Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Happy 3rd Birthday to You!

Dear Amelia,

Happy third birthday, sweet pea! You just keep growing and growing, smarter and more fun and more beautiful with each day and month. There's a quote I've been seeing that sums up your personality pretty well: "And though she be but little, she is fierce." You are so sweet and loving - you happily give "BIG hugs" and kisses, but you are stubborn and know what you want, when you want it, little girl! I hope you'll continue to channel that passion and drive into your life in positive ways as you get older. Despite all of that, you are still pretty well-mannered and happy. Sleep is still an issue for us but we're working on that, right? We tried moving you to a big girl bed by taking the front off your crib, but you cried and begged us to put it back on after two days, so back it went. We're happy to let you stay little as long as we can!

You still love reading books, playing dress up and pretend (you love princesses, Frozen, and using your toy stethoscope as a lasso when you're a cowgirl). Gymnastics is still going well, even though it's hard for you to wait your turn sometimes. We've finally gotten the hang of potty training (I know you'll be thrilled to read this later in life). You've moved up to the 3-year-old Honeybee room at school and I know I'm biased but you are so darn smart - sometimes too smart for your own good! You speak so clearly and carry on conversations, but you also love to be silly and love to be tickled. You're great at coloring inside the lines already (I think you got that artistic talent from Daddy) and you love to sing. I feel like you surprise me with a new song every day.

At your three year check up yesterday you were 34 lbs (75th percentile) and 37.5 inches tall (50th percentile). A reflection of your love of eating! You aren't too picky - you'll eat chicken, pork ("fork" as you say), salmon, broccoli, and green beans, but your favorite is still macaroni and cheese.

We had your Teddy Bear Picnic party which actually happened on your birthday this year, and you had a lot of fun with our friends and family. We are so proud of you, baby. You are such a joy, and while you're shy and hesitant around new people, once you warm up to them they can't help but love you! And your daddy and I love you so much.

Love always,

20 Questions with Amelia, Age 3

1. What is your favorite color? Blue
2. What is your favorite toy? Books
3. What is your favorite fruit? Apples
4. What is your favorite TV show? Doc McStuffins
5. What is your favorite outfit? Watermelon dress
6. What is your favorite game? Phones (playing games on Mommy's phone)
7. What is your favorite animal? Koala
8. What is your favorite song? ABCs
9. What is your favorite book? Llama Llama
10. Who is your best friend? Zoey
11. If you had $100 what would you buy? Milk
12. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Play ball
13. What is your favorite drink? Water
14. Where is your favorite place to go? The store
15. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Elephant
16. What is your favorite snack? Bunny Grahams
17. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? A cereal bar
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Macaroni and cheese
19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Cupcakes and cake
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? BIG!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Why I Hate *That* Question

I got one of those comments on a Facebook post last week, on a random Timehop picture I'd shared of Amelia: "So when is she getting a little brother or sister?" Let me go on record and say I HATE THIS QUESTION. For so many reasons. I bit my tongue and replied with, "Maybe when she sleeps all night and we win the lottery." But the friend couldn't leave it alone. "If I'd waited for those things I'd never have had my second kid." To which I replied, gritting my teeth some more, "Well, the good thing is everyone gets to decide what's best for their own family. *smiley face*" Some other comments ensued, and I considered a new status that told the truth about exactly why I hate that question, but I didn't. I chickened out, because I feel the things that I have to say on that subject are not things that anyone wants to hear. Because I feel like saying them in a public forum makes me vulnerable, and ruins my credibility as a "good mom." And because I'm not sure I want to share some of those feelings with my beautiful daughter, at least not when she's young. So I'm going to say it here, even though I have said some of these things here before.

*deep breath*

What I wanted to say is that before Amelia was born, I loved babies (and most kids, really). I wanted to hold every newborn I could get my hands on, and I didn't even care if they cried. I had always thought I would like to have three kids, though I thought two might be ok. I wanted nothing more than to be a mom. Then I became one, and everything changed. I loved my baby. And I do not ever, EVER want her or anyone else to think otherwise. But the first year of her life was hell in so many ways. I know all mothers (and fathers) face an adjustment period where they realize their lives have been turned totally upside down, and they struggle to find a "new normal." But it wasn't just that for me, for us. She had colic and reflux and UTIs, and she never slept. Every time I heard about other people's kids taking three hour naps, I wanted to cry. Ok, sometimes I did cry. My baby took 20 minute naps. And she cried so much. I could never put her down or the crying started again and I never knew when it might stop. It didn't last for a week or two, it lasted for months.

