Thursday, July 30, 2009

Vacation

It's been a year and a half since my last real vacation. Craig and I went to Orlando in December 2007, a month after we found out I was pregnant. The trip had already been planned, and fortunately, the pregnancy didn't really impact it other than preventing me from being able to ride roller coasters. Although, for those who know me, that was a big deal because I am a coaster fanatic and had been waiting to ride Space Mountain since I was about 10. Still, it was worth it...no way did I want to jeopardize the baby's safety. We still managed to have a great time. We had great weather, my morning sickness subsided just as we went, and I was still in my bottomless pit stage so eating was great! And at the time we understood that that would probably be it for a while as far as vacations went. We wouldn't want to be traveling far with a baby, or leaving the baby for an extended period, so we knew it might be a while before we got to go anywhere significant again. And sure enough, a year and a half later, here we are.

While part of me is dying to just get out and go somewhere exotic and interesting, I'm still not sure I'm willing to leave Jacob for any extended period of time (though our Niagara Falls overnight gave me hope that I could do it sometime in the not-so-distant future) or to attempt to travel with him. At this point he's so young that it seems a little silly to take him anywhere too interesting, since he won't remember it. It's expensive to fly the two of us anywhere, let alone Jacob. Granted, we don't HAVE to buy him a plane seat yet, but I once read that if you have your kid on your lap and something goes wrong, they become, in essence, your air bag. Yikes. And just the thought of traveling with a car seat, stroller, and everything else babies involve just makes me nervous. Particularly if we're going somewhere where we can't exactly make ourselves at home and have a carton of milk in the fridge. Even if we're just talking about car travel, I know that we fill up the car for a weekend, so I can only imagine how we'd fit everything we'd need for a week.

My goal for this summer was to take Jacob to Ocean City, NJ, a place I went a number of years ago (how did seven years go by so quickly?) with my friends and LOVED. It's just a quaint town, family friendly, with a great boardwalk, nice beach, and enough tempting snack foods to keep me in a sugar coma for days. I figured Jacob would enjoy the beach and we'd have a great time just walking the boardwalk, lounging on the beach, and hopefully checking out Atlantic City and other places along the way. Seemed simple enough, but it's not a cheap place to stay (no chain hotels!), and eventually the thought of packing up for a week or so made me think that it wouldn't be a very relaxing vacation.

So...enter the "staycation". Everyone is taking them this year thanks to the economy, or so it seems. I've heard that term a LOT lately. We're staying close to home next week, with a couple mini-trips. Friday we're leaving for NT to spend a long weekend with my parents and my brother's family. It's their first trip back east since my niece Kate was born in December, I can't wait to meet her! My parents are giddy at the thought of having their two grandchildren in the same place at the same time, and it will be interesting to see if they interact. If nothing else we might get a couple good photo ops. It will be a lot of fun, and while I wish we could stay longer, I'd feel bad trapping Craig at my parents' though Wednesday, if nothing else. It's his vacation, too. There are plenty of other things we'd like to accomplish next week. Every day I watch my friends' Facebook status updates when they're home with their kids, and I get jealous. I think of all the things we could do if I wasn't working full time. And honestly, next week is my chance to try. I don't really want to cram everything into one week because it won't be that relaxing, but I'm going to try to keep busy so we don't spend hours every day trying to keep Jacob out of trouble in our house. On tap right now is a trip to Corning on Tuesday. Jacob and I are meeting up with my long time friend Heather at the Corning Museum of Glass. I've wanted to go there for ages but never had a chance. It seemed like a good opportunity to meet Heather halfway (she's in Binghamton), and I think Jacob will like all of the colors. And I'm sure he will point out every round object we see and identify it as a "ball". Wednesday we may take a trip to Bills' training camp. One day I want to take an hour or two and head to the beach here in Rochester. Since we didn't get to do it Sunday thanks to this lovely weather (I hope to post a picture of our alternative activity soon), I'd like to do it now. We have the sand toys, after all! Thursday will no doubt be a packing day, in preparation for our weekend trip to Pittsburgh with Craig's family. We plan to see a baseball game, go to the zoo, and check out a sports museum. We've also toyed with the idea of trying to hook up with a former Amerk who works for the Penguins to get a tour of the Igloo, their arena. We shall see. It should be a good time.

I have a feeling we might end up just as exhausted after this staycation as we would have had we gone somewhere else, but the quality time with Jacob will be nice. As an added bonus it will involve minimal interruption to his schedule. It should just feel like one big, long weekend to him :) And in the end it's probably best. Sure I'd like to go somewhere interesting, but I'll put it off for a little longer and hopefully we can take a great vacation down the line that he will appreciate that much more. Hopefully I'll end up with a lot of pictures and a lot of good memories. I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Perfect Evening

