Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Shoe on the other foot

So, I made the leap and decided to hire a Mother's Helper so I can have more time to get work done on my dissertation during the day.

After asking around and having some leads fall through I placed an ad on the UNH employment site.

It was so weird writing an ad for a sitter rather than answering one.

Within hours of posting it I got responses.

How do I respond? Weed through all of them and pick? Interview them all? Find a time that works? Read all their info/schedules and refs.

Ugh as a busy mom that NEEDS help, I feel like I need an HR person to help me out.

Ok, it was only 8 people and I have responded to them all and plan to meet at least 3.

I don't want to drag the process out and I need someone now.

First responder sounded good, smart, promising.

We set up a time to meet yesterday via email.

I planned my day around it to make sure it worked and she didn't show.

Um really?!

Well, I finally checked my email and saw that she did come but got lost. I thought my directions were good but totally forgot that our street sign is missing so she drove by but didn't know it was our house. To make it worse we changed our mailbox and the #1 is missing.


Rookie mistake.

Make sure interviewee has my #. I didn't give it to her because I was concerned that if I gave my # to every person that would be ridic.

So moving on, she came today and she's sweet and yet she doesn't have infant experience per se. I think she is trainable and willing and seemingly reliable. I am less worried since I am going to be home for the most part.

The other applicants seem promising, both of the others have infant experience and are CPR trained but at the same time I feel like sometimes too much experiences breeds overconfidence.

I am prayerfully considering who will be best for Isabel.

Its weird that I feel ready to do this, to have another person watch my dear one, even if I will still be there.

Feels like a giant leap but I think she is ready and so am I.

Monday, June 27, 2011


As you might imagine, getting a baby that doesn't sleep well to sleep consistently and in her crib has been a challenge.

We for the most part had success this week getting her to sleep in her crib for naps and some nights she started off in her crib and ended up with us.

I don't mind her sleeping with us but when she wakes up every few hours with me (who knows why) and nothing will put her back down its frustrating.

Cue the doubt.

I have been cranky, tired and haven't had a lot of patience and I am sure it mostly due to my lack of sleep and frustration that I can't help Isabel sleep better.

What does J think? He is supportive to whatever I want to try but he isn't home early enough to help with naps or nighttime that much so that falls on me.

Since Isabel's birth I have shouldered the sleep responsibility because for the most part she needed to nurse to sleep because in a phrase nothing else worked and believe me short of CIO I tried it.

So, here we are at 9 months and part of me feels like she can sleep through the night, she is capable of going to sleep without nursing but it takes motion, a car ride, stroller ride or in her carrier being worn.

Its not that I don't want to put her down by nursing, I feel like she can do it without and want to foster that because eventually we will start weaning and I don't want her to rely on nursing to sleep or she never will (or at least it will take longer).

All this is to say that I am doubtful that any of this is going to work and that maybe she isn't ready for this step even if I am.

I am dissapointed in myself. Are my expectations too high? Unrealistic? Am I not trying hard enough? Reading too many books and expecting her to be textbook?

Maybe I am being too hard on myself. She's a baby. My daughter and really, from conversations with my mom, I was much like her.

So this week, because I am done staying home to watch puppy boy aka Liam, I can get back into my routine without worrying about his stiches. I am going to try to keep to a nap schedule but also in between do stuff I know will interest her and tire her out. That always helps naps. If she sleeps in the car or stroller? No biggie. If she sleeps one nap in her crib during the day great!

I need to let go alittle and this week I think I can. Its hard because one of the other goals I have for crib sleep is that a babysitter could put her down so I can work if she would go in a crib and I can work longer while I know she is safely sleeping in her crib.

My dissertation is hanging over my head and I know I have got to finish and one of the ways is doing it while she naps. But if getting her to nap is a battle, is worth the extra hr. I get to work? It doesn't seem like it. So, the alternative is getting her to bed earlier so I can work after that.

Oh, I know it will all get done but its a process.

Monday, June 20, 2011

To the crib

So Isabel has never been a great sleeper, shocking I knoW?!

We have done a combo of co-sleeping, bedsharing and crib sleeping. And we have adapted as time goes on and she develops more and is able to soothe a bit better.

Well, this weekend I decided it was time for her to nap and start off the night in her crib. She's crawling and sleeping on our bed wasn't safe no matter what combo I tried. The last straw was her sleeping in her sidecar (her crib attached to the bed) and me sitting in the rocker nearby only to look up in the darkness from my laptop to see she woke up and was half way across the about silent, sneaky crawling aka steath crawling!

