Saturday, August 29, 2015

Liana's baby cousin is born!

Hello again, and welcome to another "filling in the blanks" post. This one would have been dated March 9th 2015. That is the day Liana’s baby cousin Bronson Matias took his first breath.

As soon as we heard that my sister could be in labor, Ashton, Liana, and I all piled in the car for the 112 mile ride to the hospital. I remember how long that ride was (and the fact that it was almost 11PM when we left our house). My thoughts were all over the place and every once in a while when I thought about holding my nephew for the first time I’d secretly get a little emotional. You can’t blame me, I was about to be an Auntie!

Desiree was in labor for sure, but Bronson took his sweet time and didn’t arrive until the next morning. To everyone’s surprise, he came out even smaller than Liana! He weighed in at 5 pounds, 4 ounces (compared to Liana at 5 pounds, 12 ounces).

Now I know that we’re supposed to say, “he has daddy’s eyes” or “he has mommy’s nose”, but when I saw him I immediately thought, “he has Auntie’s ears!” mainly because they looked big compared to the rest of his features. Maybe a lot of babies have big ears and they eventually grow into them, but I think I still have big ears and I took much comfort in the fact that I thought my nephew might look a little bit like me.

I really hope they don't mind, but I'm pretty sure I snapped their first family photo. I just couldn't resist though, this is such a happy moment. ♥

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Baby shower flashback, February 7th 2015.

I also thought I'd throw in a few photos I dug up from Desiree's baby shower, which was a green and orange dinosaur theme.

Everything looked amazing and everyone had an amazing time. The food was delicious and I just couldn't resist sneaking a few pictures!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The week without Liana

Last week was entirely too long without my little munchkin. Liana spent the week with her Grammy in New Hampshire, while I was left only with pictures and her toys at home. I was well aware that I’d miss my peanut every second she was away, but I was not quite prepared for this. Without a babbling baby alarm clock, a dirty butt to wipe, a hungry mouth to aim an airplane spoon into, and a ‘tiny foot’ to tickle, I wasn’t quite sure how to spend my newly found “freedom.” Naturally, I pined over photos and anything that reminded me of her. I found myself giggling in otherwise silence remembering something that she had done the week prior. Oh, how I missed that little one!

Mommy Guilt

I thought about how much I missed her every single day. Ashton and I got some much needed time together and went out several nights after work since we literally never get the chance. There were a few evenings we arrived home after work and I immediately changed into comfy clothes and plopped on the bed to relax and I thought how nice it was to do just that: relax. On a normal day, we come home and entertain Liana for a half hour before making and feeding her dinner while we eat dinner and then getting her ready for bed. It was refreshing to be able to sink into the bed of our air conditioned room and not have to move a muscle. Except to grab a blanket within five minutes because I actually despise air conditioning for the most part.

But then... the guilt set in. I'm a mother. I am supposed to want to take care of my child. The moment my baby came into this world, I was no longer supposed to be selfish. A good mother will put the needs of her child before her own. But there I was, glad to be freed of that responsibility. How could I be so selfish? I'm still struggling with the fine line of taking care of myself and taking care of Liana. A lot of the time I want to completely immerse myself into her world. I want to play with her all day, teach her new things, make memories with her, and document those memories so she can look back on them in the future. Where does that leave me? Who am I if not in her world? I have had to learn that I am not only 'Liana's mum'. There is much more to me that being a mother (although that is the biggest and most important part!). To keep my sanity, I have to be able to relax once in a while--as hard as it is to do so. And I have to do things that are just for me once in a while, too ( shopping!). Fighting my way through the guilt, I've come to the conclusion that it is okay to be relieved that mommy responsibilities are put on hold when I trust that Liana is under good care by someone else, whether it be her Grammy or her daycare or a babysitter for a few hours. I'm trying to let go of the guilt because I need the enjoyment of being without my sidekick every now and then. I keep telling myself that it is good for the both of us to be a part.

Upon being reunited with my little lion cub at the end of the week, I immediately had gotten the sense that she was somehow smarter. She grew in just the eight days that we were a part. I've started putting more trust in her and letting her show me that she understands what is going on. This morning just as a test, when she picked up a clothing tag from my bedroom floor I asked, "Liana, can you put that in the trash?" To my surprise she walked out of the room and stood in front of the bathroom door and looked back at me. I got up and opened the door and watched as she waddled in and very daintily placed the tag in the bottom of the trashcan. Later, I heard her smacking her lips as I was almost to the bottom of my cup of chocolate milk. As we made eye contact, she reached out for the cup. This is pushing it a little too far, I thought. But I decided to give it a shot anyway and handed her the cup. With only a tiny dribble down her chin, she knocked back the rest of the chocolate milk like she had been drinking out of a normal cup for months! Well done, Liana!

