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:

The Cone of Shame

South Carolina is HOT! This Summer’s heat has been unbearable for almost everyone, but for a dog from The Netherlands it’s downright torture. Roo’s skin simply can’t handle the heat, humidity, and mosquitos that are a pre-requisite accompaniment to it all. Last summer wasn’t too bad…a few hot spots here and there, easily taken care of by a few sprays of Betagen. This summer is a whole different story. He is literally eating himself alive. And so, he is forced to wear the cone of shame…

He is so miserable, but then again, chewing himself until he bleeds can’t exactly be a good time.

Rooney has allergies year round, these include shellfish, duck, grains, and mosquitos. If he comes into contact with any of these things his entire body breaks out into some of the worst hives you’ve ever seen. Come Summertime you can add grass to that list, and even if we are painstakingly diligent about making sure he avoids all allergens (except grass…that’s pretty much impossible) the heat alone is enough for him to break out into a few dozen welts.

I was hoping that after last summer his skin would adjust to living in the South. After all, he’s now been here just as long as he lived in Holland. Unfortunately that just didn’t happen; and it seems like it never will. The vet and I have had many conversations on the state of his skin and she seems to think that it’s just something we’re going to have to try to manage from here on out.

Management, unfortunately, is not an easy task. We’ve gone through countless brands of food, at least three different sprays, several rounds of steroids, added a few oils just to get his skin “under control”. His coat still doesn’t look the way it did when we lived in Amsterdam, and I’m sad to say I don’t think it ever will…unless we make an unforeseen move up North. After much experimentation our current concoction for less itchy skin is as follows:

2 Oatmeal & Aloe baths per week                                                                                    A complete body spray down of “fast relief hot spot spray” three times a day                A spray down of organic mosquito repellent every time he goes outside                          1 tsp of Olive Oil mixed into his food twice a day                                                             1 anti histamine a day                                                                                                       A diet of grain free red meat/vegetable dry food

Whew! Poor thing, I know he’s miserable. It must be a kin to having the chicken pox for three months out of the year….all you want to do is scratch but your parents won’t let you! Hopefully this new regiment will make him feel (and look) at least a little better!

 

 

 

We Are Lennox

This is Lennox. A beloved family dog seized and destroyed for a crime he couldn’t help. Yesterday, at 7am GMT, the Belfast City Council had Lennox put to sleep because he looked like a Pit Bull.  And sadly, Lennox’s story is not unique. Northern Ireland (as well as the rest of Great Britain) passed a Dangerous Dog Act in 1991 which banned all “pit bull type” dogs (except Staffordshire Terriers and Bull Terriers) from residing in their country. If these dogs are found they are taken from their families and put to sleep…period. No evaluations no nothing.

Lennox had a family. A little girl he lovingly played with and watched over. But he was taken from them, jailed for two years and ultimately executed.

This is BSL (Breed Specific Legislation) and this is what it does…cause pain. Pain to the dog who is confused as to why he is being taken away and put into a cold, hard kennel. Pain to the families who love these dogs that are members of their family. All because someone decided that all Pit Bulls are dangerous and a threat; and that even dogs that look like a Pit Bull must be dangerous as well. If governments were treating people in this manner it would be called racial genocide. But these aren’t people; they are dogs who rely on the people who love them to give them a voice and to stand up and say that this is wrong.

BSL is a worldwide problem. Holland only repealed their Dangerous Dog Act in 2008. Many counties in the US have similar legislation in tact. Denver is notoriously *in*famous for its anti-pit bull stance and Dade county in Florida will soon be voting wether they should repeal their BSL.

The silver lining to the tragedy of Lennox is that he has given a face to what BSL can do and how wrong it really is. Hopefully now the governments that have these unjust laws in place will take a look at Lennox’s story and see that it is wrong to judge a dog solely based on breed and looks…every dog deserves a chance at a happy life with a loving family.

As the proud mommy of an AmStaff (The purebred version of a Pittie; most dogs labeled Pit Bulls are actually mixed breeds but usually have some AmStaff in them.) I’ve seen my dog subject to discrimination all the time.  It was near impossible to find an airline to fly Rooney from The Netherlands to The US when we moved home, and not a week goes by that someone doesn’t throw him a sideways glance or go out of their way to move out of his reach. Little do those people know that he is a *for the most part* well behaved dog who loves nothing more than to meet new people. If my dog was dangerous I certainly wouldn’t allow him around my three month old, who he loves to snuggle with, or take him over to my Mom’s house where she has a 12 pound Westie, that likes to beat up on Rooney and show him who’s boss.

My favorite Pro Pittie website, Stubby Dog, has made a touching video tribute to Lennox. Take a minute to watch…and try not to cry. 

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/45592924″>For Lennox</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user11859114″>StubbyDog</a&gt; on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

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!

 

Three Months Old and An Ear Infection

As usual I am behind. Little Bear actually turned three months on Tuesday, but hey, at least I’m managing to get this written at all. Unlike two months which I started and is still in draft mode on my dashboard…oops!I still cannot believe that it’s been three months since we welcomed our Little Bear into this world. Where has the time gone? It’s so amazing how much he has changed and grown in such a short period of time.

