in june 2010, our lives got turned upside down in the best possible way: the birth of our awesome kiddo, john. in october 2013, brother charlie charged into our life to change the status quo again. and june 2016 brought us brother ben to round out our trio.

i'm proud to have "mom" at the top of the list of titles on my resume, but i'm also still a hard-working professional. how does a working mom juggle work and family? ride along with me and see if i can figure it out!

Friday, February 25, 2011

the battle of the banana

it all began so well.

last night, john had some mashed banana, and he seemed to enjoy it. you could tell he was checking out the texture and the taste, and he did very well using his lips to get it off his spoon. at one point he even grabbed the spoon out of my hand (with his left hand - a tip of the hat to left-handed daddy) and accidently fed himself a bite. (i don't know if he could repeat that, but it was adorable nonetheless.)

so, i thought, more mashed bananas as a part of breakfast! john had already breastfed, so he wasn't hungry and thus not super excited, but he still ate some bananas and did very well. (as an aside, i'm not sure yet if it makes me an awesome mom or an awful one, but i was singing an adapted version of rhianna's song "what's my name" while we ate bananas - "ba nana, it's for breakfast, ba nana, it's for breakfast ...")

then, it all went awry. when john was done with his mashed bananas, i started to eat the rest of the banana. he was very interested, so i gave him about half of it to hold on to and gnaw on. of course he made a mess, which i expected, so i took the banana back, popped it into my mouth and start to clean him up.

that was when he started to yell. not cry: yell. he was very very angry at me for taking away his banana. he yelled for 30 minutes straight. plus another 10 when we got in the car to go to daycare. by the time i got him out of the car at school, he had stopped yelling, but he had his jaw set in a mad face that reminded me precisely of his daddy's mad face.

the other moms, who know john always smiles at them in the mornings, kept talking to him, and he kept scowling. no smiles for his teachers, no smiles for toys. just madface. he made it VERY clear that he and mom are in a fight.

i'm sure he'll have forgiven me by the time i see him tonight. and we're going to a mardi gras parade this evening so i am sure he will have fun. but i have learned three things from this experience:

1) when you have two-hard-headed parents, it is inevitable that the off-spring will be part mule.
2) do NOT take john's banana.
3) i can't wait for the terrible twos ...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

mashed bananas

when john was born, we decided that ideally, we wanted him to be exclusively breastfed until he was a year old. our pediatrician was all for it, believing firmly that there's no reason to rush to solid foods unless there's a compelling reason to do so. i think the american academy of pediatrics (or similar organization, i'm no expert at this) even says that breastmilk provides everything nutritionally that a baby needs for the first 12 months of life.

now i've always said that if there was a compelling reason to start foods sooner, we would - if john was really interested in food, or if he wasn't getting enough nutrition in some way. and it seems we've hit that point: my milk production hasn't increased to match his latest increase in appetite, so i just can't keep up. we had him on half-formula/half-milk for a week or two, but it seemed to really upset his stomach - he was spitting up tons. so i chatted with the pediatrician this morning, and we're going to start john on some easy foods today or tomorrow.

i'm simultaneously really excited and a little sad about this. like every developmental step in his life, it thrills me to see my little man grow and learn. i actually look forward to the mashed-banana-in-his-hair that i will probably have to wash tonight. i can't wait to see his joy at trying new tasks - because he seems to love to try anything new.

on the other hand, i am sad because eating real foods seems to be a clear line of demarkation between baby-baby and little boy. oh, i know, he's still a baby, and there will be lots of lines like that before he's a toddler. but still ... my tiny little dependent peanut is no longer so tiny and little, and already not so dependent. i will love every phase of john's life, but will still miss every phase once it passes.

additionally, i am trying not to feel like i have failed in my mission to exclusively breastfeed for a year. milk will still be the primary part of his diet for at least that long. and i know we're doing the right thing for john. so why does it feel like i'm letting him down? it's ridiculous, i know. but sometimes knowing something is ridiculous is not enough to make me stop feeling it.

