Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

BG is 4 months, 2 weeks and 6 days old.
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays as all that is really expected is to be thankful and maybe a bird.
It’s also the one major holiday that I feel became my own as an adult. My family weren’t big Thanksgiving folks so as an adult, I really tried to make it something special for me and my husband. Our first Thanksgiving spent together was the first time I got deathly ill and passed it on to my poor husband. I recall how we both took turns crawling in the dark to the bathroom. To this day my husband reminds me how I gave him some crazy virus that knocked him out cold. I remember not only were we unable to keep anything down, we were light sensitive and spent the entire week in bed or the bathroom. I suppose the light sensitivity was a good thing because I’m sure I looked more like a Gorg.
We spent the rest of the Thanksgivings together with his Uncle’s family which warmed my heart. The gatherings were always filled with families and children running back and forth trying to manage visits to both sides of the family. A little turkey here, some stuffing at the in laws, it was amazing to watch them do the Thanksgiving meal-a-thon.
Once we got married, I dreamed of hosting my own special Thanksgiving to incorporate my family. The first year my MIL had the same idea and asked me to host it. That year, I made 3 pies, 1 cake and 1 lb of turkey treats for our two dogs, one cat and my MIL’s 3 dogs who accompanied her during her visit. Our tiny 600 square foot apartment was overrun by animals and yet somehow I managed to accommodate a very large Thanksgiving table and 8 hungry humans and 6 four legged pets. My brother reminds me of how I was so nervous that I made chicken several times the week before to practice carving.
Then sometime during our third year of marriage I felt I was so fortunate I needed to give back and started to volunteer at a church. Every year after, I have volunteered every Thanksgiving morning. I hope the train downtown and walk past the crowds of children and parents watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade smiling at everyone. I then spend 4-5 hours helping serve a hot Thanksgiving meal to elderly folks who don’t have family to go to for Thanksgiving. Several local bands including a big band and a salsa band play music for dancing while hundreds of young and old serve, clean and entertain. Every year I see some of the same faces. We have nametags but in all honesty I don’t recall any of their names just their faces. Our focus is never on us but them. It really makes me happy to be there even for a brief period.
I head home ready to cook my Turkey day meal for my family and enjoy the feast. To organize the day, I generally cook everything in advance and set my oven for the bird. I know it’s a bit more work but it does make the meal taste all the better.
This year, with a new baby, we will be sharing the feast with my husband’s family again. Many of them have not seen BG yet so it will be a nice way to introduce her to the family. Next year, I hope to return to volunteering. I dream that my DH will volunteer with BG as well. He or I can be a hostess instead of a server so BG can attend. A hostess sits at the head of a table to assist the guests with their needs, dietary or otherwise. I want to instill in my daughter that Thanksgiving isn’t just about the bird or the parade but to stop and give thanks and share in the giving that we receive.
Sure, we’ll do the Turkey Day parade and even the inflation of the balloons one day but we all should remember to stop and be thankful for each other.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

BG is developing opinions.

BG is 4 months, 2 weeks and 5 days old.
I leaked through my nightgown again. BG went to bed at 8pm, woke up at 10pm, fell asleep again at 11pm, woke up at 6am and is currently being fed and lulled back to sleep by DH. I haven’t fed or pumped since 8pm.
I fell asleep hard and woke up to a wet mess and very engorged breasts.
I don’t know what’s up with BG’s schedule. I know I shouldn’t complain as she’s sleeping nice long stretches but they are at the oddest times.
I’ve cut down her daytime naps to two to see if that helps. I’ve even cut her afternoon nap short so she’s not sleeping at 5pm.
I guess she’s heading to a new sleep routine. I guess I just go with the flow for now.
BG is expressing her desires more and more these days. I’m slowly getting to understand her likes and dislikes. For example, today while she was sitting on my lap, she decided that mirror time was not what she wanted to do so she turned away. When that didn’t stop me, she pushed the mirror away. I’m fairly certain it was an intentional push away. I guess this is the beginning of her developing opinions. Oh boy. Lol
I put on her fleece bear footie pants today for our walk. They are still too big for her but I thought it would be a nice change to the fleece coverall. She looked hysterical with these large dangling bear print footies dangling but she was nice and toasty.
We also upgraded from the infant car seat to the convertible car seat. She hit the 27” threshold on the infant car seat. DH went to the Department of Transportation to get the seat inspected and installed appropriately. We’ll get to use it for the first time tomorrow on our way to Thanksgiving eats.
Yes, this year, as promised, I am not having a Thanksgiving get together. DH had asked me during my first trimester to not have one our first year so we could acclimate to parenthood. I obliged. I knew he was right but I do feel bad I’m not volunteering this year. Next year, I would like to volunteer again and maybe, just maybe DH and BG will accompany me. We’ll see.
To everyone, have a wonderful Thanksgiving and remember to think of one thing to be thankful for before you dive into the feast.
For me, I’m thankful for my husband, my daughter, my family, my friends and Fisher Price for making an awesome swing for BG.

Love makes good impressions

Greet your spouse today with a smile and enthusiasm. Ok, I felt foolish about this because yes, I’ve fallen into that rut where I greet my DH with a kiss every time but since the baby, it’s been a kiss with a haggard expression.
I know sometimes it can’t be helped. You’re exhausted and could use the relief. You secretly wonder how your DH can go off and spend 4 hours at the gym while you’re lucky to get 20 minutes to shower and freshen up. You sometimes count the minutes until your DH returns home so he can watch your infant so you can cook/clean/nap/bathe etc.
Still, it is very important to greet your spouse with joy and comfort. ‘I’m so glad you are here’ but now in a, ‘Here take the baby, I need to clean up the mess in the kitchen’ sort of way.
Positivity begets positivity and I want my DH to be happy to return home to me and our baby.
Plus we bounce off of each other so if I’m tired, he’s going to react and be tired. If I’m happy and helpful, he’s going to be happy and helpful or at least that’s my theory.
My baby is the perfect example of making a good impression. She greets us every morning with a wide toothless grin and flails her legs and arms joyously when she sees us. It warms the heart and makes you feel good all over.
So I took my baby’s lead and greeted my husband today not with just my usual kiss hello and inquiry to his day. BG and I did greet him with kisses of hello but I also made a concerted effort to smile and be more light hearted and uplifting.
I think it opened the air a bit more for us. I don’t have anything tangible to show but rather it’s more of a feeling.
I’m going to try to continue to lighten the greetings. After all, I have the best person to lead by example from.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Everything is new

BG is 4 Months, 2 Weeks and 4 Days.
BG has changed her sleep routine. According to the books, this is normal around this time. She started with sleeping from 7-9pm then 10:30pm-7am. Now she fluctuates between 7-9pm then 12-9am and 8-1am then 2-4am then 5am-8am. Obviously, her parents prefer the first two patterns but we get what we get.
We’ve gotten a few new milestones which is nice. She’s touching her toes and holding them more. She’s also grasping at objects. She has a set of links that makes for a great rattle and teether for her that she loves to play with. She accidently passes it back and forth between her hands. Her dad also places it on her rotating swing and she likes to grab it as it rounds its way around to her right side. She looks like a she’s holding onto the old fashioned handles on subways and buses. She is so strong, she’ll interrupt the motor from rotating. It’s very cute.
She’s also speaking more. She’ll happily spend some time babbling up a storm on her activity mat. She’ll back spin around and babble.
She seems to be much more attentive to us now. She follows us more and stares at us intently as if she wants to tell us something or interpret our actions.
I can spend all day watching her play and discover. Everything is so fascinating to her.

