Thursday, 19 May 2016

Ten Months

When Kate was eight and a half months old, I started formulating ideas for her first birthday party. I felt a bit silly for preparing so early, but now here we are at ten months and I'm realising that I need to start putting these plans into motion. As yes, time is slipping through my fingers like sand in the hourglass. I remember when Kate was only a few months old, and I would rock her to sleep, while trying to savour the memory. Her scent, her long eyelashes, every soft little noice. I tried to soak it all in. Yet little did I know how awesome it would be to feel her little arms squeeze around my neck as she buries her head on my shoulder. Or when she crawls into my lap to snuggle. So when I feel glum that my baby is growing so quickly, I need to acknowledge that the best is yet to come.

In other related news, I re-aggrivated my back injury. I'm not sure how I did it, but the pain has been off and on for almost two weeks, so I think I need to schedule a session with the physical therapist at our gym. There were a few days where I needed a breakfast dose of Motrin and a heat wrap just so I could make it through my work day. As my countdown to the big 4-0 is now approaching single digits, I really don't need any other prompt to feel old. At least I am very fortunate that I'll be spending my birthday in Hawaii, although I admit I'm trying to pretend that if it doesn't happen on the mainland, then it didn't really happen.  While I don't think my current Bjorn carrier was a contributing factor to my back pain, I decided to upgrade to a new Bjorn carrier that has a back support. It was a good excuse to treat myself to an early birthday present. Surprisingly, my back actually feels better when I'm wearing her in the new carrier, so maybe Kate will keep me feeling younger.

Nicknames: Button, CupKate, Kater Tot

Stats: Weight 20 lbs 1.2 ounces. Lenth 27.5 inches
She's starting to fill out a bit and no longer looks like such a pudge ball.

Teeth: We're been stuck on just two bottom teeth, but at press time, she seems to be cutting an upper tooth. Although it's not one of the centre front teeth, it's an incisor. She's our little vampire.

Feeding: Unfortunately for Kate, when your mom makes your own baby food, you don't get much variety. I tend to make large batches to freeze, so she ends up eating a lot of the same meals. The consistency has been helpful for her signing, as I'm really convinced that she knows the banana sign, even if she can't perform it. I do need to advance her self feeding, and I'm hoping to do so while we're on vacation. My currents aims regarding breastfeeding are: provide breastmilk until 1 year, stop nursing before she can request the breast, lift my shirt, or bite. She's been a bit bitey (props to anyone who knows that movie reference) on a few occasions, but so far only at the end of the feed. If she ever draws blood, the boobs get put away for good. I dropped a pumping session at work as my schedule has been packed and it was just too much to fit it in between patient appointments, and more often than not, I've only been pumping once at night. I  am going to miss nursing, but I'll be happy when I don't have to drag that pump around and when I can SSTTN.

I spend a lot of time planning my weaning stratagery, and spend even more time reminding myself that seldom does anything go according to plan. As we only nurse in the morning and before bed during my work days, my first step will be to bottlefeed during the day on Tuesday and on weekends. Then we'll have Husband give her a bottle before bed. The morning feed will be the last to go, and I think that may be harder on me than for her. As she's been waking up earlier, we've started bringing her back to our bed, where I'll nurse with her lying next to me and we'll both fall back asleep. I tried bringing her to bed and giving a bottle, but she figured out how to loosen the collar and dumped the milk all over our recently laundered sheets. I have the feeling this all may be a moot issue as I think my milk supply will dry up while going a Whole 30 challenge in June. In preparation for Whole 30, I started cutting things out gradually, so it won't be such a shock to my system. We got rid of Splenda when we heard the lastest report that it causes some kind of cancer. I cut out Coke Zero and replaced it with La Croix, which wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be. I don't eat much dairy, but I stopped buying cheese and switched to unsweetend Almond Milk. I've only been drinking alcohol on special occasions. The last things to give up will be grains and sweets. I stopped the baked goods for a few days and was just barely pumping 3 ounces. I'm ready to let it go. I have enough frozen milk to last 25 days and I have some cans of forumla that my aunt gave us. If we have to use some, it will  not be the end of the world. There is no trophy awarded for exclusive breastfeeding.

Sleep: Just around the nine month mark, she started sleeping through the night again. We refused to acknowledge this fact in the same way that no one says the words 'perfect game' when a pitcher has thrown out every batter that he or she has faced. However, she seems to waking up closer to 5 AM than her usual 6 AM. Sometimes, she'll fall back to sleep. Sometimes not.

Likes: To make a mess. I'm afraid we've hit the destructive phase. It started rather innocently. I've been using a pretty backing rack to store blankets and burp clothes. We came home from Day Care and as I was emptying her bag she started throwing the cloths on the floor. Hey, why not? I thought. It's keeping her busy and will be easy enough to clean up.

