All of the things I thought I would have done differently

Being a parent is hard. Before Raleigh was born I had all sorts of ideas of exactly how I would parent. I saw people do things well and thought, “I’ll do that, too, and my child will respond in the same way and it will be great. I’m going to be an awesome parent.” And I saw people do things not so well, and I thought, “hhmmmm…” And overall, I think that’s okay. I think it’s okay to observe other parents and take the good and leave the bad, because learning from other people is a gift. Seriously, Andy and I are so thankful to be able to raise Raleigh in a community where we can learn alongside other parents who are all trying to figure this out.  And what may be bad for us is good for others, and vice versa, and that’s okay. 

But so many of my ideals in how I thought I would parent changed after I met my daughter and got to know her a little. I sit here almost 14 months in, and things look really different in some ways than I had originally imagined. How I parent has become more about what’s best for Raleigh and less about what’s most convenient for me. And that’s a good thing. I’m thankful for that. I’m thankful that my selfish ideals that make life more convenient were crushed in a way. And I’m weary, too. Because we are a family, and every decision we make can’t be about “what’s best for Raleigh” because the world doesn’t revolve around her and sometimes we just have to do what’s best for the family.  Anyway, here’s what I never saw coming…

1) I thought I wouldn’t nurse Raleigh past one year. My goal was always to nurse her for a year, but I figured after that she would naturally become disinterested and she would wean because babies hate nursing when they become toddlers, right?? Looking back, I’m not sure why I thought there would be some magic switch, but I think I was (and sometimes still am) very much in denial. At 14 months, she still isn’t much of an eater, and I’m not actively trying to wean her. I would be estatic if she just decided she was done, but I’m much more on her time table now. It’s a lot less stressful, and knowing that she’s still benefitting is just encouraging to me.

2) I thought I wouldn’t be on my phone in front of my daughter. Go ahead and laugh, but I honestly believed that my phone would sit on top of our mantle, only to be touched if it actually started ringing (which as many of you know would never happen because my phone is always on silent.) Before I was a parent, I would always see kids obsessed with their parents’ phones because their parents are always staring at them and I found that sad. Now, I’m not saying I’m on my phone all the time when I’m playing with Raleigh, but there are times when I need to text someone to make plans, or I want to take a picture of Raleigh, or I have a really important email, or I have to check my instagram feed because I haven’t checked it in the past hour.  And OH my gosh. I’m terrible.  Raleigh loves my phone now and we fight over it and most of the time she wins so that has somewhat solved the problem that I never anticipated would be a problem in the first place.

3) I thought I would let her “cry it out”. I thought this is what all sensible parents did because everybody knows that this is the only way to get your child to sleep through the night, and you’re really doing your baby and your whole family a favor by giving everyone the gift of sleep. I thought I would be one of those strong moms who could just work through the crying because you know it’s what’s best for everyone.  I don’t think there’s anything wrong with sleep training, more power to you if you can do it. But we tried, and I couldn’t.  It didn’t work for us. So now when Raleigh wakes up in the middle of the night I go in and calm her down and she goes back to sleep and one day she will sleep through the night. I feel confident of that, but it is not now.

4) I thought I could train her to love being held by other people. I thought if I let her be passed around as a baby then she would naturally grow to love it.  I used to believe that you could “train” babies to love things they hate, to have certain personalities that they don’t have, and to not be bothered by bothersome things. But babies come packed full of a lot of personality and sometimes the nuture doesn’t change the nature.

5) I thought I could train her to fall asleep anywhere. Before Raleigh was born, I had read that apparently, if you teach babies to fall asleep in different locations around your house then they would naturally be able to sleep anywhere. I thought, “Great! Why doesn’t everyone do this?”  And then I became a parent and thought, “WHO DOES THIS?” Raleigh sleeps in her crib because I don’t know…it has railings and it’s safe and she won’t fall out. I’m not going to put her to sleep in the kitchen because, I don’t know…I like to cook and she will cry and ruin my happy place. duh. I seriously believed though, that I could train her to sleep anywhere – on the floor, on a bench, in her carrier. And this works until about 6 months or so, and then things get a whole lot more complicated and bed times become a serious matter and we have to leave right now because if we stay a second longer then she will get overly tired and never sleep again!

So for those of you who walk alongside Andy and I and patiently let me change my mind about all things parenting, thank you. I love and appreciate you very much!

AM

 

A foxy first birthday

I was recently reminiscing on Raleigh’s first birthday party, and wanted to take a second to put up some pictures from the big day.  My sister-in-law was kind enough to take pictures, which was great because I barely took any and she’s much more talented in that arena than I am. In the future, I’ll make it my goal to get some video footage for birthdays, but that didn’t happen this year.  Oh well. You live and learn.

