Tag Archives: Meme

And the seasons they go round and round

Thanks to Next in Line, you have another NaBloPoMo post from me (and tomorrow I’ll make Nutella do it, too, yipee!!)

The biggest surprise

One of the biggest surprises to me is just how much Nature has seemed to mean a whole lot more than Nurture. I was always under the impression that it was 50/50, but now I don’t think so. Or at least, not up until 18 months. The nature that Curly was born with has really made our parenting what it is, not the other way around. He is in control and always has been, not us. It’s so easy to say ‘oh sure, we’ll keep doing such-and-such when we have a kid’ (and we’ve said lots of things like that before) but if he doesn’t like it or handle it well, that changes things. For instance, you can’t *make* a child sleep in a stroller, no matter how tired he is. He just gets crazier and more restless and devilish if that’s the way he is. And if he’s independent and not clingy, you have less to worry about when you leave him places like daycare or with a sitter, even after you’ve been warned about separation anxiety. If you plan to read him lots of books and cuddle with him, but he simply cannot stay still for more than 30 seconds at a time, you have to deal with that. You can’t change him.

Parenting has been more about reaction than anything else. And getting used to your child’s patterns so you know what’s coming and can do your best to keep them happy.

Most unglamorous mama moment

We’ve had a lot of these…moments when we’ve been flat-out sobbing because it’s been so hard or not what we expected. But uh, probably my most unglamorous personal moment was after Curly finger-painted his crib with poo from his diaper and after giving him a bath, I spent 5 minutes cleaning the slats of his crib one-by-one thinking, I cannot believe this is what my life has become.

Favorite activities

Moving on to better topics…tickling him and rough-housing with him are totally fun. He loves climbing on us when we’re on the floor, being picked up and swung around, being “wrestled” with. We all love dancing together. Making funny faces at each other. Bath time is still a lot of fun. Going on exploratory walks outside or to the playground. Just hearing his laughter makes the day so much brighter.

Advice

The two best pieces of advice I can give are:

1) Keep all of your receipts. For everything (diaper packages, sippy cups, the newest carrier you bought, whatever). You never know what will or won’t work and what you need to return.
2) Hang in there. There will be hard days that make you cry. Your child will seem uncontrollable and fight napping or reject you. He may refuse to eat or throw 20 tantrums or break something important. But tomorrow is another day. Tomorrow he might be an angel and give you sweet hugs and kisses and do what you tell him and surprise you in some amazing way. Some days or time periods seem to drag on forever, and then all of a sudden they’re 9 months old and then 18 months old and you truly begin to realize how fast it’s all going. So hang in there and try to enjoy it as much as you possibly can.

Permanent ink

An Offering of Love asked about my tattoo that’s just visible in the artichoke post.

I got this tattoo as a visible, external mark of the way I feel motherhood has changed me. My ‘mother-ness’ feels invisible whenever I’m not with Curly. I chose to have it done on the inside of my left wrist, thinking that this would be attention-getting, yet in the  months I’ve had it so far, very few people have ever commented on it. But I notice it all the time, always on the edge of my vision.  Just as motherhood is always on the edge of my consciousness.

Strawberry has a few tattoos as well, but this is her most recent, done on the same day and by the same artist that did mine above.

Cherry Blossoms

Here’s what she says about it “Similarly to Nutella, I feel that parenthood has changed me significantly, and I got this tattoo done to mark the passing of the first year (I will NOT be getting more to mark each year!) To me, the cherry blossoms symbolize the transient nature of time, the beauty of life and its moments, and the passage of seasons. Also, this is my largest tattoo and was a bit of a trial to decide on, to go through and to look back on. Which is very much like my thoughts on having a child in the first place.”

What about all of you out there?  Have you marked your body in a physical way as the outward reflection of something major in your life?

If you become a teacher, by your pupil you’ll be taught

Why is it so hard to find things to blog about? Probably because it would be annoying to everyone for us to update the blog constantly with things like, ‘Curly can now say 4 new words’ or ‘Curly threw a 15 minute tantrum last night because he ate all his Trader Joe’s fruit crusher and didn’t understand there wasn’t any left.’ So while we’re working on building up gems like those, we’re turning back to the remaining questions (but we’re quickly running out, eek!)

cindyhoo2 asked: What were the biggest surprises about parenting, both the good and the not-so-good?

Well, we were lucky/realistic in that we did not have rose-colored glasses on about the whole thing. We knew there would be awesome moments, and we knew there would be really challenging ones as well. So, as far as the ‘good’ stuff…for me, it is the pride I take in my son. I think he is beautiful, charming, and intelligent…but I also would never say he is the most beautiful, the most charming, the most intelligent. I’m proud of him, but grounded. We get really excited when he does something new…even if it seems very simple, even if he was ‘supposed’ to know how to do it months ago according to the books. It is just absurdly exciting to see his wheels turn and to see him ‘get’ something, and even more so, repeat it. I am delighted when he learns something new at daycare and does it for the first time (to our eyes) at home. I love showing him off to people, and I love when he charms the pants off of them.

