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a letter to my baby daddy.

a letter to my baby daddy,

for 21 months we have been parents to our little bean.  for 21 months we have loved, worried, prayed, hoped and treasured this life we created.

before i was pregnant i had all these elaborate plans to “tell you” about our positive pregnancy test.  all pinterest finds, of course.  on that morning, with no power and very little cell service, i couldn’t wait.  i told via text.  we went about our day as if everything hadn’t changed.  this was the start of the most incredible roller coaster ride.

from tater tots to banana pudding, to all the ultrasounds and self imposed fetal heart rate monitoring, oh and don’t forget the counting of kicks each night before bed, we grew a baby boy.  an incredible, beautiful, healthy baby boy.  with lots of heartburn earned hair.  we did it.

<insert high fives>

do you remember during my first non-stress test the lady asked how that contraction felt and i didn’t realize i was and had been having contractions.  and then counting contractions during the world series on your ipad.  and then that time i went to serve chicken and dumplings while you got blue bloods started.  we had no idea what was in store for us despite the birth plans, reading of countless books, classes and tons of advice from every single person that did or didn’t know us.

throughout our pregnancy and now this first year, you have been there for me.  every single step of the way.  adjusting my body pillow just right, helping to put my socks on just the way i like it, holding my hand and giving me more love than i have ever felt as i was more afraid that i have ever been just moments before meeting our son.

for every big moment and most of the little ones, you have been there.

there’s something about turning one that really reinforces the feeling of transition from babyhood to toddlerhood.  maybe it’s the determined attempts at walking or talking. maybe it’s the fact that he will now be joining the ranks of people who don’t count their age in months.  or maybe it’s the fact that he survived our first year of parenting.

yes, we have never appreciated sleep the way we do now. those precious extra couple of hours you give me on the weekends are magical. when you let me take a shower in the morning while you change the first very full diaper of the day and get breakfast started. my heart fills with gratitude.

yes, we have been pooped on, peed on, sneezed on, snotted on, spit up on, and thrown up on. even poop in the tub. i appreciate that almost all of these moments have happened when we have been together and we simple laugh.  together.

yes, sometimes my time, my body, and my brain does not feel like my own.  i have moments where i break down.  you are there.  you offer kind words.  a hug that lasts a bit longer than normal.  you remind me that i am beautiful.  you remind me that i am a woman, before i became a mother.

this past year i have learned …

how to love more completely.

and how to start seeing the world with more wonder.

to live more purposefully.

how to have patience.

how to have confidence.

and to find complete joy in the simple acknowledgement with a glance from our son.

 

becoming a mom has pushed me to the limits of what i’ve experienced so far in my thirty-three years.

i’ve felt crushing insecurity at times and steady confidence at others.

i’ve been exhausted and exhilarated.

i’ve been confused and i’ve questioned, a lot.

sometimes i’ve trusted my gut. and other times i’ve floundered.

i’ve spent hundreds of hours reading books and the internet looking for answers, help, tips and ideas.

i’ve patted that tiny baby bum a thousand times to help him fall asleep.

i’ve rocked him in the night and held him through teething and illness and growth spurts and needles.

i’ve swelled with pride and joy, and i’ve stood in awe.

i’ve sang lullabies and read thousands of stories.

i’ve nursed and i’ve nurtured.

i’ve danced and i’ve paced.

i’ve prayed.

i’ve laughed.

i’ve watched and listened and savored and recorded.

i’ve taken more photos than i can count.

i’ve felt like an amateur and felt like a pro.

i’ve sought advice and sometimes given it.

i’ve sought validation and i’ve sought empathy.

i’ve sought encouragement and i’ve sought affirmation.

i’ve been amazed and overwhelmed, grateful and relieved.

i’ve learned sacrifice. i’ve earned wrinkles and gray hairs.

i’ve found a depth of strength that was yet unlocked.

i’ve. given. birth.

i’ve been humbled. i’ve grown up.

