Tag Archives: Lady Jr

One Year Old

We have a one-year-old.

It has been an amazing year. Some of the highest highs and lowest lows of my life. Yesterday, on her actual birthday, I was thankful for all she has brought us.

Unfettered joy. Bright wonder. Sheer life. Hope.

I looked back on the older pictures of her and realized she’d been herself from the very start. Even in her newborn photos you can trace the shapes that will become her square jaw and expressive eyebrows and cupid’s bow lips. Once she noticed the camera, you can see her inquisitiveness and unabashed delight.

She is stubborn and she is persistent. She is observant and she is hesitant. She is engaging and she is curious. She is attentive and she is (just a little) mischievous. She is compassionate and she is gentle. She is strong.

She loves beets and egg yolks and bread. She’ll squawk indignantly if you don’t share what you’re eating. She loves the kitties and she loves her stacking cups. She’ll drag her elephant lovey across the room as she army-crawls. She’ll pull out all the books on the shelf and then sit and turn the pages of her favorites. She’ll spend an hour taking blocks out of a box and putting them back and then she’ll suddenly crawl over to mama and demand to be held, then just as suddenly demand to go back to playing.

She smiles with her whole body and she cries just as fully.

She likes the book on quarks. She likes to play on her xylophone. She figured out how to stack her rings and she can pull up to her knees.

Her laugh melts my heart and her smile brightens my day and her cry makes me wish I could move the heavens to make everything better.

I’m so excited to see how she’ll grow, how she’ll expand into a toddler, a child, a human being. How she’ll change. And how she’ll stay the same.

Happy birthday, Lady Jr.

 

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One Year Postpartum: When it Got Better

This time last year I thought I’d be pregnant for another week at least. Little did I know…

I’m finding as we close in on one year, I’m feeling less inclined to rehash the beginnings. I’ve talked before about how hard it was and how little I want to do it again. I firmly believe labor and birth and the fourth trimester are one of the hardest things anyone can go through, at least in the modern world, where we have plumbing and sanitation and individual houses on individual streets in individual cities far from our closest connections.

But I want to touch on the isolation and sleep deprivation and anxiety one more time because I feel like past me could’ve used some sense of how much better it would get.

People will tell you about the long nights and the lack of sleep and the inability to function and the severe spikes in anxiety and the intrusive thoughts, but it’s one thing to be told and another to experience. I thought I was ready, but you just can’t be ready for it – and that’s okay. Unfortunately, I beat myself up a lot instead of just accepting and celebrating that we had all made it another day. I saw pictures of other women online who seemed to be about at the same point PP, but they were smiling and happy and put-together and out doing things in the world, whereas I saw more of netflix than I did my wife.

In the first few months, a typical night was spent on the couch bouncing a baby to sleep for 30, 40min, then caaaarefully putting her in the bouncer and trying to sleep myself or – more typically – giving up on sleep and watching netflix instead. Around 2am even I started to get tired, but by then the baby would be waking up soon so I would wait and watch. Then another hour of nursing and bouncing and finally finally she’s asleep and I feel like I can just close my eyes – except the cats have decided it’s time to whine for food or jump on me or scratch the carpet and the baby stirs and it’s 5am and I’m not sure I can make it until 7am, when I can trade with Dr Lady – but I force myself too out of some twisted sense of martyrdom and I watch each minute inch by until it’s 6.30am and the baby wakes and I feed her and bounce her and by now I’m weak and dizzy with exhaustion and I crawl into bed crying and asking Dr Lady to take over and then I lie in bed for another 30min staring at the ceiling and wondering if what I’m hearing is the baby crying or just my ears ringing and –

It got better the first time at 2 weeks. That’s when Lady Jr started to have a sense of day versus night.

It got better again at 4 weeks. Lady Jr started sleeping in longer, more predictable chunks.

It got better again around 10 weeks. That’s when we moved Lady Jr into our bedroom and even though her sleep didn’t improve, simply not having the cats around all the time actually meant I would sometimes sleep.

It got better again at 11 weeks, when I cut dairy out of my diet and the near-constant crying finally stopped.

It got better again at 12 weeks, when we discovered Lady Jr would stop fighting sleep if we just put her down and let her roll it out.

