8 Months A Mommy

Guys, I can not even begin to tell you how overwhelming this past month has been. I have fallen behind on a lot of self-care lately. I have been missing out on sleep, showers, clean clothes, and because of that I do feel like internally I am barreling towards some kind of downward spiral.

I’ve been a mom to this beautiful baby girl for 8 whole months. In some ways, I find myself asking ‘That’s it?!’ and on the other time, I am a hopeless mess sobbing on the floor asking myself where all the time has gone.

There are a lot of mountains I find myself climbing daily. It is a constant trek, this adventure we have been on, and just thinking about returning to work and the possibility of leaving my beautiful rain cloud (she used to be a ray of sunshine, but she lost that title) in the care of someone else leaves me with this immeasurable amount of anxiety.

8 whole month. Holy moly!

Two teeth in and one making a slight appearance, some moms say goodbye to the little cherub they once knew and wake up to sit face to face with an inconsolable troll. Add a cold on top of the teething and you have found yourself trying to weather the perfect storm.

I would love to be able to commit more time to my writing and this blog in particular. I have tried reminders, alarms, consequences and rewards and honestly, the moments I have to myself are ones I waste away staring blankly at the wall or scrolling through my parenting apps.

It’s not as bad as I make it sound. Every day I test my limits and find new joy in being a mom. I feel like I haven’t done anything this important in my whole life.

This post is a bit late, she has been an 8 month old for some time now, but I am learning that some things are better late than never.

Write soon!

Crawling: Is It A Milestone To Push?

When you are a new mom, it is so easy to get so wrapped up on what everyone says your baby should be doing. “By 3 months, your baby should be trying to hold up their head.” “Babies love tummy time!” “Baby should be starting to babble and talk to you by 4 months.”

There is all this information out there. As a new parent, you use these charts and these milestones to let you know your baby is normal and on the right track. I think along the way, we forget that our babies are little people and they will progress at a speed that feels right to them.

Think about how you learn. Chances are, your baby will learn similarly to them. Are you the kind of person that will get something if someone maneuvers you into the position? If someone repeats something over and over? If you see someone else do it?

Not everything just comes. We all learn in different ways, and not all brains are wired to take on new tasks and skills the same way, yet we expect our babies to all fall under these cookie cutter milestone charts. I can’t tell you how many times I hear from a worried mom, comparing her baby to the charts and to other babies their age.

I always ask the same questions. “Does your baby get to interact with other babies?” Do you have pets that they watch and may try to mimic?” How much time a day do you spend with your baby trying to teach them something new? How do you try and teach them?”

There are so many things that come into play. My daughter didn’t really start to thrive until I put her in a situation with other babies. I noticed how she would watch them, how fascinated she was and how when we got home, she would suddenly be trying all these new things, saying new words, suddenly grasping what I had been trying to teach her.

I should have noticed this a while ago.

She mimics a lot of our dog, Toby’s behaviour. She licks the play mat, she growls and grunts, she goes after a ball and will follow it with her eyes and excitement if you move it in front of her.

Why?

Because they are relatively the same size and are always on the floor together, so to her, they are similar. That and the fact that the interaction with him is so different from the interaction with mom and dad, just like interacting with a new baby is different. Putting your baby in situations where they can see someone else doing the things you want them to do, is definitely beneficial.

However, bear in mind, some babies just bypass certain milestones altogether. There have been a number of mommies that I have spoken to that have told me their babies didn’t crawl until after they were already walking. This seems most common in babies that walk earlier. Which makes sense because if your baby is spending all this time learning to walk, they jump over crawling and erase that safety net that brings with it some of the hesitations they have towards walking.

My daughter hates the idea of being on her knees, yet she tries to pull herself up to her feet every opportunity she gets. She loved to grab onto things, support her weight and just stand there. When she is not standing on her own, she likes to have either my husband or me standing with her, supporting her while she takes those wobbly steps forward.