so. tonight i will mash bananas. possibly some peas. and we will bathe a food-covered baby. and i pledge to laugh as much as possible through the whole process, and document with pictures and videos because i know this new phase will pass as quickly as the baby-baby phase. and someday soon i will have a little boy running around with frogs in his pockets and mud on his shoes.

john, your mom overthinks things sometimes.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

it's better than a janitor's closet

yesterday was my company-wide employee training day. they get all of us together in one location for one day of networking, training, interaction, etc. it's actually pretty fun, and yesterday was no exception.

it didn't occur to me, though, until i was driving there, that since we were offsite, i wouldn't be able to just pump in my office three times during the day. i needed to find a place to run away during breaks so i could pump ... preferably without drawing inordinate amounts of attention to myself. (this is somewhat difficult: being in marketing, we play a pretty visible role in the training day even though it is technically put on by the training department. let's say we play a strong second fiddle!)

i didn't want to pump in the bathroom. even though i have a battery pack i can use and don't need a plug, it just feels yukky to pump in a bathroom stall. i wouldn't want someone to prepare my lunch in a bathroom stall, so i guess i really don't want to prepare john's there either.

so ... out to my car. i brought a blanket, wrapped myself up, and sat in my car for 10-15 minutes at a time in the parking lot. it was sort of funny - periodically another employee would walk out to their car to get something and walk near my vehicle ... but between the baby sunshades on my windows and the blanket wrapped around my shoulders, i think they mostly didn't even notice i was there. and i did only do it twice, not my normal three times.

so yes. add the backseat of my car to one of the places i've pumped. the list grows longer and more amusing almost every day. john honey, that list is a testament to just how much your mama loves you. :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

a day at the zoo

i'm waaaaay behind again.

but it's worth nothing that we took john to the zoo on sunday. i know, he's only eight months, how much could he possibly enjoy the zoo, right? well i'll tell you a secret: mom loves the zoo, and john is the perfect excuse for her to walk in a park and look at cool animals.

much as expected, john was more interested in the other kids at the zoo than he was in any of the animals. he did seem to like checking out a spectacled bear from the andes and he certainly liked the monkeys - at one monkey cage, he even clapped his hands. we cheered for the monkeys together. they were really quite accomplished at being monkeys. he also seemed at least moderately amused by the elephants who were swaying their butts back and forth in the direction of the crowd.

john did NOT like the squawking parrots. he thought they were interesting and pretty until they yelled, then he wanted no part of them. i can't say as i blame him - i'm not the biggest fan of them myself!

it was a great day overall - a beautiful family sunday with a sunny day and nice weather, and i even saw rhinos so how could that be a bad day? in my world it can't!

but i can't wait to bring john back to the zoo when he gets it a little more.

Friday, February 18, 2011

a sigh of relief

so we decided at work today that i am not going to vegas next month, and you want to know something? i am more relieved than i could have imagined.

i was talking to my boss about the logistics of the trip - very specific flight requirements, since i have to get back for a friend's wedding, etc. - and she asked if i thought we were forcing it too much. both she and my other coworker are unavailable to attend the conference, so it fell to me, but really i'm only marginally available myself. and ultimately we decided that the topics being covered will also be covered at another conference she's attending this year, so we weren't losing out too much.

i have been storing up milk and preparing, and trying to be ready. and i would have gone and enjoyed the conference and probably learned a lot. but now that i know i am not going, i feel like a giant weight has been lifted off of me.

and the best part? instead, i am probably going to attend a marketing management school in san diego in may. i'll be gone for longer, but it looks like my husband and john may be able to join me. john will be two months older, which makes it easier if i do have to leave him at home. but most likely, we will go to san diego for my monday through friday classes, then spend the weekend in phoenix visiting some friends we haven't seen in ages, and checking on the rental property we have there.

