Thursday, September 29, 2011

When Babies Bite

I picked Madeline up from daycare today to find that another baby had bitten her on the arm.  Poor Maddie Bear still has the red teeth marks and bruise to prove it!  Sad

When her teacher showed me the incident report, my first instinct as a Mumma Bear was to track down that razor-toothed baby and start whipping it around by its ankles while screeching, "We do NOT bite other people!! Biting is not for babies!!! ARRRRRGGGGGH!"

But I didn't for three main reasons:

One: They (wisely) do not disclose the name of the offender, so I didn't know which ankle biter was the culprit.  Two: I vaguely remember them telling us something at my Birthin' Babies class about how you should not whip a child around by his feet until the child is at least five.  And Three:  What are you going to do?  Life happens, and sometimes babies bite.

I'm sure this will not be the last time Madeline is bitten, pushed, or whacked by another toddler at school.  And as much as I want to seek revenge, I don't want to build up a bad reputation of swinging babies by their ankles.

In a few years, Madeline will be teased, or someone won't want to play with her at recess, or she won't get invited to a birthday party of a classmate.  A few years after that, she'll have to deal with the drama pre-teen girls can bring on.  Someday she'll have her heart broken.  

I wish I could put Madeline in a big, protective plastic bubble to help her avoid getting hurt, but sadly, that would probably only subject her to more biting(through the plastic of course), teasing, and heartbreak.

Hopefully, along the way I can teach Madeline to handle all the minefields of childhood well.  To stick up for herself. "You biting me, kid?!  What are you, some kind of psychopath?"

I'll keep telling her that she's the most wonderful and amazing person on the planet, and hopefully along the way she'll start to believe it.  (I also hope that next time she's not the one doing the biting.)

As for today, all I can do is kiss her boo-boo better and hope that the other baby learns that biting is not for babies.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I did it all for the bubba! Yea! The bubba!

It seems like just yesterday we were trying to get Madeline on the bottle, and yet, here we are taking it away.

So you can take that tubba...(imagine that sung to the tune of Nookie.  Sorry, I'm a nerd.)

Since Madeline is the big O-N-E, Numero Uno, now, we've quit the bottle cold turkey, and have switched to exclusive sippy-cup usage.  

And when I say cold turkey, I mean we've cut out every bottle...except for the bedtime bottle.

I thought she'd miss her daytime feedings, but she doesn't seem to mind one bit.  She happily drinks milk from her cup along with her breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  She's plied with plenty of water, and one cup of juice a day as well.  

As for the nighttime bottle?

Well, I haven't tried taking that one away just yet.  You see, I'm a total bedtime-bottle enabler.

I know "they" say you're not supposed to give your baby a bottle at bedtime because it aides in tooth decay, they don't learn to self-soothe, yadda-yadda-yadda...


I really like giving Madeline her bedtime bottle.  It's part of our routine.  She gets all comfy and cozy and groggy in my arms, and it reminds me of all the other nights we spent that way when she was still a newborn.

She doesn't always fall asleep while drinking her bottle, but I'd say about half of the time, she does.  I don't wake her up when this happens like "they" say you're supposed to.  Maybe I'm just lazy.  I certainly don't like the idea of trying to get her to sleep all over again once she's in her crib.  But, if she's happy and I'm happy...I don't feel it's necessary to rock the apple cart.

Who knows?  Maybe if I stopped giving her a bedtime bottle tomorrow, she wouldn't even notice.  Or maybe she'd throw a great big fuss and not sleep a wink until the sun comes up.  I guess I'll have to try it out eventually.  (Giving a thirteen-year old a bedtime bubba is just plain weird.)

I'm just not quite ready to let this one go yet...

Happier, Bubba-filled times

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Apples and Ba-NO-NOs

Madeline learned how to nod her head in agreement a long time ago.  She would nod in response to everything you said as long as you made it sound like you were asking a question.  

