Friday, January 30, 2009

Mashed Post-ato Friday

I apologize for the trite headline but this post is going to be a mash-up of several topics that aren't worthy of their own posts. Yes, I guess I'm exhibiting the Judging part of my ENFJ personality.

So, after a supremely fussy/clingy/generally pissy day on Tuesday, I was convinced we were in the throes of a 6-month growth spurt. I was bracing myself for a week of misery. But to my pleasant surprise, Nate woke up completely refreshed and was all smiles Wednesday morning. He began using my fingers as teethers and as he glided the tip across his bottom gumline, I felt a sharp, pointy stranger where a knot used to reside.

His first tooth had erupted (as I illustrated for Wordless Wednesday).

I shrieked with surprise and excitement and he smiled pompously, as if he knew what he had just sprouted and knowlingly affirmed "there's more where that came from, Mommy".

Nate's 6-month appointment was on Tuesday afternoon. My boy is 18 lbs, 2 oz and 27.5 inches long. His growth has slowed down a bit but he is still in the 70th percentile for weight and 80th percentile for height. Perfect physically and developmentally. Because his 4-month shots were delayed due to illness that lasted the entire month of December, he was spared from further vaccinations until mid-March.

We were given the green light to start solids so we introduced rice cereal - mixed with pumped breastmilk - that night. He tolerated it commendably and adeptly swallowed more than he spit out. But he quickly grew tired and began gagging on the soupy texture. After several spoonfuls, he was clearly full and disinterested in continuing the process.

Don't worry - I took more photos of the event than I would like to admit. They'll make for a perfect Wordless Wednesday next week. *wink*

After a few more days, I may introduce oatmeal and see if he favors it over the rice. But I probably won't pull out my trusty Beaba BabyCook for homemade fruits and veggies until after we make our move. *sigh*

Nate hasn't pooped in 4+ days. I understand it is normal for a breastfed baby to go for days without a bowel movement but we're talking about the kid who had monster blowouts 3-4x a day for more than 5 months. It doesn't seem normal to have a sudden, drastic change in bowel patterns. Even the rectal thermometer isn't stimulating things.

Please tell me my son hasn't inherited my awful IBS/chronic constipation.

Tomorrow, I think I'll send DH out to pick up some 100% prune or pear juice. From what I understand, it's like an enema in a bottle. I can't wait to see what fun this shall bring.

It's about time for another CIO report.

Bedtime has been fairly consistent since my last post. Nate has pushed up his bedtime to 8-830pm instead of his typical 9pm. Sometimes, he seems ready around 7 or 730pm, which saddens me if I've been at the office all day and don't return home until 6pm. On those days, I have to squeeze cuddle time and playtime into one hour. Just not enough. But once I see the signs of fatigue (rubbing eyes, yawning, attention deficit, general malaise, desire to nurse from both sides, etc. ), I retire to his room for a quick nurse and glide in the dark. I sometimes softly sing or hum a lullaby while I stroke his head. I should note that I rarely nurse him to sleep anymore. Instead, I unlatch him (or he unlatches himself), lay him in his crib awake with his beloved blankie and kiss his forehead, while reciting "nighty night". I leave the room and shut the door behind me.

Sheer silence. I don't hear one peep out of him as he first puts himself to sleep. *knock on wood* What an amazing transformation from just a week ago, when putting him down meant enduring hours of aural assault. It's a welcome improvement.

But he's still waking every 2-3 hours, almost to the minute. It's more out of habit than out of hunger, so I allow him to fuss for several minutes before going in to comfort him. Most times, he can fall back asleep on his own within 10 minutes. If he doesn't, a quick pat by Daddy or another quick "top-off" from Mommy will do the trick. But if he does in fact go back down, he is only down for another 2 hours or so before waking again and crying. It gets progressively more difficult for him to self-soothe as time goes on and usually by 4-5am, he is back in bed with us so we can all get some uniform rest for the last hour or two before waking for the day. We've had one or two 4-5 hour stretches, but those seem to be the exception rather than the rule.

I thought he may have been waking due to the winter weather, as his hands are often chilled when I go in for checks, but even on warmer nights or in fleece sleepers with a cotton onesie underneath, he wakes often. I also suspected the snow and hail falling on his bedroom window could have disturbed him, but he wakes even when the atmosphere is still. I've considered shopping for a sound machine but I'm not convinced that will solve the problem.

