December 25, 2008

Christmas and Other Things

Christmas has been lovely this year. It's been quite a bit different with the new addition; planning meals and opening of gifts around nap schedules and bedtime rituals. But overall, it's been very nice. Spending time relaxing (for the most part) with my parents, Chris, and Audia has been enjoyable.

It's also been a bit stressful (as I know it is for many). Not the holiday itself so much as the time spent out here in MN. Mostly because I find myself being stretched a bit thin; my desire to please everyone is, quite simply put, completely impossible to achieve this year. And I find myself having to explain over and over to various people that it is difficult for me to guarantee I'll be able to do anything, or to go out, or to hang out for more than a couple hours at a time. My daughter's schedule is first and foremost in my life, and I am completely devoted to making sure that she is as happy and healthy and well rested and well fed as humanly possible. I in no way mean to suggest that other people are less important to me than they once were; they are not. However, my daughter's needs come first. They have since she was conceived, and they will forever more. This means that if she happens to need a nap when a social event is scheduled, I will either be late or skip entirely that social event. If she needs to be changed when I'm in the middle of a conversation with someone, I will abruptly put that conversation on hold to tend to her needs. No person is less important to me than they were prior to her birth, but she is the most important person in my life. I do my best to be gracious if guests are over and I do need to get up and go in the other room to feed her or change her or rock her to sleep, but I still feel guilty and I do get tired of having to explain myself. I am getting to the point where I am feeling as though being socially active at this stage in Audia's life is more trouble than it is worth. I am confident that my real friends will be there when I come out of my social hibernation. I only hope I'm right.<

December 20, 2008

Word to the Wise

Most mothers, especially new mothers (in the under 3 yr old range), are generally a pretty tired group overall. Well, all mothers of children that live with them are tired to a certain degree, but it is my belief that new mothers are a bit moretired than the rest of mothers. At the very least, they can still remember what life was like before children a little bit more clearly. In addition to this, most mothers are pretty protective of their children and their parenting choices. Think mama lion protective.
This combination makes for a pretty defensive group of women.
So my word to the wise? Never, ever, ever tell a mother (unless they are actually abusing their child) that choices they've made or how they are raising their child is incorrect. It's one thing if you have suggestions, and they are politely and discretely made (ex. "I read in the newspaper that one way to do such and such is this..."). I don't have a problem with that. But flat out telling a mother that something she's doing shouldn't be done the way that it is is asking for trouble.
Just a suggestion to those of you without young children......

December 18, 2008

Brrrrrrr!!

Well, Audia and I got to frigid Minnesnowta on Monday. What an adventure that was! Audia fared much better than I at the end of the day; She did pretty well over all with the traveling, and I was surprised to find that even after a whole day of travel, with her eating and sleeping considerably less than normal, she was still smiley and happy.
Chris helped us to security, at which point we were on our own. And of course Audia didn't want to be in her stroller for more than 10 minutes, so I had to carry her, my purse, my backpack, and push the stroller through the airport. Go figure that we set off the alarm going through security so we had to stand there and wait to be wanded....which is quite an interesting experience when you're holding a BABY. "Ok, put the baby in your right arm and hold out your left arm. Ok, now switch. Now, hold the baby out so I can wand your chest and the baby." Are you friggin kidding me??? And, of course Audia wouldn't eat for more than two minutes because she HATES being covered up while she eats. And napping? In an airport? Where there are so many new people and things to see?? Hah! But she wasn't exceptionally fussy, thank goodness, and she did sleep for about a half hour on the plane, which was good. Thankfully I'm still her favorite toy. As I said, I think she did much better than I with the whole experience; I was much more fussy at the end of the day than she :-)

So Tuesday was spent recovering. We relaxed with my mom at the house. My friend, J, came to the house for a little while to meet the little one. It was great to spend time with her, as always. Yesterday we met my friend N and her daughter, A, who is just one week older than Audia, at the mall and had their photo taken together with Santa. That was pretty funny :-) Luckily it didn't seem like too traumatic an experience for either girl; They both sat on Santa's lap without issue, as you can see :-)

The ride to the mall was a bit traumatic however, I think, for Audia. She shreiked the whole way there; The combination of the restrictive bunting and the restrictive carseat proved to be a bit too much for my little move and shaker. She certainly is proving to be a very ACTIVE baby; she's always kicking and swinging her arms, looking around and trying to wiggle her way to whatever she is interested in at the moment. My mom says she's a very determined baby and I agree; she is definitely not docile, that's for sure!

We are both enjoying my parents company; Audia loves to sit with grandma and laugh at grandpa. But we miss Chris a ton. :-( Thankfully he'll be out here in just 4 days! Then the real wintertime fun can start :-)

December 11, 2008

3 Months

So, Audia doesn't have a well check this month, but we weighed and measured her anyways, to keep up with her growth chart.

Drumroll, please!

