Tuesday, September 29, 2009

3 Things Every Parent Should Teach Their Kids (a.k.a. My First Blog Hop)

Admittedly, I am still a little new to this whole parent thing and Gemma isn't quite ready for life lessons but there are a few things I really hope to be able to teach her.

  1. You Are Powerful- I think a lot of us underestimate the power that we have in the lives of others. As cliche' as it sounds, our personal actions impact of those around us. In ways large and small we all make a difference for either good or bad and it is up for us to be conscious of the decisions that we make because of this. Whether it be choosing to split the last piece of pizza so that someone else doesn't go without, smiling a stranger who looks like they are having a rough day, or going out and doing something that will change the world we can make others' lives better. Nothing could be more important than that. On the flip side, taking that last piece of pizza, ignoring the shy kid in class, and forgetting that you are not alone in this world can hurt others more than we imagine. Even when it isn't purposeful. It is important to be aware of the power that we posses.
  2. Everybody Trips- I think this lesson is something I have been reminded of recently... Everybody trips in life from time to time. We fail important tests. We oversleep for work. We date the wrong guy. Sometimes you fall even harder. You might fail out of school. Get fired from that job. Marry that wrong guy. It's okay. It happens. What is important is that eventually, when you are ready you get back up and keep moving forward. Do not define yourself or let others define you by these mistakes. They can't be avoided so roll with it as best you can and remember how awesome you really are.
  3. Laugh!-For me, laughter always makes it better, regrdless of what it is. It keeps me sane and positive and cognizant of why life is good. Surround yourself with people who make you laugh and if you can make others laugh too!

MckLinky Blog Hop
Special thanks to Shoplet.com-Purell Hand Sanitizers for sponsoring this blog hop.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

1 Month Old!

Gemma is 1 month old today!

She is absolutely beautiful.

I don't have time to post the picture right now, or even write a full post but I wanted to make sure I got something down on the actual day in case I didn't have a chance to later.

Me being sentimental again.

So Gemma at 1 month...

You started out as a great sleeper but we have had some regression. As much as I swore I wouldn't you end up sleeping with me (yikes) in two hour spurts. Usually in your little co-sleeper but when I am extra tired, right beside me.

During the day you sleep best in someones arms. You wake up pretty soon if I lay you anywhere. You are starting to tolerate the swing a little more though.

You eat well, sometimes it feels like constantly, and this month has been a lot of trial an error but I think we are making progress.

Your newborn sleepers are getting a little snug so we are moving on up to 0-3 months. You are still too tiny for the 0-3 month outfits though so you are wearing the same 5 outfits you have had from the beginning still. I would have bought more if I knew you were going to wear them for this long I promise! Every one told me that you wouldn't. Oh, and your diapers are size one.

Your hair has gotten a little lighter I think but it still spikes up. I love your spikes. They make me swoon. Naunie Donna really wants me to brush them down. I am not sure if it would do any good...Plus, I could never bring myself to do it!

Your eyes have changed from blue to dark grey. I swear they will be brown eventually, but not yet!

You are a good baby. You only cry when you need something or you aren't feeling well. Unfortunately, you haven't been feeling well for a couple of weeks due to this silly reflux but I am working on getting you in tip-top shape. Your cries break my heart, especially the ones coming from pain.

I don't quite have a nickname for you yet. I call you Punky, Chickadee, Gemma-Bean, and sometimes Gemmy (another thing I swore I wouldn't because it sounds like you are saying Jimmy).

The whole family loves you and they fight over who gets to hold you when we visit. I think you enjoy the attention because you always seem extra well behaved then!

From the moment they laid you on my tummy until this moment right now (where you are sleeping, appropriately propped on my tummy) my love for you has grown. I have admitted before that it has been hard but I really feel like it is getting easier for us both. You are figuring the world out and I am figuring you out.

We were strangers and I am finally getting to know you. I have a lot to learn about you still and I am really looking forward to it.

Gosh, I really love you!

