Saturday, February 9, 2008

Cara Figlia - It Happens So Quickly

Mia carina (my little dear),

In just under three weeks, you have already progressed so far in your walking skills. You're a supergenius, I tell you!

When you first started taking those incredibly wobbly, Frankenstein-like steps, you would only do so under great encouragement and when the timing was just right. You needed to have energy, but not be too excited. You needed to be holding onto something with just one hand and facing toward your daddy or me. We would coax you with our sing-songy, cheerful voices to come to us. And you would finally take a few halting steps, and then throw yourself into our arms, with squeals of delight. It was very cute, but definitely some work.

Now, withing just three weeks, you are standing up and walking from one place to another totally on your own. Earlier this week, I looked up from the sink and saw you just wobbling on your own from one spot to another. You are finally realizing that even though crawling is faster, walking leaves your hands free to carry things with you! And you are really into holding and shaking and carrying all sorts of things, from your toys to your coat to the remote controls. (Oh the remote controls--how you love them!) And you are starting to realize that you can get places pretty well by walking. So now you just stand up where ever you are and walk over to another toy or my legs. If you fall, you simply stand back up and continue walking on your merry way.

It's just so amazing to me how fast you learn and develop. You have come so far already. I'm truly in awe of you.

Ti amo,
Mama

Friday, February 8, 2008

I Was Young and Idiotic Innocent

Before I had a baby of my own, I had opinions on parenting.
Shocker, I know! Me opinionated about something? That's just crazy!

Since having my own baby, especially since having a fussy one, I now understand that I KNEW NOTHING!
To anyone whom I voiced my uneducated opinion, please accept my apologies if I was an idiot.

I couldn't believe when I'd hear how some mothers would let their babies sleep in car seats or on them or any place but a crib or bed! Surprisingly, I didn't have an issue with co-sleeping, but that was a bed so it made sense to me. But why would anyone let their baby sleep anywhere but a crib or bed?
Ha! "Let." Like parents always get a choice? My daughter would not sleep anywhere but on Londo or me except the swing and then only at night and swaddled. We tried other things again and again, but she wasn't having any of it. I was so happy when we finally were able to co-sleep, and that only worked with her swaddled and nursed to sleep lying down. It took months to get her into her crib at all, and sleeping through the night? Only when she's good and ready.

I knew someone who said their child didn't like the car, which was why they couldn't come visit. In my mind, they simply hadn't gotten the child used to the car. She should have taken him in the car more often, and for longer and longer periods, until he simply adjusted. After all, babies were supposed to love car rides.
And then we had the Pumpkin who hates the car almost more than anything else in the world! She hates being confined in the car seat (in any seat with straps, really), she hates just sitting there, and when she was newborn she especially hated that she wasn't being held. We have suffered through short and long and very long car rides with her screaming most (if not all) of the way. I can't tell you how many times we've had to stop the car so I could get her out and hold her to calm her down because she was screaming so hard she was having trouble breathing. There was no "just get her used to it" though we tried and tried.

I didn't understand why some parents said they had to hold the baby all the time. I was on board with "attachment parenting" and the idea of wanting to hold the baby often. But if a parent wanted to get something done, they should just put the baby down for a little while and go do it.
Enter The-Baby-Who-Would-Not-Be-Put-Down. Seriously. She would not be put down for more than a few minutes, definitely less than 5, for the first three months of her life (with the exception of the swing, and then at night only). This was another area in which we tried getting her used to being put down in the bassinet, in a swing, in a crib, in anything! She would quickly work up to screaming sobs. She would not simply adjust. Not until her body was old enough and she was ready. Now, she still likes to be held a lot (especially when she's upset), but she loves to be down crawling and walking and playing on her own. But it was all on her time schedule. I would not have kept the remaining threads of my sanity if it hadn't been for the slings.

Overall, I thought that children should just enter the world as part of the family. Things shouldn't have to change too much, as long as you just fit them into your life and didn't make the child the focus of the entire house.
Ha! Ha ha! Hahahahahahaha! See what an idiot I was?

I really thought all children were pretty malleable. I didn't realize that they came pre-programmed with their own personalities and temperments from birth that would sometimes not mesh with what (g)you* want them to do/be. The other day, Don Mills Diva wrote an excellent post about how a lot of parenting depends on pure luck, especially relating to a child's health and temperment. She makes excellent points, ones I wish I knew before I gave birth.

But I can't change the idiot I was. I can only look forward and try not to be an idiot in the future. I keep this lesson mind: I cannot know what it is like to be that parent or even person until I've been in their shoes or until I've tried to wrestle their child into the shoes that are-to-tight-and-I-don't-want-to-wear-them!!! I make this pledge: I will strive not be a Sanctimommy, while I continue to do what I think is best for my child and my child's personality. I will also try not to let others get to me when they simply don't know or understand what I'm going through and what my daughter's personality is like. Usually, people are just trying to help and mean well. Usually, I did too. I didn't even know that I didn't know a thing.

*(g)you stands for "general you" or "group you" or "plural you" or in italian "voi."

