Sunday, October 24, 2010

Family Zoo Trip




Elijah is enjoying his trips to the zoo. This time, Daddy came with us!
Isn't he a good-looking guy?
"I'm used to Jewel trying to lick me, but this?"
Now, Elijah, we didn't really come from these animals. God made us!
Elijah's perspective on the elephants.
Elijah's favorite screaming noise elicited a story from a friend about a child who began squawking like a parrot. We reenacted it here. Ah, the beauty of learning their voice! :)

So close!

A Boy's Best Friend


Elijah is really noticing Jewel these days. He LOVES her! She makes him laugh (we took a video and we're working on learning how to share it with you!) so hard! He watches her as she walks by, and he's even started reaching for her sometimes. People ask all the time how Jewel's adjusting to having Elijah around, and she really has done well. She loves to lick him (we try to keep that to his feet, but she loves his face and his diaper)! She's always been a little more interested in him, obviously. She would go in and look at his crib while he was crying when he was brand new, and she'd sometimes sleep by him while he played in his pac'n'play. Precious!!

My Hero of a Husband

James is my hero.

I've said it before, and I like to tell him so, but I usually say it in passing, and I'm not sure he realizes how deeply I mean it. I couldn't do this without him! That's always the case, but this weekend was another of those times where it was reemphasized to me just how wonderful he is! I got some kind of stomach bug on Friday (which, now that I think about it, I think Mr. Wonderful himself had first in a milder form and passed along to me...not so nice!), and felt just awful! I threw up a couple times and basically napped all afternoon. James was SO wonderful! He brought me water and made me a barf bag (that's what we called it growing up, anyway), and he totally took care of Elijah while I felt like I couldn't! I don't know how moms handle being sick when their husbands aren't around! He brought Elijah to me when I needed to feed him, or gave him a bottle, and changed his diaper, and played with him, and put him down for his nap, and even made sure before we went to bed that night that I would wake him up when I heard Elijah on the monitor so he could go take care of the baby instead of my getting up and doing it!!

I've been sick way more since Elijah's been born than I ever used to be, I feel like. I've had two migraines, one with very strange (and scary!) symptoms that thankfully haven't returned. But both times I was really incapacitated for at least an afternoon, and both times James totally took care of me and Elijah so I could rest and didn't have to worry about anything! He is such a gift!

James absolutely defines selflessness to me. He has been so intentional about choosing to die to himself and serve me and Elijah, and he makes it look so natural! I know he would say it's not natural or easy, but he doesn't do it grudgingly or reluctantly. He loves me so well and I am so blessed! Thanks, Honey!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pumpkin Patch


Fall is here! We introduced Elijah to pumpkins yesterday! :)
He studied them.He watched them.
He decided he liked them.
But after thinking about it,
He decided he'd rather just eat Mommy's finger.
What a cute little punkin'.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Adventures

We went to the zoo today. I "wore" Elijah in the "joey" instead of pushing him in the stroller like I've done on past zoo trips. I read on Baby Center that he should be starting to understand some of what I say soon. So I decided we could walk around and I'd point out the animals to him. In English and in Spanish, for some of them. Unfortunately, his bilingual experience was hampered because I don't know how to say meerkat in Spanish. Or red-handed gibbon. Yes, the Waco zoo is awesome! We had a good time!

Tonight during his bath, when I poured the water over Elijah's head to wash the shampoo out of his hair (if I can call it that...but it sounds so sad to say I washed shampoo off his head, even though that's probably more accurate!), he about gave me a heart attack! Apparently the water scared him (he never likes the water on his face-it always startles him!), so he threw himself back and arched his back really forcefully. He practically launched himself backwards, almost out of the baby bathtub. Thankfully, I do this with a hand on him almost the whole time, but still. He scared me!

We have entered the screaming stage. As I got him dressed after his bath, he went from talking (what has been the norm for diaper changes and play times), to screaming. Or maybe shrieking would be a better name for it. It's a shrill sound (but not a sad or mad one) that makes you wince. I hope he doesn't do it in class tomorrow. I hope this is a short stage! :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Precious Moments


Besties!



Love at first sight? I certainly hope so.

We woke him up to take a picture of him on his four month birthday. Yes, we had all day. No, we couldn't remember to do it before 9:30 pm. I LOVE that this streeeeetch was captured on film!
You woke me up for what?!

I'm not scared to take on a lion! I can take him!
These pictures were all taken in rapid succession. I put several toys within his reach, and he just wanted them all in his mouth! When he dropped one and it was out of reach, he went after the next one!
This morning, right after we got him up. SO precious! The teddy bear is his newest toy (well, new to him!). He's a big fan! :)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

On Motherhood

How do I know if I'm doing this right?

