Only happy stories allowed in my news feed from now on, plskthanx

-I wish I understood better why defiance is SO infuriating for me (and so many people). Why does my reaction bypass rational thought and head right into total loss of temper? The cat is driving me up the frakking wall right now with this. And I’m all, okay, I’ll use these times to work on this so that when I’m dealing with a toddler (in whom defiance is actually a good thing, developmentally), I’ll have more practice being patient. And then I’m trying to chivvy the cat out of our room (she pissed our carpet recently, so not allowed in there alone), she turns and runs the other way, and I’m thinking, “omfg get back here right this damn minute you idiot effing… wait, supposed to be working on NOT losing my shit, count to ten or something, but omg I’m going to kill her I’ll just work on it next time but that’s what I said last time and see this is why I need to work on it I’m gonna be a terrible toddler mom now I’m even more mad because I feel guilty and OMFG I’M GOING TO THROW YOU OUTSIDE IN THE SNOW IF YOU DON’T GET OUT OF MY FRAKKING ROOM!” So yeah. Working on that. Any suggestions? (And/or does anyone want a cat?)
-I wonder if I’ll ever feel comfortable with the questions like, “how many kids do you have?” Or, “is she your first?” One, or yes, is the answer that they want to hear. The easy, obvious answer. And mostly it’s the one I want to give, because I don’t feel the need to explain my whole complicated history with every stranger I meet. But sometimes it feels wrong. Like I’m pretending River (and the miscarried little ones) didn’t exist, and therefore didn’t matter. It’s confusing. I don’t want to talk about it, but I don’t want to *not* talk about it. At least the, “is this your first?” during pregnancy will be easier if we ever have another. A simple, “nope,” will be honest and doesn’t feel like it’s trying to erase the hard parts. 
-I read an article on Scary Mommy today that said being a mom basically means you spend all your time wiping stuff. Noses and butts and counters and floors. This was definitely an appropriate day to read it. Link’s upset stomach is better, but now Val has it. She scooted, dribbled, or outright pooed in every room except the dining room, which is blocked off, including on 2 of Lily’s playmats and her rug. Lily also has an upset stomach (can she have gotten it from the dogs?), which has given her a rash. So in addition to changing about 10 times more poopy diapers than usual, I gave her nekkie time to let her booty air out, and that means cleaning up pee repeatedly. (She’s just too rolly to try to keep her on a towel or anything. Easier to just keep her on an easily wiped up surface.) Oh, and she gave me her upset tummy, so I felt great while doing all this. (Though that’s good for her, since it means my milk will help her fight it.) Being a mom is definitely all about wiping stuff.
-But on a more positive note she’s now rolling so much she got herself stuck under her chair. Twice. Which is hilarious and exciting, though I’d prefer she not do it when I’m pumping and it’s hard to rescue her. (Pretty sure by RIE I should be just intervening minimally, not outright rescuing her, but I am not stopping pumping for however long it takes her to figure out how not to bang her head. We’ll work on that another time.)

  
   
 -Okay, I try to be a good feminist and I’m all for dismantling the ridiculous societal standards for feminine beauty, but do we *really* have to push to not have to shave? How about we just make men shave their armpits and legs too? That’s fair, right? Body hair bothers me. (Which I shouldn’t use my issues as a reason to control what other people do with their bodies blah blah blah I know. But I don’t liiike it. (That should be read in a whiny voice.))
-Huh. That was interesting. You see women referring to themselves as “Moms,” hashtag momlife (the fact that my phone autocorrected that to “no life” amuses me) and “I’m a mom, what do you expect,” etc. I’ve never really self-identified as part of that group. But just now I was wondering if that last thing I wrote was a little too tmi with all the poop talk, and I thought to myself, “if my readers don’t like poop talk, they might as well go somewhere else- I am a mom after all.” That’s the first time I’ve actually thought of myself that way, as a capital M “Mom,” not just the mommy of my baby, but part of a larger group of women who are also mommies. Interesting. And somehow fitting that it was writing about poop that prompted it. 😄
-Sometimes when I come to bed, Christopher and the baby look so damn cute cuddled up together. Would it really be that bad to risk waking her up by taking a picture (with flash)? Just this once?
-Diaper rashes suck by the way. She’s been remarkably calm about it, as she is about pretty much everything, but I feel so bad for her poor little red tushy! I’ve given her nekkie time, alternately put butt paste, desitin, and resinol on it, changed her a million times, and given her a bath with baking soda (plus her baby wash is lavender and tea tree, though I give leave to doubt that it contains much of either), but it’s getting worse. I’m guessing until her tummy is better, her bottom will be suffering. I’m going to talk to the pediatrician, but I don’t expect they’ll have any better ideas really, just wait it out. Poor ol’ Lily booty. (Update-48 hours later it’s almost totally healed, yay!)

I want to put a picture here of how adorable she was during nekkid time, but thats against my rules. So just trust me when I say it was really damn cute. She LOVES being nekkie baby.