i’ve become more of who i am meant to be.

i’ve. had. fun.

and you sir, you have been there for it all.  every. single. everything.  you have been there.  i am not the mother i am without you.  i am not the person i am without you.

now about you.

you are going to be garrett’s hero.  he watches everything that you do, learns from everything that you do, and wants to do everything that you do.  i see him watching you.  i love watching him watch you when you don’t even know it.  you’re teaching him to be confident, self-assured, and proud.

you are teaching our son to be strong and have sensitivity.  you are ignoring gender roles and raising him as a person.  you’re teaching him equality.

he is watching how you treat me.  he is watching how you never leave or enter our house without saying “i love you” and giving a hug and a kiss.  you’re teaching him how to be a great partner.  a phenomenal partner.  you’re teaching him about the important treasure that is family.

the kindness you show to other people will rub off on him.  he will see you help others and give generously.  you’re teaching him compassion and respect, manners and appreciation.

your humor is a staple in our lives; how quiet our house would be without laughter!  he expects tickles with your hugs and whiskers with your kisses.  you’re teaching him to smile, to find joy, and to feel happiness.

most importantly, you are teaching him to love and to be loved.

i wrote this in a letter to garrett:

“whenever i doubt my own capabilities or find some part of myself ugly or flawed… i think of the tremendous thing i have been a part of. i dreamed of you and grew you and birthed you.  in your bones lives my strength. in your heart, my courage. and in your small arms, all the love i have ever known. no matter how i fail or fall in the days ahead, you have allowed me the chance to be a part of something pure and good in my life. thank you for existing. thank you for being mine.”

i would like to add a thank you to you.  thank you for existing.  thank you for being mine.  thank you for being ours.  you are his daddy.  you are my husband.  you are our everything.

on his first birthday, we are celebrating the fact that garrett has not only survived our first year of parenthood, but he has thrived.

and so have we.

together.


chickens and eggs.

our favorite thing to do in the evenings is sit outside and watch the chickens.  garrett has become so aware of the animals in the last month and he just lights up when martha or milo walk into a room.  literally, smiles from ear to ear.  when outside, he just watches the chickens so intently.

who needs television when you have the entertainment of chickens?!

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what better way to learn where food comes from?  he loves eggs.  we started him with just scrambled yolks and after several days and no reaction to the yolks gave him the full egg.  yay for no egg allergy issues!

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this kid. he lights up our life. and then some.


6 months old.

we have a private blog that i am keeping note of photos, moments and stories that each year will turn into a book.

with each monthly photo, i am also writing letters to my little one. below is the letter i wrote for his six month birthday.

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happy six months sweet boy.

i know that what lies ahead of you is so great that my heart nearly bursts with anticipation for your future. there is an indescribable wonderness to your spirit. i try daily to put words around it – your daddy and i have had countless conversations on how there is just something about you – inside you – radiating out and all over us. a tangible peace. a soulful joy.

these days, i watch as you are putting together what you know of the world. at night when you are close to sleep, you run your fingertips down the palm of my hands and over the length of my fingers as i turn them over for you again and again. it has become our ritual, the familiar warmth of my body curled around yours, our hands turning over in one another’s, as you ever so slowly fall away to dream.

you are my night owl. my morning bird. wise, wondrous, magical. i could have never imagined how much you could teach me about patience, and perspective and having faith in what lies ahead.

happy six months, my baby.

the biggest love,

mama


adventures in eating.

tonight was the first time eating in his high chair. i did a facebook poll and everyone said ikea was the way to go.  so off we went and conquered.  i opted for the red wooden one over the completely plastic one.  i just fell in love with it.  did i mention it was red.  love.

on the menu was oat pancakes, strawberries, a tangerine and plain yogurt.

