Who Are You and What Have You Done With Little Bear

I don’t know what’s going on. About two weeks ago someone switched out my fussy, grumpy, overly needy baby for a happy, laughing, independent one. They look the same…they make the same crazy bird noises, but they certainly don’t act the same. It’s as if the moment Little Bear turned six months old someone flipped a switch.

Little Bear has been so sweet lately (not that he wasn’t sweet before). He finds everything hilarious and is laughing all the time. And the most amazing thing…he’s craving time to play by himself! I’m seriously enjoying this new found independence. It means I can actually get things done around here and the layers of dust are finally being swept away! And lets not get carried away with it. He is definitely still the same child; he needs his mommy time; which is good because I need my Little Bear snuggles!

Most of all I’m just happy that he’s happier. It had to be a stressful existence being upset all time! Now if he could just get the hang of putting himself back to sleep….

He went from this….

…to this!

 

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Finding My Passion

Being a SAHM is hard. Really hard. I never expected it to be this hard. Apparently my mind lives in a place full of gum drops and unicorns, and when that reality is crushed I tend to cry. Not only is being someone’s sole source of entertainment for twelve plus hours a day completely and utterly exhausting, but it also leaves very little time for me to do anything for me. For instance, I’m not even a full paragraph into this post and have been called away by Little Bear three times. I had visions of fun outings, cuddles, and nap times that lasted two hours or so. 

We do have fun outings, every now and then, but there is only so much that you can do with a five and half month old and only for so long before he starts to freak out! There are lots of cuddles…and lots of crying too. Don’t even get me started on nap times.

Please, don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else with my time. I have no desire to put Little Bear into daycare. Being with him is the most wonderful, joyous thing in the world to me. I can’t imagine someone I barely know being there to experience all of his “firsts” instead of me. But I must admit that this whole SAHM thing leaves me with a feeling of wanting more.

Where did I go? Before Little Bear there were so many things I was passionate about and loved to do. I was in the middle of starting my own business. I had a direction that I was headed in and my future was a little uncertain but I at least knew the general path it would take. Now I feel lost. I’m not used to not contributing financially to our family and that is something I find myself struggling with quite often.

I thought about opening an Etsy shop, but unfortunately my sewing skills are not quite good enough to sell anything that I’ve made (So now Little Bear has an overload of stroller toys to play with!).  I’ve thought about writing a children’s book, and might still do, but I can’t draw more than a stick figure so that puts a bit of a damper on that possibility. I do love street photography and have quite the collection of shots from when we lived in Amsterdam, but at this point in time getting them all together is just a little too time consuming.

I guess I’m facing the conundrum every mother faces…can we have it all? At this moment my answer is no. Me time will just have to be put on the back burner. Because for now Little Bear time is just too important to miss out on. He needs me a lot more than I need to feel totally “fulfilled”. In the meantime I’ll try to suppress the guilt I feel for not wanting to spend every waking moment with him!

 

Five Months Old

It’s been another month, and this one certainly brought a lot of changes. We seemed to have skipped the “four month growth spurt”, so I’m sure another one is coming soon enough, because he’s only gained a pound and a half (16 lbs 12 oz) and grown about an inch (26 1/2″) since the last time we were at the doctor’s; at the beginning of the month when he had his last ear infection. However, there has been a lot of other stuff happening!

The biggest things that happened this month are that Little Bear learned how to roll over from his back to his tummy and he got his first two teeth!!! We’re a bit early in the teething department but now hopefully we can just get it out of the way! (Is this wishful thinking?) Surprisingly he hasn’t been any more grumpy than usual.

He has also started to reach out for things that he wants and is showing a definite preference to being held by me (poor Daddy!). Currently his favorite thing to try to get to, besides me, is Roo. Or any other dog for that matter. Seems like he’s going to take after his Mommy and be canine crazy! He just loves to pet him and can’t stop laughing when Roo licks the drool off his face.

Little Bear’s “vocabulary” of noises has also expanded dramatically this month. He is still babbling up a storm and using all the goo and ah-gee noises that he used to, but has now added “raspberries” and what sound like high pitched bird calls to his repertoire. The razzies are hilarious, and he knows it too! His favorite time to do them is when he’s eating his rice cereal and consequently getting it all over himself. And me. And pretty much everything else within a three foot radius!

