Monday, February 8, 2016

Breastfeeding- the first year

I wish I had started writing this post when D was  tinier so I could accurately detail how the early days of breastfeeding went for us. I don't remember specific dark days, but I do remember sitting in the rocker one night when he was wee, feeding my tiny baby for hours on end. We were both crying, my nipples ached, and I was exhausted. I remember thinking I wanted to make it 6 months of breastfeeding, and counting the days until I could stop. Six months seemed impossible. Day by day, with a visit from a lactation consultant, things started to look up.

He was not the best latcher at the start, but he was enthusiastic and I was determined. When nothing else soothed him, boob did. That remained true for many, many months. I sometimes have a sinking feeling he'll be 10, scrape his knee and ask for boob.
(Note to any new parents out there: come up with a better thing to call it than "boob" because he'll be asking for it in public. It's too late for us, but maybe others can be smarter.)

Our marathon nursing sessions shortened as D aged, of course, and we both got better at nursing. I fed him everywhere because he was so fussy- Target, the grocery store, the mall, on hikes, doctor's offices, friend's homes, restaurants. I stopped using a cover pretty early on. It was unwieldy and made the whole thing an ordeal. I never thought I'd be comfortable whipping out my boob in public, but feeding a hungry baby changes things. Learning to nurse in the baby carrier was essential. Nursing plus walking soothed him asleep many times.

There were random hard times, like when D stopped being able to focus and eat in public, and I spent hours at friends homes sitting in a dark room, willing him to nurse so he'd calm down, but he was unable to nurse because he was too riled up. Then when he learned to stand around 8 months and suddenly nursing sessions became an effort to wrangle my not-so-tiny-anymore rascal enough to keep him from climbing all over my body while latched (ouch). His latch quality suffered while teething, but he also soothed teething pain with lots of nursing, so I endured a few bites along the way. Gentle corrections helped nip (pun!) that in the bud pretty quickly.

I have no idea what breastfeeding looks like for us going forward, but I know he's not quitting anytime soon, and I'm not keen to stop. Breastfeeding is my most useful parenting tool, by far. It soothes him to sleep and when he's hurt or grumpy. I'm beyond proud of myself to have nourished this sweet little guy for a year. I couldn't have made it this far without my supportive husband and family who have sat in the car or nursing room with me many times while D ate, brought me food and drink,  waited patiently for us to finish nursing so we could go somewhere, and generally made sure things were going ok. This hasn't always been easy but it has been so, so worth it. Nurse on, Little Man.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Hey, remember running?

I really do run! Let's talk about it. A friend of mine encouraged me to join a "run the year" group. Talk about commitment- the goal is to run 2016 miles this year. I'm fudging it a bit by including my walking miles because I cover a lot of ground with D. To run 2016 miles, you have to average 5.5 a day, or about 6.4 with a rest day. That has proven challenging so far. I'm at 99 miles as of today, for an average of 4.5, but there's still tons of time to catch up, especially with half or full marathon training later this year.

I've been trying to mix up my runs to be more well rounded  (aka so I don't die on hills). Since I often only have 15 or 20 minutes to run while D plays independently, I try and make the most of those minutes. I've been doing intervals and hills on the treadmill. It's fun to challenge myself on the treadmill and feel like I'm increasing my fitness, and it also makes the treadmill less boring. Win win!

It's hard to stay motivated when I don't have a training plan or any races in sight- the next 5k for our running club's Grand Prix isn't until April- so the mileage goal keeps me running. Once I get back to more structured training I will post more!

Bonus picture of me and D post walk just because he's crazy cute.

Friday, January 1, 2016

We've known you for 11 months!

I'm late. And only posting one picture. Life is hard.

D is for Danger Baby. This month you turned into quite the little adventurer! You learned to climb the stairs and descend them as well. Not so confident on the descent, but you charge into it with lots of enthusiasm. Walking is imminent, and your favorite pastime is opening and closing cabinets.

You are full of noises, including an ear piercing shriek that really gets our attention. I could do without that, but along with the shriek you're getting other little "talking" noises, which is amazing. I'll take all the sounds as you find your little voice.

The theme of your life continues to be intensity. You seem to get intensely tired, sad, angry, happy. You kick your legs with joy and your whole face lights up when you smile. When you're focused on something even your toes get in on the focusing action. Cutest toes ever. When you know you're being cute or doing something you're not supposed to (like overturning Kiwi's water dish one hundred times a day), you get the funniest little smirk, like "come on parents, be mad at this adorableness." When we say "no" you shake your head and smile. Sweet little devil.

You learned to share food with us which has to be my favorite parenting moment, ever. I cry a little every time you do it. This parenting thing is tough, but moments like that make it all so worth it. You get joy from giving your food to us, how cool is that?

Sleep is still not easy. Not at all. I wonder if you'd be happier if you slept better. I worry you're chronically tired and grumpy.

Every day feels like a new discovery with you. Watching you find your shadow and play with it, joyfully chow down on broccoli, take tentative steps, give hugs (!!!!), and generally turn into a real live person instead of a very cute potato is just the best thing ever. How lucky we are to watch you grow and learn.

Friday, December 11, 2015

We've known you for 10 months!

