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New Year, New Blog!

The new year is fast approaching. Many of us will make resolutions. Many of us will see those resolutions through…and many of us might not see those resolutions through. In part, this blog was my 2015 resolution. I, in case you are wondering, failed. What I’d hoped this blog would be, for myself, it, certainly, was not; it has not been an outlet for me in the way I’d hoped. Another hope I had for this blog was that it’d, somehow, help me make sure I tried to eat healthier, cleaner, smarter, and, in turn, (not sure if these commas are placed appropriately — I have a, sort of, addiction to them, you’ll learn) I’d create a good foundational relationship with food for Valerie. Whether I failed at the latter, it’s not completely clear at the moment; Valerie’s diet, completely, consists of yogurt/fruit pouches, cheese, pasta, and bread. (I’m hoping that all of those fruits and veggies she used to gobble up, quickly, she will start taking a liking to again, in the future.)

I also wanted to provide another perspective on parenting, for anyone who happened across this here page. (And, I wanted to not feel so lonely in that perspective.) I wanted each post to be this well thought out, structured, articulate piece that helped someone who might need it. In reality, each post was like a quick regurgitation of my days’ events.

I wanted this blog to be a representation of how motherhood made me feel. At the time, I felt like I had undergone this huge transformation and I wanted to share that with the world. I wanted someone to notice!

Since Val’s arrival, I feel more like myself than I’ve ever felt. Which really doesn’t make any sense, and almost feels like some trite verbiage that mothers feel compelled to say. Nonetheless, it’s true. It’s like when I saw her for the first time and felt like saying, “Yep, there she is.” There is this familiarity to motherhood that makes being responsible for a whole tiny human a little less frightening.

But, on the flip side, there is this newness to first time motherdom that is really really hard. There are all these news emotions, and, seemingly, a whole lot less time in the day that makes doing necessary adulting impossible. Which creates this chaos. Add on, there are other people in your life who need you to be able to function just as you had before your new tiny human’s arrival…and you’re not going to be able to, which causes friction; other people have to deal with how their relationship with you has changed, and, often, people are not prepared to handle it in a way that’s mutually conducive.

My biggest thing before giving birth was that I wanted my life to be the same. I wanted Valerie to just slide into my life seamlessly. I’m not entirely sure if that’s impossible, but it, certainly, has yet to happen for me. And, maybe, the Erica I was before is an Erica that I need to leave in the past. I haven’t quite figured it out, yet. But I, definitely, think it’s important to consider. Sometimes I do think of things I used to do, and long for the time to do them now…but, what would I have to sacrifice to have those things?

Example: I used to spend a lot of time in movie theaters (mostly alone and bawling) engulfing myself in movies (at least once a week). But, a lot of those movies (and even tv shows) were depictions of something I was longing for: love, a career, motherhood. Now that I have those things…would sitting in a movie be as fulfilling? Or, would I rather be home taking care of my husband and child? It’s hard to say because I haven’t taken the time to allow myself an extended amount of time away from them.

I’m sure most of this sounds like rambling (and, it is) but, these are things I think about. I’m thinking about it right now, specifically, because I saw a video with Jada Pinkett Smith about motherhood. In the video, she talks about how it’s important for mothers to take care of themselves first and foremost. Everything she said, I felt, was spot on…and, it has me thinking: “What does taking care of myself look like?” And, I really don’t know (is alone time, in movie theaters, really important to me?). But, it’s something I really need to figure out because taking care of myself is something that I need to do.

I feel like that has been the biggest struggle for me, not really knowing how to not be a mom. How to see myself as the individual I was prior to having a tiny human. There are days when I am so stressed out, and I feel like I never get a moment alone, I have ignored my ballooning weight because I don’t have the time to focus on it. And, part of me feels like I need to make time. And, by making time, I am helping my husband and tiny human as well.

Does any of this make sense?

So, this is not a 2016 resolution, per se, but I do have a desire to make this blog better and more representative of the mother I wish to be. Maybe I shouldn’t have centered it so tightly around Valerie’s BLWing journey? It’s just that “Tiny Human Eats” was so cute and came to me serendipitously. And! I was so determined to try new recipes, cook cute meals, and post adorable Pinterest worthy pictures! Clearly, that didn’t work out.

2016 will be a much better year for THE, hopefully you’ll all stick around!
Happy Holidays!

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Catching up….

I have not written since St. Patrick’s Day. Well, that’s not entirely truthful…I’ve written several entries, I just haven’t managed to finish and, or, be completely satisfied with what I’ve written. We’ll see how this turns out…

The past 3 months have been incredibly difficult, in all aspects of my life. Probably the hardest 3 months I’ve ever dealt with. Between finishing the school semester, motherhood, feeling mediocre at work, struggling financially, and watching Edgar’s health deteriorate, I feel like I’d hit a incredibly low point. All of it feels awful, and the worst part is there is this mountain of guilt added on top of all of that.

