Remember that time I posted pictures of my one-year-old on this blog? And then do you remember how I fell off the face of the earth for months? 6 months to be exact?

Sorry about that.

For the last 6 months I have no excuse other than I’ve been busy. And then the Winter Olympics came on and I was all about those for 2 weeks, too.  So I think it’s pretty obvious that the Olympics are to blame.

In all seriousness, I’ve lately started thinking about how I’ve lost track of doing the things I love. Writing being one of them.  I’m a wife, a mom and I have a career.  And when you aren’t finding me fulfilling those roles, I’m shoveling the sidewalk because my damn husband refuses to buy a snowblower even though this winter is hateful. Just. Freakin. Hateful.

So I’ve let this blog slip by and every once in awhile I’ll think about it fondly. Like an old friend who you keep meaning to call.

Today’s the day. And I’m making myself a promise, too.  I’d like to check in more. I’d like to write more. I think it gives me a good outlet.

So, yeah. I’m back, bitches. And in rare form apparently because why did I just call you bitches? Sorry about that. It’s out of love.

You should hear from me soon. And the next post will pretend like this all didn’t happen.

Oh, and here’s the little man-child who is now tall and child-like and no longer a baby. It’s freaking me out.

Fox

 

Little dude turned 1 a few weeks ago, but as always I couldn’t get my act together to post in a timely manner.  The pressure was on to write something sappy so instead of diving in headfirst, I avoided all of you for awhile.  You’re not mad at me, right?

I’m posting his one year photo, but I’ll be back with the sap.  Don’t you worry.

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Oh.  And here’s the cake I made for him.  Thank god for Pinterest, people…How did we ever plan weddings or have babies without it?

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I’m behind on my 11 months photo.  What else is new?  It’s a wonder this kid gets fed and dressed each day. (Before you pick up the phone to call Child Protective Services, be aware that he IS fed and dressed each day.  Parent of the Year Award right here…)

Here’s little dude at 11 months…

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He actually looks a little different now because I DID finally get his hair cut.  Now it’s short and goes straight across his forehead like Lloyd from Dumb & Dumber.  He looks like a little friar.  Friar Fox and his bowl cut.

I thought for sure my kid would have crazy curly hair like me, but it wouldn’t be his personality to comply.

Anyways.  We’re celebrating that milestone birthday in less than 2 weeks.  I can’t believe he’ll be 1.  Be prepared for the next blog post to be emotional and sappy.  I’ve warned you.

 

First things first – I’m a little late in posting that 10 month photo.  So here it is:

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This. Freaking. Kid.  Oh my heck.  He’s crawling now, pulling himself up onto things, shrieking wildly at any given moment.  He’s funny and hilarious and probably the most stubborn baby on this side of the Mississippi.  He’s not a cuddler.  If you try to get near him to give him a kiss, he’ll give you a slap in the face and then laugh like a crazy man.  He has not ONE shy bone in his body.  He bug-eyes strangers and then gives them his signature smile. If he sees kids in the distance, he’ll yell to them.  He loves a crowd and likes to make this known by screaming with delight as loudly as he can.  He caused a scene in Culvers.

That’s my child.  My non-snuggling, stubborn, hilarious little boy.  Whose room I sneak into just about every night to pick him up and cuddle with him on the rocking chair because I have to get some good hugs in at SOME POINT during the day.  When he’s awake, there’s just too much to explore, Mom…

So that’s that.

Now to the title of my post.

I need a preface to this blog. I want to start off this post by saying that motherhood is tough.  We mothers put a lot of pressure on ourselves by trying to be perfect and along with that comes the uncanny ability to compare ourselves to other moms.  And then with THAT comes this uncanny ability to feel guilty over just about everything.

Oh you feed your baby non-organic yogurt?  You monster.

You mean to tell me that you cloth diaper that kid in pocket diapers?  Well I do it old-school with the pre-folds and covers and pins.  I can’t believe you call yourself a mom.

