Thursday, April 30, 2015

The hardest part

"Oh honey, those first 2 nights are just the hardest! You'll get through them!"

"After the first two weeks, you'll start to find your groove"

"Fussiness peaks around 6-8 weeks."

"Most mothers report they start feeling confident in their abilities around 6 weeks."

As each of those milestones came and went, I kept waiting. And I am still waiting. Some days, I find myself asking, is this the hardest part yet? Because I look back on the first 2 nights and 2 weeks and 2 months and think that in many ways, it is still getting harder.

D is a fussy/colicky/high needs kid. He seems to have some GI issues (welcome to the family, kiddo!) that upset him a lot of the time, but can be explained away with "immature digestive tract," so we can't really fix them yet. He is also intense. He goes from happy to 100% upset in no time. This means that I spend a good chunk of the day going, "what the hell just happened?" while I hold a screaming kid. He doesn't nap well. He needs constant movement, even when you're trying to pee justletmesitdownforfiveseconds

This is not easy. This is not always fun.

The next milestone when things are supposed to get easier is 3 months. So the other day I counted the days until he's 3 months. And then I realized I was counting down my precious baby's first weeks. That's not good. 

Instead, I'm trying not to resent the pictures on Facebook of happy babies sleeping, the parents out at dinner who aren't nervously bouncing as they eat, hoping their baby doesn't suddenly erupt, the friends who brag about sleeping through the night. I am embracing this time. He is only this little once. In between the fussy periods, he is growing and learning at an amazing rate and his sweet smiles and bright eyes during those times make me forget the tears we both shed. I have the privilege of getting to know this little boy and figure out how to soothe him. If this is the hardest part, awesome. If it gets harder, fine, I can handle it (right?). One day at a time. 

I feel bad for even writing this post. It's been in draft for a couple weeks. I have a healthy, thriving baby. He is very much wanted and I cannot imagine life without him. I am incredibly thankful. But it's still challenging, so I need to vent.

Those cheeks are a repository for feistiness.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Ode to the exercise ball

You lurk in the nursery, patiently waiting until you're needed.

5pm hits. The witching hour is strong with this baby. You are ready, bouncy, turquoise? Green? Your color is not easily defined.

You go by many names. Exercise ball. Therapy ball. Birthing ball. I prefer "only thing that calms my dear baby."

You are often seen with your friend, the Moby wrap. Swaddle, bounce, shush. Repeat until D is calm.

Your bounce relaxes me too. 115 bounces per minute (yes... I counted). A bit of predictability in an often unpredictable day.

D and I would be covered in (more) tears without you. I love you, exercise ball.

Laurel, who is less tired than she otherwise might be

Saturday, April 18, 2015

2015 Hospice 5K Race report

Last Saturday, Nick and I ran the Hospice 5K. We ran it a few years ago (2012) and liked the race. It's also part of our running club's Grand Prix, so if we run and do well, we get points towards that.

Following my stellar post-partum 5K debut time of 25:40, my only goal was to beat that. And I did, sort of.

Let's start from the beginning. Nick's mom was in town for a visit and she agreed to watch D while we ran. Awesome. However, there was a miscommunication and we ended up meeting up just as the race started. Nick had gone ahead and started with everyone else (he was 8th overall but 5th in his age group! Again with the overachieving 30-somethings!) while I waited to hand off the baby. I found her just as the walkers started across the line. Oh well, that's what chip timing is for, right?

Well, yes and no. It is advantageous to start with other runners because 1) you're surrounded by runners, not walkers, so you're not dodging people, and 2) you have some concept of how fast people around you are running, so you don't way overdo it and the flame out. I was so antsy to catch up to runners, I hauled ass for the first mile. First one was 7:30. I knew that was too fast, but  I still felt like I was behind the bulk of the runners. I felt myself fading and there were some slight hills. Second mile was 7:52.much betterr. Unfortunately, I was spent mentally and physically from the way too fast first mile and lost it in mile 3. 8:19. Oof. 7:37 for the nubbin. Chip time was 25:05. 

Run like the... breeze?

I found Nick, D and Nick's mom. She reported that D had slept like a champ. He loves the race atmosphere. Good boy. 

My blah time got me 3rd in my age group, woohoo. My garmin said my overall time for the 5k was slightly slower than the previous week, but since the course was truer, my finish time was faster, so... Whatever that means. I didn't run as well. I give myself a C for "Crappy race execution."
It was breezy so he wore Nick's shirt. Adorbs. 

The race was very well run, with tons of tasty snacks at the finish. I got a cute medal. Good times. 

