Sunday, January 30, 2011

I have a One Year Old

I have been super busy all week getting ready for Michael's party, which we had yesterday. We cleaned, made decorations, decorated, prepared food, it seemed like the work would never end.

I never blogged about Michael's baptism, but it really was an awful experience. Michael was only six weeks old and I was still extremely sleep deprived. We had to do it then or he was going to out grow the family heirloom baptismal gown. Michael screamed through the whole service. When we got back to the house DH's relatives jumped into help, but there were really too many people and I couldn't direct everyone and take care of an upset baby too. Things got missed (and we used catering to make our lives easier but it was still a lot of work). I spent most of the party nursing Michael or holding him while he slept. I only made it out to the garage where everyone was at the end of the party and was shocked to see how dim it was out there since half the lights were off. And I never even got a close up picture of him in his gown. It just was not an experience I want to relive.

So my goal with this party was to enjoy myself and my baby. My first idea was to trim the number of guests. I wanted to limit the guests to grandparents and siblings (still about 20 people) but DH would not have it and we had to invite almost everyone, which was about 40 people. Our house cannot hold this many people so we have to use the garage to fit everyone, and the garage in January is not such a great idea.

But though many, many hours of work everything came together. We've been cleaning the house in sections for the last two weeks. I've been making decorations since Christmas was over. We made chili, hot dogs, salad, and corn bread for the meal. Everyone said the food was good and we've never even made meat chili before so I'm so glad that it turned out well (and the picky eaters devoured the hot dogs too). By shear luck, we picked a lovely day (cause today was not so lovely). My parents came up a few hours early to watch Michael while we got things ready but the kid napped like a champ so they helped out instead. And they were actually very helpful and there was no drama which was nice.

The one thing I would do differently if I did it again would be to start the party later. We put 11am on the invitations and that was perfect, but people, lots of people, showed up a half hour early. Other than that it was perfect.

Michael woke up for his nap just before 11am (right on time) and was a little freaked out by everyone at first but he warmed up to everyone after lunch and had a great time. He let the grandparents hold him a lot and that was nice to give me a break and do some important things. He got a lot of good gifts. Some of them we put up to bring out later.

I didn't really have a schedule or end time planned out but I didn't need to. The party moved itself along really well and everyone started dispersing around 2 and was cleared out by 3. And the mess wasn't too bad so picking up hasn't been too hard.

So my goal was to enjoy myself and my baby and I felt really good at the end of the day like I had gotten what I wanted and everyone had a good time.

Pictures!


We decorated the garage and tried to make it less "garage-y" and covered the garage doors. We didn't have a real theme. It was kinda just a continuation of his bedroom really.



I printed all of these pictures and asked my dad to cut them out and hang them up and this is what I got. Oh well. At least they're up.



I hung a line of baby clothes from newborn though current (24 months) so show a little of his phenomenal growth. I had a lot of fun going though all his clothes.


More bunting in the house.



MIL made the big cake.


I made the smash cake, but don't be too impressed because I had the topper made by Cakes and Kids.



He wanted that cake!



He made a nice mess but didn't seem to understand to try to eat it. We tried to get him to eat a little but he just didn't want to.



Crawling through the presents.



Opening the presents.



MIL and FIL got him a very nice pedal tractor. It's a good heavy metal one even though it's the wrong color (although at least it isn't green). He looked so cute on it and looked like he knew what he was doing but he can't even reach the pedals yet.



It was so nice all the cousins went out in the front yard and made snowmen out of the left over snow. Snow is the best when you can wear a t-shirt while playing in it.

Well, that's about it. One year down. A lifetime to go.

(It's late, I'm tired. No proof reading until tomorrow.)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Paradigm Shift

The mindset I have today as a SAHM versus the mindset I had a couple weeks ago as full-time, working parent is vastly different.

When I was working I was always kinda freaking out in my head. Oh no, the baby woke up again, I'll never get enough sleep and they'll fire me. Or Oh no, he had a bad day at daycare, I'm such a bad mother. I felt like I sucked at work and parenting and I'm pretty sure that I was doing a good job at both, all things considered.

But from the moment Michael was born there was this feeling I had that I had to get him doing things so that he/I would be prepared for my return to work. I feel like I missed enjoying my maternity leave because I was focused getting him to nap in his crib (instead of on me) or something else like that.

But now it's like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I can breathe again.

He woke up at 4:30 the other morning and I enjoyed sleeping in the chair with him all morning rather than praying that he would let me put him back in his crib so that I could catch a few minutes of sleep before having to get up at 5:30.

Middle of the night waking? Ok, still not always enjoyed, but at least I don't have to get up in a couple of hours and get ready for work.

