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Don’t Call Me Mom

All of a sudden my little one doesn’t seem so little anymore. Why? Well, this past week he started calling me Mom! Not Mama, not Mommy, but Mom. Saturday morning, as I’m making his breakfast, Jaden looked right at me and said, “Mom,…”

I don’t recall what came after that because I was dumbfounded that my little boy, my baby, was calling me Mom. He sounded so grown up. Too grown up. I politely told him, “You can call me Mommy.” He looked at me, smiled, and proceeded to call me Mom again. Ever since, he hasn’t stopped. I am now “Mom.”

Clearly, this developmental milestone caught me off guard. I wasn’t prepared, but this change only serves as another reminder that my baby boy is no longer a baby. He continues to demonstrate new skills everyday, growing and developing at a pace that’s often too difficult to keep up with. Most days I wish time would slow down, but I know it won’t. The lesson I’m learning is this: embrace every stage of your child’s life and enjoy each moment to the fullest because they grow up so fast!

Over the last week, I have sort of gotten used to being Mom, but I will continue to appreciate the rare moments I hear my son call me “Mommy.”


I’d love to hear from you.

Have there been milestones in your child’s life that caught you off guard? If so, how did you handle it?

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My Favorite Christmas Movies

It’s finally December and Christmas is fast approaching. We put our Christmas tree up last week and it was Jaden’s first time “helping.” It was fun watching him try to hang bulbs and string beads. One of the best moments was seeing his eyes light up and hearing him loudly proclaim “light” when we turned the lights on.

Usually Christmas leads to some anxiety as we try to figure out gifts to buy and how we will spend time with both of our families. Luckily, we took advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales to purchase most of our gifts this year. I’m confident we won’t be doing any last minute shopping like we’ve done in the past. And in the last 5 years we have established a few traditions to ensure we have quality time with families.

For me, the Christmas season wouldn’t be complete without movies! I love popping popcorn or enjoying hot chocolate while settling in on the couch to enjoy a good Christmas movie. I have compiled a list of the Christmas movies I look forward to watching each year. Maybe some are on your list; maybe you’ll find something new to consider!


What are some of your favorite Christmas movies?

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Lessons in Toddlerhood

Hello 18 months! Can you believe it? I can’t!

Time has flown by, but it’s been so exciting and rewarding to watch Jaden grow and develop into a more independent person. He is energetic, fun, loving, smart, and so curious about the world around him.

Some of his major developmental milestones include:

  • Walking
  • Running
  • Climbing
  • Identifying and naming body parts
  • Learning new words
  • Speaking in short sentences
  • Throwing and kicking balls
  • Assisting with getting dressed/undressed
  • “Reading” books on his own
  • Observing and remembering things well

As much as this stage has been about Jaden learning and developing, I feel like it has afforded me just as many opportunities to learn and grow as a parent. Today I’m sharing some things I am learning as I navigate this stage of life with my son.

1. Be present and engaged. As Jaden continues to learn and grow, I have seen how important it is for me to be fully present and engaged with him. I can’t say that I am perfect at this, but I trying my hardest to minimize distractions when I’m around Jaden to ensure that we are spending quality time together. If things must be done around the house such as cooking or cleaning I will sometimes include him in age appropriate aspects of those activities. Whether it’s putting away laundry, sweeping the floor, or making dinner, I have found that including Jaden in these activities not only increases our time together, but it also exposes him to new learning opportunities.

2. Be patient. At this stage, everything is about Jaden. At least that what he thinks. He always wants to do his own thing, but that obviously can’t be the case. His need to exercise his independence is building patience in me. What does that look like? That might mean repeating something over and over or removing him from the same situations time and time again or giving him the space to have his tantrums, within reason. While those things may be frustrating or tiring, my perspective is that if I can demonstrate patience with him in those moments maybe he will learn to exude the same characteristic as he continues to grow up.

3. Encourage exploration and establish boundaries. Like most toddlers, Jaden is a natural explorer. It’s important that I provide plenty of space and opportunity for him to engage with the world around him, to be curious, and learn new things. One thing I love about Jaden is that he enjoys playing with “non-toy” items. It’s fun watching him learn how to use a lint roller or measuring cup and spatula. As my husband and I allow Jaden the freedom to explore, it’s also been important for us to begin to establish boundaries. This is definitely not easy either, but we continue to do our best to help Jaden understand what things are off-limits and understand certain actions will result in discipline.

4. Give grace. To your child and most importantly to yourself. As I mentioned before, toddlerhood has been and will continue to be a learning experience for both me and my son. I find that I’m often harder on myself than I need to be when it comes to matters of raising him. I’m sure other moms can relate. I am continuing to learn that just as I extend patience and grace to Jaden I need to do the same for myself. I know I will make mistakes and I won’t have all the answers as I continue to learn how to parent my son, but I also know that my mistakes cannot define me. Instead, I have to choose to learn from my errors and move forward.

I know this is only the beginning of toddlerhood, but I am looking forward to more learning and growing through this phase with my “baby” boy!

Transition to Toddlerhood pt. 2

About at month before Jaden’s 1st birthday, I shared some of my thoughts about Jaden’s transition to toddlerhood and how I was preparing myself for things like a new class at daycare, walking, and weaning. Well, Jaden is now almost 14 months old and a lot has changed since that last post. It amazes me how quickly Jaden continues to learn, grow, and develop each day. Below I share some of Jaden’s recent developments.

1. The transition to the toddler room at daycare went extremely well. Jaden fit right in with the other kids. We didn’t encounter any major issues with him adjusting to the toddler room schedule. There were a few weeks of him being a little more tired as he adjusted to one nap a day, but overall the transition was pretty easy. I think he really enjoys his teachers and being with other kids his age.

