Friday, October 28, 2011

car places make me want to punch someone in the teeth

I have this tire. We fill it with air, it deflates after a few weeks. We fill it again. It's called budget car maintenance.

However after discovering a 98 percent flat tire, we bit the bullet. And by "we," I mean me. Shea made me an appointment at the tire store. I drove 51 blocks on said tire with a fussy baby in the back hoping for a nice little patch. But who really has ever gone to an auto repair store and left with anything nice or little (cheap)?

Instead of a patch or even just one tire, I got four. For $699. On sale. When they broke the news to me, I cried. Because isn't that what a girl in a car shop should do? I called the hubs with no success to ask what to do. Then called my dad. Then put on my big girl pants and got tires because, you know, we have this baby who we're supposed to be keeping alive.  

They promised it'd only take 90 minutes. I was planning on 30 so I was sans stroller or any sort of baby wearing device. Henry and I camped out in the waiting room watching TV and reading Field and Stream (seriously, why). This lasted four minutes before he started wailing. Simultaneously, the hubs accurately interpreted my rapid fire texting and texts "you probably hate me right now." I mean, really, I got married so I wouldn't have to do this crap.

With the choice of sitting around reading hunting magazines with crying child in a shop full of greasy men or hoofing across the entire shopping center with my 30-pound carseat to Target, I chose the latter. When I reached my shopping limit, I made it back to the shop once again only to be greeted by the mechanic with a list of things he wanted to do to my car: rear shocks, rear brakes, air filter, blah blah. I gave him the "I am paying you $700 today and you STILL have not put tires on my car? Do you see the fact I am currently juggling a fussy child, carseat, Target bag, blanket, Sophie the giraffe and a pacifier that keeps falling out?" look.

Three hours after leaving my house, we left for home. I must admit, the new tires feel nice, and I might even let the hubs sleep in the bed tonight.

Monday, October 24, 2011

fall fun

Henry is meeting his great grandma this week and enjoying Edwards Apple Orchard. Possibly more entertainment for us than him but that's what babies are for.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

when it's hard

My sister-in-law, Shannon, gave birth to a beautiful girl yesterday. In looking at her newborn pictures and then back at my smiley, 12-pound baby I realized how far we've come.

People told me it'd be hard at first. I didn't truly believe them. I'm a confident, multi-tasking woman. I could do this. Which, I did. But not because I was so confident or that my multi-tasking skills matched the situation.

Shannon, here's what I realized in my 20/20 hindsight based on my experience (plus the best advice I received from people smarter than me), which could be totally opposite from yours. So take it for what it's worth, as if you have time to read blogs right now anyway.

When I was home from the hospital, I suddenly desperately wanted to go back. There were nurses there who took care of my baby so I could sleep. I had food (albeit, gross food) delivered to my bed with one ring of the phone. The bed moved up and down for nursing. I didn't have to decide what was normal when Henry turned red, felt hot, unlatched quickly, etc. People visited with pretty flowers and balloons. And then I went home, and it was a much more challenging place. Especially when Shea went back to work and my mom went home. 

You will cry. A lot. For lots of reasons and for absolutely no reason. It's totally normal but really not fun. If it continues, don't be afraid to tell your doctor. I did.

There will be a time when a Target run does not seem like an insurmountable task.

You'll experience pain that only women who just gave birth can. Your lady parts hurt (yay, Tucks). Your uterus is contracting back to its normal size in an ever so painful way. Your nipples are raw and nursing can bring on toe-curling pain. Things got better but I didn't feel totally healed for a month. And then there are some things that have just become my new normal.

You'll forget the pain of labor. Really, really quickly.

Your husband is great. Your mother is better.

Visitors should bring food. And not the number one combo from McDonalds. Real food from a private kitchen. Then they should drop it off, hold your baby a little, tell you she is the cutest baby ever made and leave.

When people offer to bring you said food, go to the pharmacy for you, vacuum your floors or hold baby so you can sleep, say YES.

You love your baby but don't feel guilty if you aren't in love. She is perfect and wonderful but a foreigner you don't know yet. The all-consuming love comes with time (and toothless grins).

Everyone tells you to sleep when the baby sleeps, which you should if you can. I couldn't. I wanted to do things like do laundry or scan through Facebook because it made me feel normal. You should not follow my example. Sleep.

I had all these rules for my mothering. I didn't want to use pacifiers. I absolutely would not co-sleep. I would use cloth diapers from day one. I would not let emails go unanswered for weeks. I should have listened to my wise mom friends and realized that no matter how strong my intentions were, they changed. Because I just had to survive. Ten weeks later, I am still just surviving - but in a better, more sane way.

When you've reached your limit and she's been crying for hours, it's OK to put her in her crib and walk away for a bit. Take a shower, cry, stick your head out the window to suck in fresh air. 

Lower your standards for a successful day. If you take a shower and eat, that's success for awhile.

Listen to all the advice people (like me) will give you. Then remember whatever you do is best because you're the mom and therefore the boss.

And when you're Googling "does this get better" at 3 a.m., know that it does. I promise.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

the 4 a.m. shower

This is our normal bedtime routine:

We try to watch TV/read for class/actually talk while holding Henry on the couch.  He decides he would prefer to be held while we are standing. We take turns standing and rocking while singing either "Jesus Loves Me" or "I've Been Working on the Railroad." Over and over.

Henry starts to fall asleep sucking on his pacifier. Henry spits out pacifier and resumes fussy crying. Repeat 50 billion times. Daddy changes diaper and then swaddles Henry. Resume standing and singing routine. Finally Henry falls asleep around 9:30 on my chest. The slow walk to the bedroom begins followed by an even slower lowering into the crib. On a good night, he snorts, flutters his eyelids and falls into a deeper sleep. You can guess what happens on the bad nights.

