Friday, October 28

Friday Photo in Motion - Bouncing

As I mentioned in my recent favorite things post, we just hung up the doorway jumping chair for Brock this week, and it was pretty much an instant hit. Blaine and I are both really entertained watching him bounce up and down in the seat (which is the important part), and he seems to enjoy it too. I videotaped him the first few times we put him in it (you know, have to capture all those special moments) and I think this was about the fourth time he had tried it so he's starting to get the hang of it now. I like how Piper inspects him in this video and then how he looks like he's waving bye at the end of it. I also like how it looks like he's dancing with his right leg a few times (stanky leg, maybe?).

Wednesday, October 26

More of My Favorite Things

Back in April I wrote a post (found on this little link here) about my favorite baby items that we use for Brock. He was only about a month old then and wasn't using much, but he's bigger now and I think we've finally gotten some use out of every item that we were given at our baby showers (minus the potty training seat). I thought I'd do another post about my favorite things in the 3 to 7 month range, but first I wanted to mention a few of the items from that first post that we are actually still using, just to demonstrate their longevity.

At 7 months, we no longer use the Boppy lounger (but still use the Boppy feeding pillow), the swaddles (but he stayed in them for a good 4 or 5 months at least), the diaper caddy, or the swing (we still occasionally put him in it but he's too active to want to just lay there anymore so I think we're probably finished with it for now). All the other six items are still in use and are still favorites, although I have two notes: 1) I will say I wish we had a more compact bathtub because it doesn't fit our sink and it's a pain having to kneel and lean over our bath to get to him, and 2) I kind of wish we had just gotten a regular highchair that folds up and can be stored away because the feeding seat we have takes up a chair at our table so when we have dinner company we have to find another chair to bring in. Anyway, that's the update on those previous favorites; now on to the current favorites (Note: The title of each favorite is a link you can click to find where to purchase the item; I am not getting paid for any of my endorsements... unfortunately).

1. Jumping seat
Why We Love It: This is one of those seats you hang in the doorway that babies sit in and use their legs to bounce off of the floor. We have a different one than the one pictured here, but it's the same brand and is similar in style. Our's was actually a hand-me-down so I had forgotten that we even had one until last week when I saw it in the bottom of Brock's closet. I hung it up and stuck him in it, and it was love at first bounce. It took him a couple of times to get the hang of it, but now he will sit in it and bounce and spin for 20-30 minutes at a time. I'm a fan of things that safely entertain our increasingly active and mobile child, plus it gives him good exercise and strengthens his leg muscles. I only wish I had remembered it sooner because the weight limit is 25 pounds and Brock is only about 5 pounds shy of that, so we may not get to enjoy this item for much longer.

2. Luvs
Why We Love It:  I love Luvs. We've tried Pampers, Huggies, some CVS brand, and Luvs diapers, and of those four, Luvs really are my favorite. And it's not just because I'm a cheapskate (which I admittedly am). I preferred the Pampers Swaddlers when Brock was a newborn because they are so soft, and I felt so bad for him having to trade the warm, soft, comfortable womb for itchy diapers and clothes and just the general discomforts that come along with living. But once he became less new and seemed a little less fragile, I just started using whatever diapers we had in the closet. Now, Pampers are my least favorite brand, Huggies are second, and Luvs are my preferred brand. We had a lot of messy leaks with Pampers (and by messy, I mean poop) because it would fly right up the back of the diaper. Huggies diapers have a little tab on the back that is supposed to keep that from happening, and we have had fewer leaks in Huggies. But we've had the least amount of diaper mishaps with the Luvs brand and since they are the least expensive (unless you're an extreme couponer), that's a win-win for me. I'll probably try the store brands eventually and see if they compare. I've heard Target brand diapers are pretty good.

3. Gas drops
Why We Love It:  These were most helpful during months 1 through 5. They say (you know, the all-knowing "They") that babies' digestive systems have trouble regulating themselves during the first few months before they've adapted to nourishment outside the womb, so there can be issues with gas that gets trapped which causes pain. I've had trapped gas a couple of times in my life and it feels like knives stabbing you in the stomach. I don't know if that's what babies feel but if so, then it's no wonder they cry a lot! There are several brands of gas drops, but the best value for the money that I've found are these Target brand. They are not always on the baby aisle either. Sometimes you have to go over to the pharmacy section and look on the aisle that deals with stomach issues. They are HALF the price of the Mylicon brand drops though! And I like them because there's no red-dye so they don't stain. Now that he's older, he doesn't really need them as much, but I still give Brock a dose at night because he doesn't always burp well before bed, and he gets really excited when he sees the dropper so he must be a fan.

