Saturday, May 5, 2012

That Time of the Month

It's that time of the month again.  No, not THAT time of the month.  It's that time of Danny's rotation on PCH wards that I start feeling sorry for myself that my husband is never around.  It is amazing how a person could have SO many blessings in their life, but one small part goes wrong, and they narrow in on this one bad thing and forget about all the amazing things.

Until an event puts everything back into perspective again.

I was at the grocery store the other day trying to buy some diapers and wipes for a friend who just had a baby.  There was one other person in the aisle looking at baby merchandise.  It was a young, handicapped man in a wheel chair.  He was studying closely some item on the top rack.  I thought of what a struggle it must be for this man to shop if the item he wants is at the top and he can't reach it.  As I walked past I though how easy it would be for me to retrieve his desired item for him.  I didn't say anything to him but I thought surely he would ask me if he wanted help.

I proceeded to study the diapers right next to him looking for a good deal.  He looked like he was trying to move but his feet were stuck on something.  I wanted to ask him if he wanted any help, but I didn't want to help him with his feet.  I tried to concentrate on the diapers but kept watching him out of the corner of my eye to anticipate if there was something I could do to make his task a tiny bit easier.  He finally got his feet positioned and started to stand while reaching out for his desired item.  I decided to speak up and asked if there was anything I could do to help.  He didn't appear to hear me.  I didn't want to repeat myself if he had heard me, and I also didn't want to stare, so I went back to studying the diapers.  After considerable struggle, he got a hold of a pack of pacifiers and sat back down.  He said "Thank you" so I understood that he had heard me, but I hadn't helped him.  I felt pretty worthless.  He started leaving the aisle and I smiled at him as he passed.  I selected a package of diapers and walked the other direction to finish collecting the rest of the items I needed.

I haven't been able to get this man off my mind since.  What must his life be like?  If he is the one at the grocery store by himself buying pacifiers he must have a key role in raising a baby.  I struggle enough to raise a baby and I have the most wonderful baby in the world and neither of us have any health problems. It's times like this that I inwardly scold myself for ever feeling self-pity.

Oh woe is me.  I have a beautiful house where everything works properly and is bigger than we really need.  Air conditioning to protect from the heat, a comfortable bed, and an abundance of food.  I have an incredible husband who is supportive, funny, helpful, hard working, and never mean or belittling.  We both come from large, strong, and loving families.   We have the most precious child who is sweet, happy, and healthy.  I live in a great, safe neighborhood with ward members surrounding me on every street.   We have a steady income and enough money sufficient for our needs.  We have two reliable cars that run well and get us where we need to go safely.  I get to stay home and raise our child the way I see fit, and Danny has a secure job that he enjoys.  We have no health problems at all and our bodies function the way they should.

After all that and I'm upset if Danny has to work late and some weekends now and then.  I hope blessings aren't taken away for ingratitude.  I am grateful.  I am SO grateful for the many things I was given.  I know my life won't always be perfect, but I am glad for what I have now.  I hope that I can always keep things in perspective and never let myself focus on the minuscule negatives.

Desmond by Month

Check out my growing boy!

Desmond at 5 months:

Desmond at 4 months:

Desmond at 3 months:

Desmond at 2 months:

 Desmond at 1 month:

Ode to My Baby

In my last post I boldly stated, bring it ON! But it appears, since there have been no more posts for the space of 5 months that I miserably failed that battle.  Sleep training was not as easy as I thought it would be, especially when you have a pediatrician husband that tells you everything you just read in that book is bollucks.  He told me to throw Baby Wise in the garbage.  We do still sleep, eat, play and love it.  Desmond goes through cycles.  He sleeps GREAT for a period of time (a couple of days to a couple of weeks) then sleeps lousy for a period of time.  The biggest help I've found is putting him down drowsy but awake and swaddling him TIGHT.  He's almost 6 months and I still swaddle him, but hey, if he sleeps better that way, I'll swaddle him until he's 8 years old.

Here is a letter I wrote about him about a month ago:

Warning:  I have a feeling this letter is going to get quite sappy and mushy.  If that’s not your thing, this letter may not be for you.  There is not a lot of pertinent information in this letter; it is pretty much just a brag fest.  I have observed so many blessings in my life and I wanted to get them all down.    Don’t be fooled though, just because there is no pertinent information does not mean this will be short.  This is a typically long letter from me.  You’ve been warned.

