Apr 27, 2012

I'm not an idiot

(I am an idiot.)

I cannot even explain how glad I am that I pushed the PUBLISH button on that last post.  I know the old adage "it takes a village" is supposed to refer to raising children, but I think it's actually talking about keeping moms sane because sometimes it takes other moms saying "I have been there" to clear a tired head.  Thank you, thank you, thank you for the suggestions and encouragement.

I am, in fact, an idiot.  I forgot the most important lesson that I learned from baby number one, my sweet girl, and it is:  It's not about me.  Sleep deprivation clouds the thinking and judgment, but putting it all in writing and reading the responses helped put everything in perspective for me.

It's not about me and my schedule.
It's not about me and what I want/need.

I became so focused on my own needs and desires that I forgot about Colin's, and I know that's harsh judgment of myself, but it's the truth.  I am a selfish being, we all are, but there are certain things that I know I need in order to have something left to give at the end of the day.  Mothers are notorious for denying themselves what they need or want, and I don't think that's healthy for the mom or the child.  When I stopped to think about what it is I need, it comes down to two things:

1.  I need Colin to be happy.  I need for him not to spend his awake and alert time crying.  It's very demoralizing to me to see him clearly miserable and not be able to comfort him.  It makes me feel like I am loving my baby wrong, if that makes sense.
2.  I need some "hands off" time.  I love, love, love snuggling and holding Colin, but I also need to be able to put him down without him crying because sometimes, I need to eat or pee or stand on my head.  

The past two weeks have been pretty tough with Colin resisting napping through most of the middle of the day. I was not getting enough of what I needed and he clearly wasn't either, so I decided that a schedule and napping in the crib would solve these problems.  I was wrong about that.  Babies do not fit into their parents' schedules; parents fit into their baby's.  Once I realized that Colin will not be forced into napping when and where it's convenient for me, he began actually sleeping during the day.  It's not been in his crib, but for the past few days, he's taken long naps in his car seat.  He's also been napping well swaddled in my arms.  All of this napping means that when he's awake, he's so much happier.  In fact, there has been minimal crying and lots of smiling for the past few days.  

Focusing on Colin instead of myself has actually given me more of what I need.  He's happy.  He turns his head when he hears my voice and smiles at me, and that fills my love tank to the brim.  He coos and chats and interacts, and this is how I want him to spend his awake time.  Forget all that crying.

And once I stopped trying to force him into his crib, I realized that he will sleep for longer periods of time in his car seat, which means that I have a little time to myself.  I am a better mommy for it.  I can take a nap, write some thank-you notes, check my email, or get dressed, and not feel guilty that Colin is losing it while I am doing  something else.

I guess I just forgot how tough these first few weeks and months are, but things will get easier.  I needed to remind myself that babies get to be pretty fun.  Just look at how much fun Cara was!

Apr 24, 2012

grrrr baby sleep {and why I'm never going to lose those last 10 pounds}

Colin had his one month check up last Thursday, and his pediatrician was very pleased with his growth and development. C is just over 11 pounds, which is a pound and a half over his birthweight. Yay! He's alert and interested in his surroundings, and the pedi declared him "a good American boy."

Among my many questions was what we should be doing to eventually get this boy to nap. Our pediatrician said it is a good idea to start working on naps, but he didn't really offer very much in the way of how to do this.  I have read the books; our previous pedi recommended Babywise when I asked him this same question concerning Cara. I also read Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby and the Dr. Sears Baby Sleep Book. Yes, I have read at least three books on baby sleep, asked another doctor, and I have an older child, and yet I am still asking about baby sleep. I just don't get it, and so far, nothing has been helpful.

The books really just suck. Mostly they say "put your baby down for a nap." What exactly does that mean? Because when I have tried to put either of my babies "down for a nap," all they do or did is cry. A lot of crying. I have found nothing in any book that offers a next step.

