Saturday, August 7, 2010

In God's House....

Tonight we decided that since Charleigh had been sleeping so well and had been sleeping for over 2 hours for her 2nd nap of the day,that we'd wake her up to go to 5pm Sat night mass at St Elizabeth Ann Seton Church. I'll admit, we probably should go more often, but up until this point she always seemed to be right smack in the middle of a nap when mass times were going on. We felt that while religion is important to us for Charleigh, her growth and development thru sleep at this age were equally important. We, as a little family, had spent our first Christmas at Seton Parish with a 23 day old Charleigh this past Christmas, and in April she was baptized.
I felt fairly confident about tonights plans, since she had just woken up from a nap she should be in a good mood, not hungry...etc.
On our drive to the church, which is maybe a 15mins drive, Charleigh decided that would be an opportune time to dirty her diaper. So our first stop upon entering the church was at the Koala Care changing station in the ladies room. After a quick change ( I've gotten good at those), we met Daddy in the gathering area and proceeded to our seats. I asked Dan if he thought we should sit in the "cry room" where many other young children and their parents already were. I didn't feel we needed to but I wanted to make sure we were on the same page. Charleigh wasn't crying, she wasn't upset, she wasn't fussy, she was being her happy, smiley, bouncy self. There was the processional music going on and this girl LOVES some music. We found ourselves a pew, 2nd row from the back, next to a elderly woman and sat down. I felt good knowing that if an outburst were to occur I could make a darting exit out the back without much effort.
Mass began, music was played, Charleigh bounced. She took extreme interest in everyone sitting around us and made her own little noises after each time the congregation made the standard remarks back to the deacon. She wasn't being loud, well at least not for Charleigh. She wasn't being disruptive either. She was smiling and reaching back and forth between Dan and I. She had juice and cheerios. She had her toys, ones that I had thought ahead enough to choose and did not rattle, squeak or make noises when hitting the floor multiple times.
Now for those of you who have spent any amount of time around Charleigh in the last 4-6 weeks, you know of her "wookie" noise. She flutters her tongue and makes a noise much like that of the Star Wars characters. She does it when she's mad, upset, excited..pretty much any emotion she feels can be conveyed through this silly noise. Anyone who hears it asks "how is she doing that?", and "where did she learn that?".
During the consecration (consecration is that of the bread and wine used in the Eucharist, which according to the Catholic belief involves their change into the body and blood of Christ (thank you wikipedia), Charleigh made one of her signature "wookie" noises and then a little baby babble after. Immediately following her MINOR noise making, a man in his late 70's who was sitting two rows in front of us turned around and in a huffy, grunting manner said "IT'S THE CONSECRATION!!!" . I looked at Dan and said " like Charleigh knows that!!". As soon as I finished my comment the man behind us said " I think it's great to hear sounds of joy in God's house". Or something to that effect...
I was pretty fired up!! I mean, Charleigh is almost 9 months old and had been an EXCELLENT baby the entire mass. I don't know if this old man knew that the church had a "cry room" but even if he did, we couldn't rationalize taking her to sit in it. She wasn't crying. She wasn't doing anything to warrant removing her from sitting with everyone else. Dan and I feel that Charleigh should be in the church, with everyone else, getting to see and clearly hear what is going on. Why should we take her to a room where kids can be loud, cry, play and fuss?? We are not trying to set that as the standard for behavior when attending church. And WHY did this man think that a 9 month old, or her parents for that matter had the ability to control when and what little noises she would make throughout mass!!?!?!
Now, after communion, the part where we all line up and go to the front (for all you non-catholics) we usually go back to our seats for approximately 5-7 mins before church is over.
At this point of the mass today however, they asked everyone to be seated and started to speak about the upcoming Seton Parish Festival, and then someone else spoke about a church group. When this "extra" talk began, Charleigh was understandably growing impatient. I picked her up and quickly walked out to the gathering area where she would not be heard or bother anyone. After everyone was "dismissed" Dan had a conversation with the man behind us. He thought it was great to see Charleigh in church and said she was an adorable and very well behaved little girl. During this short conversation they also both noted that the man who growled at Charleigh had not returned to his seat after communion. Even the best of Catholics have been known to try to sneak out after communion when everyone is up and about moving around, if for no other reason than to miss "all the traffic" in the parking lot. Too bad he chose to leave, Dan and couple behind us both wanted to introduce themselves. It should be stated that this parish is a very young and family oriented church. Dan and I went to many other churches prior to joining this one to make sure we were in a place that would be a good fit for us at this stage in our lives. Despite this one negative reaction -- I still think we have.
I should note too that as I was standing in the back after mass, before the crowd poured out, an another older woman who I had not seen while in church came out and started talking to Charleigh. She asked how old she was and "how did she learn to make that cute little noise?". Apparently for every one person who felt like the Grumpy Old Man there were two who delighted in hearing and seeing one of God's little miracles in his house!

