Just another mom blog…

For this child, I have prayed. (Samuel 1:27)

Archive for the month “May, 2010”

To work or not to work?

I have been really debating on whether or not I should go to work and when.  I really do not want anyone else raising my child for me while I am off doing something way less important than nurturing the little soul I’ve carried for 9 months and brought into this world.  However, there may be a time where our family’s financial needs may be severely stretched on only one income and I definitely do not want to get to that point and be forced to make a hasty decision. I hate even having to think of it especially since he is only 7 months old.  The most critical personality and intellectual (language) developments take place during the first 3 years, and I do not want anything to adulterate his beautiful mind during this time period.  I am hoping (wishing and praying) that whatever happens in the future with regards to work, I hope that I will still be with him at home most of the time.  Also I hope that “work” will not stress me out to the point that it causes me to not be fully engaged and in tune to him and his needs. It is a lot to think about. (Sighs).

7 months

Busy, Dad is coming, presentation prep

Now that Nathan is getting older, I’ve been on the hunt for a mother’s helper/Nanny.  I am nervous about leaving him with anyone other than my neighbor or his Auntie, however, there are times when I def someone to watch him.   I am working on setting up a few interviews for a prospective nanny. I am looking for a grandmother-type nanny with kids and grandchildren of her own.  I just don’t feel comfortable leaving him with a teenager or person without a child.

My dad and his fiance will be arriving tomorrow.  He is coming up mainly to help C build a fence in our backyard.  I think they may also attend the Cochlear Implant Recipient group where I will be presenting and helping to lead it.

Anyhow…I need to get busy. I have a million things to get done today. 🙂

Mothers’ Day

First Mothers’ Day- May 8, 2010

C went all-out and made it a weekend affair.  He pampered me silly by cleaning and cooked me my favorite foods.  We ate artichokes and king crab legs Saturday night.  He grilled beef wraps and his famous chicken on Sunday.  After we ate, he gave me two cards, one from himself and the other from Nathan.  It was so cute because the one from Nathan had, “Mammmammammama” written on the front of the envelope.  Nathan “signed” the card with help from C.  Both cards are going into my scrapbook that I am making.

C also totally splurged on a nice gift certificate to a local Spa so I can go and pamper myself.  I have never been before, but I have the feeling that I will like it. A lot.  🙂

The highlights of the weekend: In all honesty, the think what stood out the most was seeing how excited C was over the weekend that he had planned for me.  (Actually- it is a tie between that and how he kept interjecting into random conversations about what he wants for Fathers’ Day). I mean, he was positively giddy and it tickled me pink to see him like that.   I loved how we turned off the tv, iPhones, and computers to spend quality time together without being distracted.  Funny things happened…for example, we started talking to each other.  I am not talking about “Please hand me the remote” or “What’s for dinner” either.  I mean we actually looked at each other and started telling stories about college and other personal things.  I felt a sense of reconnection with him that I have not felt in forever and I really hope that we have more of it in the near future because it was simply wonderful and I loved it.

[C: For Fathers’ Day, I think I would like to go play golf with a good view of cinci in the background…]

I woke up a little sad because it is the first Mothers’ day without an actual mother, or grandmother for that matter.  It felt bittersweet until I received a very sweet note of encouragement from a friend of mine.  After reading it, I instead focused on the joy of this particular day and had a wonderful time.

[C: And now that I think about it, I need some new golf shoes. Hint hint, Nathan.]

It is so hard to believe how much our lives have changed since our little one’s arrival.  It was a tough, very long road getting here but I think it made us more appreciative of our blessings.  I have grown so much as a person as well.  I have been trying to make a list of these changes, but there is only so much space available on this blog- lol.  Off of the top of my head, here are a few:

  • “Personal time” has taken a whole new meaning since I cannot shut off the half of my brain which is totally in tune to my son.  He is ALWAYS on my mind, so spacing out is not an option anymore during personal time.  And yes, it can will be interrupted (frequently).   🙂
  • Breastfeeding- I am so unbelievably proud of myself for having made it 7 months already through all sorts of issues.  It is right up there on my list of accomplishments with college degrees, learning another language, and what-not.
  • Living life with more integrity- My resolve to live with integrity has been strengthened 10-fold.  I want him to do what he says he will do and be the person he knows he should be regardless of the situation because he knows it is right, even when no one is looking. The best way I can teach him this is to set the example, and I certainly have been.

