Monday, September 24, 2007

Dear Zoe

You are now 4 months and 1 day old. I’m a day late, but seriously? I’m surprised I’m not a week late. For one, your mama is feeling like crud today and two; the days are going by so fast! I’ve yet to write in your baby book. I know, I know. Terrible. I have however, placed your baby book in a messenger bag and transported it to San Diego twice in the last month. That’s something. Oh, and your birth announcements? They are slowly trickling out to the family. I know. Someday I’ll look back and laugh with you about all of this and I’ll tell you to not sweat the stuff I am freaking out about here. You won’t listen because new moms? This is just what we do, freak out.

Anyway. This is about you.

The last month was exhausting. So exhausting that I am struggling to think of words to type here.

You went to Cheryl’s four times. On your second visit to Cheryl’s, (while your daddy and I went for dinner and a movie) you rolled over for the first time by yourself. When Cheryl told us she prefaced it by saying she hoped you’d done it for one of us already. I exclaimed, “No! Yay!” and then I’m pretty sure I clapped my hands. This is what we call over compensating. Inside I felt sad and guilty that I missed that milestone. I know that there are others, so just do me a favor and try not to do them all at Cheryl’s house OK? Those milestones, they make the tough times easier to bear.

Tough times like, teething. Teething sucks, baby. It sucks for you and it sucks for us. I mean, teeth are good but why does it have to be so darn painful? You had your moments where in the span of just a minute you were giggling and then sobbing. This breaks my heart because I can’t do a whole lot to fix this for you. You’re working on getting three teeth in all at once right now and we’ve got a lot more to go.

I’m shocked that I am about to type this, but morning has become my favorite part of the day. This morning, for example, you woke up quietly. I was laying in bed tossing and turning looking at the bowl on my nightstand wondering if I could make it to the bathroom and you were in your bed cooing. I rushed into the bathroom and when I came back you were looking at me wide eyed and smiling. You wiggled back and forth like my little wiggle worm just smiling and giggling at me. This is pretty much how you have been for the past month and I am totally cool with this continuing for the next 18 years, except for me feeling ill. Of course, eventually you will have to start waking up before nine and these late (10 or 11!) mornings aren’t going to last forever.

Now nighttime? Isn’t so easy. A couple weeks ago you woke up suddenly just screaming and crying. Your dad and I jumped out of bed and we held you close. You’d gone from peacefully sleeping to screaming bloody murder in seconds and it terrified me. You’ve done this a few more times since then but we’re dealing with it. Sometimes I think it’s the teething, but I’m beginning to think you’re worried about being alone. This weekend I carried you in the Baby Bjorn at the mall while your dad walked next to me. We decided we were going to split up for a few minutes and as soon as your dad walked away, you freaked. We’re thinking it’s because you couldn’t see me and watching him walk away scared you. You like to have us in your site and if possible, within your grip at all times. We’re thinking it’s separation anxiety, but it’s just a theory.

We do a lot of theorizing and guessing. But we also do pretty well at knowing your tells. You’ve become very vocal in the past month and while you’re not saying words, you do tell us when you are tired, hungry, want your binkie, need to be changed and want to be held. You grunt and yell and “talk” in “sentences”.

You also turn your head from side to side when you are really tired or unhappy with your situation.

What else?

You love your stroller. Just this weekend as we pushed you around, you could feel the breeze on your face. You arched your neck back a little and held your hands out to feel the air. It was a new experience and you enjoyed it. So did we.

You love Bailey and Max. You watch them very intently and smile at them when they come up to you to visit, sniff and lick. You have a tendency to open your mouth when Max licks you like you would like to bite his nose. We’re going to have to keep our eyes on you two.

You love your Jumperoo.

You love television. Yeah. I’m a little unsure how I feel about this, but it is fun to watch you as you watch your Teletubbies or our shows. You sit up and talk to the people on the screen and seem so involved with what is going on. You laugh at House.

