Friday, May 27

Friday Photo - 1st Edition: Smile

 In the interest of being able to consistently add at least one post a week to my blog, and being inspired by some other blogs I regularly read, I decided to start doing a recurring "Friday Photo" post where I basically pick one (or maybe sometimes a few) of my favorite pictures that I'm able to get of Brock during that particular week.

This week's picture was easy to choose since it was the first time I was able to catch his big smile on camera. I got this right after he had eaten and had his diaper changed. Who wouldn't be this happy with a full belly and fresh bottom? I tried and tried to get another one of him looking directly at the camera, but he was over it quickly. Love that gummy grin.

Monday, May 23

Keeping it Real

After a particularly difficult day with the little one, I thought it would be as good a time as ever to write a post I've been meaning to write for a few weeks now. I titled it my "Keeping it Real" post because I want to make sure that I don't gloss over all the hairy details of the first two months with a newborn and make it seem like it has just been blissfully simple. It has not. Another blog I've been reading lately suggested the value of writing down the good and the bad with each child so that you aren't tempted to look back on those newborn stages with rose-colored glasses and think, "It is so much harder with this second (or third or fourth or whatever) child than it was with the first one" because we tend to forget or minimize the worst parts. So I narrowed it down to a list of the top five frustrations I've encountered during the newborn stage with Brock.
  1. NO SLEEP: Ok, this one is no surprise. I knew I would be getting a lot less sleep with a newborn baby, but I didn't realize how much it would affect me. I'm a big lover of sleep. I could still do the teenager thing and sleep til noon on Saturdays if I didn't have anything else to do, and I can take a nap at any time of day. But for the past two months I've been running on generally no more than 2 to 4 hours of consecutive sleep at a time. I may have gotten 6 straight hours one or two nights and that was amazing, but for the most part it probably averages out to 3 hours at a time. When I'm tired, I'm more irritable, more emotional, and more impatient and none of those are helpful when dealing with a newborn. As a matter of fact, I'm betting that if I was able to get a full night's sleep every night, there would probably be a few less items on this gripe list. But I am so longing for the time when Brock starts sleeping through the night consistently because this 3 hour dining routine is a killer.
  2. CONSTANT SELF-DOUBT: This one is probably the most frustrating for me. I am used to feeling confident about my decisions because I usually try to make well-informed ones. I generally don't question myself or worry that I'm doing the right thing... or at least I didn't until I had a baby. Maybe it's because there are a million and one parenting theories out there and one gives you a guideline that another theory will say is completely wrong. I let Brock cry it out and I worry that he's going to feel like I abandoned him or that there's something physically hurting him that I'm unaware of. I hold him or rock him to sleep and worry that I'm spoiling him or preventing him from becoming independent. See what I mean? I don't know who coined the term "mother's intuition" but I don't think I've developed it yet because I never feel certain that what I'm doing is the best thing. 
  3. NO RESPONSES: I know one person who doesn't give me much input about whether I'm doing a good or bad job, and that would be the baby himself. Newborns just aren't very responsive. When Brock finally smiled for the first time I saw the light at the end of our newborn tunnel, but it's still a really long tunnel and we're still in it. It is hard work developing a relationship with someone who won't look at me, laugh at my hilarious jokes, hug me back, or give me even the slightest verbal or nonverbal affirmation that all my efforts are worth it. Is it so wrong of me to want a little more than the crying, eating, sleeping, pooping system we currently have in place? 
  4. HYPER-SENSITIVITY: What I mean by this is that I have become keenly aware and very sensitive to criticism when it comes to the subject of my parenting skills. This probably relates to the constant self-doubt and my insecurity about whether I'm doing everything right, but I get really internally frustrated when people question what I'm doing. I'm learning that most women over the age of 65 don't like to see babies with bare feet even if it's 90 degrees outside and the baby is otherwise fully clothed. I'm learning that lots of people do not like to hear a baby make any noises when they're asleep because it must mean they're uncomfortable or in pain or need something. What I have yet to learn is that everyone is going to have something to say, and I will drive myself crazy if I personalize everything and assume they are all questioning my parenting ability.
  5. LITTLE CONSISTENCY: I try to be as consistent as possible in my parenting techniques but my son does not return the favor. One day he eats on a clockwork schedule and I know exactly what to expect because he goes right along with the plan. The next day the schedule gets shot to pieces and Brock comes up with his own plan (today was one of those days). Some nights he goes right to sleep when we lay him down and others he decides to cry and fuss at us for an hour. A lot of days I feel like we take one step forward and then two steps back. There is just no certainty with a newborn, and as I should have remembered from our birth experience, nothing goes according to plan.
So I feel a little like a negative nancy after this post. I'm not trying to whine or complain because I am very grateful to have this little boy and I do love watching him grow and change every day. It can be a very rewarding experience in some ways, but I just have to be honest that the newborn stage is definitely not my favorite. The more he is growing out of this stage, the more excited and confident I become. Don't get me wrong, I love him more than anything else in the world, but I do not love the stage of newborn-ness. And I hope it's ok to admit that. Every day that he is able to focus on my face a little more or smile in response to my smile or give a little giggle, I feel a little happier inside and a little more certain that Brock is indeed a human being.

Let me just close by saying that a lot of this post has had a tongue-in-cheek tone to it, and I don't want anyone worrying that I'm suffering from postpartum depression and at my wits end. I am so happy with my little family and feel very blessed to have what I have. Brock really is a very good baby and Blaine is an incredibly helpful husband and I could have it so much worse, but it is a huge adjustment introducing a baby into your life. It is sometimes one of the scariest, most intimidating, most unrewarding, and most physically demanding things that I think I will ever experience. But as the cliche goes, I would (and will eventually) do it again in a heartbeat!

