Chop Chop Now Y’all

Guys. I did it. I finally gathered the courage and moxie to cut my hair off. All of it. Chop chop. I am now the proud sporter of a pixie cut, very similar to this. And I am loving it.

I’ve thought about a pixie cut for years, wondering if I could pull it off. Even back in college, I was curious. The most I managed to do was a pretty short bob, about a half inch above my jaw line. My boyfriend at the time made sure that I knew I looked like a boy and that he much preferred long hair. I didn’t really give a crap about his preferences regarding female hair, but the comment about looking like a boy stung. It eroded any confidence I had in the look and guaranteed that I never went shorter. (I will say, with some pride, that I still frequently sported bobs when I was with him, despite his preferences. A little bit of resistance against my controller.)

But still, every year when I inevitably got tired of long-ish hair and made the appointment to go short, pixie thoughts would pop into my brain. I never took the plunge, but still, they were there. When I made my appointment this time, I didn’t think it would be any different. I figured I would go in and cut it about chin length and go about my merry way.  Then, Sunday evening, manic took hold of me. I googled pixie good or bad and what to know before you get a pixie cut and pixie cuts in image results. I saved ideas. I read articles. I browsed Reddit. I researched cuts for face shape. I discovered that my particular face shape is well suited for a pixie cut. And I decided. Chop chop.

My stylist was super excited when I told her what I wanted. My hair was mid-shoulder blade length, so this was a drastic difference. I had a moment of panic, sitting in the chair as a I watched her cut the sides (wow, that is VERY short), but all in all I handled it well. I had worried that I would have an immediate gut reaction of hate when she was done. After all, I’ve been looking at myself with hair for a very long time. This new cut was/is far shorter than I have ever attempted. I needn’t have worried though because I was already in love, even before it was dry and styled. It really is a great look on me and I think it suits my face particularly well.

I headed to Ulta as soon as I was done to pick up some new product on my stylist’s recommendation – an awesome volumizing powder and a pomade. I showered and washed my hair last night under the guise of getting the hair remnants off my neck, but really I wanted to test two things: how well it air dried and how it would look in the morning after sleeping on it. I am VERY excited to say that it air dried perfectly well (though, in the interest of full disclosure, I will likely still blow dry it if I need it looking super polished). I am even more excited to report that for the first time in my life I actually have hair that I can spend five minutes styling in the morning and go. Shampooing and blow drying are no longer essential to looking barely passable at work. I can get up and go and it is fantastic! A quick spritz of water this morning rectified any bedhead and my volumizing powder brought my look from passable to cute AF.

So yeah, I love it. I’m so excited and I really can’t see myself going back to longer hair any time soon.

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Memorial Day 2018

Whew! We made it! We took our first road trip with the dumpling and we all survived. We had to break a few rules and we did deal with one round of puke, but yay! WE DID IT!

In all seriousness though, I am very grateful Luffy agreed to make the trip down to hill country Texas for my mini family reunion. In the end, my grandparents really only got to say hi to the dumpling, but it made their day. They hadn’t had the opportunity to meet him. Plus I got to catch up with my cousins and their children, so that was a lot of fun. We compared notes Sunday morning on how our respective children handled the night in the hotel room and our parents marveled over how it felt for their kids to have kids now. Weren’t we just in diapers and swim floaties like last summer?

We were there for less than 24 hours, but it was so wonderful to see everyone. We introduced the dumpling to the swimming pool and taught him how to kick his little legs (from his perch on the pool steps) and splash people (mainly my brother [his target] and my mom [an innocent bystander since he didn’t quite understand how to aim his splashing]). We also found a nearby neighborhood playground that he got to romp through. He also took full advantage of the VAY-CAY-TION!!! rules around food and had snacks on snacks on snacks.

To round out our holiday weekend, we spent yesterday afternoon in the backyard with his kiddy pool and bubbles. I managed to distract him enough to get him to wear a pair of sandals for the occasion (have I told you guys that I bought a couple of new pairs of shoes for him at Target that he has flat out refused to wear? because if anyone has ideas on how to convince a toddler that new shoes are not the devil, I’m all ears) and I laughed over his enormous swim trunks. He definitely had a little booty showing at the end, that poor, skinny dumpling.

I’m looking into water activity tables now because I discovered a great solution for all of those little ow-si??? inquiries when it’s 1,000 degrees outside and I don’t want to take his wagon for a walk around the block. A shady backyard and water activities are where it’s at!

Speaking of ow-si? I have to say that my favorite story from the road trip itself is sitting in the back with the dumpling and having to field the ow-si?? question as he’s forlornly pointing out the car window. No, my sweet baby, we can’t go outside. We’re driving. Ow-si?? I know it’s right there, but we’re driving, we can’t go outside. Ow-si?? We can’t go outside; I know you’re bored. All dun. I know you’re all done baby, but we’re not there yet. All dun. We’re still driving my sweet boy. All dun. If it makes you feel any better, mama and dada are all dun too.

