Changes and updates

This post is certain to sound like stream of consciousness, because it pretty much is.

We’ve had such a long great streak with E’s sleep that I feel somewhat sheepish complaining at this point about E’s recent sleep difficulties. We’re not sure if it’s his recurring ear infections, another round of teething, some sort of sleep regression due to a recent burst in developmental progression, or something else entirely, but keeping E asleep for more than half an hour at a time has been darn near impossible. K will rock E to sleep, then gingerly place him in his crib, just like we used to. If we’re lucky, E will stay asleep or rouse minimally and then fall asleep, but without fail, he will start crying about half an hour later. We have to start the whole process over again. And again. And again. Eventually K gives up and brings E in bed with us, where he more or less sleeps peacefully with us until morning. We haven’t done anything else differently and we’re hopeful that he will eventually go back to sleeping well. God, I hope so.

E seems like an entirely different kid with each passing day. He’s scooting around in an army crawl so quickly now! He’s starting to pull himself up on whatever furniture he can and we’re sure he’ll soon be cruising along the couch, ottoman, chair, etc. E is a lot more expressive whenever something happens that he dislikes and cries when he loses a toy. He’s a lot more independent, especially in his desire to move. He immediately flips over and tries to crawl away whenever we try to change his diaper. He resists solid foods unless/until he’s spoon-feeding himself and desperately wants whatever it is we have on our plates.

We’re still rotating through illness in our family and I’m the most recent casualty. A coworker convinced me on Tuesday to go to the doctor because my cough kept getting worse as the day wore on.  After several tests at the urgent care clinic, I was diagnosed with bronchitis and it got progressively worse over the past week. I am on a round of antibiotics and steroids, as well as an inhaler and cough syrup with codeine. My cough, at times, has been uncontrollable and wipes me of every ounce of energy. I spent the majority of Thanksgiving Day sucking on menthol cough drops.

After my weeks of waffling about the future of my hair, I decided to have it cut in the stacked bob I donned for years. I love it and think I no longer look like I’ve given up on myself, but I’m still surprised whenever I pass a mirror. I’m actually shocked that so few people seemed to notice the change after I had 6 inches cut off!

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Mom Hair

I know I’ve started to hit my stride as a mom when one of my biggest quandaries these days is what to do about my hair. I can understand if some of you think this is ridiculous vanity, but my hair has always played a large role in my identity. I am a redhead and some of my earliest memories involve people inquiring or commenting about my hair. It set me apart and became part of my core.

For the past solid decade, I’ve mostly kept my hair in some variation of a bob. I didn’t even grow my hair out for our wedding and having short, sassy hair on that momentous occasion made me feel like a fun, non-conformist bride. When we decided to embark upon this topsy-turvy journey known as parenthood, I decided to grow my hair out. When sage, veteran parents in our midst told me about how they were lucky to squeeze in a shower, I listened, and decided that having hair that’s long enough to pull back into a ponytail when I’m short on time (which, let’s face it, is often) would be ideal as a new mom. And who the heck had time to schedule and attend a haircut appointment?!

Now that we’ve settled into a bit of a solid routine and I no longer feel totally derailed when that routine is inevitably disrupted, I’m starting to intentionally focus a bit more on my own personal needs. Sure, he’s not yet old enough to understand this, but I think it’s important to model to our child that I am his mama and love him dearly, and that I also have valid needs. That those two things are not mutually exclusive. I’m also so lucky to have a true partner who really shoulders an ample parenting load and who supports my need to take a break.

To that end, I’ve been trying to blow my hair dry more frequently instead of just throwing it up into a wet ponytail and running out the door to get to work. I have been able to manage this four out of five workdays for the last two weeks. I have several reasons for this goal:

  • My hair texture has changed and is now a weird, inconsistent wave.
  • My hair looks nuts if I let it air dry and leave it down.
  • I prefer the way that I look and feel better about myself when my hair is straight and down.

and, the Grand Poobah:

  • I’m considering going back to my old hairstyle of a bob, which really needs to be blown dry in order to look cute.

