Sunday, December 30, 2012

Highlights of 2012

This will probably be one of the last, if not THE LAST, post of 2012. Holy crap. How did a whole year go by so quickly. I can only attribute it to having a baby. Some days felt like they were months long but somehow I'm planning my little girl's first birthday party and feeling nostalgic for the times when she would take three hour naps and cuddle with me on the couch.

So, a list of highlights.

1. Alice. She could probably encompass my entire highlights post. But seriously - she is the highlight of the year, the most amazing, life-changing, exhausting, awesome thing to happen to me in 2012. So here is my post when she was born. A YEAR AGO!!

2. My grandmother's death. Yes, it wasn't a fun highlight. But she was the last grandparent I had, and it was so very sad. But I truly, honestly hope that there IS some kind of afterlife and that she and my grandfather are dancing together there.

3. All the "firsts." This kind of has to do with Alice and kind of has to do with me. For example: first bath, first rolling over, first crawling. First time I saw her, first time I calmed her down with a song, first time we went to the park together. This has been such a huge year of 'firsts' - and it's just so exhilarating and tiring at the same time.

4. Kay's baby! My best friend had her first baby the same year I did, and while they are months apart in age, it was just so exciting to experience her being pregnant and talking about being moms and answering her questions. I got to be one of her 'experts' and that was just so cool for me, since I am a new mom; because usually I am the one asking others!

5. Family. This is always a highlight, but I love my family. I love that we're all in the same state, even if we still don't manage to see each other as much as we'd like. I love that I can joke with my nieces and nephews, watch them have fun with their new cousin, and call up my dad to say, "Hey, your granddaughter wants to be spoiled and needs a visit - you up for it?"

Okay. So, a rather short list because having a new baby is overwhelming and consumes your entire life. But still....I think it's a pretty good list. Hopefully I will post soon and have pictures of Christmas and even, maybe, do better at posting regularly in the new year.

Happy 2013!!!!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

No Topic Does Not Mean Boring

I apologize for my absence lately. I was so sure that NABLOPOMO would be helpful to my writing more often, and I suppose, in terms of how often I post, it has. But it's not like I'd win the award for posting every day or anything.

This is going to have to be some random, stream of consciousness post I guess, since I don't really have a topic.

I'm already planning for Christmas. We aren't Rockefellers so we are going to have to budget a bit and all, which can put a damper on things when you go off all excited and half-cocked like I do, and then realize that you can't actually buy your child everything you'd like to - but I think that's just normal and makes for a creative strategy. For one thing, I'm already thinking of ways to decorate and give gifts that are inexpensive and awesome but that won't break the bank or kill Alice (since everything needs to be eaten apparently).

One of the traditions that my family began a few years ago is drawing names for Christmas. This totally saves money. But my sister and I were commiserating that it's not as much fun as when we would buy a gift for everyone. Mainly because we find it entertaining and fun to be like, oooohhhh....what would be a good gift for so-and-so, and then get that. It was like a treasure hunt. Some people are not like us, and so drawing a name is easy. And it does save us a TON of money, better spent on things like college funds and rent. But after years of finding something for everyone (we didn't spend a ton of money or anything on each person, it could be something as simple as a cute hat or chocolate we know that person loves), it feels almost Grinch-like to NOT look for everyone. Which is why having a child is going to be awesome, because I am hoping she will not be a Grinch and I will have a companion throughout the year who will be like "Daddy would LOVE this! It's on sale now, let's get it and save it for Christmas!" And of course, I will do that for her. Hopefully, we will manage to afford a sibling or two for her or all my Christmas gift giving energy will make her spoiled.

Other thoughts: Christmas isn't just about giving gifts. We have already begun the tradition (Nick and I) of having a nice dinner together as a "gift" to each other. Usually we eat out and get dressed up. That's the fun part - we get dressed up, we spend time together and we eat good food. We also always donate a book or two to Child Start or whoever Barnes and Noble is involved with - Alice has already donated a book this year. We plan on teaching her to put change in the Salvation Army buckets and to put a can or two or more of food in baskets for food banks. And of course, to pick out a toy for the Angel Tree (or the equivalent).

I am so excited to start our own family traditions with Alice and introduce her to traditions from both Nick and I's families too. Christmas Lights, and Christmas music, and hot cocoa. Decorating. Baking cookies. Waiting for Santa. None of these are of the give or get category and are things I LOVED and still LOVE about Christmas. (Maybe waiting for Santa, but it's really the anticipation, not the get part). You'll notice I don't add going to church anywhere there. Personally, I still miss hearing the choir sing on Christmas Eve mass. I miss walking in the cold to get to church at night, and enjoying the stars, and knowing that we'd get to sing, and then going home to open ONE present and talking with my sister about when Santa would come. But we're letting Alice choose when she's an adult about religion and her beliefs so we won't be doing that right away. And then, only if she gets curious and asks to go. But this is definitely the time of year I actually MISS being Catholic. I think some of it is wrapped up in good childhood memories. Okay, all of it is. Alice will have a ton of other traditions that will influence her later in life. So I'm comfortable with that particular decision. Still, Catholic mass at Andale on Christmas Eve was the BEST time to be Catholic.

What's really nice (and somewhat sad) is that this year we'll be spending Christmas Eve with Nick's family doing their gift exchange and dinner and my family will have a separate day sometime afterwards to do our gift exchange. Which means that on Christmas Day we have no place to hurry up and BE. So we can wake up when Alice does and open gifts at our leisure and take lots of pictures and have a special breakfast together. And then we can have a nap perhaps and get dressed and head over to the Wyant family's Christmas Day lunch or whatever whenever we feel we're ready. Very relaxed. Which is nice when you have an almost one year old.

An ALMOST. ONE. YEAR. OLD!!! WTH?!! How did my tiny newborn become an almost toddler already? Wasn't I just in labor? On Christmas she will be 9 days away from being one. ONE! I can't wrap my brain around that. But that means that I am now in birthday planning mode as well. I still haven't completely settled on a theme, although I'm down to about 4 options. And my husband is no help at all. "What do you think of this idea?" I'll say and he'll sort of blankly say, "Sounds fun." I did get some emotion when I presented the girly-girl, all-pink birthday theme and incidentally, that one made my list get whittled down to four. But I've got the basics down: cake, decorations, guest list, etc. I just have to plug in all the more fun details.

Also - does having a one year old that can (or soon will be able to) walk mean we can set her loose at the park, supervised, run her ragged, and then look forward to her sleeping through the night. Cause that would be pretty awesome. She STILL doesn't consistently sleep well at night. Amazingly, I've relaxed about it because for the most part, I don't feel exhausted anymore and I realize I can't force the issue. She's just who she is, and she already sleeps so much better now that I know things will just improve and pretty soon I won't realize we have been sleeping well for months.

Well...I don't have much else. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Outside My Comfort Zone....Regrets in Life

Sometimes, when I think back on my twenties (especially my college years) I have to actively reassure myself that people change as they grow up, become more responsible, more independent-minded, more self-assured. Okay....usually. And now that I have a daughter, I struggle with worries that I will want to live my life vicariously through hers. I want her to be brave enough to do all the things I wished I'd done back when I wasn't married, or had a kid...back when I was single (but not really happy about it).

