Tag Archives: Post-Baby

Dear Riley and Charlotte

Dear Riley and Charlotte,

There are times throughout the day that you both do things that are either hilarious, adorable, or a little bit of both and I realize that you won’t do these things forever. Riley, you’ll be FIVE in a couple months, and that just blows my mind.


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Gone are the days of you calling our dog Lola, “Wahwhoa,” or saying that maybe some candy would, “feel me better.” I miss that little boy, but I love the little boy you are today. The one who:

  • Tells me on a daily basis that I’m the best mommy ever
  • Thanks me for making dinner and usually says it’s the best dinner ever, even when it’s just spaghetti
  • Asks uncomfortably inappropriate questions like “Mommy, why don’t you have a wiener?”
  • Loves his sister so much it hurts. Sometimes literally. Yesterday you hugged her too tight and too long and she struggled to get away. Apparently you still didn’t let go and she bit you right on the cheek. It’s a hard lesson to learn, but I think she made her point.
  • Immediately takes my hand whenever you get out of the car. I don’t need to remind you, you do it automatically and I can tell it makes both of us happy.

And Charlotte, you are now 18 months old and you’re getting bigger and less baby-like every day.

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I love how you:

  • only call animals by the sounds they make, not what they’re called. For example, your favorite, a horse is a “neigh neigh,” a dog is an “arf arf” a cat is a “meow” a rooster is a “cock a doodle doo” – high pitched of course – and a bird is a “tweet tweet.” I should probably be correcting you, but it’s too cute!
  • are so observant. You see your favorite, a squirrel, from across the room, outside the window and up a tree across the street. You don’t miss much.
  • love kissing. You make a cartoon kissy face and come at us with a “mmmmmMMMMMMWAH!” until we let you plant one on us.
  • I love the way you say yes. It sounds like “yesssshhhh”. It’s too cute for words.
  • Whenever I’m holding you, if I sigh out of the sheer exhaustion of raising two kids and working full time, you instantly mimic my sigh. Because maybe your life is hectic, too.
  • At night, you insist on me reading “moooooon!” (Goodnight Moon) as one of your bedtime stories. However, you refuse to let me open it up and read the pages. Luckily, that was one of Riley’s favorite books too, so I’ve had 4 and a half years to memorize the book. I read it to you every night from memory, while you sit on my lap and hug the closed book.

This list really could go on and on, but I’ll stop here. You two are the best things that ever happened to your dad and me. We can’t wait to see the people you become. You will always make us proud.

Love,

Mommy

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Happy Birthday!

Dear Charlotte,

Today is your birthday. You’re 1!

char1A year ago right now, I was in the hospital in the most excrutiating pain of my life. I can now say that I know what natural childbirth feels like and I think it’s safe to say I’d never like to feel that again. But the moment you were born was life changing for me. I’ll never forget it. I’ll never forget hearing your daddy say, “Is it a GIRL? It’s a GIRL!” We were shocked, happy and so, so thankful for you. We still are.

IMG_4748I’d be lying if I said this year has been easy; that I’ve loved every minute of it. Becoming a family of four, especially a working mom to two kids, has been much harder than I anticipated. I’ll tell you more about it someday when you become a mother and call me frazzled, stressed and over tired. I’ll remember this past year and reassure you that you will be fine. By then, I’ll have hopefully done my job and prepared you to be an awesome mom, just like my mom taught me. Being a mom is my most favorite thing in the world. I mean that so much. You and your brother make me a better person and for that I am grateful.

Ok, sweet girl, enough with the heavy, mushy stuff. Let’s talk about what kind of baby you are. You are loud, opinionated and funny.

IMG_6594You can do tricks! You started walking about 3 weeks ago. It amazes me how you can move those chubby little legs of yours. Riley announces it to the world every time he sees you do it. “Charlotte’s walking!” he yells proudly. He loves you so much.

