Adventures in Eating

The sunlight beams through the cracks in the blinds, reflecting off the red paint on the walls.   In the distant background is the sound of the local news, something to play just as a bit of a filler to dilute the silence.   The sun moves in and out of the clouds, placing dancing shadows along the floor.   One little boy, sits squirmly in a wooden high chair, his legs moving around aimlessly as he begins to turn his body around.   His mother glances over every few seconds as she mixes the cereal with breast milk. The dog is sitting at her feet, a little bit drool dripping down the side of her mouth as the baby starts talking.

At first, the mother wonders what he could possibly be thinking or trying to communicate as she continues to move the spoon in a clockwise direction, hoping to get the consistency just where it needs to be.  After all, this is only her second foray into the world of something other than breast milk.   She’d purposely held off as long as possible, eager to continue with the bond that breastfeeding creates between a mother and her child.   Yesterday; however, she gave in, understanding that she was no longer satisfying her son’s appetite.  The realization immediately depressed her and brought her down, and even as she mixed the cereal she had a pang of guilt about feeding him the cereal.   The loud giggle from her precocious little boy brings her out of her state of mind and she smiles as she realizes that this is the next step in his growth.   This is going to be another learning experience in his life and her’s as well.

Her dog has moved from her feet to the legs of the high chair.   She smiles peacefully as her son as he reaches out to the dog, eager for the affection of the family pet.   The dog licks at his hand and he giggles just a bit harder as his mother walks over to the high chair.   Quietly and almost with a sense for dread, she pulls up a kitchen chair and puts the bowl of cereal on the kitchen table.

Her son’s bluish gray eyes look back at her and within an instant he tilts his head back and giggles hard as he rears back in the chair.   She smiles at him and immediately pushes away her reservations she has about not feeding him breast milk, after all this is only one feeding a day of cereal.   She isn’t going to completely sever that bond of breastfeeding and if she wants the “glass half full” attitude, this is going to be a new bonding experience.   With a deep breath, she spoons a bit of the soupy milky mixture into his mouth and watches with her breath held to see what he will do.

At first, he seems to let it sit in his mouth almost as if he is debating what this new thing is.   She wonders if he is fearful of the food, fearful of the way he is receiving it.   She is fearful as to whether he will like it or whether he will have an adverse reaction to it.   Slowly, he begins to move his tongue around as he slowly swallows what is in his mouth.   She smiles and even giggles as she offers him a congratulatory peck on the forehead.   What a good baby he is!   She and her husband definitely lucked out with this baby.

An hour goes by.   The dog proves to be distracting, the light fixture mesmerizing, and the food a play toy.   What was once a clean baby, quickly devolves into a cereal bath reminiscent of the days when the dog would play in the mud.   Her son seems to be happy AND here’s the big part, satisfied.   Finally she lets out the breath that she unconsciously had been holding for an hour.   They had survived, both of them and the best thing is that it was fun.

As she cleans her son, the high chair and the floor (as he had moved his head during one feeding and some of the cereal poured onto the floor), she is overwhelmed with a sense of happiness, excitement, love, and accomplishment.   What a wonderful new experience this had been.   They both survived and came out happier for it.

Comfort, Schmfort! It’s Overrated!

One definition for the word comfort is as a noun and according to dictionary.com, it is a state of ease and satisfaction of bodily wants, with freedom from pain and anxiety.    Of course, the word can be used as a verb, an adjective, adverb, and basically takes on numerous connotations.   We all experience levels of comfort and once we’ve found that particular territory, we’re a bit leery to step outside of the zone.   I’m here to tell you that comfort is a bit overrated.

Yesterday was my first official playdate with other mommies I only met less than a week ago.   At first, as I sat on my couch and watched my son sleep, I decided I would chicken out even after I had already RSVP’d.   After all, why would I want to step outside of my comfort zone?   I’ll tell you why…for the benefit and welfare of my son.