So, for this particular post, I thought I'd write about things I regret NOT doing and how my being so well, afraid, of trying or going outside my comfort zone (or worrying too much about what others thought or will think or what have you) has led to my worrying that with my kid(s), I will push them too much in the other direction instead of instilling in them the confidence to choose for themselves which outside their comfort zone activities or choices they want to do. If any.

1. The Peace Corps.- Looking back now, I really wish I'd joined the Peace Corps and spent two years on my own, living in poverty in a totally foreign place and helping people.

2. Enjoyed being single - I was always sad when I didn't have a boyfriend. I don't know why, because when I DID have a boyfriend it was rarely the relationship I have now with my husband. I wish that I had dated - not had a serious relationship, but just gone out on dates with nice guys that I thought were fun and attractive. Being so focused on the whole "finding someone" thing meant that I wasn't looking or was too distracted to focus on things like joining the Peace Corps.

3. Semester Abroad - I could have tried this. I could have immersed myself in a language and a culture and come out of it able to say, "Well, when I lived in Austria (or Spain) I..." because how cool would that be?

4. Been brave enough to be...well...brave. Fearless. Semi-crazy. To go skydiving, or rock climbing, or hiking through the Grand Canyon. Gone to a ballroom dancing class WITH NOT PARTNER! To say, hey, that sounds fun, I should totally try that! And then try it, even if I couldn't get a friend to do it with me.
Note: In some cases, I had spurts of this (usually right after I broke up with a boyfriend and was ecstatic at being "free"or at least making the best of a broken heart) - this is when I tried horseback riding, went white water rafting, went on an Osage Cultural Retreat and tried (and failed) to make Indian Fry bread and did a sweat, questioned religion and philosophy and why I believed what I did.

5. Questioned more...because questioning can be fun! It took some guy breaking up with me because "that's what God wants" for me to start really looking at the things I believed and why - and changing or adapting those beliefs. I'd probably still be blindly doing or believing whatever I'd done/believed in childhood if I hadn't realized that he was an idiot - but an idiot who'd given me the freedom to question.

6. Made more new friends - this used to be so much easier - I had my old friends, but I never really made new, close friends. I can count on one hand the number of close friends I would turn to if I had a major problem, and most of them are friends from grade school - I need to resolve this.

So there you go - it's a sort of silly list and it's not like people go through life without regrets - that's sort of the point. But if you can learn from them and accept them peacefully, life can be so much better.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Kansas Politics

What can I say? As happy as I am to be at home, close to family and close friends, I HATE the politics in this state. And it's not even that it's a Republican state. It's that there appears to be no true discourse. People are very much the conservative, right-wing, Republican that apparently thinks that Democrats, or worse, Liberals, are some evil cabal sent forth from Satan himself. There doesn't seem to be ROOM for other ideas.

Case in point - we now have a legislature that will rubber stamp any thing the governor wants. And what's funny, is that, in this day and age we NEED people that will say "hey, let's think this through!" But that just won't happen. The political process is basically stalled here because there aren't enough people that will fight the rubber stamp process. Of course, the majority has spoken and so I respect that that's what people want (I may not respect WHY they want it or their reasoning, but I do respect that it was their vote and we have to deal with it - much like I hope the Republicans will respect that the people have spoken and now they have to deal with it - nationally). That doesn't mean I'm not worried. My values and my philosophy, if you will, say that an all right-wing Republican government is going to be bad for the state. I think they're too mired in the 1920s or the 1950s, hoping that things will go back to "traditional" society. I have no doubt they think this is a GOOD thing, and when I'm older I will probably look back and think that our generation (the "traditional") was the best.

But it's just not good. It's not good for education. It's not good for the poor. It's not good for women. It's not good for children. Because, on the altar of free market society and the whole idea that the wealthy are wealthy because they are BETTER than others, social programs that benefit the most vulnerable (the poor, children, the working poor, and even the middle-class, etc.) will get axed. And somehow, this is going to create jobs. I am not sure how. I hate to break this to people but Kansas, while having some highlights (beautiful sunsets, wheat, sunflowers, my family and close friends), is not really a place people want to live. Job creators, unless they are already here and have ties, do NOT want to come to a place where the arts and education are considered nothing worth investing in (at least officially....I am aware that individuals consider these things great...just so long as they don't have to pay taxes to support them). Where science is ignored for religious, moral, and fear-based reasons.

And I'm generalizing here, I realize that. But living in a state that is so red that anyone who is even slightly NOT red (pink, maybe?) is considered a socialist, evil, dictator-loving, heathen who will ruin the country if they ever get any kind of power...well, who wants to live in that state?

Then again....we do have awesome sunflowers. And wheat. And my family is here, and they HAVE to love me because of that whole blood ties thing. So maybe I'm just being cynical.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Happy No-More Election Day!

Well, I guess I kind of HAVE to say something about the election. I'm already reading the "Dear God, help us," stuff on Facebook and the whole "this country is now going to fall into disaster and our grandchildren will suffer because we're going to go the way of Greece." I never remember hearing this when Bush was directing us into two unpaid-for wars, but whatever. Now, I reflect on the fact that my guy totally won. And I'm excited and hopeful again, because the Republicans can no longer hold out for their goal of destroying a possible second term for President Obama. He's got his second term. So what will they do - will they actually learn that it's not always going to be "my way or no way and if that dooms the country or ruins its good name, well I don't care." Will they start letting bills come to a vote instead of filibustering every single thing out of spite? Or will they sit up and take notice and work to try to solve the problems that past Congresses and Presidents have caused (and notice, I include Democrats in this - they're/we're not perfect by a long shot).

Will they stop talking out of their asses about rapes and women and maybe re-authorize the Violence Against Women act and help figure out a way to fund processing of rape kits? Will they stop assuming that an insurance mandate for birth control without co-pay will create a nation of sluts and just focus on maybe passing some programs that will help families support the children they already have? Will they start talking about realistic ways to cut the debt and trim programs instead of bowing to the wealthiest of the wealthy and only agree to trickle-down economics? I don't know. I hope so.

This country is heading toward a more progressive future. Last night, in Wisconsin, the first openly gay candidate secured a Senate seat. Claire McCaskill won in Missouri. Elizabeth Warren! I was thrilled - good job Massachusetts, get rid of the Tea Party, what were you THINKING?! The citizens earned my respect when they also voted against the WWE mogul in Connecticut - I just don't think Linda McMahon was the right person for a position in the government when her only accomplishment was making tons of money off sexism, violence, and frankly, stupid entertainment (my opinion!). And Republicans scared off moderate Olympia Snowe of Maine by their extreme intransigence (she retired) - and the state replaced her with an Independent who was the target of majorly negative campaign ads on the part of the Republicans super-Pac. Good job Republicans...I don't know who he'll caucus with, but I'm sure he'll remember that when he's trying to decide! Okay, I HOPE he'll remember that when trying to decide.

