February 27, 2013

Eleven Months*

We are officially counting down the days to the first birthday!

How did we get here??

Lucas hit the 11 month mark last Friday & in a way, it brought some sadness to my heart. Not because of what we have or what is to come, but I quickly realized how FAST this year is going. I'm just a few short weeks away from no longer having a baby, and having a full-blown toddler (even though he is very toddler-like in many, many ways).

It's crazy. And awesome. And sad all at the same time.

This past month has been rough for us. Around the time of the awful stomach virus that landed us in the ER for a night, we were graced with TWO WHOLE WEEKS of sleeping through the night. It was amazing. But as quick as it came, it went away, and I believe that we have been on Molar Watch 2013 ever since. Which has meant nights with sometimes three, four, five, SIX (yes, even six one time) wake-ups a night. I have another post about the sleep habits of my child, but I will tell you now, it has been rough. Between a rough pregnancy and a child who does not sleep through the night (and when he does, on occasion, sleep until at least five a.m.) I'm staring down the barrel at two years without a full-nights sleep. That shit will make you crazy after a while.

But despite the rough nights, he continues to grow and be amazing. He is officially all over the place & has become faster than even I can keep up with sometimes. He is funny & so full of personality. We are working on words, and while we have "mama" & "dada" down pretty well, we continue to introduce & repeat words to him in hopes that he will pick up some more. This is not at all anything I'm worried about at this point, but I would love for him to throw out a couple more words on a regular basis. He will get there!

He continues to LOVE food, as if you couldn't tell! He will try anything and if he doesn't initially like it, he will eat it regularly within a couple more tries. He is definitely his mother's child, because pasta (and, well, any kind of carb!) doesn't last long in front of him. Mac & Cheese are favorites, as well as eggs, chicken sausage and puffs. He seriously cannot get enough of the dang puffs.

The curly hair is coming in thicker and faster then ever before! Looking back at pictures from even just December, it's amazing how much hair this kid is growing (well, for a little blond haired baby!) We cannot quite figure out where the curls are coming from, but we hope they stick around and never leave. We all ADORE them! 

During this past month, we also took another, unexpected trip back to Seattle to say goodbye to my Grandpa. It was hard emotionally & physically, but not something that was unexpected. That is another post for another day, one that I am having difficulties writing, but Lucas was as good as he could have been being out of his element for so long. The trip was long, and we were constantly on the move to see family & friends during this time. But he was a champ & despite a rough sleep schedule, I know the entire family enjoyed having him around. 

I am so excited for this last month of your first year, while trying to hold on to it at the same time. I cannot wait to see what year two brings us as we continue to grow, change & adapt.

February 12, 2013

First Birthday Prep*

It's hard to believe that in just a few short weeks, my little guy will be celebrating his first birthday.

I mean, really hard to believe.

So hard, in fact, that I get choked up from time to time thinking about the fact that we are getting ready to embark on this celebrating. I won't talk too much about it, because I want to save all of it for his one year post, but in the mean time, it's safe to say that we have started planning for the festivities!

I have been to some pretty extravagant first birthday parties before, but I promise we are not going that route. For starters, we don't have a ton of room in our tiny home! But also, we want to keep it as simple as possible with close friends. A small, quaint gathering for some yummy food, beverages & celebrating the awesome kid that we have had the joy of getting to know this past year!

When we originally started talking about his first birthday, we wanted to do a Star Wars theme. Because, well, his name is Lucas. And it would have been cool. But I'm picky & I couldn't find the type of decorations I wanted, so we scrapped that. And instead, we are going with a Mustache Bash! I thought it would be fun and of course, Pinterest had a ton of great ideas. Most of the actual links were broken (so if you know where any of these came from, let me know so I can give proper credit) except for this one, but we are definitely getting on the ball with making this as adorable as possible. I can't wait for the big day!

February 6, 2013

The Follow Up (a.k.a. YOU GUYS ROCK!)

First off, I want to say a big THANK YOU to all the support from my post the other day. I received so many comments, twitter message, emails and text messages from real-life friends that it was slightly overwhelming. Although definitely reassuring.

