Progress, Evolution & Perspective

I frequently see posts on Facebook or articles out there about “the right way” to parent. Guidance is the friendly way to define these tidbits. Guidance is always helpful. I appreciate so much the guidance I’ve received in my life. But I find some of the guidance out there seems to come with a grain of judgment. It’s as if I’m not doing it right if I don’t take the guidance. And when I say “I”, I really mean “we.” I have a bone to pick with this guidance. I have a bone to pick because I truly don’t think there’s one right way. I truly think everyone ought to do it the way that works best for them.

Most of my friends and family know I have a few things I am stubborn about when it comes to raising our kids: 1) I do everything within reason to give them balanced organic meals full of vitamins and the right fuel for their bodies, and 2) I do everything within reason to keep them away from screens. These are “my things.” And every parent has their things, things that are highest priority that they don’t waiver on when possible. I know some parents prioritize manners. I know some parents prioritize sleep training. I know some parents never raise their voices at their kids. I obviously value those as well, but they’re not “my things.” And that should be okay. I shouldn’t feel guilty about that and if you give your kids fish sticks and french fries and stick an iPad in front of them at dinner you shouldn’t feel guilty either. We’re all just operating under what we value to be the most important things for us and our families and sometimes the most valuable thing for our families is some sanity for ourselves…can I get an amen?

It probably sounds so cliche but I really do wish there was less guidance in the world and more understanding. We should all feel comfortable sharing our learnings, but we should all feel comfortable taking in other people’s learnings. No one person knows everything, except for maybe Gandhi and Oprah. Lord knows I’m not perfect when it comes to these things, but I am working and striving toward it.

Anyway, I’ll get off my soapbox now and spend a few moments focusing on the progress of my peanuts. Piper, oh where to start with Piper. Piper is such a little wild child. She goes and goes and goes until she absolutely stops. She climbs up everything – in fact, today when I picked her up from school she was literally climbing up the baby gate. I’m pretty sure if I wouldn’t have grabbed her off it she would have made it over. She also loves to climb up all the bars to the top of the jungle gym platform at school. She’s visibly proud of herself whenever she accomplishes anything or gets something she wants. She’s getting her lower molars in and tonight at dinner she kept saying “ice.” Whenever she would say it I took a piece of ice out of my ice water and gave it to her, to which she replied with a larger than life smile and bounced up and down. Speaking of up and down, her new favorite thing is to stand up while yelling “up,” and then squat down while yelling “down.”

Her sister then joins in and they both go up and down together. Piper recently learned how to “kiss” and she is blowing kisses all the time. Brian says it’s because she likes the sound it makes. I also think she just really loves to be hugged and kissed. When I kiss her it makes her so happy and content it’s amazing. She doesn’t want to get in her car seat, really ever, so I just hug her and kiss her pretty much nonstop for a little bit and she seems to calm down enough for me to buckle her in. The most innocent and beautiful thing is to see how Ellie interacts with her now. When Piper makes the kissing face, Ellie blows her kisses and when they’re close enough to make contact they actually kiss. It’s so sweet and pure. It’s also great to see them play together so much. Now that Ellie’s in a different class with older kids it seems like she’s maturing exponentially. It’s hard for me to believe Ellie’s going to be 3 years old in less than a week. I remember when she was born it felt like 3 was an eternity. It’s funny how kids change so much so quickly and it’s also funny how they change us so quickly. Here are a few pics of the girls and their silliness.

With her water bottle from Santa that Ellie has now bogarted.

With her water bottle from Santa that Ellie has now bogarted.

She loves her giant teddy bear!

She loves her giant teddy bear!

Vroom

To a baby at school, Harper

Ellie Reading to a baby at school, Harper

Ellie's first day of "skiing" was mostly composed of eating snow

Ellie’s first day of “skiing” was mostly composed of eating snow

She can't resist climbing into our bed at night and I can't resist taking a picture I'm sure she'll despise when she gets older:)

She can’t resist climbing into our bed at night and I can’t resist taking a picture I’m sure she’ll despise when she gets older:)

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We made it a Year!

