Wednesday, March 31, 2010

So.. This is what I was actually planning to say..

I had great intentions, as you may have noticed by the first few lines, as I sat down to write yesterday’s post to update you on all of Aed’s seven-month amazingness. And then, as I began to write my heart exploded on the screen and I just decided to leave it. But, I really want you to know how amazing he is, so I’m paying homage to his seven-month-and-one-day birthday and telling you now.

The kid is a firecracker! In the best of ways! He is as long as your afternoon shadow and chunking right up thanks to, well, yours truly, and the ever-growing list of foods this boy puts away. Sweet potatoes were just the beginning! Now he enjoys eating avocado, banana, apple, pear, mango, papaya, plum/prune, peach, blueberry, pumpkin, butternut squash, carrots, peas, green beans, zucchini, and an assortment of grains. Believe it or not, we are taking it slow with introducing foods! Because he has a history of a very sensitive system and daddy has one mysterious allergy that may be food-related, I have been very cautious in what I give him. But, he eats a great variety and willingly (most of the time) eats all the crazy combos I serve up to him.

He is on the move all the time! He is not crawling just yet, but rolls and grunts and shimmies and rotates. He even got his knees and feet up under himself the other day while lying on his tummy. I don’t think we have too much longer to enjoy our semi-sedentary baby! The past few nights we have been woken again and again and again (and again!) by a baby who has rolled himself onto his tummy and can’t figure out what to do next in all of his sleepy stupor. We always find him on his tummy, pushed up on his arms as far as he can get, wailing a song of fatigued misery. It is sad to see him so confused, not to mention tiring, but also exciting to see him mastering his body. He also has the walking motion down, thanks to his ever-zealous father who often takes him on jaunts across the living room to ‘find mama!’, though he’s nowhere near having the balance skills for unassisted walking! He is an excellent sitter and if he sees a toy he wants he will go to great lengths to get to it, including heaving himself onto his tummy from a sitting position.

Speaking of toys, he is getting possessive! He knows what he wants and if you take it away, you will hear about it. Often what he wants is a little jingly ball that has a bad habit of rolling away. So I am currently taking up the roll of ‘ball getter’ until he manages to figure out a way to scoot himself across the floor :)

He has two teeth! Two teeth, which are cuter than a button (and have brought with them much drooling, biting, and pain)! They are not all the way up yet, but they are beautiful pearly whites, which are opening all kinds of exciting doors in the wide world of eating. Just the other day I was letting him gum a banana I was eating, or so I thought! When I pulled it away I found he was managing to scrape little bits into his mouth with those two little teeth. He also managed to have a fit when I proceeded to eat the banana right in front of him without continuing to share. He struggles with mouth envy. He starts smacking his chops any time Ian or I eat within his line of vision.

He is a great babbler.. check it out..

(the main action starts after about a minute, but Ian likes the whole video, so we didn't edit it :)

video

And loves to laugh at Daddy’s funny antics..

video

The ways he is growing and changing are astounding and we are loving every moment of it! Sweet baby boy.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

For the love of stripes!


Our little explorer is just a-movin and a-groovin!

He is seven months old today.

I can hardly believe it was seven months ago that he became an undeniable presence in our lives. I have decided that, for me at least, the reality of time slipping away was not truly acknowledged in my heart until my baby was born. Each day that passes is one we will never get back. One that adds to the fullness of my heart his smiles, his tears, his babbling, his quirks. I find myself inwardly panicking that before I know it my baby will be the 25-year-old sitting on his couch in some far away land musing about his baby. The only solution I have found to keep this panic at bay is to take each day as it comes and to love it all for what it is. Some days are good. Some days are hard. Some days are so sweet I don’t think I can bear it. Some days break my heart in love or sadness, and some bring me to my knees in anguish or gratitude.

Each day is a gift I have been given. It is a day with my husband, with my baby, with my friends or family. A day when I live in a home the Lord provided. A home whose spaces we have filled with all of our good and our bad. Each day is an opportunity to grow as an individual, a couple, a family. A day to deepen our dependence on our Savior. Some days we seize that opportunity, some days we miss it, some days we are blind-sided by it, and some days we decide to chuck it out the window.

More than anything I want my baby to know Jesus. I want each day for him to know the peace that is a Father who will not fail him like we will. A Father whose love is gentle, whose love cradles and heals, whose love teaches and disciplines. I want him to see that when Mama holds him close with all the love in her heart, that love is because of Jesus. I want him to know that he does not need anyone else. He will be given others, but he does not need any of them the way he needs Jesus. He does not need me the way he needs Jesus. I pray that the depths of his heart would be touched even now. That the Holy Spirit would be a beloved presence to him. I want him to look at the people around him and love them fiercely, no matter who they are or what they have done. I want him to be saved from the aches of my heart, from the mistakes I know I have made.

