Saturday, September 1, 2012

Long Time

I think the title went without saying, but since this blog is for recording and sharing both my hard and good experiences I don't feel the need to apologize. I hope to write more in the future and possibly about things that have already happened. Looking back is definitely a good way to learn as well as reflect. I have decided, as you may have seen in my last post, to start including pictures and sometimes video. I won't always, but I don't see it being as big a deal as I at first thought. The next question is what to write about next. I'm sure Owen who is nearly two (what a jump from my post nearly a year about about biting!) will give me something to write about...

The Little Things

Carpet lines. If you're wondering what the first picture is supposed to be of that is your answer. I love carpet lines--the lines created in certain types of carpet after you vacuum. When I was younger and as I grew older, I realized that I wanted carpet lines. 

The carpet in my house growing up was not conducive to carpet lines. It was bumpy and green. If you've seen Toy Story, you've seen the carpet I grew up with. You might not have realized you saw it, but you did. Now go think back and remember Sid's room. Remember when Buzz and Woody are coming out of the backpack and there are all the reconstructed toys. Can't remember? Just google search "toy story sid's room" and you can see images. Well, Sid's carpet was our carpet.

Now, I'm not saying I was deprived as a child. I remember liking our bumpy, green carpet because it made nice "bushes" for my toy animals to eat. But what I am saying is that that carpet couldn't have carpet lines and that when I finished vacuuming I wanted those perfect lines to appear. Those lines that say, "Look at this lovely freshly-vacuumed floor." I don't know why, but I just knew that if I could have carpet lines vacuuming would be better. And you know what? I was right. For me, creating vacuum lines makes me feel happy and in some weird way accomplished. Vacuum lines are one of those simple pleasures that make doing those "have-to-do" things enjoyable.

You may also notice in that top picture that those carpet lines are just not right. There are itty bitty footprints in those carpet lines! If those footprints made me angry, I would say that they mar those perfect lines. Thankfully, for my sanity would surely be lost, those footprints make me happy. They are another simple pleasure (and complicated pleasure certainly). 

Look at the cute little feet and pudgy legs that made those footprints!

Aren't they just the cutest?!? These feet and legs belong to the smallest love of my life and he is constantly leaving marks all over. Special touches and dashes of light. Messes I will miss because he no longer wants to spend his time near me or he is "too big" to make them anymore. I'll enjoy the piles of books he asks me to read while he still asks me to read them. I'll make towers for him to topple while he still needs me to help build them. I'll do my best to enjoy each question and answer it as best as I can. I'll cherish every cuddle even those that are a bit clingy.

Those beautiful feet make perfect footprints that adorn my carpet lines. Those carpet lines accent those footprints, making it so they are noticed, highlighted, showcased. Reminding me of how lucky and blessed I am. Reminding me to appreciate all the moments because I get to experience them. Those footprints are most definitely a simple pleasure--and a huge blessing.

I'll let Owen continue to show you some of the other simple pleasures I enjoy. I absolutely love hearing Owen say and call for "Mommy" and "Mom."

I sure hope he knows that Mommy loves him!

I wondered for awhile whether he knew the word mom. He would say dad so easily and often. All I had to do was say, "Let's go see Dad," and he'd start looking around for and repeating "Da. Da. Da." Every time we come home whether it is from a friend's house or from the store, Owen starts repeating "Dad" as we get out of the car, walk up the stairs and get inside the house. He's asking if Dad is home; no matter what I respond, he will keep asking and look expectantly for Dad when we enter.

The first time I remember him really saying "Mom" was when he called me from the other room. I'd left him in his highchair with food I knew he wouldn't choke on, so I could go to the bathroom. Moments after I left, I heard him calling, "Mom! Mom! Mom!" I was so excited! There was proof that he knew the word mom and that he knew mom was me. I need to remember how wonderful it felt to be called as he gets older. I still love it now when he calls for me in our little apartment.

Another simple pleasure of mine is watching Owen read.

Obviously, he isn't reading words yet (though he does a pretty adorable job of it), but he does look at pictures and flip through pages. He loves to be read to and read by himself. I just love watching him pick out a book and read it. When I realize that all those books off the shelf came off because he was reading them, I don't mind so much picking them up again. 

The last simple pleasure I'm going to share today is watching Owen discover the humidifier (and just about any new discovery makes the list). 

