Thursday, January 7, 2016

Happy Anniversary, Scoops of Poops!

...and now!

It's been one full year since I first launched this blog, and I'm still kind of amazed that I've actually done it. I have so many unfinished projects in my life, and although I haven't been writing as frequently as I'd prefer, I have to recognize that I am still writing, even if it's only once a month. (Side note: if you follow @scoopsofpoops on Instagram, you'll get way more updates from me there!)

A few quick highlights about Scoops:
She's almost 15 months old.
She's walking! Took her first two steps on Nov 24, just a couple days before Thanksgiving. Then she took a break from walking for a while (LOL), but by now she usually takes a few steps in a row a few times each day.
She signs "milk," "more," "please," and "thank you" regularly (sometimes needs a little coaching), and often says the word as she's signing.
She loves owls, and knows that they say "hoo, hoo!"
She loves dogs, and knows that they say "bar bar bar bar bar bar bar bar!" (Thanks, daddy.)
Even if she doesn't know how to say the names of other animals, she knows many of them and can point to them when we ask her to. 
In her special, sweet, toddler-speak, she says "eyes," "ears," "mouth," "nose," "knee" and "toes" and points to them all. 
Her favorite food is toast, and she asks for it by saying, "tooooooast?"
She loves to play peek-a-boo.
She dances like a rockstar.
She gives kisses to any and every thing and person she likes.
Her hair has grown so much, and I refuse to cut it because I don't want her to have bangs. She refuses to keep clips in her hair, so it's pretty much always in her eyes. She doesn't seem to mind.

And a few quick highlights about mommy:

I went back to work a couple months ago. 
More accurately, I got an entirely new job. It was, and continues to be, very bittersweet. I'm working part-time for a local small retail business. The hours are great (except for having to work weekends) and the pay is a little better than you might expect in a retail environment. I work with a group of other awesome moms with kids around the same age as Scoops.

I still don't feel like I have my shit together...
Some days I'm just rockin' it, but most days I try to do marginally better than simply surviving. I still have a hard time managing all the laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning, and general household affairs while raising a decent human being and maintaining my sanity. I'm trying to be accepting of my reality on a day to day basis, and continue to adjust my impossibly high expectations for myself.

...but I'm really doing OK.
Some days are easier than others, and I try extra hard to keep track of all the really super awesome days. Celebrating my wins makes it easier to face my struggles (sometimes [usually]). When I feel motivated, I try to give myself reasonable goals to work toward, like vacuuming my entire apartment in one day (!). When I feel overwhelmed, I try to sit still and breathe, and just hold and play with my baby girl. Sometimes the universe conspires to help me get the housework done before I have to rush off to work all weekend. Sometimes the universe tells me to slow the eff down, take a chill pill, and just be in the moment. Noticing that I have a regularly tendency to be aware of all that seems to be an indication that I'm not overall failing at this parenting and life thing.

And now for some self-care: off to bed I go. (Oh, who am I kidding? I'm about to screw around on Pinterest for another hour before I finally shut my eyes.) Sweet dreams, mommies and daddies, and babies, and everyone else heading to bed now. I'll catch you on the flip side!

Monday, December 7, 2015

What's Up With Scoops - Dec 2015 Edition

I'm not sure how I feel about continuing with the monthly updates. I've stopped taking photos like I did for the first twelve months, and somehow it seems strange to write an update when I haven't taken a photo with the chalkboard. (That, and I can't seem to post the updates until about a month after they've happened.) But since I already had a 13-month post drafted, and since Scoops will be 14 months old this weekend, I figured, meh, why the heck not. Without much glamour (i.e. in a bulleted list), let me tell you what Scoops was up to at 13 months:

  • Finally started signing "more"
  • Has signed "potty" once
  • Has a word for "airplane" but not the actual word
  • Easily climbs out of my lap when done nursing and/or ready to play
  • LOVES books, and asks to have them read to her
  • Plays peek-a-boo by covering her face with her hands, a blanket, or the shower curtain (yes)
  • Interacts with every page of Pat the Bunny
  • Loves her blankie and snuggle bunny
  • Loves her "drumsticks" and xylophone from daddy
  • Sips out of her play cups and washes her dishes in the play kitchen sink
  • Takes toys out of one container and collects them in another
  • Stands up easily from sitting
  • Learning to use a spoon and fork to feed herself
  • Thinks "protein" is the best food group ever
  • Is mostly sleeping through the night
  • Pooping in the potty almost daily
  • Dancing on the reg :)
  • Talking/babbling a lot
  • Can identify body parts (Head and Shoulders song, anyone?)
  • Learning the difference between you/yours and me/mine

And since 14 months will be here in just a few days, I'm going to preemptively write a few updates to the above list. 