When we first found out we were pregnant, Ellie was still pretty young. We were definitely excited, but we knew it was going to be tough. With Ellie, getting to one year was such an accomplishment. We felt like we crossed some sort of imaginary “finish” line and we had been officially broken in as parents. The dynamic starts to flow and the hiccups become easier to navigate. So when we found out we were pregnant with Piper, I looked at Brian and said “we just have to make it to a year.” And now we’re here! It’s pretty crazy now to think how incredibly fast the last year has gone by. So much growth has occurred with our girls in the last year and honestly I think on a frequent basis how amazingly blessed we are.

I told someone at Piper’s birthday party that having kids is somewhat like being a teenager again in that one moment you feel like you want to scream and the next you’re so in love you can’t imagine life without them.

Speaking of Piper’s Birthday, we absolutely had such a blast. We had a pumpkin theme for the party, which was executed via much googling and pinteresting! It was so fun to have friends and family over. Piper had a blast. She’s such a ham and it was truly the first time I had faith someone was going to be watching her. Amazingly, it was true. Here are a bunch of photos from the party.

I just like to crawl into things Piper and her giant Teddy Bear Nana, Papa and Piper Tish and Piper Ry and Bri Jen & Lacie Tutu and the girls Piper, Mom and Dad Kathy and Brian Mom and Dad Yuuuummy! Sofia and Nicholas Hadley and Carly Finola and Piper Ellie and Ara Ty and Brian Parris and Heras Emmalynn Cake Time Mmm…Frosting Lucy Piper and Ara Tucker Fam + Jen Piper Ellie and Finola Wrestling Piper and Mom Jen and Wyatt Stella on Giraffe Emmalynn and Jenna Ara Hadley and Mom Piper Smiles

Nala drawing

Picasso in training

As if that weren’t enough photos, we also took a pic of Piper to complete her monthly photos during her first year. Brian is definitely excited we don’t have to struggle with a very active independent Piper to get a decent still picture of her anymore and I’m just mostly in love with how much this picture truly emulates our emotion about making it to a year. Now, if time could please slow down, we would be very grateful.

Piper's One Year Old!

Piper’s 11 Months

Piper turned 11 months last Thursday, while I was in Austin for work – tear, sniff, tear. Before Piper was born, Brian and I talked about nursing and I was pretty adamant I wanted to do everything I could to nurse until she was 1 year old. Now that she’s 11 months old, when I got home from Austin, Brian asked me if I was excited I was almost there. After a day or two of that setting in I started to get really excited that I’m ALMOST THERE! In a few weeks, I’ll have an hour+ back every day and we won’t be washing pump parts every other day. I won’t have to pack an extra bag for work every day. I won’t have to pack a bigger suitcase when I travel for work just to house my pump parts. I won’t have to have the hotel deliver a fridge and arrange for everything to be put in a freezer when I have a later flight. I can go on a diet and not be scared about my production. I can stop taking Fenugreek!!! But…enough about me…

Piper’s 11 Months old and I can really hardly believe it. She’s such a fun little girl. She’s started wanting to go down stairs (gasp), so we’ve started holding her hand as she goes. She has started bending her knees every once in while, but most of the time we’re confident she would have fallen if we weren’t holding her hand. That’s how babies learn though and every time she’s about to fall but we save her, I can tell on her face she’s learning from her mistakes.

I can’t imagine being more in love with our little girls. It’s so incredible how much joy I feel watching their progress and their personalities. Of course it’s incredibly difficult, exhausting and sometimes stressful, but what’s the cliche?  Oh yeah, nothing good ever comes easy. Ellie has gone through so many different stages as a big sister. In the beginning she was slightly ignorant, then she became a little jealous, and now she’s mostly excited to play with her sister and “guide” her to do certain things with her. She loves to show Piper how to use the toys and she takes her around the house doing all the fun stuff like washing the windows and calling to Max. I can just imagine them when they get a little older, and even when they become teenagers and young women. Of course every parent wants their kids to be bosom buddies. I’m sure there will be times of that, but also times of conflict. All of the good and the bad is what really makes a relationship stronger and I truly don’t want our girls to have a perfect relationship, just a true, genuine and strong one.

