Leapin’ Frogs and Brown Bears

Week 2 of SAHM and I’m getting into my routine.  Last week, I spent the better part of it getting my feet wet again and trying to take care of any pressing matters, including non-baby related items, just so that my husband and I could get caught up on things.   Well, a fresh new week arrived two days ago and I must say that Davey and I are swimming along famously.

Today was his first social outing with other babies since I became a SAHM.  Our local library, as I’m sure most other libraries do as well, offers a weekly event known as “Bouncing Babies” for any child 1 month in age and up to 18 months.   It’s a half hour of storytime, nursery rhymes, songs, and a few other little items for the kids.  It’s a wonderful event as it allows mommy the opportunity to interact with other mommies and it allows baby the opportunity to have outside socialization which I am a firm believer in for a well-rounded child. 

I admit, that I wasn’t nervous for Davey, but more so for myself.   I like to think I have a pretty extroverted personality; however, I’m not big on idle chit-chat.  If I don’t have something to say or I don’t know you, then I’m not going to put forth the effort to speak to you.   It’s just not in my make-up.  My son is a different story.

We entered the room to three mommies and four babies.  I took my seat with Davey on the floor fartherest from the door, but closest to the teacher, who had the most adorable little bear puppet I’ve ever seen.  Davey, all bright-eyed and alert, who never meets a stranger (which worries me as he gets older) was eager to get the party started.   Each baby that walked or crawled over to him, my son struggled to touch each of them, anxious to communicate in his way.  He would jump up and down while grasping tightly to my fingers and grunt out his form of talking even while holding tightly to his pacifier.

As storytime unfolded, I began to worry that Davey may not be as “in to” this as I had hoped.   Instead of paying attention to the teacher as she read the first book, he looked around at each face, a few newer ones had filtered in.  I wondered what was going on his head, his hazel eyes darting from one face to the next.  

After a while of standing he decided to sit in my lap, but not once did he yawn, show disinterest or any sort of social awkwardness, unlike his mother at times.   Once story time was over, Davey seemed to want to urge me to integrate myself into a lot of the other lives of mom and kids.   I’m ashamed to say, I sat with Davey in my lap and let him play, while I watched other mothers talking amongst themselves.   It worried me.   Why don’t I have that ability to just go up and talk to other mothers?  And here’s something else I found out about myself today too…I’ll gladly talk about my child especially if someone comes up and asks me about him, but I won’t do the same with others.   Is there something wrong with me and hopefully whatever it is won’t rub off on Davey.

One of the mothers is starting a playgroup next week, something that puts a twinge of anxiety into the pit of my stomach.  I don’t want to do it.   I don’t want to have to socialize with other mommies, but I also WANT to do it.   I want to be that mommy who has outside interaction with other mommies.   I want to be that mommy that plans play dates.   I don’t want to be the type of mommy who hangs out at home, hiding away from society because I may not feel comfortable navigating the waters of it. 

So, we’re going to continue with “Bouncing Babies” every Wednesday and I’m going to RSVP for me and Davey to attend a playdate next week.  I’m going to bite the bullet.   And I know it’s the best thing for both of us, but why is it so difficult for me to do?  

What I’m finding out each day with my son, is that he’s helping me more than I feel I’m helping him.   He’s making me into a better person BECAUSE of him.   He’s making me step outside of my comfort zone and he’s pulling a very reluctant mommy into events that she can only hope will be better for the both of us.

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Confessions of a SAHM

I have three degrees.   One is in English, another in Communications and Political Science, and finally a third in Business Administration.  My dreams were to be a corporate executive, to kick butt and take names.   Men were going to bow down to me and I was going to be the one to call the shots.  My all time favorite movie has always been Working Girl and I swore that one day I would be like Melanie Griffith.  Did I just admit to that?

I wanted to be devoid of all emotions, to shut it all out because emotions only get in the way, they cloud judgment and prevent accomplishments.  I was going to be successful and a shining star for the Feminist Movement.  Marriage wasn’t a priority and having a baby was NEVER in the stars.

