Saturday, July 29, 2017

Travel Bug

I am writing this while praying the landscapers do not wake Atlas up, drinking my morning coffee, and eating a cinnamon raisin BAGEL WITH CREAM CHEESE.

Haven't been able to say those words since last October.

The GI doctor was very pleased with Atlas's progress. The official verdict is that he is outgrowing all his allergies!

I can up my dairy intake ALL THE WAY. Eat whatever I want. If Atlas shows no reactions for two weeks, I can start giving him dairy. The dairy reintroduction ladder goes as follows: dairy baked in to food (cookies, muffins, eggs, etc.), butter on food (toast, veggies), yogurt (1 tsp. a day then work your way up), cooked cheese, uncooked cheese, then milk products (ice cream, whipped cream, straight up milk). You leave a couple weeks in between each stage to assure there are no reactions.

Until we work him all the way up the ladder, I can start weaning him to almond milk. If he has any issues along the way, we withhold dairy from him again (JUST him. I'll be sitting here eating pizza and ice cream, thankyouverymuch), and re-test him at 18 months.

I can not believe he is almost one. I can not believe I made it this far. Not just nursing, but like, literally still being alive. I can't tell you how many times I felt like I JUST COULDN'T EVEN. This has been the hardest year of my entire life but completely worth it to have an Atlas bean in my life.

Besides that exciting news, we are gearing up for Atlas's first birthday and a big trip home in the fall. In August, our parents and Alex and Linny will be here for a week to celebrate with us. And then, we will be heading to THREE weddings in NJ from the end of September to the end of October. I am almost positive Atlas and I will be staying in the Jerz the entire time while Eric goes back and forth for work. We are still working out details. I'll keep ya posted. It will suck being away for so long, and I am anxious about how Atlas will adjust, but we really want to be at all the weddings. Fall is definitely the new "wedding season," and who could blame everyone? Screw April-June. AUTUMN IS WHAT'S UP.

Plus, I have been dreaming about October in the northeast for the past four years. If you would like to meet up while I am there, you will probably find me at the Starbucks in the local Barnes & Noble, drinking a PSL while wearing boots, a leather jacket, beanie, and flannel, looking brooding while reading a real live book.

Jk, those days are long gone for me. I will probably be chasing my toddler around during storytime. Or, better yet, a pumpkin patch and apple orchard. It'll still be a fun fall experience. I will make sure I stock up on flannel shirts and beanies for him.

All this talk about taking a trip has me itching to travel. Since our sickmoon (aka honeymoon to Jamaica where we basically got ebola. See HERE for that extravaganza), Eric and I have not taken a real vacation. Sure, we live where YOU vacation (not to brag...), but believe it or not, sometimes we yearn for a break from tropical paradise. All of our vacation time is spent going to the Jerz, which we LOVE, but we want to see the world as well. Eric has never been out of the country besides Jamaica, and I know he is dying to get to Germany and Austria to try some beer. Norway and Iceland are also at the top of our lists. My dream vacation is an African safari, and one day I would also love to see Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini. But we also think it is important to explore our own country, so our number one destination is a Pacific Northwest brewery/winery/coffee roadtrip, from Seattle down to Napa.

My question is: How do I travel with a kid?

Do we leave him with grandparents while he is young, since he won't remember it anyway? Is a week too long to leave a toddler? Should we just wait until he is, say, four years old, and bring him along? And if we bring him while he is a toddler, HOW? I can barely make it to the fucking grocery store with him.

It is very important to me for Atlas to see our country and the world. There is so much to learn. There are places I have been where I stop, close my eyes, and can literally FEEL the history of the place. Independence Hall in Philadelphia is one of them, but I have experienced this feeling in places all over the world. It sounds corny and probably really weird, but it is like a jolt of electricity and goosebumps and overwhelming emotion. I want Atlas to feel that kind of connection to the past, and the future, and the universe.

That being said, I am pretty sure my parents did not take me anywhere besides the Jersey shore until I was eight, when we went to Disney World. Luckily for Atlas, we happen to live within driving distance of that most magical place. Maybe I should just stick to Dole Whip and Mickey pretzels for him until he is a little older, and I have my shit just SLIGHTLY more together than I do with a mobile baby who has yet to talk but can understand perfectly well how to rebel against Mommy when she says "NO!"

Always getting in to trouble behind the chair.

He really loves to read now.

My favorite thing in the entire universe is this scrunchy nose smile.

