July 31, 2012

Unsolicited Advice

I dislike unsolicited advice. I cringe when someone gives me advice on how to take care of my child when I don't remember asking for it. I think we can all agree, unsolicited advice is annoying. Therefore, I will brief you that you may not want to read this post. Why? Because I'm going to give out free unsolicited advice. ;)

There are some things that I have finally uncovered in the last 9 months being a mom for the first time, that I never knew before and wish I had known prior to pulling all my hair out.

Here are tips that I find to be most valuable for new moms or mom-to-bes.
  1. Do not "google" every problem or question you have. This may seem like the obvious thing to do because in our day and time, that's what we all do. How do you make dinner from scratch? Google it. What year was our president born? Google it. My child has been _____, what does it mean? DO NOT GOOGLE IT. I made the mistake of googling every single thing that happened that seemed out of the norm for Noelle in the beginning and I was overwhelmed with 500 different responses, opinions and stories ranging from nothing to terror. Finally I learned to either ask one trusted friend or family member, or one trusted pediatrician. Even asking different pediatricians yield different answers, which is confusing, so go with one person that you feel gets your child. 
  2. Put the parenting books away. As many people know from reading my blog, I read a lot. Being pregnant was no exception. I read at least 6 books on pregnancy, although who knows why. I read "What to Expect When You are Expecting," "Mayo Clinic Pregnancy," "My Pregnancy Week to Week," "The Everything Book about Pregnancy, and some other books on childbirth as well as hypnobirthing. I was psychotic. I wanted to know everything about everything. I wanted to know every single outcome that I could have, every little symptom I could experience, so on and so on. So naturally when Noelle came I had at least 5 books on her first year and how to raise a baby. Here we are, 9 months later and I haven't read one dang book. Not even a chapter. This is similar to the google advice, too much information is just that, too much information. I've found it easier to just take care of Noelle with my maternal instincts, and the ones I lack, I just ask for help from people that I trust.
  3. If something doesn't work out, don't dwell, and just move on. This can apply to many things but for me it mostly relates to breastfeeding. I wanted to nurse for a year. That was my goal and plan. I wanted that bonding experience so badly as well as the convenience and money saving aspects of it. Well, it didn't happen. Noelle wouldn't latch on from birth and then I was thrown into a world of pumping every 2 hours around the clock to make not even enough milk. It was so depressing. I felt like a failure and was constantly guilty, plus I was so tired, and I was loosing tons of bonding time with Noelle. Instead of holding her and watching her sleep like I wanted to, I was in a room by myself pumping. Always the pumping. And since I never seemed to produce more, (even with taking fenugreek, drinking tons of water, etc. all the things people tell you to do) every drop that was spilled was a tragedy. I remember vividly spilling a whole bottle and crying. I made myself do this and be depressed and exhausted for one month before throwing the towel in. I don't have anything against breastfeeding. I wanted to do it. I wish I could have done it. But I couldn't, and I didn't. And that's that. I wish that I had known then what I know now; That it's not the end of the world, I still am a good mother, and my baby is healthy and growing even if on formula. I wish I hadn't let lactation consultants and nurses who didn't know me at the hospital make me feel terrible about not being able to get my baby to latch on, and I wish I could have the time back that I spent in that room pumping by myself when I could have been enjoying my daughter, and I wish I could have back that sleep I missed during the only days that Noelle ever slept peacefully before her colic started. I know so much better now. Next time, I will try to breastfeed again, but if it doesn't work, it doesn't work and that's okay.
  4. You're not a bad mom. Every family, every baby, every mother, and every situation is different so there's really no wrong as long as your baby is happy, healthy and safe. Some people co sleep with their kids, some of them put a baby in a separate room from the beginning, some people let their kids cry, some would never let their kids cry. The list goes on and on, and it's fine because there's nothing wrong with what you are doing as long as your kid is again, I repeat, happy, healthy and safe. A lot of the unsolicited advice that I got and resented was when people would tell me what I was doing was wrong, or they would tell me how they did it, or how it should be done. There's no wrong, and you're not a bad mom if you do it differently. If I had believed that from the beginning, I would have saved myself a lot of unnecessary guilt and heartache.
  5. Kids get sick and hurt. This is obvious but as a first time mom, or parent, it's hard to handle when your child is ill or falls and hits their head. The first time your child gets sick you end up freaking out and swearing at yourself for not sanitizing every single thing that goes in their mouth, or when they face plant on the floor you blame yourself for not being next to them 24/7 and cry with them. It's rather ridiculous really. Because as they get older you realize everyone is bound to get sick or hurt. It happens, they are going to survive. The day things got easier for me was the day I realized I wasn't the worst mom in the whole world when Noelle fell and scraped her face, because frankly if the amount of times that she gets hurt reflects how I am as a mother than I'm seriously out of luck! She's going to fall, she's going to bump her head, she's going to eat dirt, she's going to catch colds and flus. It's okay. Life goes on.
  6. You need breaks, frequently. I'm a guilt ridden person by nature. I feel guilty about everything all the time. I go on Facebook while my child entertains herself for 10 minutes...guilt! I watch something on TV of my choosing, not hers...guilt! I leave her one hour to go get a bite to eat with a girlfriend...guilt! I finally realized in order to stay sane I need my own time. I need to do things that I liked to do before Noelle was born and I need to make time for them. I used to feel bad if I didn't spend every moment with her, or if I didn't give her my whole undivided attention. I realized soon enough that she's not going to forget me or resent me if I take a break here or there. Now I make plans without her or Joey and have my own time, or I let her watch some Baby Einstein DVDs so I can catch up on emails and eat my lunch in peace. 
  7. If someone offers you help, don't question it, just take it. Enough of the "Oh are you sure??" or "Really?? You can??" or "Oh no...I couldn't ask you to do that..." Just say "HECK YES!" and take all the help you can get! This is self explanatory. I don't think I need to go into further depth. 
  8. Everything is okay. Or it will be okay. Trust yourself.
Okay. That is all for now. I just thought I'd be one of those annoying people who give out unasked for advice because sometimes, it's what you don't ask for that you need the most. 