Guilt because (Edgar’s health aside) I wouldn’t change anything. I want all of this. But, it’s incredibly hard. I want to keep going to school (forever, probably…), I want to work my low paying job that makes me incredibly happy, I want my tiny human (and a thousand more, even though, I know, that’s entirely unrealistic), and I definitely want Edgar. I want all of this, yet, it feels like my life is a lot harder than its ever been. I guess getting what you want comes at a price. Or, is it just easier to settle and have the things you “need” and let the things you want, that don’t come easy, go? I really don’t know what I’m saying…but, yeah…maybe I should grow up, quit going to school, get a “real” job that may or may not make me miserable (or require that I spend even more time away from Valerie) just to make things easier? This is what I’ve struggled with the past 3 months.

Ultimately, these struggles have only made me want to stick to my guns even more. Struggling, and still being able to come home to happiness and laughter (most days!) is way more important than anything else. I couldn’t imagine how much more stressful all of these things would be if I had a job that left me feeling unhappy, and unfulfilled. So, a month or so ago, I decided to try harder, be more committed, to these things that I want so badly. Fix the things that I can fix, and hope that everything else falls into place. By doing this, I really do feel that the path I’ve been on has not only widened, it’s been cleared of some of the clutter, and obstacles, that kept my journey from going smoothly to begin with.

Enough of that…

Valerie is doing so well! Everyday, I swear, she’s learning something new. Her newest thing is clapping. She looooves to clap. It’s the cutest thing. She’s also, I think, picked up on the sign for “more.” She hasn’t gotten it down, completely…and sometimes, I think, she may just be closed fist clapping…but, in my head, she’s signing to me. She always does it when she’s eating, so I really think she’s catching on.

For awhile, I was packing her breakfast and lunch for daycare. I can’t even describe the joy I got from planning and preparing her meals the night before. It’s already an exciting time, a milestone we’ve reached, add on the fact that it’s just another way for me to be with her when I’m actually away. Sending her to daycare is already a stressful time for me, as I’m having to be away from her (even though, she’s, technically, in the same building as me) 40 hours a week. On top of that, there are 10 meals out of 15 she doesn’t get to share with me. So, at the very least, packing her breakfast and lunch kind of allowed me to still share those meals with her, in a sense.

The problem with my packing her meals is that none of the other babies in her room get packed lunch; there seems to be this “who do you think your kid is?” kind of mentality surrounding my bringing her food from home, and it’s seen as more of hassle. Which, normally, I wouldn’t even concern myself with; I do what I want, when I want, because I want to. However, it’s hard for me to have that same “fuck you” sort of attitude when it comes to her. I’m okay being different, weird, unusual, the outsider, however I don’t, necessarily, want that for her. I want her to fit. I want her to not be treated differently. So, we’ve just been keeping her home as much as possible and allowing her to eat breakfast with daddy, and lunch when I come home at lunchtime. At this point, it’s just easier for me to deal with…and Edgar (despite his health problems) doesn’t mind spending his mornings with her (no matter how tired he is), thankfully.

That’s the one “complaint” I really have about being a parent. Other people’s insecurities. I feel like the parents who are trying to do everything for their children, maybe even more than they really need to (because it’s their first child, or just because they want to go above and beyond), are looked down on…as if because I feed my kid mostly organic fruits and veggies, because I’ve tried to avoid GMOs, etc. I should feel bad about that. No, I shouldn’t…and if you don’t choose to do the things I do, you shouldn’t feel bad about it either. I’ve chosen to do things differently than most people do, but it definitely doesn’t mean anything in regards to other people. It’s just what works for us.

Ok…rant over…

We may introduce milk (I’m still unsure of whether we are going to do cow’s milk, or not) this month. I don’t know. It’s silly that I’ve even considered other people’s opinions in this decision…but I have. We shall see. Her 1st birthday party is less than a month away! So crazy!

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St. Patrick’s Day!

On St. Patrick’s Day last year, we found out we were pregnant with a girl. One of the happiest days of my life. We would’ve been excited regardless of the baby’s sex, but I was, especially, happy that she was a girl. I haven’t always wanted kids, but when I was in my 20’s and figuring out how I wanted the rest of my life to look, I realized I did, in fact, want kids…and I always saw a little girl. Now that I have my little girl, it really is a dream come true. The most incredible gift I’ve ever been given. I never really celebrated St. Patty’s Day before, but I think every year, from now on, I will always do something in celebration of Valerie’s entrance into our lives. Happy St. Patrick’s Day to those who celebrate the day!

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Nice weather, finally!