Last night we had what I would term a near perfect evening with Jacob. We had to get home relatively early because we had someone coming to the house to give us a quote on lifting our sunken, cracked concrete. The guy came early and was on his way out when I got home at 5:45 (at least 15-30 min. earlier than usual). The quote was great and I think we'll have a fixed patio in the next week or so! It may not be perfect, but the extra $1500 bucks we'll save over replacing it is worth imperfections...we just want it to be safe for Jacob to run around on (and us adults to walk on). Anyway...right after he left we headed toward dinner. And for once, we all had the same thing...hot dogs on the grill, corn, and a broccoli-white cheddar pasta, with watermelon for dessert. Jacob could eat everything we did, and he ate really, really well. Food throwing was minimal and he ate most of his food without much prodding. Woo hoo! After we cleaned up from dinner, we went out on a walk. The weather was perfect for it. Warm but comfortable...no jacket needed. We just stuck a baseball cap on Jacob and headed out. We walked in a big circle in and around our neighborhood, almost stopping to grab an ice cream treat at a convenience store but withstanding the temptation and moving on. We saw a bunch of dogs, which as I mentioned is Jacob's newest obsession. We saw a couple close up, including one nice woman who stopped to let Jacob pet her dog. The rest were from a bit of a distance, but Jacob loved each one, craning his neck around the side of his stroller to catch every last glimpse once we had moved on. Jacob stayed awake the entire ride, and was so goofy at times. He wore his hat for most of the walk (a small miracle itself), but when he finally started tossing it, I held on to it and was playing with it...twirling it around, wearing it myself...and Jacob was hysterically laughing! It was so cute! Once we got home we ran into our neighbors, who had barely seen Jacob awake all summer. Seems every time we passed by them on a walk, he was asleep! He enjoyed the bells on their bikes...so much so that I could barely get him to let go of the handlebars!

Once inside we got him into his PJs and I was going to let him play a little while, but he was getting sleepy and didn't want to be put down. So I fed him and he went to bed. He did babble to himself for a while, which was hysterical. He was even laughing! Oh, to know what's going through a one year old's head!

So, yeah, when it came to Jacob last night, it was a great evening. I have no idea why it all went so smoothly, but I'd like to have more of those! The 9pm grocery store run I could do without, but that's life when you have a baby and want to spend their waking hours with them. It's going to be another busy week getting ready for another weekend away (and vacation!!), so hopefully I can get in enough quality time. Always a challenge!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Words...

Jacob is slowly but surely adding words to his vocabulary. First it was "Dada", then it was "Uh-oh", then "Ba", which means "ball". The other day in the produce section of the grocery store Jacob kept saying, "Ba...ba...ba", which I think was his take on all of the round fruits and vegetables we seemed to pass by. Of course, he seems to think all food has some ball-like qualities, apparently, because he throws food...a lot.

Then the other day he added, "Bye-bye" to the mix. We were leaving day care and waving good-bye to one of the caretakers, and all of a sudden he did it! It was so cute! I think he may call his milk cup a "ba-ba", even though he hasn't used a bottle regularly in ages. Last night I thought he finally said "Mama", but I think it was just "Ba...ba..." said rapidly as we were getting ready for his bath and he spotted his little bath toy, a soccer-themed basketball hoop-ish thing with three squirters in the shape of soccer balls. They have faces and squirt water out of their mouths. He's actually taken to chewing on them and then blowing really hard out of his mouth, which creates lots of funny fart noises in the process. I'd probably have laughed more the first time I saw it if it didn't strike me as so odd. He chews on things quite a bit, including his poor, mutilated sippy cups and his rubber placemat, which I swear he's going to tear apart someday. He's like a teething little puppy...to the point that sometimes he crawls around with a toy hanging out of his mouth. Of course, it's appropriate because he LOVES dogs. The first dog he had contact with was Craig's parents dog. At first she didn't seem to phase him, but each time we've been there Jacob has become more and more interested. Unfortunately, Carmel's a little shell-shocked from her run-ins with Jacob's older cousins over the past seven years so she will barely sit still long enough for Jacob to pet her. Once in a while we can corral her and let Jacob get in a pet or two, but inevitably she runs off in fear of a baby swipe! Jacob still likes to watch her from the couch and crawl after her wherever she goes. He did get a lot of doggie exposure last week at my company picnic. Lots of people brought their dogs, and they were all pretty small so I figured they were closer to his size. It's still a little nervewracking to let your baby near a dog with their sharp teeth and claws, but he was desperate to check them out so I figured we'd see how it went. And the dogs were great...too great! They let him pet them, but then licked him like crazy. Ewww. But isn't that one of the great things of childhood? Someone at the parade on Saturday brought their dog over to him, too. But anything...pictures, TV, out the front door...he just loves it when he sees a dog!

The fact that Jacob is starting to grasp language a bit probably makes me even more frustrated when he doesn't understand things...namely the word "No". Once upon a time when he heard it, he'd stop, turn around, and at least temporarily stop what he was doing. And for a short while it seemed to stop him entirely. But now he just ignores it completely, or at most, smiles and laughs. Thanks, buddy. Ugh. It's like, I know he's starting to grasp things like that, so it's tough to tell if he's just ignoring us, or the specific concept we're working on just hasn't clicked with him yet, despite lots of repetition. And it really doesn't help that he's not a mimicker. I've mentioned this before. At one point it was just frustrating because we couldn't get him to mimic little things like sticking out his tongue, blowing raspberries, or opening his mouth at mealtime. Now it's hard because there are hardcore, life-long things we'd like to teach him and he's just not into it. From talking to feeding himself with utensils to elements of playtime (like stacking blocks or putting a puzzle together), we could demonstrate something a million times and he just doesn't pick it up. Ask me how many times I've said "Mama" to him, to no avail. I'll admit I get a little jealous when other babies his age seem to have that stuff down pat, or read in the frequent baby emails I get that he should be doing certain things by now. I know he'll get there eventually...because as they remind you in all of those emails, every baby is unique. Perhaps someday having an independent thinker of a child will be a good thing, but for now (and for years to come, I imagine) it will border on frustrating. Of course, as Craig says, he's happy Jacob appears to be strong-minded, because neither of us are particularly outspoken and he hopes that Jacob's current disposition is a sign that he will be independent and confident as he grows up. We shall see!

