Lindsay Sledge

a blog about life with Micah, Denver, and Presley the dog

When am I going back to work?

When am I going back to work?

I am asked this question, or a similar version, often. Do I miss work? Do I think about going back to work? What exactly do I do all day?

Seriously?

I have to believe that people do not understand the implications of these questions, or else they wouldn’t ask. Allow me to clarify.

I DO work, inside the home. I am a full time nanny, housekeeper, chef, budget analyst, and chauffeur. I doctor wounds, teach life skills, and counsel emotions. The current headline on my resume, SAHM, may not impress many, but it matters more than any job I’ve ever done.

I DO miss working in an office. I miss the commute when I sang the Hamilton Soundtrack at the top of my lungs. I miss my coworkers, our random jokes, lunch dates, and fantasy football banter. I miss completing a task and receiving recognition for a job well done.

Of COURSE I think about working outside the home. I spent years moving up in the music industry, finally making it to manager. It seems so silly sometimes that I stepped back to stay at home with my son. After all, isn’t the American dream to work hard, climb the corporate latter, and gain success in the form of title and salary?

This is what people are implying when they ask me when I’m going back to work. The implication is that what I am doing is not real work, not true success.

It’s taken a year to settle into life as a SAHM, and here is what I know now. Success is sometimes simple. It’s happily reading the same book to my son ten times a day because it’s his favorite. It’s persuading him to sip milk from a straw after he’s refused countless times before. Success is teaching a child to nap and watching him fall asleep on his own each day. Some days success looks like surviving, and the best I can do is keep everyone alive. Other days success is a clean home, cooked meal, and walk to the park. It’s ok that I don’t have a gig on the side, that I don’t work part-time or full-time outside the home. What defines success is not the lines on my resume, it’s the smiles and laughter, hugs and snugs that I receive from my son each day.

Please stop asking me when I’m going back to work. I am at work.

“Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.” Dr. John Trainer

With love,

Lindsay

11 Month Letter to Denver

Dear Denver,

I’ve got two words for you: Chicken Pox. That’s right, little buddy. Very few kids get Chicken Pox these days, because most kids are vaccinated between 12-15 months. Somehow you managed to beat the odds, and we spent a lovely two weeks on house arrest. You had a bad case of the pox, and some of your spots have yet to heal. You handled it like a champ, though, with very little scratching or fussing, even with a high fever on days three and four. At least you picked a good weekend to show your spots. My dad, Pappy, was in town to help entertain you during the worst of it. He even brought you an early birthday present, an adorable red rocket, and you spent hours riding around in style!

Chicken Pox

Riding on your red rocket!

Along with your new wheels, you have an impressive new skill: walking! You are walking and proud of it. You strut around the house all day long, carrying objects, dragging furniture, and smiling. I bought you some sandals so that you can walk around in public. Watching you walk around Percy Warner, Cheekwood, downtown, and the library is so much fun.

Walking around Percy Warner…apparently there are dinosaurs.

Walking around downtown

Speaking of the Nature Center, it is one of your favorite places to visit. You love pointing out the animals and learning their names. I think the beaver and fox are your favorite animals at the moment.

Nature Center

This month, you swam in a pool for the first time! I was nervous to take you because baths have been such a struggle. You always want to stand in the tub and end up screaming and flailing as Dad and I try to sit you down. FYI, a bath mat solved this problem, and I wish we’d bought one earlier. Back to the pool. It was such fun! You love swimming. You enjoy riding around in your inflatable raft, and you really love when I toss you in the air. Your laughter and giggles melt my heart, and I can’t wait to take you to another pool soon.

First pool party!

You spent a lot of time with your grandmother this month. You both explored Cheekwood, played with a train whistle, and climbed a big tree! You also met your Aunt Amanda for the first time.

Meeting Aunt Amanda and playing with your grandmother

This month we went to the allergist, and the doctor confirmed that you have a peanut allergy. Good grief, little buddy. There is so much delicious food you’ll be missing out on. On the bright side, there’s a 20% chance that you will outgrow the allergy, and we found out that you can still eat Chick-Fil-A. Perhaps you won’t befriend any aliens with Reese’s Pieces, but at least you can pretend to be a cow and get a free sandwich each year.

