March 8, 2014 § Leave a comment
life is settling down here in lil ‘ole issaquah. and no complaints. the town is quaint, and during the day i see tons of moms taking walks with their strollers down suburbia. if you told me in high school that i would crave the quiet life, i would’ve called you crazy, but it’s been a dream. but it wasn’t initially so great…dun, dun, duuuun!!!
i have pretty horrible vision. so after my first shower here in our condo, i noticed something funny in the foggy mirror. it was a small handprint. i fumbled for my glasses, and my stomach sank when i saw what it was. i held up my hand to it, and saw that it was much smaller; about the size of a child’s. it probably didn’t help that to entertain ourselves, my husband, his friend, and i were telling ghost stories when we were getting ready to leave elmendorf air force base. and i know i’m too old to get spooked by monsters under the bed or bloody mary in the mirror, but it just kinda stuck in the back of my mind. i’m a wuss, okay.
so when i saw the handprint, i forced josh to stay up with me until my shower was over (usually at this point he’s already in bed) and i made him walk me to the room (i know, i know, i’m a big kid.) the next day when the mirror had been dry for quite some time, josh pointed out that it appeared i had windexed the entire area but missed where the handprint was. and that the previous owner lived with a child. okay, so no ghosts! and i feel silly that i let myself build up that entire scenario in my mind. how was i supposed to know?!
anyways, i just wanted to share that glimpse of my life with you. being a grown-up, as it turns out, does not mean you cease having less than grown-up moments. as you can see here. but if buddy ever comes to me with a monster-in-the-closet problem, i don’t dare laugh.
now back to real world, you’ll find buddy eating real people food now. sigh. i JUST got used to the rhythm of pureed meals! he’s now snatching my peanut butter and jellies. he even ate dim sum the other day. my little man. my one year mark for breast-feeding is almost up, too! in april, buddy will be a year old. where did the time go?! is it already almost time to start weaning?! i remember a time when 6 months of breastfeeding sounded like a feat almost impossible. then after that period came and went, breastfeeding was nothing. a cinch. before, you’d find me in public trying to be discreet yet modest, wresting with a nursing cape, a flailing baby, a clumsy bra, and a nipple shield, but no more! i am an olympic, breastfeeding pro. and now, these skills are going to become obsolete as buddy turns one. i mean, okay, i know he’s not going to suddenly wean off and that it’s gradual, but it still breaks my heart. i don’t think there was a more incredible experience i’ve had in motherhood than feeding my child from my body. it’s more than a bonding experience; it felt like i was finally fulfilling a role i was meant to have.
i suppose i could continue breastfeeding after a year…at a year, it is extended breastfeeding, which i’ve already been set on doing…but i’m not sure if i would be doing that for selfish reasons, just to prolong this experience, or if i would be doing it for buddy’s well-being. i know i would continue giving him nutrients and strong antibiotics, but if not at a year, then i’m not sure when i’ll know if he’s ready. is there a moment a mother knows? or do we choose when that is? i find that there are more difficult decisions facing me as i explore motherhood. but what makes me feel better is that so much of it has been instinctual and that maybe i need to stop searching for cold, hard answers but just go with the feeling. and to be honest, i’m still uncertain as to what that means yet.
March 3, 2014 § Leave a comment
i have bubbles of giddiness in my belly, i am that excited. which is also why i am writing to you in all lower case! i just have to get all this out! and this may be a new thing i’m trying, who knows.
we finally moved into our new condo. so recap, for all you new folks: the past year have been a whirlwind. i separated from the air force at the end of 2013, and stayed in alaska on joint base elmendorf-richardson with my husband, josh until his contract also delightfully ended just this last january. he drove through the alkine (sp? that just looks like a type of battery…) and the yukon (? i think? i’m bad at this…) but pretty much through a crap ton of snow with his best friend whom we flew down (sideways?) from california. he finally arrived to meet me and the baby in beautiful seattle, washington a few days early and surprised me at my best friend’s house. sorry, longest run-on sentence, ever. but so much has happened since!
fortunately, josh was able to start a new job without any sort of delay between jobs. i mean, to separate from the military and just go into working is a huge feat. it’s pretty much the most terrifying thing when you leave because you get so used to job security (well, not so much these days with all the military cuts…another story) and a steady pay check. but hooray! we are here!
we spent a good year looking for a condo since houses here are SO RIDICULOUSLY EXPENSIVE! they say that cities such as new york, la, and seattle fared well in this poor economy, but holy balls! we pretty much had to settle for a starter home and not by choice. but it ended up being a wise one. with a little baby and a single family income, our little slice of heaven of a condo can’t be anything i can complain about. because it’s perfect. it was love at first sight. you know? when you just step into every room and go, “love!….love!….love!!!!” it just feels right. and that’s what this was. we closed at the end of last month and now have been unpacking like crazy to get this place to feel like home. we have arrived!