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Fancy Meeting You Here

A friend of mine just started fertility treatments at a local fertility center. Yesterday, she wrote about the fertility waiting room phenomena. I can't discribe the phenomena any better than she did when she said, "Nobody was looking at each other or talking, and the women with husbands were looking extra tense. We all have a common bond, but we were sitting there in our private worlds, not sharing. The vibes passing between people are basically, "you're infertile. I'm infertile. And I don't want to talk about it." It's like a bus station full of infertile people."

That's it exactly. Londo and I would bring books and just sit there reading, occassionally whispering to just each other. The fertility center waiting rooms are truly the most awkward of all the waiting rooms in the world. Londo did not come with me to all the appointments, like those when I was just having blood drawn, although he did come to most especially in the beginning. But there was this one time when he wasn't with me...

We had gotten pregnant after our third medicated IUI cycle, but the baby's heartbeat stopped at 7.5 weeks (this is a devasting story on its own, and I'm sure I'll write about it another time). When I didn't miscarry on my own, I had a D&C. After that, I had to go in every couple of days in the morning to have blood drawn so they could make sure my progesterone levels went back down.

Anyway, in the office the afternoon before, I let my coworkers know that I would be in late the next morning. I didn't say why, just that I would be late. One of the guys who I shared an office with, we'll call him R, said that he'd be in late too
because he was taking his wife to a doctor's appointment. I thought that was nice of him to be taking her. Then he said, "Actually, the doctor's out by you, so we'll be out in Maryland."* And I thought to myself, "Wouldn't it be funny if he was going to the fertility center too? Nah. What are the chances."

I don't know what the chance are statistically, but the next morning I walked into the waiting room and you know who I saw! I was hanging up my coat and just happened to notice R sitting across the room with his wife. Our eyes met, I gave a little wave, and quickly sunk into a seat and pulled my book to cover my face. I believe we both probably turned bright red. We did not say another word to each other, or even look at each other. When his wife was called back and he stayed in the waiting room, I did not look up. When I was called back, I did not look up. I left as soon as my blood was drawn and drove into the office.

When I got there, no one else was in yet. I think our other officemate was working in a different location that day. I thought alot about what I would say, and I knew I should say something. You can just pretend that the pink elephant isn't in the middle of the room. Or I can't. It's not my way.

When he did get in the office, we said good morning and I gave him time to start up the computer. Then I just went for it, "So, I see you have the same doctors as I do." I thought that was a pretty good opener. And indeed, it opened us both up. Lo and behold, we were going through very similar issues. Neither of us really knew anyone going through fertility treatments who we could talk to about it. But suddenly, we could talk to each other. They were just starting out with the doctors, and they were doing IVF. I was able to explain his wife's mood and the effects of the drugs, he was able to talk about how hard it is to go through from a guy's perspective. It was really great for both of us.

And we probably never would have known about each other if it wasn't for the embarrassing moment in the fertility waiting room.

*For those who don't know the area, Maryland, Virginia and DC are all right near each other, and people in this area may live in MD, VA or DC but work in another state or the district. It's very common.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Think They'll Come Out and Play?

Hey, internetters! Be sure to go to The Rocking Pony and tell us all your most embarrassing story! Have you seen what you could win? Karen is amazing! And she said that if she gets over 100 comments, she will do two giveaways. I've posted two of my embarrassing stories, and there are many other very funny ones to enjoy.

Well, I'm feeling amazingly better. I'd like to publically thank the Pumpkin for sleeping until 5:30ish and Londo for getting her and co-sleeping with her for another hour. I actually got to sleep in until my alarm went off at 6:00. Then, I SNOOZED!!! I know, it's crazy. And then, I got up and washed up and did my make up and pulled up my hair... all without having to juggle a baby or stop in the middle to grab her or spot her climbing up on things. It was such a great morning, and I'm in such a better mood.

A good enough mood to tell you all about my Big Idea. Just last week, I had two different friends (who are also new moms) say to me on the SAME DAY "It's enough to drive me to drink." Ha! I feel that way lately, too. But we can't all become alcoholics, sneaking shots of vodka from bottles hidden behind towels while the baby plays with empty pill bottles. That's no way to live, and I know that none of us want that at all.

So what can be done for us overwhelmed parents who have little ones depend on us to be stable and care for them in every way? Well, I really believe that we were not meant to raise children alone. We are social animals, and social animals raise their children together. Think of lions raising their cubs or all of the primates raising their simian babies. They all sit around and watch the little ones together. They do not leave the babies alone with just one mama to fend for themselves. I believe that humans as a species were made to raise our children together, but that our culture (at least here in the US) is one that encourages independence to such a degree that we feel we have to do it all by ourselves. I don't believe that we should expected ourselves or others to do it alone.

