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Child Care

I did it. I dropped Chloe off at day care this morning. For and hour. For the First Time. I’ve never left her anywhere before, except for brief periods with her grandparents. It feels really weird. Exciting and a bit wrong. Sort of like leaving the house with only one shoe on. You know it is missing and it doesn’t feel right. But you can still run errands with only one shoe. And know that the other one is doing just fine without you, right where you left it.

A friend of mine started up a child-care co-op that I have yet to try. She printed coupon cards (that I got to design!) for AM and PM (see above), that you give to the sitter, so she can then use one when she needs child care. I want to take my husband with me to go see AVATAR again, and use one of my coupons, but it hasn’t worked out for us yet. Three+ hours seems like an awful long time. I’m hoping this will help me work up to it. You know, baby steps, and all that.


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Chloe & I


David captured this moment while I was out one morning. I mentioned the bra thing here.

Chloe and I have been sick this past week, although our symptoms were different. I’ve had body aches and a sore throat while she’s had a perpetually runny nose and slightly swollen eyes. We’re both much better now, although not yet back to normal.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the winding down to Chloe’s nursing. She is fourteen-and-a-half months old. Over the past two months we’ve casually dropped a feeding here and there, and it has been practically effortless, but now I feel at a bit of a standstill.

Like many mothers, I have mixed feelings about the weaning process. On one hand, it will be nice to be finished. I’ve never been one of those mothers who gush about how they just love breastfeeding, how they feel so bonded to their child through that shared activity. Yes, I’m very glad I was able to breastfeed Chloe. It was rough at first, but we got used to it and it became a normal and healthy part of our routine. Chloe is very healthy, and before this week she’s never been sick. I do worry about her being underweight, though. I try to get her to eat when I can, and have continued to breastfeed her, knowing that every calorie counts. However, she is a normal, active toddler who knows what she likes and wants to feed herself. She also liberally uses the words “no” and “all done”, especially during mealtimes.

Anyway, it is just hard to know if I am doing the right thing. Will I regret not breastfeeding her longer? Probably not, since my original goal was at least 6 months, and then, one year. Is the media, society, my family or my husband pressuring me to stop? No. As a matter of fact, my husband suggests I wait awhile, especially because a big change in our daily routine is about to occur. But otherwise, I am truly free to make this decision on my own. Will Chloe be upset or put up resistance? This is unknown.

On reflection, I think the issue most affecting my decision is my own pre-breastfeeding and motherhood opinion. Before I became a mother, or really understood anything about breastfeeding, when I heard of someone breastfeeding for longer than a year or two I would think that was kind of odd. And when I heard of someone breastfeeding a three-year old or older? I would think that was downright weird (not that I would have said anything about it, ever). But what did I know then? Nothing. I wasn’t a breastfed baby and neither was my sister. Now, I would never pass judgement (although I am still strangely fascinated by this story).

In the back of my mind, I think this leads me to think that others will judge me, too. But why should I care? It is not like anyone will know by just looking at Chloe and I. This is an individual choice. I know that. It is just that these days, there aren’t any “norms” to follow, which is good, but a little confusing. So, I shall either decide to wait, or not, and continue to be thankful that my little girl is growing up so healthy and beautiful.


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Grateful on Christmas Eve

There is in every true woman’s heart a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity; but which kindles up and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity. -Washington Irving

It is Christmas eve, and I am writing in bed, snuggled warmly next to my sleeping husband, and not far from my sleeping baby. The wind is howling and the weather outside is fiercely cold. We’ve spent the day traveling and visiting with my husband’s family, and now we are all settled comfortably, the house quiet. I have just finished reading a well-written and inspiring 10-part article about Stephanie Nielson, a plane crash survivor who was almost fatally burned. Many mothers and bloggers follow her popular blog nieniedialogues.blogspot.com. After reading her heroic struggle to patch her life, her body and her family back together, I am doubly grateful for all that I have been blessed with. In the spirit of Christmas, it is a priceless reminder of the importance and strength of love, friendship and family.

Quote above from the article. Via designmom.


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Dear Chloe, 1 year old

Dear Chloe,

You are one year old today! Happy birthday my love! What a journey it’s been, especially for you!

As of today, you have two bottom teeth plus a pearly sliver of a top left tooth. Your eyes have lightened just a bit from previous months, but are still that smoky grey that is unique to you. Although active crawling is your main form of transportation, just this week you’ve begun to amaze us by briefly standing up on your own, and even taking a few tentative steps. You love to walk holding onto one of our hands, and will reach out in an unmistakable way to let us know that is your intention. You point at things, you babble, and your smiles never fail to make me smile, too.

Some things you enjoy in particular right now: feeding yourself, bath time, opening drawers, going outside to play, unrolling the toilet paper, petting Barkley, watching the fascinating antics of other babies and kids, and exploring anything new that you haven’t been able to play with previously.

