Thursday, December 17, 2009

I used to be more organized.

I need to be more positive. I think this will be my New Year's resolution.
DH and I just had a phone conversation and he seemed to think I was a bit of a Debbie Downer. Part of it was due to the Christmas crunch. We have less than 7 days and we still have 3 gifts to get, a tree to put up, cookies to be made, presents to be wrapped, service presents to package, desserts to make for Christmas eve, Christmas evening dinner menu to finalize, Christmas Day breakfast menu to finalize. I feel like everything is still up in the air.
My mother who complained that I don't host dinners anymore asked me to do Christmas but now thinks she'll be away for Christmas. So now I'm planning a meal for my family and one for the extended, just in case.
Christmas aside, I do find myself talking to my husband and being the 'grownup'. For example, DH just bought a guitar to learn how to play it. That's great. He wants to do this because our daughter loves music and the guitar. I'm just in a place where I cleaned out our house of unneccessary stuff and we're getting more. To understand what I mean, my husband would not let me get ride of a video game because one day, one day he will play it. It's been over a year and it's still wrapped in it's packaging. By the time he wants to play with it, the new game console will probably be out. Odds are, he'll want said console and the old one will fall to the waste side.
I'm sure the guitar will be fine. I need to be positive. I'm just feeling Christmas crunch. This too shall pass.
On the menu possibly are:
Dessert for Christmas Eve social - Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes
Breakfast for Christmas Day - Berry Muffins or Apple Date Cupcakes & Hot Chocolate
Dinner for Family - TBD
or Dinner for Extended Family - Roast and Roasted Veggies etc...
As you can tell, dinner is the last thing on my mind these days.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Would you rather have a life which is a sitcom or a dramedy?

This past weekend has been an emotional roller coaster for me.
I got my period. This wouldn't be big news except it's been 2 years and 3 months since my last period. Go Breastfeeding!
This is a big thing because it essentially is a message from my body that I'm ready to procreate. Physically, my body is ready to incubate a human being. Emotionally, I'd like to incubate another human being. Realistically, this isn't going to happen anytime soon. Unless God thinks otherwise.
I've always felt a 2 year gap would be perfect timing for siblings. Thinking this way, my body is on schedule but financially this isn't feasible. With my husband changing careers our budget is tight and I can't afford another child right now.
That's the painful part of this whole period. Forget the cramps. Forget the hormonal changes.
Add to this my daughter has begun shortening her night nursings. Instead of all night chows, she only nurses 3-4 times for 20 minutes and then goes back to sleep. It's like a little stab to my heart, my little baby isn't a baby anymore.
My emotions got so ridiculous that at one point when I felt my body telling me AF was arriving, I tried to get my daughter to night nurse all night. It was pathetic. It was a parenting low for me.
Oh and I just finished packing away her 0-12 months clothes and her baby gear to be placed in storage. Tell me that didn't add to my hormonal emotional peaks.
Sure enough AF came the next morning and out in the news comes word that the Duggar mom have baby number 19. The baby is premature so I'm saying a prayer for her but still. Here this woman has 19 kids and I'm asking for #2 but need to hold off.
I shared my emotional jumble with my husband the other night. I pretty much summed it up to him like this. In my teens, all I wanted was my period because it meant I was growing up. In my 20's, all I wanted was my period because I didn't want to be pregnant. After we got married, all I wanted was not to get my period because I wanted to become a mom. Now, after we have had #1, I don't want my period because that's my body saying, "Ok, we're ready for #2." This is freaking ridiculous. I want another child but we aren't ready and of course the Duggar woman just gave birth to #19. In an ideal world, I wanted 3. DH interjected with a 'Three?!' Now I feel like I may not even have two. DH turned to me after my rant and said, "I don't know what to say about your period. We'll find a way to have 2. And as for the the Duggar lady, she's just plain gluttonous. You can't compare yourself to her."
I know he is right but when you're dealing with emotions from AF, you really have no control.
So now, I'm hormonal. AF is here. Christmas is two weeks away and I have 7 more gifts to buy and no money. My daughter has reduced her night nursing. I have no tree up as of yet. I have no cookies made as of yet. And all I keep thinking about is babies.
My husband is going to love me this week.
POSTSCRIPT: Funny how I the first few years I was journaling, I talked about how my husband and I were at a crossroads regarding starting a family. Now, I'm sort of back at that crossroads but in a different level.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Imitation is flattering... sometimes

