Category Archives: Parenthood

Playroom Planning: Before

Now that Enzo is getting more mobile, we’re working on creating some designated play spaces for him in the house. Currently, he spends most of his time in the dining room. It’s the most convenient place we have, but he has outgrown it. Clearly.

It was ideal when he was contained to a jumper or an activity center but now that his toys are all up in my business 24/7 I want to find ways to contain it. The immediate solution is a rolling toy box (that will fit in a nearby walk-in closet) for main floor fun. I plan to dress it up with some decorative adhesives. 

The long term, permanent solution is to turn our screened in porch into an all-seasons room and make that a play room.That is a big project though, so in the meantime we are planning a play nook in the basement. 

 

It’s not a huge space, so I’ve been strategizing for months on what to include and how to organize it. I want it to be a space Enzo will love, of course, but I also want it to appeal to a range of ages so other kids can enjoy it when they come over. 

After talking with numerous caregivers of little people, we got a fairly clear idea of what some long-lasting toys might be. With those in mind, we’ve ordered 4 things so far. A slide, ball pit, tree, and bookshelf with a reading nook
(Photos obviously not mine, found on Google Images)



I am aware he will try to climb the tree. He tries to climb everything, so I’m pretty used to saying No and enduring the tantrum 5875030656 times a day.

I am super excited about these pieces, I can’t wait to see how Enzo reacts to the slide and ball pit. Once they get here and we see how they look, we’ll move to Phase 2 (final large pieces). We already have an awesome easel from my brother and his fiance. We are thinking about adding a small play kitchen and/or tool bench, along with a large acrylic mirror for babies, a felt board, and a magnetic board. Phase 3 will be decorations. <–Yes I promise, there will be color. It won’t all be gray, black and white. Although monochrome is trendy and I like it, there are no windows in this area of the basement so I plan to bring some bright and happy to it before it’s finished. 

If you have any suggestions on what to add in Phase 2, things your kids can’t get enough of, let me know! 

Enzo Alan: 12 Months

 

Age: 12 Months

Stats: Height 29.5 in (50%), Weight 22.8 lbs (42%), Head 46cm (45%)

Life Lately:

Not walking on his own, but basically running while pushing a walker. And chairs. And barstools. And anything else he can scrape across the hardwoods.

Working hard on eating more than puffs and veggie straws. The struggle of mealtime reached a boiling point a couple weeks ago and we have been working with my OT brother and his fiancé ever since, trying to steer behaviors (Enzo’s and mine) onto a more healthy, successful course. We’re improving, for the most part. Enzo has been skipping meals and that stresses me to no end but I’m trying very hard to let go and believe everyone when they say He’ll eat when he’s hungry.

Relatedly, when I ask him to point to certain foods, he almost always does so correctly. That was super impressive to me the first time he did it. I may or may not have scared him in shouty excitement.

Otherwise he has been in a wonderful mood lately (knock on wood.) Sleeping great at night, sleeping IN until 8 or 9, and repeating Daddy over and over all day long because Dad’s the cool parent and I’m the one that tries to make him eat nutritious foods he’s not interested in.

When he does say Mama it’s in a super creepy Walking Dead voice that makes me laugh….and maybe wonder if I should be sleeping with one eye open.

Other notables:

He likes to play with kitchen items (usually more than toys), clap, hug, point, and occasionally “dance” (bob up and down). It’s cute as all get out.

And last but not least, he has, on occasion, done all the moves to Itsy Bitsy Spider. For which I was prepared to give him ALL THE AWARDS. Grammy, Oscar, Golden Globe, his wash the spider out motion wins them all.


 

After Enzo’s birthday party, my brother asked: How are you feeling, now that he’s one? I didn’t know what to say really. I feel so many things at once.

I feel like God dropped the mic after He made my son.

I feel like I could not be happier, and that makes me uneasy.

I feel like if this is how fast life is going to go from now on…I am not pleased. I have no choice, I understand that. But just let it be known, world. I AM NOT PLEASED. It’s so hard to properly appreciate the magic of childhood when the days rush in and out, like a whisper on a breeze.

I feel like I want another baby, but I also really enjoy sleep. And fitting into my jeans.

Sometimes I see people bite their tongues, when I joke about jeans and sleep. No doubt wanting to chide me for my selfishness. It is a joke, for the record. I know now that the struggle of the first three months won’t last forever, and I can claw my way back to my fighting weight over time. Even so, that doesn’t mean the mere thought of doing it all again doesn’t make me cringe.

