Thursday Thirteen

I love this Thursday Thirteen concept. Here is my list of randomness for this week:

1. I have three pregnant coworkers and several pregnant friends. I am so excited for them!

2. I am so glad Max is here and he truly brightens every day, but there is something I miss about my baby bump and those ‘easy’ days of pregnancy.

3. Thanks to LT’s food sensitivities and my decision to continue exclusively breastfeeding, I am currently the lightest I have been in over 10 years. While it sounds like every woman’s dream – to lose the pregnancy weight and then some – it is really not so great. More about that in a later post.

4. My tummy and chest are bigger (for obvious reasons) but the rest of me, especially my face, is thinner. Sometimes I practically don’t recognize myself.

5. Last weekend I did a 13.5 mile run. It HURT! It was probably the slowest training run I’ve ever done but I am so incredibly proud of myself for getting it done despite the many obstacles.

6. I’d love to do a triathlon this year, but it just isn’t in the cards.

7. Work is sucking these days. For so many reasons. I have three cases it the middle of litigation at the moment. That said, today was significantly less crappy. I found out I won a motion in one case and one of my clients in another case said “I’m so glad you’re our lawyer. You’re fabulous.” So maybe I won’t quit.

8. Balancing work and pumping (breastfeeding) is way harder than I anticipated. I’m getting it done. However, pumping is the bane of my existence right now.

9. Confession: It only looks like I am on a roll with the blog posts. I had one big bout of inspiration and wrote everything down. I’ve been merely editing and publishing this week. Don’t get used to it 🙂

10. The Knight is about to leave for an 18-day trip. I know I can handle it, but I am not looking forward to it.

11. The story about the car going over the Memorial Bridge Sunday night didn’t phase me until I read a related story about how to get you AND YOUR KID out of a drowning vehicle. I think I’m going to have nightmares about this.

12. The sequestration is coming. Looks like I will be getting some unpaid days off. It means more Max time so to be honest I am not that unhappy about it. I consider myself so extremely fortunate that this will not devastate us financially. I am so sad about the impact this will have on those who are less fortunate.

13. The other day I heard the expression (is it an expression?) “What would you do if you know you couldn’t fail?” and I’ve been thinking about it a lot. What do you say to that question?

First Six Months: Highlights – Part 2

I posted about Max’s physical development in Part 1. Today I am going to write about the #1 aspect of baby life people ask me about: Sleep.

One thing I’ve learned is that all babies are different. We didn’t hit the lotto in the sleep department, but we’re getting there. It could be much, much worse.

I was talking to my sister about this earlier in the week. I wish I could have known for certain that things would get better as they have. I think it would have made it a little easier to endure. But I still don’t have that crystal ball I’ve been wishing for.

  • Max’s sleep patterns have been somewhat erratic. He would start sleeping in regular intervals, and then regress back to shorter ones. These regressions are normal, and seemed to coincide with fun stuff like the Knight going out-of-town or me going back to work.
  • That whole Cry it Out thing? Yeah, put that on the list of things which seem like reasonable ideas until you have a precious little newborn whose cries tear your heart out.
  • For the first five months, bed time was usually pretty awful. Max fights sleep like you wouldn’t believe. Who could blame him?  He doesn’t want to miss anything, and certainly doesn’t want to be removed from his parents loving arms.
  • Bedtime would take roughly 30-60 minutes and was absolutely exhausting. Finally around 5 months, knowing he was fed, clean, and well-cared for, and recognizing his cries as not ones of pain but mere desire for company, we decided to let him cry himself to sleep. It was HARD but it worked. He cried 40 (awful, heart-wrenching) minutes the first night, around 10 minutes the next night, 5 the third night and then barely a peep the next night. We couldn’t believe it. I am not saying that it is the right solution for everyone. Nor do I think we should have done it sooner. [Note: After reading lots of books and tons of websites, the best website for me was this one: http://www.troublesometots.com/]

Where are we now?

We are actually in a pretty good place right now…working in the right direction. I hesitate to say this because I might jinx it, but for the past few weeks Max has been sleeping through the night. For real, sleeping  around 11 hours per night. It is a glorious, glorious thing. Please, please don’t stop doing this, baby boy.

  • We generally put him down between 6 and 7 at night – and it usually goes pretty smoothly. When I first drafted this post last week I wrote that he has been waking up between 2 and 4:30 and we have been letting him soothe himself back to sleep. This just goes to show you how quickly things can change. For the past few days he has pretty much slept right through to 5:00 or 6:00. Yay!
  • The morning routine varies somewhat.  We are working on getting him to a consistent, 6:00 or 6:30 wakeup. This means that when he first starts waking up I listen and wait. Often he puts himself back to sleep with little fussing, but sometimes he makes it clear that he wants to eat and is truly hungry. You learn your baby’s cries.  
  • I usually feed him between 5 and 6 and then follow his cues on when to put him back down for more sleep. 
  • Usually after his first feeding he is alert and energized, so we have a little snuggle time, a diaper change and then head into the kitchen. I put him in the high chair next to me at the kitchen counter while I sit on a bar stool and pump (while eating breakfast). Sometimes we read, sometimes he plays and I check email. Then when the Knight gets back from his workout he will take him for a while or I will put him back in his crib for his first morning nap.

Naps

  • Naps are a whole other story. According to my reading, babies’ brains distinguish between daytime and nighttime sleep.
  • His napping has also gotten better in the past two months. (Thanks again to the “Troublesome Tots” website I mentioned above.) 
  • Last month we started using the swing for naps (gradually decreasing the motion) and it has worked pretty well. He still doesn’t nap as long as we’d like, but we can usually get three or four 30-50 minute naps per day. Sometimes he will even go for an hour or more.
  • He always naps longer if we have somewhere to go. In other words, if I want to leave the house at noon, and put him down at 10, he will sleep until at least 11:45. And since it takes forever to feed, change and get out the door…you get the idea.