Maine and Maryland VOTED for marriage equality, which makes me really hope that in the future, the thought of denying two people of the same sex who love each other the right to get married will be as abhorrent as the thought of denying two people of different races who love each other the right to get married. And Colorado and Washington voted to legalize marijuana. Maybe they'll be an inspiration to us all and make tons of tax money off that move, thus heralding in a new era of a more selective War on Drugs.

Obama carried, from what I can gather in the frantic news cycle, every group under the age of 45 and most of the non-white and women voters. Perhaps the GOP will learn from this. Perhaps not. But they have a problem - they're too eager or willing to let the far right-wing, crazy-ass conservatives (and here I'm talking about the ones who won't budge no matter what and are so far from the majority's ideas that they sound batshit insane to most people in the country) control their party. Put another way - would Eisenhower have ever gotten through the Republican primary with the party today? I seriously doubt it. Moderates aren't evil. Give me a moderate that leans more to the left on social issues and slightly to the right on fiscal issues and I might have trouble making my choice at the polls.

But let me add one final thought. Yesterday, I took my daughter to vote with me. And I was sad, because I didn't see a lot of kids with their parents. I was sad because I don't remember ever going with either of my parents to vote. And my husband and I were talking on the way home about how apathetic people are - how voter turnout is so low. We were thinking that one reason might be that people aren't including their kids in this incredible and important civic responsibility (in some way - maybe your kid couldn't be trusted to behave at the polls or something like that - there are of course, variances). Maybe, if polling places had stickers for kids that said "My mommy/daddy voted" and had a more kid-friendly atmosphere, within reason of course, and the country voted to make Election Day a national holiday, so that no one has to worry about missing even an hour of work to vote, and people could celebrate and make it an awesome, educational, civic pride heavy day, our next generation would grow up thinking it could make a difference. It could take pride in voting and take the country back from the incredible influence of money in politics. Maybe not. Perhaps I'm an idealist.

But I have a lot of hope today.

Next up - I'll be talking Kansas politics. Should be fun.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Mommy Confession

You know, I sometimes like to read mommy blogs and find out what, exactly, other moms are doing right or wrong, or even just to vicariously commiserate with someone I don't know who might be going through the exact same thing I am.

But right now, I am going to put out my OWN mommy confession. Here it is: for the most part (unless she falls asleep in the car) my daughter is STILL being held for naps. This wasn't always the case. I started off trying to get her to sleep in her crib for naps (well, her bassinet at first then her crib). But of course, as a newborn, she didn't want to do that. So she slept in her crib, in my arms until I could lay her down, in her bouncer, in the car, whatever. And then, I started to really try to get her on a schedule so that she would KNOW that it was nap time and she needed to go down in her crib, even if I put her there asleep.

And one day, it worked- I put her down and she had two 90-minute naps. And the next day was okay, but still she slept in her crib. And then came her first cold! My poor baby!!! She didn't feel well and she definitely couldn't breathe. It was miserable for everyone. But I hit upon the solution of holding her while she napped so she could breathe. And she did so much better and got better so much faster with the sleep....only after that, I didn't try very hard to go back to putting her in her crib. I would sit and read my Kindle and she'd sleep, usually 1 1/2 hours or so, and we'd play and all was well. But I felt guilty. She isn't able to sleep with a babysitter or even her father, because I am the only one here during naps and I hold her. She isn't sleeping wonderfully during the night, because I think she thinks eventually I will hold her then. And some of it is just that she is so active now, that I miss all our cuddles from when she was teeny tiny. But that's about my issues, not hers. Plus, I'd really like to get more of my ongoing novel written.

So today, I started, once again, with nap training. She'll be doing a small version of cry it out, which I hate, hate, hate, but which worked well at night when we finally gave in and tried it because she'd been waking up every 45 minutes for weeks! And we got some good long spurts of sleep which was good for everyone. It's not perfect, but I rarely complain.

So now, I am writing this post while watching the clock so I can time when I can go in, and reassure my daughter I am still here and even though things are changing I still love her. I already hate this week.


I kept thinking I'd forgotten something yesterday, but I was so tired I couldn't remember what it was. Then, this morning I realized I'd missed a couple of blog posts. For some reason, I was thinking that I'd written one the afternoon before yesterday so I was only missing one, but alas, no I was wrong. I had missed BOTH Saturday and Sunday.

So now, I will have to come up with TWO blog posts today to make up for it. Or is it three? At any rate, I better come up with some good blog posts in the future.

So here it is. The first blog post is about my failure. Sorry it's so boring. The next one, which I will be writing here in about five minutes, will involve my daughter. Hopefully, that will get me caught up a bit.

NABLOPOMO - how could I fail you already!?

Friday, November 02, 2012

Fall Days

I really love fall - it's my favorite season. I love the idea of cool, crisp days where you don't have to wear a bulky coat but you DO have to wear cute sweaters and boots. Preferably while walking either on a tree-lined sidewalk or in the woods. Wherever leaves are falling and you're holding the hand of that special someone. I love how the light looks and how the air smells fresher. It is in fall that I am the most introspective and creative. I feel inspired to write more (if I had the opportunity, that is)and just think more - about nature, about spirituality, about family and friend, about all sorts of deep things.

And just think about it - in the fall, school starts, there's Halloween, Thanksgiving, my birthday, bonfires and s'mores! All cool things to look forward to when the cooler weather hits.

Anyway, Alice (you knew I'd bring up my daughter eventually, right?) and I went to Botanica today to enjoy the fall weather while we still had the chance. It was slightly warmer than I would have liked, but I went with it. Alice LOVES to be outside - she adores it. We had a picnic in the grass, I talked her out of eating leaves, sticks, and grass and instead eating her yummy baby food and puffs, and then we walked around. Sadly, Botanica had started to turn off their water fountains and such, so there was no playing in the water. But she did get to crawl (with some help from me) up the tree house in the children's garden and we both crawled through a huge log. We even found a small garden area for toddlers and babies with fun books and the Hungry Caterpillar! Alice made a friend or two while we were there - she was very impressed by the little girls pigtails. It was such a nice afternoon.

And while sometimes it's more hard work than it's worth to try to get a baby all packed up to do something that includes lunch and activities and all that, today was not one of those times. Except perhaps, for Alice, who didn't get to eat grass, leaves, and sticks.

Thursday, November 01, 2012


It's November already?! But I haven't written Alice's last two birthday letters. Of course, I have stopped that for personal reasons - namely, I'm not so sure she'd appreciate having her first year of childhood posted on the internet for all to see.

So, it's National Blog Posting Month. In other words, I have accepted the challenge of writing a post every day for a month. Loyal readers - it'd be nice if you could maybe send in some topic ideas.

Thought for the day: In watching this episode of 666 Park Avenue (the Halloween episode) in which a woman is killed by her husband with an axe and dies in front of her small daughter I exacted a promise from Nick - if he becomes insane because of a possible pact with the devil (if there is one)he has to promise to murder me when Alice is spending the night somewhere else and never come back from the dead to hurt her also.