Then after college and as I started climbing the corporate ladder, I saw so many strong women running corporations and offices, maintaining a career, while also being moms.   I thought, “I can do this too!  This is something I want.  After all, what if I’m missing out on something by being so rigid in my stance of not becoming a mother?”  So, I decided to just do it and Voila, Davey is here.

What I did not anticipate was conflicting feelings of guilt about not spending enough time with my son.  I didn’t expect to feel torn between a career and work.  I found I wasn’t giving enough attention to my career because I was constantly thinking about what I was missing with Davey and then even when I was with Davey I felt guilty because he still wasn’t getting my undivided attention because I was worried about who I was letting down at work. 

So, I did something I never thought I would do…became a stay at home mom, which I must confess is a LOT harder than people may think. 

Just because I don’t go into an office, doesn’t mean I get to sleep late.   Just because I don’t go to a job, doesn’t mean I’m not busting my rear.   My day isn’t 9-5, it’s midnight to midnight, non-stop, every day for the rest of my life.  Each day is different, each experience is new and exciting, each smile from Davey reassures me that I did the right thing.

Fashion no longer matters to me.  Most of my clothing is stained with poop or spit up or snot (because he sneezed and I was nowhere near a tissue, burp cloth or any sort of towel so I used my sleeve).   My hair is no longer fixed, I wear it in a pony tail even when I may want to go out in public (it’s best considering the fact that Davey reaches for everything and spits up at the slightest wisp of wind).   I once wore heels, now I’m in flats, as I’m afraid my lack of grace will cause me to fall when I’m carrying my son.   My life has done a complete 360, and while I may have days of wondering what’s going on in the outside world and what I gave up to be a SAHM, I don’t regret it. 

I have a friend, former SAHM, who once told me that being a mom is the most underappreciated occupation especially for those of us who need to hear that we’re doing good in life.   I laughed at her because I thought it didn’t matter, that I could make it through without needing to hear how wonderful of a job I’m doing.  I must confess, I find myself working hard every day to keep our house together, to raise our son, and to still find time to devote to my writing, and I miss hearing the words, “I appreciate you.  Good job!  Excellent work!  You’re so devoted.” 

Am I complaining about being a SAHM?  NOPE.  I highly encourage this occupation as it’s the hardest you’ll ever work in your life, but I wouldn’t be giving you all a fair shake if I didn’t at least say there are things in my former life I miss.

Hello, I’m An Addict

My name is Amy Doser and I am addicted to pre-natal, post-natal, and pediatric studies and I need your help.

Being a first time mother, I’m eager to make sure I’m doing everything I possibly can for my son.   I want him to be smarter than I am, have more opportunities than I’ve had, healthier than me, and pretty much just to have an edge on society in general.   Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, the world wide web is overflowing with superfluous studies to help me out.

Each day I’m constantly perusing Twitter, finding something new including the following:

  • Studies show the birth order of children can impact their social behavior.
  • Study suggests that two or more years between siblings is optimal, resulting in higher scores in reading and math later.
  • Australian study finds that late talkers don’t experience any greater risk of behavioral or emotional problems than their more verbose pals. 
  • Flu shot during pregnancy may help fetal growth.

And the list goes on and on.   It’s amazing and even somewhat overwhelming.  I can’t help but wonder what initiates the need for some of these studies?   Are moms and parents asking these questions?   Are researchers anxious to just use some grant money that may “expire” and create reasons for these studies?   Is there a true medical reason or are doctors and psychologists just filling up their spare time?   Whatever the reason, I’ve become addicted to reading them!

I spend the better part of my time on Twitter actually looking for these studies and finds and seeing how they may or may not apply to my life.   I find that I’m actually worried about some of the results and will change-up how I feed Davey, change his diaper, talk to him, bathe him, and pretty much just raise him.   After all, I want him to be the best he can be, but am I going overboard on the studies?  I think so.

So, I’m here to ask for help.  Admitting I have a problem is the first step.  Problem is, I don’t know how to stop looking for these studies and I don’t know how to stop applying them to my life.   Curse you social media sites!  

Am I the only mother who does this?  How many of you out there actually worries about the results of some of these studies in relation to your child?

