Right; Change of Plans

Chloé 4 Month Old

So, I’m not going to do monthly updates anymore.

Honestly, with baby and work it’s just too difficult for me to form 10 thoughts that make sense. I’m hoping not having the timeline hanging over me will help me post more. (We shall see…)

Gosh, so much has happened since we last chatted. Let me sum up.

Clo’s still sleeping like a champ. I’ve literally gotten to the point that I just don’t talk to my mommy friends about sleep, because she is not the norm (and I really, REALLY don’t want the sleep to stop).

I’ve officially had like 10-20 people comment that she’s a “really amazingly good baby.” I’m hoping that I haven’t damaged her in some way. (And seriously, how messed up is it that when people say she’s unusually good I wonder if there’s something wrong?)

She had a crying fit at AJ’s and it was heartbreaking. It was absolutely the longest and hardest cry ever. MFH and I were distraught. AJ was like, “THIS is bad for you? No, this is not bad. You jerks are so lucky!”

Clo laughed for the first time last week at Piper doing her idiot whirling dervish routine. She’s become fascinated by the dog, and wants to see and touch her more and more. Piper, for her part, has become less shy around Clo – although she’s still super cautious/respectful of Chloé’s space.

As mentioned up top, I’m working again. 25 hours a week at my salary rate. Some weeks it’s alarmingly easy, other times it’s harder. A lot depends on my lovely little one.

At her four month check up, Clo was 50% for height (24.75″) and 15% for weight (12 lbs 8 oz). Doc was super pleased with both as she’s staying on her tracks, and gave us the okay to start her on solids. So far we’ve done Sweet Potatoes, Watermelon, Pineapple, Pear, Mango, and carrot. She’s starting to understand how to take the food into her mouth and swallow, but it’s still quite a messy progress. I’ll start to post recipes as we get a bit more fancy, but that’s a little ways off.

I’ve set up the YouTube channel for Made in Toronto. A bunch of videos are up, and I’m hoping to add something weekly going forward. Feel free to subscribe if that’s your sort of thing. 😉

And finally, because it’s adorable, I leave you with a shot of some of the babies that belong to our new mommy group. Enjoy the cuteness!

Baby Meet Up

Clo’s third from the right.

 

3 Month Roundup

Chloé 3 Month

So I’m obviously extremely behind on this. I have no excuses, really besides the obvious. It got to the point that I considered just putting month 3 and 4 together into one post, but had some time tonight and figured I might as well go for it.

I passed out of the fourth trimester as Chloé hit three months. By definition, she’s now an infant and not a newborn. It also happened to fall on Mother’s Day, which was pretty cool. Anyways, enough chatter, let me get on with things I’ve learned this month. (And a half.)

1. I Have a Really Good Baby
I donno that there are actually good/bad babies, so I’m mostly going on other peoples’ attitudes here. What makes a good baby? She smiles a lot, she sleeps, she’s not super quick to cry. (And when she does it’s usually easily handled.) She’s just the type of kid that makes people want to have more. Or so I’m told. I haven’t quite hit that marker yet.

2. Getting Out is 60% of My Success
You know what’s super boring? Staying in the living room of your house in front of the TV for weeks on end. For Clo, being so new to time and what not, she lasts about three hours before she’s had enough and needs a change of scene. We can go see family or friends, shop, or even just take a walk around the neighborhood. All of it’s fine, we just have to go. This going means that for the rest of the day, naps are on time and on par for required length. Meltdowns rarely happen anymore, and I think both of us enjoy being able to get out like real, live humans.

3. Always Bring a Back-up Outfit
I’ve done this from day one, but it’s only now that Chloé is bigger that I think it’s come in handy. If she has a diaper incident or is just super wet from drool, a change is always nearby. It’s just a zip up sleeper in my diaper bag, but it means I don’t have to transfer poo from her to me to our car to the car seat to whatever surface she sits on/lays on/goes near/touches. Definately a no-lose scenario.

