5 Months Old

It seems that just over night I went from having this sweet, cooing baby girl to a razor-sharp tara dactyl.  The nurses and doctors have joked that Cora is the strongest baby they have ever seen, some coming in to see if the rumors are true.  And that was a few weeks ago.  Nothing compared to now.

She used to do this sweet, slow, rollover while trying to get her dressed or change her diaper.  We would talk to her, tickle her a bit, distract her with a toy until the job was done and then smother her with kisses.  This week she flops over at an alarmingly quick rate, diaper flying, changing pad sliding around, lotion bottles falling off of the dresser.  Beware if she gets ahold of something, it will go flying across the room.  She screams at a noise decibel most haven’t heard and tries to escape.  I’m unsure of where she is exactly trying to go while I start dressing her from different angles, adjusting her diaper several times in an attempt to get it to an acceptable level of ON.

Following her bath last night, we skipped the changing table and went straight to the safety of the floor.  There I attempted what used to be a sweet conversation and a nice massage.  There is nothing calming about it anymore.  My legs held down her arms, while her legs repeatedly kicked my stomach and face.  Screaming commenced, there was no reasoning with her.  I got lotion where I could and called for my sister to come in for back up.  All hell had broken loose and there was no dressing her.  I was waiting for her to pee on me or the dog.

With back up in place, we determined one should hold her, dangling in the air, while the other attempted to diaper and put her jammies on.  This appeased the baby enough to laugh and only scream a few times.  Once finished, she sat on the floor, smiling at us, knowing she just won the battle.  My sister and I sat, sweating, out of breath, and wondering what the hell has possessed my independent child and why the hell we needed to bother with a workout that evening.

Laying her down for naps has gone this way.  Feeding her cereal has gone this way.  Don’t even get me started on getting her in the car seat.  If we are not doing something on her terms, then all out war is started and I barely escape unscathed while she will sit and smile sweetly at me, knowing she is slowly killing me, I’m sure.

But then in a fleeting moment, once I got her to sleep last night, I watched her awhile.  Peaceful and content.  Probably dreaming of ways to make me lose my mind faster.  And then she smiled.  I realized I haven’t seen her smile in her sleep in a long time, something newborns do often but then one day they seem to quit.  So I snuggled her a bit more and kissed her cheeks before I laid her down and slowly backed away before she woke.  (Those books that say to put them down while drowsy haven’t met my kid.)

And this is only 5 months.  Although, I wouldn’t trade my crazy tara dactyl for anything and I’m pretty sure this is why wine was invented.

The Best Child Care Decision

There is an everyday struggle as a parent to wonder if you are doing things right.  You question the decisions and choices you make for your little one.  You will even go to bed at night and wonder if it was all enough or even close to right.

This morning I dropped Cora off at daycare and walked away wondering if we are making the best child care decision.  We have been with our provider for over a month and while it started out fine I feel like things are going a bit downhill.  We like her but I’m not entirely in love with her.

Cora never cries when we drop her off and seems happy to be there but we have had some issues.  She will have long crying spells during the day and will take crappy naps.  I feel like I receive more bad texts from the provider than  good ones throughout the day.  Then there are the times I feel like I have “that baby.”  The crying baby.  I don’t have “that baby” at home.

This morning I was exhausted, frustrated, woke up on the wrong side of the bed and everything that came out of my providers mouth pissed me off.  I didn’t care to hear, for the 40th time, about her child’s cough and I didn’t need her questioning me, for the 40th time, about my child’s cold.   She calls the pediatrician at least three times a week and doesn’t understand why I make a call to my chiropractor instead.  My baby has a runny nose and probably some allergy issues like I do but is otherwise happy and I’m not just sticking her on meds.  Basically the provider is a bit of a hypochondriac and it wears me down.

I discovered last week, she wasn’t getting Cora down for enough naps which means she is over-tired a lot. (Hence crying)  I know part of the other problem is the noise level, and she agrees.  The TV is blaring, kids are playing, and we just don’t have that noise level in our home.  Cora can’t eat with commotion around, let alone sleep.  Although yes, I want Cora around other kids, other people to care for her and with that comes noise and change.  That part is fine.

I don’t know if Cora’s crying issues are connected to the provider or just being away from mamma in general.  I don’t know if I’m just being a worry Mom because no matter what, no one else can be me.  I also think my previous experience of being in the child care world means that I have certain expectations.

