letter to madison

Madison and her smash cake

Today is Madison’s first birthday! I wanted to give Madison a keepsake for her birthday, and I had the idea to ask some close family and friends to write her a letter for her birthday. I’ll put them all in her baby book so that she can look back and read them once she is older. Maybe one day when she becomes a mother herself, she can do the same for her baby.

I decided to share the letter that I wrote for her last night.

Tonight is August 24, 2011 – the night before your very first birthday. I can’t believe it has been a whole year since we welcomed you into our lives. This has been the most amazing year of my life, full of moments I never could have imagined before you came along. I learned a lot about myself and a lot about love.

I started loving you from the moment your Dad and I found out I was pregnant. I’ll never forget it. It was Christmas morning 2009, at about 5AM, and I couldn’t wait any longer to take the home pregnancy test. I remember holding your Dad’s hand as he opened the bathroom door, and we both leaned in to see the results: two pink lines. It was my very first glimpse of you, and already I was in love.

All through my pregnancy, I carried you lovingly, and I couldn’t wait for the day until I would get to meet you. On August 25, 2010, at 4:27PM, you came into this world and into my heart. I can’t begin to describe the feeling I had when I first got to hold you in my arms. You were sticky and wet, but having you on my chest, skin to skin, was the best feeling in the world. My first thought was, “I can’t believe you’re here!” That would be the first of many times you amazed me just by being you.

You’ve grown and changed so much in this first year, from being a tiny 6 lb 8 oz newborn, who relied on me for absolutely everything to where you are today: walking around all on your own, feeding yourself independently and making sure all of us know exactly what you like and don’t like… You’ve taken so many leaps forward in your development, from all of the typical baby milestones like learning to roll over and sit up, to showing us your unique sense of humor and personality.

You’ve inherited a lot from me. I can see my stubbornness in you, but I also see my determination. I can see that you love animals, like I do. I can tell that you like to have things done your way, in your time, and that’s like me, too. I hope to teach you many things as you grow up, but to be honest, sweetheart, you’ve been teaching me so much in return.

I feel like I’m experiencing life through your eyes sometimes. When you said “ooh!” the first time you saw a giraffe at the zoo, I thought of how incredible it must have felt to see something that you’ve never seen before. When you looked at me in amazement after you tried ice cream, I thought of how interesting it would have been to have something so cold for the first time. I’m so happy that I have been with you for all of your firsts.

I read somewhere that for the first few months of a baby’s life, the baby thinks that the mother is actually part of its being. I can see how that could be true… everything you did was with me right by your side. I carried you everywhere, I nursed you, changed you, comforted you, rocked you to sleep, cuddled you while you were awake, sang to you when you were upset and kissed you and hugged you endlessly. Now that you’re turning one, you’re able to play on your own and put yourself to sleep, and even walk away from me. You’re starting to realize that you’re separate from me and that you are your very own person.

Just know that as you grow older and more independent, I’ll always love you and be amazed by you. Munchkin, I love you more than I ever thought was possible. Happy birthday, Madison.

catchup

Mia Wallace tells her one and only Fox Force Five joke

The movie Pulp Fiction is full of great lines. One of the lines that comes to mind today is the Fox Force Five joke that Uma Thurman’s character tell to John Travolta. “Three tomatoes are walking down the street- a poppa tomato, a momma tomato, and a little baby tomato. baby tomato starts lagging behind. poppa tomato gets angry, goes over to the baby tomato, and smooshes him… and says, catch up!”

I know it’s been almost literally forever since I last blogged. Sorry about that. Things have been crazy, and obviously so much has happened since my previous post, so this is going to be a series of little updates so that we can get caught back up and hopefully I can start posting more regularly again.

