Friday, March 30

Friday Photo In Motion - Play Ball

I mentioned in the 12 month update that Brock can kind of throw a ball now and that he gets really excited when he does it. One evening this week while we were killing some time before bed, I videotaped him in action with his favorite little blinking-light ball. The video is a little long because he started doing some other fun stuff (or at least, it's fun to us) like kissing the baby (himself) in the mirror and saying "daddy" when he sees Blaine's reflection in the mirror. Anyway, feel free to not watch the whole thing, but I thought I'd share his new "skill". I wonder if I should go ahead and prepare to spend my future Saturdays at the ball fields? Is it wrong to hope not?? ;)

Tuesday, March 27

What I Know Now That I Didn't Know Then

As of last Monday I have officially been a mother for a whole year (technically I think I have kind of been a mom for a year and 9 months, and Blaine might even suggest that I've been a "mothering type" ever since the time we started dating, but my official mom status began March 19, 2011). During the past 12 months, I have come to realize so many things about myself. I have had to eat a lot of my words, and I've had to hold my tongue quite a few times. I have learned everyone has an opinion, and hardly anyone seems to think the way you do things is the right way. But that's okay because I've also learned a lot about accepting feedback from people and handling criticism with grace and dignity (and maybe a little venting to my husband or best friend behind the critic's back). I can say with complete certainty that I am not the exact same woman I was twelve months ago, and I am positive I will not be the same woman I am now, twelve months from today. That's how it ought to be though. We grow and change and go through these different phases; we learn some things and forget some things, and hopefully we come out better for it all in the end. Anyway, enough with the serious philosophizing and on to the real point of this post.

I've been reflecting the past few weeks on some truisms that I've become aware of over the past year and thought I'd share them in a post. So here are my little nuggets of wisdom, the things I know now that I didn't know back then (B.M. before motherhood):