So this weekend J put the side back on and I said many heartfelt prayers this would happen and easily with the fewest of tears!

Last night was a FAIL, I nursed her to sleep on our bed with the intention of moving her once she was asleep. Cut to me waking up at midnight with a baby nestled next to me.

So, needless to say she stayed with us last night.

This afternoon I tried again and this time I stayed awake...ha ha ha. After about 10 minutes I gently picked her up and laid her in her crib and snuck away... so far so good!

Her crib will probably stay in our room until the end of summer one because we have A/C and two because I want to work on night weaning and get her used to crib sleeping and then put her in her room.

Never would I have thought that I would have a 9 month old baby still sleeping in our room.

Does that make me a weak parent? I struggle with self doubt over her sleep issues but in the end I have decided that I am doing the right thing. Others have and do judge me for how we have dealt with this issue. I am sure it LOOKS like the easy way out. I will tell you its not. I do miss reading before bed or watching a movie with J before bed. However, I do love waking up and seeing her smiling sweet face. I feel like this experience has bonded us and made us closer as a little family.

Hey, if we let our dogs sleep with us why not a baby?! I knew it wouldn't be forever. Even the dogs have stopped sleeping with us. So everything has a phase right?!

Many have said I should just CIO, honestly no mom loves this idea but I will admit I have tried it. I was consistent and everything. I didn't let her cry too long but in the end I found she was hysterical, she wasn't self soothing, she wasn't learning how to self soothe and she was just a miserable mess.

In the end, I wanted her to trust me, feel reassured I would come when called and her needs would be met. This I feel has been accomplished. She is just coming out of her first round of seperation anxiety and I think that the approach I took was right for her. She is seperating from me much easier and going to relatives easier. She is sleeping better for the most part and without me or the boob.

Not that I want to congratulate myself but I feel like these little milestones can't be over looked. She excels in so many ways but the sleep has been our hurdle. Every baby has one. Whether its nursing/latching, eating solids, gaining weight or lack thereof, or sleep. Babies are people and they are individuals bottom line.

So, I am relishing my time as she sleeps and not taking it for granted :)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Happy 9 months my dear Isabel!

Dear Isabel,
How is it possible that 9 months ago on a Saturday afternoon, about 2pm you were born? Doesn't seem possible that it was that long ago!

I have to say that much of the first few days were a blur but what I do remember is holding you and the awe I felt that your were my daughter. Amazing!

I would do it all over again to have you here!

Now that you are 9 months old, lets marvel in all that you can do!

You are eating all kinds of foods, currently smooshed peas, meatballs, chicken, yogurt and apple sauce are your favorites.

You can army crawl and scoot, with one leg

You can pull yourself up to a standing position

You are sleeping longer at night and dropping your 3rd nap

You can entertain yourself and play well with others

You love the water be it, the tub, pool, lake or beach, just like mama!

I love how expressive you are, so talkative in your babbles and you look right in my eyes and smile and giggle, makes me just melt!

You are a joy and I love you! Its so fun being your mom!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Stay at home moms vs. Working moms

'Its easier to be a stay at home mom than a working mom'

Someone said this to me the other day and their argument was that 'you don't need a degree to have and raise a baby'.

That may be true but to me that is the same as saying, if you can't get a degree, then you have a baby because that's all you can do.


I think that line of thinking is all WRONG!

Many if not all of my mom friends that stay at home, work part time or work at home are college educated. Others are not college educated.

To me, when it comes to raising a child its not the college degree or lack thereof that 'qualifies' you to be a mother. Its the devotion, love, instinct, desire and intuition that does.

In this day and age I feel like if a mom chooses to stay at home, she has to justify it. She will be judged by her peers including other working moms, friends and family like there must be some big reason a mom would want to stay home rather than using her degree or working. I guess its because its the norm now to go back to work than its expected and if you don't then maybe you'll be judged for being 'weak'.

Staying home in many ways today is a priveledge because it generally takes a two income family to make ends meet. I believe many moms that work would rather stay home if they could afford it. Some wouldn't and thats fine too.