She's 15 lbs, 13 oz and 25.5 inches long! Still in the 97th percentile for both :-)

December 9, 2008

Rolling Over

Audia started rolling over today! It was pretty funny; I set her on her back on her play mat and sat down to put on my makeup, looked over at her not even a minute after I set her down, and she was on her belly! I thought maybe I had accidentally put her on her tummy, so I got up, put her on her back, and sure enough, she promptly rolled right onto her belly again! So we played this game for a while so I could get some video of it. The funny thing is I was talking to my good friend, J, today and she mentioned that most babies roll from tummy to back first, not back to tummy. So I did some research online and sure enough, most babies roll from tummy to back around 3 months and from back to tummy around 5 months. Leave it to my child to do it backwards :-) I couldn't be more proud!
video

December 8, 2008

Life as a single parent

Chris has been in Chicago since Saturday. His grandfather, who was 96 years old, wasn't doing well and he joined his brother in going out there to say his goodbyes and to help his parents with arrangements and such. It's a sad thing; Grandpa Joe was well loved by many people, both within and outside of his family, and he and his spirit will be greatly missed (he passed this morning).

With Chris out of town, I've gotten a taste of what life as a single parent is like. Now, granted, if I really were flying solo on this whole parenting gig, things would be much different. I would be back in MN, possibly living with my parents, because the only way I would be doing this on my own would be (god forbid!) if A) Chris died or B) Chris ditched me. If either of these things happened, I would be devestated and I know my parents would take me in to help me out in a heartbeat. So, really, my experience these past few days is something that would never otherwise happen.

But I'm getting off topic. Point is that being the sole care giver for a three month old is hard work!! Those of you without kids might be thinking "how much work can it be? What does a three month old even do during the day?"

I laugh at you.

A three month old spends her day sleeping, pooping, eating, and playing. Thing is that none of these things are done alone yet. Sure, she'll entertain herself for a good 10-15 minutes 3 or 4 times a day, but beyond that, she's entirely dependent on me to change her, feed her, entertain her, and help her sleep. Add to that all of the daily household responsibilities and my day is overloaded.
Now, don't get me wrong. I am in no way complaining about my child. I have never been so utterly in love with anyone, and parenthood is a truly rewarding experience. She really is a good baby, and I feel extremely lucky to have a child that is so happy so much of the time, doesn't have colic, etc etc. However she can be extremely fussy if she's overly tired (what baby isn't?) and she is so curious and alert that she doesn't ever seem to want to take a nap. This means I have to bounce and shush her until she's fallen asleep or she won't nap. So I am either 1) dealing with a fussy baby for the second half of the day because she hasn't napped or 2) spending what I have estimated is two hours plus a day bouncing and shushing her to sleep. Either one is exhausting when you're the only one dealing with it. Now, thankfully I have actually found a book that addresses this exact issue (thanks, Jan!) and I am comforted in knowing I should only have to deal with this napping problem for another month or so. But it just so happens that this taste of single parenthood is happening now, not a month from now.

On the upside, I am happy to say that I can do it. I would never choose to, but if I absolutely had to, I could. That being said, I am more than ready for Chris' return tomorrow evening. And I think that he is too. :-)

December 4, 2008

Growth Spurt

I am 99.9% certain that Audia is going through another growth spurt. For the past two days, she's been wanting to eat once every hour to hour-and-a-half during the day, waking up every three hours to eat at night, napping every other hour, and has been way more fussy than usual, waking multiple times in her sleep to fuss and whimper. I feel bad because she is obviously uncomfortable, and for both of our sakes I hope it doesn't last too much longer. We are both exhausted! To those of you I said I'd call this week, I'm sorry! Hopefully Ill get a chance soon.

On a more positive note, her big Christmas present from Chris and I arrived yesterday and she loves it :-)It's so neat to see her explore all the toys on it; she has begun reaching for and grabbing at things, and it's fun to watch her activate the different lights and music. It's also pretty funny because the thing has three height adjustments, and we have to put it on the middle one so that she's not flat-footed, but she's too skinny to sit in the seat without needing a folded up blanket in the seat with her to lean back on. It's the same problem we have with all her clothes; anything that is long enough for her is too big in the belly.
She finally locked into her thumb yesterday, and has been sucking it regularly since.
She had been sucking primarily on her left fist, but her right thumb is the one she sucks. Perhaps she'll be ambidextrous :-)

I ordered some sneakers for her online this weekend and they arrived today. So cute! I don't know what it is about baby shoes....I just think they are the cutest things ever! They make her look like much more of a "mini person" and less of a baby to me for some reason. Not that I am trying to get her to grow up any faster! I just think they're cute.

In non-baby news, I made fondant for the first time on Monday. It was messy but not at all difficult. I look forward to using it for snow on the gingerbread house we'll be making this weekend. (and if it works out, I look forward to trying it on a cake or two in the future!)
I'll be missing the annual Gingerbread house making party that my sister-in-law throws this year, but we are going to make a house anyway. Every year we get a little more elaborate, and this year we're going to make a victorian farmhouse. I am hoping to make the gingerbread today, if I can get an hour or two to myself to do it (hardy har har....I have a feeling with this growth spurt, this is a pipe dream). Then we can bake the pieces tomorrow or Saturday, and decorate it this weekend. Of course we'll have our standard butterscotch glass windows and nightlight inside to illuminate :-) I'll post pics once we're finished. I do love Christmastime. Below freezing weather or not, I have no problem getting in the spirit!

