What is this Adventure?

Full-time Mama & Part-time school social worker in the throes of toddlerhood at its best and worst. In my short tenure as a member of the prestigious Mamahood club, I find the reality of it all to be amazing, exhausting, hilarious, challenging, a blessing, lonely at times, nostalgic, guilt-ridden, and the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to me...all at once. Sit back, read, laugh and cry with me on my adventure!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thoughts on a New Year...

As 2010 comes to a close, like most people, I find myself reflecting back on the high-lights and joys that the year has brought our extremely blessed family...
My adventures in mamahood, of course, are at the top of my list...and really, compose my entire list...there are few "high-lights" that do not include our bundle of love, Kieran.
I would like to share with you, computer, a letter to Kieran about a few of my "faves" that reminds me of how very special he is to me. For some of you reading this, you will have no clue what I am talking about...and for this, I apologize, but for others, you'll know and you'll laugh, picturing his cute little face staring back at you in wonder and awe...

Dearest baby boy,
As I look back on 2010, you are the best thing about it in every way. Your daddy and I love you so very much and cherish every day we spend with you. I wanted to tell you about a few things that make you unique and special...ask me about them someday, because they are things I will never forget.
I love you, Stinky Face, for soooo many reasons....
pat, pat, pat
Dame un beso
Winky eye
Woo woo woo... Aaah Aaah!
The wipers on the bus
How big is Kieran?
Huggy after naps
I <3 Pollito and Chanchito
Midnight snacks
Tripod
Peek-a-boo!
Baila con Cosmo!
Puffs, Crisps, and mmmmmmm! blueberries!
It's 4:50 am, run to the fridge!
mas mas mas mas mas
All done?
Skype me!
The list goes on and on....
Kieran, you are an amazing boy! I know God exists because She made YOU and I see God in you every single day. Thank you for teaching me to be a mama.
I love you,
your mama

On a similar note on this New Year, I have another letter to write...

Dearest Mom, (Kieran, that's what I call my mama)
As I look back on 2010, I wouldn't be able to write the previous letter if it were not for you. In other words, the best thing about 2010, Kieran, is here in our lives in a big part because you and Dad are such wonderful parents and taught me to be a mama. For this, I am eternally grateful and loving.
Every day I find myself more and more thankful for you, Mom. In the same token, I am more and more mystified at how you possibly raised five children...
Mamahood, for me, is an amazing journey...filled with so much happiness, and so much self-doubt....so much love for my son, and so much love returning for my parents...I wonder constantly if I'm doing things the "right way," trying to think about the man Kieran will become while still appreciating every single second of his life right now. What a balancing act! And it makes me so excited to hopefully have a sibling for Kieran in the future...and yet I wonder...how the hell will I handle another? How the hell did you do five?
Well, I leave you with that question.
:)
I love you Mom.
You are amazing.

Just a snap shot of my thoughts on the New Year approaching...
Cheers!

Friday, December 17, 2010

The cookie monster...

If you are wondering if a sweet tooth is genetic.....let me just tell you...
YES!
Kieran has decided, after one regrettable moment when his mom gave him a bite of gingerbread, that he can not LIVE without gingerbread cookies 24/7.
He knows where I keep them.
He cries for them daily.
He obsesses about them.
He wants them all the time....

JUST LIKE HIS MOM!

Man, good thing I only make cookies once a year!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

One year out...working on my health...


Nine months on, nine months off....at least that's what they say, right?
About baby weight...
Now, what if you do this...
Nine months on, six months off and then some, then added some more back increasing each month after that....
yeah...
not good.

Reflecting back, I think I lost track of my health somewhere in there... :)

Most people wait until the New Year to get back on track. I mean, think about it, Christmas cookies alone account for about 5 pounds of weight gain the month of December for me on an annual basis. Can I give that up?

Well, I have decided that I need to just DO it, so I can stop obsessing about the fact that I am NOT.

Also, I have the following things to do to keep up with my / Kieran's health:
1. Make a Urogyn appt for myself.
2. Go to the appt. hahaha...
3. Make appt. and go to the dentist for myself.
4. Make appt. and go to the dentist for Kieran.
5. Start working out again, even if just 20 min. / day.

I will start right now by looking up dentists with my new insurance....

In the meantime, let me just post an adorable pic of my boy :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Big Birthday Boy



Kieran had his birthday on November 17th and his birthday party on November 20th.

The night before his birthday, instead of a bedtime story out of a book, I told Kieran of the story of when he was born. I admit I was fairly nostalgic...
A friend of mine at Kier's play group repeated something her friend told her..."Can you believe you will only have about 17 more of these before your little guy is off to college?"
Wow...17 is not a big number...
yet most people by that time are fairly ready to send their teenagers off to college...
I suppose I have a lot of adjusting in the world of Mamahood before then!

As for year one...
beautiful.
Simply a blessing.
and I'm blessed to have wonderful parents and grandparents as well...
I couldn't put to words how appreciative I am.
I was once their baby having a first birthday too...
How the time flies...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I'm 30, he's almost 1...

I suppose for some, turning the big 3-0 is a big deal....
for me, it simply meant an excuse to get together with family to eat a lot...
and eat a lot we did!

We went to a Brazilian steakhouse and ate to our hearts' content -- and then some!

