Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Merge

So I had originally begun to post updates on the happenings of Miss Ana on her website but now that I'm all about this blog I'm going to transfer those posts here. It'll just be easier to have them all in one place, right? Right. So here are a few...

Welcome Toddlerhood - March 9, 2007
So two and a half months ago Ana made her first sentence. It was, as most of you know, "Dada, go?". And, though I firmly stand that her first sentence was at 15 months, it was her one and only since then - until now. Earlier this week Miss Ana just decided it was time to start putting words together. It began with "hi, duck" and, over the next day, turned into "bye, turtle" and "nye-nye, mama". So this is it. This is where it begins I guess. Her journey into official toddlerhood has commenced. I can't get over how proud I am of her especially when she learns something new. But I'd be fooling myself to deny that it makes me a little bit sad at the same time. This is my baby, my tiny little baby that needed me for everything just a year and a half ago. It feels like just yesterday that she needed me to be her voice and then, what seems like suddenly, she has a voice of her own. Now, don't get me wrong, these are the moments I've worked so hard for since the day we brought her home and to see her accomplish such things brings a pride beyond belief. But I guess it's the reality that from that moment you bring her home from the hospital she'll need you less and less that's bitter sweet. I know I can take comfort at least in knowing that for every moment of sadness I'll feel in the years to come as she slowly needs me that much less, the moments of pride will be so far beyond what I can imagine right now.

To "Buzz" or not to "Buzz"... - March 18, 2007
What a busy week we had! Between finally getting Ana's bathroom finished and getting thinks together for Aunt Maria's birthday party (which, by the way was a HUGE hit) who had time to learn anything, right? WRONG! Anthony and I have been working on the ABC's with Ana and today she decided she'd let us know that yes, she is catching on. So I picked up her little magnadoodle and wrote the letter "A". I showed it to her and asked "what's this?" Now, you can imagine my pride as she enthusiastically exclaimed "A!!!" What a good girl! Ok, let's try the next letter, I thought. So I wrote the letter "B" and again asked "what's this?", to which she enthusically replied "bzzzzzzzzz!!!". Now, to the naive bystander this may simply come across as an error and you may be thinking "well, she'll get it soon enough". But you'd be mistaken to think that. You see, my little girl knows what's she's talking about. She recognized what I wrote as a "B" and, being the smart girl she is, knows that bees go "bzzzzz". So I say, in the world of Ana, can't the alphabet just be "A, Bzzz, C, D...."??? I'd say so :).

And the verdict is... - March 26, 2007
Teeth.Ana is finally getting more teeth! As a mom that used to refer to her "What to Expect in the Toddler Years" book almost daily, little Ana's teething schedule sure did have me stumped. On average, a baby's first tooth appears somewhere around 7 months. Ana's? 11.5 months. On average, after that first tooth pops through, a baby will get about 2 teeth a month until their molars are ready to come in. Ana? Has a total of 6 teeth. 6. From September '05 to now she's only gotten 6. But like I said, I USED to refer to "the experts" on a daily basis and, like the Luvs commercials put it, then I got real. And, while it's fine and dandy that my peanut's teeth are on their own schedule, it does make it a little difficult to spot her signs of teething. I spent the better part of last week accusing her of having a case of the crankies (or as Anthony calls her, "crankity"). But now I know, it must have been the teeth. So, I'd like to take this opportunity to publicly apologize to my sweet pea for accusing her of being just crabby. There. It's on record.

MaNell!!! - April 7, 2007
So, as the "experts" have promised, now that Ana is 18 months old, Anthony and I have been expecting the "language explosion" to happen any day now. And though, according to her doctor and plenty of books, she is well above average in her vocabulary right now, we were still thinking she was going to start engaging us in full-blown conversations on March 30th, the exact day she turned 18 months. What? Wishful, overly positive parent thinking :)? Anyway, it didn't happen but that's ok. She did hit a huge milestone though. After months of acknowledging my parents as Nana and Papa, she finally found her word for Grandma Nell (Anthony's mom) - MaNell! It's so cute and I love it! And Anthony's mom??? She just melts when she hears it. Now we just have to work on Grandpa Gordon. That one might take a while though :).

So Sick - April 21, 2007
So we're well into week 3 of Ana feeling under the weather :(. She had a little head cold a couple of weeks ago and, according to the doc, it turned into a baby sinus infection. I've personally never had a sinus infection but from what I hear, they can make you pretty miserable. So my poor little lady was soooo crabby all this week. She's on some antibiotics and they seem to be working so, at this point, we're just keeping our fingers crossed that she'll soon be back to the sweetpea we know :).