But the more pressing truth of the matter is a positive is not a promise.

Just because we had one beautiful, healthy boy, doesn’t garauntee us the same outcome again. We will try of course, but we don’t expect it to be all blissful sunshine and ignorant roses now that we have Enzo. Instead I imagine it to be like what a race car driver feels when he continues to race after surviving a catastrophic wreck. Even though he has gone on to compete again, every time he gets in that car…he remembers the potential price.

So yes. We hope to be pregnant again. Soon. In the meantime when you hear me joke about sleep and jeans just know that I really do enjoy those things. A lot. But underneath that jest, is a knot in my chest. Shaped like a question mark. Made up of fear.

A positive is not a promise. I know that well. Better than you may think. So try not to worry so much about my biological clock that you are tempted to turn my jokes into serious conversation. What will be will be, it’s in God’s hands. In the meantime, laugh with me. And tell me how good I look in my jeans. ;)

Enzo Alan: 10/11 Months

 

Age: 11 Months

Stats:
Next appointment is 1 year, I’ll update then.

Life Lately:

The last 2 months have been So. Much. Fun.

Enzo has become super interactive with us, and seems to master a new skill every day. He loves to stack toys, wave, give hugs, play hide and seek, chase and be chased, feed us things, crawl around in small spaces, open and close doors + drawers, and raise his arms up in response to “How big is Enzo?” “Up” “High” or his favorite song from music class, where we make the motions for a dolphin jumping in and out of the water.

He is always so proud of himself when he raises his arms. Probably because we make a big deal out of congratulating him. Sometimes he even does it at night when I’m trying to put him to bed, as if to distract me. Hey mom look what I can do! Aren’t you proud?? Yes I am son, now GO TO BED. ;) 

He has 8 teeth, 4 on top and 4 on bottom. He is always chewing on his fingers with the back of his mouth so I suspect there are some trying to come in back there but I haven’t seen them yet.

He sleeps through the night, averaging 11 hours (except for the past week and a half. He and I are sick with a cold that never ends, so I totally understand. I haven’t been able stay asleep either), and his morning nap is now pretty solid, 1-2.5 hours. The afternoon nap, on the other hand, is dicey. Sometimes he sleeps for 2 hours, sometimes not at all. It’s often not at all. He shouldn’t be ready to give up his second nap yet, so I still fight the good fight but MAN battling him can wear me out. 

He likes to say DaD-EE now, but has completely dropped Mama. He jabbers a lot but hasn’t picked up any other words yet.

I have been working with him on clapping and blowing kisses but he’s not interested. He will hold onto the outside of Ron and I’s hands and make us clap but he won’t do it himself.

He walks while holding onto things and is really quick about it but he doesn’t seem to want to walk on his own yet. He sits down when we try to hold his hands and help him walk.

He’s very picky about food and we’re struggling to get him to eat more finger foods. He will eat rice rusks, yogurt melts, crunchies, and occasionally nutrigrain bars but everything else, small bites of our food, he rejects. He still mostly eats chunky purees and half the time he doesn’t even want that. I have to sing and dance or take him outside to walk around while I feed him so he’s distracted enough to not throw a fit. I dread meals. I don’t see that changing anytime soon but I can hope! In the meantime I just keep trying new things while keeping our regular winners on hand as backup. 


Yesterday I posted a blog about my first year as a SAHM. I want to add a couple things to that. 

Parenthood is not a competition. Whether you are a working parent, SAHP, or a mix of the two, every choice has its pros and cons and hard moments. But I do want to give some love to those who juggle a job and parenthood. High fives to you all, for keeping your ships upright despite all that is demanded of you.

I want to make the most of my time at home so I set a lot of goals and expectations for myself. When I fail to meet those self-imposed standards, I get frustrated, overwhelmed or stressed. And that’s nonsense. My deadlines and projects have no negative consequences if I miss them or mess up. Meaning much of the stress I feel (some struggle is definitely legit) is manufactured. In those moments I compare my life to that of a working parent to give myself a perspective adjustment. Is this something I should be fretting overUsually it’s not. So I take a deep breathe and mentally fist bump all of you who don’t have the luxury of cutting yourself slack at work. Or who will never see a day this side of high school graduation when you can address some of the home projects I can. 