The Quiet

I apologize for the quiet around here lately. I blame the usual suspects: work, child, etc. But there’s actually something else going on too, between Luffy and I, so I don’t feel comfortable sharing. (I know, I’d be shocked if I were you too – there actually is a line of oversharing for Belle! Who knew?!) Anyway, I don’t want to sound melodramatic (even though I know it completely does sound melodramatic), but I thought I’d put the explanation out there. We’re working through some things, trying to be the best version of ourselves for each other and our little family. It’s just one of those times when the only thing I want to talk about is the one thing I won’t. And thus – silence. It happens to the best of us.


To leave you on a happier note as you start your week: the dumpling can now tell you what the cat says! And it’s almost as adorable as his woof woof*. His little meow comes out as a “weow” and it is just too cute. TOO CUTE, I tell you!

* I linked back to that post and then realized afterwards that I haven’t told you guys about his woof woof!! How could I not?! So, I suppose a week or so ago, the dumpling started answering the question what does the dog say? with his own little woof woof. Which, is totally cute, but his is just painfully adorable because he says it in this tiny little voice, almost like he’s a little worried he’s actually summoning the big doggies over. And he doesn’t have the f-sound, so it comes out as woo woo. Gah! It’s just precious.

One and Done.

The past week has been… A Week. Work has been busy. Home life has been busy. And the one thing that I wanted to talk about, I really wasn’t in a place to talk about yet. Thus, radio silence here.

When we talked last, Luffy and I were (air quotes) decided. I’ve left out quite a bit since then. It took me all of two or three weeks to change my mind. Luffy hadn’t changed his mind though and, during a particularly rough week, Luffy made it very clear that he was very certain. Since my blabbering on about it was what appeared to drive Luffy over the edge, I vowed to keep silent. But then! Luffy told me that he did want another one. Yay! We appeared to be on the same page and I didn’t think about it anymore.

Except – me and my mouth – I casually referenced the second child thing last week and it sent Luffy into a tailspin. I blamed a stressful few days at work for him and hoped it would blow over. But then, last Thursday, the dumpling randomly woke up at 10:15 and couldn’t re-settle himself. Luffy and I took turns, but I ultimately ended up awake with the dumpling, getting to bed at 2:30am. The next morning, Luffy very kindly offered to get up with the dumpling to give me a bit more sleep, but when I did get up, I could tell something was on Luffy’s mind. We had already arranged for a mini lunch-date, but Luffy told me (via text) that he wanted to discuss this second child thing over lunch.

And I knew. Deep in my heart and my stomach. I knew what he was going to tell me.

I prepped myself and reasoned with myself and knew that, ultimately, I agreed with him. One child would be the best choice for our family. For so many reasons.

And yet, when we sat down and he actually said the words to me – that he was certain he would only want one child – I cried. I was saddened. For you see, much like the decision for the mode of the dumpling’s delivery was taken from me, so too was this decision. If the decision was solely mine and existed in a sort of vacuum where I could ensure everyone’s happiness and smooth-sailing, I absolutely would have a second child. Without hesitation. And for reasons I can’t articulate, other than yes. But, of course, the decision isn’t solely mine and I can’t guarantee that it wouldn’t be stressful or challenging (or, you know, ruin our lives, but I’m trying to think positively here). And so. The decision has been made.

We’re one and done. Truly.

It really is the best decision for us, for reasons that I won’t get into here (after all, some things deserve to be private). And even after just a couple of days with my adjusted expectations, I can already find so many more pros.

And yet. I found myself holding my baby even closer this weekend, trying to memorize exactly the way his small body feels when he sits in my lap or gives me a hug. It’s futile, I know. These moments are just as fleeting as his newborn days were (in hindsight of course!). And this evening, after a few hours of the back-and-forth he’s happy! he’s miserable! he’s happy! he’s miserable!, I was blissfully reminding myself that we’d only have to get through this once. It’s comforting and surprisingly liberating.

So yeah, a little anti-climatic for the blog I suppose, since I’m essentially confirming where we last left things. But yes, we’re one and done. Period.

Life Data, pt 2

I’ve been a little obsessed with the last post. Oddly enough, this milestone seems monumental in ways that others have not. I keep opening the app, fiddling with the screens, looking at when the last updates were made to different modules. For instance, I last recorded a nursing session on October 31st, at 6:44am. It lasted just four minutes; he would fully wean himself just a few days later. My last recorded pumping session was October 9th at 8:28pm (which tells me I must have taught class, otherwise I’d never have pumped in the evening). I didn’t even update the session to include how many ounces I produced. Little bits and pieces of the dumpling’s data, there for me to review. As I was meandering through, I realized that I could export the data and my accountant-self got real happy. Without further ado, I present to you some numbers from the dumpling’s first 16 months of life:

Nursing:
– All total, we spent 23,765 minutes breastfeeding in twelve months. That’s a little over 396 hours or 16.5 DAYS.
– Our longest session was recorded was on February 4, 2017 at 57 minutes and I can tell that must have been an AWESOME day because the third longest session (at 41 minutes) is also from that day. Other than these two, most of the longest sessions were from the very early days (November and December 2016) and many of them occurred in the wee hours of the morning.
– The duration of each session generally shortens over time, with the 30+ minute sessions concentrated in his early weeks of life and the <5 minute sessions coming at the end as he grew out of nursing. There are a few exceptions though – for instance, a 28 minute session on the morning of October 7th, 2017 – that I hope I cherished as I got to spend an unexpected few extra minutes snuggling.