-New sleep routine, at least some of the time- diaper change, sleep sack (if bedtime not nap time), cuddle up, drink a bottle, start to fall asleep, poop, start over with diaper change. Arg.
-Oh my freaking god I do not like the emotional… vulnerability (? cant find the right word) that apparently comes along with parenting. I want to go back to seeing a news story about a kid dying and not spending the next several days trying not to cry. And being able to watch movies or tv shows where bad things happen without them haunting me. And not randomly having mini-panic attacks about things like getting out the cast iron skillet while she’s in the kitchen because what if I drop it it could smash her head in and I can’t stop replaying that image in my head and we’re just eating out from now on thanks. Except we can’t actually leave the house because drunk drivers and car accidents and food poisoning and germs and flesh eating antibiotic resistant bacteria and omg I’m keeping her in a bubble. Seriously. I’m so not enjoying this part of all of it. My mom says eventually you learn to disconnect it some, at least on the movies/tv shows. And I don’t check that she’s breathing multiple times per night anymore, so I guess it is better. I used to struggle more with getting upset when I saw anything about a husband dying, and that’s eased up. Surely at some point I won’t have that feeling that I just can’t breathe from the thought of something happening. Well, I probably always will, but maybe not so often? Ugh. I’ll take all the sleep deprivation and poopy diapers and whatever else you can throw at me, but I was not prepared for this.
Not ending on that, so here’s a happy baby to cheer things up!

  
  
  
  

  
  

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-It’s always fun when something you learned becomes useful in a totally unrelated aspect of your life. Current example- in astronomy you learn that your peripheral vision is actually better at discerning details in low contrast light. So if you’re trying to look at a particular star that’s really faint it’s actually easier to see if you look just to the side of it. This is useful information when trying to discern if your baby’s eyes are fully closed in a dark room. Look at an ear or nose and you can see much better! (Also, and this is just anecdotal, but in my experience babies don’t hiccup in their sleep. If they’re still hiccuping, they’re not actually asleep yet.)
-Started planning Lily’s first birthday party! Well, let’s be honest here, I’ve been at least thinking about it since before she was born, and planning for several months. But I’ve started actively working on things. It’s going to be a “sunshine and pinwheels” theme. Cause she’s Liliana Rae, so she’s our Lil Rae of sunshine, get it? I know, super cheesy. Don’t care! I haven’t decided how big to have all her future birthday parties, but for her first I’m going big! I love planning parties, so it’s super exciting for me. Not going into any details on it, since I like to keep it mostly a surprise (anyone who follows me on Pinterest will know a lot of it 😄), but it’s gonna be pretty and delicious!
-Kid has so 100% started saying mama. She’s not old enough to mean anything specific by it (at best she seems to be asking for her binky), but I think Christopher is gonna be SOL on getting her to say dada first. She rarely even makes a D sound still.
-She had shots today. I HATE when she has to have shots. She’s really good with them, doesn’t cry long at all, but it’s so upsetting. I thought this would get easier! I glad we’re already anti-spanking (and cry it out), because there’s no way I could handle it. I’m actually worried about having to tell her no about things that make her cry when she’s older. I KNOW I have to set limits, and that it’s really in her best interest (like shots), but ugh. Not looking forward to it!
-Just reached for You Are My Little Cupcake to read while pumping instead of my kindle. 😆

 

We read it every night before bed!

 

-Christopher is taking the wake ups tonight so I can get some sleep, which means I have to sleep in the other room. On the one hand, yaaaaay! Sleep! Thank you very beloved husband who I know is tired too because you work so much! But also, I’m sad. How am I supposed to sleep without my bug holding my fingers? And I’m a bit worried. What if she sleeps way better than usual? Christopher will think I’ve been exaggerating how often she wakes up, or he’ll say it’s because I respond too fast and don’t let her settle herself. And I’ll be sad, does it mean she didn’t miss me? But also, what if she sleeps really bad? I don’t want Christopher to get no sleep, both for his sake and because that’s why he quit taking her at night back when she was itty. He was trying to have her sleep in the pack n play and she wouldn’t sleep at all. Arg. This parenting thing is confusing.
-In bed in the nursery, about to get many hours of gloriously uninterrupted sleep. And it’s way harder than I thought it would be. I have to keep reminding myself that she’s fine and she has her daddy and if she really needs me he’ll come get me. But I don’t like going to bed without her. I can’t just reach over or open my eyes to check and be sure she’s okay, or just to see her chubby little cheeks. And how is she going to feel if she wakes up and mommy’s not there? Arg. It’ll be okay! Sleep! Tomorrow night somewhere around the third wake up I’m going to be wondering what the hell I was upset about when I had a whole night of sleep ahead of me.
-Went to Star Wars with my mom tonight (yay Star Wars!). As it was coming up on the big (small semi-spoiler) sad/upsetting part, I reached for her. And it occurred to me that it won’t be long before Lily is reaching for me like that, when she needs reassurance. I just kept seeing her chubby little hand reaching for my arm, and it was such a sweet thought. I hate that time goes so quickly and she’s already grown so much, but there’s also so much to look forward to!
-I wish I’d noticed when Lily started helping when we change her clothes. If you hold the sleeve to take it off she’ll bend her arm to pull it out. When you go to put something on, she bends her arm to let you get it in the armhole, then straightens it to push it through. It’s really cute, in addition to helpful, but I have no idea how long she’s done it. Months for sure. (She’s somewhat less helpful with pants; sometimes she straightens her legs conveniently, but other times she kicks so much once you get one leg in she kicks it out before you can do the other. Also, she’s started grabbing my sleeve and aggressively chomping on it while I’m trying to change her. Very cute, but very inconvenient.)


-Is she old enough to start these science experiments I’ve been researching? They look fun!
-She’s the rolling over queen! I’m now wondering how long it’ll be before she crawls, because she doesn’t really need to! She can roll across the room to get to things. Though I feel like now that she is aware that she *can* be mobile, she’ll be more motivated to try. Yesterday she was on her belly reaching SO HARD for a toy in front of her. I almost expected her to manage an army crawl right then. Not yet, but it’s coming! Such an interesting thing to watch the progression from grabbing a toy if you put it in her hand, to reaching for it if it catches her eye, to deliberately choosing which toy within reach she likes best at the moment, to actively obtaining a particular toy even if it’s farther away. Babies have to learn so much that we take for granted, it’s kind of overwhelming to think about!