This has got to be the best it can ever get.  I cannot imagine life being any better than it is right now.  There is not one thing I can complain about.  Not one thing I would change.  In this moment right now my life is perfect.  I’ve been going back and reading all my old letters from when I was in college, and realized that I complained a lot.  Of course, my life was very stressful and busy and I was learning a lot of hard life lessons.  In a lot of my letters I longed for that current phase tobe over and couldn’t wait for the next phase to start.  After a while I realized I was never pleased with my current life and tried to always focus on the good even though deep down I always thought life would get better in just a little while.  Well I think I’ve reached that point.  I have arrived.  This is the exact moment I had been waiting for.  Every semester I couldn’t wait for new classes or a new living situation or a new boy. Near the end of school I couldn’t wait to start teaching.  Then when I started teaching I couldn’t wait for summer or thought a different school would be better or a different grade or different coworkers.  After awhile I felt done with teaching the kids of people with bad parenting skills and I couldn’t wait tojust stay home with my own kids and raise them my way.  When I was single I couldn’t wait to have a boyfriend, then when I fell in love I couldn’t wait to get married, then once I got married I couldn’t wait to get pregnant, then I couldn’t waitto get that kid out of my belly, then I couldn’t wait for that kid to stop crying and sleep better. *breathe* It happened.  Everything I possibly wanted happened.

We have a beautiful house, cars to get around, support from family nearby, lots of support and love from family not so nearby, the gospel, a meager but steady income, food in our cupboards, health, friends, knowledge, a GREAT marriage, love, consideration and compassion for each other, and THE MOST WONDERFUL BABY IN THE WORLD.

I admit, when Desmond was first born I was not fully invested.  I was hormonal, sleep deprived, and I think I had some baby blues.  The baby was so needy, and I couldn’t always figure out what he needed when he would cry so I couldn’t calm him down.  Danny tried to do everything he could to be supportive, but he was consumed with work and it felt like everything was up to me.  I gave everything I had and Desmond would just ignore me or scream at me.  That has all changed now.  Every development Desmond has made up to this point has made my life easier and easier. Now he smiles, babbles, and laughs all day long and rarely ever cries.  He is learning to be entertained by his environment and doesn’t need me to be holding him and giving him his pacifier all the time.  He is interested in small toys, loves playing in his play gym, dancing in his jumper, sitting up in his bumbo, attacking helpless stuffed animals, staring at his reflection, and sucking on his fingers/arm/whole fist.  He just learned how to roll over onto his belly and discovered he has toes (which have even found their way to his mouth a couple times).  But this is the ringer, just in the last week he has started sleeping 7-9 hour stretches at night and taking 1-2 hour naps during the day. Hallelujah, Hallelujah!  He nurses great and he takes a bottle cold/warm/different nipples no problem.  He loves Mom and Dad, but is happy and willing to go to anyone.  If we’re out and about all day he’s perfectly happy to go with us. If he’s tired he’ll fall asleep in his car seat or stroller and he’ll take a bottle on the go or nurse with me in public or in the car.  His hair (yes, he has hair, leave my baby alone) has evened out so he doesn’t look like an old man, his tear ducts have cleared so he doesn’t have crusty eyes all the time, his recent runny nose has cleared, and he is just so DANG beautiful.

With every touch, glance, and giggle I fall further and further in love with him.  Of course I loved him the moment I laid eyes on him but now I’m all in.  There’s no going back now.  My life would feel utterly lost without him.  I want the world for him and would do anything for him.  I just love the way his skin feels, the way he smells, the way he smiles, and screeches for a laugh.  I love when I walk in a room to find him holding a conversation and laughing with his reflection.  But when I talk to him he’ll stop everything and start searching the room for me.  When he finds me he’ll stare, break into a smile, then start laughing and laughing.

