Thursday, September 18, 2014

By the Green Light of the Baby Monitor...

1:48 am, says the digital clock, which really means 1:38 am since my clock is 10 minutes fast.  I have to pee so I tiptoe out of bed, shut the door behind me, grit my teeth as I flush the toilet, and tiptoe back in bed.  Heart beating rapidly, I glance at the baby monitor, fearing that reddish orange light....GREEN!  I smile to myself in relief.  Our little angel is sleeping soundly and I wonder to myself why in the world I shut the bathroom door considering there was no way on earth he would've woken up to the sound of the toilet flushing, let alone the earth-shattering sound of me getting out of bed.

 I settle back down to go back to sleep....Only I can't.  My brain won't turn off.  I find myself glancing at the monitor again and again, feeling the same rush of relief wash over me each time as I see the green light.  I know I probably have a guaranteed 4-5 hours of sleep left and I find myself growing more and more frustrated as I proceed to toss and turn for the next hour or two.  Finally I manage to doze back off, only to wake up at least 2-3 more times, heart pounding, certain I hear a baby crying.  The green light proves me wrong once again.

Shane's alarm goes off at 4:15.  He pushes snooze and cuddles with me for a few minutes.  At that point I realize I am not 100% sure I've even slept since I first woke up to pee hours earlier.  After Shane leaves I feel more wide awake than ever.  I grab my phone and play on Facebook, in attempts to make myself sleepy again.  I manage to fall back to sleep sometime between 5 and 5:30, at least that's what the clock said the last time I looked at it.

My eyes fly open and this time I know the cries I hear are real cries.  I glance at the clock just before I fly out of bed.  6:48...Good boy!  I call the dogs out of the room, dash to the kitchen, turn on the water to get it warm, let the dogs outside, refill my own water cup and check the sink...still running ice cold.  Ellis' cries are growing more and more scream-like.  I decide to just leave the water running and rush to the nursery to rescue my baby from his distress.  Lifting him out of the crib, I feel the heaviness of his soaked diaper.  2 minutes later I have managed to send him into an ear-piercing shriek-fest thanks to a quick, but tortuous diaper change and my lack of giving him what he really wants--food!  I carry him to my room and lay him down on his back in the middle of the bed--far away from being able to roll off.  I run back to the kitchen and furiously mix him a bottle.

20 minutes later my baby is peacefully sucking his pacifier on my shoulder.  He has spit up a large amount of milk all down the front of my shirt and ruined his pajamas.  The burp rag I had used to originally prevent this is soaked and now in the laundry hamper.  I am beginning to feel very sleepy as I realize my day is just beginning.  Suddenly, Ellis' eyes POP open.  He looks at me and I say quietly to him, "Hey buddy....Good morning!"  My whole morning is made as that little face lights up with a huge, adorable, milky grin.  His pacifier falls out of his mouth and he proceeds to coo and smile at me for the next several minutes.  I feel as though I could hold him forever, but after a few minutes he starts to get restless.  I lay him down in his little napper, which is next to the bed.  It is now 7:25 am.

For the next half hour, Ellis plays contentedly in his little bed, gnawing on his fingers, his bib, and his little lion taggy blanket.  I listlessly watch early-morning crappy TV and pray that he will go down for a morning nap so I can go back to bed.  He fusses a bit, so I rock the napper, watching his eyes get heavy.  Yes....that's right, little guy....Just go to sleep, I think to myself.

At last!  I hear the rattling sound of his little baby snore.  I switch off the TV and the bedside lamp and snuggle back down for more precious sleep.  His snores are telltale that he is sleeping soundly.  After a few minutes I find myself merely listening to his snoring, rather than trying to fall back to sleep again.  I snuggle further down under the covers and try to focus on something else.  Finally I manage to doze off.  It isn't long before I wake back up again, only to realize the snoring has stopped.  I find myself holding my breath as I strain my ears, listening for any other sounds to indicate whether or not my child is still sleeping.  I am afraid to move as the slightest sound could wake him if he's in a wakeful stage of sleep.  I hear a rustling sound that is unmistakably the noise of my child NOT sleeping.  I check the clock and sigh to myself, realizing that my child has slept for a grand total of 20 minutes.

