kellianne: (2009)
We are back in Berkeley after a lovely trip out east.

I was totally seduced by Richmond. That place gets me, every time. A front porch for everyone! Great friends! Great food! Proximity to my family (close, but not too close). Only 100 easy miles away from Katie! AND I could have what is essentially my dream house for somewhere in the 400k neighborhood.

But, friends, it is hot there. And while it would be a great career move for ME (I could essentially make the same amount of money there as I would here, while living on about 60% of the income), it would not be a career move in the least for my husband. Plus, everyone smokes actual cigarettes, which kills the air all around you.

But still, all the benefits are food for thought. I am submerged for at least 15 minutes a day in the swells of East Bay house porn. Here, my dream home costs about 850k, which firmly requires both of us to work as hard as possible so that we can afford the life we have and hopefully retire someday. But the food is delicious and super affordable. And the air smells like flowers, 90% of the year. And, of course, there are about a million other reasons to be in love with this place over a place like RVA. Walking Niko to his school this morning reminded me of all the lovliness... a beautiful day with zero humidity, like most every day here, year round.

Anyhow. House porn. I have a problem. I guess I just feel as if, when we buy a house, wherever it is (probably in the east bay), I'm pretty much not leaving. I want to build out a garden and work on it for years. I want to know a house's very bones. I want to know (and fix) every creaky floor board. I want to watch trees grow and grow. I want to know every neighbor's drama and dog. I want to set up house and never, ever leave. I want this moving around to just plain stop.

***

In sad news, I found out while we were away that Sopor has cancer, and that it's in her lymph system. I take her today to get her stitches out (I had a bunch of the cancer removed before I knew what it was). I'm excited to let her hang around outside again, for her last days. She seems to be feeling fine after what was a rough recovery. I've never taken a pet in for surgery before, and it was ugly. I'll be happy to throw the cone away and be done with it. I just want to enjoy her and make her happy for the time she has left. She's been the best cat for me, and I'm super sad to think that she won't be with us for much longer. In fact, I don't want to write about it any more.

***

In happier news, Niko's birthday is the day after tomorrow and I am starting to feel super excited about planning it. He has requested pancakes for breakfast, an extended school day (I guess he wants to bask in the glow of his friends knowing it's his birthday), and strawberry rhubarb crisp for dinner. We are buying him binoculars. And maybe a kid's bird watching book?

I don't know what I'm doing for the party yet. I need ideas. I'm so travel weary and just want to do something small, which I'm sure will feel large enough to him, anyhow. He has requested chocolate balls instead of cake, based on a gluten free mostly dates and nuts recipe that a friend made in RVA. Berkeley kid wants gluten free, vegan, chocolate balls instead of cake! And he told me this morning that we sure need to eat extra vegetables this week because we didn't eat that many while on vacation. Sure, kid, no problem. I love it!
kellianne: (2009)
I wondered several times over the past couple of weeks if I was pushing Niko too hard with this bike riding thing. We had a rough 4 mile ride a few days back, when I put it upon us both to ride up to the bike shop to have my bike looked at. We fought for an hour going there there because it's ever so slightly uphill. The ride home was fun, of course, with it being ever so slightly downhill. We both remembered the ride as being "really hard", though, when recounting our days at dinner. I had to be his best cheerleader (yay), coach (you got this!), and employer (if you do not finish these last two blocks you won't be able to ride to the bike shop again until you are faster and on two wheels) the whole way there.

We have a newish family tradition. We talk about the favorite parts of our day during dinner. It's a lovely practice; it makes me think of favorite parts even when remembering the day fondly is difficult. It also teaches Niko a bit more about how days work, because he has been convinced through most of his life that there are two days within one day- he has Day Nap and Night Nap (they often do feel like two days, I guess). Anyhow, in our conversation the dinner night of the big ride, we didn't remember those two slightly uphill miles fondly at all.

He has also been having nightmares a lot at night, with one night having me run into his room at least 4 times. So I knew that something big was happening in his brain. He has nightmares before all his big brain breakthroughs, which is common. I was wondering what kind of craziness he was going to come up with after the bad nights.

He woke up Sunday (yesterday) morning very chipper and asked at breakfast if we could take the training wheels off of his bike. We told him that we were going to raise them more, make them a bit more crooked. He insisted we take them off completely. B and I were doubting and giving giving each other knowing looks, but who were we to tell him he couldn't try? We took them off and Buster took him outside.

