My other themed post for the week is strictly writing based. It’s going to be mostly stream of conciousness/free writing/whatever it becomes. Not necessarily looking for comments or input, just want to be present and give my brain a creative workout.
I’m driving down the road exiting off the main strip to the side road, heading to the grocery store. The grocery store is my little bit of solitude these days. For weeks it was Chris who made our weekly grocery store runs and I’d stay home with Forest. Of course there were instances when we all made the trek together but in those early days with all three of us invariably Forest needed a trip to the changing station in the women’s restroom at least twice and by the end of the trip he would tell me he was hungry, or maybe he was just fussy and was sick of being in his car seat and at the grocery store. Eventually though, I started wanting to head to the grocery store myself so I could peruse the aisles and get the things I wanted to snack on during the week. Chris was generally pretty good about getting the things I wanted but if I didn’t elaborate on what the ‘good bread’ was I usually got his version of the ‘good bread’.
As I’m exiting the road that will soon become a toll-road but is now just a 50 mile-per-hour four lane roadway, Don Henley’s The Last Worthless Evening comes onto the HD radio station I’m listening to. Don Henley is an insant trigger of flashbacks to Florida. Before I lived in Florida for eight years his songs recalled the vacations I spent there with my family. Post living in Florida I can instantly recall all sorts of scenarios from times in Florida. For some reason this day I recalled a trip down U.S. 41 from Sarasota with my former boss (Hi, Steve!). We’d visited a parcel of property there and he’d decided to take the scenic route down U.S. 41 to Ft. Myers and Naples instead of jumping onto the faster I-75 to the east. The drive was scenic through small towns filled with retirees in winter and vacationers in summer. When we came to Ft. Myers I remember wishing I could just exit off and head to Sanibel Island, one of the vacation spots from my youth. Sanibel was why I wanted to live in Florida.
The last time I was in Sanibel was Christmas of 2009, before we left Florida in February 2010 and went hiking on the Appalachian Trail. It was a spur of the moment trip with our friends Marc and Eliana after we’d had Christmas with them at their house in Miami, they’d invited us to trek along with them over to the southwest coast for a few days. For some reason Florida felt so much more ripe for exploring than Texas does—maybe it’s the crappy public to private land ratio we have here.
Sometimes I catch glimpses of Florida here in Texas. Usually its the way the light is hitting at a particular moment in the day, sometimes it is the smell of the pine needles in the sun, or the whine of a hawk overhead. The funny thing is sometimes in the north-central part of Florida I’d see a scene, usually some lumbering live oak in a field, and think “That looks like Texas.”
Memory, it’s a peculiar thing.
Forest has been really fun these last few weeks, not that he hasn’t been fun before. The difference is he’s changing daily! It was week 19 that we found out he had started rolling over from back to front at daycare. Chris found out one morning when he dropped him off and told me when I got to work. It was several more days, actually a week, before I saw him do it. I found out Chris saw him do it at daycare, days after the fact, which perturbed me quite a bit. He’s still got some problems getting over whatever arm he’s trying to roll over but once he gets it he has fun on his belly for awhile. He’s even trying to scoot just a bit on his belly and I think if we give him belly time he’ll be up on his knees and trying to crawl in no time. Even tonight (Saturday night as I’m writing this) as we were doing belly time he was trying to put his knees up under him and get up on them but he just doesn’t have that upper-middle belly strength yet. But, I bet soon we get there and then we’re in trouble! Even if we leave him on his back for awhile he’s figured out how to wiggle and squirm around to where he wants to go within a few feet radius of where he originated.
At his 4 month well-visit with the pediatrician she said we could start him on rice cereals and the like soon. My reading prior to this had me turned off on introducing solids a: so soon and b: with cereals and I kind of hedged her and said we’d started in a few weeks. She wasn’t demanding we start or anything, just suggesting it. I’m still aiming for testing the food waters out at the six month mark and I’m getting excited for that. Some other blogs I read and a few friends on Facebook with babies just a bit older than Forest have already started their kids on solids and I’m getting a little giddy to see him try food for the first time. He’s definitely interested in shoving everything into his mouth these days and is starting to keenly watch us as we eat dinner. Chris’ mom got his high-chair for us for Christmas so he’s been sitting with us for some meals, which he likes. Usually he just chews on his toys while we are eating. On Saturday morning was the first time I noticed he was interested in what I was drinking, coffee, while we were watching Wonder Pets. I let him look inside it to see the coffee and told him what it was and he could have some in a few years, and he immediately put his lips on the side of the mug. No, he didn’t drink it, but he was definitely curious on feeling the cup with his mouth so I let him explore that sensation for a few seconds before I knew he would get all wild and try to spill the coffee everywhere. Curiosity is growing with him!