I know Danny feels the same way about him and loves him just as much as I do, but he has made the sacrifice to work hard all day (literally) so that I can be the one who gets to stay home all day to play with him.  At the end of the day Danny will ask, “So what did you guys do today?”  Most days I pause, and can’t think of anything meaningful to tell him besides sitting around all day enjoying each other’s company.  Whole days will pass so quickly and I don’t know where they have gone.  When Desmond was first born I thought it would be nice to get away every now and then and work part time.  Now I can’t imagine ever leaving him with someone else on a consistent basis.  I would miss so many amazing moments with him.  I never want him to change.  I want him to stay exactly the way he is right now, forever.  He is SO sweet and precious.  I know every milestone from here on out is going to make everything more challenging.  He’s going to start crawling then walking and getting into everything.  He is going to start teething and biting.  He’s going to start requiring solid foods and I’ll have to worry about varying his diet, and he’s going to be picky and messy.  He’s going to start seeking independence and pushing boundaries and being defiant.  Eventually he’ll start playing with friends and picking up bad habits that are hard to control. Then further down the road there will be more children and they’re going to out number me.  There will be fighting and arguing, and differences of opinions. I’m sure I’ll have a more difficult calling and there will be more responsibilities. *breathe*  I know there will be good moments and in the end it will all be worth it, but I also know life will NEVER be as easy or as peaceful as it is right in this very moment.

In a letter I wrote in college, I had an epiphany and wrote about how I apparently had a need to fill my life with responsibilities and things to do.  (It was my last term of college.  I only had one required class, but instead of taking it easy for once I filled my time with a full schedule of unrequired classes and worked 2 jobs.)  Not anymore.  I’m not going to add any unrequired tasks to my life right now.  I am going to spend every minute I can enjoying and loving my sweet child.

This afternoon Desmond and I had a picnic in our backyard.  We lay on a blanket in the shade of our grapefruit tree and he talked to me and tried to figure out his rattle while I ate my food.  We enjoyed the warm breeze and the sweet smell of the citrus blossoms and Desmond marveled and laughed at the rays of sun coming through the leaves.  After I finished myfood we just played and cuddled outside until it was time for his nap.  I brought him in, wrapped him snuggly in his blanket, rocked him and sang “Carry On” to him until he fell asleep.  I gave him a kiss and placed him gently in his crib and he has been sleeping now for two hours while I’ve been typing this letter.  Absolutely perfect!

Now do you understand why I am so blissfully happy?  I have a wonderful, loving, righteous, supportive husband, and a healthy, beautiful, perfect baby boy.  What else could I ask for?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Bring it On

I've heard it said that it's impossible to spoil a child less than 6 weeks old.  So from the  moment we brought home sweet little Desmond we've given him everything he could possibly desire.  When he fussed we picked him up. When he cried we fed him (whether it had been 3 hours or 30 minutes since the last time he ate). When he was tired we rocked him to sleep. If he couldn't sleep I walked around with him in my sling or took him for a walk in my Ergo so he could get a good nap.

Well he was six weeks old on Sunday, and that's all about to change.

I always said I would never spoil my child, but now that I have one it seems so hard. I don't want to let him cry.  I want him to always be happy.  But I know that to have a baby with a happy disposition I have to be tough...but it's so hard.

Bring on the sleep training.  He still wakes up several times in the middle of the night.  The goal to to get his daytime routines into a rhythm so he will start sleeping through the night on his own by 2 months.  That's the goal at least.  We'll see.

I borrowed the book "Baby Wise" from the library yesterday and am ready to put the plan into action.  I realized I should have started this sooner, but better late than never.  He is to eat, be awake for a little while, and then fall asleep on his own without nursing or me rocking him, then start the cycle over again every 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours. 

As I type I'm listening to him crying in his crib.  (You can do this Maretta)  I think typing this post is helping me get through it, reassuring me that what I'm doing is for his benefit, but I hate to think of my baby being unhappy! 

I just went in after 15 minutes to give him his pacifier and reassure him.  He fell right asleep.  Not exactly as flawless as I was hoping, but it was his first time, hopefully we'll get better at this.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What an Honor!

Desmond was chosen to portray baby Jesus in our ward Christmas Program last night. Some friends of ours were Mary and Joseph and held him while others sang songs about Jesus, Joseph, and then Mary.  It was so sweet to sit there and watch my baby portray our Savior.

(I also enjoyed having the whole ward swoon over him.)

Desmond did terrific through the first song.  They had to give him his bright blue binky during the second song.  And then when the pacifier wasn't cutting it, they had to give him a bottle during the last song. Maybe not the most authentic, but what do you want, it was his first performance...he didn't even rehearse.

After the program was over they served refreshments in the Relief Society room.  So many people stopped us to praise Desmond that by the time we got to the refreshments they were already putting them away.