Raleigh girl, you are so worth all of the midnight feedings and the early mornings. So worth all of the runny noses and sore throats that you’ve managed to bring into our home. You are worth every tear and yawn and fussy afternoon. You are worth it–not because you’re the perfect baby–but because you are a child of God, put under our care for a short and fleeting time, and we are so thankful for that. Here’s to celebrating your life and the miracle that you are🙂

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Fox cake: Mulberries Cake Shop

Fox decor: Paper Source

AM

One year ago today…

One year ago today Raleigh Mae made her entrance into the world. This is her birth story.

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It was a Monday morning and we were going in for a routine dr. appointment. I was two days past my due date, and my blood pressure had been increasing over the past week, so we knew there was a chance that we would be induced that morning. We had our bags packed and everything ready to go.  In a moment of denial as we left the house I told Andy that we probably shouldn’t bring our bags because my blood pressure was probably fine, and she was “most likely not coming today.”  Thankfully, my husband is smarter than me, and made me bring my bag because the dr. determined I had preeclampsia and wheeled me straight into the hospital.

They broke my water around 11am, and I had irregular contractions for about 2 hours. After a poorly trained nurse told us that she thought Raleigh was breech (she was not), and a mini panic attack on my part due to that news, they started me on Pitocin to get things going.

I labored for about 3 1/2 hours and decided to get an epidural around 4pm (awesome decision.) At around 6 I was ready to push, and I remember the doctor saying Raleigh was in distress, so I wouldn’t be allowed to take any breaks.  I had never been so motivated to do something quickly.  A short 23 minutes later (thank you crossfit), Raleigh arrived. She was born at 6:45 pm, weighing 7lb 10oz and 21 inches long. They put her on my chest, and she immediately pulled my hair and pooped all over me. What an honest welcome to motherhood! I didn’t actually notice the poop for a good few minutes until the nurses were trying to clean her up and she continued pooping all over the delivery room. birthShe was born during a shift change, which meant the room was full of twice as many people as usual, and to this day that girl loves a crowd if the attention is on her.birth2She had a full head of dark hair with a small silver streak in the front. Such a sweet, scrunched up face and the tiniest toes.  It has been so amazing watching her grow into a toddler over the past year. She is the sweetest baby, and I feel so lucky to get to be her mom.birth3

Raleigh girl, I am so thankful to have you as my first born. You’ve made this whole thing look easy.  I love you so so much.

AM

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eleven months

11 months

We have a crawler, people! Just a few weeks ago Raleigh started crawling/scooting around and now she’s into just about everything. Yesterday she started picking up her clothes and putting them in my mixing bowls, so it looks like I’m about to start finding things in strange places.

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Raleigh has become her daddy’s biggest fan. At all times of the day she’s cheering him on, “da-DA, da-DA,” Whether I’m changing her diaper, or daddy is driving through the flooded streets of Denver, her support for him is unwavering, “da-DA, da-DA.” I just keep telling myself that she doesn’t know what she’s saying.

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She’s started blowing kisses. Or at least kissing and then smacking herself in the face. She’s still working on the timing and coordination of it all, but it’s pretty darn cute.

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This 11-month old bundle of joy is still pretty attached to her mom. I’ve been reading up on how/when to wean a baby, and I just feel so torn. Part of me is seriously ready to be done with nursing. I would love to be able to leave her and not be worried that she’s going to get hungry and freak out. Part of me knows this stage is so fleeting, why not use my body for what it was created to do? If her past behavior is any indication of the future, then chances are she will be the one determining when she is weaned, but I’m still a little unsure about it all.

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11_dad11_door11_sleepignIt’s hard to believe that next month she will be ONE YEAR OLD! This has by far been the fastest year of my life. wow.

AM

ten months

10 monthsSometimes when Raleigh wakes up from a nap she looks more grown up then she did when I put her down.  It’s as if somehow, 2 hours of sleep have changed the entire maturity of her face or stretched her legs an extra few inches, and she is slowly turning into a little girl.

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I’ve decided that she definitely has her mother’s left eyebrow raise. She does it often, and I’m dying to know what she’s thinking when she does it. It’s usually in response to something dumb I’ve done.

She’s getting so close to crawling, but still needs to work up a little courage.

Although she isn’t much of a mover, she is definitely a talker. She can babble for hours, and loves discovering that soft voice of hers. She waves and says, “haaa” (imagine a sweet, southern “hi”) at every person, animal, tree, car, etc… that we pass by. Unless your point out a dog to her, in which case she will wave both arms and say something close to the word, “doggie.”

She’s added one tooth on top, and 2 more are really close and will probably be here any day now.

Just in the past week she’s started eating more solids, but she still demands to feed herself. So about half of the food gets in her belly and the other half is a mystery that I always discover at some inopportune time. I’m pretty proud of her though.

