The Game

Before I had a child, I remember wondering what the allure of all of those baby games was. You know: peekaboo, nursery rhymes, so big – all of those. I mean, sure babies laughed and smiled, I suppose that’s cute. But what’s the fun in them? How could parents repeat them over and over and over and seemingly be just as delighted as their babies?

And then I had a child. And now I know.

To be fair, I’ve always just assumed it would be different with your own child and that’s exactly right. The dumpling looooooooves for us to sing to him. His favorites are Itsy-bitsy Spider and Open, Shut Them, but he’ll also take Disney songs or any other song you happen to be singing. If he’s in a good mood, he positively lights up when you start singing. If he’s in a bad mood, he’ll give you a teary little smile and put a pause on his cries (until the moment you stop singing, of course). He also loves to play peekaboo and he’s recently leveled up his abilities: he can now pull the cloth we’re playing with off of his own head. Score one for the dumpling! His little laughs and big smiles are infectious and Luffy and I will endlessly repeat whatever currently has him giggling in pursuit of MOAR giggles.

However, he’s got a new game now that he’s positively thrilled over and Luffy and I…. well we can’t get enough of it either:

So the dumpling has figured out that when either of us are holding him, he can throw his arms out to the other parent and be passed off. I’m not really sure why he’s so enchanted with this – perhaps it’s his first realization that he can communicate what he wants and get it*. Luffy and I love the little game though because the dumpling gives the best hugs and when he’s passed, he’ll sometimes turn around to you and give this little look like omg mom YOU’RE here too, that’s just amazing! i am so excited to see you!! and then throw his little arms towards you. Sigh. It’s the sweetest.

Last night, something threw the dumpling for a loop in the bath (we’re thinking maybe the water was too warm for his liking???) and he started crying. Big tears, long sobs. He did it the night before too and we were at a loss as to what to do. Nursing didn’t help. His zippy didn’t help. Pats and hugs and bedtime stories didn’t help. Eventually, he settled down, but it took him a while. Last night though, we brought him back to his room and played our little game again. Soon, he was giggling and smiling and all was right with the world.

Luffy and I would happily play that game with him for hours, especially with the knowledge that it won’t be long before he’ll have no patience for being held – he’ll want to GO and DO and RUN and SEE! So yes, right now we’ll pass him back and forth and back and forth and be delighted each time he throws his arms out to us.

*We’re working on some simple signs right now, mainly for milk and more. He hasn’t yet signed anything yet, but he definitely knows the one for milk. All I have to do is ask him if he wants milk (with the sign), and he goes ballistic with the hammy grins and the arm flapping. Yes! Milk! I love milk! I am so excited for the milk!!

Nine Months!

The dumpling! He is nine months old today. Holy cats!

It’s so odd to think that he’s been here, with us, for just as long as he was in me. Every day that passes tips the scales further and further towards making my time with him inconsequential.

We had his nine month check-up this morning. He’s doing great! Still a peanut – poor baby. Fourth percentile for weight and the twentieth for height. He’s got long legs and arms and a short torso (he gets the short torso from me). I laugh because he still wears 6mo onesies without issue. I bought him 9mo onesies the other day and they swallow him. Yet, his 12mo pants are a touch short, almost passing for shorts rather than pants.

His gross motor skills need some monitoring. He’s a big fan of sitting, that one. Put a toy he wants in front of him (which is probably the most recommended piece of advice for encouraging crawling) and he’ll streeeeeeeetch out to get it. Sometimes, he’s successful and will pull himself back upright to sitting, toy in hand. Other times, he does a controlled face plant, gets his legs out from under him, then wails at the horror of being on his tummy. TUMMY TIME… WHAT FRESH HELL IS THIS??? Reminding him that he got himself into this situation does nothing to curb the wails. Good times.

He’s already come so far though, since those early newborn days. When he’s in a good mood, he’ll sit and play by himself, banging cups on the floor and depositing rings into a cleaned out tissue box (probably the best toy I’ve ever given him, because of course it is). Luffy and I always chuckle because many mornings, while we’re letting him chill in his crib for a bit (he needs a few minutes to really wake up), we’ll hear him all the way across the house – just talking to himself, greeting the day.

Bedtime is his absolute favorite time. He could be a fussy monster for the better portion of the day, but as soon as he realizes it’s bathtime, out come the smiles! He thinks it’s hilarious to be naked, probably because I always pinch his butt. He loves to play in the tub and will dump toys over the side until I make him get out. He adores being read to. Luffy reads to us (Harry Potter right now, we’re on the third one) while he nurses one last time. Sometimes, if he’s not ready for bed yet, I’ll sit him up to listen to dada read to us and – whoo – he loves that too. So many smiles – big smiles. Then into his crib he goes and, if he’s not quite ready for sleep yet, he chats to himself for a while. So adorable.