Every time I speak to my In-Laws, they ask me if she is crawling yet. It seems to be a common question being asked because of my daughter’s age. I am coming to realize that just because the milestones are common, doesn’t mean your baby will ever meet them. And not meeting those milestones, doesn’t necessarily mean anything in regards to your baby’s overall development.

My nephew never crawled. He went straight from sitting to walking. The being said, I can pull up videos of him having perfectly clear conversations with me when he was two. I have videos of him reciting from memory about twenty different species of sharks (as this was his obsession when he was younger). Although in those months when he was making no attempt to crawl, some doctors would have pushed more tummy time or given tips on how to get him moving.

Milestones are the guidelines we use to measure our baby’s development. They tell us whether or not our baby is ‘on track’. That being said, I know a handful of babies that met all these milestones but are still behind are certain things, whose words are still muffled and they are struggling with potty training. I know babies that didn’t meet milestones and leapt over all the other difficult things with ease. And I also know babies who met every milestone exactly when the guidelines said they should have and they are exactly where they are supposed to be.

So what does that mean?

It means that babies are people, and they will grow and learn at their own pace when they are ready. Not meeting milestones doesn’t mean your baby isn’t developing. Meeting every milestone doesn’t mean you have the next Albert Einstein, and being all over the milestone map doesn’t mean your baby won’t be the next Einstein.

My advice is just to sit back, do your best to stimulate your baby’s mind without pushing them to meet the milestones. If they meet them, that’s wonderful, if they don’t, that doesn’t mean you can’t just enjoy these moments with your baby.

Babies grow so fast, and before you know it, you will be looking at a teenager and you won’t have a single thought about whether they crawled when they were supposed to, whether they babbled enough, or what milestones they met when.

Throw away the map, forget where you are supposed to be, and just enjoy the ride of being a parent!

7 Months A Mommy

This blog post is a little late. The 21st Of last month came and went while I was in an exhaustion fuelled trance and I found myself slacking on the usual rituals we do to commemorate her milestones.

What has happened in the last month?

Teething has become less of a nuisance and more of a war zone. Her bottom two teeth are pushing their way through her gums, they are inflamed and about ready to burst and my usually somewhat fussy baby girl has become… well… I’d rather not say.

She has gone from sitting up with constant supervision as assistance to sitting completely on her own. She has begun pulling herself up into a standing position, and likes to stand. She seems more willing to start to walk than crawl. Every time we try to get her to crawl she refuses to get on her knees and ends up attempting to move around like Mowgli from Jungle Book.

Honestly, at this point seven months after giving birth, I was kind of hoping to have more of a handle on things than I do. It just goes to show that the term New Mom shouldn’t have the limitations it does. Hell, I may still be using the term new mom when my daughter is going off to High School because there is always something new.

We had settled into schedules and routines and growth spurts happened. Settled back again only to be disrupted by sleep regression. Finally went over that hump to be assaulted by a developmental leap and the separation anxiety that went along with that. We are still at the tail end of that and the universe decided to show me just how foolish I had been, thinking what we were going through already was the worst teething had to offer. Boy, was I wrong.

With sitting alone, comes a little bit of independence. Independence I foolishly use for lazing about and just sitting to myself and closing my eyes for a quick five or ten minutes instead of actually accomplishing something. Sadly, that means my blog and other social media outlets have gone unchecked for quite some time.

I am hoping to fall back into more of a routine. Keep your fingers crossed for me that I can do this. Every day is a new adventure.

Welcome to parenting!

6 Months A Mommy

It’s crazy to sit back and think that all of these changes to my life have happened in a mere 6 months. 6 months is nothing, it can fly past in the blink of an eye. It is hard to fathom that I transformed, like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly (a very messy, usually un-shower and under-rested butterfly, but a butterfly none the less) in 6 months.