Some people would probably say that this is where "cry it out" should start. My response to CIO is no. No. I am not a big softie, attachment parent advocate, or an idiot, but it goes against every fiber of my being to sit around listening to my baby cry without doing anything. I can handle about ten minutes of crying before SOMETHING MUST BE DONE.

Mornings are generally pretty awesome around here.  Getting Cara to school in the morning isn't all that stressful, and Colin is usually in a good mood because his tummy is full and he hasn't had time to get overtired yet.  After we take Cara to school, Colin and I usually take a 30-45 minute walk.  Sometimes he sleeps on the walk, sometimes not really.  When we get home, I feed him and start trying to get him to sleep for a nap.  And this is where our day has been taking a turn for the worse.  For the past few weeks, Colin has spent most of his time crying and resisting napping until I give up around 3:30 or 4 and put him in the car for a drive.  And, let's be honest, when you have spent a majority of your day trying (unsuccessfully) to soothe an overtired, miserable baby, it's really hard to deny yourself a milkshake.  Because what else are you going to do now that you finally have that baby asleep?

This pattern has to end.  I hate seeing Colin so miserable, and obviously, I am not going to lose the rest of this baby weight drowning my sorrows in milkshakes.  How do I get my baby to take restorative naps in his crib (or another stationary sleeping place) so that he's not spending his whole day crying and driving his mommy to insanity?

Apr 18, 2012


Reading:  Pride and Prejudice and Zombies...I know.  Where did my love for dark fantasy fiction begin?  I used to be a die hard Sparks, Picoult, Grisham reader, but these days, I'm craving fantasy.  What's even better is that I read Pride and Prejudice fairly recently, so I remember the style and humor of the original quite well.  Makes the zombie version even funnier.  I'm also a big fan of nonfiction these days; I just finished A Night to Remember, which is the story of the sinking of the Titanic.  It was an Amazon Daily Deal for the  Kindle, and I went through a Titanic obsession phase back in the day.  Definitely worth $1.99.

Watching:  stupid daytime talk shows.  I spend so much time on my couch nursing and holding Colin while he sleeps that I now have a talk show for almost every hour of the day between 10 AM and 3 PM.  How sad.  However, I like The Talk better than The View.

Working On:  a new dress for Cara.  My mom brought me the cutest pink paper doll fabric that she found in her stash, and I have been debating over the style of dress that would suit it best.  After I got a good look at the size and shape of the piece of fabric, I decided to make another Tea Party Dress.  I started cutting it out yesterday, but my moments to myself are brief right now, so this project will probably take me a while.

Thinking About:  how I am going to manage getting to school on time with two babies.  When Cara was an infant, I was up pumping at 5 every morning and I spent almost every break at work pumping, and the thought of going back to that schedule makes me feel like throwing myself a pity party.  It was a pretty exhausting schedule to keep, so I'm brainstorming ways to make things easier when I go back to work.  I'm open to any and all suggestions.

Anticipating:  the day Colin figures out what his eating/sleeping schedule is going to be.  Things are sooo up-in-the-air hit-or-miss right now, and it's driving me bonkers.  Some days we have three hour naps and some days we have 15 minute naps.  Sometimes he can go 3 or 4 hours between feedings and sometimes it's an hour between.  He's only four weeks old, so I'm not really expecting a definite schedule for a few months, but Cara is so predictable these days that I had gotten a bit spoiled.

Listening To:  NPR or the white noise app on our iphones.  White noise is like baby sleep magic at night.

Eating:  delicious meals that our ABF at church has been bringing over.  Seriously, I have not had to cook since Colin was born four weeks ago.  I can't tell you what a blessing these folks have been to us, not to mention that they are some darn good cooks.

Wishing:  for 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.  I know it's not going to happen right now, but a girl can wish, right? :-)

PS--I totally stole the idea for this post from Danielle.