Good to know we're planning for the future.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Alice: Seven Months

Dear Alice,

It's August and you turned seven months old this month. I just can't believe how fast the time is going. This past month has been so busy, busy, busy. There have been trips to the zoo, feeding the giraffes, swimming, walks, new books, just so much that you've done. You're sitting up so well by yourself, and you seem so proud too. You can roll to your tummy, scoot backwards, and sit up like a big girl. We've had to move your crib mattress down because you're able to pull yourself up to your knees.'re totally mobile - crawling. You're still somewhat slow and you get frustrated pretty easily but you are working hard. You also LOVE to stand and get mad sometimes when we sit you down because you want to hold onto us, or the side of the bathtub, and try to pull yourself up or stay standing. I foresee an early walker, not that I'm anxious for you to be even MORE mobile than you already are.

You're absolutely adorable and get tons of compliments and smiles whenever we go out somewhere. You smile a lot and are generally a very happy little girl - smiley, laughing more, playing well with your toys....every day is pretty much a joy. There are exceptions - this month was another first and it was not a fun one: you got your first cold, probably because of that whole being adorable and people loving to talk to you and unfortunately, touch you. Some stranger at the Farmer's Market thought it would be okay to kiss you and we think that's how you got sick. You were pretty miserable with a fever and a runny nose, and you couldn't breath you were so congested. We had to prop up your mattress and run the humidifier at night, and you had so much medicine in you and on you. Your naptimes were okay because I'd hold you upright on the boppy and rock you so you could breathe. I think it also helped because you needed the extra cuddling. But we got through it and you were still a pretty happy baby throughout.

The sleeping at night is still going very badly. Daddy and I have tried a lot of different things, but we've finally decided that we'll probably have to use the Ferber method and make you cry it out a bit. Believe me, it will be harder on us than you I think - I really didn't want to make you cry at all, but you're still so tired, even after good naps and you're only sleeping at most, 2 hours at a time, sometimes 3 on a good night. That's just not good enough for you anymore. I know you won't remember it, so just know that this was so hard on us. We hate to have you cry.

You've also got two teeth this month - both of your bottom teeth have popped on up and it's making you pretty unhappy: at night, we'll give you Tylenol or Ibuprofen, but during the day I try to make sure you have lots of stuff to chew on and suck on, especially cold washcloths. I wasn't looking forward to this particular development, but you're so cute. I think so far we've handled it pretty well. I am not looking forward to the many more months of teething, but I think we'll all survive.

This has been a whirlwind month and so much has happened, but I'm really looking forward to this fall with you - mommy's birthday, your first Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas....we have so much to look forward to. I love you, my sweet sweet daughter and I can't wait to see what you will come up with next. You are my sunshine.


Thursday, August 02, 2012

Alice: Six Months

Dear Alice,

Remember in my last post, how I said I was dropping the ball. Well, I still am. I will try to do better!

This last month you turned six months old. WOW! You have already been alive for half of a year! And you can do so much now. You've mastered sitting up (for the most part, there are still times when you'll tip over, but usually it's because you've reached too far) and are able to get from sitting up to lying down. I still am not sure how you do it, because you have some kind of radar and only do it when I'm not looking. But I'm impressed, just so you know. You LOVE to play with your toys and the Fisher-Price stack-up rings are your favorite. You like blocks, especially when mommy or daddy stacks them up and you can tip them over. And you recently got a puppy that talks and sings and does the alphabet and counts and you LOVE it. You can make it work all by yourself, and you grin at it, just like it's talking to you. And you talk back too! So adorable. So thanks to your great uncle and aunt, because that gift was a major hit!

This month you had your check-up and you weighed 18lbs. 5oz. and 1/4, which puts you in the 90th percentile for weight. But we were amazed that you were in the 95th percentile for length at 28 inches - you're TALL. Of course, we shouldn't have been surprised because you have outgrown so many clothes this month. Not that mommy really minds, since then she gets to take you shopping for more cute clothes, but it's so strange that you're in 9 month clothes (for the most part) and even 12 month clothes, when you're only 6 months old. The shots weren't as bad as before - we gave you ibuprofen beforehand and I nursed you right before and right after and you fell asleep on the way home. I wish you were one of those babies who could sleep it off, because I think that would be easier on you, but you are unique.

Speaking of sleeping, I don't know what has happened lately, but it's almost as bad, if not worse, than it was when you were brand new. A week and a half ago, I was all excited because I put you down for two naps (in your crib!) and you had great naps - 90 minutes each and you were in a good mood. But then that night all hell broke loose - you were up after only 30 minutes after our bedtime routine and wouldn't go back down for three hours. And while it's gotten slightly better, you are still having a major problem there. We'll put you down, just like always (we have done the wake to sleep for months now, so you know you're in your crib) but you always wake up - sometimes it's 30 minutes in, 45 minutes in, or if we're lucky, 2 hours in....and you're not always hungry either. And you're going through a major mommy phase - at night, I'm the only one that can comfort you and get you back to sleep, which makes it hard on me, Daddy, and you.

We don't want to make you cry it out; we agreed even before you were born that we didn't like that, but some nights we feel desperate and think maybe we should. Of course, we don't know why you're waking up - separation anxiety? Teething (probably partly)? Because you like to sleep on your side and then roll onto your back while you sleep and wake up and can't seem to settle on your own (which is weird, because you CAN do it, you do it maybe 50% of the time later on at night). At any rate, while I feel frustrated and tired and I know you're tired too, I also have hopes that this too shall pass - a lot of other tiring things have and you're getting older.

But right now, you have to take naps on my lap on the boppy. To be honest, while this cuts into time to get things done, I kind of enjoy it. I read books on my Kindle and we cuddle and I know that I won't get to do this with any of your hypothetical younger siblings because I'll have you to take care of also. So unless you take an ultra short nap for some reason, we're doing good with that. And you go to sleep just fine at night, it's just a matter of staying asleep that you're bad at - but you'll get there.

Other than the sleeping thing you are the BEST baby ever! You are babbling even more and love to make spit bubbles. You play with your toys with us and by yourself. We take you swimming at the pool and you LOVE water. You kick your legs and everyone just loves to watch you because you're so cute. I can't wait until this fall when we can take our parent/tot swimming class (I hope that we'll make some friends). You and our cat Leo are major pals - he'll come and sit next to you and he's so patient when you try to eat his tail or pull his ears and you watch him intently whenever he comes by you. And he stays with you, I think to protect you. We have to keep the door to your room closed at night so he won't come in and sneak under your crib. It's wonderful - we were really worried that he would be jealous or try to hurt you.

You smile all the time and laugh (although you're not a laughing baby - you are very particular) a lot. You rarely cry, although you can get fussy. And when you do cry, it's so sad - you get pouty lips and tears come down and your face gets all red (much like me, actually). You love music and hearing me sing, so I tend to sing a lot! And even Daddy sings. You and Daddy love to cook together - it's like watching a cooking show whenever you do, and it's so funny and wonderful. We actually have something of a schedule - we're up by 8 (usually 7 or 7:30) and we get dressed and play and make the bed, etc. You're sleepy about 2 hours after that and so we have a nap. After that we play some more, have lunch, go swimming, or run errands, and then it's back for another nap. By 6 you're ready for dinner, bath, and bed.