It's super cute when TG imitates me.
She pretends to cook.
She pretends to change her brown bear's diaper.
She brushes her lovey's hair.
She tries to brush her teeth.
She is getting better at using the fork and spoon to eat.
She wipes the entertainment center.
But, it's not cool when she watches you clean the toilet bowl one day and tries to do the same the next day with the icky toilet brush.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Whistles and Plastic Tubing

I scared the bejesus out of my daughter.
She likes to feel the wind in her hair. So while we were cleaning up one of the many boxes of collected things, I found the plastic tube for the exercise ball. It's used to inflate the ball. I figured, I'd blow into it and let the air blow out onto her face.
What I forgot was the tube was ridged so a whistling effect would be produced.
I blew full force and a shrieking whistle shocked my poor daughter. Her body trembled and she fell silent. She then looked at me and then proceeded to cry with a furrowed brow. "Why did you do that?" seemed to be her reaction. She pushed the tube away from her and I ran to hug her.
Now my kids going to have an unexplained fear of train whistles and plastic tubing.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Words to live by

Spread love everywhere you go: first of all in your own house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor... Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting. -- Mother Teresa

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Clean Up

I’m starting a new tradition. This new tradition has been started in part to get me into the Christmas spirit and partly to kick my butt into high gear. I’ve decided that I’m going to do a massive Christmas purge of the apartment every year and the proceeds go to a donation to the church box for the needy.
Don’t give me a hug. It’s not altruism that is motivating me. It’s the cold reality that I live in a 1000 square foot apartment and have a toddler underfoot. I’m literally bursting at the seams in duplo blocks and wooden foods.
Strangely enough, I’ve found now that I’m a parent, I had more Christmas spirit prior to giving birth. Don’t get me wrong, I do get the Christmas spirit but usually later in the month. My old self would have all the Christmas to dos done by now to enjoy the Christmas merriment. Now I have to juggle the boring stuff with the glee. I think being a parent has actually deepened and honed the spirit of Christmas for me but that’s a topic for another day.
Today is about my tornado of a home. We have a tiny apartment but I jokingly divide our apartment into the west wing and east wing. The east wing is where we retire at the end of the day aka the bedroom. The west wing is our workspace aka the living room and kitchen.
DH and I spent Monday and Tuesday sprucing up the east wing and now we have a beautiful serene east wing complete with a newly cleaned utility closet. I can walk into it again!
I also sorted and packed TG’s clothing and baby gear (bassinet, changing pad, bathtub, bouncy seat, etc) into boxes for storage. Ok, I did the clothing. The baby gear requires a trip to Target to pick up those gigantic Ziploc bags and some hefty trash bags so they can be stored protectively.
I also posted a large quantity of baby and non-baby items for giveaway or nominal donation. Items that don’t go will go to the local church donation for the needy and the funds received will go towards a family Christmas donation.
We clear out stuff we haven’t used or don’t need. We’ve given stuff to folks who could use it rather than fill a landfill and we’ll give to others. I think it’s a nice tradition that helps highlight the spirit of giving and unity I hope to instill in TG.
I still have the west wing to tackle which is why I’ve been telling folks my house looks as if the police raided it. See, I’ve moved the to-be-stored boxes to the west wing so DH can get the hint that he needs to go to storage. Sadly the hint was missed and he pushed them back to the east wing this morning but I will not harp on this.
Then there is the three boxes of donations that are awaiting pick up that are sitting in our foyer.
Then we’ve got a million boxes that need to go to recycling sitting in my kitchen.
Oh let’s not forget the Mega Blocks and various assorted kitchen plates, spoons and forks that TG likes to strew around the kitchen.

