September 28, 2012

must respect the nap

Okay, I admit it. I'm a scheduler. Well... not in most of my life (oh wait, come to think about it I am when it comes to having fun). I'm not traditionally highly organized and have always enjoyed a certain amount of spontaneity. But no more. Enter the baby nap.

Shortly after the boy was born, we started fantasizing about him sleeping through the night. Wanna know a secret right off the bat? Sleeping "through the night" is qualified as a meager five hours. So here we were, pining for the day when we could get some real rest and I could stop feeling like a frequent-fueling gas station. So I did what I normally do when I set a goal: I read books. I picked a handful, each with its own philosophy and steps to take to ensure that magical sleepy baby wonderland. (oh yes, it's true that newborns sleep about 16 hours a day - just not all at once.) I quickly learned that sleep is absolutely critical to the health of a child, let alone an adult, and inadequate or poor quality sleep leads to cognitive development issues and a host of other things that I'd just as soon avoid if at all possible. Like every parent, I want to give my son the best chance at being the best person he can be and he probably won't be his best if he doesn't get enough sleep and I know how much I absolutely hate it when I lose sleep so of course it must be The Most Important Thing In The World to him. Gee. Sounds just slightly uh... dramatic... now that I write it down. Ha!

Anyway, one book was downright lackadaisical about it - let them sleep when they sleep and whatever you do, don't wake a sleeping baby - while another was regimented and strict with a down-to-the-minute schedule to guide me through the day (there's always that inevitable "now what do I do with him?" moment - even now when he's seven months old). The latter was *highly* recommended by my SIL. After deciding that Guidance was what we truly needed, we followed what we called "the nazi book" nearly to the letter. Day One sucked. So did Day 3 and 5... but at some point after a few weeks, it actually started to work. At about 3.5 months of age, this little angel started sleeping about 12 hours a night. Yes, we were turning mental cartwheels. We also recognize that every baby is different, and some babies just sleep through the night sooner than others. There's my disclaimer. There are parents/friends who are not so fond of us because of this early success, so we don't mention it too much.

And so, I have become a clock-watching, schedule-timing, generally well-slept mama. And when that schedule gets out of whack, watch out. Not so much because of me, but because of the boy. He's supposed to sleep 30-45 minutes around 9:00 a.m., then about 2 hours around noon. And actually, that hasn't been too hard to accomplish at home especially in the morning. We've learned to work our weekend lives around his nap schedule, and believe me it pays off. Perfection isn't possible, so we strive for general consistency. And we're not above going for a loooong drive to facilitate the almighty nap.

Daycare is another story. I can't remember the last time he slept 2 hours at noon - it's usually 30-45 minutes. This is probably because he's such a social baby that he just doesn't want to miss anything or anyone (because he's still generally very happy and good-natured despite this). So, every day we pick him up from daycare and every day he passes out within a minute of strapping him into the car seat and would gladly sleep the rest of the evening except that we have a Schedule To Keep, dang it, and we are going to keep it so he doesn't wake up in the middle of the night! LOL

Sigh... okay, reality check. I cannot control every part of his little baby life, and that will become more true every year. I'm really trying to go with the flow and help him get the sleep he needs as best I can. But this is starting to get under my skin. I'm hoping that when he moves into the next age group in a couple of weeks, this will sort of resolve itself since they have slightly more coordinated nap and feeding times.

In the meantime, I must remember to respect the nap when I can and recognize that it just doesn't always work out that way. I guess the boy will survive, eh?

Maybe this is one of the reasons I am now afflicted with insomnia and frequent wakings myself. Hmmm...

September 26, 2012

Real Reproductive Age (link)

One of the blogs I'm keeping up with posted this very interesting and thought-provoking article on how lifestyle and environmental factors actually affect the aging of our reproductive systems.

It does make me wonder. If the average woman in a developed country (such as the U.S. or Great Britain) ages chronologically a bit faster than she does biologically, it makes sense that fertility is the first thing to take a hit - the canary in the coal mine, if you will.

Obviously, I don't think it's that simple. Every body is different and there are many, many reasons why someone would suffer infertility. In my case, the specialist told me I had an "egg quality issue" two years ago. And while ultimately I believe God chose to heal my body and heart, I certainly did pursue health as a means of improving my chances of conceiving successfully (I was a Weight Watchers lifetime member before I got pregnant, and am back on the program now). That was a pretty short time frame, though, and not likely long enough to really turn things around if, in fact, that was the problem (and I have reason to believe that wasn't the whole picture).

