Riley

Riley

If I had not miscarried in October, my due date would be right around the corner. June 8th. I have been trying not to think about it. Today, I nearly cried at work, because I was helping a customer with a WIC transaction, and the expiration date of the check was June 8th. My breath caught in my throat, and I had to take a mental step back and regroup. It totally caught me by surprise.

“It’s just a date, don’t be stupid!” I told myself. “Get a grip!”

It will never be “just a date” to me again. It will always be the day I wonder what our child would have been like. It will always be the day that the loss hurts more than other days.

I requested that day off of work. I haven’t decided if I am going to arrange a babysitter and stay in bed all day crying, or if I’m going to take my baby girl to the park or the beach or the zoo or the children’s museum or aquarium. I don’t know. I think I’ll take Bri somewhere. Maybe. I’m worried I”ll be a wreck. I’ve always been a very emotional person, and I don’t handle loss well. I cry like an idiot at random times, and feel super depressed, and then sometimes I rage and storm at nothing in particular and feel very defeated afterwards.

Telling myself it’s just another day on the calendar doesn’t help. October 10th, the day I lost the baby, and June 8th, the day I was supposed to be due…they’ll be terrible days for a while.

I’m going to light a candle on the 8th. Maybe that will help me feel better. I’ll light a candle and sing the song I used to sing to Bri when she was a newborn, and I’ll say goodbye again. And then I’ll hug the baby I still I have really tight and tell her that I love her. Maybe that will help. Or maybe it won’t. But it’s something to do, right?

(Should Be A) Mama of Two

 

P.S. I couldn’t go around calling the baby we lost “it” anymore. We didn’t know if it was a boy or a girl. I told David I needed to name the baby, just for us, just for something to say other than “it.” So we named the baby together. We chose Riley. It works for a boy or a girl. I think it’s a nice name.

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Kids Grow Up Too Fast

Kids Grow Up Too Fast

I love it when my daughter hands out hugs and kisses, and lately, she hands out A LOT of them!

She is just the sweetest little girl ever. She runs up to me while I am doing dishes or making lunch or doing laundry, and she hugs my legs and giggles. When I turn around and swoop her up and give her a hug and tell her I love her, she gives me a big kiss complete with sound effects (“MWAH”) and giggles again, often leaning back in for a second or even third kiss before wiggling to get down. Once she’s on the floor, she’s off and running again, but not for long before coming back for more hugs and kisses.

I love how affectionate and loving she is. I love that she isn’t shy about doling out that affection to her daddy and me. Not to mention her grandparents and other relatives…and her stuffed toys and dolls! Today I even saw her hugging a blanket. It’s so cute!

She is just full of surprises. Like, today, I finally figured out that one of the words she’s been trying so hard to say for three days is “share.” I figured this out as she insistently pointed at the soda I was drinking and repeatedly said “sure, sure, sure.” And then she made the sound she makes when she’s thirsty. “No, mama’s not going to share that, baby. Drink your milk.” And she did. I can’t believe how fast her vocabulary is growing. And how quickly her babyish characteristics disappeared.

I was telling David the other day that we need to convert her crib to a toddler bed. He shook his head in denial, and I asked him why. He said “Well, aside from the fact that I don’t want to admit she isn’t a baby anymore, how in the world are we going to keep her in bed?” Good question? It’s just about time to pack away her high chair, too, and put her booster seat on one of the dining room chairs. She really likes sitting at the table with us. Where did the time go? Where is that little newborn I just put to bed last night?!

She’s changing so fast. Growing up, learning new things every day, testing limits. I am so not ready for this.

A Mom Who Isn’t Ready 

I know I’m six months early…

I know I’m six months early…

…but I can’t stop trying to figure out where to have Briana’s birthday party in November. I know it’s ridiculous to think about it six months in advance, but when you’re on a budget and you live in an apartment (and even just inviting family – like truly immediate family) means you need a venue for roughly 25 people), it’s kind of stressful.

Last November we had Bri’s birthday party at Alfy’s. We booked the large banquet room and got stuffed in the smaller one because the employees were being lazy. I felt super claustrophobic the whole time and super stressed and didn’t enjoy it at all.

Since Bri is turning 2, I know it doesn’t have to be anything fancy. In fact, if I lived in a bigger house, I’d just invite everyone over for cake. But I don’t. And 25 people is a lot to just ask a friend “Hey, can I borrow your house?” Not to mention, I do have some friends with kids (and some without) that I would like to invite…if I can find a place that we can afford that can host everyone.

