Wednesday, May 25, 2011

It Won't Be Like This For Long....

I don't usually go into a lot of detail about all these things with most people, but tonight I was hit so strongly with the feeling that I am really going to miss these days and these moments with my sweet little boy. Lincoln has had a hard time getting to sleep lately....let me explain.

It is funny the things that you think you are going going to do when you are a parent, and then the things that you actually do once you become a parent. A lot of this varies even from child to child. I have told myself SO many times since becoming a parent that I will never again judge another parent's parenting skills or approaches. Parenting is hard work and is something that isn't set in stone or that has just one successful technique.

Our sweet son Lincoln was born a strong-willed little boy. He came on his own schedule (13 days late), and has had a strong opinion of his own ever since. He knows what he wants, and will tell you....loudly. Lincoln is also a very sensitive child, and has been this way since the moment he was born. I remember feeling so bad when he was only a few days old and I yelled at the cat for jumping on the kitchen counter. Lincoln sensed the harsh tone in my voice and got so uncontrollably upset. He is really in tune with his emotions and hates to feel left out. When you are able to focus 100% of your energy on him he will be the absolute sweetest little boy. He loves to be told when he is being a "good boy" and will give anyone a hug or a kiss if you ask him too. He loves making you laugh and always wants to help out. But, if he feels like you only giving him half your attention he hates it and will do anything he can (even if it means throwing a fit) to get your attention.

So, with that being said, let me explain some of tonight's feelings.

I delivered Lincoln (who ended up being a 10-lb baby) at a birthing center with a wonderful team of midwives. I delivered him naturally, with no drugs, and have since been a huge advocate of natural childbirth for low-risk pregnancies. When he was born, I didn't have many problems with nursing, and it was a very positive experience. I nursed Lincoln exclusively for the first 6 months (we tried cereal a little earlier, but he didn't like it, so we waited until 6 months to try again), and my goal was to nurse to 12 months and then we would go from there. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends nursing to 12 months and beyond, and the World Health Organization recommends nursing to 24 months, plus to me, it just seemed like the most natural way to feed and bond with your child. Well 12 months came and went, and Lincoln had absolutely no desire to quit nursing. I would try to wean him and it would turn into such a battle of wills. Lincoln would cry and cry and cry until I would nurse him again. He would actually cry so hard it got to the point of dry heaving and throwing up. So, I didn't worry too much about it and just decided that we would try again in a few months. Well, for the past few weeks (Lincoln will be 20 months next week), I have been feeling like it really is time that we should try weaning again. He has only been nursing at night and naptime, but he had a really hard time falling asleep if I wouldn't nurse him.

Sheridan has been out of town for the last few days, and so I decided that I was going to wean Lincoln while Sheridan is out of town. Sheridan gets really upset when Lincoln cries, which is another reason why weaning had been unsuccessful in the past, because every time Lincoln would want to nurse (and then subsequently cry) Sheridan would just get really upset and tell me to nurse him. I knew if I was going to wean Lincoln this might be my only opportunity.

So, we have been almost 48 hours now with no nursing. And, actually, it has gone surprisingly well! I think, for Lincoln, nursing was more of a security/comfort issue than it was a food/liquid issue. Which, I know many parenting books will tell you that you are "spoiling" your child if you give them too much attention, and I personally don't agree with that. I think it is important to set boundaries with your children, but I don't think you can spoil them by giving them too much attention or attending to their cries. With that being said (like I mentioned earlier), our parenting style is very different than I thought it was going to be before I had kids, and just because we do things one way, doesn't mean I think all parents should do things the way we do.

