Thursday, August 30, 2012

15 months!

Indulge me as I continue to use this blog as a baby book...


You are 15 months old! We had your 15 month well visit at the pediatrician's office yesterday, and here are your stats:

Weight: 20 lbs, 2 oz   10th percentile (yikes!)
Height: 30"  25-50th percentile
Head circumference: 45 1/2 cm  25-50th percentile
You are still a squirt, but the pediatrician assures me that you are growing just fine. You fit in almost all of your 12 month clothes, but are starting to grow into 18 month ones. You wear a size 4 diaper, and are still firmly in size 4 shoes.
According to this handy dandy sheet that somehow the pediatrician's office thinks should capture the amazing person that is you, you are supposed to be hitting the following milestones:
Walks well alone/Tries to run
You are dynamite on this one! When we take you out of the car, you wiggle around and say "walka walka walka", and will walk from the car to the steps on your own, usually accompanied by vigorous arm pumping and "Whoooaaaaa".
Uses a cup/uses a spoon
Well, we're almost completely free of bottles. You use a sippy for all of your beverages now, which continues to exclude juice. Thankfully, you're starting to accept water, so I'm a bit less worried about you turning into a serious milk monster. You still use a bottle as part of your bedtime routine, and as we learned last night, are not yet ready to give it up. I'm fine with it though, just one bottle at bedtime seems reasonable to me. On the spoon front... we can blame Mama for you failing on that one. I'm sorry about this, bunny, but I got into the habit of putting all of your food directly onto your high chair tray, skipping both plates and utensils. We have plenty of spoons, but I'm about 100% sure that if I gave you one, you'd just fling all your food onto the floor! Will do better soon, I promise.
Clearly says Mama/Dada with 3-6 jargon words
You use Papa very generously, but are extremely sparing with the Mama, which makes me very sad. When Dr. Kalili asked how many words you had, I told her that you had about 5 or 6 (Hi! Bye! Doggie = pronounced Tattie; Mine! Up! Night Night!). But, it turns out that I underestimated you! Yesterday, I picked you up from daycare a bit early because you had a slight fever from your shots and brought you back to my office. You hung out at one of my co-worker's desk for about 20 minutes, and I overheard you saying so many words that you have been holding out on Mama! I heard you clearly say "shoes", "car", "baby", and "Elmo!" (she was playing her sesame street on her iPad).
Learning Body Parts
You are starting to do this. You've mastered showing us where your nose and belly are, but you struggle with eyes, ears, and mouth. We'll keep working on it! You have a couple of other excellent tricks that you do though. One that is called "Scrunchy face", and you pucker your eyes, nose and mouth. You also bring your hands up to your cheeks when we say "Oh no! I'm Home Alone!" (you know, like Macaulay Culkin).


Looks at Books and Pictures
Yes. You definitely like books, and you have your favorites. You have starting to become extremely impatient with them, though. If there are too many words that go along with the pictures, you just want to skip ahead. I get it, sometimes there's just too much dialogue. Your current favorite is "Jamberry", especially since I hid "Go dog go".
Enjoys giving hugs and kisses
Yes! You got to this one just under the wire, too. Well, you've been giving hugs for ages. You give Swarley hugs just abut every time he lets you, but you save some great ones for Mama. You say "Aww" everytime you give one, too. You did just start giving kisses, though. You aren't smacking your lips, but you do put your wet mouth on my cheeck (and sometimes mouth, let's admit it) and go "mmmMuah!". You prefer doing it to your stuffed animals, and of course, Swarley.

Everytime you hit a milestone age, it's better than the last. At 15 months, I can't imagine a better you. You are so fun, and playful, and interactive, that there's never a dull moment in our little life. Mia, we love you so much.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Daycare drop off

This has been a tough couple of days. I actually can't believe that it's only Wednesday, it already feels like the weekend should be coming up. I've been very busy at work, writing an appeal to a Government Agency Determination that I don't believe the Company should be filing. The cost and effort involved in appealing the determination far outweighs the penalty, but hey, I just give out the advice, right? My boss took his sweet time deciding, too. I laid out all the options for him on Monday of last week, and told him to take a couple of days to make his decision. Of course, when he strolled in at 11am on Monday, he gave me the answer I was hoping against. Anyway, I've had two days to finish this before it had to be overnighted to the Government Agency. Now, it's done, it's at the post office and we paid for overnight delivery, so let's hope for the best. Mailbox rule....? Whatever.

