First Day of Pre School

So, today was Zoe’s first day of Pre School.

Breathes out slowly.

It was a bit hard to sleep last night.

It was harder on me to leave her there than it was for her.

She had a great time, she behaved, and they seem to be charmed by her.  I didn’t really do much more than stare at the clock the whole time before going to pick her up.

Tomorrow might be a bit more productive as I start adjusting.

Goodness, it was a serious “next step” realization in this whole adulting and parenting thing when I was packing her first lunch for school last night.

Here’s to the start of a long next stage of our lives.

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Eyes On You…

I know for a fact that I’m in a bit of a sensitive state at the moment, but I have the strong feeling that it’s not just that that makes me feel like I’m being watched and judged regularly when I am out with my daughter, whether or not my husband is there.

There are times I can easily shake it off and just tell myself I’m being silly and people are just glancing the way I’ve always glanced at noises and movements around me.  But there are other times when I’m just not so sure.  It really harkens back to the days of my youth when I was bullied and picked on for so many years.  With that kind of thing happening, it was extremely hard to not think that every little quiet exchange, whispered thing, or random glance in the middle of a conversation wasn’t some kind of negative thing about me.

I’ve come a very, very long way since then and while I have the occasional passing thought and fleeting paranoid feeling, it quickly passes and becomes nothing more than a momentary uncomfortable warm burst of air before sliding back into cool comfort.  But with the kinds of stories I hear from friends, read about in articles, and from time to time witness myself, it’s hard to not fall back into the old, insecure mindset.  (Thanks, school-yard bullies, thanks.)

But in an attempt to really get more of a handle on this thing, I feel like writing about it will help me.  If it helps someone else, all the better.  But you can be sure I’m doing this for selfish reasons first.  You’re welcome.  😀

I have felt for a long time that really addressing issues head on rather than just tossing them aside because they are negative, is a far better way of dealing with things.  It brings the issue itself into a better focus, gives it a bit of tangibility and something for me to work with, instead of against.  Some people may consider it “picking it apart” but honestly, sometimes picking something apart is the best thing you can do to it.

Sure, it’s not good for me to allow myself to feel insecure in myself, and my parenting, and all that.  I recognize that, and support the sentiment.  But I don’t agree with just basically giving a big, unseen “you’re number one” one fingered wave to the people who upset me.  There is the idea that no one can make us feel a certain way, and that it’s really our fault for allowing ourselves to feel that way.  And again, I understand the sentiment in that, but I think it’s greatly flawed.

We absolutely have the ability to change our perspective on something and change how we feel about things, and change how we react to things. But we have to have some kind of positive thing to draw from in order to know that it’s even possible in the first place.  But the onus isn’t completely ours to change it.  The responsibility of this is also on other people.  (Yes, I know, it’ll never be a perfect world.)  And I could sit here and go all couch-psych on this and relate it back to my bullied childhood in a long, rambling and likely very boring post.  I could probably, and would probably, also relate it to all sorts of other pseudo-psychological issues in society and socializing.

I will focus on one point, though.  Yes, we can learn to deal better with the feelings that pop up from whatever might be causing said feeling.  But perhaps we should be making a more proactive move to help other people stop being the source of that issue for us.  It’s certainly no secret that people look, stare, sneer, roll their eyes and make comments either to whomever they’re with, or to the person with the child.  We’ve all heard stories.  And many of us have our own.

Perhaps instead of ignoring them, or even getting rude back, or whatever other approach has been taken, perhaps people should be taking a step up, and going at it from a polite, smiling but firm approach.  To let people know that to be quite honest, we don’t give a flying, flaming rat’s patootie what you think about whatever is going on.  Though, of course…not in those words.  There are times when unsolicited advice is an ok thing.  There are far more times when it is not appropriate at all.  And most people have absolutely no idea how to deliver unsolicited advice to people, let alone strangers in a way that is in any way actually helping anyone.  So, just don’t do it.

