Friday, April 29, 2011

Weekly Gratitude

This week I am grateful for:

  • DVR - Sleep is a luxury I'm not willing to give up anymore so I recorded the royal wedding and fast forwarded to all the good parts while Nathan was napping today. 
  • Will power - I decided to give up all forms of bread last weekend and it has been tough! But I'm doing good so far (aside from accidentally eating two bites of Nathan's wheat bread while feeding him lunch and biting into a dumpling one night at dinner, I felt incredibly guilty about both incidents). Last night I had a cheeseburger, hold the bun. And I've been eating lots of yogurt, fruit and veggies instead of sandwiches. I don't have much time to workout anymore so changing my eating habits is the best way I can lead a healthy lifestyle.
  • The gorgeous weather today. After yesterday's dreary rain, it felt great to take Nathan to Central Park and let him crawl around in the sand at the playground. 
  • Old friends - Nathan got a package last night from one of my oldest friends who lives on the other side of the world. He now has one more adorable outfit and a great new pair of shoes to add to his wardrobe.
  • Free drink coupons from Starbucks. I get so excited when I see these in my mailbox and I have all weekend to decide if I want a Hot Chai Latte or an Iced Caramel Macchiatto. Decisions, decisions....

Thursday, April 28, 2011

When one thing goes wrong....

I took Nathan to a music class yesterday afternoon and it turned out to be a disaster. One thing after another went wrong and it went downhill fast.

1. When we arrived I noticed his diaper was wet so I quickly changed him before class started. As I pulled everything out of the diaper bag I realized I had used up all his wipes the day before (after the muddy park incident) and forgotten to refill them.

2. I asked if anyone had any extra wipes so I could clean him up and the teacher offered me Lysol Disinfectant wipes. PLEASE NOTE YOU SHOULD NEVER EVER CLEAN A CHILD'S BUTT WITH A LYSOL WIPE!!!! I politely refused her offer.

3. Since it was just a wet diaper I figured I could just put a clean one on him - it wasn't the end of the world if I didn't wipe him clean this one time. So I removed the wet diaper, started to put on the clean diaper and just as I am about to fasten the velcro tabs.... he peed. Pee went everywhere - on the floor, on the changing pad, all over his pants, and of course all over the clean diaper. Since I was out of wipes, I had nothing to clean it all up with so I started using the clean diapers left in my bag to absorb the pee which was now streaming across the floor in the direction of the other children. Another mother finally handed me a few wipes and I did my best to clean up the rest of the mess. Crisis averted.

4. His pants however were still soaked in pee so I made the executive decision that he would participate in class pantless... I think you can get away with that up until the age 3.

5. Class started and the teacher handed out colorful scarfs and brightly colored eggs filled with beads, so the kids could shake them along to the music. We sang a couple songs.... all was good. And then the teacher puled out her guitar and proceeded to jam. I'm not sure if she just got caught up in the moment or she was suddenly reliving her days in a teenage rock band... but she starting playing loud and fierce.... and Nathan started crying.

6. She attempted to calm him down by approaching him with said guitar and playing directly in his face. Needless to say, this did not help.

7. I held him close to me and tried to comfort him but it was no use, he was terrified of the guitar. She finally put it away and Nathan climbed out of my lap back into the circle and happily danced to Itsy Bitsy Spider with the other kids. Then the guitar came back, this time accompanied by some Christina Aguilera like singing....are you kidding me???

8. After realizing this teacher had no intention of scaling back I packed up our things and we left early.

I felt bad that the music class turned out so horribly, and not wanting Nathan to associate music with fear and trauma for the rest of his life, I changed him into clean clothes, pulled out his xylophone and let have his own jam session.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Uh oh

I was changing Nathan's diaper the other day and when I accidentally dropped the diaper he said Uh oh. So then I dropped a wipe and he said it again. It might just be THE cutest thing I have ever heard and I immediately started laughing. I've been trying to get it on video but of course, that hasn't worked out. He exaggerates the Uh... it's really long and stretched out and then the Oh is almost like an afterthought.

Like I said this is very, very cute. Until I noticed at mealtimes he was dropping his food a lot, followed by an adorable Uh oh. And then he started saying Uh oh before he dropped something, followed by laughter. He has figured out we think it's funny when he says Uh oh so now he's performing by dropping things on purpose... all the time!

This kid is too smart for his own good.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

On second thought...

It was an absolutely gorgeous day in NYC today so Nathan and I headed up to Central Park and had lunch together in the meadow.

Lunch outside with my main man on a beautiful, spring day? Good idea!

But wait, it rained this weekend which means the grass is soaking wet and muddy and my lunch date will not adhere to my "Let's stay on the blanket" suggestion.... Not so good idea?


Monday, April 25, 2011

Happy Easter!

