Motherhood

My Heart In 365 seconds

Just like the first year was indescribable, the second was even more enigmatic.  But thankfully a few days before Heston’s first birthday I discovered the app called 1 Second Everyday.  And that’s just what I did.  For Heston’s second trip around the sun, I filmed him, every day; and with modern-day magic, I turned it into a 6 min and 14 second video.

I wasn’t sure how I would feel at it’s completion, but a project like this is just up my alley.  (A daily commitment, but just a tiny dose.)  Sure, it’s a little creepy to think that I have an actual video of my child for every-day-of-his-life (hello future therapy problems!); however, I can’t believe how accurately it captured all the changes that occur from months 12-24.  I get to see his first plane ride, first art installation exhibit, first word (Da-Da), first slide, first step(s), first emergency room, first play date, first lemon, first social protest, a few tantrums, tears, and so many giggles.  Oh, and getting to watch that hair grow… *love*  To my surprise (or not) I didn’t feel any nostalgia.  Rather, I felt so much PRIDE and HOPE.  We’ve come SO FAR!

I’ve boo-hooed my eyes out and still can’t stop watching.  If you need a little 6 minute  break, go ahead and boo-hoo right along with me and watch my son grow from 1 to 2.

 

 

Quick Parenting PSA

As mentioned in my previous post, I really know nothing about babies.  But I’m a quick learner.  And one of my favorite -to-date parenting hacks: BLUETOOTH HEADPHONES.

Whether I’m out for a walk around the block or trying to not let the mind-numbing screeches of the Children’s Museum drive me to day-drink, my bluetooth headphones have saved the day.  I’m not zoning out to ultra chill beats, but rather making my brain a little more wrinkled by listening to podcasts!  These four have been in heavy rotation:

podcasts

 

1. | 2. | 3. | 4.

(I also love Joanna Goddard’s recommendations too.)

So when you see in my eyes that “thousand-yard stare”, it’s not just because I’m the mother of a busy 15 month old, but mostly because I’m listening to something really interesting!

My Baby Sleeps On The Floor: Our Montessori-ish Baby Room

Heston's Room

Let me first qualify this post by saying, I know nothing about babies.  Really.  I’ve never been a baby person, nor have I spent any substantial time with them.  We’re totally winging it over here.

We didn’t set out to be all Montessori-ish in our approach to raising Heston, but the more we engage with this life-learning method, the more I’m a convert.  Thus, our baby sleeps on the floor.

We originally bought a two bedroom house (albeit a tiny one) because we envisioned having a guest/baby’s room (and in that order).  I remember being pretty self-righteous and saying things like “Elch, why in the world do people dedicate an entire room to ‘kid-stuff’?!”  I said it before, but it’s worth mentioning again, I know nothing.

Our approach to the monkey’s sleeping situation was not guided by any particular method, it was simply that we couldn’t decide on a crib.  Between cost, design and our tiny space, I remember throwing my hands up in frustration and saying, “Why do we even need a crib?!” I was thinking about having just a day bed so that my mother (and other guests) could have an actual bed to sleep in.  But again cost, design, and space were not intersecting.  And I felt like I had time to decide since I knew he’d be sharing our room for the first part of his life.

I wasn’t sure how we would establish our family sleeping situation; I didn’t even know how I felt about it other than the extreme stereotypes represented in RomComs everywhere: Hippy-Dippy Family Beds whilst shunning vaccinations vs. ice-cold, detached robot parents who farm our raising their kids to a staff.  Surely there were more options than this?!  I implored the same approach we had with Heston’s impending arrival: we would just figure it out.  We started by RENTING the most beautiful (and functional) bassinet, but my little guy didn’t do much sleeping in it (much to my disappointment.)  And really, if I could have had my way, I think I would have preferred co-sleeping with H until he was in college old enough. But by 7 months when we knew H could lay on his back without choking (and sort of roll over) we knew it was time to fish or cut bait.  I felt like I had this window to transition him and this was it.  Armed with some research and my sleep bible, we put Heston on a mattress on the floor.

H Room

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The First Year

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How do you put into words the first year?  Nearly impossible.

Heston’s pediatrician danced with me in her office as I said, “It’s not Happy Birthday, baby! But CONGRATULATIONS Mamma & Papa!” She vigorously agreed and added, “the banner should end with, ‘and we’re still married — sort of!'” #truth #preach

Right now our little monkey has 3 teeth, but according to his 1 year check up yesterday, he has FOUR more sprouting any second!  His weight is in the 64th percentile, his length the 57th percentile and his gigantic, watermelon head is in the 93rd percentile!  Ha, ha! But for a baby that was once ONE OUNCE away from being labeled “failure to thrive” (at 16 weeks old) this is basically a miracle.

