Sunday, November 16, 2014

Life These Days

The days with my baby girl lately are very sweet. Also maddening and exhausting. But mostly sweet. Felicity is crawling very quickly, and I've never been happier with our decision for a modest sized house-a decision that was made knowing we'd be giving up our income, but it's a bonus with a curious crawler! So far, we haven't had to put any baby gates up indoors, though I'm considering one in the bathroom since she was sucking on the toilet while I showered the other day. I did put one up outside on the deck, which was an idea I got from my genius neighbor. We only had one nice weather day since I got it, but it was so nice putting her on the deck to crawl around as I sat in a deck chair and enjoyed a book on a slightly cool, but sunny afternoon. I'm looking forward to doing that a lot next spring, with an iced drink in hand and the umbrella up.

I'm babysitting my neighbor's two boys each Monday and Wednesday afternoon. It's great for many reasons. I get experience with multiple small children (I pray to never have twins lol). She has a 3 year old and 1 year old, and the 3 year old and either baby is pretty easy, but the 3 year old with both babies proves challenging. Sometimes her little one is napping and other times Steven is off so Felicity stays with him, It's good for Felicity to have play time with other babies, and probably even to have a short amount of time each week where my attention isn't completely on her. It's also a great opportunity for me to help our finances a bit without having to leave my baby. I was looking for something like that anyway, so it was perfect timing since my neighbor is also my friend, and I'd rather spend time with her kids than a stranger's! I have a feeling Felicity will grow up as fast friends with her boys, as we are there 2 afternoons a week, but we also all walk together about 4 days a week. I need the push to exercise, and I try to get Felicity outside for at least a little while each day, so having a neighbor keep me accountable to walks has been a blessing. It's also really fun to have someone to chit chat with while we walk! I always dreamed of having a friend with kids in the neighborhood, so this is truly a dream come true.

We are still doing story time once a week at the library. Speaking of which, the lady who does story time is also a neighbor of ours! We were going twice a week, but the baby one is two days in a row, so I backed us down to once. If they ever split up the days, we'll probably go twice. I take Felicity 30 minutes early every other week to return books, and play with and check out new books. They keep the board books on a low, non-tippable shelf so the babies can get to them easily. Felicity sits and pulls books out with glee, as I choose some new ones to take home. Then we go to story time and she is usually pretty ready for a nap after that!

We are considering joining a weekly play group. I've done a few different group things in the past, but haven't stuck with any. I'm debating this one only because it's on Thursday, which is almost always one of Steven's days off. This week we are going to go and let Steven have a little "me time", but I will probably only go every other week if he keeps having Thursday off. We meet at local malls (during cold weather) so the babies can crawl/toddle on the soft play structures while the mamas talk. I just found out one of the ladies lives in Garner, so we may set up play dates individually too, since everyone else lives about 30 or so minutes away.

Felicity got a zebra "bike" (ride on toy) from her grandparents, so we have been taking it outside each day to play on. I bundle her in her precious pink jacket with bear ears (can't handle the cute!) and out we go. She impressively holds onto the handles, so I can push her without holding on, though I stay close by just in case. She smiles and coos as she flies down our driveway on her "bike". Sometimes she crawls through our yard, tasting and crunching leaves. I love this time with my girl!

In case you think it's all fun and games :D, I'm still learning to keep house with a baby in tow. I used to religiously clean the house once a week (Steven and I each did half). It's all but impossible to get the whole house clean at once, for now anyway, so I have adopted more of a "clean as I go" policy, even though it pains me to not have that one day each week where everything is clean at the same time. I've gotten laundry under control as Felicity will play in our room long enough for me to sort, fold, and hang clean clothes. Dinner is still a work in progress as it's her most needy time of day, so I'm making mostly simple dishes for now. I try to make more fun, involved things on Steven's days off. Felicity especially loves cat food right now, so doing anything in the kitchen is challenging as she constantly goes for Buttercup's bowls!

Basically, I'm trying to absorb all this time while she's little. It's going so, so fast and (hopefully) we'll add to our family in the next few years, so I want to immerse myself in these one on one memories while I can. I love this little girl so, so much and I'm beyond thankful for the opportunity to spend my days with her. Felicity may be tempermental and demanding, but she is cute, loving, and hilarious. And now I'm off to feed, bathe, and read to my sweet baby!


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Nursing My Girl

So, it's been forever (5+ months... close to forever) since I've updated you on my breastfeeding journey with Felicity. And as I said before, I know you all sit there like "hey, whatever happened with that!?". Or, more accurately, I'm writing it for me :). 

