Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Play Time

The past couple of weeks have led to my daughter discovering her hands.  I thinks he's always known she had them, but now she's realized she can DO THINGS with them.  Now she's obsessed with touching and grabbing at stuff.  She has a play mat that she lays under and reaches up to grab the rings that hang down from it and shake them to death.  If she shakes hard enough, one of the toys that hangs from the mat plays music and she spends a lot of time trying to work out what exactly she does to make the music happen.  She's starting to hit the one that plays music more often now, though, so I think she's working it out.  She loves it.  She lays under the toys and babbles at them like she's having a conversation with some of her best friends.

She's also discovered she can grab the ring on her pacifier and pop it out of her mouth.  Furthermore, she can sort of throw it at you if she wants.  This has come in handy for her when she wants to fight falling asleep, since the evil pacifier makes her sleepy.  She will also put her fingers up by her mouth so she can work them under the edge of the pacifier and flick them forward to push it out of her mouth.  My mother is unimpressed with this new found talent of hers, since she uses it to fight naps and scream bloody murder.  She doesn't seem to mind the fact that other people don't appreciate her new fascination.  She has also figured out she can hold the pacifier by the ring, and she's made a couple of attempts at trying to put it back into her mouth, but she's not very coordinated yet so she basically just ends up smacking herself in the face with it.  Stupid baby.

She seems to have preferences now as to what she does with her free time.  Gone are the days of laying around on her lounge pillow hanging out all day.  She has shit to do.  She has rings to shake, and pacifiers to throw, and baby push ups to do.  It's kind of nice to see her interacting with other things and taking interest in what's around her.

I do, however, wish she'd take less interest in the television.  We never put her in front of it, but if it's on while she's in the room, she'll work to try to see it.  We had to move her play mat because she could turn to the side and see the tv and then she'd just lay there mesmerized by it and pay no attention to her toys.  We don't want her watching a lot of tv just yet, so it's been challenging to keep her from staring over at it whenever she can angle herself to get a view.  To combat this, we've started reading books to her to keep her attention.  By we, I mean my husband, because he does all of the best voices.  Stories are an interactive experience when my husband reads them.  He does different voices for different characters.  He makes the story literally interactive, so if there's a poem about the wind, he reads it and blows on her face and hair so she gets to feel the wind while he's reading about it.  I will never be up to his level on stories and reading, but that's ok.  It's awesome to watch him read to her, and to watch her stare up at the book like she's totally paying attention to everything he's saying.  I'm sure at this point she has no idea what he's saying to her but she likes being talked to, and she likes the color in the illustrations, so she pays attention as much as a three month old can.  I like to watch him with her, and I like to watch her smile up at him like he's the coolest person ever.  She's totally a daddy's girl already.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Alert the media

Ok, not actually.  No one in the media cares about any of this.  I'm trying to be clever.  My husband and I were having a conversation over the weekend about our daughter and how alert she usually is.  I mean, yes, there are times when she stares over our shoulders and we have zero idea what it is that has her attention, but most of the time if she's awake, she's clearly paying attention to everything that's going on around her.  She turns to look for familiar voices when she hears them in the room, she has in-depth babble conversations with the toys that hang from her play mat, if the tv is on she will work to be able to see it because the colors catch her attention, when we hold her or play with her she is often watching very closely and reacting to what's going on.  I have tons of photos of her where she's looking right at us, and we can tell she recognizes the case on my phone when I hold it up to take photos of her.  When she's being carried around she prefers to face out where she can see people instead of inward where she misses out on things.  She has little patience for sitting and snuggling when she's awake because there's too much looking around to be done.

The thing is, I'm not sure how typical this is for a baby her age.  Every baby is different, but I've heard people say that she's weirdly alert for a 2 month old.  My husband and I started looking at other babies who have been born recently as a comparison.  We don't have a lot of contact with other kids near her age, but we have photos from Facebook of some babies who were born within a few months of her and none of them seem to be quite as alert or inquisitive looking in their photos.  We even started thinking about some babies who are just a bit older than her and she seems kind of on par with some of them, but since their older I don't know if she's advanced or they're delayed or just average.  I have no idea.  But, it's kind of nice to have her already so inquisitive and curious looking even though she's still tiny, because it gives me hope that she'll continue to be like this well into adolescence.  I want her to be curious and observant.  I want her to pay attention to things around her and learn from them.  I'm glad this is already a bit of who she is.  I hope it carries into adolescence.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

I don't get it

I don't get it when people say that you can't do anything when you have a baby.  I don't get it when people talk about how your house will be a disaster and you will be enjoying many nights of having cereal for dinner because there's no way you could cook with an infant around, or when people say you can't go anywhere with an infant, or that you won't be able to shower or do your makeup or socialize with friends anymore.  I don't get it because for me, that really just hasn't been the case.

