Week 17: back to work…back to me!

I went back to work this week.  As my co-workers will attest, I have not once broken down in tears. I appear sincerely happy to be back.

I am happy to be back. Here’s why:

1. My first day back at work was not my first day away from Suzianne: at first, our time apart was confusing and sad. BUT! Since Suzianne started part-time nanny-share three weeks before I went to work, I did my crying in a Northern Virginia bar with a stranger named “Al.” Therefore, when I returned to the office, it felt like any other day. I highly recommend this strategy.

2. I need an office job. We’ve talked before about my need for structure. I’m a much happier person when I have a routine, a to-do list and social time. There are many smart parents who are able to establish these things within the home; they and their babies thrive in this situation. I’ve tried it. It’s really hard. I don’t do it well. They say that when you have a baby you experience the “ah-ha” moment of “I want to be at home with this baby everyday” or “Good Lord, I miss having lunch with adults, get me outta here.” Staying at home with an infant is most certainly work. I quickly discovered I prefer working outside the home.

3. Absence makes the heart grow fonder: now that I don’t hang with Suzianne 24 hours a day, I’m much more appreciative of the time I spend with her. She’s been quite the sleeper lately, going to bed around 7 each night. This means Dave and I get one hour with her at home in the evenings. ONE HOUR. And it’s awesome. We also treasure the weekends, and, in the category of “Things I thought I’d never say,” we now enjoy our very early mornings with her. That’s right, I now LIKE getting up at 6 a.m. to hang out with someone who is only going to poop, giggle and spit up on me. It’s crazy what having a child will do to you.

Of course, the other thing that made going back so easy was the enthusiasm and support of my fabulous co-workers. Thanks for your love and friendship, folks. And I’m really sorry I nearly killed the welcome back flowers you brought me, Kristen. At least I have this great picture of them, before the drooping set in:

It seems I can keep my child alive, just not a potted plant. (sigh)

Weeks 15 & 16

Hi. I’m a week late with Week 15’s post, and we’re nearly done with Week 16. I hope this doesn’t hurt your feelings, but I’m kind of excited about forgetting to write.

I know I always preach about how the Internet is not your diary. But since Suzianne came shooting out into this world on March 5, this blog has been a much-needed outlet for me. Most of the time, I write as a way to sort through my self-doubt. Or to remind myself that there actually are some things I am doing well.

I guess you could say that blog posts (with words) were a sign of a not-so-confident me. So, when I would go for a while without blogging, it was a good thing!  And these past two weeks have been very good things. See:

Helmet-schelmet

Remember how I broke the baby? Well, last week, I took Suzianne to see those flat-head helmet people, even though our repositioning work seems to be doing the trick. The whole experience felt very sales-y to me. No doctor; just a nice lady who smiled at odd times while she was talking. She basically told us that Suzianne didn’t really need a helmet, but that she was going to recommend the $3,500 device that Suzianne would need to wear 23 hours a day for several months anyway. Um, no thanks?

BUT the trip out to BFE, Virginia, wasn’t a total waste of time. I did get these awesome baby mugshots:

WANTED for excessive drooling.

Flaily-armed and dangerous.

NPR

Also last week, Suzianne made her first pilgrimage to NPR’s Washington, D.C. headquarters. A couple of my friends work there, so we went for a visit. I’m most excited about the NPR visitors pass they made her wear. It will be a great addition to Suzianne’s yet-to-be-cracked-open baby book.

Rolling Over

On June 16, Suzianne rolled over on her tummy for the very first time! As you can see, she was super proud:

A few days later, Dave looked over at the play mat and found her like this; and not nearly as angry about it:

Chatty Cathy

Last week, our child somehow figured out she can make purposeful noises. Lord help us. She’s a loud talker who doesn’t think twice about telling you every detail about her day, no matter what you have going on. Not sure who she gets that from. It’s so cool how for three months, she was just a little, relatively silent, blob; a week later, she’s rolling on her stomach and chatting with us about her music preferences. She’s a night-talker, too; I now keep the monitor on low when I go to bed.

Nashvegas

During Week 16, I made a sneaky trip home to Nashville to surprise my grandparents. We had a great time just hanging out and talking; meanwhile, Suzianne had two days of daddy-daughter party time:

The most awesome part of my trip was how Dave kept Suzianne’s routine right on schedule; from arriving at Nanny D’s, to baths and bedtime. You always hear women complaining about how their husbands mess with the baby’s routine, or refuse to do some parts of it because it’s easier to just skip them. But Dave was a rockstar and I came back to a well-rested, clean, happy baby.

