Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Let them eat cake...unless he likes puffs better

I am coming down off of my nostalgia high and finally getting around to processing Miles's birthday. We had a great party at his childcare combined with an end of year bash. The day was so eventful that Miles ended up passing out on Dad's chest. He is really going to miss his buddies this summer, but I will do my best to schedule play dates.
From ELC birthday

The festivities continued at our house over the weekend. Miles's grandparents flew down from MA to spend the weekend with him, and we also had some family friends drive down from South Carolina. Even though we insisted that gifts were not necessary, Miles ended up with more loot than we know where to store it. We made an interesting carrot cake (more like a bread) that Miles didn't care much for. He preferred puffs. That's just the way this kid rolls. So, if you want to know--no, Miles did not have a smash cake, and Miles prefers avocado/banana/yogurt to cake any day. And our theme? "love" and being 1.
From Miles turns 1

And then we flew to Ohio for a wedding and the celebrating continued. I have to say, Miles much prefers to fly than to drive and was an absolute gem. I think the key is late night flights were I can nurse him into an deep sleep. He also got shuffled around and spent 4 nights in 4 different situations and handled it quite well. Okay, the one night at the lake house when there were 8 and 10 year old boys running around playing with ray guns until 10pm wasn't so smooth.

I feel like since Miles's birthday so much has happened and I have had a flood of posts in my mind to compose. Lately, I have just wanted to hit the hay at night when I am not chasing around a 1 year old. Soon, I'll let you all know our latest with the lead situation. In addition to finding out our son is still under 20lbs, but in the 80th percentile for head circumference, we also found out his lead levels are high. It's not even worth getting in to here, but since then, we have been through the ringer and back trying to identify his exposure.

Today we had professional pictures taken of Miles at Stone Mountain. He was so fussy, I was almost thinking of looking up his return policy. Honestly, I don't know what came over him but he was in RARE form and as the photographer said, "I think we have some good shots--he is just serious." My suspicion is that teeth are to blame. Miles has a lot of trouble with new teeth. The biggest sign is that he cannot chew on enough stuff...and he has started keeping his fingers in his hands while chewing. That, and he has an elevated temperature. Regardless, Eric and I both left the session feeling a little distraught that we appear to have a 1 year old monster.

To make matters worse? I have been utterly butchered. I have not had a haircut since OCTOBER 2008, and finally decided to get a professional cut in time for our pictures with Miles. I opted for the Jr Stylist (read: cheaper) as my old stylist left for TX to do hair for the show Friday Night Lights. Well, not only was she one of the most unpleasant girls (sometimes, sarcasm turns real ugly), but she went all Edward Scissor Hands on me. During the cut, she tells me about how she was essentially strong armed into leaving her old salon after 2 weeks because they said she had an attitude. After I asked her if she liked the salon she was at now better she snidely retorted, "not really." Great. You went straight from school to a salon that let you go after 2 weeks for attitude, and now you hate the salon you are in right now.

Ali: I want the front to hit my shoulders, and the back to be a little higher. I also have to be able to wear my hair in a ponytail for working out and I have a 1 year old who plays with my hair. I would like the same haircut I had the last time I got it cut. Also, don't make the back look like a mushroom.

Jr bee-otch: Okay. I think the front should be cut just a little bit. (Jr bee-otch proceeds to take the front of my hair and CHOP IT TO MY CHIN!)

Okay, I know they teach the anatomy of the hair shaft in beauty school, but I think they need to do some more comprehensive body awareness. I mean, this wasn't like a little above my shoulders, this is at my chin. Pictures below to prove. I have never cried over a haircut, and I bawled the entire way home. I called my sister-in-law and Mama CD both laughing and crying through telling them my horror story. (You know when sometimes something is so bad you just have to laugh?) It's not like it can be "fixed." Unless I get extensions.

Insult to injury--here is what my husband responded with...

Eric: "You know what it looks like? A mom haircut."

WHAT?!?! When does telling someone they look like a mom make them feel good? Ever hear of mom jeans? I don't want to look like a mom. I want to look like a young girl who doesn't have to glaze the gray out of her hair and isn't staring down the barrel of the 30 year old gun! Oh, folks, it get's worse.

Eric: "On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the best haircut...it's a 5."

