In constant pursuit of coffee and Christ

Sunday, November 23, 2014

What I've Learned From My 1 Year Old

A dear friend messaged me a few weeks back saying she had a bag of coffee for me, "the coffee fairy stopped by and there is more than I can drink". I have the best friends. Today I'm drinking Dunkin' Doughnuts Original Blend. After weeks of being sick and coffee tasting horrible, I warmly welcome this glorious substance back into my life.

2.5 pounds of the good stuff

I cannot begin to describe to you the joy our son has added to our lives. While not every moment has been pleasant, every single instance has been sweetened by his being ours to love. To say that I am blessed to be his momma is a severe understatement. I am honored. I am thrilled. I am overwhelmingly, completely, and unashamedly in love with and grateful for this incredible little blond by who is currently standing beside me watching his movie.

There are so many things my precious little boy has taught me over these past, now, almost fourteen months. Here are some of my favorites.

* Cloth diapers aren't scary.
Look up cloth diapers and you will find a plethora of options. Everything from the originals that are held together by pins, to the more modern versions that include velcro/snaps/buttons... After asking several other cloth diapering mommies we finally settled on a brand and dove in. Of course, after you've decided to go the cloth route, and have determined what sort and brand is right for you, comes learning how to care for the diapers. Depending on which route you choose, they're quite the upfront investment, though the overall savings are absolutely worth it. My methods may not work for everyone but here is what I have learned being a cloth diaper toting momma:
1. You don't have to purchase specific detergent manufactured and marketed for cloth diapers. What you do need is a fragrance free, color free, and bleach free detergent. Yep, that's it. Diapers come out perfectly clean, my son has never had a diaper rash, and we aren't breaking the bank on laundry detergent. Another perk, we don't have to buy multiple kinds of detergent, one bottle for everyone.
2. Dirty diapers do not need to be soaked. I've found it much easier if you don't soak them! When baby is exclusively breastfed there is no need to soak even the dirty diapers, just throw them in and be amazed when everything comes out looking and smelling clean. Once your precious little stinker starts into solids the game changes. I tried the soaking method for months and found it, disgusting. The last thing I want to deal with is more poo! For goodness sake. So, one day I decided enough was enough, and I didn't soak the dirty diapers. What did I do? I let them sit for a few hours so the poo would dry enough to be scraped off with toilet paper and then thrown into the toilet. Did this work? YES. Is this a gazillion times nicer than soaking and scrubbing poo diapers? YES, YES. My life changed for the better after this discovery.

*Veggie Tales are a gift straight from the hand of God.
Now, before you go judging me for allowing my young son TV time, let me assure you, he is an insanely active little boy and thirty minutes of TV time here and there will not hurt him. There are so many reasons why I love Veggie Tales, besides the fact his attention is held so well:  they are colorful, educational, always positive, and teach important life lessons along with scripture. I love watching him clap along to Silly Songs with Larry, or dancing to the theme song. Several months ago my poor little guy was struggling with teething. Every day he would wake between one and two in the morning with a low grade fever, and cry until we sat together on the couch to watch Jonah - over, and over, and over again. This was our routine for a solid week. SO much better than Barney!

*No amount of love can shield my hate of snot and drool.
Years ago we were visiting with a very dear friend who owns a St. Bernard. As I'm sure you're aware, this particular breed is known for the immense amount of slobber they produce. As we all sit, quietly watching our movie, the very loving, very drooling dog came and rested his chin on my lap. For a moment I didn't realize what exactly had happened, then he lifted his head... as strings of thick slobbery drool ran between my lap and his mouth. Of course I handled the situation as any sane, dog loving, adult would and began gagging, wriggling, and making ultrasonic high pitched sounds indicating my disapproval. My reaction when my drooling, runny nosed, perfect child comes and slimes me... pretty much the same.

*"Sleep when baby sleeps" - Lies! All lies!
For the first few weeks this may ring true, but we soon find out just how deceptive this phrase is. Nappy time is my time. For the last several months I have been given one, two hour period in which to be productive. Yes, I can accomplish things while he is awake. At this very moment he is standing on my foot while hanging from my arm. I know, I'm impressed too. There are tasks much more efficiently conquered while he is napping, things like baking, anything regarding bleach (I will not use any heavy cleaning product around him due to fumes), yoga...  Could I nap while he naps? Of course! I'm sleepy! But, I am so much happier having used those most valuable minutes being productive. Bills are easier to pay when I'm not constantly instructing my son not to slam a cupboard door or to stop trying to tickle the cat (who is, as far as we can tell, not a fan of tickling). Even if he were being a complete angel, odds are he is talking my ear off or wanting to have a tickle fight. These are things I never want him to feel are unacceptable or unappreciated. So while baby sleeps, momma gets busy.