4. Pack & Play
Why We Love It:  The pack & play is very useful because as the name suggests, you can pack it up and take it wherever you're going so baby can play there. I've heard they also make good travel cribs. We actually have not used it for those purposes yet, but I think the old name for these (playpens) is more descriptive of why I like it. This is a good way to safely contain your child when you can't attend to him. For example, if I need to dry my hair or cook dinner, Brock can spend 15 or 20 minutes in the pack & play and I don't have to worry about him rolling off the bed or finding some forbidden object on the floor and eating it while I'm not looking. It's good for him to spend some time in it each day because it helps him learn how to play independently without someone constantly in his face. There are about five little toys and rattles that I leave in it, so he only sees those toys whenever he's in the pack & play which adds a little novelty to the experience. The giraffes that hang from the mobile on this particular p&p detach and now serve as chew toys for Brock. I guess maybe I was wrong about him making friends with them in this Friday photo; I think he was actually plotting their demise.

5. Nuby Teethers
Why We Love It:  Best. Teethers. Ever. I have about 20 different teething toys to prove my scientific findings that these Nuby brand teethers are the best! (Disclaimer: my findings really aren't scientific). These are a rubbery type of material that seem to feel really good on the gums and they have different textures in different spots. My sister-in-law gave us a couple of the ones that look like upside down Mickey Mouses (Mickey Mice?) and we got one of the hand-shaped ones as a shower gift. He will chew on these forever, but other teethers, even the ones you put in the refrigerator, he'll only use for a few minutes. We always keep one of these handy in the car or the diaper bag since they apparently help him relieve stress too because he likes to gnaw on them when we're out in public places with people. I've only seen these particular ones at Target, but they probably have them on Amazon too.

6. Activity seat
Why We Love It:  This is the Bright Starts Bounce-a-Bout seat and it's actually an updated model of the one we got only 8 months ago, but I'm a little jealous because I see several things on this new one that I would like better than our old one. Oh well, that's beside the point. Brock has been sitting in this little seat since he was about 4 months old (on different occasions; he's not been sitting their continuously since 4 months) and he likes it more and more the older he gets. It has been interesting to see him progressively get better at grabbing the toys and figuring out what they do. I like this particular one because the seat spins all the way around, it has a lot of little activities on it, and you can attach more toys to it with those little linking toys. We have kept a pillow where Brock puts his feet because he's still not quite tall enough to stand comfortably in the seat, so that's kind of a negative. And the bouncing part of the seat on the bottom is kind of stiff so I'm not sure how easily babies can bounce in it. But it's another mode of entertainment for Brock and he enjoys banging and eating all the toys. (I'm noticing a pattern in that a lot of my favorite things are things that keep my child entertained without my effort, hmmm).


Why We Love It:  I've always thought those blankets with the tags sewn onto them were really cute, but I didn't register for any and really only saw them on Amazon instead of in stores. But my crafty and talented friend Stephanie gave us this taggie blanket and cube (along with some adorable burp cloths) as a baby gift before Brock was born. He has always liked the blanket because we would play "where's the baby" with it, but he's developing a deeper appreciation for it and for the cube now because he's suddenly become really interested in tags. He finds the tag on everything (his activity seat and pack & play included) and likes to suck on them until they're drenched in drool. With the blanket and the cube, it's like hours of fun because there are so many tags with so many different textures that he can explore. He especially likes to grab the cube and squish it to his chest and stuff it in his mouth; he's kind of aggressive. I don't know if Stephanie is going into business, but she definitely could with these things.