I Googled the symptoms of PPD several times because I felt so lost and desperate and exhausted that I felt there had to be something clinically wrong with me, because there was no way what I was feeling was normal. I relished every second of every trip when I could run to the store alone for more ($30) formula. But the symptoms didn't really match up with what I was experiencing. So I suffered, and my marriage suffered too. I became the mom and wife they say you shouldn't become - I put my child first, all of the time. There was no room for me to give any time or energy to my husband when this tiny little person who I had wanted more than anything was consuming my every waking moment and making me question my sanity.

Things got a little better as we approached the one year mark, but A was still napping twice a day for 40 minutes and waking up 2-3 times a night. So there was still no "me" time. I could hardly do two loads of laundry, let alone sit down and eat a meal and read a book or catch up on DVRed shows. I was always tired. When I was away from her, I missed her. When I was home with her, I felt like I couldn't give her enough time and energy. It was a vicious cycle. Of course I relished those beautiful baby smiles and giggles and her first steps, and when I watched her sweet face as she slept I was in awe that she was mine. That I was someone's mom. But somewhere in that year, something inside me changed. When I read pregnancy announcements, I of course was happy for the mothers in the abstract sense. But I was no longer excited. I didn't get the twinge and longing to have another baby of my own like so many of my friends with children A's age described. Babies to me were no longer cute little cuddly beings who I wanted to hold and coo at. They were ticking time bombs, a source of constant stress and worry and endless need. And that made me so unbelievably sad. And it still does, as I am fighting back tears as I type this.

Amelia is now 2 1/2. I will be 33 in two months. And the baby clock, it's a-tickin'. I know the odds of a high risk pregnancy increase at age 35. If we're going to have a second child, I don't want them too far apart in age. And with my work schedule and no paid maternity leave, there are only a few months where we could TTC in order for that to work out. And all of that is if we are able to have a second child. Which is the other reason I hate that question. So many couples deal with losses and infertility, including secondary infertility, that you just never know what is happening in someone's journey.

I have a beautiful, smart, amazing daughter who I love more than anything in the world. And while I think there is nothing wrong with having an only child, there is a part of me that desperately wants her to have a sibling. There is a part of me that thinks yes, I do still want another child, but that part of me is in constant conflict with the part that fears next time I could totally lose myself. That I could do irreparable damage to my relationship with the beautiful child I already have if a second time were like the first. Coupled with the other common fears of how could I possibly love another child as much as this one/what if a second child had a major medical issue/how would I ever get two kids out of the house alone/my 2 1/2 year old still doesn't sleep all night/we can't afford two kids in daycare/what if I'm really sick during my pregnancy this time around... It's a constant battle in my head. So yeah. There's the answer. I wish I were brave enough to share it with the rest of the world, but right now I'm not. So if you do get to read a pregnancy announcement from me in the coming year or two, know that I realize it is truly a blessing, but it's one that comes on the heels of a serious internal struggle I never imagined I would face.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

On the night you were born...

Dear Amelia,

Yes, I know I just wrote you a letter a few days ago. But this week the hospital where you were born is being demolished. You were born in August, just months before our new hospital opened in November. Seeing the pictures and videos of the place where you were brought into this world being torn down is making me a little emotional. I know, silly Mom - it's just a building. But that building is where my life began - literally, and my life as your mommy.

I wanted to tell you about the time we spent there. Before you were born, Daddy and I went to CPR and childbirth classes at the hospital. I knew my way around the labor and delivery area because your cousins Bella and Zoey were born there not long before you were. During one of our childbirth classes, a huge summer storm hit and we heard them announce a "Code Black" over the PA system. Scary stuff! We were evacuated into the waiting room of labor and delivery to wait for the storm to pass.

