I’m Glad I Spent it With You

motherhood-caroline(2of105)motherhood-caroline(3of105)

Photos by kaley from kansas

My time as a stay-at-home-mom is over! (for now)

I’m sad and relieved, scared and excited. Motherhood is like that. Warring feelings at every turn. Putting Alex in daycare was an inevitability, but we always thought it’d be in November-ish, after his first birthday. When Alan texted me in July that there was a part time spot open in September at our first choice day care, I was instantly conflicted. It was sooner than we thought. I felt I was just getting this SAHM thing down pat. I was thinking about the kind of summer I was having with Alex: fun! walks, music class, swimming, the zoo, etc… I would miss that so much. But we really wanted in at this daycare. So we said yes. And besides, it was only 3 days a week. That would be a good transition. But then recently they had an opening for full time, and we took it, not knowing what my work situation would be yet, but knowing it would open me up for much more work.

I have to say, not having a job to go back to but no longer having a baby to take care of solo is like the ULTIMATE sad-Caroline scenario, similar to how I felt before Alex was born. I feel as though I lack purpose. And trying to re-enter the workforce after so long is presenting challenges already. I’m trying to remain positive, knowing that this will be a really good thing for our boy, and a good thing for mom and dad too. I don’t really think women are meant to be sole caregivers for long stretches of time. I hope you won’t judge me when I say taking care of a baby is fundamentally boring. He’s wonderful and we’ve truly had some fun together, and I don’t regret any of it. But I’m ready to get back to doing adult things, and he can play with kids his age all day… in a padded room where he can’t break anything (lol).

I got some photos taken of us to commemorate this special period in my life with Alex. He’s my first baby, the one who made me a mom, and every day my heart breaks over how much he’s becoming NOT a baby anymore. Sweet Alex. Can’t wait to keep going on these journeys with you!

motherhood-caroline(12of105)motherhood-caroline(19of105)motherhood-caroline(34of105)motherhood-caroline(41of105)motherhood-caroline(43of105)motherhood-caroline(46of105)motherhood-caroline(52of105)motherhood-caroline(56of105)motherhood-caroline(59of105)motherhood-caroline(65of105)motherhood-caroline(81of105)motherhood-caroline(84of105)motherhood-caroline(87of105)motherhood-caroline(89of105)motherhood-caroline(97of105)motherhood-caroline(103of105)motherhood-caroline(100of105)motherhood-caroline(104of105)

The Sweet Summer

Processed with VSCO with 4 preset

Now Alex’s nap schedule has been evened out, and when everything works out, he has two naps at 1.5 hours each, with 3 hours of awake time in between. That kind of predictability is BLISS. Having this longer time in the morning is particularly nice because it means I get to take a lovely walk with him in the peaceful morning, before it gets too hot and lots of other people are out on the paths.

Having a young kid has completely flipped my expectations about the seasons. It’s revealed things I didn’t know I liked. Having a baby in the fall, I thought, would be a wonderful experience. Part of it was, but then having a little helpless creature throughout the winter was a cold, isolating experience. I remember a lot of darkness, and it didn’t help that this last winter was so disappointingly UN-winter like.

Processed with VSCO with 4 preset

I’ve never been a lover of summer. I hate being out in the sun, in the humidity, sweating, chafing, squinting. UGH. But I really love certain aspects of it now. The green lushness of my surroundings, maybe even a humid afternoon if it’s overcast. Drinking iced coffees on a morning walk. Daylight extending late into the evening. The smell of the lake.

It’s August now, which, after our annual cabin week, is usually when I’m thinking about fall, and getting excited. Fall means a lot of different things this time around. Alex will start going to daycare in September and I’m going to start working again. We probably won’t get to take as many walks. He’ll be turning 1. All these things I’m scared and excited for will happen with the end of summer. It’s a little heartbreaking.

Processed with VSCO with 4 preset

A thing I have a real problem with is living in The Moment. I had a whole therapy session about this yesterday! When things are happening, even if they’re nice, and I can stop and appreciate them, it’s always making me think about the future or reminding my of the past. I’m thinking back to when my baby was a little smaller and less mobile, but I’m also thinking about a future where he can walk and run around. I’m thinking about how this summer is coming to a close, faster than I would like, and I’m wanting to just hold onto it for a little longer. It’s hard just stopping and appreciating the present.

How do you stay in the present? How do you stop yourself trying to live in so many different times at once?

Processed with VSCO with 4 preset

Sweet Boy

ALEX-MAY-8I have a big backlog of photos, so I thought I would do a big share. These are photos from almost two months ago (!) that I have only just uploaded. I’m delighted to report that I’m all caught up (for now).

Doing some maintenance on my ever-growing collection of Alex photos made me realize how quickly he’s growing. I could also remember specific days, and how maybe… “Oh that was a good day” or “Oh, that was a tough day.” But what stands out to me most is that those tough days are in the past. We don’t have to live them again. There are still more ahead, but each day we become more experienced too. ALEX-MAY-15

I think we’re currently experiencing the dreaded 8 month sleep regression *and* a nap transition where he’s going from 3 naps to 2. While reading up on it, I was reminded of the 4 month sleep regression he had, which then lead to a month-long cold, which caused multiple loooong wake ups every night. That was a dark period. I felt like I didn’t want any more kids after dealing with that.

