Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Baby Mac - 7 and 8 Months

Dear Baby Mac,

You are EIGHT MONTHS old.  Geez louise!  These monthly updates come upon me so quickly these days - so fast I didn't even have time to write a 7 month update.  How has it possibly been two entire more months already?  December flew by in a flash with all the holiday madness and traveling.  January was a complete blur of illness and work and paying catch up.  So here we are, almost February of a brand new year and you are closer and closer to being a little kid than a baby these days.  Man, it goes by so fast.  The days can feel long, but the weeks and months are slipping right past me without so much as a backward glance.  I have to constantly remind myself to stop and take a deep breathe and just be in the moment with you because it passes by so quickly.



My little man, you have just been amazing these last two months, as usual.  At the beginning of December you were barely sitting up by yourself and now you're full-on crawling and pulling up!  It's unreal how fast that happened. You've never been content to be in one place for very long, so you decided to do something about it and started crawling.  You were slightly uncoordinated for about two days, where your legs would go faster than your hands and you'd end up face-first into the floor.  Or your hands would go, but not your feet and you'd have to drag them behind you while you army crawled along.  But you got the hang of it amazingly fast and now there's no stopping you!  The first thing you really went after was the dog food bowl when it was down on the floor...now you're going after the dogs!  And you're FAST!  They're in trouble!  We all are!  We can't get the house baby-proofed fast enough!


You are also pulling up on everything.  While we were on vacation you pulled up in the pack and play one day.  I watched you try over and over and over.  You were so determined and persistent.  You didn't give up.  You didn't get impatient or frustrated.  You just kept trying until you did it.  And then you looked over at me and gave me a look like, "Pulling up...check.  What's next?"  You are seriously going to conquer the world someday, little man.  With persistence and patience and that winning smile - there's nothing you can't do.  You never cease to amaze me.



But crawling wasn't enough.  Oh no.  Now you're climbing!  Why crawl around something, when you can climb/crawl OVER it!  You love going over things: my legs, pillows, the laptop case, Sage.  We're going to have to start building obstacle courses in the living room to keep you entertained.  Yesterday at your grandparents house you went straight for the staircase.  You stood up next to the first step and then climbed right up it!  My jaw dropped to the floor.  I didn't know you could climb stairs!  I spotted you for while and you climbed about six stairs before stopping.  Un-freaking-believable.  


So now that you're mobile, you are really having some fun.  You love hanging onto the coffee table in the living room and banging the coasters on the table.  And throwing the coasters.  Actually, you like banging and throwing everything.  You're either going to be a drummer or a pitcher.  You are such a boy - your favorite thing in the world is to make NOISE!  The louder the better.  You drum on anything that makes a sound, you love shakers and your toy piano, you like banging things on the hardwood floors, and if it doesn't make a noise (books, stuffed animals, etc.) it's worthless to you and you throw it across the room.  You definitely have opinions on things!


Your personality continues to grow and become more apparent (and amazing) every day.  You are curious, but somewhat cautious.  You like to know that we're close to you and don't want to be left alone...even for a second.  You like to do things on your own, but you still love to be held and carried around close to us.  You now crawl over to me, climb up my legs and hold your arms up to me to be picked up.  It's the most amazing thing in the world.  And when I pick you up, I give you a few pats on the back - you now put your arm around me and pat my back.  I can't get over what a wonderful, sweet gesture that is and it makes me well up with tears nearly every single time.  And speaking of imitating - you are quite the little copy cat.  Whatever it is that we are doing, that's what you want to do.  You want to talk on the phone like us.  You want to play on the laptop like us.  The other day you picked up a remote control and aimed it at the TV!  I was blown away!  You are so bright and pick up on things so quickly - we really need to start watching ourselves more carefully!  I so desperately want to be a good example for you.


One of your newest tricks is WAVING!  Oh, it's wonderful!  At first you waved to us when you saw us.  Heart melted.  Then you starting waving the dogs every single time they'd come in the room (which is a thousand times a day).  Adorable.  And now you're becoming more and more outgoing around other people and you love to wave to everyone you see!  Your dad had you in the Baby Bjorn last weekend at Home Depot and you waved to every single person we passed.  And yesterday it took us 45 minutes in the grocery store to get 3 things because you waved to everyone we saw and they all had to come up and talk to you and tell me how adorable you are.  I never get tired of hearing that!  Obviously, I couldn't agree more.  I just need to start allowing twice as much time to do things so you can get your "Mac" on with all the little old ladies.  And the young ladies too - you now take a class at The Little Gym and apparently you have a girlfriend already.  Her name's Harper and you follow her around like a puppy and smile and wave to her through the whole class.  How did that happen so soon?!!



