A Whirlwind Week 

This past week has been busy, fun-filled, and exhausting. I’ve laughed and cried. It was far from perfect. But it was filled with love and family and I couldn’t ask for more than that. 

Earlier this year my Aunt Barb decided that rather than coming home to Michigan at Christmas like normal, she and Eileen would make the trip out for a week in the summer. This excited me as it meant that she’d get to meet Colt sooner rather than later. And we’d be able to plan a few activities in the warmer weather. 

Warmer weather was an understatement. It may have actually been the hottest, most humid week of the entire summer. We did our best to beat the heat and still have fun.  

As a kid, my Aunt Barb was another of my mother’s goofy sisters. Only she lived in Boston so we didn’t get to see each other often. But that never stopped her from being a part of our lives. We frequently received colorful packages in the mail. She runs a childcare center out of her home and always related to us kids in fun educational ways.  

Since becoming a mother, I’ve reconnected with Aunt Barb. I love sharing Colt with her and Eileen through stories and pictures. It’s like my way of validating that I learned something about raising a kid from all the experiences of her kids she shared. Having her meet Colt for the first time was important to me. I hoped that she’d be impressed with how smart and well behaved he is. 

Of course, the trip back to Michigan ended up staying little more important and sentimental then we had planned. Barb was diagnosed with breast cancer after Memorial Day. It’s been a bit of a roller coaster emotionally and physically for her. I can’t imagine how difficult the trip had to be but I’m eternally grateful that she and Eileen did. 

Monday Colt had his 18 month check up. And aside from the long wait to see the doctor, everything checked out well. He’s a typical 1 and a half year old.  Mom, Colt, and I had breakfast after, did a little shopping, and then visited with Barb and Eileen at our house for a while.  

On Tuesday, Barb and Eileen took Mom, Colt, and I to the Sea Life Aquarium at Great Lakes Crossing. It’s a great little place for young kids. It wasn’t too busy, thankfully. Unfortunately, Colt is just old enough to want to roam about freely without the understanding that he needs to hold an adult’s hand.  He was a bit fussy, but overall I think we all had a good time.  

Wednesday Colt and I spent some mommy and son time in the morning visiting the Stage Nature Center in Troy. For being so close to home, it’s a nice little get away. It’s definitely a place I can see going back to frequently. And hopefully Colt will continue to grow and appreciate what he can learn there.  

Thursday started with some miscommunication, but ended on a positive note. Most of my mom’s family was able to get together for dinner at Olive Garden. Colt has been a bit of a fussy eater again lately so I was embarrassed that Barb and Eileen paid for a meal that went mainly untouched. But Colt was well behaved so I can’t complain. 

Friday was more visits with the aunts and grandma at our house. We kept it pretty low key, since we would all be up early Saturday morning. 

Saturday was our big family outing to the Detroit Zoo.  And of course it was the hottest day, with the most humidity, and of course rain. But most of the family headed out any way. It was great to spend time with my sisters, and my cousins Amber, Kelly and Valerie. As well as my Uncle Wayne, Aunt Jan, and Uncle Mike. Along with my cousin Tyler’s kids; Kenzie and CJ. It was a lot of fun and I hope that we can spend more time together soon. And thanks to a gift of a membership from my aunts, my family will be able to enjoy the zoo many more times. 

Sunday was a day of rest, in that I tried to rest as much as possible while also wrangling Colt. He’s really a lot of fun, but he seems to suck all the energy right out of you. It’s exhausting just looking at him some times. While I can’t say it was the best vacation, it was definitely memorable. 

Maybe next year we can all head out to Boston! 

18 Months!

In January, Colt made the transition from the Infant B classroom to Toddler A classroom at daycare. He had already grown s0 much over the last year, I couldn’t imagine what he would learn in the next short 6 months with his new teachers. “What developments can I expect to see?” I asked Ms. Megan. Her answer amazed me.

My little baby, who’s size 12 pants were still baggy, and sleeves too long, now fits just right in 18 month clothes. His tiny feet have outgrown his first shoes, and his second pair of shoes, and now has a whole collection of little sneakers. While he doesn’t seem to have actually grown a single inch, he looks at least 4 inches taller, and at least 5 pounds heavier. We’ll know exactly how much he’s grown at his pediatrician’s appointment next Monday.

