Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Adventures with a one year old

I refuse to call him a toddler until he officially walks. Getting close doesn't count. Until then, he's still a baby.

We tried to get some fancy one year pictures Friday after work. We went to a really cute park.

Did not work out.
This little baby model was not a happy camper at all. Once we gave up and headed home, he screamed bloody murder the whole way and nothing would soothe him. That's so unlike him, he's usually the happiest kid ever. I was dying inside. Torture.

Saturday morning, I found the culprit - a new tooth had popped through. Teeth ruin everything. But I guess they are pretty necessary.

On Saturday, we were all out the door by 6am, and Eric and Dalton shared an important first together.
First train ride!
To the Big Apple! Of course, all we saw of Manhattan was Penn Station, but they have legit NYC bagels and cookies, so I was ok with that. Dalton loved the train and had the time of his life. It was all too exciting for him to possibly nap, but that was expected.

After we arrived in New York, we took the Long Island Railroad out to a super fancy house on Long Island for Emily's baby shower.

In one picture Eric's eyes were closed, in one picture my eyes were closed. I made the obvious choice. 

Woken up at 5:30, no nap, in a strange, non baby proofed house, and this kid could not have been more sweet and smiley. Naturally, he was the hit of the party. I met Emily through the internet, of course, that's where cool people meet friends these days. She's having a boy, and as we all know, I'm biased, so I'm extra excited for her.

After that, Nikki, one of my good friends from college came all the way out to pick us up so we could spend the night with her family.

Toy heaven!
I'd met her daughter several times, but neither of us had met each other's little boys yet.

I know I'm beating a dead horse here with the whole omg where does time go??? nonsense but seriously I swear we were in college 5 minutes ago. And now we have three kids between the two of us. HOW??

Teachers are known for their high salaries and deluxe accommodations. We got the princess suite.

Generally, if you are a teacher, you can either have one child and a guest room, or two children and no guest room. Not both. Unless you were wise enough to marry someone rich. We are enjoying that guest room while it lasts. 

While we were visiting Nikki, Dalton took FOUR STEPS! Everyone saw it and he's been doing it consistently since! He is definitely not officially walking yet, but he's getting more and more steady and choosing to move around by taking steps instead of crawling. 

Dalton's first birthday party is this weekend. Hurricane Joaquin is putting a bit of a damper on that, but at least Dalton was excited to check out the rain.
He looks so big. I can't handle it. 
I have done exactly zero things to prepare for his party. Should be awesome. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Dalton's First Birthday

We've officially made it a whole year on this wild ride called parenthood.

I keep trying to think of something to say about it that's not ridiculously cliche, but I guess I'm not exactly the first person wishing their kid a happy birthday and lamenting about how time flew by. So many cheesy sentiments are flying through my head, but, as I've said before, no one wants to read that. I'll just say this: having this kid in my life is unbelievably amazing. I'm crazy about him (if you haven't noticed).

Fabulous first birthday shirt made just for him by his Aunt Darcy
I've spent the day reminiscing about everything that was happening a year ago at this time. I started yesterday, actually, since that's when I went into labor. Reflecting back, I definitely can't say his actual birth day was the best day of my life, since all but 44 minutes of it were spent in labor, and I didn't even get to hold him until the following day.

Last night, it was just blowing my mind that a year ago he didn't even exist outside my belly, and now here he was, sitting next to me, demanding that his father give him constant bites of his chicken sandwich.

As soon as his kid's meal was gone, he started in on Eric's dinner.
While the fact that my sweet little baby isn't technically a baby any more (or is he? he can't walk yet!) is breaking my heart, we had an amazing time celebrating today. Dalton is just so considerate. Not only did he come on his due date, but he planned ahead, and arrived on a day when we would have off from work the following year. Today is Yom Kippor, schools were closed, and we got to spend the whole day as a family.

Family picture after four shots and a cupcake. A miracle
To back up, we've actually been living the sweet life, finding out what things are like for the other half. Our daycare is on vacation this week, so my stepfather has generously been staying with us to take care of Dalton. Daycare moms - do you know how awesome it is having a live in nanny? For real, we are missing out. I haven't packed a diaper bag or done pick up all week.

What that means is, Eric and I could finally go on a date night. We had a wild night out to Friendly's to celebrate the fact that we made it a whole year with a living, breathing child.

I did not let him actually touch my Reese's sundae
Dalton was super excited about his birthday, so much so that he woke up at 5am today, which is truly unheard of for him. No matter though, just more time to celebrate together! After a morning of playing, he took an early nap, which was perfect since we had a 1pm pediatrician checkup.

