Thursday, May 26, 2005

Ode to Technology

Did you know there's such a thing as a motion-activated paper towel dispenser? They just installed them in the office building where I work, and I had never seen one before. Fortunately my attempts to locate the lever set off the sensor and made the towel roll out. Otherwise I would've stood in front of the thing for minutes before figuring out the concept. What a crazy world! :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Toddlerhood Begins

So many of the bloggers out there have fun code names for their kids, an idea I have been meaning to steal since I started my own blog. It just seems more comfortable than putting your kids' names out there, not really because I think some crazy person will find my daughter just by her first name (God forbid), but more because it preserves her privacy a little. Anyway, my creative powers being somewhat lacking, the ideal code name has been eluding me, and all of the nicknames we actually call her are just too cutesy to admit in semi-public. This weekend, my husband and I were joking that it was time for DD's "Second Breakfast" (she eats what seems like a hundred small meals a day), so in lieu of something more clever, she shall henceforth be referred to as "the Hobbit."
On to MUCH more important things, the Hobbit took her first steps yesterday!!!!! I missed the very first ones -- it happened at day care. When we picked her up, they told us that she had taken 3 steps. Our first reaction, of course, was to plunk the poor child down on the floor and try to make her perform the feat again. And she actually did it! She walked another 2 steps into my arms, and she did it a few more times when we got home. Holy smokes, was she proud of herself! Even before she showed us she could do it, she was beaming a thousand-watt smile. The Hobbit is always happy to see us at the end of the day, but never quite THAT excited.
The walking is not the only sign that my baby is becoming an official toddler. She has developed some very strong opinions, and she is decidedly not shy about expressing them. Her lung capacity and vocal chords are in fine working order, I'm thrilled to report. Sigh. I know it's a good thing for her to learn to think for herself and to try new things -- I'd never want to hold her back from either of those endeavors. I'm just nervous about striking the necessary balance. How do I encourage her to branch out, while also encouraging her to drink her milk and keep her seatbelt fastened?

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Selfish Mommy

The Hobbit (my DD) adjusts well to new people, usually. Although she might squirm or cry when she's first handed from Mom to Grandma, she can be easily distracted with a new game or toy. She hardly ever cries when we leave her at daycare. In fact, I sometimes linger outside the door on the way out, wishing that she was a little less interested in climbing into the toybox and a little more heartbroken that Mommy wasn't staying right beside her all day. On the whole, though, I would much rather have it this way than to have to disengage myself from a sobbing, clinging little vine every day. I've done that, and it sucks.
On the other hand, the Hobbit still undoubtedly prefers my company. She never complains about leaving Daddy to come to me, only the reverse. She gives hugs, but only to me. Her timing with these hugs is impeccable, too, the little manipulator! This morning, my mom stopped by our house so that DH could install a car seat in her car. She came in for a few minutes to say "hi," and she never made a move toward the Hobbit at all. (As the Hobbit was covered in raspberry yogurt and sodden Cheerios, I can hardly blame her.) Nonetheless, as soon as my mom entered the kitchen, the Hobbit threw her little sticky arms around my neck and laid her head on my shoulder. Message received.
My guilty little secret is that I LOVE this. To spare DH's feelings, I might act a little exasperated when she twists out of his grasp and heads straight for my ankles -- actually, come to think of it, sometimes it is a little cumbersome trying to unload the dishwasher with her suctioned onto my knees. Underneath it all, I'm grinning, though, as if I've won some kind of contest.
It's not that I don't want her to love her Daddy. On the contrary, it still moves me to tears every time I watch them together, and I love the way they play together. She laughs more readily for him than for anyone else; it's so sweet. But some little part of me feels it's my inherent right as the Mother to be the best Comforter, Hugger, Bathgiver, Bedtime Story Reader, etc., and it's gratifying that the Hobbit feels the same way. Am I hopelessly sexist and old-fashioned, or is my family simply settling into the roles we were born to fill?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Whatever this hideous disease is that's making the rounds in my circles, I've had enough of it! DD had a cold, which of course developed into an ear infection and (shudder) pinkeye. I HATE pinkeye; it's so gross! And, like every ear infection the poor thing has had, we didn't even know she was sick until the pinkeye showed up. She never pulls at her ears or anything -- we always take her to the doctor for some other cause, like a rash or throwing up, and it turns out it's a complication of the ear infection. Worse, it's never the same thing twice, so we can never say, "Oh, she's got another rash -- better have her ears checked!" We tried that, and that time the rash was just a virus, and there was nothing they could do. Ah, the joys of parenting.
Anyway, this time I caught the stupid bug too, and spent all day Friday confined to my bed. I literally felt like an adventurer when I dragged my sorry self all the way to the kitchen for some crackers. Now, almost 6 days later, I'm still coughing like a 50-year smoker (never had a cigarette in my entire life), and I have pinkeye too (again, shudder). Plus, it hasn't stopped raining here in what seems like weeks. If I could only see the sun, I think my outlook would be greatly improved. (Am seriously considering moving to Alaska; that way, I'd have about 12 additional hours of potential sunlight each day.)
Once upon a time I boasted that I hardly ever got sick. I was young and foolish then, and I didn't have a baby bringing home a day care's worth of germs. Oh, well.
Maybe part of it is that I didn't used to mind being sick all that much. If it's just me, I can hole up for a few days, get over it, and move on. Now, though, I have to hoard my days off in case the baby is sick, so I didn't want to take more than one for myself. And even when I am at home, DD is way too little to understand that Mama is sick; she still needs just as much attention as always. DH manfully took on more than his usual share, but she's still a Mama's girl, so there's only so much he can do.
Does everybody run into this dilemma? What do you do about it?

