Monday, September 23, 2013

My Big Baby Jack

There are days when Jack seems so big, and then other days (or nights in this case) when he seems so small. He really is still my baby, even as he sits on top of my other baby (the baby bump is still a favorite perch). Last night he woke up four times (rare for our angel child…if somehow you missed the memo…he ordinarily sleeps 12 hours straight without a peep) and the first two times Johnny went to get him, but by the third time it was clear that he really wanted “Mommmmmeeeeee!” At 1:30 am as an exhausted pregnant woman (third trimester…had already gotten up to pee twice…need I say more?) at first I thought “Oh mannnnn.” Then I heard his little voice on the baby monitor again.

There is no sound sweeter to a mama! Well actually, I think that first cry as they enter the world, after hours (days for some people) of labor is the sweetest sound. Or some might argue that the first ultrasound and hearing that little swoosh swoosh swoosh heartbeat is the sweetest sound. So I don’t know, there are a lot of sweet sounds for mamas (& a lot of not so sweet ones…especially if you have a gassy kid…haha) but Jack’s little voice last night was just so wonderful to me. Walking down the hall to scoop him up in my arms and snuggle with him for a few minutes is never something I regret. (If we had a kiddo with a night waking habit I would probably be singing a different tune though.) Those moments with him are so precious and I’m so glad that even though he is getting so big, he is still my baby.
There are definitely other days when he seems SO grown up though. Like  at the park (John texted me this picture while I was at work. When I got it I just started smiling from ear to ear. I mean how handsome is this boy?!?!). 
We took him to the park this weekend and he was just running all over, exploring, going up and down the slides and steps and loving life. Pretty much with every third movement I had to remind myself to breathe because I am an incredibly anxious mama, so the entire time we are at the park I have visions of him walking off the platform or falling down the slide…but it is still such a blast to watch him play and learn. I can’t wait until he has a little partner in crime to play with too!
In the meantime he is keeping us busy as we navigate through the fun phase of “I know what I want but I don’t know how to communicate it…so I’ll just scream/yell/whine/grunt until you desperately shove things my way that I may/may not desire.” We even had to institute a little “timeout chair” (to be used when the screaming/yelling/crying surpasses the limits of logic/reason). Of course Jack had different plans for what this chair could be used for…
My big fat baby. I love him so much!
As far as other potential solutions to the "throwing a fit" problem (the time out chair does work sometimes, so I'm not toooo worried), John forwarded me this email today:

Hello John!
When your toddler throws a full-blown screaming fit in the middle of the grocery store, you may want to hide behind the toilet paper display – but rest assured that other parents feel your pain. The most useful response is to take your child out of the store (even if it means leaving a cart full of food behind) and sit with him until he finishes crying. Staying calm and offering lots of hugs and kisses can help. Remember that your child is still learning how to communicate and will eventually outgrow this behavior.

Just another one of BabyCenter's useful updates. :) Seems like long before we hit the "terrible twos" we are still going to have a lot of excitement around here!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Balance Myth

A few weeks ago I read The Balance Myth by Teresa A. Taylor. It was recommended by a co-worker, and I was considering the author as a potential speaker for a women's leadership event I am coordinating this winter at work. I loved it because I benefited both personally and professionally from reading it! I so rarely spend my free time reading nowadays so killing two birds with one stone was fantastic. I also got the chance to chat with Teresa on the phone, which really brought the book to life! (She's fantastic.) Anyway, this week especially I was so glad I had some of her words of wisdom in the very back of my brain...because I needed them. Teresa talks about the frustration working mamas experience while searching for "balance" between their work & personal life, and suggests that instead of looking at it as a zero-sum game, since most of the time, you can't take the mother out of the career woman or the career out of the mother, you can use both to your advantage. Anyway, I don't want to ruin the book (in case you want to read it) but that's a little preview. And here's where you can find it: (right here).

Do you ever feel like you are getting a C- in every area of your life? (This is something Teresa addresses.) Like maybe you started your day by dropping your son off at daycare with butter coating his adorable head of hair? (Because he might have rubbed his buttered whole wheat toast into his head, laughing the entire time, while you were driving and could do nothing to stop him.) If this has never happened to you, see exhibit A (below) for reference. Nothing makes a mama feel like she ain't doin' her job like a dirty kid!