Kieran, on the other hand, has been a little finicky about eating lately...and I am actually a bit concerned that this "used to be 90th percentile" boy has not gained weight in about 3 months...

I know, many of you are going to laugh when you read this because Kieran is a big boy...
But why hasn't he gained weight lately?

I suppose our 12 month visit to the pediatrician will be more telling than my simple "jump on the scale with the baby" technique...

Sometimes Kieran eats and nurses as if he is insatiable...and sometimes there is not a single piece of food that he will put in his mouth and swallow.

The funniest tid-bit about his eating:
He squeals with delight whenever he sees string cheese. Literally squeals.

We have many milestones coming up in the next few weeks - birthday # 1 AND his baptism!

I'll write more later...this 30 year old is old and quite tired....

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Catching up!

We lost internet connection at my house and have been "borrowing" other people's connections....which makes the internet SUPER slow....which is why I haven't posted in such a long time after promising that I would post every week! ha!

Kieran has been walking steps since Sept.22nd...a month later, I finally caught some of his walking on video.
Nowadays, he can been caught walking up to 30 steps at a time (especially when he's around other little children who are walking around...he wants to keep up!) I tried to post the video, but alas, the internet is still too slow...sorry!

I'm amazed at how big he has gotten lately.
Overnight, it seems, my baby became a toddler!

He got a new hair cut. He eats everything. He's walking, sometimes running. He's talking all the time (we don't know what he's saying, but he's saying it!) He's even throwing tantrums! It's just incredible!

Sometimes I find myself looking forward to the weekends...lots of fun packed activities and such...and then I think to myself...."no! Don't wish the days away....he's growing up SO fast!"

You may have noticed that I deleted all my goals. Yeah....they just weren't doing it for me....After reading my Nana's advice and thinking it over, the goals only made me feel pressured to do something artificial. The only benefit I really took from writing them was to promise to smile on my way to work...which I have been doing.... albeit fake smiles...they are smiles!

Work has gotten increasingly difficult to motivate myself to go. It's not that I dislike the work. I just dislike being away from home. Every day I get to spend with Kier is a gift. Leaving him for the day is like a punishment. I've given some thought to staying home and watching a few kids next year -- making money in that way -- I haven't completely thought it over or decided anything... we shall see.

Kieran and I joined a new play group. A bunch of moms from the neighborhood and their sons -- all are around 16 months or so...so Kieran being 11 months is always trying to keep up with the "big boys"...he does a good job! Kieran loves being around other children, he's my social butterfly! It's wonderful to see him squeal with excitement when we see other kids. He waves (the backwards open-close handed wave) to every child and dog he sees!

Oh...yeah...the dog! Salsa and Kier now have a big alliance going. Whenever Kieran is done or doesn't want to eat something, he just holds out his hand for Salsa to come and eat whatever it is he has decided is not for him! Sometimes, Kier holds his hand out, lets Salsa lick the food, and then brings his hand back to his mouth to eat it! Gross! But... hilarious, I must admit! Salsa is becoming quite the scavenger...I'm afraid she's even worse when Kieran's Nana is around (I think Nana must be a little softer on her than Paul and myself! Hahaha!) Anyway, it's quite a system to see in action!

Well, that's all for now.
Check in later, I will be updating much more regularly from now on (I hope!)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

What a TROOPER!

We had a whirlwind weekend...
Kieran spends about 4 hours in the car on Fridays schlepping back and forth from Skokie to the south side of the city.
So that was Friday.
Then, Saturday morning he was not even asked if he wanted to go, instead just got in the car again to drive 3 hours north to Madison, WI. He was in the car with four other adults (including Paul and I - I was driving), so he didn't nap...except for 20 minutes at the very end....then we were busy all day until Kier finally went to bed at 5:30. He didn't complain, not one whine.
Did I mention that he had something going on with his GI tract...had 5 dirty diapers (that's a LOT for him)....and STILL didn't complain?!?!?!
Sunday morning, we did it again, woke up, drove home, 3 hours in the car....
When we got home, I asked him to take a nap, even though people were over and he didn't want to....he cried a bit, but...in the end, he took his nap.
As soon as he got up, I took him outside, into the cold wind where there were many people passing him around and wanted him to perform various tricks ("so big", walking around, and other such circus tricks)....don't get me wrong, I think my kid is adorable when he does these things, it's just hard when he is put on the spot to perform...maybe it's just hard for me.....I don't know.....
Anyway, I digress...
He didn't complain.
He didn't look especially happy outside, but he didn't complain.
When we finally came inside, I took off all of his gear and he was so happy to roam around at home and play....finally, Kieran could have some baby time.
Not for long, it was nearing bed time.
He started to melt down as his Grandma was giving him some dinner....
We tried....but Kier was done.
A quiet bath time, quiet lotion time and a little bit of Stinky Face (his fave book) made things a bit better.
He nursed happily to sleep without one single complaint.
This past weekend was not very baby friendly....but man oh man, I have to brag....my kid was amazing....

A new goal for me....be as calm, cool, and collected as my little one....
What a trooper!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Peek-a-Boo!