This month we did have sad news - your great-grandma Judy died. We couldn't make it to the funeral, but I am so glad that you got to meet her when you did. That was special and worth the trip up there. I can't wait until we get to take another vacation together, preferably for a more fun reason than an ill grandma. Every day I hold you in front of a map of the world and I ask you to 'point' to where you want to go. Funnily enough, you point to Kazakhstan an awful lot, but I prefer to think it's because it's bright orange! But you've also picked out Australia, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, California, Alaska, Germany, France, and England. I'm up for it, we just have to win the lottery.

Your sixth month was amazing and fun and I can't wait to see what you do next - you're so close to crawling, so I'm sure that will be in your next post (if I write it in time, of course!). I love you so much, and I just love being your mother.


Sunday, July 01, 2012

Alice: Five Months

Dear Alice,

Mommy is just totally dropping the ball. Used to be, I'd post these right away, but and I have just gotten so BUSY lately.

You are just a major delight. Every day you smile a lot and laugh a lot and have fun with me and Daddy and your toys. This past month you've mastered rolling over from your back to your belly. You've rolled from tummy to back also, but only about three times, and in between those times you apparently forget that you've done it and so you get really mad once you're done playing on your tummy and you want to go back over again. So you squawk at me and I'm like "You've DONE this before!" But you don't appreciate that, and of course, I help you.

You're sitting up all by yourself like a big girl, and though you're still a bit wobbly and eventually tip over in some way, you've mastered it pretty well. You can sit for minutes at a time and reach for toys and you look at your feet and bend allll the way down to put your toes in your mouth. It's so adorable, and I can't believe my tiny little newborn is now able to sit up!

You still love your bath times and now you kick in the water and reach for the rinse cup so you can chew and suck on it. You LOVE to have a washcloth to suck on and bathtime is one of our favorite parts of the day. Daddy and I always try to do it together too. At the end, we actually have to brush your hair now - it's coming in really nicely, and a bit darker than we expected. I am still hoping you will have curls, but it's still too soon to tell.

We started you on solid foods this month, but only a little bit and very slowly. You didn't like the rice cereal and neither did your diapers, which remained rather empty - and it gave you a tummy ache. So we backed off of rice cereal and tried oatmeal, and you really seemed to like it better. Next we tried vegetables: carrots were first and you LOVED them! You were grabbing at the spoon and grinning! Mommy makes your baby food, for the most part, and these were homemade and I am so happy you liked it! Next up, we did squash and you liked that even better than carrots. So mommy now has to make sure she has squash and carrots on hand. It's so much fun to watch you try these things and get excited about it. It makes me excited to try new things and I just love to introduce things to you - everyone always says it makes you appreciate things when you have a child, and they are right. Sweet potatoes are also a favorite! We're slowly making our way through the orange vegetables, and soon we will try green and yellow, and then fruit. When you eat off the spoon you're so funny and cute - you grab the spoon and reach for me and pull my hands toward your mouth and then suck the food right off. Eating makes you so excited and you get impatient if I move even the tiniest bit too slow! You're also still nursing quite a bit, but I don't mind, even in the middle of the night. Maybe even especially then.

Despite the fact that you are five months old, you're still not a great sleeper. Some of it is that there is just so much to see and learn, and you're so alert, that you don't want to waste a second sleeping. But you're slowly getting better. You wake me up quite a bit at night, and some of it is just habit I think, and it's something we'll have to work on. But at night, when you're hungry and you call for me I go to your nursery and we rock and even when I'm tired and sleepy, I watch you nurse and doze and we rock, and I try to remember how little you still are, despite how BIG you seem. In the mornings, Daddy will bring you in to me and you and I snuggle and sleep in a little bit, and you usually wake me up and give me the biggest smile in the world, like you can't believe that I'm next to you. It's such a great feeling.

This past month you've got to try so many new things: you've stayed up late, played with your cousins (some of whom you just met) met new uncles, gone swimming, stayed with someone other than your parents (that's right, you had a babysitter for the first time!)'re just experiencing so much and I know you're really having fun. You and I took a trip to see our family out in Albert, Kansas and you had so much fun playing with your cousins and aunts and uncles. They loved having you around and it was so nice for us to get out and about.

Daddy had to go away this month for a conference and he missed you so, so much! Every night he'd call and talk to me and make sure to send you kisses. It was such a long trip for him, and you missed him too.

Yes, this last month has just flown by, and you've gotten so much bigger and are still so amazing. I can't wait to see what you'll do next, but as always - don't get bigger too fast. I want you to stay this little forever!



Monday, May 14, 2012

Alice: Four Months

Dear Alice:

You turned four months old two weeks ago, and I am just now starting this lovely blog post to commemorate it.

Why did it take me so long?

Well, first, you got your shots. My poor baby: I know why some people are against vaccines and I think secretly, it has nothing to do with any kind of concern for how they're made or what's in them. It's all because of that moment when the needle goes in their baby's leg and that split second of W.T.H?! that happens before a pain-filled cry fills the room. And then you have to try to calm them down after feeling like you're the worst mommy and just betrayed them. Your shots did not go as well as your two month ones. Apparently, you have a bad reaction and it makes your leg turn red and swell up, and your feet get all hot. This time it took you a long, long time to calm down - even trying to nurse didn't help, despite the fact that you were hungry. I felt so awful not being able to comfort you and so did Daddy. But somehow, thanks to baby Tylenol and lots of snuggles you did fine after a couple hours and slept it off. Unlike other babies you don't just fall into a shot-induced sleep coma although you did sleep pretty well.

And then we found out that your great-Grandmother (my Grandma) was very very ill and was probably dying. And it is so important to me that you meet her. So we packed you up and us up and headed on a whirlwind trip up to South Dakota for your first vacation (or as we labeled it a "stress-cation"). You had just had shots and we were really worried about how you'd do in the carseat for such long periods of time, but you surprised us and did fantastic! You played with toys I brought and held my fingers and looked out the window at the sky and talked and then slept. And you took pretty good naps in your carseat too!

On the way there, we stopped at Cathedral of the Plains, this really large church. We had lunch and looked at the pretty windows and took a picture and then hit the road again.

We stayed in a hotel in Nebraska. 

We went straight to see Grandma Regan and you got to meet your Uncle Tom. Unfortunately, we didn't get any pictures of you with, well, anyone else except Grandma. Don't really know what we were thinking. And we aren't going to put the pictures of you with Grandma up, because I don't think she'd like it. But she was very ill and you did quite well with the room, and meeting new people, and just generally were a wonderful baby. We did manage to get some sight-seeing in on the last two days we were there.

You had to wear my hat because we'd forgotten your sun hat in our hotel room. That's Mt. Rushmore in the distance. I love the look on your face. At Mt. Rushmore we got you a National Parks passport and guidebook - so every time we go to a national park, you can get it stamped with the date and the symbol for that park. I am so excited to start taking you places and when you get bigger to hopefully see you get excited at getting your passport stamped!

And we managed to get a family photo taken too - somehow!

This one is you and me in Spearfish Park by the creek. And the next one is you and Daddy by that same creek. It was nice to get out and get some fresh air and have you not be confined in your carseat or someone's arms.

