A glimpse

I’m sitting on the couch right now, my feet propped up with a whiskey at my side. A quick glance down shows me an image of my sleeping son, on his belly with his kitty* tucked into his side. I am exhausted, physically and mentally, thanks to that little dude.

Today was one of those days that just beat us down. It started out looking like a good day! I got the dumpling up and we went about our Saturday morning routine without an early morning meltdown. Luffy was in good spirits as I left to go to exercise. But. Somewhere along the way, the dumpling decided that today was a no good day and everything triggered tears and woe.

We were actually supposed to go to a family friend’s birthday party today. They live on the other side of DFW from us, so it was going to be an hour’s drive there. Our initial plan was to leave at 11:30 to give the dumpling a car nap and arrive just a half hour late for the party. We decided, however, that the dumpling needed a real nap today and we definitely didn’t need to be an hour away from home should a meltdown occur. We contemplated attending again, later that afternoon after a fairly good nap and an tantrum-free hour, and even got about 15 minutes down the road before turning back. He was completely out-of-sorts in the backseat and we weren’t doing anyone any good by going.

I’m actually pretty bummed that we missed it. We haven’t seen these friends since January and they’ve moved to a new place since then. I was really looking forward to seeing them, but, alas, the dumpling had other plans. That’s not really something you think about, when having a child, that you may have to opt out of things you really want to partake in. I mean, sure, we say well we can’t go to Italy the couple of years, that will be ok! but you don’t really think about well my child will be having a tantrum-fest day, so I won’t be able to attend a good friend’s birthday party. We think of the big things we might have to wait on or opt out of, but not the little.

True to good mommy-blogging form, I’m supposed to close this by saying that he’s all worth it in the end. And he is. Of that I’m sure. His smiles make my bad mood melt away. His hugs make my heart ache. His laughs are literally music for my soul. And yet, seriously child would it kill you to not lose your marbles over the bubbles? Which you wanted in the first place, if I may remind you. Or the fact that we can’t go outside (ow-si?) right now. Or the way Sharpies don’t go down your train track the same way as the actual train cars do. Or the fact that you can’t actually control the cat. She does what she wants. I know, life’s unfair.

*I feel the need to clarify that this is a stuffed cat. He sleeps with a puppy and a kitty that I’ve dubbed Puppy and Kitty until he can do the honors. Teddy bears are so 2008.

 

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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.

18 Months!

The dumpling is 18 months old! As of yesterday Wednesday. As you can see, I am awesome at this.

He did well at his check-up. He finally broke twenty pounds, that peanut, and while he is “behind” in communication, we were happy to announce that he learned two new words recently. All done as in I am ALL DONE with this empty bowl, mother, and shall hurl it off the table to demonstrate my all-done-ness and Wow as adorably exemplified this morning as he wandered around the kitchen going Oh wow! Oh wow! Oh wow! at nothing in particular. His block towers, on the other hand, garner an extended Woow-ooah!

There are definitely quiet little moments that fill my heart with joy at this age. Just this morning, I knelt down for a hug to see him off to school and he just beamed at me as he toddled over, diving in for a hug. I then kissed Luffy goodbye and pulled back to see him (the dumpling) run back over, tongue hanging out, presumably for a kiss as well. He then barreled off in chase of Luffy and managed to run right into Luffy’s leg as he was putting on his shoes, like a cute little bumper car. Such an adorable moment.

There are moments that make us laugh, like when he sings in his crib (at the top of his lungs). There are moments that frustrate us, like when he burst a seam on his zippy at bedtime and was completely obsessed and angered by this, yet refused to take it off and then we got him in a new one, but he wouldn’t get over the other zippy and we eventually just gave him the damn zippy to take to bed with him like geez child. There are moments where we watch him figure something, like how to kick a ball, and other moments where he suddenly just knows how to do something, like open doors*. All of these moments, the good and bad and quiet and happy and trying, they all blend to create our every day now. A bit like being on a roller coaster, really, and one that I actually enjoy being on. Usually.