Another big change this week is that I think you are beginning to wean yourself. At bedtime and during the night you are fine to nurse, but during the day you are usually not interested. Since you are underweight and small for your age, it concerns me a little. You drink very little and barely take a sip of formula or whole milk whenever I offer it. You are beginning to eat better though, so I’m trying to be as smart as I can with what you’ll eat.

To celebrate your birthday today we went to the zoo.  You were a little tired because we got a late start, but you really liked the trout exhibit, the playful otter, the lorikeets and especially the baby elephant swimming and splashing in his pool. Lucky for you we got a family pass with some of your birthday money so that we can come back again and again.

Thank you, my dearest little Chloe, for bringing me joy, teaching me patience, and giving me the miraculous experience of motherhood. I love you SO much, and just know that the upcoming year will be full of adventure for all of us.

Love,
Mom

Chloe Stats at 1 year: Height 2’4″ (15%) Weight: 17lb 6oz (3%) HC: 17.52″ (31%)


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Dear Chloe, 8 months old

Dear Chloe,

It’s official. You are now on the move. Nothing on the floor is safe anymore, least of all the drifts of dog hair that collect in random corners and behind door. Luckily I was watching you that time you made your way across the office. I thought you were going for the door stop, but no, you reached right underneath it to the fluff of dog hair that you tried to put straight in your mouth. And then there was the time you scooted across the futon in your bedroom to peer over the edge. It was a pretty exciting scene with all those board books scattered about the floor. So exciting that you hoisted yourself over the edge so fast you about gave me a heart attack. I barely caught you. Where do those bursts of super-human strength come from?

Maybe it’s your diet. We’re adding all kinds of goodies to your menu. New this month is oatmeal, yogurt (mmm!), quinoa, peaches, garden-fresh zucchini, plums, carrots, mango (delicious!), egg yolk (eww!), and lentils. You even got to go out to eat with Daddy and I for our 5th wedding anniversary, where Daddy snuck you a few bites of vanilla ice cream.

I wish I could get you to drink more water, but you only take little birdie sips out of your cup. Because of this, we’ve reverted to a bottle, hoping you’ll drink a little more, at least through the heat of the summer. A splash of apple or pear juice makes it much more interesting. This is one trait I’d love for you to take after your father – he drinks water like a fish.

Lately, you seem to be frustrated more often. I’m sure it is annoying to finally get something in your clutches only to have it hastily removed once we see what you’re up to. Some things (cords, shoes, the dog’s toys) are not for babies. Everything else, I try to be more patient with. You’ve grown tired with a lot of your toys so we’ve started cruising the yard sales to find little additions to your toy box.

And sadly, you no longer love your changing table like you used to. You’d rather kick and squirm, or launch yourself over the dresser, rather than wear a clean diaper. Just when I thought I was getting so efficient, too.

I have a feeling we’re in for some big surprises this next month.

Love,
Mom


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Dear Chloe, 6 months old


Chloe lounging in her empty bathtub

Dear Chloe,

On Sunday you turned 6 months old. The books weren’t kidding when they said it would be a major milestone in your young life.

A lot of firsts happened this past month, including your first airplane ride and visit to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. You met your Grandpa Bill and your Aunt Katherine for the first time. Although you will not remember it, to the rest of us it will be unforgettable. Just your existence brought us together in a way that I haven’t felt for a very, very long time.

Last week you had your first solid food, Earth’s Best organic rice cereal. You didn’t know what to make of the strange texture I spooned into your mouth, but you were definitely game. You parted your lips cautiously, like a little bird, and I was surprised at how well it all went. Even after multiple days, I still wasn’t sure you were actually swallowing any, since so much ended up on your face and bib. Then we started you on banana, and your dirty diaper told us that yes, you were definitely swallowing some.


Chloe playing with her elephant softie in her crib

Chloe on our navy sofa, photographed by dad

Your motor skills are improving every month. I can position you to sit on your own and you’re looking more and more stable. We’ve seen you push yourself backwards, scoot yourself around on your playmat, and often change positions by rolling. We were looking right at you the first time you used your arms to pull yourself forward, but sadly a couple of your fingers somehow got bent backwards underneath you and you cried in pain. I wonder how long it will be until you try that again.

This stage of your development is adding another layer of challenge to my role as your mother. Before, all I really had to do was care for you – nursing you, keeping you safe and clean, comforting you, loving you. Now, you’re demanding more attention and new experiences. More interaction and singing, games and reading. You are not passive. You let me know when you’re feeling impatient or frustrated, or just plain bored. Sometimes I can’t think of new ways to entertain you, so it is the same songs, the same walk outside, the same blanket on the grass in the backyard. I’m thinking we’ll soon have to join a gymboree class, or the local pool, to give you more variety. But that’s okay. Just more fun for both of us.

I love you my little girl,
Mom

Chloe’s 6-month stats | Height: 25″  Weight: 14lb 1.4oz   HC: 16.5″

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