Motherhood is a role of aching, I have found. A depth of experience I had never known. From day one, you ache. Physically and emotionally taxing through to the day when you meet the source of all that aching. You hold him in your arms and you ache with love you never knew existed. Love for your baby is like no other. You ache when he hurts, and when his eyes smile to your soul. You ache for the things you know will come, the things you know he will have to endure. You ache for the things you hope he will think, do, say, experience.

There is so much to take in as I live life. So much to lament as I fail again and again. So many apologies in my heart as I let people down again and again. So much joy, there is so much. I long to see it all with the eyes of Christ. To understand with an eternal perspective. To really know my Savior when I finally savor his face, his hands, his feet. To see that my life has been lived for him, and that it has all been for this moment.

I know that each day brings imperfections. In me, in my husband, in my baby, in my friends and family. This world is so broken and seemingly so insurmountable. But it has already been overcome with a love deeper than the ocean and a victory so rich it takes the breath away. We cannot surmount it, but Jesus has. He lived, he ached, he died, and he lives. The day will come when all of the darkness will be put away as far as the east is from the west.

That is the day I want to live for. That is the day I want my family to live for.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Goodbye Swaddle.. One of us will forget you.. One of us will miss you..

(This is an unnecessarily long play-by-play of our de-swaddling saga.. I’m saying that out loud so you don’t judge me for expecting you to read such things because apparently I’m insecure in a lot of ways. But, it’s something I want to remember :)

We have swaddled our baby boy since day one.

He has been escaping that swaddle since about day three. So, we had to get a more serious blanket after a few weeks that would hold him in better because he just could not sleep with those arms flailing around. It worked like a charm.. well, sort of. I mean, he didn’t always sleep because he was swaddled, but he never slept if he wasn’t.

For several weeks, he has been a night-waking maniac. Not every night, but enough nights that we were starting to feel it. We were unsure as to what was going on, but one thing was consistent: when we went in to him, he had escaped the swaddle blanket. He would calm down fairly quickly, and if I reswaddled him he would usually go back to sleep. This was confusing though, because we never knew if he was waking because he had escaped, or if he was waking to eat.

Well.. last Tuesday night, mama had had enough. She didn’t want to get up and reswaddle anymore. So she resolved, laying in her bed praying for sleep, that tomorrow we would end the swaddling. She knew it would be hard. She knew we had tried many times and had not been able to do it. But, it had to be done. It would be for the best, right?

So last Wednesday I was ready. We did our thing until it was time for nap #1. Here we go. I put him down unswaddled with the usual blankets and a little bunny to cuddle (we read that something soft to hold can help if they’re not used to having their hands free).

Things gradually escalated into the crying that I knew would come. But, he got himself to sleep! Victory, right?? He only slept for about 20 minutes and when he woke up it was just too much for him to get back to sleep. So I eventually got him and began what would be a long, tired, cranky haul until the next nap.

We made it close enough, so we went upstairs for another attempt. I put him down with his bunny and blankets and left. He slept for about 30 minutes (victory?), but when he woke up after crying for a while I could hear through the monitor that there was something over his face, so I went up to check on him.

I found a sweaty (oh yes.. crying = sweating), tear-stained baby being smothered by his sweet, little bunny, jittery and completely uncovered with cold hands and feet. Oh breaker of all hearts!! Why must you do this to me??

That bunny made me so mad, I threw him to the end of the crib. No more naps for you, bunny! Getting all up in my baby’s face! That’s right, to the corner with you! (I am a very protective mother.. have been since day one.. bugs on the stroller, say goodbye!)

I cuddled and loved my baby calm and put him back down hoping he might go back to sleep.

While he was not sleeping, I sent Ian the following email:

baby boy is screaming away..

He woke up about 1:30 and cried for about 10 minutes before I went up there because it sounded like his face was covered. Bunny was smothering him.. bad bunny! bunny no longer gets to sleep with him..

I calmed him down and put him down again and he started to cry, but kept calming down because of the paci. Well apparently the paci fell out at some point and he has just been screaming since.. I feel so bad! It's really hard knowing that I could make it all go away but am choosing not to. I just really think he'll benefit in the long run if he's not depending on the swaddle, but maybe I'm just being heartless.. Am I being heartless?

Anyway.. I love you.

