Saturday, June 18, 2011

JT Update: 3 weeks

Hard to believe that tomorrow my little man will be 4 weeks old! The past 4 weeks have flown by quickly. I keep trying to relive all the moments from his birth to this morning. Okay, so here is an update from his 3 week check-up.
weight: 6 lbs. 10 oz. 5th percentile
height: 19 1/2 inches 5th percentile
head circumference: 10th percentile (I can't remember the measurement)
His doctor said she waited to tell me his percentiles until he was in the fifth because the weeks before he wasn't even on the chart. She also said those numbers don't take into consideration that he was born two and a half weeks early. My mom said not to worry because my brother and I were both in the low percentiles and it's not like JT has failure to thrive or anything. He does have a bit of thrush and a yeast rash (we no longer can use diaper wipes), but other than that he's progressing quite steadily. In fact, he's been excelling in my eyes. During tummy time, he kicks his little legs, rolls over and lifts his head. He's a natural athlete like his daddy! It's so fun to watch him do something new each day. His little personality is starting to come out more too. Although, he only exhibits sleep smiles, we're starting to tell when he prefers something and when he hates it. He's starting to focus in on the things he sees around him too.
We have been co-sleeping with JT. Apparently, co-sleeping is like the unspoken norm. My mom confessed that I co-slept with my parents for 8 months and JT's doctor said that she co-slept with her two kiddos. Everyone has warned me that it is hard to transition from co-sleeping to the crib. I also had a scare the other night, when Mr. Soup rolled over a little too close to JT. So, I've been trying to have him sleep in his pack-n-play more. I've noticed that when I nurse him in our bed, he wants to stay in our bed (makes sense), but if I nurse him in his rocking chair, he falls asleep there and doesn't really notice that I've put him in his pack n' play as long as I swaddle him up nicely. He's only slept in his crib once for a couple of hours and honestly, that's fine with me because I'm not ready to have him leave our room. I think next month, I will try to transition him to the crib a little bit more.
All this co-sleeping business has got me thinking about the fall, which I'm already dreading! I'm so blessed that I have 3 months with JT, but honestly I do not think it's long enough. I have always wanted to be a working mom, but I really think a baby needs at least six months with his momma before entering the "real" (daycare) world. At first I thought it was just that "I don't want to go back to work" feeling I get every summer, but I realize it's more about wanting to be with JT. In fact, it's more about realizing that JT needs me. It's a shame that most companies don't offer more maternity leave (or any at all---which is the case with my job...). In most European countries, women get a whole year off after having a baby. My friend and her husband planned for her to take six months off from work and I wish we could've done that. With Mr. Soup graduating from grad school and trying to find a job, it just wasn't possible (we would've exhausted our savings completely); however, for the next child (yes! I want another one or two! I'm hooked), we are going to try to save enough money so that I will not have to go back to work until he or she is six months old. I'm also going to start researching the FMLA and working mothers' rights groups a little more. There has got to be a way to change these laws. My school district requires that women use their personal days before using their Short Term Disability. Even though I paid into STD, I didn't get to use it because of when I had him. I definitely do not want to use my days because I'm going to need them when he gets sick and all that stuff. It just all seems so unfair for women. I just think more needs to be done to help women be good mothers, but also maintain a career. Okay, so I'm getting off my soapbox!
For now, I'm trying not to think about returning to work. I actually think it will be okay because I do like order and predictability. I love being at home with JT, but it is difficult for me to always stay on a schedule. Working will force me to do that. Right now, I'm trying to soak up all the JT hugs and snuggles I can! Even though I know he needs to sleep in his pack n' play or crib, I may sneak some family-sleeping time so that we can all snuggle. Last night was the first night all five of us slept together. Yep! Sam was on the floor, Maya at the end of the bed, JT in the pack n' play and Mr. Soup and me in the bed. I slept so well knowing we were all together. I loved it!
I leave you with some pictures of JT and his nursery. JT and I slept in the nursery the first week and a half of his life, but other than that he hasn't been in there much except for diaper changing. I love how it all turned out. I hope it's a place where he can feel safe and have fun. I want to give a big shout out to my mom for organizing his closet and dresser. It's so easy to get things!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Nana and Grandpa come to town

