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Thursday, March 27, 2014

BIG crawling days (Week 31, Day 6)

Today was a day like most others - a cold, winter approaching Thursday. We managed to drag ourselves to work and school, bleary eyed and cold. Nothing terribly exciting to report. At the end of the day, I raced to school to pick up Maddy, and got her 1,000 watt smile as a greeting when I entered the room. The monotony of the day melted away, and based on her reported nap times, I was in for a few hours of one on one time with my little girl.
After bundling up and getting home, I put Maddy on the floor so I could get situated for the end of the day routine. However, Maddy seemed ready to play for a little while rather than head off to bed, so I figured I’d give her a little more time on the play mat before starting sleepy time. I’m so glad I did. Maddy continued to move around the mat and sit up by herself, checking out the landscape and deciding her next move. For the past few weeks, she’s been so close to crawling, and so frustrated by not doing it, that I knew she was going to crawl at any moment. I thought this might be the time to test our her crawling skills, and gently placed some of her favorite toys just out of reach. She happily played with the toy in her hand and looked around the room, eyeing all her favorite things. And then, with determination and relative ease, she moved from her sitting to her hands and knees, and slowly shuffled a few paces to her favorite elephant toy, and flopped down on the ground to grab it. I knew it was going to happen soon, and was expecting it any moment, but I still couldn't believe it when it happened, and immediately teared up. She looked at me and smiled, with the expression of “What’s the big deal Mom?”
I could barely contain my excitement. I couldn't wait for Phil to get home so he could see what was happening. And even more, I was wondering if it was a fluke - could she really be crawling? I figured if she was truly crawling, she would try it again, so again I gently moved her favorite toys out of reach. She chewed on her elephant contentedly, looking around her environment for her next form of entertainment. And then she spotted it. More accurately, she heard it. Her rattle. The purple one with the pink handle. The one that fits perfectly in her mouth. She LOVES it. I had just moved it, and she heard it, and she wanted it. She put down her elephant, moved from her sitting position to her hands and knees, and again shuffled along, crawling a few precious steps before lunging for her beloved rattle and licking it with all her might. This time, I was able to follow her with my phone, and document the event for all humanity and family to see.

I’m practically speechless. This transition is amazing and exciting, and I know a thrill for Madeline, as she’s gotten increasingly frustrated by not figuring it out sooner. It’s terrifying as we now have to truly figure out how to baby proof our shoebox apartment, and there will be no setting her down for a moment and running to get something - she’ll need eyes on her all the time. And it marks a major milestone in her life, one that you can never go back from - she is crawling, and is mobile. There is no going back. During the time she wasn't moving around, it seemed to last forever, and now it feels like time flew past like a blink of the eye. I’m know this is not the first time in Maddy’s life that I've felt this way, and I’m positive it won’t be the last.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Stealing Moments (Week 31, Day 5)

These days, it feels like there is never enough time. The days and weeks are flying by, and there is never enough time to get everything done at work, and the weekends are too short to get all the family tasks done. It's easy to get caught up in the constant planning and movement involved in making our little family's life run smoothly. And throughout all of this, I have a profound desire to slow things down, stop what I'm doing, and relish the time with my daughter. Some days it's easy and I can push work and laundry and dishes aside. Some days it's not, and work tasks way heavy, commitments feel overwhelming, emails pile up.

Sleeping Beauty
Tonight Maddy fell asleep all too early as usual. This gave me time to run errands after she went to sleep while Phil stayed with her. Shortly after I got home , she woke up and sat up in her crib, crying to be held. This is becoming an increasingly rare occasion for her, when she is not teething or sick. So tonight, even though commitments are in fact looming in front of me, I pushed them aside to allow for a few stolen moments of snuggle time with Maddy falling asleep on my chest. I know all too soon she'll be too big for this and will no longer want to sleep on Mommy. I use these fleeting moments to soak in every thing about her- her peaceful and calm face, deep breaths and sighs, the smell of her just barely there hair. Her eyelashes that any grown woman would envy. It's times like these when all life's challenges can fade away for a moment, and you can just enjoy the small miracle that you just happen to be a part of.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Teething and Sitting and Eating, Oh my! (Week 30, Day 7)

This week has absolutely flown by. Maddy has fully recovered from her cold, however Mommy was the next victim, so the weekend was spent trying to recover and take care of a perfectly healthy child. Then it was back to work and school, and catching up on all the things that slipped the week before.

Before we could even recover from our last challenge, the next one set in - teething. Every baby reacts differently. It can't be predicted. It can't be controlled. The only thing it can be is endured. And so it began. I have to say, compared to others, I know we have it easier than most. There is no endless hours of crying in pain. No inconsolable baby. What we do have, however, is a very AWAKE baby. A baby that is not hungry. And a baby that just wants mommy and daddy to hang out with her and hold her while she goes through this transition. At 2 AM. For more than an hour. Every night.
This week has been a challenge - our almost sleeping through the night baby has reverted back to up in the middle of the night for long periods of time. And because she has not been eating during the day, she's all of a sudden hungry in the middle of the night again. Needless to say, the work week has been long, and trying to catch up has been a challenge.
On top of all of that, we added continuing solids to the mix, which is a day to day adventure. Some days she loves them, some days she doesn't. Most things green, she doesn't.