The amount of hypocrisy in a lot of it is really ridiculous.  The worst is when it’s coming from people (unfortunately, largely mothers) who have kids with them as well who are acting/behaving much worse than the person they’re addressing or making snide remarks about.  When it comes from people who obviously have had time to have their own kids and those kids are grown and possibly have their own kids, it just makes me shake my head.  Look, you’ve been there.  Sure, it may have been a different time, but dealing with kids hasn’t changed all that much.  Some kids do great, some do not.  Some kids have bad days, no matter how well-behaved they are normally.  And people who have had kids themselves should be far more appreciative of that fact.  Appreciative, understanding and capable of realizing that perhaps it’s just one of those days, and the parent is doing the best they can.

(Don’t get me started on people who really don’t actually teach their kids basic life/social skills.  That’s another rant for another day, and probably a completely separate blog.)

When dealing with infants, guess what?  They cry!  Can’t really help that.  And if you see someone is trying so hard to soothe a baby, and is frazzled because it might just be their first child, and already look embarrassed to death, don’t wear your rear for a hat.  Give them a smile and let them know that it’s really not that big of a deal.  If you really can’t handle it, go the hell away.  Your inability to be understanding for whatever reason is an inexcusable catalyst for being a jackass.

For you people who stare, guess what?  We do see you.  Hey glancers, we notice you too.  You’re not being sneaky, or inconspicuous.  We have eyes in the backs of our heads, or did you not get the memo on that?  Take a look, and leave it at that.  Is it really in your best interest, or the interest of anyone else for you to shift your focus to those with children?  No.  It does nothing for you.  It does nothing for the parent(s).  It does nothing for the people you happen to be with.  Butt the heck out.

And for those of you that stage whisper.  Really?  What, do you still think you’re in high school?  Were you that person that bullied others as a child?  Were you the one that gossiped, cajoled, and spread rumors about people?  Guess what, whether you intended us to hear or not, we likely did.  And no, it doesn’t make you cool.  It makes you “that guy”.  Grow the heck up.

Now that I’ve vented a little.  😀  Back to the actual discussion.

Perhaps we shouldn’t take such a passive approach to these things.  Perhaps we should screw up our own courage and just make eye contact with these people.  Really make eye contact.  Hold it for a few seconds.  Let them know we really do notice.  And if we’re not already in a pitchfork wielding, laser beams from our eyes kind of mood, smile at them.  Or smirk.  Whatever is your style.  If someone actually comes up and tries to say something, or offer unsolicited advice, smile and say “Thanks, but I didn’t ask you.”  Sure, it may sound confrontational, but hey, we’re not the ones that started it.  I do think these people need to be made more aware of the kinds of effects they have.  Regardless of their intent, whether it be good, neutral, bad, indifferent…

Now, if someone is seriously trying to be helpful, that’s different in my eyes.  I’ve had people who you could tell were seriously just trying to be friendly and helpful.  Those people I can honestly appreciate for who they are.  They are the people who make me think of the saying “it takes a village”.

But for those that are just doing it because they can’t keep their pie-holes shut?  They need to know that they need to keep their pie-holes shut.  Carry some pie around, to shove into the hole when they feel the need to say something where it’s not their place.  A passing comment, however it’s meant really doesn’t generally come off as anything other than “I want to smack that….” I’m sure you can fill in the rest of that to your heart’s content.

Just because I’m young, doesn’t mean I’m clueless about raising a child.  Just because you happen to be witness to a mere ten seconds of whatever is going on with me and my child, doesn’t mean you magically know in that moment what’s best for my child.  You do not know me, you do not know my child.  So really, just keep your comments to yourself.  They aren’t appreciated.

Next time you want to open your maw to let some drivel flop out, don’t.  Take a second to think about whether or not you’d want someone coming up to you and making a comment, judging you and how you do things in a split second.  A drop in the bucket of a random stranger’s life.

A Year Gone By…

It’s been a year since I gave birth to my first child.

The feelings surrounding this are varied, confusing, awesome, bitter sweet… It’s hard to believe it’s been a year already.  It’s hard to believe that my baby, isn’t that little swaddled baby any more.

