Friday, March 23, 2012

Another Year Older: Thinking of Him ...

I think the picture on the left looks so much like Aiden! I was such a little ham!

In about a week, it's my birthday! I am always excited about my birthday (who isn't) because it is an opportunity to celebrate reaching another year of life. Life is such a blessing and my life, I can honestly say has been incredible. This year has brought so many blessings my way!

Becoming another year older also causes me to be a bit pensive. I've been thinking about all of the things I want to accomplish during my time here on earth and I've been thinking about the 27 years I've spent here... and this week, I've been thinking a lot about my Dad.

I know some pretty amazing young dads... my husband for one! I have lots of friends who have daughters and I love seeing the relationships my friends have with their girls. That Daddy-Daughter relationship is so important. I am a firm believer that if a girl has a healthy relationship with her Dad, she learns how a man should treat her and what to look for in a potential husband one day.

My journey has not been ideal in that regard. There is still so much I am dealing with but I can honestly and truly say for the first time that I feel PEACE when it comes to my dad. We still don't have a relationship... we probably chat on the phone once every couple of months. He usually isn't sober when he calls which really doesn't help the situation. My heart truly breaks for him because no matter what, I love him and want the best for him.

I don't have many memories of alone time with him... there was this one time he came to my school to see me read a book I had written.. that moment is special for me because being a writer has always been an aspiration of mine from very young.. and when my "book" was chosen to be read I was so excited. I remember going up to sit in the "author's chair" and read .. and I remember looking at my dad's face in the audience... he was BEAMING with pride. That is a wonderful moment I will always treasure.

For my own peace of mind, I need to hold on to these good moments. I need to keep pressing forward and choosing to forgive him. It is bittersweet because we cannot have a real relationship, but I understand why and I continue to pray for my Dad. My hope is that if we couldn't know each other much here on earth, that we could spend countless moments together in eternity.

Ironically, this song by John Mayer came up on my Pandora this morning:

Daughters by John Mayer

I know a girl
She puts the color inside of my world
But she's just like a maze
Where all of the walls all continually change
And I've done all I can
To stand on her steps with my heart in my hands
Now I'm starting to see
Maybe it's got nothing to do with me

Fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

Oh, you see that skin?
It's the same she's been standing in
Since the day she saw him walking away
Now she's left
Cleaning up the mess he made

Come on, you know those shades are cool.

Young days in Arizona

With God's help and the love & support of so many wonderful people in my life... I have cleaned up the mess... and I will continually do so. "I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead." - Philippians 3:13.


Friday, March 16, 2012

Mompetition & Stupid Comments

What is it with moms and this whole "mompetition" thing? I get that it is helpful to compare notes and it feels great to have some support from other women who understand, but why can't people just accept that every child, every mom, every family has to do what works for them and that is just fine?  It really grinds my gears when another mom talks about her baby and her way of doing things like it is doctrine or something.

It can just be really discouraging to hear certain comments... and it can be difficult to not let myself get sucked in to thinking or feeling like I am not doing the right thing as a mom. Today, my co-worker boastfully told me that at bedtime, she "gives her 4 month old a kiss, lays him in his crib, turns out the light and walks away."  Then she added that he sleeps through the entire night and if he cries, she just lets him CIO (cry it out) until he falls back to sleep on his own. "If you keep letting him sleep in your bed, he will never leave" she told me... "He is almost 1, aren't you going to stop breastfeeding now?"  Ohhhh and my favorite "Don't you think it's gross when women keep breastfeeding up until 18 months?!"

Aiden is almost 11 months old now and personally, I think he is doing great. He is so smart and physically strong. He is cruising all over the apartment using the walls to hold on to... I know he is going to start walking very soon. He can do the sign for "milk" and he also says a few words: Mama, Dada, Up, No, among others. He eats all different types of foods and he drinks water from a cup. He loves to dance and he loves to play "mama's gonna get you" and run away from me. He gives kisses (besitos) and hugs (tantos) and he is just a super happy, smart, and loving baby. I am so proud to be his Mama and I am blessed with other mom friends who celebrate these things with I celebrate their kids with them and we encourage each other... so why do some moms feel the need to try and rain on my parade?

The sleeping thing has been honestly the hardest part of my last year as a new mom. I thought for sure that my baby would be sleeping through the night by now... but he isn't and honestly, I don't know how close we are to that.