In the past month he has:

-Discovered that his hands are attached to him…and they couldn’t be more delicious!    -Put on more than a few pounds…he’s a little chubba weighing in at 14 pounds!             -Started being able to recognize the difference between “new” people and his favorite people…for the moment, he is a serious Momma’s boy!                                                     -Begun to reach for toys and things that interest him, his favorite toy is his “kitty”; a light up cat that plays music.                                                                                              -Been trying to learn to roll over and sit up. He can’t do either yet, but wants to so badly and gets very frustrated that he can’t yet!

My favorite new development is that he has just started to laugh. It is so cute! It’s not a full on belly laugh yet but it’s a definite laugh that is interspersed with a few squeals of delight. One sure fire way to get one out of him is to play patty cake or sing the cookie monster song, he loves them!

Unfortunately, this month hasn’t been all happy moments. My Little Bear is sick for the very first time and it is breaking my heart. He has his first ear infection, and for a few days he was absolutely miserable (which means Hubby and I were miserable too). Frankly, I’m not sure who was more upset…me or Little Bear. Probably him but it truly hurt my heart to see him in even the tiniest amount of pain. All I could keep thinking was how much I wished that it was me with the ear infection instead of him. That I would do anything to make him not hurt anymore. It was such a powerful “Mother” emotion.

I always love him so much more than I will ever be able to express in words; but seeing my sweet baby boy in pain and feeling this overwhelming feeling of “I wish it was me instead” made me realize what a mother’s love truly is…selfless. It was the recognition of how I would do anything for this sweet little creature that I am more than blessed to have been given. That my first and most important job in this life is to protect and love him…above all else. Very powerful stuff. All from an ear infection.

Thankfully we caught it early and the little bugger is on its way out and Little Bear is, for the most part, back to his usual smiley happy self. Which makes his mommy very happy…and now I can get back to making sure the house doesn’t become one big pile of dirt and junk; because trying to get ANYTHING done when there’s a sick baby in the house is like trying to build an igloo in the desert…it’s just not gonna happen!

Happy Birthday America!

I hope everyone had a spectacular Fourth of July. For us the holiday gave a well needed excuse to go out and socialize with our long lost friends! Little Bear, Hubby, and myself spent the day at our friend’s house with them and another couple who also have a new baby.

It was so nice to just get out of the house and spend time with friends that it didn’t even matter that it was a holiday. Seems like forever since we’ve had any semblance of a social life. Of course, with another baby at the party most of the conversation (for the girls at least) centered around our children…how they’re developing, what labor was like…you know, typical party topics!

It was the first time Little Bear had ever seen another baby that was close to his age (she was five months old). He isn’t quite to the “other babies fascinate me” stage but she sure was! The little miss attempted to have several “baby stare downs” but my little man was much more interested in flirting with her mommy. Apparently, he likes the older ladies.  And when the other mommy took a turn holding him, he sure was a happy boy!

Little Bear and Little Miss were so adorable in their matching outfits! Everyone looked very patriotic. A good time was had by all, and we managed to be out of the house from 11 to 5pm before Little Bear decided that this party was over and he needed to go home NOW!!! Unfortunately we did not make it to see any fireworks, but Hubby and I were exhausted by the time they were starting to go off anyway. I have a feeling…due to someone’s early bed time…that it might actually be another year or two before we get to enjoy that particular part of the Fourth of July! There were snaps and blow guns at our friend’s house though, so Hubby did get to shoot something at least (ah, life in the South, where a day with friends isn’t complete without shooting a gun!).

I hope everyone had as good a day as we did!

Sweet Slumber

Little Bear slept through the night. Once. About a month ago. And only because he had spent the majority of the day before screaming his adorable little head off. 

Every now and again we have a *lucky* night where he will sleep for 5 hours in a row. Five hours that, and I say this with no tinge of jealousy whatsoever, are usually at the beginning of the night during Hubby’s shift (yes, I’m VERY lucky to have a husband who doesn’t mind being on baby watch from 9pm-2am. God knows I’m grateful and love him for it!). And I do mean now and again…certainly not on a reliable basis, and unfortunately for Hubby when he does wake up between 9 and 2 it usually takes about an hour for him to fall back asleep. Once 2am rolls around Mason is well aware that it’s “Mommy Time” and he plans on taking full advantage of that!

So it is that we have taken to spending a good portion of the wee morning hours sleeping in the rocking chair. Thank goodness my mom talked me into buying the recliner/rocker/over stuffed all around amazingly comfortable chair for the nursery because we sure do spend a lot of time in it!

It seems that once your child hits two + months the favorite question of friends and strangers alike is “How is he sleeping?” Meh. That’s my answer. A better question would be “How are WE sleeping?” because truthfully, as I’m sure most mothers can relate to, even when it’s not my shift I’m lying there in a state of half sleep justincase. We have both entered into a zombielike existence…and I’m pretty sure it’s starting to show; because everyone and their mother has some sort of advice on how to get him to sleep through the night.

I’ve heard everything from routine is key {obviously…and don’t you think we’re doing that?!?!} to “once he reaches 12 pounds he’ll magically start sleeping for longer periods” {uh, when I was a baby I didn’t sleep through the night until I was well over a year old and I’m sure I weighed more than 12 pounds; and dear God I hope that’s not genetic!}. In my opinion, as long as we keep up our routine, and once he’s old enough to not be exclusively fed quickly digested breast milk, he’ll start sleeping for longer periods. For now I’ll just remind myself that when he’s having a fussy day it means he’ll sleep better!

Night night, sleep tight Little Bear!