I had been having a lot of issues with thoughts on weaning lately. With Michael turning a year I figure that my work would not be so open minded about me continuing to pump. And honestly, I would have loved to be done pumping but Michael is no where ready to wean. I'm also a big fan of extended breastfeeding and I was hoping to keep it up for quite a while longer. I'm really glad that's not running around in the back of my mind causing more anxiety any longer. And now I get to breastfeed and I don't have to pump which my breasts greatly appreciate. I really don't know how exclusive pumpers do it.

And Michael has got a bit of a cough and it's a little nasty sounding. I will be keeping him home tomorrow. If I were working DH and I would be discussing our work schedules for tomorrow and playing ro sham bo to determine who has to stay home with him. I, of course, would be wanting to stay home with him but feeling this nasty pressure from work to come no matter how much Michael needs me. Did you know that every time I took off to take care of Michael my manager would question me about it? He would act like he was concerned, but it was always creepy the way he asked and it really seemed to be more for him to judge whether the reason I was taking off was 'worthy' or not. That was some bullshit. Now I can stay home and enjoy spoiling him a little extra without wondering what my creepy boss would think.

And I have time to create again. I was so pressed for time before I was just bursting with this desire to make things but never anytime to do it which was very frustrating. And now I'm busy at it getting ready for his party. I'm probably going to be a little burnt out after the party is over, but I'm really enjoying it right now. Now I can let my desire to create grow rather than trying to kill it all the time. I made some simple appliquéd shirts (my first go at appliqué ever) tonight for his birthday party. I will always have those to remember that day. Before I would have just wished that I had something sentimental like that.

And this is going to sound weird, but I really held back when I played with Michael. I just didn't do a lot of things with him because I (a) didn't really spend that much time with him so I didn't have to try that hard and (b) I was sometimes afraid of really getting into play with him. Like I wouldn't rough house with Michael because I was worried that he might puke at night and that might upset his night and cause him to wake more (causing me to wake) and I just didn't want to risk it. I know it sounds weird/bad, but it was a practical concern. Now I'm teaching him to do flips and I've be hoisting him up on my legs for fun. Small things, but something I wouldn't let us enjoy before.

These are just some of the good changes so far. I'm sure more will come.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Snow Day

Whether I was still working or not I would have been home today because we got about 9 inches of snow last night (that's practically Armageddon around here) and daycare was closed today and DH had to go to work so I would have been home with Michael anyhow.

Because I have to give daycare two weeks notice before taking Michael out I still have it for this week and next and I've been using it. Truly, the only sadness I feel about not working is taking the benefits daycare away from Michael. I love taking care of my baby but I also feel that daycare has a lot of pros, particularly socialization (and some definite cons too in case that wasn't clear already).

So while I still have daycare our schedule has been to play at home in the morning until ~9am and then Michael goes down for his morning nap. He's been sleeping for 1.5-2 hours everyday, and it is glorious. Then he wakes up, nurses, and we get ready and leave so that he's getting to daycare just in time for lunch. I run around and do errands and pick him back up around 2:30 and take him home for his afternoon nap which is about an hour. Then we play until Daddy gets home. So Michael gets time with Mommy, 3 (glorious) hours of naps, and socialization at daycare. Yes, this might be the most perfect schedule ever... if only it could last.

But today, of all days, I actually needed to take him to daycare and it was closed. I was trying to help myself by scheduling a counseling session to deal with some of the work stuff bullshit using our Employee Assistance Program. I made the appointment months ago, but it just takes that long to get in. Well, it's kinda moot at this point, obviously, but I still think I could benefit from some counseling and my EAP runs through the end of the month so I figured that I might as well take advantage of it but since I couldn't drop Michael anywhere I had to cancel. I think today might have been an irony and bad luck 'lasagna'.

DH and I discussed whether we wanted to reschedule it or not. Luckily a law passed last year (this was a state law I believe, it didn't have anything to do with the federal health care overhaul) that mental health services had to be covered by insurance companies like any medical health issue so I can still go without my EAP for the cost of my copay which is a great deal compared to the benefits that I used to have (none). So I rescheduled and DH will stay home and watch Michael that morning for me. The only downside is that the next available appointment wasn't until March.

So today was my first real SAHM day and it went pretty well. I'm really rediscovering my baby and getting to enjoy him in ways I really haven't ever. There has been an paradigm shift in how I interact with Michael since our time together has been completely redefined. Michael's happier, I'm happier, DH is happier, the kitties are happier (they don't have to go to the basement during the day). Life is still busy and I still feel like I need to sleep for a week straight, but things are better around here.

Friday, January 14, 2011

SAHM

Well folks, it finally happened, just like I thought it would.

I feel a mix of emotions right now. I certainly do not miss my job, but I will miss the money. We'll be ok, but things are going to be tight, very tight.

The only thing that really makes me sad about leaving is that Michael enjoyed daycare. Sure, some teachers there were not so great and he had a really hard time adjusting, but otherwise, these days, he was really loving it. I could go and put him down on the floor and he would immediately crawl to his favorite teacher and she would scoop him up. He loved the toys and had little friends, and in that way I feel like I'm taking something from him. Of course, on the flip side, he gets to spend more time with Mommy, and that's definitely a good thing.