Regardless, he is up at 11 at which point I pull him into bed and nurse him. He falls right back to sleep in my arms and I use a nifty roll maneuver to place him in between our pillows where he sleeps til 3 a.m. and then til 7 a.m.

At our two month appointment, I explained this routine followed by "I know our bed isn't the safest place for him, ok?" This was met with the uh yeah nod.

Instead of this chaotic routine, Dr. K recommended this sleep training process:

Start at 8 p.m. Change his diaper and put on his jammies. Sing him a nice little song and read a book. Nurse him and when he's 95 percent asleep, put him in his crib. He falls asleep in his crib therefore won't get mad when he wakes up in his crib. Happily ever after in sleep land. Obviously Dr. K got his kids from the perfect store.

The first night, as soon as he started fussing in his crib, Shea swooped him up saying "oh you want to sleep with us? OK!"

Last night we attempted to follow directions. After battling through song and dance (literally), we got him calm enough to look at a book. Swaddled and sleepy, we got him in his crib by 11 and there he stayed. Feeling pretty empowered, we went to sleep and didn't wake up until 4 a.m. I nurse and then burp him. I got my burp followed by a good 48 hours worth of milk spit up in my hair, causing me to start screaming for a towel. Mostly because I had just changed our sheets. And that does not happen often. Or ever.

Shea, handing me a towel: "So now what? Are supposed to put him back in his crib? Read him another book? Sing a song?"

Me, stripping off my clothes: "The only thing I am doing is taking as shower because there is baby vomit dripping off my hair and down my back."

Needless to say, Henry spent the rest of the night not in his crib, but in our bed.

Parenting fail.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

two months

 Dear little Henry,

Today you're two months old! We've only known each other eight weeks but I struggle to remember the time when I hadn't seen your face yet. You've transformed from newborn to baby so quickly.

You're finally moving up to your 0-3 month clothing and your newborn pre-fold diapers are getting a little tight. I get panicky when I realize I am already needing to pack up some of your clothes. We think you're closing in on 12 pounds though we'll find out your official weight later this week at your doctor's appointment.

You lost a lot of your hair but it's slowly starting to reappear. You smile all the time especially when waking up after a good sleep, while kicking your rolly polly legs in the bath or when flapping your arms at a toy. You're awake much more during the day and take more regular naps, usually on my chest or snuggled up to my body.

Your sleep preferences still baffle us. Some nights you give us a good five-hour block. Sometimes you're up every 1.5 hours to nurse. You'll sleep the first block in your cradle but sleep the rest of the night with us (go ahead, judge me).Your reflux seems to be getting better as you age, and you nurse for longer but less often. I thank you. You've started to need to suck more and have developed a love for the pacifier. I caved.

We've enjoyed the BOB jogging stroller, which was a gift from my co-workers. You've never been held by so many doting women at once!

You love your activity gym, the elephant that plays songs, mirrors, lights, lampshades and a painting of the Hartford ship from Kansas. Grandpa Randy printed copies so you could have your painting wherever you are.

You've attended more K-State games and enjoyed the Ciderfest in Louisburg.

You went to the zoo for the first time and absolutely loved looking at the trees. You seem to ignore all animals for now including the zoo animals living in our house.

I see trees!
You seriously have the cutest face I think we've ever seen. Ever.

Love you little man,

Monday, October 10, 2011

work dread

I've had friends who went back to work after maternity leave and quit on arrival. Then I have friends who do just fine and can't imagine staying home all day taking care of a baby. I was positive I'd be in the latter category. Without a doubt.

Then Henry happened.

Don't get me wrong. There are days when I watch Shea shower, get dressed and drive off to work and envy seeps from my pores. There are days when he chatters on about his meetings, successful calls, jokes with coworkers and lunch with clients and then I bitterly report that my biggest accomplishments for the day were showering and unloading half the dishwasher. Oh, and I kept a human being alive.

But when I think about returning to work in a month, the dread suffocates me and knots my stomach. Because even the hard days are awesome.

I am the one who gets to see his smiley face each morning. I see the little changes in him everyday - the way he has found his hands, the little bubbles of drool that are starting to form, the scratch on his face, the way he has learned to flap his arm in the direction of a toy. When he wakes up from his nap, it's me he smiles at as if he hasn't seen me in weeks.

I know he'll always love his mama, and that he'll still want me (and his daddy) most. But I don't want anyone else to see the little changes first. I don't want to be sitting in a stale board meeting while he's smiling at someone else. And good grief, who wants to pump in the bathroom?

Right now we've decided I need to go back, at least for awhile. Though hopefully not until after Thanksgiving.

But oh what I would give to unload half the dishwasher and cuddle with my baby all day, every day.

Monday, October 3, 2011

playing catch up

I've been neglecting this blog. Mostly because of this guy.

He's changing everyday. The hubs was on a four-day business trip and came back remarking how much bigger he was and how much more personality he had.

Bigger? Yes. According to my non-accurate scale, Henry weighs 12 pounds explaining my constant neck and back ache. He's growing more rapidly than my muscles. We worked hard for that growth, though. The six-week spurt hit and we had two days of HELL. Thankfully I was with my parents who did a lot of holding, shushing, swaying, begging and singing.

Now the boy is clusterfeeding less and smiling a lot. This morning I was doing some work and glanced down to see a full-faced grin looking back at me. When I kiss his lips, he smiles back.

We took him to a four-hour football game with a wild crowd, most of which he slept through. We even took three two-hour car rides with no screaming. Be still my heart!

This morning I got two projects designed for work, washed diapers, chased one of our cats around the yard who had manged to escape and drank 1/4 cup of coffee before it got cold.

Dare I say there is hope in sight?