You love the mirror and when I pull up Photobooth on my Mac.

You love my Mac, well any computer actually. Your favorite sites are my blog, flickr and pbskids. You also like itunes and band websites.

You love your binkie. And I love your binkie.

You love when we talk and sing to you.

We love you.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

September 19th

A year ago today, I took a home pregnancy test and found out that Daniel and I were well on our way to becoming parents. From that moment, my life changed. I remember watching as the line rapidly formed in the window. I stood up and my heart was beating fast. I was overwhelmed with joy, with this huge sense of pride and accomplishment. I remember washing my hands slowly and looking in the mirror. I was beaming. I was going to be a mom. Already, I was a mom!

Getting to share that moment with Daniel: when I rushed into our bedroom and jumped on the bed as he tried to catch his last couple hours of sleep in peace was (and I think always will be) one of the most exciting moments in our marriage.

And scary.

And I think that's what I've learned in the past year. Being a mom-to-be, a mom, a parent is a series of highs and lows, of pride and embarrassment, or accomplishments and even failures. It's rolling with the punches, the setbacks, the sleepless nights and going forward. Laughing. Crying. Learning. Growing.

When we started our "Journey" trying to conceive and then when we told our friends, family and the world we were expecting we heard different variances of similar things. The one that always stood out to me was "You're going to be such a great mom (parents)." I remember Daniel driving us to Chipotle when I was pregnant and I asked him how everyone knew this to be true. He told me he thought they genuinely believed it and that they wanted to make us feel good. But I wanted to know how they knew. Was it because we are generally happy people? Was it because they just wanted us to be? I remember having a fear that we'd finally made a baby and I was going to screw things up somehow. I was going to disappoint our friends and family, Daniel, or worst of all, our little girl. Daniel said something to put my mind at ease and I pretty much relaxed from that moment on. I was meant to have this baby. I had wanted this for so long, had the perfect partner for me to be a parent with and we were going to do great. I was going to be "Super Mom".

Things were not easy that first month or two... hell, they're still not easy. There were moments where I did not know what the hell I was doing. I remember reading in books that it takes time to fall in love with your child, but to trust your instincts and the love will come. The books were wrong. I fell in love with Zoe the very moment I saw her, when they held her up for me to see in the operating room. My heart ached with all the love I felt. Seeing Daniel with her only added to this love. But the instincts? I was unsure and scared. I felt like I was all thumbs when I held her. I couldn't seem to get her to latch without feeling like my nipples were in an iron vice. I couldn't tell what her cries meant. She had mild jaundice for almost a month and I felt like it was my fault because she wasn't getting enough to eat, because I was failing at breastfeeding. Everyone told me how huge she was, so I took that as I had somehow overfed her and made her fat. She had a temper. When she cried, her entire body turned bright red and this was magnified by the jaundice. I was sure she didn’t like me. I cried a lot. I apologized a lot. I'd imagined that I was going to be this amazing mom because I wanted to be, and instead it wasn't easy.

The hardest part of it all was I did not feel like I could share any of this with anyone except for Daniel. No one wants to hear that a new mom is sad! Who wants to hear about what a hard adjustment it is being a new parent and all the insecurities? And I felt guilty because what the hell? I wanted this so badly, got pregnant, had a healthy, beautiful daughter and I wasn’t brimming with happiness every single moment? I worried that if I talked about this with anyone but Daniel, they would think I was ungrateful and that maybe I didn’t deserve all my good fortune and Zoe. And then people would tell me how great I was with Zoe. My mother told me I was a better mom than she was. I felt like an imposter because a lot of the time I was just guessing. I’ve learned with Zoe that it’s all process of elimination. She’s crying? Offer her the boob (because we got the latching down now). Still crying? Burp her or change her, or both. STILL crying? Let her sit up. Change positions. Start all over again. Or, just hold her close, give her the binky and sing to her. Eventually, we find something that remedies the situation even if it’s only a brief reprieve.