Notice I haven’t even gotten to the living room?
I woke up this morning after a very fitful night (TG is teething again) and I felt like I was in an episode of Hoarders.
Anyway, I don’t know who it’s comes to this but in our tiny apartment I had collected 30+ towels (there are only three of us), unopened movies and games and more shoes you can shake a stick at. Don’t ask me why you would shake a stick at a shoe.
I haven’t even tackled our coat closet, the pantry or the kitchen. I’m scared. Last time I overhauled the kitchen I found 50 packets of sugar I had collected from various takeout orders. Why did I save all those sugar packets?

Friday, December 04, 2009

Taking care of her peeps

In addition to her affection towards Dylan the duck, TG is also displaying other affectionate actions. During the day, she pushes her toy stroller and occasionally brings my husband or me one of her bears for a diaper change. She grabs her bear and exclaims, "Diaper?" She'll sit down, lay her bear down and take off his/her diaper. I knew those extra newborn sized diapers would come in handy. Then she'll get up, to to the container of diaper wipes, open it, pull one out and then go back to her bear and wipe him/her down. Then she'll happily leave her bear bare bottomed.
I've also caught her taking her brush and brushing her lovey's hair.
The cutest of all these is her occasional request for me to help her put her lovey in her shirt. I'm not sure if she's mimicing breastfeeding or babywearing. I'm leaning towards babywearing as she likes to have her lovey's head poke out of her shirt. When she's old enough, I'd love to get her the Ergo Doll Carrier. I think she'd like it. A month ago she had me carry Ally Gator in her actual Ergo. Of course, I thought nothing of it and walked happily around the house with a 0 pound stuffed animal on my front as TG smiled and clapped her hand with glee.
These to me are all signs of she's ready for a doll. Now if you know me by now, you'll know this isn't going to be a go to Toys R Us, come out with a doll for her type of deal. I spent the last week researching and talking to everyone about preferred dolls. The conclusion is simple, I want her doll to be cloth and made of natural materials. I had rag dolls as a child and rarely had a plastic doll. I think I'd like her to have the same.
I narrowed it down to a few specific dolls based on materials, appearance, maintenance and price. Holy cow, there were some great dolls out there but for over $100 for a cloth doll! If I got my child a doll that expensive, it would have to be encased in glass and she'd be given a 'look but don't touch' ultimatum.
So now, Santa plans to bring TG her very first baby doll. I hope she likes it. I also purchased two outfits for her baby doll.
Which reminds me, did you ever have a Learn to Dress doll? I had one and I loved it. I found the cutest one. It's a pirate! TG might get this for Christmas too.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

I swear she has memories from her infancy.

I feel like I blinked and TG became a toddler. Honestly, where did the time go? One minute, I'm sleep deprived trying to soothe a swaddled baby and the next, I'm trying to gain patience as my toddler attempts to feed herself with a spoon.
TG's vocabulary has sky rocketed and it simply isn't just repetition. There is a clear understanding of the definition of the words she speaks. For the most part.
At night, before she drifts off to sleep she repeats some of her words. She also lists her favorite songs. Right now, her favorite songs are Row, Row, Row Your Boat, The Itsy Bitsy Spider, Are You Sleeping? and A-E-I-O-U. Two weeks ago it was Do Re Mi from the Sound of Music and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. With the later, she repeats the cadence of 'Up Above The World So High'. It comes out 'Up Above Da'.
Another blossom has appeared. TG is clearly displaying affection and attachment not only to her lovey but to other objects and to us. She has known how to hug and give a hug for some time now but she's also giving us kisses when we ask for one.
But the biggest most heartwarming display of her emotional development is her interaction with her stuffed animals. She has this duck named Dylan. When she was a wee infant, I would make Dylan speak and talk and dance for her. I didn't think anything of it and as she got older and more attached to her lovey, I left Dylan with her other stuffed animals. She has some bedtime buddies and some playtime buddies. Her bedtime buddies she seems to have a stronger connection with. Anywho, the other day, she saw Dylan sitting alongside her daytime buddies and she walked over to him, picked him up and hugged him. She smiled a big grin as if she had seen a long lost friend. Then she brought him to me and said, "Quack." and asked me to hug him. Ever since, she's placed Dylan in her bed and interacts with him daily. She even gives him a kiss and a hug before going to bed. As she drifts to sleep with her lovey in her arms, she likes to have me hold Dylan next to me.
How do kids learn emotions and connections and bonding? It's all so fascinating and to me it's a big sign she's not an infant anymore.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Ode to my husband or Attachment Parenting can be rough on Dads too