Apr 15, 2012

random news

  •  I think my husband and my mom conspired this weekend to help me feel like a human again.  My mom babysat Big C and Little C Saturday night so that PJ and I could go see The Hunger Games.  Can I pause here for a moment to tell you how much I LOVED IT??!!  I love seeing how directors imagine these fictional settings and characters, and these particular settings and characters (especially in the Capitol) were amazing.  If you haven't read those books, I highly recommend them.
  • Just when I thought our date couldn't get any more awesome (I mean, we were out of the house sans children), I realized I had a gift card for the movies!  Our date was FREE!  H-yeah!
  • And then today, PJ sent me to Target and the grocery store all. by. myself.  Alone time.  It was great.
  • My hair has started the postpartum fallout.  It's a little depressing and ridiculous.
  • Cara is currently obsessed with her birthday, as in planning her birthday party.  If you ask her about it--or sometimes even if you don't ask--she will tell you when her birthday is and that she is going to have a pink party at the beach.  With a pink cake, pink lemonade, a pink crown, a pink princess skirt, and...and...and...
  • Colin has started making more happy faces in between nursing and fussing. In my mind, I know he's not really old enough for a social smile, but I love his little poop smiles anyway!
  • Spring is such a good time for a parade, isn't it?

parade watching

hanging out with Grandaddy

no parade is complete without the hillbilly clan...

and a steel drum band. 

Apr 12, 2012

happy face

What I am about to say here may come as a surprise to someone who has not parented a newborn. Those who have will most likely nod in agreement. Here it is: little babies can be very frustrating.

As soon as you think you have your baby figured out, he will inevitably have an overtired, take-no-prisoners fit, probably right at the moment when you really, really, really want him to go to sleep. Clearly, I am speaking from experience.

When Colin gets a little fussy, nursing usually does the trick. I am a human pacifier more often than I want to admit, but whatever. It has been working. Until it doesn't and Colin is all "GET THAT BOOB AWAY FROM ME" and I'm all "WELL, I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU WANT THEN" (this is when a good husband steps in and starts swinging the baby around like a papa monkey). Those are some frustrating hours moments.

And then this happens:

Adorable little happy faces make mommies forget all about the frustrations.

linking up with Rub Some Dirt On It

Apr 11, 2012

wiww + cousin fun

Look!  I got dressed!  WooHoo!
Jeans: Old Navy; Striped Top: F21; Blue Top: Target; Flip Flops: Rainbows; Pink Flats: Crocs

Okay, I know these outfits are nothing terribly exciting, but I am not wearing workout pants and t-shirts.  In fact, I'm not even wearing t-shirts with my jeans.  I have on actual, wear-in-public shirts.  Not pictured here: the baby I have been wearing pretty much any time I leave the house and my outfits from Easter Sunday and today.  I forgot to take pictures...

Today was kind of a big day.  It was the first day that I have had both Cs home with just me.  We didn't make it out for our morning walk (Little C and I usually take a nice long walk after we drop Big C off at school), but that's okay.  Learning curve or something.  Anyway, my sister and her three little ones came from far, far away to meet Mr. Colin and hang out for a little while.  Cousin-fun-chaos ensued. 

My little house feels so cramped when we have playmates around, so we went to the park to stretch our legs.  The park in the spring is always more fun than cooped up in my tiny house. :-)  Even though Little C's only naps were in the Ergo and Big C's was in the car, today is still counted as a success.  Confidence is building every time I get two children dressed, make it out of the house, get something to eat on the table, put two children in their beds at night...

linking up with The Pleated Poppy

Apr 9, 2012

it was a very happy Easter

looking so sweet

I wanted some family pictures, but it never actually happened.  It's hard to get these two to be awake and smiley at the same time. :-)

Her dress might be a little dirty, but she had so much fun with her bubbles.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter!

