Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Saw this HEREand had to repost.

If it weren’t for the kids …
We could get a full night’s sleep every night.
We wouldn’t catch every sniffle, flu, and sore throat in town.
We wouldn’t be plagued with nightmares about Teletubbies and purple dinosaurs.
We could reduce the laundry by at least fifty percent.
We could go to the bathroom without an audience.
We could do our grocery shopping in under an hour.
We could have adult phone conversations without five hundred interruptions.
We could leave the house without sixty pounds of just-in-case paraphernalia.
We could get through a whole day without saying, “Because I said so.”
We wouldn’t have hours of “child admin” from school, pediatricians, etc.
We could finish reading the book we started six months ago.
We could have those washboard abs … maybe.
We could sleep in.
We could drive a Mini Cooper instead of a minivan.
We would have more time for a social life, exercise, and R&R.
We would have more money for a social life, exercise, and R&R.
We wouldn’t need a contingency plan just to run a few errands.
We could plan our days around our own agendas instead of the kids’ activities.
We could avoid the cliquey circles of moms.
We wouldn’t have to explain why the sky is blue.
We wouldn’t have the chance to dance in the rain.
We might forget to smell the flowers.
We wouldn’t laugh as much.
We wouldn’t take as many naps.
We would take ourselves too seriously.
We would gloss over the wonder that is all around us.
We wouldn’t get to relive our favorite childhood adventures at storytime.
We would forget how to see the magic in a seashell.
We wouldn’t have the courage to sing out loud or somersault down the lawn.
We wouldn’t have the chance to get closer to our neighbors and community.
We wouldn’t get to rediscover the child inside us.
We wouldn’t get to see the world through new eyes in a way that makes us smile.

If it weren’t for the kids, our lives wouldn’t be as rich and full and challenging and rewarding and infuriating and blissful as they are. If it weren’t for the kids, none of it would mean a thing.
It’s official. We’ve survived a week of me being back at work. I think all three of us (Michael, Bria, and I) have each had to adjust to the new schedule. Me with being back at work, trying to recall all of the information I’ve been away from for three months. Michael with being with Bria, and Bria being with Michael. Roles have changed and schedules are forming and I think the longer we go the more “normal” it will feel. For now I can only speak for myself when I talk about how the changes have affected me, and that is pretty simple: I miss my family. Being away from Michael and Bria is hard but I’m taking the return to my job seriously. It’s not just a job anymore, it’s our income. It’s how we survive. And on the topic of my job: wish me luck because at this point next week (or maybe even sooner) I will know whether or not I will be offered a job promotion. My intercompany interview is this afternoon and although I feel as ready as I’ll ever be for the job, interviews are always so intimidating. I’m nervous but I’m ambitious too. I want this new job for my family. I want to give them more. So, again, please wish me luck/send me prayers/cross your fingers for me today around 11am.
I returned to work at the right/busy time. This week (Friday) we’ll be busy with our Annual Halloween Contest. I LOVE Halloween so I’m in the right place; my office takes the holiday seriously. We don’t just tack up paper spiders and wear witch hats. We don’t just put a bowl of candy on our desks. We don’t just wear plastic masks or send out Happy Halloween emails. No sir. We go ALL OUT. Each team meets for months prior, deciding on a good theme, and then the week of everyone transforms their work space into the designated theme. And by “transform” I mean ceilings are covered with black trash bags, cubicle walls are disguised with contact paper/aluminum foil/whathaveyou. And to top it off we compete – I won best costume last year for this beauty:

And my team won a pizza party for coming in 1st place. Last year we decorated our area in a space theme. We dressed up as aliens, astronauts, and I came as a robot (obviously). The year before we also came in 1st place; that year we decorated the work area as Captain Hook’s ship and we dressed up as characters from Peter Pan.
Check out the aluminum-wrapped cubicles.

Peter Pan! We all got together one Saturday and built the ship facade.

I miss my short hair :\
So as reigning 1st place title holders we feel the pressure to maintain our status this year. I would tell you what we’ve decided to decorate/dress up as but there are spies everywhere. You’ll have to come back later to see pics and to find out if we won again!
As for the personal life, Michael and I are planning our second date night for this upcoming Sunday. If money and time allowed for it we would dress up and go out to a party, and get shmammered like old times. However getting shmammered isn’t as appealing as it used to be, and money goes towards diapers/formula instead of costumes. So instead we’re gonna scare ourselves silly by going to see a scary movie (aka, I’ll be scared silly while Michael rolls his eyes at the attempt), and go out to eat (lesson learned from first date night: find a slightly higher-priced establishment to find a place less likely to be populated with children. We love our daughter but on date nights we want to be without child, not surrounded by them). I also need to spend some time this week making Bria’s costume. Although she won’t be going anywhere wearing it, it’s still Halloween! She needs to get dressed up, daggumit!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Most of my motherly musings don’t occur to me until the end of the day, when I’m rocking my sleepy baby to sleep. I’ll sit there, holding her close, watching her eyelids slowly droop until her lashes are lightly resting against her cheeks. In the dark, back and forth, and there goes my mind; pondering the day, and more. Most of the time I get excited about sharing these thoughts with you, blog, but more often than not the opportunity to actually type said thoughts out never arises.

