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.

A Weekend Trip to Charleston

This weekend, we traveled to Charleston for a little mini vacation. My husband ran in the Cooper River Bridge Run so we drove down on Thursday. I love Charleston so much, it’s one of my favorite places to visit so I was a lot excited and a little nervous as Ellie is not a fan of the car. 3 and a half hours with a screaming 7 month old didn’t sound that great but we took the chance and made it through. She actually slept most of the time both ways, and while I had to pee the last 2 hours on the way there, I was not going to chance waking her up. I told James, “let’s utilize this time and just get there. I’ll pee later in life.”

 

our first day there – Ellie is enjoying the new scenery

 

 

Before we had a baby, our vacations were filled from morning to evening. We would walk around an entire city, eat at nice restaurants, take tours, etc. With a baby, it’s an entirely different story. Friday, we went to the grocery store – woohoo. We went shopping in Isle of Palms, went to the beach, and went out to eat. I had a big fear that Ellie wasn’t going to nap well, and she didn’t take any 2 hour naps, but she got in a couple of 45 minute – hour long naps, once on my chest while walking around, so that was also nice.

 

 

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it’s cold daddy

 

 

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on the way to the beach

 

 

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whoaaaaa

 

 

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WHAT IS THIS

 

 

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this is a little warmer

 

 

 

 

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toes in the sand

 

 

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daddy holding Ellie

 

 

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the water took her breath away

 

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it was windy

 

I know I’ve said this before, but the coolest thing about being parent is watching her experience new things. We take for granted the fact that we know what the ocean feels like. We know how the sand feels between our toes. We know what the texture of a fresh peach feels like in our mouth, the sweetness of the fruit, the juice running down our chin. We do things on a daily basis without any thought to how it feels. Babies are experiencing all of this and it’s so cool to witness. I love watching her smile as she digs her fingers into the grass, and then watch in terror as she puts it in her mouth. I struggle with that because I’m thinking, has a dog pooped in that grass, but I don’t want to constantly tell her no because I want her to experience things. I feel like I’m learning so much from her, and my goal for the future is to use my 5 senses to re-experience life with her.

 

 

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grandma had some cool clothes on

 

 

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Daddy ran fast!

 

 

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daddy loves to shop with us

 

We take our next trip in June and I’m super excited about that. A week there, and who knows what she’ll be like at 9 months!

Being a New Mommy (or heck, just being a mommy)

… is hard. Like, y’all, this stuff is hard. And people told me that before I had kids but one can NEVER know how hard it is until you’ve got a little baby screaming in your face and you have NO FRIGGIN’ IDEA WHAT TO DO. The funny thing is that I thought it would get easier as she gets older, but it just seems to get harder and harder. For different reasons, of course. I’m trying to be more thoughtful and more prayerful through this Lenten season and from doing so, I’ve discovered some of what makes this all so challenging.

 

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How cute is this face?

 

1) The crying is really hard but not for the reasons one would think

At first, I thought the crying would be hard because it’s loud. And before I had her, I thought, eh, even if it’s loud, it won’t be that big of a deal. No. It is not because it is loud. It is because my body has a full on, physical reaction that comes from the gut when she is upset. And depending on her cry, it gets exponentially worse. I want to help her as quickly as possible, but sometimes don’t know why it’s happening. Is she hungry? Is she tired? Is she teething? Does her stomach hurt? Is she developing mentally? Is she growing physically? Does she have a fever? WHY ARE YOU CRYING BABY I WANT TO HELP IF YOU JUST TELL ME WHAT YOU NEED I SWEAR I WILL GIVE IT TO YOU!!!!!!! So sometimes, it’s just trial and error. And now, over the past month, she’s had those cries where she’s just pissed. Pissed that I put her on her back on the changing table, pissed that I laid her down, pissed that she can’t have my boiling lava hot cup of coffee. Either way, I have a visceral reaction to her cries like nothing I’ve ever felt.

2) I have no idea if the path I’m taking as a parent is a good one

There is an article that comes out daily on what mistakes I’m making as a parent. Kids that watch tv will have ADD. Your baby is not getting enough Vitamin D so you need to give them a supplement. Supplements are bad for your baby. You shouldn’t give your newborn the vitamin K shot because it’s bad. You are endangering your child by not giving them the Vitamin K shot because they could bleed to death. Ugh. I am destined to mess her up. How can I not?

 

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Her new rain coat! Thanks Peggy!

