Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Some of my favorite moments from the last two weeks (in picture form). 

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Superman reading with his Daddy. He now turns the page all on his own!


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One of his favorite things to do is to walk along this window.


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From our latest trip to the zoo!


Superman in pumpkin patch
If Superman could talk, he would have said, "these pumpkins are mine."

Monday, October 25, 2010

Don't Hate Me Because I Am Beautiful

Today I am talking about having a kid that sleeps through the night.  I know, right?  You totally hate me right now and I get that. The thing is, I feel like I had so little to do with this success that if you should hate anyone, it should be Superman, but don't hate Superman because then I would have to kick your butt.

There is one main thing that I think my husband and I do have control over (that seems to make a difference).  His bedtime.  I read in one of the many, many books in my new mommy collection that finding the right bedtime can be the key to better sleep.  Too early and they either won't fall asleep or wake up a couple hours later like it was a nap.  Too late and they might struggle to fall asleep because they are over tired.  And in both situations?  They will almost always wake up TOO EARLY.  So sleep begets sleep...I am sure you have heard of this too, right?

For a long time 8pm was Superman's bed time (Note: His bed time is really the time that I begin nursing him. He tends to fall asleep while nursing and only briefly wakes up when I transfer him to his bed.).  It worked fabulously, he went down easily and woke up around 8am.  Then one day he started waking up earlier and earlier and earlier .  With the above information in hand, we began to move his bedtime earlier and earlier until he was nursing at 7pm and he began sleeping till 7:30am again (frankly anything after 7am is just fine, but 7:30 is great!).

Then recently he started waking up early again AND with the upcoming time change, I knew we couldn't realistically move his bedtime any earlier, so we tried moving it later.  Sure enough we seemed to hit a sweet spot at 7:30, but decided to try 7:45 just to see what would happen.  Wouldn't you know he woke up early again!  So back to 7:30 we went and it is working beautifully!  In fact, the last two days we have had to wake him up at 7:45 for fear that if we let him sleep much longer his nap schedule would get thrown off.

There were hiccups along the way, don't get me wrong.  There was the whole change thing that was miserable and other times, but usually that meant there was some other factor causing the problem.  In fact, despite feeling like those moments would never end when I was living them, they have taken up a very small portion of his total nights since he was born.  I guess I needed to be out of those moments to really understand how small and insignificant they were.

So if you are in the midst of dealing with sleep issues, know that it won't actually last forever.  You will get through this, they will sleep through the night at some point, and you will one day feel rested again.  I wish I could send you endless amounts of wine hugs until you get there.

TTFN,

Mommy C

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Overcoming obstacles...

I have found myself lost for words lately.   In the past I have been able to think of lots of things to write about, it was just a matter of finding the time to blog.  But recently, I have felt as though I have no ideas left. How can that be?  Superman is an ever growing, ever developing, ever changing little person and that should provide ample amounts of content to write about, but sadly nothing has really felt like something I should write about...or if something amazingly new happens, what do I really say about it?  It happened. The end?

Then last night something interesting happened to me.  An event that evoked a memory long forgotten.  A memory that provides a little bit of insight into what kind of childhood I had and quite possibly the reasons I will make some very specific decisions in my life as 'mom'.   

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Last night I made fish for my son for the very first time.  I don't eat fish because I think I am allergic to it (haven't been tested, but it makes my throat all itchy), but I wanted Superman to try it.  I got some sole fillets, dipped them in some milk, bread crumbs, then sprinkled some Mrs. Dash on top, and drizzled butter over all of it before throwing them into the over to bake. 

Hubby got home right as they were supposed to be done and as I went to check on them, I paused and called him over to confirm that they actually were done.  I then causually mention to my husband that once, when I was younger, my stepmother (not the one that just passed, the first one- we will call her 'Lady Tremaine' to avoid the confusion) had me cook dinner one night and it was fish.  I think I was probably in 4th or 5th grade. As I was tending to it in the frying pan, she leaned over me and told me that I had better cook it correctly or I would poison everyone. 

Whuck?  As soon as I told him it made me pause.  I hadn't told that story in years and hadn't even thought about it in probably that long. 

Yes, she told me that this fish, if not cooked 'perfectly', had the ability to poison every one of my family members.  

As a kid, I was so nervous about harming my family, that I then broke out in hives from all the anxiety.  I am talking about red, blotchy hives all over my neck, arms and abdomen.  I am pretty sure my sister came to my rescue and helped me get rid of them(as she did so many times), but I don't remember what happened next....oh, and in case you are wondering, no one died.
 