Within 15 minutes he's shakily riding on two wheels. By the end of a few hours, he can start pedaling himself from a dead stop. I am seriously amazed. Now we can't get him off the bike. It's so ridiculously adorable, I don't even know what more to say. I am humbled by his awesomeness. I was worried I was riding him too hard, but now I think he's leaping past my best biking expectations.

It's funny to raise this kid while I have foot problems. We spend most of our time together, and most of our recreation time involves bikes. I've stopped walking because of all my foot issues. Berkeley is spread out enough that I would have a mile's walk to the grocery store, and that's just too much for me to handle daily right now (there and back). I was worried that, since Niko isn't really a runner, he wasn't going to be a biker. Turns out, he's just imitating my own habits. I'm not at all a runner, either.
kellianne: (2009)
My son. I have so very much to say right now but really just feel like talking about my lovely son.

Waiting for a monorail. Being handsome in the east coast heat.

I'll put it behind a cut. It is long and meandering!

Read more... )
kellianne: (2009)
It's taken me nearly three years, but I can finally feel myself easing into the waxing and waning of phases in a young lad's life.

The most recent weeks here at the Benson house have been a new special version of incredibly annoying. Niko is exploring all sorts of ownership concepts. Which means that there have been LOTS of arguments because when ever I say one thing, he naturally wants the opposite. Sometimes I can be patient with all his dilly dallying (shoot, that's one reason I'm happy to be staying at home right now. I got no friends and no where to go, so whatever!), but other times we actually do have things to do. A house still needs to be run and all that. Food needs to happen. Naps need to happen. Hell, going to the park to run him down needs to happen, too. FUN needs to happen! So it's hard to always be patient when the dilly dallying is strictly because he is going through some crazy brain development that is making him a total jerk.

During this most recent pain in the neck phase, I finally managed to keep my temper in check (this is not easy for a kellianne). Every day that ended, I took special pride. Another day when I didn't submit to assholery and become an asshole myself! But it was exhausting, let me tell you, to negotiate my way through 1538584378 conflicts a day. I just kept telling myself IT'S A PHASE IT'S A PHASE IT'S A PHASE HE WILL BE SO MUCH SMARTER WHEN THE TRANSFORMATION IS FINISHED!!

AND FINALLY!! Yesterday he woke up literally dancing and demanding a party. So we danced and partied, all day, and it was awesome. Suddenly he is speaking more clearly and acting so much more polite and empathic. We had a sitter over last night (the same sitter that he HATED 3 weeks ago) and he was pleased to see her. When she asked if he needed a bath, I said, "Well Niko, you haven't had any accidents today and you have had a bath for the past several nights, so I guess you can skip it!" and dude responded, "OH! Thank you for saying that mama! Thank you for saying I don't need a bath tonight!" and kissed me! What? So polite and sweet.

And this morning? More of the same. A perfect 2 hours long play date with no sharing issues AFTER a 45 minute bike ride that included 2 errands while he sat, perfectly chill, in his chariot. The other mom and I sat at the park and talked like adults the whole time while our sons played perfectly. Bliss. If every day were like this I would have a whole pack of kids!

I just want to put thanks out to the universe that that last phase (whatever it was) is over. I also want to enjoy this moment, because the tide will change again one day and I will again have to rein in my temper and tell myself it's just temporary.

Phew. You guys! Parenting is a weird and hard test on everything good I ever thought of myself before having a baby. Patience! Temper! Who knew the practice could be so consuming?
kellianne: (2009)
It's finally happening. I am surrounded by boxes and am strangely not stressed. At all.

I imagine this is because the stress will come later, as I try to cajole my way into a tight renters mareket in a city where I know next to no one. As I try to wrap my head around why I would ever want to leave the stability and sense of community that Seattle has provided for us. As I start over, again.

I start over all the time, you guys. On a dime, usually. I mean, there might be a few days of waffling, but mostly I'm game for anything, all the time. My therapist recently told me that if something happens 3 times or more, the problem is me. We were, of course, talking about something entirely more personal, but I've been thinking a lot since about how life keeps leading me to live in all these different cities and about how that is obviously something I have obviously chosen to do, time and again. If I ever complain about how life has led me on a meandering path that has left me feeling uprooted, please refer me to myself as the 'problem'.

And the fact is that I get bored when things I expect to happen are happening. So here we Bensons go!