The question I ask myself now is, How old am I really? Am I too old for anything? I once thought 42 was horrifically old to be giving birth. Now I kind of laugh at that idea and wonder what the future holds. I sincerely hope to be healthy enough to live long enough to see my own grandchildren.

September 25, 2012

for the love of food

in my current (baby) food obsession, i checked out "hungry monkey: a food-loving father's quest to raise an adventurous eater" by matthew amster-burton from the library. i thought it would be fun to see how an official foodie raises his kid.

so far it's a good read, and fairly entertaining. i'm only in the second chapter and already tried one of his suggestions: whole-milk greek yogurt blended with whatever fruit i have around. in this case, it was canned pineapple which i roughly pureed with the ol' stick blender (a device that i can't imagine how i ever lived without). my sweet little baby loooooves it! plus, yesterday i put a bit of cinnamon in his oatmeal. again, loves it.

tonight i will finely mince leftovers from yesterday's dinner: slow-cooker cuban-style pork and sweet potatoes. it's got a little spice from green chilies and cumin, and i'm okay with that. if i can avoid giving him super-bland food, i will. food is one of life's greatest pleasures, and i sincerely believe that the more adventurous we are with it, the more enjoyable it is. so why not start now?

at first, the idea of feeding him real food in addition to the bottle was pretty intimidating only because it's another thing to add to our warp-speed daily lives. like my former boss told me about raising kids, the minute you get used to something it changes. so we're changing to bottle + real food.

now if i can only get around to remembering to start brushing his (2) little teeth twice a day.

September 21, 2012

it's a good morning... sure, why not? (video)

right after dropping the boy off at day care, this came on the radio. i decided to turn the volume way up, which is something i normally only do for pink floyd songs. anyway, i find it impossible to be in a bad mood when this song is on. enjoy!

September 18, 2012

i am obsessed with (baby) food

first it was the general loathing contempt i usually hold for all forms of fast food (especially international chains who's mission seems to be erasing from the planet all flavor and freshness and promoting french-fried obesity).
then it was my own blossoming of becoming a serious (if poorly funded) foodie, relishing every opportunity to try new foods in interesting it was getting a book called Baby Led Weaning, one that eschews pureed food in favor of finger-sized portions of anything baby wants to play with and, at some point, eat.sigh. i know, i have plenty of things to worry about. but the forming of my baby boy's eating habits is pretty darned important and it really does start this early. the problem i want to solve, or rather avoid, is the typical american picky eater: can't stand to try anything new, only wants to eat something if it's mass-produced in the form of a "nugget" and is well on his way to a lifetime of unhealthy eating habits that manifest in either a spreading waistline or diabetes (both of which have been plentiful in my family). only problem with the book above is that i think my son needs the nourishment of solids sooner than he will master his pincer grip. and so, i'm looking for inspiration. my dh's brother and his wife only pureed whatever they were eating for their little girl. seems simple enough. the grocer is packed with aisles of spoon-feeding convenience. hmm, not sure how i feel about that. now i'm seeing books about how the french have everything figured out, and there's another one from a food critic about how he got his daughter to be just as adventurous. okay, this week i'll blend what i made for dinner yesterday: chili mac. hey, it's nutritionally balanced and packed with protein and only slightly spicy. it's worth a shot. oh fine, i'll try some green beans too.but i'm still going to give him long strips of whatever's handy that he won't choke on: banana, peach, celery (which he loves gnawing on). maybe a blend is the best tactic, as this critter's already big enough to be twice his age (97th percentile in length and weight). this is going to be fun!... right?

link: mother and child linked at cellular level

wow. this is just the coolest.
Mother & Child Are Linked At The Cellular Level

middle what?

middle aged. midlife. ick. can you think of a worse way to describe yourself if you happen to be in your 40s?

i look in the mirror and i don't see that. i've seen other women my age - some look like me, some look much older, some look like they think they're much younger. or maybe i'm one of the latter haha!

but i guess it's true. i'm at that point when some people make radical changes in their lives. i've just made a radical change by becoming a parent for the first time. not so much by choice as by circumstance. do i wish things could have been different? ... in a way, yes. there are plenty of advantages to starting a family as a younger woman (physical stamina, youth in general). but, not only are there some specific advantages to becoming a parent now (self-confidence, inner strength, earning power, life wisdom), but if i spent much time regretting my current circumstances i would be shortchanging the incredible gifts that God has given me. what are those?

