Category Archives: Baby McK

Momom, help. #SOL17

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“Momom, help,” my daughter says after struggling to open her marker.

“Momom, help,” she says, pulling the chair away from her table.

“Momom, help,” as her hands reach for the coloring book she has left on the floor.

“Momom, help.”  The top of the marker has come off of the back of the marker and this cannot be allowed to stand.

“Momom, help,” as she decides she no longer wants to color that page but this one.

“Momom, help,” gesturing to the Thin Mint her father gave her that she left on the floor.  (Thin Mints are the worst cookie to give a toddler.  Chocolate EVERYWHERE.)

I have been home for less than 20 minutes, and I have heard “Momom, help” over two dozen times.  But help I do.  Because the other day I asked if she need help getting off the couch.

“No no,” she replied, shimmying backwards until her feet landed on the ground and bounding away.

So I help for as long as she’ll let me.

 

This post is part of the Slice of Life writing challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers. You can find out more about the challenge here!
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Family #SOL17

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We had a packed house today.  My sister-in-law and her wife brought their daughter to play with Baby McK.  To be fair, there’s not a lot of “playing” a 17 month old can do with a 7 week old.  But she didn’t mind.  My daughter has not been able to stop talking about her new baby cousin.  She says her name, Kaelyn, more often than any other word some days (even more than Elmo, which is saying a LOT).

My brother-in-law decided to capitalize on the proximity of his sister and niece by coming over too.  My sister came over because I left my phone at a party last night and she was returning it.

My daughter was thrilled.  All of her favorite people in one place.  She popped from loved one to loved one, spending more time with the baby than anyone else.  Tonight, as I put her to bed, she recounted her day, saying, “Night night” to everyone she saw today.

It was a long day and I didn’t get to accomplish anything I wanted to accomplish.  But it was nice to be surrounded by family; I was reminded how lucky we are that we can see each other so regularly.

This post is part of the Slice of Life writing challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers. You can find out more about the challenge here!

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Dance Party #SOL17

My daughter is silly.  I wish she was snuggly.  I wish she was a kid who wanted to crawl in my lap and sit together, showering each other with kisses and hugs.  But she’s not.  She’s a kid who will kiss every stuffed animal you hand her, but who will run away giggling when her mother or father puckers up.  She is a kid who will pull me into her tent (“Momom.  Tent.”) to hide from Dad, breaking into hysterics as he pretends to look for us.

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My silly girl, laughing with a mouth full of scrambled eggs.

I was a silly kid.  I was a silly adolescent.  I was a silly young adult.  But somewhere between freshman year of high school and freshman year of college I lost a little of that silliness.  It still came out from time to time (a joke, a funny face), but self-consciousness about peers and boys and my body took over.  Then came college and I was serious, a competitor, cool.  And the silliness was almost all gone.

My husband brings out my silliness.  He is a goofball to say the least.  But even though I am silly with him, I am often reserved.  I don’t skip or jump or play games.  I write lists; I make plans; I stand with both feet firmly on the ground.

I come from a silly family.  I have very clear memories of my father playing The Little Mermaid soundtrack on a portable tape player and dancing through the lobby of our apartment building.  He made up voices on our way to school to make us giggle and wake us up (Olly and Dr. Ishkabibble, although he claims he does not remember this).  I know I want to be that silly mom for my daughter; I don’t want her laughs to only come with Dad.

So tonight as I was making her dinner and she colored in her high chair I put on a Disney Spotify playlist.  I found myself dancing as I flipped her scrambled eggs (my girl LOVES scrambled eggs.  Yuck.) when all of a sudden a heard a giggle.  I turned and she was looking at me, marker poised over her paper, giggling.

“What are you laughing at, silly girl?”  I asked.  She reached her hand out for mine.  I walked over to her and she began to swing my hand back and forth, giggling.  She wanted to dance.