D is for Dang-we-are-so-lucky-we-found-Nanny-D

I love how in the middle of the day, I get pictures like these from Nanny D; along with texts that tell me how well Suzianne is eating, pooping, playing, napping, etc.

We are so, so blessed to have found our wonderful nanny-share family and such a thoughtful, caring woman who takes amazingly good care of our baby girl.

Giggling

This week, Suzianne started to giggle. Just a bit. I have a couple of videos to prove it, but WordPress is acting odd and won’t let me embed them here. So, the most proof I can offer you is this blurry picture:

Guilt-free Assessment: 3.5 month-old infants are way more fun than newborn ones

I remember asking my friend Beth when babies usually start smiling, giggling and actually acting happy to see you. She said “just in time.” This is true. Week 15 was a big turning point for Suzianne, as it seems to be for most infants. Suddenly, your tiny baby blob is human-like. Talking, watching you walk across the room, expressing joy and displeasure. Beaming like you are the most awesome, funniest person in the world when you greet her at 4:30 each morning. It’s fascinating. And, selfishly, a lot more gratifying.

I would not push pause on these weeks for the world. Each one brings something new and amazing for Suzianne. Onward we go!

 

 

Week 14: victory is mine.

This week, I was kind of a big deal.

Proof:

I wore a belt nearly every day this week–and that belt does not belong to my husband: On Mother’s Day, I walked out of the bedroom and made Dave watch as I was about to put a belt around my waist for the first time in nearly a year. “Watch this!” I squealed. And then…um, Dave watched as my belt came no where near buckling.

Sweet Dave then handed me HIS belt to wear. Although it was a sweet gesture, it was quite a bruise for my ego. BUT! This week, my hips must have come back in a bit because I was able to wear my old belt again! It’s the little things in life that make a difference, ya know?

I wore an infant to a public place–and we are both still alive: frequent readers of this blog know I’ve not had the best luck in the baby wearing department. BUT thanks to Rakelle and her K’Tan suggestion, we’ve found an infant carrier that Suzianne doesn’t hate with a fiery, vocal passion. See. Not angry:

I even wore her to an evening barefoot running seminar at REI that Dave signed us up for. Yes. A seminar where everyone is supposed to be quite and attentive. Suzianne rocked that, yo:

I completed Week 3/Day 3 of my Ease into 5k training–while pushing a stroller…with a wide-wake infant inside it: I was more than a little ecstatic about this one:

So thrilled was I that I made a random man take my picture right after I completed the run. As he was taking it, I asked, “Do I look athletic?!” He handed me back my phone and said, “Not when you do that leg kick thing, so I cut that out of the picture”:

We somehow reversed this week’s trend of no sleep with a Friday night, no-wake, no-nightfeeding, 8 hour stretch of awesomeness! I had a partial breakdown this week because Suzianne sort of decided to quit sleeping at night and napping in the day. As a result, she was cranky all week. You know, because she’s EXHAUSTED MOMMA. WHY MUST YOU KEEP ME AWAKE ALL THE TIME? WAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH. Of course, the more public the location, the more vocal she got. Take Rock Bottom Brewery, for example:

The problem seemed to be that no matter how much breast milk I fed her, she was still hungry. Then, when she’d try to sleep, she suddenly HATED the swaddle and would fight it all night. And when I say “fight it,” I mean she’d flop over on her stomach and nurse the mattress. There’s no milk in there, by the way. When the mattress refused to feed her, she’d be all: WAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH! WHY ARE YOU KEEPING THE MATTRESS FROM FEEDING ME MOMMA!?

It sucked.

I took my desperation to Facebook. Friends advised we give her more formula than we had been and swaddle her with one arm out.

AND IT WORKED! On Friday night, my girl slept from 9:40 p.m. to 6 a.m..

{squeal!}

{virtual high five}

Yes, friend. That DOES mean no night feeding for the first time since Suzianne shot out into the world on March 5. Miracles do happen!

—-

Week 14 also marks my last full week at home with Suzianne. Starting Tuesday, we’ll take Suzianne to an awesome nanny-share family down the street from Dave’s work. We are so excited about this; I’m hoping a routine and playing with another infant will help her sleep better at night. We’ll start her part time until I go back to work at the end of this month. More on that later!