Love is not jealous

I found this exercise easier than other exercises. Today’s exercise was to throw out the negative list and show appreciation to my DH for a success he recently had. I’m always proud of my DH when he accomplishes something he set out to do so I happily took on the challenge.
He recently received a gig he had hoped to get. I was very proud of him and gave him a hug.
Did I find it hard? No. Did I find it hard to let go of the negative? No.
How can I encourage future successes? I suppose being supportive and patient with him will help. I also encourage him when he shows great interest in something even if it is something that I may wary about.
How do I feel after this exercise? I’m very proud of my husband’s accomplishments and flaunt them. It was nice to perform an exercise that wasn’t as difficult for me to perform.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Words to Live By...

Strive to recognize individual needs within the family and meet them to the greatest extent possible without compromising your physical and emotional health.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sleep Day Two: I gave up.

4 months, 2 weeks old.
I turned off the baby monitor. I closed the bedroom door.
How is it she can sleep readily in my arms, even to the point she’s folded over my arm like a towel on the shower rod but not on the comfy expensive mattress her dad bought her? I was fine at home alone trying it out but tonight when dh was around, questioning the approach, I gave in at 1.5 hours into it.
In short, the reason why I wanted to try sleep training was because the last two nights co-sleeping and breastfeeding wasn’t working and dh said he could no longer carry our daughter on his shoulder without experiencing any pain.
The naps were difficult but we got through it. The night was my breaking point. Having my husband around caused me to seek empathy which I did not feel I received. On the contrary, we ping ponged back and forth on each other. He questioned the method and commented it was cruel and unusual. I asked for alternate solutions and he responded that I was the one who read everything so he had no recommendations.
After an hour and half of intermittent crying and consoling, I gave in. My gut instinct was sleep training seems oddly animalistic and that her natural circadian rhythm of sleeping from 7-9 and then 10:30-7 was find by me except for the occasional nights where I felt my breasts spent and my lack of time to do anything other than baby related care was frustrating.
DH’s questioning and commenting only made me feel more uneasy about the approach. After trying to explain to him my reasons for attempting to sleep train and why I went against my gut, DH said that I shouldn’t feel the need to justify my actions and that I shouldn’t stress so much. “Why don’t you meditate or do some yoga. Don’t just sit here and justify it to me.”
I left feeling as if the one person I could at least share my feelings with was less than empathetic. I went to get BG and she greeted me with a big old smile. My heart lit up and I hugged her for what seemed like forever. I changed her diaper and DH came over and asked me why I picked her up and essentially nixed everything we did. I told him the reasons why I decided to stop it where mentioned on the couch before he told me to stop justifying. “This is the reason why I don’t read anything. You’re only going to change your mind. What’s the point?”
“You agreed that it was cruel.”
“But you said you wanted to do it. One or two unpleasant nights of her crying and you’re ready to try something drastic. Now you’re going back to the original approach. What do you want to do?”
“I told you what I wanted to do on the couch and you told me not to justify things.”
“I just don’t know about you.”
I felt so upset. My insides were killing me from hearing her cry and my head was circling with everything from ‘All babies need to learn to soothe themselves.’ to ‘Babies shouldn’t have to feel their needs aren’t met.’ I didn’t feel like I could turn to my husband for support or advice.
As BG began sucking her fist, I took her cue to breastfeed her. As I was breastfeeding, DH again came into the room and asked me why I was breastfeeding after I said the books said that I shouldn’t interrupt the sleep training with a breastfeeding session.
“Because I’m cancelling out what I said about sleep training. I’m going back to soothing and bonding. That’s what I’ve been saying since the couch.”
“But you said…”
“I don’t care what I said, I’m going with my gut. I don’t care if you think it’s wrong or right.”
“I just think you’re taking one giant leap back and I’ll be here again letting her sleep on my shoulder while you’re in the bedroom sleeping later tonight.”
Well, in the end, BG fell asleep after a breastfeeding session. She held onto her lovey and slept by my side and not on DH’s shoulder.
How do I feel? I feel fine. How will I feel tomorrow? I don’t know. Today I feel as if sleep training isn’t for me right now. I understand sleep teaching. You want to instill a healthy and happy connection with sleep. I don’t see how sticking her in a dark quiet room by herself illicit a healthy attitude towards sleep. I could be wrong but all day today and yesterday when she was being swaddled, she started whimpering and murmur crying. It was as if she correlated the swaddling with sleep and me leaving her in the crib to cry it out. I don’t want her to think of sleep as something that is painful, lonely or hurtful. Before I started this, whenever I swaddled her, she’d look up and smile at me. She seemed to like her blanket and idea of calm downtime. Maybe I’m internalizing it but I don’t think crying it out gives a positive attitude to sleep.
Again, if there is one thing I learned with this parenthood thing, is that what doesn’t work one day, works the next and what I may think today may be different tomorrow. I’m not turning away from sleep training but today, it’s not for me.
BG is sleeping on average 8 hours straight and taking 3 naps during the day. I think that is completely respectable. She may not be taking her long nap at the hours we think are befitting but she'll get there. She's smart and her body has a good rhythm. We may not get to where we would like to be tomorrow but we'll get there hopefully with encouragement and positivity.

Oh, DH thinks that me going back to work will be a good thing as he believes I think too much about the baby. I'm still trying to grasp that a bit. Does he have a point?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Parent Challenge #62: Sleep