2. Jaden is becoming such an independent human being. He loves exploring and trying to do things on his own. I love how persistent he is as he learns something new.

3. Jaden’s vocabulary is expanding. In the last couple of months he has learned several new words, both verbal and in sign language. He can say around 15 words and knows about 5 signs. It’s been fun engaging in “conversation” with him.

4. Jaden is still nursing, but we are down to just one session a day (most days). I have been following his lead and not actively trying to wean. I have found that the “don’t offer, don’t refuse” method has worked for us. It has allowed us to work towards weaning at Jaden’s pace.

5. I can’t exactly pinpoint when it happened, but our baby boy is finally sleeping through the night. It was sometime after his dad returned from his week long business trip so it’s probably been at least 3 weeks of him consistently sleeping through the night. We try to put Jaden down for bed between 6:30 and 7:30 pm and he will sleep until about 6:00 am. If he wakes up in the middle of the night he’s been putting himself back to sleep without needing to nurse.

5. Lastly (and most exciting), Jaden is walking! For the past few months, he has been walking all around the house with his push toys or holding our hands. When we got back from our Vegas vacation he all of sudden started taking steps on his own. Over the course of a few weeks, with lots of practice, Jaden started taking more and more steps. One day last week we were practicing with him and he took the most steps he had ever taken. And then he kept going! Now he’s walking all over the place and he’s enjoying his new found freedom!

Watching Jaden grow and develop is such a blessing. I love how his personality is taking shape and I look forward to the next milestones!

Weaning…

One word I’m thinking a lot about these days as we get closer to Jaden’s first birthday is weaning. Before Jaden was born I knew I wanted to breastfeed. For me, it only seemed right to give it a try; I didn’t really think twice about it. I read about all the benefits of breastfeeding and wanted to do my best to make it happen. My goal was to try to nurse my son for one year.

Back then, one year seemed like such a long time, but now as we approach that mark, I have to say it seems like time has moved quicker than I thought it would. As we get closer one year, I keep asking myself, are we ready to wean?

I know for a lot of women breastfeeding doesn’t happen without experiencing some level of difficulty. I feel very fortunate that I have not experienced many physical barriers to nursing. For me, breastfeeding has been a mental challenge more than anything. At times I often questioned if I was making the right choice to breastfeed. Several things caused me to often second guess my decision.

In the first 6 months, Jaden was always in the lower percentile on his weight curve. At each appointment the doctor would tell us he needed more milk. Those conversations would frustrate me because I wasn’t sure if my body could keep up with Jaden’s demand. I wanted to continue to nurse without supplementing, but at the same time I was concerned about Jaden growing properly and being healthy. If you read any sort of website, blog, or forum geared towards breastfeeding you know that the battle of formula vs breastfeeding continues on in the mommy community. The idea of supplementing with formula is something that a lot of moms struggle with and often feel guilt over. I was in that camp of moms. I didn’t want to supplement with formula for fear of feeling like I had failed my child. Even in the midst of the negative feelings, I consider myself blessed because the Lord continually answered my prayers regarding breastfeeding. At times when I felt like I might need to supplement, I found that milk production would adjust and my body would produce exactly what Jaden needed. Other times, we would have an extra bottle because of a shift in Jaden’s schedule at school or we could fall back on our small freezer stash. The Lord always worked things out in our favor.

The choice to breastfeed has also impacted how I viewed myself at work. On the job, I have struggled with feeling like I was falling behind my co-workers as far as my capacity for growth in my current position. At times I felt like I was limited in what I could do because of having to take three pump breaks a day or working slightly less hours to make sure I could get to my son before he needed to nurse in the afternoon. I often questioned whether or not choosing to nurse would ultimately hinder my career growth.

Beyond that, there have been days when I just wanted to stop breastfeeding so that I could feel like I had control of my own body again. It’s hard not to feel like you have been reduced to a milk producing machine when you’re dealing with cluster feeding or trying to increase milk supply by eating a ton of oatmeal, drinking extreme amounts of water, adding early morning/late night pumping sessions, or power pumping.

I think I also have added pressure to myself by establishing a goal of one year and not giving myself any grace to deviate from that goal. I have often felt guilt and shame for wanting to quit before the one year mark. Again, I didn’t want to feel like I had failed my baby (or myself) if I didn’t achieve my goal. Each time I wanted to stop I kept telling myself that I had come too far to give up now.

So as I sit here contemplating my breastfeeding journey and weaning, I realize that even though it’s been tough, I don’t regret making the decision to breastfeed my son. Yes it’s been hard, probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but when I look at Jaden and the bond we have, I know that I can attribute a lot of that to our time nursing. Breastfeeding has definitely brought us closer together and it has been amazing to see how the Lord has used my body to nourish and aid in the growth and development of my son.

The biggest lessons I have learned throughout my breastfeeding journey is that 1) I can’t be so hard on myself and 2) it’s okay if things don’t work out as planned. I sometimes look back and think maybe supplementing wouldn’t have been so bad and it might have reduced some of my stress. What can I say, hindsight is 20/20. I continue to come back to the fact that what should be most important is that I’m happy with each decision I make, regardless what others are doing. This is clearly a recurring theme for me.

Now that we’ve made it this far, 11.5 months nursing, I ask myself am I really ready to wean? At this point, I’m unsure about weaning, but I will have reached my goal of one year at the end of this month. Whatever decision I make will ultimately depend on Jaden and his readiness. At times I think he will be ready to wean at a year because he’s already so distracted while nursing and then at other times he doesn’t seem like he would readily give it up. I guess only time will tell.