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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Baby Sleep Talk (Week 17, Day 6)

Sleep Talk!
As new parents, kids provide endless entertainment. Tonight Phil and I put Maddy to bed and decided to watch a recorded show on television before calling it a night. Part of the way through, Maddy began making funny little cooing sounds, and Phil went in to check on her. Shortly after, he popped his head out and said I should come in and see this. I knew from the noises Maddy was making and the laughter in Phil's voice that nothing was wrong, and she was doing something funny. 
Standing by her crib, we watched as Maddy wriggled around in her sleep, eyes shut, cooing and talking as if she was having a conversation with us. She was fully asleep, but the noises she was making were as if she was awake and playing. It was hilarious. Phil commented that watching her was way more fun than the television show we had planned, and we both agreed that Maddy seems to take after mommy in that she is developing the habit of talking in her sleep!


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Star Wars Measuring Sticks (Week 17, Day 4)

Madeline is 4 months old today! I can hardly believe the time has gone by so quickly. She seems longer and more like a toddler than ever, and she seems to be changing daily. She is even making sounds today I've never heard her make before - almost as if she is trying to sing along to songs she hears.
As it's Tuesday, this milestone was celebrated with 4 month pictures before heading to daycare and work. Before Madeline arrived in the world and made me into a mom, I noticed that when my mom friends had monthly pictures of their children they would have something in the picture to show the babies change in size - a stuffed animal, sign, etc. I liked the idea of showing the changes relative to some inanimate object, and stored the idea for later use.
Now, every month, I have my chance to stage a photo showing Maddy's growth. Each month I take a relatively normal picture of Maddy on her purple hippopotamus play mat that is cute and girly and sweet. Then comes the picture I look forward to every month. The picture of Maddy with Darth Vader and Yoda.
Mom, who ARE these guys?
What? Yes, it's a little unconventional, but when you have Darth Vader and Yoda stuffed animals that are currently larger than your child, I really don't see any other option but to use them as yardsticks for measuring growth. Growing up my husband and I were both big fans of Star Wars. I'm a bit embarrassed to admit it, but Darth Vader was one of my imaginary friends. I emphasize ONE of. I had several, including a dragon and an Indian. You could call me an eccentric child. Before Maddy was born, my mom came across the dolls and thought they would be a hilarious gift for my daughter. When she received them however, they were much bigger than she anticipated - each one is about 2 feet tall!
Which brings us to today. Maddy dutifully poses next to Darth and Yoda every month, and every month we get either humorous or horrified comments from our friends on the pictures. Soon enough Maddy will get Mommy's sense of humor, and hopefully won't be too scarred for life by the encounter.

What were the crazy imaginary friends you had growing up? And what sorts of objects are you using to measure your children's growth?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Recovering from Sicky Times (Week 17, Day 1)

While Madeline didn't sleep extremely well last night, she shows definite signs of improvement from her sickly last few days. She is still as bright eyed and cheerful as ever, and the clinginess, scratchy cries and major spit ups disappeared. 

We spent the morning walking with Maddy facing out in the Baby Bjorn for the first time, and she love looking at all the bright colors at the farmers market, and watching the monkeys at the zoo. She even took two good naps in her crib - a major improvement over the prior day. The afternoon was spent at a family birthday party, where Maddy was able to meet lots of second cousins and watch children play. All in all, it was a good day!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Reflection on Month 1 of Being a Working Mom (Week 16, Day 6)

As the week continues, so does Maddy's cold. It feels like it is never ending. After a week and a half, her common cold has stayed consistent, and the coughing has gotten worse. We finally took her to the doctor to ensure there was nothing more we could do to help her recover. The kind nurse practitioner examined Maddy, and validated our assessment - she has a cold, and nothing further can be done to help her recover beyond rest, frequent nose cleanings, and feeding her often. And while her cough wakes her up and makes her feel uncomfortable, she is still smiling and playing and enjoying her awake times.
One thing I noticed today in the ever changing world of my daughter was her hands. They've all of a sudden gone from little balled up fists, unable to coordinate motion and only used to flail aimlessly, to purposeful extremities. Beyond grabbing and grasping, her hands are open, feeling and touching all the time. When soothing Maddy in her crib, those little hands wrap around mine as a sense of reassurance, palms open and flat, feeling my fingers and hands for comfort. There is no touch more delicate than that of a baby learning to use their hands for the first time. It's something that I've been experiencing with Maddy for the last few days but couldn't quite put my finger on, and now I realize it's the experience of new sense of purpose with these perfect little hands.
Day 6 (again):
My first month being back at work and a new working mother is officially complete, and I'm officially exhausted. Every working mother said it would be hard, and they weren't lying. The forgetfulness, feeling of being constantly rushed, trying to run full steam ahead while running on empty, all the while trying to halt and take in the precious moments of awake time with your little baby have taken their toll.
For the last two weeks Maddy has been sick, and I've been sick too. So to cap my end of month 1 at work, I stayed home with my slightly feverish daughter. To be honest I was relieved at the thought of spending the full day with her, but knew this would not be a fun filled day outside like on maternity leave. The weather called for rain all day, and every time I put Maddy down, whether it be on her play-mat, the couch or her crib, she screamed bloody murder. She threw up on me 3 times, somehow managed to get poop on me and would only nap laying on my lap. So much for trying to get some work done while she slept! After several outfit changes on both our parts, I was able to get a few calls in (whispering during nap time) and send a few emails, but the rest would have to wait for the weekend.
I know things will get easier. I know I'm in the thick of it now, learning to balance my need for perfectionism at work with setting clear boundaries and expectations for myself. I know that rushing to and from work will get easier, and I'll get into a routine and stop forgetting things and have to come home.
The one thing I know for certain is the quality time with Maddy will continue to be precious, and as long as she stays the happy, smiling, bright girl that she has been, we'll be able to get through this together.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Small accomplishments (Week 16, Day 3)