so, meeting my love in the military, getting married, and having a baby…we had no idea where life was taking us, what it had planned, but i count my blessings every day with a full heart because i can’t believe it gave us so much. we seamlessly transitioned from the military to this perfect life with a joyous family and a smiling, happy baby. oh, jeez, sniff sniff…i feel so blessed. but it’s also terrifying, because i also wonder if you can really have it this good!
josh and i have been crazy mad furniture shopping, and just recently had to schedule a plumber, a carpet cleaner, and an air duct cleaner. and i gotta say, i feel like a real grown-up. because i care about my air ducts. sigh. this feels good! i am getting older and now caring about things i didn’t care about before. i am in my late 20′s, waving at my 30′s! right there! and i’m saying, HELLO, NEW FRIEND! YES, I WILL MAKE SURE TO SCHEDULE MY MAINTENANCE ON MY CAR AND PAY MY BILLS IN A TIMELY MANNER, THANK YOU! BECAUSE I AM A GROWN-UP!
ps. pictures above include (hopefully) the last suitcase we’ll have to pack from a long time from my mom’s house, and our view from our balcony, which totally reminds me of the black lake from harry potter!!!!!!! and you know i love me some hp!!!!!
February 22, 2014 § Leave a comment
Buddy got his first tooth this week…This is just going by way too fast. You know, when I first had Buddy, I can’t even tell you how many strangers would stop me on the street or in the grocery store and say, “It goes fast! Make sure to cherish it!” I found it slightly annoying at first. Because who were they to say I wouldn’t cherish it?! But now I know that it’s not because they assumed I wouldn’t; it’s because you don’t even have a chance to just bask in the moment before it’s over.
Anyways, this will have to be a quick one since WE CLOSED ON OUR CONDO!!!! We’re officially grown ups. We went furniture shopping and were looking at fabric swatches and I was like, “How grown up can we get?!” We get the keys to the place on Sunday, so this weekend is packed full of getting essentials. Josh was going mental while I was trying to figure out what color towels to put in the guest bathroom. He said he’d never seen me so bad other than in the ice cream aisle (I’m not allowed in that aisle anymore unless I already have a flavor in mind…) Anyways, the towel aisle…We kept going back and putting towels back and picking up more fabrics/colors. Eventually I felt the need to walk up to the sales associate and apologize. Then he told me not to buy the towels I had in my hand because they received so many complaints. Josh’s eyes about bugged out of his head while I thanked him graciously for warning me. We headed back to the towels, Josh with heavy feet. You would’ve thought I just asked him to have another baby! Sheesh.
Welp, got to go. Also have to tend to my best friend who just had her wisdom teeth pulled. No solids, but she wants cupcakes…I wonder if a strawberries and cream frappe from Starbucks will do the trick? I suggested throwing a cupcake and milk in a blender but the idea wasn’t well received…
February 19, 2014 § Leave a comment
Yesterday after work, Josh came home and said, “Two F-22s took off from Boeing field today.”
I kind of looked at him strangely and replied, “It made you a little sad, huh?”
He did this shrug and his mouth was tugged a certain way that made me suspicious when he too-casually countered, “Ehh, no.”
I prodded a little further. “It did, didn’t it.”
“Yeah, a little.”
Ha! It’s crazy how we spent that past chunk of our lives incessantly complaining about something that we feel hinders our lives so much but when it’s gone, we’re left reminiscing. Missing it as much as we miss a friend or a part of ourselves. I mean, I would venture to say that in the military, it feels more so because it’s not like any other occupation that you part from; you part from a lifestyle, a big piece of you that matured with it. You owe it so much, and if you were worth something, they owed you something in return. What is it about the military that we miss? I talked it over with Josh, and our first answer was the camaraderie. There is NOTHING like it. I mean, you sign your life to this contract swearing to give your life to the one next to you, pretty much. The commitment to friendship–and you know, friendship isn’t even the right word. It’s a relationship much deeper than that. They’re your brothers. Your brothers in arms.
When you’re in the service, your life is ran by simple creeds and phrases. The Airman’s Creed:
“I am an American Airman.
I am a Warrior.
I have answered my Nation’s call.
I am an American Airman.
My mission is to Fly, Fight, and Win.
I am faithful to a Proud Heritage,
A Tradition of Honor,
And a Legacy of Valor.
I am an American Airman.
Guardian of Freedom and Justice,
My Nation’s Sword and Shield,
Its Sentry and Avenger.