Loving his Dada

Just relaxing and reading with his stuffed animals.

Laughing at Mr. Darling's misfortune in Peter Pan. I laughed at him, too. That guy is a jerk.

Nym pointedly ignoring Atlas.

On a boat, wearing his own lifejacket and hat for once!

Always fun to see the turtles with friends!

He can talk the talk, but can he walk the walk?

You betcha.

WRONG WRONG WRONG. But I have started calling his method of playing "creative" instead of WRONG. Hahaha.

WAY too excited about peas and chicken.

Still my first baby. Still afraid of storms.

It is getting a little more difficult to take him to the brewery... he wants to drink our beer.

Minty Fairy Godmother Aunt Nicole came to visit!

Atlas is basically obsessed with her.

Just throwing toys out of his playpen.

Practicing that walk. He has taken five or so steps at a time, but most of the time he refuses to do so. Typical.

It is amazing to see the wheels turn in his head when he figures something out, like putting blocks in the holes, stacking rings on the tower, putting shapes in to his shape sorter... so cool.

I used to be able to take cute selfies with him.

Now he just wants to be on the go.

Remember when he was a newborn and I could lay in bed taking 43530503 selfies while he slept on me?

NOPE. Not today.

His first time watching TV! Not for lack of me trying. He has just never shown an interest in sitting and watching until yesterday. Snacks and Little Einsteins for the win! Maybe I will get things done around here now... and before you judge my screen time parenting, I issue you a challenge: Come spend a day with this Tazmanian Devil/Energizer Bunny combo and tell me what other solutions you have. ;)

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Worst at Blogging

Okay, I failed. Definitely have not written once a week since my last post. I am the worst.

The entire month of June has gone by, so I don't even know where to start. Once again, Atlas is a completely different baby from the last time I wrote. In a few short weeks, he has started to take baby steps, attempts to talk, and has cut two more teeth (FINALLY!). He has been trying tons of new food and eats three meals a day, maybe some snacks here and there if we are out and I need to distract him. Say what you will about my parenting skills, but I don't think giving a few puffs to a ten month old is going to set us up for failure.

I have been eating dairy, with the exception of straight up milk, cream, ice cream, or tons of cheese (no more pizza... for now). He seems to be doing ehhhh. No stomach cramping, explosions out either end, or blood, so I am counting that as a win until the GI doctor tells me otherwise. It is impossible to tell whether his current issues are from allergies or teething or just being a crazy baby. That's the thing about babies. You really have no clue what the hell is going on, ever. We have our next appointment in a few weeks, and I am so looking forward to hearing the doctor's opinion about where to go from here.

Atlas has been nursing less and less over the past couple weeks. He still nurses well once (sometimes twice... ugh) a night, but during the day, he is on the move. He will eat for a few minutes, then practically jump off the chair to play with his toys or read some books. Sometimes, after a couple more minutes, he will come back over to me and ask for more. Sometimes, he won't. Sometimes, we will be playing, and he will try to grab me through my shirt. I stopped stressing about it. We had a good nursing schedule going for awhile. Wake up, before and after naps, and bedtime. But it seems like my main goal right now is just to make sure he gets enough nutrients, whether that means nursing at a random time, offering him a cup of milk, or waking up an extra time at night. Babies are just like any other human. Sometimes they are hungrier than others, sometimes they want a midnight snack. Can you blame them?

I have gotten a lot of comments from people surprised that I am still nursing, so I want to talk about this issue. Not mean comments, just surprised. For the first year of life, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that the majority of a baby's nutrients come from breast milk or formula. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for two years.

When we found out Atlas had food allergies, I chose to eliminate those foods from my diet so I could continue nursing. Why didn't I just switch to formula? Well, we tried. We fed him special amino acid-based formula for three weeks while I eliminated foods from my diet and pumped EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. he ate. That included 2-3x a night. He hated it. It constipated him, he threw up more (which we didn't think was even possible) and it cost $155 for four cans. Yep, you read that right. So when we weighed the pros and cons, discussed all of this with the doctor, and tried nursing him again after both our systems had time to clear, it just made sense to breastfeed for as long as possible, at least to a year. He was better than he had ever been, and even though eliminating food was really shitty for me, it was even shittier (no pun intended) having a baby who was sick and in pain. It also allowed us the opportunity to figure out exactly what he was allergic to, since I could trial foods by eating them myself, resulting in a more mild reaction for him.

