Saturday, September 13, 2014

Ava Hits the Double-Digits!! And "Other" Parenting News...

Ava celebrated 10 weeks of life today!

And what a BIG day it was!

Ok, it was big day in our house...maybe not in the eyes of others!

We went to the Farmer's Market this morning. And it was kinda cold! We finally got our first cooler temperatures - time for jeans (crap, I only fit into 2 pairs; boo)!! Chris got to use the Ergo carrier for the first time to carry Ava during our walk around all the vendors. She had just fallen asleep in the car, so the transfer was seamless! She slept while wearing her adorable sheep hat nestled in with a blanket. Of course, in true Ava fashion, as soon as she woke up, she was mad and wanted out! It was fun to walk around with our coffee on a cool morning and stock up on Amish bread and strawberry jam. We got lots of comments on our sweet sleeping baby! It's funny how you notice people talking about the "tiny baby" as they walk by - people can't resist!

I realized that Ava needed some more cool weather clothing in her current size - almost all of it is short-sleeved! So Ava hung out at home with daddy while I went out to get her some things.

It felt sooooo nice to get out by myself!! I had exactly an hour and a half before she had to eat again. I am exclusively breastfeeding, and while I do have a small stash in the freezer, my intention was to be home again in time for her to eat. I felt like a free woman!! It's wild how much life has changed and Ava is all that's on my mind.

Like every second of the day.

So it was nice to have a mental break from mommy duty!

Then Ava took a nice long nap on daddy's chest. Ava is a cat napper, so she usually only sleeps 30-45 minutes at a time. Sometimes she wakes up after a few minutes of being asleep and then you get her back down only for her to wake up again. We have been really hoping her naps will consolidate soon!! It makes for a long day when you have to put her down for a nap 8 times!!

We went to hang out with some friends at a local distillery for some food, music, and drinks. Since the weather was chilly, I was focused on that. But I forgot about the sun...and I forgot Ava's hat! I ended up using the umbrella in the car and laid it on the ground and put Ava on a blanket in the shade.

But then the bugs got her. 

And the ground and shade were making her cold. 

So many things to prepare for!! So I sat on the ground in the shade and held her. We were able to stay for awhile until the sun started setting and it got pretty chilly. Without her hat and like 5 more blankets I didn't feel she'd be comfortable. 

But it was so nice to get out and be social and do some "normal" things again!! And I got to drink some of my favorite local beer: vanilla cream ale!!

Parenting is seriously the hardest thing I've ever done. And I'm only 10 weeks in!! You are expected to know what to do at all times. It's no one else's baby; it's not like you can hand it back when she cries!

I've decide my new job on this blog is to tell you about what it's really like to raise a baby. Good stuff AND bad stuff.

I really freaked out last week when she was fussy for no reason. Ava is a very happy baby and only cries for a specific reason (tired/hungry/wants out of her car seat) so it really upset me when she was upset. 

Because I had no idea why she was crying and it scared the day lights out of me because I couldn't fix it. 

It's an awful feeling. I don't like it.

No one else can tell you what to do or how to do what's best for your child.

That's why its the hardest job!

I was finally feeling like I had the hang of things, then she started teething.

And fighting her swaddle.

And its not like she just told me one day that these things were happening. We had to figure it out after days of fussiness and watching her behavior and discussing theories.

Fortunately, Ava doesn't seem to be in pain from her teething. But her hands are in her mouth, any chance she gets! And slobbers! And she will gum your arm or hand or finger.

We are just starting to wean her of her swaddle. She falls asleep GREAT on daddy's chest without a swaddle, but she doesn't do that for me very often. She has really been crying at night when I go to put her to sleep, and that combined with her need to have her hands in her mouth and her sudden increase in arm movement skills made us decide to begin the process.

It's such a hard decision to make because it means more work and less rest for us to get her used to not being swaddled. We aren't going cold turkey...just one arm at a time until we can be done with it completely.

Parenting is a hard job because everyone seems to have an opinion about how you should raise your child. And this is nothing new. It's like everyone's favorite topic! Some advice is very welcome and helpful. Other "advice", from complete strangers, is totally annoying, blunt, and sometimes downright rude. We haven't had too many of these occurrences yet, but it just kills me that strangers think they know in that moment what you should be doing (or not doing) for your child.

We were at Hobby Lobby the other day in the check out line. We had Ava in her carrier, in the cart, and she was fussing because she was tired. It is normal for her to fuss a little before she falls asleep, wether she's being held or not. The lady who was checking us out said, "Oh, she needs milk!"

And it was said in a friendly, but almost accusatory way.