However... this lead to throwing all the cook books on the floor...

Okay, Kate. This means you take over meal planning..

As well as dumping out the cat's dry food, not once, not once, but a total of three times. She seems to be obsessed with cat food. I'm pretty sure she's eaten a few pieces of dry food. Myrtle and I ate some Milk.bones when we were young and we survived, so I'm not too worried. She's also put her hands in wet cat food a few times, which to be fair, it does look similiar to her purees. Tyler is not impressed. She also likes shoes. Not to wear of course, but for eating. 

Dislikes: The Baby Ka'tan carrier. You have to have a PhD in engineering to figure out how to put it on. It's tight on one side, loose on the other. It bunches and slips. She can get out of it easier than Houdini. Absolutely fucking hates that piece of shit. Oh wait, that's me... 

On a somewhat more serious note, she does not like to stay still. At all. When we go to baby sign, she just wants to crawl around and explore, and to be fair, she is the most mobile of the babies in that class. However there are some walkers at baby yoga, but they go though 'tree pose' and 'Y pose" while Kate wants to crawl off on her own. I'm probably being paranoid, but I fear this will lead to a 'doesn't follow directions' comment on her pre-school report card. I'm also feeling a bit cautious as my cousin's son was allegedly diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. Two years ago, I wrote a post detailing my concerns how I perceived that my cousin and her husband were turning a blind eye to their son's ovbious language delays. Last year, my cousin revealed that he was diagnosed with ADHD. I am skeptical of this diagnosis for a few reasons. 

During my medical training, I had the opportunity to ask a respected childhood behavioral expert his opinion on ADHD. "It's a real entity, which was once under-diagnosed and is now being over diagnosed." While he lacks the credentials, I often draw upon the words of my maternal grandfather regarding his opinion of ADHD, "In my day, there was no such thing as ADHD. If you didn't pay attention, the nuns hit you with a ruler." Not that I'm advocating using the treat of violence to cajole kids into cooperating with their lessons, but I have my own in my day experience. My 9th grade world civilization teacher commanded everyone's attention during his classes. You couldn't even slouch in your seat without being reprimanded, "Miss Allen! Please sit up straight." If you were caught passing notes or even day dreaming, you could be thrown out of class and that might go down on your PERMANENT RECORD! Of course I was in a class with other nerdy honour students. Maybe his tactics didn't work as well with some remedial students who didn't give a shit. 

Getting back to my nephew, I just don't feel that an ADHD label explains his language delays (and motor delays, as I recently learned that he didn't walk until 18 months old). I still suspect his is on the autism spectrum, and that my cousin and her husband are calling it ADHD in public. Whatever his true diagnosis, the good news is that he is finally receiving some supportive services. I think his parents finally got their wake up call when he was rejected for kindergarden last year. His birthday is at the end of August, so he's one of those kids on the fence, but he was in no way ready for kindergarden. He started working with an occupational therapist and attends a social skills class. He seems to be doing better and was recently approved to enter kindergarden this year. I just wonder how much was lost during the years his parents had their heads buried in the sand. Kate is probably just a normal energetic baby for her age, but I don't want to be oblivious as my cousin was. 

Milestones: I arrived to pick Kate up from Day Care, and surprisingly wasn't the last parents as there were two other babies present. One had taken his first steps that day. "Kate is next!" exclaimed one of my favourite attendants "She'll be our next walker! She's so close." Then my least favourite attendant spoke "Look at Lilly. She's only a few days older than Kate and she's already walking." Then, as if on cue, the tot walked a few steps on her own. Um, how about Fuck You? As they are both only ten months, they are both developmentally advanced, and please don't compare my daughter to others. (For those who follow me on, yes this is the woman who thought I was Kate's grandmother) Apparently, Kate did take a few independant steps at Day Care a few days later, and she's twice taken a few baby steps on her own with me, but we decided it doesn't count unless both mummy and daddy witness it. We're hoping that she does take her first offical steps in Hawaii, as it would be cool to report that location for such a milestone. 

Walking Training

Clothes: She's wearing 9 month clothes and I'm buying 12 month items. I did note that the snaps on a onesie seemed a bit tight and when I checked, sure enough it was a 6 month size, but still fit pretty well. 

Diapering: Still a nightmare. We often sing the strip teast song or The Hustle to try to entertain her. #SoInappropriate. Still so proud to be part time in cloth. We're still working on one of the disposable diaper boxes that I bought at the end of January.  

Looking forward to: Not having to do any more monthly photos! This past one was especially challenging as I was on my own, but between timing the light in her room and when she's not hungry or sleepy, it's a narrow window. She just wants to tear off the sticker and eat it. I tried my mom's trick of putting it on the chair; didn't work. I tried sneaking it in the photo, didn't turn out so well...I
I'm a bit bummed as we just finished our second six week series of baby sign, but I'm looking forward to our next activity of swim lessons! 