[C: Oh! and some breakfast in bed and lunch at this new little eatery would be great]

  • Patience- Now here’s a note-worthy self-improvement quality to be applauded!  My patience with him is unbelievable.  I mean, yes, if I have had very little sleep and I’m sick with a cold and he is just being Mr. Crankypants, I do feel the urge to be unplugged at the time, but I have never lost my patience with him or lessened my care efforts toward him.  I’m proud of that.
  • Love and affection- I have never been the touchy-feely-huggy kind of person.  With him though, I give him a million kisses and hugs a day.  I think he even gets tired of it sometimes, but I can’t help myself.  I honestly think I will have withdrawals if I suddenly had to stop loving him to pieces for longer than the length of his naps.
  • Happiness- I feel truly content being around him. I just feel…happiness.  Not much else I can add to that. 🙂

A lot of other changes are evident, but I don’t have the time to write it all down at the moment.  Anyhow, I had a great Mothers’ Day and I am truly blessed to have my little guy here to love!

[C:  “Hmm…I also think maybe we could…]

[Me: “C! You can’t talk about Fathers’ Day plans on Mothers’ Day. It’s like talking about your birthday on mine.” lol

Making a Splash

7 months old in 3 days! Yikes

Developtment- part II

Yesterday he was playing on the floor and he lost his grip on a toy and toppled over backwards painlessly onto his foam play mat. But because he was tired and wanted me to come get him, he started doing his “come and get me” whine/cry, which I did.  I picked him up without leaving the area and soothed him for a minute because I needed to put him back down to fix his food for him.  I kept looking at him for a second to see how mad he would get because while I did need to fix his food, it does no good to let him get downright upset about the whole situation.

I put him down and he immediately started his whine/cry and also saw that I was not responding to it the way I usually do by picking him up, which is what he was trying to signal to me to begin with. While looking me straight in the eye, I kid you not, I saw his “lightbulb going off” expression and he purposely toppled himself back over onto the floor and started his “come and get me” whine again!

As a side note, some people may think that this is just manipulative behavior and that I should ignore it.  However, I strongly believe that this so-called “manipulative behavior” is really just the beginnings of self-awareness and early attempts at communication.  I think that being tuned in and responsive to my baby’s cues is the best way to encourage him to trust his ability to create new signals in order to express himself and thus aids in language development.

If you look at it from his perspective, this makes perfect sense.  In more (boring) detail, for a brain who does not yet possess language, then the only way to store memories and organize itself is to instead build up a store of “cause and effect” or mental images.  For example, a baby learns that ‘If I root to nurse, I will be nursed.”  This is an innate reflex behavior, present at birth, and it is so effective that even a nursing toddler will continue this behavior after acquiring language.

In our case, Nathan associated toppling over on the floor with my picking him up.  So the first thing that he thought of when he wanted to be picked up and needed to communicate this with me is to topple over because in his experience, he gets picked up.  So now this is one of his many “signals” to me and I am so proud of him for trying so hard to learn how to express what he needs.

I just remembered a few other new things that Nathan does.  A few weeks ago, when he first started teething, I would say, “Want to brush your toofy?” and I would massage his sore gums.  He quickly learned to open his mouth and tilt his head back for me to massage his gums for him.

Around this time, because he was so fussy, I started putting my hand over his mouth to cover and uncover it repeatedly to turn the sound on and off, creating the classic Native American Indian call.  He LOVED it!  The only problem is that he does not have a signal yet to tell me when he wants me to do the Indian call.  The only other time I ever do anything remotely similar is when I “brush his toofys.” He decided to combine our “brushing his toofy” event with the Native American Indian call.  So now whenever I say, “Let’s brush your toofy!” he will open his mouth, tilt his head back, and say “ahhhhhhhh.”  It is a super-cute trick and it never fails to make people laugh.

Milestones: 6 mos, 3 wks old

Nathan is growing too fast! He is a very fast learner and very seldom does he forget what he learns. I have been trying to make it a point to sit down and record his developmental milestones because I think it is fun to look back on and it is important to keep track of for his pediatrician.

Word association:

When we sit outside facing the street, and I say, “car” he automatically cranes his neck both ways to search for the car.  If I say, “where is da-da?” he will turn and look toward the stairs because that is where C normally appears for the first time at the end of the day.  He knows “cat” and is fascinated by them.  He knows “haily” and “Lil man”, baba, yummy for your tummy (meal time), “mommy hurry” (for example if he signals to me that he wants something and I cannot tend to it right then, if I say mommy hurry he will sit quietly and wait most of the time. If I don’t say this, he will cry thinking that I missed his signal), all done (if I say this and he is not done eating, he will get wide eyed and pant and sign WANT to signal that he is not done. If I ignore his communication attempts, he will get his mad face and cry).  If I say, “ball” he will look for the nearest ball and sign WANT.  If he is in the bouncer, and I say “No bouncy” he will stop and stand straight up for me to pick him up.  If I say “bite” he will automatically open his mouth before he even sees that I am giving him something.  If he passes gas and I say, “did you make a pooty with your booty?” he will smile and sometimes laugh, which is just plain cute.  He has a few interactive toys and he knows what “make it go” means and will push the respective toys’ buttons to turn them on. He knows what “hold it” means and can hold his food/water sippy bottle. If I am just talking to him and he recognizes one of the words above, his face will light up and he will smile at me.