I'm going to go rescue him.

wifey

I was fretting like nobody’s business about this decision. I just needed my husband to encourage me that I am not heartless and remind me that this will be so helpful for us in the long run.

Well. Here’s what I got..

Maybe we should just keep swaddling him, and let him work his way out of it naturally. I mean, he seemed to be doing that anyway. Conversely, perhaps we should just try using sleep sacks and avoid using killer-bunny.

Love,

hubs


Thanks hubby. Thanks. Just what I needed. Some ambiguous answer in philosopher-speak (you can always tell when his brain is still in philosopher mode because his sentences start with words like ‘conversely’) that is in NO WAY helpful.

So I continued to feel insecure, heartless, and discouraged. Fortunately, the baby I rescued was fairly chipper for the afternoon so I didn’t feel so bad.

Well we decided to try for a third nap since we knew he was so tired. Ian was home at this point and usually when he’s home, he gets Aed after his naps. He didn’t sleep at all for this one. Cried for a little while before we decided it was just too much and Ian went up to get him. When he found him the blankets were all bunched up around his shoulders not doing him a lick of good. Our baby is just too squirmy! So, we switched to the sleep sack for nighttime.

That first day was the worst. He adjusted very quickly to sleeping at night without the swaddle and is doing really well for naps, though still sometimes struggling a bit. I am free as a bird and we are all sleeping much better. I do have to mention though, he has managed to bust out of the zippered sleep sack once, that little Houdini!

As I was folding a swaddle blanket with some laundry, a wave of sadness came over me knowing that I would be putting it away for good this time (well.. at least until the next one comes along :). A phase of Aed’s childhood has passed already. Those swaddle blankets have been such a part of our journey, our struggle with a capital S-T-R-U-G-G-L-E, to get our baby to sleep. They are scarred with holes and sagging strings from the long nights and long days of trying to help Aed sleep. It didn’t seem possible that he didn’t need them anymore. But he doesn’t. He’s a big boy.

Swaddle blankets, you have served us well. Thanks. We will miss you. Well, at least I will in all of my sentimental gushiness. Aed forgets you existed already, and Ian has wanted you gone for a while now.. But, I’ll miss you dear blankets. I will.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Day for the Mums

Last Sunday was Mother’s Day here in the UK.

Initially, Ian thought he might get away with just celebrating ONE Mother’s Day and waiting until the date for the US Mother’s Day. However, I informed him that since our baby was born here and Scotland is our home (and the only home he has ever known!), we have to celebrate BOTH! :)

So, celebrate we did!

I had no idea what he was going to do and I was so proud of myself for not even reminding him :) I have a tendency to do that (like for example, when we were dating and I told him in a million ways that were all painfully obvious that he needed to consult my sister to find out what kind of ring I wanted.. I’m really good a dropping subtle hints..) but he remembered all by himself.

Let me tell you.

I can’t imagine a better gift.

He helped the Aedster get me a card in which I found a sweet message, and then he helped him give me the very best thing he has to offer..


Poochy Face Dollars!!!

Each dollar entitles me to one poochy face from my very own Aed, and even though there were only five in the envelope, I have access to the mint so there’s no stopping me! (though it would have been more appropriate for these to be pounds, Ian informed me that had he given me pounds, Aed would have been wearing the Queen's body, which is just wrong..)

Also, Daddy helped Aed get me some beautiful yellow tulips (which Aed promptly tried to crush because they were wrapped in plastic.. kid has a crazy thing for plastic) and made me a delicious dinner.

Every time we prayed, Ian thanked the Lord for me. All I could think was how unbelievable it is that I get to be a mother. That I am a mother on Mother’s Day. All those years of making my mom breakfast in bed.. Now I’m the mama. I am so thankful for Aed, I am so thankful that he makes me a mama. It was a perfect first Mother’s Day :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Making Noises with Daddy

No, not THOSE kind of noises, silly.

A few days ago Daddy was playing with Aed while Mama got dinner ready. She heard much commotion and laughter coming from the living room and decided to investigate while the soup bubbled away.

This is what she found..


It melted her heart.

Daddy was helping expand Aed’s vocabulary by making all kinds of noises.

Some of them were captivating..


Some of them were worthy of a little giggle..


Some of them were just s’darn funny they made ya just go ahead and pee your pants..



Oh, HI Mama!

The click of the shutter pulled the Aedster’s attention away from Daddy momentarily.

Daddy did not approve.


This is serious business, Mama. That’s what he told me.

Then he said he was just kiddin.


So I took a family photo.


And I went back to my bubbling soup while they went back to their noises.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Extra, Extra! Read all about it! Jabba the Hut Visits Playground, Somewhat Enjoys Swing!