so it really feels like i'm winning on all fronts. the school i will be attending is the first of a three-step school, including some opportunities for certification as a credit union marketer. it will be a great professional step for me. and i will be able to balance my family as well, and get to visit our old stomping grounds in phoenix. and my boss understands the balance i am striving for and is my biggest advocate for that, which is pretty awesome.

so now, i am going to go spend a low-key evening with my family and enjoy the fact that i don't have an impending 3-day absence. :) :) :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

time gets away from me

::waving::

we're still here. we have not fallen off the face of the earth. in fact, we're thriving.

in fact, i think my not-blogging is actually reflective of why i want so badly to blog about the struggle to balance work and family. work has been crazy busy lately. we've got a lot of irons in the fire, and i've been running nonstop. as a result, i come home, spend some quality time with the baby and the hubby, then hit the hay to start all over again the next day. and somewhere in the middle of that, i have completely fallen off the blogwagon.

but i'm back. so don't get used to radio silence. you're not getting rid of me that easily!

and here is a testament to the speed with which babies develop: yesterday when i dropped john off for school, he was still mostly cooing and not saying any consonants. i picked him up after school, and he promptly said this: "ba ga da ga ba da da da ga." and he hasn't stopped saying it ever since.

there doesn't seem to be any relationship to words here - he's just making noise. although i did have a funny moment last night when he grabbed my breast and shouted "da da" which sounds remarkably like "ta-ta" which is how we frequently refer to his primary foodsource. but i am pretty sure that was a coincidence :)

john also had his first bath in the big tub with mommy last night. he did great. he swam a little, believe it or not, and crawled in the water (i think the buoyancy helped). he didn't even panic when his face went into the water - just sputtered a little, coughed, and smiled.

and tonight, daddy finally got to hear the babbling. and john was just so sweet and good all night. and that leads me to my latest "big" parenting decision:

every night when i put him to sleep, i am going to tell john why i am proud of him that day. not fluffy junk, but real things that he did that i'm proud of. i think that will be especially powerful when he's a little older and we maybe have days where we don't get along so well ... i still want him to go to bed knowing the things he did that made his mama proud. i want him to always know how amazed i am to know him, let alone to have the privilege of being his mommy.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

yay squirrels!

when i got to daycare to drop john off yesterday morning, i couldn't help noticing that the jumper he usually likes to sit in was turned to face out a window, not in towards the other kids like most of the equipment in the room. didn't really think anything of it, though, as i slid john into the seat while his teacher fed another baby.

then his teacher said, "john, where's mr. squirrel?" and explained to me that john loves to sit and bounce while watching the squirrels run along the fence outside. in fact, he laughs hysterical as he observes their antics.

he is SO my child. this was one of the first times that i have said that, since he looks so much like his daddy and has so much of his daddy's temperment. but laughing at squirrels? i would probably do that right now if i could. especially if i had an adult-sized bouncer i could sit in while i chew on something as tasty to me as john's fist clearly is to him. (steak maybe? or cake? or both?)

then last night at home, john demonstrated his newest skill: clapping. of course he does it baby fashion and makes no sound, but it's pretty clear he's applauding. and since i'm *that* mom who constantly cheers for him ("gooooooo john! goooooo john! go john go john go john go!") i cheered for him, and he mimicked my clapping again.

that was pretty exciting, but it got even better. while i was laying in bed getting ready to fall asleep last night i realized this:

i am 100% certain that while he was watching the squirrels and laughing, he was also clapping his hands and thinking in baby language, "yaaaaayyyy squirrels!"

that's my kid.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

have baby will travel ... without baby

so i've recently found out that in march, i will be traveling to las vegas for a conference for work. it will be a great conference - i attended last year in dc and got a TON out of it, and like last year, my credit union is up for at least one and possibly a couple of marketing awards, so i'll be attending the awards dinner to see what - and how many! - we've won. since a lot of what we submitted is my creative work, it's really exciting to me to see what is "award-winning."

the drawbacks? 1) i don't love vegas. i'm not a gambler, and i find vegas to be a little bit of ... sensory overload. from the moment you step off the airplane, you're accosted by flashing lights, loud noises, and people desperately plunking one more coin into a slot machine. if you've never been there, know that i'm not kidding: there are actually slot machines at the gates at the airport so you can get your fix.

