Lucy was diagnosed with her first ear infection yesterday. A double whammy in both ears! I must say, for having 2 infected ears, this girl is a trooper. Traipsing around daycare with (turns out) a fever of 102 degrees, you’d think she’d be a little crankier. And she still (thank God) slept 12 straight hours last night without a snag. We started the antibiotics and Tylenol regimen last night, so I’m hoping we can knock those germs out before Monday. Aaaaand I’m hoping we don’t develop a nasty diaper rash or thrush due to the antibiotics. You know why antibiotics work, right? They don’t discriminate – they kill errything – all bacteria, good and bad. Lucy eats yogurt with probiotics in it every morning, so I hope we can counteract the destruction of the good guys. In the meantime, here’s sick Lucy in all her glory. This outfit was not my choice…but why fight with a sick one-year-old?
Lucy and I finished up our fourth flight together today. This time, we flew to Chicago for the weekend to see Aunt Sara. We had a blast! A few tips for keeping baby (and mommy) happy whilst getting from A to B…
1. Invest in a good stroller. Lucy is a hefty 21 lbs now so carrying her in the Ergo, even on my back, gets old real fast. For this trip, I did the first leg with a cheap-o umbrella stroller from Wal-Mart. This stroller is great for a quick trip to the mall without too many turns or uneven surfaces. However, after using a whole bunch of muscle just to get the thing to turn, and one time of almost chucking Lucy out onto the sidewalk, we had to make a change. My sis and I went to Target and we upgraded. I got the BabyTrend City Micro. It was half off on clearance and this thing is the bomb-diggity for travel. Lightweight? Check. Folds up easily? Check. Unfolds easily? Check. Doesn’t send your child into traumatic brain injury land when you hit a small bump? Double check. Lucy rode in style and comfort for the rest of the trip.
2. For travel, a backpack diaper bag is the way to go. I recently was gifted a Petunia Picklebottom backpack diaper bag. Yep, that is an actual brand! This thing rocks. It has a diaper changing pad on the front that zips in and out, pockets for diapers and wipes, bottles, waterproof fabric, and straps for back- or shoulder-wearing. How did I not know about these things earlier? Walking with a toddler means lots of bending over, and, before Miss Petunia PB entered my life, lots of Lucy getting hit in the head with my shoulder bag. The back straps also clip on and off, so you can clip the whole bag onto the stroller handles when traipsing through the airport with your toddler like a boss. Ok, like a tired mom with a tired baby. But I still felt cool.
3. Two words: curb check. Why go into the airport lugging your luggage, pack n play, carseat, and high chair? Check that shiz-nit at the curb, yo. I must give a shout-out to Southwest here. This morning while checking in all our gear, the nice man working at the curbside check-in took my credit card and ID then told me to go wait in my sister’s car while he tagged, organized, and loaded all our stuff. It was 11 whole degrees out there, so I accepted. Go Southwest! Customer service! He also got a fat tip from me!
4. Bring random “toys.” Sharing 6 square feet with your 14-month-old takes a bit of strategic planning. For Lucy’s entertainment on the plane, I stayed away from toys she is used to playing with every day (these also typically involve balls and blocks that can be thrown or dropped). I packed:
– 2 Medela milk storage bottles (hello, caps that twist on and off!)
– An old wallet filled with my old license, business cards, and used gift cards
– Foam stickers that unstick and restick very easily to any surface
– 2 interactive board books (fuzzy animals and peek-a-boo)
– My iPhone – in case of emergency. I downloaded a new app called Perfect Dog. It includes picture after picture of dogs, organized by breed. Lucy is in love with dogs of any type, so I knew this would be a winner.
4. Keep the kid eating. Lu really chowed down on this trip. For me anyway, a full tummy means no motion sickness. Chewing also helps with ear pressure. So I made sure Lucy would be ready to eat at takeoff. We snacked on waffles with peanut butter, cut oranges, apple slices, and bagels. All of these things take Lucy a long time to eat. Snacking alone took a good 30 min!
5. Take it all in stride. Despite my strategic planning and tedious organization, this last flight was not Lucy’s best. She was cranky and tired. She did have a delightful episode of peek-a-boo with the airplane safety card, but that was short-lived. Most of the flight consisted of me trying to make her happy. I even pulled out the in-case-of-emergency iPhone app. It bought me about 10 min. My mistake here was flying during naptime. Lucy was too stimulated to sleep but too cranky to enjoy herself. Sigh. She still handled herself like a lady and just had some minor meltdowns. In the end, you can only plan for the worst and hope for the best. We made it safely to our destination and my sweet hubby was there waiting for us at the terminal, with a Starbucks americano for his tired wife. Thanks, honey!
Today marks the end of one whole week with no pumping at work! It is the end of an era – the end of a year of pumping every day to make sure Lucy had enough milk at daycare. On the grand scheme of things this is not that major of an accomplishment, but to me it was something I really had to stay committed to to make sure it happened on time, every time. It is a very bittersweet time – I know it means that my little girl is growing up and she doesn’t need me in the same way she did before. At the same time I feel quite liberated! It is pretty awesome not having to leave an extra 30 minutes early just so I can get another pumping session in! This actually means more time with my Lucy! At 13 months Lucy definitely does not seem to be done with nursing before naps and bedtime, but she does not need my milk during daycare anymore. She is learning to accept cow’s milk and eats plenty of food. I am sure this is the beginning of the weaning process. By age 2 I doubt she will be nursing anymore, and that is okay. But for now, I’m still a little sad about it. The good news is, I don’t have to carry my gigantic red cooler with me everywhere anymore! The security guard at my office building has taken to calling me the “Bud Light girl” and asks me if I have a six pack for him every time I pass him! I also no longer have to make up weird excuses for why I need to go to my car for 30 minutes. In that regard, I am happy to leave it behind! Goodbye for now, Medela pump. You have served me well, and it has been a good run! Now check out my downsized lunch box!