We decided to see if Aed would enjoy swinging in a REAL swing a week or two ago. It was a nice, fresh day so we carried him along to the little playground just down from our house.

He is currently unsure of the situation


Then Daddy does something funny


And Mama takes another picture


And he continues to be just generally cute


We got him all ready to go


But he was still unsure of the situation


And kept leaning to the side


So we took a break and just made him smile


And noted how huge his double chin is, and while he is much cuter than Jabba, there is a slight resemblance, some would say.

Mama also noted how she is always behind the camera and requested some photos with her snookiewookums.


Daddy obliged.


Aed sneezed.

And we all went home to get warmed up and ready for bed.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Jeepers Creepers!


So I was going for the eyelashes but.. Check out those peepers!

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Red Sweater

Warning: What you are about to see is not pretty. It may be appropriate to remove the children from the room. You have been warned. Also, I am exaggerating. Your children can totally stay in the room.

I am the proud owner of a red sweater. It is one of my collection of turtle neck sweaters. I am incapable of buying sweaters that do not have turtlenecks. I have tried. I have even had friends help me try. I always pick the ones with the necks. The itchy, restrictive, show-off-the-post-partum-double-chin necks. Maybe this is a sign of turmoil in my subconscious?

Anyway, the red sweater. I wear it often. It has made several appearances on this little blog and will probably make more.

However.

My son does not seem to like this sweater.

Every time I wear it. EVERY TIME I WEAR IT. He regurgitates all over it. EVERY TIME I WEAR IT. I have never worn it for more than a few hours before it has to be thrown, once again, into the hamper.

There is no other article of clothing that has had to endure this trauma.

Most recently when I pulled this sweater over my head, I wondered to myself if it would again be slathered with the marinade of motherhood.

It was.

I documented it for you.


Note how this picture was strategically taken so that you cannot see the turtleneck or the post-partum double chin.. There are some things the internet is just not ready to see..

My sweater thanks you for hearing its tragic story. You may now return to your previously scheduled activities.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Cute Ones

I did get some good photos that Sunday morning, so I thought I’d share.


Chillin’ in the chair. You may or may not notice a certain stiffness about my baby boy.

I discovered after he was all dressed and looking spiffy that I had just shoved my nearly-6-month-old’s body into a 3 month sized vest.

And I left him in the vest.

Because I actually couldn’t get it off.

Kidding! Kidding! I could get it off, I just thought he was too cute to change him :) Fashion over comfort, I always say!

Anyway, back to the photos.

There’s this one..


And my absolute favorite, full of heart-melting cuteness..


Drink in the baby bliss. Just drink it on in.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Am I the only mother that enjoys ridiculous pictures of her child?

I am thinking not.

But, if so, my apologies.

Exhibit A


I love this picture.

I was trying to take a picture of him on a Sunday morning a few weeks ago. The lighting was great so I set up a little makeshift background (Ian later asked me if we were playing ‘fort’ before church :). But, I just could not get a good picture of him. We tried many, many positions..

Which led to this picture. He was annoyed that I kept positioning him and taking his picture instead of playing with him.

Cutie patootie.

Then there is this one..


I have no idea what that face is about, but that wrinkly nose is all I’ve ever hoped for.

And finally..


There are just too many captions for me to pick just one. I mean seriously.

What a kiddo.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Me and My Double Standards

I’ll admit it.

I have double standards.

Probably for everyone. Because I’m vain and self-centered and judgemental, right? (that’s a rhetorical question, ahem.) So it happens.

But usually my double standardness makes itself known in my expectations of Ian.

Like how I want him to keep his clothes off the bathroom floor. (but sometimes I am sneaky and leave mine there)

And how I want him to put his dishes in the dishwasher. (but I’m lucky if mine even reach the sink)

Or how I want him to take the pile of clean clothes upstairs. (but it takes me at least 53 trips up the stairs before I finally give in and grab that blasted pile)

Or like how when he is sick, he is only man-sick, if you know what I mean. He still has to do all the normal stuff (ok, I might have cut him a little slack) even though he is sick. Poor wittle baby. (but when I am sick, don’t even think about suggesting that it might not be that bad.. because it is)

I do stuff like that all the time.

And every time I do it, I think this will be the time. This will be the time when he finally gets fed up and bites my head off. This will be the time when he shoves my double standard back in my face where it belongs. This is it.

But it never is.