I learned about object permanence in my very first psychology / human development class.
What's the big deal?
A baby learns that an object exists even when he/she can not see it....um, yeah, no brainer...
Doesn't sound earth shattering, does it?
That is...until your baby finally plays peek-a-boo with you, interacting, laughing, and showing you that HE GETS IT!
Kieran has enjoyed the game of peek-a-boo for quite a while now.
Tonight marks the first time HE initiated the game...and showed ME how object permanence works :)

Kieran hates baths. It's always a struggle. He also does not care for lotion rub downs. (Look back at one of my first entries where I fear that my son has a sensory processing disorder...yup, still have that fear....)
So, I usually wrap him up in his bath towel afterwards and try to be playful with a bit of peek-a-boo.

Now, I know what some of you are thinking, especially those who read parenting books...
the nighttime routine is supposed to be calming, soothing, non-stimulating...to get my child ready for a good night's rest...
well....screaming about not wanting lotion is not very calming, so I prefer play....hey, I can't help it!
Besides, my milk still has this wonder drug that puts Kieran in a sleep coma on most nights....so....that's that.

Back to the subject at hand....the bath towel.....
Tonight I draped the bath towel over his little head...and plopped (yes, literally plopped because he thinks it's so funny), Kieran down on the bed.
Before I knew it, he took the bath towel and covered his head...only to peek out of it shortly after, looking for a familiar response from his mama.....peek-a-boo!

I loved it!
He repeated.....
9 more times!
We had such a blast...he even ALMOST made me forget to put lotion on his body....
Nice try, Kieran.....but your mama is almost as persistent as you....
not quite...
but almost.

This game was a sheer joy for Kieran and myself after a not-so-joyful day at work.

I thank God every day for the miracle I call Kieran Anthony.

Who knew object permanence could be so fun????

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Am I supposed to feel better?

So, all you Goal Writers...
Am I supposed to feel happier after writing these goals?
I don't.
Maybe I will when I start actually DOING them.
I'll let you know.
My angel is sleeping.
Thinking of him makes me feel happy.
Honestly, thinking of him allows me to slip away into a wonderful dream world.
I am so happy to be a mama.
Happy to tears.
Maybe that is all I need to remember my happiness.
Just to stop and think of my baby boy.
I am so blessed.
So so blessed.
I do feel better.
In the one minute I have been writing.
g'night.

Setting Goals...

Last night a majority of my family was over. I had been looking forward to the event for weeks. I love being around my parents and siblings, as they truly are my best friends (besides my husband). (As a side note and plug, my dad and younger brother were certainly missed...and it's never the same without them.) Back to my point...so, even though I had been looking forward to this event for weeks, I found myself unhappy yesterday. I couldn't put a finger on it, really, but I was in general, just feeling a bit blue...
I started thinking about WHY I may be feeling this way...
Was it because I have hives and can't seem to get them to go away?
Was it because my husband still doesn't have a job?
Was it because I am not really thrilled with my own part-time job?
Fact is, I felt completely and utterly happy while at home with my baby.
So, what was it?
Then, something hit me...
It really didn't matter WHY I felt this way...
I have hives. Period. Get over it.
Paul doesn't have a job yet. Period. Get over it.
I have to work. Period. Get over it.
So....then....if it didn't matter WHY....what did matter?
I have been reading this book for months.....one page every few weeks, really....my Erin recommended it to me - called "The Happiness Project".
In this book, the author feels that she is, in general, a happy person, but could be a little MORE happy.
She sets goals for herself.
I have another friend, my Becca, who also set goals for herself --- and POSTED them on a blog!
How's THAT for accountability?
SO....I decided today to start a goal list as well.
Yes, Becca, I'm copying you.
My first goal? Write a list of goals....
I'm gonna get on it now....

Friday, September 24, 2010

First Steps...

I don't have any video to prove it.
I don't even have a picture.
Nothing.
And I got too excited that even Kieran's daddy only caught the very tail end of the step as he fell in surprise of himself and my excitement. I think he was a little shaken up about it, actually.
So you'll have to take my word on this one...
On Wednesday afternoon, September 22nd, Kieran Anthony took his first two steps on his own.
One small step for Kieran....one giant leap for an ant or other small animal.

My cousin had her baby on that same day that Kieran walked.
Her first steps as a mama have been very very difficult.
Her baby had his first heart surgery today...the first of three to happen within the baby's first two years of life.
I can't even imagine.
She only got to hold her little guy for a minute after her c-section before they hurried him off...and then she basically broke out of her hospital to go to her baby's hospital before his surgery today.

Very different experiences of first steps...on the same day.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

It's been too long...my son is grown up and driving a car already...