Colt’s tiny steps have turned into marches, kicks, and stomps! He climbs, slides, scootches, and crawls around the playground! And just the other day, he used a box of diapers to try and climb on the cabinet in the living room. He can reach and stretch for things he wants on the countertops. And lay on his belly to get toys from under his crib.

Colt speaks! He says a number of words, most often it’s “dada”, “bye bye”, “shoes” and “dog” but I have heard “rabbit”, “cat”, “duck”. He asks for “waffles” for breakfast. And he knows cows say “moo”, and sheep say “baa”. And while being verbal is still hard, he routinely uses sign language to ask for “more”, “water”, and “milk”. He even says “please”. Our bedtime routine includes signs for “bath” and “brush teeth”. And when he’s finished, he says “all done”.

Our daily routine is getting simpler. Though Colt likes to play and pretend to sleep when I wake him up in the morning. Colt is very good at sitting at the table and eating his breakfast while Mike and I get ready for work. Then we get dressed, and he helps me put on his shoes. It’s not always easy getting him into his car seat, but once he’s buckled in , he reads to me his Hello magazine or tells me all kinds of stories I can’t wait to understand. Once at school, he and I practice holding hands and walking together into the building.

Colt is so good for his teachers, Ms. Emily, Ms. Megan, & Ms. Shannon. I am impressed daily with all the activities they do with the kids. His daily sheets are now categorized with subjects like; Art & Sensory, Language, Music/Movement, Fine Motor/Math, Focus Activity, and Physical Fitness. He’s taught manners, and how to clean up. He can tell me where his eyes, ears, nose, mouth, hands, hair, feet and belly button is. He can match colors, seems to understand there is an order to his rings, and knows that his car is for driving. You can ask him to bring you a number of his stuffed animals by their name. And books are still his favorite.

Colt was on bit of a toddler hunger strike for a little while. Things he used to eat were now nearly tossed aside. He’s eating fruit better now, and anything crunchy. I am working vegetables into his diet. His favorites are still mac’n’cheese, and now chicken nuggets. He’ll eat hotdogs, and devour mandarin oranges. Strawberries, bananas, waffles and yogurt are key breakfast items. He eats well with his classmates for snack and lunch. I’ve found that if I just hand him his plate and continue on making my food without really paying attention to him, he’s more adventurous and will try things on his plate. Trying to encourage him only makes him turn his head away or offer it to you in return.

Colt has finally cut one full molar on the bottom right, and the upper right, and lower lefts are peeking out while the upper left is trying to make an appearance. We’ve worked brushing our teeth into our routine. He sits on the counter and “brushes” his teeth, while I brush mine. And then we’ll trade toothbrushes and he “brushes” my teeth while I brush his. Still, putting our tooth brush away at the end tends to lead to a noodle baby tantrum.

I have to be grateful, Colt hasn’t thrown and real in public tantrums just yet. He did fuss quite a bit when he wanted to walk down the path in the park on his own, but wouldn’t offer right of way to the passing bicyclists. He’s usually too busy people watching to throw much of a fit about anything. Our usual arguments are related to “chairs are for sitting, not standing”. Overall he’s a pretty well behaved kid who’s generally happy.

Most of the time I amaze myself at how well I can deal with Colt. I can read the same story with just as much excitement and emphasis the 100th time as I do the first time. Most of the time I am fairly patient with Colt, and can gently say, “no no” or tell him he may get hurt (while also signing the word “hurt”). But there are other times I do still lose my patience. And then I feel guilty. And it’s usually when Mike steps in at just the wrong moment, when I could have used him a second or so earlier. I have found that he knows when I am not paying attention to him. He doesn’t seem to mind if Dada comes in the room and reads a magazine, but if I try to catch up on a news article on my phone, Colt will come over to me and throw himself on my lap and try to bite me. He thinks it’s a fun game. I have told him no, told him it hurts, “cried”, moved him off me, sat him in his chair for a “timeout”, and left the room. Of course all it really does is make me feel guilty that maybe I am not spending the quality time with him that he wants.

Overall, Colt is smart, funny, adventurous, independent, and happy. I am still so proud of him and so grateful I get to be his mom.