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Where's my baby?

About to hit the 19-month-being-a-mom mark I would've thought I'd have gotten used to these growth spurts that creep up on you unexpectedly. By the time Ana was 6 months old I had come to anticipate them and would naturally assume a sleepless night or bout of fussiness could be attributed to just that. But now, as my baby gets ready to turn another month I have to admit, it's hit me like a mack truck.

When I picked Ana up from my mom's on Sunday the first thing I could think was "she's gotten so much bigger!" As she laid there, sprawled out on the living room floor taking a nap, I almost didn't recognize her. Who was this toddler? Where was my chubby baby? Why can I now see her neck which, until recently, could only be revealed by pulling away a couple of little chins? Where was her round belly that so often resembled the pregnant belly I have now? And where, oh where, were those tiny noises she used to make while asleep that never failed to melt our hearts a little more each time. Well, they're gone. Her little fat rolls have been replaced with muscle. She now has a neck that can be seen even when she's not looking straight up. Her belly has flattened out and her tiny noises now resemble her daddy's snores.

I make it a point to stop and look at her, really look at her, at least several times a day. Since the moment she was born I have made it my mission to try as hard as I could to take it all in, to slow down everyday and take her in. It has become a permanent item on my "to do list" to burn the memory of her days on earth into my brain. And for the most part, I thought I'd been pretty successful. But now, as I learn to see her through different eyes - as a toddler mama, rather than a baby mama - I feel like I've missed it all . When in the world did this happen? When did she get so big? And more importantly, where was I???

Every part of me knows how much there is to look forward to and love about this next part of mommyhood - the new milestones, her developing sense of independence - but you'll have to excuse me if, at times, rather than revel in our new adventures, I choose to sit in the corner and pout because I miss my baby.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Let the Sunsine In!!!

I don't know if it's this great weather or what but I have had SUCH a better week than last!!!

My mom decided to take Ana for the entire weekend and I can't even say how much both of us (Ana and I) needed that break. My poor little girl was going insane sitting in the house with only the occasional trip to the grocery store she got to take when Daddy would get home from work. From what I hear, she was out gallivanting all over the state! Well, pretty much a 40 mile radius but still :). Her nana and papa took her shopping and got her a some new clothes (thank you!) and she visited her uncle and even got to eat out a few times. Even if I had stayed at home doing absolutely nothing all weekend I still would've been happy knowing she had so much fun. BUT.....I didn't sit at home!!!

I had such a good weekend! On Friday my awesome friends Kristie, Marisa, Sharon, and Anne came over and brought with them a wonderful assortment of sinfully delicious junk food and it was soooo goooood! (Mmmm, my mouth is watering right now!) We had a good old fashioned girls' night in, complete with the ever-so-girly movie "Shag". If you haven't seen it, and you're a girl, you have no idea what you're missing. I love love love that movie. Makes me wish I was livin' in the 50's with nothing more to think about than that stud named Buzz I fell in love with after only 7 hours. dream.

Then came Ana-free, plans-with-friends-free Saturday. No idea what we were going to do! I honestly don't remember the last time my hubby and I had an entire 24 hours to ourselves with absolutely no other commitments. It felt very strange, like we should be doing something spectacular, like flying off to Vegas or something, to celebrate. Sounds a little pathetic, huh? I guess the pathetic part, really, is what we actually did. We saw a movie and then did some much needed grocery shopping. Boy, am I living the life or what!?!?!? Well, in all honesty, I loved it. I had such a great day hanging out just me and my husband - my superdad/superhusband that has been doing such a great job taking care of his little family since I went on bed rest. I'm pretty sure all he was thinking about was his car (he was going racing the next day) but it didn't matter. I was happy to have him all to myself for a change.

Sunday morning I was off to get my little princess from my mom's house. I won't deny I enjoyed the break but by this morning I was over it. I was ready to have her back. I hadn't been away from her for this long since going to Key West last summer for Brian's wedding and man! did I miss her. I missed her smile, her laugh, her baby smell, and yes, I even missed her hair-raising tantrums. She didn't seem to reciprocate those feelings at first (as she walked right past me without so much as a "hi, mama") but she came around after a few forced hugs and kisses from her overbearing, sometimes-so-annoying mother. We spent the day with my mom, just us three girls, then it was time to head home to see Daddy.

The weekend came full-circle once my baby was back in my arms. The best part? That she's been nothing but cuddles and kisses since she's been home :).

Friday, April 20, 2007

Baby U-2

Quick update on the little bun in the oven.