It got better again at 12 weeks, when Lady Jr became more than just a lump and would smile and babble and grab at things and actually play on the floor so we didn’t have to hold her all the time.

It got better again when she started daycare, when Lady Jr stopped fighting going to bed at night all together. The constant wake-ups were still another thing, but over the following weeks it became a little easier for her to go back to sleep.

There was a bit (see: a big) regression with sleep between 3-6 months what with the 4 month regression and a near constant string of colds and ear infections.

But it got better again at 6 months, when we moved her out of our room and into her own. Almost overnight she went from waking up 4-6 times a night to only three.

It got better again when her 3 naps consolidated down to 2 and suddenly I felt like I wasn’t fighting her during the day anymore.

It got better again when she started crawling, because she could get to her toys and play more by herself.

It got better again at 8 months, when the three wake-ups went down to two went down to one.

It got better again at 9 months, when she started waking up at 3 or 4 or even 5am and I started sleeping 3, 4, 5 hours in a row.

It got better and better and better after that, as Lady Jr’s personality began to show through, and she would laugh and clap and dance. She watches everything that we do and displays skills suddenly, without seeming to have practiced at all.

It got better when I realized I finally loved her. Some moms say they bonded and loved their kid immediately, but for me it took months. I loved the idea of her more than the infant in my arms, but she grew and grew and now I miss being away from her and look at the pictures I’ve taken while I’m at work like I used to sneak glances of a crush. I feel a surge of joy when Dr Lady brings her home in the evening and when I go into her room to get her after a nap or a night.

Lady Jr is amazing and I love her. Yes, those first sixish months might have been the hardest, both physically and mentally, of my life, but I would go through them again and again for this baby and her wide smile and delightful laugh.

So: new moms, it gets better. It gets so much better. For some it’s earlier, for some much later, but it does get better. ❤

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11 Months!

We’re officially transitioning to sitting up photos! I realized I should have started this sooner, since at 10 months I had a hard time keeping her from rolling away. Now she cries whenever we lay her on her back (unless she’s distracted as such).

Holy cow, we’ve almost got a one year old and it shows!

What’s new:

MORE TEEF. One has broken through on the bottom making a neat line of three. We suspect there’s another tooth coming on top. I hope this means she’ll be able to chomp on apples and other fruits soon.

FAST. She can now crawl from one room to the next if you turn your back for a second. The cats are wising up, but sometimes they’re still surprised. She’s army crawling ATM, but I’ve seen her rock onto her knees. She just hasn’t figured out how to turn that into forward momentum.

Sits and plays. We’ve got this box of blocks that she’s recently discovered and she’ll just sit there, taking blocks out and putting them back in, or putting them on top of the box, for quite a long while. It’s freaking adorable and her concentration is intense.

More and more varied sounds. I swear she’s said “maaaaaaa” and meant it. I’ve heard “k” a few times around the kitties, too. No obvious words yet, but it’s no longer just “dadadad” or “mwa!” We’re getting an assortment that sounds like her own little language more and more.

Bath time!! We finally caved and got a little bathtub that we put out in the living room for bath time. We used to just wipe her down but she started getting upset at us and wiggling away. We tried putting her in our bathtub, but it scared her. we tried holding her in the shower, and she was kinda okay, but it was difficult for us to hold an increasingly heavy, wiggly baby. But now she has her own tub and she friggin loves it. It’s so good.

Games! She’ll grab tissues/shower curtains/random pieces of fabric and play peekaboo with us. She likes to drop her ducky outside of the bath so that we can then make it pop over the side somewhere unexpected. She’s tried to do this with food, but I give her no reaction and I’ve noticed that she’s doing it less and less.

Favorite foods are still proteins. Eggs, chicken, ham, etc. She really friggin loves bread, though, and whines if you don’t give her any.

Sleep is unchanged. Sometimes she’ll sleep through the night. Sometimes she’ll wake at 3 or 4am. She’s been sick these past two weeks with first a fever then an ear infection, and now there’re the teeth coming through, so we expect that’s why. She still goes to bed easy peasy and her 2 naps a day are awesome. I am thankful every time she goes to sleep without a fuss because I remember how hard it was, and I know we still have sleep regressions to come.

