Mother’s Tea, Round Two

Piper had her Mother’s Tea last Friday, a few days after Ellie. It’s quite a different format in the toddler classroom than the primary classroom. The kids helped the teachers make cookies with jam in them and they squeezed the lemons for the lemon tea. We sat on their tiny little stools and had tea with them, played outside in the water trough, did some work and then did circle time. The kids made us these adorable keychains with their pictures in them, which I hung in my car.

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The kids do this little dance individually after circle time before they go outside:

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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!

 

Binky Be Gone

Oh, the bink. Oh, the love affair with the bink. When we left Whistler a week and a half ago we told Ellie we left the binkies in Whistler. We were prepared for an agonizing drive home and agonizing it was. The funny thing about expectations though is that we were not upset or surprised by how agonizing it was so we gritted our teeth and beared it. The first day and night were tough, real tough. It was as if in broken-record fashion all that came out of Ellie’s mouth was “I want the pink bink. I want a binky Mommy. Where’s my bink?” The next day it was a little better and we planned it perfectly so that she was in school during this process. After school she was pretty sad not to have her binky. We tried distractions, which worked for a little bit. We used lots of responses, such as “I know it’s hard to give up something you love,” “you can do it Ellie, you’re so strong.” But it seemed like the thing that worked the best was a hug and saying “I know, I know baby girl.” There was a bit of a mourning period, so now that it’s [mostly] passed, we thought we’d do a little Ellie bink tribute.

The Holy Grail of Parenting

Every parent will tell you being a parent comes with its ups and downs. These two parents are no different. Specifically as it relates to sleep training, we’ve had our successes and our failures. Ellie was sleeping through the night at three months and we were pretty damn stoked about that…and then three and a half months came! In all seriousness, she’s had her moments of sleeping through the night and then her moments of not. Brian and I have had seemingly endless conversations about this. So many of our friends told us about how they finally let their kids cry it out and the end result was heavenly. While I respect and appreciate every parents methodology, crying it out was not for me.

Every time Ellie got up in the middle of the night, I felt like she was either in pain or needed comfort. Now that her communication skills have grown significantly, we’ve reached what I consider to be one of the Holy Grails of parenting: not only does Ellie sleep through the night, we lay her down in her crib with her blanket and teddy bear. We give her kisses and we tell her “night night” and she lays down and goes to sleep. It’s epic. I almost don’t even want to say it out loud because I don’t want to jinx it, but I’m so effing excited I can barely hold it in.

I wanted to share this news because I know a lot of other parents struggle with the sleep thing. It’s no fun to go a year and a half of your life not knowing if you’re going to be up in the middle of the night or not. As first time parents, the crazy thought that it may never change comes to mind sometimes. This was especially the case for us with the prospect of a second child on the way. Brian kept saying “Lace, we can’t be doing this nighttime routine with Ellie when we have an infant in the house.” It was almost as if some universal force stepped in and said “you’re right,” waved a magic want and poof, Ellie goes to bed on her own and sleeps through the night. If you’re going through sleep troubles as a parent, there will come a time when they will subside. I’m sure it’s different for every child and I have no golden nugget of advice, other than hang in there, stay patient, and do whatever you think is right. At the end of the day, you’re a good parent who loves their child and that’s what really matters.

I don’t know that I believe everything happens for a reason, but I’m very grateful this happened. It was impeccable timing and for that I do thank God – whatever or whoever that may be.  And God, I also make one additional request that we have no reversions, please pretty please, or I will feel extremely guilty for sharing this news.

Life

My wonderful, amazing friend Molly gave me a little care package just because and it included a fantastic book, which I’m almost done with called “Carry On, Warrior.” I’m not one to read a lot (sadly), but when I pick up a captivating book, I seem to dive in and go nuts about it. I saved this book for my flight from Seattle to Miami and I could not put it down. As soon as I got to Miami I ordered several copies for some of my girlfriends I thought would enjoy it as much as I do. My friends asked me “what’s it about?” I tried to come up with several themes of the book, which was easy because there are many, but at the end of the day – it’s about life. And truth.