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Books have become like gold around here, and Raleigh has become a professional page-turner, and flap-destroyer. 10_cheesin 10_cute 10_swim10_walking

We’ve enjoyed the summer going to the pool and going on plenty of walks. But I am really excited for fall to be here and for things to cool down a bit : )

AM

Flying with a baby (alone)

After arriving back in Denver with Raleigh, I had a few people ask me about the flight and how it went traveling with Raleigh. So, I thought I’d share a few do’s and don’ts of what to bring on the flight. And as a disclaimer, I’m not sure how to do flights when your baby is more mobile or if the flight is really long. I haven’t crossed that bridge yet.

DO bring a good attitude. This is by far the most important thing. If you go into a flight already dreading it, you can make it miserable for you and everyone around you. If you choose to view it as 4 hours of quality face time you get to spend with your child, it can change your whole trip. I mean, how often does your child get an 4 hours of your unbroken attention?

DO make friends with everyone around you. This may be natural for you, but my flights pre-baby pretty much consisted of me putting in my earphones or reading a book. Raleigh loves interacting with people (as long as I’m the one holding her), so making sure she had friends nearby helped with entertainment throughout the flight.

DO load up your phone with a few baby apps and bring some favorite toys, but don’t expect them to keep your child busy for more than 30 minutes unless they’re older.

DO bring plenty of food and water. Drinking from a sippy cup and eating 6 puffs takes about 25 minutes in this house, so it served as a great distraction once or twice. I brought my own water bottle because getting a cup of water from the flight attendant is kind of impossible with a grabby baby on your lap. But don’t hesitate to ask for an empty plastic cup when they come by—that’s a brand new toy.

DO try to bring items that serve more than one purpose. For example, my nursing cover is also her blanket to play on at the airport and essential in the game “peekaboo.” It also helps her to fall asleep if she so chooses. And my water bottle keeps me hydrated, is one of Raleigh’s favorite toys, and is great for teething.

DO brainstorm different baby exercises to keep her busy. We did lots of upsie-daisies, and sit-to-standing, and pulling the tray table up and down (which we decided was okay because the lady in front of us felt the need to recline, and we didn’t want to have a bad attitude for the rest of the flight.) ; )

DON’T bring your nice stroller, even though it has “great storage below.”  That is, unless you’re okay with it getting a little airplane love. It might be returned to you in a different condition than you left it, and they might make you sign a form saying you’re okay with that. On the way home, after I learned my lesson, I brought a garbage bag with me to cover it up and that helped, but I think in the future I would just buy a cheap stroller and take that instead. (For the record, Andy suggested I do that, but I adamantly refused. He was right.)

DON’T bring a pillow for when the baby falls asleep and you think you’ll get some rest, too.  You’re probably smart enough to not need to be told this, but if not, here’s your warning. Chances are your baby isn’t going to fall asleep unless they are really young or on a super long flight, and if they do fall asleep, you will not be able to move him or her in such a way that you could use a pillow without waking your baby up. It’s just one more thing to carry.

DON’T overfill your diaper bag so that anytime you want to get something out you have to get everything out. Your goal should be half-full, because if you’re anything like me that will look like mostly-full by the time you leave your house. I’m pretty sure I had 3 separate people come up to me with a toy, asking me if it was mine, to which I responded, “yesthankyousorry.” Every time I got something out of my bag, other things dropped out as well and then rolled down the aisle. Whoops.

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Hope this helps for any of you who might be traveling with little ones soon!

AM

nine months

9monthsRaleigh turned nine months this week.  She spent the majority of this past month in NC with my family and did a lot of growing up.

At her 9 month appointment we found out she is 17lb 13 oz, and 28 inches long, which means she’s doing just fine growing (despite the fact that she still isn’t a fan of solid foods), and she is a long baby.

She’s started waving, clapping, and flirting with everyone. My favorite is when she claps while she’s nursing; it makes me laugh every time. And she’s started to say, “mama,” which is so sweet to hear.  As far as mobility, she’s a big fan of scooting backwards on her belly, turning and rolling. Though she’d still just prefer to sit down wherever you put her or be held. She’s a lot more interactive at the piano now, sitting up and hitting all the keys on her own. She experienced the sand and ocean for the first time and loved it. For breakfast and dinner, she’ll sit down with us, but won’t eat much. She’ll at least put a few pieces of food in her mouth but might decide to spit them out 30 minutes later. I stopped making baby food a while ago because she just didn’t like it and I finally accepted it, so now she just gets whatever we eat as long as it’s soft enough for her to chew.

She gets sweeter and smarter and stronger each day, and I feel like her babyhood will be gone before I know it. I’m so thankful for this little bundle.

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AM