You are also so funny.  You love laughing and smiling and sticking your tongue out.  Your tongue is so expressive - it's always sticking out when you smile.  You still crack up at the dogs - they don't even have to do anything to be funny.  You also think that us sneezing and blowing our noses are the funniest things we can possibly do.  When I blow my nose, you lose your shit cracking up!  I don't know what is so funny, but you can't handle it!  You also love being tickled.  You laugh and coo and make the most wonderful little love noises.  You're not talking yet, but you think you are.  You say "Dadadadadadadada" on repeat.  I've been trying to get you to say "Mamamama," but it just comes out "Dadadadadada."  And that's ok!  I love it!


But as much as you like crawling, bath time is probably the highlight of your day.  You get so excited when I turn on the water that you nearly dive out of my arms into the empty tub.  I have to turn on the water secretly so you don't freak out.  You sit up all on your own and crawl all over the tub.  I finally put your little baby whale tub in storage because it just can't contain you any more.  Most of the time I get in the bathtub with you because otherwise you are so slippery that I can't keep up with you.  It's like wrestling a greased pig!  Not that I've done that or anything.  I have to wait until the end of our bath to add the soap because otherwise you're so slippery that I can't keep my hands on you!  You love splashing and kicking.  But the best thing you do now is leaning over and licking up the water like a dog!  How did you learn how to do that?!  It cracks me up!



You are still a wonderful eater.  You love feeding yourself and will eat nearly anything we put in front of you. I think steak is your favorite.  You only have two bottom teeth, but you go to town on a piece of steak!  You also love pineapple and yogurt.  They're probably your favorites.  Your grandma got you addicted to yogurt on vacation and now you can't get enough!  We also had a popsicle last week, which you were mesmerized with.  That was a big hit.  You are getting better and better at drinking out of a cup.  You're not really interested in your sippy cups, but you love drinking out of our glasses.  Anytime you see a cup or bowl you have to try to drink out of it.  And if it's empty, you look at me very confused and reach inside the cup just to make sure there's nothing in there.


The only lowlight of these last two months is that you were sick for a lot of them.  You got a little head cold on our third day of vacation and that seemed to last for weeks.  Snot, snot and more snot.  Then it turned into a nasty chest cold.  You coughed a lot and every cough nearly broke my heart.  You had a hard time sleeping because you'd wake yourself up coughing.  Sometimes you'd cough so hard that you'd throw up, which was the worst.  But you were always so sweet and loving, even though you obviously didn't feel well.  You plowed right through it.  We had a lot of middle of the night snuggle sessions in the rocking chair, lots of co-sleeping in our bed and lots of cuddling during the day.  We medicated with love.  I think it worked because you're on the mend and feeling great these days.  Please don't ever get sick again.  Please.


Oh Mac, I could just go on and on and on about how wonderful you are.  I still absolutely can't believe you're mine and I thank God and my lucky stars for you every single day.  You are such a happy, amazing, sweet baby.  I cherish every single minute I get to spend with you.  You are the greatest thing to ever happen to me.  I am so lucky to be your mama.  




Firsts:
- First crawl
- First airplane flight
- First Christmas
- First pull-up
- First time at the beach
- First time meeting Santa
- First New Year's
- First stair climb
- First sick doctor visit


Likes:
- crawling
- climbing
- eating solid food
- ripping mommy's hair out
- biting 
- scratching 
- throwing
- your grandparents
- noise
- being tickled
- being upside down
- splashing in the bathtub
- waving
- Harper
- music
- coasters
- the dog food and water bowls
- chasing the cat
- sneaking food to the dogs
- mirrors




Dislikes:
- your car seat (still...ugh)
- being still
- getting your nose/face wiped
- being quiet
- coughing
- getting your diaper changed
- getting dressed
- waiting 30 seconds for a bottle



Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Scenes from our Living Room

Do you ever have those times in life where you would do anything in the world to just stop the hands of the clock and live in that moment forever?  


