Thursday, March 31, 2011

Our One and Only?

Hubby and I feel pretty certain that we would like to try to have another baby at some point.  Who knows what will happen, but we'd at least like to try.  I know that life may have other plans... and I have to accept that bringing home a sibling for Eliza may be a long road.  BUT, let's just pretend for a moment that we're a couple who can "plan" like so many millions of couples out there (haha!  The word "plan" used in this context makes me laugh).

So.  The question is: when?

I think I should back up and say that things are so wonderful right now... our little family of three seems the perfect size.  Eliza is all we ever hoped for, in so many ways she is all we need, and we don't feel that feeling of 'incompleteness' that I've heard other parents talk about after having their first child.

We feel very complete.  Whole.  A perfect little family.

And yet, we still know we want another baby someday.  It's a dichotomy, for sure.

I don't know if this contentment is because of everything we went through to bring Eliza home, or... because we are just so very fulfilled by the present...?  I don't know.  But I can say for certain that I have everything I need and want right now, and yet I know that I want to do it all again someday - bring home another baby and make Eliza a big sister (she would be a great big sister!).

But when?

That's the question I don't have the answer to.  The only answer I can give is: not right now.  

Well that clears things up, doesn't it?

So, I'm curious about spacing (and at the same time I type this, I go back to my previous comment about how ridiculous a notion child spacing is to begin with...).  Is there an ideal number of months/years?  No.  I mean, I don't think so.  I know there is an ideal length of time between pregnancies for one's body, but I think I am nearing that time and this will no longer be a consideration soon.

I guess this post isn't really going anywhere except to ask you all, my wonderful, kind, and beautiful readers, for your thoughts - on any or all of what I have written.  Am I crazy?  Am I normal?  When did you feel ready to add to your family and how did you know it was the right time?  Did an unexpected "oops" leave you happier than you ever thought you'd be? (oh there are days when I wish this would happen to us... I dream of finding out I'm pregnant and already 8 or 9 weeks along with a strong little heartbeat already there!).  Do you think there is an 'ideal' spacing between siblings?

(Let me be clear in saying that I realize that I am beyond lucky to be able to even write about this topic.  I know so many women who don't have the luxury of thinking about this subject... I wish infertility would just go away and leave all my friends alone...)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

16 Months

My baby girl is actually almost 16.5 months old... go me!

Eliza, you are 16 months old!  Everyone - and I do mean everyone - tells me how smart you are, how you understand everything and can communicate like no other 16 month old they know.  I have to agree, of course!  But not just because I'm your mama.  You really blow us away each and every day with your skillz :)

You have started to play independently, which is both adorable and handy -- you played while I was paying bills and working on the computer the other day, singing and talking and going back and forth between your room and your play area, every once in a while checking in with me for a hug (or to ask me to take your baby doll's clothes "OFF!", because everyone knows naked babies are waaay cuter than clothed babies).  You were content to do this for about 20 minutes, and then you came to me and pretty much told me that I should be all done with the computer and come play with you.  Which I did!

You are speaking more and more and your vocabulary grows each day.  You will say almost any word we ask you to say, and a few of your newest ones are "Bread Dough" (thanks to Grandma!), "Nana" (for your nana, of course!), "please", "down", "yes" (complete with head nod), "turtle", "water", and "uh-oh!".  Your voice is beautiful and we love hearing you learn to talk.  It is such a joy for your parents!

You are still signing up a storm, too!  You will often say a word and make the sign at the same time, like when you say "banana" and "drink".  It is also very handy - you are a great little communicator for your age!

Eliza, my dear, you still -STILL- hate your car seat.  When will you finally give in and accept it???  Please, for my sake and yours, let it be soon, child!  (I know, dear readers, I can't believe it either - there are still lots of tears and screams in the car, and still not much sleeping going on in the car seat.)

You are the sweetest little thing, Eliza - you give us kisses and hugs, and you kiss and hug your grandparents, too.  It is just so cute.  You have such a kind heart.  Sometimes I just want to scoop you up and never let you go.  You make my heart swell and I love you so much.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

We're Back.

