Monday, July 20, 2015

Five months, and a weekend.

I took a vacation day on Thursday and worked from home on Friday, making the weekend feel very long. It was nice. Every day felt like a Sunday, except without the impending doom of Monday just around the corner. Instead, relaxed -- spending time at home with family, doing simple things like giving the baby a bath, drinking a beer out on the patio, going to Menards to look at shelving (We're turning our downstairs closet into a pantry! Hooray for kitchen organization!), lighting the grill while the sky turned pink and orange, then dark.

We went to my parents' house to visit my brother-in-law and niece in town from California. Ella asked to hold Little Murdo shortly after we walked through the door. She talked fast about elves and treasure and super grapes. She watched me breastfeed the baby, asking if it hurt if he bites. I told her he doesn't have teeth yet so I don't know, but probably, and she told me when she has kids, she'll adopt. I laughed.

On Friday, M turned 5 months old. He celebrated with sweet potatoes, lots of tummy time and laughs, and finally getting those toes in his mouth.

We went swimming at Murdo's parents' house and watched as huge white puffy clouds came rolling quickly overhead. "The kinds of clouds that make you realize the world could end you, just like that," I said to Murdo. The sky has a great way of reminding us how very, very small we are. But that's OK, because then you pick some tomatoes in your yard and realize that something as small and simple as a little red tomato plucked from the earth and held in your hand can be just as amazing as a big, big, untouchable sky.

We grilled steaks and veggies after putting the baby to bed. Murdo prepped the steaks and got the grill ready while I chopped vegetables and assembled and seasoned them in individual foil packets. For a moment it was just like a night from summers past, cooking a simple summer meal together and getting to eat it without interruption. It felt nice to get a piece of that life back. All the while, our little babe slept peacefully upstairs.

Weekends like this, with these guys. Wouldn't trade them for all the stars and clouds and colors in the sky.

Thursday, July 9, 2015


We spent the July 4th weekend at our family lake house in Michigan. Murdo enjoyed napping on the boat, dipping his feet in the lake for the first time, and eating bananas out on the deck. I enjoyed Jack and gingers, Grapefruit Summer Shandys, and evenings by the fire while the baby slept like a champ. Also, I did not take a single photo of food. I don't even know who I am anymore. I keep telling myself to take more non-baby photos, but every moment I want to capture is wrapped up in him.

Speaking of food, Murdo started solids! So far: bananas, avocado and squash. He seems to like the bananas and squash the best, and is getting better at opening wide for the next spoonful. Little M got his first bite of food on his dad's 33rd birthday; last year, on Murdo's 32nd, I handed him a box with a little stick inside, with a faint little line that told us we were pregnant. Crazy how much changes in just a year.

This kid is all about standing and kicking. His new jumper makes him so so happy. He loves looking up and seeing the world from a different perspective, and getting a chance to work those leg muscles. 

Shortly after I proudly proclaimed M sleeping through the night and breastfeeding easy as pie, he started waking up at 3:30 in the morning and wanting bottles more than the breast. For the most part, he's still sleeping great, and I'll continue to breastfeed until at least six months. But I told myself that I'm not going to stress out about my milk supply anymore. No more guilt when we give him a bottle before his bedtime routine because he's crying hysterically, too impatient and too tired to wait for the breast milk to let down. No more feeling guilty because maybe I'm not pumping as much as I could be. I fed him a bottle myself for the first time since his first few weeks (he usually gets his bottles from his dad). I thought it would feel wrong, but then I realized: this isn't bad. He's eating, and he's happy, and he's healthy, and that's all that matters. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Four months.

Little Murdo turned 4 months last week, and I can't get enough of the kid. At his 4 month check up, he weighed in at 15 lbs 5 oz and is 25 inches long. I've reached that point where I'm realizing just how quickly he's growing, and I want time to stop.

Here's an update on how he's doing these days.

How is Murdo sleeping? What's his schedule like?
In the last month he's graduated from swaddle to sleep sack, learned how to roll onto his tummy, and figured out how to suck his thumb. All of these things have helped him learn to soothe himself to sleep, so naps and bedtime are pretty easy -- once he's down in the crib, we rarely have to go back in to comfort him. We typically start putting him to bed around 7:30 to 8:00. His bedtime routine is pretty short and sweet -- change diaper, bedtime story, nurse, then a song while I bounce him on the exercise ball. He's starting to skip his middle-of-the-night feeding and sleeps straight through until I wake him around 6:15 to eat before I leave for work. Then he usually sleeps until 10 to start his day with Dad. During the day, he's awake for an hour and a half to two hours between naps, and naps anywhere from 40 minutes to two hours. Keep it up, kid!