November 29, 2008

The end of November

It's almost December already. I can't believe it. Before we know it, it will be 2009. Heck, at the rate things are going, before we know it, Audia will be going off to college!!


Thanksgiving was really nice. Good food, good company, and very relaxing. We took some family pictures and ate a ridiculous amount of food. I couldn't have asked for more.


My parents head back to MN today. It has been really nice having them here the past week and a half. Only two more weeks and I'll be heading out there to spend another two weeks with them. At the rate that Audia has been growing both mentally and physically, she'll be talking and running by Christmas. LOL. Ok, maybe that's a little bit of an exaggeration. But it sure feels like that's how fast she's growing. She's been pushing herself across her playmat with her feet for a couple of days now, and she's more and more vocal every day. I am constantly amazed at how aware she is of her surroundings; watching the pets walk across the living room, turning her head as far as she can to see the tv, looking from object to object on the kitchen counter (you can almost see those little wheels turning, trying to figure out what everything is!) and most recently, mimicking the raspberry noise I make at her when I'm changing her diaper! It is so funny how proud and excited you get over the littlest things when you become a parent.

I'm going to spend today gardening; by the time my flowers are blooming Audia will be 5 or 6 months old! Certainly old enough to appreciate the yummy scents and bright colors :-) And tomorrow will be spent baking gingerbread. mmmmmm.......

In closing, I've been doing a lot of research on, talking about, and thinking about sleep training lately. I found this online and thought it was pretty doggoned funny. Enjoy.

A Baby's Perspective on Sleep Training...

OK, here's my situation. My Mommy has had me for almost 6 months. The first few months were great--I cried, she picked me up and fed me, anytime, day or night. Then something happened.

Over the last few weeks, she has been trying to STTN (sleep thru the night).
At first, I thought it was just a phase, but it is only getting worse. I've talked to other babies, and it seems like it's pretty common after Mommies have had us for around 6 months.
Here's the thing: these Mommies don't really need to sleep. It's just a habit. Many of them have had some 30 years to sleep--they just don't need it anymore. So I am implementing a plan. I call it the Crybaby Shuffle.

It goes like this: Night 1--cry every 3 hours until you get fed. I know, it's hard. It's hard to see your Mommy upset over your crying. Just keep reminding yourself, it's for her own good.
Night 2--cry every 2 hours until you get fed.
Night 3--every hour.

Most Mommies will start to respond more quickly after about 3 nights. Some Mommies are more alert, and may resist the change longer. These Mommies may stand in your doorway for hours, shhhh-ing. Don't give in. I cannot stress this enough: CONSISTENCY IS KEY!!
If you let her STTN (sleep through the night), just once, she will expect it every night. I KNOW IT'S HARD! But she really does not need the sleep, she is just resisting the change.
If you have an especially alert Mommy, you can stop crying for about 10 minutes, just long enough for her to go back to bed and start to fall asleep. Then cry again. It WILL eventually work. My Mommy once stayed awake for 10 hours straight, so I know she can do it. Last night, I cried every hour. You just have to decide to stick to it and just go for it.

BE CONSISTENT! I cried for any reason I could come up with. My sleep sack tickled my foot. I felt a wrinkle under the sheet. My mobile made a shadow on the wall. I burped, and it tasted like pears (I hadn't eaten pears since lunch - what's up with that?) The dog said "woof" (I should know. My Mommy reminds me of this about 20 times a day. LOL.) Once I cried just because I liked how it sounded when it echoed on the monitor in the other room. Too hot, too cold, just right--doesn't matter! Keep crying!! It took awhile, but it worked. She fed me at 4am. Tomorrow night, my goal is 3:30am. You need to slowly shorten the interval between feedings in order to reset your Mommies' internal clocks.

P.S. Don't let those rubber things fool you, no matter how long you suck on them, NO milk will come out! Trust me.

Author Unknown.

November 24, 2008

Busy Busy

It's been a while since my last update. My parents have been in town since Tuesday and will be here until Saturday.


We have been simultaneously busy and relaxing while they've been here; it's a much different experience from their dozens of previous visits out here. Previously we would go out and do things all day long, checking out new restaurants for dinner each night. Life with an infant is much more laid back; we're spending a lot more time relaxing at home. We have done a bit of shopping, visited my cousins on Saturday, and had a picnic at the park with Chris' siblings and their loved ones on Sunday.


Audia has been doing pretty well in these social situations; she is perfectly content to watch everyone and nap amongst the commotion as long as she's being held by Chris or me. It's when she starts getting passed around that she grows really fussy really fast. My mom thinks she's a "sensitive" baby. I think that she is only comfortable with what she knows. And who could blame her? 99% of her life has been spent with only Chris and I. It's not like we have friends and family in and out of our house all day long. The more time she spends with family, the more comfortable she'll become with them.


The first two nights my parents were here, she woke up twice a night, which worried me, but she's fallen back into her old pattern, thank goodness. She sleeps from between 8:30 and 9:30 until 4, eats, and then sleeps from 4:15 til 8 or 9.