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Summer, in past years, has always been one of my favorite times of year. The weather allows for plenty of outside time, more activity and spending time in what seems to be a more relaxed state of mind. Having Charleigh here with us now to experience summer has made it even more enjoyable so far. Simple little activities like going to the dog park, splashing in a swimming pool and watching fireworks took on a whole new meaning these past couple of months. Its a feeling I can't put into words to watch her experience things like this for the first time. Her big round eyes get even bigger and she looks at Dan and I with amazement.

Every night that the weather and schedule allows we take a walk as a family. Dan and I leash up Piper and get Charleigh in her stroller and off we go. Piper is pretty thrilled with the fact that Charleigh loves walks too because that means we go for them very often. Piper, Charleigh and I walk together every morning before nap time. We have a few different routes throughout the neighborhood. Sometimes Charleigh lounges back in her stroller with her feet up, other times she's poised and peaking around her stroller to see what Piper is doing next to her, or looking back at something or someone we just passed. I love walks with my two girls because it's one of the few times of the day where they are both content, quiet and entertained without me having to do all that much. Nighttime walks are just as nice because they allow Dan and I to talk about our days and have some time without our computers, phones or television.

I find that this year I'm almost as excited for summer to end as I was for it to begin. Maybe because I'm so excited to get to experience another seasons with Charleigh, or perhaps it's because it's been in the 90's the last week or so...but fall and cooler temps seem just as exciting.

I hope to take Charleigh to the fair, a local festival of two, and to many more outdoor summertime events. Being away from home in the heat of summer isn't always an easy activity with an infant but I feel like if we at least try to do things, even if we only get to stay for a little's usually worth the effort.

There are some activities that she's still too young to really "get" but as long as she's got new things to look and hold her attention and she's cruising along in her stroller she's a happy girl!

When Charleigh's happy, mommy is happy too!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Tough decision

Last night we began what has been one of the hardest things I've done so far as a mother. This latest challenge-having Charleigh put herself to sleep. She will be 6 months old this Wed and the "style of parenting" that we found most closely matches our beliefs encourages establishing a base of letting your child know that you will respond to their cries and needs pretty much without hesitation for the first 6 months or so of life. During this time it is believed that you can't "spoil" a child as they are learning about you, their parent and the world around them. The bedtime routine thus far has been quite relaxing and enjoyable. It's been comforting as a mother to have my warm, well fed baby fall asleep in my arms. I'd slowly lower her into her crib and sneak out of the room as she slept. However, as she's gotten a little older she would wake up when we set her down and we'd have to begin the whole little routine over. Once we finally got her to sleep we felt like we'd accomplished a great goal. The last 6 weeks have grown increasingly complicated as after going to bed around 8:30, she'd wake up at midnight, 2am, 4am and 6am. I was convinced she couldn't possibly be hungry each of these times, but she would nurse and fall back asleep so I thought- problem solved. It wasn't easy on my part and I was getting little sleep. We believed she was reverse cycling. So I began feeding her every 1-2 hours during the day and trying to reaffirm the fact that daytime is for eating and nighttime is for sleeping. After about 10 days of doing little other than nursing her there had been no difference in her night time sleeping habits. I've read and and read and read online about how to get your child to sleep for longer stretches through the night. The ONLY thing we were not doing was letting her fall asleep on her own. As a breastfed baby I wasn't sure HOW exactly to do this, as any fellow breastfeeding mother knows, they tend to fall asleep so peacefully while nursing. So for the last two nights as she's slightly awoken while being set into her crib we leave the room and wait. Last night was already worse than tonight so far as I sit her composing this. Last night she cried for about 30-40 mins. Her cry breaks my heart and as any good mother know you're doing the right thing..but it doesn't make it ANY easier. Tonight there was about 20-30 mins of crying. Of course the dog kinda messed that up with a barking fit because of our crappy neighbors. (Side note- it's 9:40 on a Sunday evening....and 13, yes 13 children are jumping on a trampoline and playing in the backyard next door to us). Last night Charleigh was up from about 1:20-2:30 crying. Dan turned off the monitor, closed the bedroom door and sat up playing video games. Every 10 mins he went in and talked to her, touched her, but did not pick her up. She won't take a pacifier so her cries were only partially muffled by his attempt to spare my motherly heart the pain of my babys cries. Around 2:40 he was able to calm her enough that she stopped crying...once she did that I went in and fed her. She ate and fell back asleep till 7. AMAZING PROGRESS!! I was prepared for much worse. It was hard to keep telling myself that this was going to be better for both of us, even though I know her gaining this ability and reaching this milestone is important.
I know this is only one of many difficult changes/growing pains/milestones that will both hurt my heart as a mother yet excite me when it's become a positive in our relationship as mother and daughter.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Spring has sprung...