Something else I’ve noticed with him is I believe he’s realizing and understanding when I leave a room and is having a bit of separation anxiety. I had seen on the Wonder Weeks app that this was a month 6 or 7 thing for it to begin but in the last week I’ve noticed he’ll just flip out if I leave him on the playmat and even just step a few feet away or walk into the kitchen out of his viewpoint. It just hit me today (Saturday) that this may be his problem. When he started crying I’d initially check his diaper (dry), try to feed him (no mom, not hungry), and then sit with him a bit and play. Of course then I’d try to go do what I was intending to do and he’d still get frustrated. I ended up wearing him in the Ergo carrier for awhile in order to get some laundry done. It finally hit me that he may be understanding perspective and distance more and the fact that I’m a separate entity now.
I think I mentioned a post or two ago that I was reading about peaceful and empathetic parenting. It was part of my ‘mindful’ word for the year and I managed to find quite a few books that I had wanted to read at the library. I’m concurrently reading The Whole Brain Child and Unconditional Parneting. The first seems a little more geared for parents of 3-10 year olds but I can definitely see its applicability. It is also a thinner book and more simple to read but I’m liking it so far. It’s mostly about the development of a child’s brain, understanding the right versus left brain and its use in young children as well as the ‘upstairs’ and ‘downstairs’ brains—-upstairs being the more logical and reasoning section that isn’t even fully developed until we’re in our mid 20s and the downstairs being the more basic and rudimentary sections that deal with anger, fear, and quick impulses like reacting to danger quickly. It all makes sense, kids are figuring out how to use their brains and understand what’s going on around them and when they don’t that’s usually why tantrums, confusion and other ‘problems’ set in. The book is guiding adults and parents how to approach these issues from a more empathetic point of view, understanding where the child is coming from and solving problems in a more gentle way.
The second book is a little more involved and I am so far liking it and completely seeing the conditional versus unconditional viewpoints. I’ll probably review it a little more in detail once I finish reading it.
The other two books I have are Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids and Simplicity Parenting. I also have a book in the queue at the library Non-violent Communication—aka: words matter. I haven’t even read it yet but I have been finding myself reevaluating what I say after I say it. (Here’s a starter YouTube video of Marshall Rosenberg explaining NVC.)
I guess that’s about it for these two weeks. Forest continues to change by leaps and bounds and is adorable as ever!
I’ve definitely felt the need to be quiet here lately but am slowly emerging from that. In an effort to be a little more present here I’m trying with two themed posts a week, hopefully Sundays and Wednesdays but I’m flexible. This will be in addition to the every couple of weeks Forest updates and the occasional random post I feel like throwing in here. The theory with these Life Snippet posts will be that they are photo only, generally, and are capturing random moments throughout my week….people or not. I’m liking the black and white thing so that might be present here quite a bit—we’ll see. Also, I’m trying to force myself to use my dSLR more…this is my excuse.
A random photo from one of my Flickr photo albums taken in the Keys…’cause you know, photos are nice!
+Can you Homestead with Kids? from NW Edible Life
+Thoughts on Busy from Elise Blaha Cripe
+My Favorite Organizational Tools from Natalie Creates
+Just You Wait from Elise Blaha Cripe—FYI, never say this to a parent, or at least rephrase it if you are trying to bond/looking to vent about a certain period of parenting. As much as I am looking forward to certain life stages with Forest, I try to live in the moment with him as much as I can. I get each day once.
+Post Trail Depression from fellow AT hikers and newly completed PCT thru-hikers Dormouse and Dirt Stew. It’s real, yo.
+Turn Here, Now There…Canopy Roads of Levy County from Pure Florida. Gah, makes me miss Florida so much! Also, makes me miss Florida winters.
+Favorite Sunrises and Sunsets of 2014 from Adventures of a Vagabond Volunteer
+Foothills Trail Thru-Hike from Rambling Hemlock
+You Know You’re a Hiker When from Section Hiker
I feel like December was this deep, dark abyss that I was finally able to surface from in January only to be knocked back down once I took a breath. We were all pretty much sick for the entire December with Chris either relapsing or getting a different virus all together right after Christmas and not recovering well enough until after New Years. Then I got hit with a stomach bug that I’m still unsure if it was an actual bug or a food related illness because Chris ended up sick the following evening with the same thing after eating leftovers from the night I got sick. If being sick with a an upper respiratory infection is difficult to take care of a baby, being sick with a gastrointestinal illness is even worse! Chris ended up taking Forest downstairs for about half the night so I could attempt to sleep despite being sick every hour. I ended up with Forest for the rest of the night so Chris could sleep enough to go to work. It was rough after that.