Do you want to wear this shirt today?
*Nod* *Nod*
Do you love Mumma best?
 *Nod* *Nod*
Is dinner yummy?
*Nod* *Nod*
Did you dream about unicorns last night?

It was grrrreat!

But now... epic that has changed.

Madeline has learned to say "No-no."

It's not really a surprise.  She hears the words "No-no" about a bazillion times a day.

You see, pre-toddler-ish babies are hell bent on seriously injuring themselves about 13 hours a day.  The rest of the day is spent sleeping....and even then it's iffy.  (I just had to go check on Madeline after it sounded like a heard of elephants had stampeded through her crib.  Just her kicking it.)

So when Madeline decides it's a good idea to try crawling up the stairs when we're not with her, or she finds Mumma's phone charger and starts to use it as a necklace, or she dives head first off the couch...she hears "No-no."

Her giving us the "No-nos" has been coming on slowly.  I noticed it a few days ago when I told her "No-no, Madeline, stay away from the lamp!  Lamps are not for babies!"  She began to repeat"Nah, nah, nah, nah," as she persistently tried to get to that lamp come hell or high water.  (She has not learned to obey No-no yet, p.s.)

But last night "Nah-nah-nah" solidified to a crisp, concise "No-no" as I tried in vain to brush her teeth before bed.

And that's. all. I've. been. hearing. ever. since.

She said it after school today when I once again had to chase her away from my cellphone charger.  She said it when we put her in her car seat to do some errands.  She said it during dinner when she refused to eat anything but bread no matter how hard we tried to convince her that the rest of her meal was de-lis-cious!

I think the No-Nos are here to stay.  Till she's at least 18.  Sigh.

You trying to tell me No-no???? Also, isn't my hair fantastic?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ellis Jane

Ellis Jane was born three years ago today.

Time never ceases to blow my mind.

Miss you always, baby girl.  

Thursday, September 22, 2011

News Flash

I got this email from my parents today...

"Summer: News Flash the satellite will not hit the US, Zombie apocalypse is still in question!!!!!!

Mom & Bob"

Phew.  At least that's one less thing to worry about.  

This is what I'd look like if I were a Zombie.  Hot.

Someone's Got the Case of the Mondays...

...that lasted all week long.

**Disclaimer** This is a very whiney, self-induldgent post.  You may slap me later.  For now, let me be.

It's just been one of those weeks where nothing seems easy, and nothing gets done, and Madeline has been extra cranky...and so have I.

This is going to sound really obnoxious coming from someone who is usually home by 3:30 every day and who has lots of time off....but is it time for winter break yet???

Don't misunderstand me. I'm one of the lucky few who at the end of the day can say I really, really, really like my job.  A lot.

But working full time and taking care of a baby and keeping up with life in general is damn exhausting.  

First, there's work.  There's always curriculum to write, papers to grade, students to worry about, forms I've forgotten to sign.  From September to June, my work mind never shuts off.  It doesn't matter that I'm physically home by 3:30...the day is never over.  

And I want to be a good teacher...a really, really good teacher BUT. now I have a one year old.  Work is no longer my number one priority.

When I count up the waking hours I spend with Madeline per day during the work week, I feel guilty.  Three and a half hours a day is not enough time.

And a good part of that three and a half hours is spent trying to keep up with all those little house chores and errands that need to get done.  By the time we're finished with dinner, the dishes are cleared, her highchair is wiped down, and the kitchen floor is swept, I'm exhausted.

This does not make me a fun Mumma.  I find myself getting easily irritated.  Plus, Madeline is also exhausted from her day at school, so she's extra needy. (No, Maddie Bear, light bulbs are not toys! Neither are cellphones!  Neither is that puddle of milk you're pouring all over the floor.)

By the time Madeline is in bed, and actually asleep, I'm spent.  My desire to finish cleaning the kitchen, grade papers, or blog about something worth blogging about has flown out the window.

So, I end up spending an hour or two on the couch, staring blankly at my Ipad instead of doing the 100 million things I should be doing instead.  Not to mention, where do I fit my relationship with Eric into all of this?