*Our house unfortunately has all lever style door handles, meaning they’re not that difficult for the average toddler to operate. Even more unfortunately for us, the dumpling is tall enough and smart enough and he gets up on his tippy, tippy toes and – BAM – you’re looking at your toddler’s face as you’re trying to pee. So much for privacy!

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.

Resurfacing

We’re alive!

Blurgh – those were a rough few days, but I think we’ve turned the corner (frantically knocks on wood).

Luffy ended up going to urgent care at like 7am last Friday morning because he needed help with that cough. He lost his voice, he coughed so much. They gave him a steroid shot and a stronger cough medicine. He’s still coughing, but I think it’s less? So yay?

I cried uncle Monday morning. My allergies gave way to a sinus infection, which left me with excruciating sinus pain all weekend (even WITH sudafed). The last straw was pink eye. I woke up Sunday morning with some crust in my eye, but groggily wiped it all away without really inspecting the damage. Monday morning though, I couldn’t even open my eye so off to the doctor I went. Sinus infection – check. Upper respiratory infection – check. Bacterial pink eye – check. Lots of medication. Twas fun. Especially because this antibiotic gets the medal for being the first ever to make me vomit. Yay!! (It’s one of those that’s supposed to be taken on an empty stomach except that I can’t handle that and need to take it with a few crackers.)

So now that we’re all on the mend, I have a few important updates to get to:


I bought the dumpling a play kitchen and it truly might be the cutest thing I have in my entire house (except the dumpling himself, obviously).

We had an old gift card to Toys R Us lying around and I realized that we should use it pretty quickly if we wanted to use it at all. I’d been eyeing a few play kitchens recently, wondering if the dumpling was old enough to enjoy them now, so I decided it was time. With gift card in hand, I purchased a cute set on Saturday night and was astounded to see it on my porch on Tuesday. I put it together immediately because I have no cool, though I did at least have the presence of mind not to show it to the dumpling until he actually had some time to play with it (our nights are pretty busy between our evening walks and his extended dinner time). This morning he got up early enough to have some time to play with it after breakfast and I’m pretty sure he loved it. He was excited to find all of the little hidey-holes and things-that-open and things-that-make-noise.


In more adorable news, the dumpling has started taking a stuffed animal with him to bed. It all started Sunday night; in a typical act of toddler stalling, the dumpling was requesting item after item from the bathroom counter. In trying to appease him (and stave off the meltdown), Luffy handed him the humidifier cap. The dumpling then refused to let go of it while we were dressing him and getting him ready for the night. So much so that we couldn’t get it away from him when we put him into his crib. What’s the harm, we thought and figured we’d sneak in to get it after he fell asleep. We watched on the monitor as he fell asleep, holding the cap with both hands. It was precious.

The next night, Luffy gave him a stuffed dog to take with him and the dumpling was delighted with the new cribmate. Plus, watching your toddler cuddle with a stuffed animal is about THE most precious thing you will ever witness.


One last item, just for me. Yesterday I wore my very smallest pre-pregnancy work slacks for the first time. Go me!

Spring has sprung

…and it’s kicking our asses.

Luffy has had a cough since we caught that virus at the concert. It keeps getting a little better worse better worse definitely worse.

The dumpling’s been congested for a solid week or so now. Poor baby alternates between a nose that’s completely blocked or running like a faucet.

And me? Well I’ve been better, thanks.


Back in January, after I woke up to huge, puffy eyes again, I finally made an appointment with an allergist. (I don’t want to search through the archives right now, but in case I haven’t mentioned it, the puffy eye thing has actually been a recurring issue since that first time. It varies in severity, but it’s happened a dozen times or so.) Now, I don’t mean to brag or anything, but my skin panel was impressive – even to the allergist! I had a positive result for literally every single thing they poked me with*. Even worse news, I had severe reactions to at least one plant, though often multiple, in every season. So that means whether it’s spring, summer, or fall, if something is actively growing I can pretty much guarantee that I will be suffering from allergies.