  • Never get rid of your fat pants.   After Blaine and I got married, we both gained some extra weight that first year. Anyone who knows Blaine, knows this is quite a significant thing because he has always been lean and trim his entire life, but he gained about 25 pounds in the first couple years (and then lost it in like a month when he just started running). I, on the other hand, have never had a problem gaining weight (losing it is a different story), and typically just looking at something like a cheesecake can cause me to go up a pant size. I gained about 20 pounds the year after we got married. I guess I'm just a really great cook or something! Anyway, after we moved back home to Chattanooga from Louisville (where we lived the first year of our marriage because Blaine was in school there), I joined Weight Watchers and lost my extra 20 pounds and went down about 2 pant sizes within a year. Yaay! So what did I do with all those fat pants? Um, I got rid of them as soon as possible. My thought process was: "If I don't have any fat pants to wear, then I won't allow myself to get that big again." If only it were that simple. During my pregnancy I gained about 35 pounds and only lost about 15 after having the baby so now (yes, even 12 months later), I'm back up in that undesired weight area and wish I had more than two pairs of pants that fit me. If I had saved my fat pants, I would have some extra clothes these days. (Side note: I have started exercising and eating better though, and I will probably get back down to my goal weight just in time to get pregnant again, ugh.)
  • The garbage men are in a conspiracy against nap times.   It seems to never fail that any time I lay Brock down for a nap, about 30 minutes later the garbage truck comes, or the neighbor revs his mustang up, or the UPS man decides it's time to deliver a package, or anything else that could possibly make lots of noise outside Brock's bedroom window finds nap time is the perfect opportunity. Perfect example, no lie: Two little girls selling candy bars just came and rang the doorbell making Piper bark, and guess what time it is. Yep, it's nap time. Go away little girls! I don't need any candy; I'm trying to lose 20 pounds. Just kidding, I bought a Reese's from them. Anyway, I'm sure it's just that I only pay attention to these things when he's asleep and I'm worried they'll wake him up, and really he has gotten more immune to noises now that he's older. But it is frustrating when nap time gets cut short. If only the world went into suspended animation when children went to sleep.
  • Yo Gabba Gabba is like crack for babies.   My first opinion of the Nickelodeon tv show Yo Gabba Gabba was that I had never seen or heard anything so obnoxious, and I was pretty sure the creators of the show were on a really bad acid trip when they wrote it. I still think it's an incredibly strange, disjointed, and random show, but it is fascinating to Brock. There's one episode in particular that he will sit and watch almost the entire way through, which is pretty amazing since he won't sit still like that for anything else. Before you judge me in your head, I do limit his tv watching to one episode a day (maybe two, if it's a rough one). Backyardigans used to be our go-to show, but now that we've discovered the weird world of Yo Gabba Gabba he wants nothing else. Now I just need to figure out how to mount a tv above his changing table so he'll lay still while I change his diaper.
  • Cleaning a baby with a wet wipe after meals is apparently torturous.   While we're on the topic of keeping a child still to do something he doesn't like, what is the deal with my kid acting like he's being water-boarded when I'm wiping his hands and mouth after a meal? I don't know if it's universal, but I know he's not the only one because I've heard from other mom friends who have the same problem. I mean as soon as I touch that wet wipe to his hands, he goes a little crazy. It's not the cold temperature because I've used paper towels in warm water, and it's not the texture because I've used all kinds of cloths. It's not the water because he loves baths and loves playing in the dog's water bowl. It's just the simple fact that I'm wiping him off and he hates it, but I have no clue why. It is a very odd mystery that I'm hoping he'll get over soon.
  • Hot dogs and chicken nuggets should be their own food group.   Speaking of meals, I don't know why, but the only things I can ever think of to feed Brock are hot dogs or chicken nuggets. Unfortunately, neither of those things are very high on the nutritional value scale, and I think both of them are looked down on by healthy/organic people, but luckily I am neither healthy nor organic so those tend to be my default meals. I mean, this isn't what I feed him all the time and he's not a very picky eater so he has tried lots of different stuff, but generally when I'm trying to find something for him to eat, my first thought is "Hot dog or chicken nuggets?" Maybe I've been brainwashed by McDonald's (or maybe I'm just lazy and those are the easiest things to feed a baby; there's just no way to know).
  • Nothing you do as a parent will ever be the "right" or "best" way of doing it.    As I mentioned briefly in the introduction, parenthood seems to come with a welcome sign for criticism from others, even strangers. This has been the hardest thing for me to deal with this first year because I am a perpetual people-pleaser and I don't like when someone has something negative to say about me. Up until recently, I have always felt the need to defend my parenting decisions or my child's behaviors when someone questioned them. Whether it was how much he was eating, how many naps he was taking, what time bedtime is, why he's still doing the army crawl and not crawling like a "normal" baby, whether he's too cold or hot or tired or hungry or teething or wet or any number of other concerns people can come up with, there is always someone there to question you, to make you second-guess yourself and put you on the defensive. I'm getting to the point now where I just don't really respond because it doesn't matter what I say, most people have their mind made up about how great their advice is. People are typically going to think what they want to think, and I can either exhaust myself trying to defend my parenting or I can just shrug it off and not worry what people say. Which, for me, is so much easier said than done. But I'm getting there slowly, and I think it's important to get there for the sake of my sanity and my nerves. Blaine trusts me as the mother of his child, and I trust him as the father of my child, and we have each other's back no matter what, and I'm starting to realize that that is all that really matters. Not that I don't need/want help or feedback from others, but I can't let it consume me and I can't always feel defensive. What I take away from it all though is that I will always wait for someone to ask before I offer up my advice or opinions on children.

So it's been a year of growth for me as well as for Brock, and his first birthday party was kind of my "We Survived a Whole Year" party. I'm looking forward (in kind of a flinching way) to seeing what we learn over the next 12 months and beyond.