Here's the thing. I did not ask his opinion about the scale, nor did I ask him what he thought it looked like. He just charmingly volunteered this information. The truth is, this is exactly what I expected from Eric. Unabashed honesty. And you know what? I love him more for it. (Especially because it gives me great license to insist he pamper me all night for making me feel worse. ha ha).

My friend Schlotty recently posted her "blech" post, and I can say I just had a "blech" weekend myself. The worst is preparing to go into work tomorrow and hearing everyone say, "wow! You got a haircut!" I just wish I could send out a memo saying "Listen, I know I got a haircut. I hate it. Cried about it all weekend. Please don't mention it to my face." So, here you go. Eric made me do the "fried lippers" face (and notice Miles chewing on his fingers). You can tell I had been crying in the car.
From Ohio May 2009 and various other

And to end on a good note, here are some pictures from Ohio. You can see the rest in the Picasa gallery.
Miles pretending to smoke a cigar with his rhythm stick
From Ohio May 2009 and various other
Rehearsal dinner
From Ohio May 2009 and various other
Overwhelmed with toys
From Ohio May 2009 and various other
Let me also end by saying that this weekend ended quite solemnly. One of Eric's students and former runners died tragically on her way home from her grandfather's funeral from complications of cystic fibrosis. I had only met her a couple of times when she was on the cross country team, but I cannot express how deeply saddened I am to hear of the news. Miles can drive me bananas, and days like today when he was a snake while trying to get pictures are still priceless. We are just so blessed, and I will try not to take my time with Miles, even the tough ones, for granted. My thoughts and prayers are with the S. family.

Miles, I love you!
From Ohio May 2009 and various other

Monday, May 18, 2009

Dear Little Linus: Year 1

Dear Little Linus,

Almost as en vogue as Baby Legs and Bumbos are birthday letters. I think the last time I sat down and poured out my soul for a boy I love is when I wrote my wedding vows for your Father. That churning in my soul—a bubbling mixture of a million thoughts and emotions with a dash of inarticulateness renders me slightly incapacitated—to translate a whole year into a single letter is impossible. And yet, I am comforted by the fact that my message is not lost on you. You may not be able to read or understand my words today at 1, but you have spent the past year receiving my messages of unconditional love:

  • You have listened to me with those big blue eyes in the middle of the night as we stare at each other, you stroking your hair (or sometimes picking my nose).
  • You have heard me as I massage my love for you on your legs and back each morning as I attempt to stroke you back to sleep for an hour.
  • You have felt my heart keep rhythm on your bones during the hours of kangaroo care we shared.
  • You follow me through the windows with a toothy smile each day as I walk around the car to get you out and go home for the night, telling me in squeals “Hurry up silly mom--I cannot wait the 10 seconds until you unlatch me!”
  • You shriek in delight and body-slam me when I lie on the floor and beckon you to come for “hugs.”
Although napping on my chest is now a rarity, the mere collapse of your dream-filled head on my shoulder each night is enough to put me in a place of total stillness. And when you cast your lashes across my cheeks when we hug, you not only tickle my skin but also convince me that my life’s purpose is truly to be a mother.

Nose to nose. Foot to chest. Moments I’ll never forget. Watching you devour nature through our front picture window—your gaze only interrupted when Dad comes down the walk. Your excitement fills the room…and my heart. Splashing in the bath, throwing your “I am naughty” glance up at us, or trying to catch the water as it streams down from your bath cup. Laughing while you nurse for no reason (or when I say, “no biting!”)—the corners of your mouth curled up in a smirk when your tongue sticks out is almost too much to handle. Sunday night Suess bedtime routines and spending weekday lunches with you and your friends at the ELC. Silly songs, reducing your parents to chortles and nonsense…reminding us of our own inner child.

This year has had its challenges, and although you will not be able to reflect back and remember your strength, I hope someday you’ll read these words and know how resilient and strong you were during the first 12 months of life. Six and a half weeks early, and cast as a wimpy white boy, you proved everyone wrong and breathed on your own, unassisted. You scoffed at estimations of your arrival home on your due date and decided it was time to come home after a mere 2 weeks. Moving, weddings, trips, Tuesday night trivia, power outages, tornado warnings, Dad’s track season, 11 hour car rides while teething, a trip to urgent care for a scratched eye…

And then you endured me having to go back to work after 6 weeks because I didn’t quite qualify for the family and medical leave act. I just wanted to say I am sorry for that, Miles. I try not to live with regret, but there it is—the one thing I know I let you down with. My little baby needed me. And you know what? I needed you. I still need you.