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Greetings From 9 Months

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I’ve been searching for my words in others’. I know they won’t be there; but somehow my thoughts are still a jumbled mess of syllables inside my mind. Much like my little monkey learning to babble, it’s how I feel about trying to articulate just what exactly has happened over these last 9 months.

The overwhelming love and joy that I have begun to experience since Heston turned 7 months is white-washing the nightmare that was my daily routine from day 1 – month 7. Everyone says you’ll forget the hard times, and maybe they are right. But it’s not that I’ve forgotten…but I can’t quite remember it, rather articulate it… it’s still so foggy and yet I can’t believe that I actually have “hindsight”.  We were in the trenches.  And then we weren’t.   I may not have the words for it, but I feel that I’ve been marked, branded, in some unique way.  And I’m talking about more than the permanent dark circles under my eyes and the severe postpartum hair loss (how did I not know this was a thing?!); nor is it the mark of general motherhood — but it is the mark of mothering an un-well baby, battling the demons of expectations and comparison, and digging down to a very deep, personal place to find the strength to get up again and again — for 7 months straight.

Color 9.21.05 PM

There are things I spontaneously remember that I’ve clearly already forgotten about…. My mantra for so long was “don’t forget about this,” but the way PTSD works, you’re supposed to forget, to be able to move on.  So while my pen had no fortitude and my memory no energy, nothing is more telling than my google search history; my digital legacy paints quite the picture.

  • what’s wrong with my baby
  • newborn won’t stop crying
  • newborn choking
  • what to do with a newborn
  • does my baby hate me
  • baby poop by color
  • how do i know if I’m going crazy
  • how long can I go without sleep
  • sleep deprivation as torture

And let’s not even go down the google rabbit hole of the breastfeeding problems I was having.  Oh Lawdy.

But I keep waiting to be able to articulate my experience to write in this space, but I think what’s needed is a fresh page, starting now.  So I’ll start with the present.

At 9 months, my little monkey is finally mobile.  He still breastfeeds, so eating is more about trial and error and tactile experience rather than nutrition.  But he loves almost any flavor food I’ve tried, spices and all.  But things with texture… not so much.  Because I’ve never been around babies I’m not sure what is unique to his personality, but I’m picking up on what others say about him. One of the most common comments I hear when we’re out and about is, “he’s so serious!”  And he is.  Whilst out in the world, he likes to be worn in my ring sling.  And he’s SO contemplative.  He sits straight-faced, soaking it all in.  But when we’re at home, he’s all squeals and giggles.  He’s definitely my kid.

His head is finally becoming more proportionate to his body and is in the 71st percentile (down from 92nd!), while height is 47th percentile and weight is 24th.  Watermelon on a toothpick.  And he’s wonderful.

 

My Birth Story

Prologue:

I don’t have the “Pinterest Perfect” images I thought I might capture during my labor and delivery (you know, a la Kate Middleton).  But these images are invaluable to me and was all thanks to my amazing doula for being able to multitask.  They are raw and real and capture the energy of the experience. What I’ve written here is not everything I remember from that amazing day; I could write more about expectations, conversations with my nurse and the choice to encapsulate my placenta. But those are stories for another time.  

Day 1

Well, I should clarify, this is not MY birth story, but rather, my son’s!  *insert some serious side eye*

Like any lover of good stories, I love me a good birth narrative.  It’s got great story structure built right in: an obvious beginning, middle, climax, and then an end.  Even when I adamantly didn’t want children, I still loved this narrative. And it’s time I add mine to the history books.

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Coming Up For Air

Struggle Quote

I think we’ve finally emerged from the fog of newborn days….20 weeks later!  I think I’ve finally caught my breath.  I seem to not only have my nose above water, but I’m actually treading water over here.  I’ve got a lot to say.  I hope I can find the words to adequately capture the last 20 weeks of my life.  Maybe it will all come out all at once, maybe it will trickle slowly.  But words are what I need right now to keep this experience in perspective.  And I want to remember; I want to not have rose colored glasses when hindsight is all I have.  I feel a new strength has surfaced…and lord knows I’ll need it as I find my new pattern of life.

*Mediterranean Sea Moraira, Spain, 2014*