November 29, 2010

Confessions of a New Mama

Seven weeks ago today Cruz was born. Crazy, I know. The last seven weeks of pregnancy were loooong, let me tell you. So were the first seven. And the seven after that. I wish these weeks would slow down to the same pace! For me, these seven weeks have been packed full of learning; learning about baby and learning about me.

I can put on all of my make-up with one hand. Except eyeliner. If you invent a one-handed eyeliner, I guarantee you'll make millions.

If I am nursing at 3am and decide to watch TV in order to stay awake, it is guaranteed that I will buy whatever you are selling on your infomercial.

If one website says that 7 week old babies should be working on a developmental milestone that three other sites haven't mentioned, I will spend the next few days working on it, before remembering that this will turn me into a crazy person.

This is the most consistent I've ever been about reading Scripture. We are through the book of John and most of Romans. 

I kind of like the smell of baby poop.

I love talking to Cruz in Portuguese. However, I am only consistent with about 10 phrases. Cruz will know how to identify members of the family and order food in a restaurant.

Psalm 139 reduces me to tears.

I have the attention span of a seven year old boy. 

Giving birth was exhausting, fast, and early. While it eventually came, I did not feel that initial rush of love that I had been expecting. I felt insanely guilty over this until I started talking to other new mamas who had felt the same way and remembered to give myself the grace to have my own Mama experience. 

I wish there was some sort of headband that boy babies could wear. 

Cruz, I cannot believe how much you've taught me in the last weeks. Baby Boy, you are a joy and a blessing. Happy Seven Weeks Old!

November 24, 2010

What He Wore on Wednesday

In the past two days, Cruz has outgrown two outfits. It's enough to make my heart break! So I've decided to start documenting his outfits-- enjoy!

Good morning!

After bathtime

Cozy onesies--
finally fitting into 0-3 clothes

Is there anything cuter than a lion bum?

Auntie Ani made Cruz a bowtie!
That might be cuter than a lion bum.

All swaddled for naptime with Auntie Ani

Not happy because it's 5pm, the "witching hour" for babies

Bedtime in transportation jammies

Thanksgiving: For Homemade Blankets

Such talented friends!
We love snuggling and we love snuggling with the handmade blankets we have been blessed to receive! Cruz, you are one seriously loved little guy. People are ready to share their gifts and talents with you in ways that you can't imagine.

These blankets snuggle you at night when we rock you back to sleep. They tuck you in when we go out in your stroller. You play on these blankets and stare at the faces and animals during tummy time.

 I am thankful that I wrap my baby up in so much love.

November 22, 2010

On Crying

So far, we have been blessed with a surprisingly non-fussy baby. I'm sure that just by typing this sentence I'm setting myself up for disaster. Cruz turns six weeks today which, according to Mama friends, is a long, fussy, growth spurt week. So I'm prepared, and thankful that in general Cruz is fairly peaceful. I know this is weird to admit, but I think his cries are really precious. Probably because they are infrequent.

I am shooting myself in the foot by writing this post.  

As I was saying, his cries are really adorable. He turns bright red, he looks like an old man, and boy does he have some lungs! But my favorite cry of all is what I call his "Mama, Help Me Go to Sleep!" cry. It is the most pathetic wail you've ever heard. He scrunches his eyes up so tight and lets out two whines. So basic: I need help. Cruz knows that he's supposed to be sleeping; it's what he wants, he just can't figure out how to get there. And of course, I am always happy to help Cruz fall asleep.

It has made me think a lot about my prayer life. Everything about mamahood so far has been drenched in prayer. From the mundane ("Lord, please help him sleep until 7am") to the future ("Lord, bless the Mamas that are raising his future friends, his future wife...") to the cry of my heart ("Lord, let him love You and love Your people"). Truly, I never knew what it meant to pray without ceasing before Cruz was born. At the same time, I know that I am still trying to do too much on my own. I want to look like I have this mamahood thing down. I want to look like I have everything in my life down! Career, marriage, knowing God's will for my life. There are lessons He has set before me in my life, and I still try to learn them on my own. I want to have the answers, to be in control. But there is a part of my heart that just longs to screw up my eyes and wail, "I just need your help! I know what I'm supposed to do, but I can't figure out how to do it on my own!" I want this because Cruz has shown me what happens when we give up our control: utter peace.