You blow kisses, wave bye bye and say “bye!”, your favorite word is still “Mama” with “Lola” being a close second. You like to dance whenever you hear music. Pointing is your favorite past time. You point at anything and everything and recently started pointing to pictures of me and Daddy to let everyone know that you’re thinking of us. When we tell you no, you cry big crocodile tears. Because you are going to be a drama queen, maybe? Yeesh.

Sleeping is definitely not your favorite thing. At least at night it’s not. You like to nurse during the night. Which I can’t believe we’re still doing. Breastfeeding was also pretty brutal this past year. I will spare you the gory details (at least until you’re a mom yourself) but I’m proud of both of us for making it through the first year together.

I love you little girl. I’m so glad you’re mine forever.

Happy birthday.

Love,

Mommy

 

 

 

 

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9 Months

Dear Charlotte,

Today you are 9 months old. I can’t help but remember the letter I wrote to your brother on his 9 Month birthday. I’m so glad I have a record of what your brother did and when he did it. He loved to scramble over to me and make me pick him up, too. He loved to give hugs and bury his face in my shoulder, just like you do. I love you guys so much.

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Lately, you’ve learned some new tricks. You can clap! Really! And wave! Sometimes you wave to yourself and it’s just so cute.

What of the biggest disappointments of my working motherhood is that I missed your first clap. It’s something I had spent some time teaching you. I have given your daddy strict instructions to knock you down if you even think about taking your first steps while I’m at work.

The other development this month is that you started saying, “Mama.” I’m not kidding. Yes, people will also say it’s just the sound that you’re making; you don’t know it’s me. I beg to differ. I’ve talked many times before about how much you love being velcroed to my side. I’m the mama kangaroo and you’re my joey. You’d love for me to carry you around in a pouch all day, every day. You see me across the room and you squawk until I come pick you up. You know me, you love me. You can say “Mama.” Ha!

You’re just so cute, sweet and lovable. I know you will hold onto these traits for a long, long time. You have a pretty, sweet and charming name and it suits you, my little baby.

I have now known you for a collective 18 months – 9 months inside and 9 months outside.

9 months inside....

9 months inside….

....and 9 months on the outside.

….and 9 months on the outside.

 

I love you more every day.

Love,
Mommy

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What A Difference A Year Makes

Last Easter I was very pregnant, it was nice and warm and we had a cute little boy with a bow tie.

Easter 2012

Easter 2012

This Easter, we have a sweet baby girl. A little boy in a grey skinny jeans. And I’m still happy to not be pregnant, thank you very much.

Easter 2013

Easter 2013

Is it me or has that little boy really grown up in the last year? It’s crazy. I can’t even imagine what our little fam will look like next year.

 

 

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Back

I just got back from a loooooong 4 day trip to New Orleans for work. The first trip away from my 7 month-old baby. Not cool. For several reasons, including:

1. I’m still breastfeeding. In preparation for this trip away, I dropped one feeding per day and Charlotte got her first taste of formula. Luckily, everything was ok before I left. However, the first day I was there, I stupidly forgot to bring my pump from the hotel, so I had to go from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. with no pumping. Painful. I practically ran to my hotel room after 5 and happily pumped to my heart’s content. But my boobs still hurt for the next 24 hours. It was really uncomfortable. Duly noted, boobs. Thanks.

2. The worst turbulance ever. I’ve had bumpy flights before, but that was nothing compared to my connecting flight from Atlanta to New Orleans. The plane was not only bouncing up and down rapidly, we were also dipping side to side. I was constantly having that stomach falling out your toes feeling that you get on roller coasters, and people around me were doing the sign of the cross and praying. Not very reassuring, passengers! It was so bumpy that the flight attendants didn’t get out of their seats the whole plane. No drinks or pretzels for us!

3. I missed my family. so. much. I’m so thankful for technology because I was able to FaceTime them on my iPhone. Though, the connection wasn’t the greatest in my hotel room. But every time Charlotte’s sweet little face appeared on the screen, I cried. It’s so hard to be away from her, especially because she’s usually velcroed to my side.