Niko is taking it all remarkably in stride. It's kind of amazing. Even Sopor is being a sport about residing in the basement bathroom of some kind neighbors until we take her on the road. Though I did just get a phone call about how her head got stuck between the wall and the washing machine. Poor Sopor. I hope they both continue to roll with it during the crazy drive down to San Francisco. Because that's how I roll into new cities. On wheels. We could have easily had the car shipped down there and followed in a plane... But I like to roll into a new city after being on the road in contemplation.

And, anyway, it's not like we will never be back in Seattle again. It's a pretty short plane ride and Niko needs to come back from time to time to hang out with his toddler friends. He has become so close with his little drooly pants crew. Lord knows how I'll be able to replicate the camaraderie that I have those families, but change always seems impossible when you're looking at it head on. When I was 20, I was absolutely determined that being a wife and a mother was slavery. And while that's not entirely untrue (!), it's also something I entirely welcomed 10 years later. When I was a new mom, I never thought I'd be comfortable hanging out on the playground and chatting up other moms and now I'm making playground friends all the time... Or, well, I would be if it weren't so damn cold and foggy right now. So point is that I'm having a hard time imagining how I will morph into a Bay Area Mom with Bay Area Mom Buds, but I know I will. Because I must, and because I am lucky in areas like this, anyhow.

We have had the most glorious week of goodbyes, you guys. I have felt so much love and support from our friends here. It has been overwhelming and beautiful. Our Bon Voyage party was the best party of 2013 thus far, I am sure. I almost made it through without crying but, of course, the Vain crew got me. Truly, I do not know how I will ever possibly replicate the awesomeness of the Vain crue and clients. And so I cried, which I don't do because heaven forbid anyone see me as less than powerful. But then I did. So the gig was up for 5 minutes until I ran to the bathroom to save my eye makeup.

I will close with a funny Niko moving story:

Two days ago, I went over my own personal moving schedule with Niko while he had dinner. I wanted him to understand what I was doing every day, and why he was in daycare all week. When I got to friday on the schedule, I said, "Friday, you are going to go to Jenny's and the people are going to come and pack up our Choo House (Niko's name for our place, of course). He screamed NO I DON'T WANT THEM TO PACK UP MY CHOO HOUSE. I explained that the house needed to be packed up so that our stuff could be shipped to San Francisco. So he says Oh in a totally nonchalant manner (related: the fact that toddlers can go from SCREAMING to nonchalant in a split second is ZOMG). Then he asks me to read the schedule again.

I read the schedule 4 more times. Every time I get to Friday, he screams NO I DON'T WANT THEM TO PACK UP MY CHOO HOUSE!! And I repeat my explanation. Then he asks me to read it again. Finally, the last time I read the schedule, I ask him - And what happens on Friday? - and he wails - THEY ARE TAKING AWAY MY TRAINS!!!!! I said, dude? is that what this is about? and he weeps into my shoulder - uh huh mama they are packing my trains. And so I say - hey how about I put your trains in the car with us? So they can be with us always? - and he lights up like a little firecracker and is all - oh! yes!

And now he checks the care all the time to make sure they are in there. In April it will be a full year of TRAINSTRAINSTRAINS and it shows no sign of stopping. I love it.
kellianne: (2009)
Do y'all ever get a feeling of utter disconnection when something VERY BIG is about to change in your life, or is it just me?

It's like when you're engaged to be married, or in your 3rd trimester of pregnancy and everyone you see, even co-workers that you see several times a week, asks "OMG ARE YOU GETTING EXCITED????" every time they see you. And, if you're me, you're like, "Ummm...? Sure." Because it doesn't feel real that your life is about to change like crazy. Because you can't KNOW the UNKNOWN and wrap your little brain around all that change... so what is there to be excited about? When you are baffled?

I said to Buster the other day (in THERAPY), "I can't wait to move to San Francisco so you can stop telling me that I don't know anything about San Francisco!" Because, really, he is there once a week for days AND grew up in the (baffling) OC. He knows so much more of what we are about to get into than I do. All I can ascertain about this area of California (which I have never been able to spell without spell check) is the following:

++++ IT IS SUNNIER THAN SEATTLE
- People REALLY like their cars there
- It is wicked expensive
+ Their food scene is the basis upon which all good, modern American cuisine sits
+ Big ass succulents
+ They sure do love their disco bleeps and bloops
+ Houses are mad colorful
+ Wine is mad good
- They like Green Day in Oakland
- Hippies
- Dirty bums who shit in the street
+ Produce is cheap and amazing
+ AVOCADOS
- Everybody talks tech 24/7 (groan)
++++++ DID I MENTION THAT IT IS SUNNIER THAN SEATTLE?
+/- Most of the girls have long hair (which makes bread and butter cuts hella easy for me)
+/- According to recent reports from the street scene, hairdressers there are not hip in veggie dye applications. This means $$ for me. Even though I kind of hate veggie dye applications.