We traveled through Custer State Park and saw amazing views and rock formations, and went through the Wildlife Loop and saw buffalo, antelope, prairie dogs, and even a prairie rattlesnake (yikes!).

Our trip was crazy, and busy, and stressful, and fun. I can't wait to take another vacation with you for a much better reason.

Now, we're back. You're exhausted and off-schedule (not that you really had one in the first place). I had a wonderful first Mother's Day with you - you gave me a sweet card and some yummy chocolate and we all went to brunch together. And now we have to face reality and start working on you taking naps in the daytime in your crib and moving you to your own room. Daddy and I had to put your crib bumper on, despite the AAP warning against them (we usually listen to the AAP about important things), because you got both your legs caught in your crib slats and boy did you cry! You little wiggle worm! You're almost rolling over from back to front and I'm convinced you COULD roll over front to back, but just don't want to because you like to be playing on your tummy.

I just love you more and more every day and can't wait to find out what you do and what you like and don't like. We'll be starting all these new things soon: solid foods, sleeping in your own room, swimming, rolling over, crawling! But you're still my sweet little baby - my darling daughter.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Alice: Three Months

To my Readers: How sad is it that the only thing I post anymore are monthly birthday letters to my baby? I'll try to do better. At least maybe I can post daily baby posts...Hee.


Dear Alice,

You are 12 weeks old this month (On a Tuesday again, on the 3rd of April - awesome). We went to the doctor for your two month check up and you weighed over twelve pounds and were two inches longer. And that was only a month ago. Now, thanks to the scale in our bathroom and a dedicated father who weighed you both and then just himself and then DID MATH we know you weight almost 15 lbs. Holy cow! I am looking forward to finding out what the doctor says you weigh in 2 weeks, but since that will also involve shots I am just as happy guesstimating at home.

Anyway, the doctor declared you very healthy, although we told her we were concerned about silent reflux - you just seemed so unhappy and didn't like to lie down and were really having trouble sleeping. And so she wrote us a prescription for Zantac and suddenly you're much happier. Not to say you don't cry - you do, and it's so sad for us, because you have real tears now and you just look so unhappy, with a screwed up little face - but it's a lot rarer and even when you're really tired you are generally in a good mood. Perhaps you just grew out of some of it as well, now that you're awake more and want to learn about things and look around.

On Sunday March 31, at 11:40 am you laughed out loud for the first time while you were awake. It was glorious! Amazing! Confusing!? - What did we do? Nothing special that we can see. We have yet to make you laugh again not matter what we try. And Mommy tries All. The. Time. So please, try to do that again. And again and again, because it's so much better than the crying and it just makes us giddy to hear it.

Usually, we can tell when you're trying to laugh when you're naked at bath time. You love your naked times and you love a bath. Daddy and I usually do it together and you grin up at us and watch the shower curtain and it calms you right down. You are definitely a water baby - you love baths and getting into the shower with me or Daddy, and sometimes when we can't comfort you any other way, we will just sit with you or sway with you in the bathroom when the water is running and you calm right down. I can't wait to take you swimming this summer! We even have the cutest swimsuit for you.

A few weeks ago you finally got to meet more of your family. We all went to the zoo and you got to meet your boy cousins, Dalton and Tristan and Colin, and your Aunt Jackie and her fiance Arden, and your Uncle Rick. It was such a fun day, even though your naps were short and made you a very tired baby that night.

Your cousin Dalton especially liked you - he wanted to hold your hand all the way through the zoo, and he was so sweet with you. I can't wait until you're a little bigger so I can watch all of you play together, even though they're so much older than you. But speaking of playmates, you'll soon get one in the form of an honorary cousin because your Aunt Kay (mommy's known- the- longest best friend) is pregnant. Her baby will only be ten months older than you and we're already planning playdates!

For a little while, I thought we had your sleeping worked out. Almost every night for a week you'd go to bed after our routine and sleep for four or five hours. Sometimes only three, but nothing less than that. And you sleep in your big girl crib too - which looks so huge when you're in it. So we were really happy and you seemed to be getting better at it. But after those first hours, you'd be up and then it seemed harder for you to sleep for a longer period of time. You move around and get unswaddled and wake yourself up and in general just don't sleep for more than two hours in a row after about midnight. And mommy just doesn't know what to do except get up and try to get you back to sleep. But I think you will probably outgrow this little conundrum and so even at 3 in the morning, I try to remember that you are still tiny and not used to a crib or sleeping on your back. Even the doctor says she wouldn't expect you to be sleeping through the night until almost 4 months anyway.

The last week of March was a week you and I had a with just me and you, because Daddy was out of town. And somehow, we made it through. Usually Daddy makes sure that there is food in the house and he and you have time together in the mornings when Mommy sleeps in a bit. But while he was gone, we did just fine. At first, you were confused - when I'd play you the recording of him reading Good Night Moon to you, you looked around but didn't see him and you were like - where IS he? And your sleeping was all shot - I think not having him around really upset your little world. So you usually ended up snuggling with mommy in her bed so that we both got some extra sleep. We played, and read books, and had baths, and smiled and went to the zoo and had lunch with your Grandpa and Grandma.

You are really making sure that my pledge to be more patient and loving and thoughtful is carried through when it comes to the sleeping thing. I sometimes get so frustrated, but not at you - at ME! I wonder what it is that I'm doing or not doing that makes it hard for you to sleep or if you slept well, what it was that I did or didn't do that made it better for you to sleep. And I know that really, it's probably not in my control, it's just you learning about the world. But then I worry that you can sense how frustrated I get and I worry some more. It's a vicious cycle.

But I am proud of myself because every day I try to grow and do better and be a good mommy to you and I think I am succeeding. And thanks to Daddy being understanding and supportive, I will get to stay at home with you and continue to work on that, because two weeks ago I gave notice at my job. It was a hard decision, because I really want you to look up to me as a role model and I think seeing a mommy work hard at something other than being a mommy (whether it is at a job or at a friendship or at volunteering) is a really good experience for little girls (and boys too!). But when I thought about going back to work with you still so little, and with Daddy's schedule being so busy, and all the driving I'd have to do, well, staying home was really the best decision.

This month was your first Easter, and even though Daddy said it didn't matter because you were too little to know better, I got you a tiny basket. It only had hair bows and a stuffed animal that we technically already had and a card from Daddy and me, NOT the Easter bunny. I took pictures for your baby book and we all went to brunch with Daddy's family and then we took you to see your Grandpa Rick and Grandma Pat. You wore an adorable dress and were so good, even though you barely napped all day. I was so proud of you. And this is one of our first good family pictures together and don't we look nice?! I'm only sorry we forgot to put the flower back on your head, because you looked even more adorable with it on. Oh well.

I love you so much, more every day, and I just can't wait to see what you will do next. When you are nursing and fall asleep, I look down at you and watch you make those little sleep smiles and listen to the sighs of contentment you make and I think, "I'm doing a good job." And so I know that the future is going to be so interesting and so fun. I look forward to all the milestones and the simple things I will experience being with you and yet I also don't want you to get any bigger because I love you just as you are right now. So hurry and don't grow, okay?