    Tuesday, March 20

    Twelve Months

    Well, Brock turned twelve months old yesterday. A whole year has passed, and it's a little hard to believe. My tiny little baby isn't so tiny anymore and doesn't really qualify as a baby anymore either. Guess what "Mom of the Year" did for her child's birthday yesterday... scheduled him a 12 month checkup at the doctor. He's always gone for his checkups on the 19th of every month because they would just schedule us based on his date of birth. At his 9 month checkup, I went ahead and scheduled the 12 month appointment and didn't think about the fact that he'd have to go to the doctor and get shots on his actual birthday. Oops... Happy birthday Brock as we stab you with needles! Live and learn. Hopefully the little doctor visit didn't create a birthday phobia for him; although afterward, almost every time we'd sing the "Happy Birthday" song that day, he'd start crying.

    Anyway, his weight was 22.4 pounds (44th percentile) and his length was 30 inches (58th percentile). This means I was a little off with my measurements last month because I thought he was 24 pounds and 31 inches, although he could have lost a couple of pounds since then. Anyway, Dr. Smith said he's right at average for weight and length (which is surprising because he seems so much bigger than other babies to me), and his head circumference is above average. He didn't tell me the actual measurement, but he said, "That boy's got a big head." I'm sure it's just his enormous, above average brain ;)

    Here are some of Brock's patterns and accomplishments for the time between the eleventh and twelfth months:

    • He's still not walking independently yet, but he does a lot of traveling along furniture. He is able to stand without holding something, and he can sit down from a standing position without falling, but he doesn't like to let go usually. He can walk some with one of those push walker toys we got him. He'll go from one side of the room to the other if he's holding on to it.
    • He can throw a ball now. Granted, we're not going to be signing him up for little league any time soon because his throw is more just him holding his hand up and letting the ball go, but we still count it as a throw because that's what he's intending to do. We'll toss a ball back and forth, and he gets so excited and wiggles his legs and grins. I need to videotape it because it's pretty cute how much he gets a kick out of it.
    • He started saying a few little words this month. The first word he clearly said was "shoe" and then it was "dada" for daddy, and now he's trying to refine the word he says for "Piper" the dog. It was "ah-ti" but it's turning into "tuh-tuh" now. He started understanding a lot more things this month and will respond to some phrases or words. He knows what "ball" and "drink" mean. He responds to "Look at the stars" when we're outside at night and just the word "Look" in general. He definitely knows what "no" means now, and he's getting pretty good about obeying it in certain situations. He still likes to test his boundaries though. He'll also respond to "Can I have it?" and give you whatever item your asking for if it's in his hands (unless he wants to keep it, of course).
    • He's growing more hair. That's not very significant, but I thought I might record it just in case I wonder with future babies when they're hair is going to come in. The past couple months his has gotten thicker, but it's still blonde so it doesn't look like he has as much as he really does.
    • He was drinking about 16 ounces of whole milk a day and nursing in the morning and at night, but he dropped the morning feeding at the beginning of the eleventh month, and then about two weeks later dropped the bedtime feeding so he takes about 24 ounces of whole milk now for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and has water for a snack. I was really surprised at how easily it was to wean him, and really I didn't even try to wean him; he did it all himself. It was like he didn't have the patience to sit and nurse anymore because he wanted to be up moving around, and then by the time he was drinking 16 ounces from a sippy cup, he didn't want to bother with trying to breastfeed anymore. It was a relief to have him self-wean because I didn't want it to be a huge ordeal and take forever and him be upset about it. I have to selfishly admit that I love the little extra bit of freedom I have now too!
    • Brock loves to be outside now and loves strolling. Before this month, he wasn't too crazy about the stroller and would only sit in it for about 10 minutes before he started fussing. I don't know what changed, but he is a huge fan of it now. We went on an hour-long walk to the park and back one evening last week and he didn't make a peep. He loves watching everything and hearing all the outdoor sounds, like the birds and the cars and the children. 