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Wading into the Great Parenting Divide

Does anyone else sometimes feel that parenting is yet another "polarizing" issue in this country these days? There are so many, it's hard to keep track -- it seems we can't agree on Iraq, abortion, end-of-life issues, etc., etc. Not only can't we agree, but each side of each debate is so convinced of their rightness that they see the other side as immoral and practically inhuman.
Being a moderate, myself (yes, there are some of us left -- if you are one, please contact me, I'd love to know you're out there!), I get very depressed some days hearing all the rhetoric spouted about these various issues. The logical part of me realizes that the extremes are just the loudest and most media-friendly positions out there, and that most of us really do fall somewhere in between. However, in the midst of somebody's diatribe on one issue or another, it's hard not to feel sick to my stomach with the thought that the middle ground is rapidly being rendered irrelevant.
It's especially worrisome to me that the question of how to raise our kids seems to be subject to the same phenomenon. I've heard office-job-holding moms complain that their stay-at-home friends never have time to do them favors. The prevailing sentiment seems to be that these moms must just be lazy. I've also heard a stay-at-home mom berate a working mom because she complained about a mistake her daycare made. The stay-at-home mom felt that if the working mom had been caring for her children herself as she should have been, it wouldn't have happened.
I don't hold myself blameless, either. When I was on maternity leave after my daughter was born, I didn't know how I was ever going to force myself to go back to work. I resented the heck out of my husband and mother when they pointed out all the things we would have to give up if I gave up my salary. I lined up a million arguments in my favor, without any regard to how they might hurt. My husband had certainly struggled the first day he had to return to the office, and my mom still clearly remembered the first day she dropped me off at the neighbor's house.
I did return to work, extremely ungraciously, only to find that my daughter is a socialite who LOVES daycare, and that my husband and I are better time-jugglers than I thought we'd be. It made me realize that it really isn't so black-and-white after all. So for those of us (and I'd like to think it's really most families) who are groping our way through the gray area, I'd just like to say I think we're doing ok. If you went back to work and you're happy, congratulations! If you chose to stay at home and you love it, excellent! If your choice (or lack thereof) is making you and your child miserable, I pray that circumstances will change so that you can quit/return to work/move to Africa and join a tribe of nomadic herdsmen as you see fit.
Now that I've had my little catharsis, I can acknowledge that examples abound of families who have complete respect for either position. I sincerely hope I haven't offended anyone with this entry. I'd love to hear opinions on any of this, but please be kind. I'm a sensitive soul :). Thank you!

Saturday, May 07, 2005

A Sad Day?