I love my husband and for all the silly fights and disagreements we've had the last year, deep down in my heart, I know he's my soulmate. Of course being my soulmate also means he knows how to push my buttons which I swear sometimes is done solely for his entertainment. But I digress.
As new parents and as adults who have spent a good 10 years together sans a wee one in the house, disagreements and arguments abound. I know this. I also know it's not a reflection on our love or lack of for each other. It's simply our growing pains as humans shifting our priorities from ourselves and each other to our child.
The one thing that we both agree on though is the bettermint of our child. Parenting is about trial and error and during our short foray so far, we've learned that we lean toward attachment parenting.
I'm not an expert. I'm merely a Mom who is learning as she goes. I read alot. I research alot. I ask alot of questions. The one thing I found was how there are particular articles on the challenges of attachment parenting for women living in a modern society.
Yes it is true that attachment parenting has its challenges but name anything associated with parenting that isn't a challenge. For me as a woman, I can spout out a list of things that are challenges for me. Breastfeeding was a challenge but I conquered it and I'm proud to be an extended breastfeeder. Working and continuing our attachment parenting principles have been challenging but I'm not the only woman doing it. Focusing on nighttime parenting after a hectic day is a challenge but it can be done. Attachment parenting is adaptable and if you find your heart leans towards AP, you make things work.
Well, all these articles focus on moms but AP is tough for dads too. My husband is a great AP dad. Now, he doesn't wear her as much anymore and much rather prefers to have her walk by herself or stroll her but that doesn't make her any less of an AP-er.
I'd like him to focus on her more and less on his laptop somedays but she continues to have a healthy, solid relationship with her Dad and is developing extraordinary cognitive skills. I know all parents say that. What makes AP great is that even within a couple, the principles are focused on differently making for a more well rounded child, in my opinion.
I know that my husband thinks some of my views and opinions are a little too crunchy but he knows I truly believe it is in the best interest for our daughter. For the most part, if it doesn't completely go off the deep end, he smiles and agrees with me. Sometimes he disagrees but he still abides by my desires. This means no sippy cups. Our efforts have paid off quickly with a toddler who can drink from a straw and a cup. This means, no TV even as background noise. Her concentration is strong. Her vocabulary growing every day and her ability to play quietly by herself is welcomed. This means keeping her nap and sleep routine sacred. She's happy and has minimal tantrums and can express herself readily.
It's tough on us, as parents and as spouses but in the end, we think it's worth it.
What's truly tough for my husband and I really do admire him and appreciate him all the more is how he defends me and our family.
Personally, even though I defend my beliefs, I always question myself. I ask myself am I being too rigid in my views on natural, pesticide free foods for my daughter? Am I allowing her nap routine to rule my day too much?
My husband probably doesn't beat himself like I do but he's got folks questioning him probably quite often about our views. Being a stay at home dad is hard. Being a stay at home attached dad with parents and in-laws that don't quite understand the principles is even harder. Still, he's firm and he'll tell anyone who asks, I'm trying to raise a self confident girl who will one day grow up to be a self confident woman who doesn't fall for the short skirts, heavy makeup, princess type mass marketing promotes. No, we don't like anything that says princess or branded items. We focus on her talents and developing her cognitive skills. We cherish her being a kid and will protect her right to continue to be a kid for as long as possible. We take pride in our family unit being a team and will promote this necessary foundation.
And he does all this while balancing on the delicate tight rope that is the grandparent/parent/in-laws relationship.
So, thank you DH for protecting me, our daughter and our family. I don't know if the triangle gets better or worse over time but as a team we'll muddle through it.