So I turned the scrambled eggs off.  They needed to cool anyway.  And I danced.  I jumped and I skipped and I did my best Tina Turner as I sang to Disney classics (and not so classics.  But that’s another story.).  And my girl laughed and laughed.  After dinner we continued our dance party, this time with her joining me in my sweet moves until my husband came home.  As he walked in, we were both giggling uproariously, as we jumped chasing each other around the island in our kitchen.  He joined in and I got to take a deep breath.  My silly stamina isn’t quite where it should be, but I’m getting there.

This post is part of the Slice of Life writing challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers.  You can find out more about the challenge here!

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Mornings #SOL17

It’s the March Slice of Life Challenge again!  Astute readers may notice that I have not posted on this blog since . . . the last March Slice of Life Challenge.  But I so enjoyed the Slice of Life Challenge last year, so I’m trying again!

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One of my New Years goals (I won’t say resolution) was to use my mornings better.  To get up earlier and alternate between running and working on my dissertation.  But I can count on one hand the number of mornings I have woken up before the very last minute necessary.

Still, I know that I need to use my mornings better.  I’m in a new position this year, and it demands a lot more hours at school than my life as a classroom teacher did.  I don’t usually get home before 5:00.  I have a beautiful 16 month old daughter (17 months tomorrow!); when I come home from work, while my daughter is still awake, I do not do work or anything but be present with her. She takes my hand the moment I walk in the door, sometimes before I can even take my heels off!  We walk her toy dog and go on fake picnics and color (purple and blue are her favorites, but I think that’s because those are the colors she can say), but I do not run and I do not work on my dissertation.  This was a promise I made myself when I finished my maternity leave and I’ve stuck to it so far; I only have a few hours of uninterrupted time a day with her, so I don’t waste them.  My daughter is usually asleep by 8:00.  I try my hardest to have dinner with her, but sometimes that just doesn’t happen.  Exhaustion hits some time between 10 and 10:30.  So I really only have a few hours to myself if I’m not using my mornings well.

This morning I was so sure I was going to get some “me time.”  I woke up early after falling asleep on the couch at 9:00 (it’s been a long week already!), and I was excited to get my workout clothes on for the first morning almost all year.  It wasn’t as early as I wanted to get up (I may have hit the snooze button a few times) but it was early enough to get a few miles in.  That’s when I heard it.  Not crying; she almost never cries in the morning.  The sweet babble of my girl talking to Cookie Monster in her crib.  I was torn: go get her and enjoy some morning snuggles before I had to start getting ready for work or head down to the treadmill.

In the end I chose the snuggles.  I’m going to be able to run for the rest of my life (hopefully!).  I know I don’t have many more mornings of snuggles and Sesame Street, so this morning I chose to indulge in them while I can.

This post is part of the Slice of Life writing challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers.  You can find out more about the challenge here!

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Routines

I am a creature of habit.  I like to have structure to my days and order to my plans.  I realized today that my daughter is the same way.

She was out of her routine for three days in a row.  She stayed at my parents’ house on Friday into Saturday, so she was out of her routine.  Yesterday we celebrated Easter twice, almost 200 miles apart, so she was out of her routine.  Today she was home, and in her routine.  And she was a lunatic.

As I described to my mother, “It’s like she’s just been emitting a steady whine all day.”  She cried, which she never does, and all she wanted to do was snuggle.  I liked the snuggling part, not so much the crying.  My girl was clearly tired, and she’s teething, and she’s going through a Wonder Week and a growth spurt.  All of these conspired to make one cranky girl.

My husband, who is in serious contention for Father of the Year, bore the brunt of her crank today.  I got a pedicure and went shopping with some friends and he held down the fort.  Her mood improved as the day went on, and by bedtime she was our smiley girl again.  I know she might be a little off again tomorrow, but I also know that being home and staying in her routine will help her get back on her feet.  I knew I loved routines, I just didn’t realize I’d passed that love on to my girl!