**The photos were taken at the Freetown State Forest wading pool.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Early Intervention

I very nearly forgot that this topic was mentioned at Liana’s 15 month appointment and it would have escaped my mind completely had it not been for the phone call that I received the following afternoon. The call was completely unprecedented and Ashton and I were both infuriated with Liana’s pediatrician.

To understand our reaction, you’ll have to know what occurred at Liana’s appointment. The doctor asked her usual ‘check-up’ questions and showed me a graph of Liana’s growth and said everything looked outstanding. Then she asked if Liana was talking yet. I chuckled and said “not exactly… she’s been saying Dada and Mama since she was seven months old and recently she has been attempting ‘uh-oh’ when something falls on the floor and occasionally I catch her trying to repeat a word that I say.” The doctor frowned at this, but said ever so nonchalantly, “that’s okay, we can have an Early Intervention Specialist come to your home to work with her.” There was also a medical student in the room observing the appointment and when I glanced at her, she seemed to agree.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

When A Stranger Touches Your Baby

Liana had her 15 month appointment at the pediatrician’s office on Wednesday. It was the first time that she got down and played with the toys in the waiting area. I was watching her and thinking, “She looks like a little kid. Where did my baby go? She can’t possibly be growing up this fast.” But she is, and I’m not entirely prepared for it. How can I possibly teach my daughter everything she needs to know to take care of herself? Can I always be there to protect her in potentially dangerous situations? I’ve been asking myself these questions after our experience with a stranger a few days ago. (Read the back story here)

Maybe it was an irrational fear that someone wanted to steal or harm my child, but that was the first time I felt afraid while alone with Liana, and I kept wishing Ashton was with us. Maybe the man meant no harm at all and was just a bit socially awkward and I completely misread his behavior as being rude, creepy, and stalker-ish. Regardless of his intent, I do think he was overstepping some personal boundaries. I am perfectly fine with strangers smiling, waving, or saying ‘hi’ to Liana, but tickling and poking—especially when she is clearly uncomfortable—is not okay with me. Thinking back, I am keep questioning my own behavior. Should I have been more direct by stating that I would not like him touching my child? Should I have voiced that he was making me/us uncomfortable? I’ve read several parenting articles and skimmed through a book or two, but nothing prepared me for this type of situation. Where’s the mommy manual when I need it?

Now I am honestly curious about what other mothers would do in a similar situation. How do you respond when a stranger touches your baby (or child of any age)? Have you ever been in a similarly uncomfortable situation?

Monday, July 20, 2015

Developmental update, 15 months old

Liana is now in full force toddler mode! She is running circles around me about a mile a minute, and I'm having a hard time catching my breath while chasing her. I'll admit, that's a bit of an exaggeration. When she sees something she wants, she can get around pretty fast, but most of the time she's still stumbling around like a tiny drunk person. She stumbles, trips, and bumps her head, but she is no longer easily discouraged about being on her feet. If she's not walking, she's climbing. Climbing in her bouncer and onto the bed, climbing up the stairs, climbing all over Daddy when he's laying down, or climbing off of furniture.

As far as talking goes, she isn't saying any words clearly just yet. She used to say "Mama" and "Dada" all the time, but these days everyone and everything is simply, "Dada." When something falls on the floor she attempts to say "uh-oh", but it usually comes out as "uh-uh" or "uh-uh-oh-uh." She's been clapping her hands since she was about seven months old, but now she couples the motion with an "aaaay!" because I usually say "yayyy, Liana!" when I clap for her. Once in a while, she will attempt to say "hi" and wave, but in Liana-talk, "iye" is just fine. My favorite thing she tries to say is "I love you." After hearing me say it first she'll let out a shy-sounding, "laaooouu." I'm looking forward to when she finds words for telling me when she wants food. Currently, when she sees something she wants, she points at it and hisses through the spaces behind her teeth. It's the funniest when we are grocery shopping and she starts hissing at the fruit. Among all of her babbling, she has a habit of "scolding" people. She will scowl, raise her babbling voice, and shake her accusingly pointing finger at you.

Although she isn't exactly speaking, she understands a whole lot (probably even more than I think she does). She understands "dai mi tseluvka" and "dame besos", which mean "give me kisses" in Bulgarian and Spanish, and she will lift her chin up for a kiss. If asked, "is that yummy?" while she is eating, she promptly rubs her tummy. I'm pretty sure she picked up that trick from Grammy. Sometimes I see that she has gotten a hold of a small object or something that she shouldn't have and instead of jumping up right away and snatching it from her, I calmly ask, "Liana, can I have that?" and she usually brings it right over to me and puts it in my hand. That is another one of my favorite things she has learned because it saves me the trouble of chasing her down before she puts something in her mouth and she also doesn't get mad that I've taken something away from her. She also occasionally listens when I say, "please put that back", but that one is still 50/50 whether she responds correctly. One day while tickling her feet, I kept saying, "tiny foot, tiny foot tiny foot!" and tickling her right foot. Now every time I ask her, "where is your tiny foot?", she lifts up her right foot for me to tickle and sometimes giggles before I even get to it.

