Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Five Months Old

Probably the most exciting accomplishment you've had this month is that you're now able to sit! You always look so proud of yourself when you realize that you're doing it all by yourself without Mommy or Daddy holding you. But with great mobility comes great responsibility, so we've started talking about safety and looking out below...

...but for the most part, you just assume someone will catch you. And that's exactly how you should feel right now!

This was the first monthly update where I really had to do a double take. That can't be right...the 5 months sticker on the onesie? Really? You're double your birthweight, and you've developed quite the little personality. Look how much you've grown!

It's been a really fun month. You helped me celebrate my first Mother's Day, we went to the zoo, and you started to explore solid foods! Your favorite solid food so far is avocados, but I think butternut squash may be a close second.

We've really enjoyed the beautiful springtime weather, and we've gone on lots of hikes. Sometimes we go to the park with friends, sometimes we walk along the Chattahoochee, and sometimes we just stroll around the neighborhood with Chelsea. Either way, you're definitely getting good use out of the Ergo!

It's been a fun month for you, but it's been one of the harder months so far for Mommy and Daddy. You love Mommy so much (and that's a good thing!), that you've decided that you hate bottles and you won't nap unless you can nurse until you fall asleep. You also don't like to be held by anyone other than Mommy or Daddy. It's just a phase, and you'll grow out of it, but it's a little stressful given that you start school in just a few short weeks! Over the last few days, we've been working on these things, and we're already seeing some progress. You're starting to get the hang of napping without nursing first, and you're taking a few sips from a bottle. We're going to try a full bottle this weekend, so we'll see how that goes. As for the separation anxiety, we're just letting you play with lots of different people, first with Mommy or Daddy and then letting the other person hold you. It's a slower process, but it's a healthy sign of development! This is where you're supposed to be right now; we're just making sure the other grown-ups don't get their feelings hurt!

Our favorite thing about this stage is that your sense of humor is starting to develop. You laugh at our jokes, and you've started to play games of your own, too! One of your favorite games is knocking a toy off of a tower. You have this set of rainbow stacking bowls (which we lovingly call the "Tower of the Hand") and every time we put a toy on top, you knock it off and smile. You also like to do a fake-out when eating. You'll start to latch, then you'll turn your head at the last second, look up at me and laugh. You've also become very affectionate. You'll reach for Mommy or Daddy so that we'll pick you up, and you lean in for hugs. You really love to reach for Chelsea, although she is becoming acutely aware of your impending mobility and is starting to give you some space. You love kisses, and you're starting to get ticklish, too!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

My First Mother's Day

Just before putting you down for the night, I gaze down at you and try to conceptualize what I'm feeling. Somehow, I can't. Somehow, you leave your wordy mommy speechless. Then a friend shared this incredibly beautiful blog post about what a child feels for her mother. It found words that I know I'd never be able to put together so eloquently, because of course the feeling is mutual. Enjoy.

I Don't Know If I Love You

I don't know if I love you.

I don't know what those words mean.

But I can tell you that you are my sun
that the day does not truly begin until you rise
and the warmth that is like a halo around you beams down on me
and holds my pajama-ed body next to yours.
You are my sun.

I don't know if I love you, but you are my moon.
When night comes
whether it is the darkening of the sky for the entire world
or just for me as I become
once again
lost in emotions 3, no 4, times my size
struggling against the waves of my own tears
agitated rapids
the undertow of the moment pulling me down
taking me prisoner
fighting for breath and rights
you, a beacon of light wax bright and steady
guiding me home.

I don't know if I love you, but you are my tree.
Rich with good things.
Plump fruit in the form of kisses
your palm glides across my head
through my hair.
You caress my cheeks with your branches.
When the world swirls too fast and loud
I know I can always find shelter at the base of your trunk
and shade under your fronds.
You purify the air around me.
You are my tree.

I don't know if I love you, but your voice is my song.
There is a place in the deepest part of me
that only your tune can unlock
that only your tune can stir.
When you laugh it's a cool breeze on a sweaty day.
I want another and another
and become a puppet entertainer
doing anything to hear that tinkling giggle.
When you're angry, it's a wintery blizzard.
I feel the chill in my bones and the ice on my face
but then even, I move closer to you for comfort from you.
When you're sad, it's a quiet low whistle
and I pull myself into your lap
drawing long ribbons of whatever ails you out through your heart
throwing them down on the floor.

I don't know if I love you
because I've heard others use those words
and since they can't possibly have what we do
they must not be enough.