Sometimes I look back and miss being pregnant. It was so much easier, in a way. Harder physically, true. Plus you have the worry of the unknown (baby’s health, my health, delivery, what are the newborn days going to bring you, etc), but overall easier for me. No holding an infant all the time when he refuses to be put down. No making bottles or pumping or prepping daycare bags. No car seats or endless laundry or diaper changes. Plus, my needs still reigned supreme.

But then, I look down at my smiling boy and I’m ever so happy that he’s here. Happy nine months, my dumpling.

Casual Slight

A casual conversation can sometimes reveal so much.

On Monday, I was chatting with the instructor who teaches after me. Having a fairly new baby means that most people start conversations out by asking how he is. So we chatted about how he’s doing and what all he’s learning. She asked me how motherhood was and I truthfully answered that it was great but a lot more than I was prepared for. It’s one thing to know about all of the care that goes into a baby and quite another to actually care for a baby, I told her.

She chuckled at that point and said that her husband was pushing for a baby and she kept trying to put him off, she wasn’t ready yet. Then she made the assumption that I stay at home and I corrected her, saying that I still work full time.

“Oh, where’s he at during the day then? Babysitter?” she asked, setting her music up.

“No, he’s at daycare -” and she interrupted me with, “yeah, I could never do that. That’s why I keep telling my husband no babies!”

And she returned to setting her music and mic up for class. I don’t want to say I walked away stunned or anything, I have more backbone than that, but the conversation stuck with me. What exactly did she mean? Did she think that daycare isn’t adequate? She assumed that I stayed home; did she think less of working mothers? Was this a casual slight against those of us who choose (or are forced by circumstances) to continue working after having babies? Perhaps it came from a dislike of daycare rather than a judgement against working mothers. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t matter. I’d like to think it was simply a tone-deaf statement on her part. She likely just didn’t realize what she was implying with her casual dismissal of my parenting choice.

The real takeaway from this is the lesson to ignore what others have to say and to just do what’s best for you and your family. Daycare literally saves my sanity. While I’d love to hang out with my little dumpling all day – in theory – I really don’t think I’d be as happy as I am now. I’m good at my job, really good. I appreciate being able to use my skills again, to find solutions to problems and to receive acknowledgement of a job well done. Parenting is such a guessing game; Luffy and I are just trying to do our best. I know, with certainty, that if I stayed home with the dumpling I would take each missed nap or all-afternoon meltdown as a personal failure on my part. I can see myself feeling inadequate as a mother and caretaker if my only job was to care for the dumpling and he spent most of the day in tears. Which is completely unfair to myself, considering that he’s a tiny human who is allowed to have bad days and what not. Worse, I can absolutely see myself lashing out at Luffy if he offered a solution to a problem, like he always does because he’s a fixer, because WHAT? DO YOU THINK I’M NOT CAPABLE AT MY JOB? MUST YOU MICROMANAGE ME? Shudder. Definitely not a place I want to go.

So yes, daycare saves my sanity. The time I spend with my little boy is time for us to snuggle and play and help him figure out this whole crawling business. The time I spend at work is time for me to both hone my skills and also focus on myself first (it’s always nice when I can have my lunch whenever I please!). Daycare gives me a break from the monotony and sheer drudgery of caring for an infant. And I really appreciate that.

So cheers to doing what’s best for you! Now if we could only work on keeping our noses out of other people’s decisions, we could tackle world peace next and everyone knows that would solve ALL the problems.

A boy and his wagon

Luffy and I are a big fan of walks around the neighborhood. Back before I got pregnant (and even while I was pregnant), we regularly walked two miles before work each day. We’ve also been known to head out after dusk in the summertime for a quick stroll. Not only does our little routine have health perks, I also feel like it’s pretty good for our relationship. We can’t be the only couple out there who can spend a whole evening sitting in the same room without talking to one another. Our walks force us to put away the technology and just be with one another.

When I was pregnant, we envisioned the day when our little dumpling would accompany us on walks – in his stroller or carrier early on, but someday on his own too. Because life with an infant can be a tad bit unpredictable (will he wake up at 6am today or 7:30am? Who knows!), we don’t get out as regularly as we used to, but we still try. Especially on the weekends, when we have all morning to get out.

This past weekend, Luffy discovered that the dumpling likes to sit up in his stroller. Now, we still use his infant bucket seat with frame as our stroller, so it’s really not meant to be sat up in. He did well though, holding on to the sides and (adorably) playing with the bar across the top of the stroller frame. I had an idea though, as we walked through the streets Sunday evening – a wagon!

I remember lots of my summer as a child spent playing with a wagon in the backyard. My brother and I used to leash our dog (a mini schnauzer) up to the handle so she could pull my brother around the backyard (mush!). We also took turns wheeling each other around in it (I always thought he was going too fast – he always thought I went too slow). We had the classic little red wagon – a red metal Radio Flyer. I think my parents actually still have it in the backyard. (Side note – you can actually still get them!)