And that's really it. Did you notice emphasis I put on the sun? You guys, it is so fucking extra dark in Seattle right now, and so rainy. I am stoked to go east on Saturday. I don't care if it's cold as balls (which, hi global warming, it is not) so long as it is bright. I hate hate hate HATE this weather. It makes me stupidly grumpy. I'm tired of my feet always being cold and I am becoming convinced that those swollen lymph nodes on the back of Niko's head will become magically un-swollen in a drier climate. Speaking of Niko- I think he has his first little cold sore. Bully to me for giving him the herp.

Anyhow. Today I am making the house amazing and clean for our house sitter because we will be gone for about 3 weeks to holiday back East. And Rick is bothering me to come to NYC. Which is so weird to talk about because for some reason going to NYC makes me feel tense. I think it's because I envision an urbanite visit where lots of money I don't have (as of Friday I am FUNemployed) is spent on lots of fancy food and drinks. All I want to do is hang out in kitchens and socialize with people in yoga pants while little cherubs drool on my ankles. NYC. You have been lost on me these days. I will definitely be in DC though, because people hang out in houses there. And Baltimore. And Philly. And Richmond. NYC!!!? My beloved? Am I giving you the shaft? Why is the thought of you stressing me out? Am I afraid you will lure me into spending my last $60 on socks?

What else? I feel like there is so much. I should really write about how Niko is saying all sorts of magical things these days. Like how when I lose my temper and scold him, he asks me when my flare subsides, "Are you happy now, mama? I want you be happy." Or, when he is hyper (which isn't often because he is way more in his mind than in his body), he says, "I FEEL RUNNY!!" About how his new best friend at preschool is a kid he has known since birth (the kids mama and I became friends in birth class). This kid was the bully for the first year they were in school together, and is totally in his body with hyper activity. But now they are in dude love! and teachers tell me that they are ones to watch like a comedy team. Niko is the brains of the operation and comes up with the wicked ideas, and Ellis carries them all out. Hilarious!

Also, it has been so difficult to say goodbye to all my clients at VAIN. All these amazing, intelligent people who have helped shape my understanding of life experiences over the past 5 years. All these clients who trust me, who I don't need to filter myself or audition for any longer. That is extremely hard to leave, you guys. Double booked work weeks and a full time paycheck for only 3 days of work is also hard to leave. WHAT HAVE I DONE TO MY CAREER FOR MY MARRIAGE????? So much restarting in a business that does not take kindly to restarting. Oi.

Hugs

Aug. 20th, 2012 10:41 pm
kellianne: (Default)
I have this problem with stress when things don't go my way. I really need to work on it, but am not quite sure how to let go. If something is on my schedule, I want it to happen on time. I guess it's a modern times conundrum and a common one at that.

Anyhow, today Niko and I got into a sort of argument. I was super amped to take him out on a sushi date at the mall and before having him pick out a brand new pair of shoes. We talked about it several times and he seemed stoked, too. (Backstory! I bought him shoes online and he refuses to wear them, but needs new shoes- so I thought that maybe if I got him to choose the shoes himself it would be all good.)

He was kind of a grumpy pants at sushi, which can be par for the course after he spends the day in daycare. I think he just gets tuckered out from being the best kid on the block at daycare! Anyone who watches my kid talks endlessly about how good and how chill he is and this is not quite the dude we see at home so I know that he's just saving his tears for the people he feels comfortable around. But he still seemed stoked to look at new shoes - so we went.

But once we were at the store he was a NO NEW DON'T LIKE IT monster. So we went for a walk and he was a NO WALK DON'T LIKE IT monster. I asked him if he wanted to go home and he was a NO GO HOME DON'T LIKE IT monster and he plopped himself down on the ground. I walked a few paces away from him and we had a staring standoff for 5 minutes while I took some deep breaths.

When I felt my NONE OF THIS IS PART OF MY PLAN rage subside, I walked over to him and sat down. I said - Niko. I'm feeling really frustrated. I was excited to try on new shoes and go for a walk. You are using your mean words and it makes me feel frustrated.

He touched my cheek and said very seriously - Happy, mama. Happy.

I said - You want mama to be happy?

He nodded yes and asked - Hug?

And really, who needs to spend money on new shoes when you can instead have a huge hug on the floor of the stupid yuppie mall?