It started to really hit me when I was getting together the things I wanted to save of hers ready to go into storage bins for safe keeping.  A lot of it is newborn, since she was in that size for so long.  Some of her hand knit baby blankets are going in there, a few of her newborn toys.

I think think about my miscarriage from time to time, but it’s alright.  I knew it wasn’t meant to be at that time, and quickly I had the ability to start over and try again, and It happened so quick, and now I’ve been through 9 months of pregnancy, and a whole first year of my child’s life.

It really is incredible to see the growth physically and emotionally and mentally in a baby.  They come out so small and helpless…but already instilled with incredible survival instincts.  And as they grow and become stronger and develop, their sense of individuality is amazing so early on.

I honestly thought I would end up waxing all sorts of poetic about this.  And in my heart, I know it’s there, and I feel like I could wax poetic about it but it seems to be staying right there.  I guess where it belongs.  In my heart.  The full spectrum of feelings and emotions and reactions I get from learning every new day with this child, is incredible.  Nothing beats the kinds of smiles she manages to illicit from me in a fraction of a second, the smile that not only lights up my face, but causes invisible fireworks to explode from my eyes and fills my heart to overflowing.

 

Walking!

Yes, we have a toddler now!

To rewind a bit for those of you that haven’t read past posts, my wee bebe has been “walking” since Christmas.  We believe she would have been earlier than that, had we given her walker toy earlier than that.  But we held off, since the holidays were approaching.

That very day, she was rocketing around the living room with a death grip on the handle to her walker toy.  It took her some time to get better control and to not lean so far forward she ended up sprawling on her face with one hand attached to the toy.  It was at this point we realized that she wasn’t too far off from walking on her own.  She’d been gliding along furniture for a while by then, and had also been walking with a lot of assistance from us, albeit slowly.

She was still crawling quite a bit, and had been gaining a lot of control and speed in her crawling at that time and into the coming weeks.

Fast forward to the trip we were finally able to take to see family back east.  She was working on her standing skills, just remaining in one place without toppling over, which was still a bit on the sketchy side from time to time.  But she did love being up on her feet and would make it to her feet either assisted by furniture, someone, or even managing to do it all by herself.  And an interesting (and often hilarious) new activity of hers was to find things to pick up while trying to stand.  An odd combination, but it became a kind of fascination of hers, and often wouldn’t stand up on her own without something in her hands or arms.  Be it a couple of small, light items, or sometimes awkward, large and heavy items.  (This is the kid that randomly decided to follow me into the bathroom and while seated on the floor, picked up the scale and lifted it into her lap.)

Forward again to the visit in Connecticut, she was doing all of these things, and it seemed that once in a while she was attempting to take her first steps.  To this day, I’m not sure if it was just hope, wishful thinking or just seeing things out of the corner of our eyes, but there it was.  The prospect of her walking.  Without a walker toy at her disposal at the homes of family, she would certainly find something to slide across the floor so she could “walk”.

Back home she had her walker, which she certainly went back to using.  As well as pushing any large enough item she could get her hands on, around the kitchen and dining room.

In the couple of weeks after returning home, things definitely progressed, and she took a step here or there and would promptly plop onto her diapered back side.  It was certainly startling to her at first, since her standing skills were astonishingly good from the get go.  She had barely done any toppling over or plopping during her progression into standing on her own without help.  Her balance was amazing to see.  She had even learned to squat and hold it, while picking up her toys and other items.  She would wobble, then squat a bit to get her balance then right herself again.

Soon enough, surprise and startle turned to giggles and laughs.  With some work, by February 18th, we were able to officially announce that we had a walker/toddler!  And that very same day we were able to announce the arrival of her first tooth!  Busy little bebe!

It didn’t take long for a few steps and a plop to turn into across the room with a few plops, to across the room with no plops, to wobbles and weebles but no falling down.  Now, a month later she often prefers to walk over crawling, and regularly does a few laps without issue around the living room, dining room and kitchen.

Teething!

