Last night I dreamed I was the star of a play for which I had never rehearsed, had never seen the script, nor knew anything about. It was a packed house in the warehouse downtown where the play was being performed. For whatever reason, I was fully committed to this production, and there was no backing down. So I took a deep breath, stepped out on stage, and prepared to wing it—wondering how I was ever going to project my voice loud enough for everyone to hear.
Just as I was about to improvise my first line, I glance through the patchwork windows of the warehouse playhouse, I see a massive tornado bearing down on the city. There was too much glass where we were to be safe. We were forced to evacuate to a nearby building. As my fellow cast and audience members alike entered the second building, we immediately made for the basement. Only there was no basement. In an attempt to find a place to hide from the oncoming tornado, we started to climb stairs, thinking eventually one flight would lead us to a set going downward, but to no avail.
There was nowhere to go but up.
Pretty symbolic considering today was my last day at the job I've held for the past 7 years. I always dream about tornadoes when faced with big changes. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to riddle out that the play is my anxiety over a new role with with details in which I'm not an expert in.
It was such an odd sensation to walk out the doors for (presumably) a final time of the place I've been employed for nearly a quarter of my life. I'm going to miss the people I've worked so closely with all those years. My immediate team is a pretty incredible group of ladies. But as the job had grown redundant and a new opportunity had presented itself, I knew it was time to move on.
If you had told me 2 years ago that I'd be leaving my dream job to design baby products, I would have said you were crazy. How times change. Here I am a new mom, a seasoned designer, and ready for this new venture. I cannot wait to learn about this product category, textiles and consumer. Bring on the play and all the tornadoes life can throw. I'm ready for it.
Oh, and I chopped all my hair off! Here's to changes and new challenges!
It finally happened. The thing I've dreaded most since that 20 week ultrasound revealed baby's boyhood in all it's grainy, black and white glory. Leo has discovered his wee wee. It took him 7 months to get there, but a lifelong, complicated relationship is sure to result. Now I'm counting down the days to when I have to have the "Publics and Privates" talk with him.
Horrifying milestone aside, the past month has been a pretty awesome one in the world of Leo Birch. After months of chewing, and drooling, and fussing, and chewing, and drooling, two teeth have sprouted up. The bottom front ones to be exact. It was a rough, snotty couple of days as those little suckers cut, but as soon as that happened, my jolly little dude returned. His sweet little smile is now under construction, and it gets cuter by the day!
I thought for sure that Leo would be crawling by now as he's so, so active. However, he chooses to focus his mobility efforts on something slightly more efficient—walking. I know that 'they' say it's bad for babies to skip crawling because there are all sorts of fine motor skills that they could be fine-tuning on the floor. This little chicken nugget will have nothing to do with tummy time. The second he realized all he had to do to get out of it was rollover, he did just that. So try as I might to force him into a crawling position, he pushes even harder against it! He has just loved to stand since he was a couple days old. Now he can stand unsupported for quite a while. He's even taken two very wobbly steps. It's both adorable and terrifying. I think we're going to have a walking baby with moderate-at-best understanding of the word "no". I'm currently quoting bubble-wrap on Amazon to cover my entire house in.
What else? He's growing and changing so fast, I can hardly keep up with all the developments. He's learned to reach out for you when he wants picked up. That will melt your heart. He's babbling non-stop, and finally started putting together the syllables to say "daddy". The Hubbs was thrilled about that. He's still flailing like a little madman—no change there. Also, he's really started to roll. So even though he's not crawling, he's always on the opposite side of the room that I last saw him on!
Soon all of our baby-proofing measures are soon to be put to the test. It's gonna be a crazy ride!
at 11:34 AM
Being a parent is such a strange thing. It feels like once you start to get a handle on things, a new challenge is thrown into the mix. Leo might suddenly decide to start queuing that he's tired in a completely new fashion and it takes a week to figure out why in the heck he's so fussy every. single. evening. He's also developing new skills and tendencies by the day (i.e. the classic drop things from the high chair game). It keeps you on your toes, to say the least.
Another new development is the introduction of (semi) solids. Peas are the favorite so far. If I had to choose one parental task that I like the least, it'd have to be this. Oh my gosh, it's gross! When feeding an infant, not only do you have a slimy, sticky baby, but you end up with spit up that has color to it. Which makes it waaaaay more like vomit than spit up. Don't get me started on what it's like when it comes out the other end of him. I'm going to have to beef up my gag reflex.
I might have mentioned when Leo was a newborn that he flailed a lot. That has not changed in the least. In fact, it's gotten worse. If he's excited about something (he sees dad, time to eat, someone ruffled a plastic bag), his entire body shakes and all extremities go flying. He's usually only content when you are holding him around the waist and he's standing, so the flailing is extra challenging. It's a good thing I spend so much time lifting weights. Otherwise, I'm convinced there's no way I could contain him.