November 18, 2010

Thanksgiving: For Meals

Cruz Justin, you don't know this yet, but you were eagerly hoped for and joyfully welcomed into the world by a cast of hundreds. You have already been held and snuggled by a lot of people, but there are so many incredible people left for you to meet, and I can't wait for you to get to know all of them over the years.

And you don't even know about the holidays yet! Cruz, when we were at Williams-Sonoma yesterday, smelling the pumpkin bread (Um, talk about torture! I'm trying out gluten/dairy/soy free pumpkin bread today. Wish me luck!), I started to tell you about Thanksgiving. But the ladies working there gave me the Stank Eye for talking to my sleeping baby, and I didn't get to finish everything that I wanted to say.

So here we are, one week before Thanksgiving Day, and there is so much to be thankful for. 

Today we are thankful for the meals our friends have brought over. Each one has been made with love and care. To those of you who have brought over meals, please know that we feel incredibly blessed. Even when my diet needed to change dramatically, you all graciously rose to the occasion. It has allowed us incubate our little family and focus on each other rather than chores. During our Bible time, Cruz and I just read about the Last Supper, and it reminded me again that food is so central to our faith, our community, our way of love. Something spiritual happens when we share food. The same math that turns 1+1 into 3 and changes a few loaves and fishes into a feast. We now have an overflowing refrigerator and with each bite, I remember, "We are loved. Cruz is loved." We are so thankful for you.

(I'm also thankful for these little piggies!)

November 17, 2010

Performance Review

When I decided to start a blog, it was really important to me to keep it authentic. This is not a blog about how cute my baby is (although I'm sure his grandmothers wouldn't mind), or what wonderful things we do together all day (you read the poop post, right?); this is our real life together.

So here's my first confession to you: I secretly identify with Angela from The Office. I love her cardigan collection. Her sleeping cardigan collection. And like her, I love job reviews. "I actually look forward to performance reviews," she smuggly tells the camera. "I did the youth beauty pageant circuit, and I enjoyed that quite a bit. I really enjoy being judged. I believe I hold up to even severe scrutiny."

But motherhood takes it all to the next level. Now, every conversation becomes a performance review. A chance for strangers to grade my foray into Mamahood. No wonder parents are neurotic! During his first few weeks of life, Cruz was having a difficult time gaining weight. He wanted to sit around and let the food come to him. Womblike. Or like an IV. Sorry, bud, the real world makes you work, even from a young age. Regardless, I felt very sensitive about his weight issues, and every "Oh, he's so little!" coo became an opportunity for me to irrationally defend myself. Yes! He's having some trouble gaining weight! He's only a couple of ounces behind! We were all very sick when he was two weeks old! We're getting there!

My chunky monkey
But that's crazy! No one is judging me except me. And even if they are-- who cares?? I'm telling myself to take a step back. I know that I am good at extending grace to others; now is a season for me to learn how to extend grace to myself. A girlfriend of mine recently reminded me that becoming a Mama is the same as starting a new job (with terrible hours and a owner that doesn't always communicate well with the CEO). I want so badly to "hold up under even severe scrutiny," to be such a fab Mama that I haven't extended grace to myself to make mistakes. And sweet Cruz can't have a Mama like that! In no way do I want him to carry the burden of being my reflection.

So here's to sweet moments of grace. To letting him sleep just a little bit longer. To secretly enjoying the fact that my strict diet (no wheat/dairy/soy/shellfish/pork/taste) is helping me drop the baby weight like you wouldn't believe. To allowing myself the time to straighten my hair and put on mascara. To not always having the answer. To asking for help. For meals. To crying when I'm frustrated. To knowing beyond an ounce of doubt that the Lord hears my prayers and answers with more grace than I have ever deserved.

And as for my latest performance review? Cruz and I went to the doctor today. She wanted to see him after two weeks to monitor his weight gain (grace! grace! It's ok!). I was so nervous putting him on the scale this morning. Well, my little gordito burrito gained two pounds! Two pounds in two weeks! Turns out, Cruz is doing awesome work at his job.

November 16, 2010

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

When Cruz was about two weeks old, we started reading the Bible together. I had been missing my daily Bible study at church and knew that, realistically, I wouldn't be able to keep up with such an intensive study. So every day I read out loud from the book of John. I choose John because he was the "beloved disciple." The phrase that I pray over and over for Cruz is that he is "healthy, happy and strong in the Lord." That he would some day see himself as a beloved disciple of Christ is all that my mamaheart wants for him. So each morning I read a chapter, and we are now almost done with the whole book. We sit in his rocker, snuggled under a blanket and I have the privilege of whispering the Truth into his ear.

