Thursday, September 1, 2016

Oh, The Guilt!

When I was about to become a new parent, I read.  I read the books, the articles, the weekly updates and I will tell you that there are lots of things that these books and articles will tell you from the progress of the baby, what behaviors to expect in the first year, and what to do if you develop PPD. So naturally, I thought I was prepared.  However, one thing I was definitely not prepared for was the guilt.  Holy moly the guilt.  I mean, where did this come from?  Talk about being blindsided!  

I was prepared (or so I thought) for the sleepless nights, the frustrations, the overwhelming and unconditional love.  But I was soooo not prepared for the guilt. I have come to realize that I have felt this out-of-left-field emotion since the first few weeks of my first son being born.  

It started with little things like feeling that I wasn’t engaging my baby enough, or feeling guilty for not taking enough pictures in his first few weeks of life.  Later it turned into feeling guilty that he fell and bumped his head when he was learning to stand. I also felt guilt the first time I raised my voice because he bit me while nursing and it scared him and made him cry.  The list keeps going, and keeps progressing as he gets older.

And then it started to come from different places.  Seeing pictures of others and their kids out having new adventures made me feel guilty that we haven’t taken our child to do something like that.  Seeing artwork proudly displayed by other parents made me feel guilty that I haven’t sat my child down and (somewhat forced) him to make me an art project to hang - P.S., my oldest kind of could care less about art, so that’s how I make myself feel better about that one!  Oh, and of course there are the obvious sources of guilt from the articles and books such as, is he getting enough fruits and veggies? Is his bedtime early enough?  Are we reading to him enough and exposing him to enough (but not too much!)?

Don’t even get me started on the second child guilt...I mean, how do you really make a 3 year old understand that it is not OK for him to bite or pull hair, but then tell him not to be upset at his baby brother who does the same things to him??  I feel so much guilt when I see the confusion in my toddler’s eyes when the baby gets picked up and tickled after he pulls someone's hair, or the dog’s tail, yet he got a stern “NO, we do NOT do that.”  when he did the same thing after getting carried away while playing.  It breaks my heart to think that he thinks he is the one always getting reprimanded.  And as any parent of more than 1 will know, the obvious guilt at this stage comes from trying to divide your time and attention.  Oi…

I often wonder if this type of guilt, sometimes referred to as Mom Guilt (but should just be a generic Parent Guilt) is new or worse for my generation?  Did my mom, and the moms of her generation feel this much guilt?  Or did they just know that they were doing the best they could and following their gut for what felt right for each child? I would like to believe it was the latter.  No parent should have to feel guilty for the way they are raising their child as long as they are doing their best.  So for now, I will take a page from my mom’s book and do my best to parent my kids while showing them my unconditional love.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Struggle is Real

Parenting is a struggle.  In so many ways.  Every day there are struggles.  The same struggles, new struggles.  Sometimes it is the tantrums, the millions of questions (hourly), the battle of wills, the messes, the laundry. The list goes on.  But tonight the struggle was different for me.  Tonight my 10 month old baby boy cried every time I put him in his crib.  Normally at night I will nurse him, rock him for a minute or two with his paci in, and lay him down in his crib awake and he will roll around until he puts himself to sleep.  But tonight he needed me.  And it got me thinking about these struggles of parenthood.  

I struggle with wanting my baby to learn to put himself to sleep, vs wanting him to need me. Some nights, I love that he is so comforted by me, and I can just feel his little body relax in my arms as he drifts to sleep.  And on those nights it breaks my heart to feel him tense up, and hear him start to cry when I lay him down.  

My practical side says to follow my routine: rock him for a couple minutes, lay him down with his paci and walk out of the room.  But my sentimental side, my motherly side, says to pick up my baby!  He is crying, it’s out of the norm, he needs me.  

And that train of thought got me thinking about other similar struggles.  My toddler is a talker.  He is non stop talking from the moment he wakes up, until the moment he falls asleep.  And it is everything from questions (why, why, why…) to stories of things he has seen and done, to his “future” plans of being a builder, and tower crane operator and building skyscrapers.  And many days, my husband and I make eye contact across the kitchen, and just give an internal sigh.  When will we get some quiet???  But what will happen when we do get that quiet?  What happens when our babies grow up and we aren’t the ones they want to tell all of their thoughts to?  When we can’t get more than one word answers or grunts from them?  I am pretty positive we will miss these days.  We will miss the constant stories, and the imagination running wild.  We will miss his 3 year old attempts at negotiating dessert, and tv shows and bed times.  We will miss how easily he could make his baby brother laugh and how protective he is of him around other people.  

There are countless things like this in parenting that I try to remind myself of when the struggle threatens to break me.  When I have answered the 300th question by 10am, I try to remember that I am helping him learn his world.  He trusts me with his world and I am his most trusted source.  When he refuses to go play unless I come with him, I try to remember that very soon, there will be a day when I am no longer cool.  When my baby is cranky and teething, I try to remember how easily I can comfort him compared to later in life, when my hugs and kisses will be last on his list.  

So often we struggle with what we should do as parents, vs what we want to do, or what our gut tells us.  And tonight I realized that that is part of the beauty of parenting.  We get to decide what is best for us and our kids at that moment.  Each moment (however repetitive it feels) is unique.  And our reactions to those moments should be the same.  