Keep on hugging, y'all. It helps with scheduling conflicts and more.
kellianne: (Default)
Yes a heart should always go one step too far
Come the morning and the day winding like dreams
Come the morning every blue shade of green
Come with me, go places

Come head on, full circle
Our path blocked but sure we'll
Make records, then set them
Make copies, win races
Stay with me, go places
Once more for the ages


Today is Niko's birthday. This morning he woke at 5am and called me into his room. We have been discussing his wake ups, begging him to call Mama or Papa (whoever he wants) when he wakes instead of crying. So he woke this morning and called out sweetly. I went into his room and he smashed his face up against mine, saying, "Hi mama."

We fell back asleep until 7:30, which is no small feat for even a little guy in a blacked out bedroom. As usual, we went to my bed to nurse when we woke. While we did so, I looked up his old ZeroToBaby birth post and told him his birth story while showing him pictures. He was especially enamored with the idea of being in my belly and laughed when I explained (in toddler language) how I pushed him out.

He asked to wear his choo shorts (they are dirty, but whatever), his choo hat (spots of finger paint dotting the rim), the Super Niko cape (he got for his first birthday from Samantha), and his new "woof woof" shirt. We walked to daycare holding muffins, which he was stoked that I made to share with his friends. When he got to daycare, he sat adorably on the couch and said, "Mama? GO."

How did my baby get so big? Just a few months ago he was beside himself every time I left him. Now when his babysitter, Tristan, comes by every Tuesday he can't wait for us to leave so they can continue with their private lives, in their secret language. Probably they sit around watching choo videos on youtube the whole time, who knows?

Anyhow, I've been thinking a lot lately about how- 2 years in- I am finally feeling like the mother me has fully integrated with the me that I was for 34.5 years before becoming a mother. I feel solid on my mother legs. I'm not going to lie... these two years have been rough. They've been hard on my marriage and hard on my confidence. I am pretty sure that I lost about 4,000 hours of sleep, at least. I look older, I feel older, I AM older.

When people (usually expectant first time mothers) ask me if it was all worth it, I can only answer yes. And I mean it. Yes! A good mother is a phoenix rising out of the ashes of her youth. I'm pretty sure that I'm finished burning my old self off, and I'm pretty sure that I'm a good mother.

I love that kid so much. He is all the best parts of me mixed with all the best parts of my husband, and he is fully his own. He is all my favorite dreams mixed with all the best magic. He is hilarious, wonderful, and endearing. He loves choos (trains), hows (cats), busses, dactes (tractors), and his parents. He gets excited about friends and loves it when we have a party. He does a million silly things every day and makes our family feel complete.

Thanks to everyone who helped make @nikobenson feel loved these last 2 days. He's really happy.
kellianne: (Default)
Hello, Christmas!

I am feeling generally cheery and in a good place this holiday season, but I could really do without the uncontrollable coughs that seek to remove seemingly immobile phlegm inside my chest.

Truly, I don't think this cold would have walloped me so hard if I hadn't started out Monday's (disappointing) Prince concert with three shots of tequila. What was I thinking? Not sure I was thinking at all. It's easy for me to get quickly out of control when I'm with my VAIN ladies. Honest - I really haven't drank much of any liquor since getting pregnant. I'm a wine kind of girl, and usually quit after 2 glasses. If I'm at a crappy place and the wine tastes like sugar, I can't even pretend to finish the first glass. So tequila at a wood-paneled bar in Tacoma? Weird.

And fun, actually. That night was a lot of fun.

Since then, I have been busting my ass doing hair. And busting my ass with this sick toddler, who seems to have the same cold I have (I think I got it from his new-to-daycare self in the first place). Niko, as usual, has been sleeping something awful. But hello? SO BORING TO TALK ABOUT.

Mostly I'd like to talk about how he is the most adorable and awesome baby ever. Even at his worst, he cracks me up. He is obsessed with cheese right now because it's one of the few words he can say, so he's always hitting me up for some. Today he had some in his hand and was asking for more from the fridge. I told him to finish what he had and he turned on me! threw down his cheese! picked it up and threw it down again! and stomped on it repeatedly! Hard for me to show empathy when I'm laughing at him so hard.