Love Letters (3)

Noelle, Noelle, Noelle...


This morning at 5:30 am you wanted a bottle, which was normal, but after you drank it you just sat with me and played with my hair, which wasn't normal. You played with my hair gently, no pulling or death grip, and then you even scratched my scalp for me. Because you were being so dang cute, I gave you a big hug, and you put your head on my shoulder and stayed in my embrace for minutes after minutes as we rocked back and forth in the dark.  It was one of the sweetest moments of my entire life.


As you get older and older, I can tell that you are falling in love with me (and daddy) more, just like how I'm falling in love with you more each passing day. You finally see that I'm not just your caregiver, or the woman with food, I am your mommy! I hope you love me as much as I love you and I hope to have a close relationship with you always. No one has ever made me so happy as you and I promise to be the very best mommy I can be to you forever.


I know every parent loves their child to the moon and back, and I am no exception. My heart is overfilled with love for you and I want to smother you with hugs and kisses all day. I know your dad feels the same. I can see it in his eyes when he plays with you, and how content he looks when you snuggle in his lap and peacefully watch TV with him.


We love you, we love you, we love you.
I don't think we will ever get enough of you.


Love,
Mom & Dad

July 29, 2012

Slice of Shoreview '12

This weekend we were filled with fun things to keep us busy, including the Slice of Shoreview! Joey had never been there ever, and I hadn't been there since my high school days so it was fun to take Noelle to the event. Joey and I biked with Noelle there on Friday night when the Slice opened and enjoyed the live band on the main stage, walked through the games and then watched the fireworks. Needless to say she was out way past her bedtime, but she had a blast! 

Here's Noelle all ready for her bike ride at dusk to go watch the fireworks!


Wondering why we are at the playground in the dark!