She is becoming more and more alert and mature and interactive by the day; The little coos and squeaks that she makes at me just melt my heart. Chris says she is most definitely a girl (not that there was every any question!) because of how high pitched some of her little squeaks are. :-) She spends a lot more of her feeding time grinning up at me (which is both extremely adorable and frustrating; what used to be 10 minute feedings have turned into 15-20 minutes because she spends so much time smiling!) When she fusses now, she "talks" a lot more, which makes it hard not to laugh at her (hopefully she won't get a complex!). She's found her thumb a couple of times now, although she still hasn't locked in and started sucking on it. And she's still growing like a weed! I measured her today and she's 25 inches already. That's 3/4ths of an inch in two weeks! I just adore watching her grow; it feels like every day brings some new discovery :-)


We'll be having a quiet Thanksgiving this year, just the five of us. We've hosted Thanksgiving the past two years and while I will miss spending Turkey Day with the whole fam, I am looking forward to focusing on it being a relaxing day with my wonderful parents, amazing hubby, and adorable little love bug. Happy Turkey Day, everyone!

November 15, 2008

Interesting Article

Now, we don't typically sleep with Audia; she has a bassinette right next to our bed, and our bed is only a queen so there really isn't much room for her. Sometimes, when Chris gets up in the morning, I'll pull her into bed with me, but that's only if she wakes up again at 8 wanting to eat and I'm still wanting to sleep. She falls asleep at the boob and we'll sleep for another hour or two.
Anyway, point is we don't regularly co-sleep, and I don't think we ever will. But this article is very interesting and well-written, and I have to say I agree with a lot of what Mr. Wright says. Just thought I'd share it :-)

http://www.slate.com/id/2143241/

November 14, 2008

Lucky

I still can't believe how fast time seems to be going. I realize that I make some sort of comment about this in every other post, but seriously. It's the middle of November already!!! It seems like every day Audia is that much more aware and interactive and alert. Every day I'm tossing yet another outfit of hers into a box because she's outgrown it.

I feel so lucky. Lucky to have such a happy and healthy baby, who is pretty obvious about why she's fussing when she does, and rarely ever cries. Lucky to be able to spend so much of my time playing and smiling and laughing with Audia, watching her grow by the minute. Lucky to have such a loving and supportive husband, who is not only fine with, but happy to change diapers, clean up spit up, and rock her to sleep. Lucky to have Chris working from home 98% of the time, so if I want to run to the store or take a shower or bake cupcakes .....

Mmmmmm......cupcakes..........

he can watch our little sweetie. Lucky to only have to return to work for 2 hrs a day and not have to put her into daycare. Lucky to have friends who have babies around the same age to share such an amazing experience with.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm too lucky. I believe in karma, so perhaps something good I've done has resulted in such luck, however then it wouldn't be luck. But I also believe in the universe's need for balance, which causes me to occasionally entertain the idea that for everything good that happens, something bad has to happen to balance it out. If this is the case, I hope that all of the bad is in my past......But I won't go there now.

Anyhoo, in other news, I've been researching various sleep training techniques and let me tell you; if I was any less self-confident, and/or if I had never taken any psychology courses, I would be SO LOST! It seems like for every pediatrician or child development specialist's opinion, there is someone with the exact OPPOSITE stance. There are as many different ideas of how to sleep train your child as there are fish in the ocean. The plus side of this is that it basically means that no one knows what the heck they're talking about and whatever I feel is best for my baby is probably "right". Good news is that Audia is still averaging a good 5-6 hours a night, (usually waking between 5 and 6 am; when the sun comes up) and this is usually followed by a 3-4 hour stretch. So we're getting good sleep.

November 11, 2008

Growth Chart

I've created a page to track Audia's growth here: www.ericacarlson.com/growthchart.htm

Enjoy!

November 10, 2008

2 Month Stats

So...drumroll, please!
Audia is 13lbs 11oz, 24.25 inches long, and in the 97th percentile for both! Doc says her head control is amazing, still, for her age. (we knew that, tho ;-)

She got two vaccines today and we'll be going in next week for the other two. We decided that we'd prefer that she doesn't get more than two vaccines at a time; the four doses that she could have gotten all at once today would be the equivalent of giving an average-sized adult 70 shots at once. No need to put her little system under so much stress if it can be avoided.

Doc also said it looks like she's getting the starts of curls in her hair....Uh oh!! Not that curly hair is a bad thing; I am entirely jealous of my curly-headed friends. But I don't know how to manage curly hair!! I've had stick straight hair my whole life! Hopefully I'll figure out how to manage her hair before she's in elementary school; I'd hate for her to be a laughing stock just because I'm challenged :-)