Peanut appointment

This new trick from Pappy reminds me of ET.

I love you, Denver! Thanks for being such a hilarious, smiley, baby boy. Happy 11 months.

With love,

Mama

10 Month Letter to Denver

Dear Denver,

Happy 10 months! This was one of my favorite months with you. You’ve learned so many words, and we are able to communicate during the day. You say, “hey,” “mama,” “dada,” “book,” “stinky,” “dog,” “light,” and “tree!” You also point and say “this is” anytime you want to know the name of an object. It amazes me how curious you are about the world around you, and it’s adorable listening to you mimic words in your sweet little baby voice.

Pointing

Speaking of the world around you, you seem to be one with nature. I call you Pocahontas. Dad and I bought you a water table, and you love playing with it in the afternoons. Often the wind is blowing. Whenever you feel the breeze, you look up at the trees, hold an object in the air, and say “tree.” I love watching you enjoy the outdoors, and I’m thankful for the warm, sunny weather.

Feeling the breeze

You’re a smart kiddo. You learned to clap this month. You also discovered that objects have tops, bottoms, and sides. For instance, you are now aware that the bed has edges, and you can fall off if you are not careful. It is so funny watching you crawl to one side, peer over the edge. and crawl back to the other side. You also can find objects that fall underneath furniture. You get down on your belly and crawl under furniture to retrieve toys. Super cute. Because of your understanding of objects, you have an intense love for peekaboo. You hold blankets in front of your face, duck down below the edge of your pack n play, pop up over the back of the couch, and even move beyond view of the iPhone camera to play peekaboo. You don’t yet know how to say peekaboo, but occasionally you yell “stinky” which is hilarious.

The progression of a clap!

After what has felt like a never ending bottle strike, you’ve decided that you are willing to drink from sippy cups. In fact, you love it! You love sipping water in the afternoons, after we play outside, and you’re great about tipping the cup back to drink. What a relief! Along with drinking water, you’ve tried many new foods this month. While bread is your absolute fave, grapes are a close second. The more sour the grapes, the better! As much as you love grapes, you were not thrilled with the lemon you tried. Your faces were priceless, but Dad and I won’t feed you any more lemons anytime soon.

Lemon faces

Speaking of avoiding foods, you appear to have a peanut allergy. I put less than a teaspoon of peanut butter on an apple slice. You mashed it all over your face and put the tiniest bit in your mouth. Within a minute, you started to cry. Within 5 minutes, you’d broken out into hives all over your face, were making weird motions with your tongue, and started coughing. I called the pediatrician, and once they heard you coughing, they advised me to call 911. A fire truck and ambulance showed up and whisked us both to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. You were fine, but we now have an EpiPen, Benadryl, and an appointment with an allergist scheduled soon.

Clockwise from top left: trip in the ambulance, happy to see Daddy, flying around the ER, playing with monitors

On a more positive note, your Nanny and Aunt Lo came to visit this month! We had so much fun. With Nanny, we visited The Loveless Cafe, and you tried your first bits of bacon! We walked around Cheekwood and were nearly attacked by geese. We also played with chalk for the first time, and you tried to eat it!

Clockwise from top left: Loveless, Cheekwood, chalk art, snugs

With Aunt Lo, we visited the zoo and were also nearly attacked by geese! We walked to the park, visited the Loveless again, and played tag around the house. You absolutely love when Aunt Lo chases you, and you smile whenever she’s around.

Clockwise from left: getting ready for the zoo, swinging at the park, blowing bubbles at the park, playing with chalk

Happy 10 months Denver! You are such a handsome, talkative, giggly little man. What a joy to spend each day with you.

With love,

Mama

 

9 Month Letter To Denver

Dear Denver,

Happy 9 months little dude! I cannot believe that you’ve been on the outside as long as you were inside. So much has happened over the last 9 months, and it’s amazing to realize how many unseen changes occurred during pregnancy. God is so good and unique and creative and wonderful.

How handsome are you in this baseball uniform?!!