Just Say NO to Co-Sleeping

I just read a news story about 2 infant deaths last week in the City of Milwaukee due to parents rolling over on their babies while allowing the infants to sleep in the parent’s beds.   Apparently, this is such an ongoing issue within Milwaukee that the mayor has put money into an ad campaign against co-sleeping and the City has even begun offering free cribs and pack n’ plays for those parents who can’t afford a bed for their child. 

I wanted to take this blog as an opportunity to weigh the pros and cons to co-sleeping especially in light of the number of infant deaths due to this.   I don’t believe in co-sleeping.  Every pro I have located seems more like an excuse to promote laziness in parents, but that’s just my opinion. 

For those of you unsure what exactly co-sleeping is, it is basically allowing your infant to share the same bed as you do.   It’s a practice in a lot of Third World countries but is quite controversial in Western civilization.  

The U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) frowns upon co-sleeping for a few reasons including risk of suffocation, strangulation, and increased likelihood of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).  The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends room sharing as opposed to co-sleeping for those parents who can’t bare to be separated from their children.   So, you have two of the highest organizations who focus a lot of their time and energy on preventing infant deaths basically stating that co-sleeping shouldn’t happen. 

From what I’ve read the pros for co-sleeping include the following:  it can promote breastfeeding and bonding, it’s more convenient, easier for a nursing mother to get her sleep cycle in sync with that of her baby, helps babies fall asleep more easily, and helps parents who work during the day regain the closeness they miss by working.  Now I want to offer a counter to each one of those reasons.

Promotes breastfeeding and bonding:  Breastfeeding is the best thing for your child.   You don’t need any “reason” outside of the antibodies found within the mother’s milk to promote breastfeeding.   As for the bonding end, that’s just a cop-out to be lazy.  You can bond in so many other ways with your child that wouldn’t put his or her life at risk.

Convenience:  Give me a break!  When you have a child, convenience goes out the door.  Everything becomes a production and if convenience is what you’re looking for, then make sure you’re rich enough to afford a nanny or just don’t have children. 

Easier for a nursing mother to get her sleep cycle in sync:  Again another excuse.  Many mothers who have participated in co-sleeping have stated that they DON’T sleep as well because they are trying to be too aware of their child in the bed with them and not allowing themselves to get into a deep sleep.

Helps babies fall asleep faster:  This may be true, but again this goes hand-in-hand with convenience.   Plus co-sleeping can confuse a child when they get older and you’re looking for them to go to bed on their own or before you.   Separation anxiety can also come into play here as well with the child.

Now, I know that many moms out there are definitely for co-sleeping and many of you are going to be pretty peeved at me for saying it’s wrong.   It’s a personal decision and my choice is that it’s not worth risking my babies health and or life just to have him in the bed with me.  

If you are going to co-sleep, here are a few things you should follow:

  1. always put your baby on his or her back.
  2. always leave his or her head uncovered.
  3. make sure your bed’s headboard and footboard don’t have any openings.
  4. make sure the mattress fits snugly in the bed frame.
  5. don’t let you’re baby sleep alone unattended.
  6. no soft mattresses.
  7. no pillows, comforters, and quilts.
  8. do not drink alcohol, take medications, use drugs or smoke.
  9. do not allow the bed to be near in blinds and/or draperies.  

All In a Day’s Work

Why is it everything hits at one time?   Life is much like an a snowball in an avalanche.   Problems start out small and only grow bigger and faster with each passing day.   I’m sure I’m making our problems into issues bigger than what they are, especially considering the real problems of the world. 

Yesterday was my first day at home in my official capacity of SAHM (Stay At Home Mom for those of you who are horrible with acronyms).   I don’t want to mislead my readers into thinking that I was under the impression that SAHMs are glamorous roles, because they’re not.  Everything you see on television and read in magazines isn’t true.   Most of those moms have in-house nannies, maids and cooks, so while they may be a “SAHM” they’re not exactly on the same playing field as the rest of us non-celebrity, middle-income SAHMs. 

Davey is still suffering from the remnants of having the croup last week.  No longer is he tortured with the barking cough, now it’s the cold with the incessant runny nose, the wet cough that shows he’s breaking up the mucus in his chest, but also the gagging that follows as he can’t seem to get rid of the broken up gunk he’s coughing up.   Sleeping is miserable for all parties involved and unfortunately any routine I had planned to set this week is immediately out the window.   Having a sick child, who by the way is also teething, means you fly by the seat of your pants.  