We tend to hear a lot about children hunting for eggs at Easter but in my family, we did things a little differently. Instead of hunting for eggs, we hunted for the actual basket. And instead of just the kids doing the hunting, we made the Easter Bunny do some work as well. The night before Easter we hid our empty baskets. I always loved the excitement of finding a really great hiding spot - on a dining room chair hidden under the tablecloth, in the dryer, in the back of a closet. After we fell asleep, the Easter Bunny would come to bring us candy but first she (I've always thought the Easter Bunny was a woman) had to find our baskets. My sister and I are the oldest of four so as we got older, we noticed the "Easter Bunny"  asking us to follow our little brother and sister around, find out where they hid their baskets and report back to her. I guess the hiding spots were getting better and better and finding them was getting harder and harder. When my brother and sisters and I woke up, we had to earn our candy by finding our basket because after filling them, the Easter Bunny hid them from us!

This year, we passed the tradition on to Nathan. Nathan and Will hid the empty basket last night. It took a while but the Easter Bunny finally found it, behind the TV.

She filled it with fake grass, a couple cute stuffed animals and some bright and colorful plastic eggs full of cheerios and yogurt melts.Then she snuck into Nathan's room and hid it for him to find in the morning.

When we got home from church, Nathan and Will looked everywhere and finally found it tucked behind the toy bin. Nathan immediately figured out how to crack open the eggs and began chowing down.

After finishing up with the basket, we went out and enjoyed a nice brunch together, as a family. At the end of the day, we had a wonderful first Easter Sunday.

Basket - $1.99
Paper grass - $0.79
Plastic eggs - $0.99
Watching Nathan hide, find and enjoy his first Easter basket.... priceless.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Weekly Gratitude

  • I am grateful that Will had today off from work so he could come to Nathan's 1 year appointment with me. He weighs almost 21 pounds and he's 29 inches long... a very healthy Average.
  • I am grateful for the very fast, very efficient lab tech who took Buggy's blood. I was preparing myself for a very traumatic experience but she was so fast, it was over before we knew it.
  • I am grateful that I had the chance to get together with 2 of my Mommy friends this week. We've been talking about getting together since we all went back to work and we finally made it happen!
  • I am grateful for all our friends who came out last weekend for Nathan's birthday party. Seeing close to 40 people squeeze into our little 1 bedroom apartment made us feel very loved!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

You know you're a mom when

No matter how many times you vacuum, you still find cheerios on the floor

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Off the wagon

A few months ago we weaned Nathan off his pacifier, except for the occasional emergency need for one. But we had 3 parties planned for his birthday and the crowds of people were a bit overwhelming for him so we gave him the pacifier for comfort. The parties ended and the people left but Nathan was still sucking away. Apparently all he needed were a few good sucks and he was in a full on relapse, he was addicted... again!

I had never planned on using pacifiers to begin with but I had come to terms with my "baby" using one... I wasn't feeling so great about my "toddler" using one.  So we began the painful process of weaning him again. Will and I agreed on a No Pacifier rule. If he cries, he cries which is easier said than done. It's not easy to watch your child get himself so upset that his eyebrows turn bright red, his face is streaked with tears and he's on the verge of hyperventilating. But we knew he was crying for the pacifier so we refused to enable his addiction. We distracted him the best we could and tried to show him other ways to comfort himself like hugging his best buddy Pooh. This would work for a few minutes but then he would remember the dreaded paci and start crying again.

We stayed strong and I'm happy to report the crying fits have ended and he hasn't had a pacifier in 3 days. As hard as it was to watch him get so upset and not give him the one thing we knew would make him feel better, we feel better knowing it was for the greater good. After all, I wouldn't want to be filled with regret, obsessing over not having let him cry as I proudly watch him get his high school diploma one day, in his cap and gown... and matching pacifier.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Mirror mirror on the wall

There is a nasty little rumor in my family that when I was a little girl, I used to sit in front of a full length mirror and talk to myself for hours. But I'm starting to think it might be true after all because lately I've noticed Nathan pointing at himself in this little mirror and "talking."

Like Mama, like baby?

Monday, April 18, 2011

How to brush your teeth

According to a one year old...

  1. Suck all the toothpaste off the toothbrush
  2. Use your finger to pull down on the bristles, spraying your face with your own saliva - this is very funny!
  3. Bite as hard as you can on the bristles and try to pull them out
  4. When Mommy or Daddy try to brush for you, close your mouth as tight as you can

    Thursday, April 14, 2011

    To chew or not to chew

    That is the question we are dealing with these days.

    Nathan has 8 teeth and I have a feeling a few more are on the way because the kid will not stop chewing anything and everything he can get his hands on! We're trying to teach him that some things are OK to chew, but other things are not OK.