  • Understands the power of signing "more"
  • Signs "please" - but not actually (her attempt at recreating the sign is to pat both shoulders at once)
  • Says "pease?" or "pwease?" (and yes, it is the cutest thing in the world)
  • Identifies by pointing and/or naming Mama, Dada, and Baby (herself)
  • Identifies other people by pointing, when asked
  • Is definitely an intermediate user of spoons and forks (she still misses a lot, but she's hitting her targets more and more now!)
  • Loves being chased, tickled, and startled by Extreme Peek-a-Boo with daddy
  • Thinks her farts are at least a notable accomplishment, at best cause for a laugh attack
  • Blows actual kisses, with a sweet kissy noise - this is also her response when we tell her to say "I love you" to someone
  • Dances to any music or musical/rhythmic sound. Acutally, she starts dancing if we even mention music. (She is her mother's daughter.)
  • Has a full 7 teeth (3 on the bottom, 4 on top), and seems to be getting more although I can't feel them coming in yet
  • Said "Santa" tonight while watching the old-school stop motion animation Rudolph movie (yes, I teared up)

Enjoying a quiet little break at a very lively Thanksgiving celebration

I'm enjoying watching my little girl rapidly grow and develop. I've become very comfortable with referring to her as a toddler, though I've taught her to refer to herself as The Baby. She will always be my baby. 

I realized this evening that I don't take as many photos of her as I think other moms must take of their babies. I feel like I'm often told to take a picture when Scoops is doing something cute, but I don't always like to. She knows what my phone is (and that she's not allowed to play with it), and she knows that we can take pictures on it. But one day a couple months ago, when I was logging her meal in my baby tracker app, I looked up to see her imitating me tapping my phone screen. It would have been cute, except that she was urgently crying out "mama mama mama!" while doing it, and clearly trying to get my attention. I don't want her thinking my phone is an extension of my arm, or that it's more valuable or interesting to me than she is. I also don't want to miss being part of special and significant moments just because I was trying to document them. (But if I can get a vid of her saying "pwease" you can bet your ass it'll be posted on the internet, quick status.) So I might have less photos than other moms, but I'm ultimately ok with that.

At almost 14 months, I am feeling much more settled into mommyhood. I am completely aware that I still have much to learn as Scoops gets older, but I also feel that I have lots of valuable information to share with newer moms. The newborn stage seems so incredibly far behind me now, even though it also feels like it was just yesterday. I know that I appreciated the advice of, shall we say, seasoned moms? when I was a brand-new mommy. I hope I can pay that forward now. I'm feeling a renewed motivation for writing with this realization (or remembering, maybe) that I actually have something to offer to the blog-o-sphere, so expect to see more of my musings soon!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Scoops is One

Since Scoops will be turning 13 months old tomorrow, I thought this might be a good time to write a 12-month update. Life, am I right?

To be honest, I don't remember all the details I had intended to write about immediately following her first birthday. But I don't think that really matters. I look at the photo above and see my smiling girl, so much still a baby as she tentatively steps into toddlerhood, and I have to remember that's all that matters. I started this blog to share about all the ways in which I'm a very normal and imperfect parent, and to create a community of love and support for other new moms and dads who feel the sincere struggle that accompanies the joy of growing your family. I don't want to get so wrapped up in my OCD - I mean, uh, in the details of writing - that I forget why I started Scoops of Poops. It's in the name. Especially in those first few months, but even now, every day has some poop, literal or figurative, and I usually have to clean it up. I'd like to think I'm not alone in that, and I'd like to help others know they're not alone either. 

Case in point: this blog is my kid's baby book. I don't have a physical one. And, yes, I periodically worry that the internet might die and I'll lose all her photos and my remarks on them. But then I remind myself that if the internet is dead, we probably have much bigger problems than lost baby photos. I digress.

Another case in point: I'm writing a 12-month post at 13 months. BUT I am writing it. I almost didn't. A few times I thought "What's the point?" And then I realized I need to do it, for one simple reason.