Friday, September 25, 2009

I Made You From Scratch

On the season premier of Grey's Anatomy last night (I am not a hugely devoted fan of the show but as I have mentioned before, I have the time.) there was a young girl (late teens, early twenties maybe?) who had been in a really bad accident and continued to write to her mother that she was well, despite the fact that she had had both of her arms and a leg amputated and almost died. What made this stick out was she said her reason for not telling her mother was that her mother often told her, protectively, to be careful with her body because she made it from scratch. As a new mother I really appreciated the sentiment.

In fact, lately I appreciate all sentiment. I spent yesterday preemptive-ly nostalgic because I realized that at 28 days old yesterday was the last day Gemma would technically be a newborn. I was surprised at how much this saddened me especially as I have been anxiously awaiting the next stage for so long. The whole newborn thing has been ROUGH on me, in the beginning I was literally in tears by the end of the day, ever day. I am longing for structure and predictability in my day again. And still, I feel a huge sense of loss now that she is 29 days old. Ugh, does the love/hate relationship with time ever end?

I am also struggling with what to do with her newborn clothes as I can tell she has either outgrown or is close to outgrowing them. I know I want to save some of them but it is impractical to save them all. How do you chose? I am not a pack rat by nature so this need to hold on is so out of character.

I am still working on staying in the moment, in the day, as I think it will bring a greater sense of peace to all of this. I spend a lot of time dwelling in the past or dreaming of the future when in reality the only moment you have is this one and I need to start living it instead of just believing it. I want to look back on the next stage quickly and knowing that I made the best of it and at the same time be happy where I am at and excited for where I am going. That isn't asking too much is it? :)

Oh, and quick update on Gemma and the reflux... She is now taking another medicine and they told me to give her tiny does of Maalox when she seems especially fussy. The doctor seems confident that we are on our way to getting her feeling better and once we do getting her to sleep in her crib again and to adopt more of a schedule will both be a whole lot easier. I am excited for that to happen but honestly, I just want my baby girl to feel good.

I made her from scratch...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Where Is My Magic Wand?

Gemma and I are still struggling with her having reflux. It really makes feeding and sleeping both extra difficult and that is saying a lot considering eating and sleeping make up the majority of our day.

We are headed back to the doctors today to try and get something figured out. If only I could just wave a wand and make it better.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Brain Mush

I actually have a little time where I could post.

But I have very little to say.

I feel like my brain is mush.

I haven't gotten very many good pictures of Gemma lately. 3 weeks old and I am already slacking!

I can't believe I am counting her age in weeks instead of days now. It is strange how the silliest things become noteworthy with a new baby. The sentiment I attach to everything in our lives is unlike anything else I have experienced before... I am slightly crushed that I didn't get her pictures taken at the hospital (even though many pictures were taken) and that I can't seem to find her crib card anywhere.

I feel like I am really starting to fall for her. Not that I wasn't maternal from the beginning I just see how the love really is growing on a daily basis.

At night, once she has fallen asleep, I will cuddle and kiss her. I can stare at her foot for a solid minute. Staring at a baby foot.

So. Not. Me.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Boob Tube

I am not sure if I have mentioned this before but from the beginning I haven't been a huge fan of breastfeeding. I stuck with it this far because I know it is the "right thing" (damn you modern medicine and all your research) for my baby and maybe a little bit to prove something to my mom and grandmother who think it is ridiculous that I am not giving the baby formula (which is apparently the solution to every problem we have had, despite the pediatrician saying the complete opposite).

Lately, as Gemma and I are getting more used to our respective roles as dinner and diner I am starting to see some of the silver lining in this milk-filled cloud. One of these new found perks (could that be a pun or not quite?) is that I get the opportunity to guiltlessly watch hours of television and no one can judge me because I am tied down with a baby.

So random observations from TV as of late-my apologies if I am late on any of these.