One day this month, you were slowly waking up in the morning. I was trying to cajole you out of bed by making little nom nom sounds on your hands and you gave me these sweet sleepy little smiles while still staying cuddled close. That is such a rare moment of stillness and sweetness with you. Your spirit and independence are really starting to shine.

You were on the move so much this month. You started to cruise along any vertical surface, and you found stairs (ahhh!), the toilet (ahh again!!), Kiwi's water dish, and basically every other dangerous nook and cranny in the house. You got your first real injury when you closed your finger in the bathroom cabinet. Ouch! Your sad little cries were so heartbreaking but you got over it quickly and healed like a champ. You also have gotten good at high fives and making actual clapping sounds (vs. Just hitting your hands together). You are a baby of many talents.

This was your first Thanksgiving! We had our first quiet family dinner at home. You got to eat carrot soup, lentil stuffing, mashed potatoes, and bread. You really were only into the bread but you tasted all of it! We went out for Indian with my parents the next day for our non traditional extended family celebration. Once again, the bread, this time naan, was a big hit. Yummy carbs.

We went on our first family flight this month. We went to see your great grandma in Idaho. I was very, very nervous leading up to the trip. I'll write more about it because it was an adventure deserving its own post.

You're still not a huge eater, but you some things hold your interest- avocado, apple, bread. You have 4.5 teeth and have started to really bite things with them. It is inexplicably adorable to hear you crunching away on food. Everything you do is cute.

Little man, you light up when you see me and crawl right to Daddy when he gets home. You make us both feel so loved, and I hope we always can do the same for you.

Monday, December 7, 2015

2015 Alexandria Turkey trot recap

Nick and I ran the Alexandria Turkey trot again this year. It's a tradition that we started before D and hope to continue. I figure (clueless first time mom here, nobody tell me if toddlers are more challenging please) this year would be the hardest since D is young and his sleep schedules are so tenuous. Luckily, the race starts at 9, so it meant we had a reasonable wake up time. We got there with plenty of time to spare, the weather was pleasant, and everyone was in good spirits.

This is a big stroller- and dog-friendly race, so they arranged for a separate starting line for strollers and dogs. We started at the same time, but on a parallel path. We joined the main group after a couple hundred yards. It was super congested, but Nick was driving the stroller like a pro as we tried to hit a decent pace. From past years, we knew that the race started off crowded and stayed that way for several miles, so hitting any goal paces is hard right at the start. Nick was taking no prisoners though, and we passed tons of people.

The rest of the race flew by as we kept speeding along. I was struggling to keep up with Nick. His stroller pace is my PR pace! We were both pretty spent by the last mile, and D let us know he was done also. We finished in just about 38 minutes, 7:37 pace (!!!!), and we were the 11th and 12th in the "stroller" category, so Nick was probably actually in the top 10 strollers! Awesome, especially for such a big (4000+ runners) race. It was a hard but really fun race, and I'm thankful, as usual, for Nick pushing me, figuratively, and pushing the stroller, literally. He's the best.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Howlin 5K and CAASA Step by Step 5K 2015 Race Recaps

On Halloween, D, Nick and I headed out to run our first race as a family. Up until this point, D's always stayed with one of my parents while we ran, but he was going to hang in the stroller this time. Lucky guy.

Official time was 21:40- 6:46, 6:52, 7:07 (ugh).

We ran another 5K in the rain the following week. This time, Nick's family joined us, which was awesome. D rode with Nick again and I tried to keep up with my high school coach for the whole race.

This time- 21:22 and I beat my coach!

These are the last races we'll be able to run this year due to travel. I'm so, so proud of myself for all the improvements I've made this season, even if they were mostly just because of time elapsed since giving birth, losing baby weight, and getting some miles in, versus real quality training. Could I be faster? This year has me excited to see what else I've got in me. 2016 was supposed to be the year of my return to marathons, but maybe I'll give 5ks another shot? To be determined.

We've known you for 9 months!

Dearest baby, you are so cool.
You clap (inconsistently), you wave (sorta), you cruise (when the thing you're cruising to is mom or dad).

You love apples, cucumbers, peas, avocado. 

This month was your first Halloween. Now, nighttime and socializing are not your favorite things, so we kept it low key. We went to a party the weekend prior and you hung out with some baby friends. You and dad were matching little Navy guys. My heart grew two sizes seeing you both in uniforms.

You're adjusting to riding in the stroller (you rode in the stroller while Daddy ran in 2 5K's this month!), and even riding in the car is not impossible anymore, given the right timing.

You are learning to love Kiwi, much to her dismay. We are teaching you "gentle pets" which is like trying to teach Kiwi to do calculus. You love grabbing things, including fur, so we have to be very careful when you're around her.

Your first time trying Ethiopian food. You enjoyed mesir wat. That's my boy.

I have so much to say, but no time to type because you are busy, busy, busy. You can climb stairs! Open cupboards and drawers! Ahh!

Although the days with you are get easier, the nights are not. You are challenging to get settled. I hope it's not because you're in pain or discomfort, but it's so hard to tell. Life would be 110% happy and joyful if you would sleep better. Right now we're at about 95%.

Keep growing, keep learning, keep making us laugh. You are the best thing we've ever done.