Why We Love It:  I've had an affection for the Bumbo seat ever since I saw my little niece, Livi, sitting in it at Christmas a couple of years ago with her chubby legs poking through the holes. We've been giving Brock time in the Bumbo since he was just a couple of months old to try to strengthen his stomach muscles and help him learn to sit up sooner (not sure it actually did any good though). So it was fun for that use, but now I really like it as a travel feeding seat. Our highchair is actually just a feeding seat that sits on a chair and we could use it when we go places, but it's too much of a hassle to unstrap and strap it all in so I just started grabbing the Bumbo. It has a tray that is sold separately that attaches to the seat too so it's just like a little feeding chair. The only negative I've found is that Brock's chunky thighs are getting a little too large for the holes so he gets slightly stuck, but never permanently. My friend Kerri said they recently told her at Target that the Bumbo seats were recalled and I couldn't find any on their website, but Babies 'R Us still has them. I think as long as you use common sense with these things, then they're perfectly safe. I mean, leaving your kid unattended on a tabletop or couch in anything is a danger. I think any safety issues with the Bumbo are probably more related to user error than anything else.
Why We Love It:  I mentioned these little guys before in a Friday Photo, and we're still enjoying them. These are great for helping a baby learn how to self feed and how to chew (I'm amazed at all the things we take for granted that we had to learn once, like how to chew). We've given Brock peeled grapes and bananas in these feeders, and I'm sure there are a lot of other things we could put in them, but I haven't really thought about it yet. He loves to suck the fruit out of them though and they are very useful for an afternoon snack. We can also freeze fruit in them to help with teething pain. The negatives of these feeders is they are kind of a pain to clean because the mushed up banana gets stuck in the holes, and they can be super messy. I always have to give Brock a bath after he eats a banana in these. The grapes weren't as bad, but the banana gets all over the place. I saw a review of these by a mom who said she attaches the feeder to the baby's clothes with a pacifier clip so they don't throw it down, which is pretty genius since Brock is now at the age where he likes to throw everything to the ground.

Why We Love It:  This one isn't a very fun item, but I think it's very useful. I registered for this particular humidifier, the Safety 1st brand, because it said it was a 360 degree humidifier, which I thought meant that the little spouts spun in a 360 degree circle to humidify the whole room. Not so. They do spin, but only manually, so you can position the spouts wherever you want them to be at any point in a 360 degree circle, but then they stay there until you move them again. That was a little bit disappointing (I'm not sure why I wanted them to spin automatically but it just seemed like it would be a really efficient use of the humidifier), but overall this is a pretty good product. Really, I just put this as a favorite thing because of the general humidifier product not the specific brand we have. There are probably better brands out there, but I think a humidifier is definitely one of the must-haves, or at least, good-to-haves. We were given two at two different showers and ended up keeping both of them so we could use one in our bedroom and one in Brock's. I always get sinus issues at the beginning of each season, and I always come down with a cold whenever we turn our heat or our air conditioner on after it has been off all summer or winter, but this past month I kept the humidifier going in our bedroom when we had to turn the heat on, and no sinus problems! I plan to keep these going constantly in our rooms this winter because the heat dries us out so badly. This has also been useful for when Brock and I had colds last month because it seemed to help us both breathe a little easier at night.


So there are 10 more of my favorite things for anyone who cares or for anyone who is baby shopping now or in the near future. Honorable mentions include baby Acetaminophen (for teething) and foam covered board books (also apparently for teething not reading).

Friday, October 21

Friday Photos - Mittens

I found these mittens in a bag of clothes my stepmom gave us for Brock and I've had them sitting out on his changing table for about a week now, but I don't really know why because they're way too big for him and it's not even that cold outside yet. I think my brain hasn't been able to come up with a good place that they can be stored, so I've just left them out until something strikes me as an appropriate home for the mittens. (That explains a lot of the clutter in my house... my brain has a hard time fitting everything in its place.)

Anyway, every time I change Brock, he grabs the mittens and eats them so he's clearly a fan. I decided I needed to show him the correct use of these mittens before he starts thinking they're only for eating, so after a bath one day this week I stuck them on his little hands and, of course, grabbed my camera. I think he is ready for winter and the cold weather now, if we could only find him some clothes.