2 Months!

So Audia was 2 months on Saturday. I cannot believe how fast time flies, and yet I feel like I've been a mom all my life already. It's funny; my brother-in-law was talking a couple of weeks ago about how he thinks his calling in life may be politically related. So I was thinking about what my calling is, and I feel like it's to be a mom. Not because I think I am the best mom in the world or anything; I hope I'm doing a good job but truth be told I probably won't know what kind of job I'm doing until Audia's my age. But I feel like this is what I'm meant to do. I have never felt so fulfilled. Sure, there are times I'm not sure what I'm doing, but for the most part I feel confident. I always loved babysitting more than any "real" job I had, and I am frequently a care-taker in my friendships. Even Dr. Gavin told me in high school that he thought I should be a child psychologist. And he was one heck of a profiler. Anyhoo, that's a random tangent.
Audia has her 2 month appointment this afternoon. I am guessing she's hit the 13 lb mark already but we'll see. I got some super cute video of her talking to Chris on Saturday morning:
video
In other news, she slept for 7 hrs again on Saturday night! (and yes, she was wearing her magical PJ's) And then she slept for 5 hrs last night. I think it's pretty funny because I've been looking online for baby sleep advice and EVERYTHING I find has to do with getting a baby to sleep through the night. But that's not what I need advice on! I need naptime advice. And it's not easy to find, let me tell you. I should count my blessings, though. Obviously a lot of parents have a hard time getting their babies to sleep through the night!

Also, I think we may have figured out the secret to getting her to take a bottle. Chris woke her from a nap with a bottle on Saturday night and she drank the whole thing. So we'll test this theory that she needs to be woken up with it and see if that's the key.

Well, I think that's all that's new and exciting in our world; I'll post again after her appt with her stats :-)

November 5, 2008

Sleep

So, Audia slept another 5.5 hour stretch last night. She hasn't slept a full 7 hrs again yet, but since that night she's been sleeping one 5-6 hour stretch almost every night, which has been WONDERFUL. The next step will be getting her to sleep for more than 15 minutes in her bassinette during the day. She sleeps in it just fine at night, but during the day she prefers to nap on me. If I put her in it while she's 'awake but drowsy', she wakes right up and wants to play. If I put her in it while she's asleep, she doesn't last more than 15 minutes before she's screaming. This wasn't much of an issue for me while I was 'restricted' and couldn't do anything anyways, but now that my incision is healed and I can actually move around, it's becoming a bit of an inconvenience to have her with me every second that she's sleeping. And here's the ironic part: when she's awake, she's perfectly fine laying in her bassinette, just looking around and cooing to herself. What gives?? I've heard of sleep training for nighttime sleeping issues, but who knew you had to sleep train during the day?
Any moms out there with advice...I'm all ears!!

Chris and Audia watching the election:

November 4, 2008

Happy Election Day!

So it's election day! Chris and I did early voting, so we won't be joining the masses at the polls today. I am anxious to see the outcome of this election, but I am not as revved up as a lot of people are this year about voting. After Bush won in 2000 even though the popular vote was for Gore, it's sort of like what's the point in voting at all? That election showed that our individual votes basically mean jack squat. I feel like the majority of the US population don't understand this, but I am happy to see so many people interested in politics for once.


In honor of election day, I've created a little poll of my own. Now that Audia is looking a bit older, it is easier to compare her to baby photos we have of ourselves. But I still can't decide who she looks more like. So help us out! Who do you think she looks more like? (poll at the bottom of this post)
Chris

Audia
Erica

October 31, 2008

Hallo....Weenie??

So it's Audia's first holiday! And she is quite fed up with me putting her in her costume to take pictures. But she's so dang CUTE in it! I can't help myself. I'll admit that a full body-suit costume isn't really appropriate in Arizona, especially when the temps are above average as they are this year. So, she won't be spending the day in it, and I'm sure she's more than grateful for that. Below are a few pics of her in her darling costume; more can be found on my website.
Happy Halloween, everyone!





"This is getting old, mom...."

"Enough! Get me outta this thing!!"

October 29, 2008

Magical PJs

So, Audia slept through the night last night! I finally got her down around 12:30 (I always start trying to get ready for bed/get her in her basinette around 11 or 11:30, but she always wakes up once or twice after I put her down before she really settles in) and she didn't wake me up until 7:20!! That's almost 7 hours! Normally she'll sleep a good 2.5 to 3 hours, then wake up to eat, then sleep another 2.5 to 3 hours and so on. But last night she slept like a rockstar, and I sure hope this becomes the new trend :-)

My mom sent us some new PJs for Audia that she wore for the first time last night, so the first thing Chris said when I told him that she slept through the night was "Magical PJ's?" Pretty funny. But hopefully it won't matter what PJ's she's wearing....

October 27, 2008

Weekend Update

So, this weekend was a good one. I actually got to leave the house by myself for the first time since I gave birth. I wasn't allowed to drive until this past week and I took advantage on Saturday morning by running to Babies R Us and Walgreens solo. It is crazy how liberating it felt; I in no way resent being attached at the hip to my adorable little love bug for the past 7 weeks, but it was nice to get out by myself for a couple of hours.