Not all the changes have been fun though. Just when I thought we had a sleep schedule down he’s decided to go on a complete sleep strike! Before, he was predictably getting up at 11, 3, and finally waking up at 6. Now he is up almost every hour! We are all feeling the sleep deprivation, and it’s not pretty. I just hope and pray that once the pain from his teeth breaking through subsides he will go back to being a better sleeper.

I know I say this every month but he is just growing and developing at breakneck speed and it is always so astounding to me how much he changes. Not only from month to month but from week to week as well!

Cloth v Disposable

Little Bear has been in cloth diapers since he was old enough to fit into them; at about two weeks old. Before he was born I was a bit nervous about using only cloth, but determined nonetheless. I knew, if for savings reasons alone, it would be worth it to have him wear fluff. Still, it was intimidating. There is an OVERabundance of information out there, so much so that I caused myself to have a mini panic attack over what I was going to put on my baby’s butt! (Diving Into Fluff) Thankfully after all the research I did…who knew one person could become so obsessed with something that catches poop…I was completely prepared and the system we chose was the perfect one for us.

As it turns out my stressing and panic attacks were for naught. Cloth Diapering is in fact incredibly easy. The most important thing is to find a system and brand that works for you and your little one. Because I’m a SAHM I don’t need to use a diaper service. I just throw everything, wet bag and all, into the washer, set it to sanitize and three hours (!) later they’re ready for the dryer. I have to admit if we didn’t have this amazing washer and dryer with their sanitize/antibacterial settings I may have used a service; but we do, so…

We do use disposables at night. Little Bear outgrew his newborn size All In One’s before we even had a chance to put them on him, and fitting a prefold into a cover in the dark at 3am is just a little too much to ask of me when I’ve got one foot in dreamland!

Recently, though, we’ve been having to use ‘sposies a lot more than usual. Little Bear has had two ear infections in a row. Anyone who has experience with babies, ear infections, and antibiotics knows that they will go #2 anywhere from 5 to 6 times a day, if not more. Frankly, that is just too much laundry for me to do. Call me lazy if you want but that’s how I feel about it!

Here’s the thing…when we were talking about using cloth the one thing all the skeptics said to me was, “Aren’t you worried about how much they leak?”. Turns out the disposables leak more than the cloth do! Just this morning Little Bear woke himself up because he had leaked out of his ‘sposie and it was ALL OVER EVERYWHERE. That wouldn’t have happened if he’d been wearing cloth. I can’t tell you how many pairs of pyjamas I’ve had to bleach because of disposables. There is no way that we could do disposable full time. Even Hubby, who swears he can’t fit the cloth onto Little Bear as easily as I can (which is just nonsense), prefers to use them over the disposables.

Little Bear is growing at such a break neck speed that he’s about to outgrow the newborn size and move up to the One Size diapers. These will last us until he makes the big boy step of potty training in a couple of years. Another thing that cloth has over disposables is that they’re so darn cute! Have you seen the patterns on them? I mean, whoever decided diapers could make a fashion statement…genius! I can’t wait to go shopping for new covers! As if I needed another excuse to go shopping for Little Bear…. 

Visit to Grandma & Grandpa’s

Little Bear took his second road trip this past weekend when we went down to Florida to visit Hubby’s parents (and to go house hunting!). The drive usually takes about six hours without having to stop, so with Little Bear along for the ride it’s almost guaranteed to take at least seven. The ride down went fairly well. We got an earlyish start after dropping Roo off at my Mom’s house for his weekend sleepover. {He’s not allowed to go to his Florida grandparent’s house anymore….Grandpa says he’s too big. Rubbish, I say! It’s ok though, he loves it at my Mom’s house. He can run around in the yard and he has Polo, my Mom’s Westie x, to play with.} Things started off a bit, um, loudly…with Little Bear letting us know he wasn’t keen on being strapped into his seat. These declarations lasted for about 45 minutes until he wore himself out and took a snooze. He slept almost all the way through Georgia! We stopped for a quick feed and a diaper change about 15 miles from the border, and then after a {too short} nap we stopped again about 80 miles from our destination.

