Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Leg Hug

This is the moment I've been waiting for my entire mommy career- maybe my whole life. It was everything I dreamed it would be and more! The leg hug. All this time I've been hugging Niall, it's been a one way street. He might grab onto me, but it's only because I'm holding him. This leg hug was fully intentional...

He was in the Johnny jump up- his new favorite contraption- swinging around and bouncing up and down. I usually just try to nudge him aside to get by because the johnny jump up blocks the whole doorway. (Our house has turned into a Chuck E Cheese, with no room left for anything except baby stuff). So I was slowly squeezing by and gently pushed Niall over a little bit when he grabbed my leg with both hands and rested his head against it. (That's my leg in the pic)

I know it sounds like I'm over analyzing, but it really seemed genuine. He looked up at me and smiled (so of course I grabbed the camera and started snapping pictures). I can't even describe the feeling of being hugged by your child. It's so different from any other hug you've ever had. The only way I can explain it is that I felt so incredibly special. It's pretty cool being needed by someone like him :)

When I was looking down at him, I couldn't help but remember the time I thought I was hugging my dad's leg at Mama Lucia's when I was probably about 4. My dad was at the counter ordering some pizza and he was wearing khakis. Well, I'm sure that pretty much every guy who walks in the place is wearing khakis, so I accidentally ran up and clung onto some other man's leg. He really didn't know what to do and it took me a few seconds to realize that this was not the leg I was supposed to be hugging. When I looked up at him and screamed, it must have really not looked good to the rest of the bystanders. Poor guy, he was just trying to get some pizza!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Banana fana fo fana

Niall just had his 6 month appointment, so there was a lot to talk about. Everything seems to be developing perfectly on his curve. He's still in the 75th percentile for height and about the 40th for weight and head circumference. I really hope the size of your head doesn't indicate how smart you're going to be ;)

Anyway, we're getting started with real foods now. It's kind of bittersweet for me because I'm so excited for him, but on the other hand...

a) I'm a schedule kind of gal- I had everything figured out so that I gave him a bottle exactly every 3 hours and his rice cereal before bed. Now this whole cutting back a little on formula while adding mashed up fruits and veggies randomly throughout the day is really putting a wrench in my perfect itinerary. I'm basically just doing the real food at lunch and sticking to the rice cereal before bed, so we'll see how it goes.

Doctors are a little too good at this making your kid feel special thing these days. Everything you ask is answered with "every baby is different and unique... just feel him out and let him tell you what he wants." Ok, sure, I'll just let my 6 month old TELL me what he wants. That won't be frustrating. Why can't you just give me some idea of how much formula vs veggies vs rice cereal I should be giving him?!!

b) Angel baby breath. Yes, that is what it's called. Baby's breath-- Oh! It literally just occurred to me that this is the name of a flower for this very reason-- smells like heaven. There is no bad breath- ever... until you start introducing real food. I'm honestly going to miss his angel baby breath. You know that happy feeling when you bury your face in fresh-out-of-the-dryer clean laundry? It's better than that. So sweet and innocent. Ahh, they grow up so fast.

Anyway, his first encounter didn't go so great. I've heard that all babies love bananas. So I started with some mashed up fresh bananas. Here's what he thought of them...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Strawberry fields forever

We went to a strawberry festival on Saturday- something that I had no idea about until that morning-- but I knew as soon as I heard the word "moonbounce" that Niall and I would definitely be there. Well, there was not one moonbounce, not two, but a full variety of 4 completely different types of moonbounces! One was an obstacle course with a climb up to the slide at the end that I almost didn't make it up. (Yes, I had someone hold Niall while one of Matt's little cousins and I competed to get through the course the quickest. Who won is neither here nor there...)

I thought I might be able to hold Niall on one of the smaller ones, but it actually seemed dangerous! I know that sounds crazy, but the way these kids bounce around, Niall would have gotten trampled- even in my arms, I'm sure I would have fallen over. We just sat him up on the side bouncy walls and that was good enough for him.

Then, they had marshmallow guns, which I had never heard of. They're so fun- they look like mini versions of the pipes under your sink hooked up together in some kind of hodgepodge, and then you load it with marshmallows and shoot them by blowing into it. And surprisingly, the marshmallows did hurt when you got pegged in the face with one!