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As an adult I look back on that moment and want to smack the living daylights out of Lady Tremaine (just to be clear I would like to say I would kick her ass, but I am so not the violent type).  Just in the situation alone I could spend 5 minutes ranting.  First if this fish had such deadly qualities what are you doing handing over that responsibility to a child?  I think it is clear to me now that this fish would not have been deadly if under or over cooked, but why even say something to the child if you were going to have them cook it?  Why couldn't you just "supervise" and help make sure that it would be okay for everyone?  Although I don't remember all the details, I am also pretty sure she stood over me for sometime reminding me of the danger.  It is no surprise that I got hives.  How would you react if someone handed you a loaded gun, told you to shoot at an apple off the top of some sort of explosive devise and added that if you didn't aim perfectly, you would kill your entire family? 

I think I have mentioned before that I go to a therapist.  It has been really helpful sort out being a new mom, but the original reason I started therapy was because I deal with depression and anxiety.  Lady Tremaine did not cause my depression or anxiety, but a lot of times the way I choose to deal with situations comes from my experience with her.  Up until now, when I have spoken about her in therapy, I would be frustrated that as an adult that I couldn't go back and protect myself as a child from her.  But today, I think of her- parent to parent- and how absolutely hideous she was at guiding me through my childhood.  I don't understand it.  I don't understand how someone, a mother, could be so unloving to a little girl.  I couldn't imagine it when I wasn't a parent, but I struggle even more so now that I have my own child. 

I used to worry that when I became a parent that I would parent the way I was parented by her.  She was a main example in my life right?  I took psych 101 in college, I knew all about patterns of abuse- the child that was abused, grows up to be the abuser.  But today?  Let me tell you that, although I am sure that I will make my own mistakes....Loving my child with every bone I have? Caring and nurturing him when he needs me? Yeah, that isn't going to be a problem.

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I think many of us would say that if you knew a child was being physically abused, you would do something.  You would call CPS or the police or someone to help the child.  But what would you do if you knew someone that was being verbally and/or emotionally abused?  Would you do something?  Would you respond the same way?   I implore you to do something...anything!   Even if it is just to tell that child he or she is not alone in this world, that you love them and that with you, they are safe.  

I had a few people like this in my life, people who kept telling me that they loved me, that I was beautiful, that I was special and important, that I was smart, that I was capable of anything, that I was worthy of better and that they were sorry that I was in that situation and that they couldn't change it.  These mantras, although sometimes they weren't louder than the hateful words, turned out to be more meaningful to me than they could ever know.  Sure I doubted them at times...okay, I doubted them a lot.  But when I began to work through all of this in therapy, it was those words that helped me understand that Lady Tremaine was wrong.  It was their words that became my mantra until I actually believed it at my core.  It was their words that saved me. 

Thank you for reading my blog.  This has been an amazing outlet for me, but this is the first time I have really shared my childhood with you.  Treat it as a child and be kind.  Thank you.

TTFN,

Mommy C 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fall

I love fall.  I know, I know I have said this already, but I feel like it needs to be said again.  Right now?  The sun is shining, the air is crisp and as I look around, there are oranges, yellows, and reds dressing most of the trees in my neighborhood.

Superman in stroller
For the last week I have woken up to chilly temps at or below 45 degrees.  When Superman and I head out to boot camp or for a run (just started C25K), we are bundled up.  Him in warm clothes and in his LL Bean bunting in the stroller, me in sweats and several layers on top.  I love that I can see my breath as I run, it is as if there is physical proof beyond my body that says that I am working out hard.

By the time Superman wakes from his first nap the temperatures have warmed to a very comfortable 60+ degrees (we have 70+ degree days in the forecast for this week).  When we head out for our afternoon adventures we throw on our fleece jackets, but usually end up taking them off.  There seems to be an urgency in me to soak up as much sunlight as I possibly can right now.  I guess I know that soon I will be wishing for just one more hour of daylight. 


It seems difficult to imagine a more perfect kind of day.  Cool in the morning, warm in the afternoon, and nothing but sunshine shining down on you.  I hope you are enjoying your fall weather wherever you are!

TTFN,

Mommy C

Friday, October 15, 2010

I won something!

Way back on September 29th I visited Emily's blog, "Baby Dickey", because she tweeted something about being a paranoid parent.  I feel like I do everything I can NOT to be a paranoid parent, but the tweet made me curious what she was writing about and I hopped over to this post to find out.