Now we're off to another busy weekend. It's our second of four weekends in a row visiting Buffalo for various activities. This week (as long as the weather holds up--ugh) is a visit to the Canal Fest Craft Show in the Tonawandas (an annual favorite, even if I never buy anything) and my family reunion (one of three) at Camp Pioneer on the shores of Lake Erie. Assuming the weather cooperates, Jacob will get his first experience playing in sand! Should be interesting! And it's always fun to show him off anyway! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Musings on our Jacob-free Time...

I was sort of in a rush when I posted the report from the weekend so I didn't really delve into details from our overnight stays--Jacob's with my parents and ours in Niagara Falls. We all seemed to have a pretty good time. Jacob and my parents kept busy with playtime and outside time and visiting with family, and when we called the house shortly before going to pick Jacob up, my dad said, "Stay another day!" So I guess that was a good sign on all counts, that they were still having fun and Jacob was content enough to keep from wearing out his welcome. If we could have stayed another day, I would have seriously considered it. We really had a good time.

I'll be honest, it was nice to almost go back in time and experience life as just the two of us. And maybe that's just because it hasn't been that way much at all since Jacob was born, so the contrast was quite apparent. We obviously love him like crazy and can't imagine our lives without him, but our life before him was pretty nice, too. Would I say better? No, just different. It was great. We had a wonderful five years of marriage (and two before that), and Jacob was just icing on the cake. Of course it would be nice to go back to that time and experience it again. While our lives will never be the same and Jacob will always be smack dab in the middle of everything, it was exciting and fun to not have to worry about the laundry list of things that normally run through my mind at any given moment. There have certainly been trade-offs to parenthood. Sleep deprivation, frustration, constant preoccupation, extra household chores....sometimes I wonder how I kept myself occupied before. I definitely wonder what used to take me so long to get ready in the morning. Ultimately all the trade-offs are worth it, but I'll admit that the trying times are hard and sometimes make me wonder if it was a selfish decision to have kids...because maybe I'm not as good of a mom as I would like to be, and maybe my shortcomings aren't fair to project on the innocent little boy smiling up at me. I know that's something every parent goes through, so I try not to let it bug me, but it happens.

So, you can imagine, then, how nice it was to be free of that for a time. Short evenings away are one thing. You're hardly away long enough to get that stuff out of your mind. But being away for a 24 hour period almost forces you to move forward and get it out of your head. It's the same concept when Craig is on the road. I miss him a lot the first day, and then I just have to deal and get on with life. I still miss him, but it doesn't take over my thoughts until he's on his way home. As for Jacob this time around...it's not that I didn't think of him...I definitely did. As I mentioned in my last post, we looked at souvenirs for him. We talked about him a lot. But surprisingly, I wasn't dying to check in. The beauty of cell phones, I guess...knowing that they'd call if they needed us. We did check in that evening, though, because both of our phones died and we wanted to make sure we hadn't missed anything. I thought about him here and there, but I actually felt guilty for not feeling guiltier! While we were sitting at the slot machines on Saturday evening I realized I hadn't thought about him for a while, and then I felt bad that I wasn't just sitting there thinking about him every second. A while back I mentioned something here about traveling never being the same again. I always loved that feeling once you were on the plane safely flying off to some exciting destination, that freedom and anticipation of a great trip and new experiences. I was afraid that I'd never have that feeling again because it would either be beaten down a bit by the guilt and sadness of leaving Jacob behind, or I'd be too stressed out from traveling with a toddler to enjoy much of anything. When we're headed off on a long trip I may still feel guilty, but after this overnight it gave me hope that I might someday be able travel without it being so bittersweet. We may not be able to test out that theory for a long time, though.

Regardless, I'll admit it was nice eating my DQ Blizzard with two hands, and not maneuvering a stroller up and down Clifton Hill. I think the hill we walked down to the falls would have been brutal to walk up with a stroller! Not having to haul a full diaper bag or worry about Jacob throwing food during dinner was a nice break. Still, I know that after a while I'd really start to miss it. Life without him would be so empty and definitely missing an element of joy from seeing his smiling face and hearing his little sounds. Nothing's better than waking up to his smiling face! And finishing off the evening with a pump (had to do it again tonight because he fell asleep early) just wasn't the same. He's an awesome little boy and I can't imagine my life without him. Lending him out for a day or two is one thing...maybe even a little longer if we really need a break or someone's dying to spend time with him. We can definitely find ways to keep ourselves occupied and make the most of the break. And I don't think that's a bad thing. Heck, I'm surprised I made it a year before spending the night away from him...I think it was long overdue! I was just surprised by how it all felt...the good and the bad. I'm glad we did it and look forward to doing it again sometime soon, but for now I'm happy to have my little boy back in my arms!