Spring has sprung... I think...for now at least. I can't remember a year when I was so excited to hear birds chirping or to see the grass beginning to look alive again. Since early December I have been confined inside with a newborn. I COULD have ventured out more often probably...but between everything that a newborn requires and the icy roads most times I thought it better to just stay home. So now the sun is shining and the weather is warmer. I'm excited beyond belief to get to show and share with Charleigh all that is SPRING. Going for walks and seeing her little eyes squint in the sunshine has been more fun than I ever thought it could be. It's like you can see her little mind working and trying to figure out what a birds chirping is or what the warmth is on her hands is from.
It's going to sound very cliche and cheesy but everything does feel new this Spring because I get to share it with Charleigh. I get to try to experience things for the first time again...with her. We can walk the dog, go to a park, or sit on the porch and wait for Daddy to get home from work.
She just woke up from her morning I guess it's time to go for a walk and enjoy!!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Motherhood--for real.

I planned and organize and anticipated.
Nothing could prepare me for what becoming a mother would be like.
All of my previous assumptions and expectations flew out the window about 30 mins after arriving at the hospital that day. 28 hours later...Charleigh was here and it was now my job to make her the number one priority in my life. As I sit here 12 weeks later, I can say that being a mother IS rewarding, there is nothing like seeing her smile first thing in the morning when she makes eye contact with me. I love watching her sleep before I put her in her crib at night. But just a few shorts weeks ago... I was convinced she might be the end of sanity for me. The sleep deprivation is brutal. Now, some moms can steal naps while their babies sleep...but I just simply could not use those precious quiet, calm moments to sleep. I always felt I should instead be cleaning something, washing something, doing SOMETHING. Let me tell you... I was wrong. I see that now and am still struggling to use her quiet nap times as my own restful periods of the day. Yet, here I sit composing this instead of stealing what be my only chance for a 30 mins snooze of the day.

I had so many friends, coworkers, family members, and even strangers tell me that being a mother was the most rewarding, exciting, loving, enjoyable experience of their lives. So naturally I felt very disappointed in myself and slightly guilty when during the first 4-6 weeks I could find very little about being a mom that felt at all like any of those positive words. I was exhausted, sore and the sound of her cry, especially when I couldn't quickly calm her just broke my heart. I had no encouragement during most days, no one to tell me "you're doing a great job". I was lucky enough to have an incredible mother in law who came for a week and helped me to navigate those first few uncertain days. She was there in the delivery room to encourage and cheer me on, being my advocate to the medical personnel and support my husband since I could not. I also had/have a very involved, helpful and loving husband. But while my "mom senses" were turned on the day she was born....daddy was/is still working on his. If anyone loves Charleigh as much as I do, it's Dan...but he's a daddy and I now know how truly different that is from being a mommy. Parents are quite different from one another. My own mother chose to not be involved in the birth, homecoming or first few days of my daughters life. Something I'll never understand, something that will always hurt...and as I think about it at this moment, probably something that compounded the difficulty of those first weeks. At a time in my life when I would want to turn to my mother for advice, comfort and support, I instead was trying to control my anger enough to share with her a few details about this amazing new life I was responsible for.
I felt horrible for many days....thinking that I must be doing something wrong because this baby wanted to eat every two hours, didn't sleep for longer than 3-4 hours if I was lucky and I just couldn't seem to recover quickly enough to care for her in the way she needed me to. While I was overwhelmed with love for this little person...I really didn't LIKE her much. She had taken my organized, planned and predictable life and turned it upside down. This little 7lbs baby had brought me to the all time low of my life both emotionally and physically. I always thought a baby was supposed to do the exact opposite. Those first few weeks when EVERYTHING seemed like a massive procedure or chore with her were the hardest weeks of my life. I couldn't see that each day was getting easier and we were getting to know each other. Though we had spent just over 9 months literally attached to one was not until those first few weeks that we were forced to communicate and respond to one another. I guess it came quite naturally..looking back on it now. But each and every one of those days felt like an unfair challenge.
I could go on for pages and pages....but any one who reads this has more than likely had their own experience with this or someday will or might or hopes to...
I just hope that maybe one mom or mom to be can read this and it can make her feel a little better. It can help her to realize that it's OK if everything isn't perfect and you don't feel elated and great and amazing during the first few weeks of having a baby. Being a mom is TOUGH! I guess that's why a job that lasts a lifetime.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The world of the blog

So I'm taking the first step to joining the world of the bloggers. I'm not sure I have anything worth actually reading, but if nothing else it'll give me a venue to vent my angers, share my thoughts and hopefully give me something to look back on in a years time and remember how I was feeling. Since having Charleigh in December 2009 and making the decision (which was difficult) to stay home and be a full time mom, I'm hoping I will have time to share not only the feelings, both good and bad that I've experienced and will continue to experience as a new mom, but to share the milestones and growth of Charleigh.