BG is 4 months, 1 week and 6 days old.
Sleep is one of the hardest things to teach a baby. Funny, if only a baby could learn by example, I’d happily demonstrate how to take a nap.
Essentially, parents need to work as a team to setup good sleep habits which I believe makes it a good relationship builder.
15 minutes into my sleep teaching and BG has now begun to cry.
Here is my game plan.
Her night time going to bed ritual includes:
Change to pajamas
Wash face, mouth and hands or Bath/Massage
A cradle to bed
A song while lying in bed
Prayers with a tummy rub in bed
Say goodnight.
This all should begin around 7pm, give or take.
During all this, DH lowers the lights in the house and lowers the volume of the television. We all lower our voices to present a calming atmosphere.
According to the experts at four months of age, we should start by giving her 30 minutes to try to soothe herself to sleep.
10 minutes into crying, there is silence in the bedroom.
If by five months she's still not able to soothe herself, we can try to teach her to sleep using Ferber or another method.
Today, I begin her sleep training starting with the naps.
At this stage she should have 2 naps a day, the morning 1 being the shortest and the afternoon nap being the longest. Her last nap should start no later than 2pm. Our daughter seems to like her naps and usually has 3 of them a day but at the same time the naps usually happen on me which we need to transition out of.
For me, this is tough because 1) I’m going back to work so I’ve up’d the skin to skin contact out of personal guilt and 2) I try to take her out often to get her used to being social and to avoid claustrophobia.
When we’re out and about she’ll take her nap while I’m wearing her. It’s not like I can have her lying on the grass at the park, especially on brisk autumn days.
Essentially, it's pretty tough to do, especially with daily schedules of events so we need to adapt without too much compromise.
5 minutes after silence, the murmured crying has begun again.
With work looming and her age, I suppose this is the right time to work on this together as a team. In order for this to go smoothly, quickly and with as little pain as possible, we need to stick to the plan. Of course, according to the books, this is much harder for the working parent, emotionally and physically. This goes double if the working parent is also the mom and is breastfeeding.
I'm not sure how this will work but I'm sure we'll get through it, it's just tough. I'm not sure if this is the right approach or not but I'm trying what I think is appropriate at this time. I’ve developed the plan on my own as when I discussed the topic of sleep to DH, he said that he wasn’t the expert and that I was the one that read the books so I know better. Personally, I think that’s the cop out but I am the mom so I am stepping up to the plate.
It’s hard though as last night when I tried to start this plan my husband didn’t like the idea of 1) our baby crying it out in the bedroom disturbing our neighbors 2) he kept picking her up out of the crib to try to soothe her and 3) he felt after 2 hours of periodic crying, she needed to eat. I tried to explain that this isn’t easy for me but that she doesn’t need a bottle or a breast as this would only prolong the agony as it essentially resets the clock but he said his child shouldn’t go to bed hungry. “I don’t understand it. If she wants to eat every 2 hours during the day, logically, wouldn’t she need to eat at night?” I wasn’t sure how to answer that but I wondered what he thought about her sleeping 8 hours without a meal meant.
So now, while I’m home alone with BG, I’m trying to teach her to sleep by herself starting with her day naps. 1) DH isn’t around so we’re not ping ponging the guilt, 2) our neighbors are at work so I don’t have to worry about DH’s concerns about our neighbors being disrupted and 3) I’m alone.
Right now, I fed her and swaddled and placed her in her crib for a nap with her lovey 30 minutes ago. She protested about being popped off the breast after her meal. The bedroom is a bit light which probably will make it hard for her to nap but my goal this morning isn't to get her to nap by herself immediately. I'll be happy if she stays in the crib for 30 minutes without too much protesting.
It has now been over 30 minutes and as you can tell from the italics above, she did cry but not until 15 minutes into her being left in the room alone.
She didn’t sleep at all. I guess I’ll be going in there now to check on her, change her diaper, wipe her eyes and clean her nose. Still no nap. What now? I think I’ll try to soothe her and as she heads toward the land of nod, which we all know she will after all that crying, I’ll try to get her back to bed again.
Wish me luck.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Love believes the best. Part II

Ok, let’s be fair. I’m working on the Dare by myself which has it’s positives and negatives. Since I had to list positives and negatives for DH, I should do the same for myself.
I’m too emotional, especially after I gave birth. Call it a lack of estrogen due to breastfeeding. Call it being a mom. Call it being a woman. I’m emotional.
I internalize my husband’s actions and equate them to myself. I’m not doing enough. I do too much. He forgot the eggs, he must think I’m too needy. I used this line once on my optometrist as a joke. Don’t ask.
I don’t stick up for myself as much as I should. If I hone the strength I have when I stick up for my daughter, my husband and my family and share a piece of it with myself, I wouldn’t feel like I’m giving in so much.
I don't keep quiet enough.
I give in because it's not worth the battle.
I need to delegate more. "You will surely wear yourself out, and not only yourself but also these people with you. The task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone.” – Exodus 18:19
I worry too much.
I expect too much.
I’m kind and loving.
I strive to do good and help others.
I really do cheer my husband on in his goals even though we differ.
I’m pretty creative for a person with OCD.
I try to balance wants and desires for the people around me at work and at home.
I try to look for the good in all things. I do need to try not to dwell on the other parts though.
Funny, it was easier for me to write my negatives list than my positives. I suppose we are our own worst enemy.

Oh, I started the day today with some me time.
I pumped my breasts, took a bath, worked on the Dare and had breakfast.
Then I cleaned the toilet and bathtub, did a load of wash and cleaned the dishes.

By the time DH woke up, I felt like I already had some accomplishments for the day. I also started his day with a kiss and an appreciation. I told him, "Thank you for being you."

He was taken aback and asked me what he did. I said I just wanted to compliment him.

Words to Live By...

Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved,
heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,
bearing with one another and forgiving one another,
if one has a grievance against another;
as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.

And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection.
And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body.
And be thankful.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. -- Colossians 3:13-18

Words to Live By...

Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. -- Philippians 4:7

Love believes the best.

I’m breaking out in hives. I’m stressed.
I don’t want to go back to work.
I’m feeling pressure.
I feel the need to not only be a mom but also be a wife and be a worker bee.
I need to be the person working.
I need to be the person making the decisions regarding our daughter. “You’re the one reading the books. You have more knowledge to make the decisions.”
I need to be the person that puts food on the table. “You like to cook.”
I need to be the person that keeps up with the parenting networks in the neighborhood. “You read and talk to the parents to see what’s going on.”
I need to be the person researching and finding bargains.
I lied to my moms’ group last week and said I felt like I had to cook for my family because I felt guilty I had to go back to work. Truth is I feel the need to cook because if I didn’t half our budget would be spent on hotdogs, French fries and cold cuts.
I know my husband loves me but I don’t know if he realizes the pressure I feel. In a lot of ways, I think he thinks tons of people do it why I am I stressed out over it. He’s a type of guy that says, “Things can be far worse so just suck it up and appreciate what you have.”
I try. I am very grateful for the time I’ve had with my daughter. I’m very grateful for loving family and friends. I’m very grateful that God gave me the skills to be a good worker and hopefully a good mother and wife.
I just wish sometimes that my husband was a bit more hands on. Don’t ask me what he needs to do. Don’t just sit in the car while I run around pulling out strollers, bundling our child and packing her bag. Pack some sandwiches every now and then. Do the dishes without me asking. Tell me that you know that it’s hard for me to go back to work but that you appreciate that I am. In short, stop scheduling us around his needs a little bit.
Last night, I commented to my husband that the baby safety seminar in our neighborhood was cancelled and that I had been looking forward to the event. I saw he immediately going to our family calendar and then commented to me, “What’s going on at 5pm?” “I was hoping to go downtown and get a hair assessment to schedule a free hair cut. I haven’t had my hair cut since I was pregnant and am in desperate need of a cut. It shouldn’t take more than an hour and a half.” “Who is going to watch our daughter?” “What do you mean?” “I mean I have to go to a rehearsal.” “Well, I guess I need to take her with me or reschedule. I had this scheduled for a while.” “Your hair looks fine. I like it long.”
I know this sounds ridiculous but I’m friggin’ going downtown for a free haircut. I don’t spend $150 on a haircut. I have students cut my hair, for free, and I’m being made to feel like I didn’t consider the family and his needs?
I’m trying very hard. I know he loves me. I just don’t think he realizes how he can be very self serving. Since he turned 34, he’s been in an ever present mid-life crisis and I just hope and pray that he’s not like his father.
My biggest fear is that I’m going to have to go back to work and work, pump, cook, clean, manage the family calendar, be my family’s advocate, be my husband’s advocate and be the family manager. In short, I need to be super woman. Tons of woman are super woman. I know this and I admire them but can I? How can I get past feeling like this is one-sided? How can I stop feeling like I’m doing this alone? How can I delegate more to my husband without feeling as if I’m setting myself up for disaster.
I’m scared. I’m nervous. I’m tired.
Today’s exercise is to list positives and negatives about my spouse. I need to live in the appreciation room versus the depreciation room. I feel like I love my husband very much. I try to live in appreciation but sometimes I feel like the fool. How is it that I’m the one giving up on my dream? How is it that the moment I became pregnant, it became about his needs and his wishes? How is it that I’m the one that needs to give in or compromise for the sake of our marriage and family? Why can’t I pout? Why can’t I through snarky barbs to get my way? How is it that he doesn’t realize how snarky he can be and how hurtful it is to his wife? How come I’m the one his mom calls to see if we’re ok? Why do I have to be the one that puts the brave face on and says, “Yes, just the normal new parent tension but we have a strong foundation and we will get through this together.” Why is it when I bring this up he gets defensive and tells me that it’s always his fault?
Anyway, here is my list:
He is an optimist.
He thinks anything can be overcome.
He doesn’t sweat the small stuff.
He has enough confidence and self worth to fill a water tower.
He doesn’t care what anyone says about him.
He knows what he wants and doesn’t care what anyone thinks.
He attends church with me.
He loves me.
He loves our daughter.
When he wants something he does what he has to get it.
He will attend something for the family if I ask him too, for the most part.
He says he never wants to lie to me and I believe he hasn’t.
He makes our daughter smile.
He tells me what he’s doing all the time.
He tries to make me happy.
He tells me he loves me at least once a day.
He strives to be the better person to people that have hurt him.
He defends me and stands ups for me and waits until we are alone to question me.
He occasionally tells me I’m attractive looking.
He thinks of my feelings when it comes to his interactions with other women.