Nobody says these things, but they’re conversations that run through your own mind as a mom.  You feel guilty for every choice you make because, at the end of the day, you want to make sure you give your babe the best start on life.  And when you’re job is done, he’s free to mess it up however he’d like.

Because of this kind of thinking, I’ve always been uber-sensitive about my own opinions on motherhood.  I completely, utterly respect moms who decide to breastfeed and the same feelings are shared towards those who choose to do formula.  I won’t judge you if you send your child to daycare or stay at home with him.  Fill the landfill with disposable diapers, I don’t care – my husband and I have definitely added our share, trust me.

That’s my intro.  Because I’m going to talk to you about my OWN personal mothering choices, but I’m telling you that I’m not saying anything for or against a mothering practice if it isn’t what I have chosen to do.  Because I don’t want anyone walking away from this post thinking I’m judging.  I’m not.

Damn, I’m paranoid.

Anyway, the whole point for my little opening thesis statement is this: About 2 weeks ago Fox decided to stop nursing.

Here’s our history.

I’ve breastfed Fox since the beginning.  Unlike many of my friends who had no issues nursing their babes, I had an uphill battle from the beginning.  I had issues with overproducing, which would often lead to both of us in tears as he couldn’t handle the flow and would be refusing to nurse from one side.

Things finally started to settle right about the time I went back to work.

The next challenge came with being a working mom.  It was called pumping.  Constantly.  I was determined to continue nursing and feeding him breastmilk so I’d pump during the day and nurse morning and night.  My company didn’t have a room to set me up in so I had to use an unfinished room in the building with the building manager’s permission.  There was no heat or electricity.  I was also walked in on once.

But I stuck with it, having the goal of making it to one year in my head.

As Fox got bigger, his little independent personality got bigger as well and he started becoming less interested in nursing and more interested in the bug crawling on the wall…or the bright spine of a book on his bookshelf…or maybe even just a little baby thought would cross his little baby mind so he’d want to sit up and rattle it around in his head a little bit.  It went like this for about a month of him nursing, sitting up, nursing, sitting up.

But I kept plugging along and we made it through.

When suddenly, one morning, he only nursed from one side.

That night he didn’t nurse at all.

And that’s when he stopped.

It was the worst weekend I’ve had in a long time.  I pumped like crazy, tried to entice him like never before, called on every friend with a baby and lactation consultant I could find.

It’s funny who you talk to during these times.  Lactation consultants are so helpful, but they’re almost SO pro-breastfeeding that it’s hard for them to see any other means of feeding your infant.  Mine said that babies rarely wean this young and to keep being persistent in offering.

The pediatrician said that he’s weaning and handed me a canister of formula.

I don’t have anything against formula.  I really don’t.  But the heartbreak for me came from losing control of the situation.  So often I talked about how excited I was for the year mark when I could start to wean him myself, but that little pickle up and did it himself.

I tried for 2 weeks to entice him back, but nothing ever came of it.  Even in his sleep, the poor baby would cry out if I came anywhere near him with a boob.

The first time I gave him a bottle of formula I sobbed.  I didn’t realize how emotional I’d be over not nursing him.

We’re better now.  I still pump and feed him expressed breastmilk, but he also gets 1 bottle of formula in the morning because my body just can’t produce enough for his daily intake needs.  Pumping is a lot more work, but I keep reminding myself that I have a month and a half to go and it keeps me going.

I think the lesson I learned from this is that us mothers are way too hard on ourselves.  Why did I beat myself up over something that was out of my control?  Supplementing with formula doesn’t make me a bad mom.  Feeding him a bottle instead of nursing him also doesn’t make me a bad mom.  I’m not being kicked out of the “Good Mom’s Club.”

So to all you moms out there – you’re doing a great job.  Whether you breastfeed, formula feed, Cheetos-feed, you’re rocking at your job.  Just limit your kid’s crack habit to only once a week and you’ve, like, totally got this parenting thing down.

That’s right, folks.  Mr. Man is 9 months old.