Language:

He spends inordinate amounts of time babbling.  He will often stick to a theme. Some of his sounds are: thuh, duh, ma, da, amah (which is actually mom in Sinhalese -aShri Lanka language- if I remember correctly); buh, muh, nah, ba and a few others that I cannot think of at the moment. Whenever I start a sentence with, “where is…” or “what is it?” he will make his “surprise face” and start looking around.

Last week, or maybe the week before, it took him one lesson to learn to look at what I am pointing at.  The first time I taught him, we were watching cars outside and I would say “car” and point either left or right, wherever the car was.  At first he would look both ways because he knows it is one of the two places that a car will appear.  So, I pointed to the car and he looked at my arm and I snapped my fingers and wiggled them to get the car into his peripheal vision, which he locked his gaze on.  The second time he automatically looked at my arm but I had to repeat it to get him to look at my fingers and then he would see the car.  The third or fourth time, he looked right at my pointed finger and then found the car on his own.  The time after that he looked down my hand to see the car, and I knew then that he finally understood what it means when I point.

Physical:

He sits up and very, very rarely topples over.  He Picks up toys and plays with them, sets them down, and manipulates them well. He knows where the “make it go” buttons are on all of his toys and can turn them on himself.  (I showed him ONCE on one of them and he never forgot it!)  He lunges forward and can use another toy as a tool to extend his reach while he uses the toy to move the other one closer so that he can reach it.  He has been able to pivot around on his belly for a few weeks now.  He is trying to dig his toes in to inch forward while on his belly and recently started to pull one side up on his knees.  He is not quite strong enough yet to get on both knees and push his belly up off of the ground.  It seems like every time he is on the ground he learns by leaps and bounds and it usually catches me off-gaurd. In the bath, he knows how to reach under the water to grab whatever he wants and he can get the foam toys that are stuck on the bathtub off so that he can play with them.  In the bath, a few weeks ago he started to use his belly or the side of the tub to pick up slippery wet ball toys since his hand is not big enough to reach around the ball.  He likes to twirl his hands in my hair.

He recently started crawling over my lap when he wants something on the other side.  If I have him standing next to me, he will often reach toward the back of the chair/couch/stair and grab ahold of it to support himself standing up.

When he is all done eating, he will hold his arms and hands back and his head up while I unfasten the bib and remove it.  When I am changing him, he tries to turn himself over while reaching above his head to get into the stash of baby supplies I have stored there for changing time.

He can sit on his little “bike” toy by himself and can move it backwards, but not yet forward on his own.

Personality: He loves books and tries to pick up (pincher-style) followed by scratching the images when he cannot pick them up. Here is a picture of him trying to “catch” the balls as they shoot up from the toy, and another of him playing:

He wears 12 month clothes and is still just a long, skinny boy.  He has a cute line where the linea alba is that makes it look like he has defined abdominal muscles (6-pack).  There is a picture of his belly below. This trait, as far as I know, is genetic from my side of the family because I have had a “six-pack” since around his age as well.  His oldest tooth (bottom left) has grown half-way out. A top tooth (right) has sprouted and I can see/feel the other top front tooth just under his bulging gum.

Dr. Phil Show

I’ve been so busy spring-cleaning and being a mommy lately that I have not had the time or energy to sit down and write a lengthy update on recent events.  Nathan is taking his nap right now and the house is finally shaping up.

Dr. Phil Show:

So…we got invited to the Dr. Phil show.  It is a long story, but basically C and I were debating back and forth about what to do with our dog, Haley, who has been known to snap at babies and children, including our son.  He concluded his argument with, “You can ask anyone (about the debate) and I bet every single one of them would agree with me.”

About a week later, after I was contacted about being on the show, I AIM-ed C:

Me: Hey! You remember our dog debate and you suggested that I ask a couple of people about it? Well I think that asking “a couple” of people is not a very effective sample size….So how about asking a couple million people? We got invited to appear on the Dr. Phil show!!!

C: (silence)

Me: Are you there?

[Let me just add that up until this point, I had no idea that a panic attack could ever be expressed over Instant messaging…]

C: uh…um…how about we…um…geeze jenn! That is live tv! Um…I guess we can…when is it?

…and so it went.

It was to be a show on parenting dilemmas, more specifically about mixing pet responsibilities and parenting ones.  The producer emailed me and I was so excited.  She said that she needed to call me about the show and I was literally shaking when I picked up the phone.  As it turned out, she was absolutely delightful and I reminded myself that she is just a regular person with an interesting job, and we ended up chatting away like pals from school.  She asked me to send in some pictures of us all and to make a short video of me asking Dr. Phil about our dilemma, which I promptly did.  She informed us that they would fly us to Los Angeles for the taping the show the following week.