 

3) I’m very sensitive to the fact that I am parenting in a non that usual way and others are judging me

I know this is weird, but I am weird, so it makes sense. I’m following the Attachment Parenting model because honestly, it makes the most sense to me. It comes naturally to me. I found myself reading Dr Sears’s book and saying, yes that’s how I feel! It’s not for everyone and especially here in the South, it’s not for anyone. And when I’m by myself, just little Ellie and I, it’s no issue. It’s hard because I have to learn to be patient as she goes through different life stages, but I’m willing to do it because I just can’t put her in a room by herself to cry it out, I’m not going to deny her food if she’s hungry, and I don’t care about a schedule. When I become sensitive is when I’m in pubic and my velcro baby doesn’t want anyone but me. In reality, that’s exactly what attachment parenting is all about. A baby that is securely attached is one who “become[s] visibly upset when their caregivers leave, and are happy when their parents return”.    But to others, I’m seem like a crazy person. They want to hold her, but she isn’t having it. She wants mama. And so I get embarrassed because I somehow think they’re judging my parenting. My husband says, who cares and don’t worry about it, so I try to be that way, but it’s hard. How can I be confident that what I’m doing is right but still be worried that others are judging me, I have no idea. But I’m a little bit at a level of cray that my husband can’t understand anyway. So yeah…

 

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4) I have a hard time being uncomfortable

I was thinking about this yesterday. Part of what makes parenting so hard is that I can’t run from it. When I’m at my wits end, and I just think I can’t take anymore, there’s no where to go. In the past, I would do my usual things like make myself super busy so I don’t have to deal with the issue, ignore it, eat myself out of it, go for a run, whatever. I would use whatever vice was available at that time. But she needs me. She is 100% totally dependent on me. I brought her into the world and it’s my responsibility to make sure her every need is taken care of, so I can’t just run out. I have to sit with her crying, sit with her mad, be there even when there’s nothing I can do. I feel powerless. And that’s hard. I have to be present and be there for someone else.

 

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yeah, I need to do my hair and makeup – don’t judge me!

 

Suddenly though, there’s a day when she’s so happy. And she laughs at everything. And I get to see her pure joy as she discovers a whole new world and I know that it’s all worth it. Yesterday, we went down to the play area in our neighborhood. I had Ellie strapped into my Ergo and we sat in the swing together. I WISH I could’ve gotten a picture of her face. She was SO STINKIN’ HAPPY to be swinging. It was the coolest thing. Then we walked down to the creek and saw a beaver and again, she was amazed. Heck, I was even amazed by that. My point though is that I felt her pure joy and it made me so happy to have that moment with her. And I suddenly forget how hard it is and realize that I’m absolutely the luckiest person in the world to have her.

Week in Review

I am really trying hard to start posting more regularly. The biggest setback this week was having to change nannies. I was without a nanny for about a week, and let me tell you – stay at home moms should be commended. I work from home, but that time that I get at my desk, interacting with other adults via telephone is a welcomed break. The days that it’s just Ellie and I are cherished but I’m typically exhausted by bed time. Some days, I get some stuff done around the house, others, I’m lucky to brush my teeth. So as someone who has done both, staying at home is WAY HARDER than being a working mom in terms of being ragged. As a working mom, leaving my baby (even if it is just to go upstairs) is hard. I’m super grateful that my boss let’s me get the best of both worlds because I couldn’t imagine dropping Ellie off at a day care. I probably wouldn’t unless it was absolutely necessary.

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Ellie looking at the monkeys at the zoo

We went to the zoo together which was actually our second time going. This time, though, she was a little more alert and could respond to the animals. She really liked the monkeys, big cats, and elephants. We didn’t get to see the whole thing, because she was getting tired and fussy towards the end. It was a fun mommy/daughter date though.

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the future’s so bright

She absolutely HATES the sun being in her eyes, so luckily, I found these glasses that a friend gave us. I haven’t put them on her outside yet, but next zoo trip, we’re giving it a shot! In the meantime, she likes to eat them.

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Mommy got to take a shower!

We have discovered sesame Street (not the show because we don’t watch TV, or we TRY not to watch it), but another friend gave us these animals and she loves them. I actually took a shower at one point and she occupied herself. Ernie is her favorite so I play the rubber ducky song a lot. It’s surprising how much she likes him.

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eating peas – yum

I’m going to do a separate post on Baby led Weaning but after a little scare, I decided that I would give her a combination of puree foods and my food. This is her eating peas which she liked a lot.

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Mashed purple sweet potatoes

She didn’t like these as much, but they’re a little thick. This wasn’t a store-bought puree, this was my own recipe, water and mashed sweet potato. She still ate the whole thing, it just wasn’t as pleasing as the other stuff.

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she loved this

There really wasn’t any corn on it, it was basically the cob, but she likes anything she can chew on. And it was probably sweet.

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Her newest obsession

She’s going through a bit of a clingy phase, but she’s also going through a curious phase so she wants to grab and touch everything she sees…. from the comfort of my lap.