Happy Fourth of July! 

What a busy weekend it’s been. And that was probably for the best.  
Colt had started once again with the snot and coughing earlier in the week. So it was once again a a battle to get him to eat or take his medicine. Seems we always take a step back with every step forward.  

On Saturday, we went and visited Doug and Debbie at 7 Lakes State Park where they were camping.  We had fun sitting in the shade and watching Colt play. It was a shame we couldn’t stay longer, but we knew Colt would be hungry and it’s easier right now when we ha multiple options.  Never mind that he ate plenty of Ritz crackers while at the park. 

Once we were home he was super tired from all the time spent outdoors and he took another nap. Aunt Jerri and Grandma came over and we at least got him to eat some Lo Main. 

On Sunday, Mike got up early and started slow smoking a pork shoulder.  Grandma Nancy and his Aunts came by again while Colt was down for his nap. By the time he woke up, his Grandmama Margaret and Grandpa Ken were here too. Colt had a busy day outside playing with all of his family and toys. He had a new bubble machine and a sprinkler to play with, as well as the slide Grandpa Ron had gotten him for his birthday.   

For dinner Mike pulled that pork apart for some delicious pulled pork sandwiches.  Colt was again a picky eater bit he didn’t go hungry, that’s for sure.  Later that evening Colt got his first skinned knee when he tried to climb down off a chair and slipped.  Poor guy was a champ though.  

Monday, we spent the afternoon at Indian Springs Metropark. We’d all gone for the nature center, but found the splash pad to be much more fun.  Colt wouldn’t go directly in the water, but he had fun splashing around the edges. 

Back home for the evening, Colt was a little better at eating dinner having some leftover lo main, and a stolen cheese sandwich. He was great taking a bath, didn’t fuss too much about taking his medicine. And the cherry on top was figuring out a less stressful way to get him to brush his teeth. 

When we can get through a night without any toddler tantrums, the whole day seems better. I really have lucked out with a pretty laid back kid. And when he gets to just be himself and do his own thing, he’s just a happier kid and that makes for happier parents. 

Unfortunately, as I’m sitting here writing this, after Colt has gone to bed, fireworks booming around the neighborhood, it finally hit Mike and I that it’s the anniversary of losing our sweet Diesel pup. I can’t believe it’s been a year already. I think about him often but it’s just not the same here without him.  

Work/Life Balance 

Work/Life Balance is one of those key terms that keeps buzzing around corporations these days.  And it’s definitely something that I hear often where I work.  

I am grateful to work at a place that allows me to occasionally work from home. This is great for me, even though I still have to take Colt to daycare. It means I can sleep in a little longer, skip the shower, and just throw on jeans and a hoodie when I get up.  I can also do things like run the dishwasher and throw a load of laundry in.  And once I even let something cook in the crockpot for dinner. 

Unfortunately, the ability to work from home means that I pretty regularly log back in at night after Colt goes to bed. Though, I have to say I do this less frequently than before he was born.  

Today I was “reprimanded” in a way for letting a client know that a rescheduled meeting was technically outside my working hours, but that I would try to attend. My boss basically called it a lesson in professionalism.  And I get it. Just because my official day has come to an end, I should have stated it differently. I’m an honest person and I responded with an honest answer. I attended the meeting and all was well. 

But that was my half hour

I wake up at 6am. I am dropping Colt at daycare by no later than 7:15. I’m at work by 7:30,and there for the next 9 hours. Then I fight traffic to pick Colt up and it’s 5:30 by the time we’re home. It’s dinner, playtime, baths and bed by 8pm. That leaves me 2-3 hours for me. And that includes eating, showering and if I’m lucky, logging back into work. 

That’s right, I’m spending 9 hours a day at work, plus 1 to 2 more a night, at least once a week. And I’m spending 4 hours with my son. 

4 hours that also includes arguments with someone who can’t talk yet. We don’t stand in chairs, don’t throw food on the floor, yes you need to wear pajamas,  yes it’s time for bed, and no 3am is not a good time for snuggles. 

I understand now why people choose to be stay at home parents. But it’s also very obvious why I do work. And it’s because I’m lousy at arguing with tiny people who can’t talk yet. 

So where exactly is this balance and how does one make that work? 