I’m really scared to take the plunge. What if I can’t keep up with the maintenance? To be fair, I’m certain that it will take significantly less time to blow dry my bob than it does with my current longest-in-my-adulthood hair length, but it’s still a big commitment. And it’s not like I can change my mind after doing it! I can grow it back out again, but it took me a solid six months to a year to get to the length I’m at now.

I’ve scheduled a hair appointment for a week from today, so I really need to decide by then. I guess I can get a trim and kick the proverbial can down the road a while. I wish I could post photos of me in both of these styles, but there’s that whole trying-to-remain-mostly-anonymous thing. I’m truly open to suggestions here, folks! Please, help a (semi-vain but well-intentioned) mama out.

Sicky

I’m SO GLAD it’s Friday. It’s been a doozy of a week! E has been having a lot of difficulties sleeping – namely, waking up screaming at around 2 or 3 a.m. He was inconsolable and would only calm down slightly if we brought him in bed with us. That allowed K to get some sleep, but E spent the majority of Monday night swinging his head back and forth like a wrecking ball into me. I had assumed that he was having difficulties because he’s teething, but when he did the head maneuver, I immediately decided it was time to go back to the doctor for an ear recheck.

Lo and behold, little dude has his THIRD ear infection in seven months. That’s so much! And, again this time, it’s a double ear infection. The pediatrician wanted to try him on a different antibiotic this time because she doesn’t want the bacteria to become resistant to the type he has tried the other times, plus she really wants to try to knock this out of him and keep the ear ickies at bay.

When prescribing the medicine, the doctor informed me that I should warn all of his caregivers that the medicine he’s been prescribed commonly turns babies’ stools red, which is often interpreted as blood. I’m SO glad she told us because I nearly passed out, even WITH that information, upon spraying his first poopy diaper after he started the meds. WHOA. Joseph’s Technicolor Dream Poop. I was tempted to photograph it to share here, but I value our readers too much.

Between the new round of antibiotics and pain meds at night, E is thankfully starting to sleep and feel much better. We are concerned about the number of ear infections he’s had so far, so we’re preparing to ask a lot of questions at his ear recheck next Friday.

In more uplifting news, my parents are popping into town on Saturday for a quick visit. I’m excited to see them and I know they’re thrilled about seeing E. He’s changed a lot in the two months since our last visit. I know that upsets my mom and she cries each time she sees him again. E adores her and, while it’s my mom’s fear that he’ll forget her, I know in my heart that could never happen. We really need to set up some Skype dates with them to put my mom’s mind at ease.

Edited to add: I can’t believe it took me over 7 months to add the tag of “poop.” My friends can attest that I speak of it rather freely.

An open letter to my 7-month-old

Dear Son,

You are growing and changing so rapidly. Last night, I cried as I was falling asleep because I’m sad about how quickly time is passing. I’m afraid that I’ve made decisions I regret, many of which have kept me from focusing on what truly matters – you – instead of an endless list of meaningless tasks and logistics.

This morning, you gave me the greatest gift of your musical laughter. After consuming an impressively large bottle, instead of immediately squirming out of my arms to play like you do so often these days, you initiated a game of peekaboo with me. You lifted up your burp cloth to hide your face, and when you dropped it, you squealed with joy. You did this over and over again, and we took turns hiding behind the burp cloth, you laughing with each and every reveal. Having such a fun and loving time with you this morning made it very difficult for me to leave and go to work.

20131111-090034.jpgYour newfound mobility scares Mama a bit because she knows that this is just the beginning of your increasing independence and decreasing need for constant assistance. When I see you make your way over to your toy bin, pull it out and peek inside, your “jackpot!” reaction warms my heart and reminds me that we are both doing our jobs to help you become the person you’re meant to be.

Words can’t fully express my love for you, son. I hope that my actions each day convey the depth of these feelings.