Apr 6, 2012

home alone

...but not really. PJ headed back to the office this week, so I was home alone with my baby boy.  We have been trying to keep Cara in her normal routine as much as possible, so she has been going to school.  Honestly, I am still *building confidence* in my ability to handle two children, so I'm counting getting us all fed, dressed, and in the car to drop Cara off with her friends at school as a success each day. :-)

So Colin and I have been hanging out and getting to know each other.  I now know that (for the moment) Colin likes:
  • taking naps with me in my bed
  • hanging out in the Ergo (especially while I vaccuum)
  • looking out the big window in our living room
  • going on walks
  • nursing (all day, every day)
Colin does not seem to like:
  • being in the bouncy seat while awake
  • taking naps in his cradle (although he sleeps well here at night)
  • spending very long in his car seat
  • having lots of kids surround him when I take Cara to school or pick her up
Obviously, newborns like to remain a little mysterious, so now that I have put this list in writing, Colin will probably decide to change it up on me.

I have wondered how I would manage to get anything done and take care of a newborn, but I'm happy to report that I managed several trips out of the house.  The first errand was for some "essentials" from Target, and I left Colin in his car seat while we shopped.  Unfortunately, by the time we got to the check out, he was over it and telling anyone who would listen.  I hated to see him upset like that, but I also felt bad for everyone else in the world who had to listen to my baby cry.  So, for grocery shopping the next day, Colin rode in the Ergo, and everything was perfect.  He quickly fell asleep, and I didn't have to rush through my grocery shopping.  So. much. easier.

Not everything is easy.  There were a few days when I was so tired that I thought I wouldn't make it until bedtime, and then I realized that bedtime didn't really mean an end to mom duties since Colin is up every 2-3 hours during the night.  In fact, the realization that there isn't an end to mom duties makes me feel exhausted, but I keep reminding myself that this sweet stage of cuddles and naps together (and waking up at night) will end soon, and a new stage of even more cuteness will begin.

Apr 4, 2012


It is time to get rid of the frump.  I am so over feeling round and swollen, and I am beyond thankful that things are beginning to go back where they belong.  My belly still looks three or four months pregnant, but I can deal with that.  I just need to feel like me again, to a certain extent.  I also need to be able to nurse easily and be comfortable, which can easily translate into "yoga pants and a t-shirt," so I'm back to What I Wore and linking up with The Pleated Poppy.  I'm definitely probably writing this wearing my yoga pants and t-shirt, but I managed to get dressed twice last week.  I'm calling that success.

Here's what I wore to the spring picnic on Saturday:

Yes, I agree that the picture is a little goofy, and you can't really see what I'm wearing, but I felt like I needed to post some evidence that I was actually dressed.  I might not have fixed my hair or worn make up, but I was dressed.  Here's what I was wearing:

first family outing

I am a big fan of the polka dot top and those shoes are super comfy.  Those are not actually the jeans I wore, but mine looked kind of similar.  And, don't forget the everpresent nursing tank.  That thing can really come in handy.  (PS--Polyvore > Pinterest)

And, here's what I wore to church on Sunday:

Again, the picture is a little goofy, and I had already pulled my hair back (probably because I had not actually fixed it again...), but I am excited about two things here:  1) that is not a maternity skirt; and 2) those shoes.  It felt really good to wear heels again after months of very swollen feet. 

Apr 1, 2012

egg hunting

"When did late spring get here?" I asked as we enjoyed our lunch out on the deck today. I think I was completely oblivious to everything except pregnant, sub plans, and birth for two or three weeks, and then BAM...it's 80 degrees. Don't for one minute read that as a complaint; this is my favorite time of year.

We managed our first family of four outing on Saturday, and no one cried, not even me. Our church had a spring celebration picnic, complete with an Easter egg hunt, and obviously, Cara had a blast.

Actually, I think we all had some fun. (I'm sure PJ thinks I didn't notice him blowing bubbles with all the little kids...but I saw it!) I got a tutorial on how to work an Ergo carrier--it took the help of TWO dear friends to show me how the first time--and I now know why everyone raves about them.  Mr. Colin slept through most of the afternoon in that brilliant carrier, but he told me later that it was a pretty fun nap.

All in all, I'm just proud of us for all getting out of the house.  Building confidence, remember? :-)

(side note: See Cara's boo-boo on her lip?  She said she "flip flopped" out of a swing at school and "the dirt did it."  True story.)

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