Baby D · Mom Musings

Mom Musings: Raising a Reader

(picture from bloxi.com, found via google image search)

It was only a matter of time before I had a post like this, right? (I mean, look at my blog name, the original intent of this blog in my About Me, and search for the “With My Reading Buddy” tag, and I think you’ll get the hint, if you’ve missed it ;))

But I’m writing this now because I’ve been inspired by a few posts by Eric, at All in a Dad’s Work (Hi, Eric!). His is one of the blogs I was regularly reading for a while. As you know, I was away from the blogs for a bit, but when I started catching up, his was one of the first ones I went to. (Check him out; I love his “Questions I Asked My Kids” segments). Anyway, a few of his posts over the last couple of months (yes I had to go back a few months to catch up!) have been about reading with his two boys. They both seem to enjoy reading and talk about going to bookstores. I hope Dom is the same way as he grows up!

I try to read to Dom regularly. He has a bookshelf filled with books, and I’m always buying new ones. And of course he got a few more for Christmas. I have one memorized that I recite to him every night as we are settling into the rocking chair before bed (The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton – one of the first books Dom played with, as you can tell by the missing corner).

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The beloved (memorized) bedtime story, sitting in our rocking chair
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The Pen

We have a “pen” set up in our living room (one of those enclosed gate things that you can configure into different shapes) where he plays during the day and I always leave a few books in there, as well. Lately, when I sit in it with him, he will bring a book over to me and then sit in my lap so I can read it to him (melts my heart every time).

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The most common book he brings to me — though he’s typically ready to move on by the time we reach the letter “N” (I also have this one pretty much memorized)
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Shelf in his bedroom

He knows what “book” is when you ask, which I love. Depending on where we are, he’ll either point to the small pile in his pen or the bookshelf in his bedroom. I’m always on the lookout for new books, so if you have any recommendations, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments!

 

A few friends at work  are beginning to read the good chapter books with their kids (like Harry Potter), and that is something I so look forward to! (but I also don’t want to wish the time to speed up to get there!)

What are your kids’ favorite books? What’s your favorite book to read with your child(ren)?

Baby D · Mom Musings

Mom Musings: One Year

Let me repeat that: One. Year.

I’m still struggling to believe how one year has passed by so quickly. This has been the happiest, most challenging, and most fulfilling year of my life. I can’t imagine our lives without him. He brings us so much joy and he’s just the best. Allowing myself a moment to brag: he’s the cutest, smartest, and funniest baby. His little personality is really starting to shine through and he makes me laugh more than anything (he must get it from his dad). He’s also a pretty friendly baby and loves to wave at everyone (though sometimes it’s a delayed reaction and he waves after the person walks away, but that’s OK).

Someone once said to me “the days are long but the weeks are short”, and I truly understand the meaning behind that now!

Part of me would love to start all over again (with Baby D, not a new one any time soon!), to be able to snuggle my teeny newborn again, watch all of these amazing milestones happen again, and if I’m being honest, make some changes (breastfeed longer and set a better sleep schedule/routine earlier than we did are two that specifically come to mind). Another part of me is happy to have some of these things behind us (you know, like the colic) and doesn’t want him to grow too quickly. And yet another part of me wants him to grow up just a little faster so we can start doing things together. It’s very conflicting, being a mum.

I don’t pretend that this has been all rainbows and butterflies, it really has been the toughest “job” I’ve ever had. The colic in the beginning was really rough. Going back to work full-time added its own challenges, and it’s certainly harder to make last-minute plans with friends. I don’t think I could be a stay at home mom because I definitely need the socialization, adult interactions, and the chance to apply my brain to things other than baby 24/7 that a full-time job outside of the house offers. But it can definitely be hard to spend so much time away from him. And when I have a day off part of me wishes I had more time off. And let’s not forget to mention the sleep! Or lack thereof. There have been some really tough nights… even recently, just a few weeks ago, we had a really crappy night with minimal sleep for us and we had a cranky Monday (or at least I did!); but I think we chalked it up to teething as his first tooth finally started showing up within a day or 2 of that night.

Today I’ve been periodically looking at the clock, thinking back to what I was doing a year ago. (at the time of typing this sentence, 9:41pm, a year ago we were in the hospital getting ready to meet our little man). In honor of that, I’ve set this post to publish at 11:42pm today, the time he was born.

I’m so excited to watch what the next days, weeks, months, and years will bring and all the other firsts and new things he’ll learn, and what we’ll learn by extension. Even though we may no longer be considered new parents, we still have a lot to learn and we’re always surprised by the new things he can do. I truly feel so blessed to have this little boy in our lives and I feel that I can’t always adequately express that.