Thursday, October 20

Seven Months

Brock is now 7 months old. The little guy is growing so quickly and changing so much. No doctor appointment this month, but from what I could tell he's somewhere between 28 and 29 inches (which would put him at about the 80th percentile), and he's about 20 pounds or so (about the 75th percentile). It's been a pretty good month other than a second cold, teething, and shortened nap times. He's getting a lot more curious and active and is no longer really content to just sit and watch people, which makes him a little more fun but also a little more of a handful. And though he's mostly an easygoing, happy baby, he's really starting to show some determination and stubbornness when he doesn't get what he wants and when he wants it. I try not to let him play with things that aren't toys, like my cell phone or the television remote, mostly because I don't want baby drool all over them or to have to worry about them getting broken but also because those things are not toys and I'm setting boundaries. But he clearly has that human nature we're all born with where we want what we can't have, and if he catches sight of these off-limits items he'll lunge for them and whine or pitch a fit to get his way. It's extremely annoying that you can't have a rational conversation with a baby and explain to him why he cannot have something and that everything is going to be ok even if he doesn't get what he wants. Then again, I'm an adult and it's hard to have that conversation with myself sometimes so maybe I'll give him a break.

These are some of Brock's patterns and accomplishments for the time between the sixth and seventh months:
  • At 26 weeks, he started eating a whole jar of vegetables and fruits in the Stage 1 size and about a half of the Stage 2 size (which he started at 27 weeks). He eats three meals a day now and nurses 4 to 5 times a day.
  • At the beginning of the month we had moved toward a four-hour schedule and he was having longer awake times and sleeping well for naps, but then he got another cold and that messed everything up because he would wake early from naps and not want to stay awake as long. So he's somewhere between a three- and four-hour schedule.
  • His awake times are extending. He can usually stay up between an hour and a half to three hours. He wants to go back to sleep sooner in the mornings and can stay awake longer as the day goes on. His naps usually last anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours.
  • At 26 weeks he could do a little sitting without support but only for a minute or so before he toppled over. He's still wobbly at 30 weeks and can only sit up for a few minutes at a time, but he's getting better. I think his large head makes it difficult for him to accomplish these gross motor skills.
  • At some point this month he started sucking his thumb when going to sleep. It's strange because he doesn't suck it any other time, but as soon as we start to get ready for a nap and I give him his little blanket, the thumb goes right in the mouth and the other hand plays with the blanket. Hopefully he'll keep this habit restricted to sleeptime only.
  • At 28 weeks, he started occasionally reaching for people. He did it to Blaine first and then later Blaine was holding him and he reached for me. It was a very validating feeling for some reason, like he was choosing who he wanted to hold him, but really I think he probably just reaches for whoever the new face in the room is.
  • He likes the ABC's in sign language. Since Brock was first born, any time I have sung the ABC song, I sign the letters (my dad took a sign language course and taught me the alphabet and a few signs when I was younger). In the past month I've noticed as soon as I start to sing the song, he'll stop whatever he's doing and turn to look for my hand and then give a big smile. It's interesting to see how he is picking up on patterns and cause and effect.
  • He outgrew 3-6 month clothes this month because he's gotten too long for them. Now he's wearing 6-9 month clothes and still in size 3 diapers.
  • Bananas and apples seem to make him constipated so I limit how much of those he eats. A jar of prunes always does the trick though if we're having issues.
  • He started having some sleeping  problems at 28 weeks, like waking early from naps and waking a few times at night, but the night waking only lasted about a week. He's still not quite back on track for naps, but hopefully we'll figure it out. He usually sleeps about 12 hours at night, from about 7:00 pm to 7:00 am.
  • A big milestone for me more than Brock this month was that we stopped using the movement sensor on his monitor. The Angelcare monitor that we got has a motion sensor to detect if the baby stops breathing, and it gave me a lot of peace of mind when Brock was first born because I worried about SIDS and because he's always liked to sleep with his face buried in the crib bumper. He's gotten so active and mobile though that he will start out on one end of the crib and somehow end up in the very top corner on the opposite end. The movement sensor pad is kind of small so when he would roll out of its range, the alarm would start going off. So we just did away with that feature and now only use the sound monitor.
  • Brock is really figuring out how to use his hands. He grabs everything in sight and likes to feel everything. He bangs his toys on the tray of his high chair or puts a toy in each hand and claps them together to make loud noises. It's just weird seeing him do all these little unimportant things because for so long he didn't do anything at all.
  • He is learning how to give kisses. Granted, they are wet, sloppy, open mouthed kisses but they're pretty cute. He does it most often when I'm rocking him before he goes to sleep. He'll grab my face and pull it to his mouth and plant one right on my cheek or whatever part of my face he can get to. He doesn't really know what to do afterward so sometimes he just leaves his open mouth there on my cheek until I start laughing.
  • He's not trying to crawl yet but he can roll to pretty much anywhere he wants to be. He'll roll around on his blanket to get to the toys he wants, and he can scoot himself around in a circle, but he hasn't figured out how to use the legs yet.
  • He's not eating any finger foods yet because he hasn't figured out how to chew. I'm trying to give him things that help him practice that skill, like the mesh feeders and those fast-dissolving Gerber puffs, but he just wants to immediately swallow whatever goes into his mouth so we're waiting on the Cheerios and table food for a little bit.
I think those are the main changes I've noticed this month. He hasn't had as many significant developments as in some of the past months, but I'm enjoying where he is right now. I'm not so much looking forward to the crawling/walking stages because I don't want to have to sweep and mop my hardwood floors constantly, but I guess I better just get ready.