So tonight I started the process of our new night time routine. Before when he was getting tired I would just nurse him until he fell asleep and then put him to bed. With our "new" routine, I let him have his sippy cup while we read his favorite books. I kept telling him, "we are going to read your books and then go night, night". Then I would lay down with him for a little bit in bed while we read one more of his favorite books. After reading him his book I would tell him a story (tonight it was about a little boy who was such a "good boy" when his mommy told him it was time to go night, night, and I went into great detail about all the wonderful dreams the little boy had). Last night, that worked just fine and Lincoln fell asleep (without any crying or nursing, although he did wake up again at 3am and 6am)! But, tonight, when I tried to get up his eyes snapped open and he was awake again. So, I picked him up and held him so his head was resting on my shoulder and his bum was resting on my arms. Then I sang to him and walked circles around his room while he fell asleep. It was while I was wearing circles in the carpet, and his little head kept drooping down, that I started to get really overwhelmed with emotion. Even though this is exhausting and it is hard to get up multiple times a night to try to get your little ones to sleep, it isn't always going to be like this. There is going to come a day when Lincoln doesn't want me to hold him and rock him to sleep. Now Lincoln wants me to hug him and kiss him all day long. But, there is going to come a day that he is going to be embarrassed when I try to give him a kiss and tell him I love him. I know I am going to think back to these long nights where I had to get up three times to hold him and rock him back to sleep and wish so badly I could have these moments again.

It is so easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of our day-to-day routines, but I am so thankful and grateful for evenings like these that help me remember to cherish all these little moments that seem so hard.

Here is a sweet picture of Lincoln asleep in his car seat driving home from a Scentsy event I had this weekend after we had "bribed" him to be good with a chocolate chip cookie :)

"It Won't Be Like This For Long"
by Darius Rucker
He didn't have to wake up
He'd been up all night
Layin’ there in bed listenin’
To his new born baby cry
He makes a pot of coffee
He splashes water on his face
His wife gives him a kiss and says
It gonna be OK

It won’t be like this for long
One day we'll look back laughin’
At the week we brought her home
This phase is gonna fly by
So baby just hold on
‘Cause it won't be like this for long

Four years later ‘bout 4:30
She's crawling in their bed
And when he drops her off at preschool
She's clinging to his leg
The teacher peels her off of him
He says what can I do
She says now don't you worry
This’ll only last a week or two

It won’t be like this for long
One day soon you'll drop her off
And she won’t even know you're gone
This phase is gonna fly by
If you can just hold on
It won’t be like this for long

Some day soon she'll be a teenager
And at times he'll think she hates him
Then he'll walk her down the aisle
And he'll raise her veil
But right now she's up and cryin’
And the truth is that he don't mind
As he kisses her good night
And she says her prayers

He lays down there beside her
‘Til her eyes are finally closed
And just watchin’ her it breaks his heart
Cause he already knows

It won’t be like this for long
One day soon that little girl is gonna be
All grown up and gone
Yeah, this phase is gonna fly by
So, he's tryin’ to hold on

‘Cause it won’t be like this for long

Thursday, May 12, 2011

A Day in the Life of a Busy Mom

I came across this on a friend's blog and just had to share!

Dear Carolyn: Best friend has child. Her: exhausted, busy, no time for self, no time for me, etc. Me (no kids): What'd you do today? Her: Park, play group... OK. I've talked to parents. I don't get it. What do stay-at-home moms do all day? Please no lists of library, grocery store, dry cleaners...I do all those things, too. I guess what I'm asking is: What is a typical day and why don't moms have time for a call or e-mail? I work and am away from home nine hours a day (plus a few late work events); I manage to get it all done. I'm feeling like the kid is an excuse to relax and enjoy, but if so, why won't my friend tell me the truth? Is this a contest ("my life is so much harder than yours")? What's the deal? I've got friends with and without kids and all us child-free folks have the same questions. --Tacoma, Wash.

Dear Tacoma: Relax and enjoy. You're funny. Or, you're lying about having friends with kids. Or you're taking them at their word that they actually have kids, because you haven't personally been in the same room with them. I keep wavering between giving you a straight answer and giving my forehead some keyboard. To claim you want to understand, while in the same breath implying that the only logical conclusions are that your mom-friends are either lying or competing with you, is disingenuous indeed.

So, because it's validation you seem to want, the real answer is what you get. When you have young kids, your typical day is: constant attention, from getting them out of bed, fed, cleaned, dressed; to keeping them out of harm's way; to answering their coos, cries, questions; to having two arms and carrying one kid, one set of car keys, and supplies for even the quickest of trips, including the latest-to-be-declared-essential piece of molded plastic gear; to keeping them from unshelving books at the library; to enforcing rest times; to staying one step ahead of them lest they get too hungry, tired, or bored, any one of which produces checkout-line screaming.