The best part was definitely the vanilla ice cream covered in freshly chopped strawberries, but the cutest part was the 70 year old auction announcer who couldn't get more than $5 for anything- restaurant gift certificates, Safeway cards, all sorts of goodies- but he just couldn't seem to get the crowd going. There were maybe 6 or 7 people sitting in the audience just staring blankly at him as he unenthusiastically called out "Do I hear six dollars?... Anyone?" It was a great day, though. I'll definitely go back next year. For anyone in the area, it's in Colesville. I think they do it every May.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Budding Yogi

I'm all about the "baby and me" activities. I guess it started when my mother in law gave me a spring session of baby yoga for Christmas. It has probably changed my whole way of life, actually. I thought that it would be more for Niall than me, but I'm convinced that this class is the reason that I'm back to my pre-pregnancy weight and much more even-keeled than I used to be.

I had no idea how much recovery was involved in a c-section. Obviously, I knew it would take more time than someone who gave birth naturally... but let me tell you that despite all of my efforts, I was not back to my good ol' self until 3 months later. Doing basic things, sure, I could get by without the help of others by about 5 weeks- but I discovered in this yoga class that when I thought things were pretty much back to normal, I still had a long way to go.

Anyway, I could go on and on about what yoga has done for me, but I'm starting to stray from the point of this post. Niall and I had so much fun in this class that I not only continue to do baby yoga with him almost every day, but I've also decided to continue with similar "baby and me" activities. I signed up for a Montgomery County moms playgroup, I take him to the park once per week with other babies in the neighborhood, and most recently, I decided to sign him up for a swim class.

I've been waiting for this swim class registration to open for over a month now. I was so excited, imagining Niall's reaction to being dipped in the water, kicking his legs around, and playing with the other babies. I saw on the activities board that the registration would open on May 17 at 6am. Ding- there was my first clue that new moms are crazy. 6 am? Hmmm, why would registration open that early, I wondered. "This must be one of those things like getting your kid into private school where the slots fill up like hotcakes," I thought. Well, you can't pull a fast one on me-- I would be ready for the registration rage!

I got up that morning at 6:15 and logged onto the site by 6:20. Well, I'm sure you guessed it by now... yes, all of the slots were completely full. I'm totally heartbroken! I guess I will have to teach Niall to swim by myself at the bay house- I mean, if he doesn't learn by the time he's 6 months, there's obviously no hope, right? ;)

My friend and I are going to look for other classes in the area. We were laughing because apparently, you're just a total idiot if you don't know that these classes fill up in 10 mins-- she called for the same class around 1pm and the lady on the phone actually laughed at her and asked "Are you serious??". I guess we had better learn the lingo!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Wedding Weekend

Second time's a charm. This was my second time away from Niall for a long weekend- first time being the bachelorette party in Florida. This time it was for the actual wedding. I noticed some significant differences- ones that I'm afraid to admit to because it could potentially make me sound like a horrible mom, but here goes...

If you remember, the last time I dropped Niall off at his grandparents' house on my way to the airport, I was a sobbing mess. I couldn't stop crying- while I was saying goodbye, in the car, getting on the plane. It probably didn't stop until I arrived in Florida. This time, I pretty much threw the bags in the foyer, gave Niall a kiss on the forehead and yelled "thanks, I'm late, gotta run!". I drove to my nail appointment and that was that. Hmmm, what's going on here? It gets worse.

Then, I get to the bridal luncheon followed by preparations for rehearsal and then the dinner- I'm reminded of Niall a few times by the adorable picture texts my in laws were sending me, but that was it.

The next morning, I'm getting my hair done (well, doing my own hair- which is so much pressure for a bridesmaid!! But I feel like I'm the only one who can do my hair and makeup right- control freak, I know), then we're taking pictures, then we're in the limo going to the church and all of the sudden, the wedding is over and I realize-- I didn't think about Niall once the whole day Saturday until the end of the night!!!! What is wrong with me?

Or am I suffering from my classic Irish Catholic guilt again? Maybe it's normal to take a day or two off, have a conversation that doesn't involve baby talk- I get that. But forgetting he existed?? I can't believe I went a good 6 hours without his cute little face popping in my mind.

Of course, once I saw him on Sunday, I was overwhelmed with happiness to see him and hold him again. And of course, he got bigger in those 2 1/2 days. He gave me that same look that he gave me at the airport coming home from FL; that sort of "Oh yea, I remember you- glad to have you back!" look. So I guess we both forgot about each other for a quick spell. Hey, if he can do it, I guess I should be able to slide by, too :)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

All I Want for Christmas...