Monday, July 20, 2009

13 Months

Jacob turns 13 months old today. I celebrated the occasion by looking back in the blog again, at this time last year. July seemed to be full of issues with Jacob's gassiness and associated fussiness. I had given up my morning cereal in the event he had a cow's milk protein sensitivity and agonized over the decision to try gripe water to calm his tummy. We did that for quite a while, but at some point it seemed like he didn't need it anymore, and before I knew it, months had passed by and the remaining gripe water had to get tossed because it was too old. It served its purpose and at the time I threw it out, it became a symbol of Jacob's progress past that frustrating period in his young life. A year ago this weekend he took his first trip to Buffalo. Ironic, then, that this weekend this year marked his first night solo without either of us around. He did great! My parents were so excited to have him, and he was a good boy...though a very curious and active one! He kept them on their toes! We had a very nice time in Niagara Falls, though I must say that it was odd not having a stroller or diaper bag or Jacob to tote around. I definitely missed Jacob but it was nice to be able to do adult things like go into the casino without worrying about when he'd melt down or when it was time to eat (and if he'd eat). But most of the trip was still geared around him...looking at all of the stuffed moose (though we used to do that anyway) and all of the little baby t-shirts and onesies. We didn't end up getting him anything, but he was on our minds a lot. We checked in twice, but I think that was fair.

Once we picked him back up on Saturday, we spent the rest of the weekend with Craig's family. Craig helped his brother's family get settled into their new house, and we celebrated our nephew's 2nd birthday. We had a lot of fun, and Jacob was busy exploring the new surroundings! He spent a lot of time at this window...

You can see a little bit in this picture that Jacob has a bit of a boo-boo under his right eye. He took a header into our suitcase on Saturday and got a cut and scrape under his eye. I'm not sure what happened, but he must have hit a zipper just wrong. He cried a little but seemed ok pretty quickly. I tried to ice it down but eventually he stopped allowing that and went on his merry way. It's healing quickly.

Sunday Jacob went to his first parade, the Pulaski Day Parade in Cheektowaga. He didn't seem too phased by it, but did like seeing people's dogs. We did some shopping in the tents and got Jacob his first Polish attire, a little Polska shirt. It might not fit him for another year, but it was cute and he'll fit right in with the rest of the family! Here he is at the parade in his cool new hat, dressed for the lovely July weather we're having...ugh.


Finally, here's some video of Jacob walking, with a little help...he's looking pretty good! He won't need that soon enough!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Photo Thursday and Another Milestone!

Just wanted to share some photos from last weekend's trip to the Corn Hill Arts Festival here in Rochester. One of these days I will take a picture of the one purchase we made, but I forgot this time around. Anyway, here's Jacob chillin' in his stroller...

He put his foot like that all by himself, I swear. And a couple more cute smiles I couldn't resist sharing...


And as for the milestone...last night Jacob got his first haircut! It had been a long time in coming, and it felt so good to get it over with. See, Jacob was born with this perfect head of hair. Not too much, not too little, just a nice covering with a cute little swirl on the top. Soft and perfect. Shortly after birth, he started losing it off the top. He kept the back and sides, and for a short period of time, he looked like an old man with male pattern baldness. It finally started growing back in and was this lovely little fuzz for a while. I loved rubbing it. Eventually that grew in, but by then the sides and back (which were growing all along) were getting long. The hair was falling over his ears, hitting his collar, and generally becoming a nuisance after messy meals and long sleeps. But it still seemed a little funny to take him for a haircut, because he didn't have a lot of hair in general! Anyway, it had really begun to bother me a lot...when there was food in it, when it wouldn't lay down even with water, when it looked funny in pictures...so we finally got around to getting it done. Yesterday was my work picnic so Jacob and I had a nice afternoon together and got home about 45 minutes earlier than usual. We made good use of the time with a bunch of running around. Our first stop was for haircuts--for Jacob and Craig. We went to this place nearby that advertised itself as kid-friendly. It's not one of those places where they get to sit in a rocketship or anything, but it's sports-themed so that was cool. They had TVs so I figured if nothing else there would be more distractions than your average place...and distractions are a good thing with a squirmy baby! Jacob woke up a little cranky after his nap on the way home from the picnic, and didn't seem much better after he ate, but we figured this was our best shot at getting it done so we decided to take the chance. As you can see from the pictures below, Jacob didn't exactly enjoy himself. He calmed down after I put down the camera and picked him up while she finished the back. And really, after that he was a lot of fun the rest of the evening.

Among our post-haircut stops was a quest to get him a new sun hat. All of a sudden his plaid hat seemed really small on him, so we tried the Children's Place in Henrietta (we had to go down there for something else anyway) and managed to find him a new baseball hat and a bucket hat for a grand total of less than $6. Woohoo! I love clearance!