I'm beginning to accept that, like adults, every baby's habits will be different. Some are going to be naturally "good" sleepers - STTN at a mere "x" weeks old - and others will need more assistance to get to that final destination. My son happens to subscribe to the latter.

That being said, naptime - which used to be dreamy - has gone to H.E. Double Hockeysticks. He never used to put up much of a fight when I would place him in his swing at the 90-120 minute mark. But now he retrieves his gloves and starts boxing the moment my hands are removed from his back. It takes several attempts to get him down, despite displaying explicit signs that he is weary from being awake for 4+ hours. And even if we're lucky enough for him to give in, the shuteye only lasts long enough to be a catnap. Today, he napped a cumulative 30-40 minutes, as opposed to the usual 3-4 hours. I'm assuming this is due to teething and am hoping it will pass.

All I know is Mommy needs sleep if she's ever going to fill these empty boxes. Have I mentioned I hate moving?

Until next time...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Monday, January 26, 2009

Six Months

Nate is 6 months old today.

Has it really been half a year already? It seems like just yesterday we were driving home from the hospital with our brand new little guy, going 10 miles below the speed limit in the slow lane because we were afraid to jostle or damage our fragile newborn.

When I think of how far we've come, I am astonished. I admire Nate each day and query how he was once the size of a poppyseed inside me. Proof of his existence was just a pale pink line on a stick. And now, here he is. My baby boy - my hopes and dreams - in the flesh.

At 6 months, my little man:
  • Wears 9 month clothes and size 3 diapers comfortably. Whoa. I'm expecting him to top the scales at a whopping 19+ lbs at his checkup tomorrow. He's quite the hefty load these days, which makes walking in heels risky.

  • Can roll both ways, although he is much more consistent rolling back to tummy. When on his tummy, he "swims" and gets frustrated, as he can only move in circles and not forward. It's quite amusing to watch actually but I have a feeling it won't be long until crawling commences.

  • Can sit without toppling over for 15 minutes. He can counterbalance himself if he starts to lean to one side. But if he looks up too high, his body follows his eyes and he inevitably falls backward.

  • Can jabber like a monkey, stringing consonants and vowels together like pearls on a necklace. Mostly "aah" type sounds ("da", "ba", "ga") with an occasional "ooh" thrown in for good measure. He is currently acing the "mmm" sound, to which we are coaxing "mama". He tries to mimic our lip motions but is still a tad too immature for words. He is very observant but he is also quite social. He loves to interact with people and talk to himself in the mirror. He is very intrigued by faces and always tries to grab eyes, ears, noses and mouths. Not to mention hair. Ouch. Or jewelry. Yikes.

  • Can laugh and giggle. His most ticklish spot is his chunky thigh. Trust me when I say there is nothing more endearing than a baby's chuckle. After his spell of colic for the first 3 months of life, I never thought I'd see him smile so much. It's more gratifying than I can describe.

  • Can pass a toy from one hand to the other, although he's only done this on several occasions. He can grab an object, such as daddy's remote, and pull it to him in an instant. Once he gets his paws on said object, it goes directly into the mouth. Oral fixation much?

  • Is cutting his first tooth. I can feel a knot under his front left bottom gumline. And he is slobbering so much that I am frightened to lay him face down out of fear he shall drown in the volume of his saliva . I can't quite see it breaking through but I assume it is a matter of time. My breasts are quivering at their fate.

  • Can reach out to be held or shy away when he wants to stay put. He's developing slight separation anxiety when I am not in his line of sight. Even when daddy is attempting to entertain him, he wants to know where mommy is. Luckily, he does not have an aversion to strangers. Yet.

  • Can recognize his name. He will turn toward you if you call him. But only if you are not interjecting while he is captivated by coexisting lights and/or sounds.

While I could go on and on, I should make note that this milestone isn't entirely about age and growth. I'm also proud to say that I've been able to exclusively breastfeed for 6 months. I accomplished the goal I set out to meet way back when I first decided to embark on my journey to parenthood.

I have been able to resist the temptation of formula, even when my nipples were raw from cluster feeding and I cried through clenched teeth, questioning my supply. I have been able to withstand the monotony of pumping in bathroom stalls and storage closets. I have been able to defy societal expectations - or asinine opinions - as to when to wean and begin solid foods. I have been able to fulfill my son's nutritional needs with my body alone. It feels sublime.

