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Category: Kids & Parenting

Re-Thinking the Breeding

Before I got pregnant with Zachary, I had many dreams of what the perfect family would be like.  I wanted to have two babies (preferably a boy and a girl) spaced about two years apart.  To me, that made perfect sense and was balanced just right.

In order to have my perfectly spaced kids, that means that I would need to start working on kid #2 by about the time that Zach turns a year old.  That would give us three months to work on getting pregnant in order to have the second baby by the time Zach turns 2.  It did take 2 1/2 years to get pregnant the first time, so I have no idea how long the second time will take.

Recently I have realized that Zach’s 1st birthday is coming up REALLY quickly, like in less than three months, and suddenly I’m not so sure that I’m ready to start working on baby #2.  I was very lucky with Zach and for the most part he has been a very easy-going kid.  But, lately he has become more and more demanding and is testing my patience on a daily basis.  I’m not so sure that I could even handle being pregnant and keeping up with him, much less having another baby to take care of.  On top of that there is the whole financial thing to consider as well.  Two kids in day care and diapers is a scary thought.

Plus, I still have about 20 more pounds to lose to meet my goal weight.  Originally I wanted to be at my goal weight before getting pregnant again in hopes that it would make losing the second baby weight a little bit easier.  I’m still losing weight, but not as quickly as I was before and I’m pretty sure that I’m not going to get rid of those 20 pounds in three months.  It is possible, but I will have to get very strict again on the diet and for me summer and dieting don’t work so well together.

A friend of mine had her second baby two weeks ago.  As I watch her and her husband deal with their new little girl and 21-month-old boy, I think it might be possible.  Then I wonder if I might miss some of Zach’s baby days by rushing into having another one so quickly.  Would he miss out on some of those precious moments that I want to give him because I am too busy or too tired to spend time with him?  Or, would having a little baby brother or sister around enrich his life even more?

I always thought I had it all figured out.  Now, I’m not so sure.  I know I want to have another one, but now I wonder if my perfect timing that I always dreamed of might just be all wrong.

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9 Months

(originally written March 26, 2006) 

Dear Zachary,

Today you turned nine months old. Up until now, things have been relatively easy with you. When a mom chooses to have a baby, they understand that there will sometimes be bad days. But, when you have nine months of having a mostly pleasant, cheerful baby and then three days of having a baby who completely tests your patience it kinda throws you for a loop. The last three days (all on the weekend of course) have been, um, let’s just say…unpleasant. I’m totally blaming it on the teething right now, but even I don’t believe that’s all it is. I only hope that we can find a middle ground sometime soon or I am certain that I will go completely crazy.

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I don’t blame you too much for being on edge because the last month has been anything but normal in our lives. The day after your 8-month birthday your daddy got a very sad phone call. We found out that day that your Uncle Josh had died. The news was quite a shock to me and Daddy. We packed up everything we needed and left the next morning to go to Louisiana to be with our family. Mommy’s boss was very nice and let us take the company plane down there so you got to experience your very first airplane ride.

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Even though we were there for such a sad occasion, it was really nice to see all of Daddy’s family again. You got to meet your Uncle Matt and Aunt Maria for the first time. Just between you and me, I think you charmed the socks off of them. We even went to a Mardi Gras parade, which was a first for Mommy too. When we headed back home, everyone came to the airport to see us off. We kinda felt like rock stars haivng such a crowd there (Daddy really liked that part).

I spent a lot of time that week thinking about how much Uncle Josh loved you and how much he enjoyed holding you and playing with you. I wish that you were old enough to remember those times, but I know you aren’t. They are wonderful memories for me however, and some day I will get to share those with you.

Right after we got back from Louisiana, for some reason you started sleeping. I don’t know how or why because you barely slept the week before. The day we got home you decided to give Mommy and Daddy a great present and slept ALL NIGHT LONG. Since then, it comes and goes. Some nights you sleep all night and other nights you wake up around 3:00 or 4:00 wanting a bottle…yes, I said bottle.

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That is another big change that we have recently made. As of this week, we are officially done with the whole breastfeeding thing. I had been gradually reducing the number of feedings and replacing them with bottles of formula, but all of a sudden you busted out a couple of teeth and I quickly figured out that teeth and boobs don’t mix well. You now have two teeth on the top and two on the bottom and they are all quite sharp. Last weekend you started getting frustrated when you were nursing and I figured out that you just weren’t getting enough milk from me anymore. On Monday, I decided that it really wasn’t worth trying anymore and started fixing you bottles instead. You didn’t seem to miss it much until today when were wanting comforting and grabbed at my shirt.

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Speaking of needing comfort, for some reason you decided that you wanted to try out the stairs at day care last week. I got a call from Aliesha right after I got to work one day saying that I needed to come pick you up. Apparently one of the other kids had taken down the baby gate and you decided it would be fun to take a tumble down the stairs. You were very lucky and only ended up with a small cut in your mouth. I looked you over for a couple of days and didn’t find a single bruise on your body. So when you started heading for the stairs at Grandpa’s house today I may have overreacted just a little bit and yelled a little too loud. You just move entirely too fast.