Tyler photo bombs her photos too!

Sunday, 1 May 2016

My Worst Mommy Moments

A few weeks ago, an old friend sent me a text asking if motherhood was living up to my expectations. I had to think a bit before answering. As I wasn't sure if it would actually happen, I never really had an opportunity to build any expectations. I figured that it was supposed to be hard. Everyone says it's very hard. As much as it would piss me off when Myrtle would complain about motherhood, I did appreciate that she was painting a realistic picture of what it could be like. At times it even feels that infertile mothers aren't supposed to complain about parenting. After all, we paid a lot of money to go though many painful procedures just for the privilege. Yet, I can honestly say, that so far, it hasn't been as hard as I thought it would be. I won't go as far as to say that it is easy;  but manageable. I'm very fortunate to have a very healthy and rather good baby and I get a lot of help and support from my husband. Least, I create the impression that our life is all sea shells and balloons; here is a list of my worst mom moments.

The Puke Shower
I watched in horror as my friend Jill, the first in our circle to procreate, once caught baby sick in her hand. "Oh, we don't care anymore." her husband explained. "We don't even bother with burp clothes." Although I didn't wanted to have children at that time; I vowed that if I did I would always keep a cloth handy. Enter reality, getting puked on is part of parenting. I became apathetic. It's why I change into my 'mom uniform' of yoga pants and a long sleeve grey Gap shirt as soon as I get home. Yet there was something about the last puke of the day that would break me; and a few times brought me to tears. Looking back, I don't think it was as much about the puke as it was about the fact that it was getting close to Kate's bedtime and I was waiting for Husband to come home from his hockey game, so he could put her to bed and I could start preparing the crap food that would become our dinner. You know, because his life doesn't seem to have changed on the surface and he didn't have to spend all day along with a crying baby. Yeah, that probably was an influencing factor, but it still sucks to get drenched in puked. Recently, I left the house to go to the gym and I grabbed my favourite hoodie sweatshirt. As I was walking into the gym, I noticed a large stain of puke down the front. I kept in on and continued walking. It represented my 'Mom Badge of Honour'.

Hair Pulling
I think I'm finally past the shedding phase, but it would make me so mad when she was seeming trying to pull out whatever I had left. I've discovered first hand just how strong and tight her grip is, and I've contemplated bringing back the Sinade O'Connor from the 90s look. Equally as annoying, but not as painful: when she pulls my glasses of my face.

Impeccable Timing
In the first few weeks of her life, Kate seemed to have a sixth sense of when I was about to eat, and would wake up at that time. I think it's how I was able to lose weight so quickly in the immediate postpartum period. Once we had established a routine napping schedule, she figured she could have more fun at night by waiting until I've finally climbed into bed after a long day, and then erupting into a piercing cry. I would rather be woken up in the middle of the night. At least then I've had some sleep. This just felt like I was being teased.

Cat vs Baby
I wasn't sure how Tyler would take to Kate, but my intuition felt that he wouldn't be aggressive towards her. As I sometimes catch him sleeping outside her door, I wonder if he even feels a bit protective. Now that she's becoming more curious about him, I'm starting to feel more protective over him. I fear that she'll grab his big fluffy tail in the same way she grabs my hair. I also feel a bit of kitty mom guilt when I have to get up during the night to tend to her. If it's not hard enough to get out bed when you have a warm kitty snuggling beside you, but I feel badly that Tyler is losing out on his mummy time.

The Purple Nurple
While I lucked out with a late teether; there were a few occasions when she would squeeze her tight little fist over the other nipple while feeding. It was enough to want to pack it all in and declare that breastfeeding is over.

The Car Seat Strap
After pinning down my wiggle worm and attempting to strap her in, I'll discover that the strap has become twisted. If you have a Britax car set, I'm sure you know exactly what I am talking about, although maybe other brands have this same problem. I'm not sure how it gets twisted, as it seems impossible to untwist it by folding the strap and moving the fastener over it. I am pretty sure it is because of this car seat that Kate will be correcting her teacher when she learns her ABCs in pre-school, "No. My mommy says it's fucking-A."

Diaper Wrestling Match
I would rather deal with a massive blow-out from a two month old with every diaper change, then wrestle down my nine month old just to change a wet nappy.