Here is the little man eating a harmless banana. Hard to see but butter was coating every strand of hair, giving him that handsome grease-ball look.
Or maybe you had one great lunch meeting at home with your husband and son (see exhibit B, below...Jack went to town on some mashed potatoes and macaroni & cheese and warmed my heart with every bite) ...but then a HUGE miss a few days later when a lunch meeting (that was really important to you) fell off your calendar and you showed up 40 minutes late (no picture to document that moment. So mortifying.)

These aren't even great pictures but I love this kid so much that watching him eat just fills my mama heart with joy! 

It's so easy to get caught up and feel like a total and complete failure, because even if you are doing great in one area, one tiny slip up in another area (for the Type A, high-achieving working mama) becomes the thing you focus on. It's hard to fight that feeling ("I'm a failure! Why can't I get it all right all the time?!"), because that innate desire for excellence is what makes you continue to achieve so much in every area of your life. So I'm not recommending that (I can't do it myself). Instead, I'm saying cut yourself some slack, mama. You are doing great!

I took this picture tonight to remind myself that I am doing just fine. Why? Because I got to enjoy a homemade lasagna with three of my favorite boys. YUM! Shiny gold star for this working mama. :) 

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Different Kind of Lunch Dessert

Today on my lunch break at work, I am having a different kind of lunch dessert. This one is for the gestational diabetes test, and this super sugary 6 oz. drink makes me not enjoy "something sweet" at all. YUCK! I'm a little late with this test since I was 28 weeks (3rd trimester, baby!) yesterday so I really needed to come in and get it done. I've been dreading it since my first prenatal appointment. I hate all of the tests, pokes, prods, and doctor's appointments that come with having a baby. This is not to say I am one of those (amazing?) women who desire a mid-wife assisted home birth...because I'm not. I like that this little one will be born in a state-of-the-art hospital (with the assistance of a nurse midwife & OB as needed) because for me personally, there is a lot of comfort in being surrounded by experts & all of the medical advances one could need. My labor with Jack wasn't easy, but the nurses & nurse midwife who supported us were wonderful, and I was all too happy when I saw the anesthesiologist walk through the door to administer my epidural (after 10 hours of painful labor before I got admitted!). Anyway, I digress. As I sit here in the lab at the same hospital, waiting for this fabulous glucose drink to do it's job, counting down the minutes until I can go get my blood drawn (and head on home!) I can't believe that we are here again!

We feel so blessed to have this little baby growing inside of me. Baby #2 has been kicking and punching up a storm lately, at all hours of the day and night, and it amazes me (even though this isn't my first rodeo). It is just unbelievable that there is a tiny person inside of my body, depending on me for life! I am so excited to meet this little one but lately I am just hoping and praying that we do not have an early arrival. Not so much because I want to finish up projects at work, or cherish my time with Jack (as an "only child" for a few more months), or even because I am trying to squeeze in date time with the husband (although we are going on a long overdue dinner & movie date tonight!). Mostly I want this little one to STAY PUT for the next 12 weeks because I want to make sure that everything is fully formed and ready to go before Baby #2 comes out. 

My first trimester & second trimester I was constantly anxious that something would go wrong and we would lose this little one. Miscarriage seems to be so common in my circle of family, friends & acquaintances, and it's a terrible burden because there is just so little you can do to prevent it. Now that I am in my third trimester I am so grateful that we've made it this far, because I know this little one (with lots of prayers & medical aid) could survive outside the womb....but I still don't want Baby #2 to arrive before that 40 week mark. Jack was such a healthy boy, weighing in at 7 lbs. 12 oz., but still felt so small. I was terrified to hold him and change him and feed him, because it just seemed like his tiny little body could so easily be hurt. The idea of other people holding him didn't comfort me at all either. Anytime someone had him in their arms the thoughts going through my head were, "Don't drop my baby!!! I worked very hard to get him here and he's the most precious thing I have!!! Can you just sit there and not move and maybe just breathe really softly, so you don't disturb his sweet, precious little body? Thanks."