Even after nine months, you still have me so intrigued every day. I could sit and watch you forever just to see what you are going to do next. Today I sat you down in a laundry basket and pushed you around the floor while you laughed and laughed. For a few seconds I forgot just how cranky you had been all day.

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You are growing up so fast that I can barely keep up. It is amazing that you have learned so much in only nine short months. Today I held a baby that was only one week old and was reminded just how far you have come. Just thinking of it now almost brings a tear to my eye…almost.

Every day that I am with you I am so thankful that God chose me to be your mother. You are so perfect (even when you are cranky). I don’t think a minute goes by that I don’t think about you in some way. I hope that you never, ever forget how much I love you.

Love,
Mama

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Morning Panic

Today started out like any other weekday.  Zach (thankfully) slept all night, which means that I slept all night so I got up on time, showered and quickly got ready for work.  We actually left on time for a change.  I dropped Zach off at day care and went on to work. 

Here’s where the fun part started.  About 20 minutes after I got to work my phone rang.  For some reason, no caller ID showed up, so I picked up the phone not sure what to expect.  As soon as I said hello the voice on the other end said, "You need to come pick Zach up right now.  He fell down the steps and he seems ok but you better have him checked."  So, I said I would be right there and rushed out the door to go get my baby. 

On the way there, which is about a 10-15 minute drive, I’m thinking of all kinds of terrible awful things that I think could happen to a kid that falls down a big flight of stairs.  Then I started picturing all the movie scenes I’ve seen where someone falls down a flight of stairs and snaps their neck and dies.  By the time I got there I was totally in a panic, not sure exactly what I was going to see.

Of course I had really over-dramatized things in my head.  When I got to day care, I could see him sitting in the high chair in the kitchen playing with some toys.  He had a cut in his mouth that had already stopped bleeding.  He was a little fussy, but otherwise seemed just fine.  I packed him up, stopped at the house to grab the diaper bag and a bottle and brought him to work with me.

I haven’t gotten a whole lot of work done today, but I do have to say thank God for noggin.com or I wouldn’t have gotten anything done at all.  All I had to do was turn on the Jack’s Big Music Show videos and he was entertained.  We went out for lunch with my mom, and now he is all snuggled up sleeping in his stroller.  Hopefully I’ll get at least another hour out of that nap to get some work done.  Ugh, he’s starting to squirm.  So much for that hour.

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Shhh…don't tell

I’ve been afraid to say anything because I’m really scared that I might jinx everything.  So, I’m not going to tell you that Zach has been sleeping through the night on a pretty regular basis for about a week and a half now.  Or, that lastnight he slept for an amazing 11 hours straight without a single peep out of him.  I certainly can’t tell you how my body is reacting to the whole getting to sleep thing and that the more sleep I get the more I want.  And, no, it sure isn’t me who has been falling asleep at 9:00 or 9:30 every night and actually sleeping until 6:30 the next morning.

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I’m also not going to tell you that I am almost done with the whole breastfeeding thing.  That would make me too sad.  Not sad in that I want to continue breastfeeding, but sad because he just doesn’t seem to need it anymore.  Sure, he still yanks on my shirt when he is hungry, but that’s just because he has learned to tell me like that.  He’s perfectly happy with a bottle…or sometimes even a sippy cup…of formula.  I will miss that quiet bonding time with him.

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I’m not going to tell you how my baby is almost 9 months old and is not very baby-like anymore except for the fact that he cannot speak in full sentences or walk upright without holding onto something.  And, I’m not going to tell you how sad it makes me that he is getting so big and has a mind of his own.  I don’t want to admit how he no longer needs all of the snuggling and cuddling that we used to do because he would rather be in the floor playing with his piles and piles of toys.  I don’t want to talk about how he has become such a picky eater and I can’t just shove a jar of mashed up baby food down him in ten minutes when I’m in a hurry.  I definitely am not going to talk about how watching him learn to be more independent almost has me in tears.

So, I’m not going to tell you all about any of that.  You’ll just have to wait until I’m ready.

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8 Months

Dear Zachary,

When I think of you these days only one word comes to mind.  Amazing.  You amaze me on a daily basis.  Every time I turn around you are doing something that I didn’t know you could do.  You are eight months old today, 2/3 of the way through your first year, and I can’t believe how quickly it has passed.

s41101cb103617_4_0It has been so much fun to watch you grow and learn this month.  You started crawling last month, but this month you really perfected it.  You can move faster on your hands and knees than I can on my feet most of the time.  We had to invest in some baby gates to keep you confined to the living room.  If I put you down and turn around for even a second you manage to get into something you aren’t supposed to be in.  I decided that you must really like to hear mommy yell because everytime you manage to get into the kitchen you go straight for the cat food bowl and dump it out.  You also have quite a fondness for mommy’s book shelves and computer cord.  They seem to be your favorite toys.

