Letters to a daughter from her parents, starting from before she was born

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Honest Parenting

People always put their best face forward on Facebook. Their profiles, hell...my profile is full of pictures of my smiling child never misbehaving, throwing a tantrum, or looking strung out at 2am after being up for two hours and crying for much of it. In my blog I've mostly written about the positive. I've had friends write to me and say how encouraging my blog is to them, and helpful. I worry that I may have led them astray. That I wasn't honest enough about the difficulties and the struggles. That maybe I smile to cover my insecurities.  Here's the thing; you've been charged with being the biggest influence in someone's life. Not only their life, but potentially the lives of GENERATIONS after them.  That is terrifying. It's a weight on your shoulders that never lessens, and never lets go.  Not only that, but you have to do it all while dealing with all of the unpredictable aspects of every day life.  Good luck being on your best behavior at all times.

Last night, at 1am, when my daughter was whining and not quite awake or asleep, I came up with the idea for this blog. I promise it sounded better in my head, but the gist of it is an honest look at parenting.  So here is the truth as I've experienced it over the last 10 months.

Sometimes you  just want to kick this creature out of your damn space. They touch EVERYTHING, and find your vulnerabilities faster than an NSA hacker.  You, outlets, cords, remotes and my goddamn cell phone are all at the mercy of a little tyrant who is unrelenting and single minded in her attempts to make them hers.  Luckily she doesn't get mad at being handed different actual toys to play with...now, but I'm pretty sure that's going to change when she gets older. Then, we're screwed.

Mommy rage at 3am, when you lose your absolute shit because your kid woken up AGAIN; is totally a real thing. Frustration and anger build up as you realize that no matter how much you want to be, you're not in control of the situation. You'll probably hate yourself, but your baby will eventually stop crying and go back to sleep.  You'll probably throw the baby monitor...more than once.  Truthfully...I'm surprised mine works. Take it easy on yourself.  It's okay, it will pass.  Sometimes I just need to wake up my husband, who is snoring happily next to me with ear plugs in his ears, so he can just go rub her back for a little bit.  I must have this note of utter desperation in my voice to prompt my sleep obsessed husband to drag his half asleep ass out of bed to go attempt to put her to sleep. By the time he gets frustrated, I've cooled off and can deal.

On that note, sleep. Nothing pissed me off more than some well intentioned stranger telling me to enjoy my sleep now while I was pregnant. "Of course I'll sleep once the baby comes!" I'd think to myself, since obviously no one can live without sleep and I was already getting up 3-4 times a night to pee. My daughter does sleep. She gets up twice to nurse though, so my sleep is broken up.  It's difficult, but not impossible.  I have friends with kids that really don't sleep well though, and it's rough.  Continual sleep deprivation is no joke. I can feel myself getting more ragey, more angry, more depressed every day that I don't get at least 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

You'll never really understand how you can miss a child when they're just a room away, but you will. How you can be up every few hours during the night, but still function; but you will.  How you can be so unsure, yet be the center of someone's world. Your heart will melt every damn time they smile, and those moments make us not eat our young.

I charge you with this my fellow parents: be positive, but be honest.  Every parents is scared, worried, tired, frustrated and annoyed at some point.  Know that just because someone is smiling doesn't mean that they aren't struggling. Know you aren't alone in your struggles.  Parenting can be one of the most isolating things in someone's life, and realizing we aren't along in our struggles can be the thing that gets us through a hard day.  


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

9 months of fun

Hey baby girl,
Your development is happening so quickly these days.  One day you are reluctant to pull up, the next day you're pulling up on everything, standing in your crib, and chasing the cats all over the house. You're full of smiles, and happiness (unless we try to wipe your nose), and you're curious about everything




Weight
17.4lbs (which is exactly what I got on our scale at home...which now two weeks later is showing you almost a pound heavier). This puts you in the 47% for weight. You're moving down in the percentiles mostly likely because you never stop moving these days.  

Length
28 3/8'', which puts you at 85% for height

Head
17 3/4'' (why we switched from centimeters to inches, I have no idea.)

Diaper size
3, and I had to move the rise on all of your cloth diapers.  

Clothing
Mostly 9-12 month. Your sleepers are almost all 12 month because you're too long otherwise. 

Diet
You have a steady diet of my milk.  On top of that, you'll try almost anything.  You like fruits, bread, beans, veggies, and meat.  You love pureed fruit in a pouch, but prefer to eat your meat just cooked.  You love these dehydrated fruit/veggie things and veggie straws.  You'll eat almost anything, although we're keeping you away from dairy and eggs right now. 

He finds you so nommable 
Sleep
You're generally waking up 1-2 times a night to nurse. I'm working on weaning you of one of those feedings and it isn't happening every night anymore.  

Baby gear love
Our Tula gets used every day.  You love being held and carried. You like the stroller, but being worn will always win out.  You are very fond of your toys, and I just bought you some fake keys so that you'll stop trying to steal mine.  