Thursday, May 19

Two Months

The babe is two months old today. We survived two months, which is something to celebrate (I think I'll post another blog about how difficult it really is having a newborn just so I can remember with our subsequent children). Brock went to the doctor today for his checkup and immunizations (so sad). He now weighs 11 pounds, 10 ounces (about the 50th percentile), so he gained 2 lbs, 2 oz since last month. He is 22 1/4 inches long, up one inch from last month, but this is only about the 28th percentile so he's a little short for his age right now. He's going to be like his mom - growing horizontally instead of vertically ;)

Here are some of Brock's accomplishments and patterns this past month:
  • He moved to the crib in his own room at 5 weeks and now takes all his naps there too.
  • He smiled his first smile around 6 weeks, which was incredibly rewarding and finally made him seem like more of a real person to me and not as much of a blob.
  • His first public outing was at 6 weeks when we went to the Cornbread Festival (you might be a redneck if your first public outing is to the Cornbread Festival), and he went to church for the first time the next day, on May 1.
  • He can stay awake for longer periods of time now but usually no more than an hour or so. He loves watching the ceiling fan and occasionally he'll engage with us and watch our faces when we talk to him.
  • He eats every 3 to 3.5 hours like clockwork during the day and generally goes 4 to 5 hours at night. Last night he actually slept from 11:00 to 6:00 which was very exciting for me!
  • He outgrew his newborn clothes and diapers at about 5 weeks old. He's also starting to get too long for the boppy lounger which makes me kind of sad because we have gotten such good use out of that thing (see my favorite things post).
  • He's gaining more control of his arms but still needs to be swaddled to sleep well. He also loves kicking and stretching his legs and isn't so squished up like he was the first month.
  • He's still not a big fan of tummy time and pretty much yells at us after a few minutes of it, but he's gaining a lot more head control and can almost hold it up by himself when sitting. He likes sitting in the bumbo seat to get exercise.
  • He can imitate some of our facial expressions like sticking out his tongue and raising his eyebrows and smiling.
  • He got me flowers for Mother's Day. Blaine said Brock told him that's what he wanted to get me.
  • He's a very content baby and pretty easygoing, and he loves to sleep.
  • He's making fewer dirty diapers each day, which probably doesn't excite anyone but me.
Here is the side by side comparison of the 1st and 2nd month pictures. The two month picture was taken right after he'd eaten so his belly is a little swollen. I don't think it's always that fat.
And the bandaids are from his doctor's appointment today; poor baby.

Friday, May 13

A Picture's Worth...

Probably one of my favorite things about having a baby is being able to get some good use out of the $600 camera I bought for my birthday two years ago. During the fog of the first month I didn't get to take a lot of pictures myself, but for the past couple of weeks I've been experimenting with the camera and a photo editor. These are some of my favorites that I've gotten so far.

Brock doing what he does best... sleeping

I think little baby feet always make for good pictures.
Snuggled up in his swing.

The elusive smile, sort of caught on camera. Technically this is just his little half smile/smirk that he does sometimes. I haven't been able to capture the full-blown grin that we occasionally get. I'll catch it sooner or later though!

Chubby little hand. Looks like he's going to need his nails clipped again soon.

Again with the feet... I can't get enough of the tiny toes.
                                                 Sticking out the tongue. 
Anyway, just a few pictures of Mr. B at about 7 weeks old. I'm going to have to get some more storage space on my computer for this little guy. I'm definitely his biggest fan.

Monday, May 9

One Month... a little late

I've had it in mind that I would like to write a blog post for every month of Brock's first year so I can keep up with how he's changing and what new things he's learning how to do. That being said, I'm already failing to accomplish my goal since the baby is 7 weeks old now and I have yet to write a blog about his first month. But better late than never, right?

At his one month checkup on April 19th, Brock weighed 9 pounds, 8 ounces which put him in the 61st percentile. At his followup appointment after being discharged from the hospital (March 28), he had weighed 7 lbs, 7 oz so he had gained 2 pounds in just three weeks! The doctor asked if we had been feeding him steak and potatoes and seemed pleased with his weight gain, especially since he is breastfed. Brock had also grown an inch in length since birth and was 21 inches (50th percentile).

Here are some of Brock's one month accomplishments and patterns:
  • He eats every 2.5 to 3 hours during the day and every 3 to 3.5 hours at night.
  • He sleeps 16-18 hours a day, unfortunately in the form of 1 to 2 hour naps spread throughout the day rather than consecutively (but I'll take what I can get).
  • He will sleep pretty much anywhere we put him and through any noises we make.
  • He is having longer periods of awake time but usually no more than 30 minutes at a time.
  • He poops about 8 times a day, occasionally more, and needs a diaper change every time he's fed.
  • He generally only cries if he needs something or if he has gas.
  • He spits up a lot after every feeding, but doesn't seem to be bothered by it.
  • He's starting to be able to focus on my and Blaine's faces but only for short periods at a time.
  • He always smiles after being fed, although he's asleep so they say it doesn't really count as a social smile yet.
  • He loves being bathed and snoozes right through the whole thing.
  • He usually has one or two fussy periods a day where he will cry for a little while before he goes to sleep.
  • He can turn his head from side to side when on his tummy and lift it up even better when on my shoulder being burped.
  • He's not a big fan of tummy time and he doesn't like laying in the playard.
  • He loves watching ceiling fans, even if they're not spinning.
  • He's very noisy and makes lots of grunting and squeaking sounds when he's both awake and asleep and even when he eats. He also snores occasionally.
Those are just a few things we've noticed in the first month, nothing incredibly significant or amazing yet, but he's changing every day. Hopefully, I can update his second month on time!