Turns out she was having a giveaway for this book called, "The Paranoid Parents Guide".   She talked about how she is pretty laid back, but that her husband is much more worried.  She then mentioned that her one "legit" worry was choking and I could totally relate.  When we first started real solids (vs. a puree) I worried that he was going to choke on it so I hovered over him waiting to help if he needed me.  We did have one issue with egg yolks, but his gag reflex kicked in and he threw up the piece (and everything else) that was stuck (yuck, I know).  Despite being a bit scared that it might happen again, I became a little bit more calm since I knew that his defense mechanism for choking worked.   

I don't usually enter blog giveaways (a. because I never win and b. because you have to do ten bazillion ridiculous things to enter), but this one was simple!  I only had to leave a comment...I could do that!  So I left a comment about our common fear of choking and then promptly forgot that I had entered the giveaway.  That is...till today when I got an email from Emily saying I won!  Me?  I won?  Yahoo!!! 

So although I don't consider myself a paranoid person, I will probably read it so I can find out if the things I think I should be worried about are the "right ones".   I will let you know if I learn anything new.

Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!!

TTFN,

Mommy C

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Change

Okay, so I have seen all of your Facebook updates and your tweets....you are in the same boat as I am and it makes me really wonder.  Why are so many people are having issues right now with their little one sleeping, teething, developing separation anxiety, a combination of these things, or all of them at once?  What is it about the seasons changing that does this?   Is it because the sun is rising later and setting sooner or that it is cooler outside?  Or could it be that it has nothing to do with the seasons and we are all just magically dealing with these things at once.   I know it can't be because all the babies are the same age because they range from 8 months to over a year. 

Whatever the reason, it sucks.  It means that we have to pull out our bag of tricks to keep our little ones happy and (in the case of the sleeping) revisit the strategies we have chosen and come up with a plan to correct this problem.

In our house we have been dealing with all of it...at once...and I may lose my mind before it is all over.  It began several weeks ago when he got his first cold and then my in-laws were here and then we had to go to NY for 3 days and then he got a rash on his face that made me think he might have Fifths Disease and then he started teething molars like a banshee.  Somewhere in there he developed separation anxiety...but not the "stranger danger" kind of anxiety.  It was the "don't leave the room or go where I can't see you, oh and pick me up now or I will scream my head off and don't even think about putting me down for a nap" anxiety.  Fun times. 

So as soon as we returned from NY I knew we needed to get back into our usual routine in order to fix some of the issues we were seeing regarding sleep.  After a few days of that not working, I brought him to the doctor only to be told that he is probably teething, he might have Fifth Disease but it doesn't matter because he isn't contagious and there is nothing we can do for it even though he might be cranky, but more likely than not most of his "issues" have to deal with the fact that this is around the age that babies learn that if they cry, they get attention. 

So what does one do about all this?  How do you let your little one know that you love them, do anything for them, and want to comfort them whenever they need it, at the same time teach them that they can in fact be on their own once and a while and be okay?   I think the answer is different for everyone.  You have to do what you feel most comfortable with, but whatever you decide, you have to be consistent. 

My husband and I talked and if we knew that he was fed, had a clean diaper and wasn't in any pain or discomfort, we were okay with letting him cry it out a little bit.   It has taken a little bit of time and tears (both Superman's and mine) but I think we might have our night time sleep back on track.  The nap stuff is hit or miss each day.  On Saturday he napped like a champ.  On Sunday he didn't nap at all (cried in crib for 1 hour each time).  On Monday he napped in the morning fantastically, but when it came time for his afternoon nap he was so wide awake I never put him down for it.  Today he didn't sleep (read: cried for 1 hour) and fell asleep on the way home from Gymboree (despite me trying every trick in the book to keep him awake) and so he was wide awake when I tried to get him ready for the afternoon nap.  Right now?  He is quietly playing on his own as I finish this post.  Thank goodness he is great at entertaining himself for 20 minutes or so 2-3 times a day.  It is the only thing keeping me sane on the days he won't nap.  (And now that 20 minutes is up and he wants me so this post will be finished later..)

I am back and have great news on today's nap front.  He needed a new diaper and I was changing him, he rubbed his eyes.  Ever an opportunist, I threw a sleep sack on him, nursed him and put him into his crib.  He was awake when I did that so he began to cry, but 4 minutes later? He was asleep!! 

