Monday, April 28, 2014

I’m not Perfect, and That’s Okay

For the mommies and daddies out there, check out my post on Parenting 360 and remember that Parenting does not need to equal Perfection (or anything close to perfect...)! 

I’m not Perfect, and That’s Okay

Friday, April 25, 2014

Maybe Babies do Self-Wean

Julian turned 9 months a week or so ago.  At his 9 month checkup my suspicions were confirmed: he's a tiny little thing.  He's only in the 3rd percentile for weight (16.64 pounds) but 75th for height.  He's tall and skinny (he certainly doesn't get that from me!)   The doctor isn't concerned about his weight because he's continuing to grow on the same curve, but it's a little unsettling as his momma to hear he's so teeny!!!  More on that later.

Julian has 4 teeth (no new ones in a month), but he seems to be teething again.  I'm thinking the other top middle tooth is about to emerge.  Thankfully he doesn't seem too distressed about the teeth coming in - he's really an all around easy-going baby. 
Last night was the third night in a row that he slept all night, so I'm hoping we're on to something.  I am really ready for consistently full nights of sleep myself and I know he needs the sleep as well.  He and Lukas are still sharing a room even though we're at my parents' house - we thought about separating them, and have plenty of room to do so, but Lukas seems to like his brother in the room and they don't wake each other up so we're going to roll with it for now.  J has two lovies he sleeps with - a lion and a little bear and has totally stopped taking a pacifier (the first picture above is actually a teether!)

J is such a sweet little guy - and so happy. He lights up when his daddy walks in the room and adores his big brother.  His arms and legs start flailing when he sees either of them and he grins from ear to ear!

He's crawling and cruising around furniture and has just started standing without holding on to anything.  He can stand for about 5 seconds before realizing he's not attached to anything at which point he gets scared and falls down or reaches to steady himself.  I think he'll start walking any day now! 

He's eating any and everything and has a big appetite!  Last night for dinner he ate an slice of quiche and a cup of yogurt!  If you are eating around him, he'll make it known that he expects you to share!

The biggest news with J is that as of this week he's no longer nursing, which has been a hard decision for me but an easy one for him.  Julian has never been a big fan of nursing - he never comfort nursed and he refused to nurse unless he was really hungry.  For the past month or so he's been consistently less and less interested.  I would try to nurse him and he would stop after only a minute or two and push away from me.  He was done.  But I kept thinking it was too soon.  Everything you read says that babies do not self wean before a year. I nursed Lukas until he was 19 MONTHS!  So stopping at 9 months with Julian was not the plan.  But as I am continuing to learn, even though the boys look like twins, they are two very different children.  And I'm also having to remind myself that I'm not a bad mommy for doing things one way with Lukas and another way with Julian.  (Of course you knew there would be guilt, there is always guilt....).

So what was the final straw that pushed me over the edge?  This past weekend J woke up from a nap and I nursed him, a good 4-5 minutes which is actually long for him these days.  Afterwards I was holding him while I sorted empty bottles for daycare the next day and J started going nuts.  He was flailing his arms and reaching for the bottle, clearly wanting it.  So I filled it up with 6 ounces of formula to see if he'd drink it.  He did.  Plus 2 more ounces.  The kid was hungry.  Apparently he wasn't getting what he needed from me even when he was nursing.  So after some more guilt over the fact that my milk may not have been adequate for him (remember how tiny he is?  is that my fault?!?), I made the decision to listen to my little guy and stop nursing him.  Tuesday morning I nursed him for less than one minute before he pushed me away and I thought that'd be the last time.  He didn't ask to nurse or paw at my shirt the next two days, but he rarely ever had in the last 9 months - he just wasn't a big fan of the whole thing.  I think he is just too busy to stop and nurse in a dark room with his momma.  And don't even get me started on trying to nurse him under a nursing cover!  He'd rather drink a bottle in the kitchen and watch his big brother play.  Damn social second kids!

Last night I was giving him a bottle before bed and he was falling asleep as he drank.  He stopped taking the bottle and curled up on my chest with his eyes fluttering.  I convinced myself that he was asking to nurse (he wasn't), so for one last time, sitting in the white wicker chair with the purple cushion in the guest room of my parents house, I nursed him and drank in the sight and smell of my baby boy who is growing up much too quickly for my liking.  I have tears in my eyes now as I write that.  Nursing is such an emotional experience for me and I'm a bit heartbroken to be stopping, but I know he's ready.  I don't care what any La Leche follower says.  My boy was done, and as a result, so am I.  Now I just hold on to hope that my hormones don't come crashing down around me in a sea of post-weaning depression.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

