I have decided that being a parent is like being on a rollercoaster. There are tremendous ups and stomach clenching downs, sharp, unexpected turns, and you are just along for the ride.
Probably the biggest change to report this month is not actually a change with Will, but rather with my employment status. I am now an official Stay At Home Mom [SAHM]. As this is what I have wanted for my entire life, I was certainly not expecting the multitude of feelings that went with this momentous change of status. I was ill prepared to face the feelings of sadness that accompanied my resignation. My husband and I went back and forth over the decision for my entire maternity leave, even ending up with scrambling to find daycare for Will as the days dwindled and we realized the financial securtiy we were giving up. In the end, however, we went with our hearts. The logical thing probably would have been for me to return to my stable, solid job and keep the nice salary and company car that went along with it. In this economy, it was probably a pretty seneless thing to give all of that up. But when we thought for a few days that we would do the "sensible" thing, we found that both of our stomachs felt sick and our hearts felt heavy.
Now, each morning, I wake up and get to look forward to spending the day with Will. Our mornings are leisurely and unharried, focused on him, rather than me rushing around to get ready for work. We sometimes will cuddle in bed for a few minutes together, and he loves to explore my face with his fingers, me telling him the features that he trails his hands across them. If I ask him to point to Mommy's nose, he does so with glee, and then I point out his nose back.
Then, we head downstairs, where I turn on our gas fireplace and cover us in a soft blanket so he can have his morning nurse. Those are more precious moments together that I am really glad are not something to check off my to do list as I know breastfeeding would have become had I gone back to work. After that, he has his solid meal.
Will is quite the gourmand now. He is past the bland rice cereal of his early solid days and has moved on to a variety of vegetables and even some fruits. He has not turned his nose up at any offering, although he has made some pretty humorous faces when offered a food for the first time. He prefers his food warmed and likes applesauce only when it is mixed with something. He usually has bananas and oatmeal for breakfast, carrots and potatoes for lunch, and we have just started a protein at dinner, so I am mixing chicken with peas or rice. I am making all of Will's foods, which I really enjoy doing and find that it saves us a lot of money. This kid eats a LOT, so I was finding us going through five or six tubs of premade food a day. For pennies on the dollar, I can freshly prepare each of his meals and also make a few batches to store ahead. We do purchase the baby rice cereal and oatmeal, but other than that, everything else is homemade.
He is still nursing four times a day, but I am finding that the afternoon feed is getting harder and harder to get in. If we are out and busy, we sometimes have skipped that feed. He still really loves his two morning and one evening feeds, so I do plan to continue breastfeeding until he is a year old, so we can make the switch to cow's milk. He is doing well with using a sippy cup, so I am going to start putting his evening pumped milk feed in that so that we can slowly start bottle-weaning. Our pediatrician has recommended that Will not have a bottle because of his recent ear infection.
That's right, ear infection! Going back to the rollercoaster theme of this entry, one of the "dips" in our ride this past month was a pretty major ear infection. We didn't even know he had it, because he is such a good-natured fella that the only clues were some tugging at his ear. However, as his sleep wasn't interrupted and he had no fever, we chalked it up to teething. When we went in for the six month Well Baby exam, the doctor found a middle and inner ear infection. Poor little guy! His ear drum ruptured the next day and I would have really been panicked to come into his room in the morning and find blood coming from his ear had I not already been expecting it. I felt like a pretty rotten mother for not knowing that he was sick, but the doctor was even surprised at the severity of the infection based on his temperament before she began the exam. Of course, once she started digging around in his ear, it was pretty apparent to all of us that something was wrong.
Sleeping continues to be the greatest rollercoaster of all. And speaking to other Mom friends of mine, I think that is just part and parcel of parenthood. We will go for weeks with great sleep, and then have a few nights of awful sleep. Just when I think we have this thing figured out, Will switches it up on us. He is pretty consistent about his naps, however, and for that I am very grateful, since many people find that naps are also easily disrupted. We have (knock soundly on wood) only had one time that he refused a nap and that was during the height of the ear infection days, so at least I felt there was a reason. I have just decided to strap myself in for the ride when it comes to the sleep for now. I never take a good night for granted and I fervently hope that the bad nights are spaced out a bit when they do come.
Besides the basics of eating and sleeping, Will just continues to amaze me every single day. I have to pinch myself when I realize that I have a six month old! After all of our struggles with infertility, I sometimes just can't believe that not only do we have a baby, but he is growing up so very fast. It seems as if just yesterday he was born and now, he is scootching around on the floor, holding his own sippy cup, and waving "bye bye." It makes me so proud and so wistful all at once. I am glad to see him growing as he should, but it's hard to watch these precious days slip by.
I hope all of you are doing well and enjoying the end of wintertime. I am excited for spring to come so that I can get out more often with Will. I think he's getting tired of his winter gear!