I went to the doctor yesterday for a routine checkup. At 34 weeks and 3 days things are perfect. Doc said that if the baby decides to come now that they'll do little to stop it because the chances are so great that everything will be just fine. Good news! She said it's up to me to regulate how much I do or don't do - the more I relax and stay off my feet, the higher the chance that Baby U-2 will stay put.

So twist my arm, I'll stay away from the laundry for another few weeks :).

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Meltdown Update

Ok, sanity has finally found its way back to me so I figured I should write something "normal" so when Ana reads these pages one day and comes across Tuesday's post she doesn't think I was completely crazy.

Let me just first say that I am one preggo that very much takes offense when people automatically blame any sign of emotion shown by a pregnant woman on hormones. Yes, hormone surges are a very real part of being pregnant but no, they are not to "blame" for every tear, outburst, or meltdown. We are still normal people and sometimes when we get sad or ticked off it's for an actual, valid reason. So please don't shrug it off as "hormones". Realize that's it's probably you!

That said, I'm going to go ahead and blame Tuesday's meltdown on hormones :). After I wrote Tuesday's post I gave myself permission to wallow in my self pity for the rest of the night (silently at that, since I was going to Carie's for dinner, but nevertheless, I was going to wallow). Then my nice friend Sharon came to pick me up and I let it out. I should've known better than to think I could actually keep quite but whatever. As I was talking to her about the way I felt, she said the funniest thing to me - "you need to cut yourself some slack". Sure, they don't sound like the deepest, most meaningful words but for me, on that day, they were. As I said on Tuesday, when Ana grabbed my arm and gave it a squeeze I knew it was God trying to tell me to cut myself some slack. Foolishly, I chose not to listen. So what does He do? He sends me a clearer message.

I started to think about my Ana and all of the cute and wonderful things she does. I thought about how she's been doing the Itsy-Bitsy Spider since she was 6 months old and how she understands EVERYTHING we say to her. I thought about how perfect she's been since she was born and the perfect little person she has become. And then I forced myself to remember that it is because of me, her GOOD mother, that she is who she is. I made myself remember that I quite like her tentative approach to things. Furthermore, that's one of the things that I love most about her - the fact that she likes to take things in before acting on them makes me more comfortable. I said on Tuesday that she doesn't have conversations with us but that's absurd! She's been having conversations with me since she was just a few months old - conversations only her and I could understand but conversations nonetheless. And now, I've realized that I should cherish these last few moments I'll have with our secret language instead of feeling disappointed that they haven't yet made their way into our past.

So it may have taken a little bit but I do know I have to cut myself a little bit of slack. I do know that I am all this little girl needs and I am doing a good job - not just in my eyes but in His too. Ok, ok, I hear You.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

When was the last time you cried?

Today. Minutes ago. I was sitting at the table watching Ana eat her lunch and I lost it. Suddenly it felt as though everything landed on my shoulders. In a sentence - I feel like a failure. I feel like I'm failing as a mother.

I took Ana to tumbling today (doctor-approved since I was off my feet) and she just doesn't want to play with the other kids. What happened??? She loves playing with her cousins and it's not that she doesn't want anything to do with the other kids, she just prefers to observe them rather than play with them. I know it's sounds stupid but IT BUGS ME!!! I want her to be the outgoing one and the friendly one and the fun one. I'm logical enough to know that this is completely normal, especially at her age, but I don't care. It still bugs me. As I sat there watching the other kids play together and smile and laugh and listened to them talk I couldn't help but compare my baby to them. I know, totally wrong and shameful but I'm being honest. There are kids her exact age that say words she doesn't and are seemingly, dare I say, happier than she is and all I could feel was an enormous sense of disappointment. Not in her (I'm not that bad of a mother) but in myself. It's my fault. It's my fault she doesn't look as happy and it's my fault that she can't say "up" but instead says "bup". It's my fault she's not speaking full sentences and having conversations with us. I talk to her constantly and have been working on numbers and the alphabet now for some time and she just doesn't want to cooperate. She will here and there but only when she feels like it. "Um, that's a toddler for ya" you say? Unacceptable. What's wrong with me? Why can't I accept that this is normal and just because your kid can say the "k" in duck and mine can't that you're not a better mom than I am? Because today I just can't.

And have I mentioned that she's sick? So much for having the baby that hardly ever gets sick. She's had a runny nose for 2 weeks and a cough for almost a week that has been getting progressively worse. Once again, I think it's my fault. I was oddly proud of the fact that this little girl went through the first year and a half of her little life with only one minor ear infection and one cold. It was a nod to me as a mom that I had kept her so healthy. Whether it was the breastmilk or my ability to keep her contact with pesky germs to a minimum, I chose to believe that it was because of me, her GOOD mother, that she rarely got sick. I was proud of that. And now there, too, I feel as though I'm failing her.

