Just the Three of Us

Today I have some happy and exciting news to report. We are moving! Yes, the time has come for Judah, Kyle, and I to be on our own again, to be our little family of three, and bonus- just in time for Christmas.

Again, I cannot emphasize enough how grateful I am to my mother and father in law for so generously opening up their home to us for the last four months as we transition into the next phase of life. I’m sure having a screaming infant and their 25 and 27 year old kids back in the house wasn’t exactly on their list of top 10 things to do this year. But we have all made it work and it has been such a blessing, and I know my parents in New York would have done the same. We have a pretty wonderful family.

Kyle and I have been married for a little over three years and this will be our fourth move. Crazy, I know. We are tired of packing and unpacking, only to pack up and move again. This move however, is the most important to me. Since Judah was born, the number of days that our family has been just the three of us has been less than a week. With such an intense life change as adding a baby, we needed, and had, family around for quite some time. It has been great, and I have cherished the help, the love, and the overwhelming support that we have received. But despite all this, I am ready for us to be a family of three for a little while.

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(Photo Courtesy of Kaylan Buteyn Photography)

Also, moving means….Judah gets his nursery!

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Swallowing that Pride

I never considered myself as someone who is prideful. I always pictured those types as the ones who boasted about their achievements, flashed their possessions, and were constantly talking about themselves. However, pride doesn’t always come in the form of an outspoken and boastful individual. I guess the fact that I took pride in not being prideful should have been my first clue.

Since becoming a mother, I have really noticed my pride, and not in a good way. Of course I do think there is a right way to being proud, in the way of your family. The way that shows itself through the love you have for each of its members. The kind of pride that shows up when you listen to other mamas and papas boast about their little ones, smiles beaming from ear to ear. It’s that “look what we’ve made, aren’t they beautiful?” kind of pride. That’s the good kind. The kind I’ve been showing lately, not so much.

When you have a baby, there is that maternal instinct that kicks in, full force. I still have no idea what I’m doing most days, but there’s this little gut feeling that I get when I’m totally lost, and usually, when I follow it, things turn out okay. I think everyone has a little bit of instinct in him or her that tells you how to care for, and nurture something that you love so deeply. When I was pregnant and started freaking out about how I, this messed up, forgetful, sinful, immature person was going to be a mother, I was calmed by the fact that I knew this instinct would kick in. I would know what to do, somehow.

This instinct that I’ve taken comfort in has been the source of my pride for the last four and a half months, and it’s not that good kind of pride either. Being a stay at home mom, I’m around my baby boy every waking moment. I like to think that I know exactly what each little coo, squeak, and cry mean. Sometimes I forget the importance of that additional opinion, that second parental instinct that’s a part of this family, the one that I am partnering with in life- my husband’s.

In my previous post I spoke a bit about my love/hate relationship with nursing Judah. Well, though I stated that I’m counting down the days until he started solids, I didn’t expect it to come this quickly. He started solids Saturday. In my mind, we still had a month and a half to go before we even started to consider it. Yes, I was excited for it, but I still needed that month and a half to fully prepare myself and to accept that my little baby is getting older. However, Judah was ready much, much sooner. Image

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Kyle and I are in the process of moving and have needed to make several trips to our future place of residence for one reason or another. Because of this, I have spent several hours in the car, needing to use more bottles than normal, and having less time to keep up with pumping. As nursing mothers know, if you don’t use it, you lose it. My little babe also hit a growth spurt during these last couple of weeks and while his needs were increasing, my supply was decreasing. We had gotten the okay from our pediatrician at his four month check up to start Judah on solids whenever we were comfortable, but I had always planned on waiting until six months.

Kyle noticed that Judah was not getting as full as he should be, and even though I complained and expressed concern for not producing enough to fully satisfy my boy’s hungry belly, I was convinced that I could make it work. In my mind, he was not ready for solids yet, and of course, I know best, right? After all, aren’t I the only one with that parental instinct? Wrong.

Kyle did something that I love about him. I hate it in the moment, but it’s good for me. He checked my pride and called me out. He said to me, “didn’t you just blog about doing whatever is best and not comparing yourself to other moms? If Judah is ready for this, it doesn’t matter. And if you’re going to be stubborn, you may as well remove that post you just put up.” Ouch.

So, we went to the store, bought some oatmeal, and what do you know, Judah loved it. He was leaning forward in his chair, mouth open, hands out, waiting for each bite. He was ready, and Kyle’s instinct knew it. My pride…not ready.

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There have been several occasions that Kyle has known what Judah needs when I just can’t figure it out. Instead of fighting it, I should be rejoicing in the fact that there are two of us working together to parent this little boy the best we can. It’s something that I know I will continue to struggle with, but I’m hoping that by admitting it, not only to myself, but to you, that I will start to check my own pride.