Saturday night we went to a Housewarming/Halloween party at our friend H and E's new house out in Queen Creek. And when I say out in Queen Creek, I mean waaaaaaaaaaaayyyy out there. Audia was the hit of the party in her Giraffe Costume :-) I can't get over how cute she is in it; I am tempted to make it her uniform for the week. (I'll post pics when I take some.....) She did pretty well on the car ride out there, but she spent most of the hour-long car ride back screaming. I think it was a combination of being overstimulated with all the people and commotion at the party and not wanting to be strapped into the damn carseat per usual. Poor baby :-(

I spent a good hour on Sunday just photographing her. I hope that she doesn't grow to hate cameras; I always seem to have one in her face. I just can't stop taking pics of her! I guess I'd rather have way more pics of her than I'll ever print than not have enough. Even if it does mean I'll be asking for another external hard drive for xmas, just to store photos on. Below are a few of the photos I took; the rest can be found at http://www.ericacarlson.com/.



We've discovered that she doesn't mind being in the stoller, probably because there's more room for her to move around. So we've taken advantage and have started taking daily walks with her and Coop. Now that it's finally cooling down, it's been awesome to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. Kiwanis park is so close, one of these days I'm hoping we can pack up a lunch and walk over there.

Unfortunately, Audia's been refusing to drink from a bottle for about the past week now. But she's also been more fussy than usual and has been eating a lot more frequently; I think perhaps she's been going through a growth spurt. Hopefully that's the only reason she's not taking a bottle. My parents are coming for a couple of weeks in November and we were hoping they could baby sit for us a couple of nights so we could go on a date or two....if she's not taking a bottle though I don't see how that would be possible. They seriously need to invent a bottle that's shaped like and feels like a boob. They could have different cup sizes to chose from. Any entrepreneurs out there wanna get started on that? The sooner, the better. I'll be your guinea pig.

So she's 7 weeks old today. It's really bizarre to me because I feel like I've been a mother all my life at this point. It is crazy how having a baby warps your sense of time; it is difficult for me to remember what life was like before her. My world revolves around every cry, every smile, every diaper, and every feeding. And I wouldn't trade it for anything.

October 21, 2008

Cutie Pie

So I got some video of Audia smiling. She's a bit distracted/confused by the presence of the camera but smiling (and even babbling a tiny bit) nonetheless. video

On a different note, I had my 6 week post-ceserean check up today and everything is looking great. I can drive again! Yay! And as an added bonus, I found out that I've lost 40 lbs in the past 6 weeks! Breastfeeding is the best weight loss plan EVER!

October 20, 2008

Monday's Musings

So Audia is definitely coming into some sort of more regular "schedule" (if you can call it that). For the past few days she's been spending the majority of the day awake, and has only been waking up at night to feed. This is fantastic, as a week or two ago she was waking up in the middle of the night ready to play and it was getting pretty old.

She's also been smiling a TON; last night she actually greeted me with a huge smile when Chris handed her to me after a diaper change, and this morning when I went to pick her up out of her bassinette, there was that big grin again :-) YAY! It is amazing how validating it can feel to have your baby greet you with a grin; "she likes me, she really likes me!" has gone through my head a few times and I'm sure it will continue to.

To add to the fun, she's also started babbling a bit, and I swear she's said "Hi" to me twice. LOL. Ok, I know that's pushing it but her babbles sometimes sound like she's saying "hi", which is too fricking cute. I'll try to get some of these smiles and babbles on video one of these days, but usually when I bring the camera out, she's so fascinated by it that she forgets about me and thus the smiles and babbles cease.

Last but not least on the Audia updates, she held a rattle today! For about 2 minutes, she held and shook (by shook I mean that she was flailing her arms around per usual and thus the rattle was being shaken) a rattle. Very cool.


On a side note, I went to the dentist today to have a filling replaced cause it came out this weekend and learned a whole bunch of stuff about babies and dental care that I never knew that I thought I'd share with those of you that care.

1) if you have cavities, gingivitis, or tooth decay as a parent (mom OR dad), your baby can (and will) get the bad bacteria from you when you kiss your baby on the cheek or lips. This increases babies risk for tooth decay and gingivitis a ton. (you pass these bacteria on to your spouse/significant other when you kiss them as well) So take care of your teeth/mouth!

2) Mothers that get yearly flouride treatments have kids with less cavities

3) You should wipe baby's gums with spiffies (if you don't want to buy spiffies, a wet washcloth is better than nothing) after EVERY FEEDING!!! (I had no idea!) Baby's gums have tiny holes in them where the teeth will come through; the teeth are developing under there and the milk can seep into these holes and weaken the teeth as they are developing. Spiffies are wipes that have xylitol on them. Xylitol is a naturally occuring sweetener (found in raspberries and plums) that actually destroys the bacteria that causes cavities.

**Chewing gum that has xylitol is great for after-lunch tooth cleaning!


Just to leave you with a chuckle, I think Jaxon's feeling a bit jealous these days.....

October 16, 2008

The birth of a psychotic worry wort

Growing up, I always thought of my mom as a severe worry wart. She was always overprotective in my opinion, reiterating thousands of times common sense safety reminders which she herself had drilled into my head at a ridiculously young age; 'don't talk to strangers', 'look both ways before you cross the street', 'always have a buddy with you', etc etc etc. I always thought she worried far more than was logical. But becoming a mother myself, I realize that logic has nothing to do with it. What I thought should be easily controlled by logical thinking (i.e. "she knows I know to look both ways before I cross the street, so she shouldn't feel the need to tell me this every time I go out to play") is, in reality, not controlled by anything. Worrying is not just a mother's job; it is a mother's inherent compulsion.