Perhaps you noticed my croaky voice in the "mommy loves me" video. Well, I got a minor case of bronchitis which came with a nasty cough. To try and get some sleep, I followed the doctor's suggestion to try a cool mist humidifier at night. When Owen came to wake me up in the morning with his daddy, he discovered it. It became an instant favorite.

I definitely feel like I can't let these moments slip away. It's so easy to feel busy and to be busy. When I try to do too much and take things too fast, I miss these simple pleasures. It's the little things that make life meaningful and fun. The little things forge relationships and bring happiness. I've noticed that on those days when all I want is for nap time to come or Tyler to come home or Owen's bed time to arrive, I'm letting all the moments pass and I'm not happy. I'm waiting for the next day. And then I realize that there isn't anything coming up. All I'm doing is missing everything huge and special because I'm taking it for granted! I'm missing my baby being a toddler. I'm missing this amazing amount of free time, couple time, and family time with Tyler. I'm letting it all go by and not enjoying any of it. I know that later, I'll miss this time and I don't want to have regrets about not taking advantage of this time with Tyler and Owen. I feel like I just have realize it anew every day. If I keep remembering then I can be the wife and mother and woman I want to be. I choose to remember. I choose to indulge in my everyday.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Have Teeth, Will Bite

That's right, my son has six teeth. He's had six teeth for awhile now. I've been meaning to write this post for ages, so here it all comes. If I'd wrote it when I meant to, it would have been two'll understand.

Back in mid-/end of July, Owen (age: eight months) bit me for the first time while nursing. Oh, did it hurt! It involved all of his six new teeth, top and bottom, and it came out of nowhere. He'd been eating just fine, and then he bit me. Why? I still don't know.

Well, I'd been preparing for this moment (dreading is more accurate a term). I'd asked my sisters and sister-in-laws what to do. I'd received the advice say "no." I'd also been told to flick him on the cheek and he'll never do it again. So when Owen bit me, I said no, I didn't freak out or make a weird noise, and I lightly flicked him on the cheek. He seemed completely shocked.

I wasn't sure he was done eating, so I tried to nurse him some more. He didn't wait a second; he bit me again. It was awful! This was not how it was supposed to work! I was supposed to say no, flick his cheek, and have no problems again. I tried the no and flick again. This resulted in the saddest look I'd ever seen my baby make. His lip pouted so big and he started to cry. I started to cry. I felt dreadful. I hadn't wanted to flick him even lightly the first time.

I tried to get him to nurse again. I got bit again. We cried some more and separated. There would be no more eating at this time. I hoped that if I waited until he was properly hungry he wouldn't bite me. Maybe he was just full and trying to tell me that. Hopefully he would forget this dreadful biting.

Unfortunately my hopes were in vain, he started his next feeding with another chomp. I cried from distress. I just wanted to feed him, why was he biting me? Why wasn't "no" working? Why not the flick? The flick just made me feel horrible and guilty and made him sad. Instead of nursing, Owen received pumped milk from a cup (a very messy disaster but he refused to take it from a bottle) and in some rice cereal. He thought the cup was great fun.

Three hours or so later, it was time to eat again. I was really nervous by this point. I was scared to put him near me for fear he would bite me, but I also wanted to nurse my baby. I wanted to hold him and love him. When I tried to get Owen to eat, he refused. He writhed in my arms and cried. My baby was scared. I'd made him scared to eat. I felt completely horrible now. We both cried.

I sang him songs. I kissed his little cheeks. I rocked him. It took fifteen minutes to get him to try breastfeeding and his body was shaking with little sobs. He bit me a little, but I didn't react. He started sucking and eating just right. From then on I determined never to flick again. I never will, not for any of my kids.

For the next little while, Owen rarely bit. I made sure he was definitely hungry when I nursed him. If he was going to have solid food and breast milk, I gave him solids second. I did my best to make sure he wouldn't bite me to tell me something.

Everything was going so well for awhile until he started slowly letting his teeth push down on me again. It wasn't like the first times. His tongue always lay over his bottom teeth like they were supposed to. They weren't involved. It was all his top teeth, and it wasn't like when you bite your tongue or something. His top teeth would come down with pressure with each suck. He'd leave teeth marks.

I tried telling him "no biting" and take him off for 10 to 30 seconds based on how many times I'd had to say it already that feeding. This didn't seem to work. He would become distraught. Sometimes there would be teeth marks and sometimes not. I couldn't always tell when it was occurring. And often the "biting/teeth pressure" would be worse when we resumed the feeding. I admit, I gave in. I'd just let him push his top teeth in as long as it wasn't too painful. Watching him cry and dealing with the worse "biting" didn't seem worth it.