Birthday naptime cuddles - be still my heart
That's right - for Dalton's birthday, we thoughtfully got him four shots and a blood draw! #parentsoftheyear Seriously though, he didn't know the difference, and otherwise we would have had to take off from work. I was basically a basket case because I heard the one year shots are pretty rough. So rough, in fact, that I went and waited on a bench outside until the needles were gone. #motheroftheyear. (To further ruin his life, we also put magnetic locks on all his favorite cabinets, since he figured out how to undo all the old child locks.)

I wasn't proud, but Dalton isn't nursing any more, so there's really nothing I have to offer him that Eric can't provide. I felt it would be easier on Eric to comfort only a baby, not a baby and a hysterical lady. It turns out I overreacted, as usual, he didn't care in the least, and only was pissed when he was being held down. His blood draw bandage (around his thumb) was gone by the time we got home and after some frantic searching through his mouth and then acceptance that he ate it, I found it in his car seat. He was definitely clingy and not his usual happy self the rest of the afternoon, but who could blame him?

Our friends Liz and Noah came over to play.

He always gets mad when food is gone. Noah tried to comfort him.

Dalton really rallied. He took his very first step without holding on to something! Step, singular, he's not walking. He's been sooooo close for weeks, we catch our breath at least once a day thinking he's going to do it. He's an insanely fast crawler, even the doctor was impressed. Walking just isn't appealing to him so far.

After playtime, it was time for the classic birthday treat - a cupcake. Chocolate with peanut butter frosting.

I even made the frosting look fancy!

While I am NOT at all restrictive with Dalton's diet, the one dessert I've denied him until now is cake. I wanted it to be special! It's not like he knows the difference, much like shots on his birthday.


I know some babies, like my nephew, can be very tentative with their first taste of cake and icing. We didn't expect that to be the case here, and we were right.

He dove right in with no reservations.

After devouring the entire cupcake, he screamed bloody murder when it was gone, which was no surprise, because that's how I generally react when I finish dessert as well. He consoled himself by eating the bottom part of the candle.

Since the doctor gave us the go ahead to introduce cow's milk, we jumped right in. Does anything go better with a nice rich cupcake than a nice cold sippy cup of milk? I think not. Again, I've heard some babies have trouble transitioning, but what can I say? This kid is just perfect. 

Chugged that milk without missing a beat. 
 Hands down, best year of my life.

What year was the best year of your life? I guess next year at this time, I'll have to reevaluate.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Lessons learned this weekend

1. Practice your dismounts.

My friend invited us to this amazing lake house with a private dock for Friday happy hour. Dalton has never been in open water, only pools, so I was really excited. He loved it, and had a fantastic time splashing around.

I was a little nervous climbing down the ladder to get into the water while wearing him. I should have practiced first, because I jumped off at the end instead of just carefully stepping down the whole way. I slammed my elbow into the rung, with my entire body weight AND Dalton's. It hurt.

For the raft, I had to call in reinforcements.
Nothing says family pic like eating a pouch. 

2. I'm not a germaphobe.

We went to my friend's housewarming party Saturday night. Everyone was freaking out when Dalton started eating chips off her deck (um, he put them there to begin with). We were like....not poison, not a choking hazard. It's fine.

Food from the floor? No problem. 

3. My days of sleeping in are done and I can't even blame the baby.

Times I woke up this weekend: 5am, 5:40am, 6am (we have today off from work). Times Dalton woke up: 7am or later. I just COULD NOT go back to sleep. It was so sad. Last night I even went out for my friend's birthday, and stayed out until nearly 11pm! Wakeup time the next morning: 6.

Baby tush in the air. My favorite.

4. Babies get a say.

I have, probably too extensively, documented my long suffering journey to breastfeed for a year on this blog. Finally, when this school year began, and Dalton was nearly 11 months old, I knew I had made it. I had enough in the freezer to stop pumping and just send frozen milk to daycare, and the pump was where all my problems stemmed from (well, most). I was so excited at the thought of nursing him on his first birthday, after I'd spent so many rough days thinking there was no way we would get there.

Well, we didn't. I failed to consider that someone else was part of this equation, and that someone else has an increasingly strong opinion about things.

Just 11 days before his birthday, Dalton decided he was done. We were down to only nursing when he woke up in the morning, and on Saturday, he refused that. I tried again in the afternoon, and the next morning, but he's done. He chugged 6 oz of breast milk from a sippy cup in about 3 minutes instead. I'm still rounding up and counting it as a year, even though that does feel like cheating. He will continue to get breast milk in a cup even past a year (until it runs out).

It gives me all the feelings. The past 2 months were really difficult, full of top teeth and clogged ducts. Not having the stress of pumping at work has felt like the world's biggest weight has been lifted. But I'm still sad. I loved our quiet times nursing. 

5. Don't try out blackout shades the morning of a birthday party with a bouncy castle. 

I wouldn't say naptimes have been bad in our house, but there's always room for improvement. We bought blackout curtains from groupon while I was pregnant. They did not black anything out. I got some blackout shades that were highly rated on Amazon this week, and they definitely darkened the room quite a bit.