Okay, so there was my little rant. But I really did have an idea. A Big Idea. This spring, when the weather gets a bit warmer and I get a bit more energy, I am going knocking on doors in my neighborhood. From the time we moved in while I was in the second trimester of pregnancy, I've made a mental note of houses who have had balloons or outside storks celebrating the birth of babies. I'm going to go round to those houses, knock on the doors, and ask the moms and dads if they want to be part of a playgroup. A neighborhood playgroup where we all get to know each other, go to the playgrounds together, go hang out at the neighborhood pool together. Watch out for each other. Help each other. Be neighbors like I had growing up, where everyone knew each other and watched over the kids as a community.

And since I'm not a shy person (quite the opposite, as the strangers in the elevator with me could tell you), I figure I'll be the one to make the effort. I have found such a great online community at Ask Moxie and on a online buddy group I'm part of, and I'm always wishing that I could do more to help out online friends who are in need. I was so happy to be able to help my real-life friend by going visit her, help her pack and help with her baby recently. But rather than having break downs behind our closed doors of our houses, putting all the pressure on our partners, and suffering from PPD or just general hardships in silence, we should be knocking on our neighbor's doors and seeing if those around us need help. I will start.

If you live in my neighborhood, I hope you will answer the door when I knock and come out and play with me and the Pumpkin. We can talk and watch the kids together. When one of us needs help, we could help each other. We can become a community and be better and stronger for it. And the ones who will benifit the most? The children.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Just So Very Tired

I really don't want to do another post about the Pumpkin not sleeping well, but it is consuming me. It is all I think of, and it is affecting every area of my life. This lack of good sleep, especially after a couple weeks of pretty good sleep, is slowly killing me. Is it possible to die from regularly interrupted sleep?

The pattern of her waking up a little earlier every morning has continued, with only a slight deviation on Saturday (5:45 instead of 5:00), which only got my hopes up. Sunday, she was up at 4:30, and I couldn't get her back to sleep for an hour. Finally, I was able to nurse her back to sleep in the bed in her nursery and we co-slept until 7:00. Not horrible, but still awake for an hour in the middle of the night.

Then Monday morning, she woke up at 4:00. She was very upset, and I realized that she was really stuffy. I don't think she is sick, but I'm not sure. It's only a stuffy nose, which she always gets when teething. But when I tried to nurse her, she couldn't breath through her nose and therefore couldn't nurse. This was the first time she has turned away from nursing when in need of comfort, and it was heartbreaking for both of us. All I could do was hold her while she sobbed and try to clear her nose as best as I could, although she can't stand it when anything comes near ner nose. It took her/us two hours until she/we fell back asleep, and we slept for two hours in the recliner in her nursery. It was a very tough night.

Last night, Londo (who is back from his trip) got up with her when she woke at 3:30. But she wouldn't get back to sleep, so we took turns holding her while she dozed (at best). I am tired. So very tired. I have many interesting, witty things to say I swear, but not today. I am tooooooo tired.

I was so tired, I forgot that I wanted to link to Karen's contest on her blog!! She is having a give away, and all you have to do is tell your MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT EVER. That's not asking much, is it? Sure, I haven't done it yet, but I'm going to... as soon as I work up the courage...

Monday, February 4, 2008

Question of the Week - Superbowl Commercials (and My Weekend Woes)

Hey, internetters! Sorry I've been neglectful. It wasn't on purpose. My internet went down sometime on Saturday and has stayed down. So I didn't get to do a Cara Mama post yesterday, but it would have gone something like this "Cara Mama, wah wah wah... But I wanna play with the trash bag... ha ha ha... I love to be tickled... wah wah wah... I don't wanna go back to sleep... The clingiest, fussiest baby in the world (I'm too tired to figure out the Italian for this), Pumpkin"

But this is nothing new. In general, we had a really good weekend. My niece's birthday party was so much fun, and water babies on Sunday was a ton of fun. The mornings were very good, and she had one long nap each day. BUT she had only one nap each day (can you say transition time?) and had a melt down each night in the evening. She seems to be so tired--she has been a bit klutzy, especially yesterday evening. Each time she get a little bump, she gives some heartfelt crying instead of the usual brushing it off with nary a thought. I will save this morning's issues for tomorrow's post. For now, let's just move on...

Did everyone enjoy the Superbowl? I did not stay up for the critical 4th quarter, and missed quite a bit here and there because of Pumpkin-care. I'm not heartbroken, because I'm not a fan of either team. But I saw a lot of it, and some funny commercials. I caught commercials I missed this morning online (I love the internet). Which leads us to this week's Question of the Week:

What was your favorite Superbowl commercial?

You don't have to limit your answer to this year. But if you want to see some of this years best commercials (which were only okay overall), click here.

This year, I enjoyed the Bridgestone with the squirrel in the road, the Tide with the screaming stain, and (even though I can't stand him) the Will Ferrell Bud Light commercial. Last year, I LOVED the Taco Bell lion commercial. Of course, the best Superbowl commercials were Apple 1984 commercial and the Budweiser clydesdale 9/11 tribute (snopes.com is apparently the only place on the internet where I can find a video of that one). Oh, and speaking of Budswiser clydesdale commercials, I also loved this one from 2003.

How about you?