The best news is that I ran this race in 2012 in a comparable time, but was running sub-24 by the end of the year. There's hope that with more miles and maybe, heaven forbid, speed work, I can be in decent shape by the end of the year. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Never say never

Back in  those relaxed, pre-baby days, I had a lot of time to think about how I would do the whole mothering thing. I had some ideas, and I definitely had some things that I was so sure I would not do. Here we are, 2 months in, and I have stuck to my guns on some of those, but most of them have fallen by the wayside.

I swore I would never:
- Be covered in bodily fluids
Reading about post-partum life, everyone would mention milk and drool/spit-up and pee everywhere. Um, ladies, you have one job- keep those fluids where they need to be, how hard is that? Turns out, it's impossible. Your boobs are just out of control and they SPRAY everywhere. I did not know that was a thing. It's gotten better, but most days I just shrug and accept that I smell like cheesey stale milk, and so does the baby. We're an attractive pair.

- Use "sleep props"
HAHAHAHHAHAHA. Sorry, this is just ridiculous. I don't know how I thought babies went to sleep, I just figured they... slept, right? It's what babies do! But as our high needs baby ages, his sleep routine gets weirder and weirder. At first, yeah, he fell asleep whenever, wherever. He even slept in the car (this no longer happens). Then sometimes he'd need rocking. Then he'd need rocking and music. Now, for daytime naps he falls asleep while being worn in the sling while I dance and sing loudly to pop music (no lullabies for our advanced baby!). Nighttime, because he's probably overstimulated and overtired and all those other things that you didn't know babies could be, I bounce him on the exercise ball while wearing him in a wrap and playing white noise (vacuum sound ftw). Sometimes a pacifier is involved. I nurse him every 15 minutes. It's complicated and exhausting for everyone but D.

- Use a ton of baby talk
About a week in, Nick caught me saying "hungwy." No clue why made up words are suddenly a part of my vocab, but they are. Tiny person just brings it out in me.

- Be that disheveled zombie woman
I just don't care even one iota about what the neighbors think of me when I'm walking the dog. I'm outside, it's like being in the ocean, there are no rules.

 I wore long underwear (they resemble leggings, promise), a stained shirt, running shoes, and A TRENCHCOAT to walk the baby and dog the other day. Why trenchcoat? Because it's big enough to fit around me and little man in the sling. I looked like a toddler had dressed me, and I did not care.

- Stop showering
Haha! One point for me, tired mom stereotypes! I have showered pretty much every day since the beginning. I either wait for Nick to come home and hand him the kiddo, shower while D naps in the bouncy seat, or take him in there with me. Totally feasible to shower with a baby.
This is appropriate because 1) D sleeps with his arm extended, 2) D loves Queen, 3) Nick and I watched a Queen concert the other night and gained/reinforced our respect for Freddie Mercury. So badass.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Two months post-partum

Copy this post. But add running. And subtract the "But I just had a baby a month ago!" excuse.

I feel like a version of my old, pre-baby, pre-pregnancy self, but the mirror keeps reminding me I'm not. The old "9 month on, 9 months off" thing about baby weight? Well, I was always smug and all "lolz you people don't know how to lose weight if it takes you 9 months." Now? I get it. I get all of it.

The scale is finally moving in the right direction. That doesn't mean I can wear pants. I still cannot. In fact, I wore a pair of stretchy pants today that still somehow cut into my muffin top. What the eff. They were comfy during pregnancy, but now that everything is...mushy... they're not working. This is why I never leave the house.

Rookie mistake- the first few weeks of D's life, I wore my Fitbit when I was bouncing on the exercise ball, soothing the baby to sleep. At the end of the day, I'd have taken like 18,000 steps, even though I hadn't left the house. My sleep-deprived brain said, good job, body! You sure went up and down the stairs an awful lot today! In celebration, I'd eat back all those calories, plus 500 because, you know, breastfeeding (conflicting sources cite the calorie burn as low as 300 and as high as 700, so 500 is a decent guess). Maybe that's why I was gaining weight? Yeah. That'll do it. Now I'm back to my calorie counting ways and losing slowly. I really, really want to keep my milk supply where it needs to be to keep D growing. This is not a problem at all right now. I have milk galore and D is chubby as hell. So to be sure I keep my weight going down but not too quickly, I set MFP to a "maintain" level, and I'll always be sure to meet or exceed it. The LLL website says to eat 1500-1800 calories a day... yeah, right. That is way too low.