I worry about his social interaction with other children.  I’ve heard horror stories of socially inhibited children because they were not allowed any sort of outside the home interaction with other children their age.   I don’t want my son eventually going to school and not being able to make friends.   As a child, I was apparently pretty outgoing, eager to sever the ties with my parents and even at one point as my parents were registering me for kindergarten, throwing a temper tantrum as I found out that we were only registering and I wasn’t officially starting that day.  I believe the words my mother said I used to cut her open were, “You don’t let me do anything!”   What a precocious little 5-year-old I was.   I’m hoping my son is the same, but in order to do so I have to sacrifice more than just my time and my career in order to encourage him to be a well-rounded child.  I have to sacrifice my personal comfort.

I think I blogged before about how I’m not very good at idle chit-chat or making new friends.   I don’t go out of my way to meet new people, but will gladly take a few moments to speak with them if they are the one to initiate the interaction.  Yesterday, I sucked up the fear and discomfort, loaded up my son and headed out to his first playdate.

I was the last one to arrive by nearly 30 minutes, which is unusual for me.  I’m ALWAYS on time or early, but in my defense I did get lost trying to find the house.   When I arrived, the other mommies and babies were already in full socialization mode.   Davey is the youngest of the group, although you couldn’t tell that based upon his size in comparison to the other babies, so he couldn’t crawl around and mingle as much.  Fortunately, we were able to put him in the exer-saucer and let him bounce away while other babies crawled to him.   I had my coffee and cookies, spoke with other mommies about what they did BEFORE becoming SAHMs, where they were from, what they’re husbands do and if they were looking to have other children.   We exchanged anecdotes and recipes and I have to honestly say it was the most wonderful time I’ve had in a while.

About an hour into the playdate, my son in true center of attention fashion, decided to break up the mommy chit-chat.  Davey loves to jump.   As a matter of fact, I’m convinced the reason he’s so slim is because he’s such an active baby and burns calories like CRAZY!   This doesn’t bode well for me in the future as I’m sure he’s going to eat me out of house and home, but that’s for another post.   So, as we mommies were talking and a few of the other babies were getting quiet, we hear grunts with a clankity, clankity sound of springs and hard breathing.   I saw the other mommies look at me and meekly smile as they took sips from their coffee and I smiled.   A couple of mommies actually seemed to be flush with embarassment (I was flushed due to the heat in he house.). Let me just put this vision in your head…my son, as he jumped in the exer-saucer, was making a noise with his grunts, breathing, and springy sounds that seemed to possibly come straight out of some R-rated movie.  That’s my boy.   He’s always good at injecting a little sense of comfort-banishing antics when I least expect.

At least Davey and I weren’t so socially awkward that we were left out of a weekend birthday party for one of the other babies.   Plus, we’ve even managed to secure an invite to another one of these playdates next week and I’ve even volunteered to alter houses and use ours!   Summer should be awesome with our community pool, so to say I’m excited about how well things turned out yesterday, would be a bit of an understatement.   I’m thrilled and can’t wait for our next group play.

Mr. Sandman, Bring Him a Dream (And Me Too!)

How old is my son?  5 months, right?   Wait, let me check the calendar.  Let’s see…born on September 28th, 2011.  October, November, December, January, February…that’s it, 5 full months.   So, why has his sleep pattern transgressed back to that of a 2 week old?

For the past week, Davey has been waking up at night, not just once, but multiple times.  Some nights, I will go into his room only to find that he’s lost his pacifier, but his eyes are still closed.   Quickly, I locate the rogue binky, stick it back in his mouth and watch as he drifts back off into dreamland.   Other nights, he’s wide awake after only 3 hours of sleep.   When I pick him up to attempt to lull him back into a state of slumber, he starts rooting around as if he’s hungry.   After a midnight feeding, I’ll put him back to bed only to have him wake back up AGAIN a few hours later!   What is going on with my child?

As with everything in life, if I can’t control what’s going on I start to fret about what the causes are for the changes, the ramifications, and what I can do to remedy the situation, which means I’m perusing the internet, asking other people who’ve been in my situation, or even reading books that I’ve checked out from the library.   Something, somewhere has to offer an answer, a reason, a resolve to the situation.  This morning my mind has wandered to the fact that I’m a stay at home mom as the cause for his restless nights.

