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"Mo"nthly Photo - Nine

Mo turned 9 months on the 14th. Nine effing months. It will never stop blowing my mind that time goes by so quickly. Things have been a little crazy lately, so I'm impressed I got this written before she turns 10 months. 

Mo is on the move. Big time. She started crawling a few days after her 8 month mark, and daycare caught it on video. She's been improving her form since then, and now she's all over the place. She pulls up on all the furniture, and has started cruising around on it (albeit a little unstably still). We bought her some blocks and she loves them. One of her favorite activities is to knock down the towers we build for her. Today daycare told me that the big kids were putting pieces on a Mr Potato Head, and Mo kept crawling over to knock it over or pull pieces off. She's definitely learning about cause and effect!

She's become a pretty great eater. The whole daycare puree requirement lead to what seems like a big backstep. She used to eat table food, then we were "forced" into purees, and now that's all she likes. She doesn't seem to recognize pieces of food as something she's supposed to eat. But she eats eagerly from a spoon. We've been giving her all kinds of new fruits and vegetables, but her favorite thing in the world is yogurt. So much so that I think we gave her too much and she got a diaper rash from it that we could not get rid of. Finally the doctor prescribed some "magic butt cream" that seems to be working. For real, it's a thing.

She still doesn't "talk" much. That became more apparent when her cousin Will was down. He babbles all the time, all kinds of sounds. Mo is very noisy, but it's more squeals and screeches and giggles. She does say dada, baba, mama and similar things, but I think she likes to express herself more through noises than sounds, if that makes sense. She also smacks her lips and snorts and grunts and does this weird clucking thing with her mouth. I love all her little noises so much.

I think she had a mini sleep regression a few weeks back. She kept waking up around 4am, which didn't work well for me. I'd bring her in bed and nurse her back to sleep, but then I was wide awake until my alarm went off. Thank god that only lasted a handful of nights. 

One afternoon after a nap, we found her sitting up in her crib, which was new. Not the sitting, but the figuring out how to sit up from a laying position. At first she couldn't figure out how to get back down, so she would fuss in bed until we went in and laid her down. Now she does it all so naturally and easily, it seems crazy she ever couldn't. 

She's got two more teeth - top middles. For a couple days she was just really off, and even needed me to pick her up early from daycare one day because she wouldn't eat or sleep. Sure enough, two little teeth popped through and then she felt great again. 

Mo LOVES animals! She's taken a real interest in our cat, who has not returned the sentiment. He's quite petrified of her, in fact. But she loves to get kisses from all the dogs she meets, and squeals with delight when an animal is around.

We got to take her to her first pumpkin patch. I love all these first life experiences that will become traditions. 

We also did our first photo session. I was sick of not having any printable photos. We decided we need to start saving for a nice camera, but in the meantime a friend took a few of our family so we can frame some for grandparents and ourselves.

This has definitely been one of my favorite ages. So much learning, so many new skills! She's so much darn fun.

In closing, adorable cuteness with her cousin Will:




Exactly her

Today I was cleaning up the house and unearthed some remnants from the time in my life when we were trying to become parents.

The log where I tracked my temperature, my ovulation predictor kit results, and my periods.

The notes I wrote to myself during an exercise I did in counseling, which I attended for awhile after my ectopic pregnancy.

The stacks of information we gathered from adoption agencies.

The vision board I made, daring to let the universe know my hopes and dreams.

Now that I can hold my child in my arms so readily, it seems like such a different life. That life when I was consumed by the process of becoming (and repeatedly failing to become) a mother. In many ways it feelsso far away now, yet at the same time it's still very fresh in my mind. I still relate deeply with others I meet who are in the midst of their own struggle. And I still feel a fresh pang of hurt and anger whenever I witness a pregnant woman being utterly ungrateful for her blessing. Even though, in retrospect, our journey to parenthood was much less bumpy than it could have been, I still relate more to the people who have towork hard and wait long to realize their dreams of having chlidren than I do to the people who come by it easily.

I tell Mo daily how happy and lucky we are to have her. And I often tell her how much we wanted her, how hard we worked for her, how long we waited. It may seem like I'm giving her a lot to live up to, but the truth is her mere existence is enough to satisfy our hopes and dreams for her life. 

