Thursday, August 30, 2012

on weaning

Before Mason was born, I remember being slightly skeeved by the thought of breastfeeding, and cautiously committing to "trying it". But then he arrived, latched on, and my heart did a 180. Nursing my baby suddenly became something I both wanted and had to do.

I've been blessed with a good breastfeeding experience, which I know is not the case for everyone. Mason's been an enthusiastic eater from day one, and except for some engorgement issues, one or two blocked ducts, and a brief supply scare a couple months ago, I've had no problems. Pumping, especially when working, often felt cumbersome, but the joy associated with providing for my baby outweighed the hassle.

So here we are coming up on a year, and I've initiated the weaning process. I've been dreading this act since Mason turned six months old and began eating solid food. Mason has nursed four times a day for the past few months. In the past month, I've gradually dropped two of those sessions. I have two more sessions to drop over the next month or so, and the pediatrician said I can begin mixing cows' milk with my expressed breast milk. I hope to use every last ounce of frozen breast milk--no wasting that liquid gold! I'm trying to take the weaning process slowly so as to not strain my already overwrought hormones. That's easier said than done.

These last few months, as the ache in my heart has increased at the thought of weaning him, my activities during nursing sessions have changed. I've cuddled and talked and sang to him more and played on my phone less. It's not the act of nursing itself that I dread giving up--it's what it represents. My baby is almost a toddler. How does that first year, even with its inevitable challenges, pass so quickly?

I cherish these close, cuddly moments-the only time he'll stay on my lap these days-more now that they're numbered.


Monday, August 27, 2012

blank slate

Today marks my first day on the job as full-time Dr. Mommy, and my nearly empty calendar stares back at me, intimidating, exciting, and promising, all at the same time.

You see, I'm at the uncertain phase where I've just deleted numerous reoccurring events such as staff meetings, classes, section leader meetings, approving time sheets, and the like, but I have yet to fill my calendar with new commitments and routines.  I don't expect this season to last long--I certainly will still find ways to over schedule and over commit myself.

However, for the moment, I will enjoy this blank slate. The possibilities are endless!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

vacationing with a babe

Everyone told me that vacations would be a lot different once children came along.


That was an understatement.


We still had a fabulous time, though!


It just wasn't at all restful. But how could it be? My boy exudes energy. That doesn't change in a new environment.


We got rained out for two whole days at the beach, but managed to make it to the pool each day. I only read about 20 pages of my book the entire week. Traffic getting there was atrocious. Mason had his own room in the condo, but he cried every time we took him in there and he refused to nap most days. But those early morning strolls on the beach, with Mason holding tight to Brad's and my index fingers while he hobbled along in between us?


They were priceless and are some of the many vacation memories that I will treasure forever.

Friday, August 17, 2012

baby days

Mason is 11 months old today! And these baby days are rapidly drawing to a close.

While on vacation, Mason decided that he was ready to walk while holding on to our index fingers, and he's been marching around since then. He's never really crawled (unless occasional Army crawling counts), and he's no longer content sitting on the floor and playing with toys or even standing at the couch and cruising along the furniture. He wants to walk. And because he can't do it completely on his own yet, he needs my index fingers to get around. (We're still building competence with the push toy.) Thank goodness my work-from-home days are over! I don't know how I'd get anything done during his awake time now.

A vocal baby since birth, Mason babbles all the time these days. He says Dada, Mama, and hi, and understands the meaning of so many more words (that he can't say yet). He follows simple commands and the combination of his high energy and quick temper is starting to get him in trouble. He loves books, meals, water-related activities, and anything outdoors. And his pouty lip when we leave and unleashed exuberance and sweet kisses when we return fills Brad's and my days with a joy beyond what we knew existed.

I miss the cozy baby days, but I love my big boy's snappy personality and budding independence. However, I am in no way emotionally ready to celebrate Mason's first birthday. For the next 31 days, I will smooch and cuddle my baby as much as he will let me, before I have to admit that he's a toddler.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

whew!

I'm in a bit of a whirlwind right now, Gentle Readers. Brad, Mason, and I not only survived, but really enjoyed our first vacation together as a little family. Twenty-four hours after we returned home from vacation, the first set of grandparents arrived for their tour of duty this week with Mason while I returned to work to train my successor. This weekend, the grandparent troops will change over, Mason will spend most of next week with the other set, and I'll be unemployed as of August 24th.

Whew! I'm looking forward to a little downtime, and blogging again regularly, very soon.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

12

When I gave my notice back in early March, I didn't think I'd still be employed as of my 12th anniversary, but here I am. I made it! Now, I can say that I officially worked at UMD for 12 full years. And I'll be finished in 17 days, but who's counting?

Monday, August 6, 2012

extraordinary encounter

Greetings from Duck, NC!

The neatest thing happened to me this morning. Brad, Mason, and I were leaving Duck Donuts, our--well, Brad's and my--bellies full from the delectable morsels we wolfed down in a hot minute, when a woman stopped me.

"Excuse me, do you write a blog?" she asked.

"Yes," I said, totally confused.

"And you live in DC?"

"Why, yes!" I stammered, my tongue tied with shock. "Dr. Blondie!"

This wonderful woman, Christy, who I've never met, reads my blog. And she spotted me frolicking with my family around Duck this morning. And she was kind enough to make me feel like a mini-celebrity for about five seconds, well, okay, all day. I'm still smiling!

I'm afraid I didn't handle this encounter very well. Caught off guard, I was a beaming, babbling, blubbering fool. After we exchanged pleasantries and said our goodbyes, I ran back to verify which way she spells her name, because you know, those details matter to me. As we drove away, I regretted not thinking to get a picture with her. Brad said that I had bothered the poor dear enough, and drove on.

What's the best part of this story? Christy recognized my loving, but Dr. Blondie-blog-avoiding husband first. Maybe this encounter will finally convince Brad to begin reading this blog! He's sort of famous now, I guess.

Thank you, Christy, for making my day. Congratulations on earning your Ph.D. last year, and have a wonderful vacation this week!

Friday, August 3, 2012

beach bound with babe

Tomorrow, we're leaving on our first vacation as a family of three. We're attending our friends' wedding in the Outer Banks, and will spend the rest of the week there.

Mason can drift off to sleep listening to the sound of real waves crashing against the shore, although I'm still taking his trusty spa sound machine that has been a lifesaver since his early days. He's not very mobile yet--only army crawling when he really wants something, like cheerios--so our time on the beach will be easier than I initially expected it to be. Mason's an early riser, and will continue to be on vacation, but perhaps we'll enjoy the solitude of the beach before anyone else ventures out there.

Besides the wedding, we have dinner reservations one night, but otherwise, no other plans. I'm looking forward to some downtime, even if it's only a fraction of what I'm used to on vacation. I'm even taking a new book to read for myself, September's book club selection.

Mason's books, of course, are also packed, along with half of the house. Why does adding one small person to our family triple the amount of stuff we have to take with us?