4. Chloé Likes Me
This is the first month where I haven’t felt as if I’m mostly just for food. She is happy to see me (and MFH), and prefers to be settled by me if she’s upset. The smiling “conversations” we have throughout the day give me hope for the future. Like most people, I know how much relationships can evolve between a parent and his/her child over a lifetime. Still, it’s nice to know that, for now at least, I’m well liked.

5. Babies Adapt
It makes sense. Like, at some point we were nomadic people and our infants had to wonder around with us. Clo can go to sleep more or less anywhere, as long as her routine is followed. She changes as we do. It doesn’t always work perfectly, but it does work out eventually.

6. I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing
So I went into my office to discuss the game plan for me getting back into work officially. Unfortunately, things with the assistants having been so great in my absence, and there is a hope that I can go into the office twice a week to make sure they’re working up to par. I considered it, especially for when MFH is off work this summer. But then Chloé did something she hadn’t before or in a way she hadn’t before and I thought, no. I don’t want to miss these little huge moments of learning she has every single day. I don’t want to miss her learning and growing. Not even for two days a week.

7. Some People are Jerks
I heard a lot about nasty people and their comments while I was pregnant. I didn’t really get much of that, and what I did was easy to ignore. I was warned far more about post pregnancy and the nonsense people love to level at you and your new baby. And it’s also true, to a degree. Most people are lovely to me, but there are a few who want me to be miserable. “Clo sleeps through the night? Well, she won’t as soon as she hits the 4-month regression.” Maybe she will and maybe she won’t, but do you really have to say it with a smile on your face?

8. I Don’t Know How to Take a Compliment
In a way, I think this makes sense. It took me an alarmingly long time to take a compliment about myself. It follows that I don’t really know how to take a compliment about my kid. But that’s not really what’s at work here. When fellow new parents make a big deal about how cute or whatever she is, I don’t know what to say. Because in my head I’m just saying, “Yes, that’s correct she IS the most adorable.” Usually I just laugh uncomfortably or shrug it off as, “It’s just because she has hair.”

9. I’m a Different Person
Maybe this should be obvious, but it sort of occurred to me last night. I’m not the same person I was before I had Chloé. I have the same interests, of course. And it’s not like my core values have changed. But last night when my options were to stay up past 9:30p and have a drink and a chat with friends or got to bed. I went to bed. And it wasn’t even like, “oh, I better not stay up or I’ll be tired tomorrow.” It was literally a, “meh, I’m tired.” Even during pregnancy I’d stay up. I’ve changed. I’m a mom.

10. Cuddle Moments
The older she gets, the less Clo wants to be cuddled and held like a newborn. She wants to see and grab and interact. But, at least a couple times a day she lets me hold her warm, tiny body against my chest and I can just breath her in. Even after all of my experiences, the good to the bad, in those cuddle moments I feel like I’m living life to the fullest. Holding my perfect little love in my arms, everything stops and the world is right. I can’t describe it any other way.

Three (and a half) months past. I’m not really certain how we got here so fast, but man am I enjoying the ride.

2 Month Roundup

Chloé 2 Month Small

I noticed after the fact that last month’s roundup had more than 10 items. I misnumbered at least twice. I decided to leave it, because I think it’s really funny and it shows just how tired/crazy that first month actually is. My brain couldn’t reasonably count to ten. THAT’S how crazy. 🙂

Never the less, I’ve managed to accurately count to ten here. (I think.) So here’s my list of ten for month 2.

1. I LOVE My Medicine Ball
Seriously,this thing is our life saver. I’m not sure why it works (maybe it helps break up those gas bubbles?), but as soon as my but hits that ball Clo quiets down. Special thanks to our prenatal instructor midwife who suggested it as a way to calm an unhappy baby.