Humpty Dumpty Had a Great Fall...
As she started to roll over, Husband and I cautioned each other that we would have to be very mindful about leaving her unattended, even for a second, on the bed or changing table. However, we also acknowledged that it would eventually happen. Sure enough, the fall occurred on my watch. I placed her on my bed so I could get a photo of a possible outfit to share with our photographer. I turned my back just to set the phone down, as I soon as I turned around, she was right at the end of the bed. I rushed over as fast as I could, but I didn't make it in time. She took a tumble of approximately three feet from our bed, and fortunately landed on her shoulder. A kiss and a cuddle latter, she was fine, but I can't stop replaying the image of her going off the side of the bed.

Day Care Over Time
When it's my turn to pick Kate up from Day Care; she's always the last baby to leave.

One Year Announcements
I have yet to send out my birth announcements. It was originally as goal to complete this task before the end of my maternity leave. I was going to use a very sweet photo that Husband snapped with his iphone, but as we were scheduling her professional photos, I learned that these images could be used with Tiny Prints. This would also help justify the high price we were paying for the professional photo sessions. We finally settled on our prints around Thanksgiving and I placed the order with Tiny Prints just after Christmas. The first chore was to go through and update our address book. Seven people moved, one died, lots of infertility blogger friends to add. Husband suggested doing about 10 per night, and I quickly banged out the ones intended for friends in England and sent them off to my in-laws to post. Then I seemingly lost motivation. The box of announcements just sat in my bedroom. I may even have thrown some clothes on top of it.

As she hit her nine month birthday, I began to wonder if there was any point to sending out announcements, I mean I think everyone knows we had a baby about now. Yet, I felt reminded that she's my one and only baby and I still needed to engage in this parenting ritual. Plus, it would just be a waste of money if I threw them away, so it made sense to spend more money so that the recipients could throw them away. Finally decided to get my act together. Discover we don't have enough 2 x 4 inch labels. I could have sworn I had an unopened package. Target doesn't carry the labels; make a special trip to Staples. Find that my original package of labels fell behind the printer. I have enough labels to get through the next three holiday seasons. Print out a few pages of return address labels and shut down my laptop. Discover that the pages fed incorrectly and the printing didn't align properly on the labels. F-u-u-u-c-k. Can't be bothered to fire up the Mac again. Alas the announcements have sat in their box for another two weeks... Meanwhile, I did buy some stamps...

Baby Snacks
As Kate seemed to enjoy them, I was curious to know how the kale and green apple teething waffers tasted. After sampling a small bite, I decided that they were rather good and I ate an entire packet.

Me and My Shadow
Husband was recently asked to umpire a hockey match on a Sunday. The coach was in a bind as a previously committed umpire had to cancel. I reminded him that is also umpiring all day on Saturday. I also added that I was hoping to get my hair cut on Sunday. Yet, it was an opportunity for Husband to help a friend in need and get paid $125 for one game (since it was last minute, the coach bumped up the payment). My split ends would have to wait. I have to be the default parent, it's just seems to be presumed that I'll always be available to take care of Kate. I'm still jealous of his freedom. He has an outlet; something that can give him a reprieve from parenting for an extended period of time. All I wanted was an hour to myself to get my hair cut. I know that being a parent means your needs are moved to the bottom of the list at times, and I feel that I'm making too big a deal out of this, but it shouldn't be a big deal. I hadn't had a hair cut in over six months, it required that my husband watch our baby for an hour. I didn't realise that I would be harder to schedule with him that I would be to book with my stylist.

As I was still stewing over this issue hours later, I realised that I was longing for something more than the feeling of running my fingers through clean hair. It was time to acknowledge that I feel like I'm losing a bit of my identity. Excluding work related meetings and lectures, I've only been able to pursue my own activity twice, as I've logged two solo 10 Ks. Yes, I love bringing her to the gym and love receiving the adulation from some of the elite athletes who are impressed that I can do over head squats (with PVC pipe) with Kate strapped in the Baby Bj.orn. Yet at the gym, or while on a run, I have to be a mother first. It's not quite the same. My present life represents everything I wanted so desperately for the past four years, maybe even longer. It has exceeded my expectations and yet I still miss aspects of my past life. I missed our recent swim meet. Although my coach asked me to swim on a relay team in her usual weekend before the championship desperation state, but I couldn't. I haven't been in a pool in over six months. The last time I swam was in the Autumn Short Course Meters event, where I stunned myself by pulling out a personal best in the 50 Free while my baby watched while being held by my coach. My plan was to return to swimming in the morning after I finished breastfeeding and would have more time to get myself ready for work, but I don't think I can wait. I resisted swimming at noon on my day off (presuming I could coordinate her nap during that time) as I knew that swimming just once a week wouldn't be enough to get back into competitive shape,  but once a week will have to do. I'm going to try to attend the 7 AM class on Tuesdays. For all the weekends that husband gets reprieve from parenting on a hockey field, he can watch her for an hour in the morning for me. It's not ideal, but it's a start.