This month we explored Nashville. We spent a lovely day at Cheekwood. Thanks to Aunt Lindsey for the yearly pass! While I enjoyed the pretty flowers and walking paths, you loved watching the toy trains. The track is pretty epic, and it was fun to show you how trains move since you normally only see the top of trains running behind our fence each day.

We also pretended to be Titans for the day at Sports Fest at Nissan Stadium. It was awesome. We played on the field, explored the locker room, and took a picture with the Easter Bunny. I still cannot believe the field was open for families to enjoy for a few hours. What a cool experience.

You had so much fun with Daddy at Sports Fest!

Speaking of the Easter Bunny, we celebrated your first Easter! You were a bit too young to appreciate Christmas this year, so Easter felt like your first true holiday experience. Dad and I made you an Easter basket which you opened Sunday morning. It was adorable watching you pull things out of the basket, and you especially enjoyed your new books! We went to church, and you were dressed in Dad’s old Easter outfit, sewn by your great grandmother! What a fun day as a family, what a joyful day to celebrate the life of Christ. I love Easter and hope you will grow to love it as well.

This month, you finally figured out how to eat finger foods. I am relieved. In prior months, you choked when I gave you anything but bread and Mum Mums to eat. Oranges seemed to help reduce your gag reflux. Once you learned how to eat oranges, you moved onto apples and carrots. I’m thrilled and excited to introduce you to many new foods next month.

You always share your food with me. Here you are offering me some oranges. How sweet!

You’re close to walking now, little buddy! You can stand on your own for a few seconds, pull up on just about anything (including walls), and can even cruise with a walker. You get so mad when Dad and I try to guide your walker around the house to prevent you from running into things and getting stuck. It’s amazing how quickly you’ve gone from rolling to crawling to cruising. I am ready for you to master standing and walking on your own, because you fall a lot right now. Three days in a row you fell and hit your head in the same spot, stressing out your Mama. I know this is part of the learning experience, though, so I am doing my best to guide you and also give you space. It’s a delicate balance for sure.

You seriously pulled yourself up to play the piano!

Separation anxiety has started rather suddenly. When we’re out in public and people smile, you cry! You stick out your bottom lip, and crocodile tears stream down your face. You don’t like when I leave you in the church nursery, and you had an intense sleep regression. Not only were you waking up in the middle of the night, but you were also pitching hour long fits before naps and bedtime. Basically, you want to be held 24/7. Goodness, I am relieved that the sleep regression has ended. The separation anxiety does not seem to be easing up though. I am enjoying the extra snugs. You tend to play with your toys for a few minutes and then crawl over and climb in my lap.

Attached at the hip

Helping you fall asleep

When you’re in my lap, it’s story time. You open the books, turn the pages (a bit roughly sometimes), and babble as I read. It seems like you’re reading the stories to me! Since we read so much, you’ve actually learned to say “book.” It sounds like “buh-ook” or “ook,” and it’s the cutest. If we’re playing in your room and I ask you to get a book, you’ll go over to your shelf and pick out a book to read. If you’re playing in your pack-n-play and I ask you to pick up a book, you do! How cool that you 1) know what a book is and 2) can say the word! I am so proud of you!

Denver, I love you. I love you so much. So does Dad. And Jesus. Please remember this always. You are incredibly loved.

Happy 9 months!

With love,

Mama

8 Month Letter To Denver

Dear Denver,

Hey! Hey is officially your first word. Every morning when you wake, you shout “Hey!” to let Dad and me know that you’re ready to play. It’s pretty adorable, even if it happens around 6:3oam. You also said “Dah-Da” for one day this month, while looking at Dad. It was amazing. Then suddenly, you stopped saying it. I am not sure what that’s about, but feel free to start saying it again soon!

Cute little overalls!

I was thrilled with your crawling skills last month, but this month I am shocked! You are so fast. The inchworm crawl is no more, and you’re legit crawling on all fours.

Crawling under the piano

Sadly, with your newfound speed, you’ve developed a short attention span. You’re less interested in toys and more interested in furniture and Presley’s water bowl. Since I can’t seem to keep you out of the water, I set up a little water station for you to play in. The water went everywhere, but it was totally worth the mess to see you learning and exploring and having such fun.