How is Murdo eating?
He gets about six to eight feedings, and eats every three hours or so during the day. Mostly breast milk, but he'll get the occasional bottle of formula also. His pediatrician just gave us the go ahead to start him on solids. My goal has always been to breastfeed for at least six months, and I'm already pretty certain I'll continue after that. It's the best thing for him, of course, but also: Convenient! Easy! FREE! And now that I'm back at work, I really love the time we have together when I nurse him.

What's he into?
Lately he's been working on his grasping skills, and he just recently found his feet. He's gonna get that foot in his mouth any day now! He's laughing now, although getting more than a smirk or giggle out of him can be hard work. Put a camera or phone in front of his face and he freezes up and stares, so capturing one of his gummy smiles is nearly impossible. He is already mesmerized by screens. I can't believe I only have a 4-month-old and already have to make sure to limit his screen time!

And, because I get this question a lot, too...

How is it being back at work?
During the last couple weeks of my maternity leave, I wasn't really worried that I'd miss M too much or that it would be hard to leave him every day. I was more worried that he wouldn't eat or sleep well while I was gone. Well, once I got back to work I realized that there was no need to worry at all -- he'd be fine, and stressing out about it all day would not help at all. In fact, being away from him helped me realize that I can't control everything, which can be tough to grasp when you're in the trenches with baby all day, every day. So it's nice to be out of the house and doing non-Mommy things, but I do miss him more than I thought I would. I miss him every single minute. And though I don't think I could be a stay-at-home mom full time, I really wish there were a way I could spend more time with him.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day.

He has to-do lists scattered around the kitchen. Buy stakes for tomato plants. Fix headlight. Bleach cat boxes. Lists for each day of the week, a master list for the entire summer break. I find them in the morning next to notes left for me, written the night before, telling me to have the best day ever and that my Murdos love me.

He goes grocery shopping. He sends me pictures of our boy behaving so sweetly in the cart. He texts, "Do you want cheddar brats or regular brats? Do you want tots?" I answer: "Regular. And yes!"

He puts the boy down for a nap so that he's sleeping when I get home from work. He goes outside to start grilling while I change, slice onions, preheat the oven for tots, take pictures of our blooming clematis in the backyard. The boy wakes up and I feed him while Murdo finishes making dinner. We're having brats and tots, with charred mustardy onions. They're delicious. We watch Orange is the New Black while we eat, the boy in his bouncy chair by my feet, playing and smiling happily before finally dozing off.

After dinner, I want to hold my baby. I want to feel his warmth and cuddle and kiss him. I realize I've hardly held him all day besides when feeding him. I think about the tiny newborn shirt I found the other day mixed in with the laundry -- a memory of how small he used to be, how big he's getting and how fast. Has it really already been 4 months since he was born? Was there really a time when he was small enough to fit into those tiny clothes, when he couldn't hold his head up, when he passed out on my chest after every feeding, when he ate every two hours around the clock? A part of me (a big part) is glad that we're past that. Another part is sad.

So I pick him up from his seat, lean back, and place him on his tummy on my chest. He lifts his head (so strong!) and props himself up on his arms, his eyebrows raised and eyes wide with curiosity, his mouth open and ready to smile. His daddy slides over on the couch so that he's next to us and smiles. Little M smiles big right back. They are smiling, and laughing, and talking. I hold M on my chest and soak it all in. This is everything.

To Murdo, my husband: Happy Father's Day. And thank you. Thank you for moments likes these. For taking such good care of our son, for loving him so much, for texting me pictures and videos throughout the day because you know how it feels to miss him while at work, even after just a few hours away. For making him laugh the way you do. For going grocery shopping during the week because I can't find the time on the weekend. For cooking dinner. For putting up with me when I get crazy and cranky. For those first 10 days in the NICU -- thank you for being strong, and for asking the doctors all the right questions, and for diving headfirst into fatherhood with no fear, and all the confidence in the world, like you do with everything. For those first couple months when M was just a tiny newborn and I couldn't do simple things like dress myself, and you were taking care of all of us, constantly washing pump parts and keeping track of my medications and getting me water and paying hospital bills and feeding the cats and making sure the house didn't crumble around us. For being the best father from the very beginning, from the moment he was born, when you said to me in disbelief, "He's here. He's here!" For every moment since, and every moment still to come.