I took photos of him this weekend in all of his naked glory (which DH made me promise not to share). Just to remember the body that my milk duds were responsible for. Each roll, each ounce of chub, all from the milk which I produced. I wanted to document this milestone so I can look back fondly in a few years at the result of my success. Our success. I couldn't do without my little partner in crime, who has fine-tuned his latch and suction into an art. That is, when he's not too distracted by his surroundings to demonstrate his abilities.

Happy half birthday, little man. You'll never know how incredibly loved you are.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

In Pursuit of Magic Tricks

We may have cracked the code at getting Nate to go down without an hours-long temper trantrum. The magic to this CIO thing is keeping him down. That's the trick I need to master.

After a 90 minute stretch last night, Nate woke up expressing his extreme discomfort through abbreviated grunts that reminded me of Morse Code. I delayed entry into his nursery, waiting with bated breath for tranquility to return. But, alas, it wasn't meant to be.

After much hesitancy, I went in, picked him up and cuddled him in the nursery. He smeared the remnants of his tears on my camisole as he searched for a boob. I obliged, recalling that he was too distracted during our earlier playdate to be bothered with nutrition. I suspected that he was now compensating for the lack of calories.

I was able to get him to go down without protest once he was satiated. I succumbed to sleep myself but 2 hours later, my dreams were disturbed by panicked cries. In the shadows, I could see spit-up under his nose. The ugly, uninvited return of reflux. I picked him up and he began choking and gasping for air. I patted and rubbed his back, cradling him close to me. Eventually, the episode ended but he continued to be disgruntled. Despite my best efforts, I was consumed with fatigue and brought him to bed with me, where we both slept comfortably until 730am.

I know, I need to grow a backbone. But the positive side is that we can get him down in the crib. That part is getting progressively easier. We just need to work on prolonging the stretches. One step at a time, I say.

Today marks the one-year anniversary of Snowflake's unfulfilled due date. The memory of her loss still stings, as I think back to the blood, the cramps, the fear, the agony of waiting for confirmation of what I already knew to be true. I could never forget my baby girl. I will always miss her and this date will always carry with it a somber tone.

Instead of celebrating a one-year birthday, I'm on the brink of a 1/2 birthday. And despite my melancholy, I could not feel more fortuitous.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Silence is Golden

On last night's episode of CIO, you were left with a cliffhanger. Nate had been down for 2 consecutive hours. I'm sure you're dying to know what happened next, so here goes.

Nate woke up crying within 5 minutes of my last entry. Not screaming but crying for attention. I went in to soothe him and noticed he was a bit twisted in his blanket. So, I picked him up and readjusted him, patting his back and doing the Mama Sway. He quickly fell asleep on my shoulder, sighing loudly as if he had found sweet relief in mommy's embrace. I laid him down delicately in his crib and walked out, crossing my fingers.

There was no noise. No fuss. No crying. No screaming or wailing. Just silence.

DH and I quietly scampered off to bed. I laid awake, waiting for him to pitch a fit, demanding a warm body to cuddle beside. After several minutes of contemplation, I heard some grunting through our adjoinging wall so I sent DH in to mediate. As he exited the nursery, there was again serenity. I made note of the time. 11:47pm.

I was apprehensive, among many other emotions. I was cynical, believing that sleep was only a pipe dream; I'd only be woken to my son exercising his lungs. I was elated that I didn't have to resort to earplugs in order to catch some zzz's. But I missed his soft little body and the whisper of his breath on my chest. I was lonely. I had slept next to Nate for 6 months - not including the months prior when he would tussle about inside me as I would attempt to doze off. I can't even recall what sleep was like when it was just DH and I. I realized that this wasn't just an adjustment for Nate. It was an adjustment for me as well.

Before I knew it, my eyes were peeled open as I heard Nate bawling. I turned to look at the clock. It was 4:54am.

Some quick arithmetic confirmed a 5 hour stretch. F-I-V-E consecutive hours. In addition to the 2 before that. A total of 7 hours in his crib. I could not believe my eyes.

My breasts were like two swollen boulders under my neck but I hurried out of bed and into the nursery, swooping Nate up in my arms and covering him with kisses. I was so proud of my little guy. I cheated and brought him back to bed to nurse, where he slept for another 2 hours.

Today, Nate and I travelled to VA for a playdate with some of my FF gal pals. He slept the entire way there (1.5 hours) and the entire way back. He also napped for a bit in his Ergo as we shopped at the outlet mall.