So which list was easier to make? The positive list. Why? I think it made me feel better and it became easier for me as I listed more items. They flowed in like running water. The negative list weighed me down and made me more itchy.
What does this reveal? I would like to say that I like the positive and enjoy thinking about the positives more than the negatives even though the negatives seem to dominate my concerns and thoughts of late. The qualities I admire about my husband can also be the qualities that annoy me. In a way, I wish I was a bit more like my husband.

So today, I need to take one item on my positive list and thank him for it. I did thank him for loving me but I think I should thank him for something else too. I’ll postscript it.

Today’s Thankful:
Today, I’m thankful for my husband doing the dishes this morning. I don’t think I asked him to do it the night before either. It was nice to hear the dishwasher running this morning and I didn’t have to pack it.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

BG's rider includes periodic booby snacks between photo shoots

Baby Blues by Rick Kirkman & Jerry Scott

BG is 4 months, 1 week and 1 day old.

We finally took family photos yesterday. The last time we took them I was still bloated and completely sleep deprived. BG was still in the eyes closed phase.

This time around BG could sit on my lap and had her eyes open.

Of course, it took us 3.5 hours to get some photos but we're still new parents. There was the set up which took 2 hours. Don't ask. There was the the boob eats for BG. There was the changing of clothes. There was the "how to coax a smile" moments. There was the repositioning of baby after a topple over.

Family photos seems to be stressful for us, ok me. I hope it gets better as we develop a routine. The pictures mean alot to me as having photos of our growing family is important to me and the first year seems to have the most change.

My next big photo project is Christmas cards and this year, I plan to go green and send out an e-photo card rather than a paper card. No need to add to the pile of needless paper. My mind is racing

Love is Not Irritable

“Do like me, read the Bible.”
If I’m to follow the exercise in The Love Dare, I should not react to my husband’s comment with irritation. My husband’s belittlement irritates me and not just for my desire to perform the Dare. Blanket statements like, “Get over it”, sting more than words should sting.
Today’s focus is to not let my husband’s belittlement cause me irritation. I need to have more breathing room and not react as quickly. I’ve already failed this exercise as this morning, I became irritated at his sidelining of my needs. This exercise made me feel selfish.
I woke up engorged and ready to burst. The night before I washed my pump parts. I washed them angrily. Washing my parts half awake reminds me of how much my husband and I differ when it comes to our needs and need fulfillment. I’m not saying I’m right or he’s right just that we’re in opposite spectrums.
I view the statement, “You are the only person that can take care of your needs” sadly. I believe that when you love someone, you try to help them achieve their needs. That’s why couples should use their strengths to bolster their partner. DH misplaces many things, including his laundry. We found it in a bag in the basement. Apparently during one of his many late nights he left it in the dryer and never claimed it. To help him, I try to put his keys back by the door when I see them lying around. I don’t tell him I do it, I just do. He knows I do it and complains I effect his method to finding things but I still do it. Sure the motive it purely selfish, my tolerance for his ‘headless chicken’ routine when he’s running late is maddening, but I’d like to think it benefits him too. It gives him that extra 5 minutes to search for his wallet.
Well, today, I failed to not get irritated already. I woke up engorged and to the sound of my husband shuffling around the house searching for something. “Hi. I lost my phone.” he says as he lifts my leg off the couch cushion to check for his phone. Yes, I slept on the couch. Sadly, I’m such wuss that I’d rather sleep on the couch next to my husband who swears he needs no sleep {a falsity} than sleep in our big bed by myself hoping he’d come in and snuggle with me and not an hour before our child awakens. It makes no sense at all but it’s hard to break a habit that started nearly a decade ago.
“Do you need anything?” “Yes, can you get me the pump parts that are drying? I need to pump badly.” “Sure.” In the end, I got the pump parts and started pumping as his phone search was his priority which goes back to 1) I am the only person who can take care of myself and 2) I’m fourth behind his needs, his gym and our daughter.
If anything, this exercise made me feel so selfish, I just get angry at myself for feeling so hurt. Yes, these exercises are helping me build awareness but the solution cannot be suppression. I am a firm believer that you shouldn’t suppress too much or else you explode. It’s hard for me as I come from a family of suppressors. That’s what you get when you cross British politeness with Confucianism. I think I’ve jumped a few hurdles regarding suppression that have caused the strife between my mother and myself but at the same time my husband is miles ahead in his speak his mind even if it hurts others.
I truly believe that the complementary aspects of our personalities help build a better self but lately I’m feeling as if the weight is tilted. Part of this is the stress of giving up on my dream, becoming the bread winner and the anxiety of having to provide for my family, take care of our child and take care of the basics for my family such as putting a meal on the table.
My husband says that he’ll try to put a meal on the table when I get home but I’ve heard that before with the dishes. He’ll try to clean the dishes or put the dishes away. He’ll try to make it home on time. I foresee me coming home from work, breastfeeding our baby, cooking dinner, eating while breastfeeding and then getting our child to sleep before cleaning the kitchen, storing milk pumped during the day and setting up the pump to pump before I sleep and start the cycle again.
Even worse, I foresee my husband having to leave for one of his gigs texting me to come home early. So I would need to come home to relieve him and being the giant wuss again, staying up so I can spend a few short minutes with him before I need to sleep and regenerate for the next day.
I know that anticipation can be worse than the actual so I’m trying to give it a positive spin. I remind myself I may not be able to stay at home with my child but at least my spouse can. It’s a compromise that is easier to swallow. I remind myself that not matter what, I need to follow the Golden Rule and that although my actions have a degree of self preservation, I still do them out of love for my family. I strive to be a better person not only for myself and God but also for my child. Hopefully she will learn from action. Yes, she should be mindful of her needs but she should think of God and others first. She shouldn’t be a martyr but she should be kind and compassionate. I suppose, the best I can do is better myself to better her. Maybe she will be a happy compromise to her polar parents.
So we’ve discussed an area I need to give margin to and reasons for my actions. How do I start to resolve it? Honestly, my first reaction is to remind myself, “God gave me two hands. If I can do it, just do it.” As my good friend once said to me, “As a woman, you just have to do things just to keep the peace in the family. You just have to remind yourself, it’s not bothering them. It’s bothering you. “
I suppose I need to weigh the pros and cons. Is it really worth the irritation to ask him to help me get the pump parts or would it be better for me to get up and do it myself?
I don’t think I’m high maintenance, just low esteem right now. I need to stop reminding myself of the prioritization.
I will not be irritated today. I will do everything I can to not sweat it and just be. Heck, at the end of the day I want to pat myself on the back and be thankful that I can do. I spend my prayers being thankful for everything but myself and my strengths. A mom in my mother’s group said, “Remember, we’re mothers. We are full-time caregivers not only to our child but to our husband and ourselves.” Equality be damned, we do more than our spouses and because of such we expect more from them. That’s where our weakness is. Today there will be no expectations.