I really could do a whole blog just about sleep, but I will spare you. There have been lots of funny sleep things, from how he makes his way around the crib, to getting limbs stuck in the crib, to the funny positions he winds up in. Max is almost as active in his sleep as he is during the day.

Talk to me next week and things may be different.  I don’t really have any advice to offer on sleep other than trust your instincts.

First Six Months: Highlights – Part 1

Max is amazing! Watching your newborn develop into an infant is way more wonderful than you could imagine. Who knew that babies were so fun. Seriously. I used to be like a lot of people who thought that babies didn’t get really interesting until much later. I thought that the first few months they just laid there, ate, slept and pooped. Turns out, I was mistaken. He was only a couple of months old when he started becoming interactive. Smiling at us, laughing at funny faces, responding to our voices.

It is so wonderful to see all of the ways he has learned and developed already. We’re just getting started. Here is where we are with his physical development:

  • He is a strong little guy. At around 15 weeks he was already standing up. Obviously, he wasn’t pulling himself up on his own yet (he is still not there) but he can now support himself as long as he has something (or someone) to lean on.
max standing 15 weeks

He was so little, but so strong! (November 2012)

  • He began being able to support himself sitting up a few weeks ago. You need to “tripod” his legs, and then make sure that he is safe to fall down in all directions. Because he inevitably will fall down and it will always be in the direction you thought he couldn’t.  This keeps Mommy & Daddy on their toes.
max sitting1

February 2013

 

max shock 5 mos

I just love this shot. My favorite proposed caption comes from Lori: “You signed me up for IronWHAT?!” (January 2013)

  • For months he hated tummy time. He would tolerate a few minutes and then scream. I found a playmat that you fill with water and it has little items which float around and is supposed to intrigue babies enough to make them want tummy time. As it turns out, Max was only mildly amused by the floating fishes, but absolutely enamored with the plastic sun decal on the side of the mat. In order to get to it he surprised us by rolling himself over onto his belly and proceeded to suck on it for at least 10 minutes. And then he loved tummy time and started sleeping on his belly.  Okay then.
  • max tummy time1

    Five months

    playmat

     

  • He is not yet crawling but we think that might happen soon. He has started pushing himself up on all fours, and he has been pushing himself backwards. Many people, including us, wonder if based on his leg strength he might walk before he crawls. We will see.
  • Speaking of leg strength, did I mention that he is an amazing little guy? Early on we noticed that he was super strong all around. Given that he was already supporting his body weight when he was three months old, we took our friend Becky’s suggestion to set up the jumperoo our friend Jackie gave us. He was so small that he feet didn’t reach the ground, so we added some yoga blocks. Wow! He jumps and jumps and jumps and has such a good time. He has seemingly unlimited energy and if we let him he will hang out in the jumperoo for 30 minutes or longer.
    max jumperoo blocks

    Busy checking out his workstation. A rare moment where he wasn’t jumping.
    You have to love the block and box collection at his feet.

    max jumperoo1

    I’m not sure what he was praying for…

Funny: How long since you…..?

Last year I shared some funnies including my favorite google search that apparently resulted in a hit on my blog. I still think “Shamrock Boobs” is pretty amusing.

It has been a while since I looked at my “site stats”. I always laugh at the google searches that bring readers here but here is my new favorite (and most confusing) search:

“i did not have my periods for two months and i had a pregnant test but it was negative and its three weeks with out going to the toilet”

There is so much to say about this that I’m not going to say anything. Whoever you are, good luck with that. I can’t imagine why my blog popped up, but I am happy that I canNOT relate or help.  

Second place from the last 30 days goes to “colon polyp costume.” I know how that came up. Sorry that my picture of my red hat that says ‘polyp’ porbably didn’t help much.

Third place would be this search: черная кухня абстракт икеа. Funnily enough, I took three years of Russian. That says something about Ikea Abstrakt, which incidentally, is how the majority of traffic finds my blog. People looking for pictures of Ikea kitchens or searching for info on our contractor, Sabri.

Six Months

Oh how time flies.

In some ways, though, the past six months feel like an eternity. I had really great ideas about how I would keep up my blog, along with a dozen other lofty ambitions.  I write blog posts in my head when I should be sleeping. And then when I do get up, the day happens. There is always stuff to do. Plus that whole job thing. Yeah.

This whole mommying gig turns out to be a lot…different than I expected. Different in lots of ways: good, bad, hard. Not that I would trade it for anything. But WOW.

Although I haven’t have recorded  – in words – all of the wonderful moments of Max’s first six months, at least I have pictures. Lots and lots of pictures.

Max 6m

Random picture: Max in his Carrharts
January 2013 (5.5 months)

As I sit here and try to succinctly capture the past six months a wave of emotion rides over me. I can’t even begin to describe these emotions. Maybe it is hormones (oh, the hormones), but I find myself fighting back tears. I love that little guy more deeply than I could have understood before I came to know him. I am more in love with my husband than ever before and appreciate him so much.

Yet, the struggles are there. Most of which are probably normal new mom struggles. The past six months have been HARD. I think I’ve cried more over this period than maybe I have in the past 20 years put together. Heck, I think I cry more in a given week than I had in a ten-year period. But I survive. We survive.

Life has changed. That’s for sure. Some things are better, some things are more challenging, but everything is just different. A new normal. It takes some getting used to.

I have to say, it still seems a little surreal that I’m a mom. When I think about it, though, I am excited. And yes, overwhelmed. But happy. I love our little family and am looking forward to the future.

For the sake of posterity (what does that really mean, anyhow?) I am going to start writing about all things Max. And post some pictures. Stay tuned…