Because I said I would. I told myself I'd write this post, and by God, I'm going to do it. I have to follow through on what I say I'll do, to honor my words and to teach my daughter to honor her words. This also teaches me to abandon my fear of judgement or failure and just do what I said I'd do. It doesn't matter how many people read or don't read this post. All that matters is that I write it.

So here it is, the 12-month recap. At 1 year of age, Scoops has greenish-blue eyes, and lovely soft blonde hair that is finally just long enough for pigtails. She is signing "milk" like nobody's business, but sometimes uses the sign to mean "I want that" and not just for milk. Two of her top teeth finally busted through, but not the two center. It was one of the center ones and the one just to the other side of it, so she has a cute lopsided grin now. She is lifting her hands and shrugging her shoulders constantly, and it's so cute it breaks my heart. She really sounds like she's asking questions when she does it, too. She can stand up without holding on to anything, but she doesn't often like to. She has started blowing kisses (but she just brings her palm to her mouth, and doesn't actually throw the kisses to anyone). It's become part of her morning routine as she waves goodbye to daddy when he leaves for work, but the first person to catch a kiss blown from Scoops was her Grammy, which melted all of our hearts.

We threw a party for her at a local park, and since she is Scoops, it was an ice cream themed party. My wonderful husband and I slaved over a Pinterest-worthy ice cream cone garland that took so much effort to create that it's now on display in our living room. I may leave it up until Scoops' next birthday (kidding). We gave her a smash cake from Whole Foods, and she loved it. She also loved sharing bites of it with everyone sitting near her. Other than the intricate garland, it was a pretty simple party, with just cupcakes and an ice cream bar for food, water and apple cider (because Fall) to drink, and blankets for guests to sit upon.

The ice cream cone garland from Hell. Not really, that's just what we went through to make it.

Since her birthday was on a Monday, we had the party the weekend before. On her actual birthday, we took her to a small, local aquarium and got to look at some fun sea creatures, a tall ship, and play on a tide-pool play set. Later, we got greek street food, and Scoops tasted her first gyro, which she liked so much that she tried to steal it right out of my hands several times. We took her to see the ocean waves, and helped her practice walking along the boardwalk. She's still not walking on her own, but she loves to walk between mommy and daddy while we hold her hands. It's one of my favorite activities, actually.

Everyone I've talked to says that baby's first birthday is a celebration for mom (some say mom and dad) as well for "making it through the first year." I have to say I don't really see it that way. It's not like I get to check out after the first year, even if I wanted to. And it's not like she turned one and I was suddenly imparted with a shit-ton of parental wisdom and therefore know exactly what I'm doing now. I'm still adjusting. I'm still learning. I'm still just trying to figure things out day to day. As always, I try (though I am often less than successful) to keep my priorities straight: love myself, love my spouse, and love my baby, thereby fostering love on a much grander scale than just our family unit. 

Until next time, happy parenting!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Scoops is 11 Months

Today, my sweet little Scoops is 11 months old. Time truly is flying by. The "memory" feature on my Facebook feed is making this reality a little stranger to process. I keep seeing photos of my swollen pregnant belly, and reminding myself that a year ago Scoops was still in the womb! It feels both like she just got here, and like she's been here for a long time. Gone is the newborn baby who used to wriggle and squeak so quietly in my arms, content to lie still and sleep much of the day. This child is practically a toddler now. She's not walking yet, but heaven help you if you try to lay her in your arms "like a baby." She is strong, so strong, and she prefers to sit up straight, or even better, to crawl as fast as she can, no matter where she is. She has started walking on her hands and feet instead of just crawling on her hands and knees, so real walking must be just around the corner. 

She loves things that go. Every time she hears an airplane or helicopter flying by, she looks for it and usually points at it, following it with her eyes until it is out of sight. Motorcycles, big trucks, and fire engines are also fascinating. We often see fire engines returning as we walk past the fire station on our street, and the fire fighters always cheerfully wave and smile at the wonder-eyed Scoops. She made friends with a burly old motorcycle rider as we walked home from the park one day. Let me tell you, few things will warm a mother's heart like seeing a rough looking biker dude smile and wave to an admiring infant. 

Much to my joy, a few weeks ago she started making a new noise along the lines of "deedle eedle." Sometimes she adds to it and says it as if she's asking a question that sounds like, "deedle eedle liddle diddle daddle?" Sometimes this cuteness is accompanied by a lifting of hands and shrugging of shoulders, for maximum cuteness overload. It took me a while to figure it out, but she has a couple toys that have chimes in them, and I'm pretty sure the "deedle eedle" sound is her imitation of the chimes.