In short, nothing gets done well.  The papers go ungraded, Madeline doesn't get the fun Mumma she deserves, the house is a permanent mess, and Eric and I are like ships passing in the night.

We pull it all together in the end; we always do.  But the seams are sloppy.  Very, very sloppy.  

Thank the Internet Gods that tomorrow is Friday!

(I feel compelled to add that I'm not a complete grumpus.  I watched Madeline fall asleep tonight, and it made me feel all squishy inside.  I'm very blessed to have such a sweet, healthy, angel of a girl.)  

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Madeline and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day(s)

Anyone remember this book?

Well, if you replace the name Alexander with Madeline...that pretty much sums up her afternoons this week.

Apparently, things are going just swimmingly at daycare.  Madeline saves up all her grouchy for Mumma and Dada's benefit.

Yesterday, I sneezed twice in a row.  From Madeline's reaction, you might think I had suddenly morphed into a baby-eating werewolf.  She looked at me, eyes wide in terror, let out a single blood-curdling shriek, and crawled away from me as fast as a person on four limbs can crawl.

It took a lot of convincing and cuddling to make her believe I wasn't a baby-eating monster after that.

Then we had spaghetti for dinner, which Madeline loves!  Score!  Only problem?  Madeline doesn't know how to eat spaghetti.  This lead to major frustration and a minor meltdown on the Maddie Bear's part.  It also lead to a spaghetti hat!

This afternoon, she learned how to use a bucket of hers as a stool.  It was very cute, until it slid out from under her and she landed flat on her back with a loud thud.

There was a moment of stunned silence that every parent knows will only last a Milli-second before the flood gates open and the screams start a-coming.

A-coming they did.  And did.  And did.  And did.

Poor girl.

Madeline had just recovered from the trauma of falling off her stool when she got hold of the remote control for the TV.

First, she hit mute.  I was slightly annoyed since I was trying to listen to the story about the satellite falling to earth. (I was interested because obviously I assume this satellite will choose to hit my house.)

Then Madeline somehow turned it up as loud as it can possible go....which is pretty darn loud.  

 Her first instinct was to freeze and curl into the fetal position, complete with hands up over her head. (This is probably a good instinct to have in case the satellite hits our house.)  Her second instinct was to get the hell out of there.  (This is probably a good instinct to have in case we have a zombie apocolypse.)

Plus?  She's teething.  Plus?  I took a magazine she was set on eating away from her.  Plus?  Dada had pizza for dinner and wouldn't give any to first.  Plus?  Once Dada did give it to her, he made her sit and eat her crust instead of running around the living room with it.  Plus?  Mumma changed her diaper tonight, and how dare she do that?!?!?  Apparenlty Madeline would rather go through life with a soggy bottom.

Sigh.  It's hard being a baby.

 *Sob* Why is spaghetti so hard to eat?!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011

Maddie Bear's Big Day

We had Madeline's first birthday party at our new house this weekend.

I didn't necessarily choose a "theme" for her party...but there was an awful lot of pink.  I wanted a pink extravaganza, and darling, I got it.

We had pink silverware, plates, napkins, hats, tablecloths, cupcakes, streamers, balloons.  The goodie bags were pink, and all the goodies inside the goodie bags were pink.  

 I set up a time capsule for Madeline in the corner with some note cards and directions to leave Madeline some words of wisdom for the future.  The idea is that she open the notes on her 18th birthday.  (Which will be in the year 2028, p.s.  Um, what?!?)  I made sure that everyone sealed their envelopes so that I won't be tempted to read them myself.  I want to be just as surprised as Madeline in 17 years.

Madeline spent the first half of her party playing possum.  She had three shots the day before, she was overdue for a nap, and she was completely overwhelmed by a house filled with so many faces. 