For anyone who has been a part of my blogging journey from the very beginning, you all know that pregnancy was rough for me. I would turn my nose up at any woman who talks about being pregnant as a joy, and I would throw fists and anyone who dare mention the pregnancy glow. There was no glow, there was no joy. There was survival. I was trying to survive while my body grew and stretched, while the things I used to take joy in slipped away from me because I was either unable to do them due to lack of energy or just unable to do them with my growing belly in the way. Nausea was a ghost that constantly haunted me, taunting me with a heightened sense of smells.

Not that I want to get into the whole pregnancy thing in this blog post, although I could write a book on my experience that is sure to contradict a lot of the other books out there.

Maybe one day.

This blog entry is to celebrate my beautiful 6-month-old daughter.

Gosh, 6 months.

In that time there have been sleepless nights, sore muscles, days I forgot to eat, days I forgot myself. There has been laughter, tears, frustration, anxiety. Coaching and cheering, negotiating, tossing and turning. There have been hundreds of cute outfits. There have been doctors appointments, vaccinations, ears being pierced, more tears, more tears and more tears. Milestones I thought she would meet but didn’t, and milestones I thought she wasn’t even close to reaching but have been met.

Being a parent is this crazy thing. It’s like being tossed in a tornado and you are reaching out for anything and everything trying to steady yourself. When you’re finally back on the ground you are exhausted, you are worn and you don’t even remember how you got there most of the time. But you are face to face with this adorable little person, who looks up at you with eyes that hold your whole universe in them. That one look, that one little grin or giggle, makes everything else in your hectic world worthwhile.

Being a parent is an adventure, and sometimes instead of trying to control it, you just have to surrender to it. Let yourself be taken, float along with the stream.

As I type this out, my daughter is screaming Da-Da from the other room while she watches Paw Patrol (yes, I let my 6-month-old watch TV when I feel like I want a few minutes to myself). The clothes I am wearing are the same ones I have been wearing all week aside from my underwear, my hair is a grease trap, my face still hasn’t been washed since last night and as I run my tongue along my teeth, I let out a small sigh of relief once I realized I remembered to brush them this morning.

It’s been 6 months of this, and I wouldn’t change it for the world!

(I would tweak it a bit to include more showers, more overall grace and style and being able to pee by myself… but I try not to hope for the unattainable :P) 

 

 

Five Months A Mommy

Five months.

158 days, 2 hours, and 21 minutes.

How time is ticking away.

I can still vividly remember the numbness in my legs, the way my toes felt as fat as sausages and had the tingle of pins and needles, only dull, and more lifeless. I can see the nurse standing below me, the blur of the doctor I barely saw during my delivery standing below me stitching me up as he spoke to the nurse. All of that just background noise as I looked down at the wee little baby they had just handed to me, the most beautiful baby I have ever seen in my life.

She was so quiet, not at all like how they show you in the movies. There was no high pitched wail, no screaming that tugged at your heart. She barely had a moment to look around at the new world I had brought her into before she was placed on my chest, nestled close, and seeking my breast.

She was so content, so beautifully perfect.

In some ways, it feels like yesterday, in other ways, it feels like years have passed. She was this little bundle that loved to cuddle, loved to sleep and you would just spend all your time looking at her. Now she is this little personality. She has things she likes, things she loves, and things you better not even try.

Thinking about how fast she is growing almost makes me teary eyed. It won’t be long now until I am back to work, until she is off to school. You really do blink and find yourself wondering where all the time is going.

She is rolling over, has yet to sit up on her own while I am watching her, but if I sit her unattended, she will surely sit straight up if it will help her get to what she wants. She is pure energy in the morning that fades into dramatic misery come early evening.

For any new parents, frustrated and weary, just remember before you know it they will be grown and you will be wishing you had a few more moments with your little one in your arms. You’ll wish you had hugged them a little tighter, held them a little closer, loved them a little harder, all while you had the chance.

Whenever fatigue has you weary, and your patience has all been spent, just imagine your baby living in an apartment all their own in their 20s. They’ve got their own lives now, lives you are barely a part of. And their calls are less and less frequent as they become their own people, carving out their own place in the world.

A few moments of these thoughts is enough to round all up that patience you thought was spent, smooth out some of the wrinkles of fatigue and may even help you enjoy the tough times a little bit.