We arrived home around 6pm. I fixed myself some dinner, we played for a bit and I gave him a bath. At 8pm, I took him in his nursery, turned off all the lights and nursed him in the glider, wrapping him in a velour blanket. Our new nightly routine.

He fell asleep at the boob and I gently transferred him to the crib. He was awake but drowsy. I walked out and closed the door, expecting a bit of fussing or crying.

But there was nothing. Absolute silence. And it's been like that for an hour now.

I guess I underestimated this CIO thing. It may be mentally, physically and emotionally draining - to say the least - but it really can work.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Dead or Alive

The protruding silence in my son's nursery leaves me with much time to muse about its origin. Has he actually fallen asleep after just 20 minutes of tears? Has he suffocated on his lovie? Rolled against the crib bumper and smothered himself? Will I walk in to find him strangled in his mobile? Yes, these are the persistent, morbid thoughts that cross my mind in the wee hours of the night.

Once Nate gives in to the Sandman, I find myself in a state of nihilism. I am constantly pacing back and forth in front of his door. I could swear I hear him crying or struggling even though he isn't making a peep at all.

This is what CIO does to a frazzled mother's mind. It breeds paranoid schizophrenia.

Despite my frequent surrender to cosleeping and lack of consistency throughout the night, I am noticing an improvement. We're on Day 5 of The Great Transformation and he has been down for 120 minutes. His best yet. And with less of the drama beforehand.

We're making progress. Slowly. Very slowly. But surely. I have low expectations so I am proud of any minute achievement.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Great CIO Disaster of 2009

I'm sure you can gather from my title that last night didn't go so well after all. Well, it actually went beautifully for about 34 minutes before it all went to hell in a handbasket.

I guess I should start back at the beginning.

While I heart cosleeping, I have to admit it is taking its toll. On all of us. Nate is still waking 2-3 times a night to feed, even though I know he isn't truly hungry. It's purely out of habit. The boy has the nose of a bloodhound and can smell when fresh milk is in the vicinity because he is nestled tightly against my bosom. A few suckles and he's back to his coma. But if I offer his beloved Soothie, he wants none of it. Apparently, our fickle little paci snob will only accept it during daylight hours. This means we are all up every 3 hours during the night. Sometimes more. It could be much, much worse so please don't interpret this as a griping, woe-is-me whinefest. I am just recognizing the limitations of our current arrangement.

I have fared quite well living on broken sleep intervals for just under 6 months. But I am running on fumes. I am so forgetful and exhausted most days that espresso can't even save me. It's a wonder how I manage a full-time job on top of mommyhood. And Nate is also affected when he doesn't get enough nighttime sleep. He will become overtired and will refuse to nap, leading to a high-needs, spirited baby begging for mercy. DH is also increasingly afraid of rolling over into him as his girth expands. DH We decided that as we are on the brink of Nate's 1/2 birthday, there was no better time than the present to get him accustomed to sleeping in his crib.

Around 8pm, Nate caught a case of the evening "fussies". Short attention span, zero tolerance for amusement, rubbing of the eyes and a dash of crankiness. This lets me know when he's had enough and is ready to hit the sack. So, instead of taking him to bed and nursing him side-laying as we normally do, I took him to his nursery, changed his diaper and turned off all the lights. I cuddled him in the glider and nursed him until his eyes glazed over. He wasn't completely asleep but was drowsy enough to pass the limp wrist test. I wrapped him in a soft blankie (a SIDS risk, I know...but he likes to grip it as he drifts off to la-la land) and gently laid him in his crib.

We had success. After several minutes of peacefulness, I took the time to write the previous post. Full of hope but not exactly brimming with confidence. I was a bit scared yet composed.

The tranquility was pierced with screams and wails approximately 10 minutes after I hit publish. He had just eaten 45 minutes ago so he couldn't possibly be hungry. He had a fresh diaper. He was not sick or feverish. His reflux has all but resolved itself entirely in the past month.

It was time to Ferberize.

I went in to soothe him - patting his back and butt and shushing him, trying to get him to take his pacifier. It was a lost cause. After 30 seconds, I retreated back out to the living room, while my son cried exponentially harder. It was as if I had strapped him down on the Wheel of Torture and was tearing him limb from limb, all while using an apple on his head for target practice. The five minutes I restrained myself before returning to him were downright dreadful. My heart shattered in a million little pieces as I listened to his cries, and I confess I shed some tears right along with him.