Being a mom comes with a lot of rights and privileges, but it doesn’t mean that you suddenly know everything. It’s okay to not know. It’s okay to admit that. It’s okay to ask questions, and it’s okay to let your partner take the lead. After all, raising a child takes a team of some sort, and everyone on that team has a little instinct in them.

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(excuse the blur, he was swinging his arms with complete satisfaction of his first “big boy” meal)

Must we compare?

There are many different ways to parent. There are some definite do’s and don’ts that go across the board on all philosophy’s. For example, DO shower your baby with love and affection, DO give your child a warm place to sleep and plenty of food to eat, and please, DO change their dirty diapers. DON’T leave your baby locked in the car alone, DON’T ask some random stranger if they would watch your child while you run a few errands, and DON’T throw your infant against the wall to get them to stop crying. These are some obvious things.

But what about all those things in between? Do you cloth diaper or use disposables? Do you use formula or breastfeed? Will you co-sleep or put your baby in another room right away? And what about bedtime routines, or napping? And if you’re a first time mom, you know everyone has their opinion, and their opinion is the right one.

When I was pregnant with Judah, I decided that I wanted to breastfeed him, use cloth diapers, and my baby was never, ever, sleeping in my bed. Well, I stuck to these decisions…most days.

I am still nursing Judah, but it’s definitely not as easy as I assumed. Honestly, I thought formula was strictly for the working mom and had no business being given to a baby of someone who could nurse. To all those formula feeding moms out there, I want to sincerely apologize for this naïve judgment.

I took a class about breastfeeding late in my pregnancy and was reassured of my decision to nurse when I heard the presenter describe all the benefits of breast milk, the bond it brings for you and baby, and how once you mastered a good latch, it’s painless. Yeah right. Nursing hurts, and not just on the first day. It hurts for a while, good latch or bad latch, it makes no difference. Sorry to be frank, but when you’ve got a baby sucking on your teat every 30 minutes, it gets a little uncomfortable. Yes, eventually you get used to it and the pain goes away, but sometimes, nursing is just plain inconvenient. I didn’t realize how demanding it is. When you hear that a newborn eats every hour to two hours, you think, okay, that’s not so bad. Correction…an infant eats every hour or two hours from the time they start eating, so you might get a half hour break in there if you’re lucky. Some days, nursing honestly just makes me feel like one giant boob. Plus, Judah is all boy. He wiggles and squirms, and doesn’t like to be covered up. This makes nursing in public a bit of a challenge. It makes me stressed and nervous, which makes him nervous and even more wiggly, which means, my business becomes everyone’s business. Some people don’t mind that, but I’m a bit self-conscious of this so, after lots of trial and error, Judah gets a bottle when we go out.

I have several friends who decided to nurse their babies as well, and were very distraught and self-conscious when their milk supply ran out and they had to start formula feeding their little ones. Truth be told, there were times when I was, and am jealous of this. Nursing is wonderful, but again, very demanding. It’s hard when you are your baby’s soul source of food. It makes going out almost impossible, and when you do get the chance, your time is extremely limited. There are certain foods you have to avoid, drinking a glass of wine must be timed appropriately, and those late night wake up calls, those are all on you.  And when your baby is fussy, it’s just plain frustrating. I’m happy that I stuck it out with nursing, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I am counting down the days until Judah gets started on solids.

The second thing I sort of stuck with was cloth diapering. I use Fuzzibunz and really like them. They are easy to use, have awesome colors, and are a great fit. However, they are a lot of work in the laundry department. Some days, I just can’t keep up, so disposables it is. And, some days I just don’t feel like getting poop and pee on my hands when I take the liners out, so again, I opt for the disposables. And hey, it works, so I’m okay with that.

The other thing I was dead set against was letting my baby sleep in my bed. Ever. Well, he certainly doesn’t sleep there at night, but I can’t say we don’t enjoy a good snuggly nap together about five times a week. There are some decisions you make when you’re pregnant and have no idea how irresistible that sweet little sleeping baby can be.

The reason I bring these examples up is not to tell you what I do so you can compare it to what you do. In fact, the point is the exact opposite. Many times, I, as a mother, find myself comparing what I do to what other mothers are doing with their babes and I second guess myself. And chances are, the mom I’m judging myself against is doing that exact same thing with me. It’s silly really. Mammas out there, you know your baby better than anyone else. You know what works for you and your little one better than any techniques offered in some best selling parenting book. And, though other mothers love to offer their opinions, they don’t live with your baby 24/7. Each baby is different, they are little individuals and definitely don’t come with an operating manual. If you want to sleep every night in the same bed as your baby, and that works for you, that’s your call. If you want to formula feed, breastfeed, both – go for it! If you decide there’s no way you would ever put a cloth diaper on your baby, that’s wonderful!

This has been one of the hardest, but most important mothering lessons I’ve learned so far, and am still learning. Stop comparing, and just do what works. As long as you’re doing the best you can and you love that baby like nobody’s business, you’re doing just fine.

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