These days Forest is incredibly talkative most of the time, babbling and squealing when he isn’t trying to pry his teeth to come out of his gums with his hands. We’re in teething central here and have been for several weeks. I mistakenly thought maybe we’d see a tooth soon but apparently it could be weeks or months before one shows up. This despite pools and pools of drool and Forest using his Sophie the Giraffe like a dog uses its chew toy. Oh, he loves Sophie but he gets soooo mad at her sometimes, so much so that I end up having to take her away so he’ll calm down. He’s also been using his pacifier like a pro these days, shoving it back in his mouth and getting creative and using it as a chew toy, too. I credit daycare for this! In fact, he’ll stick just about anything in his mouth if you let him so we’re having to watch him closely.
On the rolling over front he’s still not rolled over from either side yet. The pediatrician said the larger babies usually have a harder time with it than the smaller ones. He’s doing good on his belly these days. We’re not very good with tummy time around here but I put him on his belly a few weeks ago and was impressed with how good he was handling it…my guess that it is another daycare progress. At the pediatrician the other day the doctor flipped him on his belly on the exam bench and he showed off for her, too! I’ve been helping him sit up by holding his hands and slowly helping him roll up from his back. He’s strong and the pediatrician said he was more advanced on that aspect than other babies his age…maybe he’ll decide to sit up before rolling???
On the sleep front he’s never returned to those lovely long stretches he had in October that was lost when I went back to work in November. I think there’s a couple of things going on with that but really they are just theories. I think he doesn’t drink enough during the day—sometimes they are just giving him his last 4 oz bottle at 5pm which makes it the 16 oz that we send with him. Sometimes he doesn’t even get that fourth one for one reason or another. Lately he’s been battling the bottle and I have seen it first hand when I try to finish a bottle that was started before I pick him up from daycare when we get home in the evening. I hate to waste the milk so I at least try to give him what’s left but sometimes I can’t even do that and end up just nursing him instead. I thought a lot about it and I think he might be upset with the flow now so I ordered two size 2 nipples to see if the flow rate is what’s frustrating him.
The second thing I think he has a problem with is naps during the day. If he gets an hour nap at daycare it is amazing, usually it’s several 15-30 minute naps, 2-3 of those. Here at the house on the weekends I can manage to get him an hour or longer nap at least once on the weekend but most naps are 30-45 minutes, but I also try to give him the opportunity for more naps than he might get at daycare. His bedtime has naturally moved up in the evening and I usually have him down for bed between 7 and 7:30. Then he sleeps, generally—he likes to throw kinks sometimes, 3-4 hours before he wakes up for a feeding and then he’s up every 1.5-2 hours after that. Then the problem is he’s asleep for ten minutes and then stirs and you have to go back and soothe him or pick him back up and he usually falls right back to sleep. When we were sick in December we spent a lot of time on the couch in an effort not to keep Chris up with my coughing and though the couch was uncomfortable it was far easier and I got more sleep having him in my arms. Then Chris got sick and he started sleeping downstairs in the guest bed so he wouldn’t keep us up with his coughing so I brought Forest to the bed when he woke up after his first long sleep. It really was easier and I slept even better being in my bed. I started doing the side-lying breastfeeding position after that if Forest was up for it. But Chris is back in the bed now and is a lighter sleeper than I am and so we’re trying to transition Forest back to the cradle.
Actually, we switched the cradle out for a pack-and-play a few nights ago since I noticed Forest had started sleeping on his side some and was really wiggling around. The cradle was just getting too small for him; it was a little bittersweet to stop using it after four months. Anyway, I’ve read so much sleep stuff and it is really just infuriating all of the advice that may or may not work for your particular baby, so I just read and see if anything sticks out and hope for the best with what we’re doing. I mean, you’ll read about a baby doing well for a few weeks or even months to get hit by a growth spurt, teething, or whatever and bam! it’s back to square one. So, I take a lot of sleep advice with a grain of salt. Based on what I’ve read for breastfeeding babies, and if he continues to reverse cycle with daycare, I don’t see him night weaning anytime soon. It seems that a lot of breastfed babies night wean far later than formula fed babies. I really don’t mind the night feedings, I just want the other wakings to lessen, the ones where he can’t get himself back to sleep. We’ll let him fuss for awhile and ocassionally he’ll resettle but most of the time we have to go back and help him out. That’s where having him in the bed makes it easy—I switch him to the other side and he generally goes back to sleep.