We are back from our trip and we had a great time!

A lot has happened this March and I haven't blogged about much of it, so I'm going to try to blog about our trip... we'll see how long this takes me..

We went to San Francisco to visit my BFF, Ashley, and her new husband, Jeff, and also drove up to Sonoma (wine country) for two days to do some wine tasting.

When we arrived we picked up our rental car and headed straight to Ashley and Jeff's apartment (and snagged a primo parking spot right in front of their house!).  Their apartment looked beautiful, and Ashley had made us the most amazing spread of food - fresh fruit, veggie "pizza" apps, rice krispie bars, lovely homemade tomato soup and nummy gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches.  She went all out, and it was soooo yummy.  That day we headed out for a walk up to the top of the hill they live on.  Wow, the hills there are crazy!  Later, we put the baby girl to bed - she was sooo tired from traveling and the 2 hour time change, but she did really great overall - and then we had dinner.  Ashley is a great cook, and we really got to experience her finest.  She made pot pie that was to die for!

The next day, before we headed up to Sonoma, we met a friend from college and her two little ones at Crissy Field Beach, which is right beneath the Golden Gate Bridge.  Talk about a view!  It was a beautiful day out, the sun was shining, but it wasn't too hot.  Eliza LOVED the beach; she played in the sand with our friend's kids and had a complete blast.

After that, we drove north about 45 minutes to Sonoma and checked into our hotel.  We spent the next day touring wineries in the area - we made it to four that day and two more the following day.  Eliza did great in the tasting rooms (we were a bit worried!), and got a lot of attention from people.  She actually had a ball, I think, walking around and flirting with people.  It was cute.  We would switch off tasting wine and watching her (there were some breakable things around so obviously we didn't let her run completely free), it worked out great.  We ended up buying eight bottles and taking home six of them - we shared one with our wonderful hosts when we got back to SF, and gave one to them as a thank you gift (though we owe them much more than that!).

Sonoma is a cute little town, and although it rained much of the time we were there, we managed to explore the area and have some great food, too.  It was a fun little adventure for the three of us.

We spent the last few days of our trip back in SF with Ashley and Jeff.  We explored the city (thanks to our wonderful tour guides) - we saw Alamo Square (think Full House houses), Ocean Beach (oh wait, I guess we did these two things before Sonoma... ack!  I'm getting things all mixed up.  Oh well :), Fisherman's Wharf (where we ate crab and clam chowder, yummmm)... and we rode a streetcar, which Eliza LOVED.  She kept signing "bus" (close enough, I guess!) and "again" every time it stopped.  Also, we had girl/girl and boy/boy dates!  Heheh.  Ashley took me to a fantastic restaurant called Range, and we had a great time.  It was such a fun dinner - we chatted and shared great food and the time passed way too quickly!  I finally got a text from Andy saying that Eliza had woken up so we headed back to their apartment.  I put Eliza back to bed and then the boys went out for their date.

On Monday morning the three of us snuck out when Eliza woke up (so, like, 6:30) and headed to Muir Woods, which is about an hour drive from A&J's apartment.  We walked there for about an hour and saw the towering Redwoods and giant banana slugs that Muir Woods is famous for.  It was amazing.  Well, Eliza didn't really think so, but Andy and I did :)  We grabbed a cup of coffee before we got back in the car and drove back to SF.  We had to get back and pack up our stuff to get to the airport.  I was sad, I didn't want our trip to end!

It was definitely different traveling with an active 16-month-old, but it was well worth it.  She is a great traveler, really.  We are lucky.  It was stressful at times, but of course that is to be expected.  Most of all, it was just really really fun to have her with us and to introduce her to new things like the beach and a big busy city (and wineries, too ;).

Alamo Square

Ocean Beach

Crissy Field Beach

Winery Fun!

Eliza meets the crabs.

Asking for more clam chowder.