When an average everyday happening catches you off guard and takes your breath away?  


When simple little actions and interactions completely overwhelm you with love and pride and adoration?

  
When your eyes can't hold back the tears and you feel like your heart may just give up from trying to consume so much love?  


When a dark cold Tuesday night in January becomes a warm glowing memory that you get to keep in your heart and carry around with you forever.


Sometimes I look at these two boys and wonder how on earth I was so lucky and blessed to a part of their lives. 


I love nothing more than watching the man I love just being an amazing father to his son.  


I still can't believe that we, two imperfect souls, could create something so perfect and tiny and wonderful.  


That every cell in his little body can be traced back to us and is here because of our love.  


It still blows my mind that they both belong to me.  That they're mine.  That I get to love them for their whole lives.  


I don't know what I ever did to deserve so much wonderful in my life.


I look at this little family I've helped create and my heart just melts into giant puddles of love and pride on the floor.


Sometimes parenting is hard and messy and exhausting.  Sometimes marriage is difficult and complicated and draining.


But then there are those moments where everything is warm and clear and in pitch-perfect harmony.


Those moments that hit you like a ton of bricks and make you realize that no matter how hard and tough and difficult it all is...



It's worth every single second and you wouldn't trade it for the world.

Isn't it amazing?












Friday, January 18, 2013

New Mommy Confessions - Part 12


Yay!  Another hilarious installment of New Mommy Confessions here!  Three awesome blogging mommies with some really great stuff.  These are so good!  I am just loving all the confessions coming in and hope you are enjoying them as well.  I'm definitely guilty of a few of these myself.  Thank you Katie, Hannah and Cat for contributing and sharing your experiences with us!  


Katie from Perfectly Us

-I always thought those moms wiping snot off of their kids' noses with their bare hands were NASTAY, but now I take pride in the amount of snot I can get out with a single suck of the bulb syringe. By the way, I still think the bodily functions of other kids are gross, but with mine? Nothing phases me!

-6 days out of 7 I still harbor some serious guilt over the fact that I'm not breastfeeding anymore, but on that 7th day? I'm pretty happy not to be walking around with my tits out all day. Especially now that it's winter! Nonetheless, mommy guilt is a THING. I'll probably nurse my next until they're like 6 or something. Look for me on TIME Magazine.

-I feel like I've failed as a mommy blogger because my kid never wears smocked clothing. Look, I have a hard time spending $50 on a dress for myself, much less one that's going to fit her for a month and get covered in drool, spit up, and baby food.

-My daughter has only been crawling for 3 weeks, but I have to say, I already miss the days of immobility. Things were easier when she wasn't bumping her head every 38 seconds.

-I can't even tell you how many times I've told my husband, "I wish Jaqs would sleep with us!" Co-sleeping was never (and isn't) a part of our "plan," but I'd love to feel her snuggly body against me throughout the night. It would never happen though...the girl won't even let us rock her to sleep. 

-And on that note, I'd always heard that a mother's love was indescribable, and it truly is. I never knew that I could love with every ounce of my being. Definitely the purest form of love I've ever experienced, and it makes me cry just thinking about it. I need to remember this feeling when I have a sassy pre-teen on my hands ;)


Hannah from Charles and BunBun

I'm Hannah with a few confessions of my own.  I've enjoyed all of yours so much I figured it was only fair I dish as well.  To set the stage a bit, Kathryn Alexandra is our first child.

- One day baby Kate was having a particularly challenging time finding the nipple.  She kept rooting around, sucking on her hands, sucking on my arm, sucking on the side of my boob... everywhere except the nipple.  I finally got a little exasperated and told her, "You know, your father has NO problem finding the nipple.  Maybe he could give you some lessons."  Perhaps I need to adjust my parental guidance filter because that content may have been a bit too adult for a 6-week old...

-  I basically sit around topless in the evening because the baby wants to nurse CONSTANTLY after 5pm and it's easier (read: I'm lazy and too tired to care).

-  I sometimes use the baby to give husband directives... "Is Daddy going to be super helpful and take out the trash before he showers?? Yes he is!!"

-  My last hair appointment can be calculated using our daughter's age plus three weeks.  So let's see... she's about 8 weeks right now... therefore 11 weeks ago was my last cut. Oy.