Surprises of the ‘hm..isn’t that interesting?’ sort include our satisfaction with him being in daycare, where we know he is happy, socialized and with people who are much more patient than I am throughout the day 🙂 I thought I would miss him more during the day, but I don’t. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I love him, I do miss him at times, but I am perfectly happy with our situation. That said, when I am with him, especially in groups, I am very ‘mama bear.’ I must know where he is, what he is doing, and who else he is with. On second thought, that’s not much of a surprise…

Surprises of the not-so-good variety. Sadly, there are a lot of these. I say this with a huge grain of salt, but we never thought we would have a child who slept too much. We LOVE that he has always been a fantastic night sleeper, but wow…at 15 months he still takes 2, sometimes 3 naps a day. That’s anywhere from 3-5 hours of day time sleep. It makes it so hard to do things sometimes. Admittedly, it’s gotten better since he’s been walking because he pushes himself more, but if we’re at a place where he can’t walk freely, the tired-crankiness can be harsh. I guess we also did not foresee that we would be trapped in our home at 7pm every night. Perhaps we thought he would be able to stay up sometimes if we wanted to go out to eat or whatever. No matter what we’re doing, he gets tired around 7pm and all he wants is his crib. We never thought he wouldn’t nap in his stroller either, ouch.

We thought he’d be more cuddly…or maybe that’s just what we wanted so badly. He does give us hugs now and then, but he never stays still to cuddle more than a few seconds, even at bedtime. Nutella thought she would have a better breastfeeding relationship with him. It was one of the hardest things she’s ever done, and she resorted to pumping for a couple months prior to stopping just to be able to reach her goal.

When he was first born, he was amazing to me, and he still is. But those first few months were so much harder than I ever anticipated, both because of our newness to parenting, and his strong personality (and reflux, you devil!). I thought I would love him with the strength of a million suns the moment he was born. I did not. Over time, I fell in love with him as I got to know him. It took many months, but it makes sense to me now. He is not perfect, there are times he is stinky or stubborn or cranky (or all), but there are times he is sweet and inquisitive and adorable. I accept him for everything that he is and when he’s laughing, time stands still in the most wonderful way. Parenting is everything I thought it would be and then some, times a hundred, for better and for worse.

…I was going to end there, but something occurred to me while writing this entry; it’s not so much the surprises of parenting in general, but of parenting our child. The way he is affects the way we are, the way we handle everything, the changes we’ve had to make. You can have a lot of preconceived notions about how you’re going to do things, and you may be able to apply some of them, but ultimately, it will be (or rather, should be) your child that makes your experience of parenting what it is.

Tootin’ the horn

A heartfelt thanks to the ladies (and little man) over at bluedaisyus for giving us a ‘Beautiful Blogger’ award. We’ve been enjoying reading about their adventures, and are so pleased that they’ve been enjoying ours as well. Blue is currently doing a ‘picture a day’ theme, so pop on over to see some inspired creativity, along with their sweet ‘Monkey’ son.

It’s hard to pick others for an award, perhaps because there are so many wonderful bloggers out there and everyone deserves one. But in keeping with the Beautiful Blogger theme, here are a few that have us hungry for more…

Gayby Rabies are expecting their twins any minute now! We’re so excited for them and can’t wait to meet their new additions. Gayby has been a thought-provoking blogger, asking deep questions of herself and her readers along this journey. We hope they’re able to keep up the blogging some amidst the lovely chaos of their babies (but do not expect them to award others since they’re a little busy at the moment…)

kraftykay over at Knotty…but Nice has been keeping us up-to-date on their family, including their precious daughter who is 2 months younger than Curly. They are extremely cool and crafty, and the one-year birthday post was particularly poignant and relatable to us.

Finally, our dear friends at Looking for a Little Turtle (or should that be Turtles?) are newly expecting twins after a long, difficult journey and we are over the moon for them. The blog is written with raw emotion, and you can’t help but want the absolute best for these women.

We hope our readers are following along with these blogs, or decide to. And thanks so much for following our path as well.

Working for a living the whole day long

We haven’t forgotten about the questions!

mama deux asked: Do you both want to work, or would one of you rather stay home / take on the stay-at-home mom role? Related to this – what would your ideal job/work situations be like?

We love our lifestyle and are reconciled to working out of the home to sustain it.  Neither of us are working in our dream jobs or even our dream fields.  If you’d told my 17 year old self what I’d be doing at almost 34, I would have been horrified.  Strawberry feels much the same.  All of that aside, we like our jobs as much as we can, but we don’t love them.  We do our work well, but at the end of the day and on the weekend we leave it behind for the most part.

