Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Lady of the Dance

Watch out, Michael Flatley!  You have some serious competition...  Not even six months old and already mastering Irish step-dancing (okay, that's totally Mommy hubris).

We have found something that sister loves to do.  Sister gotta dance!  Which makes Mommy VERY VERY happy.  I can see the Friday night dance parties already!

Finn isn't even six months old and I'm already analyzing some of the regrets and the delights that I have with her first six (15, if we count my pregnancy) months.  None of the regrets are enough to make me feel guilty.  There are a couple that I really wish that I could go back and change, but most of them are seen as the lessons that I've already learned to make myself a better mother.  I'm going to pepper my regrets with delights so this post isn't a Debbie Downer.

I have two ginormous regrets -- both of these I wish that I could go back and have a second go at it -- getting it right the second time. 

The first big regret that I have is that I didn't document my pregnancy.  Not with photos nor with writing about it.  The only thing I have documenting my pregnancy is three photos (one at six, seven, and nine months).  I also have two photos of myself in a liquor aisle taken by E's phone as he thought it highly entertaining to see a pregnant lady in the liquor aisle.  So if any of you out there have any pregnant photos of me, I would be beyond "over-the-moon" to have them.  And the only documentation in writing form that I have is an Excel spreadsheet that I recorded my doctor's appt with fetal HR, weight and the important milestones (such as ultrasounds and first movements for both myself and for E).  I wish that I would have written how it felt to have her moving or complaining about not sleeping.  At six months, I'm already beginning to forget the one of the best period of my life.

I delight in my little girl every day! I love seeing how much she has grown in the last 23 weeks.  I'm so happy that I did finally start to whip out my camera. And I am so grateful for this blog as a place to document my feelings for her to see later. Recently, I had went back and read over the first few posts and remembered things that I would have forgotten if I hadn't posted it here. I am also delighted in the fact that I realized the important use of my iPhone. I have at least 200 photos and videos on there -- those photos & videos are just as important as the ones taken with the good camera and the good video recorder.

And my other big regret is that I wish that my labor lasted longer.  Yes, you can go back and re-read that -- you did read it correctly the first time.  Looking back on our labor and delivery, I felt disconnected through the whole process and the final hours of my pregnancy went by too quickly.  I wasn't fully prepared for the labor that I had.  I prepared myself for 48 hours of uncomfortable labor, not six quick hours.  Unbeknowst to the naive first-time mom, I was in labor for 24 hours -- just the first 18 hours weren't uncomfortable.  My contractions were so mild that while at work I could speak with patients without them knowing I was contracting and was even sitting in a restaurant a little over an hour before showing up at the hospital 9 cm dilated.  My hard contractions came on so fast that I didn't have time to register that it was truly happening.  (In fact, I was laying in bed, contracting every 2 minute and still told E that it wasn't time to go to the hospital because I didn't want to be turned away.  Oh, the power of disbelief...)  I wasn't prepared when she came out in four pushes.  I regret that my first words to her were "I just had a baby...  I just had a baby..." instead of "Happy birthday, little Finn!"

I delight in the fact that I stuck out the whole breastfeeding thing. I don't think that ever shared my breastfeeding story on here in detail. But the long and short of it is that she latched on improperly in the L&D room, the Peds nurse gave me a nipple shield and all my postpartum nurses strictly forbid me to use it. The lactation consultant didn't show up until 36 hours after her birth (they are supposed to show up in the first 12) and she had already cluster fed for 3 hours by that point. So I left the hospital raw and in pain. The pain was so severe that by day 4-5, I was bawling in pain during her latch-on. I quit breastfeeding and started pumping. And after 3 weeks, I realized that I was doing way more work than I needed to -- so we transitioned back to breastfeeding and haven't looked back since. I do regret that I took away feedings from E, but only a little bit. Breastfeeding her after the initial pain has been one of the biggest joys.