The second Audia was born, a psychotic worry wort was born in my head. I went from what I thought was a fairly logical, realistic woman to a paranoid worrying maniac. It's not something I talk about very often, as the logical part of me still exists; I do realize that some of my worries are totally over the top, and I do manage, for the most part, to shut up the psychotic worry wort, but it doesn't change the fact that these worries pop up. For example, we have ceramic tile floors in our bedroom and throughout part of our dining room and kitchen area. When we got home from the hospital, I was overcome by the paranoia of dropping her on the tile floor to the point that I was being ridiculously careful when walking on the tile with her. I managed to reason with myself and get out of this state of hyper-caution after a couple of days, thankfully, but the fact that I have to reason with myself at all bothers me. Then there's the every day little things; is she eating enough? why does her poop seem extra watery today? why is she abnormally fussy this evening? Of course each question is answered, by this psychotic worry wort, with the worst case scenario. I have to psychologically lock the psychotic worry wort up every time she rears her ugly head, but she keeps getting out. Lately the ridiculous worry has been about, of all things, eye contact. Audia makes eye contact with me on a regular basis, but I find myself worrying that she's not making eye contact enough. How many times has she looked me in the eye today? Is she looking at my eyebrow or my eyes? Does she seem to find the fan more interesting than my face? Is this a precursor to Autism? Is there something I should be doing that I'm not? RIDICULOUS WORRYING.

How do I get the psychotic worry wort to go back where she came from? I have a feeling that the answer is that I don't. This is motherhood. The psychotic worry wort comes as part of the territory.

October 14, 2008

Oh Oh Ohhhh....The Right Stuff!

So my good friend Emily came to visit the past few days. It was so great to see her (haven't seen her since Christmas) and so cool to have Audia meet her Auntie Em! We didn't do a whole lot this weekend; mostly hung out and relaxed, though we did manage to get out to Kiwanis park and enjoy the BEAUTIFUL weather!!


The heat seems to finally have broken; it was in the 70s and sunny for Emi's entire visit, which is beyond wonderful. Weather.com is predicting upper 90's for this coming weekend, but then it looks like 80's after that. I have my fingers crossed that the triple-digit weather is over until next spring.

Audia spent quite a bit of time in her carseat while Emily was here, and I think she's gradually getting used to it. I've determined that she hates it because she hates being strapped in; she wants to be able to move around and the straps do not offer her much freedom. But, rather than screaming the entire time, she is now starting to fuss for a while, then relax, then fuss a bit more, then relax again....hopefully someday soon the relaxing will trump the fussing.

I had my first night out without the babe last night; Emily and I bought tickets months ago for the NKOTB concert and let me tell you, there is no better way to spend your first night out!! It was such a blast!! And WE TOUCHED JOEY!!! Ridiculously wonderful. It was the best concert; nothing in the world compares to an entire arena full of people waving their hands in the air to Hangin' Tough. Seriously. You just can't beat it. And Audia did wonderfully; Chris had to drive us to and from the concert since I still am not allowed to drive (hopefully next week!) and Audia slept most of the time she was in the car, plus she ate from a bottle with no problem :-) YAY! So happy about this. I was a bit worried because the last two times Chris has tried with the bottle, she would have none of it. But this could have been because I was nearby. Either way, it is nice to know that I don't have to be attached at the boob to my daughter forever :-)

In other news, Audia is totally starting to smile socially; there have been a few times now when she's alert and not fussing that I've gotten her to smile at me and it is just soooo much fun. I so look forward to the day that she smiles and coos when I come to pick her up out of her bassinette; I have a feeling this day is just around the corner :-) It is just so cool to see her maturing already; I can't seem to get enough of my little snuggle bug. She is just the best!

October 9, 2008

One Month Visit

Well we had our 1 month visit with Dr. W. today, and Audia didn't cry at all on the car ride over there! (She has been hating her car seat, so this is a great relief; a sign that maybe, just maybe, she won't hate it forever...) And, she even smiled at me in the car! At least, I think she was smiling at me. I suppose it could have been a coincidence and she just happened to pass gas right when I smiled at her, and she smiled cause of the gas, but I am going to pretend that she was smiling at me. It was pretty cool :-)

Audia's now 10 lbs, 13 oz and 22.75" long. She's in the 97th percentile for weight and the 95th percentile for height! It is CRAZY how much she's grown just in the last three weeks; she's gained 2 lbs and 7 oz and has grown 1.75 inches. "They grow up fast" is not an exaggeration in the least. We went to visit S and B and their new little one, E, yesterday and it is CRAZY how small she looks compared to Audia. And they're only 3 weeks apart!

Dr. W. was very impressed with Audia's neck control, as we have been for weeks now. She said everything is looking great; her baby acne should clear up in the next month or so and her constant grunting is normal. (We continue to call her our Zombie baby.) She was behaving so well the whole time; awake, alert, and very happy. Then they had to go and ruin it by giving her her Hepatitis B Vaccination. :-( Poor girl didn't know what hit her. I don't think I've ever heard her scream like that. Mean old nurse practitioner and her 2 inch long needle! No wonder so many kids have such a fear of the Doctor's office; that fear starts getting engrained right off the bat!