I know I do.

The Wonderful World Of Teething

As a first time mom, there are a lot of things even a lifetime of being around children hadn’t prepared me for. It’s such a different experience, having to deal with a baby of your own for 24 hours straight. You start to really understand why people say being a parent is one of the hardest jobs of all, and it’s one you can’t quit when things aren’t going your way, or you’re not getting the pay and appreciation you deserve.

Every week is a different milestone, maybe even one you didn’t realize was passing by, as you care for these growing little beings.

Everything is developing, their minds are growing and expanding along with their little bodies and they are learning to deal with so many things for the first time. What I would give to have a single day where I could just hear what she was thinking. Maybe then I would understand why she likes to have full conversations with the Tiki masks on her bedroom wall, or what she things the handmade birdhouse is so hilarious.

Growth spurts happen more often than you would have thought. 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 8 weeks, and on and on and on. Not to mention rashes, and teething, sleep regression.

Right now my daughter has her first rash. She is a tad fussier but I can’t say for sure if that is the culprit because she is also going through sleep regression and has been teething.

When I had first gotten pregnant, I had a plan in mind. My sister had breastfed my nephew until he was 2 years old. I didn’t think I would do it quite as long, but knew for sure that, if I was able, I wanted to breastfeed my daughter until she reached her first year. This was before I realized that their first teeth would sprout between 4-6 months. Here I was, naive and under the impression that babies would get their first teeth until being closer to that one year mark.

The thought of my little shark actually having teeth in her mouth while I breastfeed is terrifying. She already clamps her gums down as hard as she can on my nipples and refuses to let go as she slowly grinds her gums together. It’s torturous… and that is just with gums. Add teeth to the equation and my husband is bound to come home from work and find my huddled in the corner, rocking myself and I murmur like a madwoman, blood on my shirt.

Yes… it’s a scene from a horror movie. A scene I’m sure is not too far off from my reality.

The teething on its own is something I could handle. She is drooling enough to soak through half a dozen bibs, without the bibs she is soaking through shirts and when she is naked she is extremely slippery. She is fussy, but usually that fussiness makes her sleepy, which works out great for a tired mama getting about 4 hours of sleep a night.

Let’s add sleep regression to the mix, you know… just for fun.

This means that she is extremely fussy from her teething, and her healing rash, and she will not sleep. She just grunts and groans and moans and whines. My sleep has dropped down from that amazingly fulfilling 4 hours of sleep a night, to around 2 and I have to admit, I am more human than I would like to admit and right now I would say I am just as cranky as my daughter.

I would strongly suggest the teething mitt to any mommy that has a teething babe. There are over a dozen different brands that make these. I went into Babies R Us and looked for the one with the brightest colours. She already loves to put her hands in her mouth, but I find that when I am trying to find a product for her, the brighter the colours, the better.

We bought the itzy ritzy mitt for around $12 CAD.

I am someone who strongly believes babies and children shouldn’t be overly medicated. Which is why I refrain from using Advil and Tylenol’s and try and feed my daughter to sleep when she is uncomfortable. This is how my mother raised all five of us and for the most part, we all have amazing immune systems.

Because of that, most of the teething solutions for my daughter are toys she can pop in her mouth.

The other lifesaver these days is her nûby fish teether. The brush like area is perfect for massaging her aching gums.

I got this for around $5 CAD at WINNERS.

For anyone else going through the magical wonders of teething, hang in. Keep your baby busy, because that often distracts from their discomfort.

Got to go, I am being summoned by my own screeching bandicoot.

2 Months Old

My Sunshine is two months old and I already feel like she is growing way too fast. The dress she is wearing in the picture is a size 0-3 months and the button at the back around her tummy would not do up! 

Anywho, just wanted to share my beautiful girl on her 2 month milestone! She took a break from being cranky so that I could snap a few pictures. It took some begging, but she loves me enough to give it a try. She was miserable immediately after photos were taken!