The first time we used them was Sunday morning. Dalton took a practically unprecedented three hour nap, right through a 3rd birthday party we had planned to attend with a bouncy castle. I didn't even know about the bouncy castle, and we got there as it was winding down so that we could at least say Happy Birthday and drop off the gift. We still bounced, but it wasn't the same. 

He climbed right up the slide with the big kids. No fear. 
6. Likes and dislikes can be inherited. 

After the bouncy castle, we met our good friends at a farm.

Despite appearances, they did enjoy the visit.
The boys loved the hayride.

But while Nathan was happily feeding the goats, my child was a little more...hesitant.

Anyone who knows me knows I hate all living creatures other than humans (and even those are touch and go). I really didn't want to pass this on. Dalton's daycare has two dogs, so that starting from 3 months old he has been exposed daily to pets. But I guess there's no arguing with biology. The picture above says it all. I can't stop laughing at it. 

What lesson did you learn this weekend?

Any fellow animal haters or non-germophobes out there?

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

That time we did all the kid things in Baltimore and loved life

This has certainly been a monumental week.

Here in Baltimore, everyone spends holidays going to the beach. Being out of staters, we never got into that tradition. Pre-parenthood, we probably would have spent the entire 3 day weekend watching movies and ordering pizza or something, but it's all hazy now. In our current life, we took advantage of the city practically being empty to do ALL THE KID THINGS. And it was the best.

We kicked off Friday happy hour at Storyville (Eric actually didn't make this one, he was still at work.) I promise Dalton wasn't completely angry, he was more just annoyed and confused because everything was awesome and he couldn't play with them all at once.

This place is confusingly wonderful
I know it's beating a dead horse but it still blows my mind that I used to think running for like 5 hours was a great way to spend a Saturday. I met up with the buggy brigade for 6 stroller miles on a flat trail and then kept it moving.

Are these kids adorable, or are these kids adorable??
Saturday night we had our newly betrothed friends over for a little baby mini barbecue. I made peach cobbler from scratch. It was heaven in my mouth.
Yeah, this picture is mostly ice cream and whipped cream, but trust me, it was good.

We ended the night watching Dating Naked. I hadn't even known the premise before, but it was weirdly addicting. We couldn't stop.

Sunday, we hit the Science Center.

They have an entire baby room of soft mats and baby toys, plus a gigantic water table, and Dalton was, once again, out of his mind with excitement.

Future mathematician?

Sometimes the most exciting exhibits have nothing on just looking back at daddy.
The fun didn't stop there. Monday, one of my best friends since middle school came up from Virginia with her family to meet us at Port Discovery, a children's museum. This is actually the one big kid place I haven't previously visited on a field trip, and it was unreal. We probably didn't even see a quarter of it. There were rope bridges up to the ceiling (several stories up), a Lego castle, a mystery house...I could go on and on. Obviously, we can't wait to bring Dalton a billion times as he grows up.

Lego Castle!

It doesn't take much to rock his world
These cuties, I can't stand it!
Dalton and his buddy Nate - born only 8 days apart! 
Former Alyssa probably would have read this post thinking life as a parent is awful, all you do is cart your kid around to kiddie places. But, it turns out, you get to indulge your own inner kid (especially Eric) while getting to see your kid freak out with happiness, which is pretty much the ultimate win.

Dalton's day at daycare today probably seemed a tad boring in comparison to such a kick ass labor day weekend.

"Where's the giant water table? Bounce house? ANYTHING?"

We did get out early due to heat today, so at least we got a little extra play time together. 

Kid places: pure bliss or pure hell? Our bliss this weekend was definitely brought on by the emptiness of every location. At full volume I'd probably feel somewhat differently. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

You don't get it, you don't have kids

Is there anything more annoying and completely asshole-ish for a parent to say? Not that I can think of. You won't hear me saying it to anyone. In fact, I couldn't even if I wanted to, since I only have one kid. But, for me, there are definitely things I didn't understand in my previous life. I would never make a generalization that no childless person "gets it", I'm just saying I didn't.

1. I never fully appreciated sleep.

I love sleep. So much, in fact, that missing out on it was one of my many fears about approaching motherhood, which was stupid, because God gave us coffee for a reason. However, I definitely did not appreciate the beauty of the ability to lay down, go to sleep, and know I could just stay in bed, uninterrupted all night. Like, if I had 7 hours to sleep before I could get up for work, I could actually sleep all 7 hours.

That being said, parents in no way have a monopoly on being tired. When I first came back to work after maternity leave, my friend started to tell me she was tired then backtracked, because she felt bad saying it to someone with an infant. I had to nip that in the bud right there. Everyone is allowed to be tired, and no one had a gun to my head forcing me to procreate. I made my bed, and now I need to lie in it, except I probably can't because I'm up with a baby instead. See what I did there?