Overall, I know my baby is fine, safe and being cared for during the day.  75% of me is fine with her current provider.  It is that nagging 25% that is starting to bother me each day.  The thought of finding another provider is overwhelming.  I don’t know if I keep waiting it out and see what changes or do something.  I feel like I have had talk after talk with my provider as well about ideas, changes, thoughts and so on.  So dear internet, help.  Am I losing my mind? What were you experiences with child care in the beginning?

 

 

It’s been a while and we are in the middle of 5 months of fun

Oh, hello blog.  No, I did not forget you.  I would like to tell you I have been busy but I hate the “busy” excuse.  Instead, I have made the mental choice every day to either have a glass of wine, workout or even take a nap instead of coming to write.

Don’t think I haven’t wanted to though.

I do.  Often.

I lie in bed at night and “blog” in my head.  I will write out full posts because it is how I can decompress.

All that leads us to here, where I’m about to write a rambling post to get not only you caught up but myself caught up.  Settle in.

The last time I was here we were getting rid of the swaddle and going through sleep regression.  Well, eventually Cora got used to not being swaddled. We also realized her other issue was a major cold that I eventually had to give in on and get her amoxicillin.  Have you had the joy of holding your child down to shove antibiotics down her throat?  You learn to do it when said child is naked and with nothing in a 3 ft perimeter that can be stained pink.  Good times not had by all. But she did start sleeping again (on her tummy like a starfish) once she could finally breathe through her nose.  And with a blanket.  I know, horrible parent right here.

Then I went back to work.  It was a roller coaster of what will I actually do and for how many days. At the final hour I ended up in a new office, with some friends in the business and only working Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  I actually felt good about going back to work.  I can honestly say the three days is perfect for us.  While I still don’t love what I do, this is something that works for now and is better than where I was at for the past two years. A step in a better direction and I can say I felt incredibly blessed to spend 4 1/2 months at home with Cora.

The month leading up to going back to work, I was doing drop-in days at Cora’s daycare.  We spent months trying to find the best childcare.  In my former life I spent 8 years working in public childcare facilities and just couldn’t see us going that route.  So we looked and looked for a home daycare.  In a small town that is really tough.  The good ones are full, don’t take part-time or have a wait list.  Finally, we found a woman who decided to stay at home with her little one and start in home care.  She was previously a nurse and her husband is a police officer.  All the “practice” drop-in days were great.  Both Cora and I were able to slowly get used to what would be our new normal so when the real day came for me to go back to work I had zero anxiety about daycare.  So far she loves it there and we manage to get out the door every morning by 7am with our shit together. Plus coffee, all the coffee.

We made it through her 4 month old appointment where we were told once again that developmentally she is quite ahead of her game and the doctor was shocked by it all.  I don’t know what we are doing but apparently it is right and it feels good to be told you aren’t fucking up your kid…yet.  We got the okay to start some cereal with her as well.  Slowly but surely she has grown to love it but the main person she likes to feed her is Daddy.  She will eat bowl after bowl for him.  For me, she will zip those lips shut and grunt.

At 4 months old we had her baptized.  If you have been around for a while, you will know that this was a tough decision for us.  In the end, I’m glad we did it and I feel I fed the Catholic guilt demon in me.  During the baptism, Cora was in great spirits while putting on quite the show for the entire congregation and our family that was in attendance.  What followed can only best be described as a Friends episode.  You know, the one where Emma turns 1 and she takes the longest nap, while every waits for her, so they can start the party?  Yes, that.  We went home from the church where Cora decided a three hour nap was needed, even though everyone came to our house for a party and lunch.  Eventually everyone else gave in and left without getting to really see the lady of the hour.  The only two left standing, when she woke, were her God parents.

At 4 1/2 months old, I sat behind Cora while she sat up playing.  I leaned over for something and realized she wasn’t going anywhere but instead stayed upright.  And so began her love for sitting up, unassisted, to see the world.  That is, until her dog comes along and knocks her over.  Really, she just finds that hilarious.  She has been furiously trying to figure out how to crawl.  Butt in the air, knees tucked under, but arms waving like crazy does not create forward motion.

At 5 months old we gave her a cup to distract her from grabbing at ours.  I wasn’t sure how to go about this so we literally took her to Babies R Us and let her hold all the training cups to basically pick herself.  No research, no asking around, no fore thought really, just a random parenting decision and it worked.  She seemed to like the Nuk training cups the best so we bought two.  She loves them and is getting the hang of drinking out of them after her bowl of cereal each night. Or tossing it over the high chair for the dog.  Whatever keeps her entertained while we finish our dinner is fine.