Liana is very ticklish! She has a great belly laugh when her back, feet, neck, or belly are tickled. She has a habit of standing up in the tub, likes opening and emptying drawers and cabinets (and sometimes putting things back in when she's done) and dances when she hears music she likes (which consists of her shifting weight from one foot to the other, or headbanging). She opens doors, helps me put clothes in the dryer, and loves swinging in her new swing that we tied up on the porch. I watch her sharpen her hand-eye coordination skills, especially when she's playing with her dinosaur toy, which requires feeding a disc into a dinosaur's mouth. I've watched her struggle to turn the disc at just the right angle so many times, but now she's a pro! She waves goodbye when we are leaving some where and also when I'm about to leave the room after putting her down for bed. Liana has always been a water baby, but seeing her splash around in a kiddie pool for the first time was such a fun experience. She held right on to the side of the pool but would lean over and splash her little hands in the water and laugh. She absolutely loves it. She also did really well in a full-sized pool recently and sat in a baby float all by herself!

Liana has started to recognize people and events. One of the most heartwarming experiences is seeing her reaction when she sees Abel for the first time in two weeks (we usually have him every other weekend). When she sees him, her eyes light up and she has the widest smile her little face will allow. She goes right over to say hello and holds her arms up for a big hug. Then she is sure to look around at everyone else and smile as if proudly saying, "this is my big brother!" On the flip side of this, I am a little concerned about what she is going to think when we go to her pediatrician appointment on Wednesday. I am wondering whether she will recognize where she is and know that she is about to get another shot.

As far as growth, Liana is almost 21 pounds! She hasn't been weighed since last month, but we will find out exactly how big she has gotten at her appointment on Wednesday. Ashton recently measured her to be 28 1/2 inches tall, which means my baby has grown ten inches since birth! On a side note, Liana doesn't realize she's getting taller-- she used to walk right under the refrigerator doors when they were open (we have a fridge with the freezer drawer on bottom), but yesterday Ashton had the doors open and Liana walked over like normal and smacked her forehead on the bottom of the fridge door! Poor girl. Also, did I mention she is teething, AGAIN? On her first birthday she was teething with her molars and that felt like just yesterday. Three months later, now she is teething with her canines. When they fully come in she will have sixteen teeth. Talk about a mouthful. It's a good thing she really enjoys brushing her teeth every night!

I feel like I am missing so much for this update, but I will leave it here for now and continue what was turning into a novel, later on.

linking up with: Mommy Meet Up Mondays

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Filling in the details.

In my last post I said that I was unsure of where this motivational spark to resume blogging came from. What was I thinking? Of course I know! That spark came from the eyes of my child; the tiny person who depends on me, lights up when she sees me, and calls me Mama (when she’s not calling everyone and everything Dada). I take one look at her and see how beautiful life is. I want to make it a point to share some of these special moments on my blog as I fill in some of the details that were missed.

Not the best moment to remember, but this was a sad day back in March when Liana caught a virus and was sick for a few days. All she wanted to do was sleep in her Mum’s arms (fine by me!). We had to keep a cold cloth on her head to help her fever.

We had Abel around Easter and I hid some coin-filled plastic eggs around the house for him. He was so excited to fill up his tootsie roll bank because he wants to go to Disney world.

The kids playing with their Easter present. Bubbles!!

We took an impromptu family trip to Uxbridge (where some of Ashton’s family lives) to fix his motorcycle that broke down while he was there. He wasn’t able to fix the bike, but I managed to get a picture of Liana in this cute John Deere tractor!

And, well, she wanted wings. (don’t worry, it’s empty)

I am so sad to have missed Mother’s Day on my blog because I know I would have had lots of lovey-gushy stuff to talk about. Here’s my best girl and I on my special day.

We’ve recently discovered a playground at a nearby school that we can bring the kids to. Abel met a boy who excitedly agreed to play Mario and Luigi with him and Liana ruined the fun by being Baby Peach and scaring them out of the castle! The slide is Liana’s favorite part of the playground, probably because they don’t have a swing her size.

Liana playing in the pool for the first time while visiting Grammy. I honestly don’t know how she could play in that cold hose water!

Last weekend the two of us decided to have a breakfast picnic to let Daddy sleep longer (he’s a sleepy head on the weekends).

 Stay tuned for a big update on Monday; Liana will be 15 months old!