Monthly synagis shots to ward off RSV and weekly PT appointments for your Kooky foot have not been easy, but we have endured. I joke (and complain) about your not sleeping well and the perils of pumping, but I would do it all over again for an eternity if you asked.

“He looks tired.” “Did he just wake up from a nap?” We hear it every day. What no one understands is that those eyes, pools of limitless piercing potential, are constantly engaged in the world. Receiving. Processing. Loving. (And perhaps there is a more physiological element—the weight of those lashes would make anyone struggle to keep their eyes open.) Miles I love your tired eyes, and know they don’t reflect a tiredness of life, but a spirit I have yet to see matched.

No matter how quirky or how temperamental you are I will always see the divine potential in you. And I’ll continue nurture your interests (as long as they aren’t extreme cage fighting or base jumping.) And sometimes cry over and about you. I’m not perfect, and I’ve made mistakes and misjudgments. And I promise I’ll continue to reveal my imperfections with age—and so you will. And that is what makes us even more loveable. Real. Forgiving. Forgivable.

You have exposed my vulnerabilities, rattled me into an anxious mess, but then brought me to a place of such indescribable bliss and peace that I almost wonder how it is that a 1 year old has that much command over my emotions.

I’ll never stop worrying about you, but I promise to let you etch out your own independence so you can learn life’s tough lessons—for now, it is merely allowing you the space to fall as you begin to walk. In time, I am sure the stakes will be higher, but my hands and heart are always outstretched, waiting to lend a hand you when you fall down, or cradle your heart when it is broken.

I’ll never stop hugging you, even when you push me away and say “oh mom!” And I’ll never EVER forget to tell you I love you when we get off of the phone. (A promise I made your Dad after we first told each other we loved one another.) I’ve endured my 1 regret this past year. And that’s enough for your lifetime. At least I’ll try to keep it that way.

All I ask of you in return is to demand honesty from me. And pull me away from work and the seriousness of life’s responsibilities to play as much as possible.

I told your Dad almost 3 years ago on July 22 that our hearts are living museums, and that in each of its galleries, no matter how narrow or dimly lit, are preserved forever moments of love and being loved. I admit that before you were born I wondered how it would be possible to manage the vastness of the love of a child. I thought I had doled out all of my love over 28 years—especially to your father. May 16, 2008. It happened. The most surprising thing about bringing a child into the world—bringing YOU into the world Miles is that spaces unknown and unexplored reveal themselves every single day, waiting to be filled with something, by someone.

My dear Little Linus. I love you. And I love that each day those spaces are filled with new memories of the family I have always dreamed of.


In a few months, Eric and I will be putting together a photo album of the past year. I thought I would post just a few random picture highlights. I am truly amazed, humbled, blessed...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday funny videos

Not of my baby--he is sleeping getting ready for his first birthday, but in case you need a pick-me-up, please enjoy these 50 hilarious kid videos. My personal favorites? #27. Advertising genius. And #18 just made me laugh out loud, especially when he just uses the 1 hand. #12--reminds me of something I would do. Her commentary is just brilliant.

Off to clean and await the arrival of MomA, Grandpop and Eric who has been away for the past 2 days...and to pray to the rain Gods to not have yet another Heintz celebration ruined with rain.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Break-Up

I recently had to break-up one of my close relationships. It was time. There were obligatory dates where I just felt no connection and needed to make a clean break. That's right folks--it is the start to the second week of NOT PUMPING. I recently had a discussion with another new ATL mommy about how we were both considering silencing the Medela at work--you'd be surprised at the mixed emotions you have over a 2 lb, battery operated udder machine.

I wanted to last at least a year with breastfeeding. There is no question that I'll continue well into the coming months. I cannot imagine weaning Miles from any of the sessions we have--and he certainly is not interested or ready. But, I also wanted to last a year of exclusively feeding him breastmilk. Well folks, the udders were never stellar performers, and over the past few months, we had to supplement with formula. Eliminating pumping completely (although, I will still hand express bottles when the lactation spirit moves me) will necessitate more formula, but being 3 days away from his 1st b-day, I am feeling okay about it all.