Just check out her point of view while eating her cupcake.  No pressure or anything, Maddie Bear.   
But after a twenty-minute power nap, and some tips on how to eat a cupcake from Mumma (who is a cupcake-eating expert) Madeline relaxed and started enjoying herself.
Nom, nom, nom
Especially once the sugar from that cupcake kicked in...
Double especially after she realized birthdays mean presents...

I think Madeline's toy stash was doubled, and she now has a beautiful fall wardrobe waiting in her closet.  Thank you family and friends for your generosity, and for coming to celebrate our little baby girl on her big day.  

Thursday, September 15, 2011

My Favorite Things Redux

When baby girl was six months old, I wrote this post outlining my favorite newborn products.

Since Madeline turned the big O-N-E this week, I'm updating my list with baby products that got us through the second half of our first year as parents.

1.) Precious Planet Whale of a Tub

Madeline is just about too big for her tub now, and oh, how I'll miss it.  It's a baby tub that looks like a happy whale.  Soooooo cute!  
(Although if I had to take a bath in a real whale, I would probably be terrified...and not at all clean.)  

There's a non-slip foam surface on the tail end of the whale for little babies to recline against. There's also an infant insert to keep her from sliding down into the water.  

I felt completely at ease giving Madeline her baths in this tub even when we could have fit five babies her size in it at once.  When she learned to sit independently, we removed the insert and she's been happily sploshing and splashing in her whale tub ever since.  

2.) Baby Bjorn Soft Bib

Whenever we're going through a rocky patch with Madeline, I convince Eric that if we just buy (insert product name here) all of our problems will be solved.  I'm the kind of person who keeps the industry booming in spite of a recession.

However, I am usually extremely disappointed upon purchasing (insert product name here) to find that it does not solve all of our problems at all.  My baby might be swaddled from head to toe, bathed in lavender soap, strapped in a swing, filled with anti-gas formula, but it's 3 am, and she's still crying. So when I told Eric we needed a bib with a scoop on the bottom of it because it would be the solution to all of our problems, he laughed right in my face.

Except this time...I was RIGHT.  This bib did solve of our life problems.  No more epic, out-of-control messes all over the floor.  AND, the bib itself is wicked easy to clean.  AND, Madeline likes to pick the left-over food out of the scoop when she's done eating what's on her tray.  Less food waste!  No more life problems! Winner, winner...ding, ding, ding!

3.) Sassy Teething Feeder

I have an irrational fear of Madeline chocking on her food.  Actually, no.  That fear is completely rational.  Babies don't have any grinding teeth.  They also don't have any common sense, which means entire bananas end up in her mouth.  ENTIRE bananas. B-a-n-a-n-a-s! Am I right?

So when Madeline started switching to solids, I picked up one of these bad boys.  LOVED it.  I could fill it with chunks of watermelon, or frozen veggies, or even pork chops without completely losing my mind.  

4.) Baby Love by Norah O'Donnell and Chef Geoff Tracy 

I made all of Madeline's baby food.  I think she only ate the pre-made stuff three or four times ever in her life.

A big reason I was able to easily make Madeline's food was because of this book.  There are fabulous recipes from 6 months to a year.  All extremely easy.  Seriously, it would take me about half an hour to make a batch of baby food big enough to feed Madeline for an entire month.

Not to mention, the photographs are beautiful.  Who knew mashed peas could look so yummy? 

5.) Umbrella Stroller

We still love and use our Quinny Zapp all the time, but having a smaller, lighter umbrella stroller is also a must have.

We've used it for vacations, for riding on the T, and going to Fenway Park.  Basically any time we know we will have to fold up and carry the stroller for long periods of time, we choose this one.

6.) Fisher Price Brilliant Basics Rock-a-Stack 

There's a reason you probably had this toy when you were a baby.  Your mother and grandmother and possibly even great-grandmother probably had it to.  I'm pretty sure General Ulysses S. Grant played with this when he was a baby...that's why he won the war.

These things are swag.  (Sorry, my students taught me that word this week and I'm trying it on for size.  I want to see if I can take a cool word and instantly make it lame.) They're simple.  They aide in baby development.  They're entertaining.  Sure, they don't light up, sing, dance, or cut your lawn for you, but your baby will be entertained for hours.