Clearly, every situation is different and ever evolving. I had planned on going back to teaching 3 months after Isabel was born. Where am I now? Staying home with Isabel, working on my dissertation part time and not getting paid. While I was pregnant, I was pretty sure I wouldn't be able to stay home and I would TA p/t to make ends meet and cover childcare.

I am greatful and thankful I can stay home with Isabel. It was a wonderful and happy surprise to be able to. Do I worry about our bills or a big unexpected expense? yep, but for now we are making it work financially.

But I won't lie and say I didn't think I might be bored if I stayed home or feel like I was 'wasting' my mind or stalling on my dissertation of in the very least judged for not going back right away.

I can't say I have ever really been bored since Isabel has arrived. I might have had a few dull dreary wintery/spring afternoons but I have not ever sat and watched the clock tick. Our days have been busy, fun, hard work and exhausting but rewarding.

Have I ever watched J leave in the morning and felt wistful that I wasn't going too? Nope. And here is why:

1. Isabel's been a demanding baby that would not take a sub for mom easily from day one and I knew soon after she was born that if I could stay home (i.e. we could swing it) I would.

2. Physically and emotionally, it took alot to recover from her birth and literally didn't feel with it until she was at least 4 months old. I could not have fathomed going back to work before then, thank God I didn't have to.

3. There is plenty to do but J doesn't expect a clean house, meal on the table, errands done etc. I spend much of my day playing with Isabel, taking her out and doing play groups/dates, visiting the park, beach, library, bookstore, great grandparents etc. I do run errands, cook, clean and do laundry too but I try now to do most of the housework at night or during naps. Mostly because its easier with Isabel asleep and faster! Even though J wouldn't complain if the house was kept up, I take more pride it in. It actually gives me mini goals during the day. I fold a pile of laundry here, take out the trash and wipe the counters there. I don't feel like a housekeeper basically.

4. Getting out serves not just to stimulate Isabel but also breaks up my day, lets me interact with other moms and gives me social time. I have made an array of friends with babies Isabel's age or around there and we have created a great little community.

5. Even though its lower on the list, I am working on my dissertation. It might be going slower than I had hoped but I am plugging. Finishing is so important to me and I feel supported to be able to do it. Its a weird adjustment to go from a single focus of a PhD. to multitasking and working in smaller chunks of time, but I am doing it.

6. If I had already started my career, i.e. graduated and gone down the tenure track faculty apt. like I was planning, maybe I would feel more torn. Right now, I would have been writing my dissertation, probably TAing or working in a lab p/t but I don't have a 'job' per se waiting for me to return. Maybe if I did and I liked that job I would feel more torn. BUt right now I am working on my disseration and have a baby so it is sort of the best of both worlds.

7. I see my staying home time with Isabel as a phase of life. I don't forsee myself staying home until she goes to high school, pre-school yes or longer if we have a second one. But if we can afford it that's my plan. Otherwise, I see myself re-entering the work force then.

Would I judge a mom if she stayed at home till her kids went to high school or longer? No. Why? Because in a lot of ways it would be nice to be able to do that. However, I do want to finish what I have started, that is finish my degree and work in my field. Of course, that could change and I am learning to be flexible.

So going back to how mother's are judged in society. I think hands down working or not, educated or not mothers in general are judged differently than women that aren't mothers and men in the workforce. I think we still work and live in a male dominated society that doesn't value family like it should. I would even say moms are more judgemental of other moms than maybe anyone else. Not sure why that it is, maybe its the 'grass is always greener mentality'.

Anyway, I guess I have been thinking about it because I keep getting asked when I am going back to work, or what's next? Likely, because Isabel is almost a year and I guess its assumed a year is when I should go back to work. Maybe its that comment I heard. Or maybe its my own anxiety welling up about the need to get my dissertation completed.

Anway, I feel like I just want to say that even though the pace day to day may not be as stressful as when I was working full time or even if I was working and Isabel was in daycare but there are days or periods of time that are stressful and intense. Being home with a baby forces me to put my needs second, I don't get a sick day, vacation day, or lunch break for that matter. I do get a nap time to drink my coffee or check email. I make it work because right now, the pros out weigh the cons. I don't think of it as work but it is right? I don't think its fair that I have to justify what I do as enough compared to someone that works outside the home. But I feel I do most days.

Despite the fear of being judged and the unfairness that exists in society, I have no regrets about staying home, even if its only for a period of time in Isabel's life. I know God is working in my life, setting up the next step. I am not worrying about that now. I am still cherishing my time with her and working hard to just shrug off other people's opinions and/or expectations.