If anything, I feel like a baby is an awesome, adorable reason to be tired. Insomnia doesn't cuddle up with you. Staying up doing grad work doesn't warm your heart with sweet, gummy little smiles. Babies are worth it (mine, anyway). There are much worse things that keep a person up at night.

Babies have no appreciation for how wonderful sleep is

Additionally, parents, can we all agree to stop complaining about getting up early? Did you miss the memo? Babies don't sleep in. You don't need to tell people that you get up at 6am, 7 days a week. The little person accompanying you makes that clear, and it's kind of what we signed on for. Enough, already.

2. The world is a scary place

Suddenly, every single horrible news story, I started thinking: what if that were my child? Even when the victim is an adult. Minor things worry me too. I was putting sunscreen on Dalton and I started wondering how many years I have of being able to enforce sunscreen usage. I'm assuming teenage boys don't slather each others' backs with Coppertone before hitting the beach?

3. What people say matters

Cleaning up our language seemed easy at first. Just stop cursing, at least in front of Dalton. Done. But now that he's actually starting to understand some words, I'm starting to notice I have some bad habits. If I'm telling Eric a story at the dinner table about how much some idiot irritated me, am I really setting such a better example just because I used the word "idiot" rather than some other choice titles? This child is going to learn how to treat people from us. That's terrifying.

4. Food is expensive

Another terrifying thing is grocery shopping for three people before one of those people is a year old. We legit have to provide him his own dinner, if we try to just share two portions, one or more people is left hungry. If I think I'm tired now, I'm really going to be exhausted when I have to moonlight at a grocery store just for the discount so I can afford to feed my kid during the teen years.

5. Family is everything

Ugh that irritates me just to type, because it implies that family isn't important unless you have kids. That could not have been further from the truth for me (and pretty much everyone I know). It's more like my awareness of that fact is just super heightened now. I've never been more efficient (and less social) at work, because I have this overpowering NEED to get everything done so I can leave as soon as possible. I used to scroll through Facebook while I ate lunch, and now I'm just like...every second I spend looking at pictures a coworker from 12 years ago posted of his dog is a second more I have to stay here working after school and a second less I could be at home with Dalton and Eric. But don't judge me if I ever like your Facebook picture during lunch time. No one's perfect.

Always moving, always blurry.

What do you agree with, disagree with, or what would you add?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

When does 5am get easier?

It's September, which means now the Baltimore Half Marathon is officially next month. Also, my child turns one this month, but I'll sob about that later.

I selected a training plan to follow, intending to be prepared, because sometimes I like to be funny. 

  • The training plan has speed work. Guess how much of that I've done? (Spoiler - zero.)

  • The training plan calls for strength. I've done a tad of that. One workout each week has involved lifting something heavier than a running shoe. I did No More Trouble Zones on Sunday. I'm still sore. 

  • The training plan calls for weekday runs. I really have no idea how long they should be because I stopped checking, but it's safe to say longer than I've been doing. I've been aiming for 3-3.5 miles (I'm in no position to ignore that extra little half mile), four mornings per week. All on the treadmill. That's not my aim, but the promise of TV is the only thing that gets me out of bed at 5am. Dying in the humidity during my run before dying in the humidity at work all 

Sleep is just so precious and rare these days.

Although my memory is completely shot, I don't recall waking up at 5am to exercise ever being easy. But, I do believe I got to a point where it was, at least, the routine, and my body was kind of used to it. If that's true, I am not at that point again yet this school year. 

  • The training plan calls for long runs. This is the one thing I'm sort of succeeding at. Over the last three weeks, I've done a 6, 7, then 8 miler, the latter two with the stroller. Thank goodness I have friends who will join me, which is probably the only way these runs are happening. 
All this has averaged out to about 20 miles a week plus one additional non - running workout, and I'm comfortable with that.

Some other things to consider when training for a race:

  • Hydration: Nailing it.

This child can chug a bottle of water in under 5 minutes, but luckily he's learning to share.

  • Nutrition: Failing, but in a delicious way. I just binge ate these amazing chocolate chip cookies that my friend Emily mailed me. 
  • Sleep: Failing miserably
  • Stretching: Get real. I refuse to wake up before 5am until I get consistent sleep the rest of the night, although probably not even then.
One time I thought maybe I'd return to marathons or even ultras after having children. HA. Maybe in 18 years. But I do feel confident that I won't die during the half marathon, even if I'm embarrassingly slow.

What time do you wake up, and how much do you hate it? Weekdays, 5am, so, so, so much, weekends, whenever Dalton wakes up (usually between 6 and 7am) and it's so glorious and relaxing (meant non-sarcastically, it really is).