I asked her about how we would be presented on the show, since I have seen some of Dr. Phil shows portraying the guest in a rather unflattering, classless way.  She said that we would be presented on a united front as parents who wanted to do the right think for our son’s safety while also being responsible dog owners and that we were not sure of the best choice to make.  I was very happy about that because I would have downright refused to go on national TV under any other circumstances. I was sooo excited! I was hoping, and I told the producer this, that Dr. Phil could provide us with a top-notch dog training expert to work with us.  I could use the opportunity to create awareness for the animal rescue I work for, Rescue Angles, Inc.  Also, I could help promote responsible pet ownership because lots of our rescue dogs are from people who get a “cute puppy” without a thought about how the dog will fit into their families for the next 10-18 years of the dog’s life.

[Note to those who are thinking that I am a hypocrite and did just that, I assure you that I did not.  I rescued Haley as an adult and she came to us as a frightened, abused dog. I never intended to keep her. We worked with her to get her somewhat socialized enough for whoever adopted her.  We even got a second dog, Lil man, to replace her once she got adopted.  We never had the critical period of a puppy’s life to properly socialize her to various situations and people, including infants, as we had with Lil Man. I did not realize that she had aggressive tendencies toward infants until a few years after we had her and she felt threatened/cornered by my infant niece and tried to bite her.]

So C came home that night and I went on to tell him about us being on the show.  It turns out that we had a giganormous misunderstanding and that he did not want to be on the actual stage. My heart sank and I felt defeated….until I decided to give it one last shot.  I emailed the producer and asked if he could not be on the stage with me and I would represent our interests.  She said that she could certainly work with that and that the show is still on!

Again…I got sooo excited! I mentioned the successful intervention which saved the show for us to C. Again, another huge misunderstanding.  C said that under no uncertain terms would he appear on TV.  C shared with me that he has a dire form of stage fright, which I did not know about until the whole Dr. Phil event.  By this point, I felt overly emotional due to so many extreme ups and yucky disappointing lows.  I tried to come to terms with his stage fright while trying to get over the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for promoting responsible pet ownership, getting top-notch dog training to help us with a very legitimate concern, and not to mention an all-expenses paid trip to Los Angeles to meet the Dr. Phil. I guess I felt that he would (and really should) at least try to do this for me (and our son and dog), but I quickly realize that it just wasn’t going to happen.

Anyhow, I tried one last time to make adjustments to our guest appearance, this time just me and C not to be seen, but the producer said that it is not doable and that we are no longer invited.

Ouch.

I wish I could say that I was a wonderful wife and I just accepted it all without a fuss, but I didn’t.  I spent a good week moping around and mourning the loss of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  I can’t help but to wonder what it would have been like if we had gone. I felt angry, defeated, and newly hopeless about our situation and I (inwardly) channeled a lot of it toward him. I felt that if I had to overcome something uncomfortable for me in order for him to be able to do something that meant a lot to him, that I would do it in a heartbeat, albeit an adrenalin-induced rapidly beating one.

That was then.

Shortly thereafter, or at least at this point, I see that some mountains are just too high for some people to climb, and that I just have to trust his judgement on what he thinks he can or cannot do. Even if I am convinced that he can accomplish whatever he puts his mind to, the loving thing to do is to support him no matter what.

As it is, we still don’t know what to do about this dog of ours and the two of us are back on square 1 with this whole issue.  I cannot go against his wishes and find another (childless) home for our dog, so I am just going to do my best to try to prevent Nathan from getting bitten for whatever reason.  It goes completely against my maternal instincts, but I am going to embrace his optimism that things will be fine and pray that it will be true.  Maybe (just maybe) my maternalism is clouding my judgement and that her previous aggression mishaps is just a fluke and I have nothing to worry about.

One lesson that I have learned from all of this is that of a whole new breed of parenting issues that never really occurred to me prior to this event.  The lesson is that sometimes parents have to evaluate situations holistically and choose the lesser of the two evils for their child.  That sometimes there is no clear right or wrong choice, that sometimes the answer falls square in the center of the Land of Grey.  All that we can do is just try our best as parents, that we will certainly make mistakes, but also experiences many triumps all along our parenting journey.

Not so fussy, thank goodness

Nathan is doing MUCH better now that his brand new tooth has emerged.  We had a great day today, actually.  I must say that it is refreshing to have my fun, easy-going boy back again.  Nursing is back to being a smooth, well-rehearsed event for both of us.  He has not been waking up at unusual hours and fussing.  In fact, I found him happily playing with feet in his co-sleeper at 4am this morning and he even put himself back to sleep! Splendid indeed!

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