Pulling himself up in the milk crate
Sitting up to play
Finding things to play with
Hanging out with friends
So I was definitely just a MOM and took like 12 pictures of Jonas sleeping. I remember as a kid, my sister and I woke up to our parents taking pictures of us sleeping and we thought they were really weird. I totally get it now. Babies and kids are just beautiful when they sleep, and it is also a time when you can take a deep breath and just look at them without them wiggling all over the place! Here are a couple of my favorites from today:
In other exciting news, Jonas has now tried banana and mango and in a few days, he will try pears. Yesterday he turned a book page by himself! Today he rocked out on the piano.
Valentine’s Day was my first “Facebook Free Friday.” I’ve done three so far. The idea is no looking at Facebook from when I wake up until 7pm when Jared gets home. I also don’t check Instagram or other sites, don’t send texts or call anyone, and only respond to emails or texts if they are important. It is a nice way to practice being less distracted for a day each week and I end up getting a lot done! On Valentine’s Day, I made this onesie for Jonas, which ended up smearing when he sweated in it, so we had to change him. Gram and Papa brought him some presents and a cute sticker that we put on his new outfit so he was still festive.
We also went to Michael’s for supplies and made some Valentines for the grandparents, Aunts and Uncles, and great grandparents.
Best of all, Bubby came to visit from February 24-March 4. We had a great time and did so much! We went to the mall, planted lettuce and radishes, set up Jonas’s high chair, had an adventure with Uncle Bobby in Venice Beach for Aunt Sadie’s birthday, and a lot more. Jonas LOVED Bubby and thought she was hilarious. We both miss her already!
I think about being mindful and present with my baby pretty much constantly while I am awake. That is far from saying I am fully present with my baby constantly while I’m awake, but I am pretty much always thinking about it– wondering if I am finding the right balance between interacting with him and doing other things I need or want to do.
I imagine other parents have figured it out. I hear about them setting their baby up in a swing in the bathroom while they shower and I think, “Oh, so that is ok,” or I read that someone’s baby is playing quietly at their feet as they write in their blogs. I go back and forth between feeling like I should be talking to and looking at him constantly, even while doing things like putting away the dishes and thinking things like “you need some time to yourself! Let him fuss for a minute, finish responding to that facebook message from three days ago!”
It was when I realized that I felt guilty for going to the bathroom and for sitting down to eat lunch, but still also felt like I was spending the time I WAS playing, and should have been, a little too distracted, that I decided I needed to come up with some rules for myself. I don’t really want to call them rules, though, I want to call them practices– the way meditation is a practice, because I don’t think you can ever really perfect the balance.
The first thing I want to remember is a lesson from the show Parks and Recreation. In the sitcom, Ron, the bristly but good hearted father figure tells Chris, a soon-to-be dad who is concerned about the safety of the crib they planned to buy something along the lines of “It’s not the crib that matters. If you are the kind of person who is worrying THIS much about which crib to get, you are going to be a great parent.” I think that applies here too. If I am thinking so much about how to best be present with my baby, and you are thinking about it enough to read this (if he weren’t sleeping I’m sure I’d be worried about taking the time to write it, and if your child isn’t sleeping you’re probably worried about taking the time to read it), then really, we are probably already doing just fine.
That being said, this is what I would like to try:
Don’t be attached to my phone and laptop. Check email and facebook a couple times a day, either when the baby is sleeping or when he is happily playing.
Turn off notifications on my phone–stop getting “Dings” for emails, texts, and facebook messages. Tell my family if something is an emergency, to call. Otherwise, actively check notifications during the times I set aside to do so.
If the baby NEEDS something, go to him. If he is fussing a lot (not just for a minute) and definitely if he is crying, that time is for him, even if it is just that he wants me to be there or to hold him.
Alternate what to do with happy, awake times. If there is one of these times in the morning and one in the afternoon, spend one playing with him and one doing something I want or need to do. Alternate the “me” times between chores, work, and real “me” time. The me time is the one I tend to forget. I am working from home and trying to keep the house manageably unfilthy, but sometimes I need to just spend half an hour reading a book. I have a feeling this will be difficult to actually put into practice, as I am already feeling guilty just typing it. “You mean, let the baby play with blocks and I sit there and read a book??” I’m thinking.Yes, sometimes I should do that. I need to remind myself that it is good for him to see me engage in acts of self-care as well, because it shows him I am my own person, that I deserve self-care, and ultimately that HE deserves self-care.
In addition to alternating within a day, alternate on days. If I have a busy Monday out and about, try to have a relaxed, fun, Tuesday.
Alternate what to do with sleeping baby times. Sometimes take a nap with him. Other times, do something I want or need to do. Sleep is another thing that is suffering right now. I need to remember that I need to sleep, even if it is just to better care for Jonas.