Along with crawling, you’re also pulling up! The pulling up is terrifying to me. I know you have to learn, but it is so stressful watching you get into tricky situations. Your fascination with the piano bench is particularly alarming. It has sharp corners, can easily pull over, and is at baby eye level. Perhaps I need to put it out of sight for the time being.

Standing in the pack n play

You’re taking short naps again, which is a bummer, but it allows us to attend Mother Goose Moments at the library on Monday mornings. It’s so fun! Mrs. Donna sings, reads, and teaches sign language to a room full of kiddos. You sit quietly, very perplexed, taking it all in. After story time, we play for a bit, and then we pick out books! This has become one of my favorite routines.

Playing at the library

We always end our library visit with a trip to the park. Oh my gosh, I wish I’d taken you to the park sooner. You LOVE swinging. Every time I put you in a swing, your face lights up.

First time in a swing at the park!

Along with swinging at the park, I let you play in the grass for the first time. Your first impression was that grass has a weird texture. Now that you’ve adjusted, you think grass is quite interesting, so interesting that you often try to eat it!

Playing in the grass

We visited the zoo with Aunt Brooke this month. You were very serious, uncertain as to why there were so many people hanging around. You thought the goats were interesting, and your favorite animal was a colorful little bird in the aviary. This bird was very interested in your diaper bag, and he even nibbled on the handle. I placed you on the floor, and the bird danced right in front of you! When we left the aviary, we noticed a sign on the door stating that this bird is new to the exhibit, still learning manners, and that we should ignore him! Whoops! We may have encouraged some poor behaviors, but we sure had fun interacting with him.

Checking out the animals in the petting zoo

Along with a beautiful sunny day at the zoo, there was a snow day this month. You apparently take after your mama and are not a fan of the cold. Since the snow was so minimal, we were still able to enjoy a fun lunch with Aunt Lindsey. You definitely turned on the charm for her.

Stinky snow face

Smiling at Aunt Lindsey

Denver, you’re adorable. You are also intense. Temper tantrums are in full effect. You’re screaming so loudly over naps, bottles, and diaper changes, that you are rupturing blood vessels in your face. It’s alarming. I called the pediatrician, and he said I should ignore you when you’re acting out. The advice is easier said than done, but I’m trying my best to keep you calm and not give in. I love you and hope you’ll grow out of this season soon.

Here is your 8 month pic! I tried so hard to get you to smile, but you were not thrilled about laying on your back when you could be crawling and standing. So, this will have to do! I’m sure we’ll laugh about it one day.

With love,

Mama

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Month Letter To Denver

Dear Denver,

Happy 7 months, my little inchworm! This month you became mobile. Early on, you learned how to rock back and forth on your hands and feet. Sometimes you would scoot backwards. It took time, but you recently created a unique system for moving forward, known as the inchworm. I am amazed at how quickly you can move into mischief, and you’re certainly using your new skill to explore the house. You especially enjoy chasing after Presley, and I have to keep a close eye on you two.

You are still a silly bear and love putting toys on your head. Dad and I laughed out loud when you put the ring tower on your head, and we dubbed you the dinnertime unicorn. You laughed out loud when Dad put your pants on your head before bedtime. I am thankful for a house full of laughter.

This month, Dad and I bought you some new toys because you’ve entered a very playful and somewhat independent stage.  Your favorite toy is definitely the baby piano. You expressed an early interest in music, probably because I play the piano and sing to you each day. When I set you in front of your own piano, you immediately began playing, with a big smile on your face. It’s amazing how you learn by observing. I’m trying to teach you new ways to play with toys, and you’ve learned how to place blocks in the activity cube and also how to pull the blocks back out. Your bedroom is such a happy place now because we spend the day playing and learning. I also finally purchased a lampshade for Bumbee, an antique lamp from my mom’s childhood, which brightens up the room. Now we just need to find Bumbee some wings.

You are quite a character on the go. In your stroller, I dress you up in a floppy hat and sunglasses. It’s hard to tell if you’re awake because I can hardly see your eyes, and you are always so serious during our walks. You are as unserious as can be in shopping carts though. While most kiddos sit with their legs through the front of the cart, you prefer one leg up. I will never understand.