– She’s started crawling into my lap when she’s upset, which is both adorable and sad.

Basically, she’s more and more fun every day. We crawl together and play with blocks and read. Usually I just let her do her thing. She’s enjoying the stroller more often than not, so we’ve been taking advantage of the gorgeous autumn weather and going for more walks. She’s stopped crying when we drop her off at daycare and seems to be having fun with the other babies.

While she hasn’t yet pulled up, she’s started pulling on various things, so that’s on the way. Man, she only just learned to crawl and I can see her walking by the end of the year. We’ll need to get her little snow boots. Omg.

As for me, I almost feel like my old self. I’ve also accepted that my body will never quite be the same, so for my birthday I got some new clothes in a bigger size. My hips are just going to be bigger than they were, and that’s all right. Unfortunately, that also means a lot of my skirts don’t fit right anymore. So my goal for the next year is to replace any that make me feel less than fab with new ones that fit. Life is too short to shove yourself into too-small clothes.

My supply is even more abysmal than before. I suspect it’s because of my increased activity and decreased carb intake. I’ve decided to stop pumping next week and just see what happens. When it takes 60min a day to get 3oz, it just doesn’t seem worth it. And we’re already supplementing with formula on the weekends, so it won’t be that big of a change.

As for work, day job has been more stressful than usual with clients being slow/petty and projects backing up. Writing, however, seems to be going fine. I got edits back from my editor on books one and two and I don’t have to set everything on fire and start again, so that’s always a plus. If anything, the edits are way less substantial than I’d feared/expected and we’re on track to get book one done and out the proverbial door by February. Of course, it’ll still be a full ‘nother year until publication, but. Well. Publishing is slow, man.

Okay you made it through all of that have some more baby pics. ❤

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10 Months

10 Months (Clap clap)

New things!!

– As you can tell from the photo, clapping. She’s also figured out she can make adults clap. It’s the best game.

– Her sitting is stronger than ever. We’re to the point where I can plop her sitting on the floor and not feel like I have to be right there in case she topples over. She’s started doing controlled topplings herself, although they’re less than graceful.

– Her mobility game in general is so strong, they’re moving her on to Infants 2 at daycare. She still doesn’t crawl efficiently, but she can get wherever she wants to go and she is strong enough to stand without support, even if she never wants to. Diaper changing has become increasingly difficult, though, as have the monthly photos. I haven’t decided just yet when we’re going to stop doing floor photos and start doing sitting ones, but it’ll be by 12 months definitely.

SLEEP IS AWESOME. I’m going to regret writing that I know, but she reliably wakes only once a night and we’ve even hit two all-nighters this past week. So that’s what it’s like to feel well-rested. Holy wow. One night I even got to stay up until 10 and then get up at 5.30 and I still got enough sleep. I’ve been looking forward to this day because it means I’ll be able to have a more routine wake-up time and be able to get my writing in and maybe (gasp!) a little lifting before she gets up for the day. We’re so close. So close!

– She has gotten so big. She had another appointment 2 weeks after her 9 months to check her ear infection and she’d gained 1 pound. She has a follow up tomorrow (the fluid wasn’t completely drained) and I suspect she might have gained another. She’s quickly outgrowing all of her 9 month clothes and a few are even too tight on her arms. o.o

– Stranger danger has arrived. Our friend came to stay with us this week and arrived after Lady Jr had already gone to bed. While Lady Jr was eating breakfast the next morning, friend came in and she started crying. It only took about a day for her to get used to our friend, but daycare did mention the week before that new/unfamiliar people scare her. I’ve also noticed more hesitance in public, although as long as she’s in one mommy’s arms, she’s usually fine.

– Do we have the beginning of tantrums? Sometimes Lady Jr will just arc her back and start screaming for no discernible reason. It doesn’t appear to be pain because we can often distract her out of it, but she did it when I interrupted her playing once and another time when Dr Lady was taking her to the car to leave for daycare. She’s done it when I’ve taken my keys from her (she loves the keys) and she’s done it when we put her down to change her diaper. Her face scrunches up and her back goes rigid and she lets out this long, keening wail. She’s going to the dr tomorrow for the ear follow up, so I’ll ask about it there, but I have my suspicions…

– Favorite foods include chicken (a perennial), cantaloupe, cauliflower tots, anything mama-Kai is eating, and whole fried eggs (yes, even the whites now *fistpump*). She still won’t touch avocado and has started to eschew sweet potatoes.