But in the off chance that I do
since I'm not sure
it's seems right that I should say it
so, mama
I love you.

Happy Mother's Day

We're Goin' to the Zoo, Zoo, Zoo

Though Atlanta is more well-known for its aquarium (since it's the largest in the world), its zoo is pretty good too! Zoo Atlanta also happens to be home to more panda bears than any other zoo in America, including two twin babies! We decided to take you to the zoo on a beautiful spring morning. 

We saw tons of great animals...

...but the best part of all was getting to see your reaction to the animals! You're already interacting with your environment so much.

We had so much fun, we decided to get a membership. We'll be back soon!

DIY Growth Chart

I've been working on a few projects around the house lately, some more exciting than others. Cleaning out the garage? Not exciting in the least. Creating a beautiful (in my humble opinion) growth chart for you out of scrap plywood and Sharpies that we had lying around the house? Absolutely thrilling!

I found the design from Brooklyn Limestone, one of my favorite sources for creative inspiration. I changed a few things to suit us a little more and threw it together over a few days' naps.

It starts out with your name and initial stats. Then, we go into milestones like your first day home, your first smile, your first laugh, etc.

I had to include several columns for your first words, because we're going to many efforts to help you become trilingual. The numbers are for photos through the years.

Then, I left room for adventures, including where you've traveled, important events in eating and playing, your first road trip, your first plane ride, and your first ride at Disney World. The education section lists your schools, the first book that you'll read, and your first doodle. The celebrations section lists your Halloween costumes and birthday party themes.

It's going to be so much fun to fill it in together over the years! I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I do!

First Solids

I wasn't the only one traumatized by solids. Allow me to share with you your reaction to your very first food ever, sweet potatoes:

You very quickly went from curiosity to panic. We took a little break to nurse for a minute, and then you were all about it!

The following evening, you had sweet potatoes again. Your confidence had increased (now that solids were old news, of course) and you decided to take a more hands-on approach.

A few days later, you tried avocados for the first time.

You ate the entire bowl that we had prepared for you (well, either ate or wore) and still looked like you wanted some more!

Next up, you tried bananas.

I think at this point, you enjoy eating (and it's good coordination practice with that spoon!) enough to eat bananas, but you don't particularly care for them.

Such a skeptical face! So far, avocados are the winner by far!

I Love Atlanta in the Springtime

I thought we needed a happy post on here after that last one.

Last weekend was just how I've always pictured (or at least hoped) it would be to have a family of my own. Daddy woke up grumpy on Saturday morning because the lawnmower wouldn't start because he hasn't actually mowed the lawn in forever because usually we pay someone to do it (serious first world problems), so he decided getting out of the house would cheer him up. The three of us ran some errands while you slept, then we stopped for lunch in the Square. You woke up and were just being really cute. You were playing with Jeremiah (your Baby Einstein stroller toy...we named him Jeremiah because he's a bullfrog), and even figured out how to make him dance all by yourself!

It was just gorgeous outside, and we had a lot of fun walking around. Later that day, Daddy played with you while I went shopping. It sounds boring now that I'm writing about it, but it was one of the best days I've had with you. It was such a perfect balance of time with Daddy, time with you, time alone, and time with all three of us together.
A couple of days later, we went for a hike along the Chattahoochee with my friend Tiffany, and your friends Alba and Donovan. You slept through most of it, but seemed to enjoy being outside. I tried to leave the park without feeding you, and you made it about two miles before decided that this wasn't okay. I pulled over into a parking lot to nurse you, and there happened to be a Starbucks in this parking lot so I treated myself to a smoothie with a double shot of espresso in it. Again, just such a great day. You were even wearing a really cute outfit that day!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Wanna Know How I Got These Scars

After almost five months of being a mom, I think the thing I'm the most proud of is the fact that everything you've eaten (with the exception of a bit of supplemental formula during your first few weeks) has been wholesome and organic. Conquering breastfeeding was quite an accomplishment for us, so when it was time to start eating big girl food, I knew we could handle making it ourselves. We have a food processor, a blender, and an immersion blender. How hard could it be?

I should have seen the signs. I enjoyed feeding you avocados and bananas much more than sweet potatoes because they were so idiot-proof. All I had to do was mash them up and mix in some breastmilk and you were good to go! Sweet potatoes were a beast of their own. Of course I undercooked them. They were chunky and hard for you to eat. I think the texture even scared you! I kept at it with the immersion blender and thinned them out enough for you to tolerate them (though avocados were still the mutual favorite by far). I didn't want to waste the whole dollar or so that I had spent on that potato, so when you were done, I threw the rest in the freezer.