It's taken about six months, but I finally feel like we're getting into the swing of things, and are no longer in survival mode. I know that I can handle a poopy diaper in a public bathroom, can calm him down with a simple belly rub, and can leave him home alone with the Hubbs without him completely melting down without me. We're tentatively patting ourselves on the backs, and looking forward to what the second half of Leo's first year holds!
at 4:29 PM
If I had a fraction of the charisma this baby has, I'm convinced I could rule the world. Mr. Leo Birch is a bubbly little force to be reckoned with. He has recently started sitting in high chairs in restaurants (instead of in his carseat), and it doesn't take long for neighboring tables to be charmed by him. I like to call him my "Tiny Goodwill Ambassador", because he makes people smile everywhere he goes (but really, who doesn't love a happy baby?).
Leo continues the trend of being a very easy-going dude. Have you ever seen a baby that would let you spray saline up his nose, repeatedly suction each nostril, and then clean it up with a tissue, all with nary a flinch? Well I have now! His motto is "Leo don't care", because he really does not!
It's incredible to watch an infant develop. A couple of weeks ago, he couldn't sit up unless he was strapped into something or leaning back with a support. Today he can sit all on his own, completely unsupported. Also, his babbling has taken on consonants. I actually had good enough luck to catch his first (coincidental) word on video, as he strung together the "M" sound to say "momma". Turn your volume up and observe the cuteness on Instagram.
We're still not entirely sure what color his eyes are. They've finally started to lighten up to what is some days brown, some days green, and others gray. I'm pretty sure we can rule out blue as an eventual outcome, but that's as far as I'll go. He has the most perfect, naturally coiffed head of hair. It's very blond, with a hint of strawberry. Though you can't really tell from my monthly photos here, he's a super lean machine (but he slumps when sitting). While he's slightly above average in height, he's only sitting in the 20th-25th percentile for weight. I was always off-the-charts-tiny, so I'll take 20 percent any day!
That's month five in a nutshell. Onward and upward!
at 5:04 PM
Leo was very bored/flaily/fussy on the day we did his photos
Little Leo continues to steal our hearts, and those of everyone he meets. He has this great smile that he won't hesitate to pull out when you walk in the room. He looks so much like me that it's uncanny, but lately, I've been seeing more and more of his dad in that smile. It just melts my heart.
He's been growing like a weed. Upwards, anyway. He's a lean little dude at an above average height, but only dips into the 20th percentile for weight. Without all the baby chub, I think he looks very toddlerish before his time. However you slice it, though, he's pretty damn cute.
I really love this baby age. Leo is very interactive. He recognizes people, he smiles, he gets excited about things (mainly eating), but he can't get into anything just yet. It's like having your own, captive, little buddy. He coos, he spits up, he poops, he sleeps (but not usually in that order). He's pretty easy to predict. I'm nervous for the crawling/walking stage, but I can't wait to see how he develops as more of his personality is unwrapped.
Every day he gets a little stronger and steadier. His head control is perfect now. While he still hates "tummy time", we can eek out a couple more minutes out of the practice, and sometimes he even giggles while doing it. He has even started sitting unsupported for a few seconds at a time—learning to lean forward and hold himself up with his hands.
In addition to all the physical milestones, we had our first not-so-welcomed event. We had a pretty big medical scare. Way back at his 2 month appointment, I stood next to his pediatrician as she once-overed his tiny little body. she flipped him on his belly, and pulled his diaper down to reveal a tiny little cleft, or dimple on his tailbone that he has had since birth. To be honest, I had forgotten it was even there. She told me that some people are just born with a dimple, and they're fine. However, it can often be indicative of a serious condition, a tethered spinal cord—or Spina Bifida.
Well, that was all I needed to go into a web-searching panic. I read up on what it could mean for him if this was the case. There would possibly be leg weakness, incontinence, and trouble walking. I can remember sitting on my couch, cradling my perfect, wiggly little man, who was so good at standing already, and imagined a future where he might need a walker. I had a phone call with a lady at the hospital, to set up an MRI that would tell us just how average of a life our boy may or may not lead. It took a long time to get an appointment. So I agonized, and agonized, and agonized. Over Christmas we just tried to pretend like nothing was going to happen. We enjoyed our holiday, despite what was looming.
MRI day came the same morning as the polar vortex seeped into the Ohio Valley. We bundled up our tiny baby and headed to Dayton Children's Hospital. It went better than I thought it would, because the staff was so caring. There weren't any needles involved, and Leo just had to drink a little bit of medication (which he promptly spit out. twice) to make him ease into sleep. Still though, seeing your 12 pound child clothed in an impossibly tiny, peach hospital gown is heart-wrenching. After the MRI, we waited a very long day and a half to get the results... And they were normal!
Everybody likes to believe that their children are special or extraordinary in some way. In this case, however, "normal" was the most beautiful word I've ever heard! My baby was normal, and was going to live that perfectly normal life that we had dreamed up for him. I came away with a whole new appreciation for the moms and dads who are raising children with conditions like Spina Bifida or worse. It breaks my heart that not every parent knows a life free of medical tests, and needles and physical hardship. Every situation is a learning experience, and I took away a lot from this.
I know now just how lucky we are.
at 10:30 AM