It's crazy to think that in about 12 weeks we are going to be blessed with another teeny, tiny baby in our arms. Or maybe, a big, fat 10 lb. baby (I'd like to think so since I've gained so much weight...I mean it sure would be easier if it really was just "all baby!" as people kindly say sometimes.)

Jack and Mommy...just three days old here. We had to bring him to Kaiser daily to get his blood drawn so they could monitor his bilirubin levels, since he was born with jaundice. It was so hard to bring him back and get his tiny foot pricked every morning! In comparison (I'm in the same blood draw lab right now!) I guess this gestational diabetes test is a piece of cake.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Pros & Cons of Being Pregnant

Trying to look cute/happy/energetic while brewing life in my belly...
Here's what I think about being pregnant.

Weight Gain
Pros: the bigger that baby bump gets, the harder it is to see that tiny number, 4 1/2 feet down, on the silly, silly scale. The baby bump provides a nice shield if you will.
Cons: If you can see that number, it keeps growing, despite your "best intentions." Let's get real (and oooh, I hate this before I even type it! but honesty is important so here goes...) I've gained 30 lbs. so far. I have 13 weeks to go. Oops.

Pros: you can eat what you want (as long as you let yourself) and really enjoy it. When I am not pregnant, I love food. When I am literally fills me with joy if I am able to find that perfect thing that I was craving, and devour it.
Cons: if you eat what you want, you'll probably feel like a fat cow. You might even feel like everyone in the entire restaurant is watching you polish off that plate of Pollo Gorgonzola pasta, and that's a definite con. You may find yourself wiping sauces/dressing/toppings off the baby bump (& thinking, "When did that get there?!").

Pros: there are a LOT of cute maternity clothes out there! In this day and age, no longer are you limited to Motherhood Maternity. The opportunity to look adorable (as you gain weight & eat lots of food) is right there in front of you, everywhere you turn (or click, if you are an online shopper :)).
Cons: You'll probably spend a LOT of money, because you "need" maternity clothes, because your body is growing exponentially (by the hour?) and you don't want to look ridiculous. Your husband will say "of course you need that honey! go ahead!" (if he is smart & wants to sleep in a bed, instead of on the couch) but then you'll regret many of those purchases in a few months because those items will not fit anymore.

Interest (by this I mean you are a person of interest)
Pros: Kind & loving people will smile, hold the door for you, let you go in front of them in the bathroom line, etc. Moms will offer encouraging advice, as they attempt to support you in this "exciting" time. Children will look at you in precious awe, and ask you cute little questions about your baby and when it is going to come out, and how big it is, etc. etc.
Cons: Strangers will stare at you and that big, ol' baby bump. Sometimes they say really weird things, really odd things, really rude things. Since you are pregnant, you may find yourself avoiding the logical response because you are unsure of whether interacting with these people will make you laugh or cry (which brings me to this next one).

Pros: (1% of the time/if you are lucky) Your hair will look better than ever! Your skin will glow, your nails will shine, and generally you will feel like a goddess, growing life within your own self. You go girl!
Cons: (99% of the time?) You will feel like a really different version of yourself - like sometimes you want to cry for no reason, or for a really small reason. You'll be sensitive. You might have a strange brown line on your tummy, blemishes on your face, hairier legs, etc. 

Siblings (if your unborn child has them I mean)
Pros: They are so, so cute about "da baby!" At daycare this morning, Jack saw a baby doll and wanted to help it go "nigh nigh." His teachers wrapped the baby in a blanket so he could rock it and put it to sleep. So adorable. He melts my heart every time he rubs my belly and yells "BABY!!!!!"

Cons: The baby bump looks like a comfortable seat/perch for your older is not. Your older child wants to run/play/jump/punch like usual and you are a slow-moving, +30 lbs. version of yourself. Difficulty ensues.