I hated doing it at Alfy’s, really, I really wish I could afford to do it somewhere nicer. But it seems like the cheapest places around here are AT LEAST $175, and the number of people included in that price is often too low to accommodate us. (Who charges $275 and then caps the number of guests at 20?!) If I could book it now and pay it off a little at a time, I might be able to swing that much…but she’s turning TWO. If I’m spending that much on her party when she turns two, and I going to be spending five hundred later on? $1,000?! I’m not trying to sound like a cheapskate…if I HAD the money, I would gladly spend it on my baby girl! But that’s a lot of money to us right now.

What’s really frustrating is, I really just need a room big enough to hold everyone, and then I can get the party decorations a little at a time, and the cake, etc. etc. It just seems so silly to pay $200 when I just need the ROOM. It would be so much easier if she had been born in a warmer month – I could just have it outside! Then with my thriftiness and my mother-in-law’s craftiness, and my sister-in-law’s cake decorating prowess…I could spend under a hundred dollars, heck, probably less than 60 dollars, on this party, and spread out the cost so that I really never spent more than ten bucks at a time.

Maybe it’s not silly to start looking six months ahead of time. I will figure this out, darnit!

Determined Mama

 

Standing Back

Standing Back

Today, we took my daughter to the park. It was an absolutely gorgeous day, and as it is Springtime in Western Washington, though we are getting good weather this week, next week might be awful. So we’re cramming as many outdoorsy and fun-in-the-sun activities in this week as we are able.

The playground is intimidating to me. So many children, most of them bigger than my child, running around, bumping into each other, throwing things, barely skirting around my baby girl as they run around playing pirates or cops and robbers or whatever it is they are imagining themselves to be. My instinct is to stay within arms reach, to block kids from knocking into B, to swoop in and pick her up if there’s a crowd. 

Today, I forced myself to stand back. I was still up on the play structure with her to offer a lending hand if she asked for it. I was still close enough to prevent her from stepping off of the edge of the structure when there was a huge drop. But I forced myself to stand back as kids ran by her, to stand back and watch as she was buffeted about a bit by a crowd of kids swarming to the slide.

I stood back as she stood her ground and didn’t let them knock her down. 

I stood back as she tried to climb a tall (for her) step, and immediately held her hand out to me for help. 

I stood back and said “You can do it, B!”

I stood back as she struggled and puzzled and tried and tried again.

I stood back and I cheered when she figured out how to leverage herself up, and shot me the biggest I-am-so-proud-of-myself grin.

I stood back as she ran across the bouncy bridge and squealed and laughed.

I stood back as she decided to go down the slide without any prompting, and clapped when my husband caught her at the bottom and she grinned at us both.

I stood back and let her explore and run and fall, and I was there when she needed me, or wanted to show me something.

I stood back and saw that she thought of this outing to the park as a great adventure, saw the spark of independence, saw my little girl where I used to see my baby.

I stood back today. And I liked what I saw.

Mama is Learning to Let Go

18 Months Old Already?!

18 Months Old Already?!

We took B to the doctor for her 18 month check-up yesterday. She was officially a year and a half old on May 5th. I can’t believe that so much time has gone by. I was watching some old videos of her on my phone today, from when she first rolled over, sat up, crawled, laughed. It was crazy to see how little she was just a few months ago, and how much she truly has changed, even just in the last few weeks.

I decided to do a blog just kind of outlining B’s current “stats” if you will. Her weight and height and vocabulary. I haven’t done one of those in a while, and I feel like now is as good a time as any to catch up.

She currently weighs in at 24 pounds and is 32 inches tall. (I think she may actually be taller, but Miss Wiggle Worm made it difficult to get an accurate measurement, so we’ll go with 32 inches.)

B’s vocabulary is growing every day (in fact she learned another new word today!), but here’s the current list of mastered words:

  1. Hi
  2. Bye/Bye-bye
  3. Keys
  4. Car
  5. Book (When she’s really excited, this word becomes “boo boo”)
  6. Mama
  7. Daddy
  8. Papa
  9. Uh oh
  10. Okay
  11. Puppy
  12. Woof
  13. Ball
  14. GG (Great Grandma’s name)
  15. Hello
  16. Coat
  17. All done/All gone (It’s hard to tell which one she’s saying sometimes, but I’m pretty sure I’ve heard both)
  18. Mom (oddly used more than “mama”)
  19. Shoe
  20. Go bye-bye (she only ever says this as a phrase, never just “go”)
  21. Wow
  22. Nose
  23. Baby

B is insanely curious about everything, and she wants to know what everything is called. She laughs easily and often. She has a mischievous streak, and when she’s caught doing something wrong, her standard reaction is to run up to you, throw her arms around your legs, and positively BEAM her smile up at you while giggling like a maniac. (I’m in so much trouble.) 