But, that's not the real reason it's been a tough couple of days. Even if I didn't necessarily agree with what I was doing, I was happy to be doing it. Writing a real legal argument, for a Government Agency, it's thrilling for someone whose job as a lawyer mainly consists of writing collection demand letters and subsequent collection complaints. These past few days, I've really felt the effects of the working mom. Mia has been... awesome. She's been mostly sleeping through the night, waking up at 6am and then lounging in our bed for about 15 minutes before we have to start our daycare routine. She's discovering new things, learning new words, and being generally fun. She makes faces and tries to make you laugh, she chases her doggies around, and seems to genuinely enjoy her days. And I want to be right there with her, enjoying what she enjoys. B's schedule this week has made it so I had to do daycare drop off. This is only my second time ever doing it, and it did not go well. I don't really know what the etiquette is, or where I'm supposed to go, or what. It did not go well. I came in, put her stuff on her hook, and stood in her classroom while her teacher got herself situated. It felt strange to just walk out while she was obviously busy setting something up to better care for my child, so I just stood there for a minute or two while Mia screamed and clung to my leg. A second teacher came into the classroom and I was just like... "I should just go, right?" She nodded and I walked out, still hearing Mia wailing in the background. She was fine, and she always seems to be enjoying herself at pickup, but that was tough. All I wanted to do in that moment was pick her up and turn the car right back around to head home. I think the only thing (other than being a rationa adult) that kept me from doing it was that I had my appeal to finish by the end of the day. Ah, the classic and dramatic scenario where the working mother is pulled in one direction by her screaming child, and by her pending deadline in the other direction.

I generally never feel that way. I generally don't have something to do that feels like it's so important that I can't spend time with my child. My motivation to work is 90% based on need. And since B always does the drop off, I never see or feel the emotion involvd in physically giving my child to someone else. My last image of Mia is her happily waving and saying "Bye!" as they walk out to the car together. She doesn't cry when B drops her off in the morning - because that's what she's used to. And I never realized how grateful I was for that.

I like daycare. I like our daycare, I really do. For Mia, and while I still have to continue working, it's the best thing for her. She blossomed when she started, and we think her development continues to advance thanks to her time with older kids, the stimulation they provide, etc. It's great, and she does well. But sometimes, I really wish it was an option for us to stay home together.

Mia's new game is to tuck herself into our bed in the middle of the day.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Following Is Selfish (aka MUST I Be Happy For You and Your Baby?)

I don't even know if I can pretend it's not selfish.  When he comes home from work my husband, Romeo, will hold me and cuddle me and rock me over it and know that I had a bad day.  But that doesn't mean he'll understand *exactly* why I'm so upset.  And he won't be even a smidgen upset himself.  I called my mother in tears, thinking maybe of all people, I could get a free pass with her.  Nope.  It was her firm reaction that made me go from thinking, "It's illogical, but it's still a big deal to me personally," to now thinking, "Wake the f^@% up, Juliet.  You are the only one in the world that would even care about this, much less give it a second thought."  She told me I was being ridiculous, overly dramatic, absurd, and ungrateful, and those were just the put-downs (or reality checks depending on which way you are looking at this) that I can actually remember from our brief phone call.