And with that I head to the kitchen to make some coffee.

This is how most of my days begin....and in just a couple of weeks they will begin in a totally different way....and I am going to miss my special time with E each morning.  I will even miss the annoyingly short cat naps and the fact that I have not gotten to sleep in even one single day this whole summer (except for one weekend away, but even then I couldn't sleep well).  I will miss the endless bottle washing, bib-changing, dirty diapers, the never-ending piles of baby laundry that I never can seem to keep up with....and I will miss him.  I will miss him so much it hurts me to even type these words.  I'll still see him every day.  I'll still get to hold him, feed him, kiss him, rock him, and play with him....only it'll be for about 10 minutes in the morning and 2-3 hours in the evening.  That's it.  And that's not enough.

But it has to be.  All I can do is focus on the blessing of my son and how much he has changed my life for the better.  All I can do is realize how much of myself I am missing by not working and embrace the gaining of a routine and a structured day.  I can set my sights on my students and getting to know them and form a bond with them.  I can look forward to each afternoon when I finally get to come home to my sweet boy and see his smiling face as I greet him.  I can find a way to start this new chapter of life--the life of a working mom.  Millions do it every single day and I know I can too.  And my boy will never have anyone who can love him the way his mommy does, even if she is not by his side 24/7.  As much as I want to be with him all the time, I know it isn't possible for our family.  And that is okay.

For now...I am just going to enjoy today.  I'm enjoying that it is 2:09 pm and my house is quiet.  The monitor light glows green as Ellis naps peacefully.  The laundry hamper is almost empty, so I get a break today.  No dirty dishes in the sink, bottles are clean, bed is made....I can just relax....Until that light turns red. ;)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

3 months of Awesome

 No one could have ever prepared me for what I would feel and go through after we brought Ellis home, but now here it is 3 months later and we are having a wonderful time enjoying our sweet boy.  He is such a bundle of smiling, cooing love!  Here is a quick rundown of our boy's "stats".

Sleep: Yes!  Thank GOD the boy loves to sleep.  He's not really on a super predictable napping schedule just yet, but for the most part he takes 1 good nap per day that lasts anywhere from 2-3 hours.  He's been doing morning naps here and there and sometimes those last just as long as the afternoon naps and other times they're just cat naps.  Either way, I LOVE the morning naps because I can either go back to bed for a little bit or I can enjoy a cup of coffee, eat breakfast, shower, start laundry, etc.  It makes the mornings very relaxing.  It goes without saying that the long afternoon nap is blissful as well, although I am not usually as productive at that point bc I am either tired as well or I just want to watch TV.  We have him on a great schedule though and typically he will eat, play for awhile/swing/sit in his bouncy seat, and either take a quick cat nap or go down for a long nap.  Then when he wakes up it's time to eat again.  At bedtime we put him down anywhere between 7:30 and 8:30, lately it's been right at 8 and he wakes up anywhere from 6 am to 7:30 am.  He typically sleeps on his back, although he likes being on his tummy and sometimes the only way we can get him to go down for the night is to put him on his tummy.  Yes, yes I know....SIDS risk.  But the boy can turn his head and lift his head and can roll over so I'm really not worried at all.  We don't swaddle him and he doesn't have a bunch of blankets in there with him.  I think any parent would agree that sometimes you give on controversial things (such as thumb-sucking) bc IT WORKS.  ;)

Eating: Oh lord yes...The boy loves to eat!  He takes 6 ounces almost every time we feed him and sometimes he screams for "more", although we find that 99% of the time he isn't hungry, he just thinks he is!  He still wants a bottle every 3 hours during the day.  Since he sleeps such a long period of time through the night he is pretty hungry when he wakes up in the mornings.