The book made me cry during much of my flight, which I’m sure caused those around me to think I was slightly crazy, but I just didn’t care. There are so many memorable parts of the book. The part where she writes her son a letter in case he’s gay is absolutely fantastic. I also just read about her AIDS bike ride, which was hilarious and inspiring. There’s a section where she writes about her love for her husband, which just absolutely brings me to tears because of course it makes me think of Brian and his love and devotion to us, which is unwaivering.

The best thing about the book is that is goes from those serious and sappy topics to things like this about parenting:

“I think parenting young children (and old ones too, I’ve heard) is a little like climbing Mount Everest. Brave, adventurous souls try it because they’ve heard there’s magic in the climb. They try because they believe that finishing, or even attempting to climb, is an impressive accomplishment. They try because during the climb, if they pause and allow themselves to lift their eyes and minds from the drudgery, the views are breathtaking. They try because even though it hurts and it’s hard, there are moments that make it worth the hard. These moments are so intense and unique that many people who reach the top start planning, almost immediately, to climb again. Even though any climber will tell you that most of the climb is treacherous, exhausting, killer. That they cried most of the way up.

And so I think that if there were people stationed, say, every thirty feet along Mount Everest yelling to the climbers, ‘ARE YOU ENJOYING YOURSELF!? IF NOT, YOU SHOULD BE! ONE DAY YOU’LL BE SORRY YOU DIDN’T! TRUST US! IT’LL BE OVER TOO SOON! CARPE DIEM!’ those well meaning, nostalgic cheerleaders might be physically thrown from the mountain.

Now I’m not suggesting that the sweet old ladies who tell me to ENJOY MYSELF be thrown from a mountain. They are wonderful ladies, clearly. But last week, a woman approached me  in the Target line and said the following: ‘Sugar, I hope you are enjoying this. I loved every single second of parenting my two girls. Every single moment. These days go by fast.’ At that particular point in time, Amma was wearing a bra she had swiped from the cart and sucking a lollipop she undoubtedly found on the ground. She also had shoplifted clip-on neon feathers stuck in her hair. She looked exactly like a contestant from Toddlers and Tiaras. A losing contestant. I couldn’t find Chase anywhere, and Tish was sucking the pen on the credit card machine WHILE the woman in from of me was trying to use it. And so I just looked at the woman, smiled, and said, ‘Thank you. Yes, Me Too. I am enjoying every single moment. Especially this one. Yes. Thank you.’

Craig is a software salesman. It’s a hard job in this economy. He comes home each day and talks a little bit about how hard it is. But I don’t ever feel the need to suggest he’s not doing it right, or that he’s negative for noticing how hard it is, or that maybe he shouldn’t even consider taking on any more responsibility. And I doubt his colleagues come by his office to make sure he’s ENJOYING HIMSELF. I’m pretty sure his boss doesn’t peek in his office and say: ‘This career stuff, it goes by so fast. ARE YOU ENJOYING EVERY MOMENT IN THERE CRAIG???? THE FISCAL YEAR FLIES BY!! CARPE DIEM, CRAIG!’

My point is this: I used to worry that not only was I failing to do a good enough job at parenting, but that I wasn’t enjoying it enough. Double failure. I felt guilty because I wasn’t in parental ecstasy every hour of every day and I wasn’t MAKING THE MOST OF EVERY MOMENT like the mamas in the parenting magazines seemed to be doing. I felt guilty because honestly, I was tired and cranky and ready for the day to be over quite often. And because I knew that one day, I’d wake up and the kids would be gone, and I’d be the old lady in the grocery store with my hand over my heart. Would I be able to say I enjoyed every moment? No.

But the fact remains that I will be that nostalgic lady. I just hope to be one with a clear memory. And here’s what I hope to say to the younger mama gritting her teeth in line:

‘It’s helluva hard, isn’t it? You’re a good mom, I can tell. And I like your kids, especially that one peeing in the corner. She’s my favorite. Carry on, warrior. Six hours ’til bedtime.'”