There were a couple of weeks at the beginning when we were still trying to get our feet back under us where dinner meant ordering take-out or popping something a friend had given us into the oven.  I was recovering from the c-section, we were both tired and trying to figure out how the new routine of our lives was going to look, and those couple of weeks meant life wasn't going entirely as usual.  During that time I feel like only cooking and sleeping suffered.  We still managed to keep the house tidy, including vacuuming every few days.  We kept the dishes washed, we kept up with laundry.  We still had people over to visit.  Life found a new normal, and when my husband went back to work, things were falling into a better routine already.  Then he went back to taking classes, and I was left totally alone all day and all evening to take care of her, the house, and make sure dinner was on the table when my husband got home from class so he could work on homework.  There was not one night where I was unable to take care of everything.

Beyond that, from the time we brought her home, there wasn't a single time where either my husband or I were unable to shower when we wanted to.  I attended a baby shower on a Saturday morning when my husband was in class, and I was able to get myself dressed, do my makeup, dress my daughter, and make it to the shower on time.  If we've wanted to go out for dinner on any given night, we have been able to.  We just take her along, and since she's prone to falling asleep in the car, we end up with her sleeping straight through dinner for us.

So I guess I don't get it when people say that your life will be a disaster and you can't possibly do the things you want to do when you have a baby.  Our lives have been going just fine.  We go through things the way we always have, but this time there's just someone else to bring along.  She is content to go along for the ride and I'm fine with taking her out with us whenever we go places.  She has to learn that sometimes we have to go out and do things, and the more we do that with her, the more she'll start to understand how she should behave in those situations.  I am not a fan of leaving kids behind for everything.  She goes to the grocery store, and on any errands I may need to run, and to the vet's office when we had to take the dog in.  She goes where I go, and that's just how it is.  I don't know why other people can't make that work.

Friday, March 13, 2015

I might be a hypocrite

One of the biggest challenges you face when you have a kid is having to name them.  I saw an internet meme that said "You never realize how many people you hate until you have to name a kid" and that is one of the truest statements I've ever heard.  There were tons of names that were off of our list simply because one of us at some point in time knew someone with that name that we simply couldn't stand.  Then we had a challenge with our last name being something that easily rhymes with a lot of names, so we couldn't use any of those.  We had a huge list of 30 or more names that we had to whittle down to a list of final contenders.  We kept looking for something that wouldn't mean there would be 30 other kids in her kindergarten class with the same name, and something that was unique enough, but not outright stupid.  So, long story short, I gave my kid a weird name.  Not terribly weird, but weird enough.  Her name is literary in two ways.  First because it's literally the last name of a well known author, and second because I read a memoir by a blogger I follow who named her daughter the same thing and I've liked it ever since.  Being a book nerd and a literature major, it seemed fitting enough.

We didn't name her right away.  We didn't have a name picked before she was born.  We didn't name her until we were in the recovery room an hour and a half later.  After going through the 30 hour ordeal that was her birth, I think my husband caved a bit on the name.  We had a few options on our short list, but I had my #1 and he let me have it since I was the one who got sliced open.  That was after typing it out on his phone in different fonts so he could see what each name would look like on a wedding invitation or a business card, and then it officially became who she was.

So, I admit that my kid has a weird name.  That doesn't stop me from being a totally judgmental bitch about other kid's names.  I get it.  It's hard to name a kid, but some names just make me cringe.  Names that are spelled stupidly, like Jaxon instead of Jackson drive me nuts.  Names with an unnecessary y in them like Hayley instead of Haley make me crazy.  Names where parents combine multiple names together (Elliott + Leeanna = Ellee) or names that simply don't flow with the last name for the family.  These things are all annoying.    I know I shouldn't judge people for what they name their kids.  I gave my kid a weird ass name.  I am no better than anyone else.  But, at the same time, some people just name their kids stupid shit, and when I think they've named their kid something stupid, I sit there judging them like crazy.