I regret not becoming Mama Bear and feeling the intense love immediately.  Oh, I loved her alright, but it was hard for me to believe that she was here, in my arms, instead of in my tummy.  I don't feel like I relished in those newborn snuggles -- I fell uncontrollably hard weeks in but it took time (due in part to PPD).  And part of that stems from the fact that she was the first newborn I had held in 20 years (plus or minus).  Whenever I was around others' babies, I never had the urge to hold them.  In fact, I didn't want to hold them and would refuse if someone offered up their baby.  I just wasn't comfortable.  Now -- Mama Bear searches for littles and I love snuggling with the teeny babies.  I know that she isn't going to remember that it took weeks for me to realize she was the best thing to ever happen to me, but I know.

I delight in the fact that I quickly outgrew the whole "she-has-to-roll-over-by-this-date" or "she-has-to-grab-onto-things-by-this-date".  I started out reading week by week updates on what she should be doing developmentally.  It started to stress me out if she wasn't doing something that she was "supposed to be".  I realized that she is going to do what she wants when she wants and that I should just sit back and enjoy the ride.  Watching her grow and learn things is one of the most amazing things.  If she is anything like her mama, she is doing to do it her way and on her own terms.

I regret not documenting her first couple of weeks with the vengeance that I currently document her life.  I think the reasoning stems from above.  But also, I feel like I don't quite think I was comfortable with my little at that point.  I do have some newborn photos (and E did forget to bring my camera to the hospital, but I didn't ask him to bring it back with him when he went home to take care of the dogs), but I have to say that E was my saving grace.  That man had out his phone from the start and snapping away.  All of our first photos are photos that he took, not me.  I'll forever be grateful that he was in the right frame of mind to at least snap some camera photos.

So, we truly have a twinkle toes on our hands.  I can't wait for ballet classes!  (I'm sure if E is reading this, he is groaning already...)  Last night, Grammy was trying to figure out which type of music Finn likes to "dance" to.  She tried Lady Gaga & Katy Perry without much luck.  I walked in the house from after work with "Single Ladies" jamming from the computer.  Lady was rocking out as a single lady!  But do you want to know where her heart truly lies?  Much to E's chagrin, her heart lies on a gravel road wearing blue jeans.  I put on my two favorites -- "Take a Back Road" by Rodney Atkins and "Barefoot Blue Jean Night" by Jake Owen.  Sister started sparkling!  She is gonna be a country girl at heart...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Over the river and through the woods...

In black & white because there is so much sweet potatoes on her bib it takes away from her gorgeous smile 

Well, Grandmother (& Grandfather) came to our house…

Gramps was very anti-photo... I had to take what I could get. (Okay AAAANNNNDD I guess he is a blogging gremlin as well -- can't get this photo to center for the life of me...)

Grammy & Grampy Pasker are in the HIZZ – OUZZZZZZZZZZZZ! I had asked them to come up something really cute, like Gigi or Nana or PopPop. They didn’t – LAME! (Just kidding, Grammy and Grampy.) I think that I’m going to name them something fun that Finn will be able to say early. The reason is beyond the unoriginality of Grammy & Grampy – 1) My parents are too young & hip to be named Grammy & Grampy and 2) Both our mothers’ names are Mary. So my mom can’t be Grammy Mary, which has a nice ring to it. And I think that Grammy Pasker sounds too distant & formal, kind of like Miss Finn instead of Miss Murphy.

Grampy, the photo bomber

E’s parents are already grandparents and have been for the past 9 years. So their names are set in stone… Granny & Opa. I find Opa particularly amusing as E’s parents are from Ireland and “Opa” is German or Dutch. But that’s who they are – Granny & Opa.

Grammy makes the best napping pillow...

Grampy left this morning, which makes us sad. But we had him for 5 days. Grammy is staying until next Thursday, which makes us happy! I’m sure that she is going to dog-tired of us come next Thursday. Doubtful. My mom was made to be a grandmother. It’s unfortunate that we don’t live closer so she can be an in-person grandma more often. But it just makes visits like this more special and more meaningful.

Someone asked me a couple of weeks ago what was the biggest thing that surprised me about becoming a parent. I don’t recall my exact answer, but I’m sure it was one of the standard answers that all parents say. “I didn’t know that I could love so much.” “I didn’t know that a simple smile could melt my heart and that I would try for HOURS to gain that smile.” “I didn’t know how absolutely fast time starts to fly once you have a baby.” Now all of those are true, of course. But I knew and expected all of those, so they weren’t a real shock.  