*Green beans. He loves them! He hates them! Sydney will eat them!
When the time came to introduce "real food" we veered away from the norm and started with green beans. I'm sure there is someone out there with a green bean allergy, but I've never heard of them so, I figured this was a safe starting food. Not only was he not allergic (surprise!) but he really loved them. He would gobble them down, no problem. Now that he is big enough to handle the real deal we've had a very different outcome. Our faithful pup, Sydney, is extremely helpful when it comes to cleaning up. Barrett has figured out that food doesn't even have to hit the floor for her to "clean up" after him. Every time we have green beans, unless they are hidden in another food, he will grab one, lean as far over in his chair as possible, and wiggle his hand to a anxiously awaiting Sydney. This is, of course, equal amounts of adorable and frustrating. What's the lesson here? Kids will be kids. This seems like some sort of right of passage that he has a food he sneaks to the dog. For now I will let it slide... but only for now.

I did not keep a pregnancy journal and, while there are several things I wish to erase from my memory regarding those first 14 weeks, I wish I had. What I have been doing is keeping a journal of precious memories and events. While this is mostly for my benefit there is part of me that hopes he and his wife will want to sit down one day and read through all my little memories of his life. One of my latest entries: "you were talking to your daddy on speaker phone tonight. When I asked you to tell daddy you love him you leaned forward and kissed the phone. You are the most precious thing in this world". I'm also writing of how Ben interacts with him, memories that Barrett may be too young to create but will know happened because of my scribbles. Someday when I'm 80 years old and my children are writing their own memories I will be able to go through my journal and re-live that moment. I'm sure by the time all is said and done, I will have several journals full of memories I want to keep alive forever.

*Boy's got reach
The routine when cleaning his room and putting clothes away is that Bear plays with his blocks while mommy works. I think he actually gets excited to see me grab his laundry basket because he knows what we are about to do. A few weeks ago I had turned my back for a few seconds to hang his pajamas in the closet. When I turned around he was holding the dish of his Scentsy warmer, wax dripped all down his arm. The warmer had been on the second highest shelf in his room, high enough that I didn't think he could reach it. Thank God for how these warmers are designed! Scentsy wax does not warm to more than 2 degrees higher than our body temp, it never gets warm enough to burn you, and is food grade so if he were to have ingested any of it he would be completely safe. I cleaned him up, looked for any signs of skin irritation (he wasn't even red) and moved his warmer to the highest shelf. I'm still amazed that he was able to reach the warmer at all. Never again will I underestimate the reach of my insanely curious, fearless, little boy.

*Cuddle, all the time
Everyone is always saying how quickly kids grown up, and they aren't joking. My once perfectly snugly little boy now wants to be put down to play, as he should, which means that our cuddle time has been severely cut back. Once upon a time I could cuddle and snuggle him all day if I chose to, and I did. Time really does fly, especially as a parent. Not only has snuggle time been reduced but it's been replaced with stair climbing, ball throwing, couch conquering, and literally running around the house. I love watching him grow up. I love his energy, his giggles, the way he loves to have tickle fights. Part of me wishes he would have stayed that tiny baby a lot longer tho. Snuggle your baby, mush all over them. When choosing between snuggle time and dishes always, always, always, choose snuggle time. They really do grow up too quickly.

*I can totally do this... with a little help from my friends.
I will not be perfect. I will not remember everything I have read or everything I have been told. I will grow impatient, weary. There will be days when I want a vacation from my child, knowing that the moment I step foot out of the house I will miss him terribly. I will beat myself up over things that are irrelevant in the end. I will feel confident in my ability only to have that confidence slapped across my face when I realize I could have handled a situation better. Support groups, whether via social media, family, friends, etc. are vital to my confidence and sanity. Google is a great tool, but, GASP! there are things you simply cannot find easily, if at all. Nurse lines may have hours but, as all you mommies I'm sure will agree, we do not. When I have a question at four in the morning or am feeling overwhelmed at nine in the evening I have someone to go to. I have surrounded myself with other mommies, those who have bravely gone before me and are full of useful advice and council. Never be afraid to ask a fellow mommy for support. Don't be afraid to make or admit to a mistake. Every mommy is different because every child is different. Learn from each other. Support each other. You'll be a better mommy for it. I know I have been.

What have you learned from your little one?

Barrett just hours old
Our little pirate is 1 year old!

Eating his pears, yesterday morning