I spent the better part of yesterday walking around with him in my arms as he cried in misery most of the day.   He’s not running a fever and there’s really nothing more that can be done for him.   The cold has to run its course and well the teething will be ongoing for quite some time.   I had my whole first day set up, but unfortunately that plan was a waste of my time.   The good thing?  I have a lifetime ahead of me to accomplish some of the things I want to accomplish each day, things that aren’t directly affecting Davey, like organizing a bathroom, loosing about 20 pounds and getting back into my 3 + mile a day runs, even cleaning baseboards and blinds.   All of this stuff takes backseat and since I’m not working at a normal 9-5 job, it means I have all the time in the world.

The downside to being a SAHM is merely in the monetary sense.   We have one less income, so anything superfluous can’t be attained.   Any sort of frivolous item has to wait until we save up the money which is something we’re not used to.  And of course now that I’m not working and we’re on a stricter budget things seem to break around the house, like the receiver for the television or the Blu-Ray player (both of which are Sony and this is the 2nd time in my life I’ve owned something Sony that has broken.  I’m done with these jokers!).   The good thing about the broken items is that they aren’t necessities. 

What is a necessity is a smiling, happy baby.   A necessity is having a well-rounded (physically and figuratively) baby.  So having a day of sweeping with a baby in my arms, folding clothes with a baby in my arms, wiping snot, changing diapers, breathing treatments, feedings and one on one time with my little Bubbaloo is all in a day’s work.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Thank Goodness for Mimi!

I don’t remember much about my grandparents.  My Granny died when I was six, my Grandma when I was 15.  My Papa died before I was born, and my mom’s dad was never really around, at least not in the grandfather capacity.  My husband has 3 grandparents still living, so Davey has 2 Great Grandmothers and 1 Great Grandfather.  And of course Davey has his Grammy and Grandpa (my husband’s parents) along with Mimi and Papa (my mom and dad).  We’re all very fortunate to have such a support network.   I’m finding myself more and more thankful for them everyday.

The thing I’m learning about grandparents is that they can also be used for my selfish purposes.  Ok, Ok, before all of you start getting upset with me and spatting out words like selfish, disrespectful, manipulative and inconsiderate, hear me out, or er read me out!

I’m not sure if it’s because grandparents have raised their own kids at some point in the past, but they seem to have this innate ability to be more to their grandkids than what they were to their own kids.   It’s very rare to hear the word “no” come out of a grandparent’s mouth when talking to their grandchild.   And in most cases, well at least in mine and my husband’s, we quickly rank second to our son at least in our parent’s eyes.  

And since I’m learning that grandparents are so eager to have time with their grandchildren and so eager to please them and make them happy, I’m taking advantage of it especially with my parents.  (cue the devious laughter)

Today after church, we went to my parent’s house for lunch and a little bit of R&R and recharging of our batteries.  You see, I enjoy seeing my parents.  I love them with all my heart and I’m truly thankful and blessed to have them in my life, but when it comes down to it, my parents will gladly take the side of my child as opposed to me.   And, hey, I’m ok with that!  Because basically it means I can pawn Davey off on them for a few hours, so that I can have some time to myself.  Granted I’m still in the house, sometimes same room, as Davey when we’re at my parents, but knowing that my mom will willingly take him out of my arms as soon as I’ve nursed him puts a smile on my face.   This is way better than a spa treatment!

I was able to accomplish a half hour nap today as well as some solitude to read a book.  My husband took advantage of a nice recliner with a massager built-in while also taking a nap and the entire time we didn’t hear Davey cry and we didn’t hear him fuss.  He stayed curled up in his Mimi’s arms and slept!

And, oh yeah, one more thing about grandparents…not only are they awesome as babysitters, but they’re free and in some cases we can actually come away with clothing and toys for Davey, which we did today!  So, I’m here to say that grandparents rule!   Make sure they develop a bond with your child especially for your own sanity.

Thank God for grandparents and more specifically for Mimi today.  