Milestones/firsts
Pulling up on everything, but now cruising. You have to be properly motivated though.  You're finally getting less afraid of falling, or better at catching yourself when you put your hands down, so you're not standing there waiting for me to help you as much.  You're speech is about the same as last month, although your emphasis on different syllables is changing.  You can crawl much faster now, and squeal really loudly when you see things you like. 
Playing the drums on dad's head

Halloween Minion!



you LOVE your minion dolls...they were mine but you stole them

Likes
Puppets and stuffed animals (like your rabbit puppet and the minion dolls that you squeal when you see). Mom and Dad are up there in the favorites catagory. You cry when dad leaves for work in the morning.  You like veggie straws and some different foods.  You love the shower and bath.  


Dislikes
Having your nose wiped. Being left alone. Newton running away from you.  Mom not sitting on the floor playing with you, constantly. 
The minon is up to mischief
Things I don't want to forget
The smiles, and the giggles. They are both amazing. I don't want to forget our first Halloween, and picking apples with my parents.
apple picking!
We dressed you as a minion for halloween and you thought it was great to play with the minion doll. You even picked up a piece of candy and dropped it in your bag. We only went to three houses, just so we could get the experience, and then go sit around a fire pit.
My perfect minion...
I don't want to forget the sweet moment at the end of the day, when you're done nursing and all snuggled up next to me, sweet and perfect. I love to lean down and smell your sweet smell, and feel your soft hair.  
I don't want to forget how excited you get when you see either of us. It's wonderful to be loved that much. 
I had a wonderful 30th birthday party this past weekend that it was so much fun to share with you.  You really enjoyed meeting everyone, and smiling so much.  
I really don't mind turning 30. I know some people have issues with getting older, but I have two wonderful people to grow older with, and that makes it so much easier.  
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Monday, October 6, 2014

8 months

My love,
You turned 8 months a couple of weeks ago, but your development is changing every day. It's amazing. 
 

We went on our first long (3 plus hour) car trip this past weekend, and I wish I had a glowing review of your performance, but really you were kind of awful. There was a lot of whining, some hysterical crying and a lot of stops.  Since you are cutting two teeth and had a bit of a stomach bug, I can't really blame you though.  I think we're going to try it again in a few weeks to see if you're more willing to nap in the car when you aren't quite so uncomfortable.  

It was wonderful to see everyone out in WV and introduce you to them.  The same girl that I used to watch when she was just a little bigger than you, gave you some of her toys, and you had a blast playing with her and her sister.  You were adorable and charmed everyone at our friend's baby shower too!  

Weight
   We won't know this for a few more weeks, but around 17.5lbs

Diaper size
   Threes in disposables, and the same rise in cloth, although I think I might need to move them so they're longer in the front. 

Clothing
   Almost everything is 9-12m unless it's stretchy or oversized already.  You fit in some 12m shirts that I bought as well. You're long and skinny, so leggings are perfect, although I'm not sure they're going to be warm enough for the weather we're starting to have.  

Diet
   Babyfood you like includes pouches of fruits, puffs and these coconut milk crunchy/dissolving things (baby creamies?).  Otherwise you really prefer small bites of real food. You loved chicken noodle soup, potatoes, beans, tortilla...pretty much anything.  If it's pureed though, you look at it with great suspicion.  
We bought our own reuseable pouches

Sleep
   You sleep from 7-7, sometimes an hour on either end of those.  You wake up 1-2 times a night to nurse.  

Baby gear love
   You love being wrapped, especially on my back when I'm doing housework.  We bought a city mini stroller that you're quite fond of too!  It's purple, which I love. I can't wait to take some nice long walks in it.  

Milestones/firsts
  Oh my, soooo many!!! Let's see.  You started pulling up on everything so dad had to put the mattress in your crib down.  You still pull yourself to standing in it, but now you aren't at risk for falling out!  You like pulling up on the furniture and are thinking of cruising but generally just stand there until you get bored, and whine/fall on your butt and then crawl somewhere else and start over. 
You can crawl without your belly touching the ground, however it's faster for you to army crawl, so you switch between the two. You're vocalizing much more "ayayayay," "dadadaadad," and now "nahnah." Your ayeyeyyey cry is pretty hilarious.  

Likes
  Mom, dad, food, nursing, being carried, baths, playing with her blocks, chewing on everything, the cats. You absolutely love animals.  You met a sheep and laughed hysterically. Dogs make you giggle.  

Dislikes
   Being alone in your crib.  Lentils in your pouched food produced some confused faces. Staying still.  

Things I don't want to forget:
   I love how excited you get when you see me.  You just wiggle and jump and make this super excited squeal. I love watching you try to crawl as quickly as you possibly can towards Newton to try to 'pet' him. I loooove your 'touching' where you touch things with one finger. It is the most adorable thing.  I love your giggles, and seeing you play with your dad. You're just an awesome kid. 

mirror baby is a huge fan of yours


Stroller!



You loved meeting Aunt Michelle! 







You're mocking us....this was your last
night before we lowered your crib!

  

Thursday, September 11, 2014

They say that children change you (To my little girl)

  Mother's day, 2013,
    I rearranged my life.
  "Does this look like two lines to you?",
    inquired my hopeful wife.