Denver, you love food and are now eating three meals a day! Oatmeal in the morning, fruit for lunch, and meat and vegetables for dinner. You’re a champion eater and rarely picky. Lunchtime is one of my favorite times of the day because we eat together. You enjoy a Mum Mum (teething biscuit) while I eat my sandwich. Presley hangs out around your high chair hoping for food to fall. Along with traditional baby foods, you’ve tried waffle fries, sweet potato fries, dinner rolls, and pizza crust. You also tried to sip Dad’s orange soda, but he wouldn’t let you have any since you’re only 7 months old!

For a 7 month old, you’ve sure traveled a lot. We visited my family in Virginia Beach again. This time, we flew without your Dad. It was intense. You are much more active now than you were a few months ago, so sitting in a car seat on a plane was of no interest to you. You squirmed, tried to grab people who were sitting next to us, cried, laughed, shouted loudly, pooped down your leg, and spit up all over me. It was an adventure for sure. I am very thankful to all the people in the airport who helped with bags and entertainment.

When we arrived in VA, you had a blast. We enjoyed dinner at Great Grammie and Grandpa’s Friday night, traveled to Richmond on Saturday to attend Aunt Hannah’s volleyball tournament, lunched with Great Grand Sarah on Sunday, and celebrated Aunt Lauren’s birthday on Monday! There was also a fun shopping spree where Nanny bought you a summer wardrobe, a ton of playtime at Pappy’s, and of course time with your Aunt Holly and cousin Carmen. We were both sick with colds, and I had Mastitis for the fourth time, so the trip was hard physically. It’s always a joy to spend time with family, though, and I am so glad that you’re getting to see my family in Virginia so often.

Denver, I love you so much. Thanks for being such a happy, energetic kiddo. Happy 7 months, little man.

With love,

Mama

6 Month Letter To Denver

Dear Denver,

Six months ago, you were teeny tiny, very fragile, and we honestly didn’t know each other very well. Now you are one of the tallest babies your age, incredibly durable, and we are best buds! I love that you play with me now. You mimic sounds that I make, dance in sync to my piano playing, and think it’s hilarious to stick your hand in my mouth so that I pretend to bite it! You also adore Daddy. When he comes home from work each evening, your face lights up, you reach out for him, and you play until bedtime. I am enjoying watching you two bond, and I can’t wait to see your friendship grow over the years.

Silly snugs with Mama

Lounging with Dad

This has been a month of significant growth. To begin with, you mastered the art of rolling. You roll from front to back, back to front, and side to side. If I lay you on a rug on the floor, I cannot leave the room longer than 30 seconds, because you often roll off the rug, onto the hardwood, and into all sorts of mischief. You especially enjoy rolling in your crib. You roll around so much that I had to purchase crib bumpers since you kept sticking your legs through the crib slats and getting stuck.

Before bumpers

After bumpers

Regarding your crib, you are now sleeping through the night! It helps that you are now able to sleep on your tummy. You sleep for 11-12 hours straight, and it is glorious! Around 5.5 months, you were only waking up once to nurse, around 5am, and I figured you could make it all the way to 7am. So when you woke up, I would go into your nursery, place my hands on your chest or back, say “shhh,” and then walk out. I repeated this every ten minutes until you fell back asleep. You’d cry for about a half hour and then sleep until 7am. Sleep training took about four nights, and it was so worth it. I was worried about letting you cry it out, but sometimes a mom has to trust her instincts. I felt that you were ready for this transition, and you definitely were. Dad and I are so relieved that you are sleeping so soundly.

Sleeping on your tummy, with your butt in the air. You are hilarious!

Another big development this month is that you’re sitting up on your own! Denver, you wanted absolutely nothing to do with sitting when I tried to help. Once you figured out how to sit up on your own though, you’ve been delighted. It’s much easier to play with toys when you can look about, reach with both hands, and grab anything (and everything) in sight.

Speaking of grabbing everything in sight, you’re a danger at the dinner table. Daddy and I call you Judge Sledge because you grab your toys and slam them into your high chair tray, simply to hear the sounds the toys make. It’s pretty hilarious. At the end of dinner you want to be held, so Dad and I let you sit in our laps. We have to move all glasses, plates, silverware, and napkins far from you, though, because you’ve got quick hands.