It truly means a lot that y'all care so much. I really, really do appreciate it!

I do want to clarify that I hope the stay-at-home-mom types out there did not take any offense to what I wrote. I fully realize that staying at home with your child (or children) brings on a COMPLETELY different set of issues in a marriage than those of us who work outside the home. My experiences and my frustrations are from my perspective only, as are your experiences yours and yours alone. I think it's impossible to not wonder what it's like on the other side, or how somebody else experiences things. So if I offended somebody, I truly am sorry.

With that said, it is amazing how many of you feel the exact same way that I have been feeling lately. I promise that things are not ALL BAD in my marriage. Obviously, if they were, than I would not be here. I am committed to my husband I know, deep in my heart, that things will work out the way that they are meant to. It's just going to take some work on his part, and mine, to find a balance that works for us. But I love him, and he loves me, and we will do what it takes to get back on track. I know this. But it definitely makes me fell less alone in this whole journey. So thank you to all of you who shared your struggles! This shit is difficult!

I am sure that there are others out there who have talked about this issue before. The problem is that I don't know where they are. I am 32 years old, making me 31 when I gave birth to Lucas last year. In terms of having your first child in the military community, this makes me somewhat ARCHAIC. I mean, truly old in the grand sense of things. I do not know many women this age who are popping out kids for the first time. They may be STILL having children, but a good majority of the women I know my own age (or close to) are on their second, third, fourth (sometimes fifth & sixth!) children. When they were having their first kids, I was not even remotely close to thinking about having children. So their experiences, even if they were the same as mine are now, were not something that was discussed. I even know women in my circle who have teenagers. TEENAGERS. So when I feel like I am drowning, while I completely appreciate any support that is thrown my way, it's different.

I stand by my statement that this shit is hard, but sometimes I just want somebody to say YES. THIS. THIS IS WHAT WE ARE DEALING WITH TOO. It's nice to hear that things get better, but it's also hard to take seriously (sometimes!) when you are in the middle of the ocean, treading water for hours on end with no boat in sight to give you relief. Sometimes I want a swimmer to join me, so we can get through it together.

We weren't lucky enough to *enjoy* the baby-makings. The road was long and hard for us, and while others were excited because it was easy for them, I was surrounding myself with others who were struggling as well. It's no understatement that infertility is hard on a couple, and there were many tears during our journey. Before that? We were focused on back to back deployments to Iraq (one that lasted 15 months while the second lasted 12 months) and surviving THOSE as a couple. During that time, I found a new group of people who were there to help & offer support. Before THAT? We were brand spanking new to each other. We have weathered a lot as partners. We will weather this.

Our relationship has had plenty of ups and downs, and through ALL OF THOSE, I have always found what one friend said to me yesterday, was "truth and honesty in a sea of bullshit." A beacon that led me to the individuals that I needed to help me through. Each step in the road has led to some AMAZING women who have become true gems in my life, all with different purposes. Being a working, infertile, 30-something, new mom, military spouse is, uh, kind of a small niche. I don't expect to find 100 people who fit this bill, but hopefully I can find a few. And if I can speak out for what others are feeling so they feel less alone, whether they fit one or all of those descriptors? I will do that, too.

So thank you. Thanks for the love. Thanks for the support. And here is to happier times!

February 4, 2013

Where was the Warning Label?

I feel cheated. 

The parenting books you read during pregnancy?? All those websites. All the research. Every piece of literature that I picked up. They prepare you for the basics of taking care of a child -- and they do this well. They DON'T give you any warning as to how tough being a parent is going to be. How it will not only affect your life, but also your marriage. 

NOBODY tells you how hard it's going to be! Everybody says "oh, just wait, things will change." Well you know what? A little more detail would have been nice! Being a mother is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done in my life, and I adore that child more than anything else in this world. But Lucas didn't just come in and "change" our marriage. He came in, demolished it with the biggest stick of dynamite he could find, and right now we're waiting for the blue prints to be finalized so we can start rebuilding again.