This weekend we are going to be taking another big step as Craig and I spend our first night together away from Jacob. While I'm sure it'll be good for us, it's still a little scary. I trust my parents, but I also know that Jacob can be unpredictable and quite resourceful, so it concerns me that he'll do something crazy, something that will surprise them (in a bad way) with his ability to get himself in a precarious position. It's been a while since they've had to compensate for a baby's ability to disregard safety. It only takes one slightly careless moment...I'm used to it and I myself have dodged a couple bullets in the past couple months. I'd never forgive myself if something went wrong. And not just that, but I don't want him to freak out if Mommy and Daddy aren't around to feed him or put him to bed. Or, maybe I'm just as nervous that it won't even phase him! It's only for about 24 hours and we'll be just a phone call and a quick drive away, but it's still a little nerve-wracking. I know I'll miss him like crazy. I'll probably also enjoy a little freedom, but still...he'll always be in the back of my mind, at the very least. That's how it's been with every date night we've had...a constant eye on the cell phone and a nervous grimmace on our faces when we walk back in the door. I used to enjoy overnights with my grandparents when I was a kid (as far as I can recall) but I'm not sure when missing my parents stopped and enjoying it started. I guess all we can do is try! Wish us luck!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Still adjusting...

Yesterday was the first day since June 19, 2008 that I walked into work without my pump. It was an odd but freeing feeling. My shoulders felt light and unencumbered. While I don't miss pumping once or twice a day, it's strange to look at the clock and not have to calculate when I need to get up and head to the handicapped bathroom (yep, that's where I did it...beats the chilly computer room where another girl did it) with my pump, my cooler of milk, and my little doorknob sign so no one stood around waiting for the bathroom while I pumped. It was a strange existence living like that for almost a year, but in the end it was worth it.

Then last night I didn't have to wash my pump parts. That was fantastic. In addition, Jacob's down to only two bottles a day at day care. Not that he drinks out of them...they're really just an easy way to measure and send milk. So, that part of my evening was much easier. However, with all of the little containers that I cook and send his food in, my dishwashing is brutal. Still working on that dishwasher, too. Ugh. But I definitely do not miss the pump parts. Every day. I can't put my pump away for good, though. Craig and I are planning a night away this weekend and I will need to pump once then. I'm still not sure what to do with the milk. Seems a waste to toss what may be the last of my milk that I see for a long time, but carting it around with us the rest of the weekend could get complicated. Maybe I'll just use it in a sippy cup on Saturday and get it out of the way.

The thing that struck me funny last night was that I'm not sure how I'm going to officially end all of this. It's at a nice, low-maintenance point right now so there isn't much reason to stop. The only motivating factors right now are: 1) Potentially less prep time before Jacob goes to bed, though the feeding might get replaced by story time or cuddle time, if he'll sit still long enough; 2) Not wanting to take my pump with me if I'll be away from Jacob overnight; 3) Getting him out of the pre-bedtime feeding habit (and the breastfeeding habit in general) before he can tell me he wants it or just can't live without it. Yikes. I'd also like to get back on regular birth control at some point, just because it's more reliable.

But actually taking that last step to do a final feeding is a big one. I'm just not sure how to do it. I definitely think it will be sad. I keep hoping I'll know when the moment's right, but I don't want to keep thinking that way just waiting for it to happen...because it might never seem right. Or maybe I won't even realize the last feeding is the last one as it's happening, and I'll be sad that I never got to officially say goodbye to the whole experience. Is that weird? I thought about that sort of thing when I sat in the chair in Jacob's room during those many middle of the night feedings...that at some point I would do the last night feeding and I probably wouldn't know it was the last one. It's been ages since I've had to do that, and sure enough, I don't know when the last one was. Not that it's that important, but that alone was a big step. It's such a huge bonding thing and it's been part of our relationship since about a half hour after he was born, so officially moving past that phase (and never going back) just seems like a BIG thing to really, truly be done with it. And I definitely think I'll have a hard time giving it up. Maybe he will too. I guess I'll have to get creative and find ways to ease out of it...for both of our sakes.

In other news, not much new to report. Jacob is active as ever, and is even starting to climb a bit. A couple times he's been caught leaning over a piece of furniture with his feet off the ground, so I'm already fearing what our little daredevil will get into. No walking yet, though he's getting good at pushing things and walking behind them. He definitely seems to be getting more of a personality, with some interesting new noises and faces lately. Nothing specific, but just stuff I never saw him do before. The babbling is really getting cute at times....still no "Mama", though. He's still not a fan of eating unless it's mac and cheese, chicken, veggie dogs, or fruit. We're tempted to try moving him out of his high chair and into his booster to see if he's just got a negative association with the high chair at home. Seems like we're grasping at straws, but if anything will get him to eat better, that would be awesome. He's taken to throwing food a lot, but I'm not sure if that's a commentary on the food itself, or his desire to eat, or if he just likes throwing balls so much that he wants to throw all the time. It's a little frustrating, though. Still, when he's happy he's amazing to be around. He laughs a lot and gives those killer smiles all the time. Irresistable. I'll hopefully post some new pictures soon...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Exit Stage Right...

It's amazing how Jacob has grown up right before our very eyes. It's so imperceptible on the average day, but then all of a sudden one day I notice something...and realize how much that has changed since the early days, or even just in a matter of weeks. His teeth have been that way lately. His two top teeth were coming in slowly but surely, and then all of a sudden in the past week or so, I've noticed that they're really there now. They are visible with most of his smiles, and they really make him look more and more like a little boy.

Because the change is so gradual, sometimes you hardly notice when other things change. Say a toy gets buried in his toy bins, and one day when it resurfaces, you realize that he's almost too old for it now. Or when the weather started changing and his wardrobe did too, one day it hit me that the clothes hanging in his closet may not fit him anymore, or at least won't by the time it cools off again.

