April 30, 2013

teething hell

Yesterday was one of the worst crabby days I’ve seen in my son, as he is starting to break in the lower canines. Holy cow, this little guy would scream randomly and clamor for me to pick him up only to jump out of my arms, throw food and sippy cups, wail in his car seat, and generally be a pain in the patootie. Thankfully, my mom spent the afternoon with us and so it didn’t seem too unbearable. You know your toddler is cranky when a random Target employee says funny, friendly things to your kid in order to distract him. I think he ate six crackers in our attempt to basically shut him up (snacks are rare).

By the time I got home I was ready for an extra-large sized cocktail. Which I did indulge in, and it did calm my nerves.

Before I get too far with this rant, I should say that I had an attitude adjustment even in the middle of all of this. I’m part of the meals ministry at our church, and occasionally deliver a meal to someone who’s sick or just had a baby. Yesterday I brought a pizza to a house, and met a young woman from church who just had a baby. I didn’t know anything about their story, but she cheerfully shared with me. The boy was born breech two weeks early, and the next day had to have brain surgery for a hemorrhage. She introduced me to this sweet, little thing who had an oxygen tube taped on, and several inches of stitches all around his tiny head. He’s doing well, though, and is expected to make a full recovery. She was beaming with joy, and all I could think was what a miracle this child is.

Witnessing this beautiful boy who spent the first month of his life in the NICU made me grateful for a lot – not from a place of pity, but of awe.

This morning, Mr. Cranky Pants was giving us more challenges and I nearly lost my cool in my exhausted haze just trying to get out the door (not at him, though – just in general), but I got the job done. Nothing like a big traffic jam when you’re already 45 minutes late to give you a chance to breathe.

I was reminded of a saying from Winston Churchill: If you find yourself going through hell, keep walking. That's probably a bit dramatic for this, but I'll take it anyway.

April 23, 2013

Infertility is the enemy you know – whether you know it or not

Right now, 1 in 8 Americans is suffering from the pain of infertility. It may be temporary, it may be permanent. But it is devastating, heart-wrenching, and largely a secret.

From the perspective of a person who has walked this road, I cannot understand why the subject is treated with such secrecy – why it’s considered so private and so rare, and therefore so shameful. The moment I started searching for answers to my situation, I uncovered a universe of women (and men) searching for the same answers to their own circumstances. By following blogs of other women experiencing infertility, I have found a wellspring of support and courage that has been part of my healing, and the reason I sought treatment through counseling and prayer. Otherwise I would have figured it was over and done with and I had no choice in the matter.

The point is, we are not alone. We’re probably not alone even on our own block, let alone our neighborhood.

I admit straight up that I’m not a public advocate. I don’t think about my two miscarriages and subsequent diagnosis of infertility very often. But if I “go there” for more than a few seconds, the horrific pain of that time in my life still surprises me. It’s a potent reminder of the depth of suffering in this world.

I’m not an advocate, but I am definitely a supporter. I continue to blog in the hopes that someone will read my story and know that this isn’t the end, many things are possible, and God desires to bring healing to your heart first.

In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week, I encourage all of you who read this to take comfort in the fact that you don’t walk this road alone. The greater the awareness, the easier it will be to find answers and get support for treatment: from friends, from family, from God, and particularly from insurance companies who can start to support treatments so we don’t spend oceans of money over the course of the journey.

April 20, 2013

loosening the reins

Tonight I'm re-typing the guidelines I've written down for daycare and babysitters. I was looking at the incredibly regimented schedule we had for the boy and was amazed at how much we were really operating by the clock. Well, maybe not that we were, but that we no longer are.

Example: I had set times for every meal, every snack, every nap, plus bedtime and waketime. Now? Uh... well, the bedtime and waketime are still set in stone - 7pm to 7am. But he's in transition from two naps to one so I can't really control that anymore. We're pushing him to stay awake until at least 10:30, at which point we hope he sleeps at least two hours. It's a total crapshoot right now. So, the meals and snacks are still kind of close but it depends on when he naps.

A complete reversal from my regimen.

At first it drove me a little batty (not that it's a far trip). I wanted to plan things around him. But I really can't anymore, so I'm starting to relax and respect the fluctuations of his rhythms. It still bugs me but I'm trying.

As for that bedtime and waketime - I will keep that 7pm bedtime in place until he's 12 if I can, so help me! Not just because he really needs the sleep, but also because it gives me a solid two hours to chill out every evening - and that's worth staying regimented for.

April 13, 2013

MOTHER'S DAY 2013: True Faces of Rising Number of Over-40 Moms Revealed

In a bid to dispel unfounded, negative stereotypes regarding maternal age—and uncover the real benefits to children of the dramatically rising population of women having children after 40—AChildAfter40.com is launching the “Mother’s Day Album: For All Women on the Journey of Motherhood Over 40”

A leading support website for later mothers, AChildAfter40.com says the free online gallery is set to reveal the true faces and authentic voices of the growing ranks of women creating “a mother of an evolution” at the very heart of the Western nuclear family. MORE.