I defend my Country with my Life.
I am an American Airman.
Wingman, Leader, Warrior.
I will never leave an Airman behind,
I will never falter,
And I will not fail.”
Service before self.
Excellence in all we do.
We were forced to memorize the creed. Live by the values. If you were one of the treasured few who breathed life into these phrases, who truly believed these words to their very core, you deserve to be in the military. And I’m proud of you. If you were anything like me, this also led you to become so very frustrated when encountering those individuals (some of you may know what I’m talking about,) who were donning the uniform but consistently trying to see how much you could get away with. It constantly made me question, “I’ve earned the right to wear this uniform. And this poor excuse of a guy is entrusted with the same honor?”
So maybe that’s why we were excited to get out. Counting down the days to “freedom.” But then again, we’re left here nostalgic about what we’ve lost.
Have any of you felt a similar emotion before? When asking myself this, I immediately thought of pregnancy and motherhood. Man, how I groaned and moaned about being pregnant, but there are certain things I certainly miss. The feeling of a kick, seeing your baby’s face on the ultrasound…Or even now when I complain about sleepless nights due to teething or being unable to multi-task and get anything done since Buddy is crawling around like crazy. Jeez, I know…I outwardly appear to be maybe a little inappreciative. But at least I know in my heart and the back of my mind that it gives me a little smile because I love every minute of it. And I know that I will miss it like hell when it’s gone. Sigh.
Note to self: Cherish every cry, every pee stream to the face, every diaper blow out, every accidental smack across the face because it’ll be over before I know it!
February 18, 2014 § Leave a comment
Wooo-weee!! I am dragging today! I stayed up way too late last night making ice cream cone cake pops for my mother-in-law’s birthday and paid for it this morning. Sometimes, the thought of coffee is literally the only thing that entices me out of xxzzx CD´€D…You can thank Buddy for that last contribution…
Anyways, lately I’ve been trying to get Buddy to say “Dada”. It lights Josh up like a Christmas tree and I don’t mind Buddy not saying Mama as his first word. It would be so awesome to get him to say Daddy first. They just have this special bond that I really want to be able to encourage. The way they play is rough housing and tickle fights, but I think all little boys need a bit of that. Yesterday, when repeatedly saying, “Buddy! Da-da! Da-da!” I randomly thought of those little kids running around the BX. The Base Exchange is always slammed with little kids, all the time. I used to call this communion of screaming babies my “birth control” when I used to think I didn’t want kids (HA! Joke’s on me!).
It wasn’t uncommon to see little toddlers walk up to random men in uniform, look up at them and say, “Daddy?” Shortly followed by a jogging woman smiling sheepishly at them. The uniform, the high and tight haircuts, it’s an easy mistake. Nevertheless, it always makes me think of the relationship between a service member and their child. When we lived in Alaska, Josh befriended this Army guy who was a forward observer and they would work on their cars together. One of the most dangerous jobs you can be assigned to in the military. His son was about about 4 years old and he had only known him for three MONTHS; just from all the deployments he had been on. He regretfully said that whenever he got back, he always spoiled the crap out of him just because he felt so guilty. I don’t blame the guy. And he had the money to do it; you make a handsome amount of money deploying. There’s also separation pay if you’re married, and haz. pay for the more dangerous locations. And those Army guys deserve every freakin’ penny! That Army guy ended up PCSing and before he left, Josh wanted to do something nice for him so he took him and his little boy on a tour to see the F-22s up close. That’s my man, for ya. Just a good quality, never ceases to amaze me, type of human being. I really hope that when that little boy gets older, he sees a picture of him and his dad out seeing fighter jets and thinks to himself, “My dad did that for me.”
So it’s been raining like mad over here in Seattle. We’ve had wind storms and even a day of hail! I’ve been trying to focus on writing, especially since this is perfect writing weather. Dreary day, lots of rain, the sound of it hitting the roof is just inspirational. What’s really discouraging is I recently found out that the only blogger I’ve ever religiously followed is also writing a book. Dangit! Is everyone else getting a hustle on it or is it just me who’s dragging? I find that whenever I force myself to sit down to write, the material is so bland. I really have to be struck by a muse to sit down and write quality work. What’s unfortunate is this is usually in the dead of the night. My best stuff was written when I was still in the military working mid shift. Now with a baby, naturally working throughout the night isn’t even an option. ‘Ay me…I mean, good for that other blogger and all, but if she publishes hers before me, I will feel so crappy. As Charlie Brown always says: “Aaugh!”
