Monthly Archives: December 2012

Letters to Henny

Dear Henry,

Soon you will be three months old. Yet, it seems that you’ve been around forever and a day. How does that happen? How does it work that you’re only 13 pounds yet you’ve come into our lives with a bang, shaking and rattling us up in ways that feel partly exciting, but also unsettling? Like my bones are vibrating and I’m waiting for them to settle back into place.

You pushed your way into the world with force. No, you said, just because I have a huge personality of a big sister to encounter, it doesn’t mean I’m coming meekly, or quietly, or newborn-like. I’m coming for reals. Three hours and forty five minutes it took you to barrel your way into the world, upside down, with your hand raised in greeting.

It became clear pretty quick you weren’t one of those baby wallflowers, either. Just like your sister you demanded to be shown the world. Changes of scenery, constantly aloft in someone’s arms, you weren’t going to tolerate being plunked down, second child or not.

You are immensely beautiful. You are my son. A son I never really imagined I would have, but secretly wished for. Your eyebrows are starting to get reddish, I think, but no one agrees with me. You look dashing in plaid, fetching in teddy bears. You puke all over us all day long.

You blow bubbles at me. You love patterns, and complicated visuals, and fuss until we let you see the books we read your sister at bedtime. You are my smart little boy. You are the child that may resemble me in the slightest. You are sweet, and cuddly, and you cringe from loud noises. You are tall and blue-eyed, at least for now. You love to smile at me, and everyone, and I can’t help but smile back.

I can’t wait to find out more about you.

XO

Mommy

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This Is a Post About Boobs

Isn’t it amazing how much time we spend thinking about our boobs if we are breastfeeding moms? Sometimes I feel like the majority of my day is spent catering to the demands of my boobs, and my babies demands for my boobs, and my needs for my boobs, and you get the idea.

Anyway, since Christmas dinner was my planned attempt to eat dairy again and see what sort of horrors would ensue in Henry’s tummy, I thought I’d revisit the subject of boobs, and nursing, and dairy intolerance, and food, and weird nerdy Mommy things like that.

Mmmmm, dairy-containing foods

I ate lasagna…some pumpkin pie (non-dairy) and a few other dairy items like chocolate-covered popcorn. And so far…nothing majorly disastrous has happened. Henry hasn’t exploded into fussiness. He MAYBE is a little fussy, but it’s so hard to tell what’s a normal variation in his temperament based on growth spurts, crankiness, tiredness, napping, not napping, etc.

His poop is so far pretty normal.

This is not a picture of a poopy diaper. You're welcome.

This all leads me to wonder if I can eat dairy again. Maybe he’s outgrowing his sensitivity at three months like the pediatrician suggested OR maybe he never really had a milk protein intolerance to begin with. Maybe it was an overactive letdown/oversupply/fore milk hind milk issue which I know I also had.

My mom knows all teh thingz!!

It’s all so confusing when there are multiple factors. The dairy free diet wasn’t so bad after all. I found lots of expensive substitute products. But I’d like to eat pizza again, and have the freedom and convenience of just eating anything, anywhere, any time.

I’ve been listening to Nancy Holtzman’s webinars about breastfeeding and oversupply syndrome and they are AMAZING. She is so knowledgeable. I could have skipped both lactation consultants I’ve seen. I knew more than they did anyway from simply researching and reading, reading, reading.

I’m a nerd. And I’m one of those people who thinks they know better than all the doctors.

I read all teh bookz!!!

Anyway, some of the things she had to say about the symptoms of oversupply made me wonder if I’ve been correct to doubt the milk intolerance diagnosis.

If you are a nursing mom, check out her webinars. I’m going to listen to her sleep issues one next. This week may or may not be a grand experiment in putting Henry to sleep in his crib, since my husband’s off, and I’m getting really over having him in bed with me/next to me. It’s lovely and cuddly but I don’t think he will learn not to nurse all night long when he’s sleeping next to the hotel minibar. (me)

I’ll let you know how it goes. I’m cautiously pessimistic.

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Merry Christmas

I hope you and yours had a good one.

We did.

Things that happened include:

A picture of a crying six month old Anna made its way into December Parenting magazine via a Diapers.com ad and a photo shoot with a photographer friend.

My hair became officially ridiculously too long.

Walking around a mall became a viable entertainment option.

Henry almost rolled over.

We bundled up for winter walks.

Elves were on the loose.

The house was fully decorated.

Cookies were veganized.

The three-year-old decorated and the three-month-old demonstrated his precocious readiness for solid food, apparently.

Mommy snacked on a gingerbread cookie.