Pros: Mine is great, and always there to take care of me! He is on, 200% of the time, especially when I am pregnant, and I adore him. No matter what I need, what I think, or how I act, he is by my side, in word & deed.
Cons: He is by my side, in word & deed! Asking me questions, making comments, wondering about this or that. Let's just say foot in mouth syndrome is a life-long disease and it may or may not exacerbate this woman more when she is pregnant. :)

Alright mamas...add to this list by commenting below! I know you've got some good things rolling around in your head.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

My little Jack Jack

Jack pulled a fast one on us this weekend and showed us his surprise....powers. Nope, not superpowers like Jack Jack from The Incredibles...just kid powers. The kind that mortify and embarrass you. And make you wish that you had your own superpowers so you could make yourself invisible.

My father-in-law came to visit and offered to take us out to dinner, and we were all too eager to accept. We love eating out so we went back and forth trying to figure out which restaurant would be both delicious and kid-friendly, before settling on an Italian restaurant called Bella Italia. Before we walked in the door I already knew I was ordering Chicken Saltimbocca! They seated us near a window (& almost in a corner, which seemed perfect), set us up with a high chair, and John ordered a glass of wine. We were prepared for a relaxing dinner out because Jack has always been so sweet & adorable at restaurants. When he was little he would just sit on our lap/in our arms, and then as he got older he just wanted to eat the whole time (seriously, a bread stick would entertain him for an hour), and by his first birthday he was flirting with waitresses & making friends with diners in other booths. Always a pleasure.

BAM! Not this time though. This time, he was CRAZY! In that loud, 15 months old, totally normal way, and even though he was outnumbered (3 adults, 1 kid!!!) we could not contain him. It started with the fact that he did not want to sit in the high chair...escalated to him removing his shoes & throwing silverware....escalated some more into us trying to reason with him and ask him to sit down/stop that/eat this/be quiet, etc. Every tiny outburst was painful because the restaurant we chose ended up being full of elderly people on dates. I swear I looked around and all I saw was gray hair (even Mike Sr. & John, ha ha ha). I think the pure tranquility of everyone else's evening encouraged Jack further in his outbursts.

Things just went from bad to worse. We tried a break outside (Me: "Jack, do you want to go outside? You aren't behaving. We have to go outside now." Jack: "Da go bye bye?!? Bye bye?! Da go bye bye!!!!!" (this is his way of saying, I want to go bye bye, yay! yay! yay!)) which did not end well because eventually I had to bring him back inside. 

Then John tried being stern. This worked, in that it got a response from our sweet son. Not the response we wanted though (Jack started screaming). We were so desperate at one point that despite my pleas ("Johnny, that really is not a good toy! Not a kid friendly toy!!!") John gave Jack the splenda/sugar box to play with. Jack promptly emptied it on the floor/table (think 50 small packets flying everywhere). He then proceeded to slam the plastic holder on the wall. I think our dinner neighbors enjoyed that part especially. It really set the mood as they enjoyed their fettuccine, ya know?

Anyway, after attempting to devour our appetizer & salads while wrangling this kid, we came to our senses and asked the waiter to pack up our entrees to go. As we left the restaurant Jack smiled & waved to everyone, and said "Bye bye! Bye bye!" like the sweet angel he is.

I think my father-in-law got a kick out of the whole experience, because John and I were so out of our element and overwhelmed, and honestly, it was a good lesson for we know, for the unforeseeable future, dinner out will be reserved for DATE NIGHT!!!

The best thing about being a mom is that even after a hard evening (that may or may not have made me miss the days before I had a child/children), in an instant Jack snaps me back to reality and reminds me again and again why I love him so incredibly! Tonight as we were playing and it neared 7:15 pm, I asked him if he was really to go to bed ("Jack, do you want to go nigh-nigh?") He responded by saying "Nigh Nigh! Mommmeeeeeee!" and walking straight to his room, where he then grabbed his blanket and jumped into my arms to cuddle for a minute before diving into his crib. He will now sleep for approximately 12 hours without a peep and will wake up smiling. How blessed am I? :)

Little Jack Jack sleeping in his car seat after a weekend of fun.
There is just something about a sleeping kid that is SO, SO, SO GREAT.