When you’re not slamming toys into your tray, you’re eating food like a champ! You eat oatmeal in the mornings and vegetables in the evenings. Though you seem ambivalent towards oatmeal, you love vegetables, especially peas, and you always seem hungrier for more. We’ll start meats and fruit soon, and maybe even some teething biscuits! You’re definitely in need of the teething biscuits because your third tooth has arrived and your fourth tooth is about to make its debut! What a sweet smile you have, little dude.

Wishing you had a burger

This month, your Dad and I celebrated your baby dedication at church. It was sobering to stand before the congregation, promising to raise you in a Christian home, to teach you about the Lord, and to help you grow in your faith. There is nothing more important to me as a mom than to raise you to know the Lord, and I promise to do my best to help and encourage you in your faith. I hope that you will open your heart and choose to follow Jesus one day. I am thankful for a loving church home that will surround you with sound teaching and godly friendships. Here is a picture from your dedication. What a beautiful beginning to your testimony.

Denver, I am so thankful for your life. You are a handsome, joyful little boy, and Dad and I could not be more delighted that you are our son.

Happy six months, little dude.

With love,

Mama

1/36th

I never thought I would be a clingy mom, but I am. I am an incredibly clingy mom. I dropped my son off in the church nursery for the first time last Sunday. When I dropped him off, I could tell that he was excited for a new adventure. He loves noise and toys and movement, and the church nursery provides all three. The second I dropped him off, though, something caught in my heart. I was unprepared for the emotion. I cried and cried throughout the church service because I missed him deeply. I was envious of the childcare workers who were spending time with him. Mostly, I was saddened that he didn’t need me.

For nine months, I carried this little man on my own, and for the last five months, I’ve been by his side nearly constantly. I’ve loved him fiercely, through laughs and smiles, through tears and tantrums. There is no way to describe my love for my son. It is unlike my love for any other on this earth. But he’s bigger now, and he plays on his own. He needs to interact with others, for his benefit as much as mine. It’s important that he make friends, particularly at church, who he will grow up with, learning about the Lord. It’s important that I have time with my friends, worshipping without distraction, growing in my relationship with the Father. It’s hard, though, entering this new season of boundaries, because for so long there have been none.

Lately I keep thinking about 1/36th. In one month, I will be 1/36th of the way through raising Denver. 36 is not a large number, and it makes me sad. Children are only little for so long. People say this, particularly to new parents. I heard it repeatedly during the early months, when I was sleep deprived and struggling to regain my sanity. Five months in, I now see how true it is. I miss the days when Denver took three hour naps in my arms. I miss swaddling him up tight and bouncing him around the house. I even miss his grumpy face, but I can’t go back. Those days are gone, and in their place are days with an independent napper, soon-to-be- crawler, and the most smiley face I’ve ever laid eyes on. I wouldn’t go back, if given the option, because I am thankful for these days. I will, however, always miss the days past.

In the meantime, while my son is still little, I will give myself a break when I’m feeling clingy. I will definitely make the effort to share him with others, to let him experience the freedom that will allow him to flourish in the years to come. But I’ll also check on him in the nursery if I’m feeling anxious, I’ll scoop him up for an extra hug whenever he’ll allow me to, and I’ll praise God for each day, each opportunity to spend time with him. As Dr. Seuss says, “Sometimes you will never understand the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”

With love,

Lindsay

 

 

Five Month Letter To Denver

Dear Denver,

You are five months old! Good grief, where does the time go? This month was super busy for our family, specifically because I went back to work for two weeks. Who came to stay with you? My Mom, Nanny! You two had a blast. She helped you learn to roll from your back to your tummy, played nursery rhymes on the guitar, and read many books to help you learn the alphabet and numbers. Nanny and Kerry also bought you an exciting Christmas present, a jumperoo, and you love this thing. You spend hours each day jumping and dancing.

When Nanny was here, you also went to your first circus. You slept through half of it and stared mesmerized for the other half of it. There was one moment when a stuntman almost fell, and Nanny and I yelled loudly. We startled you, and you became very upset. It’s actually a pretty hilarious memory because it was such a simple thing to get upset about. Love you, buddy, especially when you’re ridiculous.