Looking back on things, Davey seemed to sleep better at night when I was working during the day and he was going to daycare.  Is this just an adjustment or am I coddling him too much during the day?   Have I disrupted his sleep pattern by being a SAHM?   And all this time I thought I was helping him and me, not to mention the dynamics of our entire family by being a SAHM.

So, let’s say it’s not me being a SAHM, what about if it’s the fact that we’ve decided to no longer give him formula before bed?  I breastfeed my son, but we found that in the beginning he slept better at night when we fed him formula instead.   It seems to be thicker and heavier giving him the sense of feeling full.   Perhaps that’s it and tonight my husband and I should go back to formula as opposed to our stash of breast milk we have saved in the freezer.

Then there’s the fact that he has been sick a lot lately, mostly with croup and ear infections.  Either way, both of these kept his sleep cycle disrupted for almost two weeks.  We had to make adjustments to his bed, when and what he was fed (substituting Pedialyte to help break up the mucus) and antibiotics to get rid of the infections.  I suppose he could still have the lingering after effects of those.

And finally, my sister-in-law has informed me that he could just be going through a growth spurt.   Denise has quickly become my “go-to” living handbook where Davey is concerned.   She is a pediatric nurse and has worked in emergency rooms, with new mothers, with teenage mothers, and children who’ve had pretty much every ailment known possible.   I would be lost without her and I honestly think my pediatrician would fire me if I didn’t have Denise.   Anyways, Denise has told me that babies go through growth spurts, times when they eat more, may sleep more or less, become more active, and a bit more needy.   Is this the case?   I don’t know.  All I know is that I find myself saying a prayer every night to God that he let us all, my husband included, get a full night’s sleep.

One little thing to share with all of you, I follow Parenting.com on Twitter and last night they posted an awesome tweet that can be found on their website with tips to help your baby get a good night’s sleep.   It’s titled:  26 Baby Sleep Solutions.  I may try out a few of these tips tonight.   If you’re experiencing the same problems as I am, then continue reading my blog, as I’ll post more solutions and even take a few moments to read Parenting’s article:  http://www.parenting.com/gallery/baby-sleep-solutions?src=soc&dom=tw

Good luck to all of you other moms who are in the same boat as me.  Here’s hoping the Sandman visits us all real soon!

Oh, So You’re That Kind of Mom

I can hear the voice inside their heads, even when they think no one knows.   The voice sounds like the same one that used to be in my head.   It was the voice that seemed to patronize and mock so many other mothers, the ones that seemed to be overprotective and untrusting.  I once promised myself that if I ever became a mother I would be NOTHING like that.  A little piece of advice…Never make a promise to yourself that seems so unreasonable.  

Yesterday was the first day that I let Davey stay with people who are not childcare providers.    Yes, these two couples have been parents before in the past and even one set are grandparents, but that didn’t exactly help me out as I fretted and suffered small anxiety attacks about leaving my baby in their more than capable arms.

When the opportunity presented itself for my husband and I to run a 5k together, our first thought was to have my parents come out to the race and watch Davey while we ran.   My husband and I would have our own little cheering section and how awesome would it be for Davey, while only 5 months old and perhaps a bit uncomprehending of all the events around him, to see his mommy and daddy run a race and promote an active lifestyle?  Well, reality set in last week when my dad had a heart attack which meant that he was limited on things he could do at least for two weeks while the heart mended.   The second whammy to hit was the nasty weather of severe storms to hit the South which meant that my baby boy didn’t need to and wouldn’t be out in the elements.   I made a phone call to my aunt and uncle, a mere 15 minute drive from our house and less than 10 minutes from downtown (where the 5k was to be run).   They eagerly agreed to keep Davey while my husband and I ran.