This has been on our minds for months.  We’ve been watching babies around us getting their first teeth, and have spent a bit of time here and there reading up on whether or not breastfeeding babies get their teeth later than formula fed babies.  It was certainly a big question in our minds.

There are varying opinions on it, and no facts.  We definitely let it cross our minds from time to time, but we were pretty good about not dwelling on the fact that our almost 1-year-old hadn’t yet sprout a tooth, but other had gotten a few already.  Though, I have to say it’ll be interesting to see any future research on whether or not there is a correlation, or if there is some other explanation for it.  Or if it simply is a matter of, it’ll happen when it happens and there is no key, no trick, no timing, or gene or whatever that dictates when it happens.

Well, back to the original intent of the post, and to put  you back on track of a timeline, this post is referencing the week or so following our return to Washington on February 10th.  Yes, it’s been more than a month.  I know.  Things have gotten busy.

That week following our return was certainly a ridiculously odd, frustrating and trying week.  Not only were all of us dealing with the random sicknesses we caught while traveling, the stress of the travel, the stress of first time flying with a baby while also nursing… but all of a sudden after a voracious appetite both in Florida and in Connecticut, Zoe decided to have almost no appetite, changed her preference for what she would eat when she decided she wanted to, she also stopped her rather consistently often nursing habits.  Talk about throwing a new mommy for a loop.

Oh, throw on top of that a bout of food poisoning on my part.  Greeaaaaaat.  Last thing I felt like I needed on top of all the other stress was feeling like crap, throwing up constantly and essentially being almost unable to even look at food for a couple of days.  But, as always, it passed and I got through it, and went back to toiling over figuring out what the heck was going on with my periodically predictable baby.

At some point the next week, I believe on the 18th, she cut her first tooth.  Bottom left.  Certainly was an exciting day.  But it explained a lot of the weird changes in her moods, her sleeping, her napping and eating habits.  Since then, a month later… we basically just take it all in stride for the most part when her moods change and her eating changes, and nursing and sleeping.  She’s honestly not ridiculously bothered by it, but she is thrown off, and we now know why.  It’s always the hardest when you don’t know why and there are other factors that could be having an effect.

 

Bebe’s first time in Florida!

We finally were able to get out of Washington and get out to the East Coast to visit family.  This time around, we stopped in Florida first, which was fortuitous since we got sinus infections from flying.  The weather there was nice, in the 70’s and warm with a cool breeze and supper sunny.  Though, since this was the first time Zoe has ever flown, it took a bit for her to adjust.  On top of being sick and having a fever, it was a bit hard on her the first day and a half.

We arrived later in the evening, so we went straight to James’ mother’s house where we would be sleeping while there, and were able to hang out with our nephew Colby as well, who came with Dianne to pick us up.  As usual it was hectic trying to catch up with what everyone has going on in their lives, and playing with the baby.  She was definitely off because of the flight, and bad sleep and horrible naps, but she gets so excited around people, she was pretty entertained by Colby on the drive.

The next day we hung out with Gill as she did her Polar Plunge for the Special Olympics.  It was a gorgeous day.  Zoe did well with the warm weather, and enjoyed playing with the cool sand in the shade.  There was a lot of music being played and she liked hanging onto the beach chair and dancing in place, much to the entertainment of everyone.  We then spent some time hanging out with everyone over at Gil’s house (Zoe’s aunt).  She turned out to have a fever, so she was getting rather tired and very overwhelmed with meeting everyone.  It was very hard to get her to nap much or well with everything going on.  But by that night her fever had broken and when most everyone had left to go back to their own houses, Zoe was feeling better and acting more like herself.

Sunday was the Superbowl, which was certainly fun.  Before heading over to Gil’s, we went out to breakfast with Mom and Mike so Mike could meet the baby.  Lots of good snacky food was made, lots of good company and a much happier and sociable baby!  Lots of dogs, as well.  She was so cute with the dogs at first.  Most of them are very small dogs, so it wasn’t too intimidating for her.  Though…there were 6 of them.  When the puppies would get in her face, she’d basically do a “talk to the hand” move with them and push them away from her gently.  It was so cute.  Most of us were nearly asleep by the end of the game, however.