I sauntered back into the nursery, trying desperately not to make eye contact and get down to business. But how could I not look at my baby as he implored me to hold him close? I again made an attempt to soothe him to no avail. If anything, I felt my presence made the situation worse. He began choking on his saliva, nearly throwing up from the power of his shrieking. He reached his chubby arms out to me, shaking and crying louder than ever. It was so intense I almost broke down weeping. I rubbed his head, kissed his sticky, tear-stained cheek, swaddled him up in his blanket and turned away, walking out and closing the door.

This dance lasted for 2-1/2 hours (yes, you read right - TWO AND A HALF HOURS) before I had had enough. I did the unthinkable - I gave in and picked him up. His crying immediately ceased and all I could hear was his raspy breath muffled in the crook of my neck. Defeated, we both sunk into bed for the long night.

I'm at a loss. I can't just shut the door and let him cry it out until he passes out from sheer exhaustion. I don't want him to completely lose confidence that I will respond to his needs. And I don't want him to associate his crib with a traumatic experience. But surely if he didn't go to sleep after 2-1/2 hours of gradual extinction, something is amiss. Most Ferber advocates claim their child only cried for 30 minutes - possibly an hour - before settling down. But Nate gets so worked up that it's impossible for him to soothe himself. He just gets more overtired, inflating the problem.

At this point, having a toddler sleeping in our bed is appealing.

I feel like a terrible mother. Did I create a monster by facilitating attachment parenting? I feel like a failure because my son has atypical sleep habits, at which most adults balk. He naps in a swing he is quickly outgrowing and he sleeps with mommy and daddy. I feel like I am doing him a disservice to allow him to sleep with me because he is growing dependent on me to fall asleep. But it feels wrong to just stick him in his crib cold turkey and listen to him cry out for me. Is this really what is best for him long-term when the short-term is so agonizing?

Tonight is round two and so far, it's been over an hour of fruitless Ferberizing. Am I forever doomed? Once you cosleep, do you never look back? I mean, animals cosleep with each other and naturally wean, sleeping independently as they age. Should I take the same approach with the hope that he will one day desire his own space? Or should I take the reins now and adjust his sleep patterns while he is still young enough to mold? No matter what it takes or what sacrifices must be made?

Sleep is so incredibly important for a healthy lifestyle. Just as important as diet or exercise. I realize this. I never in my wildest dreams conceived how hard it would be to execute.

I just wish I knew if I was doing the right thing.

Ten minutes is up. Time to go back inside the ring. May we emerge victorious and unscathed.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Dare I

We may be celebrating the inauguration of the president elect tomorrow but I am revelling in our own initiation here in the Sticky household.

Dare I even speak of the monumental event that is occurring right now?

I am sure that the mere act of typing the words is enough to jinx it. But I may implode if I can't share my elation.

My son is asleep.

In his crib.

And has been for about 20 minutes now.

Do you realize how big a deal this is? Not just big. Monumental.

Let's see how long this lasts.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Mama Sway and Other Developments

I am feeling quite wordy this morning, as Nate naps comfortably in his swing. But in the interest of retaining your attention rather than antagonizing you with an unorganized, jumbled bout of verbal diarrhea, I will utilize bullet points to constrain myself.

  • Move over Macarena. Crank this Soulja Boy. There's a new dance craze in Chez Sticky. I've acquired the "Mama Sway". Seriously, it's impossible for me to stand still. Even without the baby in my presence, I subconsciously rock back and forth. I don't even realize I'm doing this until other people - primarily mothers - point it out to me, declaring that only mothers have "that tender sway". Perhaps we all inherit the "Mama Sway" gene as soon as we release our placentas? It's like I've been inducted into a secret society. A slow dance. A knowing nod. And I'm outed without saying a word. I guess I should praise Dr. Karp for that.

  • Just like the evil that masqueraded as colic for 9+ weeks, Nate's reflux seemed to dissipate overnight. For the past few weeks, I've been able to sport brand-name gear, unsoiled and curdled-milk-fragrance free. Sure, he will still spit up now and then after a feeding but ***knock on wood*** we've had no actual vomiting incidents ( > tablespoon) in almost a month. No more waking in the middle of the night to gagging and choking. No more receiving blankets substituted as burp cloths, drenched in the contents of his stomach. I'm marveled by the difference. It's nothing short of a Festivus miracle. I guess all the hoopla about reflux resolving itself in time really was true. The cynic in me can rest assured that medication was unneccessary after all.

