Thursday, May 31, 2007


Sam is finally on the up and up from this cold she has had. We discovered some interesting things about our daughter through this process.

First, Sam is generally a pleasant baby. It was, then, quite apparent that she doesn't like being sick. It's the only time so far that she's been really fussy. But, even in the middle of feeling lousy and being fussy, she would smile and try to enjoy playing with her toys. She would pick up one she really liked and give a half-hearted smile, shake it a little, and then just look totally wipe out from the effort. It was hard to watch her so obviously not feeling well. If this trend continues; however, I think she's on track for being adaptable. Not such a bad thing to discover!

Second, Sam definitely has opinions. Because she felt so awful, her coping skills were somewhat diminished. As a result, things she had put up with before, she would not allow! She developed a strong dislike for having her nose cleaned out; she decided she didn't like taking her medicine; and she wanted Mommy. It was so hard to drop her off at the day care or my friend's house and have her just cry because she didn't want me to leave. She was fine once I was out of sight and she had a toy to distract her, but I could hear her crying all the way down the hall. That really pulled at my heartstrings. I got over it pretty quickly, though, the next time I tried to clean out her nose or give her medicine. She was a wiggle worm extraordinaire! She would cry so hard that Brent would come running because he thought she was alone and in trouble. Nope, just Mom reeking havoc on Sam's world.

Next, Sam is one of the few children who become excitable when given an antihistamine. We gave her the night time allergy medicine at 7:00 pm and she didn't get drowsy until 11:00 pm. But, she was the happiest little baby. She crawled all over the room, pulled out all her toys and the DVDs, and basically discovered every nook and cranny of the living room. She smiled and cooed and babbled to her heart's content. She was a lot of fun, but we were very tired and ready for her to be asleep. We tried several things to see what would help her feel the best. We decided that Children's Sudafed worked well enough and allowed her to sleep. The Night Time Allergy medicine worked the best, but got her all wired. And Acetaminophen helps the best when she's teething or has a headache. My mom also suggested putting a humidifier in her room when she sleeps to help her cough. That worked wonders. Her room feels like a little rain forest, but she didn't wake herself up coughing all night like she had been doing. And since adding the humidifier to the treatment plan, the rate of recovery has increased.

Sam is practically recovered. She has a slight cough and her nose is a little stuffy first thing in the morning. Other than that, she is her old self again. After all the nose cleaning, she has finally got the hang of blowing her nose. She doesn't blow hard, but she definitely gets air out, and sometimes a little more! She loves to explore and seems to be quite physical in her play. She still loves to throw the ball. The added benefit is now she can also go get it when she throws it off course. I have to say that we are the luckiest parents in the world.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A New Generation of Spider Man

So, this week I thought I'd share some of my observations on babies and the amazing things they do. Most of the time their movements seem erratic and uncontrolled; however, they get what they want and can put it where they want it to go. I call this the Spider-man-finger phenomenon. When Sam first started reaching for objects I would watch her fingers touch the most unlikely part of the object and then they next thing I knew, the object was in the air on its way to her mouth! I thought, Man, even if I tried to pick it up that way, I would never be able to hold on to it. Since her first forays into picking up objects she has continued to amaze me. She is better at grabbing things and manipulating them in her hands, but there are still moments when she reaches for an odd shaped toy and can pick it up with amazing dexterity. How do they do that? I really think babies have little spikes on the ends of their fingers like Spider man and can grip anything with just the touch of a finger.

Saturday, May 12, 2007


I've spent the morning reflecting on my experiences as a mother. It began by asking myself what my favorite thing about being a mother is. My answer? The bond that I have with Samantha. I feel such deep feelings in regards to her, my relationship with her, her relationship with Brent. I do things for her that I would never want to do if I were babysitting. As I thought about this at 6:00 this morning after I groggily gave her a bottle and put her back to bed, I became very alert! (So much for sleeping in.) I remember when she was brand new and it seemed like such a chore to feed her. I did it out of a sense of obligation--it's been four hours; I really shouldn't make her wait any longer--with a little bit of love mixed in. I was still very "me" focused in my own recovery and how my life had been altered, permanently. Slowly there has been a shift to a sense of enjoyment rather than obligation when it is time to feed her, change her clothes, or bath her. She has so much personality and her participation in these daily routines is downright comical. For instance, she has taken to drinking the bath water! She also makes the greatest faces when she tries a new food that she doesn't like. The current winner for the biggest grimace is feta cheese.

