When I decided to write a blog I had no idea what I would eventually write about. All I knew is that I wanted to document our life and my random musings so I could share them with interested friends and family. The title of the blog came about when I realized that just like any other person in my life loving Diego was not something that happened instantaneously for me. That is not to say I did not love him, but falling in love with him is something I do a little more each day. When I found out I was pregnant I was excited and scared mostly for the changes I would be undergoing. As the pregnancy progressed my fears and worries centered mostly on my baby.
I knew I cared for him and would do anything to ensure his well being but this was all in the abstract. Once I had my twenty week ultrasound my feelings became much stronger. I knew there was a viable, perfectly healthy boy inside me. I knew his name. This changed everything for me and made it all much more real.
I remember staying up at night feeling him move around, kick and bounce on my bladder. He sent me to the bathroom more times that I was able to count. I seriously considered donning an adult diaper just so I didn’t have to get up to go to the bathroom. My physical discomfort was great and I would say I was pushed to my limit. I can’t really describe my mental state during my pregnancy. It was definitely a mixture of awe and fear with a sprinkling of happiness and intense malaise. There was a lot going on in my head.
When he was born I was relieved to have been able to carry him for as long as I did and to this day I have never felt relief like I did when I heard his first cries. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I saw him. He was five weeks early and so I knew he would probably be a little small and he was. He was a tiny hairy little thing. His lanugo hadn’t had time to fall off and he had a full head of hair. I saw him and I knew he was mine. I felt a sense of ownership and a duty to protect and care for him.
Not having him room with me delayed our bonding and I was only able to see him for a couple hours each day as he was in the NICU. I didn’t feel like a mother. I knew that I was but it all seemed to foreign and far removed from me. I think that perhaps had things been different I wouldn’t have felt that way.
I can’t remember when it all finally clicked for me and I started to really feel the love that I now have for him. It has evolved. He is more interactive now, he shows me affection everyday. I always assumed that loving a child was instinctual and immediate. Part of it is but there is another part that develops and grows along with the child.
These are my chronicles of that journey as each day I fall in love with Diego a little more.
I often think about what I will do once I am ready to rejoin the workforce. I by no means miss the mundane office job I had but I do miss the paycheck. Extra money is always nice to have. I have read various articles that cite the difficulties faced by women who after a period away from their careers find it difficult or impossible to transition back in. Partly because they’re out of touch and not up to date. In one article the author cautioned women to remain as involved as possible in order to stay on top of things within their careers.
In her article Grown and Flown: Why I regret Being a Stay-at-Home Mom Lisa Endlich Heffernan details the reasons she regrets her decision to stay home with her children. I think her writeup is interesting but I by no means sympathise with her. It’s too early for me to tell how I will feel about my decision to stay home for a few years but I highly doubt I will regret it. I think it’s very sad that people don’t put any value in stay at home parents. I think it’s a valid choice. I’m not going to say that it provides the best environment and will produce the best kids but it’s certainly not damaging.
I believe that if you don’t value yourself and what you do neither will your children. I never once thought that my mom did nothing. I always had hot meals, clean clothes and a nice home to come back to. I had a person ready and willing to drive me all over town. I had a safe, supervised place to bring friends after school. Even then I knew that having a parent who was able to stay home was a luxury. I still feel that it’s a luxury which is why I think it’s abominable to ever shame parents for working, particularly women.
Dr. Claire McCarthy wrote this piece on the whole stay-at-home mom versus working mom debate that we all seem to focus on. I agree with her. There shouldn’t be a comparison. I am all for discussing the pros and cons of each but to compare the two and declare one superior to the other is short sighted and counterproductive in my opinion. The comment sections of both articles I’ve linked to are interesting and present many points of view. As usual the potential for rude commentary is abused by some.
I realize as I write this post that this is a topic I have come back to often. Sometimes it’s an article or a sanctimonious cretin that spurs me to once again consider the topic. This time I am brought to consider it for happier reasons. My mom has recently gone back to school. I am proud of her for going after what she wants. I am also immensely happy for her. Call me crazy but I believe in living life in whatever way makes you happy. We are never too old to go back to school and change our lives. We are always able to reinvent ourselves and start over.
Going back to school is possibly one of the things I am most excited about. I look forward to getting to the point where I am ready to make my next move.
I downloaded the Tumblr app today and it’s nice to have it on my phone. This will likely mean random post binges until the novelty wears off. I feel as though today was an eventful day emotionally. I feel a little on edge and I’m not sure why. I feel as though my mind is heavy with unresolved things and unexpressed thoughts. The last few days have been a little drama heavy in my cyber world and now that I’ve distanced myself from the responsible party I feel a lot better.
Playground scuffles aren’t just a thing of the past. It’s interesting to see the craziness that ensues among so-called adults. Things like this invariably turn my thoughts towards Diego and what conflicts he will face. I don’t recall my parents intervening much during my childhood unless it was something grave but I was always welcome to discuss anything with them. As I got older I realized that by talking about things my mind processed them and they didn’t seem that dire anymore. Sometimes though it’s through those conversations with your support group that you find the courage you need to stand up for yourself.