The girls in the family snuck out for Christmas Eve manicures. Anna got Rapunzel purple, of course.

A nice man bought her a cookie just for being cute. Interestingly enough, that never happens to me.

Our Christmas Eve tradition of sushi takeout continued. (Rapunzel had white rice.)

Henry’s bookshelf was assembled. Good thing he’s already showing signs of a life-long love for reading. He loves snuggling up next to his big sister for bedtime books. He likes the patterns.

He doesn’t mind wearing girly bibs.

Christmas morning! Henry gifted us with six straight hours of sleep and Anna gave us a night with no preschooler nightmare wakings :(.

A mermaid costume was number one on her list for Santa.

Santa added the rock star twist to the mermaid equation.

There’s a pretty significant mermaid obsession happening here. This one swims by itself in the bath. Bath time will now take three hours instead of two. This girl loves to soak.

This stocking stuffer joke gift was actually pretty funny. “Let me rub your feet while you tell me all about the baby’s poop today.”

Henry liked his crib aquarium.

Stonewall Kitchen pancake mix = best ever. Pancake breakfast is another of our family’s Christmas Day traditions. Isn’t it everyone’s, though?

Walt found the best present ever. Anna’s been going around lamenting that she can’t paint on the walls like Rapunzel. Walt found a cardboard castle…for painting. She went to it.

I abused my social media privileges like whoa.

There was a lot of food. I ate lasagne. Let’s see how messed up I make poor Henny’s tummy from that one.

Anna was opening presents from my sister, adorable outfits, and she said, very seriously: “You shouldn’t get me all clothes! You should get me different types of things!” Ha.

My sister’s boyfriend got her some little mermaids and she exclaimed “You must have seen my Santa list!”

Anna in her robe from the Von Trapp resort in Vermont, via grandparents.

True dat.

Hope your holidays were everything you wanted and more!

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This Blog

”My children cause me the most exquisite suffering of which I have any experience. It is the suffering of ambivalence: the murderous alternation between bitter resentment and raw-edged nerves, and blissful gratification and tenderness. Sometimes I seem to myself, in my feelings toward these tiny guiltless beings, a monster of selfishness and intolerance.”- Adrienne Rich

When I conceptualized this blog, I imagined a happy, busy documenting of my life as an active, fit, mother. Balancing raising two young children with my love for challenging myself physically.

I pictured concrete, practical, how-to posts, records of my personal achievements, recaps of my weekly workout and summaries of races raced, maybe even some medals won.

I didn’t imagine it to be a working document of my second go-round of a rough postpartum period.

But that’s what it’s becoming, that’s what it seems to need to be. What I need it to be. And I don’t want to hide from myself, to do a disservice to another woman who may be out there reading this, maybe feeling the same way, too.

Depressed. Overwhelmed. Anxious. Sad. A little bit hopeless.

I knew it would be hard to fight back to my pre-baby physical state. I should have expected it would be as hard, or harder, to get back to my pre-baby mental state.

I struggled with moderate postpartum depression after my daughter was born. I still maintain that it was mostly situational. Bad sleep, a baby with health issues, being stuck at home all winter, not as much support as I would have liked to have had, my own expectations and self-criticism. There was nothing that wasn’t also going to be here again, this time.

My old blog (more of a Mommy/life blog) might have been smarter. It knew that the struggles of the first months, the first year, would supersede other concerns. Would dominate my days and nights. This blog right now is wishful thinking. It serves to remind me that there are better days coming, days when I can sleep and wake up and exercise and have hobbies and a little bit of enjoyment and personal satisfaction. Reminding me to keep fighting through the monotony and difficulties of right now to get to later.

I know it’s all the more sweeter at the finish line with my loves.

Can’t wait to get there.

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Things Getting Weird

The past week has just been weird.

Mostly bad weird.

The world is kind of screaming and falling apart, as Jeff Mangum would say. And I say what he says, since he’s a genius and all.

I can’t get over what happened to those children.

All I can think about is the pain of the parents. The worst pain a human can probably know, in my opinion.

I can’t accept it and I refuse to. I won’t pray that they’re angels now. They were angels to their families while they were alive. I’ll be angry forever.

It’s up to us. The alive and capable, to make something better.

We have a burden. We have the responsibility that we have but one life here on Earth and possibly anywhere, ever, forever and ever.

 

There’s always something dark and crisis-like about December. The days are never shorter. The world is never bleaker. My December is getting weird. I’m way too tired. I’m too sad. My dog is maybe getting some sort of weird raccoon-transmitted disease. Or not.

I’m looking forward to Christmas, to the days getting longer, and to trying to do something about what I believe.