ok, maybe not that long....but seriously, I have to keep this up a bit better!
I think I probably wrote that on my last blog entry.
Kieran is so big now. He's almost walking. He plays "How big is Kieran? Soooo big!" and he wants to talk so badly!
I am growing up too.....for instance, I don't cry when I have to go to work anymore...I'm a big girl now!
Actually, all that is thanks to my mom, who is earning more than her fair share of points in heaven for watching Kieran. Get this....she drives all the way from Milwaukee to Skokie to the south side of Chicago to take care of my son. Amazing? The best part? Kieran gets excited to see her when she pulls up in her car. It's so awesome to know that I am entrusting my son to someone I trust more than myself. (on that note, Kieran has definitely gotten more bumps and bruises on my time than on hers!)
I recently gave my son a cold. What an awful feeling....to know that I did something to make him not feel well....and he loves me anyway!
At church on Sunday the priest asked the church what the anecdote for greed is....I was too shy to raise my hand and speak (he asks everyone to answer into a microphone!) but I thought to myself.....babies are not greedy at all...
Here they are, in the most self-centered and focused time of their life and yet....not greedy. Kieran never eats more than he needs. He never asks for more material objects. He will find pleasure in playing with the dirt on the ground. He's never asked for the latest style of clothing...in fact, he doesn't even complain if I put his onesie on the outside of his pants! Babies are not greedy. They are the perfect anecdote for greed....because they teach us to only want and take what we need.....a bit of food, lots of love, and clothes and shelter to keep us warm....
On that note, my little love bug is having a rough night with his cold....I must go see him....

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Whew, I made it!

So, I left my baby boy for more than a couple of hours today for the very first time...
I know, some of you did this in your baby's first month of life and are looking at me like I used to look at those parents of the kindergarteners...(see previous blog posting)...but it was REALLY hard for me!
Kieran and I both didn't sleep last night.
It was horrendous.
We tried, we really did...
but my nerves got the best of both of us...
Today, we woke up at 4:40 (his idea, not mine), and I nursed him laying down next to me to drug him back to sleep just a tad bit longer....5:25, we're up.....gotta get more powerful drugs, I guess!
I trudged my way to work unhappily, but tearless.......(as opposed to last night, which was a little less tearless...ha ha)
I was happy to get a text from my husband exclaiming that my son "ate like a champ and drank like an Irish man"
When I got home, Kieran was delighted to see me and I couldn't have been more happy to see him.
Made it....
Day one....
90 more days to go....
ha ha ha.
It was a nice workplace.
I'll survive.

Monday, August 9, 2010

My baby is so grown up!


Kieran is almost 9 months now - I bring him to his nine month doctor visit on Thursday!
I can't believe how fast the time has flown by...
Since I last wrote, a number of my friends have gotten pregnant - three in fact!
I become so excited for them because I know what a wonderful life changing event they are about to incur.
At the same time, I am reminded of the sickening gross feelings of first trimester...yuck!
Kieran is standing up on anything he can. He even tries to scoot his feet while standing up...
Before I know it, he'll be cruising.

I go back to work tomorrow. This has prompted me to do a lot of reflecting, hence my return to my blog.
I am NOT looking forward to it. I mean, I like working as a social worker. And I think that I have chosen a very healthy new work place. I just don't want to leave Kieran. Tomorrow he will be with his daddy all day. I will have to leave the house around 7:30 and won't return until about 4:30...that's a long long day...I have not left Kieran for more than a few hours at a time during the day. Have I done him a disservice? Probably.

Being a mom makes me constantly second guess myself like never before. And Kieran's so little.....little baby, little problems.....what will I do when he's older? I better get more mama-confidence before then!

Kieran has also become quite clingy to me. If he sees me, he wants me. If he thinks about me, he wants me and looks for me. He can find me behind closed doors in my house! Ha ha! He's so smart! I guess he's got that "object permanence" concept down!

I love mamahood. Kieran is now babbling mamamamama and dadadada all the time! Not to mention, since I last posted, he got a wicked new haircut!
My baby is so grown up!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

It's hard keeping up with this!

As you can clearly see, I have a bit of a hard time keeping up with my "blogging"...
I rationalize it, saying, "I'm living life, not writing about it..."
But, I do like to have in writing my joys of parenthood - it makes it official and all, you know, as if to say, "hey, this is really happening in my life....look, it's on paper...of sorts...."

Right now my extended family is in the outer banks of North Carolina at a family reunion. For several reasons (that I won't bore you with), we decided that we were unable to attend this year. I have to say....I am REALLY wishing we hadn't made that decision!

Family is just so important. I mean, what a silly obvious statement and yet so many times we take for granted the family that we have.

My extended family lives far from us -- mostly on the east coast. We see them all but once a year, with the exception of my Nana and Papa, who graciously come out and visit usually once a year as well (totally two visits per year for the math-challenged..ha ha ha).

This year, I have been keeping in better touch with my aunts. We've been blogging about our "quests" to get in shape and chatting about my new adventure in mamahood. They are incredible women - all very different, adding different facets of support, and all amazingly loving and fun. I wish for Kieran that he will come to know them and my young cousins, who are currently probably playing Marco Polo with my dad in the pool. "Marco!" (just in case they can hear me).

I have been thinking about family a lot because, well, do you need a reason? Oh, I digress.... Anyway, let me try again. I have been thinking about family often lately because we are thinking of having Kieran baptized.

Kieran is already 8 months (by the way, on yet another side note, he stood up in his crib the other day and rattled the railings, attempting to climb out....like Spider Man....ok, mini-Spidy) Back to my point......Kieran is 8 months old, and typically children are baptized much earlier in the Catholic Church. We, Paul and I, were in no hurry to do so. While I know that the Catholic Church believes in "Original Sin"....I'm not so sure about it....what in the world type of sin could Kieran be born with? As far as I'm concerned (biased mom of course), Kieran came straight out of heaven delivered by God herself....does he have potential to sin eventually? Sure...but basically I didn't believe that Kieran would go to purgatory or hell just because he wasn't baptized....so what was the rush? I was thinking of waiting until Kieran is old enough to decide for himself....but that is not necessarily what we are saying with baptism of an child....so, I decided that we would celebrate around Thanksgiving....our greatest family holiday.