This trip down was especially special because Little Bear got to meet his Uncle Tyler for the very first time! Hubby’s younger brother is in the Army and is getting stationed in Texas soon before being deployed next year, and we were all really excited to see him before he leaves. As you can see they were both very intrigued by one another! Uncle Tyler is super tall and Little Bear had so much fun sitting up on his shoulders…and trying to eat his hair while he was up there! You can already tell that those two are going to get on quite well when Little Bear is older.

Friday was a big day for Little Bear and another first for him. He got to go in a swimming pool! He’s always loved the water and taking a bath so we were really excited to get him in the pool. He had such a good time. The water was a good deal colder than what his bath water is and so he was a little unsure about it at first, but when we showed him that he could still kick and splash around he decided he would have a good time! Hubby, Tyler, and I were all in the pool and took turns walking around with him and playing with him in his floaty starfish. It was so cute to see him experience that for the first time.

On Saturday our friend’s son had a soccer match that we went with them to. It was a lot of fun to watch the kids play. Hubby and I are SERIOUS footie fans. The moment Little Bear is old enough…as in at around three years old…he is being signed up to play. Going to watch the U9’s play was like a glimpse into how we will be spending our Saturday mornings in the {not so} distant future. While Hubby and I were at the game Grandma and Grandpa watched Little Bear for us. It was close to noon when we got back home and he had not taken a nap all morning! Turns out he wasn’t going to take a nap at all on Saturday.

Hubby went and played golf with his best friend, and my MIL and I were supposed to go and have a pedicure, and bring Little Bear with us. Usually he is good about going places, but on this particular Saturday we decided not to even risk it. And a good thing too. He really didn’t take a single nap on Saturday, and so was uber grumpy. He fussed and fussed and fussed all day long.

Have I mentioned that I won the Mother in Law lottery when Hubby and I got married? She is the sweetest woman and I love her to bits! If it hadn’t been for her I honestly would have lost my mind on Saturday. She was such a huge help in taking care of Little Bear and giving me breaks when I couldn’t listen to him whining fornoapparentreason any longer.

I never realised how much a different routine and environment could throw a baby off, but Little Bear was thrown completely out of sorts by our trip, and it came to a head on Saturday. When he was still awake at 7:30 we decided to do the one thing that was guaranteed to force him into never never land…take a ride in the car. Usually he’s out in about five minutes…15 tops…not today. Forty five minutes later he finally fell asleep! There was no way we were waking him up to take him out of the car seat {as I always say, DON’T POKE THE BEAR!} and so he stayed in there at Grandma and Grandpa’s house while Hubby and I went over to our friend’s house for an hour or so. When we got back he was still asleep and stayed that way until 1:30am! I feel badly that he slept in his car seat for six hours, but on the other hand that’s the longest stretch he’s slept for in months!

Thankfully he was so exhausted from Saturday that he practically slept the whole way home on Sunday!

Parenting is a Contact Sport

Hair pulling, scratching, kicking, throwing fists. No, I’m not talking about a typical day at the Jersey Shore house. I’m talking about my house, and more specifically my life with Little Bear. Who knew a four month old could be so, um, violent?! Not a day goes by that I’m not kicked in the boobs or scratched in the face. I even have a bruise on my jaw from a wayward tiny fist! Having such a wiggly butt baby is becoming a danger to my health! Silly boy.

Little Bear is ALWAYS moving…even in his sleep! He goes to bed facing one end of the crib and by the time he wakes up for a feeding (two hours later) he’s done a 180 and his head is at the opposite end from where he started out.

If he’s this active now I can only imagine what it’s going to be like when he becomes mobile. There’ll be absolutely no stopping him. At least by the time he can start walking (or more likely, running) around he’ll know not to hit and I won’t feel so much like punching bag. On the bright side, an active baby is a healthy baby, and who knows maybe him being so super active this early is a sign he’ll be talented at all sorts of sports, just like his Daddy.

Either way, I’m exhausted!!!