April 11, 2013

it finally happened

We washed a (dirty) diaper with our son's clothes.

I went to put the load into the dryer. Imagine my dismay as I discovered clumps of liquid absorbing stuff floating among the otherwise clean clothes.

I didn't have the heart to tell my husband. I don't know who put the diaper in the hamper and I don't care. It was 10:00 p.m. I put the clothes in the dryer, removed the clumps as best I could, and went to bed. The end.

Now - don't you feel better about yourself? I thought you might.

April 10, 2013

firsts and lasts

Despite the trauma I was imagining, we managed to ditch both the bottle and the formula over a few weeks' time without much to-do. The boy hasn’t been fazed much by the transition, and now I just offer him milk three times a day, water the rest of the time (I really should give him more credit for being more flexible than my fear-mongering imagination would have me believe). We hardly ever have juice in the house so it never occurs to me to offer him any. For some reason, I still have two baby bottles in the cabinet. They are surrounded by five different kinds of sippy cups.

I’ve noticed that I hardly ever use the pouches anymore – you know, the ready-made squishy foods for babies at the grocery store that are an absolute miracle for feeding. Once in a while I break one out, but for the most part we’ve learned how to feed the boy the same stuff we eat. I’m even thrilled to report that the boy has finally decided he likes noodles! It only took about four or five tries over a few months. (Still working on eggs, though. He takes a bite and lets it drop out of his mouth in disgust. Sigh.)

Yesterday we put away the baby monitor – the one in the living room, anyway. We really don’t need it anymore since the boy usually wakes a few dead people when he’s having trouble sleeping or has woken up on the wrong side of the crib. Somehow I’m comforted, though, seeing that steady green light glowing in our bedroom. I will wait until the day I give it away to a new mom this weekend, and then that will be that.

We also found new homes for the pack & play (which he won’t spend more than five minutes in anymore) and the breast pump (which cost a fortune but is fully tax-deductible). And of course, there’s the ongoing process of setting aside clothing he’s grown out of and adding bigger ones to the rotating drawers.

I’m already sentimental. My baby’s not really a baby anymore. Except that he’s my baby and will be for life. I often can't resist greeting him by saying "Hey baby!"

April 5, 2013

how to eat at a restaurant with a one year old

Okay, I’ve been slacking in the dinner prep area lately. I’ve barely cooked in the last couple of weeks, and most of my meal planning has come in the form of ordering delivery or opening a package of soup and breaking into a loaf of bread. Not that these are bad options, but I wouldn’t mind having a real meal here and there.

So yesterday I decided we’d just go out to eat after work and relax. Already, you must be thinking “What part of you gets to relax when you eat out with a toddler??” In case you don’t know what that looks like, here’s a quick rundown of the required steps:
  1. Smile to the hostess as she seats you and gets you the highchair. Congratulate yourself for getting there right at 5:00 – before the main mealtime, and before most of the other diners get there, when the kidling is most likely to embarrass you by melting down.
  2. Order bread right away so the kidling has something to do.
  3. Break out the baggie of crunchy snacks for the kidling to snack on before the bread arrives, since he’s already looking for the nearest thing to bang on the table or throw behind him.
  4. Order a beer. Hope it arrives quickly.
  5. Admire your beautiful toddler as he charms the pants off of the restaurant staff.
  6. Order food you think the kidling will also enjoy.
  7. Watch the kidling drop every. Single. Bite. To. The. Floor.
  8. Give the kidling more bread, and *light bulb* get a sippy from the car and put milk in it for the kidling to drink so at least he’ll get some nutrition.
  9. Pick up the sippy from the floor – three or four times throughout the meal, setting it aside periodically since he obviously doesn’t give a sh*t about the sippy right now.
  10. Pick up some of the food from the floor, breathing deep and hiding your embarrassment.
  11. Somewhere in this, scarf down bites from your own meal (if you still have an appetite).
  12. Give the kidling more bread. Give him a bite of your food and watch him smoosh it between his fingers, smear it on the table, and finally flick it to the floor like so many sticky boogers. 
  13. Wonder how many staph infections he's likely to get by tasting the food after it's been smooshed on the table. If you haven't said grace and blessed the meal, you'd better do it now.
  14. Let your dining companion pick him up and walk outside as the first tantrum rears its ugly head. He's obviously done.
  15. Grab your server, grab the check, grab the leftovers and your jacket, and duck out the door hoping you've left a generous enough tip for putting up with you.
  16. Leave your leftovers on the roof of the car as you drive away, only to watch them FLING off the roof behind you, and smack your head.
  17. Then, my dear, laugh! Because laughing is much more fun than crying or feeling sorry for yourself.
  18. Admire your beautiful toddler in the rear view mirror as he plays with his feet and smiles at you.

The end.

Oh - after all of this I did a little searching for helpful hints on eating out with a toddler. I don't plan on staying home for the next five years. Gotta get some toddler dining place mats for those tables, because... bleahh. Fortunately I did have some alcohol pads handy, and the stuff they picked up was enough to convince me that those self-sticking place mats are worth it.