Monday, September 23, 2013

Back to Work Adjustments

So I've done it. I've added the title of working parent to my repertoire. After my summer long hiatus of blogging I'm back with my thoughts of how we're adjusting to our new life as a dual working family.

I was ready to go back to work. I missed chatting with other adults, having responsibilities that went beyond diaper changes and heating milk, and I was excited to have things to talk about other than the number of poops my little guy had each day. I had the luxury of staying off beyond the year mark and feel it was this extra time that allowed me to prepare mentally to take the big step back into the working world. My little guy had gained some independence over the summer and is one of those babies that loves to occupy himself and can do so for hours. I found myself wanting more things to do that were different from my usual daily tasks. We had a great summer and while there were some mixed feelings when the season dwindled down, I was more than ready to move into the next phase of my life.

Daycare adjustment has been fantastic, with little tears, in fact any of them were my own. I was okay leaving him, not worried or stressed, but did get a little upset as the reality that I would not be his primary caregiver anymore settled in. I have decided that at this point in my life that being a stay at home mom is just not for me, but I have the utmost respect for those that do it every day.  That said, it still saddened me to know that my time as his main caregiver has come to an end.

After getting used to the first few weeks of routine, seeing what our busy morning getting ready to leave looked like, and developing a pick-up routine, we are adjusting well. The first week back I felt like a zombie most days because getting used to full days out of the house and away from baby were challenging. Plus little guy was going through another period of fitful sleep, that thankfully ceased when we went extinction cold turkey - we gave up going in to check on him. It worked!!!! He sleeps great now, over 12 hours. I'm not sure how I could go to work each day if he didn't. The zombie time was short lived and now I feel rested and that I'm starting to settle in to my new home life and my new position.

Of course there are downfalls to everything - he's already picked up a cold and had a couple sick days, and appointments that myself and hubby have had to balance. Then of course there is the mommy guilt. Sometimes when I realize just how much I love my job I feel a little guilty because I am essentially dropping off my own child for someone else to raise during the day. I miss him so much and enjoy our evenings and weekends together, but I do like having a different set of tasks each day. I know he enjoys daycare and that it's good for him to be around other children. I suppose no matter what we do as mommas there will be some form of guilt for enjoying ourselves without baby.

All that said, the very best feeling is when I go to pick him up at the end of each day. I'm so excited as I drive to his daycare and see him light up and move mountains to get to me as fast as he can! That excitement I wish to see until he's a teenager and runs the other way!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Crying it Out

How is it that after all this time, I'm STILL here? Let me clarify. 'Here' means up at night, listening to that ear splitting mind numbing late night cry that comes back night after night no matter what I have tried. I feel as though I have fallen into a trap of mommy mistakes that I am destined to repeat again and again in order to keep my sanity. Or am I? Have I found a way out, or is it something that I am being tested on and will have no other choice but to give in?

My son STILL wakes in the night. STILL. It's been on and off since he was 4 months old. The bliss that allowed me to have bragging rights after he slept through the night at just 9 weeks lasted just under two months and then things went steadily downhill. At first these wakeful episodes were sporadic, and easily justified with teething, belly cramps, growth spurts, illness, etc.  It's amazing what you will tell yourself as a parent to justify interfering with a baby's night time wails. The truth is, you will do ANYTHING sometimes to silence that piercing scream because you just need sleep. Surely that's not too much to ask.

The problem with that is, once you start interfering it becomes a routine. In the past, sometimes his wails would receive immediate gratification - a crib side visit from both mom and dad, a brief belly rub, a fresh nummy and some benedryl for what we believed to be aching teeth and gums.  Other times after twenty plus minutes of cries he would get some time in the rocker with mommy and a fresh diaper. Nights when it was longer, and I mean HOURS longer, or none of this worked, one of us would rise and drag our sleepy selves to his fierce screams and rescue him from the throes of his crib. It was here we would commit the ultimate crime - I would nurse him and we would allow him to fall back to sleep in our bed between us. These desperate measures soon became habit, because more often than not, they were the guaranteed fix. So we would reason with ourselves. Why would we let him cry for such a long period when we were just going to give in and do this eventually, why prolong the inevitable? Why not just do it the moment he begins to spare ourselves the discomfort?  Problem - we found ourselves locked in a vicious cycle. Then a new problem. This foul proof method began to fail. A lot.  And sleeping with a baby is hard! He kicks. He sprawls out. I can't move for fear of waking him. Now what?

