Saturday, October 22, 2011


that just happened...

Friday, October 21, 2011

so much respect...

As the weather changes, I'm reminded of just how fast time flies. My baby boy will be five months tomorrow! I've learned so much about myself, my husband, our marriage and of course, our little boy. I think I now have the utmost respect for anyone who dons the title of "mommy!" It's a tiring job, but it comes with the greatest rewards and perks. When I was pregnant I didn't want to hear advice from anyone. In fact, I told people that I didn't want any advice. However, after I hit week 25, I was more open to listening. That is when I started asking any and every mom for advice. One of the cool things I learned as that while we all approach mothering differently we all strive to be the best mom we can be. This really hit home as I read my friend Lara's blog. I realize that we all have certain values that we want to impart to our children, and while they may be different, why not help each other out along the way? I asked myself, do I judge other moms? Do I come across as knowing everything about mothering (because I certainly do not!). I think this is especially poignant as many of my friends are starting to have children and are addressing the formula vs. breastfeeding challenge. Breastfeeding was/is the hardest thing about mothering Joel. I'll admit, I'm pretty lucky. Joel is a relatively easy baby. He laughs, explores, eats, and sleeps. He rarely cries even now when he is teething. My struggles with breastfeeding are pretty minute compared to others' breastfeeding struggles. While I was pregnant, I made sure to talk to both breastfeeding and formula-feeding mothers. This was the best thing I could do. I think it helped prepare me for the challenges ahead and when I faced the possibility of having to exclusively formula feed Joel, I felt a little more comfortable if that were to happen. I visit so many new mom blogs,chat rooms, message boards and I'm part of a few in-real-life new mom groups. I hate, hate, hate the breast-feeding bullying that goes on. We're supposed to support and uplift each other, not tear each other down. Sometimes I feel a little guilty because Joel gets 6oz of formula a day. I then slap myself for feeding in to the bullying. While some of the challenges of breastfeeding have dissipated, they are now replaced with other challenges: pumping. I pump as much as I can at work, but my milk supply sometimes is low. I deal with a lot of stress at my job, so that affects my ability to pump well. Now that Joel is sleeping through the night, I pump at home quite a bit because I'm more relaxed. Pumping takes up a good 40 minutes of my work day which makes it difficult to complete administrative tasks. I find myself asking, "is it worth it to pump?" Then I remind myself that for our family it is. I refuse to let the employment devils win! But I digress... I remember when I first got pregnant I told myself that I would never co-sleep. Who would do that? The child will probably breastfeed for years? I bet that couple never has sex...yeah. I was so wrong. While I was scared for Joel's safety (I don't care what anyone tells you, when you are surviving on sleep fumes as I like to call them, you're not aware of the baby in your bed), the benefits I saw while we tried co-sleeping outweighed the safety risks. Joel's breathing was regulated, he was able to bond with not only me, but his father as he would snuggle to him too, we could place him back on his back if he rolled to his side, etc. We quickly transitioned to the pack n' play in our room. He now sleeps for 10-12 hours at night in his crib in his own room. So yeah, I judged myself before I knew what I would become. A breast-feeding/pumping/sometimes formula-ing, former co-sleeping mama. I am the happiest I've been in so long, but I'm still on the journey and enjoying it. I'll leave you with a picture of Joely and me. Don't we look cute? We kind of have the sporty look going on with my Nike shirt and his windpants. Yeah. Even though I don't have a daughter, I try to match our least in themes. I'm definitely not going to take the twinning further than that. I absolutely love Joel in fall clothes. I take that back, I love him in all clothes. He's so adorable (I'm seriously considering getting him into modeling. I am researching agencies right now) Life is pretty easy when you have a cute son!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Strange Boy....

Okay, so Joel and I have been home together since last Wednesday. On Wednesday afternoon Christy called me to tell me that Joel had lots of boogies, was fussy and just not his usual self. I left work to pick him up and Mr. Soup got on the phone to his pediatrician. The next morning, I planned to go to work and Murad was going to work from home and take Joel to the doctor, but guess what....I was sick too! Joel went to the doctor and she confirmed that he has a double ear infection and Bronchiolitis (think another form of Bronchitis). I am pretty sure I have the flu, but I haven't been to the doctor. So, Joely and I have been home the past few days. I missed going to a surprise party for my friend, but there will be other parties. While I hate being sick and hate seeing him sick, it has been wonderful spending uninterrupted QT together. I love cuddling and playing with him. He's still all about playing even when sick. It's also given me the opportunity to see all of his strange habits. They're quite funny, scary, and unique! Nipple Confusion All through my pregnancy, everyone kept saying don't introduce a bottle to him for a long time because of nipple confusion. Of course, my son is the one who ended up with jaundice and had to take formula from a bottle for a week. Did it mess him up? No. Now he hates taking bottles. Well, he'll take bottles from Murad, Christy, Abuela, grandparents, anyone but me! Even though the bottle may be filled with breast milk or a breast milk/formula combo, he gets this weird look on his face. "Don't come with this weak shit, mom! I want it from the spout." Yeah, so I have the opposite problem of nipple confusion. I wonder what will happen in May when I have to wean him off... No Pacifier Joely used a pacifier when he was a newborn, but once he hit about three months he refused to take one. At first we thought maybe he wouldn't take it at home, but Abuela and Christy both noted that he refuses to take one at daycare. Not complaining because I hear weaning a kid off of a pacifier is a bitch. There are some days when I wish he would take one though! Cheap Toys So, last week Joely and I went to Babies R Us to pick out some developmentally appropriate toys. Yeah, so does he play with them? Not so much. His favorite toy is this block thing that my friend gave us. He'll play with it for about 30 minutes...which is like hours in Joel time S&M much? Murad and I discovered that the only way to get Joel to go to sleep is to put a blanket over his head. That sounds horrible, right? What kind of parents would do that? Desperate parents like us. Joel likes for us to throw the blanket over his head and then he pulls it down to his chest. He falls asleep with the blanket in his hand. Joel also likes to turn and sleep on his side. So, we have to stand there and wait for him to fall asleep so that we can remove the blanket and place him back on his back. It's pretty intense, but that's our guy! Fortunately, we do have the Angel Care monitor which alerts us if he stops breathing, but that's not a sure thing. I know it's supposed to be hospital quality, but the ones in the hospital are like $2000 not $200. That's my weird little Joel wrapped up in a nutshell. He's such an individual and I love it. Some days I marvel at how much my life has changed in the last five months. Nothing gets me through the day like picturing his smile and nothing motivates me more than his happiness. I find myself longing for the sleepless nights when he was a newborn. I find myself trying to relive the best day of my life: his birth. I find myself getting jealous of the fact that he is comfortable with people other than me. I try to keep it in perspective though. The grass is always greener, right? I have a healthy baby boy who is growing, thriving, and exploring! He's picked up a few strange habits along the way, but they're what makes him our son!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