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The only time I feel like Valerie looks like me is when she’s frowning. (I don’t know exactly what that says about how I feel about myself.) These two pictures delight me because they are perfectly imperfect. My hair is crazy (I never realized just how uneven of a haircut I gave myself!), and both of our faces are not camera ready. I love these pictures because of those imperfections, though! As uneven as my hair is…I really love how my hair looks. Cutting my hair on New Year’s was really, kind of, symbolic of me letting go and shedding a layer of myself that no longer existed; starting anew!

Being the parent of a brand new person is really quite fascinating. I feel like it forces you to delight in the simple joys of life. It’s hard not to appreciate all of the small things we sometimes tend to take for granted. Or, sometimes, she focuses on some noise, or movement, that I never would’ve even noticed if it weren’t for her curiosity. Today, we were sitting near several ducks who were happily quacking noisily…and she was transfixed by the flag pole behind us. The wind was causing it to make this rhythmic clanging sound and once she figured out where the sound was coming from she couldn’t stop observing it.

Hopefully this weekend we can try a few recipes. She hasn’t eaten anything new this week…just her usual basic fruits/veggies. We did cucumbers today (this was her second time) and she really loves them. I might go as far as to say they are her favorite. I’ve read that they help soothe teething babies…so, perhaps, that’s why she loved it. Oh! I lied! We did avocado the other day, finally. I did let them sit out too long, so there were a few brown spots on the inside, but I just scooped out the green parts and she ate them on a spoon. She did try to use just her hands, but it was way too slippery.  I saw a recipe for roasted avocados so we will probably give those a try soon.

We are almost at 2 months of solid food eating!

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2-ingredient pancakes!

Today I decided to try my hand at 2-ingredient pancakes. I used 2 eggs, and 1 banana. They turned out great! The banana I used was very green, which made it really tough to mix with the eggs. I thought, for sure, that they weren’t going to turn out because they were so lumpy. I just got so tired of stirring the mixture, that I gave up. Thankfully, the lumps didn’t even matter because they turned out perfectly pancake shaped.

I’m not a big fan of trying new things. I’m also not a big egg fan. So, I was nervous to try them. Edgar tried them, and said they didn’t really taste like much (he also said they smelled like carrots…so…).  I don’t know if that’s how they’re supposed to taste. They smelled like eggs and bananas…so…I guess…Valerie loved them!

That motivated me to start cooking! I went to the store and bought a few different things and planned to come home and do all this cooking. Yeah, well…I managed to slice some apples and put them in the oven. I was attempting to make cinnamon apple chips. Those didn’t turn out so well. I got impatient, and put the oven on “broil” (I’ll admit, I don’t know exactly what this means) and they burned to a crisp! Smoke came billowing out of the oven when I opened it…oops! I’ll try again another day.

I didn’t get to start any other cooking because we had an impromptu park playdate with my friend and his 22-month old. Valerie got to ride the swings!

I hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Valerie's First Time on the Swings!

Valerie’s First Time on the Swings!

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Almost 2 Months of BLW!

Hi! We’re still here! Still eating yummy foods!

Since my last entry, we have been pretty busy. I battled sickness, and finished a fantastic graduate course! Valerie has 2  teeth now! She is moving, crawling, and pulling herself up on everything.

I really can’t remember everything she has tried since I last compiled a list. We pretty much shuffle around all the same foods from that first week list anyway. Today she had: carrots, eggs. oranges and then some jarred purees (she loves purees!). Whenever I start questioning whether she is even eating any of the foods, we always find a little surprise in her diaper. I never really thought I would be so excited by the color, consistency, etc. of another person’s bowel movements…but, here I am blogging, excitedly, about it!

She can successfully drink from a straw now too! However, her weighted straw cup is another story. She knows to stick the straw in her mouth, but the second it touches her lips/tongue she scrunches her face and pulls the straw out. I’m not sure if the texture difference confuses her, or what. I’m sure she will figure it out…

I cannot believe she is going to be 8 months soon!

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Sleep Deprived?!

ohmygoodness!

This might be my least favorite time (sleep wise). She just turned 7 months, and it seems, she wanted to end her last week or so of 6 months enjoying every waking second! I, honestly, have never been so tired. Ever. This is a whole new level of tired. I am completely at zero. She is awake all of the time now. All. Of. The. Time. AND! She is mobile! Constantly trying to move everywhere. It really wouldn’t be so bad, if Edgar and I didn’t work opposite schedules. Sometimes I am lucky and she will sleep, but it’s either a quick (15 minutes) nap, or the second I step away from her she pops her little head up as if saying: “Where do you think you’re going?!”

In food news, we have been successfully eating. Still not everyday, but most days. At this point, I can’t recall what new foods she’s tried since my last post. She loves, loves, loves using her spoon! I want to find yogurt for her. Every time I go to the store, I can’t remember exactly which kind would be best though.

Hopefully, this no sleeping business is just a temporary thing…