But on that note I thought I would give you an idea of what I DO do all day. So this is a rough outline. No two days are the same because kids are unpredictable and love to throw a wrench in perfectly crafted schedules. It’s seriously Enzo’s top hobby, I think. But this is what I attempt: 

7am Wake up, feed Enzo milk. 
7-8am Play in Enzo’s room. We read books, count, stack, and turn on the CD from his music class to sing some of the songs. 
8-9am Make breakfast, feed Enzo, then clean up the kitchen while he plays with his toys in his playpen. 
9-10am Shower and get ready. Enzo hangs out in his pack n play while I do that. We have a glass shower so I can make faces and play peek-a-boo with him to keep him entertained, if he’s not interested in his toys. Those glass doors are SUCH a huge help. I’m sure he would not be as content if he couldn’t see me. I also know once he can climb out I will have to go back to working out and showering before he wakes up. I’ve gotten lazy this summer because I know if I have to I can put it off until the very end of the day, since the weather is nice and it stays light so late.

**On days we have music class, storytime, or a playdate in the morning, I condense play time and breakfast so we can be out the door. 

10am If we have been out and about Enzo usually falls asleep in the car on the way home so I will sometimes use that opportunity to run errands. We are still utilizing his infant car seat because when he does fall asleep I can usually transfer him in and out of the car to his stroller without waking him. Those days are numbered though. If we are home I give him more milk, turn on the instrumental lullaby music, or read more books as I try to get him down for a nap. 

10:30-12:30 On a good day Enzo will nap 1.5 – 2 hours and I will do as much as I can of the following: my devotional, laundry/clean the house, meal plan for the following week, workout, write a blog, work on his baby book, make plans for his nursery or birthday party, organize one of the many areas in the house that somehow manages to end up in total disarray, make phone calls to contractors, do my volunteer work for the church, catch up on e-mails and group texts, get started on dinner prep, look up new rhymes, songs, and games to play with Enzo, study from a stack of parenting or landscape books (we’re wanting to re-do our front landscape this fall), or some other random task like taking measurements for wall art or putting together our front porch rocking chairs. 

12:30 – 1:30 Lunch and clean up 

1:30 – 3:30 I try to get us out of the house. We go to the store, library, park, splash pad, or visit friends/family. 

3:30-5:30 Nap 2 Attempt. If successful, I clean, workout, or finish dinner prep, whichever didn’t get accomplished in the morning. If not successful, I try to survive with a crazy moody munchkin until Ron gets home. This is the most common time for him to receive distress texts. 

5:30-7:30 Dinner, Clean up, Playtime with Daddy, Bath. 

7:30-8 Storytime and bed. 

8-11 Workout if I didn’t get it in that day, finish cleaning up dinner, hang out with Ron. 

You may be wondering how many days it would take me to get through a naptime to-do list and the answer is I never get through it because there is always more of all of it. By the time I complete one task, another is ready and waiting for me.

I realize none of it is anything super impressive. I’m not over here dancing backward in high heels or anything. But I do put my whole heart into being home. I try very hard to make sure our days are meaningful. That I’m keeping life fun, new, and interesting for Enzo and I’m doing things that matter when I’m not focused on him. Whether that’s something that will make life easier for Ron and I (never underestimate the joy of an expertly organized closet) or writing something that will hopefully one day help someone. So that’s what I mean by never bored. I am not over scheduled or too busy, but there will ALWAYS be something up next. And on deck. And in the hole. ;) 

 

SAHM Life: 1 Year

My first year as a SAHM can be divided into two parts: Breastfeeding + The Rest.

The initial months were ROUGH. Sleep deprivation, the chaos of my entire life turning upside down, a body I felt like a foreigner in…it’s a lot to deal with the first time around. However, looking back I attribute most of the discontent to breastfeeding. I hated it. HATED IT. It sparked an awful hormonal reaction for me. A rage I can’t even put into words. Not every time, at first, but eventually I couldn’t even bear the thought of feeding my baby. I would dig my nails into my leg or squeeze something the entire time to combat the waves of fierce, inexplicable anger.

Enzo wasn’t loving it either. He was making adequate diapers and gaining *just* enough to meet guidelines, but he was screaming a lot. Acting hungry even after hours (days, weeks) of cluster feeding. And honestly, he began to look tired and sickly to me.

Feeding him was a nightmare, the exact opposite of a bonding experience, so around 8 weeks I decided to switch to exclusive pumping + supplementing. I had been pumping after every nursing session to try and get my supply up. Meaning by the time I finished that, Enzo was usually up again. I was getting absolutely no sleep and felt like I was living in a vortex of crazy.