So here we are, at ten months old, still nursing. Yes, he gets distracted. Yes, he eats solids. Yes, he has teeth. No, I have nothing against formula. But I still do not have the go ahead to give him regular dairy or soy formula, and if he doesn't like the special formula, why would I switch him now? Nursing is easy for me now, not to mention free (hurrah!). He is almost a year old. He seems to have grown out of most, if not all, of his food allergies. He is happy. He strokes my face and sticks his toes on my cheek when he nurses to make me laugh. He hasn't bit me yet, but if he started doing that, I would just pump on a schedule and give him milk in a cup until we figure out what kind of milk we can use to wean him when he turns one. I would be tempted to nurse for longer, but I feel like our nursing journey is coming to an end, for him and for me, mentally. It has been an exhausting one, but well worth it. I am confident that we did what was best for our family and our unique situation. For the next couple months, I will savor these extra short nursing session cuddles while I still can.

I know that nursing seems weird to a lot of people, especially a baby who can almost walk and has teeth, but I really am just feeding him the only way I can and know how. So, I hope that hearing our journey in its entirety gives any mom reading it the confidence to feed their baby however they are doing it. Over the past ten months, I have experienced the full blown mom shaming I hoped would never happen to me. I know my friends have as well. The funny thing is that we all parent differently. Some formula feed, some breastfeed, some gave birth naturally, others had elective c-sections, some are more lax, some more strict... It just proves that, no matter what you do, people are going to think you are doing it wrong. The other funny thing is that we all parent differently, yet I have never felt judged by any of my friends. A good support system does just that: SUPPORTS you through your parenting journey, no matter what curveballs it throws your way, and no matter what other direction their journey has led them.

I can tell I am starting to get sappy and emotional, so I'm gonna end it here. Today was rough enough, what with 5am wakeup, insurance drama at my doctor appointment, short naps, getting locked out of the house in the heat and missing New Mom group, and Atlas smacking his face in to his cube and bleeding everywhere (he's fine, but I never want to see him bleed ever again). Whew, okay. Tomorrow will be a better day.

Starting to walk!

Very, very tired 5am hangout sesh

Meeting Savannah, Atlas's newest girlfriend (he has many)

Taking a sec to recharge on Mommy, then off to wreak more havoc

Back to JMC for the first time since he was born! Felt good to be back in the maternity wing to visit instead of give birth, ha!


Saving his life for the 58370242 time

My finished mug!

Teething biscuits, which he promptly tossed on the floor

Not sleeping in the car like he should have been

Literally the best thing in the world

Eric cuddling with Savannah. Omg. <3

Atlas having fun with Cat

Loving his bubble bath and Marco

Nursery revamp! Felt weird to move the futon out, since I spent many tired nights sitting there with Atlas. But he likes all the space in his room now.

Daddy giving Atlas some milk before bed

Jk before. THIS is LITERALLY the best thing in the world.

Doing it wrong

Please stop pretending to be Tarzan on the curtains, thank you.

Not my best work, but Eric appreciated this Father's Day gift "from Atlas"

Eric brought some French pastries home for our Engagementaversary. Can you tell I am using every excuse to indulge in food now that I am eating some dairy again?

Still doing it wrong

Nope, still wrong

Just Donkey Kong-ing it up like the good old days of my youth.

Wreaking havoc

Loving on Keely, or her necklace. Not sure which he loves more! 
Or does he love Eric the most?

Hop on Pop

No caption necessary, really.

Get out of there, please

Goofy boy and his majestic fursibling

Eat your pasta! Mangia!

Fun in the pool with our Florida fam!

So into books now!


Keep away!

He is acting like such a big kid, hanging out on his belly with his cup and his book.

Aunt Dee was visiting!

So did Mom mom Deeg!

Atlas loving on his stuffed... ghost? Weirdo

He has a million stuffed animals, and he picks this one. Halloween love is clearly built in my DNA.

One of those days.

Date night. <3

He loves Chloe and Uncle Ben SO much. Always smiling with them!


Jk again, THIS IS THE BEST THING IN THE WORLD. INDOMACCULATE IN MY BELLY. I did not feel well afterwards, but I think Atlas was okay!

Saying see ya later to Mom mom. Wahhhh.

Managed to snag one shot of his 1st Fourth of July outfit before he lost his shiz.

Very interested in the record player, and in messing with it.

Locked out of the house. At least he looked fly as hell in his neon printed pants and tank top. He liked watching the birds in the lake. He also liked my frantic phone calls to Eric.