on the way to school, no matter how cold it is.

On Friday’s coffee dates are a family affair.  Miles and I share an almond croissant.  Mike and I chat while Miles tries to stare at people until the give-in and start paying attention to him.  

I can’t believe he’s almost a year old.  A year ago tomorrow I woke up in labor.  Best thing that’s ever happened to me.

Day 1: Favorite Quote #NaBloPoMo

(I’m going to quietly come back to this space as if I haven’t been gone for six months.  Babies, amiright?  Time sinks.  I’ll let you know all about everything in the world in the next couple of weeks.  I’ve missed this little space so much lately.)

Day 1: Tell us your favorite quotation and why.

Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

Khalil Gibran

 If I could I’d have this whole poem tattoo’d on my person.  It was incredibly powerful as I started my relationship with my Hubs, a reminder that I didn’t have to give up myself to be in love.  Mike was the first person I ever dated that I felt like myself throughout the “falling in love” process.  I didn’t mold into the person I was dating; and he loved me for it.  I knew I was, he like who I was, I liked him as he was.  Pretty fantastic place to begin.

Then came baby.  (A new tagline for my blog perhaps )  Lately, with an almost one year old, I find myself coming out of a daze.  It’s not that I’m not happy, that’s far from the truth.  What I can say is that I’m not quite “myself”.  At the end of the day, after giving all of me to a job, a baby, and a marriage…. I don’t have much left for me.  My job, baby, and marriage have thrived under this model, but I’ve become a little less sparkly.  I miss being sparkly.  Sigh.  Tell me that’s totally normal for a first time mom.

My life is full of so much amazing things, but to be the strongest pillar I can be, I need to carve some more time out my day for my self.  I think that writing again could be the first step.  (Followed by some bubble baths and regular baby-free friend time.)family photo

 

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.”

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?

 

 

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

State of the Household

He’s 5 days old.

I think I have one billion photos of him on my phone thus far.  (Can you blame me?)

Having Miles home has been intense.  I don’t think I was prepared for how much recovery would be involved in birthing a baby…there is no way I could have done it alone.  At first I was in so much pain, the only thing I was really good for was trying to feed him and holding him while he slept.  Mr. A was a rockstar and dove head first into the world of diapering and swaddling and doing everything to get both Miles and me anything we needed.  Miles and I sure lucked out with him.

Miles and I focused on learning how to breast feed, and it seemed to be going really well until Tuesday night when my milk came in.  Miles became fussy and couldn’t latch.  He was visibly frustrated and I didn’t know how to help him.  I kept telling myself that breastfeeding was supposed to be hard, but we would figure it out.  He would scream until he would fall into an exhausted sleep, only to wake again more unhappy.  By morning I was anxious and defeated.  We headed to our well-baby check in and by the time we got there I was crying uncontrollably.  When they weighed him, he had lost the max 10% of his body weight they will allow; and I cried some more.

The lactation consultant checked out his mouth and found that the roof of his mouth has a super high arch,  he couldn’t tell he had anything in his mouth because nothing was reaching the roof of his mouth to activate his suck-reflex.  We left the hospital with a new feeding routine: I pump for a minute or two and try to get him to latch.  If it works, great.  If it doesn’t work than I pump for a full 15 minutes and then hand it over to Mr. A.  Mr. A uses a syringe with a tube taped to his finger to feed Miles.  When Miles sucks correctly, Mr. A helps to train his little tongue to fully extend while giving him a little bit of milk.  We spent all of Wednesday into Thursday morning with our new routine and Miles changed back to the easy happy baby he is.  The best part: by morning Miles and I were breastfeeding without any help.  Victory.

One down, seventy-billion to go.

Food Coma.