The other night we needed an excuse to go down to Henrietta (Rochester suburb with everything--comparable to the Blvd. or Transit Rd. areas in Buffalo) because Craig was dying to go to KFC and try their new $5 boxes. Our KFC closed and they're in the midst of building a new one, so Henrietta was our best option. I figured that while we were down there we could run in to Buy Buy Baby, the Bed Bath & Beyond-owned baby store. It's similar to Babies 'R' Us, but I think in some things they have a wider selection...or different selection, anyway. I had a couple things in mind to look for, and as we wandered through the store, it struck me how we've passed by so many stages already (hence the title of this post...play on words...haha...anyway...). He's out of the "newborn" clothes sizes, he doesn't need any bottles or burp clothes or receiving blankets, and now he's even past the baby food stage. There are entire sections of the store that we can skip, complete with the "been there, done that" attitude. Amazing how that happens. I marvel every time I see a little baby when we're out and about, that that stage was so long ago already and we made it through. Of course, I cringe every time I see an older child pitching a fit, though I have an entirely new appreciation and sympathy for the parents...as long as they seem to be trying to rectify the situation.

Still, I'm finding it difficult to completely move forward with a lot of things, from one stage to the next. For example, I still haven't put away the burp cloths or receiving blankets, even though I haven't used them in a month or two. I figure the receiving blankets may come in handy at some point (i.e., Linus) but they're taking up a lot of precious drawer space. Same with most of his long sleeved onesies that probably won't fit him come September. I haven't really touched the toys because you never know what he'll pull out and discover anew. I figure one day when his brain has evolved a bit and he begins to comprehend colors or animals, the toys will have a new purpose.

Finally, the latest weirdness is exiting the breastfeeding stage. This activity has been near the center of my world for the past year and three weeks. It's been decidedly lower maintenance in the last month or so, but before that it was a near-constant presence, one way or another. It's been rapidly going downhill recently, as we dropped Jacob's morning feeding to replace it with breakfast, and then as I dropped a pumping at work. The freedom of not having to work around a feeding during the course of most of a day has been pretty amazing. Then this weekend I successfully dropped my mid-morning emptying...which means that for the first time since August, I won't be taking my pump with me to work tomorrow. That is a weird feeling. And what's more, that means that once we get rid of the milk in the fridge and then start working on the modest collection in the freezer, that Jacob won't be getting any breastmilk during the day at daycare within the next couple weeks. I'm going to hold on to the bedtime feeding a little longer, more for me than him, but it boggles my mind to know that I can wear whatever bra I want tomorrow morning, and I can work through the entire workday without my usual 15 minute pumping break. I still feel a little bad, like I'm withholding something good from him, but I know that I've done a great thing for him over the past year and should feel okay about being (almost) done. But it's definitely a shift and it's going to take some adjusting.

My little boy is definitely growing up, and who knew that as parents we'd have to change right along with him?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Hooray for Small Victories!

As a whole I'd say Jacob has been better this week. He's still been quite fussy at mealtimes, and is really a handful to keep out of things, but he's had a lot of happy time this week. Thank goodness. Getting sleep has been fantastic, though I'm still finding myself rather tired. But it is such a great thing when he's asleep and can even put himself back to sleep at times. Such a great feeling...and one less thing to worry about! Food, on the other hand...ugh. When a kid barely wants to eat a cheeseburger, I'm not sure what more I can do. Can a kid survive on fruit, yogurt, milk, and some meat? Hmmmm.

So, when I do get a victory in some battle we've been having, it's nice. Recently one major battle had been toothbrushing. Jacob did not want any part of it. He's got those four cute little teeth, but the second I would come at him with a toothbrush, he would clamp his mouth shut like he did back in the early days of solid food. So frustrating. Well, the nurse at the doctor's office suggested trying a finger brush (the kind that go over your finger) or trying toothpaste. They make baby toothpaste that doesn't have fluoride and is therefore safe to swallow....and because it tastes good, he might be more willing to open his mouth for it.

So, yesterday we went grocery shopping and I picked up some toothpaste (it has Thomas the Tank Engine on it and is "Tooty Fruity" flavored...get it?) and a cute little Winnie the Pooh toothbrush (I was afraid the one we had that came with our baby health/toiletry kit was too rough). After dinner I loaded up the brush, grabbed Jacob, and headed to the sink. At first he resisted again, but then the toothpaste touched his lip. You could almost see it registering and him going, "Wait a second...what was that?" and soon enough his mouth was open and I gave his teeth a quick brush! It felt so good to figure out something that worked! Now, he might fight me on it once the novelty wears off, I suppose, but for now...problem solved!

Fun weekend coming up...my parents are coming to visit tomorrow and stay overnight, and then we're going to walk around the Corn Hill Arts festival here in Rochester on Sunday. Should be good weather and a lot of fun!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Doctor update and pictures!

Jacob had his second follow-up appointment with the pediatric pulmonary specialist today. I was hopeful that they would consider him cured and take him off all his meds, but no such luck. He got to drop a dose of his Reglan, but he's still going to be on that and the Prevacid for at least another three months. Darn. But at least the Claritin seems to be working for him. Oh, and he does get to drop his inhaler for a couple months starting within another couple weeks, just to give him a break until cold season starts up again. That will be one battle I won't miss twice a day! I sort of feel like I should have fought harder to ditch the meds completely, because I'm still not convinced that the reflux was ever bad enough to warrant them (let alone still being bad), but what can I say? The doctor's intimidating. She also suggested we fatten up his food a bit to help him gain weight. Cream, milk, butter...whatever we can sneak in. While I like the idea, I am a little concerned about getting him too used to creamy, buttery side dishes...because someday that could be problematic. We'll see, I guess.