2. Baby Wearing is AWESOME
I have a Moby wrap and an Ergo carrier. The Ergo has buckles, and I’m actually going to a mommy meetup next week to learn how to do it up under supervision. The Moby I tend to wear around the house. It’s great for hands free time, or just giving Chloé a brake from sleeping away from me. (She, like most babies tends to sleep longer and better cuddled up to Mom or Dad.) I don’t feel comfortable doing cooking or cleaning while she’s “Mobyed,” but I can do a bit of dishes, play boardgames with MFH, or do a bit of work on the computer without issue. It’s kinda crazy how quickly and easily Clo quiets down when she’s in it. It’s one of the fastest ways to calm her when she’s fussing and won’t take a nap. I’m really looking forward to next week so that we can start going for walks in the park without the stroller.

3. I’ve Become Ambidextrous
I’ve always been a little ambidextrous. I mean, I write with my right…but it’s a bit more complicated than that. Any sports that require swinging of things cause me to go left-handed. I bat left, golf left, and in dance I prefer to move/turn to the left. Now though? Something you learn very quickly as a new parent is how to do things one -handed. Often there’s a baby in the other one. Putting clothing on is particularly interesting one-handed. So is picking up things you drop. But two-months in, I’m a pro. I can handle anything, left or right. And I think that may be a metaphor for the bigger idea of being a parent: you have to adapt.

4. Chloé is Unintentionally Hilarious
At least I think it’s unintentional. Maybe Chloé’s just a super gifted baby comedian. She is Canadian, after all; we seem to breed a lot of funny up here. It started when she got really obsessed with her hair. At first she would grab onto it, yank it and not let go, and scream until one of us came and pried her little fingers open. Now she gets that pulling hair hurts, so she sort of…twirls it. Like you’d expect from a gum-snapping cheerleader. She also is a big fan of throwing the bird. Usually when it’s super funny to her overtired parents. Also, like Piper, Clo likes chiming in on discussions that MFH and I are chatting about. Mah! Ouu. Aaaah. (She’s always on my side. 😉 )

5. My Daughter’s Smile/Laughter Melts Me
Clo started smiling a little while ago, but they weren’t related to anything. At least not anything I could discern. They still made me melt a little. Recently, though, she’s actually responding to her surroundings. She grins at us while getting a clean diaper. She belly laughs at the birds on her bouncy chair and the stars on her nursery ceiling. The first time she ever smiled at me, with full eye contact was…well, there are no words really. I bent down to grab something, stood back up, and made eye contact with Clo. She grinned at me slowly, one side creeping up faster than the other. Her gummy smile probably lasted only for a few seconds, but it felt like a tiny bit of forever.

6. Knock on Wood
This, just as easily could be titled “Don’t Jinx It.” Because really, as soon as I say Chloé is or isn’t doing something, she then proceeds to do it. I waited almost two weeks before blogging about her sleeping 6-8. You know why? Because I did not want it to stop; that’s why.

7. There’s a Lot I Don’t Know
I read. A lot. I also will talk to a wall if left to my own devises, so talking to people is suuuuuper easy. I felt like I had a really good idea of what could/would happen in pregnancy, birth, and raising a baby. And I do feel relatively informed on the facts. But I’m shocked at what I don’t know. Let me give you a for instance. Did you know that babies sometimes stop pooping at overnight around 6 weeks? Me either. When this happen with Chloé, I was concerned she was blocked up or something. Then I got an “your baby is X weeks” email. It actually was covering sleeping, but it made an off-handed remark about how they probably won’t be pooping overnight. Who knew? Not me.

8. Things DO Get Easier
I’m not going to lie the long sleep overnight is making a HUGE difference to my life. Still, everything from breastfeeding to half-awake diaper changes have really become second nature. It’s a bit like living in a new country. You get there and you have a basic understanding of the culture/language, but you’re like, dude, the classroom cannot prepare you for everything. Some people talk super fast or use slang or have a crazy accent. Local culture may have quirks you don’t find elsewhere in the country. But after living there for awhile, something just sort of clicks and you get it. It doesn’t mean that you never put your foot in your mouth or say something that clearly points out that their language is not your first. It just happens less and less as the days go on.