But luckily, the trip went by fairly quickly and I happily paid $50 to Delta airlines to switch my flight so I’d get home 2 hours earlier. I would’ve paid $200 to get home faster. But I’m glad that I did it and that my first trip away is officially over. I hope work doesn’t make me travel again for a long, long time.

P.S. Kudos to my husband for holding down the fort with two kids, a dog and a house under construction. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a baby and a little boy to go kiss.

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The Saga of Breastfeeding

This has the potential to be a long post. I’ll try to be brief.

I breastfed Riley for 11 months of his life. However, we had to start supplementing with formula when he was only a few days old because he was jaundiced. So for his whole babyhood, there was not a lot of pressure on me to provide for him. And honestly, looking back on it almost four years later, I don’t remember ever feeling the pressure of being the only one to feed him, having to constantly keep track of the time so I knew when I’d have to feed him or pump. Not to mention watching what I eat and drink to make sure it’s breast milk- friendly.

So I just assumed when Charlotte was born that my body wouldn’t produce enough to sustain her. Surprise, surprise, it does!

 

Check out those rolls. I gave her those. :)

Check out those rolls. I gave her those. 🙂

I’m very proud to say that for the first six months of her life, my little girl ate nothing but breast milk. Crazy, right? She has now started eating baby food and cereal which she seems to love and she still drinks her milk like a champ. She’s never had a drop of formula. Seriously, that blows my mind and I’m insanely proud of this fact. And no diss to any formula-feeding moms. I know formula isn’t poison, I just knew I wanted her to be breastfed and I’m so, so thankful that it has worked so well. I know not everyone is so lucky.

Not that it’s been easy. Man, was it painful in the beginning. To the point that I was really freaking people out even in the hosptial. Every time that little barracuda would latch on I would gasp like ….well like my nipple was getting ripped off. Even the nurse at the hospital would wince, “Ooh, that sounds so painful,” she said. And it would give Derek the heebie jeebies, too.

After at LEAST three weeks, it started to get a little better. I’m not even kidding. It was super painful for the first three weeks of her life. I used lanolin cream and ice packs, but really, I just had to suck it up. I would dread her next feeding. The clock would start creeping closer to the time that she needed to eat and I’d whine that I didn’t want to do it.

But I stuck with it and it got easier. I figured we were over the hump.

But then a few months later, my nips would really burn after she fed. Hello, thrush! I’m so thankful that Charlotte never showed any signs of thrush, but man, feeling like your nipples are on fire is not a fun way to go through the day. I tried to ignore it so I went on like that for two weeks before I called the doctor. Hello! Not my finest moment. She called in some miracle cream and I still use it sporadically if I feel a little burny.

But here’s what’s been happening recently – blood. From my nipples. (I’m sorry to any males who are reading this. Really, you should just stop).

I have no idea why it keeps happening, but it’s been happening on and off for months. I think the thrush may have something to do with it, or she feeds for a while without having latched on right. I don’t know. All I know is there’s nothing more terrifying than seeing your baby spit up blood. And then realizing it’s your blood. Not cool.

And then it all came to a head last week when I realized I was bleeding on one side, only to switch her over to the other side and see that that side was bleeding too! UGH.

I asked Derek what he would do if he were in my position. He replied: “If I was doing something that was making blood come out of my nipples, I would stop immediately.”

My husband is awesome. And in this case, he’s right.

Listen, I have a huge stockpile of milk in the freezer. See?

I would guess there's about 50 ounces of milk in that there freezer.

I would guess there’s about 50 ounces of milk in that there freezer. And ice cream. Yum.

So starting this weekend, I dropped one feeding of Charlotte and now give her a bottle of breastmilk instead. In a week or two, I’ll drop another feeding. When my freezer stash is gone, we will start giving her formula. My goal is to still be able to breastfeed her before bed and in the morning until she’s one year old. I hope that happens. I really do.