Edit: I should also point out that I get a lot of time off. It’s just remembering and figuring out when I can take it. 

Edit 2: I am also extremely grateful that I have a parenting partner in my husband that I can count on to help with Colt in the evenings and weekends. 

Unfathomable

My heart is aching. I feel like I could vomit. And tears have been welling up in my eyes. 

Last night a young boy was killed by a wild animal in a place that was meant to have a lifetime of wonderful memories. But in the upcoming days a family has to return home from vacation with a body and prepare for a funeral. It fucking sucks.

I can’t even imagine the pain, guilt and desperation that family is going through  and will continue to deal with forever. All I know is that it makes me want to hug my child close and never let him go. 

I can’t even really explain how much this pains me. I’m lying in bed thinking about how I have to eventually teach Colt what to do if he’s lost. That I have to teach him that adults are there to help, but that he also needs to be aware of strangers. And then I shake the thoughts out of my mind because I don’t want to rush this. He’s my baby.

I think about how independent he is, and how proud I am of that. He’s content playing on his own occasionally. And then I worry about when he’s older. Will I feel secure enough to let him be on his own? Will I let him ride his bike down the street? Around the block? To the park?

I think about all of the exciting places that I want to travel with him to; Yellowstone, The Smithsonian, The Empire State Building, The Grand Canyon. But now these places seem terrifying. What if there’s an accident? An emergency? A fucking terrorist attack? I have to remind myself that life continues. That there are far more great days than bad. And common sense and awareness can get you through most of it pretty safe. 

I have inherited the exhaustive worrying every mother gets. How I cope with it will be how Colt remembers me. Until then I’m going to not miss a single moment where I can steal a hug, kiss the top of his head, or tell him I love him. 

Challenges

Things haven’t been easy lately. And this weekend I’m hoping it was the final nail in the coffin and we can lay this tough time to rest.

Colt is now behaving much more like a toddler. His independent spirit is often thwarted by his inability to do something that he wants to, which often leads to minor tantrums. And with minor tantrums also come the major tantrums, that thankfully have only happened at home, and where it’s been diffused with a calm voice. I will not lie, I have busted out and sang lessons from Daniel Tiger. “When you’re so mad that you want to roar, take a deep breath, and count to four.”

The tantrums at least, don’t bother me so much. Mike and I both need work on our stern parent tone/voice. Mainly for those talks about why it’s not smart to reach for the stove knobs. But also for when Colt throws his food on the floor. I’m told he’s one of the best eaters at daycare. I know he can eat well. But it’s been a challenge. And neither Mike or I want to get into the chicken nugget rut.

Colt had gotten better with hitting for a while too. But I’ve gotten some reports about him acting up in class a few times. At least it’s not frequent.

Work had been challenging for me for a while too. And that seemed to ease up. But now Colt has come down with Hand, Foot and Mouth (Coxsackie). That after a week ago taking 4 hours off to find out he didn’t have it, then taking him back at the end of this past Thursday and being told he still didn’t have it, just a fever. To now showing signs of spots.

My mom and I spent the morning cleaning and putting away a bunch of Colt’s toys. Hoping to limit the spread. And if that doesn’t suck enough, the allergies I had all last week, is now kicking my ass. Sore throat, runny nose, and a cough I really didn’t need.

And some where in all of that, I had to get a reminder that there is way worse things in this world. A rapist that only gets a few days sentence in jail. A close dear person called to tell me she has breast cancer. And I had to wait impatiently for an old friend to let the world know on Facebook that he was OK after a mass shooting. Fuck this world.

Some days it breaks my heart thinking about the world he will grow up in. I can only encourage him to be the good I continue to see, even if in fleeting glimpses. I challenge myself to raise him to be a smart, kind, compassionate, generous, loving human being.

For every trying moment with my son. For every moment that I seem to have had enough. Reached my breaking point. I can look in at that sleeping child, or listen to the amazing laughter, or watch has he experiences something for the very first time, and I’m happy to be his mother.

15ish Months!

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OK, yes the days are definitely getting past me in the blink of an eye.

Colt went in for his 15 month check up the other day. He’s right on track. I think his measurements put him in the 50th percentile. He got a few more shots, and has been pretty healthy lately.