When you aren’t crawling around wreaking havoc, you are usually pulling yourself up and reaching for things that I thought would be far out of your reach for some time yet.  It is officially time for all of my pretty stuff to be put away, as well as anything else that falls below the three foot level that you can get your hands on.  Pretty much anything that you can touch will end up either in your mouth or on the floor.  The word “no” is becoming much more frequent in my vocabulary and I think you are starting to learn what it means even though you usually just turn around and laugh when I say it.

s41101cb103617_18With Alicia’s help at day care you are finally taking more consistent naps and going to bed much easier.  Instead of nursing and rocking you to sleep, I now just have to put you in bed, turn on the mobile and in about two minutes you are asleep.  Sometimes you cry a little bit, but the last few days you haven’t even cried when I put you down. 

I still haven’t figured out how to get you to sleep through the night though.  It will seem like you are making some progress, sleeping 5-6 hours before you wake up, and then you’ll start waking up every two hours again.  You did sleep all the way through the night one night.  I woke up in a panic at 6:30 in the morning because I hadn’t heard from you all night.  Just so I didn’t worry too much you woke me up at least once every hour the next night.  I can’t even tell you how much I appreciated that.  I’m not sure what I did right that one night that you decided to sleep, but if you could clue me in that would be great.

s41101cb103617_10The other area where you have me completely flabergasted is when it comes to food.  You have always been a very good eater since you started on foods.  I recently started giving you some soft table foods and finger foods.  You really seem to enjoy feeding yourself.  You have become a lot more coordinated over the last few weeks and whatever is in your hand almost always gets to your mouth now.  You are also finally figuring out how to drink from a sippy cup.  What I can’t figure out is that sometimes you want to feed yourself and other times you get mad when I don’t spoon feed you every bite.  Sometimes you just don’t want to eat at all, which I really don’t understand because I don’t think I’ve ever experienced that feeling of not wanting to eat.  Momma and Daddy love to eat and we just assumed that you had inherited that from us. 

Some of your favorite foods that we have discovered are spagetti and meat sauce, goldfish, Gerber veggie crackers, mashed potatoes, broccoli, and pretty much any kind of fruit.  You have grown really tired of eating oatmeal for breakfast so we started exploring some other options.  Your favorite breakfast these days consists of Cheerios and about 1/3 of a banana.  You love it and it makes it much easier on me because you can feed yourself.

s41101cb103617_16You really seem to enjoy learning about your mouth and all of the fun things it will do.  You started clicking your tongue last week and laugh whenever someone clicks back at you.  You also have started to smack your lips together like you are kissing which I find to be absolutely adorable.

I haven’t mentioned it yet because I wanted to save the best for last, but my heart totally and completely melted when you finally started saying “Mama” last week.  You started saying “Dada” just before Christmas.  Then somewhere along the way you figured out how to say “bubba,” then “Mama,” and just in the last few days you are working on “nana.”  You seem to really know what Dada and Mama mean and when you get mad you usually scream “Mamamamamamamamama” which is ok, but could you please yell at Dada a little bit too?  I’m sure it can’t always be my fault!

s41101cb103617_14I still can’t believe how fast you are growing.  At 8 months old you are already wearing 18 months size in clothes.  You weigh 22 pounds now and have definitely surpassed your cousin Ryan who is almost 7 months older than you.  People are always surprised when I tell them how old you really are.

Daddy and I have been talking lately about how we wish we could have another tiny little baby to hold.  You are growing up so fast and we already miss those days when you would just cuddle up in our arms and sleep for hours.  Each day with you now is a completely new experience.  You are constantly changing and it is so much fun to watch.  I am so proud of you and everything you have accomplished already.  You are truly my inspiration for everything these days.  I love you so very, very much.

Love,
Mama

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The Word That Melted My Heart

Sometimes you just don’t know how things are going to hit you.  I headed home lastnight as usual, picked Zach up from day care, drove home, went inside, and started getting ready for dinner.  I put Zach in the highchair with some snacks while I got his food ready.  I was talking and playing with him as I moved around the kitchen and stopped by to give him a little kiss on the cheek.  As I turned away from his chair, he belted out "Mama!" 

I turned back around to see him and he proceeded to yell out "Mamamamamamamamama!"  Seriously, the kid has been saying "Dada" since Christmas and I was getting a little tired of it all.  He did say "Mama" a couple of weeks ago, but I think it was purely an experiment with sounds.  This time, he knew what he was saying. 

I know they say that babies don’t associate words and meanings, but my kid is smart and he knows what he’s saying.  When Hubby walks into the room he says "Dada" and this morning every time I walked away from him he would say "Mama". 

Do you have any idea how hard it is not to just swoop him up and smother him in kisses when he calls out to me?  Maybe I’m making a big deal out of it, but every time I hear him say it, it just makes my heart melt.  It is so nice that he now has a word to use instead of crying when he wants me!

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