Those tantrums are so far short lived and do dissolve when I make a show of empathy (which I did somehow manage today). Mostly he is awesome. His OK Cupid profile would read like this:

"I enjoy long walks in the Central District neighborhood while pushing my pink stroller (don't judge), songs with sign language, and dancing to modern music that sounds like it's sung by girls in the 1960s. I like to think of myself as cultural when it comes to food and will inhale anything you put in front of me that is Japanese, Italian, or Mexican. Books about the alphabet are ace with me right now, be they gothic and filled with ghosts (which my mother says "isn't seasonal"- but whatever) or written/illustrated by Dr. Seuss. I especially like to read from the vantage point of a lap. If you take something from me, I won't shout. I will, however, wait in a cunning and patient manner until you abandon my toy of interest before reclaiming what was rightfully mine. My attention span is probably longer than yours, so do not take my demands lightly. If you are sweet to me, I will give you the fattest face crushing cheek snuggles you will ever know."

Yeah, he's pretty great.

I've been meditating a whole lot on what Christmas should mean to us as a family, which means lots of memories from Christmas past have come up. Mostly, I remember raucous family meals and AWE INSPIRING first views of the tree on Christmas morning. Guys, I realize now as an adult that my parents did Christmas like no one else's parents I know. That morning was HUGE. The whole room would seem to be filled with presents, perfectly arranged around something like a new bike or, god, I don't know, a gorgeous baby doll perched on top of a mountain of gifts. Santa was BIG TIME in our house. I would go to the living room before sunrise and quiver with excitement.

The modern and adult me is all boo hoo about consumerism in this American society and blah blah blah - but the kid in me who got MAD MAD TOYS every Christmas is like OMG THAT WAS AWESOME. I think I can figure out how to balance the gift buying with the traditions- and frankly think my parents did a pretty good job with that as well (it was also all about family and our involvement in our church). I have to fully admit that I totally enjoyed spending money on Buster and Niko for Christmas day, and that I will be stoked to see gifts under the tree. I totally didn't go overboard, either. Some of the gifts are second-hand, most of them were on some sort of sale. And there are no where near what there were when I was a kid, but they should still make a little bit of an impression on Christmas morning.

On other Christmas tradition making fronts- we of course have an awesome tree but did not get lights hung outside (no outdoor plugs!!). At least I made wreaths a few weeks ago and hung some garland on our porch. I've also had mulled wine on hand for whoever is asking, candles everywhere, and I've been singing mad mad carols to Niko.

We are entertaining on Sunday. It'll be my first time doing so for the Christmas holiday, and I"m a little nervous. We aren't having many over, so my work is pretty light, but AGAIN, my family does this stuff UP like you wouldn't believe. For instance, my mother has a full and gigantic set of CHRISTMAS CHINA and entertains at least 30 people for dinner every year. She supplements the china with my grandmother's green depression glass for full Christmas effect. We always had a 10 foot tree in our house- and usually we went to a tree farm to choose it and cut it down as a family (so many delightful arguments and so much mulled cider!!). There are usually lit reindeers in the yard and there has never EVER not been lights on the house and a candle in every window. I have a lot to live up to! Having one kid now, I can say that I honestly and truly do not know how they found time to pull this stuff off.

In fact, HELLO TO PEOPLE WITHOUT CHILDREN! You have no idea of how much your parents love you or of the sacrifices they made to raise you. It's 24/7 crazy love/frustration/busy times when you have a kid, like you can't imagine. I am working on seriously developing my parent legs, and think I have come far in 2011. I have a lot more growing to do, but feel as if I have some time, and learn fast, so it'll be ok.

Gosh, I have so much more to say but am coughing my head off and have a migraine as a result. So I guess I'm off to bed.

Merry Christmas, friends! (Or whatever you want to call it!) It's dark out there and I hope we all feel the love through it all!

Relief!

Jun. 25th, 2011 12:29 pm
kellianne: (Default)

This week has been so full of Niko promise and happiness, you guys!

I hit rock bottom a little while back with his nap and night schedule. We were literally laying down with him at least an hour before every nap and then an hour and a half for night time sleep. It was a full time job on top of all our chores, work and MOST IMPORTANTLY- play time! SO- I decided when my brother visited that it was time to start Niko's transition to being a one nap a day dude. I used Joey's visit and all the activity we were doing to start distracting Niko from his afternoon nap, and eventually started nudging his morning nap (which was always the easier nap) a bit later.

The results are amazing. We now have him in bed around 7:30 every night. He still has some night wakings, but Buster has been working on gently night weaning him by taking my milk factory out of the picture. So
B is always the nighttime parent until about 6, prior to then Niko is offered a bottle of formula if he seems really persistent, which he rarely drinks. Around 6, I nurse Niko- then we all cuddle and snooze until 8 or so.