Ever since he was 3 months old, I tried to establish a bedtime routine. He gets a warm bath, a massage with lotion, PJ's on and then we sit in the rocking chair and listen to bedtime music. He nurses for a while and then usually will drift off to sleep by 8pm.  I put him down in his crib and he stays there until around midnight when he wakes up to nurse. At that point, I am already asleep so my husband usually goes in to his room to get him and brings him to our bed. Then he stays in bed with us for the rest of the night.

My sweet boy in his crib with his stuffed monkey :)

We actually love to wake up to Aiden in the mornings. He is so happy and it is probably the best part of my day. It is also really nice to get time with him since I am away working 40 hours a week plus 10 hours of commuting. Nursing and bed sharing has been our way of bonding and I am grateful for that.

Now let me just say -- Aiden is getting bigger and he is starting to really take over our bed. He moves all over the place and kicks Daddy in the back so we realize that it may soon be time for a change... but I don't have it in me to just put him in his crib and let him cry it out.  All I can do is create a soothing, relaxing environment for sleep and try to remain as consistent as possible. I am also trying to create other associations for him when it comes to sleep that are not my boobs. His night time music, his stuffed monkey etc.  And I'm not saying that anyone who practices CIO is cruel, I'm just saying that it won't work for my family. There is loads of research out there in favor of cry it out and against it.. and both sides have convincing arguments... but CIO for me, goes against my instincts and I am committed to following my instincts as a parent.

I had to just walk away when my co-worker was talking to me today... especially when she said "why don't you just give him formula so that he can sleep all night?" .. because what I REALLY wanted to say was -- "it takes babies longer to digest formula so that's why formula fed infants go longer between feedings."  But I didn't say that... I won't return judgment with judgment... I won't get sucked in..  Woooossaa!

I know that eventually we will figure out how to get Aiden sleeping in his own bed and when it is the right time for him... In the interim, I pray that God gives me the patience and strength to do what is best for him. Do any of my readers have baby sleep advice? How about advice for handling stupid comments from other moms? LOL

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

1st Birthday Party: Becoming the crazy lady

A few years ago, I was helping my friend plan her wedding. We went out to take a look at some different venue options and ended up choosing a beautiful catering hall in Jersey City. I remember walking into that place and just saying "WOW" because it was pretty impressive. From the extravagant garden outside to the candlelit lounge area complete with a baby grand piano ..I loved it! That day, we went into the manager's office and my friend signed a contract to make it official - this was the place she would have her wedding! The manager showed us all of the rooms available and in the "grand ballroom" there was another party being set up. We were allowed to go inside and to my surprise the hall was adorned with zoo animals and different color balloons. I was kind of shocked when I looked at the three tier cake with a huge #1 candle on it -- this was some baby's first birthday party!

Of course, this was before I had a child of my own so I vowed never to go crazy and throw my future son or daughter a big 1st birthday party... after all, they aren't even going to remember it right?!  I would never, ever, turn into that crazy mom who spent hours curling ribbon and obsessing over every single detail of her child's birthday party... not me... never... ha, crazy lady!

Well, fast forward a few years and we are coming up on Aiden's very 1st birthday party!  I mean, it is a once in a lifetime, special experience for him -- he will be the birthday boy for the very first time! He is going to get to try cake and be the guest of honor.. of course I need to make it amazing for him!  And do we really have proof, and I mean HARD evidence that a child doesn't remember their first birthday party? What if the memories of our first birthdays linger somewhere in our subconscious and were a part of shaping who we turned out to be? LOL okay maybe not, but still this is important!

Aiden's party is quickly approaching and I will admit, I am becoming the crazy lady! We are doing a "Wonder Pets" theme since that is his favorite show and I am sooooo excited about it. I ordered invitations with his picture on them and I would totally post a pic of them here but I don't know how to crop out the address and I can't have you all showing up to the party... we won't have enough food!

The Wonderpets are kind of like super-heroes :)

And speaking of food I am so excited to plan this menu. Aiden is going to get applesauce cake since it will be his first time having something so sweet and I want to limit his sugar. But I have lots of healthy snacks planned for the kids like - ants on a log, nutella and banana sandwiches, veggie sticks and fruit kabobs!  I have even been singing "Happy Birthday" to Aiden in preparation and am trying to teach him how to blow out his candle. He woke up a few mornings ago and started blowing on my face... LOL .. we'll see!

Anyway, I've gotta go but say a little prayer for me that I don't really become the crazy lady and still manage to throw my boy a really fun and special 1st birthday party :)