I have fantasized for a long time as to what being a SAHM would be like. I had visions of play dates and going to the library and meeting Daddy for lunch, and walks and trips to the park. All those things will happen and are very good things.

But, I'm a little afraid that I might go nuts. I've long thought if I ended up here we need to get organized about this and come up with lesson plans and a good schedule to keep both of us occupied. I'm not sure where to start, but it won't be today because today I just need sometime to cuddle and enjoy my baby and kitties.

So, if the SAHMs could, what advice do you have keeping busy and staying away from boredom?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Signs

Before I had a baby I always thought I'd enjoy the cuddly newborn phase the most but now I think I'm liking this one the best. I love to see his little butt wiggle as he crawls across the floor. He's just starting to learn to dance and it's cute. The expressions are so innocent. And when I do hold him he's not constantly wiggling so he's actually more cuddly in a way. And books! He just loves to have stories read to him (more cuddle time!).

And so many things are happening so fast these days. Just after writing the post the other day about his first words he decided to show off a little more.

Last night he immediately got fussy at dinner. I thought he wanted cheese and was telling him that he had to eat his sweet potatoes first and then he did a funny little sign that looked kinda like milk but his hand was right next to his mouth. I'd seen him do it once before and I said, "No, no milk now." But he fussed more and did it again.

Then it hit me, "Oh, you want juice." That was his interpretation of juice. We put some juice water in a cup and instant happiness.

That was just so awesome to see him do that. I get more excited about new signs than words.

He's not a baby sign language prodigy or anything, but he's making progress. Most signs we've had to work for a long time to get him to pick up. But we really just started using juice so I was pretty surprised. His sign list now includes milk, more, all done, eat, and juice. We do mommy, daddy, and kitty for him too, but we aren't consistent enough with them yet for him to pick them up. We just started cheese. I think he might be motivated to pick that one up quickly.

We've also been doing no a lot lately. It's such an easy sign to use and he totally understands it! He's testing boundaries a lot now and we use it quite a bit but he's pretty good natured and stops doing whatever he's doing when we use it. We tell him no when he's shaking his sippy cup all over, trying to pull the night light out of the socket, and trying to mouth the cat toys (oy... the cats are trying to corrupt him).

I'm pretty pleased with the baby sign language. It's really pretty easy to learn a couple of signs and it helps him communicate with us. I hope we are able to keep expanding.

And on the verbal stuff, after dinner last night we said and signed "all done" to him and he said back, "Not done." Me and DH both looked at each other to make sure we both heard that right.

Friday, January 7, 2011

First Words

I don't really know a lot about kids. Parenting really has been a completely new experience for me. One of the things that surprised me the most is how gradually milestones happen (at least in my experience). Learning to do something new takes a long time and there is a lot of "kinda" and "does that count?" when it comes to marking when we hit a new milestone.

So I have no idea what to count as Michael's first word. I'm not even sure if he's said it yet.

So what counts as the first word anyhow? I was hoping for 'a word spoken in clearish language and used appropriately.'

So he started around 6 months saying "dadada" but not "dada". And since then he's said a lot of da's but I don't think he's ever really said "dada" with meaning.

Well how about "mama"? He's said "mama" clear as day but he didn't really say it to me directly. And he will whine "iwantmama" still, but again I don't know if he knows what he's saying exactly... I can't imagine that an 11 month old can use 3 word phrases with verbs and personal pronouns and such.

He was saying "bye-bye" the other day and waving (which is pretty cool!) but his bye-bye's sound more like "dye-dye" because he's really good at the "d" sounds and not so good at the others. He has also said "kitty" but it sounds like "ditty" (which I think is pretty cute).

The one thing he says that I should probably count, if anything, is "all done". It started sounding like "ah da" but now days he says it somewhat clearly. Could his first word actually be a two-word phrase? We sign all done after meals and he says it back to us (but only sometimes signs it) and has been doing that one for several months actually. The way he uses it and repeats it back to us is pretty undeniable but it seems like a pretty weird first word.

He's to the point now that he talks to us in his own little language of dah's and doo's. It's just absolutely delightful. Well, delightful until he throws in an angry scream because you wouldn't let him chew on nail clippers or whatever.

So I'll say...

First accidental word: Dada
First clearly spoken word: Mama
Worst word with clear meaning: All Done

What do you think? What would you count as the first word? Should I hold out for "Mommy"?

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Michael went back to the ENT for his ear recheck since getting tubes. Getting the tubes did seem to speed up his babbling, a lot, and we are pretty pleased. They redid his hearing test and it was so much more fun to see him responding to the sounds (the first test he just kinda sat there not hearing too much). I knew he was doing better during the testing and I was so proud of him, it was just kinda cool. He can now hear down to 10dB (they want 15dB or less). Before the tubes it was 25dB, so definite improvement.