Pumping still brought a negative response (putting it nicely) but at least I didn’t have a sweet baby attached to me in the process. Also by using bottles and supplementing, we quickly confirmed Enzo was HUNGRY. He gained a pound in a week and became a whole new baby. Calmer, happier.

I’m not sure why he wasn’t getting enough to eat. I had his latch checked 3 times, not by top breastfeeding specialists but my pediatrician and lactation consultants. They all saw nothing concerning, each stating he appeared to have a wonderful latch. Maybe someone trained in latches would have seen something different, but I really don’t think that was why he wasn’t getting enough milk. When I began pumping I averaged 20 ounces a day, and that was stuffing my face with recommended “milk producing” foods and hooking up to a machine for a total of 10 hours a day. Literally. With bottles we found Enzo was satisfied by 30-32oz.

Lactation consultants will tell you babies are more efficient than a machine and that may be true, Enzo may have had a latch issue not making him efficient enough, but in my gut I believe it was me, not him.

So maybe I could have done more to try to fix myself, but it wasn’t just about milk production. It was my sanity and emotional stability. I saw no reason to go on for months and months hating something so much when there was another perfectly healthy option for feeding my baby.

Still, the choice to abandon breastfeeding became it’s own issue. I was so disappointed in myself for  1. hating breastfeeding, 2. giving up on it and 3. supplementing. I continued to pump at all hours of the day until 4.5 months when I decided I needed more than 4 hours of broken sleep a day. I cut back on pumping sessions until I stopped producing at 5.5 months. My goal had been 6 months, but I was done with what felt like heroics. As soon as we switched over to full formula, a huge burden was lifted. Guilt that I wasn’t giving my baby “the best” lingered, but I got over that because I finally felt like I could give him MY best. I didn’t have to spend the majority of my day sitting at the kitchen bar attached to a pump, trying to keep him happy and entertained in his boppy lounger.

Between a miscarriage, a close miscarriage call with Enzo at 5 weeks, having a pelvis that’s literally too small to birth a baby, and then hating breastfeeding/not producing enough milk…it seemed like nature was telling me I wasn’t supposed to be a mother. Throw all of those thoughts and feelings in with a mass hormone exit, a drastically different lifestyle from what I’d known for 32 years, and harassment from all sides about trying to keep our infant away from sickness during flu season and HAVE MERCY. What a brutal Fall + Winter.

Thankfully it was all up from there. I could not be happier. Staying home certainly does NOT feel like a vacation, but neither am I bored or unfulfilled. My to-do list is forever growing and as long as I have children to care for, it will remain that way. There will come a day when I have the time to read and write (to clarify, writing is more than a hobby. when I talk about writing I mean a book. that’s one of the things I work on when I find a nugget of free time), and I won’t be frantic trying to complete my workout and chores before the baby needs me again. And when that day comes I will enjoy the peaceful productivity. But I will miss this.

First morning smiles, and hugs after naps.
His tiny body contorting itself into even tinier spaces, then hollering when he gets stuck.
How he is CONSTANTLY finding a new way to potentially harm himself, that I never would have thought of on my own. It’s both terrifying and impressive. 
His tiny hand and arm gripping mine as I carry him around. 
Carrying him around.

Storytimes and music class and proudly parading around Target with THE cutest child in the entire world. ;) 
Stroller walks, porch pools, park trips. 
Chasing and being chased by a tiny giggling human. Up the stairs, around the rocking chair, via his hilarious ferrari walker. 

It’s sweet and fun, but also demanding and exhausting. Trying to maintain the home while making sure my rapidly changing baby has fun, feels loved, socializes, learns on pace, sleeps enough, eats enough, etc., Twenty. Four. Seven, is no joke. 

So it frustrates me a little when people ask if I’m bored, or better yet, What do you do all day? I prefer What did you do today? It might seem silly, but there’s a big difference in inference. One makes it sound like you must have trouble passing the time, the other acknowledges you were busy and the inquirer is just interested in what was accomplished.

I have a great deal of flexibility by staying home, but that doesn’t equate to easy. It just means that I can shuffle my schedule to accommodate the various needs and requests of my baby, friends and family. Trust and believe if you ask me to be somewhere or do something for you I was not sitting on my thumbs just waiting for an invitation. I had to put off something I had been working on or planned to get done. (That isn’t meant to come across negatively, I’m just trying to clear up some misconceptions about staying home.)