Friday, August 29, 2014

1st Birthday Bash

On March 28, 2014 our baby boy began his venture into toddlerhood.  And let me tell you, planning your first first birthday is no small feat.  I do find it quite interesting how we, as parents, put so much effort into the planning and execution of a 1st birthday party that our littles will not have the slightest memory of.  I suppose we do it for the pictures, and for our own memories, but I can't help think that we sort of do it for the guests :)  Either way, we had a fantastic time celebrating with family and friends.

We decided to go with an airplane theme, since thats what L's room is decorated in.  So airline ticket invitations were sent out, decorations were made and hung, balloon clouds were taped to the walls and ceilings (thanks to Aunt Heather and Uncle Jason!), and I made my very first (probably of many) kids birthday cake in the shape of an airplane (cake decorating help courtesy of Nana).

We were very fortunate to be able to spend L's actual birthday as just a little family of three on the actual day.  And just as fortunate to be able to celebrate him with so many friends and family the next day.  We are very thankful that so many people chose to come and celebrate our newly turned toddler.  Special thanks to Aunt Heather and Uncle Jason for driving all the way here just for the weekend.

In true form, L didn't wake up from his nap until about 25 minutes into the party, but other than that, it was a perfect day.  Thanks to Poppy for capturing so many great pictures!

Balloon clouds

Baggage claim party favors

Smash cake


Capt. Luke!

Airplane highchair!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Huge Catch Up!!

Wow, so the last time I did a real blog entry was almost an entire year ago!!  Talk about slacker...sheesh.  So much has happened since then.  Our little bean has turned into a little boy of 17 months and is walking, talking, and just exploring everything.  We sold our house and moved about 25 minutes east of where we were.  Now I have a whole new house to decorate! And life has generally just been pretty awesome.

As for the little one, he is just soaking up life and learning more and more every day.  He is so verbal (in a good way!) and is repeating anything and everything.  As of now he is limited to about two syllable words.  But we are working on putting together two word sentences ("big truck" "mama's shoes")  He is very big into possession right now, so everything belongs to someone.  It's very cool to see how he associates different objects with different people.  Some of my favorite phrases include: Love you, Bless you (when someone sneezes), 'Scuse you/me, More please, and Thank you.

He is also currently (I believe) finishing up a growth spurt.  The kid has been sleeping like a 17 year old boy!  Two days in a row he woke up after 11 am.  He has turned into quite the good sleeper (thank goodness!!)  and is normally sleeping around 12 hours at night and a 2-3 hour nap during the day.

We have also started weekly swim lessons.  He is progressing nicely and is now comfortable going to the instructor to sing songs.  Still not a big fan of water in the face though.  But we'll get there.

As far as the house was somewhat of a spur of the moment type of deal.  The housing market was good, we found a house we liked, and we just went for it!  Now, the whole "closing" process was probably the most drawn out process I have ever dealt with...but, I digress.  Fortunately, with the help of my parents we successfully moved and are loving our new house and neighborhood.  This is definitely a long term house, and we have so many "plans" and projects that we will stay busy!

So, I guess it wasn't THAT huge of a catch up, but in the interest of keeping you are some pictures :)

Still loves to read!

Apple Hill pumpkin patch

First Halloween as a Monkey!

First snow experience in Tahoe

First Haircut

Baby's first Christmas

First visit with Santa

First visit to the zoo for his birthday!
1 Year photos

Trip to Monterey Bay Aquarium

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Bubbles and Belly Laughs

So I know it has been forever and a day since I have posted anything on this here blog.  But recently my in-laws came to visit and I was ever so gently reminded that some folks are not on Facebook!  Meaning, they actually rely on this blog for updates on our little man.  And then even more recently (as in tonight) John and I got the biggest, bestest, hardest belly laugh we have ever heard, and I got it on video!!

So, this is for you Tom!

I promise to do a huge catch up soon!  My computer is on the fritz so it's been difficult.

Friday, November 1, 2013

6 Months!

The Bean's 6th month was a fun one!  My dad was able to take some 6 month pictures for us and they turned out great!  Who knew our little guy was so photogenic?

At 6 months Luke weighed 19 lb 14 oz and was 26.5 inches long.  Still a bit on the short chubby side, but that's ok... we love the chub!  He was a champ with the shots and only cried for about 15 seconds. 

This little guy is seriously a disposal of food.  I would say garbage disposal...but that implies we feed our baby garbage.  Not the case.  He does eat everything he's given though, including but not limited to:
Squash, zucchini, broccoli, avocado, carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, green beans, apples, mangos, pears, peaches, bananas, and cantaloupe.  We will be starting meats in month 7. Stay tuned...

Lots of new tricks were learned this month.  Luke is now getting himself to a pretty spectacular plank position, and just a week or two ago learned to get himself into a sitting position.  Despite this being very fun and useful during waking hours and play can be quite frustrating at 2am. Nevertheless, we are thrilled to be able to watch our little boy grow and learn new things on his own.  We clap and cheer like proud dorky parents. 

Towards the beginning of the month, we had a great week long visit from Grandma Barker.  It was great to see her and Luke really enjoyed spending time with his Grandma!

Since the fall season is upon us, we took the bean up to Apple Hill so that we could get the mandatory baby pumpkin patch pictures. 

We also got to dress up the bean as a little monkey for some pre-Halloween fun.  We attended a trunk or treat and he did great.  Of course on actual Halloween, he was asleep before the trick or treating really even started...but that's ok.  He made the cutest little monkey! 

We are looking forward to what month 7 will bring!