– As soon as she’s comfortable/feeling safe somewhere, she gets so chatty. It’s da-ba-da this or mwa-mwa-mwa that or one long, concentrating aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. It’s so good.

– She has favorite books! Basically anything with something to touch, but she also loves Max’s Bath which is… not something I expected. That and Baby Loves Quarks, which is def one of my faves.

 

As for Speck… things are going fine. Chipping away at Book 3. Trying to fit everything in. Enjoying (almost) every moment with Lady Jr. Letting the chaos just… be sometimes, which if anyone else is Type A and/or a virgo, you understand is a big deal.

I turn 31 in just about two weeks and I’m trying to grapple with that and all the changes of the past year, but that’s more than enough for it’s own post.

And now…

The pictures.

First, a blast from the past (well, around this time last year):

 

Then our first time visiting the Lake Michigan shoreline:

 

And now some random life photos:

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Strong Mom & Blueberries

july-88

First, blueberries.

Ever since I knew we’d be moving to Michigan, I was excited about picking berries. AZ is great for a lot of things – hiking, sunsets, bat watching – but its produce is abysmal. Still, we made the 2 hour trek out to the orchards every fall just to pick apples and pretend it wasn’t 90+ degrees.

July hit and with it the realization that, well hot beans, summer ain’t gonna be around much longer. Last year the warm weather stretched well into October, but I know the north is fickle and there’s no guarantee we won’t get an early frost this year. Plus, berries are only in season for a few short weeks (see: weekends). So we’d better hop on it.

We hit up a patch that was supposed to be an hour away, but due to random construction, ended up being two hours. By the time we got there, the clear day the weather forecasters had promised had become cloudy and misty. We pulled into a muddy parking lot still speckled with other cars and figured we wouldn’t melt and, well, it was better than a hot, humid day.

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Aside from my shoes getting drenched, it was perfect. We took turns holding Lady Jr & an umbrella and picking blueberries. It misted and rained and misted again. There were a few mosquitoes, but far fewer than there could have been.

The blueberries were perfect. Lady Jr kept stretching for the leaves, so I guided her to a clump of blueberries and she pulled one off and ate it. Then she ate another one. And another. She just kept plucking blueberries and eating them and I was so amazed I didn’t stop her. In hindsight, I should have, because she ended up puking blueberries all over my shirt. Whoops.

Chubby baby arm

Oh well. I bundled her back to the car, cleaned us both off, then put her in the carrier. Together we walked up and down the rows of blueberries and she fell asleep with her head back and her arms crossed under her chin.

Two hours later we were home again and I was rinsing off the blueberries (nine pounds!!). I offered one to her, but apparently it wasn’t fresh enough. Fair.

july-89

And now, a strong mom update, because finding time to update in general has been tough, y’all. Mostly I just wanted to say

I ran a 9:13 mile! Aaah!

I haven’t run a sub 10min mile in easily 2 years. I am not a speedy person. I am a lifter and I am tall and I am big. So getting that close to 9min is a big achievement. Now to hit my goal of 3.1 miles in 31min, I just have to do that twice over. Considering I had to warm up with a 10.50min pace and then had to walk for a bit after, I’m still a ways off, but…

That’s what goals are all about, right? Pushing your limits and being surprised at what happens.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to stuff my face with blueberries.

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Leaps & Bounds

Quick & dirty because I am supposed to be at work:

1) Somebody has TEETH. No, not me. Lady Jr’s naps were shittier than usual last week and Sunday morning Dr Lady noticed that what she’d thought were those little white cysts had grown and were unusually sharp. As of the last time I was able to peer into Lady Jr’s mouth, two bottom teeth had broken through her gums, forming a little ridge like mountains. And she is NOT happy.

Thank goodness she can have ibuprofen now, because the tylenol is no longer cutting it. Of course, teething coupled with several days of very late night and very loud fireworks (wtf is wrong with you, Michigan??) have made us all crotchety as fuck. Poor baby was up for 2 hours sobbing and pulling at her ear last night, and after we finally got her down it was just loud booming firework after firework until 12.30. I officially hate this holiday.

