Thursday, August 27, 2009

General thoughts (it's long, I was thinking a bunch!)

My baby is going to be a year old in less than 8 weeks! I find that VERY hard to believe. He's so much fun right now, I just want to freeze this time and keep it going for a little while longer.

Of course, I felt that way last month too. I feel like taking pictures of all the moments doesn't capture the essence of the moment. I know the memories of all he's done so far will fade with time, and I'll really want to recall them when he's a teenager and getting on my last nerve. But right now he's just my little boy, my baby. He doesn't have an agenda for anything he does, he's just innocently curious.

I called his name at one point today and he seemed startled. It made me feel bad that I'd scared him, and it made me feel bad that just saying his name has that effect, like maybe I've been scolding him too often. But when I look at what we allow him to do versus his safety, I know that no matter how many times he tries (and no matter how much he wants it) there are certain things that are always going to be off limits. Cuteness never trumps electricity.

But there's a grey area too. A friend told me of how she let her child eat sand when they went to the beach. Now some might argue that there are all kinds of bacteria in sand that might not be a great idea to have baby injest, but after hearing the whole story, I have to say, I think she's brilliant.

The first day her child ate 5 handfuls of sand before he decided that it just did not taste good. The second day he ate 1 handful. The third day on he ate no sand at all. He had learned that it just did not taste good and he wanted nothing to do with it. How much easier was that lesson that saying "No, we don't eat sand." all week long??? Like I said, brilliant.

When I was bleary-eyed from lack of sleep I would wish that I knew the magic formula for getting Little M to go to bed. But there have been just as many nights that I'll be in bed trying to get to sleep that I'll think about how much I love him and sort of wish he'd wake up needing to nurse so I can spend time with him. Then I think about how happy a kid he is and reconsider messing with the Gods of Baby Sleep. They are vengeful indeed.

We put up the baby gates a few weeks ago. One out of three cats is able to get to all the same places she used to go before the gates were installed. The other two probably haven't seen the upstairs hallway in a few weeks. One of the cats was stuck in kitty jail (the stairway between the two gates) and wouldn't even come out when I gave the other cats treats just on the other side of the gate. They can jump up to the back of the sofa and loveseat, which are at least 50% higher than the gates, so I know they CAN jump it, THEY just don't know they can. They'll survive, though, as long as they don't get stuck in there for several hours. There's no food, water or litter box in kitty jail. It's definitly worse than regular jail. Not that I'd know firsthand...

Anyway, if you stuck it out this long, thanks, I am usually a little bit more organized, but tonight I'm just rambling. Love to all the mommies and daddies out there, and if you find that way to slow the growing up process, PLEASE let me know!

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Most Wonderful Sound

Not to get too dripy and mushy, but the best sound in all the world has to be a baby laughing.

To me, it's Little M's laughter. It sounds like he's saying, "Hee, hee, hee", but with a sort of bell-like quality and just a little tinge of dorkiness thrown in there. It's just magical.

I don't remember the date when I first heard him laugh, but I remember what circumstances brought it about. I had Little M on the changing table in his room getting ready to go take a bath and I needed to distract him from trying to turn over so I could get his clothes off.

I used "Here comes Ookie, giddy, giddy, giddy!" (Grampy and other family should appreciate that!) and tickled his tummy and he just belted out that laughter! And it got him all wound up, which was probably not the wisest move before putting him in water, but the bathroom will survive.

Now I use that tickling and laughter to keep him entertained every day, and I probably spend about half my time with him trying to make him laugh. He laughs at funny faces, surprised faces, peek-a-boo, the cats, and lots of other things we haven't even discovered yet. He's even been trying to blow raspberries on my arm like I do on his tummy. He's one of the happiest kids I've ever seen.

And that makes me one of the luckiest Moms ever, and I thank God every day for entrusting me (and Big M) with raising this wonderful child.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

No, Mommy is not a teething toy...

So Little M has these four teeth. Two on top, two on the bottom, and they are the sharpest fangs I have ever seen in my life! (OK, really they are his four central incisors, but they're like little baby kitten claws, so cute until they sink into your skin and you realize how SHARP they are!)

And he wants to bite down on EVERYTHING. There are teeth marks on pretty much ALL of his toys, and probably on the crib too (which reminds me, I need to look into getting a plastic cover for the crib rails, I don't think oak has a high nutritional value...)

OK, back from my shopping trip, (and the phone call from the family, here's my shout out to Auntie Em, Grampy, and Little M's Uncle J, thanks for the call!) and it looks like I could make something that would match better with the baby decor if I just order some sheets or valances or something from Babies 'R Us. Or I might just look through the 20 or so crib sheets we ALREADY HAVE. OK, really, I mean it this time, tangent over.

Now, back to the biting Mommy problem...

The problem really is that if Little M is too wound up to settle in and get his milk on, he ends up playing. And for him it is LOADS of fun! He starts out nursing, then he uses those sharp frontal fangs to bite down HARD, then Mommy says either "NO!" or "OUCH!" or both and makes a face. Which he thinks is HILARIOUS! So he's smiling and giggling, and my only recourse is to put him back in the crib and leave the room. Which makes him cry.

Which I feel bad about for about 1/2 a second, until I'm keenly away of the pain I am now in, and I'm back to knowing this is the way to get him to stop. I wait until the crying STOPS, then go back into the room. Usually this is only a minute or two, but he's worked off a little energy, and sometimes he's ready to settle down and actually nurse.