  • One of my most embarrassing TV indulgences of the summer was Big Brother. I have never watched the show but made a pointed effort to watch it this summer as I had a lot of time to waste and it came on constantly-literally 3 times a week and then every night on Showtime for 3 hours they had a special "After Dark" unedited show. Last night was the finale and Jordan won. She was one of the good guys of the show and I wanted her to win. I like it when the good guys win sometimes.
  • Obama calling Kanye a jackass literally made my life.
  • I keep seeing previews for Accidentally on Purpose-A new show that is premeirng next week about a woman who gets pregnant from a one night stand and then decides to keep the baby and ends up living with the baby's daddy-hilarity ensues. I am equal parts fascinated and irritated by the concept of this show. I am facinated in the way that unexpected pregnancy is kind of the theme of my life right now so I feel that it is relatable in some sense and also I think it is an interesting representation of how far we have come in our country as far as what is considered acceptable or unacceptable for television and even more generally a statement on the acceptability of certain social behavior. I am irritated because of course the 20 something guy who gets this woman pregnant decides to be involved with both the baby and mom...I just feel like that is unrealistic. Then again, there is a good chance I am bitter...
  • For some reason Top Chef is really boring this season. I saw an old episode today and it reminded me how good that show used to be. Maybe it is just me? Yawn.
  • I was actually really excited by Kate Gosselin as a co-host on The View but was definitely underwhelmed. I feel she did the same old, "it is all for the kids", song and dance she has been doing for months. Another huge yawn.
  • I really need something to replace my pregnancy addiction to pregnancy related shows. Baby Story, Deliver Me, Bringing Home Baby, Birth Day- I have been there, done that, and am interested in something new.
I could probably go on but my daddy is going to be home soon so I think I will start dinner. Are there any suggestions on shows I should be watching? Is there anything you are looking forward to this fall?

Like I said, I definitely have plenty of time to watch :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

What Next?

So, I got those library books returned today!

I picked up a pack of Thank You cards for the baby gifts.

I showered and then STRAIGHTENED my hair for the first time in the 18 days since Gemma was born.

I know we are still not quite *there* as far as establishing a perfect routine but today is proof that life is going to go on and that this all baby all time phase of life will come to an end.

As excited as I am to move on the next stage of my life I am realizing it is a complete blank slate and I am scared to death...

I don't have a job to return to. I don't have friends in the area. I am still not sure about any graduate/professional school plans. I had all summer to think about it but I just kept telling myself it wouldn't do any good to make plans until the baby came.

Well the baby came and it is time to start making plans and I don't know where to start.

Should I look for a "real" job or just accept anything that pays? Should I wait until Gemma is 6 weeks old or 8 weeks old or older? Do I really want to go to law school next year? Do I want to look into another sort of graduate program? Should I move back to Richmond or would that just be an attempt to reclaim my old life which no longer exists?

I know that I am pretty much stuck here, in my hometown and living with my dad, for at least a year. What can be done to make a life for myself here?

How can I make a life for Gemma and I together? A baby was the furthest thing from my mind as I dreamed for my future but now she is here and I have to reconcile the two-what I had wanted in life and what my new life must include.

Baby is crying...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Happy 2 Weeks Gemma!!!

Baby Girl,

As I type this you are laying in my arms, alert as ever, with your typical worried look on your face. The past 2 weeks with you have literally been the hardest solid 2 weeks of my life and while I can't say the rewards are flooding in, I wouldn't trade these times for the world.

Together we have both shed a lot of tears, gotten pretty frustrated (with each other I am sure), and gotten closer and closer to each other with every passing day.

I am so proud that you let me sleep at night (even though half of the time I pass out during your late night snack, not good, Mama is gonna work on that) for at least a few good solid hours. I am proud of calm you remain even though I am a total spaz.

One of our biggest challenges has been nursing. Little one, you sure like to eat. Sometimes it feels like all day, everyday. I am beginning to realize the solution to this may just be for me to have a little more patience and enjoy having you so tiny and close and satisfied by me.

I am looking foreward to getting to know you better and better and I can't wait until your personality begins to show even more. Right now, you are a little bundle of instinct and reflexes but it will be interesting to see if you hold on to your laid back demeanor.

You have a sassy side too. You like to pee all over (and sometimes poop all over) when I am changing your diaper. Sometimes you refuse to sleep unless you are beside me.

Little by little I am learning you and figuring things out...You my dear, seem to have it all figured out already.

I love you and I can't wait until you let me in on your secrets.

Yet another sleepy photo.

This is becoming you "signature" pose.

The lighting makes you look tan! Your little face!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Baby Got a Big Ol' Butt!

Gemma had her 2 week appointment today, two days earlier than previously scheduled because when I called the lactation nurse over some issues we have been having they had me contact my pediatrician who had me come in.