And let's face it, judging from this blog alone, it's obvious that it's going to take my WHOLE family to raise Kieran....so, that's how I want it to be....everyone as Godparents....because family is just so important....

We'll see what the Catholic Church has to say about that....I'll let you know....

that is, if I can keep up with this blog.....

Kieran's awake, time to go....

Monday, June 21, 2010

His Nana said he's a "boob man"....

I thought seven months old would be too young to have a temper tantrum....

Wrong again!

My problem? It's funny. Just like my aunt's story of her baby girl signing the letters to "whatever mega loser" on her forehead when angry at her father....my baby's temper tantrum was a riot!

It all started today when he was hungry.

Being that I am attempting to integrate more table food into his diet, I sat him in his seat to eat some squash.

Well, the first bite was welcomed. As was the next. By the third bite, the squash started seeping out the sides of his mouth (he had done this on purpose, it is his new trick). By the forth bite, he spit out everything on the spoon and started to rock back and forth (as if to say..."yeah, mama, try to get that spoon in my mouth NOW!"). I tried again, foolishly.....

Kier began to violently rock back and forth screaming. He threw his head back into the sky and screeched out bloody murder.

I waited.
Tried not to laugh.
And then removed him from his chair when he stopped screeching.

I signed "milk" in sign-language and he started laughing and coughing....his sure signs that he understood that he was getting what he wanted.

I sat down, sat him on my lap, and un-fastened my bra.

I couldn't get ready fast enough, apparently, because at that moment, Kier grabbed my boob with both hands, squeezed it, and shoved it into his mouth.

Have you ever seen "Lord of the Rings" when that troll looking guy holds on to the ring and says..."my precious" with a raspy voice?

That was my son and his milk.

Nana says I've got a "boob man" on my hands...

I'll be nursing him till he's ten at this rate......

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I disappeared into baby bliss...

Well, as you can see, I have NOT been keeping up with my blog...
Why, you ask?
It makes perfect sense to me....Kieran moved into his big boy crib...

You don't understand?
Oh well, I live in a pretty small condo where Kieran's bedroom is the same as the "office" space where the computer is...and typing away on my computer while he is napping would be a "no no" in my book...that nap time is toooooo precious!

So, here's a baby update in as few words as possible:

moved to crip, napping more, getting big, blocked milk duct, ow ow ow, finally better, there's a tooth!, another one!, ouch, don't bite me!, that's not funny!, beautiful beach days!, basking in the sun...

do you get it?

Ok, I will have to update a little more thoroughly from now on :)

Welcome me back....

Saturday, May 1, 2010

I was NEVER going to be the mom who...

Working in an elementary school pre-K through third grade, you see an awful lot of moms and dads dropping off their children for school. You know those really weepy moms on the first day of kindergarten? I know, I know! Get over it, right?! You're making it worse! Really! Say goodbye and walk away! I'll never be one of those moms....

Except...

Last night was the first night that Kier slept in his crib in the other room. And I have to say that he handled it WAY better than me. The only thing I can say to my credit is that I didn't cry in front of him! HA! He was sleeping!

I have been putting Kier down for naps in the crib to get him used to it. I mean, he's 5 months already...if I didn't do it now, he'd be 18 and still staying in mom and dad's room!

So last night I figured it would be a good night to try -- a weekend...I could ask Paul for help if I needed to...you know, in case Kier was up a lot......HA again!

Kier went down with a small fuss (1 min) around 6:15 pm....and I didn't hear from him again until 10:45 pm when he ate...he went immediately back to sleep and slept until 5 am!

Me? Well, let's just say....
I TRIED to go to sleep at 10 pm....but the room was empty. It didn't smell like Kieran. I couldn't sleep. And then I started to miss him.....I know, I know, HE WAS ONLY IN THE OTHER ROOM! So then I got all teary....so I took his stuffed dog that he eats the nose of and smelt my way to sleep.....pathetic.....

Mom, you didn't have trouble with this did you? You certainly never let on that you did....
Where did I inherit this wimpiness?

HELP! I'M THAT MOM!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Prayers for you...

It's ironic that yesterday I wrote about all my developmental fears as a mom...and while they are true fears, I could write them in a light-hearted way, because, let's face it, so far my son is healthy.
But today I found out that someone close to me is in her second trimester and found out that her baby has a congenital heart disorder...that apparently is very serious and could require multiple heart surgeries and a possible heart transplant within the first year of the baby's life...
It's every mom's worst nightmare.
And yet she wrote an email to inform everyone sounding as strong as a woman who has weathered this before and who will weather this time and time again. She writes with the grace of a saint while I know she must be terrified as well.
So, today's entry is dedicated to you and your dear one growing inside you, even though you'll never read this...

i said a prayer for you today
mama
and while i said it, a tear fell down my cheek
the life God creates inside us
a miracle
is lent to us
and while we may like to choose that life
like choices out of a catalogue
healthy, smart, and calm, please
God lends us what She does
and lends us the Grace
to weather through
our hopes, dreams, every last breadth of energy
doled out to our little ones
until we are empty
empty and full
may She grace you with strength
the love you already have
to carry you through

When things like this happen, i feel blessed and guilty. Blessed that Kier is healthy. Guilty that Kier is healthy and growing baby is not, that I can rejoice when others are terrified, that my biggest health decision is vaccinations and hers is whether or not to do in-utero surgery. So all I can do is pray. and I'll ask Kier to pray...his prayer line is a lot shorter to God....he was just there 14 months ago....