Never once has he been impatient with me about this. In fact, more often than not, I point these things out to him. He doesn’t even bring them up. I am forgetful, lazy, and inconsiderate. He doesn’t even bat an eye. He sees all of me, the good and the bad, and still loves me. Heck, he even thinks my post-partum body is attractive, bless his soul.

He is a good man, that husband of mine. He loves me with a love like no other. He serves me in a way that humbles me and is far beyond anything I am deserving of. He is willing to do what it takes to make sure I am leading a fulfilling, satisfying life. He walks with me through each day, making it sweet to the end. He makes me spend every second he is not with me wishing he were, and when he walks through the door, all is right in our home.

I kind of have a thing for him, you know?

Neither one is perfect, but together we are stronger. I am so thankful for my hubbywubbykins. I just wanted you to know.

Oh How I Wish..

Sometimes I wish that when I am playing with Aed, he would stop me and say..

"Hey mama?"

And I would reply..

"Yes my little Aediewadiesnookiewookiemunchywunchykins?"

And then (this is the clencher) he would say..

"If you keep doing that, I'm going to puke."

And I would stop right then and there. And avoid yet another costume change.

That would be nice.

:)

Monday, March 01, 2010

Twice is Still Nice

I knew it would happen.

As soon as I told everyone about how our little Aediepoo had figured himself out, he’d go and change everything on us.

I wasn’t surprised.

I also wasn’t discouraged.

Because he is still as sweet as ever.

He is still so melt-my-heart-achingly cute.

He is still my baby boy.

He still sleeps.

He just wakes up more :)

We’ve been working on getting him to wake up later in the morning. He had been waking up at the cheery hour of 6am (sometimes earlier, but I just refused to get him out of bed until it was 6am). Unfortunately, this meant a ridiculously early bedtime of 6pm (not to mention a mother that could barely find the floor as she tried to keep herself awake long enough to make it to his first nap), which meant that Daddy hardly got to see the kiddo unless he came home early. Also.. I felt like he just seemed tired all day.

So, we started pushing back his bedtime.

And listening to him cry a little longer each morning.

And it was gradually working. He was waking around 2:30-3:30ish to eat in the middle of the night, and then waking at 6 one morning.. 6:23 the next.. 6:25 then going back to sleep til 6:45.. I think this might be working!

Then a few nights ago as we are going up to bed, we hear a little cry.

We freeze. (You learn the art of freezing when you have a screamer. Your heart begins to pound. Your sweat glands begin oozing. Your mind begins racing about what it could be this time, how long it may be until your ears find peace and your eyes find precious sleep.. Even when the screamer is no longer a screamer.. You are trained to respond this way.. Anyway..)

Did we just hear that?

Another one.

We did.

Daaaaaaaang iiiiiiiiiiit. Why is he awake? Why is he awake now that we are just going to bed? What do we do? We must have woken him up.

In the end, I decide to feed him and put him back down since he doesn’t normally do that. We decide to just wait and see if it happens again the next night.. but we know it probably won’t, right? Because we woke him up, right?

Wrong.

Since that night, whatever night it may have been, he has been waking up an extra time in the late evening.. 11ish. Perhaps he is having a growth spurt? Perhaps he is just being the hungry child he has always been.

I am now realizing that he was not waking up for the day in those early mornings when I was hoping he only needed to eat once at night. He was waking up to EAT and then simply responding to his mama when she made him think he was ready to be up for the day.

The sleep book does not always have the answers, you see. It instructed me that if he is waking up around 2 to eat, that should be all he needs. Whenever he wakes next will be when he is awake for the day, and that shouldn’t be any earlier than 6. (or something like that.. I am an oft-confused, forgetful new mother.. these things happen..)

Well.

The sleep book does not know my child.

It was not there sitting awake with me while I nursed this baby hour after hour through those loooooooooong nights. And then continued to nurse him hour after hour during those loooooooooong days. It did not listen with me to everyone wondering if my milk supply was low because he was always eating or worry with me that maybe they were right. It did not then witness his intense love for eating grow as he discovered solid foods which he now consumes four times a day on top of nursing before AND after every nap.

The sleep book does not know. It does not know that even with all this eating, my baby boy is still just right on his growth curve as he has always been.

So one morning I said to Ian, “Maybe I should just feed him and put him back down and see if he’ll go back to sleep for a while.”

Ian was half asleep. Sleepy Ian is notoriously unhelpful. Mostly I am just musing aloud when I am talking to sleepy Ian.

So that is what I did. And after a few nights, I am finding that my baby still needs to eat twice at night. When these two times might occur varies, but two times it will be.

I actually had to wake him up this morning at 8.

That. Was. Awesome.

Sleep is a good thing. You should try it.