It's needing 45 minutes to do what takes others 15. It's constant vigilance, constant touch, constant use of your voice, constant relegation of your needs to the second tier. It's constant scrutiny and second-guessing from family and friends. It's resisting constant temptation to seek short-term relief at everyone's long-term expense. It's doing all this while concurrently teaching virtually everything -- language, manners, safety, resourcefulness, discipline, curiosity, creativity. Empathy. Everything.

It's also a choice, yes. And a joy. But if you spent all day, every day, with this brand of joy, and then, when you got your first 10 minutes to yourself, wanted to be alone with your thoughts instead of calling a good friend, a good friend wouldn't judge you, complain about you or marvel how much more productively she uses her time. Either make a sincere effort to understand, or keep your snit to yourself. --Carolyn

Easter 2011

We had such a great time this year on Easter!! I watch another little boy during the week (Parker) who is 5 weeks younger than Lincoln. He is such a sweet little boy and his family is so kind! His grandparents just live about 15 minutes from me and stop by often to visit with us during the day. They are so thoughtful and always bring a little gift for Lincoln on each holiday. Lincoln loves playing with Parker's "Papa and Bobo" and we really appreciate all the kindness they have shown us. Most of our family is back in Idaho/Utah (where we are from) and so Parker's grandparents were so sweet and invited us to their home for Easter Brunch! We had such a great time and they were wonderful hosts. Unfortunately I got there and realized the battery on my camera was dead! I was so bummed, but Parker's parents were so sweet and took a bunch of pictures for us.

Lincoln and his best buddy Parker (there was a pinwheel on the table that they had their eyes on) :)

Lincoln had fallen on the sidewalk the day before so he had a big ol' bruise on his forehead :(

Playing with the pinwheels! Funny how the $1 toys are always their favorites :)
I really should have gotten a white collared shirt that buttoned at the bottom, because for the life of me, I could not keep Lincoln's shirt tucked in! It is untucked in most of these pictures, because I would tuck it in, and then not more than two seconds later Lincoln would reach down, to grab a new toy, and the shirt would get untucked again.

Parker's grandparents got Lincoln this cell phone where you can record your own voice into it! He loves that he can "call" Dad during the day on his new phone!

They had an egg hunt outside and Lincoln had so much fun!

We never were able to get a family photo with Lincoln looking at the camera...

Lincoln was really sleepy! He hadn't taken a nap yet and by then end of the afternoon was really close to a meltdown because he was so tired.
Parker's grandparents have a beautiful yard and all the flowers had recently bloomed!

We tried to get a photo of the two boys together, but it never seemed to work :)
Parker's parents also took some video footage and put it on youtube here is the link:

We really had a great time and were so thankful towards Parker's grandparents for opening their home to us!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Lincoln's First Easter Egg Hunt

I am part of a playgroup that meets on Tuesday mornings at 10. I just recently started going, and we have had a really fun time! It used to be so hard to get to playgroups because I had both little boys, and usually one of them would be napping around the time that the playgroup met. But, now that the boys are a little older it is a little bit easier to get out of the house with them, and they both really like interacting with the other kids. Now that the weather is nicer we meet at different parks each week and it is a lot of fun.

A few weeks ago the playgroup organized an Easter Egg Hunt! I was really excited because last year Lincoln was really too young to get the concept of hunting for eggs (he was only 7 months last year at this time). Unfortunately, we got to the park and it was raining! So, we decided to move everything to a church nearby.

Of course, Murphy's Law, as soon as we got to the church it stopped raining. So, one of the moms set up the Easter egg hunt outside the church. Lincoln had a lot of fun! It was so cute to watch him, because he really understood that he needed to "search" for the eggs.