In continuation of yesterday’s be thankful…
My husband
Today I am thankful for the “I love you” text messages he sends me.
Today I am thankful for my multi-task.
My life
Today I am thankful for the opportunities given to me and my family.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Love is Not Rude

I was reluctant to do this exercise only because it required me to discuss what I was doing with my DH. It’s not like I’m hiding it from him. I just know his reaction to this exercise.
Today’s exercise required me to ask him to tell me things that make him uncomfortable or irritate him. At first I didn’t want to do this exercise because I was afraid of what he’d say and how I’d respond.
I finally asked him and his response was, “This. I don’t like taking tests especially relationship tests.” He proceeded to change the subject.
I dropped it.
I suppose the point of the exercise is to learn not to be rude to each other. No matter how long you’ve been with someone, there is something that each of us does that annoys one another. Most of the time we don’t sweat the small stuff but the point of the exercise was to learn the small stuff and make an effort to not do it.
With the hard part done, I let it go and laughed at my apprehension but today I realize the hard part is ongoing.
Today’s exercise was supposed to remind me to guard the golden rule with my spouse, not to have double standards and honor requests. I can’t do these things well without two way communication and clearly I’m doing these exercises on my own which will make it harder.
I need to remind myself not to hold my husband to the same especially since he’s not doing this exercise. This isn’t easy.
For example, I feel as if he’s not honoring my wishes to restrict his personal information that he posts on public sites, including photos of our child. Call me paranoid but my MIL tells me vicious stories. It then simmers the hurt I feel.
Today, I’ve been asking for family photos since our child was 3 months old. I asked him Monday if on Thursday we could take a family photo and he said yes. It’s now 6pm and there was no effort in trying to get the pictures taken. He took care of BG this morning then went to the dentist, got a haircut and is now going to the gym.
Yes, he takes care of our daughter but he knew how much this means to me but instead it was more important for him to schedule a dentist appointment today and then text me to ask me if he can go get a haircut. I’m such a wuss. I should have said, no, you need to come home and get the camera ready for family photos but what happened instead was me texting, “Yes, but can we please take family photos today or tomorrow?” His response, “So does this mean I can’t get a haircut?”
I feel as if my husband has no concern for me or what I would like sometimes. I’ve told him too that I feel as if I come fourth on his list just behind himself, the gym and our daughter.
So how do I handle this and how do I plan to improve these areas? I don’t know. It’s tough, especially since I’m going solo. I feel alone at times and I guess, that’s why I started this endeavor. I don’t want to feel alone and the one who has to always give in for the happiness of the family.
I guess I can turn this exercise around and name three things that my husband does that makes me feel uncomfortable and irritate me and think of ways I can handle it better.
Three things my husband does that makes me feel uncomfortable and irritate me:
1. His time management skills are atrocious. He’s always late, even to my father’s funeral. I’m trying very hard to account for this and prepare everything I can for him so I’m not as irritated. I try to put his keys and wallets in the same place so he can find them readily. I get my daughter and myself ready. I pack snacks and goodies the night before any trip, even small trips to do household errands. Another thing I suppose I can do is walk the dog. If I wake up a little earlier and take the dog, perhaps it would cut his prep time a little.
2. Many times, he will say he will do something for me but usually forgets. For example, he’ll say he’ll do the dishes but he falls asleep before doing them. He texts me if I need anything but either forgets to check his email or forgets to pick up the stuff I asked for. For the first example, I originally gave up on asking him to do the dishes or put away dishes and just resigned myself to waking up in the wee morning and doing them. Instead of doing them at 3am and feeling angry and upset about it, I can leave it there and ask him to do it the next day. Sure, usually he gets cranky as it wasn’t in his mind schedule but I can’t give him one chance only. I need to be patient and mindful that small things don’t need to be done immediately. For the second example, I’ve got nothing. I sort of just tell myself that I really didn’t need the item and make do without it.
3. I don’t have a third readily in mind but I would like to add to my exercise including, trying to walk the dog and be more patient with my husband, I need to look at one good thing every day that my husband does that makes me happy. DH does listen to my concerns when it comes to our daughter. Yesterday, when I came home from the office, he told me what they did and told me that he did turn the tv off. DH does honor some of my requests. He knows I do not believe our child should be sat in front of a tv for more than 30 minutes and he tried to respect it. So every day, I hope to add a thankful prayer for DH.

My baby flashdancer has a new ride

BG is 4 months and 6 days old.

BG is growing out of her footsies. I was hoping to have her live in them during the winter months but at four months of age her feet are busting out of her 6 month footsies. Then again, Carter’s clothes do run small.
Still, I’m trying to keep her warm but allow her to have accessibility to discover her feet and legs and hopefully roll over.
Last night I went through my box of 6 and 9 month clothes and decided that she’s going to live in her pants and onesies but I’m going to need to stretch her pants for a longer length of time and somehow find a way to keep them from riding up exposing her calves when I’m wearing her.
One of the mom’s in my walking group said her son lives in babylegs, essentially baby legwarmers, and that unlike socks, she shouldn’t grow out of them as quickly. So I searched and found a bunch of adorable babylegs for her to wear instead of footsies. Actually I’m hoping this is a win win as putting on tights on BG has become a workout for me. With the babylegs, I can change her diaper more readily, I won’t have to worry about taking them on and off and hopefully they ‘ll help keep her socks on.
If anyone is interested, babySNAZZ! has great prices and a large selection.

Anyway, all this talk about clothing and winter got me thinking that I should really stock up on her winter clothes but I don’t want to purchase everything and find I needed two articles. So far, I have one snowsuit, a friend gave us. It says 3-6 months but it looks huge. I figure she’ll rarely wear it and only wear it if we take some outdoor snow photos. I have two cute fleece outfits that she can wear when I’m wearing her or transferring her from stroller to car. We also have a Sherpa like coat for her to wear while she is in the winter bundleme in the stroller.
I figure I’ll keep one of the thick crocheted blankets my mom made for her in the car. Is that enough? Is that too much? I don’t want to go overboard. This stuff is expensive and only lasts one season at this age

Her ‘big girl’ stroller came in last night and DH was so excited he put it together immediately. The instructions were very limited but with the help of the internet and some trial and error, we figured out the bells and whistles. Hubby calls it a ‘fashionable’ stroller. He likes the smooth ride on the double wheels and likes the ability to lock the front wheels straight. The only thing he dislikes is the scrawny cup holder.
DH wanted to take it out today for a spin but it’s raining and I haven’t purchased the rain cover yet. Guess I should grab that soon as I believe DH’s ‘new toy’ is BG’s new ride.

