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

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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.

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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.

Gift Guide for Moms

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Mother’s Day is approaching! It’ll be my first one and that is honestly so bizarre for me. Mother’s Day. I’ll admit, I don’t really think of myself as ‘mother.’ I guess I prefer Mama for now (it’s folksy!).

Anyway.

I myself haven’t always been the best daughter when it comes to gifting on Mother’s Day. Sometimes I plan ahead, make a visit, buy flowers and a card, other years it’s kinda “Oh-yeah-it’s-today-I-better-do-something-*pulls at collar*”. Rest assured, I’m prepared this year. Hoping you are too, but if you’re not, here are a few items I think most women would appreciate.MOMS

Walnut Print Stand (don’t forget the prints!)  |   A lovely card  |  Rosemary Scented Tattoo
Mama Bear t-shirt  |  Simple Fare Cookbook  |  Gem Earrings
Marble Concrete Bowl  |  Initial Necklace  |  Live-edge Walnut Serving Board

And if all else fails, there’s always fresh flowers, treating her to brunch, giving her your HBO Go password, orrrr a donation in her name to Planned Parenthoodbecause she raised you right. ◾️

(Photo © me, from the botanical gardens in Christchurch, NZ)

Lately

041317-20Hey, Blue Eyes!

Things are ticking along in our household… Alan undertook the GREAT task of building raised beds so I could fulfill my goal of having a garden this year. I’ll dedicate a blog in the future to that, but it’s been pretty cool to get to know how that process works (because I had NO IDEA) and it’ll be a lot of work but it’ll be so rewarding.

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Alex remains a happy little boy. And I feel like a broken record while talking about his poor sleep habits. I’m constantly keeping myself in check, telling myself that our problems could be worse and we could have a baby who sleeps like 4 hours a day total and also is low on the height and weight chart and a bunch of other stuff, but like, STOP IT. Your problems are not invalid because they’re different than other peoples’ problems. I still need sleep just like everyone else, and 4-5 hours of sleep every night for 6 months is – not normal or healthy -. Unfortunately, this is just my reality for the foreseeable future, so I might as well cope as best as I can.

 

041317-39041317-40041317-41Now that Alex can sit up on his own and generally keep himself entertained for at least 20 minutes, I have more little moments during the day where I don’t feel as guilty for just zoning out on the couch, browsing my phone. Sometimes I turn on the TV and -GASP- sometimes I let him watch. Motherhood is exhausting, and on top of judgment from others (whether real or imagined), nothing competes with the judgment we give ourselves, and that sucks. Mothering a baby is one thing, but I think we also need to Mother ourselves.

💞

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