This past weekend we made the decision to move her from the pack n play in  our room, to her crib in her own room.  (Mom and Dad are ready to quit playing the “how quiet can we have sex?” game.)  She normally naps in her own crib so I didn’t think it would be too bad.  Wrong. So wrong.  After 16 times of laying her down we gave up.  She could be dead asleep and once she was laid down she would roll over and stare us down.  Over and over we tried until she landed back in her pack n play.  Now she has decided that she won’t stick to her just twice a night waking’s.  She is punishing us and has decided once an hour would be great.  Just for a cuddle, followed by three attempts to lay her down.  What the hell happened?  Basically we went from quiet sex to no sex.  Joke is on us.  #parentingfail

And last but not least, Cora gained her first little cousin.  My brother had a healthy baby boy and now our little nuggets are only 4 months and 4 days apart.  Putting the two babes next to one another is so shocking.  Cora looks huge! I can honestly say, there is no part of me that is jealous of them being 4 months behind us.  I’m glad we are out of the “fresh from the vag” phase and in the “let me scream you the story of my people” phase.  So much more fun.

I will make it back here more often now that we are settled into our new phase of parenting.  It gets easier, for the most part, each week.  We like our new normal even though sometimes we fail at it, we learn from it.

 

 

Swaddles, Rolling Over and High Chairs

I am two weeks from my maternity leave ending and five days from Cora turning 4 months old.  Ask me what I’m going to do for work in two weeks and I will give you a long-winded answer that I will have to blog about later.  It is weird how sometimes God will put opportunities in front of you and you can’t help but wonder.  If you’ll remember, at one point I was going to stay at home and not go back to work at all.  That has changed.  Just like everything has changed, but in a good way.

So here we are, out of the newborn phase and fully in the infant stage.  At 3.5 months old, while the Super Bowl was on, Cora decided to steal the spot light and roll on over.  Everyone jumped from their seats to see her do it again and all I could think was “Uh, Oh!”  I knew this was coming.  A roller meant I had to quit swaddling her.  Lord, help me.  She is a swaddle lover and I know that goes hand in hand with how great of a sleeper she has been since day one.  I thought maybe I could get a bit of time out of her still being new to the rolling business.  Wrong again.  A few nights later I watched her gain leverage in her pack and play to tip herself right over, while swaddled.  She slept like a rock.  I always figured she would be a tummy sleeper and here she was, happily swaddled on her tummy.  I think she had been dreaming about this moment since she was born.

Then I had to ruin her dream.

She has been in a Halo Sleepsack so we did what was supposed to be the next step and velcroed her around the tummy, arms free.  And then everything went to hell.  She wakes up looking for her binky, waving her arms around like she is landing a large aircraft in our room.  It now feels like we are up 200 times a night while she lies there conducting her orchestra, not crying, but annoyed.  She thankfully never really cries at night, just talks to me until I get up.  Either way we are both lacking in the sleep department.

Frantically I searched the internet for a transition solution.  I ordered the Zipadee-Zip in the middle of the night and I’m not so patiently waiting for it to show up any day now.  Sidenote, what did our own parents do before smartphones in the middle of the night? I’ll let you know if this is a ground breaking solution or not for us.

We also decided to pull out the high chair for Cora and put it up to the kitchen table as she has always loved sitting up.  Talk about life changing.  We can all sit back down at the kitchen table and eat like normal humans with her joining us.  She seems to love the change of pace and scenery.  I appreciate the hands free eating as she is normally clingy in the evenings.

We are moving right along over here in our new normal.  We have our up days and our down days but we also have wine, friends and laughter to get us through it all.  For that, I am truly grateful.

 

On Living In the Moment

My friends have come to visit on a regular basis.  They have made the drive from the city or from the next town over.  They make the trek up my road, that is hardly ever plowed and is merely a skating rink at this point.  They ask how I am doing and the ones that are seasoned mamma’s ask me the deeper questions.  Do I feel any baby blues?  Am I lonely out here all day, on my own, with a newborn?  Having maternity leave in the dead of winter, am I feeling depressed?

When I was pregnant I was worried about many of these things.  I watched friends get the baby blues over the years or go through depression.  I worried about the quiet of my home, with a newborn and no one around to talk back.  And trust me, no one has been more surprised than me, to find myself content and happy.