I did not find it helpful. I have already told my husband - I am sleep deprived (although it's not as bad anymore) and therefore I have little tolerance and minimal patience for dumb comments. If you aren't going to be helpful, you may as well just not talk. Ha! It's funny to me because I am normally such a nice and patient person...but being a new mom combined with years of me probably being too nice and getting walked all over has given me some sort of "permission" to be less tolerant.

Anyway, I took Ava's carrier out of the cart since she prefers random motions that jostle her head to get her to sleep. I was also "shushing" her, and then the lady said to me "Aww, she says 'don't shush me mom'!".

I chose to completely ignore her and not make eye contact.

I mean really?!

I had a conversation with my husband to prepare him for situations like that. People are not going to hesitate to comment on your parenting, and you need to be ready for that. I've got my one-liner ready should I need it: "Thank you for your opinion" but said with a sarcastic/overly friendly tone.

He got his own taste a few days later...

We went to the mall and I was getting my hair cut while Chris had Ava. She was getting tired and while he was pushing the stroller he was wiggling it side-to-side since jiggling her head helps her fall asleep. A lady told him "that doesn't look very stable".

PEOPLE...we know what we are doing!

There are some helpful strangers, though! We have asked questions of a few parents in a random walmart aisle or two! I'm sure they could see the words "first-time parent of a newborn" written on our foreheads. But I guess it just goes to show that it goes both ways. Sometimes strangers can be very helpful, and sometimes they just judge.

So...what's it like to have a 10 week old?

It's great! She talks to us and smiles all the time, and she also gets very serious and works her eyebrows when she's focused on something.

It's hard. I literally had no idea how to get Ava on a schedule after she was born. When do I start? How do I do it? How long will it take? Every baby is different, so what works for one may not work for another. Some babies sleep through the night from 2 weeks old, and some don't for a year...or two!!

It's really hard to get out of the house. Will she sleep in the car? Will she wake up once we get out of the car (for Ava, yes)? Where will I nurse her when she's hungry? Will she cry the whole way home if I wait to feed her (probably)?

Everything is a constant judgement call. You either make a good call, or a bad, bad call.

But the good news is that you learn from it for next time! And that is how you get to know your baby and her preferences. One decision at a time.

It sucks. It's hard.

But the good times always make up for it.

There's this laugh that my husband does when he is playing with Ava. It's a laugh, in my almost 10 years of knowing him, that I have never heard.

And this little tiny, sweet baby brings it out of him!

She is such a blessing to us.

Here she is, on day 1 of Operation GetRidoftheSwaddle, with one arm out!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Wordless Wednesday...on a Friday: 2 Hairy Children

I keep waiting for a Wednesday to roll around so I can do another Wordless Wednesday post. 

But I keep forgetting!!

These pictures are actually from quite awhile ago, but I've held on to them because I liked them so much as a series. 

But now I need more room on my phone for photos of my human child, so these have got to go! 

Enjoy my naughty little beasties. :)

Saturday, September 6, 2014

2 Months!

So I'm 2 months into this mommy gig.

And I love it! :)

Of course every day comes with challenges. But the smiles, coos, and faces I get from miss baby make all the struggles worth it!

Here's what Ava is up to at 2 months old:

-sleeps for 4-5 hour stretches between feedings at night; she will randomly sleep an 8 hour stretch (as in, has only done that 2 or 3 times in her life)

-her naps are 45 minutes to an hour long (or longer if she's being held or she fell asleep in the car seat during a long car ride)

-she sleeps in her crib every night in a tight swaddle

-she always wakes with a big ole smile when she sees you!

-she self-soothes/shows she's tired by turning her head side to side, giving her awesome bed head!

-she giggles in her sleep...I'm dying for her to do this when she's awake!!

-she prefers to be held upright when she's awake and bears weight on her legs! She loves to stand (assisted, of course) and talk face to face with you!

-she discovered her hair and (fortunately) has only pulled it once...and it made her cry!

-she has rolled onto her side...twice!

-she's got pretty dang good head control for such a tiny gal...I've already put her in the bumbo seat a few times (with my hands at the ready, of course)!

-overall she's really not a fussy baby...she only cries when she is really needing something. And in the evenings she will randomly fuss. We are still figuring that out!

-she still isn't super fond of her swing or being worn...this child doesn't really like being restrained! She loves to stretch out and kick, and she has from the very beginning!

-she talks...a lot! And lately it's been very loud - she does this shouting thing when she is all done with an activity and is ready to be picked up! She has really been finding her voice. 

Ava is quite the firecracker that we knew she would be! She has quite a few strong preferences and her little personality has been evident from the beginning.


And of course, I wrote this up before Ava's last 48 hours of fussiness. She's had a great day today...and man, do I appreciate her "normal" days much more! I will gladly take her 30 to 45 minute naps and resistance to things that make my life easier instead of her refusing to eat business!