You'd assume that running would help with weight loss, but that has never been the case for me. My hunger cues are screwy, and running makes me want to eat everything in sight. One thing running is doing, though, is helping me feel like a real person. It is hard to sit inside all day with a dog and a baby as your entertainment. Getting outside, or even on the treadmill, and moving my body just for me has made me feel so much better these past couple weeks. I am so grateful to my awesome mom and Nick for letting me get away from D for those short periods and get some running in. It helps me be a better mother and a better human. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

We've known you for 2 months!

Two months. Two. Holy cow.
Eyes askew, cheeks aplenty.

Not going to lie, this month had hard times. Why am I telling you this? You were there, lungs a-blazing. You have so much spirit for such a tiny person, and it overwhelms you. I get it. You are the child of someone who has many feels as well, I understand that at the end of the day sometimes you just need to cry. It makes for some very long nights, but these days are short and I will not wish them away.

So many faces!

Kiwi lovin.

I want to bottle you up. 

This month was huge for development. You rolled over! It happened accidentally a couple times when you were frustrated during tummy time. You'd get riled up, start squirming and then-oops!-onto your back. Since then, you've done it more intentionally but I still don't think the thought process of "I do detest being on my tummy. I shall roll! *rolls* Jolly good, this is much improved!" exists. But it's adorable to see. Your head control is pretty amazing overall. You're trying pretty hard to roll from back to tummy, but you only get as far as being slightly twisted. There's much squawking. You'll get it someday soon.

You also follow us and your toys with much more attention. You love the peacock your Aunt and Uncle bought you! The black and white patterns mesmerize you. It's sweet to watch you absorb the patterns. So, so cute.

Your dimples. I die.

You have the very best faces. You have stepped up your game this month as far as expressing emotions. You now SMILE. I cry every time you do it, it's so rewarding. A friend said when her child started smiling it changed everything, because she knew he liked her. That is how I feel. Now I know you actually like being around me. I'm not JUST a walking milk dispenser. You also coo and make lots of other little noises. Your squawk means you're exerting yourself. You have so many sounds, it is wonderful. You are also sort of finding your hands. I have a video of you sucking your thumb knuckle. Haven't quite gotten the thumb in the mouth business yet. I won't put the video it on the internet, but it is freaking adorable.

Intense love of tummy time fish!!!

You met your Aunt Lisa this month. You are so precious, you give everyone baby fever. You also got to meet your cousins. Little man, you are so loved and adored by them. They kept saying how tiny and cute you are. And you got more little boy clothes! You'll be so well dressed!

Someday you two will love each other. Until then, it's hard days for Kiwi.

You are a champion eater. I confess, nursing is my go-to comforting tool. I know it'll make you happ(ier) 98% of the time, so if you're fussing, you get the boob. You went to the pediatrician for a tummy thing earlier this week and were almost 13 lbs! That's a 6 lb gain in 2 months! Your thighs are chubby and wonderful I can barely compare you to the little guy you were a month ago. You get more fun each and every day. I love being your mommy.

You like: the exercise ball, being in the Moby or ring sling, going for walks (you sleep so soundly), the ceiling fan (we joke that it's your deity)

You dislike: going to bed at night, putting on socks, being cradled, riding in the car

Monday, April 6, 2015

Looking for Trouble 5K Race Report

I won another 5k. I really need to live here forever so I can fancy myself an elite runner for the rest of my days.

This is a small 5K and I'm so glad it's what I ended up doing for my triumphant return to racing. My dad came to watch D and be our photographer. He is awesome. D slept the whole time. He's my child, being tired at inconvenient times, like races, but not tired at night.

Thanks for the cuddles, Grandpa.

It was chilly but I don't believe in long sleeves

As I lay awake with D the night before (don't you know your mother paid $30 to run for 25 minutes tomorrow, child?!? LET HER DO HER BEST.) I was legitimately freaking out about this race. I had run 3+ miles 6 times since D's birth, but I was super worried I'd go out too fast and end up walking at the end. I started near the front but I didn't want to be too high up there because, you know, 8 weeks post-partum. The race was tiny enough that I could count the women in front of me. I was 4th at the start. That did not seem right, but I figured I'd stay comfortable and let others pass me. But then I passed one woman... then a second woman... Just about a mile in, I was nearing the first place woman. After playing rabbit with her for a little bit, I got in front of her and stayed in front. Cue freaking out about maintaining a lead, while trying not to care and just run steadily.

And steady I did. Mile splits: 7:59, 8:01, 8:02, 7:36 for the nubbin. Garmin said my time for the actual 5k was 24:50. And I won for the women, which is nuts. Nick was nice and speedy, finishing in the low 20's. He was 5th overall.