 

Such chubby cheeks and wrists!

 

This one got a bit serious

-It bothers me that I have to be careful about using “big” (really they’re obscure, not big) words too much, because people think you’re talking down to them if you use words they don’t know. It’s really not that I’m arrogant or trying to come off as smart! I just really love words. I collect them, and I’m so happy when I find a good new one that I don’t know. (Especially “-ine” words that mean like various types of animals. There are the obvious ones like canine and feline, and the slightly less well known ones like lupine (wolf) and ursine (bear). The really uncommon ones are the best though. I got so excited when I ran across hircine (goat)! Because I’m a big enough dork to get excited about learning a new way to say “goat like.”) I love the nuance you can achieve with the right choice of word. I could describe something as calm. Or I could use tranquil, or serene, or halcyon, and each of them would mean something just a little different and paint just a slightly different, clearer picture in your mind. Language is just endlessly fascinating.
-I have all these plans. Pinterest boards full of them! Most of them never get done, of course, but it can be fun to think about. One thing I genuinely intend to do sooner than later is to get some cheap (but decent looking) frames and frame some printables. I’d like to collect different ones for different holidays and seasons, plus just some pretty ones that go with our house well enough. I love (LOVE) decorating and changing things up, so that’ll be a cute, cheap way to get some variety. Plus, as the Lils gets older it’ll help make her aware of upcoming holidays and season changes. I can even plan activities or special meals or what have you to go along. Like having coloring pages and maybe some library books and stuff that relate to valentines this time of year. And some heart shaped pancakes for breakfast or something on the day of. Ideally I’d have something along those lines a minimum of every month. Better yet I’d like to take an hour or so each weekend to plan a couple of fun activities/experiments for the coming week, and tie those in to the holidays or seasons when appropriate. Let’s be honest, there are going to be a lot of weeks where that does NOT happen. But won’t it be fun when it does?
-Well, that was the sweetest thing ever. She woke up from her nap a little sooner than I thought she was ready for. I stroked her cheek (because it’s so soft I can’t resist!), and as I did her eyes got heavy. Her arm started flailing so I caught her hand and used it to stroke my cheek, and it put her right to sleep.

 

-On a comment thread I saw recently, someone said their mother was a bipolar alcoholic, but that she could have held down a job if she’d been willing to be a little more selfless and put down the bottle. On the one hand, this is clearly a traumatized child’s response to a bad childhood (maybe some issues to work through there?). But addiction is a disease. Coupled with bipolar disorder, honestly, there’s a good chance that person could not have held down a job. Certainly not without help. It’s just, if that person had stroke and couldn’t take care of themselves enough to have a job, no one would think they were being selfish. But mental illness (especially addiction) isn’t considered “real,” you just need to suck it up and get over it. It’s frustrating that we as a society can’t seem to realize that it doesn’t work like that and start trying to help people instead of demonize them. This cartoon on “if physical diseases were treated like mental illness…” puts it in some perspective.

  
-On a related note, it’s fascinating to me how cartoons can so clearly express what words cannot. Look how much I said to try to make a point that that cartoon made (more effectively) in just one panel. You see it a lot in political cartoons too. Try explaining one to someone without them looking at it, and see how pithy the image seems by contrast. I know they say a picture is worth a thousand words, but it’s so interesting to actually see that in action!
-I spoke too soon on saying her bottles are too heavy for her to hold! She did it a couple of times for my mom yesterday, though I wasn’t sure it wasn’t a fluke since she’s tried to do it for a long time. But then today she grabbed her bottle from me and just laid there happily drinking and holding it all by herself! I do think she has an easier time with the Avent bottles than the Dr. Browns. I might start using the Avent more during the day so she can get more practice. But when did she get so big?!

   
 -Started supplementing with formula today. A few weeks ago my supply dropped (not sure why), and she’s been eating a ton so we’ve been going through my freezer stash at an alarming rate. I got a can of good quality formula for the cruise, because I was SO afraid we’d be out at sea and something would happen and I wouldn’t have access. (Which really she’d have been fine on cow’s milk for a few days if it had come to that, but I worry.) I did the math today and realized it was pretty much inevitable that I was going to have to use the formula at some point. She’s only 7mo, and I have about enough milk in the freezer for one more month at the rate she’s going. And that’s assuming my supply holds steady. So rather than wait until the freezer is empty, I decided to go ahead and start supplementing now. That way I can maybe keep her on some breastmilk after a year for just a bit without having to pump so damn much once we’ve made it that far. My biggest concern was that she wouldn’t like the taste, but she drank it down no problem. It’s honestly a relief. I didn’t want to use formula, but since I’m exclusively pumping anyway it’s not like I have to worry about it hurting my supply (nursing works on supply and demand- if you supplement, baby nurses less, which tells your body to make less milk, which leads to more supplementing and so on). She’s still on 85+% breastmilk, so she’s still getting the immune benefits and all. And by waiting as long as I did I gave myself time to be okay with it. Also, after weeks of stressing about supply and watching the freezer stash dwindle, it’s nice to just be able to pump as much as I can and know that if it’s not enough it doesn’t matter. She’ll be well fed and happy no matter what!
-This baby’s favorite thing in the whole world is playing with strings. (Well, aside from her mommy and daddy anyway.) Why does she have to love something dangerous?! I let her play with the drawstring on my hoodie; since it’s literally attached to me I figure I’m close enough it’s safe. But generally speaking, it really bothers me that I can’t let her have something that makes her so happy. Come on kid, pick something safe please! 