So, we’re working on that. I’m not really looking for advice or anything, I know what all of the sleep ‘training’/non-training (Dr. Sears) options that are out there and what I do and don’t agree with. I just want to write what we’re going through, still, on the sleep front for reading later. We’re in the so-called 4-month sleep regression, but I think those lines are blurred anyway. Right now I’m just going with the flow!
Other than that Forest is doing great and growing well. He was 17 lbs 15.8 ounces at his 4 month well-visit!
Almost a year ago I wrote over on Sprout Dispatch about starting a mushroom log. Yesterday I took a walkabout in the yard with Forest as it was our first bit of sunshine in nearly a week. I spotted that the mushroom log had sprouted mushrooms. Unsure if they were from the plugs or if they were just random mushrooms from the yard I mentioned it to Chris who confirmed they were the edible kind. Unfortunately I caught them past their prime and they were still quite small, however I’m happy to know that I may be eating mushrooms on a semi-frequent basis in the near future. And it only took a year!
It’s been two years or so since I last chose a word for the year. I didn’t opt for one last year because at the time I knew that it was really going to be ‘baby’ and didn’t want the hassle of trying to focus on something else. However, this year I need a word to get myself out of the baby fog. I’m chosing mindful for a lot of reasons that I’m not going to elaborate on here. I’m not doing this word up big here on the blog but there will be some background work going on that I want to keep track of for myself. The word really jumped out at me as I’ve been reading about empathetic and peaceful parenting, though the word isn’t necessarily for parenting. It just sounded like a good word to implement for the year, to ponder on as the seasons change.
Are you chosing a word?
This was a year, y’all! On Christmas Eve this year I kept thinking “This time last year I had a hunch I was pregnant.” On Christmas I thought, “I was pretty damn sure I was pregnant this time last year and was keeping my hunch a secret.”, and remembering how much I was analyzing my possible symptoms before getting a pregnancy test. The day after Christmas this year I thought that it really couldn’t have been a whole year ago that I went to visit my friend Stephanie and was too nervous to tell her I thought I was pregnant and to ask her if I could please use her bathroom to pee on a stick. I thought about how I instead I peed on a stick in the Starbucks bathroom, and then waited for my coffee order to come up while I peeked inside my purse at the stick I’d shoved in there after leaving the bathroom, and grinning with shock and excitment when it said I was pregnant.
That’s been a whole year ago now!
So, it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that my # 1 best of for the year is Forest!
- Forest: Of course my very best of 2014 is going to be my kid! From first seeing him on the ultrasound to introducing him to the world, he’s definitely been at the forefront of my thoughts for the majority of the year. What a trip these last four months have been! I have a post on motherhood brewing in my head, but a short synopsis on what introducing a child to your life is: intense love, insanity, and life changing. I thought really hard during Christmas this year because it was one year ago that I was someone who’d never gone down this path of parenthood in any form and then in that tiny moment of looking at the pregnancy test everything changed. It is still surreal. I covered some of that in my Postpartum Thoughts write-up.
- Finishing my Florida Trail book: I wrote a giant treatise on the first of the year last year on Reconsidering The Florida Trail As A Valuable Long Trail which in turn got some attention from folks in the Florida Trail community as well as those outside of it in the general hiking world. I’m glad I wrote it, getting some frustrations out and hopefully spurring some interest in the trail itself. The Florida Trail needs some love!! That led to being invited to talk about the FT on The Trail Show which was an awesome experience and I was glad to spread the love of the FT to the hiking community.
At the end of January I finished my book and in my perfect hindsight view I realllllly should have edited it before Forest was born. Since I didn’t I plan on getting that done this spring and we’ll see what happens with it after that. I’m just glad I wrote the dang thing and will remember all of the frustrations with my slow studio computer (my old laptop), piling on blankets during the cold months because the heat didn’t do my studio justice, and listening to internet radio. I’m ready to spend some more time in my studio polishing up the book and getting it out there.
I should also add that recently I was interviewed by Sandra Friend at Florida Hikes! as part of her Wild Women series. You can read my interview here but please check out all of the other fantastic ladies that were interviewed as well!
- Florida!: In March, just as I was getting over the first trimester nausea and before I was really showing, we went back to Florida for the first time since we’d hiked the Florida Trail three years previously. We hit up Little Slough for some rambling, and saw several old friends…oh it was good to see them! There was Paddling at Riverbend Park and Swamping in Fakahatchee Strand. Just thinking about doing all of these activities makes me long for the days when Forest is big enough to go exploring. I miss it so much.