I am so glad I ripped the post-partum racing band-aid off at a low key race and had a confidence boosting result. Plus, my prize was a restaurant gift certificate, which is useful. Our next 5K is this upcoming weekend. Much bigger, no awards are in the cards (for me at least). It's so nice to be back to a pre-baby activity that easily incorporates D. Happy days. 

Post-race glow. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Post-partum return to running

If I ran 8 day ago and didn't tell the Internet about it, did it even happen?

A day shy of 6 weeks after D's birth, I did my first post-partum run. It was warm and lovely out, and Nick was home after about 12 straight days of working. I needed to be out of the house for a minute. I ran 15 minutes away from the house, assuming I'd have just over 15 minutes to run back, making a nice 30ish minute run. I really wanted to relax and listen to my body (gross, I know, but if you're running with a brand new pelvis, you'd want to listen to it, too). I didn't have a single ache or pain. It was glorious. My legs felt fresh. Basically, the stars aligned. The thing I wasn't prepared for was being breathless. I mean, I was barely running a 9 minute mile... why was I so out of breath? Didn't all that walking and sporadic jogging I did during pregnancy keep me in tip-top shape?

The summer I was unemployed, I watched every season of Scrubs. I have some complicated feelings about Dr. Cox. And his abs.

When I turned around at the 15 minute point, I realized I'd had a strong tailwind the whole way out (this is standard for my road). Ugh. Now I have to run home with a ridiculous headwind. I slowed down, but not terribly, and just focused on breathing. I'm glad I got it out of the way without making a big deal out of it. It was just another run.

Now the real fun begins! Nick and I are signed up for our local running club's Grand Prix. If we run 3 or more races put on by the club, our places are compared to those of other club members in our age group. Fastest people get prizes. Yes. I will run for prizes. This first race was the January 1 Resolution Run (recap here). We both placed in that one (race was very tiny... I add that because a 27 minute 5k probably should not earn a medal...) so we're already set up for a decent year. At least Nick is. He's a talented runner no matter how long his off season is. I've got my work cut out for me. The next race is this weekend! I assume it'll be small as well since it's Easter Weekend. Last year's results show about 300 participants. The next race is the following weekend and it's one of the bigger 5k's in the region.

tl;dr I'm back to running, it's hard, but I have some races soon to motivate me. I'm excited. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Cloth diapering for cheap people

My mom cloth diapered with my brother and me. It was more common back in those days, but there were not a lot of options for the type of cloth diapers. Based on what she told me, I figured it would be relatively straightforward with our own child.

 When we decided it was something we'd like to do with our baby, I started researching.
I just... I just love the Internet so much.

The thing is, in theory you can just slap whatever cloth thing on your kid's behind, cover it with something waterproof, and call it a day. But because more technology = better, there are now these complicated diapering systems 
All I see is something that costs $30 that's going to be pooped on.

I mean... really.

So after being overwhelmed and trying to learn everything, I decided to go my usual route. What's cheap and easy? Let's do that. I started looking at various diaper re-sale sites. Yes, I bought used diapers for my precious first born child. I am not sorry. Because I bought used, I spent less than $200 on the whole shebang, but even if this had all been new, it wouldn't have been very expensive. Our stash consists of:

36ish Birdseye cotton flats
24 small prefolds (2 months to 6ish months)
6 newborn covers
12ish Size 1 (newborn to 6ish months) and Size 2 (6ish months to toddler) covers
Cloth wipes
2 wetbags and 2 pail liners

That's it. And what we have does a great job of keeping D clean and dry. We'll need more prefolds and probably another batch of flats because these are getting washed so much, but overall, this is working very well. Plus, it's all super easy to clean. Flats are like dish towels, they're relatively thin. They're cotton. They can be bleached if necessary. That complicated diaper above has microfiber and other weirdness that doesn't wash or dry very well. It's mega absorbent (nice) but that means it takes forever to dry. Complicated diapers like those have created a whole special subset of diaper/detergent science enthusiasts. There's a facebook group with 45,000 members dedicated to discussing how to properly wash diapers. 

Granted, we've only been doing this for 7 weeks, but it's been pretty enjoyable. Disposables might be easier, and yes, I do a fair amount of laundry (every other day), but it works well for us. And we're not generating huge amounts of diaper trash or spending silly amounts of money buying new diapers every week/month. That makes me happy. 

Bonus, he's SUPER CUTE with his wee tiny diaper cover. So, so cute (this was day 5).