BG is playing with objects slowly but surely.
BG can play alone happily for 20-30 minutes.
BG put her ring rattle around her wrist like a bracelet. I guess accessorizing starts early for girls.
BG is becoming more vocal and does this throat roll that is very cute.
BG started giggling more. Apparently when I imitate a dog and "Arf" it's funny. Bow wow isn't so much.
BG is liking roly poly ollie more and more.
BG whined but stayed in a modified cobra position for 2 minutes today.

I'm so proud of her.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

MTA is not mommy/baby friendly

BG is 4 months and 4 days old.

Yesterday BG and I rode the subway with the stroller for the first time. There is a reason why I’ve worn her on the last few trips on the subway.
In total, I carried BG’s stroller up and down 5 flights of stairs. It was the most tiring thing to do. The MTA needs to provide more elevators at the subway stations.
I had planned to take a trip crosstown to visit my brother so he could see his niece but after the 5 flights of stairs, I was ready for a nap. Thankfully, DH was on his way home so he drove to the Museum of Natural History to pick us up and take us to my brother.
We had lunch with my brother and BG got to snuggle next to her uncle for a bit.
She had her next round of vaccinations at the pediatricians and she was my brave little girl. The only thing I didn’t like was the nurse that took her measurements was a bit callous with her handling of BG. I caused her to cry and her mom to get a bit upset.
We also asked the doctor about her waking up screaming the last few nights and the doctor suspected night terrors. He said it was uncommon this early but not unheard of. He said it may be genetic as well. Go figure. I don’t recall having them but neither does my husband.
He finally recommended everyone in the house receive the flu shot not just me. The thought is she will receive some immunities from my breastmilk and my flu shot but the family should be protected. She’ll be old enough for her flu shot in a few months but in the meantime, we should all receive the shot.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Words to Live By...

You are God’s building.
Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? -- 1 Cor 3:9c, 16

Friday, November 07, 2008

Lucky Number Seven

BG is 4 months old.
Today we come full circle. Last year, I received the confirmation sonogram of BG’s existence.
I’m still in cloud nine.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Love is Thoughtful.

I learned from this exercise that even though I may wish my husband to be a bit more thoughtful when it comes to helping me with strollers or what not, he isn’t thoughtless. In fact, I think I’m very fortunate to have a man who is thoughtful and expresses it on a daily basis.
Today’s exercise was to reach out to my DH and just ask him how his day was going and if he needed anything. This was a rather easy I assignment I thought. Since the first day we became an item, we’ve contacted each other at least once a day to see how each other was. It has become so routine that the day doesn’t seem complete without a touchbase call/text/email.
Well, I suppose I got a smug about this exercise. See today, I went to the doctor’s office for my post surgical follow up. It also turned into my annual physical. As I sat there in my little paper gown waiting for the sonographer, I thought about how this doctor’s appointment now counts as ‘me’ time for me. I chuckled and thought I wouldn’t have thought that a year ago but I wouldn’t change a thing.
While waiting, I decided to send my DH a text to see how he was doing and if he needed anything. I wanted him to know that I was focusing on him and not BG or his parenting skills so I purposely only asked him about himself.
All was going well and I felt very good about this exercise until I received a text asking when I would be returning home. I was at the doctor’s longer than usual because 1-the doctor wanted to complete my yearly physical which required a sonogram and 2-a pregnant patient fell ill and every nurse was pulled into her exam room to attend to her until the paramedics came.
DH texted me saying that he would appreciate a status update as he needed to go downtown. “I’m just asking you to be considerate of my time and let me know if you’ll be later so I can call and reschedule. I just need you to manage your time better.” My initial reaction was to be upset. Where did he think I was? Did he think I was having fun? Here I am laughing about how spending time in stirrups was not a part of my ‘me’ time and he’s scolding me for forgetting he had to be somewhere and for me being late. And who is he to tell me about time management? He’s always late for everything.
I sat there flabbergasted but by the time I was finished with my appointment and in the car on my way home, I calmed down a bit. By the time I arrived home I wasn’t angry or hurt. I realized that today’s exercise was about thoughtfulness and all my husband was asking of me was to be a bit thoughtful and here was an example of me not being thoughtful. Yes, one can argue, I was in a circumstance that was out of my control but that wasn’t the point. I could have called him and let him know I was running late but I didn’t think of it. I was in la la land savoring and enjoying the personal time even if it was at a doctor’s office.
Displaying thoughtfulness by asking each other how our day is going may come natural for us but that doesn’t mean we can’t improve on thoughtful gestures. Just as I would like DH to be more considerate with helping me unpack and pack our BG in and out of the car is a sign of thoughtfulness, managing my husband’s needs and desires while juggling BG’s and my own desires is thoughtfulness.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Love is not selfish.

I reminded myself that selfishness includes the times I whine about feeling underappreciated so I tried to focus on doing what I do out of love.
The exercise included buying something that says I’m thinking of you. Well, I didn’t buy anything as money is tight but I offered to accompany him on his errands to offer support. He seemed to really enjoy this. He said he likes to have his family close to him even on mundane errands. This particular day would be a busy day so the night before, I packed the diaper bag, made sandwiches and packed an assortment of snacks for us. I also pulled out a set of clothes for BG and packed the stroller so we wouldn’t be rushing in the morning.
By the time we returned home at 7pm, I was tired and drained. BG was hungry and needed a diaper change. I knew the night would be rough as her schedule was all out of whack from the day before as Election Day and Election Night get together interrupted her naps.
DH was attempting to be nice by obsessing over my desire to find a NY Times for BG’s scrapbook. I told him in the morning it would be nice but wouldn’t be a biggie if I didn’t get it as every newsstand in NYC was sold out. He kept saying we could go to the NY Times building even though I told him that BG and I were tired and needed to settle in.
He finally let it go and dropped us off in front of the building. One of the things I dislike is how he drops us off or picks us up but sits in the car while I fumble with the stroller, car seat and luggage. So I asked him to help me pull out the stroller as I packed up the toys and goodies in the back seat. It was raining and the sooner I could get BG inside the better. He obliged and then sat in the front seat fumbling for what looked like his iPhone.
I lost my temper there. I finished packing up all the odds and ends and he was still in the front seat so I told him I’d take care of it. I got out of the car and removed the stroller from the trunk. DH got out and said that I need to be patient and allow him to help me or not complain that he doesn’t help. Then he proceeded to go into the backseat and rearrange the odds and ends I piled together to put in the stroller storage. As I stood in the rain outside next to the stroller waiting for him, I grew more aggravated. My breasts ached. I was tired, hungry and now wet. BG needed a diaper change and a bath and needed to eat. I was getting cranky.
He proceeded to tell me that I am too impatient and that if he says he’ll help me, to allow him. I asked him to help me by going back into the car as his scolding of me was not helping me. I unpacked all the stuff he shoved into the diaper bag which nearly ripped because of the overpacked mess. I put the odds and ends into the stroller basket, picked up the diaper bag and snapped BG into the stroller and walked to the other end of the building to enter via the ramp.
DH parked the car. By the time he made it into the apartment, I had changed, gone to the bathroom, changed BG’s diaper, cleaned the kitchen sink, emptied and refilled the dishwasher, threw a few salmon fillets into the oven and boiled a pot of water for pasta.
I started feeding BG when DH noted it may be too late to give BG a bath. I agreed. He then asked me what was for dinner and I told him salmon and pasta as I was starving and needed to sustenance. He then proceeded to inform me that a handful of almonds would sustain me until I cooked dinner. I declined. He exclaimed he didn’t understand why if I was starving why I wouldn’t eat almonds to which I responded, “Because I desire dinner and not nuts.”
Why couldn’t he have said, “Don’t worry about dinner. I’ll take care of it?” I truly dislike feeling as if my desire to eat something more than sandwiches, eggs, grapefruit and nuts is my quirk hence the need for me to be responsible for the meals in the house.
But in the end, I just tried to let it go and prepare for a fussy night.
I knew the night would be a bit fussy because of the schedule changes for BG and my own exhaustion. When the mom is exhausted, it makes everything, breastfeeding, diaper changes, cuddling, that much harder. Plus baby’s exhaustion effects her ability to fall asleep. After her late meal, I asked DH to soothe her. After 30 minutes of fussiness, he exclaimed that I should know better that she prefers to fall asleep on me at the end of the day while breastfeeding. “You’re trying to change her schedule.”
I exclaimed that she wasn’t hungry anymore and was fussing on my breast so I knew she just needed to be swaddled and soothed to sleep. He didn’t seem to like this response and so I took BG and sang and swayed with her for about an hour. We had a few dozes but nothing substantial. After an hour my shoulder was beat. DH saw me and took BG. The next thing I know I was out like a light.
I guess for this lesson it can be said that both of us are unselfish at times. We’re new parents and the sleep deprivation can get the best of us but in the end, after the snaps and jabs, we both tag teamed together. I guess that’s part of parenthood but more importantly it’s I believe it’s a sign of our strong relationship. Sure we’d like to each other to be more attentive to each other but we’ve got more important things on our mind, our daughter. When push comes to shove, our energy reserves are for our daughter and even though we may be snappy and jumpy, in the end, we’re working together for the common good.
This was reaffirmed this morning while we were in bed. DH turned to me groggy eyed. We were both exhausted but through the fog he reached out for my hand and held it tight. We smiled at each other and clinked heads as our fuel supply was low. As we lay there hand in hand, heads touching, DH said he was happy to go through this crazy whirlwind with me. I smiled and squeezed his hand and as we both closed our eyes to catch a little more zzzs, we heard a loud toot come from our daughter’s crib then some babbling. The minions were back on duty.