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Life Lesson: Never work in Special Ed before having your first child...

If you have ever taken a basic psychology class, one of the things about which they joke is that you will begin diagnosing all of your family members using DSM classifications...

Being that I am not only a social worker, but a SCHOOL social worker, I spent most of my career working with children in Special Education.

So, of course, with my first child, I have diagnosed him with several disorders....all before the age of six months.

When Kieran was younger and I was first learning his hunger vs. tired signals, he would press his little mouth firmly against my arm sleeve while shaking his head back and forth and shouting...as if he were angrily biting me - so of course I came to believe that he has intermittent explosive disorder and will need intensive anger management therapy.

Kieran shakes his leg CONSTANTLY while eating - he can't slow down until he falls asleep - so of course he has ADHD combined type...should I medicate or try cognitive-behavioral therapy first?

THEN Kieran began shaking his head back and forth rapidly and laughing...he started to do this more and more...as if he was self-stimming off of this behavior....yup, you guessed it, maybe he falls along the autism spectrum!

Oh man, the list goes on...
Developmental Disorder - (he rolled over from his back to his stomach first and doesn't like to be on his tummy)
Sensory Processing Disorder - (he cries while getting dressed and would rather be naked)
Eating disorder - bulimic type (spitting up all his rice cereal and binge eating constantly)

But really, while I find myself overly paranoid at times, I do feel very fortunate on many levels.
So far, Kieran has been healthy and progressing in his development.
Furthermore, I always thought to myself that I am blessed to be in the field that I am, because if I do have a child with disabilities, I will have some background knowledge of how to help him/her and I would also know how to advocate for the things he/she needed. That, and I do LOVE working with kids with intermittent explosive disorders and ADHD, so that's a plus...

I have always been very humbled by the parents in my school district with children with special needs and I hope to be just as excellent a mama if my child should have special needs as well.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Enough salty tears already!


I really am not sure how all you working moms do it.
I mean, there are many women who go back to work after just six, count them SIX, weeks of maternity leave.
I have had five amazing, wonderful months already being home...and I have four more...and then I'm only going to be working part-time...
and I'm a wreck...

I read a friend's friend's blog tonight...she is a wonderful mommy. She has to work. And she wrote her blog title, "Can I just have 5 more minutes of maternity leave?" (something like that)...she proceeded to write a letter to her baby girl who is nine months old..."Dear Baby, Even though I've been back to work for five months, I still miss you"...and I just started crying.

Oh dear.

I am not headed back to work just yet. I am enjoying every last second of his little journey. But I am in the process of figuring out what I will do for day care for two days a week. How do you decide who will be the second-hand-mommy verses who is the negligent-babysitter? How do I know if my little one will be left alone in a corner crying all day? How will I reconcile with the fact that baby K will do things for the first time while I'm not watching? This is time that I can't get back...I just never imagined myself as a "working mom".

This will be my biggest lesson yet on letting go.

And yet I know, if I were to talk to my mom, that she would relay to me that there will be much bigger "letting go" lessons to come...

I hope I can weather through them without soaking all my t-shirts with salty tears.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Rated R Material!

Please be advised that you must be over the age of 18 to read the following accounts of Mamahood...

I had to call my mom up right after it happened.
The eye-hand coordination was really too priceless.
After breast feeding for a while yesterday, Kieran decided to take his chubby little hand, reach out and grab my nipple, and proceeded to desperately pull it and his hand into his mouth while shaking his head back and forth to make everything fit...
Quickly realizing that this did not work because his hand was in the way, he began to laugh as I was already in hysterics.

Now I have seen the computer video clips of how the nipple stretches out during breast feeding. I have even seen my own stretch while pumping. But honestly...I have NEVER seen it stretch like it did when Kieran man-handled it!

This was one step up over the motor-boating he has been doing lately at the end of feeding...
You know what I mean...he has been giving me a "raspberry" (to my nipple) directly after eating....

My sister told me I should re-tell Kieran these stories when he is a teenager.
I don't want to be disowned...so I think I will keep this information between me, sis, Mom, and the blogging world....

peace.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hey Mama! If you thought the last one was eventful...

Well.....if you have been following my blog, it would be blatantly obvious that I am concerned about my son's pooping habits...

He had another bout of "pooping strike" as I like to call it. The last time he went was on Saturday...Today, my friends, is Wednesday! Like my previous blog entry mentioned, I have spoken to pretty much everyone and their mothers and then talked with their mother's puppy just to be sure...so....I tried not to become concerned when once again this "strike" was taking place...

A dear and wise friend of mine told me that for the first year of her son's life, the only way that he would poop is if she placed him in a warm bath for a long time. So let's just say that I had plenty of warning.