She has two teeth, the bottom front pair. She loves solid food, but lately has more enjoyed spitting it out and playing with it than eating it. Her hair is lovely golden blonde, and almost long enough for itty bitty pigtails. Her eyes are greenish blue, and still as piercing and inquisitive as ever. She claps her hands like a champ, points at things she likes or wants, and, when she's not pretending to be shy, gives adorable high fives. She has started shaking her head "no" in obvious response when she doesn't want something (for example, when I ask "Do you want more zuchinni?" or "Do you want to go to grandma?"). Luckily, she's cute, so it's not terribly frustrating at this point. I'm just glad that she's learning to communicate. She also pushes people or things away when she's not interested, which has led to a few hurt feelings, but again, the cute factor helps alleviate most butt-hurtedness. 

She wakes up most nights now. Sometimes I get lucky and she only wakes up once, right when I'm going to bed, and then sleeps the rest of the night. Those nights are great. More often, however, she wakes up at least twice a night. It has been hard for me, as someone who never could function well on limited sleep, even before having a baby. I try to take it in stride, and most days I can smile through the sleepless headaches, focus on the cuteness, and force myself to stop producing and sleep when the baby sleeps. Some days, I can't deal so well. On those days, I try to take deep breaths, talk perspective into myself, reach out to friends and family for help and support, and still force myself to sleep when the baby sleeps. To that end, my home has not been cleaned for a few weeks, and I have a pile of opened but unsorted mail on my desk that is waiting to be filed. 

I question whether I'm doing the right thing every time I pick my baby up to nurse her in the middle of the night. But I also questioned whether I was doing the right thing when I attempted night weaning for a full week and had my husband get up and feed Scoops a bottle every time she awoke. In fact, as I write this I'm questioning myself, because I've just left a still-whimpering baby with my husband after I've been trying to get her back to sleep for over an hour. (This is not a typical situation, though. Usually she just wants a few minutes of nursing when she wakes up, and then she goes right back to sleep in her own bed.) I'm trying to just have confidence in my intuition, which usually tells me to go to my crying child, let her nurse, and put her back to bed when she's done. Lately that solution has also involved some co-sleeping, because otherwise the only way I can keep her quiet, still, and at least close to asleep is by standing and rocking her while she nurses. Not a comfortable position at 3 a.m. Side-lying nursing FTW!

Aside from constantly questioning myself, I worry a lot, too. Probably more than I should. I worry about conflict in other parts of the world, and my heart aches for the mothers and children who are suffering. I worry about that kind of conflict finding its way into my home, and pray that it never will. I wonder how I can help, and seek out opportunities to give in whatever ways I can. I try not to worry, just as I try not to question myself. I sincerely believe that I can help the flow of the universe if I let go of negative, unproductive worries and allow myself to feel and emanate peace and bliss. So that's what I do. I try to breathe deeply and cultivate peace in my home and my heart, and send that peace out to everyone else in the world. If we want to create a peaceful reality, we need to start living it. Ultimately that's what I want for my daughter: to live in a peaceful world, with a peaceful heart. If I want her to have that, I need to model it for her. It may not always feel easy, but it is simple. And she may not be a newborn anymore, but she is still my baby, and I still have every intention of fulfilling my duty to provide for and protect her in the best of every possible way.

Until next month...

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Scoops is 10 Months

Although my hormones have been souring my experience of life in general recently, I am still joyfully, albeit bittersweetly, in awe of how quickly my little Scoops has grown. She is 10 months old today. In honor of my need for rest, I'll keep this post as short as possible.

She has two teeth. The first popped out a few weeks ago, and the second just pushed its first corner through last night. 

Her hair has grown in thicker and blonder, with a delicious strawberry tint (I always wanted a ginger baby!).

Her eyes are a beautiful, mysterious blue, dark around the outside, deep and watery in the middle, with the thinnest hint of a sea green ring in the center of all that blue. A friend recently remarked that Scoops' eyes look like the ocean. Their depth is appropriate, as she continues to lock willing victims in her fervent gaze as she peers into their souls (or something dramatic like that).