  • We have a thumbsucker in our midst. Yes, after almost 6 months of unfettered fist and finger love, Nate finally discovered his abandoned appendage. I should say he is more of a thumbbiter, as he uses it more for teething relief than for self-soothing at this point. I've yet to capture this new development on camera but the mamarazzi is sure to catch it in her relentless pursuit of treasured candids.

  • After two weeks of daily entrapment, Nate has learned that the jumperoo serves more of a purpose than to spin in circles and look pretty. He can now jump so high that I fear he may completely fly out of the apparatus. Watching him spring himself into oblivion is the most amusing, adorable thing. It could provide hours of entertainment if his legs could withstand it. His new nickname is Jumping Bean.

  • With his new exercise routine in full swing, his already hearty appetite is giving me a run for my money. Nate is eating every single ounce I pump, despite my record of 21 oz. in 3 pumping sessions. I know it's hardly Guinness Book material but it sure made me proud nonetheless. I can barely keep up with him in my absence. He is also showing extreme curiosity in food during mealtimes. Meaning I spend more time keeping his sticky fingers off my plate than gobbling up my lunch. He's even taken to crying when I push my meal outside of grasping range. This is especially enthralling in the middle of a crowded restaurant, where onlookers gasp in horror at this poor, starving babe and the abominable mother who denies him one small morsel of food. I am but a week away from my goal of 6 months exclusive breastmilk and I'm hell bent and determined to get there. We will get there. Then, it can be a solids free-for-all. Until that day, you can brand me as the strict, unsympathetic, possessive, add-your-own-adjective-here mama bear that I am.

  • Effective Thursday, Nate's usual whopping 3-4 bowel movements per day has lessened to a humble once a day. As a matter of fact, yesterday was completely poopless until his explosive blowout upon waking this morning. We're talking poop in the armpits, people. How exactly does that happen? I'm not sure if this is a sign of digestive distress or if his body is telling me that it's ready for more than just mundane liquids. He doesn't seem to be uncomfortable or constipated so I feel it's likely the latter.

  • After weeks of a sunny disposition, a storm is brewing. The crankiness. The clinginess. I'm identifying bits of foreshadowing. A taste of what's to come. I know the 6 month milestone brings along another growth spurt so I'm donning my cloak and armor, preparing for another battle.

A big apology if you made it this far. Not even the bullets could stop me from being verbose.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Change of Address

Your eyesight isn't failing you. You read correctly. It's official. We're moving on February 15th.

We have gradually outgrown our apartment. We knew even before Nate's arrival that it was only a matter of time until we would need a larger place. We hoped to save up enough to put a downpayment on a house. And while we are close to the standard 20% down on a modestly priced single family home in this area, we aren't comfortable risking our entire savings to invest in a home that may or may not pay off down the road in this questionable economy.

So, we found the next best thing. A house to rent.

It's a simple, unassuming cape cod, just one block away from my parents. Over 300 square feet more living space than our current nest. Plenty of room to accomodate Nate's overflowing fountain of toys, clothes and miscellaneous belongings. A yard for him to run and play. A community pool, playground, docks for fishing and boating, and a private beach. Space to welcome any new family members that may arrive in the distant future. The kitchen is a little small and outdated but that is hardly a dealbreaker, all things considered.

On our tour of the residence, I envisioned memories of things that have yet to occur. Nate crawling across the living room floor. Taking his first steps in the hallway. Playing ball out back with Daddy. It just felt right.

Our very own place with no shared walls or parking lot views. All for the same rent we are paying for our apartment. Not to mention this buys us a year or two so we can evaluate the market and save even more in the meantime.

While I share similar sentiments with Geohde when it comes to the acts of cleaning, packing, lifting, moving and unpacking, I am eager for a change of scenery. I am excited to be able to offer more for Nate than a narrow walkway with adjacent shoebox rooms as he becomes more nomadic.

It's not permanent but it's better. It's a step in the right direction.

Monday, January 5, 2009


I rang in 2009 snuggling with my son - who was nearly comatose from overindulging warm milk - in bed, shielding him from the blaring pyrotechnics occurring just outside of our bedroom window.

Nate was born LAST year. I was pregnant with him the year BEFORE LAST. How insane is that?! What's even scarier is that THIS year, he'll turn one. Goodness! Before I know it, with the exponential speed with which time has been travelling, he'll be starting school, driving, and dating.