    So far we've addressed the following:

    Gummy teething toy - OK to chew
    Mommy's high heel shoe - Not OK
    The string on your sweatshirt - Sure, why not
    The corner of our entertainment center - You are a human, not a beaver
    The buckle on your stroller - Doesn't seem too harmful
    Books to the point that they are slowly disintegrating - We read books, we don't eat them.
    Your fingers - If that's cool with you, that's cool with me
    My fingers - Not cool with me

    And of course, the old standbys are his tongue and his bath towel.

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    Nathan's 1st birthday

    April 2010, 1 day old

    Dear Nathan,

    As I sit here and try to put down into words what this last year has meant to me, I am realizing that no words could ever fully describe how much you have changed my life. A year ago today, you entered my world and since then I have smiled my biggest smiles, laughed my loudest laughs, hugged my tightest hugs and kissed my sweetest kisses. You are the absolute best baby in the entire world. You are curious, smart, fearless, silly.... you are everything to me.

    You started out so tiny and helpless but over this past year, you have accomplished so much. You learned to hold up your head, roll over, sit up, and stand. And in the final weeks leading up to your very first birthday, you have been taking your first steps. Steps that will take you further into this big world and lead you to bigger and better things in your second year. Your daddy and I have loved watching you grow from a tiny little baby that slept all the time into a feisty little boy that never stops moving.

    Part of me is sad that you no longer sleep on my chest for hours or grab my finger and hold it tight. But for every "baby" thing you've left behind, there is a wonderful new "big boy" experience for us to share. Now you climb all over me and give me kisses, you clap your hands and dance when I sing to you, and you snuggle back into my lap when I read to you.

    You have challenged me and made me a better person, stronger than I ever thought I could be. I will forever be grateful that you are mine. Today, on your birthday, a day that I am meant to give you a gift, I am reminded that you are the greatest gift in my life.

    Happy Birthday my beautiful boy. I love you as high as the sky.


    April 2011, 1 year old

    Friday, April 8, 2011

    Weekly Gratitude

    • I am grateful we are celebrating Nathan's 1st birthday with my family this weekend. 
    • I am grateful that more than 40 of my family members are going to join the party!
    • I am grateful that my mom and sisters are helping me with the shopping, cleaning, decorating and baking.
    • I am grateful that my brother didn't turn me in when I asked him to "borrow" some whiteout from his new job for me, so I could correct a mistake on my birthday arts and crafts project.
    • I am grateful that I found the cutest birthday shirt for Nathan to wear totally last minute!
    • Last but absolutely not least, I am grateful we survived the first year!!!

    Wednesday, April 6, 2011

    Finding balance

    An ongoing struggle for me since becoming a mom has been finding balance in my life. Balance between being Mama and being Karen. Pre-baby, I went to the gym, I worked late, I met up with friends last minute, I ran errands, I read books, I hung out in coffee shops, I slept in on weekends. If I missed my family, I could hop on the bus head home for a wknd. If there was nothing in the fridge or we just didn't feel like cooking, Will and I headed out to a restaurant.

    Post-baby, our lives completely and totally revolve around Nathan. If nobody is available to babysit, we can't go out on a Friday night. When Nathan wakes up at 7:30 on Saturday mornings, so do we. If Nathan is napping, the laundry has to wait.

    Having lived on my own since I was 22 and being able to do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted before having a baby, suddenly being responsible for the every daily need of  a (basically helpless) human being can be a shock to the system. There are days when I have to remind myself, "There is more to your life than just changing diapers". As I re-read this, it sounds awful, like I think being a parent means having no freedom. But that's not true... we just have to make an effort to give ourselves that freedom.

    In any other job, you get lunch breaks, holidays, vacation time... you get to go home at 5:00!!! Being a parent is a 24/7, all day every day job which is why I think it's so important for parents to give themselves time off too. No matter how big or small, a break is a break and it allows us the chance to recharge our batteries. Whether it's letting the grandparents babysit so Will and I can have a date night, or handling bedtime on my own so Will can meet his friends for drinks, or Will watching Nathan so I can get a desperately needed pedicure, these are all opportunities for us to take off our Mama and Dada hats and just be Karen and Will. Being a mom is an amazing, wonderful experience that I am so grateful for... but it's exhausting and it can be easy to get stuck in the day to day routine. So I savor that alone time and come home with a fresh attitude which I believe is beneficial to me, my husband, and especially Nathan because a happy, healthy mama leads to a happy, healthy baby.

    Tuesday, April 5, 2011

    Healthy Habits

    After years of health classes and nutrition lessons stressing the importance of balanced meals, I think my elementary school would be proud. Although Nathan started eating solid foods at 6 months, up until now the bulk of his nutrition still came from breast milk and/or formula. But now that he is entering his "toddler" stage, he is drinking less and eating more so I try to give him very healthy meals because I know how important it is for his growth and development. In addition, I think it's important to teach healthy eating habits at a young age, specifically that healthy food actually tastes food!

    Yesterday's lunch included all 4 food groups.