Friday, October 14

Friday Photos - Teething Fun

This week we tried out a new baby product. We got these little Munchkin brand mesh feeder things at Target a while back, and my sister-in-law mentioned to me last week their usefulness for teething. Since Brock has been trying to cut his bottom two teeth for a while, he's been a little irritable on occasion and I've been giving him all kinds of teether toys to try to ease the pain. With these feeders, you can put in fresh fruit or vegetables and babies can chew and suck on them without getting any pieces that they could choke on. My sister-in-law said she freezes a piece of banana, and her daughter loves how it feels on her gums with the added bonus of the sweet taste. I didn't have any bananas on hand but I did have some grapes, so I peeled them, cut them in halves, and stuck them in the feeder to see how Brock would like it. I think his exact response was, "Nom, nom, nom."

I think he might have been getting a little sleepy here

Occasionally he puts the wrong end in his mouth

Lip-smacking good!
"No more pictures please"

It may just be because I'm his mom, but this kid makes me smile!

Thursday, October 13

A Do-It-Yourself Baby Shower

I wish I could say that my lack of blogging lately is because I have such a busy, exciting life with so many important things to do, but really I think it's mostly just because all my tv shows are back on after the summer hiatus and I've replaced my normal blogging time by watching The Office, Dancing with the Stars, and my new personal favorite Up All Night (just to name a few). Anyway, all that to say I've intended to write this post for a while now and I'm finally getting around to it tonight.

Kerri is one of my best friends who I've known since the 8th grade. We were college roommates for a year at Austin Peay before we both got too homesick and decided to transfer to UTC. We both married our high school sweethearts and we were both each other's maids of honor. She's always been there for me and is one of the most dependable, understanding, and trustworthy friends I've ever had. She and her husband Chris found out they were expecting a baby only a couple of weeks before Brock was born, and we were actually supposed to have dinner with them so they could share their news the day I went into labor. Because she is such a wonderful friend and because I was so excited about their little baby on the way, I wanted to throw her an amazing shower to celebrate. Another close friend from high school, Kristen, agreed to cohost with me and we set to work on the planning and the creating.

Kristen and I didn't have a huge budget to work with so we wanted to do as much as possible with as few dollars as possible and we used the internet for lots of inspiration. I have recently become obsessed with, ahem, a member of the website Pinterest where you can sort of bookmark or "pin" everything amazing that you see on the internet into one spot for safekeeping or you can spend hours and hours on the site itself looking at everyone else's pins and getting inspired. And inspiration for Kerri's shower was exactly what I found on there. Kristen and I decided on our colors and some general theme ideas and then we went craft crazy creating everything. I thought I'd write this blog post to highlight some of our DIY crafts and show the end result of the shower.

1.) Invitations
You can spend a ton of money on fancy invitations, but I had a specific image in mind that I wanted on the invitation so I decided to make my own instead. I used cream colored cardstock and printed the invitation wording right from my computer then backed it with some dark brown cardstock. I cut little onesies out of brown and green (the colors of Kerri's nursery) cardstock papers and used a tiny hole punch to make a hole in each onesie and two holes on each side of the invitation. Then I strung the onesies onto some thread and attached the thread to the invitation. The only other thing I needed was envelopes to put them in, which I got from Hobby Lobby.