Left: Nanny snugs; Top right: Upset at the circus; Bottom right: Signature grumpy face

Big news: your first two teeth arrived! Apart from drooling, chewing everything in sight, and tugging at your ears, you’ve handled teething like a champ! Your two lower teeth are adorable, and it seems like your next two upper teeth are going to arrive soon as well.

Look closely to see your teeth!

For Christmas this year, we traveled to Virginia Beach to spend time with my family and to meet your cousin, Carmen! I am super thankful that you two are so close in age, and I hope that you will play together often in the years to come. Christmas Eve at Great Grammie and Grandpa’s was a blast, and I am relieved that you did so well staying up past your bedtime. Additionally, you received many interactive gifts this year, including Scout the talking dog, Annie the alphabet pup, and an activity cube! You have fun playing with each of these new toys, and hopefully you’re learning a few things too. Here are a few pics from the trip.

Left: In the airport after blowout #1; Top right: Sleeping on flight #1; Bottom right: After blowout #2, when I ran out of onesies. You are basically shirtless in the middle of December. You think it’s funny.

Top left: Playing with Scout; Bottom left: Explaining personal space to Carmen; Top right: Posing with Pappy and Storm Trooper; Middle right: Pulling Aunt Lo’s Christmas decor; Bottom right: Dining with Great Grammie and Great Grandpa

You kept falling asleep at random times in Virginia because there was so much going on each day.

You had another doctor’s appointment this month, and surprise surprise, your height is still off the charts. During the appointment, the pediatrician suggested that we start you on solids at some point between four and six months. While in Virginia, you finally expressed an interest in food! You kept trying to grab food off of peoples’ plates. Consequently, once we returned to Nashville, we started you on baby oatmeal. You’re still getting the hang of it, but pretty soon we’ll be starting vegetables at dinner time. I hope you like sweet potatoes and squash, little man. You’ve got quite a few years before I’m willing to introduce you to Pappy and Daddy’s favorite, Little Debby cakes.

Let’s talk about your bedroom. The house has been a work in progress, which I’ll tell you all about in the future, but Dad finally had some free time during Christmas break. He used this time to paint a Curious George mural in your nursery. It’s colorful, encourages reading, and makes me so happy when I see it each day.

Last but not least, you went to your first Titans game! You enjoyed seeing all the people in the stadium, and you always enjoy being outside, but the noise was a bit much for your baby ears, so we had to leave early. Dad and I recently purchased some baby headphones, so hopefully we’ll be better prepared for games in the fall!

Denver, you are incredibly loved. Happy 5 months!

With love,

Mama

P.S. Here is my favorite pic from the month.  Thanks, Nanny, for taking it!

Breathing Again

Where to begin? I had an easy pregnancy. Apart from a brief hospital stay during the third trimester when my dog pulled me over, I loved being pregnant. I was able to eat whatever I wanted, exercise each day, and I only suffered from minor symptoms such as swelling, heartburn, and a metallic taste in my mouth. My blood pressure was lower than ever, my weight gain was steady and within the recommended limit, and I had flawless skin for the first time in my post-preteen life. Labor was also relatively easy. I had no idea I was having contractions until about six hours before my son was born, and I was only in significant pain for about two hours, during transition and pushing. This is when things changed.

My son entered this world with force. Nearly nine pounds of baby came out fast and face up, and I paid the price with third degree tearing. I had no idea how severe the tearing was until I was stitched up, laying in the hospital bed, and wondering why it hurt so much to move. I was in pain when I nursed, I was in pain when I changed positions laying down, and I was in pain when I walked. Because I’m normally an active person, I overdid it when I got home from the hospital. My family has a history of easy recoveries from labor and delivery, and I thought that I was being a hypochondriac, complaining about pain that wasn’t there. I ended up with two rounds of Mastitis, which often happens to moms who are overexerting themselves, and at six weeks postpartum, I had to have tissue burned off my birthing area because it didn’t heal correctly.