"I gotta wear shades"

BG is 3 months, 4 weeks and 1 day old.
The tradition has started. Yesterday, DH, BG and I made our way to vote as a family for the first time. We documented the trip via video and photographs. DH narrated the historic occasion and as I took a photo of BG and DH in front of the ‘Vote Here’ sign, BG cast her ballot, a whopper of a ballot.” We both giggled at BG’s ‘commentary’ and stopped to have a potty break before we went in to vote.
The line wasn’t too long. We were there for approximately 30 minutes but the time passed as we mingled with our neighbors and participated in the Parent-Teacher bake sale for our local school.
Dressed in red, white and blue, well, up until the poop incident when it became, red, white and poop, BG first went in to vote with her dad then later she came in with me. I pray that when she’s old enough to vote, the machines will not be the same antiquated machines.
Afterwards we went to Starbucks and picked up an election day coffee for DH and then went home to make banana walnut chocolate chip muffins before heading out to an election day get together hosted by a new mom in the neighborhood.
I never thought I’d see an African-American elected president in my lifetime and in the first four months of my daughter’s life she sees history in the making. What milestones, what monumental events will my daughter see in her lifetime?
It is a great day to be an American. I wake up today with a renewed sense of optimism.
As we sat there watching the numbers roll in, a dad turned to the babies sitting on the couch and pointed out these young Americans are entering a new era in America. We took photos of the kids and exclaimed our future is sitting watching and participating in history. Moments later, two babies started crying, one started drooling and the other blew raspberries. I chuckled.
BG, we don’t know what the future of the United States is but it is an exciting time to be here and I’m glad that we can share this moment in history together.
Oh and Senator McCain’s concession speech was one of the most heartfelt speeches I have heard in a very long time. It was a return to the John McCain I knew before the presidential campaigning. He was sincere and eloquent. If he was allowed to be himself, the person I believe we saw last night, he may have had a better voter turnout. He was deeply disappointed and didn’t mask it with rhetoric. I just wanted to give him a hug.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Drool the Vote

BG is 3 months, 4 weeks old.

I dreamt about pumping my breasts. This can’t be good. I dreamt about attaching my milk storage bags with rubberbands onto the horns of the pump to bypass the transfer from bottle to bag after pumping.
What does Mothra do? She wakes up and tries it out. I’m now sitting here pumping into bags while typing this entry.
Today is Election Day and my husband plans to videotape our trip to the voting polls. BG will be entering the booth with us to vote for the first time. We hope to make it a tradition for our family.
There are all these food freebies for voting and although I wouldn’t mind a free Starbucks if I wasn’t going caffeine free for 12 months so far, is the United States the only country offering ‘food incentives’ to vote? What about our civic duty or the democratic right as motivators? Isn’t it a bit embarrassing that one of the biggest in mass countries is offering free krispy kremes?

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Love is Kind.