Vista Point

Muir Woods

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The 'Helicopter Parent' Backlash

I have been away for awhile - away from blogging, that is - school has taken over my brain and the precious time I have when Eliza is asleep (and I am not), so I haven't been able to give much thought to blogging, except for a photo here or there.  I've missed it, though, and I hope to get back to it soon.  I'm on spring break now, and we are getting ready for a trip out to the west coast to visit a dear friend and her husband and to soak up some much-needed relaxing vacation vibes (and sun, too, if there is any out there waiting for us!).

But first I just have to share this.  I know I'm a little late to this newsflash, and many people have probably read about this already.  It's the trend in parenting towards a slower, simpler family life at home and a paradigm that in general, involves less crazy worry and fear (about everything) and more reasonable, rational parenting - the backlash to the "Helicopter Parent" as they have been coined -- those parents who are constantly buzzing around their child in every area of their life, both physically and metaphorically.

I read this article (published Nov 20, 2009 - I guess I really AM late in reading it!  Though, I was a bit busy that week...!), and came across this website of mommy bloggers who are standing up and declaring that they won't put up with all the fear-mongering that surrounds parenting these days.  They advocate for and try to live a slower, more reasonable lifestyle - one in which kids aren't always entertained 24/7, and one in which we teach our kids that it's okay to make mistakes -- basically, a lifestyle that allows a kid to be a kid and explore his or her world independently without so much fear and worry on the part of us - the parents :).

The author of the article I linked to, which was published in Time Magazine, also talks about being reasonable about risk and asserts that we have lost the ability to reasonably asses risk, to the point that we are worrying about all the wrong things - things that are, statistically speaking, really unlikely to actually happen:

"Refusing to vaccinate your children, as millions now threaten to do in the case of the swine flu, is statistically reckless; on the other hand, there are no reports of a child ever being poisoned by a stranger handing out tainted Halloween candy, and the odds of being kidnapped and killed by a stranger are about 1 in 1.5 million."

And about the fear of boredom:

""[Children] not to be entertained or distracted. What boredom does is take away the noise ... and leave them with space to think deeply, invent their own game, create their own distraction. It's a useful trampoline for children to learn how to get by.""

I also thought the following quote was interesting -- they talk about how this "overparenting" can go right up to the college years (and probably beyond for some), and how schools are responding, trying to get parents to back down:

"Teresa Meyer, a former PTA president at Hickman High in Columbia, Mo., has just sent the youngest of her three daughters to college. "They made it very clear: You are not invited to the registration part where they're requesting classes. That's their job." She's come to appreciate the please-back-off vibe she's encountered. "I hope that we're getting away from the helicopter parenting," Meyer says. "Our philosophy is 'Give 'em the morals, give 'em the right start, but you've got to let them go.' They deserve to live their own lives.""

I was really struck by this article and the movement toward more reasonable parenting, and it made me recognize some of the "overparenting" I fall into doing with Eliza - I think in general I already ascribed to this mindset in many ways, but there are definitely moments when I can easily get caught up in worry and a desire to, perhaps, "over"protect her and make sure everything is perfect.  Of course, there is a place for worry and careful protection of our children, but I think the message of this movement is that it is a fine line we walk, and parents can swing - and in fact, have swung - too far to the point that some are losing all sense of reason when it comes to parenting.

Anyway, the article says it more eloquently that I can, so I'd suggest giving it a read!  

I hope everyone has a great week!

Eliza's Stats

Birth: 8 lbs 5 ozs
Going home: 7 lbs 10 ozs
5 days: 7 lbs 13 ozs
2 months: 12 lbs 6 ozs
4 months: 17 lbs
5 months: 18 lbs 12 ozs
6 months: 20 lbs 13 ozs
9 months: 24 lbs 3 ozs
12 months: 26 lbs 13 ozs
15 months: 28 lbs
18 months: 29 lbs 3 ozs
2 years: 32 lbs
3 years: 34 lbs

Alice's Stats

Birth: 8 lbs 11 oz
2 Months: 13 lbs 10 oz
4 Months: 17 lbs 15 oz
6 Months: 20 lbs 4 oz