I don’t want to pray. I want to act. I’m an angry mama. I’m ready to stand around and yell things at elected officials. The time to prevent another tragedy like this is…yup, now.

http://www.demandaplan.org/stories#phShjOtEVPg

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/immediately-address-issue-gun-control-through-introduction-legislation-congress/2tgcXzQC

 

 

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No Words Today

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Christmas-y 2012

Teaching Anna how to make collages out of catalogs

We made an ornament for her preschool's tree

 

Anna wanted to help decorate, but only with the fragile ornaments. "Is this breakable?" she asked. She didn't want to hang it if it wasn't proof of what a careful big girl she was.

 

Not done

 

I hope people keep sending us cards after this year, since I didn't manage to send any.

 

Our Christmas village...I'm not really a fan of these, but I did it for my daughter. She loves them. I even think Santa is bringing her another piece for the collection, a snowman.

 

Mantel

 

Tree at night

 

Tired Mommy ordered the wrong font color for the newest addition's stocking.

 

Table

 

Nooks

 

Front door

 

Another nook

 

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Every Day Is Opposite Day, and My Dog Is a Cold-Blooded Wet-Nosed Attempted Murderer

The local news will interview my neighbors who will be so surprised! So shocked! He was always such a friendly dog!

So every single Internet over-sharer parent ever knows that as soon as you proclaim your baby sleeps well, they go and eff you over that very night.

It’s the phenomenon responsible for radio silences from Facebook friends on their newborn’s sleep habits, the reason bloggers throw salt over their shoulders.

But! Apparently it works the other way around, as no sooner did I complain on the interwebz that Henry was sleeping badly, he slept better.

I can’t type how long he slept because the pox will visit my house, and locusts will keep me up all night tonight if I do. But it was a decent chunk, no not any longer than his previous records (babies should Instragram their personal sleep records and I should time his naps with my Garmin for #proof! #fitfluential!) but today I feel so fabulous. I feel pretty! Oh so pretty! Ha.

Good thing I was well rested. Monday morning brought with it fun and rabies.

Yes, rabies.

So it all started when I let Finn out this morning. We’ve had ongoing problems growing grass in our backyard, and it ends up too muddy and wet when it rains and since we just had the lawn aerated, my husband put up a low temporary fence around the muddy grass, that allowed Finn to go into another part of the yard. So Finn runs out flying onto the deck, sails over the low fence like some straight to video AirBuds Gymnastics sequel and is now over the fence, barking his fool head off and getting all muddy-pawed and annoying me. Too busy doing my preschool rusharound routine, I let him bark and drive the neighbors insane for a good hour as he tried to figure out how to get back OVER the fence.

(Sit there and think about what you’ve done!)

So I finally help him back in, spend like ten minutes cleaning his stupid paws with baby wipes and drop off Anna at preschool. Come back, realize Henry had conked out in the baby carrier, so grab Finn for a quick walk. I step onto the front stop, only for Finn to jet away so violently I have to drop the leash so he doesn’t wipe out me and Henry.

I hear Worldwide Wrestling Federation tussling sounds behind the bushes in front of our house. I hear Finn snarling and snapping and weird thrashing noises and I assume it’s a squirrel. Finn comes out from the bush and I grab his leash and look and see this HUGE honkin’ raccoon just standing there all frozen and big and goofy-looking. Finn has no cuts, no blood, no scratches, nothing. He emerged totally unscathed somehow.

Guess that’s why they call them coonhounds. They don’t play around.

Finn as a puppy, in cuter, non-homicidal days

The injured raccoon, on the other hand, was not doing so hot. He was kind of licking his wounds under the bush, like a big weirdo, not running away like a good non-rabid raccoon should. So I do what anyone would do and consult Facebook. I did call the vet, too, who said it was fine since Finn is up to date on his shots and just check him for cuts.

Excuse me? Check him for what? I was not about to touch my dog. Ever again. He might as well have been bleeding from every pore and recently returned from the CDC high-security plague research facility.

Someone suggested I call the non-emergency police number and I did since there was the raccoon still hanging out under my bushes. Shudder. I also warned a newbie mailman to watch his step. He was horrified. He was like, this crazy lady with a baby and a dog and a weird-ass raccoon on my first day on this route? Mailman job? Not so great! Back to school with me I go!

So a police cruiser showed up very quickly and the officer looked pretty reluctant to be dealing with this, since he had to shoot the raccoon and then he decided to wait for his “boss” who had a smaller, more nice neighborhood-friendly gun. Then that officer came and then they couldn’t find the raccoon after all. It disappeared into the rainy day. Or they just didn’t want to shoot it and shooed it away?