Walking through the Slice with dad!

Then Saturday morning Noelle and I went back out there to watch the parade with our friends Dawn and Willow, and Heather and her son Gavin. The parade bored the babies a bit but it was super fun to see our friend Allie and her son Charlie in the parade for her mom's business, Lexington Floral! (I used to do the parade with her when we were in middle school! Oh how time flies!) After the parade we took the kids through the Slice, went on a couple rides, went to the petting zoo, ate some food, and enjoyed the Art and Craft show!

Heather and Gavin on Saturday morning! Ready for the parade!

Dawn and Willow sporting shades!

All ready for the parade to start!

"Whoa..." Noelle really liked the marching band.


Mommy and Noelle!



Willow warming up to Heather!

Moms.

Yep, we got a picture with the ice cream guy!

Gavin passed out after the parade!

Noelle ready to ride in the big car!

Vroom vroom!

On the merry go round!

Noelle was in shock for majority of the ride.

Here's a clip of us on the merry go round:

Noelle checking out the petting zoo! She was most interested in the chickens. Go figure.

Saying hi to the camel!


It was a nice little thing to do with Noelle this year and I can't wait to take her again next year when she can enjoy more rides and games!

July 28, 2012

A New School Year; A New Chapter

I'm happy to announce that this upcoming school year I will be taking my last class to complete my teaching requirements, at Saint Mary's! Woo hoo! After the final class in the program, and one more prerequisite class, I will be able to do my practicum in the Spring and student teach at an elementary school Fall of 2013! I would have already completed my classes and begun student teaching this fall but a little blessing got in my way...a little blessing named Noelle. :)

Speaking of school, I'm also happy to announce that I got my first teaching position as an early preschool teacher at a private preschool in Blaine! I'll be working full time again, and very thrilled to be rejoining the workforce doing something I really love as a profession. I'm so excited to be with the little ones, reading them stories, doing arts and crafts, etc.

Not only will I be teaching, but Noelle will be joining me at school, for she is enrolled in the Infant program! I'm still pretty nervous and kind of sad! I know that I've been blessed being home with her for the last 8.5 months and I know that I offered her everything I could at home, but it still breaks my heart just a little that I can't be home with her longer. Nothing has been more fulfilling for me than being a full time mom, complete with trips to the park, the zoo, indoor playgrounds, the library, visits to daddy's work, playdates, etc. Not every moment with Noelle has been blissful or easy, but it's all been worth it. I'm so sad to let this part of my life go.

Trying to overlook the sadness, I do have a lot to be thankful and excited for. Noelle and I will be starting on August 6th (Noelle's 9 month "birthday").  Here's to the next chapter of our lives!

July 18, 2012

Little Bee Goes to The Eagle's Nest!

This past Monday Noelle went on a little play date with Harrison to The Eagle's Nest in New Brighton. She loved it so much Joey and I ended up taking her there again tonight! Here are pictures from Monday, her first time there.

"Hmm...where has mother brought me to today?"

She was obsessed with this toy, although she has about 4 toys just like this at home!


Such a great little tree house! Joey wants to get one for her!

In the treehouse with Harrison!

She loves these things.



"Yes, I think I'll stand up right here, right now."


Sucha big girl.

"Wow, stairs that I'm allowed to climb?!"

"Hey, whose that cutie!?"

"OH it's ME!"

"Mom, I love this. Please take it off this wall and bring it home."


"Wow this ball pit is way bigger than the one at home!"



"I've fallen and I can't get up!"

In the firetruck with Harrison!

Vroom vroom!

"You want me to go through THAT?"

"Hi mom! I didn't know you were on the other side!"

"Okay Harrison! I'm goin' in!"

"Whoa..."

"Oooh..."

"I can do this. I can do this."

"Oh hi, how'd you get here?"

Here's a video of her going through the tunnel, well, sort of:

In the jumpy house.



She loved it and I think we will be making it a weekly routine in our household from now on!

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