It got worse though. It got to the point where I had small red dots, like pinpricks, where he'd put his little teeth. Just lightly brushing those spots with my finger hurt. I tried saying "no" again, but now I was really unreliable about knowing whether or not he was or was not biting me. I had to do something though. The pain was growing to a level similar to that when I first started nursing--similar and new all at once. Excruciating and tear-inducing all the same.

I prayed to be able to feed my baby and heal. I prayed to be able to get past the pain. I prayed to know how I could stop the "biting."

I decided to try what came to my mind, and my prayers were answered. When he "bit" I did the following:

1. I continued to firmly say "no."
2. I tried my best never to react in any other way, especially a way Owen might find amusing.
3. I would pop Owen off and almost instantly let him start eating again.

I did this a lot. Often multiple times during one feeding. The pain did not go away all at once, so I tried to gauge the pain. I tried to only unlatch him when it seemed like he was actively letting his teeth get my skin, more than merely touching the little sores. By letting him start eating without even a three second pause, he didn't get frantic and suck like a starving child (most of the time).

Things have vastly improved! Over the past two weeks, my sores are gone. I still have to tell him "no" and unlatch him during about one feeding a day, sometimes multiple times that feeding. I don't have to gauge my pain though, so I'm more reliable about knowing when he's biting me. This has made life so much better.

Now I just have to figure out how to get him not to bite the rest of me or other knees when he's cruising by them on the couch, my collar bone or Tyler's shoulder when he's being held, Tyler's side when he's laying on the ground, my shoulder blade when I'm hiding under the blanket to say "peek-a-boo" [yes, that happened yesterday]. Silly baby.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sleep is a Slippery Thing

When Owen was born he was at least somewhat nocturnal. Though he slept a lot in general, he seemed to be more alert at night. As he got older he slowly shifted from going to bed for the night at 4 am to 2 am to 1 am to midnight. We'd often put him in his swing until he fell asleep and then transfer him to his bed. After more weeks he started going to bed closer to 11 pm which was great.

This whole time he slept fairly well through the night. He'd wake up to eat a few times, but then he'd sleep in until 11 am which made up for the nights when neither of us went to bed until the wee hours of the next morning. Over time he stopped getting up as often in the night just as he'd started going to bed a little earlier on his own over time (weeks and months) until he began sleeping through the entire night with no feedings.

A full night's sleep taking place between 11 pm and 10 am was perfectly alright with me and I had and have no idea how it happened.

Between four and six months, we started trying to get Owen to bed earlier. We tried adding a bedtime routine and laying him in bed to fall asleep on his own around 9 pm. Some nights it worked. He'd lay in his bed quietly talking to himself until he eventually fell asleep. Other nights didn't go so well, and he'd cry until we went and got him. We weren't trying terribly hard at the time. We didn't like hearing him cry for long periods especially when we knew there were times he didn't cry at all.

After his six month well-child visit, we started putting him to bed at eight and letting him cry longer. The first night was rough, but he eventually went to sleep. Most days he cries for a few minutes, usually less than five, and then falls asleep. At first he still slept through the night though he woke up early (between seven and eight which is early compared to ten). Something, however, has changed. In the past few weeks he's been waking up at least once a night. In the past several days it's been more like twice or, more often, thrice.

At first Tyler and I figured it was because we'd thrown his schedule off. We'd gone on a trip to help his brother in San Francisco, been down at his parents' for his sister's wedding, and stayed at my sister's to visit. However it's been weeks since then and he's waking up more now than he did then, especially since some of those nights can be counted among the smattering in which he didn't wake up at all. Frankly, we have no idea why he isn't sleeping through the night since we know he is fully capable of doing so. The main problem is that we don't know what we can do to get him to sleep through the night again because it just happened on it's own the first time.

Last night he only woke up once after being put to bed for the night and it was before we'd even gone to bed. Hopefully, this is a good sign. A sign of sleeping through the night in the days, weeks, months to come. I sure hope so because if we have to just let him cry until he falls back asleep I will struggle. I hate hearing my baby cry, and I definitely can't sleep through it with him in the same room. That means we'd have to move him to the other room for sure...and currently there isn't much room for him in there. I guess I should get back to cleaning in there just in case.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Can He Really Be Teething?!