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Alice: Two Months

Dear Alice,

Today you are two months old. According to the doctor's office however, we have to wait until March 3 for it to be official. But 2 months ago, on a Tuesday morning, you were born.

In the last month you've already changed so much! You've gone from this skinny little newborn to this adorable little girl with chubby cheeks and elbows with dimples. You are digging the breastmilk and it shows!

I can't wait to find out more about your personality, but a couple of weeks ago you smiled at me and it was a full on grin! So now, I try to make you smile all the time. It's kind of hard, because I also want to get that gorgeous smile in a photo but you ARE NOT HAVING IT! You'll smile at me, at daddy, at your birds on your swing's mobile, but never at the camera. Maybe you're shy? Or you're like me and don't like your pictures no matter how good they are? (And really, how bad could they be at 2 months - you're adorable!). Anyway, I was so happy to see you smile up at me, this gummy grin that shows you know who I am and that you're glad to see me. It just makes my day. Sometimes, when I'm trying for the umpteenth time to put you down for a nap, and you are having none of it, because you want me to hold you, you'll look up at me from the bassinet and just grin, and I have to laugh because even though I know you're not trying to bribe me, it feels like it and I want to give in, because your smiles are like crack!

I can't seem to stop kissing you and neither can your daddy. I'm sure you wonder what the heck we're doing but we just can't seem to help it. I want you to know I love you and I hope that kissing you conveys that, cause wow, what a simple way to say it! I'd gladly do it a million times if that's what it takes. Because I adore you. You're finally starting to calm down and like daddy a little bit more - for awhile there it seemed like you only preferred me. But hey - I have the food, so it's only natural at this stage, because you're still tiny.

Sleeping has hit a rough patch. I posted a couple weeks ago that we'd put you down and you fell asleep by yourself and stayed asleep for like three hours. But then, I think you hit a growth spurt and sleeping went out the window. It almost seems like you're in pain (and we're totally talking to the doctor about that) sometimes and we worry. But it's gotten a little bit better. You don't want to nap unless you're sleeping on me, and because you are so exhausted I gave in for awhile. But now, I'm trying to wean you off of that. I am only slightly successful. At night, you have to be swaddled so you don't wake yourself up still, but you HATE it and scream until we let your arms out. But when you do sleep, it's adorable. You laugh in your sleep, and I can't wait to hear it when you're awake! And you sleep just like your daddy does, which is so cute and funny. Soon, you'll be sleeping (I hope) in your big-girl crib, not the bassinet next to me, and I know I'll miss having you close enough to touch. I've slept with you right next to me since you were born, and it's going to be weird to think you are independent enough to sleep farther away (but still in our room).

You've gone to the zoo and the art museum, and even for a walk in your stroller at the nature center, but so far I haven't managed to get you to the library where mommy works (see above: Not Sleeping). But I will. I'm already dreading going back to work, even part-time. I will miss you and worry about how you're doing with daddy and whether you fell asleep or are missing me. But right now I'm just savoring the time I have with you.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Oh The Games She Can Play

Did you know that six-week olds like to play games with their parents heads? Why, yes, my child is exceptional in that area, thankyouverymuch....

Last night we thought we'd turned some kind of sleep corner. Okay, I thought we'd turned some kind of sleep corner I have no idea what the husband thought. At 8 pm, we had the little girl swaddled and in bed. Asleep. By herself. No mommy (normally I go to bed with her, because, let's face it, no one likes zombie-mommy and with at least three night-time feedings, that's what I'd be in the morning without going to bed with the wee one). Nope, mommy was feeling pretty good and decided to stay up with daddy and watch an episode and a half of the West Wing. Ha! Hahahaha....we thought - wow, maybe this is a turning point. She'll start going to bed and we'll have a little time to ourselves to talk (except I don't think we have anything to talk about, which is kind of sad)...

She slept. And woke up and then put herself BACK TO SLEEP. I have a child prodigy at six weeks old! And then I went to bed and fell asleep and at 11 she woke up. And proceeded to nurse and then fall asleep. And then I'd put her in bed and she'd sleep for ten minutes and then flail around, kicking and grunting and rolling her head back and forth and wake herself up.

Lather, rinse, repeat until 3 am. This is why co-sleeping was started, I just know it, because of exhausted moms, worn out by babies who clearly have their own agenda and it's totally revenge because MOM STAYED WITH DAD AND NOT WITH ME! Finally, I brought her in next to me, still swaddled, and let her sleep curled up on my arm. Away from all pillows (really comfy for mommy, let me tell you). But we both slept for about an hour and half and then I woke up and was like, hey, she's still swaddled. Try to put her in bed! HA again...that wasn't going to happen. Change, nurse, burp...and FINALLY back to bed at 4:30. She then slept pretty well until 7ish, woke up at 7:30 and nursed again.

So I've been up since 7:30. On very little sleep. Not that it's the amount of sleep - it's the disruptions. I think I'd be fine if I could get four hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. Not fully functioning or anything - no higher brain power. But fine.

Oh well - I'll sleep when she's in college, right?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

It Has to Be a Stage, Right?

Do six-week olds go through stages? I mean, I've heard of the Terrible Twos and the even worse, Tantrumy Threes....but the Sleeping Six-Weeks I haven't heard of...but surely, this will pass.

For the last few days, poor little Alice has been having horrible gas (at least that's all we can conclude from her behavior and the diapers we get in the morning). All the information we found says that it's a particular stage of growth, right around 6-8 weeks, the digestive system is finishing up the maturation process and then it should get better. But it makes for some difficult times for mommy and daddy.

And it means that she doesn't sleep as well on her own during the day. At night, she seems fine. By the time bedtime rolls around (we thought it would be around 7:30, based on her sleeping cues, but no, it's right around 9), she gets swaddled and put into bed after eating usually and sleeps soundly for three hours. Last night, not so soundly. But better after the midnight feeding. So during the day, she seems to sleep well only on mommy. Makes typing a bitch.....I have to keep on trying though, to convince her that her napper on the couch is a good place to sleep so mommy can, you know, eat and shower and such.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Alice: One Month

Today (okay, so technically it was Tuesday, or if you want to go by dates, it will be tomorrow) you are one month old. It seems like only yesterday I was heading into the hospital and your dad and I were meeting you.

I'm not going to lie: we've all had to do some adjusting. For one thing, sleep! It's not that you don't like to sleep, but you tend to only do so in two hour increments (at MOST) and so mommy didn't get a whole lot of sleep that first two weeks because she was breastfeeding. I have to say though, I didn't mind. But boy, it was exhausting. And I think you were exhausted too - all that growing you've had to do and keep on doing! But now, mommy is doing a little better because she's started using the pump and that means Daddy can feed you every once in awhile.

I'm still a little nervous doing some things - like leaving you alone in your bassinet while I spend time with Daddy. Every little peep you make makes me want to leap to your side to check on you. And going out alone with you - we've made a couple of trips together: to see Daddy at work, to go to the doctor when I was worried because you were so much more fussy....slowly, we'll go out more I think....when I gain more confidence (and get that mirror up in the car!).

