Friday, April 29, 2011

he likes them! he *really* likes them!!!

today he finished off the peas - which means he had half a container yesterday, and half a container today. not only does he open his mouth wide for every bite, looking at me with pure contentment, but he even leans towards the spoon. it's so fantastic.

we also got him up on all fours today. i held his knees in place, and he propped himself up on his hands. we did this several times today, but even better was when i was showing ben by helping milo into this same hands and knees maneuver on the kitchen counter: he held himself up all on his own! usually his knees will slide out from under him, and he'll still be holding his top end up, but from the waist down he's practically connected to the floor.

ben told milo that he expects to see him crawling in a month or two... i'm not so sure on that one, as he's only just finally figured out how to keep his butt up and his knees under him, but milo has listened and adhered to ben's wishes so far... (from the very start, milo arrived the weekend ben told him to, so i guess ben has some pretty good pull with the kid.) so perhaps we'll see him crawling in a month or two after all?

AND - the case of the missing clippers has been resolved!

turns out they were in milo's duffel bag all along, at the very bottom of the side pocket, kind of hiding in the corner. i found them yesterday when i was tidying up his room, putting away all of his clean clothes and emptying the contents of the bag. we trimmed his little talons immediately, and it was a huge sigh of relief. with how long those little nails of his were getting, i was worried he was gonna freddy krueger my face.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

just two peas in a pod...

and then a whole bunch more that milo gulped down his gullet this morning. it's a little bit funny (and perhaps a little bit sad) the things i get really excited about since becoming a mom. i just about cried tears of pure joy as i fed him, spoonful after spoonful of green pea mush that he readily ate.

so far rice cereal and green beans have been depressingly difficult. getting milo to eat them involved trickery of the most treacherous kind: silly songs and an unsuspecting open mouth. i would sing "old man by the window stood" (old man by the window stood, looking out into the wood, saw a bunny hopping by, knocking on his door. "help me! help me! help!" he said, "before the hunter shoots me dead!" "come inside and stay with me; oh how happy we will be!") including the most obnoxiously silly singing voice i could muster and accompanying hand motions.

he would look at me bewildered, but his mouth was open, and that's all i needed. in went the spoon, and then came the furrowed brow and a look of total disgust and betrayal, as if he were saying, "how could you. here i thought you were entertaining me, but no. just putting more of that nasty gunk you call 'food' into my mouth."

it worked most of the time, but we also often had to resort to prying the spoon into his mouth. he would turn away, or try and grab the spoon, or put his hand up in front of his face trying to stop us...

all this to say, green beans and rice cereal have been a struggle, and so far, milo has wanted nothing to do with them.

but peas? oh peas! glorious peas!

normally feeding milo in his highchair takes a minimum of half an hour. and for only maybe a tablespoon of food? (and that's before it gets derailed to his cheek, hand, bib, the floor.)

i gave him one spoonful of peas. he seemed a little unsure, but when i presented the second spoonful, he opened his mouth wide and readily accepted it. no singing or silly songs required. it took him maybe five minutes to eat what i had portioned out, so i decided to try for a second helping, and milo took in every bite.

like i said, it might be a little bit sad that i'd be so excited over peas, but these are the things my days consist of, and anything that'll make my job of feeding milo - helping him to learn and grow - easier is totally something worth getting excited over.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

the case of the missing clippers

we used to have two sets of nail clippers for milo - one that i kept in the drawer of his changing table, and another that we kept in his diaper bag.

recently, those have not been getting put back after every use - perhaps because i could only get partway through and needed to finish the other hand when i had ben around to help me, or maybe because milo and i were playing, and it just didn't seem necessary to put them away when i knew where they were...

then we cleaned house. and then we went down to chicago to spend easter with my parents.

and now i can find neither the changing table nor the diaper bag set of nail clippers.

and the poor little guy's nails are getting so long. they definitely need to be trimmed.

it's very possible that i left one of the sets at my parents' house, but how is it that when i clean house is when i'm most likely to forget where things are?

i remember seeing them while i was cleaning, holding them, putting them down... somewhere - thinking "i should put these in his diaper bag/the changing table drawer" but not doing so. and trying to remember where i set them down last - on the table? the tray with all the miscellaneous papers and objects that seemed too important to stuff away in a cupboard? the playmat? my desk? a drawer?

i'm sure they'll turn up, i just hope i don't have to tear this beautifully organized home apart in order to find them.

(i can see it now, poor ben gets home after a long day of work to a house that was clean when he left only to find the zoe-tornado-monster went through and disheveled everything from every single nook and cranny imaginable. the floor is missing, doors ajar, clutter on every flat surface available for spreading out our accumulation of things - "zoe, what happened?" "oh nothing. i was just trying to find milo's nail clippers...")