I think that being a parent has taught me so many things, but my most recent lesson is that nothing stays the same for long.  Things might be bad at the moment, but they will improve and more likely than not, they will improve sooner than you think they will.  Last week I was asking myself if Superman would ever nap again...seriously.  I honestly was worried that he might just learn to soothe himself during naptime.  But here we are a week later and although things are perfect yet, they are looking up.  

I hope that all of you that are fighting with sleep, teething, separation anxiety, or anything else are hanging in there.  Remember, things will change eventually...their teeth will come in, they will learn that you are there for them when they need you and begin to be okay on their own, and with all of that- sleep will come.  (I say this for me as much as I say it for you.) 

Hugs to all of you!

TTFN,

Mommy C

Friday, October 08, 2010

Favorite Moments Friday

It has been almost a month since I have done a Favorite Moments Friday and a lot has happened...
  • My in-laws came to visit for a week and it was fun for me to see them interact with Superman.
  • Unfortunately, we had to go back to NY for Donna's funeral, but it was nice to see all my family.  In fact, Superman got to meet my sister for the very first time!  
  • About 2 .5weeks ago Superman learned to crawl into our laps and stand up or sit down (depending on what he was trying to accomplish).  
  • About 1.5 weeks ago Superman figured out how to pull himself up from sitting to standing. I was grateful that he didn't know how to sit up on his own, but we lowered his crib anyway. 
  • It is a good thing that we lowered it because on the day Superman turned 9 months (October 2nd), my husband went to get him from his nap, only to find him sitting up in his crib.  Later that day, while we were at the park, we got to witness the magic ourselves.  He still prefers to crawl into our laps to sit up, but when he is on his own (in his crib or playing independently) he will use his awesome skills to sit up. 
  • Superman had started to walk while we held his hands several weeks ago, but this past Wednesday I gave him his little walker to see what he would do with it and he just walked away.  It was super exciting and just another sign that we probably will have a walker on our hands sooner than later.   
The final thing I want to remember, but certainly can't be called a "favorite moments" has to do with sleep...
  • Superman and sleep haven't gotten along at all this past month.  It started with him waking up at 5am.  At first I could nurse him and put him back to bed till about 7:30...although I didn't really like waking up at 5am, I never fully woke up and was able to get back to sleep easily so it was working for me.  Then he stopped falling back to sleep after the feeding.  He would scream every time I tried to put him into the bed.  He could have been sound asleep and as soon as I let go he would start screaming.  Then came the screaming during the afternoon nap...I would let him cry for one hour and then go get him.  After a couple days of that he and I were both exhausted and cranky.  So just when I thought it couldn't get worse? He starting crying through the first nap too.  So now the kid was not napping at all and waking up at 5am.  I was just grateful that he was going to bed easily....oh wait, that changed too!  Yeah it was so bad that at one point earlier this week he went 48 hours with only sleeping like 16 hours.  But we are being a little bit more consistent about when we check on him and when we actually lift him up out of the crib and he is slowly sleeping better.  
I don't know if it is the season's changing or what but it seems like a lot of babies are having issues right now.  I hope that whatever it is, it fixes itself real soon!!


TTFN,

Mommy C

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Monday, October 04, 2010

Remembering....

Writing this post feels like it should provide some amount of closure to the grieving process, but as I think about what to write and begin to type, I realize that my grieving will take longer.  I am learning that my body will not let me grieve all at once.  It comes out in little bits here and there, sometimes voluntarily because I am stopping to take time to think about her and other times involuntarily because something reminds me of her or we do something that I know she would have loved to do and now I don't get to share it with her.  I am learning that grieving is unique to each person and that there is no one, right way to grieve...that the amount of time, the process, and emotions associated with it can vary greatly from one person to the next. 

So this post is no longer about ending the grieving, but more about remembering the amazing person that she was and sharing with you how she changed me.  I know it is long, but please take the time to read it.  It means the world to me.   Thank you.


Mommy C
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Donna passed away on Thursday, September 16, 2010.  She had fought the cancer for almost 5 years and did so with grace and strength that I can only describe as "miraculous".   In those 5 years she rarely had a day that she didn't feel well enough to get out of the house.   She continued to travel to see family, volunteer, do lunch with friends, work in the yard, play out in the wilderness, and well...live her life.  She put a new face on what a cancer patient looks like and it was inspiring.  Her whole life was inspiring...

She was an occupational therapist when she got out of college, then she moved to the hospital's Mental Health Unit where she worked as an occupational therapist and then as the Director.  Quite honestly?  I think moving to that Mental Health Unit changed the course of the world.  So many people were touched by her work there.  I know because they came and told us so during the calling hours.  There were patients that came to give their condolences from 20 and 30 years ago.  It was easy to see the impact she had made on these people. 