A few weeks later, I defrosted an Ellie-sized portion of that frozen potato. I had the brilliant idea of steaming it in the microwave to try to cook it a little more. This created a very gummy texture, the way week old mashed potatoes can get. I tried to thin it out with some breastmilk and the immersion blender, but the entire glob of potatoes stuck to the blender! I swept my left thumb along the blade to get it off...while my right hand slipped up the handle and pushed the button. It hurt, but not that bad. It was just kind of like accidentally cutting yourself with a kitchen knife while chopping veggies...except then I realized that this knife was attached to a motor and OH GOD IS MY THUMB STILL ATTACHED?!

It was. But there was a lot of blood. I mean A LOT. And your mommy is not a squeamish person, but I seriously almost passed out. Of course at this point you were were really over your bouncy seat and wanted me to pick you up (I'm sure my screaming didn't help your mood much), but there was no way I could do that. I called your daddy and told him you were okay but he needed to come home. Then I called MY dad and told him he needed to come over as well. Then I rushed upstairs to the linen closet, grabbed some rags, made a tourniquet, clutched the rag-covered thumb with my right hand has hard as I could, and held it up in the air.

Daddy got home and I told him what happened and asked him to watch you while your Daideo took me to the emergency room. You were pretty worked up by then, so I asked him to help me nurse you. I was still applying pressure to my left thumb and trying to keep it above my heart, so I couldn't really hold you (plus I was covered in blood). So Daddy helped me lift up my shirt and held you up to my breast while I kept my blood-covered hands up in the air. He had to kind of squat awkwardly to get you in the right position. We kind of looked like some kind of weird ritual sacrifice statue from the Aztecs or something. I drew a picture to give you a better idea:

That was about the time your Daideo walked in.

Daideo cleaned the blood off of my phone, grabbed my wallet, and we were on our way. I was pretty lightheaded on the drive over, and I was wishing I had chosen a more reckless driver than your always responsible Daideo to accompany me on this journey. We arrived, and I proceeded to joke with the ED nurses because I just make jokes when I'm uncomfortable.

After an impressively brief wait, a PA came in to stitch me up. He tried to distract me with a guessing game. (Fun fact: I hate guessing games; just teach me the fact so I can collect it in my trivia bank and move on to the next fact.) Who was responsible for stitches during the Civil War? After twelve guesses, I told him I gave up and he explained that it was the barbers' responsibility because they were good with scissors. It was a pretty interesting tidbit of history, but I would like those five minutes of my life back. He was clearly uncomfortable with silence, because he moved on to the next attempt to distract me. It went something like this:
PA: So you work at this hospital?
Me: Yep.
PA: Where?
Me: Outpatient Neurorehab.
PA: Oh yeah? What do you do there?
Me: I'm a physical therapist.
PA: (pauses) actual physical therapist? Or you you an actual physical therapist?
Me: An actual physical therapist. Like I'm smart enough to have not done this. Like I went to school longer than you did.
PA: You said it - not me! 
He was probably just saying that because I look too young to have gone to school for seven years (even though the band on my wrist said I was 29 years old). But still.

I needed seven stitches to fix my thumb, some BBQ brisket to fix my self-proclaimed anemia, and probably several years to fix my pride. Underneath the dressing and the splint, my thumb looks like this right now:

You're welcome for not including an actual photo. Also, I may have drawn these doodles on the back of my discharge paperwork because I was too lazy injured to walk over to the study and get real paper.

I was pleased to hear that you'd had a nice night with Daddy. Daddy was pleased that we brought him Red Hare root beer to accompany the brisket. You were fast asleep.

Today, I'm thinking that feeding you homemade purees is probably not something we'll continue to pursue. Maybe we'll stick with avocados, but there's perfectly good stuff in jars too. Yes, breastfeeding has been a big accomplishment for us. But parenting isn't about accomplishments. It's about caring for your child and enjoying the moments you share together, from day one and for the rest of our lives. Someday, you'll enjoy eating at fancy restaurants with Mommy and Daddy, and traveling the world to explore new foods. But for now, you'll get healthy, wholesome food and that's all that matters. Bottom line: don't expect me to put nonsense like this in your lunch box:

...even if it is awesome.