Now, you know I couldn’t just get the classic wagon right? It’s practically the “entry-level” model of the bunch nowadays. Oh noooo – the wagon I got has two seats (with seat cushions!) that can be configured five different ways (with bonus storage!) and has its own kid table (with drink holders!) and detachable canopy (with storage case!). Luffy laughed at me, but come on, it’s an awesome wagon. We tried it out this morning and the dumpling loooooves it. He’s so tiny in it (we interrupt this blog to say that the wagon is technically recommended for ages 1.5 years+ so use with caution and whatnot) and he can swing his little legs in front of him, but he holds on to the side and we have him belted in. We’re careful with our starts and stops, but you should see the look on his face. He’s just so interested in watching the world roll past him.

You know I’ve made the decision not to post pictures of the dumpling here, but here’s the wagon with Jas, poor demoted first baby.

Most Eggscelent

The dumpling has been slowly taking to solid foods. I finally started sending oatmeal or yogurt with him each day, so he’s finally started eating solids at least once a day. I try to have him try new things or eat other foods whenever I can find time, which usually means me rifling through the fridge, looking for something he can eat. I was really proud of him this past weekend because he successfully had blueberries! He’d eaten them before, but in his mesh feeder, which means he’s just getting the juice. This time, I cut them up and fed them to him along with some yogurt. Two pieces disappeared into his mouth – yay!!!

About an hour later, however, we were playing on the floor and I spotted something dark on the roof of his mouth. Took him to the bathroom to discover that he had a squished blueberry stuck to the roof of his mouth! Poor baby! And I had been wondering why he was drooling so much.

In more foodie news, the dumpling also finally managed to swallow some egg yesterday morning. Luffy and I have eggs for breakfast every morning and we usually give the dumpling a small bite. Up until yesterday, most of that bite has come right back out, but yesterday he managed to swallow it! Yay dumpling! We sent him off to daycare and headed out to work.

About 11:45, I get a call from daycare (I swear my stomach falls out each time I look at the caller ID and see that it’s daycare calling). They’d given him his yogurt for the morning, but he was developing a rash, they said. It was spreading quickly and they wanted us to come get him. Luffy picked him up and I met them at the pediatrician’s office where she confirmed a likely egg allergy.

Our pediatrician ordered an allergy panel for the dumpling, but that didn’t go so well. The lab couldn’t find a vein and they need to collect more blood than a heel prick provides. Unfortunately, we’ll be headed back to the lab (hopefully one a little more adept at pediatric collections) soon to confirm. Wish us luck on this – I really hated to see my poor dumpling distraught over the prick, especially when it wasn’t fruitful.

While I’m bummed that he could be allergic to eggs (oh what a life! to be allergic to eggs), this is apparently an allergy that has a high likelihood of being outgrown. There are a few factors here (that he had a reaction early, that it appears to just be a reaction to egg, that the reaction was fairly minor, that he is a boy) that make the odds of him outgrowing it even greater than average. So I suppose we’ll see!


In other milestone news, the dumpling has gotten really vocal all of a sudden. He’s always had his chatty moments at home, when it’s just us. Yesterday though, when we were at the pediatrician’s office and then the lab, he was just a talking away! Screechy, pterodactyl noises too! He’s also beginning to learn “up” and will throw his hands up at you if you say it to him. I always enjoy watching him, seeing what new habits he’s picked up and what he’s learned.

Randomness

Hey guys – remember when I used to post a bunch of random things together??? Let’s do that again.


I am super excited for our neighbors. They’re pregnant (having a little boy – squeee!!!). I knew she was due around the beginning of June and I vaguely remember her telling me that her doctor wasn’t going to let her go past June 5th, so I’ve been watching their house like a hawk. I noticed their primary car was gone late Sunday afternoon, but thought that perhaps they were enjoying a last hurrah. Then, like a weirdo, I checked after the dumpling’s 2am nursing session to find that their car was still gone. YAYAYAYAY!!! BABY TIME!!!

Sure enough, their car is still gone today, but I’m hoping that they come home today so I can catch a glimpse of them as they arrive. I swear I’m not a stalker I’m just so excited for them and their new baby! It has me all nostalgic for my own last few days of pregnancy and our first days at home with the dumpling.


Speaking of the dumpling, tomorrow he has his first splash day at daycare. Splash day is every Wednesday throughout summer and I seriously might pass out from the adorableness. I got him little swim trunks and a swim shirt and a little sun protection hat. PICTURE IT. Itty bitty 6 mo swim trunks!!! So cute!