She is still petite, but she has certainly grown taller. I notice when I lay her down in her crib at night how much more of it she fills. She used to look so tiny, as if she could get lost in her crib. Now she spreads out when she lays down to sleep and takes up about half her crib space with her lanky limbs. She is quite tiny, and we've been monitoring her weight gain to make sure nothing is the matter. She's usually quite cheerful though, and incredibly strong (people who hold her all agree on this point), so I'm of the opinion that she's getting plenty to eat, she's just burning it all off rapidly because she's a spazz.

Speaking of eating, she has started joining us at the table for 3 meals a day for about the past month. She enjoys feeding herself chunks of veggies and fruits (especially black beans!) and has tried carrots, sweet potato, avocado, egg yolk, zucchini, yellow squash, oatmeal, and plum. She's still very fond of breastfeeding, however, and continues to wish I would never wear a shirt. We've added small amounts of water and diluted prune juice to her diet here and there as well, and she's beginning to get the hang of her sippy cup.

She keeps adding fun new skills to her repertoire. A couple weeks ago she began really clapping her hands regularly and exuberantly to show joy or satisfaction. Then she started pointing, folding up her other fingers and just pointing with her index finger. Now she's picked up on our hand washing lessons, and proudly rubs her hands together with a great big smile when I say, "Show me how you wash your hands!" She's been pulling herself up to standing since last month, but last week I caught her standing all on her own, without holding on to anything. She did it right in front of me as I was sitting on the floor talking with a friend, and I'm not sure whether she pulled herself up on my legs (probably) and then let go and stood, or if she just stood straight up from sitting. Either way, I was so caught off guard that I think my excited reaction startled her into sitting down again. I haven't been able to get her to repeat the stunt, but I'm sure she will soon and often. Just another harbinger of the walking to come!

She says words. Real words. I'm crying as I write this, because it means my little baby is growing up. Oh, the paradox of motherhood! We want them to grow into self-sufficient people, but we don't want to lose our babies. But I digress. A couple of weeks ago she was sitting on the potty and heard a dog barking. She looked in the direction of the sound and thoughtfully, quietly said, "dolg." Then she looked me right in the eyes as the dog continued to bark and said definitively, "dog." Actually, to be fair, it looked and sounded like she was saying "doldg," which was one of the cutest things I've ever seen to watch her little mouth and tongue try to catch up with her brain. This morning she heard our neighbors get in their car and start the engine, and she announced, "cahr." She's been saying mama/mommy for a while, and added in dada/daddy a couple months ago, but now she's using non-parental words. It sounds like she's trying to say Opie, our dog's name, too. We just keep encouraging her and going with it whenever we hear her say anything that resembles an appropriate word, like "OK," "yeah," or "grandma," for example.

She climbs up the stairs, fast as anything, when I set her at the bottom (don't worry, I follow closely behind her). She loves to crawl out of the nursery and into mommy and daddy's room. As we chase her and playfully say "I'm gonna get you!" she giggles like it's the funniest thing ever. She loves to play with her reflection in the mirror in the master bedroom, loves to smile at herself in the bathroom mirror, absolutely loves to brush her teeth every morning and evening (she actually gets very upset sometimes when we take the toothbrush away to go have breakfast or bedtime). 

She sits on the potty every morning when she wakes up, after naps, and every evening before bed. We try to stay attuned to her signals and take her at other times during the day if we sense she needs to go. We're working on learning the signs for "potty" etc so we can communicate better about this. She's at the point now where she really doesn't like to go poop in her diaper. Pee doesn't seem to bother her much, but she will fuss about poop until we set her on the toilet so she can go like a big girl. I didn't really set out to potty train my infant, just to give her another option besides the diaper, but it seems to be working well for her!

Possibly my favorite little game of hers, which she started last month, I think, but continues to do still, is her imitation our playful nibbling kisses. She grabs our faces in her hands, opens her mouth wide, and latches both lips and gums onto a cheek, chin, forehead, or nose, all while making an "ahhh" noise to (I suppose) imitate our "nom nom nom" sounds when we kiss her like we're gobbling her up. I see her processing and trying to imitate lots of our sounds and behaviors now, which makes me increasingly aware of the fact that I need to curb my language and behave as I want her to behave. 

Although she no longer likes to be held "like a baby" unless she's falling asleep, she is still my baby. I will not get ahead of myself, and I will treasure her just as she is, as little as she is, for as long as I can. I will take the good days with the bad. I will pray daily for patience, wisdom, and a massive change of heart to make me into a woman my child will be proud to emulate. Mostly, I will love my daughter, my husband, and myself. And that is enough for now.