Am I sad that I may not be breastfeeding my baby much longer? Honestly, a little bit. I have never really looked at breastfeeding as a beautiful bonding moment between me and my babies. I look at it as the healthiest food option for them and something that a mom should do. There are times that I’ve enjoyed it, but there are many other aspects of it that I have not enjoyed.

Like pumping at work. Annoying, kinda gross and honestly, it’s just a pain. To give you some idea of how much I have pumped since going back to work in September? I downloaded a pumping app to my phone on November 1st. Since then, I have pumped 312.50 ounces of breastmilk. While at work. I find that equal parts amazing and grody. Wow. The human body is nuts.

Anyway, the thought of wearing a non-nursing bra thrills me. The thought of losing the rest of this baby weight also thrills me. With Riley, I never lost all the baby weight until I stopped nursing and then I lost 8 pounds in a week. I’m really looking forward to that week this time, let me tell you!

So while, I’m still nursing my baby 4 times per day, I am happy to be on the road to Weansville. Hooray!

 

 

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Sssshhhh

Don’t tell anyone. I don’t want to jinx it, but our little Charlotte has been sleeping in her crib for the last four nights.

Since the day she was born, she’s been sleeping next to our bed in this:

It’s the Fisher Price Rock n’ Play Sleeper.

It worked great. I could give her a gentle rock or put her pacifier back in her mouth WITHOUT EVEN GETTING OUT OF BED. Hello, awesome! At her four month check up, the pediatrician said since Charlotte can now roll over, she better sleep in her crib or in a Pack and Play just in case she figures out how to sit up or roll out of the Rock n’ Play. I meant to get started on transitioning her in to her crib a month ago and for some reason, I never did.

It may be because she’s my last baby and I like looking over at her in the middle of the night and seeing her snoozing away. Or maybe it’s because she STILL isn’t technically sleeping through the night and it’s easier to pick her up and feed her in our bed rather than walking alllllll the way down the hall to her room to feed her in the wee hours of the morning. Mostly though, I think it’s because I belong to the mentality if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Charlotte sleeping in our room had been working, so why stop?

Here’s why. I decided to look online to find out the weight capacity for the Rock ‘n Play. It’s like 25 pounds or something, so obviously, we’re good for a looooong time. But then I made the mistake of reading some of the reviews on Amazon.com. Scary!

Almost every single review mentioned that the Rock ‘n Play causes babies to develop a flat head, some said their babies got torticollis, some needed physical therapy and some even needed to wear special helmets to help their heads develop.

Now, realistically, I don’t think that just one thing you do could potentially cause all these problems for your baby, but so many people posted comments about this that I couldn’t ignore it. And honestly, Charlotte DOES have a flat spot on her head. I thought it was because maybe we weren’t doing enough tummy time and we probably did more with Riley because he never had a flat head. Though, maybe the Rock ‘n Play has something to do with it. Who knows.

Either way, the girl had to get into her crib.

And KNOCK ON ALL THE WOOD AND ALL THE THINGS, it hasn’t been very bad. I put her in her crib around 10 and she usually fusses for a bit. Sometimes we need to go in and pop her pacifier back in her mouth. But then she usually sleeps til about 2:30, when again, we have to go in and pop her pacifier back in her mouth. Then she’s been waking up between 4 and 4:30 wanting to eat. I bring her in our bed, feed her, and then place her in the Rock ‘n Play where she sleeps for about 2 hours before she’s up and wanting to eat again, then is ready for her day.

No, it’s not absolutely perfect, but it’s been working this week. So this whole week, Derek and I have gone to bed in our room alone. For the first time in months. And when the dog got a horrible case of flatulence earlier this week, we left her sleeping out in the living room rather than killing us with her farts while she slept in our room. It was really nice actually sleeping just the two of us in one room. It’s the little things that make me happy, obviously.

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