Niall got his first teeth! 2 little stubs popping out of the front bottom gums. It all makes sense now- all the crying, jamming his hands down his throat, drooling all over the place. I know this sounds so obvious, and I did mention before that I thought he was teething- but I didn't realize he was this close! And I probably still wouldn't know if it weren't for a little visit the other day...

My friend Jamie came over the other day and while she was holding Niall, he started chewing on her hand. She mentioned that his gums felt extra sharp and I immediately flashed back to the last time I did the old gum rub down to check the teething situation. It had to be at least 3 days! Every time I thought about it, my hands were dirty and I would forget to do it the next time I washed them. He could have had teeth for days and I wouldn't have even known it!

So I quickly shoved my fingers in there and it was definitely sharp! I knew it wasn't just the usual ridgy-ness. It's more difficult than you would think to actually find the suckers, though. I had to pry the mouth open, move the lips out of my way, and push the tongue up off the gums. And then, in the most incredible fleeting moment, I saw the glistening little jewel. The one on the right is really visible and the one next to it is a little smaller, but there are definitely 2 distinct teeth.

This was even more thrilling than when he first rolled over. We were so excited that we both let out a huge scream and scared poor Niall. We were clapping and cheering and he just started bursting into tears. A little too much excitement for the angel boy- but it was a great day :)

Now he's gnawing on frozen washcloths soaked in diluted rum- hey, you gotta do what you gotta do... This baby stuff is tough!

Friday, May 7, 2010

2 steps forward...

...One big fat step back. I feel like ever since I've been bragging about Niall pretty much sleeping through the night, it's gotten worse and worse. I'm pretty sure I was knocking on wood, so I don't know what happened. It started out that I was going in there about twice per night, putting the passy in and walking back out of the room. Still getting a good night's sleep.

Then, it was that same drill 4 or 5 times per night... Now, it's not even walking right back out of the room- it's rubbing his back for 15 minutes while he hysterically cries. I go back in my room and he's at it again 5 minutes later. Don't get me wrong, he's a GREAT baby- very happy, very easy, all I could ask for. But I don't understand what's happening. I have a feeling it might be teething, which makes me feel terrible because there's nothing I can do to help him.

At least before, I could go back to sleep while he was crying, knowing that he was just having a little rough patch in the night and would fall back to sleep in a second. Now, I'm purposefully letting him suffer if I don't go in there and cuddle him. But I don't want him to be S.P. (as Mrs. McCullough, Matt's grandma, would say-- meaning spoiled)

I'm sure his new sleeping position doesn't help much either. He refuses to sleep on his back anymore... or his side... or his tummy. How is he sleeping then, you might ask. Well, it's this new crazy comfortable stance called "cat ready to pounce" where he gets on all fours with his head rammed into the bars of the crib and his butt thrusted into the air. Like so...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hanging with the big dogs

I forgot how cool the park is. A few of us new moms went to the park near our house the other day- knowing that the babies wouldn't be able to do much of anything- but we still thought it might be fun just to sit around. Once again, I became overly "siked out of my mind" for Niall and tried to shove him in the baby swing with a beach towel wedged behind him to hold him in place. Surely, a 5 month old would be ready for the swing, right??

I wasn't sure that I was even going to be able to let go of him, but he figured it out right away- he held on and everything! After a few minutes, I was actually pushing his swing while he flailed his legs around in excitement. It was so cute to see baby Jack (7 1/2 months old) next to him- totally cool, calm & collected looking at Niall like "what's this kid all revved up about? it's not that big of a deal"...

Then, the cutest thing ever happened... the big kids came over and started hugging all the babies. They were so excited to introduce themselves and show the babies the ropes of the playground. The first kid came over and shouted in Niall's face "HI, I'M NICK AND I'M 5 YEARS OLD!!" I responded for Niall, trying to throw my voice from behind him "HI, I'M NIALL AND I'M 5 MONTHS OLD!" I'm not sure what the kid thought was going on. Then, his little sister came up and, in the cutest quietest voice, said "and.... I'm Leah..... I'm... 2 years old" and as a closing gesture, pulled her shirt up and flashed Niall. A born-to-be party girl, it seems.

At first, I was a little nervous about the amount of kids touching Niall's hands and face with their dirt and snot covered hands, but I keep telling myself it builds his immunities... I hope :)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Look at me!!

Hey, look at me- I can sit up all by myself!

Well, maybe not quite yet...