 

a big month

May was a big month, full of firsts for Madison. She started to crawl, she started to wave, she started to point, and she started saying “babababa”. Before that month, I really believed that she would never crawl and that she would go straight to walking. All the books and nurses and health care workers always told me: Put her on her tummy! I would, but immediately, she would roll onto her side and push herself up into a sit. Then, if there was anything nearby, she would pull herself up into a stand. Eventually, though, she did start doing the worm, pulling her knees up underneath her and then flopping forward with her arms. She did this for a couple of weeks and would make slow progress around the living room, usually with the dogs as a good incentive to get to a new spot so she could tug on their fur. One morning, we went to the play area at CrossIron Mills, a kick ass mall just north of Calgary. She sat in her usual spot next to this little green bug and was looking over at the big blue sea monster. She lunged forward and started making her way over, on all fours! She was a bit wobbly to begin with, sort of stalling and figuring out the whole concept but she kept at it! She crawled all the way over and then patted the sea monster as if to say “Tag!” then sat up and gave me a big wave. I am thrilled that I was able to get it all on video, too. Thank goodness for iPhones, right?

On the go!

size matters

Speaking of those play areas, I have to say – they rock. In Calgary, I’d say the two best malls for babies are CrossIron Mills and Market Mall. They have nursing rooms and big play areas. Market Mall has underground parking (obviously a MAJOR plus during the winter) and the food court washroom has a whole row of the big bathroom stalls that can accommodate a stroller, not just one. On any non-sunny day, the malls are packed with mothers and their strollers. The play areas are often quite busy, but Madison loves them. One big plus is that she gets to see and hang out with lots of other babies. I get to chat with other moms. The downside to this is that you also get lots of unsolicited comments and suggestions. The one that continues to drive me nuts is how people will always comment about Maddy’s size. She’s small. I get it. She’s now 10 and a half months old, but she still fits into 6-9 month clothes. Some of those are even still a bit big, too. I don’t understand what it is with people and big babies. Just because they are bigger doesn’t mean they are healthier or thriving more or are more advanced or anything else. They’re just bigger. I had one person tell me Madison was “too small” when I told her how old she was. How would she feel if I did the reverse? Oh, wow, your baby looks too fat. People never say that. I’ve also had people ask me if she was premature. This is a major pet peeve of mine. I wish people would just look at me and look and Maddy and make the connection that I’m not a big person, so why should she be?

home sweet home

At the end of May, Murray and I held our breath watching the last game of the Vancouver Canucks vs San Jose Sharks series. If the Canucks won, that meant we had plane tickets home to watch a game of the Stanley Cup Finals. Madison was already in bed, and we had PVR’d the game, as usual, so that we wouldn’t miss anything while putting her down. Blackberry and iPhone carefully tucked away with the ringers off, we watched as the last few seconds ticked away and we heard those beautiful, wonderful words: The Vancouver Canucks are headed to the Stanley Cup Finals!!! We jumped up and cheered as quietly as we could so that we wouldn’t wake up miss Mads. We were thrilled, not only because the team that we live and die for were headed to the Finals, but because we were coming home. I even got a text from my Mom, who actually watched the game, saying hooray.

One thing that struck both of us was how green it is in Vancouver. The trees are huge and line the streets…It’s beautiful and lush. I miss that. As nice as our neighborhood here is in Calgary, it’s a new development and the trees are just little saplings. They’ll need 25 years to look close to as big as they do back home.

It was wonderful to see everyone, and for everyone to see how much Maddy had grown and changed since they last saw her. They were amazed at how she was crawling everywhere – nothing is safe anymore – and how much she could eat! When we moved at the end of Feb, she was just starting out on solids, eating very runny rice cereal. It was cute to see how blown away Grandpa was to see her grabbing a piece of cheese and popping it into her mouth and being able to feed herself.

A highlight was also getting back on the ice with our coed hockey team, the Huskies. I packed my skates and borrowed the rest of my gear from Vicky and Chris, and we played on our first night in town. It was so great to be back on the ice with everyone. Although the guys on my new team are great, it obviously is totally different playing with the Huskies. We’ve been a team for almost 10 years now, and it was such a great feeling to be back, if only for a couple of games.

Outside Rogers Arena

Obviously, the huge highlight was Game 2 of the Stanley Cup. We had seats up in the Best Buy Club, which meant free food, pop/water and a private bar. This free food ain’t no chicken strips and nachos, either – we’re talking salmon sashimi, oysters, steak and scrumptious desserts. It was bliss. I stuffed my face and filled my wine glass. Glorious! I did my best not to worry about Madison, who was in the loving arms of Grandma for the night. It was going to be the longest period of time I would be away from her during her waking hours. I felt better once Murray told me that she was asleep, so I could finally really relax and enjoy the game. The night was capped off by an amazing goal by Burrows just seconds into OT. The crowd went wild. It was deafening and exhilarating! I’m so happy that we were able to go to this game and see the Canucks win. It’s just too bad we lost to Boston in the end. I can’t believe we were so close but we missed the mark once again. Hopefully next year!!