What's going on?  Many readers of this blog know that my delivery of Tybalt was not an easy one.  I had heart complications and have been told I am no longer able to have any more children.  For some people one child is their goal.  I say more power to them.  As long as they are happy and feel accomplished, life is good.  However, for me personally, I am not happy nor do I feel accomplished.  I love children (every job I've had has revolved around children) and I have daydreamed about my perfect 3-4 children since I was 3 feet tall; so being told at age 26 that child bearing was over for me was a hard blow.  No, make that a suffocating grasp by one who holds the Star Wars Force.  I don't know the movies past some iconic clips and references, but I know Darth Vader has the power to strangle someone out just by practically pantomiming it from afar.  That's what it felt like when the strange doctor hovered over my bed and gave me the news. (Against express wishes from Romeo who knew I'd be devastated and wanted to break the news to me himself, in private, once I was released from all the hospitals, but was at work that morning, so I was alone with a doctor who wasn't my normal one; and, gee, thanks "Dr. I Have No Bedside Manners and Didn't Read the Notes On the Report Before Coming In To A Room I Was Simply Doing Rounds For And It Really Wasn't Any of My Business Anyway"...)

Romeo and I have considered adoption, but for now at least, it isn't in the cards.  Adoption is expensive, and we don't have a savings to even put towards it.  And with all my medical bills, it will be awhile before we could even start to save. I love my son.  DO NOT MISTAKE ANYTHING I EVER TYPE WHEN FRUSTRATED OR ANGRY OR SAD OR HURT.  He is "practically perfect in every way" (thank you Mary Poppins).  But I want another child.  I won't rest until I get another.  I personally feel, that as for me, as for our family, we are not complete.  There is a spirit waiting in heaven that is supposed to join our family.  I don't know how, and I don't know when, but I feel it.  Maybe adoption, maybe surrogacy (new idea we've been bouncing around, but only during those "If we ever won the lottery..." kinds of conversations because of the price tag), or maybe I oops get pregnant even though we are on 3 types of birth control, God protects the baby and me through it, and I have my tubes tied after.  Who knows?  I don't.  But until then, I'm mad that without either science, a miracle, or the aforementioned lottery winnings, Tybalt is an only child.  And as friends and family get pregnant and then use social media to post ultrasound copies, update the world regarding how many weeks along they are, and then of course come the pictures of smiling Mommy and baby in hospital bed, captioned with date, time, weight, and length stats by a sleep deprived father, well...I go from mad for my own situation to Queen of Jealousy and an Angry Bitch.

There are some people I would be overjoyed to see have a baby.  Frenchie is one. My dear friend "D" and her husband "J" (Tybalt's Godparents) have been trying for years and can't conceive--they are another example.  Perhaps it's because these women are my best friends so their happiness is mine.  Perhaps it's because, while entirely and definitely not necessary, they love me and would think about my feelings when announcing their pregnancy.  But it's women my age that are on their sometimes second, but even more so third or fourth baby that drive me a little nutty.


Anyway, where was I?  Oh yeah, the part where I explain what prompted this Tuesday morning rant.  Today  is August 21st and it is Tybalt's 2nd birthday!  We are celebrating with a small party on Saturday, but today is the big day.  Every birthday is hard on me, as I found last year's was as well.  It should be noted that amongst other things, I have the usual birthday anxieties--I am simply bummed that my little baby is growing up so fast and already turning 2 years old!  And I do think most moms experience those sorts of feeling at some point.  So in that regard I'm not crazy or highly unusual.  But where the rare (and perhaps crazy) kicks in, is that at his birthday I am reminded of while pregnant my high hopes for an easy scheduled c-section, cuddling him in the hospital for a couple of days, then taking him home and making him mine all mine (oh, and Romeo's too, lol) as we became a tiny but perfect family.  Instead I have flashbacks of glaring lights in hospital "bulletin board material" ceilings, hallucinations from IV drugs, not being able to talk due to a tracheotomy, only seeing my son to feed him a bottle when my MIL brought him by, and even then being forced to wear a mask and scaring myself that I was scaring him because all he could see was my eyes.  Then being released when he was 3 months old but in rehab in the basement for bedsore complications and not being able to help my MIL with his care, even for the few hours I could stay awake due to meds, until he was 4-5 months old.  Not exactly the birth story you want to celebrate yearly.  *SO* many people (aka practically everyone I know) tell me I just have the wrong attitude about it.  That I truly should be celebrating--being alive.  And not just "alive."  But "alive!!!!!!!!!!!" as in with as much jubilation and as many imaginary exclamation points as possible.  I'm not knocking being alive.  But what the world doesn't seem to understand is, in celebrating being alive, even just knowing and recognizing that I am, I still have to see the memories.  It doesn't make the pain go away.  Flashbacks are flashbacks.  I don't choose to dwell.  They pop up whether I like it or not.  A smell, or a word will do it while I'm awake.  Other times they resurface as nightmares during the little sleep I do get.  And for a few weeks around Tybalt's birthday both years now (and Thanksgiving which is the week I was finally released from the last hospital, but that's a separate side note)  it just seems to happen more often.  So even recognizing I'm alive and thanking God for it doesn't make it any easier to grin at Tybalt's birthday party.  And it definitely doesn't make those eternal optimists that keep popping out babies, like I wanted to, like I dreamed I'd be doing, any easier to stomach.