Other nights we go through this two or three times, and on the nights when he is just clearly not going to settle down at all, I have to go downstairs and listen on the baby monitor for the, "MUM-MUM-MUM" cries. Those mean he's serious about being hungry now. Sometimes I go downstairs and he plays in the crib for 20 minutes before the "MUM-MUM-MUM", but he ends up there eventually.

I just wish I knew a way to tire him out more during the going upstairs and getting ready for bed part of the routine. I already make him climb up all 16 steps to get upstairs, then he crawls around the hallway the whole time I'm running the bath, is a baby treadmill my next step???

I guess playing until I see either yawning or the rubbing the eyes is just what we'll have to do in his room if I want to be able to breastfeed the next child. Or maybe that's Little M's plan to remain an only child...

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Crawlin' Man

Boy, is Little M ever tireless when it comes to mobility! Now that he's up and about on hands and knees, he cannot get enough of chasing around the cats, or playing with Mommy.

My favorite game is to call out "Where's Little M?" from around a corner, and he'll crawl over to find me. I especially like it that he doesn't just come to where he can see me, but to where I can see him, too. That way I can get him to come all the way back into a room, and sometimes I can even convince him to take a break and play with the toys there!

The crawling phase was one I expected to just be exhausting for me, knowing I'd have to be going everywhere he goes, and carrying extra weight with me. But it has turned out to be a great blessing in disguise. I have been forced to be active with Little M EVERY DAY! My back hasn't felt better since before I was in the car accident where it got hurt. I'm able to talk Little M for walks in his stroller (now I just have to build up my stamina!), and I can carry him around better too.

We've been battling various illnesses (it's a virus! No, it's a bacteria! No, it's a virus! But we don't know which one!) for the last month, and it's made us miss our Mommy and Baby Friends a lot. Next week is another Mommies Group, and we're hopeing we'll be able to make it this time, since we only have a few left before we graduate from the group (at age 1 year).

Now we have a bunch of stuff to work on, drinking from a cup (sippy or not, we'll see), eating table food with hands, walking. So we'll be pretty busy for a few months. But I'll still keep you posted here, you never know what he'll crawl into next!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Ahh, food for the soul.

So today Little M and I went on a playdate of sorts. It was supposed to be with an old friend from college and her child of around the same age. Instead it was with her oldest child, but Little M didn't mind at all, he is not ageist in the least when it comes to playmates. I'm so proud.

I wasn't sure how it was going to go, since I hadn't seen this friend, lets call her Alyssa(not her real name), in about 13 years. There was a falling out years ago between me and another friend, and Alyssa was awarded to the other side in the separation agreement. My side had a crappy lawyer. But I was finally free of the dead weight in my life.

And I learned something very valuable from the experience... Just because there's a separation agreement in place, it doesn't mean the other side won't eventually want to hear my side of what happened. And Alyssa was kind enough to hear me out and we both agreed that it was a godawful mess at the time, but water under the bridge now. It was really cathartic.

Then I let her in on one of the most fabulous secrets they never tell you in all the teen magazines or self help books for girls. There will come a point in your life where you DO NOT have to be friends with people you don't like!

Let me give you an example. There's a girl, let's call her Sherri (not her real name) who I always got bad vibes from. Sometimes I could point to exactly what I didn't like about her ("Oh, your ex-boyfriend and I are so happy, he said he's in love with me and he hasn't been in love for three years, weren't you dating him last fall?") Other times I'd just get off the phone with Sherri and I'd say to myself, "I genuinely hate this person, why am I friends with her?" And the answer would always be, because my friends were friends with her.

When you enter the grown up world where you have to make an effort to keep in touch, it's easy to just let these "friendships" slide. A new telephone number here, a restraining order there, you get the idea. Or just move to another state after graduation. There's no guarantee they won't follow, but it's worth a shot sometimes!

The gain in health and vitality you'll get from having that negative energy out of your life is sooooo worth the moving expense or whatever the phone company charges to change the number. will still have to have relatives you may not like (nobody said you could get rid of those), and you'll have to deal with bosses and coworkers and spouses friends, and kids' friends' mothers that you will swear are giving you grey hair just from talking on the phone, but when you get to chose your friends, eliminate all the deadwood, and choose wisely. The people you chose as your friends are the ones who help you be a better you.

SO Alyssa, if you're out there, congrats on making your life more positive, and keep the faith that the good people around you will appreciate the "truth they don't want to hear".

Thursday, August 13, 2009

And he's back!

My little boy is back from the land of the sick! No more runny nose, no more sneezing, we're all out of amoxicillin, and he's crawling around after the cats at full speed again (they're thrilled, let me tell you!)

He's also climbing stairs like a pro these days. I have him climb them himself when it's time to go up for bath and bed. He sometimes needs a goal, so I have to put the timer a couple of steps above him and keep moving it. But other times, like when his cousin had gone upstairs before him and was waiting at the top, he could not have cared less about the timer, it was all about getting to Cousin D!

And he's learning a little better how to put himself back to sleep. I was sure, when he woke tonight at 10:15, that I was going to have to go up and top him off, then spend the better part of an hour getting him back to sleep. But he kept crying then stopping. Every time I was sure he was up and needed me, he'd go quiet. So I waited him out, and he was back asleep in five minutes! What a trooper!

I keep hearing little noises from the baby monitor, but that's normal. I so love that we have this time together. I'm really going to miss it when I go back to work. I keep thinking of that saying that when on their deathbed, nobody ever says, "I wish I'd spent more time at the office." And I think about things I might miss. It makes me sad.

Today he pulled up on the arm of the couch, which is over his head! I think we'll really have to keep an eye on him, he's going to take his first steps any day now. I hope both Daddy and I are around to see it.