I am such a hypocrite.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

And then I went back to work

I went back to work on Monday.  I knew it was going to happen.  I kept trying to mentally prepare myself for it to happen, and to get myself all geared up to spend my days back at the office while my daughter spends her days with grandma.  I swore I wasn't going to be one of "those people" who cried while dropping the baby off in the morning and then spent the day freaking out, sobbing at her desk.  For the most part, I wasn't really that person.  My meltdown came the night before I went back to work.  The night when I started thinking about all of the things I was going to miss, and that feeling got mixed in with all of my anxiety about going back to the office and having to catch up after being gone for so long.  I cried because I was afraid she wouldn't miss me.  I cried because I was afraid that, although my mother is perfectly capable of taking care of an infant, she wouldn't know how to do the things I do for her.  She might not know how to calm her down, or what kind of music she likes, or how she likes to be bounced.  I was afraid that someone not knowing all of those things would put stress on her while I was gone, and I felt guilty because I know that if I was there, I'd know how to help.  I cried because leaving her with my mother comes with pros and cons.  Pros being that I can contact her all day long and ask for updates, or photos.  Cons being that if my mom gets to witness all of her milestones, she'll spend the rest of her life reminding me about how she got to see it and I didn't.  That will be like a knife to the heart that will keep getting stabbed in over and over and over.  At least daycare people don't spend a ton of time reminding you about what you've missed out on.

I was ok on Monday.  I held it together.  I made it through my work day.  Then I got in the car to go home and it was like a switch flipped in my head.  Must. Get. Her.  It literally became my only thought.  I had to drop my husband off for the class he's taking two nights a week, and then I was going to go get her.  Except that traffic was a nightmare, and I kept getting caught in traffic jam after traffic jam.  I burst into tears while stopped on the exit ramp that was backed up to the highway because everything was standing between me and my girl.  I just wanted to go see her and hold her and everything was making it take too long.  I sobbed like a toddler.  It was nearing 6:00 when I finally got to her, and she was asleep on my mom's chest.  I kept hovering, waiting for my mom to hand her to me, but she didn't want to.  She didn't want to wake her up.  It was everything I could do not to rip her away and run.  I had waited all day.  Didn't she understand that I couldn't wait anymore?  I just needed to hold her and kiss her face and be with her for a little while.

I thought the next day would be easier.  It wasn't.  It was a million times harder.  Things at work had frustrated me on my first day back, I was annoyed and bitter, and I didn't really feel like going back into the building again, and then she cried the whole way to my mom's house.  All I could think was that she didn't seem to want to go there, and I didn't want to go to work, so I wanted to turn the car around and just go home to snuggle her back to sleep.  It made being frustrated with work even worse.  It's hard to feel like it's worth staying when you know there is something awesome that you're missing out on.  I cried.  I sat in my cubicle crying.  I just wanted to leave.  Yesterday felt bad.  Then we got her home and she was over tired so she went to sleep and I didn't really get any time with her.  That felt bad as well.

Today has been ok.  No tears so far.  She smiled at me as she woke up from me putting her into the car seat.  She was fine on the way to my mom's house this morning.  She fell asleep in the car and stayed asleep for an hour and a half after that.  She has been less fussy for my mom (so I'm told) and I've done a better job of holding it together, but the truth is.....I miss her.

I'm not sad about working.  I'm probably going to be happier in the long run if I work, but I'm sad about what I'll be missing out on.  I wish I could work shorter hours, or fewer days.  I don't want to miss out on all of her moments.  I want to have the opportunity to be there.  I'm also sad because I went back to work just as I was starting to feel like I was good at this mom thing.  I had just hit my groove and didn't feel like a total fuck up, and then it all got messed up.  I feel like I quit something right as I was starting to master it.  I'm also sad because I'm afraid I'll stop being the person who knows how to calm her down, or what music she likes, or how to bounce her, because someone else is stepping in for those hours during the day and taking over.  I still want to be the one who knows her best, and it's hard to think that I might not be anymore.

But then on Monday night I pulled her out of the car seat and she nuzzled her face into my neck and let out this big sigh, and I knew she was happy I was back, and that she had missed me.  Nothing has ever felt so awesome.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Babies do weird shit

Sometimes baby behavior doesn't really make sense.  Babies get tired, and then they get over tired, and when they get over tired they refuse to sleep.  What?!  You want to sleep, because you're tired, but you can't sleep because you're tired?  Babies are weird.  For my daughter, falling asleep is like falling off of a cliff.  She fights really hard to stay away from the edge of the cliff.  She fights and fights to not fall over the edge, and then.....she falls.  She falls off the cliff and is immediately asleep to the point where moving her or placing her somewhere else doesn't wake her up anymore.  But, while she's nearing that cliff, she fights like hell.  It's sort of annoying, but then she goes from fussing to sleeping in a split second, you find it hard not to be amused by the immediate change.

She also has a habit of pooping while she's eating.  It's like her favorite time to poop.  She'll be hanging out, drinking her bottle, slurping away and then she'll turn totally red faced and start grunting away, content to fill her diaper while she's having dinner.  Why?  I have no idea.  I don't know if meal times are just so relaxing that it just seems like a perfect opportunity or whatever, but she never seems to fail to do it.

I hope some day I can tell her boyfriend all about how she likes to poop while eating.