So, I DO want to enjoy today, I want to make it all about my wonderful little Tybalt, yet I can't push the storm clouds away.  So, I've simply been doing my best to ignore them.  Realize they are there, but not focus on them.  It hasn't been easy, but I'm trying.  Honest to God, I'm trying....I WAS trying...

.....Then IT happened.  The 365 to 1 chance I prayed wouldn't.  (I even said out loud to Romeo and Tybalt last night, "Everybody pray that 'it' won't happen for the next like 24 hours.  Just 26 hours to be exact!  Then I'll be fine.")  See, last March I found out Romeo's cousin, "CD" was pregnant with her second child.  CD and I have been passively aggressively competing since I met Romeo.  CD and her husband "ND" started dating right around the time Romeo and I did.  The big Hispanic family's attention steered off of us and on to them.  CD and ND got married 3 months before we did.  Family members low on cash went to the first wedding (theirs) and not the second (ours).  I announced I was pregnant the following February.  Guess who announced she was pregnant in April?  There went any pomp and circumstance I had coming.  Beyond that, "LD," CD and ND's precious baby boy, has been achieving developmental milestones weeks if not months ahead of Tybalt.  I am not concerned about my son, as all children develop differently, but try explaining that when ND's accomplishments are practically blown-up billboard size on social media sites like Facebook for all the extended family to see!  If I have one more "Aunt" ask me whether Tybalt can do what LD is doing in his latest video, and then give me a concerned look when I admit he can't yet-----I'm going to lose my already bat s#!% crazy mind!  So, since the big announcement that CD was expecting, and due sometime in August, I've been praying, hoping, and just sending as much positive energy into the universe as I could I'm sure you already guessed it--guess who gave birth to her beautiful bouncing 2nd baby boy today, August 21st, and what dad already has pictures plastered all over both of their Facebook walls?

So not only am I jealous of all healthy women who have healthy babies, not only is today hard because a) I don't want my baby to grow up, and b) it also throws me into a panicky tailspin of awful hospital and rehab memories, not only am I already in a personal funk because her 1st kid is so much more advanced than mine, but now...oh, now...she had her baby on my baby's birthday.

Okay, I'm done now.  Done ranting.  Done possibly annoying some of you with my pessimistic views.  Probably not done with, but trying to forgive, my mother and the rest of the world for not understanding what I'm going through and calling me selfish, illogical, and a weirdo. But on the other hand, how *can* anyone understand?  Show me someone who's gone through the *EXACT* same things I have the last two years with my health and my disappointments.  I mean exact to a "T" and I'll show you someone who might possibly relate.  Moral of the story?  Maybe I am being selfish, but walk a mile...

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Mommy Car

B and I bought my car in a big big hurry. I graduated from law school, we had a car, but B drove it to work every single day. I had fully intended on getting a job in downtown Chicago, and to take the CTA to work every day, just as I had done for law school. I never anticipated that I would end up working in the suburbs, and my perfectly placed condo, 5 minutes away from both the Red Line and the 145 express bus would be basically useless. B's cousin was the finance manager at a Honda dealership, so we rushed out there after my first day of work to pick one out. We fully intended on buying a used Accord or Civic, but on an new paycheck and emotional high, I wanted a Hybrid. His cousin pointed us in the direction of their new hybrid car, the Insight. He promised us that we wouldn't pay a penny more than he would if he bought one. I recognized it as Leslie Knope's car from Parks and Recreation, asked if they had one like hers, in white. They pulled it around, and I signed and drove off.