I'm a firstborn. A rule-follower. If you give me a task, I will get it done. Early. So, when James and I decided we wanted to start our family, I was organized. And I read books. I charted so I'd know when we had the best odds of conceiving. I decided that to give our baby the best start, I would deliver naturally. I planned things out: Our son will be flexible and fall asleep anywhere. We won't whisper when he's sleeping because he needs to learn to sleep through it. We won't give him a pacifier just to shut him up. We won't rock him to sleep, and I won't nurse him to sleep, because he has to learn how to fall asleep by himself. I won't let him sleep in his swing, and I sure won't give up on him sleeping just because he's crying. I will understand why he's crying and I'll be able to make it stop. I will be Super Mommy. I will love every minute of motherhood.

Yeah, right.

I do love motherhood. I am SO thankful to be doing this and I know that there is nothing else more important I could be spending my life on. But man, this did not start out like I thought it would.

Elijah was born via c-section. Turns out, even if you set your mind on something and get all prepared, you can't control everything (this is a lesson God, in His mercy, has been trying to teach me for years). Not only that, but I caved. I got an epidural. Granted, it was after 21 hours of labor, but still. I felt like a failure. And then I felt ridiculous for being disappointed. I have friends whose baby was stillborn. Others whose babies have had serious health problems. My little baby is perfectly healthy and alive, and I'm bummed about how he got here?!

My wonderful mother came to help for two weeks when Elijah was born. I honestly don't know how we would have survived without her! All too soon, though, came the day when she was to return to her home 1400 miles away. I stood on the sidewalk as she left for the airport with tears streaming down my face and felt so panicked. I was not qualified for this. And I think my two week old son somehow sensed this because all of a sudden, he practically quit sleeping! The next couple weeks were so hard. I loved this little guy so much, but I felt like I didn't know how to care for him correctly.

Correctly: [kuh-rekt-lee] /adj.
1. conforming to fact or truth; free from error; accurate;
2. in accordance with an acknowledged or accepted standard; proper.

I wanted there to be a right way and a wrong way, and I wanted there to be a method for knowing what the right way was for the given situation. Why don't these babies come with instruction manuals? A friend of mine accurately summed up how I was feeling: "If I just knew that what I was doing at any given moment was what my baby needs, I'd be fine." But I was constantly second-guessing myself. I compared what I was hearing from different friends, who all said different things, and felt even more overwhelmed. Let him cry himself to sleep? (Tried that-it took almost 2 hours and then it was time for me to feed him again anyway) Pacifiers can lead to nipple confusion? (Turns out my son isn't easily confused. I think the paci is a genius invention!) Turns out I really did need to figure things out for us, not just try to do things everyone else's way. Their advice was helpful, but I needed to give myself permission to try different things and then do what worked for us.

And all the grand plans I had? It was really hard at first, and we didn't always do things the way I thought we would. When we put him down to sleep and he cried, we'd go back and comfort him. Over and over, sometimes. It was torturous for several weeks, and there was a lot of crying at nap times, but now, he usually falls asleep pretty peacefully. There were weeks where we let him take his last evening nap in his swing because it was the only way he'd sleep. I nursed him to sleep at night because I was so desperate to go to sleep myself. I decided there was time for him to learn good sleep habits later (and guess what-he's starting to figure it out!). If he's fussy, we pop that pacifier in there! And he is a joyful, precious baby! I realized at about three months that things were getting easier. We'd settled into a pretty good routine, I felt like I knew better how to read him and know what he was needing. *sigh of relief* We've got this figured out!

But this week he's stuffy and congested and he's been refusing to nurse. I have been reduced to tears when he refused the breast but then took a bottle. I let my four month old hurt my feelings! So, I think I will never really feel like we have everything figured out. I knew this would be a learning experience, but it turns out it's not the kind of lesson that you finish learning. Ever. :) I'm so thankful for the grace and presence and wisdom of God, and the loving support of my husband and so many family members and friends. I could NOT do this alone. I want to be clear-I LOVE being a mom. I love getting the sweet smiles and laughs of my little boy. I love watching his sleeping face and listening to his quiet breathing and knowing that, for as long as God lets me, I get to raise him and teach him and love him. I love seeing his delight in certain games. It's so sweet to see his awareness of the world around him and know that it will only increase. It's scary that what is "normal" will always be changing, but he is SO worth it!

Thanks to AllisonO for asking questions that prompted these thoughts.