Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Fall and Pumpkin Patches and New Traditions

With the arrival of fall came some greater mobility for us. Amelia is now 3 months, can (mostly) hold her head up and is (somewhat) less cranky. With breastfeeding it's still a bit of a crapshoot, since she needs to eat every ~2 hours, but we've been getting more adventurous even if it makes us a little uncomfortable.

Two weekends ago Rob's sister Molly came to visit with her boyfriend, Jason. She hadn't met Amelia yet so that was nice. The benefit of having people come to stay is that you actually feel obligated to get out and see shit rather than putzing around all weekend, which is more or less what I've done since Amelia was born.

We took them to our favorite bookstore, walked around town, and then went to the local nursery to buy some pumpkins because, you know, fall. We were running up against her 8th lunchtime so we knew we were dancing with the devil, but we decided to take a chance anyway. I propped her up against some pumpkins for the obligatory photos--with my phone since I'd forgotten my real camera, a common occurrence nowadays--but really it was more of a reminder of how fun fall will be in a year or two when she's old enough to actually appreciate going out.  So it was pretty awesome to start these traditions even if Amelia can't really enjoy them yet, I suppose.

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No one really tells you (or at least no one told me) about how the first few months (year?) are mostly just...management. With a lot of heart-bursting smiles.

We are also enjoying the increased freedom of a baby who sleeps through the night! We aren't cocky enough to assume that it's a thing yet, but we're enjoying it while it lasts. I was so worried about jinxing it I refused to say "she's sleeping through the night" even though she started doing it around 5 or 6 weeks. We are also not cocky enough to assume that her sleeping abilities are a result of anything we've done--from my own experience and the secondhand experience of those around me, it seems pretty clear that when it comes to sleeping habits you get what you get.   I'm crossing my fingers that the current schedule keeps up because when it comes to sleep--specifically not getting it--I can be a bit of a bear.

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I've been meaning to get outside and take photos of the foliage, but I only managed to do it with my phone. At some point I'll get them off my phone, but as I write this my phone is plugged in in a sleepy baby's room so there's no way in hell I'm getting it.

So there's what's going on in our tiny world. I hope you guys are having a wonderful October so far.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

My Week in Haikus

Baby's clothes don't match
She still looks better than me
I could not care less.

The dog is staring
"Please take me for a walk now."
Maybe next week, dog.

Oh god please sleep now
Sleep, please sleep now, god please sleep
Sleep sleep, sleep sleep sleep.

Does she look sick? No.
Are you sure? She seems sick. No.
Is it Ebola?

I want all the food.
Candy, jello, cookies, salt.
I am breastfeeding.

Rob has the day off
But he can't lactate like me.
She's with me all day.

Conference call for work.
Please don't cry when I talk, child.
Modern motherhood.

Mornings are cold now.
Ice on the car, on my soul.
Winter is coming.

Visitors come soon.
The dog hair is sentient now.
Thank god for Dyson.

Shower, oh shower,
Please drown out the cries for me.*
Just for a minute.

*I only shower when Rob gets home but she always seems to cry more for him. I realized that it sounds like I'm trying to drown my baby in the shower, which I assure you is not the case.

The Everyday Life Awards v.2

Note: I took this idea from Abby of Abby Has Issues. I just started following her and really enjoy everything she writes, so go check her out. To see other awards I don't really deserve, click here.

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This week in everyday life awards:

1. Got the baby to sleep without crying (she still cried, but I didn't, and that's a feat).

2. Got through an entire live hockey game with a 2.5 month old baby.

3. Woke up randomly at 2am and did not check the baby's breathing.

4. Finally bought new sheets, and actually spent money on good ones rather than buying shitty sheets (minus 10 points because before buying the nice sheets, I bought shitty cheap sheets, and they were--surprise--shitty).

5. Made not one, but two phone calls that I'd been dreading.

6. Made a hair appointment and  pumped enough milk for Rob to watch the baby.

7. Actually tried to drink more than a few sips of water.

What do you guys deserve awards for this week?

Thursday, 2 October 2014

And Now, an Update

Well with that last post I think I'm totes a mommy blogger now, huh guys? Expect a lot of onesies with arrows on them and completely white walls from here on out. Maybe some cutesy words like "awesomesauce" and lots of "I'm loving this time right nows." Might as well lean into it.

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Also, baby feet and baby cankles.