Apparently, this poor sweet baby has reflux, which may explain why she was less than sweet the past couple of days. She got her very first prescription, for Zantac. I am hoping this calms her fussiness a bit.

I found out she now weighs 8 pounds and 1 ounce, hence the big ol' butt title. She has gained over half of a pound in two weeks. Wow. That seems like a lot to me. At least I know the feedings are "working".

Right now she is passed out in her bassinet. It seems that car rides have about an 80% effectiveness rate when it comes to inducing solid hour or two naps. As bad as it sounds I kinda like it when she is asleep. Not only for the break that it definitely gives me but also because I know she is content and comfortable. Every whimper (like the one I am hearing now)elicits a quick ping of panic and an overwhelming urge to FIX THIS, whatever THIS may be (baby is now contentedly attached to the breast).

Now I am waiting for an in-home appointment at 3:30 for this program called Healthy Families. I think the gist of it is to work on meeting baby's developmental milestones. I am not sure if we will like it or not, but I think it may be worth it to figure out a couple of things to do with Gemma while she is alert and not fussy. At this age, I have no clue what to do with her at this time so I basically just sit and talk with her. Not that there is a lot of time like this but it does exist.

Having this little girl is so up and down. One minute, I feel so strong and confident and like we are really figuring it all out. The next minute I am a puddle of tears and wondering how on Earth we are going to make it to 3 weeks or 1 month or 3 months or whatever that magic age is when things begin to click. I never used to see myself as a person who found comfort in things being black or white but I am starting to think I might be that way. I want to know that I am supposed to feed baby every 2 hours for 25 minutes and then do that and us both be completely satisfied. Unfortunately, motherhood is proving to be nothing like this. I wonder if it is possible to find my old sense of adventure and love for randomness in life and translate that within this new life I am beginning.

On the bright side, today I showered, brushed my teeth, ate a sandwich, made it to an appointment(almost) on time, dropped a prescription off and wrote this blog post... All things that would have been impossible a week ago.

Heck, I might even get these overdue library books returned tomorrow.

Then again, I might not.

But they will get returned...Eventually.

Monday, September 7, 2009

11 Thoughts for 11 Days

In No Particular Order

  1. Even though I realize that Gemma's smiles are pretty much just reflexes, they still make me swoon.
  2. I have always heard that people forget the pain of childbirth soon after...I still haven't, and I am pretty sure I won't be having any kids for as long as I can remember!
  3. I worry when she sleeps too little and I worry when she sleeps too much. I worry when she eats too little and I worry when she eats too much. I have a feeling that this worry is pretty permanent.
  4. The way I feel about this baby is indescribable. I love her so intensely, yet she kind of feels like a complete stranger who has hi-jacked my life. I feel a little guilty for typing that.
  5. I though that sleepers for babies were practical. 19 billion snaps is far from practical. The alternative sleep gowns are always from 0-6 months which means she is swimming in them...what is a girl to do about nightwear?
  6. Breastfeeding is HARD.
  7. Throughout my life I have always complained about how hard it is to switch sleep routines, yet now it switches everyday and as long as I got sleep I am happy.
  8. I have lost 28 pounds so far...maybe only a pound or two shy of what I gained throughout the entire pregnancy. I now secretly smile at myself when I pass by mirrors as long as I don't focus on my eyebrows (which desperately needed to be done weeks ago) or think about how my stomache looks (like bread dough that has been mauled by a wild cat).
  9. 11 Days later I am just feeling like I am emerging from a post baby daze. I feel like I have been walking around in a fog since she was born.
  10. Yesterday, I thought it would have been cute to do a "10 Thoughts for 10 Days" post but never got around to it. There is so much I wish I could say here everyday and I just don't have the time. Hopefully I can get back at it soon, I don't want to forget these early days. As hard as they are now I know I will miss them later.
  11. I have been completely obsessed with taking pictures of her even though she is pretty much just always sleeping.

Friday, September 4, 2009


I slept SIX HOURS last night.

Not consecutively of course.

But in 2-3 hour increments, and I was only up 30 minutes in between.


My baby is finally acting normal.

If I can keep this up I might just finish jotting down the insane ordeal that was labor and delivery.

(Knock on Wood)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009