March 27, 2010

Back with Baby

I'm back from a four day trip for work. It's nice to be home even though it's cold and gray here and I was in lovely Santa Barbara. I wish I could figure out a way to instantly become rich to move there. It was over-the-top beautiful.

It was also incredibly amazing to sleep through the night. As much as I didn't want to leave Nora, I had been fantasizing about sleeping through the night on this trip for MONTHS. It was as blissful as I thought and I actually feel like a new person.

I'm back at home and Nora seems a little chubbier and more alert. This just confirms that she changes each and every day. She's definitely cutting teeth and so she isn't as much her usual happy self, but, who can blame her?

March 21, 2010

Errands with a Baby

This post is a little bit ridiculous as Nora is almost 6 months old but I am going to admit that I've never really run Saturday errands with her. Joel or I have been on leave at all times so that person would usually go shopping when the other person got home to give them a break. Now we're both exhausted, full-time working parents.

I woke up yesterday with a huge list of errands that needed to be run. I also knew that Joel had wanted to spend the day homebrewing so I was exclusively caring for Nora. I honestly felt daunted about the number of errands and taking her along. I'm such a baby! I just hate to shop and try to be as stealth as possible and there's nothing stealth about lugging around a 6 month old in a car seat. I created a plan and hit the road with Nora in tow.

I was able to get my seed starter pots at the garden store, pick up infant sunscreen at the health food store, get my dry cleaning (at which point I realized I might as well be buying new sweaters every week), run to the pet food store and then hit the grocery store. Nora was awesome. It was so fun to take her out and explain to her what we were doing.

The hardest part is that I live in an urban area and so all of the places I shop are tiny with tiny aisles. The maneuvering was a bit of a nightmare. I think I need to use our sling or the Ergo next time we go. It seemed like a hassle to take her in and out of her car seat but when she was in the cart I constantly felt like she was going to somehow tip over or some crazy person (my grocery store is FILLED with crazy people) was going to do something to her. I also was totally paranoid when the checker started taking the groceries out of my cart and then Nora ended up on the side with the checker. I just have a weird fear that someone is going to steal her. (If you shopped at my grocery store- you would too).

When I got home Joel informed me that he never goes to that grocery store with her and drives out to a more suburban store with bigger aisles and less crazy people. So, Joel is not hardier than me just smarter. Had I thought of the lovely suburban store with the big aisles and other people with children the trip might not have seemed so overwhelming. Such a smart husband!

All in all it was a great outing. Nora got to take a couple of naps and I got to hear how cute she is from total strangers. It also, strangely, reinforced that I am finally a mom running errands on a Saturday with my daughter.

March 16, 2010

Before and After

I had a nice happy hour this evening with a prospective adoptive-mom who has been following my blog. Another friend of mine who I met through my blog recently brought her baby home, and another bloggy friend is on an eternal wait list (or at least that's how it seems when you are on the list). All these lovely women got me thinking about the wait, the journey and the before and after of the adoption process. It's been reiterated to me that Nora and our family provide hope to those who are waiting. So, in that vein, here is a really depressing photo from a past blog post (during wait) and then a happy photo from a blog post post-placement of Nora at two months. It's definitely a roller-coaster and there is no way my mind could conceive that at some point a baby would be in that car seat when I posted my sad blog post about the long wait. Now, I feel so very grateful that that same car seat is filled by my little spicy, baby girl, Nora. The adoption process is so hard and so I felt like these photos are my sad little attempt at providing hope to all those amazing waiting-moms that they too will have a full car seat (and the nice by-product of rockin' mom arms - or so I've heard).

March 13, 2010

Last Home Visit

Yesterday was our last home visit for Nora. I've realized I'm going to miss these because the house is always spotless. What else is going to motivate Joel and I to clean every square inch of real estate including areas where no one would ever go?

We like our caseworker a lot so there is no longer any anxiety. I'm actually going to miss seeing her. We all just hung out on the floor and discussed Nora as she performed her usual feats on her play mat. When our caseworker first came over Nora was really out of sorts. She's usually really energetic and boisterous and exclaiming loudly. I was a little sad our caseworker wasn't going to see the real Nora but after she woke up a bit she was all kicky legs and excited shrieks.