9. They Get Bigger Every Day
Or, if not bigger, they change. I’ve watched Chloé as her eyelashes moved out of her eyes, then darkened, and then lengthened. Now her eyebrows are getting darker every day. Her hair has grown past her ears. She’s over 10 pounds now. Every single day something is different. Whether it’s her looks or her attitude or how she interacts with the world, something changes every day. I try to track it. To take photos and videos and just remember. I know it’s not perfect. I’ll forget how small she was. Or how she was before she started smiling at me like she actually liked me. It makes me appreciate more what my parents went through as I grew up and achieved certain things. I’m so excited for what’s to come, but I’m really trying to be excited for today as well.

10. More Sleep = Better Mom
This may not be the same for everyone. After all, I was a crazy sleeper before I had Clo. All I can tell you is getting 7-8 hours of sleep in a row a night has done some great things for me. I always love Chloé, but I definitely feel like I love her better when I’m not exhausted and just begging the universe to put her to sleep. I play better during the day. I actually think up things to do and say (and sing) to help develop that little brain of hers. I also take better care of myself. The less tired I am, the less work it seems to be to, you know, wash my face. :p I feel like a better person, better equipped to handle my life. And hers, I guess. And getting more sleep means that I’m enjoying all of this so much more.

Two months down. Is it going as fast for everyone else as it seems to be for me?

1 Month Roundup

Chloé 1 Month Old

So I’ve officially been a Mom for a month. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long. On the other hand I’m *starting* to feel like I might be getting some small understanding of what I’m supposed to be doing. Some days are better than others. Other days are…let’s just say not good and leave it at that. Still, I don’t feel as though I’m lost in the fog anymore, and that’s definitely an improvement.

I figure every month I’ll have at least 10 things I’ve learned from being a parent to my daughter. I could be wrong, and will change this bit at a later date. But, for now, here’s my list of ten for month 1.

1. Plans are Made to be Broken
Seriously, I had so many plans before Chloé was born. She was never going to have formula. She was going to nap in her crib during the day so that it would be easier to transition her there after we moved her out of the pack ‘n’ play in our room. I’d sleep every time she did. None of that happened. I mean, sure, as a guideline my plans are/were fine, they just all didn’t make sense in the actual practice. You know why I don’t sleep every time Chloé does? Because I like to eat food. And not have a completely filthy house. Oh, and sometimes it’s nice to actually do my hair and makeup. So, yeah, I sleep when she sleeps…just not every time. I’ve talked about the formula issue already. And naps happen in her bouncer more than anywhere else, but I’ll get to that next. Honestly, to all the A-Type/OCD/Planners out there: There is nothing wrong with having a game plan, you just really have to be ready to throw it out with the bathwater. (But not the baby. Baby does not get thrown out with the bathwater.)

2. Put the Baby Down
I don’t think Chloé was out of someone’s arms for the first two days of her life. She was just so cute and little and OH MY GOD CAN SOMEONE PLEASE TAKE THIS BABY SO I CAN PEE?!?! Yeah, it was notsogreat. As I mentioned before, Chloé sleeps in the newborn napper of our Pack ‘n’ Play in our bedroom at night. During her first few days she slept, you guessed it, in someone’s arms. That’s exhausting on so many levels. If I was in the bedroom, or across the hall in the bathroom (with the door open) I felt okay putting her down in the napper, but in the living room or kitchen? I just wasn’t confident about the whole situation. I almost felt like I needed a whole other Pack ‘n’ Play for the living room. When my Mom flew up at about two-weeks post birth, she brought up the bouncer she got for us. And halleluiah, it was a game changer. I get to sometimes eat dinner with (as opposed to taking turns with) MFH because of that thing. While I’m by myself, I get to eat outside of the bedroom because she sleeps in the bouncer. It’s marvelous.