So what's next? Well, in the midst of my pity party over lunch my little princess reaches out for my arm, pulls it toward her, and gives it a huge squeeze. Now the "normal, sane" part of me knows in that instance that this was God letting me know it's ok. This was His way of telling me that I am everything this little girl needs and I should cut myself some slack. BUT, the "normal, sane" part of me isn't running things today. So I feel worse. In that moment, I felt even guiltier, as though this child deserved more - more than I've been giving her.

I want to be mad. I want to be mad at someone, anyone. So I choose to be mad at my friends....and my family. I'm mad at everyone I know. I am unreasonably, irrationally, selfishly mad that my friends don't have kids (well, some of them do, but none of the ones that I get to ever see). I'm mad that they can't share this time in my life with me the way I want them to. I know I sound utterly selfish but, at this moment, I want them, every single one of them, at home with at least one child. I don't even care whether or not they're married, just have a baby. And, what's more, have one that's Ana's age please because it is your fault that she isn't as socialized as I think she should be. Ok, I'm not completely insane. I don't blame you completely. My brothers are also to blame. And so are Anthony's brothers and sister. Because you don't live by us (more noteably, on our block) my Ana doesn't have anyone to play with on a constant basis. Because my family decided it would serve them better to stay in their homes instead of move closer to us (who, by the way, are the ones that moved away), Ana only gets to see them every so often. I'm mad about that. What's wrong with me?!?!?!?!

Maybe it's the control freak in me, maybe it's my insecurities, maybe it's my need for perfection. I don't know. I usually try very hard to keep things in perspective and am usually fairly successful. I know that "perfection" isn't defined by having the most beautiful house, the most handsome husband, and the most well-spoken, best-mannered kids on the planet. I know that it's in the eye of the beholder and that my semi-dysfunctional life, to me, is usually perfect. I know this. But some days I can't help but look at other people's lives and compare. Today is one of those days. Today, I want the life where all of my best friends live on my block with their awesome husbands and wonderful kids (that are all Ana's age). Today I want the life where everyone I know wants nothing more than to stop by just because they like us. Today I want someone else's seemingly perfect life.

Ok, I think I'm done for now.

Friday, April 13, 2007

And So I Begin...

I'm new to the blogging world so I guess I should probably start off with what got me here. In a nutshell - I'm 33 weeks pregnant and on bedrest. Does that spell it out? I'M BORED!!! :o)

Now about me. I just turned 30 (a little traumatic but I've recovered nicely) and I've been married to a pretty great fella for about 4.5 years. We met in high school and dated on and off until we decided it was time move forward and, luckily, we decided to move forward together. As my best friend Dana said at our wedding, "our love hasn't always been easy, but no true love ever is." Boy was she right. Our life is a fairytale but not in the traditional, Cinderella sense. It's a dream that can sometimes be taken for a nightmare (ok, nightmare is a bit of a stretch but you get what I mean). It's what every little girl wants when she grows up - with a huge dose of reality. Whatever it is, for us, it's perfect.

And then there's my babe. My sweetpea. My love. My Ana. She's 23 and a half lbs. of pure love and she's mine. I know everyone says this about their kids and I'm sure everyone means it but I'll say it anyway - she's the best thing I've ever done. She's smart and funny and sweet and tough. She's taught me more in her 18 months on earth than I've ever known. Isn't it funny how that happens? How is this tiny little creature that can't even tie her shoes capable of giving so much to a person? I don't know and I'm not sure I want to know. The whole "mystery" of it is part of the miracle if you ask me.

On to Baby U #2 - due out May 28, 2007. Yep, only 20 months apart if I go full-term. Totally planned but the closer we get, the more often I find myself wondering what we were thinking! I know it'll be fine but it's still scary. I just can't imagine having 2 little ones to take care of. How will I find the time to feed them both and play with them both and make sure they both eat??? And forget about the diapers!!! I know, I know, it all works out. Afterall, how have I managed to keep Ana alive and happy and clean for 18.5 months? I mean, she hasn't suffered any serious damage and seems to be quite smitten with me even now. I don't know how it happened but whatever it was better make it's appearance again in a few weeks when Baby U the sequel makes his or her debut.

Well, that's a small slice of my life. By all means, I'd love to hear your comments but if not, that's ok too - as long as I get to vent I'll be good :). I'm looking forward to posting the highs and lows and joys and struggles of, what else, being a mama.