I feel like its not even worth the pissing contest of who's life/work is harder. I think working outside the home is hard, staying home is hard, heck, raising a baby no matter how you do it is HARD! But, I think we can all agree, the best job in the world!

If you got all the way through this you deserve a cookie ;)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Feeling cooped up with a baby that won't sleep: 9 month sleep regression?!

I don't know! Really, from what I have read it could be all of this and then some.

The last few nights Isabel has gone down for the night at 9pm, despite my efforts to get her down earlier and despite good day time naps.

What's making it worse is now she is waking up screaming and only wants to nurse to soothe and NOTHING else works, not rocking, shushing, daddy NADA.

I have tried Tylenol, pacifiers, walking around with her. Seriously, I am a tired mama.

My hope is that she going through a phase of sleep regression. She just got over being sick and she is possibly going to drop the 3rd nap (hopefully soon).

That 3rd nap is tricky, if she doesn't get it she will go to be earlier but still might wake up a bit before 9pm but be mostly asleep.

Last night I thought she was going to skip her 3rd nap so I put her down at 6:30 (late for a 3rd nap) and early for bed. She work up at 7pm raring to go and was up until 9pm.

Now that her crib is right next to me, she has been used to rolling over nursing for two seconds when she wakes up and rolling over to go back to sleep. But in the last few nights, she's woken up crying, nursed, cried and then stays nursing for comfort...FOREVER! I tried to get her to unlatch and sleep and that caused a fit at I am not sure what is up with that.

I consider myself a parent that definetly leans more toward Attachment Parenting but and crying it out doesn't work for her. But when the AP route isn't even working then I feel stuck!

To make things more complicated, we have to stick around the house so I can keep an eye on Liam the Houdini of stitch removal. We have to wait 2 weeks before I can leave him alone. I don't trust him and he needs to heal. Besides it being rough for me to be inside all day, I know it affects Isabel's sleep. She just isn't as tired as when we go out and do stuff.

This sounds like a long list of complaints. I realize that and its not meant to. I just love staying home with Isabel but its funny how being cooped up can affect my mood especially when its nicer weather and not winter!

Thankfully, J has been a saint, playing with her and feeding her and giving me a break. Friends have been stopping by too, that helps alot!

We will manage!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Beach babe..just like her mama

This week Isabel and I went to beach with our friends Crystal and Jameson. It was a fun day minus the beach meltdown over sun in her eyes, poopy diaper and being overtired! All in all a good time!

She loves splashing and kicking in that water, just like her mama!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Crocodile tears, runny noses and hot weather...what a mix!

Yesterday did not go according to plan, but does it ever?!

Brent was going to come by in the morning to go over my dissertation progress and so I worked hard to get Isabel to nap so I could concentrate.

She took 2 short naps in the span of time that Brent was supposed to be here. He forgot.

That's kind of a bummer when you have a baby and are working to schedule stuff.

He called later and asked to come in the afternoon.


I figured she would take her second nap and then we could work and talk.

She was just dropping off to sleep when he called that he was coming over.


He walks in the door and of course Isabel wakes up.

She's overtired, runny nose and hot.

I try to distract her and juggle her while we talk.

I tried her in the high chair feeding her Mum Mums like they were going out of business

I sat her on the floor to play

Put her in her pack and play

Gave her a sippy cup.


She was wailing this pitiful sickie sad tearful mournful cry.

Oh the guilt.

I tried so hard to take it in stride because Brent was there and I didn't want it to seem like I was all wrapped up in my baby. And yet, all I wanted to do was nurse her and comfort her and tell him to go.

In the end she calmed enough to get some stuff done but I felt so discouraged.

I can do this. I can handle a baby and my dissertation. I feel like Brent won't see that now because I had a baby melting down and I was spilt for attention.

If he had come in the morning it would have been better. Next time, I will have my mother's helper watch her and I will go to campus.

Still, I felt defeated. Like motherhood was kicking my butt. I shouldn't be so hard on myself because he changed the time and I had an unexpectedly sick kid. I did my best.

I will press on, I will overcome my defeated feelings somehow and work hard. I always finish what I start. ALWAYS.

So after he left, Isabel was way over tired so I put her in the car with the dogs and just drove. AC up, music going and just drove. Well, I stopped for coffee.