After a few days of this routine, I began to realize that Scripture puts Cruz to sleep like a charm.

Now, I am sure he is neither the first nor the last to fall asleep to Scripture. The Lord knows how many times I've drifted off during sermons or fallen asleep within minutes (seconds) of starting to pray. But we are now cruising through the Bible because I use this as a way to get him to sleep. All. The. Time.

November 15, 2010

Everyday I Love You Just a Little Bit More

Cruz Justin, impossibly, you are one month old. Because you won't remember this time, here are some things you love about your life:

  • Eating. You have become a champion eater. After an initial shaky start, you have mastered the art of eating and will do so at every given opportunity.
  • Sleeping. God has blessed us with a sleeper! Not to brag too much about you, but the last two nights you have only woken up one time. Your mama is thankful.
  • Activities. The second we place you down on your activity mat, you are enchanted. Your mama likes to eat breakfast and squeeze in a mini workout while you stare at all the hanging toys. She also believes that you've discovered that hitting the toys will make them move. You are very advanced.
  • Going in the car or stroller. More often than not, you are out like a light the second we place you in the car seat.
  • Smiling. You love to smile! When you hear us laughing, you get a huge grin on your face. Your mama spends a lot of her day getting you to smile.
  • Taking a bath. You absolutely hate getting your diaper changed, but for some reason are totally relaxed in the tub.
  • Snuggles. Whether it's in the carrier, sling, swaddled or in our arms, you are a sucker for closeness.
It seems impossible, but I think I love you more every single day.

November 12, 2010

The New Rules of Nursing

Dr. Sears wrote the thickest baby book available at Borders. As a new mom, I wanted as much information as I could lay my hands on, so I bought it. It's inventively titled, "The Baby Book" and is written as the Absolute Authority on All Things Baby. I have been eating it up.

Dr. Sears, a man, by the way, has a lot of opinions on nursing. They seem to be mostly informed by his wife (who thinks that self-expressing milk is preferable to pumping. Maybe that should have been my first clue). Babies, says Dr. Sears should have as much skin-to-skin contact as possible. Preferably while nursing, and definitely in the middle of the night. I am nothing if not a rule-follower, and have been trying very hard to adhere to the guidelines set forth by the Absolute Authority on All Things Baby. Even if he is a man.

Cruz and I were enjoying our middle of the night feeding. Once I wake up, I actually enjoy our 2am bonding. His eyes are so big and twinkly in the dim light of the room and his cheeks are just so delicious. I love being able to sneak in these extra snuggles. As a good Dr. Sears follower, I had stripped Cruz down to a little onesie for our feeding (this was he second nighttime outfit. Outfit #1 had previously been pooped on). I heard him poop, which is a wonderful sound to any new mom (I'm not the only one, right? Right?). A few minutes later, he was ready to go back to sleep, so I put him up on my shoulder for a burp, and laid my head on my back for a sneaky cuddle. Another poop. Suddenly, I was aware of a damp feeling on my cheek, hand, and leg. That lovely, runny, newborn poop was everywhere. On Cruz. On me. His outfit, my outfit. The boppy. The sheets on the bed. The pillows.

New Nursing Rule: Pants are required.

We cleaned up, and put on Outfit #3. I carried Cruz to his room, and we snuggled down into the rocking chair. I was chuckling to myself, thinking about how Dr. Sears clearly wasn't in charge of middle of the night feedings in his house. What kind of crazy person was hang around with a newborn sans pants? I started rocking faster, congratulating myself on learning another Lesson in Mamahood. We rocked faster. I started to think about how I wanted to blog about this hilarious incident. Faster. I even came up with the title to the blog! Faster. Cruz looked up at me with the disarming toothless grin he's been practicing. I snuggled him closer. Bam! Massive spit-up all over me. The kind that goes down your shirt and soaks your underwear.

New Nursing Rule: Mama must wear head-to-toe vinyl whenever she is in the same room as Baby.

After I changed into Outfit #3 and Cruz was in Outfit #4, we were finally ready for bed. There we were, sitting in the dim light of the nursery, surrounded by an impressive pile of laundry, and still, it was the sweetest moment.

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