Almost 16 Month Update

I haven’t written in a while, so I thought I would check in. Ellie is almost 16 months old (really something like 15.5), and there’s a lot of new stuff going on.

1. She’s mobile

pros:

*we can actually do stuff. Like, we can go to the park, we can take a walk, we can go to the museum, etc. It takes a load off of me having to carry her everywhere because even with the carrier, it was a lot. Plus, it’s hard to figure out what to do when you’re baby just sits there.

*she doesn’t cry as much. I think she just really wanted to be able to get what she wanted, go where she wanted, etc. So now that she can do it on her own, she isn’t quite as fussy. I don’t know if Ellie was an extra fussy baby or if I don’t have much patience, but I felt like 4 months to 11 months were ROUGH. It’s a lot more fun now.

*She is willing to entertain herself a little more now

Cons:

*she’s mobile. I’ll take her to the park and she will be nervous and sit on my lap for an hour, but if I take her to Whole Foods, she is wide open. I’ve had to figure out ways to get her to stay in the shopping cart so that I don’t have to chase her around the entire store. One day, I only had a couple of things to get, so I gave her one of the “customer in training” carts. She LOVED that so it kept her occupied while I bought groceries. Unfortunately, when we go to the check out, she ran towards the door 800 times while I tried to pay, run and grab her, pay, run and grab her. It can be exhausting.

2. Breastfeeding update: There was a time when trying to get her to breastfeed was like pulling teeth. She wanted to be doing other stuff. Now, I can’t seem to get her to stop. Some days, she’ll breastfeed like 5 times, then twice at night. Others, she does less. Most of the moms I know stopped breastfeeding at 1. My question is how in the world did they do that because my child is not interested in stopping ANY TIME SOON. I also am in no hurry, so not looking for suggestions, I am just curious. It’s the main way that I get Ellie to sleep. I realize this is a big no-no in the mommy world, but my pediatrician said it was absolutely fine, so I’m not worried about it. One thing I have started doing is if she pulls on my shirt (always awesome when done in public), I give her regular food first. If she still wants some after, I’ll give it to her. Sometimes, I just think that’s her way of telling me she’s hungry.

3. Her likes: She really likes gymnastics. She is still too young to do a lot of the stuff they do, but she likes to run around and do animal sounds/movements. She also enjoys climbing over things and jumping on trampolines. We have a Bounce House near us, so I think I might try to take her there and see how that goes. She may still be a bit young, but I’m thinking in the next couple of months, she’ll be interested. She also loves art. There is a place that has art time for toddlers, and she LOVES that. She paints, puts the paint in her mouth, puts the paint on the wall, whatever. There’s also a sand table that she enjoys and sometimes they have water out. I don’t think they’re supposed to play with that, but Ellie does. I got dirty looks from a mom at the last Table Time, but that’s the type of stuff I have to ignore, because really, she’s 15 months. She’s curious. She has started to like the play ground more. Ellie is a very cautious baby. I don’t have to worry about her trying to jump down the steps or anything because she is very, very, VERY cautious. Maybe the play ground has intimidated her before, but she’s actually starting to warm up to it and climb. Gymnastics may be helping with that as well. I try my best to do anything that gets her to run around for a while so she’ll sleep well.

4. Speaking of…. sleep: She still doesn’t really sleep through the night. On most nights, she wakes twice. She’ll go to bed around 8:30-9:00 pm, wakes around 2 am to nurse and around 6 am to nurse. Then she’ll sleep to around 8:00 am. When she’s teething, going through a Wonder Week, going through a growth spurt, or sick, she’ll get up a lot more than that. She usually naps from an hour to two hours. Yesterday, she napped for 3 1/2 hours. She went to sleep at 8:30, then got up at 5:45. That’s why long naps suck and although I always get an “oh that’s great”, when I say she napped a long time, it never ends well. She just doesn’t need the amount of sleep that I read about. I’ve tried to implement that amount of sleep and it doesn’t work for her.

5. Words: I don’t really know what words she’s supposed to be saying but she doesn’t actually say much. Mama, Dada are the most common. Uh-oh is said a lot. Gupta (our cat), comes out as DA. And she’s says that a lot. She calls Elmo, mo-mo. and Cookie monster is cookoo.

6. TV/Phone time: I feel like this is a never ending battle/never ending source of guilt from me. I try to poll mothers to see how much “screen time” their babies get and I never get a direct answer. There are those moms who’s kids never watch tv, and I don’t like to talk to those moms. Then there are the moms that say they’ll let them watch in the evenings or whatever. You read all of those articles about how it delays their learning, etc, etc. So I just try to not let her watch it too much. But 1) she loves sesame street and gets super excited when it’s time to watch it so we have daily SS, 2) she doesn’t sleep much (see above) so sometimes, I need a daggum break, 3) we’re a tv watching family. My husband and I both like tv. So it’s hard not to have it on when we watch it so much. What I’m trying to do more than anything is have a healthy balance of activities outside the house, play outside in our yard, and tv time. The rest of it is just me letting go of the guilt. It could be better, but really, it could be a whole lot worse

7. Food: She finally is able to eat most things. I am SLOWLY implementing forms of dairy in her diet and when she hits 18 months, I think I’ll actually give her some cheese or a glass of milk and see how it goes.

I say the biggest challenge I face daily is the mom guilt. The guilt of not being the perfect mother who never lets their kid watch tv, who always has interesting activities, who always makes the most nutritious food, insert whatever quality you think is important. I know by the second or third child, you seem to just let it go, but I’d rather just go ahead and do that now because i don’t need anymore opportunities to feel guilty in my life.