I still think I would have rather skipped all the stupid shit I went through to become a mom. But it is interesting to think about how all these factors had to line up perfectly, the exact timing had to occur, the exact egg and sperm had to meet, the exact events had to happen in the exact order to result in my Mo. My exact Mo. No other series of events would have lead to having exactly her in my life. And to end up with her, I can definitely say it was all worth it.


I'm not a bad mom

I hear this phrase a lot: "I'm a bad mom." It's usually followed with something rather innocuous like, "I let my kid have candy today" or "I haven't bathed my baby in a week." Those things don't make you a bad mom, they make you human. There is enough vicious judgment and vitriol aimed at mothers, so I make a point of not adding to it, not even toward myself. Sometimes I catch myself using that phrase, but usually I'm careful not to. I don't want to give anyone any ammunition, and I don't want my baby to hear me say it. I don't want her to think I really am a bad mom, or that it's ok to criticize ourselves so harshly.

That doesn't mean I don't sometimes feel like a bad mom. The other morning Moselle fell off our bed. She FELL OFF OUR BED! And it was completely my fault, and I felt horrible. I really did feel like I had momentarily failed as a mother. But all mothers, and fathers too, have those momentary failures, and as long as we're working to do our best for our children, these slip ups and moments of weakness don't make us bad

I am a good mother. I know I am, I know I absolutely am. But it was still nice to get this little note from our server at lunch today:

I'm pretty sure it was in response to the fact that I (discreetly) nursed Mo during lunch, but not nursing her wouldn't make me a bad mom. And there are thousands of other things that make me a good mom. So I dedicate this note to all the good mommies in the world!

Keep it up ladies.

That's Mo giving you a round of applause.


"Mo"nthly Photo - Eight

Two thirds. We are two thirds of the way to Mo's first birthday. Sometimes I still have the "I have a newborn" mentality, and then I remember no, I have an eight month old. I've been a mom for eight months, I've been back at work for almost seven months, I've been taking Mo to daycare for over three months, she's been eating solid foods for two months. It doesn't seem real.

8 months. 18 pounds. 8 ounces. 28 inches. We used very unofficial methods to get those measurements, but it's still fun.

I've alluded before to the fact that Mo is a really good baby, but I want to elaborate. I don't do it as a point of pride, because I can only take a small amount of credit for that. Mostly, we're just extremely lucky. Everyone who meets her comments on how good she is. Her daycare is always raving, and the people who babysit her can't believe it. Yesterday we saw a friend who we haven't seen since she was born, and the friend said, "If I was guaranteed to have a baby as good as her, I'd have another one." In a way it makes sense. Both Mike and I were supposedly extremely easy babies, so I some of it may be genetic. And maybe a small part of it is our approach to parenthood. But mostly I just think we hit the baby jackpot. Mo is an amazing sleeper and napper; she has become a good eater; she's so content in any situation; she rarely cries or even fusses; and she has such a happy, smiley demeanor. 

The other day my sister was talking about our kids, her son being the one that was born less than two hours before Mo. Will is an amazing kid, but he's a bit finnicky. As Em says, "You can't just throw him into new situations. You have to ease him in." I think she described Mo's nature best when she was comparing the two babies: "You can throw Mo in a lake, and she's like 'Oh hey, I'm in a lake.' You dip Will's big toe in a puddle and he gets pissed."

Of course now I just jinxed myself...

Mo has grown up a lot in the last month. She recently learned to clap, which, no joke, is the cutest thing I've ever seen. I die every time she does it. She holds her hands a little to left of center and primarily moves her left hand to hit her right. It's so cute, you'd die too. She has also waved a few times. It's not consistent yet, but I think she's figuring out that waving is a greeting and a farewell.

Last weekend we switched Mo over to a convertible car seat. She was getting too heavy to lug around in her infant carrier, and she was officially big enough for a "big girl" seat, so we made the transition. I thought she'd look tiny in those giant seats, but she didn't. And it made me sad. She really is growing up.

She's also big enough to ride in the shopping cart, which is crazy. Mike brought her grocery shopping not too long ago and left her in her carrier, and she hated it. She was bored and wanted to look around and interact. So next time he sat her in the cart, and yep, no problem, she's basically a teenager.