The next time we would set foot in that hospital was the night you were born. Mommy had been in labor at home all day, and finally around 10pm we headed to the hospital. Because it was after hours, we knew we had to register in the emergency room. I remember sitting with Daddy as the woman took all of our information, and having to pause when a contraction hit. Your Grammy and Grandpa met us there, and we went up to labor and delivery shortly after. I was first put into a triage room so they could decide if you were really on your way. I was nervous, but we found out we would be staying that night to welcome you into the world.

We were set up in our room, and I'll spare you the details until you want to know them, but four hours after we left our house, you arrived. At the time there were no separate delivery rooms so we stayed put the whole time. Because we had arrived so late in the evening, we spent two nights there instead of one. The nurses took great care of us, and that room became a safe home for the few days we were there. When it was time to leave, I was scared of being on our own. But off we went, back out into the "real world," to begin our life as a family.

So yes, it may just be a building, but it was a building full of memories for me and for so many people we know and love. It makes me sad to think that I won't be able to drive by the hospital one day and show you where you were born, but I wanted to share these memories with you so you could have the most important part of that building for yourself.

Love always,

Monday, February 24, 2014

Letter to Amelia - 2 1/2 Years

Dear Amelia,

I feel like I say this every time I write one of these letters, but I can't believe how much you have grown. You're on your way to 3, and that is so hard to believe. You're still my baby! But you are definitely becoming a little girl. You are such a bundle of sunshine and energy. Every day with you is an adventure, and I love the conversations we have now. You are always making Daddy and I laugh. You love to sing and I was so proud of you at your Christmas program and your performance this past week at daycare. You sang the songs (mostly) and weren't afraid of an audience. Not surprising since you are always entertaining us. We're still going to gymnastics on Saturday mornings and you've mastered the forward roll and walking on the beam. You've walked on the lowest one by yourself and were pretty successful. It's been a long, very cold winter and I know we both can't wait until you can play outside again.

You still love books and currently your favorite is a search and find animal book you got for Christmas. You're starting to learn letters and can write a capital "A" with no help from us! You also love playing with Mr. Potato Head, your blocks, dress up with your "princess" skirts and jewelry, and you like to cook for us in your kitchen. You love it when the "tea" is too hot and we spit it out - so funny!

We're working on potty training - you're doing great at daycare but your stubbornness seems to take over at home. We'll get there! You're starting to realize you have choices in life and like to make your opinions known. You like to choose your clothes when we let you (you take your "sparkly boots" off/put them on yourself, and you also can take off your coat - "I do it!"). You would eat macaroni and cheese (or as you sometimes say, "noonles") for every meal if you could, but you still also love green beans, "blockly" (broccoli) and fruit, and you'll usually try whatever Daddy and I are eating. You ask us for your "violins" (vitamins). It took Mommy awhile to understand what that one meant (thanks for translating, Daddy!).

At your 2 1/2 year check up last week you were 30 pounds, 2 oz and 36.5 inches tall - in the 75th percentile. Apparently you still are not a fan of sleep because you wake Mommy up once at least three nights a week, and you don't know the meaning of sleeping in. You still nap pretty well though, and last weekend Mommy loved snuggling up with you in our bed and taking a nap together. You love giving "big hugs!" and I taught you to give Eskimo kisses before bed which you call "kissy nose."

It's so much fun to watch you learn and grow. Daddy and I are so thankful for every day with you and we love you oh so much. I am so lucky to be your mama.

Love always,
Hooray, I'm 2 1/2!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Blog of Shame

Um...have I really not posted since November? Oops. I'm coming back, I swear. Life has been crazy with work, a lack of being on any sort of real schedule due to snow (we are currently at 8 missed days and countless two hour delays for my district after this nasty winter), and well the holidays. Which were almost two months ago. Yowza.

I'm hoping to post a two and a half year update/letter for Miss A. I probably have a few other things to fill you in on after that if you haven't written me off yet. (Spoiler alert - no, I'm not pregnant, since that seems to be the question everyone asks you once your kid turns two.)

Until then, here are a couple of holiday pics of my adorable, grown up girl. You know, since I haven't seen you all since then. In the words of Ah-nahld, I'll be back...

Christmas Eve 2013
Valentine's Day 2014