We dropped Davey off around 8 and immediately I went through an entire checklist of things to do.  If he gets fussy, stand up and walk around with him.   He had just eaten at 730 so he shouldn’t be hungry again until 1030, but if he is hungry then put some water in a microwave safe bowl and into the microwave to heat the water, THEN place the bottle into the water.   I put a blanket on their couch so that Davey could sit up while protecting their fabric in case he spit up.  I whipped out three toys that came along for the ride, one pacifier, showed where the change of clothes were as well as the diapers, wipes, bib, and burp cloth.   I also explained there was a first aid kit and should something happen to call 911.   Yes, I did all of this to two extremely adept adults who had raised a child and had a grandchild of their own.  Thankfully, they didn’t give me too hard of time when I spoke to them like they were 5 year olds.

Last night, my husband and I enjoyed our first adult night out when we went to celebrate a friend’s birthday at one of the nicer restaurants in town.   We dropped Davey off at my mom and dad’s house and what did I do to my mother?   Yep, you got it.  I gave her the same check list that I gave my aunt and uncle, word for word with the exception of when he should eat again and what time to put him to bed.  My mother wasn’t quite as nice about need to control everything.   She stood there looking at me like a deer caught in headlights and exclaimed, “do you really think I didn’t raise 2 children?”   Ouch!   She’s right.

Unfortunately, while adult night out started as fun, I couldn’t bring myself to really enjoy it at least not the way I could BEFORE having Davey.  I found myself every 10 minutes checking my cell phone, almost wanting to excuse myself to make a call to my parents to check on Davey.  I wondered what he was doing and I cringed as I thought that he could be screaming bloody murder and making life miserable for my parents.   I checked my watch as the minutes ticked by and as soon as I was done with dinner I just wanted our check so my husband and I could go get our baby.

I have become that kind of mom now.  The kind of mom who can’t seem to trust anyone else with their child.   The kind of mom who can’t seem to enjoy time away from her child because she’s worried about what mischief he’s causing or what injuries he’s attaining.  I have become that mom who I used to make fun of, the “uncool” (that’s what I always thought) mom that seems to micromanage (and I hate it when it’s done to me).  I have become that mom that I promised myself I would never be and here’s the great thing…It’s probably the best promise I’ve broken to myself and I can honestly say I’m proud of the type of mother I am.

Inventory

I figured I would take a little bit of time to start cleaning out some of Davey’s clothes and get his room re-organized.   Upon doing so, I was led down another avenue that included doing an inventory of everything he has, including toys, bottles, diapers, clothing, bath accessories, and well anything that is baby related.

After a few hours of this and looking at items that have still NOT been opened since my husband and I got them as baby shower gifts, I decided to write a blog to help new parents as they are wading through the sometimes muddy waters of what is really needed for a baby.

One of the first things that came to mind was the ridiculously expensive bathtub my husband and I registered for.   I hate to admit that we were sucked in with the excitement of all of the new, nifty, high-tech items now available for kids.   When we were given that magic scanner upon arrival at Buy Buy Baby, we went berserk!   It was like registering for our wedding times 100!   A candy store for adults, a plethora of items NOT needed, but definitely coveted.

So, let’s get back to the bathtub and the one feature that we were sold on…it has whirlpool action for the baby tub that can then be transferred over to the big tub.   Only problem, it requires C batteries.   Now, let me throw this question out there…how many times do you think that whirlpool action has been utilized?   I don’t think I need to answer that, as it’s a bit redundant.  A kitchen sink works just fine and now that Davey is bigger, I put on my bathing suit and hop in our big bathtub with him.   My husband sits on the side and plays with Davey and helps to give him a bath.  What a waste of money that whirlpool bathtub was.

Second thing I found was a stroller cover that keeps the baby insulated during cold weather.   I suppose if you live in the arctic tundra or are even from my husband’s neck of the woods, aka Southern Canada (just kidding!  He’s from Western NY), then something like this will come in handy.   For SC, where we’re located, the tags are still on it, as it hasn’t even been opened.

Third thing is my boppy that I HAD to have to help me out with breastfeeding.   The only times that thing has been used is when I was in the hospital and first learning how to breastfeed.   After that, it’s pretty much taken up residence in my son’s closet.   I can’t remember to carry that thing around everywhere I go, plus at pretty much any seat in our household there is a pillow readily available that serves the exact same purpose.