Felicity is a nursing champ! When she was a few weeks old, I never thought I'd say that. She LOVES her "nursies"! She continues to nurse before naps and bed, but just over the past month has begun to initiate nursing at other times. It's so sweet to me because Felicity has always enjoyed the pre-sleep nursing sessions, but it's been something I offer and she accepts. Now, she lets me know that she wants to nurse! Felicity will do a few different things to signal this to me. Once, and one time only, she did the sign for "nursies", which was pretty awesome. But otherwise, she either attempts to nurse while I'm fully clothed, or she will bury her head in my chest. I've learned that both of those things signal her wanting to nurse (and yeah, I'm working on her doing the sign instead lol). It's generally when she's getting sleepy or is upset, but sometimes she just does it for (seemingly) no reason and we have a good cuddle and I nurse her. Then we go back to playing. I think those times might be my favorite because I always thought the pre-sleep nursing was about as good as it was going to get- and I was perfectly happy with that, don't get me wrong. But for her to basically say "mom, I want to nurse!" rather than "oh... you're offering the boob? Well, sure!" makes me a happy mama. 

The other good news is that I'm basically not pumping anymore. I thought I'd be pumping until she was 1, so it has been a huge relief to have that burden off my shoulders! Since she was nursing more, and because she basically sat on the floor and cried any time I tried to pump, I slowly began to cut pumps out around 5-6 months. Felicity also spends the majority of the night in bed with us and nurses on and off, so then I naturally cut out my 2 middle of the night pumps. At one point, around 7 months, I was still pumping at 10pm, and then she went through a phase of nursing then, too. So I cut that one out, even though that phase did end. The only time I pump now is if she naps in the car, since she would normally nurse before then. Basically, if she's missing one of our normal nursing sessions, I pump. I find that's only 1-2 times a week, generally. SWEET RELIEF. It is so nice to not be tied tot the pump all the time! My quality of life has shot up big time. And the exciting part? The rare times I do pump, I get the same amount as I did before. Small as it is, I'm extremely excited that she's nursing enough that my supply didn't dip by cutting out like 6-8 pumps a day! 

I think all the time about the breastfeeding journey for someday-baby #2.... sooo many details like will the baby be tied? Will I have to pump around the clock for months? Do I want to even give the SNS a try again after how much we hated it this time? Do I want to try domperidone for a full supply and not having to worry about donor milk, even with the probable weight gain? Will I make more milk the 2nd time around?

And then I make myself turn my brain off, I cuddle up with my girl, and nurse and look at her sweet little face (and facebook because, hey, she is amazing and precious and beautiful, but I get bored sometimes. Just keeping it real).



Monday, November 3, 2014

Perspective

Steven left today for 10 days for work. Technically he might be able to come home a day or two in there, but we don't know for sure yet. Felicity and I will definitely be going there for a few days! As he was preparing to leave, I began to think about allll the things he does around the house. It's easy for me to get into the train of thought that I do almost everything since a) I chose the vocation of SAHM and homemaker and b) he works 10+ hour days so it makes sense for me to do most of the home stuff. Sometimes I can get a little woe-is-me about it. But as I listed off in my head all the things I will be responsible for while he's gone, I realized he does a lot around the house. I also started having those mushy love feelings. You know, the ones you have a ton while dating, occasionally when married, and are almost too busy to experience with a new-ish baby around the house. Yeah, those! I was flooded with how much I'll miss his hugs, cuddles, company, and conversation. I would never choose to be separated from him for something like a work trip but, I must say, there might be something to that whole "Absence makes the heart grow fonder" thing! Or, in my case, "Impending absence makes the heart grow fonder". I told him it's a great opportunity to step back and work on not taking one another for granted.

As I've dreaded these 2 weeks arriving, I have often thought of how fortunate I am. So many military moms (or in some cases, dads) are home with their kids while their other half is gone for months, or even a year or more. I cannot imagine. I have one kid and I'm whining about 10 days while there are moms with many children going many months. My own mom had us by herself a lot while my dad would be in different countries for a week at at time for work. It's crazy how all of that sort of flies under your radar until you get the teeniest taste of it and then you're like "wow... those moms are amazing". If you're one of those moms, seriously, you are amazing. I will try to remind myself these days that Steven is gone that there are people in much more difficult solo parenting situations than I. Felicity may be a handful and have rough nights here and there, but I have it pretty good!