Kieran has not been enjoying baths lately. I found that an easy solution (and fun for me too) was to just fill the tub up a little higher, jump in myself, and let Kieran swim around in my arms. He loves it! He smiles, giggles, kicks, and blows bubbles both from his mouth and another area of his little body (I think he gets this habit from his uncles and great uncles..)

This evening he also loved his bath. And so did I....until.....

(start the Jaws theme here) Nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah...

Yup, I should have seen it coming. I mean, COME ON MAMA! GET WITH IT! All the clues were there! The friend's retelling of how she got her son to go...the fact that it had been since Saturday...how about the fact that there was a tiny bit of evidence in his diaper before you put him in the bathtub WITH YOU!?!?!?!

All out of love....

Needless to say, after draining the tub, rinsing the tub, and giving Kieran another bath, Daddy had to hang out with Kieran while I scrubbed the tub with bleach and took a shower myself....

Wow....mamahood...hilarious!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

CLOSE! but no cigar...



During "naked time" today, Kieran was about 1/2 an inch away from a ringer...right into my open mouth...
I am referring, of course, to Kieran peeing during naked time.

I imagine every mom being this way...at the start of "naked time," you are constantly watching...When will his fountain begin? You are ready...waiting with a towel like a tiger ready to pounce on his prey...

But, as the tiger does not see any prey approaching...over time...she gets lazy...maybe she plays with her baby cub a bit instead of watching....maybe she takes some pictures....

And then maybe the fire hose sets off a startling realization that she ALMOST drank her baby cub's pee!

So close...so close....

It was hilarious!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

If Congress could just get their act together...

I wouldn't feel so stressed out.

No Mamahood blog would be complete without a tinge of politics, right?
Well, here's my tinge:
If Congress could get their act together and pass Health Care Reform creating Universal Health Care like so many other countries already have, I wouldn't be up at night wondering if I should take a part-time job next year or not...

So here's the whole story:
Paul, my hubs, is being RIF'ed (Reduction in force) as of June. He may lose his health insurance in June, maybe in August. He is applying for jobs in every school district around that has an art teaching position....but he hasn't heard anything yet.

I have a full-time job, tenured, that I could go back to with great health insurance for the family....but...(and let's hope my bosses aren't reading this..) going back to that job would be similar to sticking 2x4 pieces of wood underneath my toe nails while simultaneously having a monkey on a speed boat splashing me with Lake Diarrhea (if you are confused by this metaphor, please inquire with a Sherman cousin about the "Would You Rather" game).

Anyway, the point is, I don't want my current position anymore...and mainly because of my bosses.

So I have applied to about 10 other positions, nine of which are full-time. I don't want to leave my Kieran 5 days a week though. And if all possible, I won't. If Paul gets a job with health insurance, I can work part-time.

The problem is this: I have a job interview for the ONE position that is part-time...on Wednesday! Paul has heard nothing from his applications.

If I have the good fortune of getting a job offer, I won't know yet if I can accept or not. (Once you accept a position in the school system, you can't later recant because they will keep your certificate for one year...just how it goes....)

So here I am....I shall pray about this. I read once: If you pray, don't bother worrying, and if you worry, don't bother praying.

Easier said than done....but worth working on!

Peace.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Laughing...

I have discovered the most amazing sound in the world...
a baby's laugh.
Of course, MY baby's laugh, to be specific...
but I suppose all Mom's feel that way!

I think a baby's laugh may cure cancer, it's so beautiful!

I have always believed that babies have a direct link to God. Therefore, I always ask Kieran to send messages to God for me...you know, better connection...like how my mom goes upstairs to talk on the cell phone....better connection...

When Kieran laughs, for no apparent reason, I think maybe God is sending a message back to me....

"Enjoy every moment" may be the message.

or

"You are hilarious looking!" may be another.

On another note...

Over the weekend, I was visiting with some relatives.
One made this comment..."You may think it's wonderful being a parent, but there is nothing like being a grandparent. I hate to compare the two, but when you have that first grandchild...it's better."

How strange, I thought. Of course, I didn't respond. Because what would I say? I'm not a grandparent.

I think that categorizing better and best may cheapen the whole experience.

So, I laughed.

Because laughter, I believe, must come from God.

Thanks, God, for a lot of laughter today. You are truly hilarious! I guess I am too, by Kieran's standards.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Beautiful....

It was a beautiful day today. Really quite beautiful.
Mid-50's, sunny, slight breeze....Could Spring finally be on its way?
Kieran and I went outside on a long walk. We ran into some friends with whom I used to work when I waitressed at a local bar...they all thought Kieran was just beautiful.

One woman, someone with whom I had shared my hopes and dreams of becoming a mom, saw Kieran and started crying. I wasn't quite sure where the emotion was coming from, I didn't know how to react! She left the room only to come back a few minutes later. "You've wanted this for so long!" she cried.

As I later walked back home, I reflected on her emotions. Yes, she was right, I had wanted this for a long time.
I remember as a child, my older brother Jonathan and I would compare how many children we were going to have. "I'm going to have SIX!" I would spout. "Oh yeah?" Jonathan replied, "I'm going to have EIGHT!" I'm not sure why this was a competition, but we were definitely going to have a LOT of children.

Well, I certainly changed my tune throughout the years on the number of children, but I continued to want to be a "mommy".