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

so much for "lessons learned"

i ended milo's 6 month-post with a sweet sentiment on how i know i needed to give myself more grace, and what i thought that looked like. this mothering business makes me feel so foolish. i have no clue what i'm doing. every once in awhile i think i have a little bit more figured out, only to trip over my own feet and fall flat on my face.

ben said it again to me this morning, "zoe, you need to give yourself more grace."

and maybe that's true. but in reading the "the sleep lady's" chapter on 6-8 month olds, i'm learning of all the things that i'm doing wrong - or at least all these different things that, according to this one person's opinion on the matter, are hindering my child in his ability to "learn" proper sleeping patterns.

including but not limited to:
  • we have no set schedule. we eat and sleep in compliance to milo's fussiness and what i've been able to tell are his "i'm tired" signals. but sometimes we go out and do things, and he's too busy taking in the world, being entertained and interacting with others to really complain about being hungry or tired, so his feeding or naptime gets pushed around accordingly.
  • i still use feedings as part of my "put you down for a nap" routine.
  • we do not have set meal times.
  • we do not have two weeks (or more) of uninterrupted schedule to focus on nothing but adhering to a napping and eating schedule for milo. the biggest interference is church on sundays... everything else i'd be willing to skip for a few weeks, but then we have our easter road trip coming up not this weekend but next... and would that even be enough time to start "nap-training," or would the trip just set us back to square one?

so sure, maybe i still need to not be so hard on myself, but at the same time, if i'm continuing patterns that i've been told are going to inhibit his ability to nap and grow and develop and learn, wouldn't it be wrong to simply give myself grace? say "oh well, better luck tomorrow."

i dunno, maybe my definition of "giving myself grace" is off.

i feel like this hits at a core weakness for me - self-discipline. sure, i can get things done, complete tasks, etc, etc, but it's been a long hard process of learning how to get things done when they're due, or when i'd said i'd have them done by. i very well could have been a straight-A student if i had devoted my afternoons to focusing on homework and getting things done in a timely manner. but i knew i wasn't going to be a doctor or astronaut; i had no driving motivation to get straight A's.

when working at my various jobs, my ability to self-discipline depended on the task and nature of the job. youth ministry was difficult for me. how to gauge what task was most important and needing immediate attention; how to not avoid and procrastinate over the more vital tasks because i feared failure. being a barista was easy. it was all technical mastery of frothing milk and timing espresso shots. a customer puts in their order, you make it, you give it to them. when no customers are waiting to be served, you clean up, restock, put everything back in order. a customer comes in, repeat the process. i loved it, because it was so easy to succeed with flying colors.

with housework, it was more difficult than being a barista, but not as crucial as work or school related tasks. yes, keeping a clean and orderly house would keep ben happy and help him to feel more sane, but at the end of the day, a paycheck or a grade to complete a class was not depending on it. i truly want to make ben happy and have our home be a place of peace and comfort, and i too love having it be clean and orderly, but some days my own selfishness got in the way - i was too tired or worn out from a hard day at work, i wanted to paint instead, or write an uber long blog post. (ahem... clearly i still get in my own way...)

and now i have something that feels crucially important before me. something worth caring about, but something that is far from easy: raising a child.

i know i'm not perfect, that i'll make mistakes, but i still want to do the best that i possibly can, and when i know of something i should be doing better, i have a hard time giving myself grace, and yet, because i have no clue as to what i'm doing or how to go about it, as i haven't taken the time to fully study the different opinions/ideas/ways of doing things, i hesitate to change my patterns until i know what i'm doing. i don't want to create an environment that is even more unstable because i keep trying and dropping every new idea that comes my way...

but then comes the problem that i don't know how to focus on only being a mother - and i don't feel like that's the right answer either. i'm also a wife. and sometimes even a contributing member of society. (at least half of every week we don't get out of the house, let alone talk to anybody besides ben, or maybe my parents.)

and while i'd love any and all the advice i can get, i'm also tired of hearing so many conflicting views and opinions.... how am i supposed to know who's right? who's wrong? whose way of doing things is closest to what milo needs and is best for our family?

and i'm not octomom or the eldest in a set of sister-wives, so i think my maternal instinct has yet to develop, as it's been of very little help to me in discerning "what's best" for milo.

oy. that's enough of milo's nap-time spent venting my frustrations, time to focus on something new and not so daunting....

Saturday, April 9, 2011

6 months *to the day*

i feel like such a milestone should be marked with words that are moving and memorable.

