6 Weeks: Twitterpated in the Sunshine

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My parents came for a visit. Three nights. They’ve never been allowed to stay three nights in a row before (I have a two night policy for guests, and a two night policy for my own visiting. It’s best to leave feeling like “I wish I should have stayed longer,” rather than “I wish to never see these people again.”), but they recently bought a motorhome and the extra private space provided a nice respite from them staying in our house. Potamus loved going out to the motorhome to play games with them at night, and when my dad needed to take his real estate calls, he didn’t have to do it in my living room with a 4 year old saying “grampy, grampy,” an infant crying, and my mom sighing. It was a lovely visit.

And the sun was out.

Seattle has been unseasonably warm and glorious in the past two weeks, and I was able to get a few lovely shots of Lil G in our backyard. I’m surprised everyday at how much I love this child. It is such a sweet feeling to have again. And a sweet feeling to know that this is the moment, one to never be repeated again. There’s something about it, like the flowers in the background, opening to beautiful blossoms and then dropping off to the ground after their moment of glory. ❤

One Month: Tongue Tie

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After 3 weeks of nipple pain, a bout of mastitis, and a visit with my lactation consultant friend, and a lot of Googling, it was determined that Lil G had a posterior tongue tie and an upper lip tie. I hemmed and hawed for about a week, hoping my nipples would heal, and that the ratio of painful latching to non-painful latching would become more balanced, that he’d get bigger, and everything would be peachy…I realized that it wasn’t going to happen. And so I made an appointment with a naturopathic doc who specializes in tongue ties.

I am SO glad I made that decision. Already, only 24 hours post op, the nursing pain has decresed incredibly. Could I finally be healing? And, “oh yes, this is what nursing should feel like,” goes through my mind when he latches on. Sure, it wasn’t a miracle cure, yet, as he needs to still work on his sucking mechanics, but overall I am feeling so much hope for the future of nursing this lil dude. He turns a month tomorrow, and I can’t believe it! Flying by!

19 Weeks

19 weeks

In a mere 4.5 days we learn whether we’re having a boy or a girl. I’m beyond excited. And while I only took a few pregnancy “bump” photos with Potamus, I’ve been curious to see how I’m progressing this go round. I want to compare with my first pregnancy, mostly because I’m actively working out and trying to eat healthier…something really important with my currently VERY stressful job.

This picture isn’t a comparison between pregnancies, but rather one of my abs engaged vs not engaged. Trying to maintain my core while I have the ability to do so!

When I’m 21 weeks I’ll do a side by side comparison with my Potamus belly!

Separation Anxiety…whoa!

Oh my goodness, I am two days into Winter Break and Potamus has developed full-fledged separation anxiety symptoms. Seriously. From out of nowhere. Or maybe my being home for 5 days in a row has triggered his primal neediness for his mama, but whatever it is, it’s causing a ruckus in our household.

On one hand, I am quite flattered that my baby has not forgotten who his mama is. I love spending time with him, going on outings to places like Little Diggers, and visiting friends. But Boof is an equal co-parent and has been a stay-at-home daddio for the past 8 months, and is equally capable of doing tasks around the house. And before the past few days, Potamus has fluidly been passed between the two of us for such tasks as bathing, being dressed, diapered, fed yogurt, for storytime and to be bounced to sleep if being nursed to sleep doesn’t work. But the minute Boof tries to do any of these things, in the past three days, Potamus has screamed his head off. If I am not in the line-of-sight at all times, he is freaking out. If I go to the bathroom he is crawling after me. If he wakes up in the night in his new big-boy-bed and he’s nursed within the past 2 hours, I’d like him to be bounced back to sleep, but to no avail. Wailing and beating his tiny little fists against Boof’s large chest. The sound is both pitiful and heartbreaking and does NOT ease my mind about this whole daycare situation. And, while he’s trying to be manly about it, Boof’s feelings are hurt.

Boof claims that once I leave, like today I went to coffee with a friend, Potamus calms down right away and plays happily. But when he was over with grandma, and Boof came home, Potamus crawled over to her and was clingy with her. Yeah. Note to baby Potamus: this makes daddy sad.

I would like to say that I handle this clingyness calmly and rationally. But really I vacillate between feeling empathy for such a little sweetness who is having sad or scared moments and needs his mama, and moments where I want to put my fist through a wall. I’ve been reading some personality stuff online, and this pretty much sums up some of my frustration nicely:

Motherhood can be especially challenging for your restless sign, since it requires consistency, structure and often, sitting still. As a spontaneous Sag, you’re used to following your instincts and whims, and going with the flow. That doesn’t quite mesh with kids’ need for regular meals, bedtimes, school and homework schedules. You may forever be juggling way too many projects, leaving you short on time and attention for your children. Motherhood demands that you cut back on the multi-tasking, even if you still type emails while breastfeeding, or allow occasional time with “electronic babysitters” like TV or iPads. The pre-verbal stage can be especially hard for the antsy, interactive Sagittarius mom. Your idea of purgatory? Sitting still to play endless counting games, stack the same three blocks, or do any of the other mind-numbingly repetitive activities that others call “early childhood development.” You’ll need that proverbial village to keep your children properly raised and entertained.