-  I caught my male cat giving baby Kate a bath with his tongue.  Apparently the routine hygiene care I've been providing her is not up to his standards.  Please note: it's probably very easy to find fault when all you do in a day is sit around and be fat + furry.  Her hygiene is just fine, thankyouverymuch.

-  My husband and I were both only children, so the only reason I'm currently contemplating another baby someday??  I have a folder of maternity inspiration pictures saved from Pinterest that I had intended to recreate and self-shoot on Saturday, October 20 when I was 39-weeks.  Kate decided to debut the 19th.  (Pinterest: definition 3; making women want to have more babies with creative crafts, cute-sy photos, and perfect birthday parties.)



>>> The past two holidays that landed on Mondays, I took my daughter to daycare so I could have a Me Day.  I felt terrible about it (still do) but I was SO thankful for being able to pee on my own, watch the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and take a long bath without having to sing or clap a million effin times.

>>> I tell my husband that I can’t change poopie diapers because it will make me throw up or gag so he changes almost all of them.  But here’s the thing, it’s not true.  At all.  I don’t even flinch with poopie diapers; I just don’t like to change them.  I also told him the same thing for the cat box and picking up our dog's poop in the yard.  You are all sworn to secrecy now.

>>> I HATE that I am talking to adults but still use the word poopie (above).  Even worse, when I went back to change the word, I couldn’t think of anything else other than ‘shit’ to replace it with so I erred on the side of lazy and left it poopie.

>>> I have terrible dreams about once a month that someone is in my house to kidnap my daughter.  I will literally wake up every single hour on the hour during the night and go check on her.  We now have an alarm system with way too many cameras on the inside and outside of our house but yet I’m still having that damn dream.  I’m starting to think I just need to stop watching Criminal Minds.  Shit is clearly making me crazy.

>>> Once my baby led weaning child is done making a hugeassmess, I let my dog “clean up” for a while before I, all of a sudden, remember to wipe everything down.  Typically there’s nothing else to clean up.  And then I forget to wipe everything down.  

>>> At exactly 27 weeks my water broke for no rhyme or reason.  I paid a small fortune for my OB to test me and my placenta 13912 different times and everything came back not only normal, but perfect.  Because of that, I am absolutely, positively scared to death to get pregnant again and, honestly, I don’t know if I will be able to do it.  The thought of getting pregnant again and going through THIS  sends me into a panic attack.  To further confess, I know I wouldn’t be happy with just one child.  I want my daughter to have a sibling or even two.  I’m in a nasty little pickle.  And I want to take that pickle and kick it in the nuts.       

>>> I am a super proud working mom.  As in, I could not be a stay at home mom if my life depended on it.  I love my little girl more than anything in the world but DANG, that whole staying at home shit is hard and monotonous.  Hats off to ALL stay at home moms; I’m pretty sure you are all superwoman.   

>>> My daughter is always in only a diaper.  We live in south Florida and it’s hot and gross all the time.  I take her on walks in her stroller in a diaper, I’ve taken her to the grocery store one time to get milk in only a diaper and she even spent 45 minutes in Disney World in only a diaper.  I’m pretty sure she’s going to grow up to become a nudist.  At least I will know why though.       

Catch up on the rest of the New Mommy Confessions series:


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Capturing the Moment - Meeting Mac

Unless you were really paying attention (stalker), you probably never realized that I didn't blog Mac's birth story.  Yes, it was extremely personal, but that's not really why.  The birth itself was pretty typical - I labored for 17 hours and then had a C-section because he wasn't progressing and his head was huge (I blame my husband for that).  Nothing out of the ordinary or super dramatic - this happens to people all the time.  And a few weeks later, I actually did write it all down with the intention of sharing it.  But now, I think I'll save it for Mac and his future wife to read when they're expecting their first baby.  Just the thought of that makes me well up with tears.  

You all know how photo crazy I am and I absolutely love birth photos.  They are so raw, so real, so honest.  I am usually brought to tears looking through those photos because they are such an intimate glimpse into the life of a family at one of the most important and life-changing moments in their lives.  It's incredible that we are able to experience that kind of emotion, pain, love, support and pride though pictures.  It's what I love about photography - the ability to experience that moment like you were there and feel that emotion with the people in the photos.  That's powerful.  