February 16, 2014 § Leave a comment
So I’ve avoided talking about how I put my little one to sleep because it seems that it’s such a controversial issue and whomever decides to discuss it is up for a firing squad of other judgmental mothers who don’t agree. Maybe some of you feel the same? If you don’t, you’re a brave mama!
Well, I’ve been agonizing over this issue because Buddy is now 9 months old, but still requires me to put him to sleep. Yes, it is getting tiring and more difficult. However, I tried a few nights of attempted CIO, and it doesn’t work based on Buddy’s personality. Which is where my belief comes in that these theories really depend on the baby. No one knows your baby more than you. That’s just me.
Buddy is a determined crier. If he wants to cry, he.will.cry. Forever. Until he’s blue in the face, can’t breathe, losing his voice. And from what I’ve read from Dr. Oz and the CIO method, this is not actually a desirable effect of CIO. You want to go back in there, pat their little bottoms, etc. until they calm down. Well, this just pisses Buddy off because I’m not holding him or picking him off, hence the screaming. I’ve also tried sitting on the bed from a distance and singing/shishing him back to sleep. This has worked a few times, but I can count it on one hand. Promising. Won’t let this one go just yet. But I still need a single way that will help effectively put him down. So this is where my experiment came in.
I like the IDEA of CIO. I think it’s necessary to teach babies to learn self-soothing methods and be able to eventually (when they’re ready) put themselves down. It’s a great gift to give your child. I speak of this confidently because as a child who had a mother put her down to sleep every night, I have the hardest time going to sleep. I can tell you, unless I’m exhausted, I go to bed and lay there awake for sometimes hours. And granted, this may not have anything to do with my mother’s methods. But it does make me biased towards one way over the other.
So what am I to do? I wanted to teach Buddy to be able to put himself to sleep, but combined with separation anxiety and just a stubborn will to cry his little heart out to the point of concern, I was at a loss. I did read on the Farber method (I think it was called?) which is the nurturing method where you pick up your baby every time he cries (not whimpers or whines, but actually cries) only to put him down immediately after he calms down. And you repeat this method limitlessly until they go down. But with a working husband, weekends being too short for retainability, and a resultless trial, again I gave up. And knowing Buddy’s personality, we would be at it all night. So I went back to putting him on the bed with me, singing and patting his bottom until he fell asleep.
Then, it was this week when I had a realization. For a baby such as my own, and perhaps even mothers who don’t want to try CIO but feel the same way about it as I do that it does hold some invaluable lessons, maybe I can tailor these two methods. This way, maybe Buddy can learn to put himself to sleep, but have me there so he won’t freak the heck out and lose his head.
//I put Buddy on the bed with me like I have been doing every night. Except this time, instead of patting him or singing, I lay down next to him where his head is resting on my arm and he is on his side facing me.
//I make sure the TV is off, the lights are dim, and I just lay there.
//He thrashes around a bit, and I let him, because logically, this is what he would do if I wasn’t in the room with him.
//If he tries to play with my face, I firmly grasp his arm and either tuck it down or just enough to where he is discouraged. I repeat this however many times it takes for him to realize it’s not play time. And I lay there for however long it takes. Usually a half an hour to an hour max.
//If he tries to sit up or roll over, I rearrange him again so he is pressed up against me, and my arms are firmly around him so he can’t wriggle. He sometimes whines and gets upset, but gives up and I loosen my embrace so he can thrash again. The tightness of my embrace depends on how good he does. The more he tries to lay and relax, the more I relax.
//I lay my palm on his belly, so he feels my body warmth. Hopefully also making him sleepy.
//He babbles, and he does have the pacifier in at nighttime, so he suckles.
//He often looks up at me, and I quickly close my eyes so he thinks I’m sleeping. I’m hoping this sends the message that even mommy is sleeping so it’s bedtime. He will literally stare at my face for minutes, then look back down. I continue to watch him.
//He finally lays still, but his eyes are still open. His hands are opening and closing, also grabbing the blanket a bit. I allow this. For me, I’ve noticed it helps him fall sleep if he’s warm under the blanket.
//His eyes close and his body moves a little bit. I do the test. Either I wait til a) the pacifier falls out his mouth b) pull it out of his mouth and if he opens his mouth for it back, he’s not ready c) drop his arm to see if he tries to catch it d) listen to his breathing.
//Carefully move him from the bed onto the crib at a horizontal position. So he doesn’t feel his head falling, I make sure to keep his body as parallel to the bed as possible when placing him.
Ta-da!!!! I’m thrilled I’ve found a way to be there for Buddy, but still (hopefully!) teach him some sort of ways to put himself to sleep. Phew. Time for chocolate and a movie! Mommy: Score 1.
Don’t forget, mommy always wins!