Ten Months

9-month

Charlotte hit double digits on Monday. TEN MONTHS. My baby girl is ten months old. I’m still not sure I believe it.

I have to say, I am LOVING this age. This kid is so much fun. I just adore being with her.

At the moment, she’s all about the 3 C’s… cruising, climbing, and crawling. The other day she tried to climb her dresser like a rock wall using the knobs as footholds. (Umm… no, we won’t be doing that!) All of the activity has led to more bumps, bruises, and encounters with blood than I was prepared for.

I know lots of babies her age and younger are spouting off words, but Charlotte’s not much of a talker. At least not to the point that I’m comfortable saying “Word! That was totally a word!” She says “mamamamama” a lot, but it’s pretty rare that she just says “mama,” and the occasions that it’s been directed at us are seriously questionable. Catch took a video of her on Monday where she honks the horn of her toy steering wheel and it sounds like she’s saying, “beep beep” but “be be be be” has been her favorite sound lately, so I’m not sure. We also swear she says, “dog dog” sometimes, but who knows?

She is all about peekaboo, though. And oh, how she laughs. It’s contagious. We toss a cloth diaper over her head and ask, “Where’s Charlotte?” She waits a moment and then pulls the diaper off with total flourish. She is SO proud of herself. She likes to play peekaboo with her bedroom curtains, too.

Have I mentioned the clapping? She started clapping a few weeks ago, and it’s adorable. The other morning, I picked her up out of her crib and she was still sleepy, so we snuggled together in the glider for a bit while she woke up. She was lying still with her head pressed tight against my chest, and we were all warm and quiet. Suddenly, she sat bolt upright and just started clapping. Good morning to you, too, kiddo!

It’s taken her a while to really start to understand that solid food is good for more than playing with, but man—she gets it now. She’s starting to eat so much more. Crawling seems to have sparked her appetite and now the food just disappears. (Well, except for the morsels that are tossed from the high chair into the mouths of waiting hound dogs.) She also loves to drink water out of her sippy cup. She will hold it to her mouth and throw her head back taking deep, long gulps and then in a flash, she sits forward and tosses the cup onto the floor (or onto the closest hound). We need to work on that part!

Sleep is… mediocre. The bad days are baaaaad. The good days are meh. I feel like I totally slacked on the Happy Sleeper stuff, but she’s not really crying to the point where the 5-minute sleep waves are appropriate. She just sort of starts fussing and throwing herself around in her crib. Sometimes she stands up. There’s a lot of squawking and whining, but very little actual crying. If I leave her to her own devices, she’ll sit there like that for an hour, and it’s an hour that I can’t sleep through (even if I turn the monitor off, the sound just carries straight to our room). So that’s why I just go in there. If I nurse her for 5 minutes, she’ll go right back to sleep and then I can go back to sleep. Once Catch is on summer break, I’m considering night weaning. I’m really torn though. Those night feeds are the only time I get to just hold her and cuddle her these days, and I sort of relish it. I’m fighting myself over it.

Plans for her first birthday party are underway. We’re inviting everyone under the sun, and it’s going to be huge, but honestly this party is more for us than it is for her. It may be her first birthday, but we kept her alive for that year, and I feel like we deserve a freaking PARTY. (And a million dollars…)

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5 Things on Friday

  1. I have a really hard time these days when people without kids tell me that they’re tired. It takes almost all of my self-restraint not to tell them that they have NO IDEA what tired is and to SHUT THE HELL UP because I haven’t slept in 10 months. (This bullet point was brought to you today by a baby who DID. NOT. SLEEP. last night courtesy of some tummy troubles.)
  2. Baby jail is working out great. It’s seriously the highlight of my week. We have the Pack n Play set up in our bedroom so I can safely contain the Tasmanian Devil while I get dressed for work, and then we have the Pop n Play set up in the living room. Yesterday, she let me put her in the Pop n Play while I cut up her fruit, which meant that I got out of the house ON TIME because I didn’t have to wait for the nanny to arrive to prep her food for the day. Miracles can happen.IMG_0355
  3. I finally bit the bullet last week and ordered Charlotte’s new car seat. After much wavering, I decided on the Clek Fllo. The price tag was significant, but when I realized that I spent more money on Catch’s new iPhone, I got over it. My kid’s safety and my peace of mind are worth more than an iPhone. Right now, the Fllo is sitting on the floor of my living room. The straps and headrest are properly adjusted, but I haven’t had a chance to get it installed in the car so I have no idea whether it actually fits or not. PLEASE LET IT FIT.
  4. My child won’t let me read books to her. She either yanks them out of my hands to chew on them, or she crawls away from me. The only way we can read her books is at bedtime when I hold her and give her a bottle while Catch reads bedtime books, or if she’s completely engaged with a toy and I just start reading. I worry that this is bad. Should I be doing something? I want her to like books for something other than chewing on.
  5. I’ve tried a few times in the past to get Charlotte to eat spaghetti sauce. Admittedly, both times the sauce was from a jar. I’ve been telling people that she just doesn’t seem to like spaghetti sauce. Then, last weekend I made my grandma’s spaghetti sauce. This kid cannot get enough. I kind of love that it had to be grandma’s spaghetti sauce. (This picture was from the beginning of the meal and does not do justice to the mess.)IMG_0361

And a few bonus shots from our week:

The Tasmanian Devil

That’s my new nickname for Charlotte.