And here’s a big one: Ditch the distraction and the guilt! If nothing else, I want to focus on this. When I am playing with or talking to Jonas, I want to try as hard as I can not to think about the other things I need or want to do. I don’t want to compose emails in my mind or plan what chores I’ll do during his next nap. On the other side of things, when I am doing laundry or writing a blog entry or taking a shower (remember, these things only happen if he isn’t expressing needs) I want to try not to spend that time feeling bad when my baby is happily playing.
We are making progress on our 101 in 1001!
Most recently, I got Jer one of his “just because” gifts: a Ducks Stanley Cup ring replica he had mentioned wanting.
We’ve been to 2 of our 15 hockey games, including the outdoor game at Dodger’s Stadium, which was a lot of fun. My sister Sadie came with us and we had a really good time. Jonas enjoyed it too! We all enjoyed beating the Kings 3-0. Kiss played at the game but I’m not counting that as taking him to a show. I want to take him to see a band his Daddy and I like for that one.
I’ve also been doing baby signs with Jonas since a little before he turned 4 months old. Some babies can start signing back as early as 6 months– it will be so cool to see him communicate this way!
The signs we’ve been using are:
Coming up next are baby proofing, investing some of our savings, and setting up a college fund for Jonas– not the most exciting, but important!
One of my 101 in 1001 items is to add money to my Kiva account and lend it. I first learned about Kiva when my stepsister gifted me and Jared a $50 donation in our name for our wedding in September 2012. It was such a unique gift and so nice to have a chance to do something for others when so much of our energy had been focused on ourselves! Kiva is a nonprofit that supports microfinancing organizations that make small loans around the world. I remember reading that small loans, particularly to women to start businesses, are one of the most effective ways to alleviate poverty in impoverished communities.
One of the cool things about Kiva is that it really is a loan. So once your lendee pays back the money, you can relend it to other borrowers! I’ve gotten to relend parts of the original $50 a few times, and I got an email saying I had $31 and some change to relend available. So today, I added $20 to my account so I could make two loans (they are made in increments of $25) and a small donation to Kiva’s operating expenses. I supported two young moms with businesses, one to a woman in Kyrgyzstan with three preschoolers who works as a teacher and owns a cattle business, and another to a woman in Kenya who owns a shop.
If you want to check it out, use my link and I can earn a bonus to lend! http://www.kiva.org/invitedby/beccaandjared7963
A week ago today, when Jonas turned 17 weeks old, was a very big day for him!
He rolled over (back to tummy) three times, when he had only done it three times total before. He giggled– a real giggle! I was doing sun salutations and he cracked up as I lifted my head. Definitely the best motivation to work out ever. He also found his feet. He was sitting down, with me holding him and he was leaning over and grunting. We looked at him and his toe was in his mouth. It was hilarious! It was a big day for a baby!
The rest of the week was pretty busy too– we had a 4.5 earthquake really close to our house at 1:30 am. I was awake, it woke Jared up, and Jonas slept through it. It scared me enough that I made emergency kits for our house and cars the next day, crossing something else off my 101 in 1001 list! There was a 3.something aftershock the next night close to the same time.
Tuesday was Jonas’s 4 month doctor appointment. He weighed 17 lbs, 8 oz and was 25 inches long! He got an oral vaccine and a shot in each leg! He was still upset about them but handled them much better than his 2 month shots!
Wednesday, Jonas woke up with a cold. It’s so sad seeing him snotty and uncomfortable!
Thursday I had a meeting for my new (very) part time job– it is perfect–once a week meetings, occasional other meetings, and the rest is from home. I feel very lucky that I found something to keep up my resume and bring in a little extra money but that lets me be with Jonas almost all of the time! I’m also very lucky that my awesome in-laws watch Jonas when I have meetings. I was feeling a little anxious about leaving him on Thursday because he wasn’t feeling good and because of the earthquakes, but he loves spending time with them, even when he has a cold!
Jared and I caught his cold and have been moping around the house and drinking lots of tea.
Thankfully, we have had a nice three-day weekend with no plans to rest and relax. And today, Jonas rolled tummy to back for the first time!
1. You’ll end up getting an epidural/there are no trophies for not using pain meds
I combined this into one, because people will either insist that you CAN’T do it, or that if you do, you’re not so great anyway. Labor hurt. It hurt more than I could have imagined it hurting. And part of it was that it seemed ENDLESS– 40 hours of active labor with no sleep. Contractions are really, really hard. Words don’t really do justice to how emotionally and physically challenging the whole experience was. And I still didn’t let myself get an epidural. My thoughts are that if you tell yourself it is an option, you’ll end up getting one. If you are stubborn, you can do it. It’s not really about your pain tolerance– it is way more about how stubborn you are. To be fair, I did not experience back labor much, which I know can be even more painful, but I still think it is more about your mindset than the pain.
And for the second part, I guess people are right. I don’t have a natural birth trophy to put on my mantle. My baby is my trophy, just like for anyone, regardless of how they birth. However, I do know that I did what I felt was best for me and my baby, even when there seemed to be easier ways in the moment. I put my mind to something and I did it, even when it was much harder than I ever imagined it could be. I found my physical and emotional limits and walked right up to them. I didn’t give up. When I felt like I couldn’t do it anymore, I just did it. And that feels pretty awesome.