She really wants to crawl, but hasn't quite figured it out. Which is fine by me! We've talked about what we need to do to babyproof, but we haven't actually done anything. So I'm ok with her getting on her knees or toes and rocking back and forth and moving her legs, as long as she doesn't figure out how to coordinate her arms with the legs just yet.

Mo started taking a pacifier a few weeks ago. She always rejected them, and then suddenly, one day, she loved them. It's still weird to see her with one.


Happy to report I'm still her favorite. One of these days I won't be able to say that, so I'm milking it for all it's worth. When I walk in the room, she lights up and gets agitated if I don't snatch her up right away. I love that. It's my favorite feeling. We have so much fun together. 

The other day she missed a nap, and when I was feeding her before bedtime, she fell asleep. There was a time when she would ONLY sleep on us and wouldn't sleep anywhere else. But she has been taking all naps and sleeping at night in her crib for many months, so it was a real treat to watch her sleep in my arms for awhile.

All in all, it's been an amazing month. I can't believe my tiny baby is gone and I do miss her, but every stage has been so much fun as she keeps getting bigger and smarter.

Just as a bonus, here's my daughter in a ridiculously huge flower headband. I don't own a single hair bow or headband for her, but I put my niece's on her the other day, expecting it to look silly. And darn it if she isn't adorable even with a giant plant on her head!



Late night check in

For five months after Mo was born, we slept on her schedule. Then we got her to sleep on our schedule. And for two glorious months I slept like a champ. I would go to bed soon after her, read a few pages, then fall deep asleep all night long. After years of insomnia, nine months of pregnancy (aka: uncomfortable, restless sleep), and five months of newborn sleep, it was wonderful. But insomnia has slowly slipped back into my life, and here I am, awake when I should be asleep. So I thought I'd write through some updates on motherhood.

First of all, I love it. I really love it, and I literally snuggle Mo each night and say a quiet, sincere thank you for her. I could go on and on about what a spectacular girl she is (no seriously, we're spoiled, she's the best), but I won't. Not right now anyway.

Instead, an update on being a working mother: it's really hard. My feelings are nothing new, working mothers have felt these feelings for as long as there has been working mothers. Feelings like, there's never enough of me to go around. I put in so much energy all day at work that I'm exhausted at home. And I want to give what little time and energy is left to the few precious hours I get with Mo, so I do nothing else. I don't socialize, I don't get involved in the community, I don't actually do things. I'm not a good sister, daughter or friend. And forget keeping up on the house! (Thank God for Mike. It's common to say that men help women with household chores, but the truth in our relationship is that I'm the one helping him.) 

The daycare stuff makes it hard, too. If I have to leave her somewhere for nine hours a day, can't it be a situation that makes it as easy as possible? Why does there have to be drama? Why does there have to be reason to question things? 

I still fantasize about quitting my job. Or reducing my hours. Neither of which is an option, but I fantasize nonetheless. I like to work and I like my job, but I wish I could do it in 20 hours a week instead of 40. One improvement is that I don't obsessively check in every day. At first I did, I thought about her constantly and wondered about her every activity. Now I know she's happy and comfortable there, and I get absorbed in work, and I don't obsess so much.

Another update? How about breastfeeding. If you've been reading since her birth you'll remember Mo had a difficult time nursing at first. The first few weeks were, well they were just really hard. And then they started to get better. And then even better. And now it's so easy that I don't want to stop. A lot of people look at the fact that I'm still breast feeding at 8 months and say, "Good for you." But the truth is, it's not a heroic act at all. It's easy for us.

In the mornings I bring her into bed and she nurses while we both slowly wake up. When I get home from work, she nurses while I catch up on Facebook. And before bed, she nurses while we quiet down for the night. Easy. What makes it a little difficult is the pumping. I've got it down to a pretty smooth routine, and I reduced to only once a day to save my sanity, but I still hate the inconvenience. Thankfully we have A LOT of frozen milk, so even though my supply is dipping and I'm only pumping 4-8 ounces a day (compared to the 12-15 she eats during the day), she still gets plenty of breast milk.

OK, time to try to sleep again. Mo will be waking me up in no time.

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