 

 

 

rock a bye no more

Sleep has never been a strong point of Maddy’s. I don’t know why. I love to sleep and so does Murray. So how come our baby hates it? If you’ve been reading for awhile, you’ll know that we’ve had our struggles with both naptime and bedtime. I’ve created a bit of a monster when it comes to naps, but honestly, I had to do it in order to survive. Ever since we moved to Calgary, Madison has been taking all of her naps in her carseat. In order to keep my sanity, which admittedly is delicate at times, I have to go out each and every day. I just can’t be home all day. I can’t do it. I can’t fathom how other mothers do it. Anyway, because of this, I’ve gotten us into a routine of going somewhere, anywhere, every morning. Madison naps on the way to whatever our activity is, whether it’s a water park or the library or a playgroup, and then falls asleep again on our way home from said activity. The morning nap is anywhere from half an hour to an hour, taken in the car, and her afternoon one is usually 1.5-2 hours. That second one is tricky. When we get home, I leave her in the car so I can let the dogs out, open the door to the main floor bathroom, and turn on the fan. Then I go back out to the car and carefully take her carseat out and take her inside, put the carseat on the floor of the bathroom, close the door, then exhale. I know that might sound really odd to some people, but it’s worked for us. That afternoon nap is my lifeline. It’s when I can actually have some time to myself to relax, or eat, or do whatever. When it’s cut short, it’s killer.

I’ve come to the point now, though, where I just don’t feel like it’s working anymore. We’ll be going back home again for a visit next month, and so this bathroom gig won’t work there. Also, I’ll be going back to work in a few months, and no daycare is going to take her out for a car ride each day to put her down for a nap. So it’s training time.

I’ll admit that this absolutely terrifies me. Madison is not an easy baby. She is hot tempered and stubborn. I know that crib training her is going to involve screaming and crying and sleepless days and nights, and I’m not looking forward to it. It’s going to be hell. To help, I’ve gone to a sleep consultant, Helen Sands. She took nearly two weeks and it cost us over $200, but she has given us a personalized sleep plan for Maddy. I’ll do a full post on that some other time. We haven’t started yet as we just got the plan this morning, but it’s going to require a lot of willpower from both Murray and I to implement all of her rules. I hope it works, because Madison is going to have to learn to fall asleep on her own when I go back to work.

end of an era

Coastal Christmas party 2006

Speaking of work, I am saddened by this last piece of news. I knew it was coming, but it’s a sad sad day nonetheless. I’ve been with Coastal Contacts (clearlycontacts.ca) for 8 years. I feel like I have been there forever. When I started, I was CSR #6 with a full staff of about 20. At the time I went on mat leave in August last year, I was Advertising Manager and part of a marketing team of about 15, with a full staff of over 300. The company has continued to grow like crazy during the time I’ve been off, and even though we made the decision to move to Calgary knowing I was most likely leaving my career at Coastal behind, it was still very tough to hear the final word a couple of weeks ago. After some additional discussion over the start of the summer, I was told that unfortunately I would not be able to work remotely from home. I’ll miss my Coasties a ton. I can only hope that I can find a new position at a company that treats it’s staff as well and has a culture to be proud of.

make it thru march

Before we moved, I did a lot of research online to try to find mom and baby groups, storytimes and playgroups. Since we don’t know anyone in Calgary, I was counting on these kinds of things to meet new people and get out of the house. Back home, I had a group that I went to every week on Mondays, and I went to see my mom every Wednesday. Other than that, I would meet friends for playdates. In Calgary, I had to start getting out right away to meet people, otherwise I would go crazy. To my disappointment, it seemed like all of the programs in Calgary were pre-registration only – no drop ins! Plus, to make things worse, all of the programs were either already in progress by the time we were going to move and therefore full, or they didn’t start until April. So, I knew I had several weeks to fill somehow, with something… anything. In my head, I had the mantra M.I.T.M. “Make It Thru March”