This shit is really, really hard. 

We wanted this for so long. We tried so hard & we suffered so much. The depression I had during my pregnancy was equal to that of what I felt post-miscarriage. It was different, but equal at the same time. And even though I was completely miserable during the entire 42 weeks, both physically and mentally, I still felt so connected to my husband. I believe, even though I know how hard it was for him to witness, he would say the same thing. There was closeness. And bonding. And love much deeper than we had before. 

I'm not sure where all of that went. 

It's frustrating for me to see other couples with new babies have it so easy. Or at least, SEEM to have it easy. They go about their day. They praise their spouses & talk about how wonderful all of this is. It makes me wonder, what the hell are we doing wrong, that we can't figure this out? Am I the only one? If not, then why don't people talk about this?? Why aren't people more honest about how really, really hard it is to have a baby? We fight -- ALL THE TIME. I mean, all the time. Over the dumbest shit. My anxiety levels are at an all time high post-baby. I feel like I need to go on a heavy dose of Zanax to get through the day, because there are times where I find myself getting worked up over the smallest, most insignificant things. I don't doubt, for a second, that I am slightly OCD -- something that has only gotten worse with age -- but it is not necessary to be upset because Lucas didn't go down for a nap at the time you wanted. Or because bottles weren't washed in a specific way. Or because socks weren't put on when they clearly needed to be. In my head, I know that these arguments that spiral out of control are crazy. I HEAR the crazy coming out of my mouth & out of his. But it can't be stopped. A small, tiny, insignificant arguments about peaches or pears turns into a monumental argument with the ripple effect lasting for days.

I don't know if it's almost two years of interrupted sleep. Or the fact that being a working mom is really, really fucking hard. Or the fact that BOTH of us work & have long days, whether it's him getting home late or me having to run errands after I pick up Lucas from daycare. But when you have all this pent up frustration, there really is only one place it can go. Is it fair that we direct it towards each other on a daily basis? No. Does it makes sense? Yes. I want to throw & break things regularly, but that's not really an option (besides, I really like my dishes!) So screaming & yelling, as unhealthy as it may be, is the next logical step. 

The easy solution is to say hey, let's spend some more time together. Let's get out of the house. You know, do something & focus on each other for a while. But there seems to be no time, on top of everything else, because the kid takes up every second that we have free. If it's not one thing, it's another. Especially at this age. Ten months old and he is all over the place. And opinionated. And clingy. And, you know, wanting things. M made a very good point the other day -- that Lucas has essentially driven a wedge between us & our marriage. But what do we do? It's not like I can set him free for the day & wish him the best of luck so M & I can hang out like we used to. By the time the weekend rolls around, we are both too exhausted to do anything that doesn't involve the couch, let alone take the effort getting dressed up and going out in public. 

I don't know what the answer is. I do know that counseling is in our future. It has to be. For whatever reason, we are HORRIBLE communicators. I mean, really, really bad. But counseling has always done wonders for us, so we are going to revisit that. I also know that I continue to feel so alone in our struggles & I don't want others to feel the way that I do. I have talked to a couple other moms who are going through the same thing, and I admit, it makes all of this a little easier, knowing that it's not just us that are struggling. I am insanely jealous of those with easier schedules, those who can do what they want, when they want, and not have to worry about having every single minute of every single day accounted for. I know that the two hours a night that I get my kid, between the time we get home in the evenings and the time he goes to bed, he is my world and I don't see much else. This has to be hard on M, but I don't know what else to do. I can't quit my job. Nor do I want to. It's a Catch 22. 

Either way, I think more moms out there need to be honest with the newbies. No more sugar coating things. Had I been a little more prepared to what this was going to be like, maybe things would be different. Maybe I wouldn't expect so much from my significant other. Maybe HE would understand me a little better about how I feel on a day to day basis & what I am going through. Maybe it's a working mom thing, because it's only the working moms I know who are struggling right along side me. 

I don't know. 

All I know, is that there should have been a warning label  A heads up about the rough & sometimes painful path we were about to embark on. Maybe we would have been a little more prepared.