Along with pain from the delivery and Mastitis, my son is a handful. He was colicky for the first three months. When I wasn’t nursing him, I was bouncing him from room to room, for hours each day, trying to keep him from crying. So many people would ask me why I was so tired. Don’t I nap when my son is napping? Isn’t maternity leave the best? My neighbor even asked why I didn’t help my husband with yard work and suggested I pick up a rake for the leaves in the yard. These comments made me feel self-conscious. I felt like I kept shouting, “MY BABY ONLY TAKES 30 MINUTE NAPS AND IS ONLY HAPPY WHEN HE’S BOUNCING.” Sadly, I don’t think people believed me. Nor did they understand the toll the physical exertion was taking, particularly considering that my husband only had two weeks of leave/vacation and is gone from 8am-6pm each day. The few people who did come over to help had trouble getting my son to calm down enough so that I could nap. Consequently, I spent the first three months of my son’s life in a state of panic, bouncing nearly constantly, trying to console a crying baby, and reinjuring myself over and over since I rarely had time to be still. My days were filled with extreme highs and lows since I was amazed at the privilege of being a mom to a healthy baby boy and also overwhelmed at my inability to calm him during his freak outs.

At ten weeks postpartum, a smiling son emerged. The colic disappeared and was replaced with laughs and giggles that melt this mama’s heart. I love that when I greet Denver each morning, he gives me a mean cheese. I love that in the evenings, he sits in his high chair and laughs hysterically while my husband and I make goofy faces. Life is much easier, but my son still only takes 30 minute naps, and he’s more energetic than ever. I spend the eight hours my son is not napping helping him stand, singing to him while he bounces, walking him around the house, and changing activities every 20 minutes to prevent fussiness. I am still exhausted.

I recently went back to work. I am planning to stay at home with Denver while he’s little, but my employer required me to work two weeks before transitioning to a full-time mom. My own mom is amazing and offered to stay in Nashville during the two weeks of work to take care of Denver. She is a mom to four daughters, and I figured that taking care of Denver would be a breeze for her. My mom loves my son so much, and she is incredible at playing with him and caring for him each day. She even helped Denver overcome his bottle strike. Astoundingly, though, six days into watching my son, she said the best thing I could ever hear: “Your son is high maintenance.” Seriously, she said I should quote her in this blog. She said she’d never have believed the bizarre napping habits or constant attention required each day unless she had experienced them herself.

Do you know what it feels like to finally have someone empathize and see things from your perspective?! It feels like breathing again.

I wish I knew four months ago what I know now. Moms know their bodies and their babies better than anyone else. If you feel like your body is not yet recovered from labor and delivery, it probably isn’t. Don’t compare yourself to other moms, particularly moms who didn’t tear during delivery. Though you didn’t have a C-section, third degree tearing is severe and requires rest. Are you depressed? Maybe. But maybe you’re just plain tired and in need of sleep. If you think you have a difficult baby, you probably do. I’ve spent months feeling inadequate, wondering why I have such a hard time calming my child, wondering if I am the problem. My daily highs and lows are directly related to my son’s ratio of happy to fussy. So many people, with good intentions, have suggested I start anti-depressants or find refreshing activities to do in my free time or simply nap more. These suggestions are unhelpful. If I could nap more, I would. If I had free time, I would take a jog. And if I was jogging, I probably wouldn’t seem so depressed. Rather than a barrage of suggestions about what I should be doing to improve my quality of life, what I’ve needed is someone to listen when I complain, take my son for the afternoon so I can sit in silence, or simply someone to say that I’m doing a great job and this too shall pass.

And pass it shall. Just like babies grow out of colic around three months, I’ve heard that babies become much more self-sufficient at six months when they begin eating solids, sitting up on their own, crawling, and playing independently. Many cat nappers also learn to connect their sleep cycles and take one to two hour naps each day. Please God let this be my son. In the meantime, I will rejoice in the knowledge that I am not failing as a mom. My recovery is simply taking longer than anticipated, and my son is simply a bit more of a handful than expected. What a joy, though, to raise such a spirited young man. What a privilege to carry him safely for nine months. What a relief to know that the last four months have been the most physically and emotionally challenging of my life, but I’m still breathing.

With love,

Lindsay

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