Back to Nana’s we went.  We ended up putting Zoe down in the other room in the playpen to sleep, but after a few hours she’d wake up and get spooked being in a new place, so we’d bring her into our room, I’d nurse her and then she’d sleep on the floor with James.

Monday we took Mom to work and borrowed her car to go see Debbie, Kenny and Papa KC, Jake also came out to meet us and have lunch after he went hunting with his Dad.  Was a great time.  Zoe was a peach and everyone loved her, and she had a great time playing with the ketchup.

Tuesday was a day for relaxing for us.  We drove Mom to work, then went on a long drive so Zoe could nap and we could just hang out and talk and see the area.  It was nice.  Then we stopped off at the beach by Ron Jon’s to let Zoe see the beach, feel the sand and test the water.  It was a bit cold, but she loved it.  She was so excited and just tickled at the whole experience.  We tried to keep it to just her feet getting wet, but she managed to pull loose and crawl in the sand and straight toward the water.  She wanted in!  I have the feeling she’s going to be a water baby.

Wednesday we flew up to CT.

First Flights with Bebe!

February 1st was our first flights with the bebe.  Needless to say, I was quite unsure of how things were going to go.  We of course brought the carseat, and luckily for the first leg of flights were able to bring it onto the plane for free without having to buy a third ticket.  It was a very early flight so we decided to get a ride out to the airport the night before and get a hotel room so we didn’t have to get up as early then take the airporter at 2am to get there by 4am to fly out by 6am.

This was also the first time she’s ever spent a full night away from home in another place.  Didn’t go so well.  They did have play pens, which was good.  But she didn’t like it at all.  I ended up having to bring her to bed, which of course, hasn’t worked in ages.  She moves so much and takes forever to settle down, if she ever does.  So I dropped all the blankets and pillows down onto the floor between the beds so that I could attempt to nurse her then let her flop around all she wanted until she found a comfortable position.  Eventually James switched with me since she sleeps easier and faster with him (I still think it’s the lack of mammary glands on his part).  Yeah, we didn’t get much sleep since we had to get up around 3:30am anyway to get packed back up, showered and into the shuttle by 4:30 to get to the airport by 5am.

The first good news we got was that there were a few unoccupied seats, so we were able to bring the car seat onto the plane for free for the baby, instead of having to hold her the whole time.  She’s such a mover, I knew it was going to be very interesting trying to keep her in our laps for so many hours at a time.  She tends to do better when she’s in her car seat.

The first flight was good, we let her go between us while we were waiting to go, then put her in the car seat when the engines came on, and in no time flat she was passed out.  (Not surprising since it was a soothing sound for her and the lack of sleep.)  She slept through the entire take off, even the super loud change in the engines.  She did just fine with the initial pressure changes.  She was a hoot through the first flight.  She was just taking in everything and looking around, looking out the window, cheesing with the people sitting around us, waving to people…it was fun.  She certainly didn’t like the descent at all and the depressurization.  I had to nurse her through it, and most of the time she ended up falling asleep during the nursing.

We had a three hour layover between our first flight and second flight to Florida, so we stopped in the small USO, which was nice and quiet.  We let her play around with some toys and get some moving around in while we ate some lunch.  She definitely needed it.  Then toward the end James held her so she would take a nap before our next flight.  We had to call the hotel while we were in the USO so that we could have them check our room for my cell phone, which, like a doof I left behind.  I had everything else set to go, organized, packed….even the charging cords.  And I left my damned phone behind.  So we had it sent to my parents house, it was certainly interesting to not have it for the better part of a week.  Or my laptop for almost two weeks.  Was in some ways kind of nice.

Zoe and I both got hit by a sinus infection on the flights.  I kind of expected something to happen since I seem to always get a sinus infection when traveling on planes during the winter season.  Though, I’m really glad because of that that we went to Florida first, because the weather there was warm and slightly humid, which is great for respiratory issues.