2) this is the biggie ... i will be away from john overnight for the first time since in his life. if you want to get all metaphysical about, it's the first time i will have been away from him in like 17 months. (yes i know he'll be 8 months old, but he went with me everywhere i went for 9 months in my belly!)

and in addition to the emotionally difficult angle of being away from my little man and his daddy, how about the logistical difficulties of continuing to feed a baby who is still entirely breastfed when i am thousands of miles apart. i'll try like crazy to pump ahead, but i'm barely keeping pace with the little piglet now, so i will DEFINITELY not have four days of milk stored up. he's had some formula before, so he'll be fine eating some formula. but i don't really want to make him eat ONLY formula for that long. and i'm still going to have to be pumping while in vegas, and i certainly can't handle the thought of throwing that precious milk away ...

so my options?

1) pump and dump (boo hiss)
2) pump and ship (possible - expensive? logistically challenging)
3) pump and bring home with me (possible - don't have enough containers, so i'm going to have to find some freezable bags or something, and maybe ask the hotel to let me freeze it there?)

anyone see any other options? any mamas with experience here? i'm at a loss ...

Monday, February 7, 2011

way behind

i am way behind the eight ball lately. so much has been going on, and i've posted not a lick of it.

on wednesday night, we came to the very difficult, very sad realization that my husband was devastatingly allergic to bella. to the point where he was having asthma attacks and pretty constant inability to breathe. we knew we would not be able to keep this sweet doggie.

giving up a dog goes counter to everything about us. gunter was a family member, our first child! we were so excited to have such a sweet new pup in our lives. the last thing we ever thought we would be doing would be sending her away. we called her original owners, but they had "torn the fence down" and couldn't take her back.

so we put the word out in our networks, including some very wonderful friends who have relationships with several of the rescue agencies here in baton rouge. miraculously, within 24 hours, my cousin ben referred a coworker of his to us, and on thursday evening brian and his family came to meet bella and ultimately to take her home with them. they will be a wonderful forever home for bella.

talk about a rollercoaster.

so now we are slowly sticking our toes back into the water to find another pup. we'll have to spend more one-on-one time with any prospective puppies before they come home with us, to see if there are allergy issues. but we will find the right dog, and we've come to terms with the fact that we helped get bella from a less than ideal situation - outdoors 24/7, not a member of a family - to a home with two kids and a dad that wants to train her to hunt.

it's time for this mama to go to bed ... john had a non-sleeping night last night (his first in weeks) and work is crazy, so it's time to catch some zz's and hope tuesday doesn't have a case of the mondays :) night, all.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

milestones

how you doin'?
last night when i picked john up from daycare, he waved goodbye to his teacher. we haven't been working on waving ... but she said "bye, john," and there's no doubt about his response. and he's also almost crawling.

i sound like your typical bragging mom, probably. but i'm not so much bragging as i am dumbfounded. how did this little critter, who live inside me for nine months, go from a couple little cells to this communicating, locomoting (is that a word?) little man? i am dumbfounded that every day he is bigger and stronger, that every day he is more capable and grown.

i am also dumbfounded that the angry face he made last night as i strapped him into his carseat was the *spitting image* of his daddy's angry face. like father like son!

i hope that i never lose this sense of astonishment at the development of my child. whatever his gifts and weaknesses are, however busy i may be, whatever percentage of time i must spend away from him for work and life, i hope that i can always sit back, observe, and be amazed that this kid exists ... let alone that he thrives and succeeds and changes.

remind me of this in a couple months when i'm yelling because i can't catch him in the mornings to get him dressed for school ... because the other thing he does REALLY well is kick ... and that looks an awful lot like little legs running away from mommy :)

baby in the laundry baby in the laundry