Those were the big things this year. We had a few big garden projects but I wasn’t as involved in those and as summer wore on my outside involvement reached nearly to nil and once Forest was born it was nil. There weren’t any big creative projects after I finished writing my book, which bums me out a little bit and makes me itch to get a lot of creative things done this coming year. I suppose the one creative thing I somehow managed to do was put together a printed book of Forest’s birth story as well as a scrapbook of his birth. I managed that on maternity leave and Forest’s more sleepy times.
In all, it was definitely a good year but I’m excited for the upcoming year. I picked a word for 2015 and hope to share it with you soon. I haven’t picked a word in two years!
2014, you were one crazy-awesome year!
The last three weeks have been rough here at the house. The three of us have been recuperating from being sick, officially diagnosed in Forest as RSV and an ear infection. I finally caved and went to the urgent care clinic and was told I had an ear infection and sinus infection. Chris healed easier than all of us and was probably down only about a week whereas I am hanging in here at the longest at three weeks. What’s left is some sinus drainage and a nasty cough. Forest coughs on occassion but we’re giving him a daily Albuterol nebulizer treatment along with liquid amoxicillin. Giving a baby liquid medication is about as difficult as giving it to my cats, maybe just a bit easier. When it is dyed pink it’s even more fun to attempt to keep it from getting on clothes and furniture.
So, that’s been my reason for delaying these updates, just not feeling up to par and feeling like sitting down to write what’s going on.
Other than being sick, Forest’s mental development is getting stronger. He absolutely loves playing on his playmat but gets frustrated after awhile when he can’t eat the toys that hang down and he’s getting a little frustrated that he hasn’t figured out how to roll over from back to front. He’s been ‘close’ to doing it for a month now, we keep thinking he’s going to roll over but he never does. He gets close but the arm he’s rolling over just isn’t positioned right so he never gets completely over. On the tummy time front he’s been doing better which I think is attributed to daycare. He’s been able to stay on his tummy for longer periods without getting fussy. His abdominal muscles are also getting stronger and I can help pull him up off of his back with his hands and he will sit up for a few seconds before we roll back down onto his back.
In a week he’ll be four months old and a week later he has his four month well visit and vaccinations. I’ve decided to try breastfeeding him while he gets his shots this time as I read after the fact last time that it seems to soothe babies during the ordeal. We’ll see.
Now that we’re getting closer to introducing foods, I’ve been reading about Baby Led Weaning. We’ll be waiting to introduce solids until closer to the six month mark due to the increasing research that the digestive system isn’t developed well enough for solids much earlier than that. I know they say the range is 4-6 months but I’d rather wait until closer to six months, plus Forest isn’t sitting up on his own yet and is still working on his gag relex by sticking his hands in his mouth as far as he can. The ‘weaning’ part is misleading, I’m not actually going to be weaning him, it’s more like baby led ‘feeding’. Chris will be harvesting some carrots from our garden in a month or so and I’d like to try some of those out pureed as well as small pieces that he can feed himself. It will be an interesting adventure introducing food to Forest!
I’ve been doing some elimination communication with Forest, mostly still catching the pees but if I’m diligent in the mornings I can catch his #2s in the morning. I’m not always diligent.
Daycare is going alright other than picking up all the germs that are there. Chris and I have a good routine down, he takes Forest in the morning and I pick him up in the evenings. It gives each of us about 30 minutes of quiet time at the house before everyone is there. It is still a pain in the butt to be going out of our way to drop him off and pick him up but it would be like that no matter where we took him.
Other than that there’s not much else going on. He’s just growing and playing and grabbing everything that he can to shove in his mouth—which means we’re having to watch him a lot closer! I’m having to put my hair back a lot more because my hair is a great item to grab! I’m trying to teach him the parts of a face after I feed him. He’ll grab my hand and I’ll point to his nose and then my nose and do that with all of the facial features and eventually I’ll ask where my cheek or nose is. Sometimes he’ll push our hands in the right direction of whatever part I mention. It’s still early for that recognition but I figure it’s not a bad idea to get started in teaching him things like that.
Ok, well, I have to just finish this post and get it up or else we’ll be tacking on week 17! I should really be more diligent and write a short blurb weekly so I have it to post easier. We’ll see how I am at that next time around! Oh and someday I will get around to ironing that sheet he gets his photos taken on…
Our trip to McKinney Falls State Park was very short as the sun was already low on the horizon that afternoon. We visited both the upper and lower falls but our plans to see the old cypress in the park were thwarted when learning that the bridge on the trail to the cypress was out. Apparently it was a little rough crossing and I doubt a stroller was going to make that trek. So, we made it a short trip and decided we’d have to see the rest of the park another time.