Here's what I know- I am tired of that and finally at my breaking point. It MUST stop.

So following a couple of major schedule disruptions from our vacations where all nighttime 'rules' were abandoned for the greater good of sleep, I have had it with the nighttime waking. I can't take it anymore and (as of right now anyway) am willing to put in the legwork to let him cry it out simply because I am out of ideas.

I have figured out that I can't simply lie in bed and listen to the wails. When I have done that I can't decide which is worse - the steady screech or the false- hope inducing silence that lasts sometimes as long as a minute only to be shattered by yet another ear splitting scream. Both types leave me wanting to stand with my head planted firmly against a wall, pulling away only to slam it  back and forth repeatedly in frustration. Clearly this is not a healthy coping strategy.  So I have conjured up a new tactic. When the cries start, I get up. I retreat groggily to the living room to watch tv, blog, read - do something to distract myself in order to be awake enough to monitor the persistent cries but not in the semi awake state that was my cozy bed. I have found that while this is frustrating also, it is not nearly as bad as thinking I can go to sleep only to be roused steadily every thirty seconds as the shrill cries continue.

There are still troubles here though, however. I have a breaking point. After two hours, I need to do SOMETHING different. When this point nears, I conjure a plan of 'ok, so I'll change him and cuddle him, but no way am I feeding him' etc.  Progress is welcomed, no matter how small. If he cried for two hours one night and only an hour and 40 minutes the next, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. But then there are the set back nights when he digs in an goes even harder the next night for a whopping three hours. Once pain is ruled out and stubbornness is determined as the contributing factor (usually because he is wide awake, babbling at this point, ready for play) you reach a point where all your hard work is threatened and you are hitting that place where you will resort to your old damaging habits out of desperation. It's just soooo much easier.  'Come on. Go get him. Feed him. Put him in your bed. You'll both win. You can SLEEP.'

Trouble is, he seems relatively un-phased the next day, whereas I am a zombie. He's up at his regular time, busy as a bee and I am in a daze, desperate for nap time for some rest. There are days when I feel I simply have no drive for anything extra, that I just can't keep up with him, and how is that he was up as long as I was, but he's FINE??????

As I write this blog I am hopeful for a solution as we enter hour two of his latest wakeful episode at what is now 2:30 am. Wish me luck that I can outlast him in this battle, and that the nighttime wars will soon be over.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Extended Breast Feeding

Today's post is long overdue..Momma has been taking a writing break. Call it writer's block or mommy busy time, or whatever you want - but finally I'm making my way back into the blog world.

As most of my readers know I have survived my little ones first year on planet earth. Among other goals, one of the "buzz word" goals I have heard all year is breastfeeding your child to the one year mark.   From the start I always took the mantra of breastfeeding as long as it worked for both myself and my son and now that he is past the one year mark - it is still working.  This decision is mine alone and I am very comfortable with it but there are (as always!) issues with it in my world and in the social world around me.

I can deal with the issues in my world. Basically I can strip them down to some sharp teeth and attention shifting. He sometimes nips me, rests his chompers while suckling and pops off without warning to follow a sudden sound or sight.  Those things I have adjusted to. It's the outside things that I struggle with.

Is it just me or is there a negative connotation associated with breastfeeding a baby to a certain age by most of the general public? And is it just me or does the media perpetuate this? Time magazine had a 'controversial' cover a few months back of a little boy standing on a stool so he could feed while his mother was standing and posing for the cover of the popular magazine. I've seen it on news reports, magazine articles - how long is too long? When is the "right" time to wean? Many movies make fun of it by having children who can walk and talk sidle up to their mothers and help themselves to some milk amidst judgemental and harrowing glances from the other characters present - poking fun at this in an extreme way.  The sad part is, before baby I was inclined to side with this "disgusting" view of it. Funny how being in the situation has shifted my views, as is usually the case with everything.

At this point in mine and my son's life I am still comfortable feeding him from my breast. The number of feedings, the times of these feeds and when he eats other foods are up to us and we are happy with where things are. I FEEL that stigma that I should have started weaning by now though and I know I have to rise above it, but it can be tough. 