But we're home now, and she's over it. Had a good nap, some play time with mommy, and just finished lunch, which means....of course.....nap time again! After my only getting 3 hours of sleep last night because she thinks nighttime is playtime, I am thinking I will need to start waking her up more during the day. I hate to do this because she looks so peaceful when she sleeps, but I am thinking it is the only way we are going to get any consistent sleep at night. Wish me luck!

October 8, 2008

Breastfeeding

I made the decision very early on in my pregnancy, possibly even prior to getting pregnant, to breastfeed. It seemed (and still does) like the only option to me; in my opinion, it is by far the most natural way to feed an infant, and the benefits to both baby and mother blow formula feeding out of the water. I simply never saw formula feeding as an option unless there was some medical reason to do so. This isn't badmouthing mothers who decide to formula feed; some women have a difficult time with breastfeeding, some women don't have the time or the stamina or the desire to breastfeed. That's fine. As I said, I am not judging other mothers' choices in how to feed their children. It is a personal choice.

What I don't understand, and what this blog is about, is people who are uncomfortable with the idea of breastfeeding in general. This seems, to me, to be an entirely American problem. In most other cultures, formula feeding is the oddity. You see breastfeeding women out in public all the time in most countries in Europe and no one bats an eye. But here, I am finding it is more common than not that people are uncomfortable if I breastfeed in front of them. I have a newsflash for these people. It's a boob. It's sole purpose is not for decoration and/or to attract a mate, contrary to what American pop culture would like you to believe. It's sole purpose, the REASON that women HAVE boobs is to FEED BABIES!!!! It is a totally natural phenomenon. Look at all other mammals on the planet. They are not feeding their young formula from a bottle. You don't mind watching a puppy or kitten eating from it's mother, so why does it make you so uncomfortable when I start feeding my child in the way that nature intended?? This drives me crazy. Loosen up, people! You don't have to watch when I am feeding my child. I have eyes too. You can look at those.

In other, but related, news, we started trying to teach Audia to eat from a bottle this week. I've been pumping and freezing milk on and off for a while to build up a 'stash' so that eventually we can leave her with a babysitter for an evening and, more importantly, so that Chris can feed her when Emily and I are at the NKOTB concert next Monday :-). So far, so good! There is definitely some practice needed, but she is getting the hang of it and is even eating from the bottle when I'm in the room (some babies will never eat from a bottle if their mom's nearby), which I am hoping means I can eventually feed her from a bottle if she gets hungry in the car or if I decide to have a glass of wine. So, this is very exciting! Our little girl is growing up :-)

New blog

So here it is. The stereotypical 'Mom's Blog'. This is being written not so much for all you readers out there in cyberspace as it is for myself and eventually Audia to be able to look back on someday to reminisce and laugh at. Feel free to tag along for the ride; it's bound to be a bumpy one!

October 3, 2008

Parenthood

I wrote this for my other blog but figured it belonged here....

"They" say that nothing can prepare you for parenthood. That no one can explain to you the feeling of holding your baby for the first time. That you can never know how becoming a parent will change your life.

"They" are other parents. And "they" are absolutely right. There is nothing on this earth that can even begin to explain to the childless how a child will rock their world. Nothing can prepare you for the surprise of falling in love with your husband all over again, but in a different way; this time as the father of the best thing that ever happened to you. There are no words that could ever accurately explain how much your heart grows, how drastically your perspective shifts, and how much you, yourself, will change the second you see your newborn for the first time.

"Your life, as you know it, is over." This sounded so foreboding to me prior to Audia's arrival; it sounded like such a negative thing. I hated hearing it. But you know what? I don't think I could be any more grateful for the death of my life 'pre-child'. Things I cared about just a mere three and a half weeks ago I couldn't care any less about now. My life, the second I met my daughter, immediately revolved around her. She is the center of my universe and I couldn't be happier for it. My world now revolves around breastfeeding, changing diapers, and making sure that she is as comfortable and happy as possible. And this sounds dreadful to the childless. To me, it is pure bliss. They say that parents and those without children feel sorry for one-another and it's true. I know because I've now experienced both sides of the coin.

This isn't to say there aren't struggles. There are times when she is fussy to no end; various changes in position and scenery only comforting her for a few minutes at a time. And there are nights she is in a total feeding frenzy, where I am getting up every hour to hour and a half to feed her. But the point is that these struggles are nothing compared to the joy that she brings. I never in a million years would have thought that I would not care one bit about how tired I was. Getting at least 8 hours of sleep was ridiculously important to me prior to her birth. Now it seems like an unnecessary luxury. Sure, I'm tired during the day. But so what? If I were sleeping I might miss that fleeting smile, that steady gaze, watching her play with her daddy, or the chance to rock her to sleep for the fifty millionth time. And I wouldn't give up any of these things for the world.

But enough already. If you have a child, you know all this already. If you don't, you won't get it till you do. The point is that having a child, if you're ready for it, is the most wonderful thing you could ever do. I decided.