When my daughter was born, I had mixed feelings about breastfeeding. I really wanted to try it, but I had doubts about being patient enough to really keep at it for long. However, knowing all the potential benefits, I gave it a try.It worked out incredibly well for us. DD was a natural, and even though it was uncomfortable at first, we didn't really run into any of the problems with supply or infection that so many moms do. So I thought, well, we'll see how it goes when I go back to work. If I can keep up with the pumping, I'll do it. But if it's just too hard to get away 3 times a day, or if I dry up, so be it.Again, though, everything worked out better than I thought. I had to get used to the idea of supplementing with formula because I couldn't pump as much as I could produce when she actually nursed. But since I didn't really have my heart set on nursing indefinitely anyway, that didn't bother me that much. Besides, it was only 6 weeks or so later that we started introducing cereal and other foods. Even though at the time it seemed to take forever to get her used to something new, looking back I can barely remember I time when she WAS nursing exclusively.So, I decided I'd give it until 6 months, then decide what to do from there. Her 6-month birthday rolled around, though, and I barely gave any thought to weaning. I'd come this far, why not go the distance, right? My coworkers thought I was crazy -- by this point I hadn't had a drink in almost 18 months (between TTC, pregnancy, and nursing), didn't I just want my body back? Sort of, I guess, but by that point in time there was sheer stubbornness involved, too. I was on a mission to prove that we could do this.And we have made it all the way through the year. But the last 2 months or so I really did start to want my body back, especially when I started thinking about #2. That's quite a long way off for us yet, probably, but I WOULD like to have a little breathing room for myself in between weaning the first and starting to nurse the second. So I gradually started cutting out feedings one by one. The daytime ones were the easiest -- I stopped pumping at work on a Monday, and by the time Saturday rolled around I had adjusted to the idea of giving her a bottle myself. Really, it wasn't that big of an adjustment, since she often got a bottle anyway if we were out running errands or whatever.The middle-of-the-night feedings were the hardest. We never did get her to sleep through the night until I started weaning her. We had tried a few different things, but we just never had the heart (or the energy!) to see it through. She wasn't hungry at night, it was just about comfort, so we finally bit the bullet and "Ferberized" her (it sounds like torture, but I think the parents suffer more than the baby!). When she started to cry, we'd wait 10 minutes or so, then one of us would go in and pat her back or something for a couple minutes. Then we'd leave, even if she was still crying, and wait another 10 minutes. The first two nights, this process took 2-3 hours. We were exhausted (she was fine, waking up each morning with a big old grin - argh). I thought maybe this wasn't going to work after all. The third night she fell back asleep on her own before we even hit 10 minutes, and she's been doing pretty well ever since. Amazing!Anyway, to finally finish off a very long story, I nursed her today for what will be the very last time. In fact, we haven't nursed all week and she was just fine with it. But today I just couldn't resist. It kind of surprises me to be done so easily. If starting to nurse was difficult, but still easier than expected, quitting was physically a breeze. It's the emotional part that's getting me. I am very glad to be able to have a drink if I feel like it (I never could pump-and-dump, as so many people told me to do -- I couldn't bear to waste any of it!), and I love sleeping for 7 hours straight without getting up to nurse.Sigh. It all means, though, that my baby is almost not a baby anymore. And it wasn't all that hard for her -- so even though she obviously still needs me, she doesn't need me in that way anymore. Oh, boy. If I'm this weepy over THIS, wait till the poor kid tries to get me to let go of her hand the first day of school!!!

Friday, May 06, 2005

Here I Go!

Well, I never thought I'd actually start one of these myself. But I have been reading so many others' entries, and I finally thought, "why not?"
I am a twenty-something, married, office-working mom in Minnesota. I got started reading online baby diaries on when I was pregnant, and I got hooked. So that's kind of what I have in mind for this blog -- to talk about my life with my husband and daughter. I'm just hoping for some conversation and new contacts. At this point I'm not even sure if I have anything interesting to talk about, but I guess part of the point is that it only has to be interesting to me!
For this first entry I suppose I should just introduce us a little more. My husband and I have been married 3 years. We both work for the same big corporation, but not together -- we would never have met at work. Actually, we have both just accepted new jobs (in the same company) that are pretty different from anything either of us has done before. I start in 2 weeks, and he starts in 3. It will be a big change for our family. Until now we've been able to drive in to work together because we both work in the same city. But now his office will be close to our house, and he can walk or ride his bike to work. And I'll have to drive alone! If anybody knows some good books-on-CD that I should check out from the library, let me know!
Our darling daughter, who just turned 1 in April, is the joy of both our lives. She has a very bright, sunny, friendly personality. She isn't really using words yet, but the one she definitely knows is "hi." And she says it all. the. time. To everyone. Too cute. Now if I could just get her to say, "Hi, Mama," my life would be just about complete.
Well, maybe that's enough to start with. Can't wait to see how this goes!