2.) Diaper Cake
I had a bunch of diapers that Brock had outgrown that I was going to just give to Kerri in a boring plastic bag, but I saw this tutorial for how to make a diaper cake and decided I'd give it a try myself. I made a few adaptations for my cake, like I just used a cardboard tube for the center support piece, and instead of wrapping ribbon around each layer, I just wrapped some tulle around the center of the layers. I used paper roses and ribbons for the decorations. To make the paper roses you just cut a circle out of cardstock paper and then cut a spiral into the circle. Then take the outside edge of the spiral and start rolling the paper inward and you end up with a rose. I was able to fit about 106 diapers onto this particular diaper cake.

3.) Tissue Paper Poms
These were probably my favorite decoration at the shower. They are so simple to make and require only two supplies and you can do so much with them. Kristen and I made about 40 large poms to hang and about 12 small poms to use for the table centerpieces. This tutorial tells exactly how to make the poms, but in case you don't like clicking on external links I'll quickly tell you all you have to do. Take a pack of tissue paper and fan fold it. Then twist a small piece of wire or a twist tie around the center of the folded paper to hold it in place. Cut the edges of the paper into whatever shape you want; we made pointed edges but you could also make rounded edges. Finally, separate each piece of tissue paper by gently pulling them out from the center on both sides. The end result:

We hung several of the bigger ones on string and attached them from the ceiling to break up the large room we held the shower in and to add a lot of color.

4.) Table Centerpieces
Kristen bought some fabric and I got several rolls of ribbon in different widths, colors, and textures. We made table runners out of the fabric for three of the guest tables and then ran the ribbons along the center of the other three tables. We wrapped styrofoam balls with yarn and stuck them on wooden dowels then placed them in some cylinder vases that Kristen already had. I found these little foam filler beads in the floral section at Hobby Lobby and we filled the vases with those to keep the dowels in place. Then we placed two small poms in the center on either side of the vases. For the food tables we used the remainder of the fabric as a runner. We also cut out circles of cardstock and giraffes and elephants replicated from the bedding Kerri picked out then taped them to wooden dowels and stuck them in floral foam inside larger vases and covered them with the filler beads also.

5.) Other Details
For the gift table and favor table, Kristen made an adorable banner from fabric squares cut into triangles and attached to twine. We hung them on the outside edge of the tables.

For guest favors we made a little candy buffet using candies that matched the color scheme. We filled mason jars with the candy and placed little cellophane favor bags on the table for the guests to fill as they were leaving. Also on this table were the shower games we played. We removed the labels from baby food jars and had the guests try to figure out what food was in each jar. Guests could also try to guess how many diapers were in the diaper cake to win a prize.

Kristen and I were both pretty pleased with the end result of our DIY shower on a budget, and we had a great time unleashing our creative genius together! Most importantly though, Kerri's family and friends all showered her with some wonderful gifts to prepare for her little guy who is set to make his appearance sometime around November 15th. I'm already planning on him and Brock being best friends.

Wednesday, October 12

Ahh, Motherhood

Irony can be defined as "incongruity between what is expected to be and what actually is, or a situation or result showing such incongruity." Motherhood is ironic. Not to be confused with moronic, although it can sometimes make you feel that way too. Motherhood has brought out the best in me and the worst in me, and given my self-critical, over-analytical personality, I definitely tend to notice the worst more than the best. I don't know if becoming a mom has changed me or if it has just magnified some of the crazy that was lying dormant inside, but there are lots of new personality quirks I'm having to come to grips with that cause me to occasionally mourn the loss of the child-free, un-mom Shelby that once existed.

So what's the problem? It's not the loss of freedom and spontaneity or the 7:30 curfew we have every night. It's not the additional time it takes to get ready to go somewhere or the hassle it is to just get in and out of the car wherever we go. It's not the constant demands from a tiny human who shows no gratitude or awareness of all your sacrifices. It's not the extra money we spend on groceries now, or the decreased space in our living room because of baby stuff, or even the loss of my Saturday morning sleep-in tradition. Those are all lovely changes that have come with the baby, but they're all manageable and I can deal with them. Over the past seven months I've adjusted to these things with what I would consider to be very little complaining (but it may depend on what your definition of "very little" is).