My biggest surprise was how much I was going to examine MY life and try to be the best person that I could be for HER.

And I’m not just talking about being nicer to people and being more accepting of people. In examining what it is meant to be the best for her, I have come to realize that I’m not the best person that I want to be for MYSELF. I was told that motherhood changes you. I had thought that it was just the singular change that my heart was going to grow bigger than I imagined it could, welcoming an amazing new being to rest in there.

Becoming a mother changed me in a fundamental way. It made me stronger. It changed my values. It changed my direction in life. I stand a little taller. I see a little clearer. I realized who and what were truly important. All my life I searched for my purpose. And when I had her and started to examining these feelings, I looked at her in all of her tiny newbornness and said to her “This is what I was supposed to do. I was supposed to be your mama.” But it’s now that I realize that it’s more than that. Along with being her Mama, my purpose is to set an amazing example for her. And I can’t let her down.

It was almost as if a light bulb went off above my head. Upon the enlightenment that I wanted something more, there was a small period of anger – towards myself. I thought “I’m 33 years old and now I’m just realizing what it is that I want to be when I grow up?? What kind of person I want to be?? A little late, don’t you think, Jamie?” But I realized that it’s never too late. As long as we start taking the steps to have our best life, it’s never too late.

I want her to look at her mother and say “I’m going to be just like her someday.”
And I do not want to cringe and say “No, darling. I want so much more for you…”

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Busy being fabulous!

How is it that sometimes our life is so quiet that we don’t have anything exciting going on?  And then the next minute, we are flying by the seat of our pants!  We are currently “flying by the seat of our pants”!  Let’s get you updated!

Last week, I introduced Finn to the world of bananas!  Let’s just say that she wasn’t as thrilled about them as I thought that she would be.  At least in the beginning…

She is an excellent eater (just like her Mama)!  Even with the face making, she wouldn’t stop eating the bananas.  In fact, she loves eating so much that the minute she sees a bowl, she starts kicking her legs and doing her "I'm-really-excited-to-eat" noise.  (She also does this little dance when she is going to nurse.)  We can't even really eat anything in a bowl without her getting excited thinking that she is going to get fed!  (Just a side note on starting up solids:  I think that our doctor could have warned us about the change in her diapers a little better.  She said that we would see a difference, both in color and texture.  But wasn't super specific about what kind of change.  E & I were petrified when we saw her diaper on Saturday!  Thank god for the Internet -- otherwise I would have take the lady straight to the Emergency clinic!) Next food up?  Avocados...

 It seems like when one thing ends, another thing pops up.  Saturday, we spent it cleaning as it was the first day (and only day) of the week that I was able to get down to business.  I have to say that this is the one thing that really bothers me about being a new mother.  There isn't enough time in the day to clean.  And with the monsters that we have in our house, we NEED to clean regularly.  I have come up with a plan -- instead of doing one big clean on one day of the week (usually a weekend day), I'm going to try and clean a single room each evening.  That would take a total of 15-20 minutes and I could at least have the weekend to enjoy, rather than deep cleaning the house.

Sunday, we went down to Columbus to see E's friend who lost his wife a couple of weeks back.  We had some things that Finn didn't use that we brought down to him that will hopefully help him out.  The baby is gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous!  Holding her, tiny & delicate was a stark contrast to holding the little lady now, who is a heifer (in every loving sense of the word).  My baby has grown so much.  In holding the newborn, a little tinge of sadness came over me that my first baby will never be this little again.  She is getting to be such a big girl.  