3. Breastfeeding Sucks
I talked about this in my last post, but I’ve found there’s even more. I think it’s really important to say my peace, to talk about how breastfeeding isn’t all magic and roses. Personally, I find that it often sucks. Oversupply has me dripping milk on my feet in the mornings. I have a ton of t-shirts and bras covered in breast milk (even when using pads). I feel like a cow a lot of the time. Chloé basically ignores me while I’m feeding her, unless it’s to claw at my boobs or bite me to slow down the flow of milk. I gave her a bottle of breast milk the other day; just to get her aware that it exists and so we don’t have huge fights over bottles in the future. It was amazing, she kept eye contact with me the entire time. Oh, and don’t believe the people that tell you breastfed babies poo doesn’t have a smell. It does. It may not be as bad as formula or solid food poops, but is not something you want to leave around the house either. I often know Chloé needs a change because of the smell alone. I don’t think breastfeeding is the most amazing experience of my life. It’s fine, and I’ll continue to do it, but at some point I’m going to shift to exclusively pumping and feeding with a bottle. It may be 6-months, or when Chloé gets teeth, or starts talking, but it’s going to happen. And I’m 100% okay with that. For all the mothers who’s lives have been wonderfully altered by breastfeeding, I salute you with all sincerity. But for all the one’s out there who fight every day to feed their little ones, I get it.

3. Taking Help was Amazeballs
I am one of the most independent people you’ll ever meet without sliding over into agoraphobia. I have no real issue with being alone and, on occasion, even seek out time alone. My mother swares that when I first went to preschool/daycare, while all the other kids were screaming and clinging to their parents’ legs, I basically waved and went on my way inside. So I really wondered about having people come over all day and help out. Yeah, I was crazy. It was so helpful. Either they could do housework or I could. They could watch Clo while I slept. Or even just offer me the option of a break. Maybe I just got lucky and have amazingly considerate/helpful family and friends. Still, I’d recommend taking help that’s offered, even if you’re unsure of actually wanting/needing it.

4. Babies are Cute for a Reason
They are so adorable so that when you are exhausted, starving, crying your eyes out, and dirtier than you’ve ever been (or maybe ever been since 24 hour parties at University), you don’t do something terrible to your little one. Long before I was pregnant, I read this article from Pregnant Chicken. I recommend you all read it. It prepared me for the feelings of helpless irritation that comes with a screaming person who can’t articulate her needs. I think, though, my midwife put it best: They’re cute so you don’t throw them off the balcony.

4. Try to Stick to Your Normal
I read a lot of blogs/articles about how just because you have a baby doesn’t mean you can’t shower and put real clothes on everyday. This benchmark of parenting success sort of confused me; because I don’t shower every day unless I’ve been doing something to make me sweaty, and no one in my house gets out of pajamas unless we’re going out in public. So, yeah, doing those things would not be normal for me without a baby. I certainly won’t be doing it with one. But I do straighten my hair and put on makeup when I’m doing more than grocery shopping. I get out of the house about as much as I did before, if not for as lengthy periods. I eat real food and love on my husband and watch new releases. It’s not everyone’s normal, but it’s mine. It helps me remember that I’m still me, just with more. Everyone needs that, I think.

5. Schedules Help Keep Sanity
It’s early days yet, but I see no reason why setting up a basic outline of Chloé’s day is a bad thing. And it seems to be “working.” Sort of. Clo’s more alert during the day between feeds. At night, she gets back to sleep relatively faster. Generally we try to move into the bedroom by 8pm. Low lighting and voices. When she wakes up at night, things go like this: Pick up, Change diaper, Move to living room, Feed, Re-swaddle, Hold until sufficiently drowsy, and back to sleep. On really good nights, I get up to 4 and a half hours until she wakes up again. On bad nights it can be as little as 45 mins. Generally, though, it’s about 2 hours to 3 and a half hours. During the day, we do things differently. The first four moves remain the same, but then we chat. (Or I chat at her.) We move around the living room and kitchen, and I chatter and/or sing. I wash her and/or apply lotion as needed. We spend awake time together. When she dozes off, I put her in her bouncer and go about my day. Having said all that…