Becoming a mother happens in an instant. However, feeling like a mother takes time. I think the time varies, too, on the temperament of the baby. Some of my friends didn't really think motherhood was all that great until their children were 18 months or older. Most of their frustrations involved sleeping issues, eating issues and some developmental delays. All in all, I feel quite fortunate to have the pleasant, easy-going baby that I do and to have transitioned so smoothly.

As I've reflected on the success of this transition, I realize that I am in another transition period. This transition, however, is not only about my role as a mother, but includes my role as an employee, a teacher, a homemaker, and most importantly a wife. It seems that life recognizes when we've got one lesson pretty well learned and sees fit to shake things up a bit and see how we cope. This is not a pessimistic view, mind you. I understand that life is long and without occasional shakings, we would be very bored. I appreciate the opportunity to grow and expand my potential. So here I am, again, playing the balancing game. How do I plan my lessons and prepare materials without ignoring Samantha's need for my attention. And how, when I am playing with her, do I get my mind to focus on her and our time together without constantly monitoring the checklist of things to do for my classes, for the house, for the yard...

Each stage of my life has brought me a little more understanding of what my mother has gone through and what she sacrificed in order to do it well. There is so little I can give her that isn't trite and meaningless, but I hope to give her my life as a tribute to all she's taught me and all she's done for me. Happy Mother's Day. I love you, Mom. I would be remiss if I didn't also send my love to my "other" moms, Kimberlee and Wendy! I love all my Moms and appreciate the lessons I've learned from each one of you.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Reframing Motherhood

Well, the events of this week have turned my reality on its nose. Aside from my birthday (which I will discuss in a moment) I re-entered the workforce this week. It all happened quite suddenly and without warning. I had applied to teach ESL classes at UVSC back in November or maybe it was October. I didn't hear anything (I figured it was too late for the January start date anyway) and I hadn't thought much more about it. Then, on Wednesday of this week, May 2, I received a voice message and an email from the director of ESL classes at UVSC. He explained that they had a tremendous surge in enrollment and needed to split classes in two levels and would I be interested in teaching two classes, PLEASE!

Brent and I consulted, I figured out child care options, and I said O.K. So Thursday, my birthday, Sam and I went to the department and got a full tour and my books. Then we went to the daycare center and had a tour. Then yesterday, Friday, I started teaching! It's fun to be back in the classroom, but it was sad to leave Sam at the daycare. It wasn't so bad in the morning when a friend watched her, but the day care really hit home that I was a working mom. I envisioned myself working once my children were all in school during the day, but working again so soon after Sam's arrival is a bit of an adjustment for us all. She seemed really happy at the day care center, so that eased some of my concerns. Brent said he was worried sick about her all day. Dad's have a harder time trusting other people with their children--it's such an unknown. For me, I've seen the facility and I can imagine her in the baby room being rocked by a gentle woman. But Brent doesn't have a physical setting in which to place her so in his mind she's just hanging out in a black hole-very scary indeed! All-in-all I think teaching this summer will be an exciting adventure!

So, back to my birthday. First thing Thursday morning I realized what would be different about birthdays as a mom. Sam still had breakfast before I did. Her need was more immediate and so I put my breakfast off until she was content and playing with her toys. I reminded her all day that she was supposed to be especially pleasant for me since it was my birthday! That wasn't too hard for her because she's rather pleasant all of the time. I had many nice phone calls, cards and emails. Thank you for helping me feel so special on my big day. In fact, it was almost unnerving how much attention I had. I am so used to Sam getting all of the attention now, that I felt the urge to deflect the attention back onto her. But, for one day out of the year it's not bad to bask in the lime light!

Here are some fun pictures from the park a week ago: