Thankful Mommy

I could write one long mushy post about how blessed I am to be his mother. Or I could just show you how wonderful he is; how loved he is; how adorable he is (as if you don't already know).

I was playing in iMovie the other day, trying to figure out how to add music to videos (thoughts about a one year birthday slide show are brewing, my friends). And then I got carried away looking at old Truman videos and voila---this NINE MINUTE long movie was made.

It's rather random, as it starts in April right around 2 months old and ends in September around 7 months old. But the point is: Truman videos set to some of his favorite music make me laugh and cry all at the same time. Emotional roller coaster, what? Sometimes my words can't express the love I have for my son but videos and music might be able to capture it. Happy 3/4 of a year, Truman. And Happy Thanksgiving.

Warning. It is NINE MINUTES long. But so worth it, in my humble opinion. :)

{obviously, I am thankful for other blessings in my life aside from my precious babe. But on our first Thanksgiving with Truman, it's only fitting to focus on him. :)}

Hanging on for dear life

The frequency of blog posts: it's a good measure for the amount of chaos in one's life. So it goes without saying that life has been a roller coaster of emotions full of ups and downs in the past few weeks. And thus, one huge post for you to read is a result of this chaos. Settle in for the ride, folks.

There's nothing major going on over here--nobody is sick or dead or hurt. But the main issue we are enduring is related to sleep, or more specifically, the lack thereof. Truman has never been a great sleeper, but we were fairly adjusted to frequent wakings at night and everyone was functioning at an acceptable level during the day. Then things got a little better and T was only waking about once or twice per night, for very short nursing sessions, as I announced in his eight month post. And then? All hell broke loose and the bottom fell out and we started to drown from sleep deprivation. It all started about two weeks ago but I can honestly say that the days on the calendar are like one giant blur and my brain hasn't worked well in what seems like forever.

He began to wake four times in a night, with at least one of those times including an hour or two full of fighting the return to sleep. He'd nurse each time in the rocker, pass out in my arms, and when I'd go to place him in the crib his eyes would snap open and he'd begin to chat or fuss for what felt like an eternity, until I'd cave and nurse him again to start the process over. So basically, we got about 4 hours of broken sleep if we were lucky. And then to top it off, his normally painless bedtime routine---the one that used to result in him falling asleep the first time pretty easily---became another time of fighting the sleep fairy. All of a sudden he wouldn't fall asleep nor stay asleep and the nights were our worst enemies.

Nate and I were at our wits end. We just couldn't understand what happened to our happy baby. Who took our Truman and replaced him with a grumpy, over-tired, clingy baby who wasn't even himself during the daytime anymore because he was so tired? I took him into the doctor AGAIN last week for another ear check (third time in the past few months if you are counting) because I needed to hear that something wasn't seriously wrong with little man. His ears were fine but the doctor did listen to my concerns that something just wasn't right. He said that if Truman wasn't back to his old self in one week to bring him back in and we'd investigate further.

It could be teething. It could be a growth spurt. It could be separation anxiety. Or a combination of them all in one big ugly ball of sleeplessness. But whatever it was, Truman wasn't sleeping and just wanted to nurse all night long---sleeping with boob in mouth only. It wasn't working, my friends. Something had to give.

And so this past weekend we were supposed to travel to St. Louis for Tilly's one year birthday party. We were so looking forward to this trip and had planned to drive down after full day of work on Friday and drive home on Sunday. Midway through last week we started to wonder if being confined to a car for that many hours with a fussy baby was a good idea; not to mention, having him sleep in an unfamiliar place, to further throw off any sense of normalcy. We decided to see how Wednesday night went before making our decision and Truman made it for us when he woke at 9:15, 11:00 and from 3:00-4:30. Ugh. No St. Louis trip for us and we had to miss Tilly's party in the name of our sanity and potential sleep.

It was a tough pill to swallow and reality smacked us in the face pretty hard with that decision. Times have changed. Gone are the days when a 'quick' getaway to Missouri is possible without consequences in baby-land. All of a sudden the distance between Milwaukee and St. Louis seems a whole lot farther and yet, I know we made the right decision---the responsible, adult-like decision. But it still sucks.

I started to really feel sorry for myself. One giant pity party, complete with wallowing, sadness, and of course when you are so sleep deprived you can barely form a sentence life seems pretty bleak. I could barely function at work because all I could think about was falling into bed at night. I was a grumpy mommy with puffy bags under her eyes and a snarled lip at all times. Twas ugly, my friends.

In case you haven't noticed by now, I am a very Type-A, black and white, control freak who needs ANSWERS people. I needed a straight up reason for Truman's decline in sleeping so that I could come up with a nice little solution, one that fit perfectly in a box with a big stamp on it that said 'guaranteed to work'. As I sat at the doctor's office and informed our doc about this need for point-blank answers he sort of smiled and I knew what he was going to say: 'Parenting is fully of gray-areas. And sometimes there are no definitive answers.' In laymens terms: roll with the punches lady and try to sit back and enjoy the ride.

On Friday I decided we needed a new strategy: we would eliminate the boob variable at night, thus eliminating a mommy-appearance all together. Only daddy and only a bottle would be offered to Truman in order to see if he was actually hungry when he woke, or if he just wanted the comfort of the ta-tas. Truman woke twice that night and took a few ounces the first time and a big fatty 6 ouncer the second time. And that morning when I woke up I had a total light bulb moment that made a lump swell in my throat...

Breastfeeding wasn't working well anymore. Gulp.

You see, Truman has been nursing for about 3-4 minutes max for a few weeks now. He gets totally distracted and fussy like, 'Oh, Mom! There's Henry! There's this awesome pillow I must touch! Did I hear a door close next door? What is that interesting picture frame doing over there? Must.Go.Explore!' Typical nine-monther, right? He doesn't want to sit still and after the initial let down he would pull away and I figured he'd had enough.

But after our 'daddy-only' trial I had a feeling of dread that told me something else was going on. Truman wasn't patient enough to wait for more milk to flow from the boob because he is the typical nine month old. But that didn't mean he was necessarily full after such a short feeding. What if he was totally famished at night after a few sub-par nursing sessions in the evening, which is why he would wake up and want to nurse but fall to sleep during the process? What if my baby was just hungry? I had always been so resistant to upping Truman's intake during the day in order to help him sleep at night because I just thought it was a crock and didn't work that way.

So we decided to do another 'trial' of sorts during the day on Saturday: after every nursing session I would offer him a bottle. And sure enough, he'd take anywhere from 1 ounce all the way up to 6 full ounces (in the evening, when my supply is at it's lowest). Which meant that my son who loved to nurse was basically starting to wean himself from the breast, preferring the bottle, because he just isn't patient enough for my slower flow. Weaning? Ouch.

You can guess that I took this pretty hard. I might have cried a bit and moped around and mourned the loss of our old breastfeeding days---even though he IS still nursing a bit. But I just love nursing Truman so much. It's our sweetest time to bond after being away during the day and watching him look up at me with those big eyes, reaching up for my face makes my heart melt every time. Giving him a bottle of my milk just isn't the same even though I know that is what he needs. And I guess we'll still have our 3 minutes of bonding for now. :)

So all day Saturday T got the boob followed by the bottle, including right before bed. Do you want to place a bet on what happened next?

Truman slept through the night that night.

I will pause and let this sink in. This is my son who has NEVER EVER slept through the night in his nearly nine months of life (well, I think he did one time at 3 months but that might have been a dream).

When Nate and I woke up on Sunday we were seriously delirious with happiness. We had heard T 'talk' for a few minutes at 1:45 and 5:30 but he fell back to sleep before we even knew what was happening. He woke for the day at 6:30 and all three of us were like different people: we were actually happy and well-rested! Life was good again and we were beaming with pride as if T had landed a spacecraft on the moon or something. For reals.

Sunday we continued with our new recipe of boob-then-bottle and sure enough, he slept through the night again that night. There is a God.

I'm not naive enough to think that this will always happen from here on out. But I do think we've paid our dues to the sleeping gods with this child and deserve a few nights of blissful sleep in stretches longer than 2-3 hours. Of course we've gotten all kinds of superstitious about this and have to place him in the same type of jammies now, performing the same exact routine at night, etc etc to ensure more nights of success. It definitely feels like it's too good to be true and might be a short-lived fluke but we are trying to just enjoy this restful time while it lasts.

And so that is what has been going on, my friends. My baby is sleeping at night but it cost me my breastfeeding ego. Once I finally realized that maybe my breastfeeding journey will take a detour before I'm ready to go astray, I think the missing piece of the sleeping puzzle was found. I'm going to miss the days when Truman would nurse until he was totally full and satisfied but I knew it couldn't last forever. And you better believe that I'm crazy enough to continue 'exclusively pumping' my milk for him to have in bottles so that I can avoid formula if possible. I mean, I have about 12 more weeks to go until he's one year old and won't 'require' formula. We could go right to cows milk at that point (and maybe a little before his birthday if needed) and then I can decide what to do from there. And yes, I do still have my 300 ounces of breast milk in our deep freeze. I suppose I will have to release my death grip on those baggies, too, in the name of making it to one year.

Nate sweetly mentioned that he's proud of me for handling this so well. I guess he knows that it's hard for me to admit my boobs just aren't cutting it for T-man anymore. It's hard to move on to the next phase of nursing plus bottles, and even MORE pumping. But I'll live. I know some of you won't understand why I'm making this such a big deal and others of you will totally get it, and that is okay. Bottom line is that I still have a happy, healthy baby boy and life is good. Especially when there is sleep in that life---then things are shiny and happy and glorious again.

No-it's not the end of the world but it's definitely the end of an era---one that I thoroughly enjoyed sharing with my first-born baby boy. I hope he obliges me the short but sweet nursing sessions for a few more months and I already find myself soaking in those times more than I have in the recent weeks. I've loved nursing you, Truman. Be kind to mommy and ease off slowly, okay?

Gained: sleep
Lost: sufficient nursing sessions

A lot can change in a few weeks, huh? And in my nine months of motherhood I have learned that just when you think things are figured out, the babe goes and changes it on you again. So we'll enjoy the lull before the next storm for now.


ramblings/updates/follow up

Thank you for all your input on the photo contest! After much debate I decided to submit photo #5 (the BIG winner in comments), #6, #3, and #9. I was going to take brand new pictures this weekend and add two more to my submission, to make the six total that is allowed, but now that I've added the four initial pictures I don't think I can add anymore to an existing album. The whole site over there isn't the most user friendly---I mean, I couldn't even pick which shot was the cover to my album (totally wanted it to be #5, but it randomly selected #9 for me). Oh well. He's still cute.

Here is my 'album' of four photos I put on the site. I think you can 'vote' for me if you'd like, but that is just for a weekly winner contest of $250 prize money (which I wouldn't HATE, but the NYC trip is the big dog). And um, does anyone else notice that there are 9,100 entries for this thing? Gulp. It's sort of mind boggling how many cute kids there are out there, and how many proud parents want to win the contest. Obviously, I'm not actually expecting to win but it was still fun to select some cute pictures of our man!

So I did take those 'new pictures' this weekend, planning to add more to the album but instead I will just showcase them here. :)

with an awesome new 'fair trade' hat from Uncle Jon in Oregon:




the rest of the winning 'plaid shirt' photo series:

which shows his new favorite 'face crinkle' smile that totally cracks me up:



And then his new big boy 'vest' outfit from Grandma Lois, in size 18 months from Carters. I put it on yesterday just for fun, to see how big it is, and was shocked at how well it fit. (tear)




my new desktop on this computer...fave! I love that you can see the gorgeous coloring of his eyes--still not quite brown, nor blue, nor green, but one big complex mixture.

And then I tried to show off his two new teeth for you. Again, why do I do this to myself? He totally hated it:




You can see that the top two, side teeth are officially through the gums. Isn't it odd how they sort of come through the front of the gum and not from the ridge underneath? His middle two upper teeth are 'right there' and so are his two bottom side teeth, as per Lori. Oh, and even his little canine teeth are moving down into position. Great, just great. As of now we have four teeth out of the gums within 1.5 months of teething hell. Let's just get it over with already!

And for a little update: it seems like there is a pattern with Truman and teething. Step one: get really horrible at sleeping because of painful teeth. Step two: teeth finally pop through, but not before Truman's hands are in his mouth more often and his immune system is down. Step three: Truman gets a cold and cannot breathe through his nose with all the baby snot in there, and thus sleeps really horribly and feels awful. Step four: mommy and daddy get the cold too, and the whole house is miserable. Step five: mommy freaks out that Truman is also getting an ear infection because of the added crying and drainage. Takes him into the doctor for an ear check and this time, we were in the clear. Hooray. Still only one ear infection on the books for this baby and I hope it stays that way.

I admit that I am that crazy mom who bought an otoscope online, so that I can peer into Truman's ears when I'm worried about an infection. I mean, obviously I'm not a doctor but I have potential to learn like the best of them:) I even admitted this psycho-ness to the doc at our appointment and he sort of laughed at me, but he gets it. I hate running him into the doc just to have him look at his ears and tell me they are fine. So a little more practice with the otoscope and maybe I can save myself some trouble. What? I'm a medical person and love that stuff anyway so it's not too crazy, right?

We are all feeling much better these days but for awhile it was pretty rough around here. I HATE baby colds with a passion. I know compared to other serious illnesses, colds are not that bad (and I tell myself to be thankful it's nothing worse very often), but this is our fourth cold now and every time I cringe when Truman can't breathe well. I gained mad nasal aspirator skillz this time, though, and was able to pull out a bunch of nasty boogs for him multiple times per day which makes me feel less helpless. And the doctor said that within the first year, you can expect 10 colds/infections just because their immune systems are so immature. So really, 4 in an 8 month period isn't TOO bad I guess. I know it's one of the perks/curses of daycare, too, to have him exposed to more germs---hopefully once he gets his immunities built up we won't have so many sicknesses as he ages. Not sure what is worse---a sick baby who can't tell you what is wrong, or a sick and whiney toddler. (Actually, I think a sick husband trumps all of the kid scenarios, no offense, Nate---but seriously).

I feel like this is the worst time of year for colds and flu viruses. Everyone I know is sick, even my friends and family in Missouri and tons of folks on Facebook, too. Props to all moms and/or wives dealing with sick kids and/or husbands---hang in there, ladies. It's no joke!

After a particularly horrid week of sleep (or lack thereof, since I think we averaged about 3-4 hours of broken sleep total each night) Truman rocked it last night and only woke ONCE at 4:30 am to nurse and was back to sleep within 30 minutes. Not only that but he slept until 8 am (or actually 7 am with daylight savings) after that. Woah, dude. That was AMAZING and I hope it continues but I probably just jinxed it by blogging about it. We'll see. It's funny to me that most kids sleep so great at night and then with daylight savings, they get all messed up and it's worse---but for our baby it was the exact opposite last night. Ah, Truman. Why are you so 'unique'? :)

And finally, an update about family: my mom is currently in Africa (Senegal to be exact) for a 10 day trip supporting missionaries over there. She was very excited and nervous for this trip and I hope she's staying healthy and enjoying her time over there. I know it has to be hot, they have to wear skirts, and the 'hotel' they are staying in sounds like a total joke (holes in the screens, sporadic electricity, etc)---but I know she's making the best of it. Keep her in your prayers if you would!

Off to enjoy this amazing gift of an extra hour tacked onto this day today. Wouldn't it be nice if every day had an extra hour (or six?). Not happy about the sun setting at 4:30 or whatever inconceivable time it sets now, but oh well.

Photo Contest

I never do things like this but after so many friends, family, blog readers, and my patients tell me that I need to enter Truman's pictures into a contest, I decided it was time. I just didn't know which contest to try and then I found it today at the Pediatricians office (ahem, a cold that I feared had turned into an ear infection, but so far so good---just zero sleep and lots of screaming, that's all).

I picked up an issue of American Baby magazine and saw a page saying they have a photo contest for a baby to win a cover shot, $1000, and a trip to NYC for a photo shoot. Score!! We've always wanted to go to NYC and Truman is a great traveler. And do you know how many disgustingly cute outfits I could get for Truman at Baby Gap with 1K? Or a college fund savings account would be nice, too, I suppose. I'm totally going for it. But now, you must help me, dear readers. I can only submit one picture. ONE FREAKING PICTURE out of the thousands I've taken of Truman in his 8 months of life. Gah. Decisions are hard, for real. And I'm SO that mom who thinks her kids is abnormally cute and should win every contest, by the way. :)

{Er, actually, after reading the fine print it looks like I can submit up to six photos but they all have to be within the last month or so. Even harder!! Some of the ones that were my faves were from a few months ago. }

Please let me know which you like best----the guidelines they will use to judge the photos are 1. Appearance of the child in the photo, 2. Personality of the child expressed in the photo, 3. Quality of the photo. Not sure that helps select your fave but whatev.

Also note: just picking 10 pictures to select from was seriously difficult for me and a little stressful.

1. (Can't go wrong!)

2. (Grumpy old man)

3. (the pout)

4. (I just like this one)

5. (The newest one of the bunch! Just love this face)

6. (not a ton of personality here, but he's just too precious)

7. (lots of personality here....stubborn)

8. (Signature eyebrows)

9. (Nate's fave for some reason)

10. (his face here just cracks me up)

Eight Months

Crazy eights up in here. Truman is a whopping EIGHT months old, people. Where is the time going?



Sleep: let's just get right to it. At eight months old, one would think Truman could sleep through the night at this point, right? Wrong. HOWEVER, we have made some major progress in the sleep department this month.

You see, all of a sudden Truman went from loving our co-sleeping situation, breastfeeding in sidelying multiple times each night and thus maximizing sleep for everyone, to being completely restless, cranky, and not nursing for more than a few seconds before popping off in defiance. It was no longer working and it caused many extra hours of lost sleep.


So I decided to suck it up and try keeping him in his crib all night long. He's been going down for the night around 7:30 in his crib for many months now, but I'd always bring him into bed after the first wake up. This month I started nursing him in the rocker and placing him back into his crib instead. At first it was really rough and he pulled the 'eyes snap open the moment you lay me down into my crib' move on me. There have been times he would stay awake for more than an hour after I lay him into the crib and those are the nights that are absolutely horrible. Luckily that is happening less and less these days and for the most part, he will go right back to sleep after I nurse him which is HUGE progress, people.


I also wanted to switch up our bedtime routine a bit, to avoid Truman passing out asleep while nursing---I knew we had to break the suck-to-sleep association we had going on, so that when Truman wakes in the middle of the night, he doesn't NEED the boob to soothe himself to sleep. Baby boy must learn to put himself back to sleep without my ta-tas and I really think the method you use to put babies to sleep for the night will set the tone for the rest of the night.


So anyway, we tried giving him a 6 ounce bottle before bed instead of nursing, so that he got a lot more in quantity before falling asleep. I'd pump at 9 pm then to make up for that, but ultimately it didn't work very well and he'd still wake at about 11 or 12. We made a decision that if Truman woke up for the first time before midnight, then Nate would just give him another 6 ounce bottle to let me rest instead of nursing. It was okay, but it didn't make much of a difference in his sleep with those 1-2 bottles at night instead of nursing.

So now I will nurse him at 7pm, then we do the bath, then jammies, 2 books, and then we just put him into the crib and walk out. For the most part this works! Don't get me wrong, he will still wake up at least once if not twice in a night, usually around 1 and 4, but again---at least it's a quick nursing session and back to bed for us all. And I really do think Truman is learning to put himself to sleep these days without sucking. Perhaps by my nine month update we will be down to waking only once a night....or (dare I say it?) not at all!

Truman takes two naps a day and when he's at Lori's, they are usually 1.5-3 hours each (!). For me, on my days off, they are usually only an hour or so, but I'll take it because he does seem well-rested for the most part after those naps.


Food: Truman is totally obsessed with solid foods, you guys. I have to limit his intake to about 3-4 ounces, three times a day, but I'm certain he would down even more than that if I let him. Trouble is, if he is allowed to overindulge himself with 'real' food he gets pretty constipated. I know at this point milk should still be his primary source of nutrition, and so the solids are just a little practice bonus.


He loves all fruits and veggies we've tried, except for peas and now he hates green beans, too. I'm making pumpkin for him right now so we'll see if he likes that, and I might start some yogurt and cheese with a bit of turkey, too. I guess at 8 months you can start to get a little buck wild with new foods and I'm definitely looking forward to it. He loves puffs, too, so I'm hoping we are headed towards a day when he can eat chunkier foods and not gag on anything thicker than purees. :)

Also, he ate an entire post-it note the other day while I was typing away on the computer. Whoops! That must have tasted really good.


He is still taking two 6 ounces bottles of breastmilk at daycare, then will nurse first thing in the morning, after work, and before bed (plus about twice in the middle of the night). For awhile I was worried he was starting to get impatient with breastfeeding, preferring the bottle's fast flow, but over the last few weeks I can see this boy still digs the boob. It's our time to reconnect and bond and as soon as he sees me he gets a little fussy, ready to nurse even if he just ate. I'm pretty sure he has a touch of separation anxiety too, but it's not awful so I can deal with it.


Pumping is going well--getting three sessions in during a work day is a huge challenge for me, but I'm managing. I will also pump before bed now so I'm getting 4 times on the utter sucker which allows me to stay ahead of Truman's intake. We all know that boasting bigger numbers for output versus his intake equals one happy momma. I'm glad we're falling into a comfortable routine with my new job and his new daycare now as far as breastfeeding goes and I'm still hoping that the next four months will go as smoothly to get us to a year. But I'm not going to lie---I cannot WAIT to leave my pump at home for good. If I could just breastfeed the boy and never pump I would be delirious with joy because pumping still sucks (literally!). I had a HUGE blister on my right nipple this month and it cause toe-curling pain with every pump but luckily it's pretty much healed now. Sexy, huh?

Milestones: Truman can wave now! It's seriously the cutest thing ever because I think it's the first truly purposeful reaction he'll give us. We'll wave to him all the time just for fun and he will usually return that wave with a big grin on his face. He's definitely mobile but only through rolling across the room, not crawling yet. I've caught him pulling his knees under his gut every now and then but so far he hasn't managed all-fours yet, either. I'm totally fine with that, by the way. I think he might have a few more months before he's officially crawling anyway since he seems so content with spinning in circles and rolling all over the place.

He's wearing all 12-18 month clothes at this point and we had to buy him more footed jammies, in size 18 months from Carter. He looks like such a big boy in them, I just can't deal with it!

His sitting balance is pretty much to the point where we can leave him alone now, but every now and then he'll still topple over backwards and slam his noggin into the ground. Luckily that isn't too often and it's really only when he's trying to turn around or reach for something. He is sort of getting the hang of moving from sitting to his tummy but cannot do the reverse just yet. It's hard for me to imagine a day when baby boy can just go from lying down to sitting to standing all on his own but I guess that is just around the corner for us. Nate's baby book says he was pulling to stand alone by 9 months....yikes!

He's getting good at his pincher grasp with those puffs and can definitely feed himself the sticky little buggers like a pro. I'm amazed at what he can do with his hands, really. Pulling off Nate's glasses and inspecting them with his mouth is one of his favorite pass times:) He also enjoys picking my nose and pinching my neck just for fun.

Still has just two teeth but there are two more on top ready to bust through the gums any day now. He has only bitten me once while nursing so far and I'm pretty sure he won't do it again, since I screamed at the top of my lungs in shock. It scared us both and the look on his face said, 'Sorry ma!' Sharp little buggers...


Daily life: Truman loves seeing his friends at daycare and apparently he has one 'best friend' there named Kaiden. They are the same age and Lori says they act like brothers and love to play together all day long. Truman is really quite social and loves people watching just like his mama. He likes to put on a show when we are out and about, smiling and waving to strangers, melting their hearts along the way. He still only cries if he's tired or hungry and for the most part he is the happiest baby ever, smiling non-stop and acting very excited to see me or Nate after we've been gone (makes my heart do flips every time). He's even started to reach out for us when we go to pick him up and he'll reach for me if someone else is holding him and he's tired. Luckily, that only happens at the end of the day out of pure exhaustion, but like I said--maybe a touch of separation anxiety is starting to form, too.

We got Truman a few big boy toys because I decided his babyish rattles and play mats were totally boring for the kid. He LOVES them of course and I had to buy a toy box to keep all his stuff contained, to avoid the brightly colored plastic explosion in our living room. I think his favorite toy is probably Henry, though, since he's really started to become intrigued with our fluffy white hairball. They will be best of friends, and Henry has a new love for Truman now that he's eating puffs and throwing them on the ground for his furry friend. Can't wait for Truman to chase Henry all around our place---that's when the fun will really begin for Henry!




So much fun at 8 months old. Can't wait to see what November brings!
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