According to the Wonder Weeks app, he’s discovering processes. And it’s really evident. He loves to put things in other things. The other day he spent like an hour putting a crumpled piece of paper in and out of a plastic jar Mike had washed out. He watches as we do things and mimics them. Our favorite is when he “relaxes” in his chair like Dada.

Colt has gotten really good with his big single piece puzzles, he looks at the picture and can match them, and he’s even starting to move the piece to make it fit. He’s also started being able to put his other shapes in his sorting bucket, not just the circle anymore.

Colt loves books right now. He will go pick out a board book, bring it to me, and then sit in my lap while I read it. His favorites are anything Eric Carle, the hide and slide animal alphabet and numbers books, and his big picture books.

His picture books have helped him start saying a few words too! “Dada” might actually mean Dada finally. He says “go go” when we’re going somewhere. “Dog” was technically his first word I think, and he’s added “ball”, “cat”, and I think “bear”. And today Mike and I believe we may have finally heard a “Mama”.

Colt’s a pretty decent eater still, though he has toddler amnesia and forgets that he liked sweet potatoes last week. He’s starting to use a fork well. And he’s much better at communicating. He signs “more” (though he usually means goldfish crackers), and he’ll sign “all done”. He hasn’t signed milk in a while.

Colt is also doing great at daycare. I really love Miss Emily, Miss Shannon and Miss Megan (and every other teacher that helps out in Tod A). He seems to be kept engaged, and it’s very obvious that he’s learning, and they seem to have so much fun with the kids. Colt doesn’t seem to be too much trouble.

I also have to smile because his personality is really shining, he really is a funny little goof. This thing he’s doing with his eyebrows is hilarious. I have to catch it on camera. He’ll get into fits of laughter that is so contagious.

And Mike! I love watching him see how much his son is growing. I tried showing Mike how Colt was getting so good at his sorting blocks the other day, and Mike was like “Good job, buddy”. Like he figured he’d learn that eventually. But today, I asked Colt to go get his ball, and he brought it right to me. Then later, I asked Colt to pick out a book for me to read, he went to the shelf and pulled one out, set it aside, grabbed the one below it and bring it to me. And to really put the icing on the cake, I told him to put it back when we were done, and to bring the ladybug book. The kid is so smart. He knows what you are saying, even if he can’t say it. I’m sure that’s not unusual for his age, but it’s still fascinating to me.

Colt is a lot of energy right now. I’m grateful for the warmer weather when we have it, and the longer daylight hours. When we get home from daycare, we can spend an hour or so outside. He has a swing, a slide, and a sandbox. As well as a push car and a stroller for going for walks.

We have a nice routine most days too. Which makes life easier. I’m working on bedtime being a little more set, rather than just when he feels tired. After dinner, he’s got a little time to play before we get our jammies on, we brush our teeth, and we read books. He’s been going to bed around 8 most days, and still sleeps til 6-6:30.

What else can I say about my little guy? I’m still caught off guard, when someone calls me “Colt’s Mom”. But every day with him just feels natural.

Sleep

For the last month I have felt like a walking zombie. Like I just haven’t gotten enough sleep. Which is weird right, because my son sleeps through the night. Other than not getting to sleep in on the weekend, it really hasn’t been that different. Or so I thought.

Friday was a rough day. I woke up feeling ill, but hoped it was just from not eating well this week. There had just been a lot going on, and I just haven’t been hungry. But sure enough my tummy trouble lasted into the night.

Friday night ended up worse.  Colt woke up at around 11pm the first time, but I was able to get him back down fairly easy.  It was at 3am when he got up again, that we had a battle. He just wanted me to hold him.  As was the case a lot lately. It seemed that lately, every other night we were battling him to go back to sleep. 

We rocked in the chair in his room.  Nope. We laid in my bed. Nope. I put him back in his crib, which only resulted in an epic meltdown. This became him throwing a sleep filled tantrum on the floor while I sat there trying to calm him, and basically letting him exhaust himself until he’d lay back down. 

Saturday night I went to bed a bit later than I really wanted. I finally had time to watch a few episodes of The Walking Dead and attempt to catch up. Sure enough, 2am the first hint of a cry came through the monitor. And I thought to myself, what happened to my smart boy who used to be so good at self-soothing? And then it hit me. It’s so rare any more that he wakes up in the middle of the night, that when he does, I’ve been rushing to his side.