What I do know is that I am the best mom for Zoe. I know when I look at her and she is looking at me that she is not judging me or waiting for me to fail. She is waiting for me to succeed, to make her smile and make everything better. It took me a few months to really believe that, but now I do. And when I have a moment of weakness and feel like I’m screwing up, maybe I’ll come back and read this to myself.

Happy Anniversary, Zoe. Finding out you were on the way changed your Daddy’s life and mine forever. Thank you for coming to us at just the right moment in our lives and thank you for everything you’ve already taught us. We love you.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Glamourous. Life.

So, it's a nice Saturday afternoon. I'm fighting off some creeping crud that has infected my throat and is making me feel like crap with a capitol "C". I have a pain in my right shoulder that has persisted for nearly a week and at times feels like the muscle and tissue are tearing or just being beat on by a very strong person with an iron fist. Daniel is taking a nap because he was up with the little one until two in the morning. Our house is a mess. We're dog sitting four dogs for a friend of ours (at his house thank goodness) who has dog-sitted for us numerous times and is in L.A doing a show, so that means we’re going back and forth between his house and ours. We're on super budget, logging every single purchase and bill into an Excel worksheet so we can manage our spending better and save some money/ pay off our debts. We're moving into a new house and have until October 31st to get all our stuff out of the old house and clean it.... I don't know where to be begin. But I can't worry about any of that right now because....

I fed Zoe an hour ago and just now, she spit up a huge amount of milk. It burst out of her adorable little mouth, landed on her chest and then streamed down her little belly down onto my pants. I look like I've peed myself. I have ONE burp cloth within arms reach and a baby who is laughing at all the "Ewws" and "Yuckies" her mother is whispering (so as not to wake the napping husband) at her. My daughter looks extremely proud, like her work is done for the day.

And me? All I can do is laugh. I wouldn't trade this for anything, but geez. I sure do need to change my pants and Doh! Hers too, I think.

Oh. And Zoe is teething. BIG TIME. I see three little white dots where teeth are coming in and they’re making all of us a little cranky.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Birthday recap

A week ago, I took Zoe to Cheryl's for the first time so I could have a "Mama Monday" (this week we're doing it tomorrow since Daniel is off for Labor Day). When I got to the car with the kiddo, I saw a card and a note from Daniel on the dashboard. I'd assumed it was a note telling me to enjoy myself and not worry about the baby since I'd been feeling a little guilty and emotional about having a day without her. Nope. It was an early birthday card and an urging for me to go out and have a fun day of shopping. So I did. I got tons of new clothes as my birthday present from Daniel. Awesome.

We got to San Diego late Thursday night and Zoe's present to me was staying up with me until 2am. I'm choosing to believe she wanted to be the first to wish me happy birthday.

My actual birthday was spent walking around, having lunch with Daniel and Zoe, watching Daniel cut off all of his hair, and spending time playing with Zoe and her new walker that my parents got her.

That night, my parents took us all to dinner at one of my favorite Japanese restaurants in their area. I ate loads of sushi and had (well, like 4 sips) my first appletini in a year. It was a nice evening.

On Saturday Daniel, Zoe and I headed to the mall to spend the gift cards my parents got me. I got this awesome new diaper bag from Ju Ju Be in the "Perky Perrenial" pattern. I love it! And Daniel got me a dress I found that was 75% off. I wore it on our date night (two in one week!). We went to a brewery for dinner and then we saw Stardust, which I loved. It had its slow moments, but overall it just made me happy to watch it. Robert Deniro is hilarious in it.

We got back into Bako late yesterday afternoon. Daniel is off work today, so we're going to be lazy. We might rearrange some furniture in the living room, go to Target, drive around a bit and oh, yes... unpack!

But for the most part it's going to be a lazy Monday. Ha.

Thank you so much for all your birthday wishes, they made my weekend.