  
-Why the heck does Let It Go make me choke up every time I hear it? I’ve seen the movie all of once, it wasn’t one that I felt emotional about, there’s no relevance that I can find. Weird.
-When I was little, my mom always sang to me, especially Edelweiss at night. I’ve always rather looked forward to doing the same for my kid(s). When Lils was itty, I tried it as part of her going to sleep routine, but it seemed like she didn’t like it, and preferred quiet, so I didn’t continue. But recently she was fussing tired, so I tried it again, and it worked! She settled down and relaxed and fell asleep as I was singing to her. So I’ve started incorporating that into our pre-sleep (naps and bedtime) routine. I sing Hush Little Baby, Raindrops On Roses (more slowly than the original), and Edelweiss. Nine times out of ten she’s asleep before I finish. That one extra time I throw in a slow rendition of Oh My Darling, and I’ve yet to get through all the verses before she was out. It’s just so sweet! And I can almost hear my mom singing me to sleep when I was little as I sing to her.

  

-Going back to the issue of mental illness- I have a lot of what I just call “issues.” Depression (surprisingly much better since Lils was born, despite the fact that I was high risk for postpartum depression), anxiety, OCD (for real, not just “I don’t like things to be out of order” like most people refer to), Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, possibly borderline Aspergers (which my mom agrees with, btw). Most of those (not all) are self-diagnosed. I avoid mentioning any of that normally, not out of any sort of shame, but because every time I do, someone feels the need to argue with me. Which honestly? Really pisses me off. I’m gonna give people the benefit of the doubt and assume they’re trying to be helpful. They see those things as bad, and they’re trying to tell me that I don’t have that bad thing, I’m “fine.” But for me, having a label for those things I’m feeling, understanding where certain compulsive behaviors are coming from, is SO liberating. And when I say that, I don’t mean I feel free to just hide behind a diagnosis and make no effort to change for the better. I mean knowing there’s a reason behind it actually gives me the strength to do better. It makes it something other, something that can be fought, instead of a part of who I am. Instead of feeling like a freak, or like my picky eating is a personal failing, or like I’m just weak or moody or pathetic, I feel like a normal person with an illness (or 5, whatever) that I can do something about. It lets me give myself some grace to give in when I need to (there’s really no harm in saving the torn paper towels for Christopher and getting a fresh one for myself), and the courage to fight when I can. No one thinks less of someone with cancer, or thinks of it as a personal failing when they’re sick. I’m choosing to feel the same way about myself. So don’t argue when someone says they have a disorder. You might be trying to be nice, but what you’re actually doing is being invalidating and telling them you know them better than they know themselves. If they’re wrong, they’ll figure that out. But it’s not your place to tell them what’s going on in their own head.

(Edited to add- Upon further contemplation, I’m not sure I feel good about lumping Aspergers in as a mental illness. For the purposes of my point, that being able to label the things about me that make me feel bad about myself helps me to accept them, I’m going to leave it. But it doesn’t really belong in that category I think.)
Let’s end on a cuter and less serious note- 

  
  
  
  

More!

Random Thoughts 3
Can’t figure out why it’s so determined not to let me get rid of that. I just put that in so I can find it in the notes section of my phone. Anyway, continuing the writing of random thoughts, because I’ve been enjoying it. Apparently once I start writing I have a hard time stopping. I had intended to save these up and maybe post once a week, but in the interest of not having them be so long I’m just gonna go she’s now.

Lily’s latest weirdo baby behavior is chomping down on her binky then pulling it out of her mouth over and over. It makes a popping noise, and presumably feels interesting, so she loves it. She’s even started chomping and letting us pop it out. It’s cute. Weird, but cute.
 

Which is not what she’s doing here; it’s just a cute picture and happens to include her binky

 

-Speaking of chomping, she’s started nomming on the nipples of her bottles when she’s done eating. I gave her one of her little bottles from the NICU with nothing in it, and she’s enjoying it. Wish it didn’t roll when she drops it though. Maybe that can be just for baby jail, since it’ll hit the side and not roll too far. It does make me kind of bothered that she can clearly hold a bottle, but we’re not giving her the chance to try to feed herself because we use glass. 8 oz glass bottles are *heavy*. She tries to hold them, but no dice. And we store milk in plastic, and heat it in plastic, but still. I’d rather minimize the plastic in the house, especially when it’s coming into frequent contact with what she eats.

  
  
-Apparently teeth don’t come in at a consistent rate. Her first one came in fast and shot up. Still not in so much you can get a good picture of it, but given that it’s been a week it’s coming in pretty quickly. The second one broke through just a few days after the first, but it’s still dawdling behind. And she was out of sorts a lot longer with the second one, like it was bothering her more. I just assumed they’d come in at about the same speed, but guess not.

 

If you look really close you can see the little nub of a tooth on her left

 
-I think it’s time to make sure she has some toys just out of reach when playing, so she has to work a little to get to them. Not to be mean or try to force her to crawl, just to provide some challenge. She seems to enjoy mastering new skills, so I figure it’s our job to encourage them without pressuring her.
-She just did her smoothest, easiest belly to back roll ever!! I’m way more excited than it really makes sense to be. It’s just so cool watching her learn these things we take for granted. I swear in 2 days she’s made more progress than the previous 2 weeks, maybe months. From the day before yesterday to yesterday she went from getting stuck on her belly and getting mad (though it was taking longer and longer for her to get mad) to able to roll back pretty much every time with enough effort. Yesterday to today she went from that to putting her arms up and lifting her head (crawling is so coming) and smoothly rolling pretty much every time. How does she change so fast?!