Lincoln was so excited to find that there was candy inside the eggs!! I usually don't ever let him have candy (usually he only gets candy when I'm not looking and Dad sneaks it to him) :) so this was a very special treat for him!
It was Spring Break this week in Fairfax County so there were a lot more kids at playgroup than usual. After the egg hunt, all the moms/kids got in a circle and sang a few songs. The kids really liked it! Lincoln was a little young to really get what was going on, but he still had a good time.

I snapped this picture of me trying to help him sing, "The Wheels on the Bus"
Some of the kids from playgroup
Parker's mom (Megan) is a teacher and so she was on Spring Break this week too! I was off from watching Parker this week and so they both came and met up with us for playgroup! It was nice to get to spend some time with Megan outside of a quick drop off/pick up. Unfortunately, Lincoln was running all over the place (like usual) and trying to "escape" through the doors so I didn't get a chance to really visit much.

Here is a cute picture of Megan and Parker singing songs.

Afterwards, one of the moms organized this cute activity where the kids made Easter Bunnies out of candy treats (purple snowballs for the head, licorice for the whiskers, white cardboard paper cut out as ears, and jelly beans for the eyes). Lincoln isn't quite old enough to realize that it was a bunny, but he sure enjoyed eating the treats! :)
Helping Lincoln with the project...

Lincoln and Parker - best buddies!
Lincoln's finished project - what a cute idea! Thanks Sarah for organizing this!
All the cute kiddos at playgroup this week!

Bubbles at the Soccer Park

I watch another little boy during the day (Parker) who is 5 weeks younger than Lincoln. He is so sweet and is such a great little boy to watch. Lincoln and Parker are best buddies! They both LOVE to run everywhere. I recently discovered this great soccer park a few blocks from our house. The fields are astroturf and so if the boys fall when they run (as they often do) they don't hurt themselves like they would if they are running on the sidewalk. During the day there is nobody on the fields, so it is great for the boys!

Parker's mom got Lincoln this automatic bubble blower for Easter and the boys just love it! In fact, so do all the neighbor kids. I am now the coolest mom on the block :) After school gets out all the neighbor kids like to come over and ask if they can use the bubble machine. Of course the little boys love playing with the "big kids" too.

Here are some fun pictures of the boys running in the field and playing with the bubble maker.

You can see Lincoln running quickly down the field way down by the bleachers - his FAVORITE game right now is to try and get chased - he loves it!! If you don't chase him he will stop and peek over his shoulder until he thinks you are watching him and then he will start running again.
And of course, in a huge, flat field, the boys gravitated to the only thing they could get hurt on! :) They wanted to climb up the bleachers, but mean ol' mom put a stop to that. Too dangerous when there are two little ones to watch.

Sidewalk Chalk - the Weather is Getting Warmer!!

Finally we are getting some nice weather!! Lincoln got some sidewalk chalk in his Easter basket and he has had so much fun drawing on the sidewalk! We practice writing his name and drawing flowers. The area in front of our doorstep has been quite the popular area for all the kids after school gets out, and of course Lincoln loves playing with the "big kids"

This is what Lincoln does all day long. Run, Run, Run!! I was at a playgroup the other day and one of the other mom's asked, "is he always this high energy?" When I said, "yes", she said, "oh I feel so bad for you!". It made me smile. I love his high energy, but it is also quite the workout to let him play outside! We have this great courtyard area in front of our house so we don't have to worry about cars, but Lincoln loves to be mischievous and run as fast as he can around the corner and up the stairs to the street. He is pretty fast too!!

He also runs with his arms sticking out like this, pretty funny.
Parker's grandparents gave Lincoln this fun bubble tub for Easter! It is great because it helps to prevent the bubbles from spilling. The boys have so much fun dipping the wands in and out of the bubble tub.

Lincoln Flexing Like Dad - 18 Months

So Sheridan is doing a 100-Day Challenge with himself trying to gain quite a bit of muscle. He has been having me take weekly photos of him to track his progress. The other night Sheridan was standing against the wall flexing while I took a picture, and all of the sudden Lincoln ran up and tried to flex like his dad! It was so funny, we were just cracking up.
I had a hard time snapping the picture at the right time, but he would hold his arms up in the "flexing" position - so cute!

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