- freedom from fear
- physical healing
- emotional healing
- deep understanding and closeness with Jesus

apart from what i've been through in the last two years (read more on that), i don't think i would have received these things. certainly not so dramatically anyway.

but why, i sometimes wonder, did God let me go through all this? i don't think too long about that, actually. i know from the Bible that sometimes God allows things to happen in our lives specifically so He can work a miracle through us. i'm referring to John 9 where Jesus tells his disciples that a man who was born blind that "this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him." (NIV). besides, if i posit why God allowed me to go through two miscarriages and a severe depression i'm doing more than guessing His will - i'm imposing it in a way. the fact is, i cannot judge God because it's impossible for me to know His full will for my life. that, i suppose, is what i will learn in eternity when He can display my life before me and tell me the full spectrum of how he used me to help others or show His glory. that, dear reader, is the only reason that matters.

anyway.. so what am i in the middle of? life? i don't know. i could die tomorrow for all i know, though it would be great to watch my son grow up here. i'm in the middle of a lot more than the average lifespan of a woman in a developed country - i'm in the middle of God's story. so i'll look around and see what i can be involved in, be the best mom i can be, work to my full potential, and seek God's will in all of it.

otherwise this middle-aged stuff is crap.

September 12, 2012

and now for something completely different... or, a new direction for this blog

I've run out of musings to muse on a subject that had infiltrated every crevasse of my brain for some time. (in)fertility will always be a part of my life experience, my personal history, and one of many lenses through which I see the world around me. But it is time focus on what is in front of me. And so, I'm choosing to start blogging on what's happening now. As it happens, I'm part of a growing demographic of women who become mothers after 40. Don't believe me? Check out this sample of blogs. So, if you care to join me for a peek at what life as a midlife (WTH!) mom is like, read on. It should be very entertaining!

September 11, 2012


Last night my husband and I were watching Star Trek Generations. The short synopsis is Picard's encounter with the villain, a scientist who is trying to escape the ravages of time by enveloping himself in a nebula that resembles what you might think of as an individual version of heaven.

In a key exchange between the two, the scientist tells Picard that "time is the fire in which we burn." Meanwhile, Picard suffers the loss of what would have been the continuation of his family line through his nephew. In realizing this, he weeps for the possibilities of seeing the family name continue since he had sacrificed family in favor of a career and never got around, it seems, to starting a family of his own for whatever reason. In a turn of events, Picard is caught up in the nebula and is instantly transported to his unrealized dream: a family home with his wife and four children at Christmas.

Oddly enough, and yet not so, that movie was pretty influential. It really illustrated the loss of what could have been and helped to force us to deal with our fear of having children (not having any idea that when we finally tried we'd have other issues to deal with).

One random memory I have from my late 20s is from a sci-fi convention. I was sitting in the audience watching movie preview reels. I looked at the row in front of me and noticed a double stroller with twin baby boys who had the most amazing bright, blue eyes and beautiful smiles. Something shifted in me and I burst out crying later that day when no one was around. I tried so hard to ignore my maternal instincts that apart from experiences like this, I actually convinced myself that I didn't want children.

Or how about this: In the animated movie Up... well it's recent enough that I probably don't need to describe the heartache that the characters experience - and invoke - in the first 20 minutes. That's a movie that we refused to watch once we were diagnosed with infertility. Now we watch it through eyes of wisdom and compassion.

Another influence would be the child-free couples we've known over the years. I couldn't help but look at their lives and wonder if their reality would someday be ours, even as I struggled with my own issues. Yet another would be looking at the lives of couples with several children and feeling overwhelmed and exhausted on their behalf while feeling relief at our comparatively simple lives.

So what's the point of this post? I'm not sure. I guess it's first to illustrate how movies, media, and relationships can and do influence us on our journey toward parenthood. The second is to express a desire to be an influence.

If I had the opportunity to be an influence on someone else who was considering parenthood (apart from any infertility struggles) and was near or over 30 and in a committed relationship, I hope that our example of delaying things almost to the point of no return causes someone to address it sooner rather than later. I kind of wish someone had let me know the truth of how most women's ovaries age. Knowing that fertility starts to decline rapidly in our late 30's might have gotten me to quit procrastinating. Maybe not.

If I could influence someone who suffers with a diagnosis, I hope my life illustrates the hope of Jesus. That there can be joy within circumstances, that one answer may not be the final answer, and that regardless of what happens God does have a plan that moves us beyond what we experience.

As it is, I can honestly say that my son is a big influence on me now. Sometimes I think about the fact that I almost missed this. I can't believe that I put this off for so long - I was really punishing myself for imagined difficulties, thinking I was better off for some reason. Don't worry, I stop short of actually feeling guilty.

These days I'm also influenced by other couples who have chosen to embrace adoption - especially foster adoption. They are absolute heroes in my eyes.