For I don’t even know how long now, if Colt wakes up in the middle of the night, I’ve been blaming teething or something and going in and soothing him back to sleep. Sometimes it works, but not always.

So this time I waited it out. I watched the clock and the baby monitor. The angry cries/yells at his crib rail only lasted about 15 minutes thankfully. And then he laid himself back down. He snuggled into his blanket and yelled a bit more. But it was much less dramatic. He eventually quieted down and was back to sleep fully in 35 minutes or so. 

I hate letting him “cry it out”. I really do. He’s such an independent, smart boy, I wanted to make sure he was still capable of putting himself back to sleep. When he woke up this morning, I showered him with hugs and kisses. I reassured him that I loved him and would be there when he needed me.

I’m hoping I won’t have to do that again.  I hope that if he wakes again, he’ll just be able to snuggle up with his fox or blanket and put himself back to sleep. Without the crying and fit that seems to come with it. 

Parenting. Just when you think you’ve got it…

Birth Control

A little while ago, I started thinking about getting on some form of birth control again. I haven’t been on anything in years, but now that I know it’s possible to get pregnant, and we’re not thinking about more kids at this time, I decided I needed to do something.

I’ve done the pills. The patches. The shots. I don’t know if it was the cause of my weight gain. Or my more moody behavior in my early 20’s. But I wasn’t necessarily looking for a non-hormonal method. 

I was looking for ease of use. And my doctor, at one point, had mentioned an IUD. I asked around with my friends and got a bunch of different opinions. Most of what I heard wasn’t bad.

I made an appointment with my doc for a consultation. She recommended the Mirena. I did some research and came to the same conclusion.

Monday, I had it implanted. During my lunch break of all times. I don’t really recommend that. The implanting didn’t hurt, but it was a little uncomfortable. It was quick at least.

I definitely felt cramping after. Nothing obscene, more like period cramps, and they did worsen on my drive home.  I took some ibuprofen and that helped. I had some bleeding that night, but after child birth it wasn’t anything.

As the week progressed, the cramping got less intense and less frequent. By today, Friday, it’s pretty much gone. Though I tend to feel a little cramping after I pee. Like I’m relieving pressure on my uterus.

I have also felt bloated all week. I’m not sure if that’s related. But I’ve seemed gassy and my stomach has been rumbling a lot. 

The thing that surprised me, was cramping in my left thigh.  It seemed to be a common side effect. 

I’m hoping that next month when I get my period again, if I do, that it won’t be bad.  And I won’t have cramps. But we’ll see. 

I’ll keep posting about my experience, if you’re interested. 

13 Months (plus some days)

It has been much harder to find the time or energy to write. 

A few new things going on in my life, where I’m trying to get back to being more than just a mom. Trying to spend a few hours here and there without the kiddo, and thinking about how to get back into shape. I’m basically at my pre-baby weight again.

But Colt is still amazing. He runs or wants to walk everywhere. He loves to climb. He can go up and down stairs. And he’s enjoying the swing, climber and slide in the backyard now that the weather has been a little better.

Colt is also starting to communicate more. It’s not all grunts and yells anymore. There are things that make you wonder if he really did say something. He says ‘dog’ when he sees Willy from next door, or while watching TV.  Occasionally, he says what sounds like ‘Hi’  and ‘Good’. He’ll pick up books and babble as he turns the pages.

The sign language instruction at daycare is paying off as well. He signs ‘milk’, ‘all done’, and ‘more’.  Of course usually when he says ‘more’ he means goldfish crackers. 

And speaking of eating. The kid went from making me worried that he wasn’t eating enough, or at least enough variety, even though he eats so well at daycare, to eating for hours on end.  A meal followed by a snack, followed by another, and then another meal. He’s now back to being less hungry, still picky occasionally, but, I keep telling myself he’s fine. 

He’s pretty much down to just one nap a day. A good 2 hours at least. Though  now that he’s more active, and he’s getting outside more, he seems to be pretty tired at the end of the day.  Still sleeping through the night, for a good 12 hours or so.

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I’m happy that this kid is the center of my world.