The very start of the month was not bad at all, since my mom was in town to help us get settled in. However, once she went home, I was on my own. Murray was at work, and since he needs to learn his new building, new staff and new operation, it requires him to work long days, usually not getting home till 5:30 or 6PM. I found one drop-in program that ran on Tuesdays, and through that I met a mom that I got along with well, and also found out about another website for mom and baby meetups. When Madison had her 6  month immunization shots, the nurse also passed along some other resources for drop-in programs. From these, I’ve pretty much filled up my calendar with something to go to every day except for Fridays. I’m so glad that it didn’t turn out to be too difficult to find things to do! To my surprise, March has actually gone by extremely quickly.

For weeks, I had 10AM this morning marked off in my calendar as a priority appointment. I had been waiting for March 28th since before we moved – it’s registration day for the Mother Goose program. They have these in Vancouver as well, and they are supposed to be fantastic. Moms rave about them, and since they are so highly thought of (and free…) they fill up extremelyquickly. I was told by several people that you need to be at your computer at 10AM sharp otherwise you would miss out.

I did my prep last night. I had the program page for the library up on the screen, ready to hit F5 for a refresh at 10AM sharp. I also added it to my Favorites just in case something went wonky. I had typed in my library card number and Madison’s library card into an email draft so I could quickly copy/paste it into the registration field instead of having to type it in manually and possibly make a mistake. I kept the cards next to my laptop just in case something happened to that email draft, too, of course. Lastly, I had written down a list of library locations, from my first choice down to my sixth.

At 9:55 this morning, I had eaten my breakfast and had Madison playing in her playpen. I was ready. Finger ready on the mouse. At 9:59, I tried refreshing the page just in case. Nope. 10AM rolled around and I hit F5 again…. Boom. The page changed from “Registration begins at Mar 28 10AM” to “Register”. My prepwork paid off and by 10:03 I had the prize: Registration Complete. I got the third of fifteen spots, and by 10:07, all of the spots at the Country Hills library were gone. I felt like I had won the lottery!

We’ll repeat this process again tomorrow morning, for Baby Storytime. Wish me luck.

Once we’re registered for that, we’ll have programs to go to every Wednesday and Thursday in April and May, and various drop-ins and meetups for most every other day of the week. Looks like I made it through March!

canucks fan in cowtown

All of stuff arriving at our new house

It’s been about 3 weeks since we made our big move. We’re getting more settled in now, and I finally have some time to write. Murray has taken the munchkin to have some baby and daddy time – I think they’re going to Rona or Home Depot. Our house is coming together really well. We worked like crazy to get unpacked and settled as quickly as possible. Within just a few days, we were mostly set up, with pictures hung and all the rooms we use on a regular basis were all set. Our basement is the only thing that still looks like we just moved in. Having Mom stay with us for a few days so soon after we moved was a major help, and we could not have possibly accomplished as much as we did without her.

Last Huskies game

Moving day ended up being “moving days” since it was actually a Friday to Monday process. On Friday, Feb 25, the packers came in and packed up our entire house. That night we played our last hockey game with the Huskies and then moved in to Murray’s Dad’s house for the weekend. On Saturday, the movers came in and packed up everything, including our cars, into a huge trailer. I felt bad for the animals since they didn’t know what was going on. It was a bit upsetting for them to see people taking all of furniture away. On Sunday, Murray’s mom and big Mur picked us up from Dad’s and took us to the airport. It was harder than I thought it would be to say goodbye to Maureen, but she’s been so good to us since Maddy was born and I feel closer than I ever had to her. Being at the airport was pretty crazy… It wasn’t us just going on a trip this time – it was us really leaving. I called my mom from the airport for a tearful goodbye, and of course more tears again saying goodbye to Mum and Mur. I think I was a bit numb, I couldn’t believe we were really leaving our family and friends. I took a picture from our seats on the plane as our last view of BC. (At least our last one for awhile…) We moved into our house on Monday – which happened to be the coldest day EVER. It was -23, but felt like -35 with the wind chill. And yes, there were definitely a few thoughts of: what have we done!?