JT's Kansas grandparents made their way to Texas to visit their very first grandchild and spoil him. They came last week and took off this morning for the Heartland. I really thought I was doing fine until they got here, but having them here was a big help! In fact, my mom completely organized Joel's nursery! I can actually post pictures of how cute it looks! She even organized our pantry. If she had been here a week longer she would've had the whole house organized. It was just the motivation for me to get our master bedroom closet organized and for Mr. Soup to clean out the garage. He will do it this weekend which will be great! We will actually be able to park in it, which is good since it's hotter than Hades outside.
Mom and Dad also bought us a grill so we enjoyed yummy burgers made by my mom! The best part of the week was seeing JT interact with his grandparents. My dad was so happy to see his grandson that he made a point to do tummy time with him, push him in his stroller when we went to stores, and hold him. My mom loved holding the little guy in her arms. I think he was held by someone the majority of the time they were here. Of course, today was very difficult. Mom and I had tears coming down our cheeks. Being a grandparent is hard when you're miles and miles away from the little one. JT will take his first trip to KS in August for his baptism, but it seems so far away. *Sigh* We'll get through it. Until then, here are some pics of Grandpa and Nana with JT!

Monday, June 6, 2011


I've never been a fan of anything considered new age or odd. Prior to JT's arrival, I thought babies were supposed to sleep in a crib in another room (that's what baby monitors are for, right?). While JT loves his Pack n' Play, I have noticed that he sleeps better in our bed. We only do this in the afternoon during naps, but right now I'm in our bed with JT and he's konked out (sidenote: I'm only in bed with him because Mr. Soup is up). He sleeps longer in the afternoons and it's so much easier to nurse him when he's already in our bed. His breathing is more regulated.
I'm just terrified of SIDS and that's why I won't fully commit to co-sleeping, especially at night. I'm just afraid I'll be too asleep and won't be aware of him being there. I don't want to crush him. I do like the idea of Mr. Soup bonding with him since he works all day and once I return to work, co-sleeping would allow some more bonding time for me.
I need to do some major research on co-sleeping, like not on the internet. In a few minutes, I'll place JT in his pack n' play. I'll miss feeling him next to me...

Sunday, June 5, 2011

It's 3am, I must be lonely...

But, I'm not! My little man screamed his lungs off. It took me a while to respond. Usually, I am up in a flash, but I estimate that it took me ten minutes to respond. This means I must be really tired. Today was a busy day with only one nap for mommy! Today was the first day I was away from JT. Mr. Soup granted me some alone time. He tries to act like it was out of love for me, but I think he wanted some JT snuggle time. I never thought about how much goes into a father bonding with his child. We moms are lucky because ours is almost automatic, but dads need lots of built in time especially if they go back to work immediately. Plus, I think it helped Mr. Soup to be more relaxed around JT because I wasn't there critiquing everything. So I was granted 3 hours of alone time. I did some mundane things like take the dogs to the vet and shop for groceries, but I also ate lunch without them. I also drove my old car for the first time in weeks. I felt so young and carefree. Driving that Jetta again took me back to the age of 22 when I first purchased it. It was my only major responsibilty (and not really because my parents made the payments while I was in grad school). Those 3 hours of no responsibility were nice and refreshing. I will take advantage of it while I can; however, I was more than ready to see my little boy when I got home. I kind of was glad that he was fussy while I was gone. He missed me too!
Mr. Soup and I discussed the whole grad school thing again. I'm so lucky that my husband not only supports my higher education goals, but encourages them. I am also lucky that he totally understood me wanting to wait until JT or any subsequent children that we may have was in school. I know I am going to live for nights, weekends, and summers with my family.
One thing he is encouraging me to do is work on my writing more. I wrote a series of low readability inference mysteries for my students years ago. He wants me to add more and revamp them. I also developed some drug prevention activities for Red Ribbon Week that I can add to if I want to make it more universal. I've also been writing training stuff for friends' businesses and I am going to help my friend write the curriculum for her self-help program. All of this stuff I've been doing for free for my district and friends, but a little late night research has shown me that there is money to be had in doing what I love. I plan to work on some of this stuff this summer, but really crackdown next summer. We have to pay for JT's daycare year-round (don't get me started), so I plan to take him there a few days a week next summer. During that time I can work on all this (in addition to lunch dates, pool time, and other mommy-alone time activities). Focusing on this is better than grad school right now. Grad school = time away from JT, money going out. Writing = minimal time away, some money possibly coming in, and creative release. Plus all this could be good for the research I may do as a grad student in 2020! So I feel pretty good about my decision. I can honestly say I am where I want to be in life. I have two great jobs, wonderful home, two awesome dogs, amazing husband and the world's best son! Did I mention that in 30 minutes that son will be 2 weeks old? Time sure does fly. In that time he lost weight and gained it, battled jaundice, learned to take the bippy from Daddy and put it in his mouth, learned to make Sam love him just as much as Maya does, roll to one side and be extra cute! God, I love you, little dude. Happy 2 week birthday!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

