Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Baby J

I've meant to blog about a thousand times since last year, but... life. So here's a quick-ish recap post. 

The big thing:  I have a toddler! Baby J was born in December 2017 a few days before Christmas, and life changed instantly. In so many amazing ways. And in the last few weeks as I start to emerge from the fog of sleep deprivation (the 87th sleep training attempt seems to have worked!) I am finally able to gather some of my thoughts to share with you.

First, parenthood is hard. I know that's no big revelation, but I think every new parent has to live it to get it. Those first weeks are truly like nothing else in the world - the highest of highs and the lowest of lows and all in a soup of sleep deprivation, hormones, healing from delivery, and anxiety. I was lucky - my parents came to DC for Baby J's birth (worth a post in itself) and stayed with us for the first two weeks until we were both medically cleared (plus awesome friends to bring meals and come for low key visits and provide virtual support at 2am). Then we drove to NH where I had my parents and brother and sister-in-law in house and countless other friends and family on call. But even with three-five adults that first month was so. incredibly. hard. Baby J never slept for more than a few minutes at a time (it seemed) and certainly never more than a couple hours on miraculous occasions. I would do the night shift and then turn him over with some pumped milk to the first lucky person to wake up so I could get a few hours of sleep. We'd have great afternoons, and then the witching hour would set in between 5-6pm and nothing would console him for a few hours except nursing, which didn't start out being easy for us. Luckily he LOVED car rides (still does) so we did a fair amount of driving around just to get out of the house. 

The first big test of single parenting came when Baby J was six weeks old and we drove back to VA from NH. He did amazing, even on the second day which turned out to be a 12 hour slog to go 200 miles due to a horrid snow storm (and taking a few hours to detour and visit a family friend to avoid the worst of the storm). And then we started into our routine for 10 days before I started back to class. It turns out that the FSI language class schedule was absolutely perfect for acclimatizing to (non-newborn) parenting. I dropped off the baby at daycare in the morning (which was a mutual lovefest from day 1), had class, ate lunch, fed the baby and played for a bit, had a couple more hours of class, and then we went home and had a couple hours of play before bed. Bed being a relative term since this child only started sleeping in the last two weeks. Even my sleep-challenged self could handle this routine. 

I'll do a month-by-month 2018 recap post soonish so will just focus on the big milestones here. Baby J is, thus far, developmentally typical - smiling, rolling over, sitting, crawling, cruising, and walking within appropriate age ranges. He said his first word (mama) on November 1 followed by dada (which means everything) a few days later. He's added two more recognizable words - ball for his favorite thing in the world and na-nas, which means milk (we think it's from night-night). That last one alternates with ball for favorite thing in the world. He's still nursing like a fiend, which is awesome on days when he doesn't use his 12 teeth to advantage. He's not a picky eater - he'll try anything - but he doesn't have a voracious appetite either. Which is amazing considering that he never. stops. moving. 

We moved to Indonesia at the end of July, and my mom joined us for the first month. The flights were painful but not because of the baby, just because they were long and I hate flying. J did awesome. We were in temp housing for almost two months but our two AMAZING nannies/housekeepers started shortly after arrival and have been invaluable. When we left FSI daycare I despaired of finding caregivers with whom he clicked so well, but I needn't have worried. Mutual lovefest #2 around here. Baby J spends his days playing and exploring, taking full advantage of our small neighborhood and the next-door school and all the kids and animals that live here. One of his best friends is two days older than him, the son of another single mom, and they live a 45 second walk away. It's awesome. We love to go swimming on weekends at the school's pool or walk the fields/neighborhood. Baby J has a full social calendar, which just makes me so happy. He is outgoing and loves playing with other people, and he flirts with all the neighborhood ladies and sings in his sweet voice to the cats/dogs and watches with great interest everything that goes on. 

Ever since he was born people have commented on three things about him - his eyes, his alertness, and his adaptability. He's always watching, always assessing. He smiles with his eyes. And this kid just rolls with things. Travel, hotels, moving houses, new caregivers, new foods, etc - he does great. We spent two weeks in Singapore this fall for medevac for me (more on that in another post), and he was a trooper. It says a lot that I was able to recover from surgery with a minimum of extra help thanks to his go-with-the-flow nature. In between the medical appointments and recovery (and after the cancer scare was over!) we even had a good time. He loves Bali and loves swimming in the ocean, which bodes well for this and future tours. Even as toddler tantrums start to become common he's a happy guy and loves to laugh and make others laugh. He thinks his cats are the greatest ever, and they are warming up to him. Griffin loves him and tolerates pretty much everything, but Callaghan is wary of loud little boys who make unpredictable movements. He has a higher-pitched voice he uses with cats and dogs and dolls and little babies, which just melts my heart. That's not to say he wouldn't hit any of them with a hammer given the chance (sadly not making this example up, but at least it was plastic), but he does want to be sweet and gentle. 

All right, I've fed, bathed, and put the baby to bed while intermittently writing this post and have lost my train of thought a few times. Look for a month-by-month recap coming hopefully soon and some travel updates. Long story short, I absolutely love being a mommy, even on the hard days. This little guy is oh so much fun. 

Baby J eleven months

Baby J three weeks