Monthly Archives: June 2015

Miles & Motherhood: Four Months

IMG_5343Four months in and it finally found me. Grief. Silly, silly grief. I thought I’d somehow escaped it like some new-mama ninja, but no such luck. How can you be so happy and so sad at the same time? This motherhood thing is so confusing. There’s so much good, so much sweetness, and so much joy. And yet…

Even when Miles is giggling and babbling and practicing newly acquired skills like rolling over or shaking a rattle, I miss newborn baby Miles. How? Why? I don’t get it. As I watch him smoothly and intentionally move his hands to grab the giraffe hanging from his activity gym or stretch his freshly unswaddled body first thing in the morning, I feel utter bliss. And yet…

I yearn for those rigid flails and tightly clenched tiny baby fists. How can this be? My greatest job in life right now is to help this little soul grow. So why does my heart yearn to turn back time? I’m often caught off guard in these moments. I remind myself what everyone says—things like “it gets better” and “it gets easier.” Why should I feel sad when I have so very much to look forward to?! For us, it’s all been good. I’ve loved every single stage. Even in his neediest, fussiest and my most sleepless moments, I loved it then and I love it now. I know that in a matter of weeks I’ll look back and miss the little baby Miles who’s in front of me today. Even when it’s hard and he’s crying, even when I haven’t exercised in weeks and can hardly remember whether I’ve eaten a vegetable today…even then I’ve loved it all.

IMG_5514This has been a big month of ups and downs for us. Miles is doing great. He’s the sweetest, happiest little being I’ve ever known. My favorite thing in the whole wide world right now is when Robert picks him up out of his crib around 6 a.m. when he starts to cry. Robert walks back into our room with Miles glued to his chest like a little sleepy tree frog and gently lies him down between us. Sometimes he’ll nod off for a little while longer. But then he begins to wake up. He stretches his arms and legs, which won’t stop moving for at least the next 20 minutes, and smiles up at us with the greatest gummy grin. He then whips his head from side to side as if trying to get mom and dad to fit with a single glance. What a way to start the day.

IMG_5926This is also the month that I returned to work. Working again has been great, actually. I’m so happy editors didn’t forget about me and I feel so lucky that I get to do this job. I enjoy my work and I enjoy earning an income. The 14 weeks that I was able to step away from my computer during maternity leave were so very needed. Maternity leave wasn’t exactly what I’d call a restful break (ha!), but after doing the same job for nearly nine years it was so nice to hop off of the treadmill for a little while. Now that I’m back to work, I’ve never been more focused, organized, or productive in my life. I know that as soon as I finish everything on my To Do list I get to spend time with our sweet baby.

IMG_5928On the other hand, figuring out our childcare situation has been a struggle. Before Miles was born, we had a nanny share lined up where I’d take him to the other family’s house three days per week. The nanny had tremendous experience and heaps of glowing references. Everything seemed great.

And, to my surprise, I did fine on that first day. I think that I was so focused on getting him there, remembering to bring everything, and getting my work done so I could pick him up that I didn’t let myself feel very much. But day after day, it became more difficult to bring him back. I dreaded it. The nanny did things so differently than we did. When I picked Miles up he was always so tired (from crying? From not napping?) Those few precious hours that I got to spend with him in the late afternoon weren’t with the smiley boy I know him to be. Pretty soon I started finding countless things that felt so very wrong. And so, we decided to end it.

I dreaded telling the nanny. I agonized over it and cried more than a few tears. Finally, I made the call. And you know what? She already knew what I was going to say. It didn’t matter what reasons I dug up to explain to her why it wasn’t working. She’d worked with enough parents before and was experienced enough to know why it wasn’t working. I wasn’t ready. The moment she said that I felt a weight I’d been carrying for weeks—long before we started bringing Miles there—melt away. She said exactly what I was unable to recognize in myself. She. Was. Right. I wasn’t ready.

Still, I felt silly. Countless new moms return to work even before I did and somehow make it work. It doesn’t mean that it’s easy and it doesn’t mean that they want to, but they do it. Why couldn’t I? I guess the fact that I don’t have the expectation of showing up in an office every day has something to do with it. I didn’t have to power through these feelings and so I couldn’t. What’s more, if I lived in just about any other part of the developed world I wouldn’t be expected to be separated from my baby so soon. There’s good reason for that. Understanding this has helped me put a little less pressure on myself over the fact that I don’t want to leave my baby for eight hours a day.

After speaking to the nanny, I called Robert at work and apologized. I don’t want to stifle our son. I want him to be social and adventurous and independent. Being the most understanding human being on the face of the planet (seriously people, I married a saint), Robert reminded me that Miles can’t even sit up on his own yet. It’s okay to want to be there for him, to have him nearby. It makes sense.

IMG_5724So what am I doing? I’m still working full-time. But for now we have a babysitter coming to our house during the workday and it already feels like a better fit for us. I’m able to work upstairs while she takes care of him downstairs, but I can pop in for baby smiles, giggles, and kisses any time I like. I should’ve known this was the right path for us from the very beginning, but I also realize that it was impossible to anticipate how I was going to feel.