But we are going out more with Daddy. You've already been to the zoo on a nice day, in the Moby (something ELSE mommy needs to learn how to do by herself, so that we can go on walks - but it's complicated apparently).

But every day I get to watch you grow and change and get more used to me and your daddy and your surroundings. I keep waiting for you to smile at me - I think it happened once, when I was sticking my tongue out at you, so that you could mimic me, but I don't know if it was intentional. You're focusing on things more, including my face, which is an incredible feeling because I know you KNOW me.

You really tend to hate tummy time - but you have pretty good neck muscles already and the other day you practically pushed yourself up with your arms. Probably a fluke, but I was very impressed. And boy can you scream! It seems like every night around 9 pm, you decide you don't want to go to bed after all, no matter how tired you are, and you cry and fuss and scream even, until we're all tired and worried and occasionally even mommy has to cry because she doesn't know what is wrong. Usually it lasts less than an hour, but sometimes it's longer, with you calming down until you're juuuuussssttt asleep and then you'll suddenly realize it and wake up and cry again. It can just break our hearts. But I think we'll be okay in time.

You and I are getting used to being alone in the apartment all day too - now that Daddy is back at work. I think you miss him during the day and that contributes to your evening fussiness - after all, why would you want to sleep just after Daddy gets home?! But again, I think that will change once you get used to it and you and I start having more adventures during the day.

You've already grown so much and are becoming a chubby little baby instead of our skinny newborn (10 lbs. already: not that I'm surprised because you love the boob!). I honestly can't wait to see how you grow up and what you'll be like once you start waking up even more during the days (and hopefully sleeping more at night!). I love you, sweetheart. Happy One-Month Birthday!

Friday, January 13, 2012


For my first post of the new year, I've decided to write out my birth story. Or, perhaps, Alice and I's birth story. Certainly, I've had some requests on Facebook.


I'll start by getting in a little bit of back story. That's right - I'm going to make you wait a bit before I get to the good stuff! Many of you might already know that my doctor was concerned about possible preeclampsia. I was diagnosed with gestational hypertension after several erratic blood pressure readings, right around 34 weeks. So I started doing the once a week appointments earlier than normal. There was more testing, and every week I had a biophysical profile done to monitor little MCO's (or the future Alice) movements and the level of amniotic fluid. We got a LOT of ultrasound pics actually. Anyway, because the signs of danger weren't there, my doctor's hands were tied for inducing me immediately at full-term, but she also felt that going past the safest date (39 weeks) would also be a risk; plus, I was getting tons of tests every week and was eventually on bed rest and all that. So, at my 38th week appointment she checked to see how dilated/effaced etc. I was (as is pretty standard). I had only progressed from about 1/2 cm. dilated to 1 cm dilated, and was barely effaced at all.

She thought that unless MCO came beforehand (not looking likely), she'd induce me sometime in my 39th week.

There - back story done. :-)

The Good Part

I made it to 39 weeks, and my doc told us she'd scheduled the induction for the 2nd of January. I'd go in that evening, and "ripen" and then she'd break my water and start Pitocin to get contractions going if I needed it. I should mention here that I was NOT looking forward to being induced. I did not want to be induced, although I was very anxious to meet MCO and to stop having to worry about risks. But I'd heard that inductions can make labor very long, and that Pitocin can make contractions extremely intense, meaning I'd probably end up asking for an epidural before I really wanted one. I wanted to go as unmedicated for as long as possible, in case it ended up slowing down labor.

On January 2nd, I continued my bed rest and tried to relax and not be too nervous/excited/scared....N. went into to work for a half day to make sure things were in order and then came home and made cookies for us to give to the nurses. Yes, that's right, we aren't above bribery. The afternoon seriously dragged on. But and here's the fun part - I was having contractions. They had started that morning, but weren't anything I hadn't had before so I thought it was just Braxton-Hicks or false labor. But they got progressively more frequent and intense, even painful. As we got closer to the scheduled appointment, we figured we'd make sure to mention that I thought I was in labor, but we didn't do any timing or anything until we'd left the apartment to go to dinner. We had a very quick dinner, because the contractions I was having were definitely coming faster and were more painful. Then we headed to the hospital and checked in, filled out paperwork, etc.

Our room was ready almost immediately and I got all ready. The on-call doctor checked, since I'd told them I had been having regular contractions and confirmed it - I was in labor already, dilated to 3 1/2 cm.! No induction for me after all. I was extremely excited, and both N. and I were amazed and happy. After a few hours of contractions however, I was getting more tired and really hurting. I finally broke down and had an epidural after quite a few hours. Pretty proud of myself for waiting so long, actually, but maybe it only felt really long. The epidural made everything easier and both N. and I tried to rest that night - he managed an hour or two of sleep, I dozed off and on, and basically we were just in a waiting game for me to keep progressing - pretty much on schedule actually. Around 3 am or so, it stopped. The next check actually broke my water, so we figured I'd progress more after that but not really. The nurses kept coming in to check on me, of course, and finally the doc decided that I'd start on Pitocin. Luckily, I'd already had the epidural.

When my OB finally got there, around 9, she announced I was pretty much ready to push. They started getting everything ready for the actual delivery and there was quite a flurry of excitement in the room. I was damn nervous about the actual pushing, since the labor had ended up being much easier than I expected (those epidurals are pretty awesome after all). I knew something had to be hard; they don't call it labor for nothing. After quite a few pushes, my doctor announced that I still had quite a bit to do, and left to check up on some other patients while the nurses and my incredible husband stayed with me to keep pushing. All of them commented on how wonderful a coach he was, and he was - it was amazing. I do have to say though, no matter how encouraging our great nurse was, I kept getting annoyed every time she'd say "You're so close - she's almost here!" And then I had to keep pushing. Every time she'd say that I expected the doctors and other nurses to be running into the room, with the baby's head barely getting caught. But no. After 2 hours of pushing, which felt like 20 minutes, I swear!, the doctor was back, the nurses were back and finally when she said, "you're so close" it was true. At 11:09 am, Alice Louise Regan Wyant was born.

She weighed just under 7 lbs. (they rounded it up) and was 20 inches long. They laid her down on my chest with her little hat on, and wrapped in a blanket, and we just stared at each other and at her daddy. I'll never forget that moment as long as I live.

Now, we're home, almost 2 weeks have gone by. I still can't believe that I'm no longer pregnant, except I have the evidence against my chest right now. I've been hit by the baby blues - a lot of crying spells, which is hard for N., I think, and definitely for me, since I feel out of control...but they're subsiding a lot. I'm sad to think I'll never be pregnant for the first time ever again - it was an amazing experience, one I hadn't counted on really enjoying so much as experiencing until the "real" one came along - and I had a husband who made it even more wonderful as the weeks went on. I never expected to like it so much. Despite the stress and worry of the last weeks of my pregnancy, it is one of the times I'd live over again - several times, I think. I am going to miss it and how my husband and I planned for it, and were so excited, and all that. But I now get to really look forward to getting to know Alice - who is helping me type this, by the way, and find out what she's really like. She's absolutely beautiful.