    Meat - Pepper cracked turkey
    Dairy - American cheese
    Grains - Rice cake
    Fruit/vegetables - Carrots, corn and peas

    If I can get Nathan to smile while he's eating veggies and then lick his fingers when he's done, I consider that a good day!

    Monday, April 4, 2011

    Surviving the first year

    I know I keep saying this over and over but I can not believe Nathan will be a year old next week. Someone once described parenthood to me as "Long days, short years" and I couldn't agree more. When I think back to all we've gone through in the past 12 months, sometimes it feels like the days went on FOREVER and other times it feels like it all happened so fast.

    Will and I once found everything so new and confusing, overwhelming and exhausting, but at this point we feel like we've settled into a very comfortable place as parents. We know what we're doing, we know what Nathan likes and dislikes, we are confident in our abilities and sometimes we even find ourselves thinking it's.... easy?!?!  (Although it's still a lot of work and exhausting, don't get me wrong!!) I am so proud of how well we have worked together and I don't know how I could have made it through this year without him. It truly makes me respect single parents even more than I already did!!

    In addition to my teammate Daddy, I have had some additional help along the way. Below is a list of things/people I could not have survived this year without.

    Coffee runs, how decaf saved my sanity
    When I found out I was pregnant I immediately switched to decaf and then I nursed Nathan for the first 7 months which meant I still couldn't go back to the real thing. So it wasn't caffeine that helped me, it was the actual act of going to get the coffee. After a long night with little to no sleep, it was very tempting to stay in my pajamas and never leave the apartment but coffee was my motivation in the morning to get dressed and get out. Once we were out I would usually take Nathan to the park and meet up with other moms and babies. I think the fresh air was good for both of us, I know the company of other moms was good for me and the long walks helped me fit back into my pre-pregnancy jeans so triple bonus for Mama :) I went to Starbucks so often I even became a Gold member of their Rewards club!

    Although I was anti-pacifier before I had my own child, these little suckers (pardon the pun) were sometimes the only thing that could comfort Nathan. I quickly learned to always carry one in my diaper bag, just in case. We have since weaned him from them and he very rarely takes one anymore (for emergencies only, like during a screaming meltdown in an enclosed public place), but they certainly helped us through many tough times in the beginning.

    After 5 months of waking up at midnight, 2 am, 4 am, and 6 am to nurse my never satisfied, always hungry little bundle of joy, I was delirious from sleep deprivation. I threw in the towel and switched Nathan to formula for nighttime feeds. This allowed Will to help with night duty and allowed me the occasional full night's sleep!! However, our little man is very particular about his formula and will only drink it warm. So rather than standing at the stove, listening to a screaming infant while we heated the water up, we came up with the brilliant idea to heat the water right before we went to bed at night and pour it into our trusty thermos. Every night we set up our assembly line which allowed for much quicker feeds at 2 in the morning. After all, the quicker you can feed the baby, the quicker you can get back under the covers!

    You often hear about mothers putting themselves last, never giving themselves a break, never allowing themselves to be selfish. I am lucky to have some very good girlfriends and meeting up with them for dinner and drinks provides me with opportunities to be Karen, not Mama. It's amazing how good for the soul that can be.

    Between babysitting, cooking, laundry, cleaning, and endless other ways, our parents were a huge help to us this past year. Nathan is the first grandchild on both sides so he receives 100% of the attention from his grandparents. He is very lucky to be so loved and we are very lucky to have had their support.

    Nana Ma, Papa John, Ye Ye and Nai Nai in the hospital waiting room, eagerly awaiting Nathan's arrival!

    Saturday, April 2, 2011

    Lovely Locks

    With his 1st birthday approaching, Nathan has been considering updating his look. We had been talking about cutting his hair but last night he did his best Justin Beiber impersonation and it just seems wrong to get rid of such pretty hair! We all saw the backlash the Bieb experienced after cutting his famous mop... we wouldn't want to cause another upset.

    Friday, April 1, 2011

    Weekly Gratitude

    On this cold and rainy Friday, rather than letting the dreary weather get me down, I am focusing on the good I've got going on....
    • I am grateful that we didn't get any snow here in NYC, it is Spring after all!!
    • I am grateful that it's Friday, looking forward to a relaxing weekend.
    • I am grateful for getting some "Me" time last night and having the chance to sneak into my favorite coffee shop, score a window seat so I could people watch while drinking chai tea (my favorite) and catching up with my sister over the phone.
    • I am even more grateful that as soon as I hung up with my sister Will called and told me to get home asap because Nathan just took 8 steps..... 8!!! He has taken 2 or 3 here or there but I think 8 qualifies as "walking". Of course, as soon as I got home.... not a step was taken. But I am eagerly awaiting his next attempt!
    • I am grateful that today is the first day of April.... it's officially Buggy's birthday month!!