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We had his 9-month doc appointment two days ago and he promptly broke out into an angry, all-body rash that very morning.  He did the EXACT SAME THING for his 6 month visit.  I kid you not.  It’s like the little dude already has “white coat” syndrome or something.

Here are  his stats.  17 pounds, 13 ounces – 1oth percentile. 27 and 3/4 inches – 30th percentile.

Translation – I  might have birthed a munchkin.

And we’re wondering if he has a hollow leg because, seriously…he’s eating, like, every hour.

He’s also teething and has been a goblin for the last 2 weeks.  One top tooth finally poked through this past Tuesday, but no sign of the other one.  Which means we also might have given birth to a hillbilly.

Here are a few more photos from this shoot.  I wish I was this happy eating beets.

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Mother. Kindly promise me that you’ll never use your own spit to style my hair again.

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Last night I heard Fox moaning and whimpering over the baby monitor. Usually we let him whine a little at night when we know he’s just woken up and is trying to get himself back to sleep. But lately he’s been teething those two top teeth and has been pretty miserable. Swollen gums makes for an unhappy babe.

So I sneaked quietly into his room, picked him up, did a quick diaper change and turned on his favorite little rock lamp that emits the coolest warm glow. Usually he’s not content to be rocked back to sleep. He’ll want to nurse. Then sit up and stare at the lamp. Then he’ll want to nurse more. And then he’s trying to talk to the lamp. This goes on a for awhile until I finally decide that he’s not really all that interested in nursing, but it’s a little late to be holding midnight meetings with the lamp. Sorry bud.

Last night was different though. He was tired and not feeling well. I sat down in the little rocking chair with him and he put his head on my shoulder.

Let me preface this by saying that Fox is not a cuddler. He’s too interested in all the fun stuff happening around him to relax. But last night was different.

For awhile he kept picking up his head to make sure the rock lamp was still there (just checking!) and then finally he settled. For a long while we sat rocking, his face turned towards mine and his head falling back enough that he could stare at my face. He curled his little feet in like a frog and had his hand on my chest.

His eyes got heavy but I could see him fighting the urge to sleep. Every once in awhile I’d see the Nuk go up and down.

I have known Fox for 8 months. Sounds funny to say that, but it’s true. I’ve been on this earth for 30 years and have known this little man for 8 months of those. And yet, out of all my accomplishments, triumphs and successes, he is by far my greatest pride.

On a typical Friday night, not too long ago, an evening would consist of getting gussied up and heading out to the bars. Now a regular night consists of celebrating when Fox hits a new milestone. I used to belt out Ludacris songs when they’d come on the jukebox and now I’m at home singing the ABC’s on repeat.

I have found my happy place. And I truly mean that.

I stared at Fox for a long while after he finally lost the battle to sleep. My arm was cramping and I was in an awkward angle, but I didn’t want to move. I looked at his little face and tried to imagine what he’d be when he “grew up.” Just like how I’d sit in that same chair while pregnant trying to envision the baby I’d be holding on the outside so soon.

I thought a lot about the overwhelming feeling of love I felt and how millions of parents of teenagers right now, who struggle to connect with their kid, remember back to nights like these when they quietly vowed to never let their child know how cruel life can be sometimes.

This parenting thing really is something, isn’t it?

It puts a lot of things into perspective. The meaningless stuff just seems so…meaningless. Family takes on a new definition. Saturday errands become an adventure. Life, as hard as it can sometimes be, seems to have a rosier tint.

I finally put him down in his crib and he curled up into the bumper pad. I stood over him for awhile smiling and thinking about how he finally mastered getting into a sitting position from his belly that very night.

And I whispered a thousand and one “thank you’s” into the silence because I couldn’t feel more blessed than I do now.

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El Duder-ino turned 8 months today.

We celebrated in our normal fashion which means we bathed him and then he horfed up his entire meal of apples, blueberries and oatmeal all over me and his pajamies.

Horfed. Like, for real. Imagine the color.

We party pretty hard around these parts apparently.

So without further ado, here’s my little barfing machine, hamming it up for the camera in his normal fashion.

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