Fortunately, the weather improved quickly, and I experienced my first “Chinook headache”. Chinook winds come in to Calgary every couple of weeks during the winter and bring up the temperature drastically and suddenly. It can go from -20 to 0 in a day, and the sudden change of high pressure can cause headaches. Once that subsided, the weather returned to typical March weather, just below 0 degrees and sunny. What’s funny about the weather here is that it can be -2 and feel warmer than it does in Vancouver at +8. It’s because it’s gorgeous blue sky and sun, and the cold is brisk and dry, while it can be grey and rainy in Van City. I won’t miss that.

We miss our Canucks a lot. Even though we subscribed to Sportsnet Pacific, they black out the Canucks games!! It’s brutal to see all these crappy Flames games that we don’t care about. And of course, the Canucks haven’t been on TSN or CBC since we moved. Luckily, we scored some tickets to the game when the Canucks were in town last weekend. We proudly donned our Canucks jerseys and kissed Maddy goodbye as we left her with our new friend Tara. She’s our real estate agent’s wife and one VERY brave woman to look after miss Mads. I gotta say – the Saddledome sucks. Yeah, we had crappy seats waaaaay up top, so high up, in fact, that we couldn’t see the fans across from us because of the dip in the middle of the saddle. We are spoiled with Rogers Arena being such a new building. Murray teased a Flames fan and very good sport sitting next to us, asking if the city was thinking of building a new arena once they got an NHL team. It was a tough start since the Nucks went down 2-0 within the first few minutes, but it was sweet to cheer loud and proud when our boys came back to beat the Flames. The ride home on the C-train was pretty amusing since there were many fellow Canucks fans on board, and some poor Flames fan actually got booed when he got on wearing the home team’s jersey.

Hello kitty

As for me, my big priority has been to meet people. It’s a bit different for Murray since he’s got his new job and has met a ton of new people. I think his depot has over 400 staff, so he has gotten tons of interactions with new people. After mom left, I have pretty much been on my own, so I’ve been spending a lot of time in malls just to get out of the house. I gotta say, though, the malls here rock. Cross Iron Mills is HUGE and amazing, and Market Mills is also really nice.  Unlike home, where programs seem to be ongoing drop-ins, here I’ve had to wait and try to register for stuff. I have Mar 28 and 29 highlighted in my calendar to be on the computer at 10AM sharp so I can get one of 15 highly coveted spots in some baby storytime programs. This week I finally found a drop in program that I could check out on Tuesday. I met a really nice mom who invited me to a playdate at Coffee and Scream on Thursday, where I met another mom that I got along with. I also found out about a website called Meetup.com from another mom at the Tuesday drop-in, and through that I’ve found a lot of other mom groups.

So, I guess things are starting to feel more like home now, and it’s a lot better knowing that I have places to go and not just stuck at home. Maddy has adjusted like a champ and is doing really well. She has been getting so strong and can now stand up for several seconds while holding herself up on a footstool. She is also eating plenty of solids now and has tried banana, avocado, pears, carrots, peas, sweet potatoes, squash, oats and rice. Next up is some meats like chicken and beef! It’s definitely messy, but we have our Canucks bibs to keep her looking good 🙂

Maddy standing on her own

mr. sandman

I love sleep. I miss sleep. I need sleep.

Back in the early weeks of Madison’s life, I was getting up every two hours at night. She would feed, then cry for some time before going back to sleep. By the time I would fall back asleep, I would only get in about 45 minutes to an hour of sleep before she was up, ready to be fed again. Needless to say, it’s hard on the system. I wouldn’t be able to get my ass out of bed until about 11AM. Most days, I’d never put my contacts in, or put makeup on, or even get out of my pjs. Slowly, but surely, it started to get better.

A few weeks ago, we started to fall into a very nice rhythm. Maddy would have her last feeding at around 8 or 8:30PM, fall asleep relatively quickly, then wake up somewhere between 3:30 and 5AM. I’d then feed her in the dark so she would fall right back asleep, and she’d be out until pretty much 8AM on the dot. This was very doable. I started to feel a lot better with the amount of sleep that I was getting again. I was content with our little routine that was developing. But of course, as I heard all things do, as soon as we had a bit of a schedule going, it all went to hell.