  

-I have a baby legs (leg warmers) problem. She has 14 pairs and I NEED more. She has no pastels for her cute fox dress or navy for her multiple navy outfits! And maybe some grey. They’re the cutest things ever and I think she likes having her feet mostly bare for traction in pushing off to roll. Plus diaper changes are so much easier with no pants.

  
   
 
  

-Oh my goodness. Val (the dog) was right by Lils on the floor, and she reached for her. Val didn’t notice and got up and walked away. Lils turned and looked at me with her bottom lip stuck out SO far in the biggest pout ever. I need to work on my reactions. It won’t do to have her think mommy finds her being upset funny just because her unhappy face is so damn cute.
-I need someone to come take care of the baby for me *right now* so I can do ALL THE THINGS! I want to make a wreath and work on some valentines decorations and bake a cake and clean and organize the whole house and do all the prep for Lily’s first birthday and declutter everything and make some meals to freeze for less ambitious sorts of days and and and… It’s one of those days. Why does motivation have to come in fits and spurts like that? The other day when my mom came over for a bit, I was all, “meh, I think I’ll take a bath.” But today I want to do everything. And I have done three loads of laundry and loaded and run the dishwasher and refilled Lil’s diaper drawer, plus the usual child care stuff. But there are limits to what you can accomplish with a baby in tow, even one who is frequently content to play while I do other things. Oh well, it’s Friday. Maybe over the weekend I can maintain at least some of my motivation!
-She’s chewing on a chair. Not clear on whether I should be discouraging this.

  

-Another thing with RIE parenting is not stepping in to help all the time. Partially because you might not know what she’s actually wanting to accomplish. For example, Lils really likes to mess around with her binky and try to fit it in her mouth in different ways. When she does get it in, she promptly pulls it back out. If you were to try to “help” by just putting it in her mouth the “right” way, she would either pull it out again and possibly be annoyed by your interference, or she might give up and miss out on all the fun and learning she was doing. Another reason not to step in and help babies is because to give them a chance to learn how to work for something. I could have rolled her back over every time she got frustrated, but by waiting, she got the satisfaction of doing it herself, and learned that she *can* do things without adult help. (In case you’re wondering, when she got frustrated enough that she needed a break, we would pick her up and help her calm down if she was upset, *then* put her back down on her back. We never just rolled her back over. And by never I mean rarely because it’s really hard to pick her up when I’m pumping.) It also allowed her to learn the right way to do it for herself, and develop her muscles accordingly. 
Anyway, that was a whole crapload of lead up to another point. I’m struggling a bit with balancing not helping so that I don’t interfere with not just abandoning her when she needs something I could provide. Like when she has a toy and it rolls away. Usually she doesn’t much care, so it’s not a huge deal. But sometimes she does, and then what? On the one hand, not retrieving it for her will help motivate her to crawl. But I’m pretty sure she knows I can go get it for her. Does that send the message that I just don’t care enough to do so? I dunno. I tend to err on the side of helping though. I feel like if I’m going to be wrong, I’d rather it be wrong in a way that makes her feel like I care. And really, I’m pretty sure there’s plenty of motivation out there for her to crawl, starting with all the fascinating non-baby proofed electronics on the tv stand. Also, I don’t pick things up for her when I feel like she realistically could get to them. At least that way when she really struggles for it and succeeds she learns that hard work pays off. I guess she needs to learn to fail too, but maybe not from that. Surely she’s getting that as she’s learning to do things like roll over, which involved lots of failed attempts.
-Mr. Blue Sky by Electric Light Orchestra doesn’t have any inappropriate metaphors that I’m just oblivious to, does it? It better not. I strongly associate it with my baby bug. I remember thinking it would be fun to sing to a baby, back before I ever got pregnant. The, “hey you with the pretty face, welcome to the human race” bit in particular. And then the day she came home from the hospital, I had a doctor appointment I had to keep (stupid cyst on my tailbone), so I went to that while Christopher stayed for her car seat test. On the way back Mr. Blue Sky came on pandora. “Cause today is the day we’ve waited for” made me tear up. I blame postpartum hormones, but it really was fitting. We’d waited a long time to take home our healthy, perfect baby girl.
-I love kissing her chubby, chubby cheeks. They’re just full of squish! But she hides most of her sugars under her chin.