Four Months

Happy Four Months Little Bear! Whew, this month has been a doozy. He has been one heck of a grump! Our handout from the pediatrician said that between three and four months should be the easiest age of infancy…if that is the case, well, I give up! (kidding of course…sort of….) We started off the month with his first ear infection, and we’re ending with a double ear infection and a diagnosis of GERD. Not to mention just how much he’s grown! I didn’t realize what a big difference three months and four months make until I saw last month’s “birthday” picture, his legs have practically doubled in size. No wonder he’s been such a pickle…what with his ears being all messed up, plus what I can only imagine is the baby equivalent of heart burn, plus growing like a weed. It’s been one uncomfortable month for Little Bear!

It hasn’t been all tears. His personality is really starting to shine and I must say, he is one silly little baby. He loves to laugh all the time. His favorite things are his “crinkle pup”, watching Curious George, the “C is for Cookie” song, and trying to eat absolutely everything he can get his hands on! He is starting to consistently take two naps a day, but we’re still getting up every few hours at night. He still strongly dislikes Tummy Time but is tolerating it enough to practice his “push ups” and he even rolled over from his tummy to his back. Since he’s been feeling so poorly he has become quite the cuddle monster. By far, his favorite place is in my arms getting a snuggle, and that’s just fine with me!

We’ve certainly had some frustrating moments as of late but I’ll chalk it up to a learning experience. As long as I remind myself that this is a phase we’ll be just fine. And heck, according to some people, I’m going to miss this phase. Probably not the tears, but definitely the cuddles!

ABC Quilt

I am obsessed with all things sewing and embroidery. Maybe because it’s therapeutic, maybe I’m a 27 year old trapped in a Granny’s body. Either way I think it’s awesome and it’s my hobby, so there. I could spend hours at my local fabric store, just browsing through the pretty prints and looking at the many different colors of embroidery floss. It’s my form of escapism.  Since I started sewing, about a year ago, I have always been in the middle of a project or two, and when I found out we would have a little one joining our family my sewing gene went into overdrive. It’s so much fun to make things for Little Bear especially when I think about the years to come when he’ll have these keepsakes to treasure and say “My Mummy made this for me.”.

The project I’m working on right now…that will hopefully be done in time for his first birthday…is an ABC quilt. I found the pattern while rummaging through the sale bin during one of my many decompression trips to the fabric store and knew it would be the perfect project to hang in the nursery.  I was originally hoping to be finished with it by Christmastime, but with everything else going on…you  know, taking care of Little Bear, keeping the house clean, and all the other day to day that is just a little bit more important than working on something that’s not 100% imperative. So the next best thing would be to give it to Little Bear on his first birthday in April. And it’s probably going to take that long to finish it. I started over a month ago and only have A for Apple, B for Blocks, and two thirds of C is for Cat done.

It’s quite and intricate quilt. It’s not only piecing together squares of fabric but actually embroidering the alphabet onto the fabric, then putting it all together to form a quilt. It’s also the first time I’ve attempted to make a quilt, so I’m really hoping that after I’ve put all the work into embroidering the alphabet it doesn’t all go horribly horribly wrong when I try to put it together!

 

Here’s what I’ve done so far:

First Well Visit

Little Bear had his first well visit at the pediatrician’s yesterday. Yes he is three months old and yes it was supposed to be done a month ago, but due to our *$#%*@! insurance and lack of open appointments and an ear infection it was yesterday. It is always somewhat bizarre for me to go to our peds office as it is the same one that I went to as a child.

 All in all it was a good visit. He is growing and developing and lightning speed! When we went in the Saturday before July 4th they weighed him at 14 pounds even; he is now 14lbs 8oz! Which puts him in the 95% for weight and at 25 1/2in he is in the 97% for height. That’s my big boy! His ear infection is also totally cleared up, thank goodness!

Then came the immunizations. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a scream like that before, and am certainly not looking forward to hearing it again the next time we go in. Everyone says that it’s going to hurt you as a mom but no one tells you just how much. I *almost* started crying myself.

When we got home Little Bear was ready for a nap. He completely crashed for three hours.

Thank goodness for those three hours…for him at least. Because the only one in our house who got any sleep last night was Rooney! I. Am. Exhausted. Please someone tell me he’s going to sleep better tonight…or at least go back to taking his normal two naps!

Stupid shots!