I of course asked how C and J were doing and found out that C. presented at the last adoption class for the agency. That made me very happy. I remember sitting in that class listening to a birth family present and all I could think is "I wish that would be our birth family". I'm SURE that was the case when C. was presenting. It made me feel very proud of her and happy for her that she's engaged with the agency in that way. I hope that it was therapeutic for her to discuss. It also made me feel some reassurance that she's doing okay. We'll be reaching out to her soon to see if she'd like another visit so hopefully we'll get to see them both again soon.

All is happy in adoption-land. We are exactly one month from our finalization and then the paperwork and legal aspect of adoption will be over. The process has not been too hard on us (other than the horrible wait). I think it was helpful and painful to be with an agency where you are on a wait-list. It's great to see your progress; however, in the months where there is little progress or you don't move it all- that's really painful. I'm glad that this portion is coming to a close. We're now just trying to time when to get back on the list for a sibling for Nora. The wait for a sibling can be 2 years or more. We might not be done with home visits for too long.

March 7, 2010

Being the Parent I Want to Be

There are two things that bother me in parenthood land (and did long before Nora came along) and they are both slightly related. The first is when parents overreact when their child falls or has a minor injury and the second is parents who don't take a long-range view of parenthood and get overly wrapped up in details (minor things do not a psycho-killer make in my opinion). Just this week I exhibited both of these tendencies.

The first incident occurred when I was moving Nora's bouncy through a door frame with her in it (bad judgment) and her finger was hit on the doorway. She let out a shrill cry (which I've only heard before when I accidentally nipped her finger when trimming her nails) and I immediately freaked out. I swooped down to grab her and comfort her and my mind went to the worst possible scenario first- I had broken her finger. (I don't think it's possible for babies to break their fingers because of the nature of their bones but I freaked out none the less). I looked at her slightly red finger and contemplated the nearest emergency room. In two seconds she was completely fine and so was I. I was then taken aback by my complete and total overreaction to the situation.

The second situation happened on Thursday night. Joel and I were both overly concerned that Nora hadn't rolled over yet. Maybe we hadn't given her enough tummy time, maybe she was in the bouncy seat too much etc. We were completely overreacting about something that didn't matter - a milestone that can happen at any time. I knew that at some point she'd be a 30 year old who knew how to walk, talk and roll-over so why was I so preoccupied with this little achievement? Of course, the next day Nora rolled over and again I was given a lesson in not overreacting. Nora may be the first or last to do many things and I need to remember that she's going to complete things at her own rate. She's her own person with her own personality and she'll develop according to her own path. I need to not put all that crazy parenting pressure on her or myself.

I think I'm going to have to become more nimble and flexible to really get this parenthood thing down. I guess by the time she leaves the house in another 20 years I'll have a slight understanding of how to do this thing called parenting.

I've really been trying to avoid reading too many books. There are too many parenting camps and I'm just not interested in joining any of them as they all contradict each other. I want to be conscious of her milestones and her development but I'm not interested in subscribing to any particular philosophy. Babies, children and people are all so different and I think it's important to remain flexible to your child's needs. Whether your child sleeps with you, cries it out or lives somewhere in-between I don't think this will impede them for the rest of their lives or provide that added boost to become a Nobel Prize winner. I need to remember the long-range view of parenthood and keep my anxious overreactions in check. It's the whole picture that matters.

March 6, 2010

Rolling Over

Nora rolled over yesterday - a lot! Once she discovered this new trick she decided to do it over and over. It was really sweet. It's especially funny because she hates tummy time and makes angry cat noises during tummy time but when she rolls herself on to her stomach she doesn't seem to mind at all.

I discovered the great downfall of rolling over this morning when both my husband and I woke up at 4 am and realized that we hadn't heard a peep from Nora and freaked out. She was fine of course. She finally woke up at 5:30 am - hooray- but when I went in there she was on her stomach. I really didn't love seeing that as I'm petrified of SIDS.

She took a little nap this afternoon and I heard her begin to kick around. I left her alone until I heard a cry from her. She was on her stomach with her leg stuck all the way out of the crib between the slats. This seems dangerous and problematic. I was super excited about her rolling over but I don't know if I'm ready for a mobile baby just yet.