So here’s to all the parents out there. I have a better understanding and appreciation of what it’s like to be a mom (though I still sometimes wonder when I even became an adult and can still be surprised that I’m a parent). And a special shout out to my parents: thank you so much for all you’ve done and continue to do for me & now for my little family; being a parent isn’t easy and I so appreciate all you had to do or may have had to give up for Kristen and me. And to the newer parents or parents-to-be out there reading this: it’s a wonderful experience and I wish you all the love, luck, health, and joy (and sleep) in your life with your new or soon-to-be babies.

(Side note: today is my WP anniversary! I started this blog back in 2011)

Mom Musings

Mom Musings: 6 Months In

Well, this is a couple of days late, but Baby D is officially 6 months old! I cannot believe how fast the time has gone by. So much has happened and it’s crazy to think we’re already in April.

I’ve been back to work since early January and I’ve settled into my old, pre-baby routine, which is nice, if I’m being honest. D is either at the daycare on the first floor of my building or he’s with my parents, so I don’t have to worry and can put my energy and focus into my work. (it also helps that on the couple days he’s at the daycare I can go and visit him on my lunch break! — it’s nice to see his face during the day).

Overall, it’s been a whole new routine and lifestyle to get used to, and while it’s a lot of work and very tiring, I wouldn’t change it for anything. He’s brought so much joy into our lives, it’s incredible. But I definitely won’t say it’s been easy. Being a mom is one of the hardest, but most rewarding things I’ve ever done.

It’s so much fun to watch him grow and discover new things every day. The simplest things we take for granted are so mesmerizing and enchanting to him. It’s really quite remarkable. At the time I’m typing this, he is making noises and playing with his fingers and toes. He’ll hold his hands in front of his face for minutes at a time (which is a long time to a baby!) and watch them move.

He discovered his toes a few months ago, and he has been rolling from his belly to his back since he was 4.5 months old. He has yet to master the back to belly, and I know once he does we’ll be in trouble because it will only be a matter of time before he starts rolling every where and then crawling! We’ve also been practicing sitting up. He’s been “talking” for some time now, too, and it’s so funny to watch & listen to him testing out new sounds.

We read together most days/nights and he seems to really enjoy Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. I can’t wait to have reading time with him as he grows up. He also enjoys doing Itsy Bitsy Spider, Patty Cake, and Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes. (Mommy sings lots of silly songs, or regular songs in silly ways, and he loves to laugh at with her..)

He’s still sleeping in a bassinet in our room, but we recently started putting him in his crib for naps. It’s going OK – today was the first day that he stayed asleep for at least an hour for both naps (the last few times he only slept for about 30-40 minutes while in the crib). I figure this is a good way to ease him into sleeping in his crib all night. He’s growing so fast that he’ll likely only be able to sleep in the bassinet for another couple of weeks. It’ll be weird to not have him right next to me.

The newest thing for him that he really enjoys is trying new baby foods! We started with rice cereal to get him used to new textures and then gradually introduced him to a few different veggies and fruits. The pediatrician recommended that we try veggies first as some babies tend to get a “sweet tooth” with fruits and then reject veggies because they’re not as sweet. We have given him a different veggie or fruit every few days to give him a chance to get used to it and to also give us a chance to see if he has any reactions. So far, he’s tried sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, apples, and we started bananas today. I’m happy to say that he enjoys them all!

He smiles and laughs so much and is generally a pretty happy baby. I feel so blessed to have him in my life. Everyday I think I can’t possibly love him more than I do and then he does something and I think “nope, guess I was wrong – I love him even more.” I can’t wait to see what the next 6 months bring!

Mom Musings

Mom Musings: 5 Things New Moms Can’t Do Without

I’ve been following mom blogs since having Baby D. One of them, freddieandi, owned by Eve, had a good post about her top 5 things that she, as a new mom, found to be the most helpful and/or invaluable. I’ve decided to follow her lead and make my own version of that post.

As a note: I do believe having a partner and family members around makes things infinitely better and more manageable, but this post is about actual items. Please know that I definitely couldn’t do this on my own. Having my husband by my side and our families nearby for support has been invaluable.

Another note: I started this post at the beginning of December, and while some things have changed since then, I still think the below 5 items were the best things for me at the time!

So, in no particular order:
1. Nursing bra/pads – these are life savers. It makes everything so much easier. The bras are comfortable to wear to bed and while you’re on the go during the day. Easy access to quickly feed your baby is always appreciated! The pads of course are the life – and clothes – saver, by preventing leaks onto your shirt!