I really wanted to hire a birth photographer.  But no, I did not.  Why?  Mainly because I was absolutely terrified that I would not live up to the expectation I had in my mind of what a strong laboring mother should be.  I didn't know how I would handle the pain, how I'd handle the contractions, how I'd handle myself.  I didn't know if I could do it.  Any of it (not that I had an alternative at that point).  I was so scared of being judged on how I was doing, or how I looked or whether I was being strong enough.  I was worried about doing it wrong or looking dumb.  I was scared that I'd pay a fortune for photos that documented me at my worst and just made me feel inadequate.

I was also stupid.

What a ridiculous idea that I would do it wrong...that I wouldn't be strong...that I wouldn't cherish every single photo for the rest of my life.  Giving birth is a crazy paradox - I have never felt weaker and stronger at the same time.  Never felt such fear and excitement.  Such pain and such elation.  Such terror and such confidence.  And every single photo I have of that experience is near and dear to my heart.  My wonderful husband took over my camera and documented the process from contractions to the surgery to the moment we met our son.  He took photos of the monitors, of the room, of the doctor pulling the baby out of me, of my uterus sitting on my stomach, of my son being weighed and cleaned up and finally placed on my chest.  He even got the anesthesiologist to take over the camera to get a few pictures of him cutting the umbilical cord and Mac's tiny hand gripping his daddy's finger for the first time.  The photos are wonderful and incredibly personal and deeply emotional.  Some of them are grainy and some are out of focus, but they mean the world to me.  Yes, I wish I would have hired a birth photographer so Ryan could have been in more photos with me, but I had the next best thing - a husband that knew how much I'd want those photos later and took the initiative to capture all the details.  I can't thank him enough for doing that.  Those photos, along with the birth story will remain private.  They're just too personal to share.

And even though I didn't get the professional birth photos, I did have the foresight to hire Jodie from Fresh Art Photography to come to the hospital the next day and get a few photos of us with our new family member.  She calls it the Fresh 48 - photos of the baby and the new parents at the hospital within the first 48 hours.  I just let her know when I was in labor and she was at the hospital about 12 hours after the baby was born.  The morning after Mac was born, I was a bloated, hormonal, sweaty, exhausted, emotional mess.  I was so puffy and bloated from all the fluids they pumped into me that I could barely bend my swollen fingers.  I couldn't sit upright because of the severe pain from my incision.  I forgot to brush my hair.  I was sweating like crazy from all the hormones so I couldn't put on makeup.  I couldn't even fit into a bra or the size large plain white t-shirt I planned on wearing, so I was in a granny-type nightgown, braless, sweating away.  Basically the worst possible combination of nastiness and exactly the last way you want to be documented for all eternity.  

As always, Jodie was wonderful.  As a mom to three, she's exactly the person you want there telling you it's all normal, it's ok, it's going to get better.  She was supportive without being judgmental.  She was there and documenting it all without being intrusive.  She was gentle and kind and understanding.  She didn't pose us or give us any direction - she just captured the moments as they happened.  Us.  With our son.  As parents.  As a family.  Exploring this tiny new person we just met, yet already knew. 

I have to be honest here, when I first saw these photos I shuttered.  I couldn't even look at them.  I even considered asking her to take them down off her website because I was so self-conscious - so embarrassed.  It probably sounds incredibly vain and self-centered, but I hated the way I looked.  I'm almost unrecognizable to myself - so swollen and exhausted.  It took me months after Mac's birth to be able to revisit these photos and really take a close look at them for what they are.  And do you know what...I am SO proud of these pictures.  I couldn't care less what I look like.  I JUST GAVE BIRTH!  I went through major surgery.  I produced a tiny perfect human being.  I battled.  And I look like it.  I wouldn't have it any other way.

So in the spirit of my word for the year, I'm EMBRACING them.  And I'm posting them here because I'm so proud of what I did.  I made a baby!  These photos are all the memories I have of that day.  It went by so quickly and I was so exhausted and drugged that I can barely remember what happened.  But I have these gorgeous pictures.  Photographic evidence of the intense love and overwhelming emotions I felt those first few hours of becoming a mom.  Photos of my parents meeting their first grandchild.  Photos of Ryan taking care of his wife and beaming with pride at his baby boy.  So, if you're on the fence about whether to hire a birth photographer or one to capture those first moments with baby, please don't even hesitate to do it.  It's worth every single penny.  


































*All photos by Fresh Art Photography