5. Remember that thing about plans?
Just because we have a semi-set routine doesn’t mean we’re awesomesauce all day, every day. Sometimes a day is bad. Sometimes a night is. Sometimes a whole 24 hours passes before I feel like I’ve got my mind back again. Sometimes it’s my fault. MFH comes home late from work and I want to spend time with him, so I don’t move Clo to the bedroom until 9:30…which sets off a chain reaction of horrible. Sometimes Clo’s just not feeling it, for whatever reason. So, schedules are good, but remembering that they need a lot of wiggle room is equally important.

6. This Too Shall Pass
The thing about bad days/nights/whatever is that they don’t last forever. (I suppose the same could be said about the good days/nights/whatever, but let’s stay positive, shall we?) One night of a total of 4 hours often seems to be followed by a night with a total of 8 hours. A day of fussiness is followed by a night of calm. I’m told that every month gets better/easier, and also comes with a new set of challenges. So far, so good.

7. Sometimes…It’s Boring
Newborns aren’t really all that interesting. I mean, they don’t really have personalities yet. They aren’t all that reactive. I talk to Clo (and talk as Clo) mostly to entertain myself. I’m really looking forward to actually making her laugh, as opposed to her just randomly laughing. I say that to people and they warn me not to rush things. I get that as well. She’s only going to be this tiny for a short time. I do enjoy it, I’m just also often really bored.

8. Body Changes
There are some things about my body that will never be the same again. I have stretch marks I didn’t before. My organs have moved around and been squished. My stomach grew to accommodate a 7 pound human. I didn’t expect to get my waist back in a day. I was honestly surprised how quickly I dropped back to a non-maternity size. I’m still not 100% back to pre-pregnancy, but I’m a heck of a lot smaller than I expected to be a month in. What is odd, is how…shall I say squishy I am. Nothing between my boobs and hips feels quite right. I’ve always had a strong core, even when I wasn’t particularly fit looking. So this softness is extremely foreign to me. I already mentioned the leaky boobs. Then there’s my face. The last time my face was as smooth and clear as it is now, I think I was prepubescent. So, take the good with the…weird and move on.

9. Keep up Connections
I’ve said how wonderful my family/friends have been through all of this. There is nothing to discount that and nothing to take away from that. However. There really is something to be said about having connections that are dealing with the exact same thing(s) you are. It was important during pregnancy, and now it might be more so. I met up with my (no longer) preggo friend AB on Tuesday. Her daughter was born the day after Chloé, so it’s a really helpful barometer to see the two together. It’s also pretty awesome to talk good, bad, and ugly with a mom who’s going through it all right now. Our stories are so similar, it makes me feel like I’m not a total waste of a mother. (Actually that’s far too harsh, I feel like I’m doing a fairly okay job of things so far.) My connection with AB is something I wouldn’t give up for a straight 8 hours of sleep. And if you know me, you know how crazy that is for me to say.

10. Thank God for MFH
One thing that always bothered me on the Preggo boards was how women would rant about how terrible their significant other is/was. First of all, maybe talk to them, rather than a nameless interweb of hormonal women? Secondly, why on earth did you get with and conceive a child with this person if they’re really as bad as you’re sayinig? I didn’t get it then, and I certainly don’t get it now. MFH is my biggest support system. He was when I was pregnant, and he’s even moreso now. He sees when I’m frustrated with Chloé’s crying and takes her to try his own methods of soothing her. He loves and plays with her even after a long, bad day at work. And he is nothing but complimentary about me, my body, and my journey through figuring out how to be a mother. I never wanted to have children before MFH. I realize now that was because I couldn’t do all this by myself. I wouldn’t have made it through pregnancy, let alone the last month without him by my side. I loved him so much before Chloé, but now that he’s her father I find myself even more in love with him. Sappy, but true.

So that’s all for now. One month down. One lifetime to go. 😀