On Monday, I saw a slit in Owen's gums. At first I was worried he'd gotten some weird cut, though we keep paper and things far from his reach and definitely out of his mouth. After washing my hands, I rubbed his gums with my finger and sure enough I felt a slight, sharp bumpiness. Owen is getting his first tooth! You can barely see it coming through his bottom gums. So far he's been fine. I don't think he's even been more fussy. I can't tell if he's been more drooly because that is what he does. Hopefully, he won't get a fever and teething won't be too rough. Wish us luck!

Getting Things Rolling

On April 20, Owen rolled for the first time. This is how it went down (I wrote the following that day):

Owen doesn't approve of tummy time, but I've been upping his time there each day because it is good for him. Cognitive and motor development being sort of important. So I put him on his tummy while I got a pen to address some envelopes. For those of you who don't know the layout of my apartment, this means I was maybe a yard and a half away from Owen, but behind the loveseat. After grabbing the envelopes off the table, I went to sit by Owen and in the perhaps 30 seconds he was out of sight he'd gotten onto his back! He'd rolled over!

After getting very excited and giving Owen big hugs, which he loved, I told Tyler through google chat. Of course, I had to try it again. Owen was not pleased, but in less than 15 seconds from the time I put him down he had rolled over.

This being the exciting event that it is I tried it a third time. Owen rolled over even more quickly. I think this marks the end of tummy time and the beginning of the end of an Owen-safe house. It's a good end, I think.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Not New, Just Different & I Can Do It

Having a baby makes your life busy. It's not the busy it used to be where you're juggling work, school, your personal interests, church, and (my favorite) time with your wonderful husband. Along with all that there's always the regular stuff that you have to do every day: getting ready for the day, travel time, making food and eating it. Even if you're heating up a frozen burrito that's still a minute and a half to cook. And if you're like me you turn on the TV during the time you spend cooking and eating. Maybe those ten or fifteen minutes don't seem like a long time, but every minute counts when you have lots to do.

Think about it. How many minutes do you waste when you could quickly be tidying up a room? reading a few pages from a magazine or book? sorting your discarded laundry? washing the dish you just used? If you take those few minutes when you have them, you never have that full sink of dishes you never want to start, the huge pile of laundry to sort, or the whole house to clean. And on top of all that you've actually finished that book you've been meaning to start and you're halfway through another.

I've realized and continue to need to remind myself of how much time I throw away. My two biggest time wasters are the TV and the computer. Far too often when I turn on the TV I spend twice as long as I meant to spend watching, if not more. I'll want to watch a particular show, but it won't be starting for ten minutes. However, instead of reading a book or putting a few things away, I turn on the TV and watch something I don't care about. Then after my show ends, I start flipping channels when I should just turn the thing off. Before I've even thought about it, I've gotten sucked into a show I find somewhat amusing or one don't even like for another thirty or sixty minutes. It's disgusting how much time the TV can swiftly suck away.

The computer is not much better. I love my computer and the convenience it brings. It's so easy to quickly contact someone, find a fun craft idea, or see fun pictures your friends have been taking. Well, I know I spend to much time on my reader. I am always finding a fun new blog. I finally had to stop finding new blogs. There are just too many blogs in the world. (I know I'm one of many.) I also get sucked into looking at the random "recommended items" google reader gives. Too much stuff! I tell Tyler I'm just going to check my email, but it's never just my email. Even when I mean for it to be just my email I end up opening my reader, my second email, my facebook, my blogger dashboard... and then 30+ minutes later he's asking me if I'm coming to bed or if he should just go to sleep without me.

Now that I've got a baby, my time feels more stretched. I don't have work or school anymore, but I barely manage to eat at normal times or get much done. Owen takes up more time than I'd expect, especially because he doesn't nap except for ten or twenty minutes most days. He definitely deserves my time, no question there, but realizing this I must strictly discipline myself and use my time in exactly the way I want. The fifteen minutes I get to make my food and eat it might be my only free time while he naps. I need to hide the remote so I don't throw away that time watching some dumb show and instead read while I eat! My life may be busy but I can and I will find the time for myself! This is my goal: I will not throw away my time. How? Now that is the important question. No goal will work if it's that vague, so I will post some concrete goals.

1. I will check my google reader only once a day. (This is going to be tough. I keep thinking "Maybe I should change that to twice...or just erase it. No one would know.")

2. I will only turn on the TV while I'm doing the dishes (that's my favorite time to watch) or when I have a specific show to watch.

3. I will read rather than watch TV while I feed my baby.

I think we'll start with those and work from there. And Tyler--I know you're reading this--I'll need you to keep me to this!