I don’t know if Madison caught a bit of Murray’s cold (which I now have, ugh) or if she started teething, or both, but suddenly her sleep pattern completely regressed. One night, she was up at 12:30, then 2AM, then 5:30 and 6:50, and up for her usual wakeup time of 8AM. It kicked the crap out of us. I thought we were past all of this!! And to make it worse, when she woke up, she would not just be making little noises, she was screaming. All of the teething symptoms were there: irritability, disruption of sleep patterns, excessive drooling, chin rash, rosy cheeks and chewing on her hands. Oh boy.

To top it all off, she had her 4 month immunization shots on Wednesday. Just like my previous post about her 2 month immunizations, it was heartbreaking to hear her cry when she got poked with the needle. What made it worse was that she had been sleeping quite peacefully until the doctor came in. What a crappy way to wake up. Afterwards, her poor little legs were definitely sore, and that didn’t help her with sleeping, either.

This sleep regression doesn’t seem to have affected her as much as it has affected Murray and I. I don’t know how she still wakes up at pretty much 8AM on the dot, as if she has an alarm clock set. I would love to sleep until at least 10AM with all of these night wakings. She has also started to fight naps, especially in the afternoon. I see her yawning, so I know she’s tuckered out, but it’s as if she doesn’t want to miss anything. She screams and cries and arches her back, until finally I can rock and shush her to sleep. She’s fast asleep in my arms, but often as soon as I put her down, she wakes right back up and we have to start the process over again. Once she’s down for her nap, I have exactly 30 minutes until she wakes up again. This is enough time to say, each lunch, or get dressed. If I’m lucky, maybe I get to sit down and do nothing for a few minutes, but usually it gets taken up by clearing the dishwasher, sweeping up the dog hair or putting on a load of laundry. It hasn’t left any time for blogging, which is why I haven’t made any new posts for such a long time.

It does seem like we’re starting to get things going back in the right direction, though. We’re back down to a single night waking, with a short feed and relatively quick to go back to sleep. Unfortunately, it’s still on the early side of the night – somewhere between midnight and 2AM. I’d really really like to get a longer stretch of sleep again. Normally I go to bed around 9 or 9:30, so that means I still only get about three to five hours of consecutive sleep. Now that I’m sick, I especially need the rest. This weekend, I’m really going to try to take it easy so that I can rest up and feel better for next week.

my new job

This is what I deal with some days...all day...

Being a stay at home mom is tough. It’s definitely tougher than working at a regular job. First of all, it’s 24/7. There’s no time off. I work days, evenings, graveyards and weekends. Secondly, my boss yells at me all the time.

It’s funny how my definition of “accomplishments” has changed so much in these past four months. At my office job, I got tons of stuff done. I could produce work. I could put numbers and measurements to it. Now, it’s an accomplishment to empty the dishwasher, or do laundry, or to be able to pump enough milk to make a bottle. Funny how that’s changed. On the other end of things, I have a way more important job to do now than ever before. I’m giving my baby everything she needs.

My old job title was Advertising Manager. I bought media for my company, ClearlyContacts.ca, and ran our social media program. I loved my job. I got lots of stuff done. I liked that feeling of crossing things off my list, planning campaigns and finishing projects. I was organized. I had excel sheets, timelines, structure. Now all of that is out the window in my new role as Full Time Momma, or, as I’d like to think of it: Director of Development, Entertainment and Catering.

Development:

  • A baby’s head is about a quarter of the length of their body. Think about that for a second… imagine if our heads were still that proportionately huge in adulthood!! That would be pretty heavy! So, babies need a lot of time on their tummies so they can develop the strength in their back and neck to hold up that big noggin. We do tummy time every day, and Maddy actually holds her head up extremely well. She’s been able to hold it steady from when she was just a few weeks old.
  • We play lots of different kinds of music, but especially a lot of classical music, so that she can learn about sound and rhythm.
  • We read books so that she hears lots of different words, and we look at the brightly colored pages to stimulate her vision. We pat the doggies and the kitties to feel the texture of their soft fur.