Gummy Grins
Maddy waved today! Who knows if it was voluntary or not but it happened! Phil and I were dropping her off at daycare this morning and Miss Sarah was holding her and saying good morning. I kissed her and waved goodbye and she lifted up her her arm and dropped it as if to wave back! Phil and I were both excited, and Phil of course made fun of me for getting teary eyed. At almost 4 months, Maddy is starting to do more new things every day, and hone her skills at grasping, grabbing, and putting things in her mouth. She seems to be learning so much everyday, it's hard to know if we are doing enough to stimulate her. The one thing we do know is that her big gummy grins continue, so we must be doing something right!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Rookie Mistakes (Week 15, Day 6)

Finally another Friday rolls around. Maddy's cold has gotten better, but her cough has gotten worse. It's the middle of the night and I'm sitting up in her room making sure she can sleep alright. I've made the rookie mistake that every new mom will make - I've looked up her symptoms on the Internet, and am now worried about a myriad of diseases and infections that she probably doesn't have. Darn you Internet. Maddy is still insanely happy when awake so I don't think there is anything major wrong, but nonetheless I'll be calling the doctor in the morning to make sure I don't need to bring her in. I don't think the sense of worry for your child will every go away.
Sleepy time worries

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Long Weeks and Immediate Perspective (Week 15, Day 5)

This week has dragged on, slowly but surely. My husband and I have spent 2 nights sleeping in a chair next to Maddy's bed. Last night, she was significantly better, and we were able to get some shut eye in between feedings. I've now developed Maddy's cold, so while she's on the road to recovery, I'm feeling the full effects just begin.
All of this has led to a very stressed out mom and employee. I'm beating myself up for not being able to keep up with all the tasks and urgent pieces of work that need to happen in my new role, and my to do list is getting longer and longer. Luckily, my boss is fully supportive of me and with 3 children of her own, understands its going to take me a while to get up to speed.
Today however, life dealt a blow that reminds us what is important. Today we heard news from a co-worker that his daughter had died. While we knew it was likely based on her condition, it was none the less painful to get the confirmation. And as a new parent, it is incomprehensible. There are no words that can be said that can justify and make sense of why a parent should have to bury their child. None. My heart is aching for my friend.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Nose Contraptions (Week 15, Day 3)

Week 15! Where has the time gone? The weekend is filled with baby birthday parties and family time, and we all have a chance to catch up on sleep. This turns out to be a blessing, because Sunday Maddy wakes up with a cold, and Phil and I spend Sunday night swapping staying up with her all night. It is so hard to see our little girl uncomfortable, and know there is not much we can do about it. The one new contraption we decide to try to relieve some of the discomfort is the Nosfrida, a Swedish invention designed to suck the snot out of your child's nostril. And I mean suck. With your mouth. I know, I think it sounds gross too. Amazingly, it is actually painless for Maddy, provides her with some relief, and to my relief, has a filter so that it is not possible for us to swallow her snot. This is of key importance to me. Although I have to admit I'm a total wimp - thus far, Phil has done the honors.
NoseFrida the snot sucker product photograph
The Nosfrida - icky, but effective
After being up with Maddy all night, we expect to have a very fussy baby in the morning. The amazing thing is, she is happy as a peach! Congestion and all, she is all smiles and happiness, which takes away all sleepiness and enables us to power through the rest of the day.

Friday, September 6, 2013

TGIF! (Week 14, Day 7)

TGIF!
We've made it through the week. 
By Thursday, I was able to make it to work without forgetting something critical and having to turn back. On Friday, I spilled the milk I had just pumped all over myself.When I say TGIF, I sure as heck mean it. 
Luckily, my company has instituted summer Fridays, and therefore I was able to get extra quality time with Madeline in the afternoon. While I know I should stay the full day to catch up on work, I know that my “awake” time with Maddy is limited, and vow to open my computer again this evening to compensate. The weather was far too hot to go outside, so we spent the afternoon having some quality time in Maddy’s room - reading books, singing songs, and generally having some quality girl time. As Maddy drifted off to sleep in my arms after our second full week of work and daycare, I let my exhaustion take over and close my eyes as well - who knew that my Friday nights would turn into naps times with my baby, and end up being the most fun Friday nights yet?