My motto - what works for me right now may not work for anyone else now or ever. I am not causing any harm to anyone (other than the occasional bite for myself....haha) and the message I would like to send - you never know how you would react to a situation until you are actually in it.  Before you can walk in someone else's shoes, you must first remove your own.

I plan on getting back in the blogging game more regularly now. Stay tuned for some new post 1 year old baby topics :)



Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mother's Day

It is the eve of Mother's day, my second officially, but the first one that I have my wits about me. Last year my son was just two weeks old, and things were chaotic in my home and my life. Now we have reached a more calm atmosphere, not totally calm, just more calm - we do have a one year old living here after all!

These past few weeks we have seen so many changes as his personality emerges. He is a feisty little fella that has learned much to my surprise even at this young age how to manipulate a situation. He has a fake cry and loves to perform for visitors, he is happy to empty toys all over the floor and stack blocks, he loves to jump and laugh - he is his own little person. The development he is making is remarkable, now he claps and cheers on demand, he has learned to play peek a boo by raising a blanket over his face and is smart enough when we pretend we can't find him to be quiet and giggle uncontrollably when we finally "discover" him.  All that said, he has decided to change his bedtime around and his night wakings have started again, so bye bye sleep and free time in the evenings. I can't wait for that to be sorted out again. It's a good thing he's cute.

Being a mom really is the best job on earth. Don't know how else to explain it, or what to say to really express just how happy I am that tomorrow will have significance for me personally once again.

Happy Mother's Day to all the new mommies, to those that are seasoned, those that aspire to be and those that are gran mommies! Have a great day!!

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Birthday Bash!

Time is getting short for my little guy's first big birthday. It has inspired me to talk about what else? The significance, the party and all that goes with it.  

The first birthday party is one that is very significant for your little one and for you and your partner as well. It's the very first time someone in your little family other than yourselves gets to have a birthday. You created a birthday in your life, and I think that's very cool!

For me it will undoubtedly always be a time of reminiscing. Before that famous birth date I was not a mother, and unknown to me I had all kinds of time on my hands. When I was pregnant I was aware that it was going to happen, but the difference between knowing it's coming and actually experiencing that feeling and living the reality of it is two completely different things.  I am reminded of the labour and delivery and the first days home and all the firsts and unexpectedness and things that I experienced. I think of that feeling that you really do forget what life was like without this little person in it, and the feeling of pure joy that words will never really express. It will always be my little one's birthday, but for me it will also be my "becoming a mother day".

Spending time around my mommy friends I have heard of many different party scenarios from the no party with just cake and mommy and daddy to the big bash with every friend, neighbour and relative in attendance. As usual I am going to fall somewhere in the middle with a family party, some food and cake and basically take the time to acknowledge my son's first year.

Whatever you plan to do, here are a checklist of some things to consider :
  • Venue - will you book a public place or have it at home?
  • Guests - Are you having family and friends? Just family? If so, extended? Immediate? If friends - everyone? Or just those with kids?
  • Food - Are you going to serve a meal? What kind of snacks/prep is involved? Are you considering allergies?
  • Cake - Are you going to bake your little one's first cake or are you going to opt for cupcakes or a speciality order? Should you choose this option here, I would highly recommend Cake Queen to take care of this for you. Check out her pictures of speciality cakes - she can make one to suit your tastes :)
  • Pictures - Are you going to be the designated photographer? Or do you have a relative/friend to ensure you capture the moment? Will you opt to hire someone to take care of things so you can relax and enjoy the party? If you choose #3 - may I suggest Knotty Pictures? Check out the portfolio on the website www.knottypictures.org
  • Decorations - Are you having any? Are they going to be homemade? Or are you going to search them out retail?
  • Date/Time - Are you doing a morning or afternoon? Can you have it on the actual birthday or will it be a nearby weekend?  Have you considered nap time??
  • Entertainment - this may be more for older children but you never know! Do you want a magician or a hired entertainer? Are you going to opt for party games like pin-the-tail-on-the donkey or a pinata? Or will it just be kids playing and doing their own thing?

Ultimately the type of birthday party you have is up to you as parents. If you want to keep it simple do just that, and if you feel the urge to throw a big party, that's up to you too. As always, everyone is different and the important thing is to do what you want and try to avoid someone on the outside making that call for you. Do what you're comfortable with!

Happy Birthday Babies!