Madeline STILL plays with hers on a daily basis.  I know there are also million wooden, environmentally sound, organic, non-plastic versions of stacking rings on the market now, but I like these.  They were cheap, and I can throw them in my diaper bag easily.  I'm sold.  Besides, if I put them away and save them for Madeline's great-great grand baby, who will also want to play with these rings, then they will become environmentally friendly.

What are YOUR must have baby products??? Got anything to add to the list???

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Happy First Birthday, Madeline!!!

Happy, happy, happy birthday sweet baby girl.  

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

52 Weeks

One year ago today, I wrote this on the bloggy-blog:

"Blood pressure = good
Feet = not so swollen
Urine = protein free!
Hoo-ray!  Baby gets to sit and chill in there a bit longer!  Just three more weeks :"

Little did I know that the following morning I'd get more than just a delicious cup of coffee at my morning stop at Dunkin Donuts.

At 1:58 pm on September 14, Madeline Lee made her debut instantly making the world a much brighter place.  

The clearest memories I have from the day she was born are the ride over the hospital on a beautiful fall morning, my birthin' babies soundtrack playing in the background, feeling calm and ready for action; and the moment Madeline first heard my voice and instantly stopped crying to look straight at me.

I remember uncontrollably crying for about a week straight after she was born because my hormones were raging, and I was stressed over caring for a newborn, and all I wanted to do was watch TV and take a long, long nap.

I remember those early months as if I'm looking through a tense fog of sleepless nights.  I was constantly on edge.  I wouldn't even sleep under the bed covers in case I needed to leap out of bed suddenly in the middle of the night.
I was convinced Madeline hated me because she cried every time I held her.  In retrospect, this seems so ridiculous.  Madeline needed me because I'm her Mumma.  She loves me, and I love her.
 Then right around Christmas, Madeline decided to start sleeping.  Eric and I were able to have dinner together for the first time since Madeline was born, and it seemed like such a luxury to not have to worry about taking shifts rocking her to sleep.  We finally started to relax.

When Madeline was around six months old, she started becoming the Maddie Bear we know and love today.  Her newborn qualities vanished, and her baby personality began to shine.  She started showing her silly sense of humor, her insatiable curiosity, and her tendency to give the world a cheerful smile each and every morning.    

And now Madeline is one, whole year old.

She can climb the stairs in our new house already.  She doesn't get scared even when she's on the top step...her Mumma on the other hand...

She calls out for Eric all the time.  I think it's my new favorite thing she does.  Hearing "Da-aaaah?" echoing around the house makes me feel all smooshy inside.  

She's still taking three of four steps on her own before giving up and deciding to crawl instead.  I think she's capable of walking, but is scared of letting go.  If we just lightly hold her hand, she can walk till the cows come home.  She'll get there soon enough.   

Meanwhile, I think Madeline may find turning one just as bittersweet as her Mumma.  She's been much more dependent on us and her daycare teachers this week.  She won't eat unless she's spoon fed...after months of refusing anything given to her on a spoon.  She won't hold her bottle herself either.  
(Although, I must say, she did a great job of woofing down the pizza we gave her tonight for dinner.) 

My parents came over to help me take Madeline's last bunny picture this afternoon.

Can you believe she's gone from this...

 To this???

I'm so excited to enter the next stage of Madeline's life.  She's so much fun.  Everything is fresh and new through her eyes.  It's amazing watching her learn and grow and become a little, independent person.  

At the same time, I'll miss my little baby.  It's true what veteran moms tell you.  Those early days of sleepless parenthood seem torturous in the moment, but in retrospect, you'll come to miss them.  I'll miss the newborn smell.  I'll miss rocking her to sleep every night.  I'll miss carrying her around on my hip everywhere we go.  Le sigh.  

You're becoming such a big girl, Madeline.  

Thank you for a wonderful first year of being your Mumma.