The break-up was gradual. I started reducing by one pumping session a day. And then I got to the point I am at now where I still bring the pump to work, but let it sit under my desk.

I cannot say I'll miss the multiple times a day I had to clean the parts to the pump, or the noise it made at work, or the middle of the night "hook ups," but this decision does bring to mind that Miles is probably on his tail end of breastfeeding, and it makes me sad. So, until (if) another child enters the picture, the Medela and I are breaking up.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Am I really a mother? My 1st Mother's Day

From Spring time 09
Am I really a mother?I kept asking myself that yesterday. Part of me feels like I have been a mother for ages. The ease at which I can hold an almost 12 month old while feeding him beans, checking his diaper for poop, shoveling my own food in my mouth, and flipping pages in a board book is impressive if I may say so myself. And then there are moments that I still freak out and think--am I supposed to be this worried? In my zillion (yes, that is the actual amount of time) I have been a baby sitter, teacher, nanny, etc., I rarely excessively worried. There was the time when the Hummel boy had green poop--and another when 4 year old Lizzy sliced her forehead open...or when the rabid raccoon showed up in the Wolfe's kitchen as I descended from putting the kids to bed...but I truly never understood what it meant to be concerned for another life like I do know that I am a mother.

Case in point--last night Miles started coughing at 2am. About every 3 minutes he would just cough and cough. I usually do not go into his room unless he is crying and sitting up (please folks...it took us 9 months to get him to sleep from 7:30pm-5am...our new mantra when he stirs at night is "do I dare disturb the universe?"). Well, I knew he wasn't sitting up, but this cough had me wide eyed, restless-leg syndrome-like. I finally crept into his room and watched him cough in his sleep. What is a mom supposed to do in this situation? Should I call the advice nurse? Pick him up? Nurse him? Instead of WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) I live by WWDSD (What Would Dr Sears Do?)
From Spring time 09
And that is when it hit me--sometimes, being a mom isn't about reading what you are "supposed" to do, or figuring out what the "best" thing to do is. Sometimes it is just about "being" and remembering the smiling face pictured above. I cannot really explain it in words, but I hope all of you moms understand. This all ties into the concept of being present with your children--being still. And letting worry dissipate to let room in for the love that is so vast, it sometimes hurts. I don't know how many mothers out there read this blog, but I hope some of you can relate.

I did a lot of reflecting on Mother's Day this year. Part of me just let my head spin thinking back one year when I was unknowingly 1 week away from being a mother. Another part of me tried to really unravel what it has meant to be a "mom." I have learned so much over the past year. I have learned that I am harder on myself as a mom than I thought I would be. And, sadly, that I am hard on Miles. I worry. I worry about him not hitting his milestones, and about him being temperamental, and about his being loved and cared for in the best way possible. I try to remind myself that it is my role to nurture his personality, no matter how quirky. I also am trying to remind myself to not be so hard on myself, because I think it directly translates into me being hard on Miles.

This post is not meant to be a somber reflection on Mother's Day, but more of how complex it is becoming a mom. And yet, the bottom line is that I absolutely love it--even the sleepless nights of rocking him (more so now that there are much fewer), the newness of every day, and even the cranky baby that wakes me up at 5:30am, and shows his crankster face again at 5:30pm each day.

I must give a big shout out to Miles and Eric for what ended up being a fantastic Mother's Day. I did not have a good start to the weekend. At the risk of complaining, let's just say it has been a really tough month, and until June, will be a battle to get through in one piece. Additionally, Eric has been struggling with quite the cold, and we are also getting over our first bout of pink eye. BUT, we had a glorious Sunday--we enjoyed the weather, enjoyed each other, and were even treated by another family who just had a baby (Holla CD, FD and SD!) with dinner!I received so many wonderful phone calls, cards and e-mails. Miles surprised me with a touching card and prints of some pictures of him I have wanted to get framed. Eric followed up with a surprise family membership to the local YMCA. I was absolutely thrilled.

And now--the festivities continue as we gear up for SOMEONE'S 1st birthday on Saturday.

Enjoy some pictures of our little man. You'll notice him cork painting a pot for me at school for Mother's Day. (Doesn't he look like such a tortured artist?)
From Spring time 09