This month, my Grandma Geri was in town, so we took our Piper pic while Ellie and Brian celebrated Nana’s birthday. I combined all the photos so we could see the progress throughout the months. Here are a few shots from the night.

DSC_0191 DSC_0194 DSC_0222 Piper1_11

Piper’s 9 Months

This post is actually a week or so late unfortunately, but with good cause. Last Thursday we trekked over to Cle Elem for the Heras/Parris wedding, came back Sunday and then Sunday night I flew out to London for work. I got back on Friday, so things have been a little crazy busy. As a sidenote, traveling for that long internationally when you’re still nursing is quite the experience. I packed a ton of pump parts and a scrub brush, but it’s not particularly easy to execute pumping and cleaning in a foreign land. Then when I got to security, TSA at Heathrow told me I couldn’t bring my breast milk on the plane with me since my baby was not with me. This was the 4th time I’ve traveled since going back to work and I’ve never been told that. Additionally, I had done my research and there is nothing on the TSA website that lists that as a requirement. Lastly, why would I have a ton of breast milk if my baby were with me? It just seemed crazy, but not having worked through this rationale in my head at the time I was just upset because I didn’t want to lose my milk. I ended up being able to check it all, so it all worked out in the end, thank goodness!

I made it back from London in one piece and one of the first things I asked Brian when I got home was if Piper had a tooth yet. I could feel swelling and nubs in her mouth right before I left, but Brian said no. I stuck my finger in her mouth to feel around and sure enough she did have a tooth! Here are some of the other notable developmental milestones Piper has hit:

  • She walking quite a bit now for pretty long distances at a time
  • She eats pretty much everything we do, but we put everything she eats in a chopper
  • We think she’s said four words other than “abba” – “mama, dada, hi & Ellie”
  • She loves to play peek-a-boo
  • She loves to clap
  • She loves to wave

9 Month Report 9 Month Scale

At her 9-month checkup the doctor was optimistic about Piper. There wasn’t really anything of concern. They poked her foot to get a blood sample to test her iron levels and everything was right where it should be. The only thing that’s challenging for us right now is still the sleep thing (more to come in another post about sleep advice from our sleep doula) and the fact that Piper’s a total busy body wiggle worm. It’s incredibly difficult to change her diaper or change her clothes because she’s just moving about all the time. As you can see from her nine month pic where her headband is around her neck, the girl plays with everything…

Piper's 9 Months!

 

Happy Birthday America

This may have been the first year we didn’t go anywhere for the Fourth of July. We’re usually busy running around from place to place to see family and friends, but this year we just wanted to take it easy and hang at our home. Our neighbors across the lake from us had a loot of fireworks, so it seemed like we weren’t missing out and we could have some good old fashioned fun. The fireworks were pretty spectacular and the evidence now lives on our deck.

We had a few friends over, barbecued some ribs, drank some beer and had a campfire and made s’mores. It doesn’t get any more American than that. We got a couple of pictures of the babes – all girls – but it does take a miracle to get a good pic of a 3 month old, 8 month old and two 2 year olds. A miracle did not occur, but here’s the result nonetheless along with one of our two munchkins.

Dressed patriotically and giving hugs and smiles.

Dressed patriotically and giving hugs and smiles.

Cute girls who also can't really sit still for a photo.

Cute girls who also can’t really sit still for a photo.

Piper’s 7 Months!

Piper turned seven months and she’s just been going going going. She is one of those babies that’s very engaging, very smiley, very excited and very on the go. In fact, she will seldom lay on the changing table long enough for us to change her diaper. Most of the time we can lay her down to take it off and wipe, but then we have to stand her up to put a new diaper on and put her clothes back on.