What the Croup is that?

I’ve blogged about this before, the feeling of helplessness, the feeling of being lost, the feeling of running down a darkened hallway without a door, no way out. 

I’ve conquered a lot of things in my life, but I don’t know if I”ll ever be able to conquer motherhood and maybe I’m not suppose to.   Maybe we’re not suppose to be a pro at motherhood, because it is constantly changing.   No way is one childhood instance the same as another.   No two children are the same and no two mothers are the same in how they handle adversity. 

Davey has croup which is nothing more than an amped version of a cough, at least at this point that’s what it is.   He doesn’t have a whole lot going on with it, but to hear such a profound sound like that of a barking seal coming from my baby is a bit overwhelming for me and leads to that feeling of helplessness.

For the most part, he’s a trooper about it.  I try my best to keep him from crying since that seems to make breathing a lot harder on him.   We go through breathing treatments of sitting in a room of steam, breathing it in, and then immediately to the cold air of a freezer.   He’s 20 weeks old, what else can be done?

And I guess what hurts most is that I can remember as a child wanting nothing more than my mother’s arms when I felt sick.   Being held by her always made me feel better, but my son doesn’t seem to be the same way.   My arms aren’t quite so comforting and boy do I feel like a craphead of a mother.  What does that say about me that I can’t seem to comfort my own child?

Bouncing Babies and Playful Dogs

It’s something new every day, an adventure and a whirlwind tour through Babyland that I don’t want to miss.

Little things that I took for granted, intricacies that didn’t matter too much, now seem to take center stage with everything.   For example, my dog, she’s always had this one chicken that she likes to sling around as she practices her typical hunter instincts of breaking its neck.   I used to watch her and occasionally would laugh about it, but then it became a routine and sometimes mundane so my attention began to turn elsewhere.

Now let’s mix Davey into the equation.  I’ll do my best to offer up a visualization that will not only make you smile, but perhaps even illicit a bit of a chuckle, a true test of my writing skills.

Tonight, after we arrived home from daycare, I put Davey in his Jumperoo which is nothing more than a glorified baby walker from the days of my childhood with the exception that the Jumperoo is stationary.   There are three arms that hook onto the tray, suspending it and the seat in mid-air.  Inside these arms are bungees that are adjusted just to the point of Davey’s toes touching the ground. 

Most nights he’s placed in the Jumperoo and he jumps around, making oohs and aahs with an adorable coo thrown in there as well.   He watches me and his daddy intently, an occasional smile crossing his face.   His little head bobbles along while his arms are stretched out to the sides grasping for whatever toy is on the tray.   Occasionally, Dixie will come over and try to lick his face before slowly backing away and at that point Dixie will climb onto her bed and completely ignore her brother.

Tonight; however, was a different story as Dixie decided to play attack dog with her chicken toy, who we’ve joyfully named Cocky (that’s for all of you South Carolina fans out there), and Davey continued to bounce around, but with his eyes focusing on Dixie and all of her glory.   I watched Davey as he intently kept his eyes on Dixie.   Up and down, up and down, he went.   Side-to-side went Dixie’s head as she slung her chicken around.   Davey’s feet danced along as he continued to jump, his eyes unblinking and his mouth open, drool coming down the side.   Dixie would take a break, the chicken dangling from her mouth, its head on one side and the legs and torso on the other.   She snorted like a horse and then turned to face Davey, who took one long unblinking look at Dixie before throwing his head back and with a cacophony of sounds starts laughing as he continues to jump up and down.

Dixie stared at Davey for a few moments looking a bit bewildered at the hysterically laughing baby who still has his head thrown back as he laughs and jumps up and down.   Finally she took a deep breath and started slinging the chicken around once again and we’re back to the same old, same old. 

I wonder what goes on in Davey’s head when he sees his sister acting ridiculous.  Is she like a toy to him or a live action super hero?   And what about Dixie?   I’ve wondered for years what she thinks and what she sees through her eyes.   I can’t wait until I have 12 hours a day to watch the two of them, to see what sort of mischief they get into, to watch their interactions with each other.   I suppose it’s the little things as well as the bouncing babies and playful dogs that makes life smile.