  The minecraft game I set aside
    was where your crib now stands;
  the little strip of paper
    was shaking in my hands.

  Fear turned into wonder,
    and confidence to doubt,
  as everything that mattered in the world
    just faded out.

  Our cats are just our pets now,
    furry kids no more,
  you chase them 'round the living room,
    across the dirty floor.

  I don't need an alarm clock,
    before the sun to rise,
  the boundless joy upon your face
    drives sleep out of my eyes.

  I used to think that I was tough,
    scars of my youth abound,
  but when you feel an ounce of pain,
    it hits me like a pound.

  They say that children change you,
    you'll never be the same;
  chaos reigns and everything you loved
    goes down in flame.

  But honestly, it doesn't matter
    if any of that's true;
  my biggest contribution to this world thus far
    is you.


love, dad.
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Saturday, September 6, 2014

Portraits of You (end of 6/7 months)

The evolution of eating a cucumber
Portrait with a bow

Portrait of a sleeping babe on her mother's back

Portrait of a beautiful dress

Portrait of sheer bliss

Portrait of a cat and his girl

Portrait of a girl and her dad, bucking 'traditional gender roles'


Portrait of an early age interest in dentistry

A portrait of surprise

A portrait of happiness incarnate

Saturday, August 30, 2014

6 into 7 month changes

Ada,
You're changing so much. I look back on your little squish pictures and miss when you were tiny, but I'm loving watching you grow.  You learned to crawl. Um...sorta. It's this army crawl using primarily your arms. You don't have the coordination to get up into the crawl position and actually move forward. It doesn't bother you, since you can book it pretty quickly across the floor, in your constant, but vain attempts to catch the cat. The cats find you mildly amusing and annoying and get very close to you until you try pulling their hair out and then leave in a huff.

I was trying to prepare dinner one night and looked up and saw you moving towards the chair. I quickly grabbed my camera and got some bad video, so the one below is from the next day.

You had been chewing on your fingers frequently, so I finally managed to get a look at your top gum and your right front top tooth is almost through.  That accounts for some serious crankiness and whining lately.
We've sorta of babyproofed the living room so that you can crawl around and not get hurt.  You're enjoying the space to roam and discovered how to turn the x-box off today...while we were watching a show.

You've been taking more naps on my back lately, because it's just not worth fighting with you about sleeping in your crib. If you'll sleep longer on me and sleep through my dropping dishes, all the better.

People occasionally ask if you ever cry. The answer yes, however not that often. You generally whine...a lot. You can even whine and smile at the same time. It's your special power.  Generally you're a really happy baby, because you don't ask for unreasonable things and get your way.  I do wish you'd stop trying to roll away while we changed you though. It's really annoying and drives dad nuts.


Monday, August 18, 2014

6 spectacular monthsI

Baby girl,
I've been slacking on posting here.  You're changing so quickly every day!  I'm going to post more pictures (promise!!)

Weight: Somewhere around 15.5 lbs. The first time we weighed you, you were trying to steal the bottles nearby and it said you were the same weight as two months ago.  You're still in the 50th percent.

Length: almost 27 inches, puts you in the 90th percentile for height.

Head: 50th percentile

Diaper size: 2's to 3's.

Clothing: Sleepers are 6-9 (although you can stretch out more easily in 9-12), onsies are 6-9. I can't button the 3-6 month ones.

Diet: Lots of momma milk. You've been trying lots of fruits and veggies lately though. You really aren't a huge fan of most stuff -- although you seemed to enjoy peaches and grapes. I think texture sort of confuses you, and you gag a lot. We've been practicing with oatmeal, and it's getting better.

baby gear love: You love being wrapped--and I'm getting better at back wraps. You love to be moving, so walks in the stroller are fun too.

milestones/firsts:

  • Teeth!! You got your first one a few days after you turned 6 months, and the second one a week later. You were biting me last week, but we've been bite free for over 24 hours! I think you've adjusted your latch, and there is hope yet.  
  • You can roll every way, and like to spin around in circles to reach all the toys you can.  
  • You love any of your toys that makes music.  
  • You're making 'ga' and 'gee' sounds pretty constantly.


Likes: You like warm water, so the shower and bath are great fun.  You love both of us and get so excited when I go in to get you from your crib. You love sleeping in your crib and do so well at night.  You absolutely love when I sing "You are my sunshine."

Dislikes: You're not a fan of the pool--it's too hot.  Lately...napping.

Things I don't want to forget: EVERYTHING...but I can't remember it all. I don't want to forget how intently you look at things as you examine them. How excited you are to see me. How awesome it felt the first time I rucked you on my back--all on my own.  I don't want to forget the first time you saw bubbles (today!) and nursing you at the pool (your favorite part!), the Big Latch event, the library, IKEA, etc.  You're seriously an awesome, chill kid and I get complements on you daily.

First Ruck. I do have pictures were you're smiling;)

I told Dad to smile. You already were

The bow...too cute for words


You loooooved Micky!

Your teeth a few weeks ago


I think that the teeth may have stopped most of this adorable activity...