Gloriously Imperfect

Hi there! I've been away for a while, I know. I'll admit it: I've been scared. And overwhelmed. I feel like I'm in a rut. I don't know which way I'm going, I don't know why I should bother writing, I'm afraid I'll have to go back to a desk job soon... All of these negative thoughts are just eating away at me, and when I know this blog is still in its infancy it's just so easy to say "Who cares? No one will notice if I don't write for a month." Really, while this blog is in its infancy I should be cranking out a minimum of 2 posts per week and doing everything I can to gain more readers. But I'm tired! And I feel like there's no point. I don't mean that to sound ungrateful to the readers I do have, but while I appreciate the loyal friends and family who pay attention to my tiny corner of the interwebs, I have no grand delusions about the size of my current audience.

I started this blog to share my normalcy with everyone; to celebrate when I accomplish something of which I can be proud; to share fun little projects or recipes I've created or tried, life hacks or products that have made my days easier; but mostly to show other new parents that it's OK to not be perfect. You could say my mission is "to illuminate the glorious imperfections of parenting." Allow me to illuminate my current imperfections for you now.

I'm just so overwhelmed at present. I feel kind of miserable (not every minute of the day, but often), like my whole life is off track. I wanted this baby so very badly, and I still do, of course. It's just mind boggling to me that I could have wanted her so badly, that I could love her so incredibly much, and still somehow find I have less and less patience for her whining and screaming than I did at 3 months. Does that make me a bad parent? This is all I wanted. This is all I've ever wanted: to stay home and raise a baby! So why does it feel so completely dissatisfying at times? At almost 10 months postpartum I've finally had thoughts of going back to work, for no other reason than to get a daily break from my sweet, whining baby. But then I get terrified about having to report to a job on time, because it takes me 3 hours to get anywhere these days. (Literally, it took me 3 hours to get to a play date today.) Aside from that, I'm virtually useless because I'm so sleep deprived I can hardly keep my eyes open. So I go to bed early, and then Scoops wakes up multiple times during the night (Teething? Growth spurt? Who gives a rip? It all translates to less sleep) and I feel more exhausted the next day than I did when I was staying up until midnight trying to get shit done. Besides, I don't really want to go back to a "real job" anyway, because in my heart of hearts I know I want to stay with Scoops all day. But then she's trying to pick that little mole I didn't even know I had off my neck again while she's supposed to be nursing, and I swear I just need a friggin' break!

This is the constant cycle of my thoughts these days. I love love LOVE my sweet baby girl to the ends of the Earth, but when her naps last exactly long enough for me pee and wash up her mess from whatever meal she had immediately prior to naptime, and then do it all over again, I start to feel frustrated. I feel mundane, and I feel like if my life is so routine and mundane, then why do I seem incapable of mastering an actual routine? I literally can't remember the last time I cleaned my floors, and I'd really love to clean my floors (especially since the dog just yacked next to my feet, probably from eating all the bits of food Scoops has been throwing at him). But it's not really fair to try to remember something that goes back possibly longer than 2 weeks in time, because I can't even remember what I wore today. If I had the available brain cells to count right now, I'd be able to count on less than one hand the number of times Scoops has slept through the night in the past 2 months. This is especially drastic considering that she started sleeping through the night at 4 months, and seemed to be on a trend toward making that a regular habit. Apparently appropriate to her age (Babycenter? Mom365? Kellymom? I can't remember where I read this tidbit), she is now back to "sleeping like a newborn," which has me feeling constantly exhausted, to put it lightly.

I don't mean to sound like I'm complaining. I'm not complaining. Maybe I am, I don't actually know. I think I'm just putting out there to the mom-verse that I'm having a really weak moment right now. "Right now" here having the meaning of the past hmmmmmm 6 weeks at least. And I'm hoping I'm not alone in this. And I'm hoping that someday I'll get to the other side of this with relative clarity and be able to write about what wonderful, gilded lessons I learned during this time about raising a child. Maybe I'll be able to offer hope to the next troubled mom (or dad). Right now, I'm just wallowing. Or something like that. Right now, I am basking in the glorious imperfections of parenting, and I have to be honest: it doesn't feel much like basking, and it doesn't feel anything close to glorious. If you're here with me, I love you, and I'm sending you all the comforting hugs I wish I could give myself right now. In fact, the least I can do for myself is refuse to believe I'm alone in this. So I won't. I know you're out there, sister-mamas, and I will comfort myself in the knowledge that I'm walking the path of our foremothers, and I'm walking it alongside you. We're in this together. Let's hit the park, or the pool, or shoot, the grocery store, I don't care. But let's get out of the house, sans makeup and in our sweats if we have to, so we can get a breath of (relatively) fresh air and support each other in our journeys.