As with all New Years celebrations, the descent of the gigantic, luminous orb had me not only reflecting on the monumental year that was 2008, but also pondering self-improvement. I've lived and I've learned much over the past 12 months but I can't stop in my tracks. I can't relish in the comfortableness when there is so much potential beyond the present. The only constant from year to year is change. Things - life - will inevitably morph and shift, and we will struggle to adapt. I have to strive to be a better mother. A better wife. A better daughter and sister. A better friend and person.

Is it possible to transplant the best parts of 2008 into the new year? How can I better myself so that I become more valuable to those around me?

I was never much of a believer in setting resolutions. It seems that the moment you utter the r-word, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy to fail. Even an honest attempt to achieve a resolution is moot if left unresolved when the sand runs out at the end of the year. I am more inclined to set goals - both short-term and long-term. That way, I can still hold myself accountable but I will not be held under the duress of a stringent annual deadline.

Without further ado, my newfound objectives are as follows:

1. Grow spiritually

I want to strengthen my faith and attend church more frequently. Oftentimes, the daily rigamarole of life supersedes making time for the Lord. It's easy to make excuses as to why we just couldn't make it this particular Sunday (i.e. the service is during baby's naptime, it's just too far to travel in the morning, etc.). But I really want to make our spirituality a priority, as are our careers or quality time with friends and family. The pastor's word makes us feel so wholesome and rejuvenated after a challenging work week. I'd like to lengthen that feeling of integrity all week, month and year-long.

I'd also like to study Bible passages in an effort to understand the text around which we center our Christian values.

2. Revitalize intimacy

Since we became a family of three, DH and I have struggled to redefine intimacy. Not just physically but also emotionally. The overwhelming needs of an infant often dominate our lives and it is easy to overlook or outright ignore our spouses' or our own needs. We can no longer rely solely on romantic movie nights, candlelit dinners or a passionate evening to bring us closer. We need to exercise our creativity to find other fulfilling ways to show our affection.

I want to be more aware of this and not just circumvent the issue or procrastinate. I want to be more proactive, which leads me to my next goal.

3. Communicate more effectively

I have never been confrontational so I tend to sweep things under the rug in order to avoid strife. I want to be more open with my feelings so I am not forcing DH to speculate as to my needs or desires. It is unfair to set unrealistic expectations of him or others if I am not explicit.

I also want to deepen my interpersonal relationships with friends by maintaining contact. Since becoming a mom, my social life has dwindled to email or MySpace or Facebook comments. I was never really a party animal but I would like to reconnect with friends face-to-face, whether it be a family-friendly dinner with the boy in tow or a girls' night out sans baby.

May I add, in the blogworld, I'd like to comment more and discover new blogs related to IF, specifically parenting after IF. I used to be a master commenter before the p-words - pregnancy and preparation - consumed my life. Now, with my new 27 inch boss, I hardly have the time to construct an admissable post much less offer useful advice and support to my online buddies. I want to make the time to be there for those who were there for me in my darkest days and continue to follow me on my lighter path.

While I am happy to put my family first above all else, I don't want to lose the small yet priceless support system I have. I do not have many friends so it is imperative to show appreciation to the ones I do have.

4. Lose 5 to 10 more pounds

Perhaps the most generic and selfish of all my goals. It won't really benefit anyone but myself - unless you consider yourself a member of the "happy mommy, happy daddy/baby" camp. Yet I think it would improve my self-image to lose the poundage I gained during my dreaded Clomid days.

As of Christmastime, I have officially reached my prepregnancy weight. Since I was able to do so through breastfeeding alone, I consider that a huge accomplishment. But these pesky 5 to 10 more lbs. will probably be more problematic. I will need to eat healthier - perhaps join Weight Watchers or a similar diet program that is safe for nursing mothers - and exercise (gasp!) to shed them and keep them at bay.

And I will need to accept that I may hang onto a portion of my spare tire until I wean. As much as I love my new faux boob job, I will have to start mourning their loss now, as they are unlikely to hang around once my milk is expired and once they are subjected to the diet and exercise regimen I plan to implement.

5. Transition Nate to his crib successfully for naps and nighttime sleep

This is a small albeit substantial short-term goal. I cherish co-sleeping but I know our days are numbered. I have several sleep books in my arsenal and hope to devise a method to transition him in the next month or two. And since naps are still isolated to his swing, I'd also like to move those to his big, beautiful, yet motionless crib.

Like anything else, it's one step at a time.