You see, my Husband and I met and spent 10 months quickly falling in love.  Our lives revolved around getting to know one another and him eventually moving in with me.  He then proposed and our lives became about the wedding.  Before the wedding was even here we were already diving into building our home.  With the wedding over the house building was full steam ahead.  Of course we had to head straight into something else as well so we decided to pull the goalie and start to try for a baby.  With the house building done we had to dive into why we weren’t pregnant and then that became our new focus.  With that it was pregnancy, birth and here we are today.

We have been on fast forward since the day we met, 5 years ago.  We always felt like we were trying to catch up with years lost.  We had our check list, our goals.  The funny thing is, we didn’t have much on the list after baby.  Bringing Cora home felt like a completion of a list in a way.  We had arrived at this unknown point that we created.  A point that meant we could sit down and breathe.  It felt like we had made it.

For the first time I’m not rushing to the next thing.  I’m not looking for what is next.  I’ve always had a hard time slowing down and enjoying the moment without thinking of what next week holds.  The amazing thing is, Cora forces us to do just that.  Slow down.  Breathe in the moments.  Don’t rush time.  Perhaps that is why I am happy to sit up in my house, with this amazing little baby and do nothing more than to look at her, talk to her, rock her and let her puke down my shirt.

There are times when she is up at 2am for a bottle, we stand at the window, I look out at the world sleeping and cannot thank God enough for this moment.  I am so very lucky.  If I find myself frustrated, while she fights sleep, I often remind myself that this too shall pass quickly.  I look at a photo of Rebecca and I am quickly reminded that they grow up so fast.  So I can look at the screaming baby in my arms, snuggle her in and wait out the tears until she gives into sleep.

I am oddly content in this little life of ours.  I am grateful for my Husband who works hard for us.  A man who I could never have dreamt of 5 years ago.  I am grateful for a home that was once torn apart by divorce and sorrow.  I am grateful for a baby who looks down on us from heaven each day and for a baby who snuggles against my chest each day with breath in her lungs.  I am grateful for a girl turning into a woman each day who first taught me how to be a Mom.  I am grateful for arriving at a place in my life where I get to experience such joy and peace.

My Dog is Still My Baby Too

When we first got Fenway, I would joke about how having a puppy was the same as having a baby.  If you would like some crazy mother’s to bite your head off, say that line three times out loud and then duck.  But getting up with her as a puppy, in the middle of the night, and taking her outside, in the cold, was not fun.  There was hardly any containing her.  As every dog does, they soon grow out of the puppy phase and become your side kick that listens at least 95% 80% well, some of the time.

Before Cora was born, Fenway was spoiled rotten.  She went everywhere with us.  She has her own Instagram account.  People stopped over to just see her.  She went to daycare to play with her friends twice a week.  She sat on her own chair at the kitchen table with us.  She was our fur baby.  The last few weeks of my pregnancy, when I had already started my maternity leave, Fenway and I were inseparable.  She was more protective than ever of me and stuck by my side knowing something big seemed to be happening soon.

People warned us we wouldn’t feel the same way about her once the baby was born.  They would say how we would put her on the back burner and she would get in the way.  This would piss me off but I kept my mouth shut.  I had seen it happen to some people and was determined that wouldn’t happen to me.

I remember the morning I left to be induced, tears welled up in my eyes as I was saying goodbye to Fenway.  I knew I was going to change her world for forever.  Things would be different.  I can now say that yes, they are different but our love for Fenway hasn’t changed.  We include her in everything.  Is it harder with her some days than others?  Yes.  Isn’t it harder to bring a second child into your family? I would assume it is close to the same.

Fenway knows that she has to wait until Cora is asleep for us to go out and play in the snow.  When people came to see the baby when she was first born and brought gifts, they didn’t forget to bring Fenway something.  I have learned to get her in and out of daycare while hauling a car seat on my arm.  She is learning to walk politely next to the stroller.  We try to have special car rides with just Fenway to run to the store.  I think because of all of this, Fenway is learning to love Cora more everyday.  She isn’t seeing her as a threat.  And you know what, we don’t love her less, we don’t push her to the side, she is still our furbaby.

So if you are pregnant and worried about that furbaby curled up next to you, I will say, you can still love her the same.  Don’t let people scare you otherwise.

Not my dog and not my baby but you get the point.

Not my dog and not my baby but you get the point.