Last night dude slept for over 9 hours on his own. I feel awesome. I don't expect that sort of sleep from last night forward, but just the fact that it happened tells me that we are on the right path.

It feels so freeing to have him down by 8, too. I have a night life again! I feel almost comfortable inviting people to sit for the evenings now, which I didn't feel confident about before, because he often wasn't down until 10- and by then we'd be too tired to do anything, and he'd be up by midnight anyhow. SO! Those of you who offered might just get a call soon!

Thanks for your patience with all my short tempered tweets and entries on this matter. Not sleeping is not good for these bones of mine. I'm hoping to see some of my health (mental and physical) get back on track during the next few months.

Also, thanks to my lovely husband for continuing to put up with me. [livejournal.com profile] busterbenson is FAR more patient without sleep than his wife.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

kellianne: (Default)
Was there something in the air? Last week was so heavy. It started with terrible horrible no good very bad news in the media, every day. I ranted about our fear of female sexuality, fear of culture that is in any way different from yours, abuse, politics, and I looked forward to the end of the week.

My friend's father died and I held my baby a little closer. I reminded my husband (who knows this already, of course) that the only thing truly important was family. He's burning himself out to make success and create security for our little pod of Bensons. I'm burning myself out to be the Best Possible Mom. But, really? Just being happy and joyful together is the most important thing. Enjoying each other is the most important thing in this temporary life.

Buster went on a business trip. I hung out with my wonderful friends in my cold living room. I took my baby for walks. Friday approached, and then the earth quakes happened. I worried about the family I have over there that I haven't yet had the chance to meet (so far they're ok, though I can't imagine that living without heat, electricity, or water in 25 degree weather is in any way simple to get through).

Saturday mostly went by without incident. Niko and I visited the aquarium with friends. Completely overstimulated (even after a 2.5 hour nap), he ate dinner like a toddler that night, willfully squishing sweet potato chunks between his fingers while giving me looks of DESTRUCTION. He screamed to catch my attention and willfully threw his bits of quesadilla on the floor. I was impatient, exhausted, waiting for the week to be over, waiting for my husband to come home and get into our bed.

When Buster finally came home, I was relieved. I served him beans, kale and rice and obsessed over the smell of his neck. We cuddled in bed - and then he told me the terrible news that we have lost a friend forever. I will never be able to understand the place such a beautiful, kind, and amazingly energetic soul could find itself that is so dark and so unforgiving that she would need to go. I will never look at balloons or birds on a wire again without thinking of watching her paint in her little LES apartment, seeing flaws that are beyond my eyes, fixing every imperfection to create a sense of whimsical, simple, beautiful, dream like, order. I am so sad that we are lacking one less truly lovely spirit in our midst.

I thank Goodness every day that I have such a lovely family to hold and to kiss. I thank goodness every day for the roof over our heads and the food for me to prepare in our lovely little kitchen. I thank Goodness every day for the walks that I take with my son, for the hour or so that I have alone with my husband in bed, for the 4 hours in the morning when we are all 3 cuddled like fuzzy sleep monsters into the futon in Niko's room. I thank Goodness every day for the friends popping by with jokes and wine. I thank Goodness for everything. I am so overwhelmed with how layered and beautiful this world is, so overwhelmed with how temporary it really is, and so grateful to still have my hope and happiness in tact.

I am also glad that it is a new week, guys. Because thanking Goodness every second of every day, glimpsing into these illuminating moments of profundity, feeling the whole weight and beauty of this world…. makes me really glad to just get to work on this old Tuesday, AKA... Laundry Day.

Niko News

Feb. 2nd, 2011 11:46 am
kellianne: (Default)
Niko's brain is exploding. Every day, he's doing something new. It's ridiculous. The whole learning to crawl thing really is a big brain BOOM.

He's crawling proper now, but he does often revert to his weird inch worm army crawl. He didn't even seem to realize that he was crawling proper that day that it first happened. Usually he looks SO PROUD when he learns something new, but not this time. It was just a natural thing for him that went by without a "check ME out" grin.

He's standing and cruising. It's a bit dangerous at this point because he really has NO sense of balance and NO fear, which is a rather bad combination. He's still the same unwieldy fat guy that he was when he was our swaddled Mondo Burrito in his newborn days, but this time he is dangerous to himself. He fell yesterday and bled from his mouth. I was literally standing rightthere! I have no idea how it happened and hope he learns some balance real soon. He's got a big bruise on his cheek right now from a totally different fall and looks like a boxer. He will pull himself up on anything and everything. My (engagement) eagle necklace has lately been his favorite thing to grab to attempt to balance himself (a testament to the durability of this particular Kimberly Baker piece).