2) But in less cranky news: Lady Jr has consonants! As of Saturday she’s started going “mwa mwa mwa” and “dadada” and, occasionally and to Dr Lady’s absolute delight, “BWAH!” It’s kind of really freaking adorable.

3) Lady Jr is very haphazardly army crawling. She would reach with one arm and push herself up on her toes and kind of topple forward, but now she’s coordinating that into two, even three topples and is making movement forward. She fixates on computers and phones, probably because, aside from her, that’s what her mommies pay the most attention to. ^^()

4) We’re up to three meals a day and she demolishes pretty much anything and everything. She’s now eating a meal at daycare and I am pleased as punch at how impressed the daycare ladies are with her and her eating. She may be behind on everything else (or at least it feels like it sometimes), but at least she eats. One daycare worker tried to cut up her chicken for her, but Lady Jr grabbed it and shoved it into her mouth before she could and then it was gone.

5) Probably because of all the solid food, she has chunked up and definitely gone through a growth spurt. Yet she’s still the runt at daycare. Her 9 month appt is next week and I am super curious to see how big she is now.

Have some baby pics:

july-9

june-46

I cut & dyed my hair last week, so figured it was time for some updated author photos. Of course, what do you do with a baby during pics? I held her through all of them, although not always as prominently as here. This was just one of my favorites:
july-18

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10 Things on a Friday

May DITL

I’ve been more quiet than usual lately, even with my Strong Mom posts. While once a week seemed like too often to post about Lady Jr, once a month doesn’t feel like enough. But I’m also not sure how to group things, because she (and we) change in fits and bursts. So I’ll just randomly jot down my musings for now.

1) I think we’ve entered a leap. Someone is super fussy and only wants to be held and has started crying when we do diaper changes / clothing changes again. Which is unfortunate, because the whole eating solid foods thing has necessitated more clothing changes than usual. She reaches her hands towards us when we swoop in to pick her up, though, and it’s just… ah. My heart.

2) Eating! Literally, from one day to another she went from kinda sucking on things to actually eating. Lady mentioned that she’d devoured most of a beet slice one day and I was, mmm, doubtful, but then Lady Jr chomped off a piece of avocado and *ate it*. Then she devoured most of a piece of chicken. And slurped down some apple sauce. And the next day ate two big pieces of chicken and wanted nothing to do with anything on her spoon. So she went from occasionally eating a teeny piece here or rather to devouring most of what we give her, then poking around her plate for more.

3) Oh, but her poops though. Man, we were warned, but solid-food poop is rank. It’s also so much more, well, solid and obviously difficult for her. I hope she gets used to it / it gets better soon. We’re trying to make sure she gets some veggies and fats along with all that chicken (geez girl), but I imagine her microbiome also must adjust with her intake.

4) She can sit up for a full 3-5 seconds unsupported now. Soon. Soon.

5) Sleep! Twice now, somebody has slept 6ish hours in a row. She’s reliably doing only 2 wakings a night and I think she may be dropping one of those. I actually slept 6 hours one of those stretches – the longest I’ve slept since, well, probably June or May of last year. It was amazing.

6) Somebody also sometimes likes to wake up at 2am and start running her pacifier along the bars of her crib like she’s in jail. >>

7) I am really loving 7 months.

8) Not baby-related, but life-related: I finished the latest draft of my WIP last week and it’s going out to betas soon. If they don’t hate it, then it’ll just need some light edits before I turn it in to my editor. Translation: omfg I’m going to make my deadline! YAaaaaass. I’m still not entirely sure how I actually wrote a novel with a newborn, but it happened and hopefully it is never that hard again.

Ahaha, who am I kidding, it will be.

9) There is no 9.

10) Life is actually really good right now. I miss having friends in town, but it’s not been as bad as I’d expected, especially since I’m really effing busy between baby, wife, day job, writing, cleaning, cooking, and, well, occasionally exercising. I count my blessings every single day, because I am so so lucky to be able to work from home, to have the job I do, to have the wife I do, to have all of this. I am content, but I also have things to strive for, and that is the best place for me to be.

 

One more pic for good luck:

May DITL

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