Entertainment:

  • Playtime is learning time. We play peek-a-boo so that she learns about object permanence. So even if she can’t see Mommy’s face, it’s still there behind her hands.
  • Babies love to copy what they see and hear, so when I make funny faces at her or stick my tongue out, it teaches her about her own facial expressions. When she makes cooing sounds like “doo” or “ah” and I repeat them back to her, she learns about conversation.
  • I’m in charge of keeping her amused while she’s awake and alert. Whether it’s a song and dance, or putting the right toy in front of her, or putting her in her bouncy seat, if she’s not entertained, she’s going to let me know she’s not happy.

Catering:

  • Breastfeeding takes a lot of work. There’s the actual feeding time, but then you also have to factor in the time that I spend pumping afterwards so that I can get enough milk to make a bottle for her each day.
  • It’s no wonder Madison loves the boob so much. It’s a warm, cozy, soft place to sleep and it provides her with food and drink. The adult version of that would be a soft heated pillow that also dispenses beer and pizza. I’d want to hang out there all the time, too.

I think I need to keep these things in perspective to help me remember that I’m still being productive every day. All I need to do is watch my little girl and all the new things she learns and discovers each day to realize that I’m doing a good job with her. My new job may be way tougher than my old one, but the results that come with it are infinitely more rewarding.

I call this one "the look of love".

the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree

Madison still won’t take a bottle. (Without a fight, anyway.)

There are many things that I had hoped my daughter would inherit from me. My passion for the things that I love and people I care about, my determination and competitiveness, my love of animals, and my enjoyment of sports, among other things. While it’s still going to be some time before we see if those traits got passed along, it’s apparent that she’s gotten something else. I have a very keen sense of what I want, and if I can’t get it, nothing else will do. In Madison’s case, she wants the boob, not the bottle.

What? You want me to take a bottle? I don't think so...

I distinctly remember an episode of Empty Nest that perfectly illustrates my point. Does anyone remember that show? It must have been around the same time as Golden Girls… it was a show about a dad who lived with his two grown daughters. In this episode, the dad was telling his daughter about a desk that he had wanted when he was a boy. He wanted a specific one that had everything that he needed, but was given a different yet similar one as a gift. It had everything that he had wanted, except one thing – there were no cubbyholes. He wanted cubbyholes. And so, he was never happy with it. For some reason, I really related to that. When I want something, it has to be exactly that. I can’t settle for something less.

Little Miss Madison may only be 3 months old, but already she’s decided that she won’t settle for anything less than the real thing. Very occasionally, she will actually take the bottle, but never without a fight. Normally, it takes up to 45 minutes to get her to drink just 2 ounces from a bottle, when usually she breastfeeds for 10-15 minutes and drinks twice that amount. She’ll cry, scream, arch her back, turn her head away, just about anything to get away from that offensive fake nipple. She’d rather not eat at all than take a bottle.

This is a real challenge for me. It was really important to me that she be breastfed because all the research shows it’s so much better for babies. So, I was determined to make it work no matter what. Even in the early days when I was bleary eyed, exhausted and in tears at 3AM trying to get Madison to latch properly, then pumping to help increase my milk supply (a process that would take 30-40 minutes all in), there was no way I was going to give up and just give her formula because it was going to be easier. With all that struggle to get breastfeeding well-established, I never thought in a million years that we would be having the opposite problem. Everything I read said that bottle feeding was supposed to be so much easier for babies. Now I face the problem of being tied down to breastfeeding.

Although I’m back to playing coed hockey every Friday, we can never stay for food afterwards. We need to rush home so that I can feed Maddy and put her to bed. Grandmas and Aunties have tried diligently to get her to take a bottle, but she never takes the whole thing before they finally have to give up. It’s been really tough. As great as it is to even be able to get out at all, I really miss being able to go upstairs after a game and enjoy some wingies and a drink with the rest of the team. Sometimes I feel cut off from being able to have any independence at all. I feel jealous of other moms who have that freedom to go out for an afternoon or an evening since someone else can feed their baby.

I can only hope that eventually she takes to our little silicone friend. Luckily, the same stubbornness that drives her not to take it is rooted in me. I’m determined to keep trying, with one bottle every single day. We’ll see who wins out in the end.

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