Pumping:
– All total, I spent 11,146 minutes pumping in eleven months. That’s 186 hours hooked up to a machine that I begrudgingly accepted.
– In those 186 hours, I produced 1,754 ounces of milk. That’s just under 55 quarts of milk or 14 gallons!
– To put those ounces produced into a bit more perspective though, the most I ever produced in one session was 9oz. The average pumping session yielded just 3.25oz and lasted 20 minutes.

Other fun highlights:
– In his first month of life, we changed 335 diapers.
– The longest recorded sleep was on January 13, 2017. He went to sleep at 7:15 Friday night and woke up at 8:30 the next morning. That was after his second full day at daycare. It also happened to be the day I decided I couldn’t take him back to that place.
– The dumpling has slept 12 hours or longer overnight just twenty times in his life. He averages about 9.5-10.5 hours right now.
– Our app has a note taking feature and I made some adorable notes about when he lost his umbilical stump (11/9/16), when he had his first real bath (11/12/16), and when he moved up to Size 1 diapers (12/11/16).
– As of his 15mo check-up, he’s gained just over 13lbs and grown 11.4in. 

And I’ll leave it on that note, as those are the only numbers that really matter, in the end.

 

One and Done

Luffy and I have decided. We’re changing our life-plan and sticking with our little family of three. One child. Just the dumpling. Honestly, other than my absurd wish to be pregnant again (anyone need these rose-colored glasses?) and hold a newborn (but only for like half an hour), the thought of just having one child brings me a lot of peace.

I wrote once, on a community board, that I feel like I’m too selfish to have another child. Not in a bad way, but more in a self-care way. Not to knock the dumpling or anything, but there are so many other things I enjoy in life. Plus, I’m not really into the whole mom sacrifices everything – her time, her body, her identity, EVERYTHING – to raise children. At the end of the day, I still want – nay NEED – time for myself. Time for my interests and hobbies, like exercising and travel. I’d really like to be able to teach at least three exercise classes a week again. Luffy and I would love to go to Italy again and we can’t wait to introduce our child to the joys of traveling. And hell, I need time to take care of myself. I’m a much better person with 15 minutes of peace and quiet. I don’t want to become a mother who hasn’t had a decent meal all day or whose children are well-dressed but she’s in sweats and unwashed hair. [Nothing against those mothers! It’s just not for me.]

With the plan for one child a go, Luffy and I have already started to become excited for the near future again. Travel! With and without the dumpling! We’re that much closer to getting a dog (because I refuse to be the primary care-giver for a puppy at the same time as a baby)! We’re that much closer to retirement! We’re that much closer to diaper-free days and meltdown-free days and – GUESS WHAT?! – we no longer have any newborn days in our future again! HOLLA!! WOOT WOOT!! and etc!!

Now don’t get me wrong, I am fully aware we might change our minds and we reserve the right to. Once the dumpling’s a little more independent and we’re through the ups/downs of early toddlerhood (read: teeeeeeeeeth because the dumpling is getting four right now). Once he can talk to us, maybe? We might change our minds. And that’s ok.

Right now though, my mental health is a lot, er, healthier with the thought of having just one. And that’s ok too.

The Follow-up

We had our appointment with the neurologist this morning. It went well, all things considered. Really well, I’d say.

Our doctor did indeed have the results of the dumping’s MRI. He didn’t find any of the things he was concerned about (“crossed wires” or, even more frightening, a mass). He did note what’s called low-lying tonsils. Basically part of the dumpling’s brain protrudes through the base of his skull into his spinal column. Right now, all this means is something to monitor and triggers a follow-up MRI in a year. Our neurologist said that in the majority of cases like this (young patient, developing brain, etc), the malformation corrects itself. In about 25% of cases though, the malformation gets worse and he would be officially diagnosed with a Chiari Malformation. Which, if you open that link, is also a scary thing, but our doctor assured us that this is the type of thing we would have never known about without this early MRI and it’s quite possible that the dumpling will never have signs or symptoms of the condition. It’s simply a case of being able to know a little too much, much like his heart blip in utero.

As for the epilepsy, he’s been officially labeled as such, but in a softer, he’s-likely-to-outgrow-this sort of way. We’ll be continuing on the anti-seizure medication for two years. If he’s seizure-free for two years and has a normal EEG at that time, then we’ll discuss weaning him off of the medication. Another seizure-free year after that and we’ll be released from the care of the neurologist with a perfectly healthy preschooler. It sounds like a long road, but I’m hopeful that all will go smoothly and the dumpling will never have another seizure.


In other very important news, I bought the dumpling THE CUTEST pair of overalls at Hanna Anderson today and I cannot WAIT to try them on him!