Yes, it was a beautiful day. Kieran is a beautiful boy. And it is beautiful to be a mommy.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ponchos...the new fashion trend...

Ok, seriously, I'm considering wearing a poncho from now on.
I mean, why not? My son super-soaks me with vomit at LEAST once a day!
Of course, being the "I'm-not-going-to-be-one-of-those-worrisome-Moms" type...I called the following people to talk about my son's puking:
> my mom (of course, first line of defense)
> my brother the head and neck surgeon
> my brother's girlfriend, another surgeon, but she works more with children's GI issues
> my son's doctor (family doc)
> my brother again, who spoke to the NICU doctors
> and one more time with my mom (you see, it comes full circle)
No, I'm really not the worrisome type......really.....
Then he started having the wicked cough, so of course I had to call my brother again!
ha ha ha...I know I'm insane.
But this super-soaking....so much laundry....I'm thinking of just wearing a poncho all day
Why not, right?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sorry Officer, I can't stop at red lights...

So, Kieran is now almost three months old. He is a wonderful bundle of joy to be around....except....if he is awake in the car. Car rides are a little tough for me when Kieran is crying. And the funniest thing? He cries whenever I have to stop. I literally cringe every time the light turns yellow - because I know that as soon as I stop, the siren begins....I'm not lying! Ask my mom! She witnessed this the other day when I drove her to the train station --- "Now, Kieran," she said, "don't be ridiculous!" (Usually a good talk from "Nana" always does the trick...but this time? The crying worsened!) Well, that's it...I decided...I just can't afford to stop at red lights or stop signs anymore...it's just not worth it....I'll just look both ways before crossing, just like my mom taught me....

Thursday, February 4, 2010

They tell me not to worry...

My mom came to visit today. It's always nice to have Mom around. I get to ask her the million questions I have about Kieran, my two month old.

My latest concern is that he hasn't pooped since Tuesday at 3 pm. I know, I know...why do I know the exact time of when he last pooped? Well, because this has been an on-going concern of mine for about a week. I even had my brother, the chiropractor, work on Kieran to try to "get things moving"...Now it's been more than a day and a half and my son is still poop-less!

So, my mom says, "don't worry"...then she goes on to tell me not to be so "anal-retentive" about Kieran...

Ha! I laughed! "Tell Kieran not to be so anal-retentive!" I responded, wondering if she meant to be so cleverly cliche.

While I tell myself not to be that worrisome mom that I always thought my mom to be, here She is telling Me that I'm too worrisome!!

Guess I should refer to my first post on this one ---

You'll understand when you're a mom.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Entertaining...

Before Kieran entered this world, I worked as a school social worker in a city just outside of Chicago. One of my many jobs at this school was to evaluate three year olds in need of special education assistance. Most of these three year olds did not speak yet. One of the things that I came to learn was that they did not speak because they were infrequently spoken to. Furthermore, they were not taught the names of things (like body parts, basic household items, etc.) and so never knew them coming into school.

This, of course, has led me to be a bit fanatical, as I imagine many of the yuppy moms to be (on a side note, someone once called me a yuppy and I was deeply offended..but...in fact...I AM a young urban professional...so...maybe I shouldn't be so offended...) Anyway, back to what I was saying...

I felt incredibly guilty today because I went to workout and placed my baby on a baby gym mat (you know, those Baby Einstein gym mats with music, toys, and the whole fussy bit)...and as I walked on the treadmill, Kieran did not pay attention to the many toys above him, he watched my treadmill turn...as if to say, "Hey Mom! This treadmill bit is awfully selfish! Can't you see I'm wasting away here going brain-dead by the second?" Oh how I wished he would fall asleep so I wouldn't feel so guilty!

I have this edgy feeling that every moment of waking hours with Kieran, I need to be talking to him, entertaining him with new sights, sounds, and learning opportunities. It's exhausting!

I wonder, in my desperate attempt to expose my child to language, if I am a bit overboard. Did my mom do this?

Then again, she probably did. As I am now learning to be a mom, I think about my own mom, single-handedly juggling five children all under the age of eight...I imagine her as some kind of "super mom" - constantly enriching us with "the good stuff" to feed all five senses- She probably had six hands and eight eyes when she was younger-all of which, of course, melted off before I could remember them being there.

When will I grow my extra arms and eyes?

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Welcome to my thoughts...

On November 17, 2009, I entered into a world in which there are many members. While this is the case, it's actually sort of an exclusive, secret club that your mom always hinted about when you were growing up - you brushed it off really, because the saying was so annoying...and now...it holds so much wisdom that you are actually envisioning yourself using it one day...."You'll understand when you're a MOM...."

I am currently blogging with my family about our weight loss journey and exercise goals...and I enjoy that so much that I thought I would write about the thing that consumes all my time, thoughts, energy, and love...my new baby boy Kieran.

I know, there are probably a thousand blogs out there about being a mom. And I know that no one is really dying to know about my baby boy (except for maybe his two incredibly loving grandmothers...) Furthermore, I am no magical writer - I'm not super witty, I don't use correct grammar (sorry, Nana), and I've never had anything more than a silly letter to the editor published in a local newspaper...BUT, I would like to think of this blog as a bit of catharsis...

take it or leave it...

You'll understand when you're a mom....