Now, the allergist was quick to recommend allergy shots with “results like mine.” We looked into it and while it’s something that I might ultimately do, we’ve decided to hold off for now. They’re just so expensive, on the hope that they work well for you. Luffy pointed out that the severe reactions started shortly after I stopped eating kimchi like clockwork. If you do any research into fermented veggies, many people tout their usefulness in helping allergies. I rolled my eyes hard when I read that, mostly because you frequently come across sites that get a tad bit … carried away in their benefits list. Gastric problems! Allergies! Skin issues! Headaches! Cold/flu! Aging! Cancer! World hunger! World peace! THE LIST GOES ON!!!! Ahem. However, when Luffy made the connection, it did give me pause and I wondered if it might be more than just hippy-dippy nonsense. So I’m picking the kimchi habit back up.

Anyway, all of that to explain that these past two weeks have looked like this:

Tree pollen: VERY HIGH
Grass pollen: MODERATE

And so, you see, I have been better. I hope pollen isn’t wreaking havoc for you.

*The skin panel is done on your back, so you can’t see the results (obviously). As I was laying there, I remember the doctor only calling out a negative for one test spot. After I got home, I was eager to see the one thing I was actually NOT allergic to. It was the control. I laughed so hard at that. Officially allergic to ALL THE THINGS.

Life’s Data

A week into the dumpling’s life, I downloaded one of those tracking apps for babies. If you are not a parent, you might not know these exist, but there are dozens of apps to help you track everything from nursing sessions to baths to sleep.

In the early days, the app was a life sanity saver. We’d show up to the pediatrician’s office for well baby visits and they would want to know how many wet diapers he’d had in the past 24 hours (answer without app: more than one, fewer than a fifty?? answer with app: seven) or how long he was nursing for on each side (answer without app: hmmm, awhile? answer with app: usually 8-12 minutes). The app was a fantastic reminder that the baby needs to eat again even though it totally feels like I just fed the baby. When he took multiple naps a day and we were firmly beholden to his max wake times, the app again proved invaluable in making sure we helped the dumpling get the sleep he needed. In other words, the app took much of the burden of keeping up with the dumpling’s ever changing schedule of needs, giving me the freedom to remember things like when was the last time I took a shower. Ah, the joys of motherhood.

So, for the past 16 months I have tracked the minute details of the dumpling’s life. Nursing. Then bottles. Then solid food. Naps, catnaps and crap naps and holy-crap-he’s-still-sleeping naps. Nighttime sleep, or lack thereof. Wet diapers, dirty diapers. Pumping sessions, both length and output. Everything that made up his day. Then, slowly, I started dropping one thing or another. I stopped entering his meals when he stopped nursing, for instance. I no longer needed to see how quickly my stash of breastmilk was being depleted, so entering his bottles (“6oz – formula”) felt unnecessary. And though our particular app does allow you to track solid food, trying to quantify how much food he was eating (“3.5oz – veggies”), seemed ridiculous, so I stopped. I was more than happy to stop tracking my pumping sessions – FAIR WELL PUMP! Around this time, I also stopped entering wet diapers. He was old enough that wet diaper output was no longer critically analyzed, thus there was no need to track that information. And so, piece by piece, I stopped recording his day until all that was left was sleep.

For the past week or so, I’ve found myself entering multiple days’ worth of sleep all at once. Trying to recall when, exactly, he went to sleep yesterday or woke up two days ago. All of a sudden, it hit me that I’m to that place again, where it no longer feels necessary to enter “Sleep – 7:25pm – 6:00am” each day. So I’ve stopped.

Why am I telling you about this, you might wonder. I’ll remove the links and widgets from my phone and will not make a note about when, exactly, the dumpling falls asleep tonight. Big deal.

Except it is, to me. My baby isn’t a baby any more. He’s growing so fast and so big. It no longer matters if he’s been awake for 60 minutes versus 70. It no longer means anything if he eats a little or a lot. The only concern I have about the state of his diaper is if it’s actively leaking and/or ridiculously full. And so, just another sunrise, sunsetthat’s all.