I love this kid so much it’s ridiculous, but lately… oh my dog, she is just a holy terror. It’s exhausting trying to keep her safe.

I understand that she’s discovering her world and learning about cause and effect and boundaries. It’s just—well, it would be nice if we could do it with a bit less bloodshed.

For starters, she absolutely refuses to sit down in the bath tub. We thought maybe it was just that she wasn’t comfortable in her ducky tub anymore, so we “graduated her” to the big tub. We got the spout cover and an extra long tub mat and figured we’d be good to go. Except she still wouldn’t sit still and now she’s smacked her forehead twice on the edge of the tub when her legs go out from under her. (Not because she slips—just because her balance isn’t great and she falls.) The sound of my baby girl’s head hitting the side of the porcelain tub is a sound I could really do without. Now we’re looking at spending $36 on a cushion thing for the side of the tub. (I’ve even tried getting in the tub WITH her, but it doesn’t help. She just wants to stand. She’s freaking impossible to contain.)

We have a bunch of little square coffee tables from Ikea in the house. When Charlotte first started pulling herself up, we added corner protectors to all of them and called it a day. Then on Sunday about 10 minutes before we were going to leave the house for my cousin’s birthday brunch, Charlotte had pulled herself up on one of the tables and let go, subsequently falling and hitting her head once on the edge of the table, and then two more times on the table leg as she fell. The result was a small gash in the crease of her eyelid (HOW?!!!) and two lumps on her head. It looked like she was crying blood. I was terrified.

Of course, that was nothing compared to this morning. Catch leaves for work before I do, so I’m left to get ready for work by myself while simultaneously trying to keep the Tasmanian Devil from injuring herself. I usually let her crawl around on our bedroom floor, which is great except that she can now climb the three steps we have in our room, so it goes something like: zip pants halfway, grab child off steps, find one shoe, grab child off steps, button one button, grab child off steps… repeat. I was so busy worrying about keeping her off of the damned steps this morning that I let my guard down when she was playing over by the metal rack we use to hang wet clothes on. The next thing I know, she’s crying. I pick her up to comfort her and realize we’re both covered in blood. Blood on her forehead. Blood on her ear. Blood on my hands and shirt. I was freaking the fuck out as I wiped at the blood on her trying to figure out where it was coming from. Turns out, she cut two of her fingers pretty badly. There was a sharp edge on the metal rack that I wasn’t aware of.

The nanny was about ten minutes away and I was sitting there in my underwear covered in blood trying to keep Charlotte’s arm elevated and keep pressure on the cuts while also getting a good enough look at it to figure out whether we needed to go for stitches or not. I’m sure you can imagine how easy it was to try to keep an unhappy almost-ten-month-old baby still in my lap while I held her hand.

Eventually, I knew I had to get pants on, so I set her down for a second and grabbed my pajama pants that are too big for me. That detail will be important in a minute.

The nanny arrives with my dad (he drives her in the morning) and we all tend to Charlotte’s wound. The bleeding was slowing down (thank dog) so I handed her to my dad so I could go find bandages. As I stood up from the couch, my pants fell down. Right in front of my dad and the nanny.

People, I am exhausted.

Later, I’m on the phone with my wife telling her that we have GOT to do something so that we can safely corral this kid because I am sick of the injuries. (I’m thinking play pen-type thing like this.) She yells at me and tells me we have to stop spending money on things that Charlotte can use for ten minutes. I tell her that I need somewhere safe to leave Charlotte so I can do things like go to the bathroom and bring in the groceries. She tells me to take Charlotte into the bathroom with me and that I just shouldn’t go grocery shopping when I’m alone.

Real helpful. Thanks.

The nanny reminded me today that 100% of adults survived childhood. Yes, that’s true, but we’re not considering the ones who DIDN’T MAKE IT TO ADULTHOOD. 100% of children who did not make it to adulthood did not survive childhood. How’s that for a statistic.

Sigh.

Do they make giant hamster balls for babies?

Shove it, Pinterest.

Before I had a child, I pretty much assumed that I was going to be super mom—the maker of homemade baby food, the sensory activity crafter, the memento machine, the master of the baby book.

It hasn’t really worked out that way. At all.

The thing is, I’m already exhausted from the basics. Do I still have my job? Great. Is the tiny human still alive? Fantastic.