She loves being read to, and we’re learning how much patience is required to read the same book three hundred times in a row. Her favorite book right now, which is our designated Bedtime Book, is The Bear Snores On. It’s a very cute story, and I highly recommend it to anyone with kids. She loves it so much she’s been refusing to let go of it after we read it (twice in a row) before bed, so I decided it wasn’t worth fighting her. She’s been sleeping holding onto her puppy with one hand and her book with the other. (Parenting done right?)

She loves fruit. Raspberries seem to be her go-to favorite, but she’ll gobble down pretty much any fruit you put in front of her. She also loves her vegetables, yogurt, and chicken. Knock on wood, she has thus far been NOT picky at all about what she eats, though she hates tomatoes. (That could be because she grabbed it thinking it was a grape, though. :))

Our girl loves shoes. Her shoes, our shoes, your shoes, it doesn’t matter. She will find them, and she will try to put them on herself or whomever they belong to. I sense a very large shoe budget in her future! Oh, and when we took her to the doctor the other day, she refused to leave the apartment without her purse. *dies of cuteness overload* Sorry…I’m okay now. 

She’s also been going around hugging her teddy bears and puppy dogs, and dragging her blanket all around the apartment with her. Today, out of the blue, we had a hugging marathon. We were sitting on my bed, and she walked across the bed and gave me a hug. Then sat back down. Then gave me another hug. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. It was adorable!

She’s definitely a toddler though, throwing her tantrums and fighting her naps. I feel like we’ve got a pretty good handle on that part of it though. I’m actually somewhat proud of us, as parents. Not trying to brag…just proud of how we’ve learned right along with B how to handle certain situations and read between the lines and figure out what she needs from us. It’s nice to not feel lost or overwhelmed when it comes to our kiddo. I’m starting to feel like I’m not such a newbie anymore. I know there’s still a lot of stuff that hasn’t hit yet (I’m trying really hard not to panic about potty training), but for now, I’ve got this, and that feels good.

 

Not Such a New Mom

 

Lessons Learned at the Swimming Pool

Lessons Learned at the Swimming Pool

Today, we took B over to the indoor pool at our apartment complex cabana. She’s never been swimming before. We meant to take her while we were down in Florida when she was ten months old, but the timing was never right – every time we wanted to go, there was lightning, or she was tired, or we were hungry. So it just never happened. 

I was excited to take her. I love going to the pool, and would go a lot more often if I had the time (and didn’t feel so self conscious about my post-baby body, but that’s a blog for another day). I got her all ready in her cute little swimsuit, and I got myself ready. My husband wasn’t feeling up to swimming today, but he tagged along to see B experience the pool for the first time, which also gave me a handy cameraman. 🙂

We started out sitting on the steps in the pool, and she was smiling and having a pretty good time. But I wanted to take her out into the pool and see if I could get her to float on her back, so off of the steps we went. She turned into a little octopus. She was clinging fiercely to me, and wouldn’t let go. I kept trying to pry her off of me, and she kept clinging tightly to me. So we twirled around in the water a bit, and I bounced up and down so that the water splashed up around us a bit. She smiled, but still wouldn’t let go. 

She wrapped her arms around my shoulders and buried her face in my neck and refused to look at the water anymore. I was disappointed. I took her back over to the steps, and set her down on the topmost one so that I could fix my ponytail. Her face lit up and she started splashing in the water and giggling and laughing. She started babbling away and pointing at the water and the little tile design on the steps and yelling at daddy so that he would talk to her.

It made me realize that I had been trying to force my idea of a good time on her, instead of letting her play the way she wanted to. I wasn’t being malicious about it, but that’s exactly what I was doing. I’m not the first parent to do it, and I won’t be the last. I should have just let her go at her own pace. Maybe a year from now or two years from now or five years from now she’ll be splashing with me in the deep end or letting me tow her on her back across the pool. Or maybe she’ll always like sitting on the steps. Either way, I’ll let her choose how she wants to enjoy the pool. Or anything. Because trying to force your child to enjoy something usually ends up having the opposite effect, and then it turns into a miserable experience for everyone. At least I had this experience now, so I can remember it and not repeat this mistake later on.

Something else positive came out of today. We had tried moving B from her toddler tub to a regular bathtub a few times over the past couple of months, and she just wasn’t having it. But when we got home from the pool, and daddy gave B a bath, the pink toddler tub went into the closet, because she was all sorts of excited to splash around in the regular bathtub. Good times, good times. My baby girl is growing up.