It is SO. NICE. to have such flexibility. It’s a blessing to be able to be there for the people I love at a moment’s notice. And I think I have made it ABUNDANTLY clear that I am grateful beyond words for the time I get to spend with Enzo. But it’s still work. More challenging work than what I did for my “real job.”

After experiencing it for a year I can confidently say it isn’t for everyone. Not every parent can or wants to stay home. But if you are on the fence, debating whether the sacrifice in career and finances would be worth it….oh honey, draft that resignation letter and quit. Right now. Call or email me if you want to talk about it more, but know I will try to sway you to stay home.  

That’s an overview of the year, just for fun here are some details in the form of What I Swore I Would Do, and DIDN’T + What I Swore I Would Do, and DID.

What I Swore I Would Do, and Didn’t.

  1. Breastfeed. I did but not as long or successfully as I was determined to be. 
  2. Date Nights in the First Month. Ummm…we haven’t had a single date night yet. I have left Enzo alone with my mom and dad a couple times while I ran errands solo, but I don’t even like doing that. I am a total baby hoarder. Before Enzo was born, I had somehow convinced myself that not wanting to leave my baby would be a sign of weakness. So I was hanging my head as I told a fellow SAHM about our lack of date nights and she said looked me straight in the eyes and said so seriously, You shouldn’t feel bad for wanting to be with your baby. And you know what? She’s right. I do think dates are important for our marriage, and I want to give Enzo time to build special relationships with his extended family, but it’s not a flaw in my personality to want to spend time with my kid. I know as he grows, there will be natural boundaries. I’m not going to follow him into kindergarten or summer camp or other places parents aren’t supposed to go. But for now, Ron and I get plenty of one-on-one time when Enzo sleeps so we don’t feel a need for date nights. We love to be together as a family when he is awake. So who knows when we will start doing date nights (or when I’ll want more “Mom Time”) but I’m done shaming myself for a lack of them. 
  3. Travel or Treat the Baby as an Accessory and Live the Same Life We Did Pre-Baby.

    The first three months we chose to keep Enzo sheltered because a newborn contracting RSV is a lot more serious than a younger child or adult. Some people think this is ridiculous, and that’s their prerogative. Ron has seen enough for us to know we don’t want to take our chances. But that didn’t mean we planned to keep him sheltered forever. We take him out and about to restaurants and public places all the time now. However, we haven’t traveled yet (we hope to for his birthday week and our anniversary week in December, though) and overall we live a less active life than before. Not because we can’t and don’t think we should do some of the things we used to do. We just don’t want to. He’s no longer small enough to be considered an “accessory.” He’s a moody, squirmy, nonverbal yet opinionated little person. That can translate to a lot of work when it comes to day-long outings and travel. As he gets older we will definitely be all about more adventurous activities but for now we don’t mind slower, simpler days. We are still very much enjoying our life, he isn’t holding us back from fun. We just have a new definition of fun in this season, and it will evolve as our family grows and changes. 

What I Swore I Would Do and Did

  1. Shower Daily. I don’t judge any new moms who don’t find time to shower every day, I totally get it. It’s crazy how the time can get away from you, especially in those first months. And certainly it’s harder the more kids you have in the house. But showering is a big deal to me. A really big deal, ha. On a normal day I shower twice, sometimes three times depending on when I worked out. So I always knew that I would find a way and I did, starting in the hospital. There has not been one single day I haven’t showered since bringing Enzo home. Sometimes I put it off until Ron got home from work but it still happened, and it was one of those small things that made all the difference for me in those early weeks.
  2. CIO/Sleep Train. This was WAY harder than I expected it to be, but I still did it. I weighed the arguments for and against and made an informed decision that I do not regret. Enzo sleeping through the night was a GAME CHANGER and 1000% worth it. 
  3. Lose all the baby weight. Sure, a baby shifts priorities. But I don’t think making time and putting in the effort to regain fitness is selfish. I gave up a great many “Me” things when I had Enzo. All of my hobbies and social activities have taken a backseat. But I won’t let my health go. It’s too critical to my happiness and well being. It took me A LOT longer than anticipated but I clawed my way back to pre-pregnancy weight and I’m continuing to work hard toward my goal weight, muscle tone, and running speed. 

Bottom Line, I love this SAHM life. If you told me this is as good as it gets, it’s all downhill from the baby years..I would believe you. It’s pretty darn amazing. <3