  
-I have this weird tendency to be sort of fascinated by my own creations. Like I read things I’ve written over and over. Not just checking for typos or to decide if I want to change anything; I keep rereading blog posts even after I put them up. And I go back to look at my artwork, whether drawings or cookies or something crocheted, whatever, over and over too. Partially because sometimes I’m really surprised I managed to make something so pretty. (It’s always been a bit shocking to me how I won’t know how to draw something (that I’m looking at), so I’ll just draw exactly the lines I see, even if I’m not sure they’ll come together, and somehow it turns out looking exactly like what I meant to draw. It’s like magic.) But mostly I just like to look at it. It makes me happy. Not in a “I want to go show this off way,” though I often do. Just in a sort of satisfying way. Like I needed to get it out and now I have and look isn’t it lovely.
-Another parenting issue that’s been on my mind is ereaders. I have a kindle and nook both (don’t ask), and use them a lot. (And have apps that let me read both on my phone as well.) I just have too many actual books to store already, so it makes sense to not buy more unnecessarily. (I’ll always prefer cookbooks and general nonfiction in a physical form though.) So the issue is that “they” say to make sure your kids see you reading a lot, to demonstrate that it’s a good thing and fun and all that. But they also say *not* to let your kids see you playing around on technology all the time. How do I make sure she can tell I’m reading and not playing a game? One suggestion I saw was to get a case that looked like an actual book, to emphasize that it’s not a tablet or anything you can play games on. That seems like a sensible idea. But what about if I want to read on a tablet? I have a nook tablet, and we’re probably getting an iPad soon. Do I just avoid reading on those in front of her until she’s old enough to understand that there are books on there, and not just games and the Internet? It’s a confusing thing, navigating all these technology issues that just didn’t exist when I was a kid.
-With this whole parenting thing, I figured going in that there would be, “what the hell was I thinking” moments. But I totally misjudged what would cause them (so far). I was expecting it to be the middle of the night wake ups, poo explosion diapers, fit throwing, things like that. Things that are exasperating, exhausting. And I’m sure there will be those moments (toddler tantrums are coming!). But right now the times I question what I’ve gotten myself into are all tied to how gut wrenchingly emotional parenting can be. It’s the moments when she’s crying like her little heart is broken and it makes me want to break down crying with her, and I wonder how I’m going get through it when she’s actually hurt, physically or emotionally, and I can’t fix it with some cuddles and a song. Or when I think about her growing up and leaving home. The thought of not seeing her all day, every day is so hard. How can I be grieving my empty nest when she’s not even a year old? Or when I see a news story about something terrible happening to a child, and I have to clamp down on my thoughts because I can’t bear to go down that rabbit trail of what if. It makes me just sick to hear about those things, much less think about what if it were her. I literally don’t know how I would get through it if something happened to her. When we were going through everything with River, people would say “how did you do it? I don’t think I could.” It seemed like such a weird thing to say. I mean, what choice did I have? It was get through it or… what? Lay down and die? Go mad? I dunno. But now, I get that. If we lost her, I feel like I might just lay down and give up. Or go crazy. I keep thinking surely other parents don’t feel this strongly, because children die every day and their parents are able to keep going. But I know they do have all those same feelings. And like I did, they don’t have a choice, so they survive. And I don’t know how they do it. 
But going back to my original point, this parenting thing really is hard, but not the way I expected. I feel like I can handle the practical bits. But emotionally, I feel so I n over my head. It’s just all so intense. I’m assuming (hoping?) it’ll ease off a little as she gets older. Or maybe I’ll just learn to handle it better. I have no regrets about having a baby, but sometimes I really do wonder just what we’ve gotten ourselves into.
-That last bit was too serious to not fix it, but my phone autocorrected gut wrenchingly to gut wee chunky. Had to stifle an actual laugh out loud because I have a sleeping baby on me.
And a few more pictures!

  
 
  
  
 

She’s quite the laundry helper

 

Some more random thoughts

Random Thoughts 2(For some weird reason it won’t let me backspace to make that go away. Freaking phone.)

I kind of olives (seriously phone? Liked) writing my random thoughts here (on my phone) when I was on the cruise. I think I’ll continue for a bit.
-We’re trying out a new bedtime routine. On the cruise there was no rocking chair or anything, so she just got cuddles and milk in bed then set down once she was asleep. It worked fine, so we’re doing that here (after her night night books, Goodnight Opus and You Are My Little Cupcake, of course). First night has been a success! It’s a good step towards putting her down alone (and eventually still awake). We don’t plan to kick her out of our bed anytime soon (several years, hopefully), but it would be nice to have both of us be able to consistently stay up even after she goes down.
-I get words/phrases stuck in my head a lot, and some get stuck regularly. One such is “Pyrrhic victory.” I barely know what it means (had to look it up), but I think it over and over.
-So it looks like we’re trading the Altima for a minivan tomorrow. Which is a little weird, with just the one kid. But it would have been really nice for the drive to New Orleans, so as a family that likes road trips it should be nice. And it’s definitely much better as a baker, when I need to transport cakes and things. I’ve already ordered my new Bernie 2016 sticker, and have replacements for my others in the Amazon cart (Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, and Harry Potter, plus a cupcake related one that’s new). Because I have my priorities! (Update- holding off on the van till next year. We’ll be able to put less of a dent in our savings that way. Sad face. What shall I do with my extra Bernie sticker now? I don’t expect Christopher will let me put it on the truck.)
-I read somewhere that you basically should never use the word “so” in writing. It’s apparently just a placeholder like “um” and looks unprofessional/bad. I think about that every time I use it in writing something, but I almost never take it back out. I get not using it for professional stuff, but I like it overall! Plus I usually totally ignore grammar rules for a lot of my writing. Sometimes you need to end a sentence with a preposition or overuse parentheses in order to convey the proper tone. I figure it’s one of those situations where you need to know the rules in order to know when to break them for the sake of art. Or something. 
-I hate words that I’ve read but never heard out loud, so I don’t know how to pronounce them. And yes, I can look them up, but generally speaking it’s frowned upon to stop mid-conversation to pull out your phone and look up word pronunciations. (Dearth was the one that prompted this.)
-This putting a toy in her mouth then letting go with her hands is the cutest thing ever. She’s started doing it a lot. I guess it makes sense that she would want to experiment with it. Everything is new to her! (Update- she keeps doing this with her rings (and occasionally other toys), but she’s added a serious scowl and loud mmmmm noise. I’m thinking maybe it’s related to the teething? But it doesn’t look like she’s got them placed in her mouth where they’d hit the teeth.)

Not rings, but this is the face she’s been making.