Everything else is just pretty pictures on my Pinterest boards.

Actually, I do make all of Charlotte’s food, but I am truly surprised to say that despite being a pretty good cook, I pretty much suck at it and it stresses me out. The other day I tried to make blueberry yogurt drops to freeze and the yogurt was too runny, so it all ended up leaking out of the baggie I snipped to try to pipe it onto the wax paper. I got so frustrated that I threw away the entire $8 container of organic yogurt. Thanks, Pinterest.

Our nanny texted me a picture of a blank wall in our den today and said that it would be a great place for a busy board for Charlotte. You know what? It would. It would be the perfect spot.

I texted Catch about it. It went like this:

Me: Busy boards.

Catch: Yep.

Catch: I’ll just add it to the laundry list of things to do.

Me: LOL

Me: Right?

Me: Maybe I can go to Home Depot on my lunch break tomorrow.

Catch: There isn’t enough time or enough of me to go around.

Me: Yep.

Cue the guilt.

I don’t know how to reconcile my imaginary mom self with my actual mom self. I feel like I’m letting my kid down. I feel like I should drop everything and go make her that damn busy board, except I kind of can’t because my job keeps a roof over our heads and food on the table, so… yeah.

Which leads me to my point: Why don’t I feel like super mom for keeping a roof over our heads and food on the table? Because damn, it’s hard. It’s a heck of a lot harder than building a stupid busy board. Why am I not patting myself on the back for the awesomeness that is a paycheck and a savings account and groceries that are DELIVERED BY SOMEONE ELSE?

So screw you, busy board*. I am super mom. Just don’t ask me to make you any colored sensory play spaghetti because mama ain’t got time for that $%^&.

(*Hah—see what I did there? Screw? Busy board?)

PS: I did have a rock star mom moment on Mother’s Day when we painted in baggies. It was pretty fun. We will definitely do it again.

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Mug Shot

For those of you who think my daughter is always smiling, allow me to present her mug shot (aka passport photo)…


I’m still laughing. 

I haven’t seen that face since we sat her on Santa’s lap. 

A List

Five things about motherhood that caught me off guard

  1. The love. Don’t get me wrong—I knew I would love my daughter, but this kind of unconditional love is unlike anything I have ever experienced before. She doesn’t just have my heart, she is my heart.
  2. The obsession with poop. Everybody poops, of course—but not until I became a mom did I ever concern myself with the color, texture, or regularity of another person’s poop.
  3. Sleep deprivation. I lost count of the number of people who attempted to warn me about sleep deprivation when I was pregnant. I thought I knew what I was getting myself into. I thought I understood that sleep would be in short supply. I was wrong. Take my expectation and multiply it by “Oh my dog, I can’t do this anymore.” And then do it some more. And that’s the level of sleep deprivation I’m talking about.
  4. The guilt. I wish I was better at tuning out this particular voice inside my head. I feel guilty for working. I feel guilty for being grateful for the ten minutes between when I get home from work on Mondays and when my mom drops her off at home. There’s guilt that her dinner was an afterthought of whatever I could find in the fridge. Guilt that I would rather wash the bottles at night sometimes than have play time with my daughter because I want to tune out for 15 minutes. Guilt guilt guilt. Constantly.
  5. Fear. I was scared when I was pregnant that something would happen and I would lose my baby. That fear does not compare to the fear of losing my baby girl now that she’s here. She’s awfully still in her crib—is she breathing? Oh my god—she just put that leaf in her mouth—do I call poison control? Is she eating enough? She hasn’t done (insert milestone here) yet—when do I worry?

What am I missing? What were you totally unprepared for?

Mother’s Daze

The past 7 days have been a chaotic whirlwind. There were two different sets of house guests over the weekend, Catch threw her back out and is surviving now with a nightly dose of muscle relaxers, I was inundated at work, and Charlotte is an absolute tornado of activity.

I am exhausted. I feel it in my bones. I want so badly to just mentally check out, but that’s sort of frowned upon when there’s a 29-inch Tasmanian devil crawling across the kitchen.

I remember idealizing Mother’s Day before Charlotte. When I was trying to get pregnant, Mother’s Day was a painful reminder of what I didn’t have, and all I could see about the day were champagne toasts at brunch and mother daughter pedicures. When I was finally pregnant, I told myself that next year would be my year–my first Mother’s Day. I imagined how special it would be.

The reality is that we’re going to spend our weekend making appearances with our families so that the grandmothers and great grandmothers have their photo ops with baby girl. Like every holiday, we’ll probably spread ourselves too thin. I’ll stress about Charlotte’s nap times, and Catch and I will probably bicker with each other because we’re overtired and sick of running around.

And you know what? That’s okay. Because now that I have Charlotte in my life, every day is Mother’s Day.

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I believe they call this “distracted nursing”

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So blurry, but the joy is perfectly clear

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She REALLY wanted that cake