Maybe it is the state in which I enter this challenge but this was another task I felt I failed.
This morning I resolved myself to find an opportunity outside of the norm for me to show a random act of kindness to my DH but every action upon reflection felt less about being kind and more of a necessity.
First I woke up early in the hopes of making the morning runaround less stressful for DH. Looking back, I probably did that more for myself than for my husband. It seems to me that when he’s running around like a chicken with his head cut off, searching for things and running late, it’s me who gets upset and stressed. He always tells me that things work out in the end so he doesn’t stress out but it sure looks to me like he is stressed. Sometimes I think he wills himself into thinking he isn’t stressed during these moments just like he wills himself into believing he doesn’t need 6-8 hours of sleep like the rest of us.
Then I offered to walk the dog in the morning to which he responded, “Well she went out at 3am but I won’t pass you up on the offer.” At first I was taken aback by his response but then reminded myself I’m not looking for a response to my act. It needed to be genuine without an expectation. I thought I’d have my act of kindness but then upon reflection I think I did it just so DH would make it to church on time and unhurried. Again, maybe a very selfish motive as I seem to be the one that gets upset when he’s running late and he is not.
Finally, after mass, even though I was exhausted I allowed DH to sleep the afternoon away. I knew he’d been up all night surfing the web like he has been every night the last few weeks and based on his lectorship this morning, he wasn’t in peak condition. I was very tired and could have used a little break from housework and caring for the baby but felt one of us had to allow the other to rest. Is that a random act of kindness or just survival?
I really felt selfish in this exercise. I felt how can I offer a random act of kindness when I do so much already. I’m not asking for accolades but this exercise really brought up some hurt inside. I feel I do so much and not to discredit his contribution but I’m the one sacrificing my desire to stay at home and raise our child so my husband is happier. I’m the one that is working. I’m the one who keeps tabs of the household chores and shopping. I’m the one researching and bargain hunting to save money. I’m the one coordinating and planning meals. I’m the one in between feeding our child is cooking meals, cleaning the kitchen and putting away leftovers. I’m the one who wakes up at 3am to pump and prep the kitchen and dishwasher for the next day. I’m the one thinking up new ways to entertain and educate our child. I don’t take the easy way and stick her in the swing in front of the tv or feed her while she’s on the bouncy seat instead of in my arms or plop her on the Boppy while I surf the computer.
How can I do a random act of kindness when my entire day feels like a giant act of kindness for my family? Then I felt guilty as if expressing this makes me into a martyr or someone looking for a pat on the back. I do the things I do because I love my family and my husband and they need to be done. I do them because they need to be done. I’m not asking for some big parade celebrating what I do but gosh darn it, this exercise really ticked me off.
By 10pm, I was exhausted from the day. My arms felt heavy. My back ached and my left breast began feeling as if a clogged duct was forming. The entire day was almost done and I spent it recovering from bumps and collisions from my husband accidently pushing or sitting on me numerous times. I ached all over and felt like an object being tossed about. BG didn’t have a very good afternoon nap and was pretty exhausted and fussy. She finally fell asleep on my shoulder as I sang to her but woke up 45 minutes later in need of another soothing session. I asked DH to please try to soothe her while I took a 20 minute break. I know it is hard for him as he has expressed that he feels that my breasts are a natural soother. I told him that I try not to use my breasts to soothe her and that I use different means if she’s not hungry to help settle her. He sees that I do. I sing to her. I dance with her. I rub her back. I cuddle with her. I talk to her. Still I think my boobs have some magical properties. I guess boobs are magical. Ha.
Still for my baby’s welfare, I needed a break to regain my sanity and strength. I promptly passed out and woke up an hour later to help DH find some information his cousin was looking for. I woke up cranky. I realized that a simple act of random kindness was not an easy assignment for me and I’m only on the second exercise and I feel like crap. Of course, once I finished looking up numbers for my husband’s family, I realized I had to put away the leftovers, pack the dishwasher and set up my pump for the late night pumping session. Meanwhile, the entire day was done and all I had to show for it was a growing pain on my left breast, a few sore body parts from being trod on, sat on and pushed.
As I was finished putting away the leftovers and packing the dishwasher, I lost my patience. DH came in and offered to help and instead of thanking him and accepting it, I accepted it with a snide comment. “How is it you always show up when I’m just about done with the chore?” “I’m sorry. I only heard you working on it now.”
I left him in the kitchen to finish packing the dishwasher and went to the bathroom to wash up for bed. I felt awful that I snapped at him and felt even more awful that I felt like his statement has the underlying concern.
“I only heard you now.” He only realized I was doing chores after I was clanging around. He only realized I was on the couch when he accidentally sat on my several times. He only realized I was in the hallway when he bumped into me. Am I supposed to announce myself and my actions to gain attention? Am I looking for attention or am I just looking for an occasional acknowledgment or appreciation? Do I feel like I'm being taken for granted?
Again, it’s tolerance and my theory that all relationships are based on tolerance. Did Jesus have expectations from others? Jesus wasn't looking for appreciation nor did he expect respect. Am I expecting too much? My tolerance is based on expectations. How can I not lower my expectations but not expect?
So I guess this exercise left me feeling like I do love my husband and my family but the actual act of trying to perform a random act of kindness in my current situation was very hard. It felt like I was being asked to do another act when I had nothing left in my gas tank. I suppose this means I didn’t accomplish the exercise but I cannot stay at this exercise in my current state. I think it will negate the purpose.

Songs BG likes to dance or be soothed to...


BG is 3 months, 3 weeks and 5 days old.

...aside from the standard kids tunes.

Can't Take My Eyes Off of You -- Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons

Build Me Up Buttercup -- The Foundations.

Sunshine Day -- The Brady Bunch

Cheek to Cheek -- Fred Astaire

Saturday, November 01, 2008

We love to laugh, loud and long and clear...

BG is 3 months, 3 weeks and 4 days old.

Top 5 Videos of Babies Laughing

She laughed. She truly laughed. I had her sitting on my lap facing me and I started making raspberries. At first she just gave me her toothless grin. Then I started sputtering and pretending I was running out of gas. BG stopped, looked at me and began laughing.

DH tried to get the video camera to capture it but as soon as he came into view her attention went to him and the camera and not the sputtering.

I can't stop grinning now. I'm like an idiot sitting her, breastfeeding my baby and grinning like a schoolgirl dreaming of her crush.

Love is patient

I started The Love Dare. At first I was reluctant to do it. I’m not a big fan of self help guides. Plus years of being a New Yorker leaves you skeptical of anything especially if it isn’t written by an ‘expert’.
But I felt a little anger brewing within me and I knew I needed to not let it fester. It made me feel terrible that I felt that anger and I wanted to clear it. After speaking to a few folks, I started thinking doing the dare would be a good exercise.
I still was apprehensive especially since it would be a one sided exercise but I knew I had to do something so I dove in.
I’m not sure how this will turn but I’m going to try.
Here is where I write my experience.
Today, I was angered at two things that I let out at my husband: 1. His lack of time management and 2. His desire to sign up to a social network especially in the light of several of his ex-girlfriends contacting him and admitting they have been searching the net for him for some time.
This wasn’t a fun exercise. I failed miserably.
The first I felt could have been handled more patiently. I was a bit tired and was looking forward to DH arriving home to help me out. He had said that he’d be home at 3pm. I thought I could dress BG up after her early pm nap and take a walk outside and greet him as he rode up in his motorcycle. At 3pm, as I finished changing a rather messy diaper DH called and said that he just made it to the gym. I didn’t give him a chance to explain nor did I give myself a chance to breathe and I made a comment that he texted me an hour and 15 minutes ago that he was at the gym.
It turns out he texted that he was heading to the gym but that still left me pondering why did it take an hour and a half to get to the gym?
I suppose if I wasn’t so tired and didn’t have my preconceived notions of surprising him I wouldn’t have lost my temper so quickly. The weather was beautiful so an extra long leisurely ride wouldn’t be uncalled for. But I overreacted and I let it stew.
The second is not so much an insecurity I have but more of an insult that I felt after the first ex-girlfriend contacted him. I’m used to having his past stop us unexpectedly. It happens a lot to my husband but when this happened his ex noted that she had been periodically searching for him for some time. That left a bad taste in my mouth. I’ve never felt the urge to search for my ex’s nor have I physically searched periodically for them. Sure I wonder what they are up to but not to the point that I need to actually hunt for them.
Then there was the fact that he wrote back to her before telling me. Usually he tells me before he does things like this. This time he did it before telling me.
Finally there was his statement, “What can I say, I must be such a good boyfriend that they just want to look me up.” That pissed me off because I felt one it was a selfish statement and two it was a slight to me. Does that mean he thought I was a bad girlfriend? He didn’t know my past relationships. He didn’t know my history. I didn’t flaunt anything from my past to him. I would never do that to hurt him. Why would he do that to me?
Then he comes home and tells me that another ex-girlfriend contacted him and he plans to keep in touch with her as well as the other one. He feels it’s the right thing to do.
I’m not a big social network fan. I just don’t have the time or desire to keep them up. I signed up for a few for family and work reasons but haven’t kept them up since I originally signed up for them eons ago. Now my DH wants to sign up for it and I suppose I’m wondering, how many more items from his past will float into our lives?
It’s not even as if it’s the communication that I worry about. I’m just really hurt by what he said to me and if I bring it up I know he’ll pass it off just like he passed off my comments on how my feelings were hurt when I expressed my concern of him putting BG in front of the TV so often.
At this point I can try to be more patient for #1 but I’m still very hurt by #2.