We've survived

I kind of waited to post on this because I wanted to be able to say, "yeah! we did it!"
Yeah! We did it!
We survived
-breastfeeding struggles
-postpartum depression
For breastfeeding to be so natural it is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. JT immediately latched on in the hospital, but he barely wanted to nurse. This was partly due to the fact that it took 5 days for my milk to come in, which is average. This wouldn't have been a big issue except I didn't have a pump nor could I pump because there was no milk. I was really leary about giving him formula or even breast milk in a bottle. I was so scared of causing nipple confusion. However, after his jaundice worsened and he started dropping o-z's like crazy, I gave in a little. Of course all babies drop ounces, but his was dramatic and combined with the jaundice got too scary. On Friday I called his pediatrician because the whites of his eyes started to yellow. Fortunately, my milk had just come in, so I was able to continue nursing and top off with formula just to get his weight up. When we went to his check-up on Tuesday, his billirubin had gone down significantly and his weight had gone up. He was a completely different baby than the one I had brought in the week before. He is still changing before our very eyes. He loves to feed now, so much so that he's mistaken daddy's nipple for mine (Mr. Soup was not too happy about that). He also loves to explore. He has incredible head and neck strength and can shimmy his way around when on his tummy. He loves to be held. I think Mr. Soup has spoiled him in that area. There are plenty of times where we are sure he's good and konked out. We go to put him in his pack n' play and he immediately wakes up and cries. Yeah. Not fun!
Post-partum depression is not fun. I don't think I had it very badly, but I definitely had some symptoms. I think a lot of was due to the fact that JT wouldn't nurse. I never felt as though I wanted to hurt JT or hurt myself. I just had this nagging sense that I wasn't doing a good job as a mother. I would look at JT and cry because I didn't think I was a good enough mommy for him. Everyone around me did a good job of building me up and not allowing me to wallow too much, but sometimes I gave in to my feelings of insecurity. Once JT's health was on the up and up, I started to feel a little bit better. Each day, I feel like I'm making progress. I'm sure part of it has to do with my hormones evening out too. Talking my feelings out really helps as well. I'm such a perfectionist who never fails at anything. The thought of failing at motherhood was overwhelming. I have so much love for this little guy and want to do my best for him.
So before JT was born, I posted about attending an information session on a PhD program. I went to it and was really blown away. I knew this university had a PhD in Reading Education, but I was never really interested. Reading seemed so clinical and diagnostic, as well as elementary. I really wanted to study English Education like I did for my master's . In that we were able to study young adult literature, writing, reading, etc. Well, the university revamped their program into a PhD in Language & Literacy Studies. It has a broader focus that includes Reading Ed, English Ed, and Bilingual/ESL Ed too. They got rid of their EdD program and made their PhD less rigorous (meaning less research classes). They also cater to full-time teachers and offer classes at night only. Right now they only offer classes at the main campus which is 40 minutes away, but they are looking to offer more classes closer to us in the near future. So, it sounds perfect, right? That was before I became a mom. Now I cringe at the thought of spending a couple of evenings a week away from him. I already work too much as it is. Earning my PhD has always been a goal of mine for many reasons: 1. personal satisfaction 2. impact on teaching 3. expand career options 4. show my children they can do anything they set their mind towards doing. I still want to earn it, but I need to learn to balance mommyhood with work first. So, instead of looking at entering in fall 2012, I'm thinking fall 2013. Instead of going full-time or taking a heavy part-time load, I think I may just take one or two courses at a time. I'm also hoping that some day soon I can transition to working at the community college full-time or part-time. It'll take me a long, long time to earn a PhD, but at least I can do it and minimize my time away from JT. He seriously is all I want to focus on for the next few years. Funny how having a kid will change you. Not that I'm giving up on my dream, but I'm realizing there are other ways to achieve it. I'll keep you all updated on what I decide to do in the near future. Whatever it is, just know my family will always come first!