There's No Place Like Home

I'm not sure where to start, there's been so much going on in our little world.  I guess the biggest news is that we sold our house and have moved in with my parents.  (Yes, seriously). Also, we have no timeline for leaving their house as of now. (Homecooking and a live-in grandma are a-mazing.  As is the whole no mortgage payment thing. We might have to be kicked out.  Although, the commute is the pits so I think that will eventually be the downfall of this arrangement.)
We closed a week ago.  I cried at the closing table.  It was such a bitter sweet moment.  That house held so many memories and "firsts" for our family.  I'm so sad to leave it behind.  But I am also excited about the future and finding the next house that will become our home.  I am also very happy to have left the crime behind as well as the less-than-ideal floorplan (kids room on the first floor next to the kitchen with the master upstairs = bad for having little kids who are light sleepers in a less than safe neighborhood).  I now know what I don't want in a new house as well as a few things that I'd love to find (big pantry with an open floorplan and kids rooms upstairs are at the top of the list).
Oh and if lady lucky hadn't been on our side we'd still own the house.  Three days before closing a massive tree in front of our house fell.  Thankfully it fell across the street rather than ON our house.  I imagine the buyers wouldn't go through with the purchase if a tree had cut the house in half.

So it's goodbye to the city and hello to the suburbs.  For now.  I think we'll stay at my parents through the summer and then figure out where we want to move.  We still haven't settled on a new hood.  Anyone love where you live and want to sell me on moving there????

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The First Year

I can't recall the date, or even the month, or really even what year it was, but sometime after Lukas turned 1 but before I was pregnant with Julian, a close friend and I met for drinks at some random bar at Atlantic Station.  No, now that I think about it, I was pregnant with Julian because I ordered an orange juice (great memory I've got here, really).  Anyway, we were sitting at the bar and I was eating a flat bread pizza and we were talking about working and life and trying to find the balance.  And in that conversation I remember discussing with her how it is a bad idea to make any major life changes in the first year of your baby's life.  And the one I was talking about specifically was work.  And more precisely, not quitting it.  I don't recall what lead to this conversation or where I was in my emotional well-being (or lack thereof) at the time, but this conversation has been ringing in my ears lately.
The first year with a new baby is hard stuff.  There's the lack of sleep; the teething; the uncertainty of what you're doing; the worry; the breastfeeding and leaky boobs and plugged ducts; the never-ending flow of laundry; the changing postpartum body and daily question of what in my closet fits today; there's a lot of poop; sometimes there's colic; did I mention the lack of sleep?; there's runny noses and daycare sniffles; and it's all wrapped in a shiny bow of postpartum hormones.  This is hard stuff without the added layer of working outside the home.  (And I don't say that to incite any mommy war on SAHM vs. working mom, they're both rough, but for purposes of this blog post and my life, I can only give the working mom perspective on this one, um-kay?) 
I remember the first year with Lukas was hard for all the above-mentioned reasons.  And I think a first baby comes along with its own brand of difficulty that lucky you don't experience the second time around because you are just a bit more relaxed.  You know it all works out and the baby will do what the baby will do regardless of your good intentions.  But this working mom thing has been equally as hard the second time around.  And I'm trying to remember that conversation with my friend about not making major changes in the first year of a baby's life.
When the baby is itty bitty, it's hard to hand them over to someone else every day and be apart from them.  I don't think it matters who your caregiver is - I adore Julian's teachers at Primrose and have all the faith in them to take care of him and love him.  I honestly wouldn't feel any "better" about being away from him all day, every day if he were being watched by my mom or even my husband.  It's the fact that I, his mommy, am not with him for the majority of our day. There are plenty of days where I sit in my office staring at his pictures and ask myself why I'm doing this.  Being apart is just hard on the heart when they're so tiny. 
And the breastfeeding.  Oh the breastfeeding.  Actually, its the pumping while working that is a pain.  Having to stop working 2 or 3 times a day, hook up to my machine and literally milk my boobs like a cow, is disruptive to getting work done and frustrating because my body has decided it can't make enough milk to keep up with my little guy's eating schedule, so I have to supplement with formula anyway.  I often wonder why I bother continuing to breastfeed if he's getting formula, but I can't seem to get over the hump and quit.  Perhaps I'm worried about the hormonal shift that comes along with weaning and the possible post-weaning depression that might await me again.
And I'm tired.  Julian is still not consistently sleeping through the night.  I'd say he's 50/50 for sleeping all night long versus waking once a night to eat.  So half of my days at work have me feeling like a zombie and I'm sure it takes me twice as long to do anything due to the lack of sleep.  I'm not at my most efficient, that's for sure. 
I could really use a 25th hour in the day.  Preferably spent working out for 30 minutes and playing with the boys for 30 minutes, as most of my days don't allow enough time for those important activities.  I wish I had more time.  I want more time with the boys.  I want more time for myself.  I want to fit in my jeans again.  I want to go running outside and blare my crappy music loudly.  I want to go to a yoga class. I want to make Julian laugh and hear him yell MAMA MAMA MAMA over and over again.  I want to read books with Lukas.  I want to pretend to be superwoman while he runs around the house in his Spiderman outfit.  I want to make a floury mess in the kitchen while cooking dinner with Lukas.  I want to dance around the house holding on to both boys.  I want to do this every day.  But there's just not enough time between 6:15 when we get home from work/school and 7:45 when its bedtime for the boys.  1.5-2 hours an evening isn't enough time.  And this is the working mom struggle I'm yet again feeling so strongly.
I know it will lessen as my baby becomes a toddler.  I know that from experience this time, which is more than I knew when Lukas was an infant.  But juggling it all is hard.  And sometimes I just feel like all the balls have fallen on the ground and that I'm a complete failure.  But even worse is the constant wonder and worry if I'll look back on this time and regret the choices that I've made.  Maybe playing in the kitchen is more important than the kitchen you're playing in.  I know that my career is more than just the money I make and the things that money allows us to buy.  I've worked hard to be where I am.  The degrees and debt say this is true.  If it weren't for the degrees and the debt I think it'd be a lot easier to walk away and decide that time with my children supersedes everything else.  I just don't know.
For now, I keep telling myself that it is the quality rather than the quantity of time with the boys that matters.  I think there is truth to that, but I also think it's partially something I say to get myself to accept being away from them all day.
I think that I just never realized how truly strong my love for my children was going to be.  I didn't know how life altering having them would be.  I know that sounds ridiculous, but it's true.  Those two boys have changed me.  And there is nothing in my world as important as the two of them.  So I just hope I'm doing what's best for them.  Which is what is at the root of my questioning - what is best for them?  And is it the same thing that is best for me?  I have absolutely no idea.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Fight Childhood Cancer