KIDDING I'm barely looking human these days. I wasn't lying in the "good enough" post that you can see my roots for miles. My house is a certified disaster area even though I'm well beyond the "you just had a baby" grace period. It's rough, guys. I don't know where all the hours in a day go, or how on earth they go by so quickly while also dragging on. Also, the longer we have a baby the more sure we feel that she will be our only child (we'll see if that lasts) and to be a mommy blogger you need to have like, 6 kids while inexplicably looking as skinny and stylish as you did before kids.

For a long time I only really wrote update posts and I kind of got sick of them. Every so often in blogging I think, "wait a second, no one actually wants to read what the hell I do in a day," but then I remember that I read a lot of blogs and my favorites are the ones that talk mostly about what the hell they do in a day.  Real life, man, it's always fun to read. 

Time is speeding by faster than it ever has over here at Chez Roblin.  Amelia is growing like a weed - 79th percentile for weight, 89th for height and 95th for head size (that's my girl!).  For coming out such a dainty little lass she's filled out in a big way. At just over 2 1/2 months of age, she's been in 3 and 3-6 month clothing for weeks. The other day I told Rob, "I wish we could have a replica of her as a newborn so we could put it next to her and compare," and he said, "I think she'd eat it." I'm already beginning the process of organizing her 6 month clothes because it won't be long until she transitions--I say "beginning" because the darling little banshee has taken to napping for 20-45 minutes at a time only in our bed and with working full time, house stuff (under which falls every possible chore that takes place inside the house) tends to fall by the wayside.

Unfortunately my duties with Cypress also fall by the wayside. I tell her all the time that this flux period is temporary, that we will get back to normal in a few months, but she just stares at me and whines and I can only deal with one incredibly needy being right now. She's taking advantage of my attention being elsewhere by periodically ripping up diapers (first dirty ones that I would stupidly leave on the floor after night changes, then clean ones we store in various places).  She still gets snuggles, but not as many right now especially considering that she lived a very charmed life prior to the baby's arrival. I don't look at her any differently--she was always our dog and best friend, not our child--but it's hard to find the time for her right now.  I'm really excited for when Amelia is older and they can be buddies.

So other than occasionally walking a dog, thrusting my boob into a hungry infant's mouth every hour, washing my sheets every day because the baby sleeps with me in the mornings, doing the grocery shopping and working fulltime as the family breadwinner, life is pretty mundane over here. This weekend we are taking Amelia to her first hockey game, complete with some headphones her aunt and uncle bought her for this exact occasion. 

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These headphones.

In non-baby news, fall has hit Vermont and the trees are peaking beautifully. I'm hoping to eke out some time this weekend to get some photos with the real camera if the weather and baby cooperate.

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Summer flew by, which I guess is one of the central issues with having a summer baby. We didn't get to do anything summery (I didn't swim once and there were no beaches) but we're pretty sure that future summers will make up for it.

So that's life over here. I hope you guys are having a wonderful October so far.

Friday, 26 September 2014

A Good Enough Mom

There are countless blog posts, books, videos about what to expect with a brand new baby, and still somehow when one entered my life and my arms and my brain I felt slighted by all the moms in the world.

"No one told me about the guilt! the postpartum OCD that causes horrible thoughts! the fear that my husband won't bond with the baby because he doesn't have boobs! the weird noises that babies make when they breathe! that I would love my baby more than anything in the world but sometimes wouldn't really like her!"

The truth is that of course I was told about all of these things.* But like every pregnant lady ever, I focused on the trees (birth) instead of the forest (bringing a baby into our life). Like every pregnant lady ever, I blocked out everything beyond my belly. And like every mother ever, I ended up feeling completely blindsided by the complex labyrinth of emotions that make up motherhood.  I've come to realize that it's something of a rite of passage--all pregnant women worry only about birth and nursery palettes, all mothers subsequently get slapped in the face both literally and proverbially by motherhood.

For me, it's been the constant twin drumbeats of guilt and inadequacy that have rung the loudest, as real and as present as my heartbeat. I'm a pretty guilt-ridden person as it is to be honest--one time as a kid I called the operator and hung up, then called back and apologized--but regardless of how glaringly obvious this outcome was, it has become a massive source of frustration and stress-induced teeth-clenching.