-One of my books I read recently said something like, “when you’re immortal, it’s really easy to procrastinate.” That really struck home. I swear I’ve gotten more done around the house on a regular basis since Lils is around (at least since she has gotten old enough to play independently a lot) than I ever did before. Granted I’m not dealing with being pregnant (since she was born is the longest stretch I’ve gone not pregnant in over 2 years), but still. Knowing I only have a limited amount of time to deal with messes that are bothering me is a great motivator to get it done *now* instead of putting it off. I’m sure that’ll change a bit once she’s mobile and making messes as fast as I can deal with them, but for now it’s kind of nice.
-It bothers me how many comments I’m seeing about the “curvy” Barbie that basically say, “I had a skinny blonde Barbie growing up and I don’t have an eating disorder, why all the fuss?” It’s like saying, “I didn’t have a fancy, expensive carseat as a kid, and I’m fine.” (Though with that one, well, the kids who weren’t fine aren’t here to tell us, that’s the point.) Why on earth would you object to something that’s genuinely better for kids? I just don’t get this sense that anything that’s different from your own childhood that’s considered an improvement is automatically bad and/or an insult to you/your parents. Yes, you can overcome a lot, but why not make things easier? And yes, there are bigger issues to worry about, but that doesn’t mean the small ones don’t matter. And good for you on having a healthy body image (which I actually give leave to doubt you do, since so few women do) despite being bombarded by fat shaming messages your entire life. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work to change things for the better.
-It is so weird to actually not want to be pregnant. Or rather, to want to not be pregnant, which isn’t quite the same thing. I’ve spent SO long trying to get (and stay) pregnant, and even before that if we’d had an accident I would have been happy. I got pretty impatient waiting to have kids for as long as we did. But for the first time I can remember, a positive pregnancy test would not be good news. (I would come around, but my first reaction would be less happy and more wtf.) It’s not just because we only plan to have one. Having another pregnancy after less than 18 months would increase the risk of preterm labor again (which surely must have been a factor last time; we only waited 3 cycles after River before getting pregnant again, since no one mentioned that risk), which is a huge fear of mine. I was so grateful that when we were spending all that time in the NICU we didn’t have another kid at home who didn’t understand why we (well, probably just I if we had a kid already) were never home. Plus, of course, just how scary a preemie can be (we got very lucky that she was/is so healthy). But I also really hate the thought of having another too soon for Lily’s sake. If I got pregnant now, she’d be under 18 months when the baby was born. That would be so hard for her to understand. It’s hard on a kid at any age to go from being an only, and basically the center of their parents’ world, to sharing with a very needy little baby. But at least an older kid has some hope of understanding. It would be much harder on one so young. And yes, it’s a brief time in her life and they’d likely be close growing up since they’d be so close in age. But I just really want Lily to be able to enjoy being our focus right now. Which, of course, is precisely why we’re not planning on another. And also, with the emotions that all this Zika talk has stirred up, I don’t really want to face how scary another pregnancy would be, after everything. (I actually think another loss, at least a late one, would be harder now that we have a baby and I would have more of an emotional connection to the reality of what we lost.) But it’s still super weird to not feel a little bit hopeful at the thought of being pregnant. (Further thoughts on this. Not entirely true to say I don’t want to be pregnant. I LOVE being pregnant (to the point that it’s hard to sort out my feelings on a second kid because my first reaction is basically, “ooh, let’s have another so I can be pregnant (and get a second chance at nursing)!” terrible reason(s) to have a baby), so I want to be pregnant again, but just not exactly. I want to be in a position to want to be pregnant. Which is all kinds of confusing.) (Did I just use parentheses within parentheses within parentheses?)
-There’s this image floating around the internet right now from where some husband asked his wife to draw what’s going on in her head. And it has all these different thoughts and worries and to do lists and what have you. Which really, I thought everyone’s head was like that. Apparently not men, or it wouldn’t be such a big deal. But anyway, I totally agree with it, except to really make it fit me it needs to include “how do I explain to my toddler how light diffraction works when she asks why the sky is blue?” I had to ask Christopher how best not to over complicate that one. Wave-particle duality should probably wait until she’s at least like 5. (Side note- Every time Christopher asks me what I’m thinking about, he winds up telling me I’m weird.)
-Also, I spend an irrational amount of time worrying that the Lils won’t be a visual learner like me. I have the hardest time explaining things to my mom, because I’m 100% visual and she’s totally not. My way of explaining things is to draw them (I love graphs and maps and diagrams), which conveys pretty much nothing to her. She says maps and graphs are just pretty pictures. Homeschooling could get really interesting if Lily is like her. Christopher is mostly like me, which is either a good thing (more likely that our child will be too), or a very bad thing (I can’t have him explain something to her in other ways if she isn’t like us). This is a prime example of borrowing trouble, but I keep worrying about it!
-There is seriously no better way to wake up than to this kid. She wakes up slow, so I get to do the same (her binky is like a magical snooze button), and she wakes up HAPPY. Like, “oh wow look how wonderful life is and look there’s my mommy (and/or daddy, puppies, kitty, etc) this is just the best,” every single morning. I might not like getting up in the mornings, but how can mind when that big sleepy smile is the first thing I see? And she’s happy to hang out for a bit while I get myself awake enough to actually get out of bed, and go get my contacts in and all. She’s just the happiest little bed bug!