2. Breast pump – such a great invention! In the beginning when breastfeeding was painful, the pumping wasn’t, so I was able to pump between feedings and feed Baby D with a bottle to give my boobs a rest.

3. Baby Bjorn/baby carrier – boy, I wish I had started using this sooner! I got it as a gift from my coworkers, which was such a surprise and appreciated — and even more appreciated after I started using it! I’m able to get more things done with him strapped on me instead of having to hold him. (Mainly baking ☺)

4. Boppy pillow – he loves this thing! We have 2 kinds, the open c-shape and a “closed” one. The c-shape was great in the beginning to help prop him for breastfeeding. It was also a nice support for when younger family members (read: kids) or people slightly uncomfortable with holding babies wanted to hold him. The closed Boppy has been great to use for him to chill or nap in. Also it’s perfect to put on the floor in the bathroom when I have to pee so I can keep an eye on him!! (He loves being in the bathroom; I think it’s the brightness — he loves lights!)

5. Netflix/Amazon Instant Video – I would definitely be remiss if I didn’t include this! I’ve been able to binge on TV shows (watched all 6 seasons of The Good Wife!). And recently, a total guilty pleasure that makes me feel about 14 again, Sabrina the Teenaged Witch (so cheesy!). When I was too tired/sore in the beginning it was a good way to pass time if I was unable to sleep.

You might be surprised that books didn’t make the list. But there were days where I just had no energy or even, gasp!, the desire to read. I like to be able to fully focus on what I’m reading and I just didn’t have that ability early on.

Mums & Dads: What items were must haves for you as a new parent?

Mom Musings

Mom Musings: On Going Back to Work

After being off work for my 12-week maternity leave + 1 extra week, I return to work tomorrow. I can’t believe how fast the time went by! I would be lying if I said I haven’t been looking forward to going back. I’m ready to get back into a different kind of schedule that doesn’t solely focus on the last time Baby D ate, if I’m being completely honest. (I’m also craving more adult interaction!)

Baby D started daycare at my work last week, and he’ll be there 2 days per week. I can go visit him at any time. I think (hope) this will help ease the transition of not spending all day with him anymore! (I wonder how I’ll actually feel tomorrow morning. Part of me thinks it will be no big deal, and another part of me thinks I’ll just breakdown on the way in!)

I’m taking Fridays off for the first quarter of the year as I figure out my work-life balance. I plan to use Fridays as our designated doctor appointment day (and maybe try to get naps in as well!). I won’t have to worry about getting home from work in time, or going in late, or taking a half or whole day off to go to appointments. When I pick the Friday back up, it will be a work from home day, so I could still use it for appointments.

To pamper myself prepare for my return to work, I wanted to use a couple of gift certificates I received for Christmas for a mani/pedi and a massage today. I ended up doing the mani/pedi and some shopping (with some birthday and Christmas gift cards!). I really wanted to get that massage in too but the nearby locations were completely booked the whole weekend! So bummed.

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OPI Taupe-less 🙂

I also stopped at Target on my way home from the salon and got some snacks and soups to bring to work. (Some healthier options, too. the KIND brand snacks)

I almost feel like it’s the first day of school again; I have my clothes all laid out and ready to go, my alarm is already set… 🙂

Wish me luck!

Mums and Dads out there: how did you feel returning to work for the first time after having a baby?

Mom Musings

Mom Musings: On Being a First Time Mom

As mentioned in a previous post, I’ll be posting periodically about the new mom life. This is the first in that series, “Mom Musings”. (original name, right? ah well)

Baby D is already 3 months old and I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone by (I return to work tomorrow)! While I absolutely love how alert, smiley, and happy he is, a part of me already misses when he was just a few weeks old.

Aside from the million pictures we take each day, I specifically take pictures on his monthly birthday (the 6th of each month) with those cute little stickers. I was comparing the last 3 months the other day and I cannot believe the changes. I don’t really notice it day-to-day but when I look back, it’s amazing. Sometimes I can see the little boy he’ll be and it’s truly unbelievable.

I expected becoming a parent would be hard, but there were definitely times where I wasn’t expecting just how hard it could be (3 weeks of colic anyone?). But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I love watching him sleep and discover his voice, his hands, his reflection, Sonny, etc. It’s wonderful. It’s so amazing when his face breaks out into a huge smile just for me.

I’m so excited to take this journey with my husband by my side. I wouldn’t want anyone else to do this with me. Everyday I’m hit again with the realization that this baby is ours to raise and nurture and love unconditionally. I only hope we’re able to be the best mom and dad he needs us to be.

How did you feel the first time you became a mom/dad? Do you have any advice for newbie parents?