If we could maintain our lifestyle with one or both of us not working, would we do it?  Yes, but neither of us would want to be a full time stay at home mom.  I’d love to be home most of the day and then working in my chosen field (it’s theatre) in the evenings.  I would still want Curly to be in daycare at least part time, because I think he really benefits from the social interaction and the structure he gets there. Yet, even if I could work that sort of schedule, it would put a real strain on my marriage if Strawberry were still working a 9-5.  If she were working her dream job of travel writer/ critic, then we could probably work something out.

There are definitely things about our current schedule that I would change slightly if I could.  I’d much rather spend more hours with Curly while he’s awake and maybe spend some of the hours he’s sleeping doing work.  Sadly, that doesn’t really work with my career.  It might be a possibility for Strawberry, if she were to change employers or freelance, but that would come with additional concerns.  We’ve done well at maximizing our time at home with short commutes, and cherish our mornings and evenings with Curly.  And we never take the weekend for granted.

Oh, and Mama Deux?  If your baby was waiting until we answered, you should be good to go now 🙂

You and me and baby makes 3

We are off to the beach tomorrow for a week. We did this same trip last year when Curly was 2 months old. At 14 months, it will be a LOT different and we’re hoping he has a good time and doesn’t get too upset when his thumbs, which must always be available to suck on, get covered in sand. So we’ll be out of commission next week and will return with tales of our adventures and some pictures.

Snoozing on the beach 1 year ago

Now for a new question…

From Lez : I would like to know, especially since Strawberry wasn’t sure about the whole kids idea, how has having Curly changed you as a couple?  Do you still have eh-hem…..alone time 😉 Did having Curly bring you apart as a couple at all?

My first instinct is to say that no, having Curly in the picture did not change us as a couple. We still love, respect and rely on each other as we did before. We still have fun times together, including eh-hem…alone time. We are in most ways the same people as before, the same couple as before. But on second thought, that’s not entirely true. Becoming parents has changed us. Before, we mainly thought about ourselves and each other. Now, nearly every decision is guided by what’s best for our son. That includes trivial things, like what to make for dinner (can Curly eat it? how long does it take to make?) to medium things, like going out on a ‘date’ together (can we find a sitter we trust? can we put him to bed first?) to larger things, like switching jobs (can we live comfortably on the salary now that we have a child? what are the benefits, especially for him? how will daycare work?) We’ve found that we must consult each other and think things through even more so than before. We have to function as a couple on a deeper, more intense level…sometimes on a more mundane level as well.

I say this a lot, but those first few weeks were really difficult. Curly was a very sensitive, very ‘high needs’ infant and had typical infant issues like reflux and gas pain…was not the best nurser…and kept us awake all. night. long. for the first couple weeks. Taking care of him then was the hardest thing we’ve ever done, but it brought us closer. We leaned on each other, cried on each other’s shoulders, celebrated wonderful moments, held one another up, and as suspected, were able to see firsthand the kind of responsible, caring, strong people we believed each other to be. We also saw one another really crack and fall apart under pressure…from sobbing, lamenting loss of freedom, having a short temper, and feeling depressed or not good enough. We saw the best and worst in each other and ourselves and have come out on the other side loving each other as a whole, for better and for worse. Our particular sets of neuroses thankfully get along well.

I think there are two very important components that can tell you how you may be changed as a couple after having a child. The first includes your dynamics: How are you as a couple now? Do you share responsibility or at least split things up equally? Can you depend on each other? Do you know what is important to the other person, and in knowing so, strive to make them happy? Can you handle each other when you’re under a lot of stress? How do you communicate? How do you resolve differences of opinion?

The second includes the temperament and personality of your child (to be). We got a child that is not ‘easy.’ He is demanding but independent. His cries are piercingly loud and he needs routines to feel comfortable. But he is a fantastic sleeper and eater. Basically, this means that during our days together, our focus must be on him and in making sure his needs of the moment are fulfilled. When you have an infant, this of course is very typical. Although I have seen people whose babies  are hungry and will gnaw at toys for a while instead of shriek and tantrum at the first tummy growl. I have also seen babies who will stay put when they’re on the floor and not insist on getting into everything, and fast. What kind of child you have will color how difficult your days are. And what kind of sleeper you have will really effect things, too. Dealing with sleep deprivation makes everything worse. We were zombies for a while, but only a short while. Instituting a strict 7pm bedtime (he couldn’t stay awake longer anyway) gave us lots of time to unwind and focus on each other, plus get done the things that needed to get done. And I think that’s a huge component of functionality. As hard as things felt during the day, we knew we’d have our nights to ‘relax.’ If you don’t get a good sleeper, what’s your plan? Will you split night wake-ups? How do you feel about ‘crying it out’? How important is sleep to you?

These past 14 months have held high highs and low lows for us, but it was important for us to make our relationship as much of a priority as our son. We’ve definitely taken advantage of sitters for date nights, we’ve still celebrated important occasions, and after the few weeks that were needed for recovery from birth, we’ve maintained the same level of physical intimacy as before. The boy has certainly added pressure to our lives and somewhat limits the kind of focus we can give each other daily, but we’ve adapted and I truly believe are stronger and closer than ever.

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