In three weeks I'll be participating for the third year in a row in CURE's Lauren's Run, an annual fundraising event to fight childhood cancer.  If you've read my blog regularly, then you've heard me talk about our friends Chris and Emily whose son, Marco, died in the fall of 2011 from an aggressive form of brain cancer.  Marco was only 9 months old.

Marco and Lukas should be friends today - they were born a mere three weeks apart.  They should be running around in Emily's backyard and playing on her swing set.  They should be chatting about superheros together during our regular breakfasts with the Giovinazzos.  But they're not because of cancer. 

Emily and Chris are only getting to raise two of their beautiful children, not all three.  Every day someone is missing from their lives.  They've lived every parent's worst nightmare.  Actually, they continue to live it.  I'm pretty sure the death of a child never leaves you and a void always remains.

So we run in memory of Marco.  We run to raise awareness of childhood cancers.  We run to raise money to fight it. 

And so I ask you to run with me.  Help me raise money for this worthy cause that is so dear to our hearts.  Any amount of money will help - nothing is too small.

Thanks for your support! 

And let us all remember that every day is precious.  Our loved ones are a blessing and their time is not eternal - hug your babies tight, kiss your spouse, call your mom and tell someone "I love you".

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Toddler Talks - Car Ride with Daddy

[As retold by Daddy]....So in the car this morning Lukas asked "Daddy, why do the Green lights for go go down and the red lights for stop go up?"  I said "Well buddy, they put the green on bottom and the red on top because some people can't see colors.  That way those people know that top light means stop and bottom light means go.  Its called being colorblind."  And his eyes bugged out and he said "who can't see colors?"  I said "Well Up (my dad) can't see colors?"
Then this is what followed:
"Daddy, can you see colors"
"Yes, I can"
"Can Ronnie (husband's childhood BFF who lives in Chicago) see colors?"
"Can sip sip (my mom) see colors?"
"Can Pop Pop (husband's dad) see colors?"
"Can Nana (husband's mom) see colors?"
"Can Up see colors?"
"No buddy."
"Who else can't see colors?"
"I don't know anyone else"
"Can mommy see colors?"
"Can Ronnie's Daddy see colors?"
"Can Ronnie's Mommy see colors?"
"Can Wrigley (our dog) see colors?"
"Actually, I think Dogs can't see colors too.  If they do, they see them differently"
"Yeah.  Can Bailey (our cat) see colors?"
"Yes buddy."
- a minute goes by -
"My Up and My Wrigley can't see colors, right?"
"Yes Buddy."
"Um-hmm" (nodding head)
Just thought I would share.