Now on to pictures from the weekend! Here's Jacob playing peek-a-boo in the middle of our picnic lunch on the 4th of July...

And here he is hiding under the table!

A couple years ago I bought a rocking moose at IKEA. I figured we'd have kids at some point, and what better toy for our kids than a rocking moose? I was afraid they'd discontinue it before we had a chance to get one, so I bought it then and kept it in Jacob's closet ever since. Then finally the other night I remembered to put it together. On Friday he got a chance to try it out...
He liked it and even got it rocking a bit himself! It's so cute to watch! And this has to be one of my favorite pictures ever...both of my boys look so good!

This is just a cool picture of Jacob from Friday night at my cousin Allie's graduation party. Usually I go for the smiles (how can I not?) but this was such a sweet face, too...

Another picture from Saturday, this time his first ride in the wagon my parents' neighbor helped them refurbish. He liked it!

And with that, this post will ride off into the sunset, too :)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Holiday Weekend and the Doctor

It was a busy long weekend as usual...just a recap today but hopefully some pictures soon! On Friday we were off to North Tonawanda for my cousin Allie's high school graduation party. Jacob did well on the drive up and was a trooper during the party. We were there pretty late, and Craig and I took turns letting him sleep on us for the rest of the evening. He slept fine that night, though he did keep coughing (maybe a result of being in the vicinity of a firepit?)...but thank goodness it didn't seem to wake him up to the point of needing any company!

On Saturday my parents did a little impromptu picnic in the backyard with us and my grandma. We had a very nice time and Jacob got a lot of outdoor playtime. We even took a walk with a wagon that my parents got via garbage picking and refurbed a bit, thanks to their neighbor. Jacob really seemed to like it a lot. We have one waiting at home as well, so it may be time to officially get that up and running. We also tested out a swing that had been garbage picked, and he didn't seem too happy about that one. I don't know if he was just too sleepy to enjoy it, or if he's suddenly got an aversion to swings (we've had a couple less successful swing experiences lately). We have one to put up in our yard as well (finally got the hardware yesterday), so I guess we'll keep trying. I know he'll like it eventually, because even Craig's motion sickness issues never prevented him from enjoying a swing...so there's no reason Jacob won't enjoy it some day. After the swing episode, Jacob fell asleep in about two seconds, and we quickly packed up and headed out so we'd get a good portion of our trip done before he woke up. He's been less likely to sleep in the car lately, so Buffalo trips have been a little tougher in recent months. He woke up pretty much as we hit our street, so that was good!

We had a little time to relax before we got back in the car and drove across town to my boss' townhouse for a little get-together. I figured Jacob would be the only kid, so I was a little nervous about everything--keeping him occupied, feeding him, when he'd start getting tired--and while it was a little nerve-wracking at times (no babyproofing is one thing...no babyproofing in a home full of cool artsy stuff is another!), Jacob did pretty good. I attached his chair to a plastic chair on the deck so he could eat without having to worry about him throwing his food, and though he got a little fussy right before our dinner, Craig managed to get him to sleep pretty easily and he slept in his car seat in the living room while we all ate a fantastic dinner of beef tenderloin, grilled zucchini, squash and peppers, and roasted asparagus and potato wedges. We finished things off with a yummy strawberry shortcake type dessert and some key lime pie and carrot cake. By then Jacob was awake but still sleepy, and once we finished dessert we took off pretty quickly.

The plan originally was to head into the city and watch the fireworks from my office on the 16th floor. It's a fantastic view, and it's away from the crowds and craziness, which would have been ideal for Jacob, who could either sleep or watch the fireworks with a muted volume. I hated fireworks as a kid. Not the concept, mind you, just the thunderous booming...hence why I watched them from the car for years. Anyway, once Jacob was so incredibly sleepy before we even left the party, we decided to try a lower maintenance method of fireworks watching. The new plan was to find a spot to park and watch them from the car. My spot of choice was the room of the parking garage I park in. Of course, when we got downtown, the roads to the ramp were all blocked off, and we ended up sitting in traffic for the rest of the display, just trying to get somewhere. It was annoying, but what can you do? We saw a few fireworks along the way, and Jacob slept through the plethora of booms. We did some pretty fascinating people-watching on our way out of the city, and finally made it home. Quite a long day...but fun.

Yesterday we tried to relax. We had another frustrating hour of church. Jacob just will not stay put, and gets screaming mad if you try to hold him back. He wants to be anywhere but where we want him, no matter how many toys or snacks you give him. It's going to be tough to keep that up for the next few years, but I don't want to give up or start sending him to the nursery, because I'm afraid he won't learn how to sit still if we don't keep trying. I get that he might be too young to be able to do it, but somehow we'll have to keep trying. After that both Jacob and I took long naps (ahhh). We grabbed some lunch and went to Home Depot, then headed back home. Craig did the lawn and Jacob took another nap. We pretty much just hung out for the rest of the day. Not a bad thing. However, today I am just beat. I even inadvertently slept an hour later and I'm still tired with a headache.