I’m buckling down on my weight loss efforts. My baby is seven months old – I can no longer say I just had a baby. It’s odd, in a way, because it’s been so long since I’ve actively tried to lose weight. That’s not meant as some humble brag – har har har – I legitimately have been at the level of fitness that I desired for a very long time. “Dieting” for me was more of a oh, I ate a bunch of crap this weekend and feel so bloated so I’ll eat really well for a couple of days and voila!! So I’m trying to cement it in my head that this will probably take more than a couple of days.

I was actually feeling pretty good about myself until we went to my parent’s house for Memorial Day. I didn’t even eat that poorly, I just had a lot of champagne (what can I say, my mom and I both love champagne). And alas, all of those bubbles add up to definitely more than air. Le boo.


Speaking of Memorial Day, we had a great time in my hometown! It was the dumpling’s second flight (remember the first one??) and he did amazingly well this time too. This trip was his first time spending the night someplace else. I was a touch concerned, but vowed to just take it in stride. He reverted back to two night wakings, one normal and one out of the ordinary. I think the out-of-the-ordinary one was more due to him being aware that he was not in his own room and thus made it hard for him to go back to sleep in the early morning hours (around 5:30am). Overall though, he still did really well.

It was also really interesting to see his waketimes be affected because of his completely new environment. He was so busy observing and figuring things out that he’d be ready for a nap about an hour and a half after he woke up (he’s solidly in two-hour waketimes right now). It mostly meant he was a yo-yo of happy baby, tired baby. Poor dumpling.

Another first for the books – we went swimming! And here is when I really struggle with my decision not to post pictures of him because he was SOOOO ADORABLE. My mom, who was super excited about us coming, went out and got him a little floaty thing. One of these. He was very wary at first (and I don’t blame him – the pool is a lot bigger than his bath tub), but he warmed right up to it. He even paddled his little feet the entire time. He was exhausted afterwards, but I think he enjoyed it.


Lastly, that book I had on hold at the library, it actually became available much earlier. I read it last week and, honestly, I wasn’t impressed. I really like some of Rainbow Rowell’s other books, but this one wasn’t great. At one point, I honestly thought the writing was bad on purpose (the whole premise from her book Fangirl is that this book, Carry On, Simon is fan-fiction), but, after reading her acknowledgements, I realized that wasn’t the case. I can definitely see why most authors stick to specific genre. Rowell is really good with contemporary stories, little dramas that take place in current day. She was not adept at creating a world, however, as her descriptions of things like dragons or the magic in the book fell a little flat. Also, if you’ve read Fangirl, I oddly connected with the characters in her fan-fic (Simon and Baz, who are the main characters here – I know, it’s a little hard to follow) more deeply as presented there, in little snippets. For some reason, that did not translate to a whole book and they felt one-dimensional.

Anyway, read it if you can borrow it and were curious about, but I wouldn’t recommend buying it.


And that’s all I have folks! Along with trying to lose some weight, I’m also really trying to get better about posting but, you know, work and life gets in the way. Excuses, excuses.

Books and more books

I need suggestions. New books to read. I’m in a rut.

Does that ever happen to you? The problem is that I’ve recently started three or four, but none of them have really held my attention, so I’ve just gone back to re-read some of my favorites. Which is wonderful! They’re my favorites for a reason, but I also want to read something fresh.

I’ve recently discovered the fallacy of the free books on Kindle. As a friend of mine says, there’s a reason they’re free. Wah wah. I have yet to find a free book that’s really captured my attention. Either the writing is terrible and choppy or the characters are bland or the story is crawling at a snail’s pace. I do enjoy my Kindle a lot, I just haven’t found a lot of great books through their Kindle promotions. Guess I’ll have to pony up a few bucks for some new books.

Of course, if I ask for recommendations from the other members of my household, Luffy is likely to recommend that latest business biography (how John Smith built his company from the ground up) and the dumpling is likely to recommend the latest Sandra Boynton book (his current favorite is Are You a Cow? but he’s a big fan of Doggies too). Excellent recommendations, but not really my cup of tea.

I just finished re-reading Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell; it’s one of my favorites. I actually have the sort of (kind of?) sequel, Carry On, Simon, on hold at the library right now, but it won’t be available for a few weeks. The latest Kindle book I put down was The Girl in the Ice, by Robert Bryndza. I just couldn’t get into it. The story seems interesting, but the main character is a drag and oddly antagonistic (which I suppose is to make her “more interesting” but it just makes me uncomfortable). It has a ton of great reviews on Goodreads, but eh, just not seeing it.


So I just got lost in Goodreads recommendations – sorry about that. I mean, I know you don’t know that I did, since this isn’t real-time or anything, but I still feel bad about it, like I’ve been ignoring you. We’re taking a quick trip to my hometown this weekend, so I’m looking for books to read. (Ha! Like I’m really going to have time to read anything between wrangling my seven-month-old (!!!!!!!) and chatting with my mom. A girl can dream!)