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Giving

It is so easy to lose oneself in taking care of others.  It is not easy to take care of others.  It is not easy to lose oneself.  But it is easy to lose oneself in taking care of others.

I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining, because I’m not.  I didn’t even particularly care for others all that much today–I attended a workshop for part of the day, then ran errands while my mother-in-law watched the baby.  My husband and I didn’t even have dinner together (he’s watching March Madness with friends, I’m eating Oreos on the couch).

But maybe it was the NOT caring for people today that made me realize how easy it is to get caught up in it.  I saw a picture on Instagram (of all places) about taking a Saturday morning yoga class and I thought, My God, how wonderful it would be to wake up on Saturday morning and take a yoga class.  But that’s just not how my life works right now.  My husband has baseball practice in the morning and is following that up with helping students at the library; the earliest I could get to yoga is 2:00 but we have a family birthday dinner tomorrow night that I still need to finish preparing for.  Yoga is not in my cards tomorrow. That doesn’t mean it’s never in my cards, but I can’t help but think about how . . . lost I can get when I spend my days taking care of others.  How I can get so caught up in caring for others that I don’t think about taking care of myself.

And it’s not like I’m being FORCED to care for others.  (Well, maybe my daughter is forcing me to take care of her as much as a 5 1/2 month old can force anything.)  I choose to do it.  Do I do it to avoid taking care of myself?  Maybe.  But reflecting on how out of reach that yoga class is made me think about self care.  I don’t think I do enough of it.  Writing is a form of self care, and I’ve made time for that this month.  So is reading.  So is running.  I have to remember as I race around taking care of others (make this dinner buy that present write those thank yous) that I’m a person who needs taking care of too.

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Sleep

You don’t know how important sleep is until you’re not getting it.  I’m a new mother, and so when I tell most people I’ve been tired, really tired, bone-achingly tired lately, they assume it’s because the baby isn’t sleeping.  They give me tips, and tricks, and tried and true tactics to help her sleep through the night.  But here’s the thing: She sleeps like a rock, longer and longer every night.  Last night she went down at 7:00 and woke begrudgingly at 6:45. Baby McK isn’t the one who needs help sleeping through the night.  I am.

I have never had a problem sleeping.  I was the teenager who slept till noon, the college student who frequently napped throughout the day.  As an adult I would regularly get six to seven hours of quality sleep a night with some extra on the weekends.  I was a champion sleeper.  Truly Olympic medal worthy.

But something happened during my pregnancy.  Like many pregnant women I had bad heartburn.  Like many women I had pack pains.  Like many women I had morning sickness.  These things all conspired to wake me during the night.  Every night.  Multiple times.  So from roughly the third month of my pregnancy (last March or so) until the end I did not sleep well.

Then, of course, when the baby was born I had some sleeping issues.  She would wake up a few times a night and, because my husband was back at work, I was almost always the one up with her.  Suddenly, blissfully, she began sleeping through the night.  First five hour stretches, then six, and now almost twelve.  She clearly loves her sleep almost as much as her mother.

Still, though, I cannot sleep through the night.  I’m not waking up for any reason–my husband often wakes up in a panic in the middle of the night looking for the baby or thinking he can hear her crying.  I’m not having trouble going to sleep–my sister has always had a terrible time falling asleep, often lying awake for hours.  I just can’t seem to stay asleep.  I wake up two, three, four times a night.  I look at the time, I sigh, I fall back to sleep.  I’m not even up for very long, but I’m up long enough to interrupt my sleep cycles.  Long enough so that my sleep, no matter how long it is, isn’t restful.  It’s been about a year since I’ve slept through an entire night.  It’s exhausting.

I started taking melatonin last night. Several friends have suggested it helped improved the quality of their sleep.  Tonight I’m going to couple that with a cup of Sleepytime tea.  I’m drinking water, exercising, eating well, anything to help my body be in the best position to go to sleep and stay asleep. Here’s hoping something works, so I can get some much needed rest!

 

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