Our Day Trip to Asheville

We took a little trip to Asheville to see the leaves. We have been to Hendersonville so many times already, we thought we’d change it up. Just for future reference, Asheville is not the place to go to entertain a baby for an afternoon. Well, that is, unless you don’t mind chasing her throughout the streets, trying to make sure she doesn’t get hit. Or, chasing her in hippy stores, keeping her away from crystals and peace flags. I sometimes think it could just be my child that is wild and unruly, but at this point, I’m going to pretend like that’s everyone.

Here are some photos from the day.

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I wish I had gotten some better photos of the girls, but they didn’t turn out. Boo.

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October Fun

I just wanted to post some photos from a recent outing with Ellie. It’s still warm here in Greenville, SC so she had on a cute short sleeve dress that was given to us second hand. We’ve already done several Halloween things, Boo in the Zoo, Enchanted Tracks, a Halloween party in the park, Boo Bash and Spooktacular Stories at the Library, and we’ve got more to do. Whew! Who knew that fall would bring so many fun family things to do. Greenville is an amazing place to raise kids, I never knew. I always wanted to live in a bigger city so I could find something to do, but now that I’ve got a child, there’s plenty. Actually, there is a ton more stuff once she turns 2, so who knows what the calendar will look like in 2015 🙂

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I’m still trying to understand aperture/ISO/shutter speed and which to manipulate when. I’m also learning about focus and where what should be centered, blah blah. There’s so much to learn, but it’s been really fun and something I can do while we go for a walk or play in the backyard. Plus, I enjoy my subject 🙂

Through the Eyes of a Child

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If only I could humble myself to view life through the eyes of a child. Everything is a new experience, nothing tainted by the wreckage of the past. Each person, a new friend. Each experience filled with a bit of fear but mainly, uninhibited joy. I hope as I go forward, I can let go of my need to know it all and live life as though it’s all new.

Being a Mom in the age of the Internet

I consider myself to be “above average” smart. I’m not blowing down the doors of the elite, but I can pick up information and comprehend it fairly easily. I like to read, and I like to learn. Those seem like beneficial qualities… that is, until you have a baby. The minute I found out I was pregnant, I was on the hunt for all of the information in the world so I would be the perfect parent. I would read it in a book, on a blog, or even better, on the internet, implement it, then the results would be perfect. Parenting is easy. Bam… done. No. No. No.

Let’s rewind and find out what exactly brought me to this topic this week. I just want to preface this by saying I am not open for discussion or debate on this topic. I don’t really want to hear what you think about it either as this will then lead me back to the previous paragraph. Thanks in advance.

It’s that time of year again and one has to decide whether or not to get the flu shot. Vaccines are a hot topic in the mom world, and a topic that will send even the most normal moms into a dogmatic rant about why or why not. I read the Vaccine Book by Dr Sears which was fairly moderate on the topic. I love moderate. Somewhere in the middle, that’s pretty much always where the answer lies. But I digress – back to my point which is that I read that book and decided vaccines are for me. So when Ellie’s pediatrician told me that she was old enough to get the flu shot last year, I hesitated a bit but decided that she was right and went with it. Fast forward to an article I read this year regarding the flu shot. It was fine, but reading the comments is what sent me into a tailspin. Some ladies were talking about this neurological disorder that people get from the shot. Ellie didn’t react to the one last year, so I thought it’d be fine but then I saw something about h1n1. They said this part of the vaccine was new, it was the part that caused the neurological disorder and insert paralyzing fear. If I don’t get the flu shot, my child is going to get the flu and die because I was irresponsible and a crazy anti-vaxxer. If she does get the flu shot, she’s going to get a life long neurological disorder that will forever plague me as a mother who blindly trusted a pharmaceutical conspiracy that has overtaken the medical industry. You can se that both are extremes, but that’s how people speak on the internet. I was so scared to make the decision, I had to talk to a couple of people about it.

There are so many other examples of this throughout parenthood. Tv can cause delayed learning in children, so burn your tvs!!! Your child is going to suffocate if she sleeps with you, oh but if you put her alone in a room, she might stop breathing and you won’t know, the rock n play can suffocate your child, cry it out, don’t cry it out aaaauuuuhhghghhghghghg. Each article, each bit of research breeds on your fear that you’re destined to ruin your child’s life by one stupid mistake you made when she was 6 months old. IT’S. OVER. WHELMING.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a solution. The most challenging thing for me as a new parent has been weeding through the information and finding out what’s true for me. I finally just had to decide that I’m only going to listen to a couple of people – my pediatrician, a couple of other mom friends, and Dr Sears (he writes a lot of baby books). Those seemed to be my best resources and then lastly, I had to learn to listen to my gut. After consulting with those people, listening to my gut, I finally decided to get her the flu shot, get myself the flu shot and then said a prayer that we don’t get GB syndrome. Every time I’m forced to make a decision, I just go with what I think and ask God for help. It’s the only way through.

You know, I don’t know if having all of this information is good or bad. I’ve learned a lot of things through reading that have really helped me in parenting. If it weren’t for Dr Sears baby book and the Wonder Weeks, I don’t know if I could’ve made it through some of the stuff. Many of the blogs I follow have a very supportive community and I’ve even emailed a write for one of the blogs several times. She’s always been responsive and very helpful. So in that sense, it’s been awesome. On the other hand, could I have come to some decisions on my own without those resources? I don’t know. But if you’re a new mom out there, the decision making gets easier I think. And I’ve heard by baby number 2, you care less haha. So we’ll see.