19 weeks

Well today Joel is 19 weeks. That is almost five months week-wise. Yesterday he and I ventured to Babies R Us to pick up some toys for him. Of course there are no toys that are labeled "five months," so my choices were three months and six months. We went with six months because he's pretty active, and the challenge associated with toys for that age may be good for him. Plus, most of the six month toys were good for up to 36 months of age. So, we got this toy with balls that fly everywhere. The baby on the box looked really happy. Fisher-Price does a good job of labeling their toys with information concerning the developmental tasks the babies will reach when playing with the toy. With this particular one, he'll increase his gross motor skills, learn cause and effect, and one other skill. The teacher in me is really excited to watch how this toy works to teach these skills and then what we can do to mimic that for a cheaper cost (these toys are expensive...thank goodness we have a ton of gift cards still)
Joely reaches and grabs things, but up until today I didn't see him do it often. Sometimes when I rattle things in front of him, he doesn't really try to grab them. Of course, all babies are different so I wasn't really concerned. Today, Joel and I woke up and we played with one of his block toys. It is a large block that has different things on it that he can move around. He really focused on the items on the block and loved grabbing them and moving them. He got so excited that he knocked it off the table. Mr. Soup was really happy about that. Don't ask why! I guess he likes that his son likes destruction.
After we played we read Trick or Treat with Elmo. The book is pretty busy, but Joely had fun pushing the buttons. He then had some tummy-time and after his time was up, I put on Spongebob and he stayed on his tummy with his head up to watch. So cute! He also grabbed the little music-maker on his tummmy time mat and pulled it to his face.
We tried having Joel sleep in his nursery this week. He slept in there two nights this week (woo-hoo!). We're really trying to be organic about the whole thing, so if we put him in there and he cries for twenty minutes then we take him out and bring him into our room and put him in his pack n' play. I think Mr. Soup and I aren't quite ready to have him sleep in his own room, but we realize that we don't want him sleeping in our room still this time next year.
So, work for Mr. Soup is going really well, but work me is blah still. I'm trying not to get too down about it. I just need to not take my job too seriously. My main concern, as always, is my students. I have to remember to always put their interest first and not worry about all the other stuff that complicates things. I think I'm probably too sensitive in some ways and I want to do the best job all around and not make mistakes. I think I'm probably way too critical on myself as well. I know I feel as though I'm not doing my best as a teacher, but when I look around I see a bunch of people doing even less than me. Not that I compare myself to anyone else...well...yeah..I do..which is why I've been feeling down in the dumps. While another career choice might be ideal for me, I just can't imagine doing anything else. I really do love teaching and I really love teaching middle school students. I just know that the environment in which I'm in is not allowing me to be the teacher I want to be. I hate the current educational climate--high stakes testing, but it's the same everywhere. What can I do? Luckily, I do have an opportunity to be the teacher I want to be every week when I teach at the community college.
So, to add even more drama to my life, my stepdaughter's mother is acting really strange. She successfully turned my stepdaughter against not only us, but also Abby's maternal grandparents; however, now her mother is trying to push Abby onto us more. I can tell my stepdaughter doesn't want to talk to us and we've kind of respected that. When she wants to call we let her talk, but we don't force her to call us. Now her mom calls us and has my stepdaughter call us and kind of coaches her in the background. The other day she called Mr. Soup and told him that she not only wanted Abby to spend Christmas with us, but she also wanted Abby's little sister too. Yeah. Obviously, we felt conflicted. I know that's probably hard on Abby's sister to see her go spend time with her dad and now that Abby has a little brother, her sister is jealous. Our time is valuable though too and we don't want Abby to have to share us with her sister. So, we kind of put our foot down and said no about the little sister and that Abby could spend Christmas with us only if she wanted to. I just wish I could figure out what her mom is up to and how we should act in the best interest of Abby. On top of that, Abby hates school and is being bullied by kids because of her weight and hygiene. I'm trying to see what anti-bullying program they have at her school, but I fear that they may not have one at all. School is Abby's one outlet from her home-life. She excels and always performs above her classmates. An avid reader, she retains and applies so much of what she reads. I'm afraid she'll grow to hate school and drop-out once she reaches high school.
Yeah, so I hate to end this post on a sad note. I have a knack for that right. You can always scroll back up and re-read the section on my little Joely. He's pretty amazing, right?