Week 13: we’ll pass on pause

This weekend, I saw a Facebook post from a gal that read:

My baby girl is NINE weeks old! Someone push the pause button!

My first thought was “Who would want to ‘pause’ the week when your infant is only sleeping 1.5 hours at a time during the night. I don’t care how cute her baby is, this woman is 75 kinds of cray-cray.”

My second thought was “Who would want to push pause on any of this?”

Every day, Suzianne is discovering and doing freakishly cool stuff. I would not pause this for the world.

Oh, sure, it would have been nice to have loitered around that glorious one week of Suzianne sleeping in 7-to-9-hour stretches. That’s over, by the way. We’re back down to 5 hours at night.

But, if we had stopped time to take in the sweetness of life in that moment, we’d never have had this week of her learning to bat, grab and shove toys into her drooly mouth:

We’d have missed her newly-established–and quite vocal–preference for being propped on the couch like grown up…a grown up who eats the heads off dolls and reads cooking magazines:

If we had a pause button, we’d have missed her first real moments in the Bumbo. And if you know me well, you know that I believe random baby-in-a-Bumbo photos are awesome and pretty much the sole reason folks should procreate:

Pause would have meant missing the discovery of Suzianne’s first love: Sebastian The Playmat Monkey. These two are soul-mates; she talks to him for several minutes at a time. From the sound of things, it is pretty serious:

This week also ushered in a not so horrible attempt at baby wearing. This time we gave the K’Tan a go (h/t Rakelle):

Suzianne seems to find this more comfortable than the Bjorn, but being that close to my chest still just makes her hungry. So, when I say “we gave it a go,” I mean we never left the apartment. And when I say “not so horrible,” I mean she waited a good 15 minutes before screaming bloody murder.

Not everything changed this week though. Suzianne still looks just like her daddy:

She also still hates tummy time, being tired and STARVING.

But this week, she’s literally learned something new every day. It’s insane. And I am so happy her life keeps moving forward.

Who needs pause when you’ve got play?

Week 12: Llama Llama Mad at Momma

Week 12! It was a doozy! And awesome. Here are three new experiences I just have to share:

1. Suzianne slept through the night every night for seven days, with progressively earlier bedtimes each evening. O M G. {Squeal!} Regardless of the time we put her down, (which ranged from 7–10 p.m.) she would not wake for 7 hours. IT WAS AWESOME. And scary. Is she breathing? Yes, Margie, she’s breathing. Good thing you kept poking at her so you could wake her up to prove she’s alive while she’s sleeping. Brilliant. 

2. Holy cow, our girl has a temper! And it only seems to rear its inconsolable red head when I’m around. Because I smell like breakfast all day long. I’m like a walking Sonic– with birthing hips.

This week, we had several major scream-fests, where I was just sure someone would call Child Protective Services on me. I mean, these screams were violent, never-ending torture screams. If you were in the next room–or parking space– you’d swear I was chopping off Suzianne’s pinky toe. But no, she’s just hungry.

It does’t matter that she just ate 1.5 hours ago–or that you are trying to find a parking spot at Tyson’s Corner and can’t really do anything about it right now–she’s STARVING MOMMA WAAAAAAAAAAAAH! 

And she must tell everyone within a 5-mile radius that her momma NEVER feeds her. But her daddy? Oh, he’s cool, ya’ll. You can trust him. Just don’t turn your back on that milk lady.

A quick Google (thanks Dave) told us this is a 3-month growth spurt. But since Suzianne is sleeping through the night now: scream, child! Momma don’t care because she will feed you AND get some sleep all in the same day. Bring. It.

3. Team Newman has found a routine! Sorta. We don’t stick to a hard and fast timeline, but we do have a routine of feedings, playtime, naps; repeat. We’ve also gone from primarily breast feeding to expressed breast milk from the bottle feeding. When we did this, Suzianne started sleeping through the night. I have no clue if it is her age or the bottle-feeding that is making the difference, but it seems to be a better solution for her. We are having to supplement with formula. This makes me sad, but Suzianne wakes up beaming with glee and ready for the world these days…so we’re gonna stick with this plan:

In other awesome news, Suzianne met my best friend in the whole wide world this week. A woman whose friendship means more to me than she will ever know. We love you, Pavis:

And finally, I got back to my 5k training this week! I am re-doing “Week 2,” since I’ve not run in three weeks. I am feeling good, thanks to the fabulous stretching techniques Michelle and Rebecca sent me. Thanks, ladies! Hopefully, I can stay on track this time.