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Dear Lucy Amelia,
I intend this letter to be the first of many I write to you, each year for your birthday. Here goes my first letter to you – I hope you like it!
Wow, you are one! You are spirited (just like you were from day one!), joyful, snuggly, intelligent, demonstrative, funny, creative, and just beautiful! You love to explore things, especially in places you are familiar. At home, you are like a little sponge. You want to know everything about every object. You pick it up, turn it around in your little hands, put it to your mouth, and often bring it to me. If it’s a box or a bag that needs to be opened, you push, pull, or carry it to me and sign “more” so I will open it for you to see what’s inside. You also like for things to match. You will choose two blocks of the same shape, two sippy cups, two pieces of chalk, two crackers, two socks – always one in each hand – to carry as you toddle around our house. You are no doubt an independent little girl, happy to play in your crib for upwards of an hour by yourself, babbling to your beloved giraffe and playing with your aquarium. But despite that independence, regardless of how engaged you are with a toy, you will come do a “check in” with me every few minutes. You toddle over and put your head in my lap, or give me a kiss, or hold up your tiny arms and say, “Up!” so I can pick you up and give you a snuggle. And then, in a flash, you are gone again! Off to the next activity! When we are out at the store or a restaurant, you are more cautious. You are keenly aware of your surroundings, watching everyone intently as they walk past. You point out things you recognize and can label quietly, whispering “baby” or “ball” and then back to just taking it all in. As you become more familiar with any place, you want to explore more. You get angry when you aren’t allowed to walk around a restaurant by yourself or climb the steps of a building we are passing on the street. But when strangers approach you now, you hide your face in my shoulder or hug my legs. You cry if someone else tries to hold you (sometimes even daddy!). I know this is one of those “phases.” And I know that these periodic “check-in’s” and these moments where only momma will do, will no doubt become more scarce as you grow and become your own woman. I am trying to savor them and remember everything about the experience of being your mom.
And as you are learning much about your world, I am learning, too! I am learning that there are no hard rules to being a parent. Sometimes I run to you when you’re crying, and sometimes I know that some of the things you are learning may be accompanied by some tears, and I have to let you do that. I’m learning that there is some unexplained biological response that happens as a parent when I feel that you are hurt or upset. I’m also learning to set boundaries with you because I love you more than anything, and want you to understand how to live in a world with boundaries that are set for your own good and happiness and the happiness of others. You are teaching me, too, little girl. Every day.
As I write this, I think back to when I first met you – that first moment you arrived and started nursing right away. I couldn’t believe you knew how to do that from your first moment of being born! You looked so perfect and new. And I just couldn’t believe you were mine! As you are becoming less of a baby every day and more and more a little girl, I know that I will miss this time like crazy when it was so easy to hold you and rock you to sleep, nurse you to stop your crying, and be there for you to take away all the scariness of a new situation or person. But I hope you will always know that, no matter how old you are, I will always be your safe place. I am so so so so lucky to be your mom. I love you with all of my heart.
Wow! Suddenly it is January 2013! I’m sorry for abandoning my blog duties these past 2 months! I can only attribute my lack of cyber communication on the fact that we now have a toddler instead of a tiny baby! Yes, folks. On Nov 8, 2012, four days before Lucy turned the big O-N-E, she took her first steps! And she hasn’t looked back since! It took about 2 weeks for the “drunken sailor walk” (Whit’s term) to become her little booty-swaying walk that it is today, but she is in serious mobility mode now! I’ll try to be brief in this post as to all the changes our little girl has gone through/participated in for the past two months. Here goes (in partial Lucy language, if she could talk in complete sentences):
2. “I know what I want. And I’m going to tell you ALL about it.” Lucy’s biggest leaps these past 2 months have not just come in the form of mobility. She has really developed a lot more language, too! It is really one of the most amazing things to watch your child develop a way to communicate with the world. She is signing “more,” “all done,” and “milk,” and she is pointing, gesturing, and babbling constantly! She also knows a few words – her favorites are “baby,” “momma,” “daddy,” “Bear,” “wa-wa” (water), “bottle,” and “football” (yep – thanks, Whit!). We also have quickly realized lately that Lucy’s receptive language (how much she understands) is WAY more advanced than her expressive language. In other words, she really understands what we are saying! Once I was feeding Lucy carrots. She was taking them from me one at a time and eating them nicely. Whit (with good intentions) said, “I bet after a couple more those are going on the floor.” Not one carrot after he said that, she looked at him, looked at me, and tossed that carrot on the floor! And laughed! Little mischievous Lucy! We have to be very careful now about what we say around her, to be sure we don’t give her any more mischievous ideas!
3. “When you say no, I think…maybe?” Lucy is learning her limits, and we are constantly trying to be both nurturing but also firm in our expectations. These days, I find myself saying “make a different choice” easily 25 times an hour. This little girl is into everything! She has a special affinity for light sockets, sharp objects (preferably metal), anything with a corner, glass items, bathroom trash cans, and toilet paper. Why are the forbidden fruits always so desirable? The good news is, Lucy is listening. And SLOWLY starting to follow directions the first time we say them. I realize this struggle comes with having children and this is the start of a lifelong adventure in direction-following, but I am encouraged that, at least for now, when I say “make a different choice, Lucy,” she will turn around and put her attention on something else. This is by no means with 100% accuracy, but I am heartened that my little girl does know what I’m telling her to do! I’m pretty sure this will get harder every year, so I should just enjoy it now, right? She hasn’t hit her rebellious stage yet…