Needless to say, the clingyness falls under this category of often-annoying to me. But I am trying really really hard to just get down on his level, be in the present moment, even if it’s in the middle of the night and he’s nursing to sleep, and have some quality time. And in trying to wrap my head around this sudden spurt of clingy separation anxiety, I came across this quote:

the clingy, attention-seeking nature of our children is actually hard-wired into their brains. It makes biological sense that children evolved to make sure they were under an adults’ radar at all times, to protect them from wolves and other dangers in the wild. There may not be any wolves in our houses these days, but children’s brains are still the same.

Whew, that is SO good to remember. While I knew it bodily, my more advanced intellectual brain wants baby Potamus to operate with a fully functioning frontal lobe, or can understand basic English and have patience to ‘wait a sec while mommy wipes her butt.’

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11 Months, Thanksgiving Prep, and Birthday Invitations

Yesterday Potamus turned 11 months. No other time in his life is he going to be celebrated every month, so I like to go all-out. And by that, I mean, I sat on the couch and snapped a few pictures of him doing his thing…which, predictably, included the new skill of walking with his walker toy.

Yeah, proud mama right here! My baby’s walking! So what if he needs a walker, there are plenty of grown-ass adults that need walkers!

Another new skill is: being completely obsessed with my writing while on the laptop. Proof:

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Today my adoptive parents trek across Snoqualmie Pass to begin Thanksgiving prep. I’m mostly excited about spending time with them, making the pecan pie and the raspberry jello, and showing off Potamus’s new walking pasttime. I am excited for family time and rolls and drinking 6 bottles of sparkling cider.

I am nervous about having to navigate the whole jealousy issue. And I’m nervous about trying to placate my crazy ex-sister-in-law as she drops off her daughter for my adoptive brother’s custody holiday. She’s nuts, and I dislike having to deal with her.

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Yesterday I approved Boof’s invitation wording for our combined 30 & 1 birthday party in December. It was so sweet, how he put a picture of me and Potamus with the wording:

“Come Celebrate 30 & 1 with Mother and Son”

Narrowing the guest list down to friends was the easy part. But the whole family thing gets trickier. And as an adoptee, I tend to go between the opposite extremes of trying to please everybody or saying “screw it” and doing my own thing. But with a certain limit to how many people will fit into the rented room.
My challenge isn’t my biological dad, he and his family are a given.

My adoptive parents are going to be out of town and so we are doing a belated birthday bash right before Christmas.

It’s my biological mom’s side of the family that I’m worried about. Mostly because her brain is fried by all the years of drugs and alchol (not even to mention, she still might be using). And her parents are sweet, but overbearing and, how can I say it nicely…weird. But my half-siblings on that side are pretty cool, I mostly jive with my brother, but if I were to just invite him, or just invite the two of them, then are feelings going to be hurt. But most importantly, I have an excellent connection on-line with my great-uncle. He and I seem to just be totally simpatico, and he lives in Canada and might be down in time for the birthday, but would the world go all cattywampus if I invited him, but not his brother (my grandpa)?

I want to be true to myself and just invite my biological half-siblings and my paternal great-uncle. But I’m afraid of the ramifications.

And this is why I wasn’t ready to be in reunion at 18. People used to ask me about when I wanted to meet my biological family, but I always put it off saying “well, I’m in college, and it’s already complicated enough.” Gee whiz, at 30 I still don’t have it figured out.

Cry it Out

When I was going through my worst bout of post-partum depression, I met with my midwife. She was kind enough to disclose that she, herself, had suffered from post-partum depression that had been made worse by her son’s terrible sleeping habits. She had pushed off the idea of sleep-training until he was 11 months old and then she had gotten into such a state of sleep deprivation, that she did 2 nights of ‘cry it out’ with her son, a total of 20 minutes each night and BOOM he was, overall, a good sleeper after that.

I thought it would never happen to me. Potamus is always held or rocked or comforted back to sleep by patting or bouncing on the exercise ball or nursing. But there has been quite a few nights lately, where he is “awake” in the middle of the night for 3-4 hours, refusing to be bounced, not interested in nursing for very long, but CLEARLY tired. While he motors around the house he rubs his eyes, whines, cries, and rubs his eyes some more.

Last night I had enough.

I have had one five hour stretch of sleep in the last 9 months, and that happened 3 days ago. The rest of the time has been spending my nights with 2-2.5 stretches at a time, because Potamus was reverse cycling. The last few days, he has been up every hour all night long. He is tired. I am tired. But I don’t want to stop bed-sharing just yet, and crying it out doesn’t seem all that conducive when the crying person is in bed with you (let alone, crying it out has triggered ideas  of abandoning babies in nurseries while they wait to be put up for adoption and are only left to be cared for by nurses).

But, at 3am this morning, I had had enough. He was clearly tired. Boof was tired, and has been pulling long hours sitting in the living room in the middle of the night so that I can try and sleep. And so, I let him lay there between us. And I patted his back. And he cried. And wailed. And cried. And I thought I was going to die, or punch the wall, or tear my hair out. Most others talk about crying-it-out in similar ways, but their babies are in cribs in other rooms and they can go to the farthest reach of the house and get away from it.

It was the longest 15 minutes. And then he was quiet, with eyes half-open, and then he rolled onto his side and snuggled up to me.

And four hours later he woke up, hungry.

I don’t know if I will keep doing it, but it seemed to work. We all got more sleep. I didn’t abandon my baby or my instincts of bed-sharing, and being right there to comfort him. And I am thankful for the midwife’s story, which somehow gave me permission last night, to be the best mom I could…and let my baby sleep.

 

But I admit, after he fell asleep, a few tears of my own were shed. I guess I had my own cry it out night…