Week 11: Suzianne thinks I’m awesome.

Long time, no post comprised of words!

Sorry about that.

It’s been a little hectic, as you know. By the way, here’s what your bedroom looks like when you’ve been traveling for a week across the country with your infant, and then return home at 10 p.m. and collapse on your bed. And your back is still out; and your husband is under the weather:

Yep. That’s a play mat, a mock changing station, a poodle and an infant in my bed. Also, a half empty Fat Tire on my nightstand. I am not ashamed. But my momma will be. (The room is clean now, mom! I swear!) Poor Dave had to sleep on the couch.

Anyway, despite my back woes, Week 11 was great. Besides our fabulous San Diego travels that you’ve already read about, there were other highlights:

MY BABY SLEEPS! Is your baby having trouble sleeping at night? Take her to San Diego! For some reason, Suzianne was a sleep champion while visiting that fabulous city. Now that we’re back, she continues to grant us a five to seven hour stretch of sleep at night. I have no clue why. And it may end any day now, but I’m so excited that I just have to tell you about it.

MY BABY’S NAILS ARE CLEAN! There are many things in life that I do well. Cleaning infant fingernails is not one of them. Thanks to the arm holes in the Woombie, I tricked Suzianne into thinking she was fully swaddled for her nap:

Here’s that pose with a sombrero, as God intended: 

Anyway, once she was out, I spent 33 minutes trimming and filing these now freakishly clean teeny tiny nails:

MY BABY DOES NOT MELT IN THE RAIN! I remember when Dave bought me the rain cover for my stroller and car seat. I said, “Thanks, baby!” But was thinking, “Who is he kidding?! I can barely get us out the door in the sun, much less the rain.” But, now! Now, I’m a getting out champ. Bring on that rain, yo:

TEAM NEWMAN IS REUNITED! Sweet Dave flew down from his business trip to Portland to accompany us back to DC from San Diego. Good thing, because my back was once again useless and I was unable to pick up the baby, break down the stroller, etc. Suzianne really missed her daddy…her daddy missed her, too:

I was going to post about the return flight, but honestly (and thankfully!), there’s nothing interesting to report! Suzianne was great on the flight and I got to watch an episode of SMASH I had not seen. The only odd thing was this guy, who took off his socks and put his sweaty feet up on the wall:

A GUILT-FREE ASSESSMENT: nearly three months. Next week, our girl will be three months old. I’d like to say it seems like yesterday that she was born, that these are the most precious days of my life, etc.

But since I like to keep it real here, I’ll tell you that 12 weeks seems like forever ago! And these have been the most challenging weeks of my life.

I still have no clue what I’m doing. And still break down and cry on a weekly basis. But Suzianne is thriving. She’s a healthy, happy baby who looks at me like I’m the most awesome thing she’s ever seen. And as long as she approves, I guess I’m doing alright. 

Weeks 9 & 10: Zombie Mom

“Sleeping when the baby sleeps” is key to survival in the first few months. The problem comes when your baby doesn’t sleep:

I feel ya, sister. 

Weeks 9 and 10 sort of blurred together for me; they were fun AND sleep-deprived. Our girl’s two-month vaccinations really took a toll on her sleeping and eating patterns. The past seven days, Suzianne only slept in two-hour spurts, was cranky and not eating as much.

When baby don’t sleep, momma and tea cup poodle don’t sleep:

I’ve spent weeks 9 and 10 shuffling around in a just-barely-functional haze. BUT! I did make it ON TIME to my first lunch date (this is Rakelle and her baby girl):

I attended DC FLACKS happy hour for the first time in three months:

I forced my child to take a nap in the Baby Bjorn because momma really needed some Starbucks:

I got a hair cut. Please ignore the roots, they get taken care of tomorrow:

I even reached my Nike+ Fuel Band goal yesterday! (Dave and Suzianne gave it to me for Mother’s Day):

They say you get used to not sleeping.

They are morons.

True, I had a good couple of weeks, but I honestly don’t remember all the details because my brain wasn’t working.

And just when I thought I could not take anymore sleepless nights, Suzianne seems to have turned a corner. THANK THE LORD. Because we are San Diego bound on Monday and I need my happy, easy-going baby back:

Speaking of travel, thanks so much to all of you who have commented here and on Facebook with your infant travel tips!

I will try my best to make you proud. But if I don’t, I know you will enjoy reading about my misadventures anyway…