  
-I think I’m getting sick again. If so, this is seriously the 4th or 5th time since I had the Lils. It’s getting super frustrating. I thought not having her in daycare meant this wouldn’t be such an issue! Though really, what did I expect with going on a cruise. Being around that many people in a relatively small space is just begging to get sick.
-I can’t remember if I’ve ever mentioned it on the blog (I think I have?), but we sort of roughly follow RIE parenting. One of the big things with that is not putting baby in a position she can’t get into on her own. I’ll be honest, we kind of suck at that when she’s in one of our laps. We sit and stand her up all the time. But we’ve never forced tummy time or propped her up sitting on the floor. It had (has) me freaked out about milestones a little, since she’s going to be behind some with the no tummy time, but the doctor said she’s right on target still. All that to say, I’m feeling a little vindicated lately. She always HATED being on her tummy, when she managed to roll herself. She definitely freaked out the few times I gave in to worrying and tried to do tummy time against my better judgement. But lately she’s been spending more and more time on her belly (she’s started rolling as soon as I set her on her back frequently), even happily doing so. I definitely feel so much better seeing her enjoying working on her new skills, even when she gets frustrated, than I would have if I’d tried to force her to do it on my schedule. Though I still feel like she’s NEVER going to crawl. Then again, the house still isn’t baby proofed (eek), so maybe that’s a good thing.

   
   
-Why is it that any time we mention we’re looking forward to taking Lils on a Disney cruise and to WDW some day, every freaking person feels the need to warn us not to do it before she’s “old enough to remember”? What does that even mean? 3? 6? 10? I went to Disney World for the first time at 13, and while I do remember the excitement, I have almost no specific memories of the trip. We went to DC when I was maybe 11, and I remember literally nothing other than I liked the train ride. I have very few clear memories from childhood in general, actually. The ones I have tell a story of being very loved and having opportunities to do fun things. The specifics don’t always matter. So you know what? We’re not waiting until she’s “old enough to remember” before we start doing fun family trips. As long as she’s old enough to appreciate/enjoy it (right now she wouldn’t know the difference between Disney World and Target), we’re going to start building her story of fun family trips and time together *now*, not at some vague future time when we can be sure she’ll remember it all specifically.
-Why is it always it never rains but it pours with hiccups? Haven’t had the hiccups in a month or more, and now I do for the 6th time today.
-How do teeth “come in”? I mean, what is the actual mechanism by which teeth push up through our gums? Why do they do so at particular times in development? How do they know when to stop and not just push till they’re all out of line or fall plum out?
-When she’s fidgety or not sleeping well for whatever reason, baby bug likes to hold hands with me (or her daddy) while she sleeps. It’s pretty much the cutest, sweetest thing in the whole world.
-Her favorite song is Hooked on a Feeling by Blue Swede. I say it’s because we watched Guardians of the Galaxy while I was pregnant with her. 😄 Okay, really, a 7mo can’t have a favorite song. But she smiles SO big when we sing it to her, or even when I just play it on my phone. My mom is trying to get her first words to be “Ooga Chaka.” She smiles big if you start chanting it at her, so who knows, maybe it’ll happen. At least then no one “wins” if she doesn’t say mama or dada first.

 

Before ooga chaka

 
 

And after

 
-Also, everyone says dada is more commonly the first word (rather than mama) because D sounds are easier than M. But she makes M sounds all the time and rarely does D. Curious about that. (Update- Christopher commented this evening on it as well. So might be that she’s thinking about saying mama first!)
-Speaking of Christopher commenting on things I’d been noticing myself, her eyelashes are getting so thick! I swear just since yesterday they’re more noticeable! He pointed it out today too. They look like his for sure too. Mine are super long, but not so thick. His are both, and hers seem to be too. So far that means we’re about even on features that are clearly from one of us. She’s definitely got my ears (they almost have a point to them), and probably my eye color (both of us have blue but hers is closer to what mine was at that age). She’s definitely got his chin (his is cleft and mine isn’t, so no question there), and probably his eyelashes. The hair could go either way, since we were both very blonde babies. I’m hoping hers is more like his in texture though. Mine is SO thin and fine, and it tangles (literally) worse than anyone I’ve ever met (whenever I have a new hairstylist I warn them, but they’re still always shocked). Also, if she could not get my crappy, cavity prone enamel, that’d be great.
-She’s really enjoying trying out new foods, which is a lot of fun. She gets so excited! And she’s hard core eying our food when we eat. I’m still eating way too unhealthy to let her have just anything I’m eating (she was smacking her lips big time at some Oreos today), but I think she’ll give me better motivation to work on that. I want to share! Though seriously, I’m so intimidated by feeding her. So far it’s been all breastmilk. It might not have been easy (SO ready to stop pumping!), but it’s simple. But it won’t be long before I have to actually put some thought into all this. How do I make sure she gets a balanced diet?! I have to actually cook and stuff? When?! I know rationally that it will be easier as she gets older (hey, I won’t have to waste hours of my day sitting tethered to the pump!), and she’ll be able to tell me when she’s hungry and stuff, but ack! As a nanny the parents told me what to give the kids. I have to make those decisions now? 

   
 
-Is there an equivalent phrase for silver lining only for a small bad part to something that’s otherwise good? This kid is super laid back. It’s great, definitely makes life easier. Even right now when she’s all out of sorts from teething, she’s easier than the average baby. Definitely NOT complaining, but there is one drawback. Our parenting methods are unconventional, particularly in that we won’t spank (really? that’s a word autocorrect isn’t programmed for?) or use other punitive methods of discipline. But, assuming her personality remains pretty laid back and easy going, no one will attribute any good behavior on her part to good parenting. It’ll always be, “that stuff might work for you, since she’s so easy, but my kid is way too wild/sassy/bad/whatever for that to work for us.” And it’s going to be annoying as crap. Couldn’t possibly be that your kid is “bad” because spanking doesn’t work! (Or that your expectations are off, since what most people consider bad behavior in young children is actually completely age appropriate. Kids really are not meant to be seen and not heard.)
Gratuitous cuteness!