(or maybe i'll just use as many "m" words as i can think of to mark milo's 6-months here on earth? movie! mandarin! mazeltov! meh, any "m" words from here on out may not be merely coincidental, but were not chosen solely for their starting letter; i just like alliteration.)

anyhow, i thought about writing on how fast it's gone by, but that's an overstatement, and an obvious one at that.

i thought about highlighting new things he's doing, but today hasn't really brought on any new tricks. (in the past week, he seems to be waking up again more frequently, though i can't figure out why, because he had been sleeping relatively well. i wouldn't consider this something to be excited about.)

i thought about gushing over all the sweet little things i love about him, and there are so many, though probably not so much because they are there, but because i'm his mother, so of course i'm going to find a million little things to love about him.

but really, all i can think of on this day is that i'm tired from not sleeping well - granted, not entirely his fault. though he did wake up three or four times last night, he went back to sleep on his own within a minute or two each time. more-so my lethargy, i think, has to do with stressful dreams and an hour or two where i couldn't fall back to sleep...

plus this gray rainy weather isn't very inspiring.

so i'm tired and feeling unmotivated, and the house needs cleaning. and the clean dishes need to be put away so the dirty dishes can be loaded, and ben's at work, so this saturday doesn't exactly feel like a "day off" to me either; i feel like i should be working just as hard. and there are bills and such that need to be sent out and paid come monday. and errands to run.

and all the while there are still so many thoughts that run around in my head that i wish i had the answers to...

will ben and i ever find a house, which we can afford on his salary alone, in this town, that is in livable condition? or are we not able to find anything because we aren't meant to be in this town for long? and if that's the case, then where are we going next? and when? and will we always be moving? and how long will it be before we decide that we're ready for child number 2? will we still be renting then? could we realistically fit two children in this cozy little home? should we adopt? and what about the house we still own in red wing? (and is mine the only brain that goes on forever like this? because sometimes it sure does feel like it...)

he's 6 months old, and my mind gets caught up in all this petty stuff that in the long run of our lives won't really matter.

i want to remember how milo laughs so hard when ben turns him on his side and playfully growls while munching on his ribs. i want to remember how milo's eyes get wide and almost paranoid looking when he first wakes up from a nap and he's not in his crib (or we've just pulled him out of his crib, and he's not sure of what's going on). i want to remember how chunky - excuse me, "solid" just like his daddy was as a baby ;P - that his little legs are. i want to remember the bird fuzz that is his blond hair. i want to remember how he rubs his eyes the same way i did (and still do) when feeling sleepy. i want to remember how he cuddles into me when he's tired, the variously-pitched mumbles, sighs and babbles he makes through the day, how excited and contented he is to be in his jumper...

perhaps being a mother, these are the things i'll never forget.

and yet i wonder, because i still can't stop my mind from thinking of all the things i should be doing, or doing better - the housework, introducing milo to rice cereal more consistently, catching up on quacksie and hoots pictures... i'm still too caught up with all the other stuff.

and while it's draining, it seems fitting.

this is what it seems motherhood is all about: always going, never gone. (until i'm 6 feet under, that is, which, God willing, is a long way off from now...) but really, from all the mothers i know and watch and talk to, it seems the work is never finished. we're always mothers. and then someday, grandmothers?!?

so 6 months have gone by, and what have i learned?

being a mom is stressful, because all i want to do is keep him safe and raise him right, and i feel like all moms struggle with this mother-cub attitude, and yet no one seems to be able to offer a tangible solution other than having more kids...

also, in principle, i'm realizing more and more that i need to give myself grace. (others - and especially ben - have been telling me this from the get-go - thanks, ben, for being such a supportive, encouraging and understanding husband! - but man is it a hard thing to do - especially when the job is raising a child.)

and i think part of it may be that i need to play more and work less - as in, instead of viewing my time with milo as "educational" or a means to helping him develop properly, i need to meet his needs (has he been fed? yes. does his diaper need changing? ben, your turn!) and then simply enjoy my time with him.

again, this is all in principle. i'm guessing these revelations won't sink in until he's 18. or having children of his own. or maybe never?

well, i guess that's enough rambling for one post. miraculously, milo's still napping. i suppose i should use these quiet moments effectively and get something done before ben gets home.

***happy 6 months my little man! even though it's a lot of work to have a kid, you're totally worth it, and we love you oodles!***

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

hello mouth; meet foot.

milo has begun to discover his feet.

especially on the changing table, while he's bare-butt and fancy-free, he likes to pull his knees up and grab at his feet before i've had a chance to put a new diaper on him.

and today he found that he can get his foot into his mouth.

class size is limited, so sign up now for milo's find-the-flexibility-you-were-born-with yoga class, meeting weekly at 5 a.m. from the comfort of his changing table. prices may vary.