Absolutely hilarious. And so relatable.

To read more, find the book here: Carry On, Warrior and her blog here.

Happiness

Happiness is one of the things parents strive to encourage in their children. Some people are born very happy and some people who aren’t want to do things to make themselves happier. After all, what are we here for if nothing other than to be happy and love life? Happiness is likely one of the most philosophized and studied human traits. It is something that can’t be forced, but what if you knew there were specific things happy people did? Would you do them too? Perhaps doing so would make you happier. My Mom always told me if I’m ever feeling sad to smile. Smiling releases chemicals in our bodies that actually make us happy, so even though we might not feel like smiling, if we force it doing so will actually result in cheering us up.

Last week I got an article from Nita Talwar at Peak Experience Parenting that provides a list of 22 other things happy people do. It’s fun to look through the list and see what things you naturally do and what things you don’t. Perhaps by trying some of the things you don’t do, you will become happier.

Here is the article: http://www.peakexperienceparenting.com/22-things-happy-people-do-differently/

Personally, I felt a lot of reassurance reading the article, but there are definitely things I’d like to do more of to encourage happiness (and well-being). For example, I’d like to meditate and exercise more. Brian is very good at living minimally and I’m not too bad, but I would like to cleanse some of the “things” I keep around that I don’t really need. I also think I need to work on my listening skills, so that will be a focus moving forward.

I hope this article is helpful to you and your family as it has been for ours.

The Rocky Mountains, and that they Are!

We planned our trip to Colorado back at the end of 2012 and we took into consideration many of the things we learned with our first traveling experience with Ellie. Yes, she can walk, so we figured a quick two hour flight wouldn’t be too bad and the fact that we were going in the opposite time zone direction would be good so she would fall asleep later and wake up later. We booked the trip with my mom and her boyfriend (Grandy) and thought we were smart to stay in Denver for a day so we could visit with our aunts and get Ellie acclimated to the altitude before going up to the mountains.

All good intentions, but unfortunately good intentions do not equal good outcomes. Tutu (my mom) and Grandy had to cancel the trip due to their impending living situation and new job. Long story, but nonetheless, we were coming to visit family, so not the end of the world. The flight was fine, Ellie was happy. We spent the next day at the aquarium with Aunt Jackie, which was a blast. Then we headed up to the mountain with Ellie. While only 3000 feet above Denver, Ellie did not acclimate to the altitude very well. 

The day after we got up there she seemed okay and the next morning we went for a snowshoe. It seemed to be all down hill from there – no pun intended. Ellie became really fussy and she developed a bit of a fever. Being the adequate parents we are, we had our baby Tylenol on us and gave Ellie a bit of that. She seemed to wax and wane, but at around 5 am she woke up with a temp above 103 and she vomited. With that, we were off to the nearest ER.

After a plethora of tests – a nasal swab, a chest x-ray – it was determined that she had altitude sickness and acute bronchitis. They put her on some oxygen and advised we keep her on it and get down to lower altitude as soon as possible. This was incredibly disappointing, since we were really looking forward to spending a lot more time with family up in Minturn. 

We got Ellie down to lower altitude yesterday and spent the entire day today in our hotel room. She seems to be doing better now, but oh my goodness, what a roller coaster ride. It is so incredibly difficult to see our baby have a difficult time getting air and not knowing when enough is enough. We were so grateful to talk through the situation with our nurses through the hotline at Ballard Pediatric. We felt so much better after that conversation. It’s just insanely unnerving to hear that our baby could start to turn blue and that’s a sign to go back to the hospital. I just want to be like “oh really, no shit!” Being a parent is so tough sometimes. But it’s so rewarding at other times and it’s always worth every minute. I’m so grateful to have such a great partner to work through these tough situations and such a trooper of a daughter. She could only be slightly more of a trooper if she didn’t try to spit out every drop of Tylenol we try to put in her body and freak out every time we put saline in her nose and suck out her boogers. We’ll take what we can get though!