We babywore on Sunday, which I absolutely loved.  We walked from E's friends' house about 7-10 blocks to a restaurant and had lunch.  I wrapped her up in the Moby, facing out and we were off.  She didn't utter a peep, kicking her legs when she saw a dog or somethign else that caught her eye.  We had our first melt-down in a restaurant as we went out to lunch -- nothing a little boob couldn't fix.  She also got her first taste of blueberry pie filling (I know, I'm a terrible mother because I'm not waiting 4 days to start new foods.) -- LOVED it!  I would put the smallest amount of "jam" on her pacifer and she would go to town.  We also had a MAJOR meltdown on the drive home which was 3 hours, which we had to stop so I could feed her.  But once her tummy was full, she was silent for the rest of the ride.

E and I are in the process of checking out local day-cares.  We looked at one on Friday, which emitted a big fat "no-way-jose" with stepping a single foot in the door.  Her "room" looked like someone's basement, complete with cinder block walls, no window, and that dirty feeling.  Ick.  We are taking another tour tonight -- my fingers are crossed that this is going to be the one.  If this one doesn't work out, we have a Montessori school in the wings as well (but they aren't accepting under mid-October).  We have her currently enrolled in the daycare here at the Clinic, but the price is pretty extreme and we are looking for something a little more cost effective.  I never thought that I would be someone who would poo-poo a place that is good enough for someone else to place their child there, but I suddenly realize that I only want the best for her (at a reasonable price, of course).

Within the last couple of days, I started seeing her as her own little person.  She is growing a personality by the handfuls (as well grabbing Mama's hair with those handfuls).  She is sitting on her own; she isn’t without wobbles or topples & I’m not quite comfortable sitting her up without Mama’s arms there for a safety net.  But she is Little Miss Independent, for sure.  She isn’t happy laying down – must be sitting up, looking around.  And she is in love with the dogs.  Her eyes lit up whenever they walk past her.  Her little legs start kicking as they run past her – shortly, those little chubby legs are going to be running right towards them (or running away from them as I have a feeling that Munk thinks he is a baby herder)…

And she is such a joy to be around.  We were blessed to have a very happy baby.  On the rare ocassion that she cries, it's because I'm not getting her food ready fast enough, she is overly tired, I left the room and she can't see me, or we are in the car.  The last one is the only one that I wish that I could change.  She hates sitting in the back facing the wrong way by herself.  If someone is sitting back there with her, she doesn't scream as much.  (I can't wait until she is big enough to be turned around so she can see that we are sitting in the front of the car.  I think that is half the problem. It'll make two years seem like a LONG time...)

Welcome to Motel Murphy!  We currently have one of E's friends from Iowa staying with us and we have friends from Jersey staying with us on Wednesday.  And my parents come and stay with us on Saturday!  So our place is going to be hopping for the next couple of weeks! 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A face that could launch a thousand ships...

This video is a week old and I really like to maintain updated photos, but too cute not to share.
She is talking to herself (seeing herself in the video of my phone).

As you can tell, Finn LOVES to watch herself, whether it is on video or in the mirror.  So that video was obviously taken while she was in the Mamaroo as you can tell by the “we-are-on-a-boat” motion-sickness kind of way.  And you can also tell that our go-to phrase to get her to look is “Where’s the baby?”  The mirror is much more fun, as she will look in between herself and me.  And when she looks at me, I gasp and she starts to smile and talk even more.  She also does this thing where she’ll play peekaboo with herself.  She’ll stare in the mirror and then suddenly turn her head 180 degrees.  She’ll sit there for a couple of seconds (almost like counting to herself) and then whip around to see if the baby is still there.

Milk drunk stupor...

Apologies go out on this post as all of these photos & videos were taken on our phones.  No “good” photos in this post – because I was too lazy to go through the ones that I took over the weekend.  The weekend was nice and lazy for Finn & I while E slaved away at work all weekend (he has a grant due on Friday).  We did have a fun dress-up session on Sunday.  As we don’t have any dress-up clothes for her yet, I decided to whip out the dog costumes, which resulted in lots of various hats on her head.  Now before you go all DFS on me, they were clean and they were only the hats, not the full costumes.  But I was seriously tempted by our dog dinosaur costume, which features a stuffed caveman that sits on their back with a club.