But like all things, it passed, and now Alex is nearly 8 months, and despite the occasional hiccup, he’s quite dreamy. He’s super fun and energetic. We’re taking swim and music classes this summer, going on tons of walks, and despite the unpredictability in sleeping, he does take longer naps, which means long breaks for mom. I think back to how harried and exhausted I was in the beginning and that time is so far away. I feel 1000% more in control of my day than I did then, and that alone does great things for my state of mind.ALEX-MAY-21ALEX-MAY-27ALEX-MAY-28I’ve also learned that it takes a long time (at least in my case) to be OK with being a stay at home mom. When Alex needed me for every single thing, that was incredibly draining and demoralizing. It was also tough having such a dependent little baby while the days were dark and cold. I think I’ll have my next baby in the spring.ALEX-MAY-33ALEX-JUNE-2ALEX-JUNE-10This boy is the sweetest little thing. Despite the struggles (which become farther apart as he gets older!), my heart EXPLODES every time he smiles at me. When Alan hands him off to me at night to feed him before bed, I hold his little body and smell his head and just think I’ll take like 10 more of these please.ALEX-JUNE-27ALEX-JUNE-38ALEX-JUNE-65I never knew I could enjoy summer SO MUCH until Alex came along, and I realized recently it’s because having a baby makes everything new. You pretty much have to keep busy all the time, and go places, and try new things. And even though he’ll never remember going to the north shore or music class or checking out the neighborhood brewpub on Father’s Day, we will cherish these early days with our sweet boy.ALEX-JUNE-71

The Difficult Morning

The kind of morning where things are going just fine, and you registered for swimming and impulse shopped for hand sanitizer on Amazon. Everything is fine until nap time, where you do everything in the same order; (shade drawn to half mast, white noise is on. Diaper. Sleep sack. Books. Nursing.) the formula is the same every time and usually it works. On this morning it doesn’t work. Do you try a double nursing and hopefully that works. It doesn’t. So you put him down in his crib and maybe he’ll work it out. He’s been getting better at that.  You’ve got your coffee to finish before it gets cold and you still haven’t eaten breakfast (you tend to wait until naptime so you’re not rushed) and you’re exhausted because he’s been waking up 3 times a night for the last week. But now he’s crying. Wailing. Howling. You go and turn him back around and put him on his back and rub his tummy and shush him. You go back to coffee and news. He’s still crying and crying. You put a halt on the breakfast plan and try again to nurse him but it doesn’t work. You’re hot and sweaty and you know it’s only a matter of time before you lose your cool and start screaming. You check his diaper. It’s wet already. Changing it will hopefully calm him down and he will sleep. He does not. You lay him back in his crib and leave the room and are reminded how messy the house is, how messy it keeps getting, and the thought of an endless mess starts to stress you out. You want to hit something so you hit the trash can. You eventually make your breakfast while he’s still crying in bed. You start to think about how nice it must be for mothers who get to drop their baby off at daycare and go to work and not have to have this problem. You eat. At least now you’re fortified to deal with this. You take off his clothes, you sit with him on the couch and open the window and have him play with a book. After all this, he might finally be exhausted enough to pass out. You do the whole naptime routine again. You catch yourself wondering so many times during this if you really want to do all this again? Uh, talk to me in a year. They say the days are long but the years are short. But the difficult morning is the longest of all.

Here There and Everywhere

040816-32

Alex will be 6 months (!) on Saturday.

Recently I was at Target (by MYSELF in the MIDDLE OF THE DAY) and breezed through the newborn isle, chock full of tiny onesies and muslin swaddles and little blankies and I thought, “I don’t need anything here.” Somehow right now my Instagram feed has become more crowded with little sweet snoozing newborn babies and I can still sort of remember what Alex’s little body felt like in my arms when he was just a potato.

I’m eagerly awaiting a future where he can toddle around and I can read a story to him and he understands, instead of just reaching for the book and trying to chew on it but actually just poking himself in the eye. I’m excited to bring him to the cabin, and celebrate his first birthday, and take him to cut down our Christmas tree (for real this time).

And I want right now to just stay right now for a little bit.

040816-27I’m constantly in a state of wanting things to move along, while wishing they could stay the same. Our first week, I remember saying to Alan “I want him to stay this size forever and ever.” He smelled sooooo good, and he was so soft and warm. He wasn’t wobbling around in my arms and headbutting me in the mouth yet. But also right now I’d LOVE him to stay him the same. He sits on the floor, content to grab things and look at the cat, and he smiles and coos at me when I get his attention.

I want him to stay napping even though I miss playing with him at the same time.

I’m exhausted and want him to get to the stage where his napping is just a little more regular, more predictable. I’m excited and nervous at the same time to start solids, or to stop using the infant car seat, because it’ll just be one more sign that this baby’s growth is a runaway freight train that I can’t stop. I’m so paralyzed by sentimentality that I wonder if the rest of my life I’m doomed to mark every new milestone simultaneously with mourning and elation. I want to be in all these places at once, and I can’t be, and that’s a difficult thing to accept.

040816-25

It’s been a huge struggle, these first six months, and for better or worse, I’ve felt every conceivable emotion. The lows are so low and the highs are sky-high. But I’m grateful to feel. Your mind and body go through the most unimaginable changes when you have a baby and while I’ve had serious reservations, I feel like I would still absolutely have like, 10 more babies.

But none of them will be Alexander Richard Royce. Happy Half Birthday, sweet babe.

%d bloggers like this: