Embracing the Mess

I understand that being a parent can get really messy (literally as well as figuratively) from time to time. More often than not, those moments can be the most memorable. Today was one of those times. Since it was bath night, we decided to give Ana a banana in her Easy Feeder.

She had a fabulous time. Obviously. And as I watched her squishing the banana through her fingers and then rubbing it all over her face and clothes, I was amazed at the fact that I was actually smiling. I loved watching her make a mess, really enjoying the banana, and having a great time.

The sheer fact that I wasn’t hovering over her with a wet washcloth, cleaning up each drip or smear, amazed me. I was able to let Ana be a happy, messy kid without letting my neurosis get in the way. I am constantly amazed at the impact Ana has had on my ability to just let things go.

I added all the pictures from the banana adventure into the Ana Eight Months gallery. I have been really good lately about uploading pictures into the gallery so make sure you stop in from time to time and check them out!

Projectile Emotions

Things I learned tonight:
1. Teething Sucks
2. I can’t Ferberize Ana
3. A minute of soothing will prevent a load of vomit-covered laundry

Still with me? Yeah, I didn’t think so. The long and the short of it is I have been contemplating sleep training Ana for the last couple weeks. Some of my friends have had success with the Ferber Method and I have seriously considered trying it out on Ana. The only thing holding me up was how hard I heard it was for the first couple days. But I figured a couple nights without sleep is a small price to pay in exchange for Ana sleeping through the night all the time.

The last couple days have been particularly hard because Ana is cutting her top teeth. That’s right: Plural. I was feeling in her mouth the other day and discovered not one, but two, teeth poking through the surface. Poor little thing isn’t getting any breaks and as a result both of our sleep is suffering. She has been up three or four times a night for the past few days. Mostly I just pick her up, rock or soothe her, sometimes nurse her, and she goes right back to sleep.

Except tonight.

Tonight we did our bedtime routine (bath, book, boob, bed) and Ana went to sleep without any trouble. Not 40 minutes later she was awake. I went in to comfort her. I picked her up, rocked her, and nursed her. She fell back to sleep and I set her in her crib. I had barely walked back into my bedroom when I heard her fussing again. I waited a couple minutes to see if she would soothe herself back to sleep. When she obviously wasn’t calming down, I went back in to her room. This time I didn’t pick her up, but gave her back her pacifier and lovey blanket, rubbed her cheek, reassured her everything was fine, and shushed her as I walked out of the room.

She was still fussing, but I decided to start getting ready for bed and went into my bathroom to wash my face. Simeon and I discussed giving Ana some Tylenol or Orajel for her teeth, but I tagged out and left that decision up to him. After a couple minutes of escalating crying, Simeon went in to give Ana something to help her feel better. As he went to pick her up he said it looked like she was choking so he quickly grabbed her out of her crib and seconds later Simeon and Ana were covered in milky vomit. He came running into our bathroom with a vomit soaked baby in his arms. Apparently Ana can make herself vomit if she cries too hard. I quickly stripped her of the dirty clothes and gave her an impromptu sponge bath. Once she was clean, I wrapped her up, nursed her again and got her back to sleep.

So here I am. Destined to be awakened in a few short hours. With an uncomfortable teething baby who is no longer able to sleep through the night. My ray of hope, in the form of sleep training, has vanished as a result of my daughters abandonment issues and her emotional sensitivity with its connection to her gag trigger. For me, vomit is a deal breaker. So, wise Internet, do you have any suggestions for me? Please??

Family of Clogs

The family that Crocs together, ROCKS together!

We bought Ana her first pair of clogs today. Wearing Crocs, as Simeon always says, is like walking on marshmallows and that is an experience we are not about to deny our daughter. Plus, they are just the cutest little things I have ever seen and I couldn’t resist.

Baby, Mama, and Daddy Crocs all in a row!

Giggling in the E.R.

Tonight Ana reached a milestone I had hoped we wouldn’t experience for several years, if at all. She had her first visit to the Emergency Room. As we do every evening, I placed Ana in her Bumbo on the counter while I cleaned up the kitchen after dinner. However tonight, in her even increasing physical prowess, she managed to push her legs or arch her back or twist just right (it all happened so fast it was hard to tell) that the Bumbo flipped over and Ana fell off the counter and on to the wood floor. I ran over, grabbed her up and and quickly looked her over to make sure she was ok. I was instantly relieved to find her conscious and with no major injuries. Then I braced myself for the scream that was to come. And did it come.

I hugged my poor screaming baby like my life depended on it. By that time Simeon had run into the kitchen and he promptly went into “protective Daddy mode” to make sure everyone was ok. I leaned Ana back to let Sim look her over and instantly panicked when I realized there was blood on my shirt. We looked Ana over and discovered a small amount of blood coming from inside her mouth. We quickly realized she must have bitten her lip when she fell (damn those two and a half teeth!) and grabbed her an ice pack to put on her mouth. Thankfully, the bleeding stopped just about as quickly as it started.

Once I calmed down a little bit and stopped shaking, I told Sim to call the pediatrician to see if we should take her in to the emergency room, or at the very least what we should do to make her feel better. Not knowing exactly what hit the ground when she fell, I had to assume the worst and instantly thought of a brain injury. While Sim searched for the pediatrician number, I did everything in my power to soothe Ana, all the while still looking her over for signs of pain. Finally she started to calm down and we noticed a red bump forming on her forehead. While she was screaming her entire face was red and the bump was indistinguishable, but with her normal color back the red lump was quite menacing and very obvious.

Finally we got a hold of the on call doctor who asked a myriad of questions and deduced that based on the height of the fall and the size of the bump we should take Ana in to the Emergency Room. So we grabbed her blankie and an ice pack bear and loaded her into the car. She was pretty exhausted by this point and kept trying to fall asleep. Thoughts of concussions still in our heads, we decided to keep her awake and did so the only way we knew how–by singing the Gilmore Girls theme song (her current favorite) over and over.

By the time we got to the E.R. she was already looking a million times better and starting to act like her normal self. In fact, during the course of our visit she giggled and flirted with the admitting doctor, played peek-a-boo with a nurse, and tried to grab every stethoscope she could find. After giving her a thorough exam, she was deemed fit to leave the E.R. and we were given instructions of things to watch for in the next 24 hours.

I know these things happen, and I am sure some of you will think we overreacted and you may be right. However, we were following our doctor’s orders and trying to do what was best for our daughter. I know if we hadn’t taken her in, I would have made myself sick worrying about what might be wrong with her and what I could have done to help make her better. My daughter is the most important thing to me and taking care of her is my number one priority. Besides, if she is going to be anything like her mischievous daredevil parents, this is just the first of MANY trips to the Emergency Room for the Bateman family.

Brand Loyalty

I will be the first to admit it: I am a brand snob. Or as my college marketing professor would say, I am “brand loyal” (which just sounds nicer anyway). Now, I am not exactly sure why I am, because I certainly wasn’t raised that way. In fact, quite the opposite. My parents were always buying generic and it proved to be just as good as the more expensive alternative. However as an adult, I have found the adverse to be true. I am perfectly willing to pay a little more for a superior product. The few times I have tried to save a couple bucks buying the store brand has actually backfired because I end up going back and buying my tried-and-true name brand in addition because the generic didn’t live up to my expectations.

Now I could probably make a million excuses as to why name brands are better; for example additional capital, extensive marketing resources, and superior research and development teams. But this is my soap box and I don’t need to justify my opinions. The bottom line is I trust my name brands and they have yet to let me down.

Case in point: diapers. Now I have been a loyal Pampers user since the hospital send us home with Ana and a lovely pack of Pampers Swaddlers. We were given a couple packages of Huggies as gifts but every time we put one on Ana’s little heiny they would leak. So I tucked them in the back of the closet “for emergencies only” and high-tailed it to the store to buy some more Pampers. Recently the time came when Ana became too big for the Swaddlers and I thought if ever I was going to make the switch to a different brand, now was the time.

I asked fellow mothers for their opinions and the consensus was the vast majority used Huggies. Some even used Kirkland (Costco’s generic) stating that they were the same, if not better. I even heard a rumor that they are made by the same company. So I did some cost comparisons and discovered that the cheapest (name brand) diapers were in fact the Huggies at Costco. In fact, when Costco is offering a coupon, they are actually cheaper than the Kirland brand. So I headed off to Costco, with my coupon in hand, and bought me a package of Huggies. And I have to admit, I felt a little guilty doing so. Pampers had always treated me right and I felt like I was betraying an old friend as I hauled the box to my car. I justified it to myself by thinking of the money we would save over the years. Sure it’s only a penny or two a diaper, but until Ana is potty-trained, that is A LOT of diapers.

Then it happened. The diaper leaked. I can only assume this is karma’s funny way of telling me I should have just left a good thing alone. Naturally, the diaper would leak when we were out of town, leaving me with a limited supply of clothes and no washing machine at my disposal. Oh and did I mention that the diaper leaked ON ME? Yeah. I was nursing Ana when suddenly we were both very warm. And very wet. The diaper leaked through her outfit, through her swaddle blanket, and soaked my clean jeans. Just lovely.

Now it’s only been one leak so far. The first of many, if history repeats itself. However, I am not totally unreasonable-I am willing to give Huggies another shot. (Mostly because I still have the better part of a case sitting in Ana’s closet.) But the next time the diaper leaks you better believe I will be taking advantage of the Costco return policy and taking back the rest of the diapers.

I know I did the research, both opinions and financial, and all signs pointed to Huggies, but I think it all comes down to the magic rule of parenting: YOU do what works best for YOUR family. My sister had a theory that certain diapers just work better on certain babies. Two of her children were Huggies babies and the third was Pampers. Go figure. So maybe Ana was just meant to be a Pampers kid. And at this point I am more than willing to spend a couple extra cents per diaper on my favorite brand. If nothing else, the peace of mind alone is worth it to me.

A Letter: Eight Months

Dear Ana,
I am so excited because today you turn eight months old. Eight is my favorite number and I am hoping this will be my favorite month. I don’t think this will be hard to accomplish because each month with you quickly becomes my favorite. Getting to know you and watching your personality emerge has been the most amazing opportunity, one that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Your Grandpa Larry is always telling the story about how I teethed on jerky. Last week while we were camping your cousins decided to see if you would like to chew on the dried beef and gave you a piece. You gladly chewed and gummed away at the salty snack, much to the delight of your eager audience. Well, I guess you take after your mother in that respect so we can go ahead and make that our own little family tradition.

Also last week on our camping trip you and I were sitting on our air mattress with Grandma Nana when all of a sudden we heard the most awful, nails-on-the-chalkboard grinding noise. And it was coming from you! I couldn’t figure out what you could possibly have in your mouth to make such an awful noise. But Grandma Nana, being so wise in her motherly (and now grandmotherly) wisdom said that you must have cut another tooth. Sure enough, I peeked inside and discovered you have a new tooth on the top. Grinding your (three!) teeth together has become a great pastime for you. I keep telling you that you won’t have any teeth left at the rate you are going, but that doesn’t seem to phase you in the slightest.

Over the last month you have gotten very good at baby talk and will sit and jabber away for hours. Only recently have you actually started saying “words.” I use the term loosely because while you will say them on your own and even repeat them with prompting, you don’t associate them with anything. Much to your father’s delight, you have gotten very good at Dada. In fact you have a “Daddy Repertoire” consisting of Da da da da, Da-deee, and DAD. I capitalize Dad because that is how you say it. In a very serious, stern voice. It’s not “Dad” but “DAD.” And you just love to practice saying it. In fact the other day you said it while you were crying which just about broke your father’s heart. I’d say that you are doing very well at wrapping him around your finger. Keep up the good work, kiddo.

We have discovered that you have the sweetest disposition. When we read books together you always make me pause on the pages with people or animals while you lean in and gently kiss the page. Sure, the kisses are mostly just slow open-mouthed head-butts, but they are kisses nonetheless.

While you are gentle and sweet, you are also female so you are able to change your mood at the drop of a hat. You can be laughing, contently playing with a toy and without even missing a beat you start crying. I have always wondered why crying and laughing, for being such opposite reactions, sound so much alike. I assume it must be to facilitate you in going from one emotional extreme to the next.

You have also learned how to use your cries to communicate your want for things. Now most people would say cries come naturally, but these cries are anything but natural. They are just about the most fake, annoying cries you can make and you use them whenever you see something you want. But more often than that, you use them when we have taken something away from you. Your dad calls it your Don’t-Take-That-Away-From-Me cry, which pretty much sums it up.

Another lovely phase we are experiencing is separation anxiety. You have an extreme Mommy Attachment. Now this is totally naturally and to be expected, as I am with you all the time, but it has gotten to the point where you will cry if I walk out of the room for even a second. And you can forget about me letting someone else hold you. These are unforgivable offenses. Your father says “there is Mommy and then there is everyone else” because sometimes you won’t even let him hold you. You will cry and look towards the door to try and find me. This is all bittersweet for me, because while I love that you love and need me so much, occasionally I have to leave you. I mean, sometimes I really gotta pee!

Now I know a lot of this sounded pretty intense, and a non-parent would read this and decide they will never have children. But these are all just phases that prove you are learning, discovering, and developing. Also for every whine or cry, there are five times more smiles and giggles. And I would be completely lying if I didn’t say that every minute I spend with you is the happiest of my life.

All my love,

Out of The Woods

Yesterday Simeon, Ana and I returned from a week long camping trip at Cove Palisades State Park. Simeon and I have talked about it a bunch and decided we don’t want Ana to grow up being all prissy. We want her to be comfortable in the woods and not be afraid to get dirty. So get dirty we did.

We played in the dirt, splashed in the lake, and took Ana on her first boat ride. It was great to get out of town and enjoy the outdoors. I always forget how beautiful the stars can be away from the lights of the city. Not to mention the sounds of nature. Well, except those owls hooting at 2am. That I could live without.

Sure it can be nice having doors that don’t zip shut or not storing your food in melting ice, but on the other hand I didn’t think twice about the layer of dirt on my feet or the fact that I didn’t brush my hair for a couple days. I want my daughter to have a variety of experiences in life and now we can add camping to that list.

Thankfully my mother along with my niece and nephews, Emmitt, Emily and Hayden were there to help out with our camping experience. We all had a great time and you can see all of our camping pictures here. Enjoy!