Thank goodness my alarm malfunction this morning happened this morning, because Jacob had a doctor's appointment at 9am. That meant we didn't have to be out the door until about a half hour later than usual, and I usually don't get out of bed until a half hour after my first alarm. So, it turned out pretty well. Today was Jacob's one-year well visit. He is 30-1/2 inches long (about the 75th percentile), and only 19 lbs. 14 oz., which is about the 10th percentile. Yep, it's low, but he's trending pretty steadily so they're not concerned. What bugs me is that he was over 20 lbs. at one point, back when he finally started getting into a solid diet of baby food. However, with another bout of illness and teething a while back and his decreased appetite lately, not to mention all the calories he's burning crawling around like a maniac, he just can't keep the weight on. Craig and I were both skinny kids, so I guess he comes by it honestly, but it's tough feeling just skin and bones when I pick him up! As expected, the doctor said that his iffy eating habits are fine. Just keep offering it and he should be fine. I do think he probably needs to cut down on the amount of milk he's drinking (1 year olds should drink about 10 to 20 oz., and I think he's above that), which may encourage him to eat more...but again, this is one of those things that I'm at a loss to teach him. How do I explain to him that his rumbling tummy will be just as satisfied by more food as it would be by more milk? And he pitches a fit when he's eating if he doesn't have his sippy cup, so I'm not sure how to work around that either if he finishes his milk early in the meal or if I try to hold it off while he eats first. Hmmmm. Anyway, as usual, my concerns were all normal and we'll just keep plugging along. Jacob smiled a bunch at the doctor, which she enjoyed, and then got a little fussy just in time for two shots. He almost had to get another prick, because he needs to get his iron and lead levels tested, but the lab was jam packed and I didn't want to wait today in the post-holiday rush. He cried quite a bit from the shots, but fell asleep in the car as usual.

Tomorrow we're off to the pulmonary specialist once again, and I'm really, really hoping that he gets the green light to go off at least some of the stuff he's on right now...namely the Reglan and the Prevacid. He actually likes the Prevacid, but that stuff is expensive so I'd rather not have to get another refill if we don't have to! But I will not miss the Reglan and having to work around meals and remember it when we go out. Ugh. I'll keep my fingers crossed!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Weaning Update

So...a month after my original thoughts on weaning...here we are in the midst of the process. So far, it's going okay. I'm still having mixed feelings, but I know that it's time nonetheless. A while back Jacob slept in for a few days in a row, and that seemed a good time to ditch the morning feeding. If he wakes up early enough, I now put him in his high chair and let him eat breakfast (milk, cheerios and fruit for a while, then we tried toast, now a blueberry waffle, and at some point, a bagel). If he sleeps in, he gets breakfast at day care instead. It saves me a ton of time and doesn't rush him. So, Jacob's only feeding on weekdays is at night, right before bed. He still seems to enjoy that, but the past couple nights he's cut out early. May just be that he's too tired, or overtired and irrational, or that he likes to play too much, but maybe he's just outgrowing it.

I had been pumping at work around 10am and again at 3pm, but decided earlier this week it was time to try pumping once a day. It's a bit of a stretch but I'm sure my body will adjust quickly enough. One pumping only provides about 3-5 oz., which is only about half of what I need for a full bottle...not that he drinks full bottles anymore, but I still send three 7 oz. bottles with him, which they divide up into the sippy cup as needed. Usually two are breast milk and one is formula mixed with whole milk. At home he just gets the formula & milk combo. Sometimes he drinks like a madman, and sometimes he doesn't. Sometimes he eats well, sometimes he doesn't. He seemed to like mac and cheese last night, so that's a new one. He also loves grapes and watermelon. Veggies aren't at the top of his list all of a sudden. Bummer. We'll have to keep trying, though. Could just be a bad mood!

Jacob hasn't been eating particularly well, so that's been hard. But he hadn't been nursing that great either, so I guess it's six of one, half dozen of the other. I just keep hoping he's getting enough nutrition from the formula/milk and what little food he eats. I still think we're going at a good pace, and this is a good place for him to be right now. He's learning how to eat and what he likes, but is still getting a little love from mama at night :) They key is just doing it all gradually and being comfortable from step to step. So far, so good.

Still, it's funny going through this process. Instinctively I revert to the mindset I've had for the past 12 months, even though I'm now at a different point in the process. I almost feel guilty letting the milk dry up, like, "It's there, it's still healthy...so is it bad that I'm withholding it now?" I know it's fine and I've given him a lot in the past year, but sometimes I wonder if it's selfish stopping now. I get a twinge of concern when I notice I'm not as full before a pump, or when I don't get as much milk, but I know that that's all part of the process. Pumping less means I'll have less to pump as time goes on. And eventually, we'll just be doing a nightly nurse until we can wean him off of that. It's just funny to think of it ending sometime soon. I wonder how I'll pick the last nursing and how that will feel. I'm sure I'll be sad. It will be a relief, too, but bittersweet nonetheless.

In the meantime, here's a cute picture of Jacob doing his "in the grass" crawl. Apparently he's not a fan of how the grass feels on his legs, because he walks on all fours, with his hands and feet on the ground and his butt high in the air...every time!