In other HUGE developments, Finn decided to stop holding out on us.  She rolled over from tummy to back on Sunday… FIVE times!  Thankfully, E was present the first time she did it!  And yesterday after work, she rolled over THREE times.  But she decided that she didn’t want to roll over when Daddy came home.
20 weeks old
I went out to lunch with a friend on Saturday and left Daddy on duty.  No funny business ensued like the last time, but he did take the photo above.  I'm going to retake the photo on her original bed-spread and get the sizing just right.  But holy cow!!!  Look at the lady grow!!!

So I get the photo below texted to me this morning.  Daddy dressed her all by herself!  I have to say E might have a calling in fashion.  (Sorry for the blurry photo.)  In case you were wondering, her shirt says "Born to Shop"... Boy, is Daddy in trouble when she gets old enough to ask for the credit card...

Then I get this video texted to me.  I have to say that while the photo above made me smile -- the video below made me laugh out loud, right in the middle of my cubicle with all my new co-workers.  Everyone thinks that I'm the crazy new lady now, cackling to herself in the corner.

And finally, I get this photo texted to me, which resulted in another laugh out loud moment.  The girl is seriously infatiuated with showing off her stomach.  Seriously...

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happy 20 weeks to my gorgeous lady!

Happy 20 weeks to my gorgeous lady!  Five months old – ho-ly crap!  I would like to think that America reveled her five-month birthday with lots of fireworks and parties (and our neighborhood celebrated well into the night much to the chagrin of my poor pups who are petrified of fireworks), but I think that it had something to do with America’s birthday.  Let’s not tell her that.   Alright, let’s get this update going…

  • We had her doctor’s appointment last week for her four month checkup.  I don’t think that she gained enough weight or height that I’m going to be able to tell a difference.  So Finn the Fierce is weighing in at 15.5 lbs and is 26 inches long!

  • It’s a wonderful thing that Finn is starting to get hair!!! I have been waiting and waiting. At first, we thought that her hair was just getting darker. But now when you look at the top of her head, she has all these little hairs spiking out all over the place! Yeah! (But it’s at the expense of Mommy’s hair, as her pregnancy hormones are starting to fade and her hair is starting to shed again. Boo!)
  • Everyone still sees a lot of her Daddy in her. They say that she has E’s eyes. I KNOW that she has E’s baby ears. I’m not as upset as I used to be that she doesn’t resemble me as much. I think that she is beautiful (and if I’m being honest, I really can’t see either of our resemblances. I think that it’s because I see her all the time).

  • As the photos show, she is officially started on rice cereal. She had her first “bowl” of rice cereal on Sunday (the 1st), which is when the photos attached to this post were taken. She didn’t like her first couple of bites, being not quite sure about the texture of the cereal. But by the end, it was like old hat to her. She would open wide for the spoon and not spit as much of the cereal out. I can definitely tell there is a learning curve here, though. Both for me and for her. I have to learn the right consistency of the cereal, because I forgot to add in the fact that as she spits out the cereal, there is added spit that will be wiped by the spoon. When we ended her first feeding, it was like water. And for her the last two times, she wasn’t as keen on eating.
  • Lady loves tummy time now. She can extend her arms and hold herself up with them. She likes looking around and seeing everything from her tummy. Still no rolling. She gets her legs a’going and tries to go places, but doesn’t quite know how the logistics of it works yet.

  • She is a scoocher on her back. I’ll lay her down in her Pack ‘N Play and when I come back, she’ll be in a completely different place, still on her back but facing a different direction.
  • She is a double fister now! She can hold things with both of her hands, but she can also pass an object from one hand to the other.
  • Sister is in size 2 diapers – we switched her this weekend. And we are going to switch out all her clothes for her “3-6 months” gear. I get SO EXCITED for this because I forgot what outfits I have in what sizes.