Expecting Too Much

I’m pretty competitive by nature.   I see someone doing something better than me and it pushes me harder.   I want to not only do better than myself, to beat my own previous record, but to also beat other people who I see as my equal.  I want to one up everyone.

At times I wonder if this mentality could possibly impact my son.   I’m constantly perusing the web to find out where my son is in regards to the standard milestones.  

Davey will be 20 weeks old on Wednesday, and he’s already rolled over for the first time three weeks ago, sat up on his own two weeks ago, and has managed to hold onto the sides of the table and steady himself as he stands just last week.   My doctors tell me I have an overachiever on my hands and I can’t help but say I’m thrilled.   This past weekend he grabbed toys off of shelves and even managed to grip the lip of my husband’s glass of water and tip it over on the table immediately following that with a devious laugh (although, I”m unsure if he knows it was devious.)

The doctors tell me he’s off the grid on his height, but is average on his weight and I find myself to be a bit bummed out by that.   I want him to be bigger than the other babies born around the same time as him.  This leads me to want to feed him all the time and plump him up, but am I taking it too far?

I want to encourage him to walk as quickly as possible.   I’m trying to get him to talk faster than other babies and my plan is (was) to have him reading by the time he’s 2.   Again, am I taking things to the extreme?   Is my competitive nature ruining my child or is it all healthy?  

I want Davey to be way smarter than I am.  I’m pretty mediocre, my husband’s pretty smart.   Perhaps if we combine the two together we’ll have a little genius on our hands.   Should I just let him be a baby?   Is it wrong to want more for my child than what I had? 

This afternoon I started working on a curriculum for Davey starting next week, my first week as a stay at home mom.   I want to teach him sign language.  I want to learn Spanish so that I can teach him a foreign language.   I want to teach him words and letters, colors and sounds.   I want to start exercising his brain so much, but perhaps I’m going into overload.  

Is this standard mother behavior or am I abnormal?

How Do I Begin to Raise My Son?

Unfortunately, children don’t come with an owner’s manual.   There is no step by step process to raising a child, nor are there scenarios with different solutions that can be customized to your needs when raising your child.   I suppose that’s a good thing since life isn’t black and white, it’s multicolored and no book written can really offer up solutions or how-to’s for everything our children will encounter.   I still wish; however, that I could find one to at least guide me. 

Yesterday I encountered some things in the world that alarmed me, things that I suppose I’m a bit naive about or perhaps I’ve had my head stuck in the sand.   

There’s a lot of hatred in the world, a lot of animosity towards each other and the desire to conform with the status quo, while it may be the easiest thing, isn’t always the right thing.   At what point is it alright to buck the system, so to say?   Is there a limit to be reached?   Should I tell my son to stand strong in his convictions even in the face of threats?   I don’t really know.  

I’ve turned my back on my Lord in the past.   I believed that He never cared for me.   I resented Him for the pain of taking away my brother and all I could think about was me, me, me and what I thought I wanted and needed.   I have since come to accept the Lord back into my life and it has become by far the greatest thing to ever happen to me.  

I have a new sense of happiness, of fulfillment, of love and understanding and compassion.   I don’t fear for myself any repercussions for standing strong and firm in my beliefs and shouting them from the rooftops.   What I do fear is my son suffering because I’ve encouraged him to stand strong.    I fear the day when my son turns his back on God.   I fear the day when he NEVER turns his back on God, but instead stands strongly on the front lines as one of God’s many soldiers.   I fear this because of the world today.

At what point do I tell my son that he needs to stand strong and at what point do I tell him to back down?   Do I even tell him to back down from his beliefs?  

I want to teach him by example.   I want him to see how strong his father and I are and how strong he can be.   I just worry that it may hurt him and he may suffer.  

My daddy once told me that he was so glad I was born a girl, because he was afraid my beliefs and convictions and my opinions and ability to head butt the status quo would have gotten me hurt in my life.   While it hasn’t physically, it has emotionally.  I want to protect my son from this, but also instill in him strong values and beliefs.   How do I do that?   How do I protect him from everything that he faces in the world?   How do I arm him so that he can defend himself from zealots?   How do I begin to raise my son?