I sequestered the dog in a stairwell behind a baby gate where he proceeded to exercise every vocalization in his hound dog arsenal (that’s a lot of sounds). Annoying. I was sorry he was in doggie jail for violent, germ-ridden, offenders, but really? Hours of him whining and trying to figure out what the hell to do to clean him off? Finally he stopped crying.

Sorry bud

 

I had Ferberized him. One day, friends! That’s all it took. I used the extinction method. No checking, shushing, or patting.

I debated donning rubber gloves and hosing him down outside, but my baby wasn’t going to stand for being put somewhere safe and out of the way, and I couldn’t very well hold my baby while de-rabies-ifying my dog. So I called every mobile dog grooming business listing I could find.

Apparently mobile dog grooming businesses are very fly-by-night.

Twelve calls later and many many hours later (I periodically threw dog treats into his cell) someone came.  A woman with a van. To clean my dog. Of rabid raccoon saliva. Or not. Hopefully it was just raccoon saliva.

It's okay, doggy. The nice people in the nice van are here to take you away.

I will now spend the next three days Clorox wiping my home. And yard. And street.

 

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Getting Creative

By the end of last week, I was starting to spiral down into a pretty bad funk.

A funky funk. An angry, tired, oh-so-tired, funk. Something about sleep deprivation makes my outlook pessimistic, makes my problem-solving skills disappear. My brain is no longer plastic and flexible, unable to try new ways to tackle challenges. It’s like I switch into an autopilot mode, skating along with rote responses to novel issues.

It’s not the best mindset for tackling the challenges of life with a little baby.

Power to the people...my non-napping two month old people!

This weekend I tried my best to recharge.

I wasn’t successful getting any more sleep (boo…Henry seems to be sleeping a bit worse lately) but I managed to get to my first class at the gym since the baby was born. Endorphins, real sweat. Then I did another day of weights. Two days in a row of the gym.

This was a big deal for my mental health.

Love setting goals for watts on the Keiser bike

It also got me thinking…thinking about finding some can-do attitude underneath my black or white/sky is falling thinking. Trying to come up with some creative approaches to finding and maintaining some sanity and happiness over this long winter to come.

I came home from the gym and posted on Facebook, asking if any mommy friends want to set up a standing babysitting trade.

I can’t “fix” the baby’s sleeping now. But I can control my reaction, adjust my expectations, find little solutions to make life more bearable. Because me on no sleep +  being stuck at home + no exercise = an ugly Mommy. I gotta do what I can do to change one variable in that equation.

These are the people who are affected by my bad attitude...they are worth trying everything in the world to shape up my perspective.

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Things Kids Say

If you had asked me before I became a parent, at what age do children start the whole “Why, why why” endless questioning routine, I would have guessed five or six. Wrong. Anna started in with the whys at two years old, and now at three, she’s still going strong.

But in the realm of parental annoyances, this is one of the most charming. Sure, when I’m juggling a simultaneous assault of an angry nursing baby, a dog barking his head off at passers-by, the phone ringing, maybe even food burning on the stove, collecting the wherewithal to carefully construct an honest yet age-appropriate, comprehensible answer to gems such as “Who is God?” and “Why is the sky blue?” is not easy. But it’s incredibly sweet to see her curiosity about the world unfold, her wondering and her imaginations.

And half the time, she constructs her own explanations anyway.

“Maybe a bird painted the sky blue, Mommy.”

Maybe, why not?

“Look, there’s God, Mommy,” she said the other day as we walked by her Lutheran church preschool and spotted the female pastor.

That’s not God, I told her, that’s the pastor.

“Well, why does she have the same hair as God?” Anna asked.

Um.

“What’s under the road?”

Dirt.

“What’s under the dirt?”

More dirt?

“This is my baby Jesus. His daddy is at work!”

Well, technically…

“Why don’t you work, Mommy?” she wondered one day. I told her I do work, I take care of her.

“I want you to work and Daddy to stay home.” Thanks, kid. Nothing like some positive validation on the job.

When I tell her I’m going to eat her up, she protests. But then there’ll be no more Anna, she says!

We went to a breastfeeding support group last week. Two women were discussing something about their babies, when apropos of nothing, Anna saunters up and interrupts the meeting (yes, I have that kid, the one who goes up to strange adults and starts talking to them. There’s really nothing stopping it) to earnestly inform everyone “My baby brother Henry cries when you put him down!”

Well, that is true. Gotta give her that.

One day she asked about love, after a few too many Disney movies.

“Are we in love, Mommy?”

Why yes, yes we are.

 

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