2. Once you have a baby, your social life is over
My social life is better than it has been since college. We live in the suburbs and most of our local friends live in the city, an hour or more away. We used to either trek out to see them to hang out, or in some cases, we’d alternate who visited who. Now, people come to us. It’s awesome. I know people will probably get sick of this and we’ll have less of an excuse once the baby is a little older, but for now, we are getting lots of house guests.
I’ve also made a lot of friends who live closer! I’ve met other moms through my birth class and moms’ group, and at least once a week, I have an opportunity to hang out with people. It can be so hard to make friends as an adult but babies give you something to talk about to break the ice. And, unlike with non-babied friends, I don’t feel like the only option for hanging out is going to a bar– I can sit with my mom friends and talk for hours, try new restaurants, or hang out at a park. They’ve gotten me out of my friend rut.
This might not be true for people whose social lives revolve around clubbing or partying, but I feel more socially connected than I have in a long time.
3. Babies are expensive
At least, they don’t have to be. I know he will get expensive, but right now he just isn’t. I bought a bunch of clothes at yard sales last summer for under $25 and most of his other clothes are gifts. We got a lot of our baby gear from Craigslist. I breastfeed (I know formula feeding babies are a different story. I could rant about formula companies, but I won’t right now). I cloth diaper. People say startup costs for cloth diapering are too high, but they really don’t have to be. I got $100 of used diapers from Craiglist, my mom bought us $100 of good prefolds and covers, and I ordered $100 of factory direct diapers. If you don’t get into buying all the fancy print, even startup is affordable.Which brings me to my next point.
4. Cloth diapering is too much work
I’ve heard people who planned to cloth diaper complain that it was just too much laundry and they didn’t have time for it. I do my cloth diaper laundry every other day, which sounds like a lot, but it really isn’t. I bring the diapers downstairs, do a cold rinse, then a normal wash, and then dry them. That’s it. No sorting, no folding. It will have another step once he’s eating solid foods and I have to dump solids in the toilet first, but it is still way less time every week than loading him into the car seat and going to the store to buy diapers would be.
5. Baby wearing is for hippies
My friends do make fun of me for being a hippie, but this shouldn’t be one of the reasons. Really, it’s just more convenient. Going to the store alone with a baby is overwhelming enough at first. I can’t imagine trying to push a cart and a stroller. And then when the baby starts crying, pushing a cart, a stroller, and holding a baby. How do people even do that?
6. You’ll never sleep the same way again
This is my mom’s favorite warning, even though she isn’t usually one to say “you’ll see” about things. And fair enough, she’s kind of right. Even when the baby is having a good sleeping night, my body will decide that 3 hours of sleep in a row is plenty to feel rested for now, leaving me unable to sleep for the next 3 hours. But here’s the thing. It doesn’t feel like you think it will. It feels really really awful for the first month or so– before you’re used to it, when your hormones are still all over the place, and when the baby is hardly sleeping at all. But then it gets better. Your hormones calm down. The baby starts sleeping a litttttle better, and your body just adjusts. I don’t know why, but getting 4 hours of sleep a night for 5 nights in a row is still tiring, but it doesn’t feel nearly as bad as it would have pre-baby.
I know that people’s experiences will vary. These are just a few of the scary things people told me before having a baby that ended up not being true for our family. Even if you find some of them to be true, the point is that no one’s experience is the same, and it often is so much easier than you imagine. But even if all of these were true, and ten times worse than people say, it would all be ok, because of the one thing people told me that is definitely true– that having a baby will show you how to love like you never imagined you could love.
I’ve already crossed off a few of my 101 goals that I posted about earlier!
I ordered my doula business cards. I wanted to do free ones using Vista Print, but I couldn’t do a custom design that way. I uploaded my custom design, though, and then saw that if you do that, shipping is free, so I didn’t have to pay much more than I would have doing the free ones and paying for shipping.
I finished sending Jonas’s birth announcements. Finally! Sorry if you were one of the ones to get yours late! It seemed like such a project updating everyone’s addresses and getting stamps. One of those things that would have taken 30 minutes pre-baby and now takes 3 months!
I read two of my thirty books. They were both comic books but I’m counting them! Saga Volumes 1 and 2 by Brian Vaughn and Fiona Staples. So good! I love reading an awesome fantasy story about a couple with a new baby.
I bake a pie from scratch! I used the olive oil crust recipe from Vegan Pie In The Sky and then improvised the filling– a combo of blueberry and peach. I was super proud of the cookie cutter stars I used for the top crust. Sadly, the blueberries bubbled over and the oven started smoking! I had to turn the oven off, go outside, and air out the house. So…the pie didn’t cook as long as it should have, but it was amazingly still yummy. Even Jared, who is not a pie fan, approved.