I don't know how this played out for parents in pre-Internet times, but the nature of the modern Google-driven parenthood is that as soon as you begin to feel confident as a parent you discover some other way that you are completely failing at it.  I've worried about Amelia's preference for turning her head to the right, about the fact that I have the TV on in the background for large parts of the day, about not stimulating her enough or not reading her enough books, about not giving her enough tummy time. I worry about the times I've lost patience with her and said things like "can you please be happy for like 30 seconds?" I worry about how we'll discipline her one day and about what label our parenting will fall under.

In addition to telling myself I'm failing, I know it'll only get worse as she gets older and can actually tell me how terrible a job I'm doing.

I think one of the hardest things I had to learn about anxiety was that nothing could ever make it go away entirely. There was no magic pill or therapy that would make me suddenly able to avoid dwelling on the negative or how inept I feel. Sure, pills and therapy would dull the noise a bit, but nothing would make it disappear and make me into a completely different person. What I had to learn before Amelia was to try to let the thoughts fade into the background, still present but not distracting. I had to learn to let them buzz and pop and bubble up every now and then, but then to let them pass through as thoughts rather than to internalize them as facts. I've struggled with anxiety for most of my life, and the mom guilt is just a new set of sounds I need to learn to live with.

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That and some other (louder) sounds.

There are days, though, when the cacophony** of sounds gets too much, when Amelia has been screaming for far more hours than she's been smiling, when we didn't get tummy time in and I watched a video of a baby her age holding its head up for what seemed like hours, when Rob comes home and can't comfort the baby like I can, when I haven't showered for days and my roots can be seen for miles, when all I want is an hour or two away from this tiny person I would die a thousand deaths for, I feel completely defeated. A few times I've left Amelia to cry in her crib while I follow suit for a couple of minutes on the stairs.  I feel exhausted and I feel like I'm failing at literally every aspect of my life.

In those times I try to remember that Amelia is first and foremost very much loved. That she has enough food to eat and is growing like a weed. That crying doesn't reflect on me as a parent and that she doesn't have adult motives for doing it. That I dance with her for a good hour at night so she'll sleep well. That losing patience is okay, because emotions aren't a bad thing to have or to show. That part of the reason I do lose patience is that I'm simultaneously trying to get work done to make money and support her.

Amelia may never have a Pinterest-worthy bedroom or birthday party. I probably won't find the time to read to her every day at least until she's a little bit older. I will probably mess up a lot and find myself apologizing even when I don't need to. I may not always find motherhood a completely enjoyable or rewarding task. Just like with my pre-baby anxiety, the sounds will never completely go away.

I am not and will never be accused of being a perfect parent, but my child is loved and supported unconditionally, and in that way, I think I'm good enough.

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*Except the postpartum OCD, but that's for another post.
**Fuck yeah I just used the word "cacophony." How often do you get to use "cacophony" in a sentence? Gotta take advantage of these opportunities.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

The Everyday Life Awards

Note: I took this idea from Abby of Abby Has Issues. I just started following her and really enjoy everything she writes, so go check her out.

For those of you who don't know--and I don't know you could not know if you actually read anything I write--I struggle with social anxiety, crippling unjustified guilt, a whopping inferiority complex, a dash of impostor syndrome and maybe a little bit of OCD. A veritable stew of dysfunction.

I also thrive on external validation and words of affirmation. So when I do something that's considered "just part of being an adult" by most people, I find myself looking around expecting someone to reassuringly place their hand on my shoulder and say, "hey, Caitlin, you really did it."

That doesn't ever happen. Since I'm an adult and not 4.

But after reading Abby's post, I felt inspired to give myself some well-deserved awards for all the stupid little things I've accomplished this week.
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Cutting my baby's fingernails with clippers without cutting them too short or cutting her skin.

Scheduling an oil change. 1000 miles over when I was supposed to schedule it.

Made progress toward buying Amelia a crib (she's still sleeping in a bassinet in our room).

Made a successful grocery store trip with Amelia and bought 3 days' worth of groceries.

Finished several projects for work, both when the baby was awake and during her nap.

Gave Amelia at least one 2-minute tummy time session each day for the last week.

Gave the dog at least one walk most days.

Folded laundry. Minus 10 points for not putting it away after folding it.

Finally bought fall clothes for the baby.

Entered and submitted my timesheet on time.

Washed our sheets after the baby threw up on them. Minus 10 points because Rob actually did this.


Ate real breakfasts and lunches every day.

Successfully maintained a dairy free diet (minus 5 pieces of cheese to determine if it was in fact milk causing Amelia's issue...it was) for 3 weeks.


So what do you deserve an award for this week?