I’ve often said that I hope to teach Diego how to think instead of what to think. Teaching a child to think and believe as you do isn’t education. It’s indoctrination. I don’t believe in it as it doesn’t serve a purpose in my opinion.
I’m not sure why I spend so much time thinking about bridges I don’t yet need to cross. I suppose I can’t help but think ahead and I’m constantly encouraged to do so by what I see on social media.
It’s past midnight and I had just written a blog post but when I hit publish it disappeared and I’ve no idea where it went. I am frustrated and I don’t feel like trying to recall everything I wrote so I will share some pictures instead.
It’s been a fun last few weeks around here. Diego has moved onto eating actual meals consisting of whatever I’ve made for dinner. I run it through the Baby Bullet for him and he eats it right up. There hasn’t been any food so far that he’s refused. At ten months old he still has no teeth. There seems to be some action brewing on his lower gums but nothing has broken through yet.
I’ve introduced some finger foods such as Cheerios and these cereal puffs that dissolve in his mouth. The Cheerios have been fine but because he doesn’t have any teeth I worry about him choking on them. He has a penchant for trying to shove a many as he can in his mouth and they don’t dissolve as well as the Gerber puffs.
I tried making Kale the other day. It’s an ok flavor but this batch was not very good and I think I didn’t rinse the leaves well enough because I found some grit in the cooking liquid which prompted me to throw it out. I think next time I will rinse it like I do leeks. I will immerse the leaves in water and shake them around then leave the sediment to settle to the bottom of the bowl before removing the leaves with tongs.
Today I made a berry compote which I had over plain greek yogurt. I used frozen strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries and simmered those with a little water, sugar and lemon juice. I didn’t make it too sweet because I didn’t want to ruin an otherwise healthy breakfast.
I’ve sort of fallen into a rut baby food wise and we are currently purchasing some jarred food that we keep on hand mostly for breakfast. Today I plan to make a batch of homemade food that should last me through the week. It is actually a little hard to keep up with the homemade baby food although this is obviously due to my not being organized or disciplined. I’m trying to do better and I honestly don’t have much by the way of a reason. As always, I just have excuses.
I have never claimed or strived to be perfect. I struggle every single day. I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that for first time parents the first year can be amongst the hardest. There will be struggles and hardships throughout but when it comes to caring for a baby ‘hand on’ is the best teacher there is and the first year feels like a bootcamp of sorts. My drill sergeant cries a lot.
There are so many things I didn’t know until Diego actually arrived and I am a perpetually curious person so I did a lot of reading and talking in preparation for his arrival. Nine months in I am completely comfortable going out on my own with him. I remember the first couple of months when I doubted myself and felt incredibly nervous to be on my own with him while out and about.
After having my mom here for a month right after Diego was born I was terrified of spending the day alone with him. What if I couldn’t get him to stop crying? What if something happened that I didn’t know how to deal with? What if, what IF? None of my fears came to fruition and I suspect for most parents few do. However that first morning when my husband left for work and I stayed completely alone with this small person under my care I was overwhelmed. The great thing about babies is that they don’t give you much time to dwell on what could happen, they keep you engaged, they keep you doing.
There is a side of the coin I find a lot of people don’t mention and I suspect it isn’t because they don’t feel it but because admitting to it can be ill received by others. Parental frustration is a real thing. It rears its ugly head when you’re at your lowest. When you’re hungry, sleep deprived and in need of a shower but your little one refuses to settle down to sleep. I have been there more than I can count. I feel myself getting frustrated and angry. Angry at everything and everyone whose name I can recall. I hate feeling that way but when I do I am quick to catch myself and try to regroup. Flying off the handle has resulted in child abuse I am sure. Nothing excuses despicable acts against children but I can certainly see how a parent at his or her wits end can snap. It is for this reason that as parents it is important to be self aware and monitor ourselves. When I feel frustrated I have never felt anger towards Diego but I have felt anger. Anger at not being able to sleep and how I am where I am by my own doing etc.
My pity parties get set up really quick and they can last for hours. When I am alone and having an off day I simply walk away when the going gets rough. I usually change Diego’s diaper, sit him in his crib with a few toys and walk away. I sometimes put in my headphones and listen to a song or two before going back in to check on him. This gives me time to think, to regroup and to formulate a plan of attack.
Night time is a little trickier but the same principle applies. Wrestling a baby to bed can be very hard, especially when they are fighting sleep. Diego has taken to doing this as of late and it is not fun. Thankfully my husband is home when this goes down and between the two of us we have preserved some semblance of sanity. We have a sound machine with a projector and night light. Sadly this does not magically knock Diego out upon activation but it does create a soothing atmosphere that we can take with us when we travel.
I know there are people out there who probably have a waa-aambulance on their way to my house because seriously who talks about this stuff? Being a parent is something I chose to do and it is as difficult as it is fun and lovely. Just because we chose something doesn’t mean it’s all rainbows and butterflies, right? I chose to go to university and that was fun, too. It was also hard. Everything we choose to do, as much as we love it does have its challenges. Whether it’s a job, school or volunteer work. The things that fulfill us do so precisely because they force us to dig deeper, work harder, and become better.