It was all I could do. Liam and Ladybug enjoyed the treat of a ride and Isabel slept. She woke up much cheerier and like nothing ever happened, though her nose was still running like a faucet.

She ended up going down early last night and was ok last night, but did need a stint in the steamy shower to stop coughing at 2am.

Today, she is fine. I am thankful but doesn't it figure?!

Anyway, what I took away is that my daughter is the most important thing, impressing my boss with my mothering skills is not. I couldn't control the situation, it was out of my hands and I did the best I could.

Its hard to let go of my feelings of defeat because as a woman in science, I never wanted to be looked at as weak because I was married, have a baby or a life outside of work.

Ah well, a fight for another day. I will keep plugging.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Catching up by numbers

Its been a bit hectic lately with being sick and Isabel being sick and Liam's surgery so I thought I would catch you up in a fun way! Taking a hint from my sister's blog!

1. Today was the 1st time Isabel dipped her toes in the ocean, to hear her squeal with delight was worth the poopy diaper dipped in sand episode that followed!

2. Two days in a row I have been on this diet change and cutting down my carbs and upping protein/veggies

3. The number of miles I walked with Isabel today and yesterday, I went to the beach with a friend today and we walked there and back with our was worth it!

4. Number of blisters I have on my feet!

5. How many days it took for Liam to break through his bandage and rip out his stitches...ugh I was just at the vet yesterday to have his leg checked when this happened today. Thank God I came home early enough to get him to the vet...btw we are on a first name basis at the vet. They really are AWESOME!!!

Ironically, thats also the # of quills he had in his paw!

6. Is the # of carb servings I can have a day (not including fruit)...sigh doesn't feel like many!

7. The number of teeth Isabel is working on or has in her head! She went from 2 to 7 like over night!

8. # of months old my baby girl is!! Really? Where does the time go? She's army crawling now and says, mama, da, and signs 'more'...go Isabel! She is such a sweet babe!

I really could go on and on but I am forcing myself to write my dissertation...clearly you can see my priorities: Blog 1st, dissertate 2nd ;)

Fingers crossed my babe sleeps so I can get some work done tonight! Pictures to follow of our adventure to the sea tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Getting rid of the dissapointment

So to follow up my thoughts on a vbac and c-sections, I feel like I would be remiss if I didn't talk about getting past the dissapointment I felt after my c/s. I guess I would say I had fleeting dissapointment while it was happening but the overall relief of Isabel's arrival overshadowed it. However, some doubt and feelings of dissapointment have crept in over time.

I don't want it to seem like I sit around and have a pity party because I had a c/s and it just happened to get infected. Actually, while it was all going on my focus was Isabel, her health and less on my own health. I said over and over, I am glad nothing happened to her. Because let's be honest, so much can happen during birth that can be life threatening for her/a baby.

I am thankful I got the experience of labor, one of my dear friends had a breech baby and didn't get the chance to labor. This probably sounds crazy to moms that have been through labor to wish she got to labor but I am sure she wanted to.

So, I am proud of how I progressed through labor and pushed and tried my best to deliver her on my own. I am thankful for that chance and felt dissapointed in myself I couldn't get her out.

In the end, it just wasn't meant to be. I am thankful she was born safely, she was and is healthy and didn't suffer because I stubbornly wanted her to come out vaginally. Not that I think the doctors would have let me try for much longer because of my fever.

Still because I had GD they had warned I would be more at risk for c/s because of her potential size anyway. So really, labor wasn't a given.

I guess now looking back, I try not to dwell on the what ifs and just relish that she is here and focus on the now.

Still, its hard to shake my experience and I am greatful that my mom friends that had c/s since and before me had much more 'uneventful' ones than me!

IF we ever have another baby and he/she is delivered c/s if the vbac fails or I chose to repeat c/s I won't be dissapointed. Because in the end what matters is that we have a child. Right?

I am working on letting go of the feeling of being judged for having a c/s because I percieve that people think I didn't try hard enough to have her vaginally. I don't always go into detail about her birth with everyone and nor should I feel the need to justify but still...I think I want to feel like folks don't think I just gave up and went with the 'easier' choice of c/s. I don't think any mother in labor thinks major surgery is the easier choice.... I could be wrong but I don't think so.

Anyway, moving on thats what I am doing. Focusing on the here and now (hard to do sometimes) but as a wise person once said 'pity parties have a start and an end just like a regular party ;)'