    • He can eat from a fork or a spoon now if we put the food on it for him, and he really enjoys feeding himself this way. He'll eat more vegetables with a fork than he would with just his fingers.
    • He cut four more teeth (the incisors surrounding his top and bottom front teeth) this month. The top two came in first and then a few days later the bottom two. Teething was just as awful with these four as it was with the first four, and I was saddened to realize that he has like a million more teeth that have to come through. 
    • He learned how to climb the stairs this month. In case you  missed it, here is the video I took. Now, of course, we need a new baby gate that fits the stairs.
    • We went through his second time change this month with Daylight Savings Time. This one was actually much easier and more desirable than the one in the fall since it moved his wake time to 8:00 in the morning and allows him to stay up til 8:30 because his internal clock thinks that's only 7:30. I'm not going to change his wake time or bedtime because I don't want to have to adjust it again in the fall, so we'll just have later mornings/evenings in the spring and summer than we will in the fall and winter.
    • This will probably be my last monthly update: One, because it's getting harder and harder to make him sit still in the chair to take his picture, and two, because I doubt he'll experience as many new changes each month as he gets older. His developmental milestones kind of leveled off over the last couple of months even. I may do one every six months or something, but it definitely won't be every month anymore. 

    And here is the completed set... 
    A picture of Brock from each month for the past year. 
    He doesn't even look like the same baby we first brought home from the hospital.


    And the side-by-side comparison of the beginning of the year and the end of the year:

    Friday, March 16

    Friday Photos - Bedhead and Grins

    We've had a really great week this week. I don't know if it was the time change or the weather or his new teeth or that he knows he's about to have a birthday party and get lots of presents, but Brock has been smiley and silly and sweet all week. It's been very nice. He woke up from a nap one afternoon with a serious case of bedhead. He must have been sleeping hard because he had a line on his face, his cheeks were all flushed, and his hair was sticking up everywhere. I wanted to get some pictures of his hair because it looked so cute to me, and after I took the first few shots, he really started putting on the grins. I guess he's learning how to work the camera. These big smiles have been coming out a lot lately though, and I'm loving it. It's like he's trying to show off every new tooth he's gotten. I'm really hoping he'll keep the grins up for his one-year pictures next week with the talented Kristen Jeffers.

    Here's the bedhead I was referring to. He woke up with it like this.

    Friday, March 9

    Friday Photo in Motion - Baby Steps

    The title of this post is a little misleading because it isn't related to Brock learning how to walk. It is literally Brock trying to climb the steps. He became interested in them this week when he was downstairs and saw his daddy upstairs and wanted to get to him, so he just decided to crawl right up them. Then I was able to get a video of it on another day when he wanted to get to Piper at the top of the stairs. He definitely needs a safety net (translation: me) behind him still because he's a little unsteady and slippery, but I was pretty impressed at how he just all of a sudden did it and did it pretty well. Maybe the next video I post will be him actually figuring out the walking thing. He seems pretty close.

    Friday, March 2

    Friday Photos - Randoms

    I didn't post a Friday Photo last week mostly because I didn't really get any pictures of Brock that inspired me. He hasn't been doing very much new stuff lately, so there hasn't been much to get on camera. Even this week, I was kind of at a loss for what to post. I may have to start making it the Every-other-Friday Photo.

    We've been going for walks around the neighborhood every day since the weather has been pretty nice, and I took some pictures on one of our walks this week because the sky was so clear and pretty (it was a lot colder and more windy than it looked though, hence the blanket and hat on Brock). Brock has really started loving the stroller. Just a couple months ago he wasn't a huge fan and only wanted to be carried when we went for walks (which we didn't do very often then because he is way too heavy to lug around on a 30-minute stroll). Now that he has taken to the stroller though, I try to get him out at least once a day, and he seems to enjoy it.

    Another set of pictures I wanted to post (maybe these can count as last Friday's) are a few we took of Brock and Piper before church last Sunday morning. I had stepped out of his room for a minute to brush my teeth, and Blaine walked by and noticed that the dog and the baby were in almost identical poses leaning on the baby gate... both probably wanting us to let them out. Fortunately, the camera was close by.

    I'm pretty sure Brock is telling her something like, "Don't worry, Piper; I won't eat you" or "Just smile and do something cute so she'll put the camera away faster."
    And here Piper is thinking, "I know this is extremely entertaining to you guys, but could we wrap the whole thing up because being alone in here with this kid makes me nervous."