And to cap it all, she's made the exciting development of sitting up be herself. It's awesome, and she's thrilled with herself when she does it. But it alerts us of more change. One night this week, she fussed and I went into her room to find her sitting I her crib, bewildered as to how she got there. And at daycare, she sits up only in her crib, and is so excited she won't take her afternoon nap - she sits up and stares at the other babies and refuses to sleep. So the "normal" schedule is now gone with the wind, and we are waiting patiently for a new norm to emerge.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Bad Luck Comes in Threes (Week 29, Day 6)

OMG. I don’t think it’s possible to be more tired. The last few day have been exhausting, and tested every level of sanity I never knew I had. It started on Sunday, when Maddy started developing a deep cough - not a little wimpy cough that all babies get, but a big one - one that told me there was probably more to come. And more to come there was - by the evening she was burning up with a full fledged fever, and we knew we would have to make alternative plans for the work week - there was no way she was going to daycare on Monday. While there was nothing we could do about this, the timing wasn’t perfect - both Phil and I really needed to be in the office on Monday. In the end, it was me that stayed home as there was more I could do remotely than Phil. We took turns sleeping in a chair with our feverish daughter all night, and in the morning began the task of trying to join conference calls, write emails, and generally move work forward - all while holding a lethargic and newly clingy baby.
As the day went on, Madeline continued to get worse - her temperature rose, and the happy smiley baby I see everyday turned into a red eyed, sleepy and sad little girl. There was nothing I could do to make her feel better besides hold her, and that’s what I did for most of the day.
By the time Phil got home I was exhausted from the trials of the day. Unfortunately the days trials were not over. Phil came home with news that our brand new car (the one we bought no more than 3 weeks prior) was dead. It had died on Sunday, and he had jump-started it, and now it was dead again. To make matters worse, one of our neighbors was having work done on their apartment, and while there, the electrician discovered a major gas leak. We received an email that the gas had been turned off until further notice, so that the gas company could come out and fix the leak. I was appreciative of the speedy action that was being taken to ensure we didn't have a serious problem. I was not so pleased about having no heat or running water at the end of October in Chicago. While the weather wasn't terrible, the forecast did show temps dropping to the 30s/40s overnight. So I sat on my couch, holding my inconsolable baby, with no heat, no hot water, and no transportation. The week was not starting out well, and it wasn't looking like it was going to get any better any time soon.
At this point, Phil and I decided that we both needed to stay home the next day to divide and conquer. As Madeline was no longer leaving my arms at all, I didn't even attempt to get her to sleep in her crib - and didn't want her to anyways with the temperatures dropping. We spent the even on the couch - she sleeping on my chest under several afghans, me trying to sleep and worrying about the comedy of errors that had befallen us. In the morning, Phil went about trying to figure out what was causing the car to die, while I waited for the doctors office to open - Maddy’s fever had continued throughout the night, and gotten higher, and at this point it was time to take her in.
Phil was able to fix the car more easily than expected, so we trekked off to the doctor’s together. Luckily, everything looked relatively normal for Maddy, and they ascertained that she was just suffering a bad cold. While this is always great news to hear, the prescription is not - do nothing. We could give her some baby Tylenol if we really wanted to, but the only thing to do is ride out the fever and the cold, and try to keep her comfortable.
With this news, we headed back to our now chilly condo, to find about 5 large gas company trucks camped outside the building. Knowing that we would not get any relief from the cold in our house, we packed up our things and headed to the nearest Starbucks, to try and get some work done but more importantly keep our daughter warm. This was an easier task for Phil and for me - Madeline again did not enjoy being anywhere by on Mommy’s chest - luckily once she was asleep I was able to rig up my computer on a table so that I could hold her and get work done at the same time. Oh the life of a working mother!
By mid afternoon, we headed back to the apartment to check on the status of the gas leak. While it was not on yet, It was time for Maddy to nap, so I again took to the couch and layered on the blankets, to get some relief from the cold.
Our luck started to turn around in the evening, when the gas company came by to turn our gas back on. We were finally able to cook a dinner, shower, and do laundry again, which helped restore a little bit of sanity to the household. Maddy was not fully recovered, so I spent another night on the couch with her, trying to keep her comfortable. By Wednesday morning, her fever had pretty much broken, and while she remained lethargic for most of the morning, I was beginning to see signs of my normal little girl. I spent one more day struggling through conference calls and getting work done in moments between feedings, naps and fussiness. By the afternoon, Maddy was fully herself again - laughing and playing and wanting to spend time with Mommy and Daddy. Now it was time to start re-introducing sleeping in the crib, and our normal routine - not an easy task in itself. Once that is done, there are bottles to clean, laundry to do, more work to do, the list goes on and on and on…..
Did I mention I was tired??