Behavior: Our boy is a "spitter".  We've tried EVERYTHING under the sun and are still experimenting with different things.  I can't handle changing his formula again and considering he is gaining weight and is practically cackling with laughter when he spits up I'm really not that concerned.  I will only be concerned if I take him to the pedi and find he hasn't gained enough weight since his 2-month....but seeing as how he is growing out of 6-month clothes I'm just not that worried about it. ;)  He gets VERY fussy when he's tired.  It can be annoying, but it's also a good thing because 90% of the time he's crying it means he just wants to go to sleep....Easy fix!  He also is a VERY vocal little guy.  He makes lots of noise when he's happy AND he makes lots of noise to let us know he isn't!  His lungs are definitely strong.  When he's happy, he will talk for 20-30 minutes, unprompted, just to himself in his swing or just wherever he is hanging out.  He LOVES to grin and smile and coo.  Most of the time the grin is accompanied with some type of barf.  Some would say it's disgusting but I find the little gush of milk positively adorable.  At least it isn't projectile! ;) Ellis LOVES movement of any kind.  If it swings, sways, rocks, vibrates, or bounces he is pretty much guaranteed to love it.  I'm thinking this is an indicator that he will be quite a busy toddler!  (Oh yikes!) He also LOVES bath time.  Just the sound of the running water will end a screaming fit!  The water has to be WARM though.  If it's too chilly he definitely doesn't enjoy it.  Even more than the bath, he LOVES when we wrap him in his towel and talk to him while we dry him off.  He talks right back and smiles the whole time....Simply adorable!

Smiled (5 weeks old)
Grabbed for objects (approx 2.5 months)
Rolled over: (right at 3 months from tummy to back)  we are working on back to tummy but still have a ways to go

Diaper/clothes changes (not always, but usually doesn't enjoy this)
Having the bottle taken from him to be burped (oh's like fighting a lion)
Getting his fingernails clipped
Cold bottles (gotta make sure his milk is lukewarm...oh brother!)
Being swaddled (he loved it as a wee one, but now he's gotta be free)

Not 100% sure what he weighs, but I stood on the scale with him about a week ago and it showed to be 13 lbs if I subtracted my weight.  He had on a little onesie, but I figure that couldn't have added more than a few ounces.  Not sure how long he is.  He was 11 lbs, 12 ounces and 23 inches long at his 2-month checkup.  I am anticipating he will weigh somewhere between 13.5 and 14 lbs at his 4-month checkup here in a few weeks.  He definitely appears as though he will have his daddy's height and long, thin legs!  I just love my little man.  Fat babies are cute, but I think he's just the perfect size!

Being at home with him has been simply awesome.  I am eternally thankful that I decided to go ahead and take the first few weeks of the school year off.  While it is going to have an impact on my paycheck and probably cause us to have to cut back quite a bit on spending for a few months, it is totally worth it to have this extra time.  I cannot IMAGINE having had to leave him when he was just barely over 2 months old.  I know soooo many mommies have to do that and I feel for them.  I am grateful that we have Shane's mother who is going to be watching him once I do go back to work in October.  That will be much easier than dropping him off at a daycare with a bunch of strangers.  Not only that but it will also save us money on doctor bills from when he could get sick after being around a bunch of other babies.  Not many people have the luxury of a relative keeping their child so I am definitely feeling very blessed to have that opportunity.

Needless to say, we sure do love our little man!  It is simply unbelievable, for lack of better words, that just 3 months ago I was, most likely, nursing a very tiny newborn baby boy while in a state of delirium or I may have been anxiously watching him sleep waiting until he woke up only to nurse him again.  I look back on this past summer and I reflect on all the things that went on and all I can think is how incredibly grateful I am that it all happened to me.  I don't think anyone will ever be able to cure me of my perpetual tendencies to post lots of details on Facebook about my life and our comings and goings, so to share pictures of Ellis on this blog would be nothing but redundancy.  But what I don't share on Facebook is the life-changing emotional roller coaster that has sent me spinning into the absolute adventure of my life.  The tricky thing about posting the troubles and triumphs of motherhood on social media is you're throwing yourself to the wolves.  You're putting it all out there on the table for others to see, judge, laugh, smile, scowl, shake their head, or even discuss with others.  Regardless of how ungrateful, dramatic, over-emotional, naive, or ridiculous I have ever sounded in any of my posts about being a mom, I just have to say that there is absolutely NO where else I would rather be than in this life that I am living.