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for the oat pancakes here is the recipe:

 

1 cup oat flour (i made my own by simply putting raw oats in the dry vitamix container but you can buy it too)
3/4 cup almond milk
3/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 egg
splash of vanilla
few shakes of cinnamon

directions:

 

mix all together
grease a non-stick pan with oil or butter
cook all the way through (especially if you use an egg)

g was definitely a fan.

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when i say blw is messy, this is the beautiful messiness that i mean.  i am learning to embrace the sticky fingers.

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baby led weaning.

baby-led weaning {blw} is the practice of trusting your baby’s innate sense of hunger, of want, of self-knowledge and of self-limitation. baby-led weaning offers parents and their children a natural, relaxed approach to the introduction of solid foods.  instead of relying on prepared, commercial baby foods or even homemade purees, mama’s and papa’s simply introduce their babies to natural, wholesome real food from the start – relying on their babies to self-regulate and lead the way.

this is why we are primarily starting solids using this method.

blw is a natural approach to solid foods and to feeding your baby in general, and it starts at the breast. when you breastfeed your child, you rely on your baby to let you know when he or she is hungry and you allow your baby to self-regulate his or her eating patterns – feeding your baby on demand.  this level of innate parent-child connection and your trust in your baby’s ability to self-regulate based on his or her own hunger is the essence and foundation of baby-led weaning.

here are some tips we have learned the past couple of weeks as we have started the blw approach:

do NOT serve small, tiny pieces of food.
serve large chunks that can be easily grasped.
make sure your baby is capable of sitting on his or her own and is well-supported.
offer your baby the same foods you’re eating so that your baby feels included in the family meal. {unless there are food allergy issues}
know that your baby may not actually eat any of the food presented; rather, baby-led weaning is about exploration.
don’t hurry or rush your baby – after all, do you like to be rushed while eating?
make sure you only offer wholesome, natural foods (no added refined salts, flours, sugars, oils).
it will be messy, be prepared and relax a bit. the more mess, the better the photos!
steer away from foods that are clearly dangerous for young persons (peanuts, chips, popcorn etc).
no honey.
talk to your baby’s health care provider about this approach to weaning.

infants who participate in blw do at times, gag and spit food out. unlike traditional solid introduction, this gag response is not viewed as negative or uncomfortable for the infant. {however, it is for this mama! he has gagged only once and he was fine. i was the nervous nelly.}  when infants bring solid foods to their own mouth, they are the ones guiding the sensory experience, starting and stopping when they are comfortable and ready.

we started with avocado. then sweet potato. after that, pretty much anything that we have in the kitchen.  he has had watermelon, hummus, pita, squash, cucumber, green peppers, carrots, strawberries, cheese, ground beef, scrambled egg yolks, tangerines, bananas, broccoli, plain baby yogurt, oatmeal and even lettuce.

here is a sample dinner. steamed carrots. broiled green peppers. a small bit of protein, below ground beef.  and a fruit.  i like the ratio of mostly vegs and a small protein and a small fruit.

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his first food, avocado.  i learned that if i leave the skin on and cut into wedges, he can handle it better.  he eats the avocado and leaves the skin.  following his lead.

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we have chosen a few spoon fed foods.  plain baby yogurt is one of them.  we are holding off on the sugar added flavors.  if we can get him to love plain, without the sugar, that would be ideal.  and so far, it is working.  he loves it.  we are also taking it slow with high allergen foods like eggs.  so below is scrambled egg yolks for him and egg whites for me.  i love making one meal for the both of us.

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sweet potatoes continue to be his favorite.

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 it is a happy, messy life right now and i love it.  he is growing and food is all over the place.  every meal our cat is on one side and the dog on the other of him.  they know what is up.  and the diapers.  oh, the diapers.  they are changing too.  

six months into this parenting thing and i have learned that moderation and balance are key.  some purees and spoon fed goodness is good but for the most part we are following his lead and believing in self feeding.  whole, real foods is our primary focus.  having fun and learning developmental skills is a plus.  so far, it is all working well.   a good bib is key to happiness.


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