  • She is definitely slowing up on her night feedings. Last night, I think that she only partially fed twice (once at 1am and once at 4am). The last two weeks has been really hard on the bed-to-crib transition – she has been in bed with us each night as I’m just too exhausted to try to go through the nightly ritual of putting her to sleep in her crib. It’s partially my laziness, but also it’s very comforting to wake up next to her (and with the week that we had last week, I really enjoyed the comfort).
  • She really enjoys sitting up by herself (with Mama holding her hands). She will be laying down and I’ll grab her hands and say “1… 2… 3…” pulling her up on “3”. And the look on her face is priceless – it almost says “Hey, I’m a big girl now! I can see!” E has joked with me that I need to start counting higher, because she isn’t going to know any numbers past three (as when I take off her shirt I count to three, or pick her up I count to three, or change her diaper I count to three).
  • She is still a dancer when it comes to changing her diaper. I’ll take off her dirty diaper and put a new one underneath, but let her air-dry for a while. Lady loves it with a capital “L” – kickin’ and a kickin’.
  • She has become very distractible during feeding time both with me and with the bottle. She’ll eat, see something out of the corner of her eye (most of the time, it is me), pull away, smile really big, and then realize that she isn’t eating. This happens multiple times during each feeding.
  • On the bottle front, she can hold her own bottle! She can’t do it the entire time, but you can put it in her mouth, let go, and she’ll hold it all by herself!
  • And one last thing -- girl does not, and I repeat, does NOT like the "Soooo Big Man"!  She refuses to participate whenever he comes around.

Now back to your regularly scheduled broadcast...

I apologize for the lack of posts lately.  I usually try to get in at least two posts a week, but life has gotten a little chaotic as of late.  I also want to apologize for the cryptic post last week.  I was in the midst of a lot of things and didn’t have time to process.  So I’m giving you Two-fer-Thursday (yes, yes, I know it’s supposed to be Twofer-Tuesday, but today’s Thursday, so deal…)!

Lucy didn't want to give up her seat to Finn

Where to begin with this update…  It’s always best to start in the beginning, right? 
One of E’s friend from college welcomed his first baby on June 22nd, but also mourned the passing of his wife and mother of that baby on June 28th.  She died due to complications from giving birth to their first daughter.  It hit our household pretty close to home, especially with Finn only being 18 weeks old.  It was an extremely tragic event.  I have to say that E’s college group are an amazing support system for one another.  One friend flew in from Florida the day it happened.  E went down a couple of days early and the majority of his group made it to the services held that weekend.  With the services being held in Columbus, Ohio on June 30th, I was able to attend the funeral and had to travel back up to Cleveland to take care of Finn.  There are no words to describe the anguish that I feel for E’s friend and his daughter.  They have a long road ahead of them, but it is a road that they will travel together and they will traverse the obstacles together, father and daughter…

We also have had company arrive on July 2nd and stay with us for the last 3 days.  We all know that I love having people come and stay with us (all those that read this are welcome to swing by whenever you would like!).  But just this one time, I will welcome the quietness of this coming weekend.  I need to decompress with my little, my big, and my furries.  Of course, my big had a grant due next week as well as a big performance review seminar to give – so he will be working all weekend, but I’ll take whatever time with him I can get.

I also ended my old job on the 29th and started my new one on the 2nd.  I am now coordinating the curriculum of the first year medical students here at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine.  It is definitely a transition to get used to.  But I feel that once I have settled into this position that I will love it.  I am able to start my new hours (7:30am—3:30pm) next week already!  So I’m very excited about that.  Everyone here seems to be very kind and welcoming, the work doesn’t seem that difficult – I think the hard part is going to be understanding where my work fits into the grand scheme of things, that and trying to get information from the doctors that run my courses.

My parents are set to arrive in two weeks. I’m very excited to have them with us! I’m going to try and make sure they get their fill of the little lady. I have excused my babysitter for the week and a half that they are coming for. So grandparents are going to be on baby patrol while I’m at work!
I also think that I am going to have to move the computer.  The room that we have the computer in is really bright and when I'm editing my pictures, sometimes I overdo some editing because I can't see the difference on my computer screen.  It is only when I see the photos on a different screen do I realize that some of the processing was overdone.  Now while I would love a new computer, E just put more memory in our old one which makes it run great and money is kind of tight right now.  Maybe I'll start a "new computer" fund and slowly try to build up enough to buy a new one.  But for now, I have to discuss with E a good spot for the old one so I can better see what I'm doing!