And now, with a big THANK YOU to my mama friends who've figuratively met me where I'm at, and literally met me at the park and the pool, I bid you all good-night and wish you a restful and restorative evening. I'm going to bed. It is midnight again, after all.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Scoops is 9 Months

I feel like every one of these monthly updates could start with the phrase "I can't believe my sweet Scoops is ___ old already!" Regardless of my faith or disbelief, the baby I birthed is, in fact, 9 months old. As evidenced by the photo, you can see that she is now clearly standing (while holding on to something) without any issue. Often now when I go to rescue her from not napping, I find her standing in her crib, clutching the bars and probably teething on them. No, she still has not popped out any teeth, but she certainly has two coming. I can see the elusive little bastards hovering just below the surface of her bottom gum, coyly taunting us all with their modesty. Come out already, teeth! Give us some peace from all this anticipation! It's been 2 months, for crap's sake!

Her eyes are still blue, and at this point I'm pretty well convinced they're not changing. I'd love it if she got my green eyes, but as I've mentioned before, those baby blues are so captivatingly beautiful that I truly don't care. Her hair is blonde and stick straight, just like mine was as a baby. I'm sure it'll curl when she gets older though. Seems to be inevitable since both her parents rock curls! She is still a tiny little thing, just hanging out in the ol' first percentile. I'm banking on her staying in size 2 diapers until after she turns a year old. I'm not complaining, because she's certainly easier to carry than a lot of babies we know. Plus, we're getting excellent use out of all her 6-month size clothing.

Some fun things Scoops can do now:

  • Say "Dada" (finally!)
  • Make a silly noise with her lips when we strum them with a finger (Daddy started this, and when I tried it last week Scoops smiled after making the noise and clearly said, "da da!")
  • Break landspeed records with her adept crawling skills
  • Speed walk while holding someone's hands
  • Clap her hands
  • Wave hi and bye-bye
  • Pull mommy's shirt down for quick-access feeding. Like, whenever/wherever.
She has recently discovered her belly button, and is fascinated by it. She also finds mine intriguing, and seems to be under the impression that it is a third and non-functional nipple (she keeps giving it a try, though!). Fingers are also amazing now. She gets focused on one thing, like another finger, and slowly brings her pointer finger to touch it (if it's near her face she usually goes cross-eyed while doing this). Sometimes she unknowingly plays ET and slowly, deliberately touches the tip of her finger to mine. Lately she's been studying my sadly ragged, unpolished fingernails, too. Fantastic. When she's really excited she squinches her face and smiles so big that her nose wrinkles and her eyes practically close. Sometimes that face is accompanied by a high-pitched squeal. She's starting to find it amusing when we pat her back or tummy while she's making a sustained noise, so that her voice goes all "bouncy" or warble-y. We've been trying to get her to do this trick for months now, but she used to stop every time we starting patting her. Then one day we're driving on an uneven road and bam: she suddenly gets it. She's been sitting on the potty every morning and evening, and sometimes throughout the day, and gets visibly proud of herself when she uses it as intended. I mean she smiles and squeals and claps her hands. I call that pride in one's accomplishments.

A friend just asked me today whether life is easier or harder now that Scoops is 9 months old. It's really a little bit of both. Some things are easier and some are harder. I definitely can't just set her down on my bed and walk away, but she can reach up and grab hold of me when I pick her up. She doesn't generally like to be held "like a baby" in a reclined position anymore, but she holds on pretty securely when I carry her around on my hip. I'm starting to really experience what my mom told me she experienced while raising her babies: each stage brings new joys and milestones, so that the sweetness of watching my baby develop really does outweigh the bitterness of seeing her grow into less of a baby. Seeing her experience life, each little micro-discovery at a time, makes me appreciate the many things I (and most adults I know) have come to take for granted. As Scoops discovers her universe, I feel like I'm rediscovering mine. Every day brings something new and different to experience and enjoy, and I can't imagine a better way to spend my days.