Except for today. Here are some of my musings…

1.     Comfort food. The tem “comfort food” has an entirely different meaning to me now that I have a baby. When Brianna has passed the point of no return, and in full out freak out mode, nothing can comfort her but mother’s milk. No being held, not being walked around, not be shushed, not being patted, not sucking on a pacifier, not talked to. NOTHING will help but being cradled in my arms and having a bite to eat. Food (breast milk) is her only comfort in those terrible moments. And it makes me think about food that I consider a comfort as an adult; warm, hearty meals like lasagna, chicken noodle soup, and macaroni and cheese. A happiness washes over me when I eat these foods. And I wonder if the obesity problem plaguing America has anything to do with comfort food and being comforted by food as an infant. Sure, right now B is too young to tell me what upsets her so I do what I can to calm her. And for now if that means giving her boob juice then that is what I do. But eventually she will be weaned off breast milk and she’ll begin to eat solids. In some people’s lifeline, do their parents allow them treats when they are upset – continuing the self soothing with food? Which then becomes their key to being happy? I hate to correlate comfort food with obesity, and with babies no less, but it’s the sad truth that comfort food = calories. I hope little B enjoys her comfort food now because I will try my darndest to feed her the healthiest meals possible (and tastiest).

2.     Being rocked to sleep. While watching my little baby slowly drift off to sleep, I can also feel her body change from aware and awake, to oblivious, comfortable, and dreaming. When she is ultimately limp against my body I know she is ready to be put in her crib but sometimes I hold her a little bit longer because I just love looking upon her little face. And tonight I thought about how comfortable she looked, and how comfortable it must be to have someone cradle you. Imagine laying down in a cushy, warm, wonderful-smelling, temperpedic, form-fitting bed that sways in a comforting motion. It sounds like heaven to me. I just hope that God can cradle and rock me to sleep one day when I’m heaven (yes, I realize that we probably won’t sleep in heaven… although I do wish we would. Falling to sleep, dreaming, being asleep, and waking up after a good restful sleep is just beautiful).

3.    Baby brain research. I wonder if there has been some sort of baby brain research done? Has anyone ever monitored the brain activity in newborns as they learn? As they sleep? If someone has done this then they need to have a camera crew record it, have Tom Hanks narrate it, and they need to show the finished show on Discovery Health because I’d totally watch it. Bria smiles in her sleep and she also has freaked out in her sleep for short periods of time (5 seconds-ish). Watching her learn is amazing and sometimes I feel like I am having a conversation with her. So they say not to indulge too much in “baby talk” (goo goo, gaga), but honestly sometimes I do it. Most of the time I talk to her normally but sometimes I let myself slip into her language. I mimick her sounds and elongated vowels and she looks at me with wide eyes and curious smiles. This morning we went back and forth in baby language for a long time; and it was fun! I don’t do this all the time, but I see nothing wrong with doing it occasionally. I wonder what is going thru her mind when I do this; or when I speak to her normally.

4.     Women who kill their children. I know, sick and sad. But hear me out. I wonder if those women have some sort of hormone deficiency. More specifically a deficiency of oxytocin. Something MUST be off balance because I can’t understand how a mother could kill her child; it seems impossible to me. No matter how frantic Brianna cries or how ever much sleep I don’t get, I don’t ever get NEAR understanding those mothers. Not even close. Someone should interview women who have either killed their children or who have purposefully caused their children harm to see if they breastfed their babies. Not that bottle-fed babies are from mothers who are any less loving than breastfeeding mothers; not my point at all. I know for some moms it is impossible to breastfeed, and for others its a personal choice not to. Heck, my B will soon be transitioned to bottle and I can't see that changing how I feel about her at all! But... I’d be interested to know what the statistics were. It would also be interesting to know if those ladies had a dip in their oxytocin levels, or if they had some sort of pituitary gland malfunction.

“The endocrine system is extremely complex and involves many different kinds of hormones, each with its particular influence on the baby’s body, but there is one that deserves a special mention. This is the hormone called oxytocin, sometimes referred to as the “bonding hormones” or, more romantically, the “hormone of love.” It is made in the hypothalamus and released into the blood system via the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland.

When we speak of the “chemistry” between two young lovers, oxytocin is the chemical in quesiton. When couples who describe themselves as “madly in love” are tested, they are found to have higher than normal levels of oxytocin. During orgasm there is a sudden burst of oxytocin, revealing that these peak moments of sexual pleasure also function as powerful bonding experiences. Making love literally makes love. And a similar process occurs between a mother and her baby.

As a woman gives birth, her endocrine system releases oxytocin, preparing her chemically to feel loving toward the tiny being she is about to hold in her arms. Some of the oxytocin crosses the placenta and also helps to reduce the stress levels of the baby after the painful pressures of birth. Later, breast-feeding causes a further release of oxytocin, creating relaxation and feelings of emotional attachment.

Interestingly, with bottle-fed babies there is a hormonal difference between those who are fed rather mechanically, and those who are given the bottle while at the same time being closely cuddled by the parent. The cuddled infants show higher levels of oxytocin, revealing that the hormone’s release in the baby can be stimulated simply by loving contact.

It follows from this that, during the early days of infancy, the more intimate contact there is, the stronger will be the emotional attachment, thanks to the high levels ofoxytocin that are being maintained. Furthermore, the baby that experiences prolonged elevated levels of this hormone during the earliest days will also enjoy a great reduction in stress-hormone responses. This can have a lasting effect, helping to create a secure adult later in life.”

--Amazing Baby by Desmond Morris

And that is the end of my musings for tonight. Phew… glad I got that out. J

Is it weird that one reason I’m looking forward to going back to work is to spend my break time writing blogs? I have so many mom thoughts going thru my mind throughout the day, and so many things I want to get down on digital-paper so that B can read it all later… but no time to actually make the transition from mind to keyboard.

So much is happening and so much needs to happen before I go back to work in 9 days. At that point we’ll see if I actually get more time to share my thoughts and events in our lives. Until then just know that being a mom is great! I wouldn’t change in for the world. I love our life and am still looking forward to improving it as we go.

B at 2 months and 2 weeks old!