So there it is: I’m ready to work, but I’m not ready to be away from our little guy. And that’s okay—for now at least. We’ll get there. One step at a time. Maybe by the time Miles leaves for college : )

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Newborn Favorites

BABY STUFF!!! If I told you how much time I spent reading blogs, researching, and perusing Amazon and Buy Buy Baby while pregnant, well, I’d be a little embarrassed. To be honest, though, I think that doing so actually helped take my mind off of the fear and uncertainty I often experienced about our baby’s wellbeing because they allowed me picture him using them some day. That kept me positive and hopeful.

Of course, raising a baby is about so much more than STUFF, but some things are necessary (hello, bottles!) and some just make life a little bit easier (thank you, Rock n Play!). It was all a wild guess as to how well these items would work for us until Miles was actually here. Now that we’re nearly four months in, I’m happy to say that my hard work and time paid off. So today, I’m sharing our favorite newborn items plus one big flop (thank goodness for returns!)

{Sidenote: I was going to make a fancy collage like I did for my Pregnancy Favorites, but then I remembered how many hours went into teaching myself how to do it and then I had a nice little laugh about how I used to have so much time to do whatever I wanted. HA!}

Rock n’ Play Any swing or cradle-like device will work, but what I love about the RnP is how light and portable it is. We have one on our main living floor and one on the floor where our bedrooms are located and I’m often moving them from room to room so that Miles can be near us. He loves it! It’s so important to have some kind of contraption in nearly every room—or at least on every floor—where we can safely put baby down whenever we need to (bed and couch = danger!) Even if it’s for just a few seconds while I put on my shoes or feed the dogs, I always know that he’s safe and comfortable in there. Speaking of the dogs, I like that he’s a little higher off the ground when he’s in the RnP so they’re not all up in his business like they would be if he were closer to the floor.

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Green Mountain Diapers unbleached newborn prefold diapers and Thirsties Duo Wrap Size 1 diaper covers Well, this is something I never expected to write about on what was once a food blog, but we LOVE cloth diapering. (Btw I hope to resume writing about food some day…) Briefly—and without getting all gospel-y about it—here’s why I love cloth diapering: I love the idea that we aren’t contributing to diaper waste, we’re saving a lot of money (we’re talking in the thousands–especially if we add to our brood some day), and we’re avoiding exposure to the chemicals in disposable diapers. Plus, the fluffly cloth-diapered bum is just so darn cute! If you have any specific questions about cloth diapering, our laundry routine, or anything else please feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me. And if you think we’ve lost our marbles, that’s cool, too : ) For the newborn stage, prefolds and covers were one of the most economical options and we’ve had great success with these items. We have 24 newborn prefolds (he outgrew them at about 3 months old), 24 small sized prefolds (that’s what he wears now), and about 10 Thirsties covers (which is actually way more than we need). I do one load of diaper laundry every other day and it’s no big deal. Other cloth-diapering supplies we use and love: GroVia cloth wipes (oh yeah, we went there) and Planet wise pail liners.

Thirsties diaper cover & Wubbanub (described below). OMG he's so tiny here I'm going to go cry buckets now...Newborn prefold + Thirsties diaper cover + Wubbanub pacifier (mentioned below). OMG he’s so tiny here I’m gonna go cry buckets now…

Baby’s First Year Calendar I love the idea of a baby book, but I don’t think I’d be able to keep up with one. But a calendar where I write one little thing every day and record his milestones? Easy peasy! In fact, my mom did this for the first two years of my life and gave me the calendars at my baby shower. When I saw something just like it I knew I had to have it. We have this calendar hanging in Miles’ room and at the end of each day I jot down something from that day that I want to remember.

Solly Baby wrap I think I’ve waxed poetic enough by now that you already know how much I adore my Solly wrap. It’s so soft and comfortable, but most of all I love how close Miles feels to me when I wear him in it. It’s nearly as good as when he naps on my chest, but allows me to get stuff done at the same time. I tend to use the Solly when I’m wearing Miles around the house, but when we’re out and about or Robert’s wearing him we use the Lillebaby, which we also love.

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The First Years Infant to Toddler Tub with Sling Bath time is one of the things I looked forward to most about having a baby and it’s even better than I imagined. Miles loves his baths! He’s so calm and relaxed in there, you’d think he was at the beach. Robert and I even have a song that we made up (spa day…) and sing whenever he’s in the bath. (Yep, we’re totally those parents.) There are a lot of fancy tubs out there, but in my opinion this one has everything you could possibly need and transitions easily from infant to toddler. We’ve been using it ever since Miles was a week old. We keep it in the bathtub and fill the water to just below the sling before putting Miles in it. It’s so simple and practical and will last a very long time.

Born Free Nighty Night Nursing Light File this under Ridiculous Things That Work Really Well. And you don’t need to nurse to use it. Basically, it’s a dim light that you can clip onto your shirt, though I just left it on my bedside table. It gives off just enough light so I could check on Miles when he was sleeping in our room without turning on a lamp and waking everyone up.

In addition, here’s a quick list of items we have, love, recommend, and use all the time that need little explanation:

Finally, there’s one thing that I thought would be a lifesaver, but for us was a total fail: The Momaroo. I debated getting one for a really long time and finally took the plunge shortly before Miles was born. I ended up returning it. Some babies adore it, but we didn’t use it often enough to justify the cost or the space that it occupied. Miles only lasted a few minutes in there at a time before he started to fuss. Ultimately, I found that keeping him near us in the Rock n Play or wearing him in the Solly were far more effective than putting him down in the swing, which isn’t very portable. What can I say? The baby loves to be held and this mama is more than happy to oblige.