But I didn't answer the question... what's the problem? The problem is my brain. This new "mommy brain" or whatever you want to call it is wearing me out! It never stops. It's constantly planning or worrying or adjusting or nagging or getting emotional or just causing chaos in general. I remember a time when I thought I worried about myself or my husband a lot, but that was just a drop in the bucket of all the worries that creep up when a baby is in the picture. What if he's not sleeping enough? What if he's not eating enough? What if his nose is running and he has a bad cough? What if I'm too rigid with his schedule? What if I don't keep things consistent with him? What if he's not sitting up as well as he should be by this age? What if I don't talk to him enough? What if he doesn't talk to me enough? Shouldn't he be babbling by now instead of just screeching? Is he developmentally delayed? Could it be autism? What if? What if? What if? See how it spirals out of control!

The worry, the self-doubt, the nagging criticisms that my brain can't seem to tune out. Play with the baby but don't play with him too much because he needs to learn to play independently. But don't leave him alone too much because then you're just being selfish and serving your own needs/wants. Be attentive to the baby's sleep cues so you can lay him down for a nap when he's sleepy, but don't be so overly aware of or reactive to the cues that he spends more time in his crib than awake playing and socializing. Good grief! I'm starting to question how I'm still sane after seven months of this, but what is scary is that I'm afraid there's this new factory in my brain that will churn out all these irrational fears and concerns and anxieties for the next 20, 30, 50 years as long as I'm a mom. I imagine it will come up with fresh, new topics to plague me with at every developmental stage of my child's life.

Ok, so now that I sound like a complete mental case, let me just go ahead and put the icing on the cake. The part of a woman's brain that goes crazy with motherhood apparently has no equivalent in the man's brain. Blaine doesn't lose any sleep over whether Brock pooped enough diapers. He doesn't go to bed at night thinking, "Did I do anything to significantly mess up my son's head today?" It appears that he doesn't have any insecurity issues with fatherhood and that everything is just as easy, if only slightly less convenient at times, as it was before we had children. I know for a fact that he is much less affected by the negative side of parenthood because of how ready to have another baby he already is!

But the more mothers I talk to, the more I realize that these things are just what make us mothers. I mean, not that we should go around acting on all these worries and fears and we shouldn't let them dominate our lives, but I don't know if they can ever be completely turned off because I think the awareness, the sensitivity, the organization, and the preparedness are all the things that make up that famous "mother's intuition" we hear so much about. There is a role I fulfill as a mom that Blaine will never have to fulfill, just like he has a specific role as a father that I cannot and should not try to fulfill. No, my life (nor my mind) will never be as simple as it once was, and I will get choked up at every stupid, sappy Hallmark commercial they put on tv and spend ridiculous amounts of money on professional pictures of my baby because they know how to get me. I'll cry when Brock hurts and I'll worry when unexpected things happen and I'll have doubts about whether I'm a good mom and whether I did the best job possible every day. And I'll just have to take comfort in the fact (or maybe the hope) that I'm not the only one who's ever experienced all this craziness. We'll see how my kids turn out... surely it could be worse, huh?

Friday, October 7

Friday Photo in Motion - 9 to 5

One afternoon this week, I was clocking out from work at the end of the day and had Brock in my lap because he had just gotten up from a nap. I usually keep my personal laptop next to my work computer so I can listen to Pandora radio or podcasts or whatever while I'm working. After I logged off my work computer, I sat there for a few minutes because I noticed Brock seemed to be hard at work on his own computer project. He would "type" on my laptop for a few seconds and then would actually pivot himself toward my work computer and lean forward to "type" on that keyboard. Luckily I had my video camera on the bookshelf nearby and was able to start recording without disrupting his brainstorming process because he was definitely on a roll with something. It is completely him moving back and forth between the computers... I didn't have anything to do with it. Also note how he cuts his eyes toward me at the end when I start laughing; almost like he's saying, "Hey, could you please keep it down back there? I've got serious things to take care of here." Maybe we can get him a gig on those e-trade commercials :)