She loved being outdoors. She liked to hike, paddle, bike, walk, or just sit and enjoy her surroundings. She was an amazing gardener and completed a Master Gardener program.  She used her gardening skills to help create a community garden at a Mental Health Center in her area.   The garden grew flowers, vegetables, and pride in self, others, and community.  There were so many people from the garden at the calling hours...so, so many.  It was obvious that not only did these people love the garden, but they loved Donna....oh how they loved Donna.  They told me how she taught them things.  They told me how she listened.  They told me how they now believe in themselves because of her. They were so proud of what they had accomplished in the garden with her help.


In my sister's eulogy she mentioned that when my father met Donna, our "family was not the most broken we've ever been, but we were not quite whole either."  Whether Donna realized it or not, she filled a void by becoming part of our family.  My family is a little intense.  We tend to go, go, go.  She was so calm and although she was highly productive, she knew how to stop and take in the moment.  My family did know how to do this. During the eulogy, my sister told this story:
My Dad recently told me that he hadn’t spent much time watching sunsets before Donna.  That is true.  One time, Donna and Dad came backpacking with my husband and I.  We had reached our camp for the night, and the sun was setting as Dad and I did what [our family does] best - racing around to set up camp and get dinner ready and doing a variety of things all at once.  At one point, I stopped and noticed Donna sitting in the middle of the hustle and bustle, on a camp chair, watching the sun set.  She hadn’t said a word; wasn’t critical at all of what Dad was doing.  But I stopped, and I said, “Donna, what are you doing there, while Dad is running around like crazy?”  And she laughed, and said, “I’m modeling.”
Another amazing thing about her joining our family was how seamless it all was.  Many people have step families and that union isn't so great.  It might be forced and take time to really form in a family, if you ever get there.  I didn't feel like that with Donna.  She immediately opened her heart to me.  When my sister was writing the eulogy, she asked me to send her some thoughts and I wrote about this. She incorporated many of my thoughts in this part of the eulogy (only put more eloquently): 


She gave us what she gave to many of you - a consistent, quiet, sustaining love that changed us entirely for the better. She had a way about her - and I’ve heard many of you talk about it - of making the person that she was with feel like the most special person in the room, the most heard, the most understood. She listened with her whole self, and always found a way to help me feel better. Ghandi once said that "we must be the change that we wish to see in the world." I think that Donna embodied this concept effortlessly. She was kind, gentle, emotionally honest, and so lacking in the usual nonsense that it made you realize that it was nonsense and you had no business holding on to it any longer. I heard someone say that Donna somehow could achieve things that others could not, and could reach people that others could not. I think that this principle is what allowed her to do that: she didn’t try to tear down people’s walls with the force of will; she created an environment where you didn’t feel like a wall was the least bit necessary. Ultimately, it was healing to be around her. It was especially healing for my Dad, my sister and I, and even for our mother, whom Donna welcomed with grace and with style. Donna brought love into our family, and peace into our lives, and for that I will be forever grateful.


I want to share with you one piece of Donna's obituary.  Her obituary was all written by my sister, my stepsister, and my father...except for the last part.  The last part she wrote.   She wrote this when she completed the Five Wishes with my father.

“I have lived a life more interesting, more fulfilling, more adventure-filled, than I ever dreamed possible. It has gone by much too quickly. I have been blessed with wonderful children, who are now delightful adults, a great love in [my husband], and wonderful, caring friends and family. I have been fortunate to have had good health and a career I loved. I treasure the times that I have spent with all of you and thank you for it. I treasured the times I spent with you whether it be hiking, skiing, sitting quietly over dinner, being in the garden, or meeting for lunch. I hope I have made a difference in some small way in your lives, because all of you have brought a richness to mine. I hope you remember me as someone who was happiest when out in nature or being helpful in some way. I hope you remember me with a chuckle when you can’t find your keys or glasses as I hopefully will not be looking for either in the next life. I love you all.”


Before I close, I want to share one last letter to Donna.
Donna, 

I love you.  I will remember you forever.  I will share pictures and videos of you with our son and tell him how much he was loved by you.  I will continue trying to be calm and peaceful.  I will watch sunrises and sunsets and think about you.  I will use your life to inspire me to do better by my family, my community, and those in need.  Thank you for all that you have given my family and me.  You will be missed.


Love, 


Mommy C