Xoxo
Mama

The long-awaited return

As promised, I’m trying to get back into the swing of this blogging thing. It seems like I have less and less time these days, but it’s important to me that I attempt to document our experiences as parents and the rapidly changing person that is our dear E.

E these days:

  • After so many months of massive drooling, chewing on everything and general fussiness, E is finally getting his first tooth. In fact, because he’s an overachiever like his parents, he’s getting two teeth at once. He hasn’t been too large of a wreck, but there are times in which he’s clearly in pain. Tylenol has helped a bit during those horrible times, but even with it, he occasionally cries out from pain in his sleep. It’s heartbreaking.
  • E is still exploring solids, though life is so hectic and busy that it’s not unusual for us to skip solids entirely some days. His daycare is giving him solids during the day, but he really seems particular about eating them. Sometimes he turns his nose up at foods for which he’s previously shown an obsession. It’s totally normal for youngin’s to gag on solids at first, but because he has a sensitive gag reflex, this sometimes results in a pukefest. Oh what fun.
  • 6moLifetouch2He’s a general ball of silliness and joy. E literally grins and laughs the vast majority of the day. Everyone comments on what a happy baby he is and that makes me feel so good. His smile is infectious and his laughs are musical. I think his smile was captured really well in his recent photos at daycare.6moLifetouch
  • A lot of people comment on how big E is, but as of his 6 month pediatrician visit, he only weighs 18 lbs, 6 oz and is 26″ long. He’s literally 50th percentile for both height and weight on the growth charts. Mr. Average. I think he looks big to people because he has such a long torso.
  • E is on the verge of crawling. He scoots all around our hardwood floor, mostly backwards, but occasionally manages to move forward. He pivots around and around and rolls. He’s been getting up on his knees, doing some pelvic rocks and even planks. It’s only a matter of time, we think. K and I have definitely added babyproofing to our agenda in the near future.
  • HalloweenI made a simple clown costume for E’s first Halloween. I think he looked adorable and I’m shocked by how patient he was with the elasticized clown hat. I was, unfortunately, not feeling well and couldn’t attend the much-anticipated Halloween party at his daycare. K attended and my guys had a great time.

Us these days:

  • K is super busy with work. He’s on a somewhat new project that has some pretty unrealistic deadlines. It’s been making K and all of his coworkers really stressed. One of his bosses has even had an outbreak of stress-related shingles!
  • Things are really ramping up for me at work these days, too. The holidays are a very busy time of year in the fundraising world. I’m responsible for writing our fundraising letters as well as processing and acknowledging gifts. 80% of the funds raised through our direct mail program come in during the end of the year, so that should give you a sense of what will be on my plate.
  • The entire family has been sick lately. K had a 103 degree fever for over a week and had to take a lot of time off of work. E had a double ear infection. Then I got viral laryngitis, a sinus infection and am on the verge of an ear infection. Now that I’m finally feeling better (though my voice doesn’t sound like it), K is getting another cold. WHY?!?!?!?!?!
  • I feel like we’ve hit our stride as parents. I no longer feel like a new parent and I no longer feel thrown by every twist and turn that occurs. We have a decent routine down while remaining fairly flexible for all of the inevitable changes that are bound to happen. I also feel like we’re setting reasonable boundaries and expectations, and that feels good.
  • We’re still dealing with some annoyances with K’s parents. When K was sick, they tried to trample K’s boundaries to meet their own selfish needs. When K set limits, they freaked out, calling him selfish and stirring up all sorts of drama. We spoke to K’s sister about it and she said that their parents are still upset that we won’t “accept” their offer to watch E once a week. Needless to say, I am beyond thankful that they’re now in Florida until Thanksgiving.

Apologies

I’m sorry I’ve been a rotten blogger lately. It’s been so long since I’ve written that I don’t even know if I’m allowed to call myself a blogger anymore. Life has gotten busy, but I promise to try to write more soon. In the meantime, here’s a cute photo of E.

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