As a 26 year old who was buying her first car after her first day of work as a real lawyer, I clearly did not look at my five year plan. I can't believe I never even considered that I might have a child before my car payments were up.

But, I loved my car. I could fit it in the tighest of spots, which was number one on my list of car-needs. My street in Chicago was one way, narrow, and crowded. Past 7 pm, you would be lucky to get a spot within a 3 block radius. I get 45 mpg, which was amazing for my over an hour commute from my city condo to my suburban office. It' so narrow, that I could drive speedily down any tiny Chicagoan two way street without worrying about side-swiping the parked cars. It's a cute utilitarian hybrid that I was just head over heels for. The only time I ever questioned my car's awesomeness was on a trip back from the airport for my Bachelorette weekend, when I had three people in the very small backseat, and 4 people's weekend luggage in the hatch. I swear, it was the only time.

Until I was 7 months pregnant, with backpain, shopping for carseats and living in a city with ample parking dominated by SUVs and luxury sedans. My little car stands out like a sore thumb in this place.

With the carseat installed, the front passenger seat has to be pulled all the way up. Like, all the way, knees hitting the dashboard for anyone over 5 feet. So yeah, that's not awesome. Luckily, it's mostly just me and Mia in my car. If my Mom is in town, B and I will switch so that we can enjoy the luxurious and spaciousness of his Honda Civic. (Yeah, it's a problem when your big car is a Honda Civic)

I've been complaining that my car is too small for this city, for this family. Wanting a new car seems so silly and indulgent, considering that my car is three years old and was purchased brand new. But with Mia's stroller, carseat and one other person, this car is just too small for us. We decided that we'd wait until at least one of our cars was paid off before we could consider another car. Having only one car payment would make such a difference in our budget. A couple of weeks ago, he announced that his payments would be over by the spring of 2013. I got so excited! 6 more months and I could get a real car! Since bigger cars cost so much more, I started looking at used car listings. I fantasized about a Mazda CX-9, or really anything that would allow for two carseats and still fit a passenger in the back. B and I started having very serious discussions about gas mileage v. a third passenger row. Serious, serious, serious.

But, he double checked, and it's the spring of 2014. BLARG.

It's not a big deal of course. Nothing in our lives has changed. We have one child, one car seat, and  small dogs. We want Mia to be at least three years old when she gets a sibling, so we're not even in the realm of trying for a second. But, for those couple of weeks, I was really looking forward to some leg room.

Daycare crud the millionth

There's nothing like a sick weekend, is there? Mia was congested on Friday, and by Saturday morning, I was already infected. There is seriously no need for me to try keeping my distance from that kid. It doesn't help that whenever I have some food in my hand, she wants a bite. I am pretty sure the nectarine we shared on Thursday is to blame for this one.

Have you ever completely lost your sense of smell and taste when you had a cold? I don't think it has ever happened to me before. I mean, sure, I may have been congested to the point that my taste and smell has been impaired, but completely disappeared? Never. But since Saturday, I got nothing. Even if I am able to breathe through my nose, I still can't taste or smell anything. In all other ways, it's just your run of the mill cold/cough combination. Nothing alarming, but the complete loss of two senses.

It's weird. It hasn't stopped me from eating things that are bad for me though. For the past three days, I've become acutely aware of the texture of foods. It turns out that the texture of popcorn is much more enjoyable than a salad. When you can't taste the olive oil or the vinegar, eating salad just feels like you're eating wet plants.

I really hope my taste buds come back soon. Although the lack of my sense of smell has made changing diapers much easier, and I have no idea when a dog (or a husband) has farted, it's still pretty weird walking around without knowing what it smells like.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Rule number one

Never leave work before your boss does. Right?

Then, answer me this. What is my boss, who usually leaves at lunchtime on a friday, still doing here at 4:15?

I shouldn't complain much, since it's only my third day back at work since my vacay, but you know... I want to get my friday on!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Airports, Haircuts, Weddings

We are back!