She’s progressing quite quickly as far her mobility goes as well. She loves to pull herself up on anything possible. She went through a phase for a week or two of not being able to hold herself up once she got up or crawling so fast she would run into stuff. That was a very difficult couple of weeks because no one likes Piper bruises. It seems that time has come to an end though. Every time she pulls herself up she stays up and she knows how to let herself down more gently. She’s also letting go sometimes and standing for a few seconds, which is very exciting. While no parent wants to hover, I find it very difficult to not be ready to catch her when she’s exploring like this.

Piper’s also been experiences the same “teething” Ellie did around this time. I put “teething” in quotes because there aren’t actually any teeth. Ellie was the same way – there are spurts of massive salivation, gnawing on pretty much everything, some fever and discomfort. It’s no fun at all, but we’re done with the most recent teething event, so nothing to complain of for the time being.

Piper’s still not sleeping through the night, although she has gone for long stretches. She sometimes won’t wake up until 3:30 or so, which means 7-8 hours of straight sleep. The problem is, it’s straight sleep for her, but not us, since we don’t go to be until 11ish usually.

Ellie’s also still joining us in the middle of the night every night. We pretty much gave up on trying to take her back to her bed because it just caused us to lose more sleep. So instead we get kicked and woken up by crying almost every night. Oh the joys of parenting. I know I’ve said it before, but it really is all worth it. To see these cute little faces every day, to see them giggle and grow and play and sleep is totally all worth it.

7MoPiper

 

 

 

Piper’s 6 Months

I realize this is a bit late, but the photos are all from when Piper actually turned six months, a couple of weeks ago. The last few weeks have admittedly been pretty exhausting. Right before Piper turned 6 months Brian went to China for a week. The next week I did a 19 hour day, flying to San Francisco and having meetings all day and then flying back. The week after that I took a red eye to Toronto on Wednesday night at midnight and then I flew back that Friday night. Then came Mother’s Day weekend and the time to sit down and compose a post for Piper’s six month birthday has really not come to fruition until now.

We had Piper’s 6 month appointment on May 5th. She weighed in at just over 15 pounds.

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The doctor was visibly impressed with her strength and muscle tone. When she pulled herself up on the table I think he had to double check that this was her six month appointment. As I have mentioned, I’m pretty sure she’s some sort of super human, especially considering she’s not really that thick of a babe. Here is her checkup card with all the specs.

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All that writing at the bottom is because after the nurse administered the vaccine, the doctor came in to tell us that she administered the wrong one. This has been something that has crossed my mind before; I’ve always wondered if this happens. The nurses and doctors are just running from room to room, giving tons of shots in a day. I was thinking it’s crazy they don’t mess things up. Fortunately for us, it doesn’t sound like it was a very serious mistake. They administered a Pediarix instead of a Pentacel, which basically means that because it hadn’t been 8 weeks since Piper’s last Hep B, she will have to have an extra Hep B in her series and we have to get a Hib next time. The obvious question is whether this is very bad or not. It sounds like it’s not. The next question is whether it’s grounds to explore other doctors. I started the exploration via a benefit at work called Expert Medical Opinion, so we’ll see what their guidance is. Our pediatrician came very highly recommended from our prior pediatrician, as well as several other parents, so it would be sad to have to find someone new. Regardless, I will always check the labels of shots going into my children’s bodies moving forward.

Here is Piper’s six month photo – just a super happy active clam. We are really starting to see her personality come out and she just wants to play nonstop. She really can’t sit still at all. She’s a very laid back baby, in that not much gets to her. But being confined definitely is one of the few things. She is a woman on the go and can’t nobody hold her back. She’s just awesome. Again, now if she could only sleep through the night…do you see a theme with my requests? Sleep, that’s really all I want. “Pretty please,” as Ellie would say.

This lady is on the go...

This lady is on the go…