Lastly, this week was the beginning of Lent. Ellie and I went to mass on Wednesday evening and both got ashes on our head! While it was interesting having Ellie try to eat the pew, the hymnal, the missalette, my fingers, the laminated sheet of prayers and her outfit, she was relatively quiet and I got a lot out of what Father Pat said. He said don’t give up chocolate or something like that, give up something that separates you from Jesus. I really liked that and interestingly enough, I did that this year. I decided that for Lent, I am giving up

  1. being critical of others – For whatever reason, I’ve always had this “defect” of character. I think initially, it was a defense mechanism for low self-esteem. It made me feel good to see the faults in others, when what I was really doing was trying to convince myself that I was okay. And it may still be that a bit, as being a new mom really does shake one’s confidence. I’ve noticed that I get really nervous when I’m around others with Ellie. I was running with a mom the other day and Ellie was a bit fussy. I felt unsure of what to do because in reality, I always just respond to her cries, but I know in the mommy world, that’s not really accepted as much, so I didn’t want to appear “weak” to the other mommy, even though she’s not judgmental at all and has always been supportive, it’s just my own inner critic and the fear of not being liked. So maybe part if my being judgmental is me being defensive but I think the other part is me just being arrogant, plain and simple. It’s still coming from the same place, that place of separation and that’s not what God wants of us. Jesus always talked about us being one. Our struggles are one in the same, so what I should be doing is loving others and He loves me, warts (while they are my own perception so who knows if they’re even real) and all. This is going to be very hard and I’m really going to need prayer to help me stick to it.
  2. cussing – In reality, I don’t think that God cares that much if I cuss, but usually when I’m cussing, I’m either being critical (see above), or complaining in some way. I’m never just like, Oh good effin’ morning!! It’s usually like, that driver is an effin’ moron. The words are so aggressive and coming from a place that is absolutely separate from God.
  3. Be more prayerful – Being Catholic, I never have an excuse to not pray. There is a prayer for everything! So if I’m at a loss for words, I’ve got some I can say. But there’s also time for my own words too, so instead of turning to the things above, I can say a quick prayer instead. I can get up with Ellie in the morning, and we can pray together. Pray before meals, helping me have gratitude for the blessings in my life. Thanking God at the end of the day because there’s much to be thankful for. There’s a lot I can pray about and while I usually say one strong one in the evening, I feel I need to do much more than that.

What are you giving up for Lent?

A Fun Weekend

This weekend, Ellie had a lot of adventures with food and going downtown! I thought I’d post a couple of the many many photos I took over the weekend.

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Ellie eating broccoli

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Ellie eating a banana

We tried Baby Led Weaning – I’ll blog about that experience later

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Our little trip downtown

So, I planned on this nice little adventure downtown, just the two of us as James was working. In my mind, we would peacefully ride downtown, get out, walk around by the river, and then she’d sleep as we drove back home. The reality of the trip –

1) she screamed the whole time I was trying to park because she was ready to get out of the car

2) Turns out she crapped out of her diaper and down her leg, so before we even left the car, I had to change her diaper and lucky me, I forgot any additional clothes, so I just cleaned the inside of her pants and put them back on

3) I had a hard time deciding if I should put her in the baby carrier or the stroller so I thought, oh, I’ll carry her one way and put her in the stroller on the way back. Well, she wouldn’t go in the stroller so I walked around downtown with her in a baby carrier pushing an empty stroller around

4) oh, speaking of empty strollers, I tried to go into the Pink Azalea, and lifted the stroller onto the step in the store, then when I realized it was not going through all of the tables, had to back out of the store very awkwardly

It ended up being fun, but the days of just peacefully popping in and out of places is over. Me trying to get into Spill the Beans was another story, but you catch my drift.

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Ellie eating an orange which she LOVES

So, she really loves oranges, but I think they irritate her tummy because of the citrus, so we’ll hold off a bit.

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She has on her spring dress! It’s warm here in the south!

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Her new play area – it helps us keep our living room clean and it’s set up for her to enjoy it all at the same time! ADD here we come

Since I have been reading about the dangerous effects of tv watching for infants, I decided to create this play area for her. It does help keep the living area a little cleaner, it’s in a brighter spot, and it keeps me from being tempted to turn on the television. I don’t know how I’m ever going to catch up on Real housewives and Southern Charm, but I’d rather miss those shows than have a child with ADHD when she’s 7.

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We’re at my mom’s here and I’m trying to breastfeed her, which she is not interested in because she sees a pillow with tassles

It’s getting harder and harder to breastfeed her anywhere but my bedroom. She is so curious about EVERYTHING. She wants to touch EVERYTHING. And she lets you know if you aren’t getting what she wants. Awesome.