Although I am thrilled to be back in my comfy bed, to have Mia back in her crib, and to have a full-time co-parent, this morning was a tough rise out of bed. Not literally, since I am still on Central Standard Time and was wide awake when B's alarm went off, but getting out of bed to knowingly resume our everyday routine was... not fun.

Also not fun, realizing that my 13 day vacation from My Fitness Pal brought the 5 pounds back, so I am back to square one on the whole weightloss business.

BUT! Let's be positive!

In pictures, the Mia and Mama summer vacation:

At the Las Vegas airport. We got there three hours before our flight because we are cheap and did not want to take a cab, so B had to drop us off on the way to work. It all ended up evening out, since we had to take the tram all the way back to security, since this frazzled Mama left her watch at TSA while they were checking Mia's soymilk for explosive residue. We still made it back in time to spend 30 minutes getting energy out at the children's play area, which consisted of a fake airtraffic control tower, and some viewfinders which Mia thought were fun to climb.

On the flight from Las Vegas to Denver, we were seated in Economy Plus thanks to a "cousin" who works at the United check in counter -- Mia had room to play at my feet since she refused to sleep.
Mia and I enjoyed a meal at one of the "real restaurants" in the Denver airport, since our flight was delayed by two hours. Mia ate an quarter of my club sandwich!!

Evidence that travelling through three timezones is NOT recommended with a child. Mia did not go down until nearly midnight when we first got to Stamford, CT to stay with my college roommate. She also refused to go back into her pack n play once she realized that we were sharing a room.

Breakfast. Tired baby. Awesome travel high chair/cooler.

Mia was obssessed with L's dog, a Bernese Mountain dog. Mia's first new word from the trip: Abby. (pronounced: "Babby")

We had dinner in Stamford, which is where Mia started refusing to be carried.

Our first night in New Jersey, where we went next to stay with my aunt and her family. Mia kept on asking for "Babby", so my cousin went and found this giant stuffed dog that Mia carried around with her.

Fun with my cousin, who was the first person she warmed up to in New Jersey. She *may* have called him Papa a few times.

At the Jersey Shore -- no fist pumping for this little one.

Once in Chicago, Mia bonded very well with her Great Grandpa, and was basically obsessed with his shoes.

On our second day in Chicago, we went back to our old neighborhood. My brother, who just moved back to Chicago in May lives near our old apartment. Unfortunately, my parents have tennats, so we couldn't visit the actual apartment, but here we are in front of the courtyard.
After having lunch at one of my fave restaurants near my old place, we headed down to Lincoln Park Zoo with my brother and his girlfriend. Mia pointed to all the animals and said: "Hi Babby!"

More evidence of time-zone side effects. Picking her nose on the airmattress that I was sleeping on, which evidently seemed more comfortable to her than her pack n play. Also, a good shot of the state of Mia's hair without a hairclip. 

Within hours of B joining us in Chicago, we went down to the basement, where B's grandpa keeps a barber chair from his old shop. It's a long standing C-- tradition that B really wanted to keep, having his Grandpa give Mia her first haircut. Although I had previously trimmed the back of her neck to keep her from getting a mullet, this will count as her first official haircut.

She did not like the robe, nor did she like the haircut. There was a lot of screaming, but that did not seem to bother her Great Grandpa one bit. We wanted to keep her hair mostly long anyway, so it took all of 4 minutes.


After, wth pigtails!
After dropping Mia off with my brother and his girlfriend, B and I headed out to Wheaton for his cousin's wedding. We got all dressed up, stayed in a hotel (Holiday Inn -- what's up), and had a the best time.

The beautiful and happy couple, still smiling despite their outdoor ceremony being rained out.

And finally, back home for our day of rest before getting back into the swing of things.
And, there you have it. We are back. It was super awesome not to have to share Mia with daycare, and not to have to share myself with work for the past two weeks. Just to make sure our summer doesn't turn too quickly into winter and fall, B and I are going to try to squeeze a weekend in LA for September before my Mom comes for a month-long visit.