What I found that we could use more of is burp clothes, but not in the flimsy little things that companies sell as burp clothes.  Instead, we use cloth diapers.   They’re much wider and thicker and you can buy them in bulk.  Plus they make cute little shower gifts when you take them to an embroider.

I also did a major boo-boo when I returned a bunch of onesies and bibs.   I felt we had too many and that there was no way Davey would need that many.  I was wrong.   Stock up on the bibs and the onesies.   At the rate my son goes through onesies between spit ups, pee, and diaper blow-outs, we should have invested in the company that makes them, same thing with bibs.   Davey goes through at least three of those a day now that he’s teething and he’s a non-stop faucet of drool!

Another thing I’m guilty of, that I would like to discourage is going out to spend exorbitant amounts of money on clothing.   Trust me when I tell you this kid will get SOOO many articles of clothing from family and hand me downs from friends.  Becoming a mom is such an exciting time and we all want the best and finest for our little ones, just remember to use logic and reason before making that purchase.

I want to encourage all of you future mothers to take some time to actually evaluate what you NEED as opposed to what you WANT.   There are only a few items I would encourage you to splurge on…a good breast pump (I love my Medela free style), pack and play, bottles, and a swing of sorts (we bought a Mamaroo, which we adore).

I’ve created an additional page on this blog for Products I Love and will be updating it over the weekend with some of the items I would swear by and if any of you other moms out there want to offer some insight for my readers as to what products you would encourage purchasing and those you would discourage, please feel free to drop me a line.

Congratulations to all of you first time Mommies out there!   It’s truly a life-changing and exciting time!

The Day is Quickly Arriving

At first, I was anxious for this time.   I was eager to start getting back to some sort of normalcy at least with my body.   I knew the day would come, but when Davey was first-born, the day seemed so far away.  It almost seemed unattainable.  Now it is quickly approaching.   I don’t know if today is it, I think that’s highly unlikely, but it could be any day now and I have to admit it saddens me.

When I became pregnant, there was no question or second thought about whether I would breastfeed.   I wanted to do it.  I didn’t need scientific evidence that it was better for my child or psychological evidence that the bonding experience between mother and child seemed to quadruple.   I didn’t need to hear any of that.  I just knew that I was going to breastfeed.

For the first week, my milk was slow to come in and my son lost weight.   My supply was able to rebound once I learned that it was based on supply and demand.   So, I made sure to feed him as often as possible and/or to pump to feed him later.  Quickly, my supply began to build up and I was able to thoroughly and completely satisfy my son’s hunger.

When I went back to work, I nursed Davey first thing in the morning, pumped three times a day, nursed him after work and if he woke up at night.   I had a routine and even managed to freeze almost two months worth of milk.   I’ve been preparing myself for this.

There were days when I would pump so much milk it was insane!   I thought my supply would be around forever, and well I suppose it will be.   The only way to stop the production of milk is to just stop nursing altogether, thus the law of supply and demand comes back into play.  There’s no longer a demand for it, therefore no supply.

I’m still producing milk, it’s just that now it appears that I am no longer producing enough to satisfy Davey, which really hurts me.   I know that he needs me for more than just milk, but I was the only one able to supply him with that.   I was the only one who could quench that thirst and now I can’t do that anymore.   A lump forms in my throat to know that the day is quickly arriving when Davey and I will no longer have this special mother/son bonding time.   I don’t want to feed him cereals and solid foods.  I don’t want him moving into adult foods and drinks.   I guess what it boils down to is that I don’t want him to grow older.   I want him to stay at this age.

I’m finding these past two weeks at home that I’m having to supplement my nursing with milk that I’ve already frozen.  It hurts, but you do what you gotta do.   I’m reminded of the following Bible verse turned into a 60s song by The Byrds.   Everything has to change, it is life.   Everyone must grow, I can’t stop that no matter how much I wish to freeze my son at this time and age right now.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.