He's eating a whole lot better. The guy loves sushi. Krab? Check. Eel? Check. I saw a link on my Baby Center email the other day that was all "Is my baby ready for fish?" and I thought, "the dude is Japanese! I didn't even think to beg the question!" He also loves oatmeal. Frozen blueberries that I stowed away from last summer's farmer's markets are a big hit (especially when his mouth is bleeding, I guess). He loves root vegetables. Broccoli is delicious. I am apparently not supposed to give him wheat, but whatevs, he loves crackers and crusts of bread and doesn't seem to have any problem with anything. Ditto for mozzarella. Any sort of goat dairy? Not so much. Something just clicked last week. He suddenly knew how to really chew and went nuts for food. It's pretty fun.

My favorite? Something clicked with books last week. He stopped just trying to eat them and suddenly realized that they were for reading. My heart just about melted a few days ago when he started reading books on his own! Which basically means that he sat by himself with a book and talked in a loud dramatic voice while opening it to random pages and gesticulating wildly! I guess that's what we sound like to him! I love that!!! His favorite book BY FAR is Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb. If we are on a walk and I catch his eyes and whisper "Dum Ditty Dum Ditty Dum Dum Dum" he laughs hilariously. In fact, he squeals every time I take that book out, and every time I flip the page.

He is applauding all the time. I took him to see The King's Speech yesterday at a Columbia City Theater cry baby feature. It was actually a good movie for him to see because there's all this applause at the end when the king is out on the balcony. Niko caught right on. He was like OMG I KNOW HOW TO DO THAT and clapped right along with all of England.

Also, we have WAVING! He waved to his first strangers yesterday (Sally and her daughter, Cookie). He's also POINTING at things in books. So adorable!

He's very bright and still a thinker more than a mover. He's a shy guy who likes to duck when people give him a lot of attention, but he's seeking the attention, all the same. He is a SUPER FLIRTER with woman when we are out and about. He makes eyes and then plays shy, over and over. It is such a balance between the behavior of his father (shy) and me (flirty flirt flirt) that I have to laugh.

Now that he is getting more sleep, the stranger danger that we were experiencing over the past two weeks or so has abated somewhat. He isn't totally whiny every time I go out of eyesight these days, thank goodness. He's a bright and sunny dude. Every day is a really good one lately! I am loving this age!
kellianne: (Default)
Though still far from any ideal, our sleep situation has dramatically improved over the past two weeks.

In my last report, I was planning a jump off a cliff. It was, as one of my mama cohorts has reported, the Guantanamo Bay of baby sleep. I was absolutely tortured. This resulted in a whole lot of 3am ANGER.

Things had to change.

Buster decided that he was going to send me out of the house for a few nights in a row some two weeks ago, so that Niko could be left to cry a little. A few months ago, I would have absolutely balked at this idea. For the record, I totally support anyone's decision to do the whole Cry It Out thing. I just haven't really thought it was for us. Turns out, a little crying was the best thing we could have done for our family at this point in time.

Niko was obviously not getting enough sleep. He was nursing all night and taking crap naps. I was getting far less sleep than he was, and poor Buster had to shoulder a whole bunch of emotional weight and keep us afloat for so long. Something had to crack, and we were damned if that something was to be a parent.

So! For two nights in a row I nursed Niko down and left the house until the midnight feeding. Buster took over. I don't want to get into how hard it's been during a few nights for him to hear Niko cry. We agreed that we should check on him every 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and eventually 10 minutes. He rarely cried for very long.

Buster and I agreed to tackle the rest of the night (midnight to 7am) gradually, later, when we have rooms. The important part was to get Niko down in his pack and play for the first part of the night. He's crawling around and pulling himself up so much that there is no way we felt safe leaving him in the loft in the bed. The pack and play is the only safe place for him to be alone right now. I honestly think that this whole endeavor was made harder by the fact that Niko can pull himself up now. He had JUST figured out how to do it and hadn't yet figured out how to sit back down. I rather wish we had done something a few weeks sooner.

Turns out that the whole sleep association thing is pretty true. After Niko figured out that he could sleep, sleep he did. Until about midnight, most nights, when I come and nurse him down into the pack n play again. He doesn't argue about sleep after the midnight nursing.

But we still had trouble. Niko can NOT sleep in bed with me at night any longer AT THIS POINT. He would still wake me every half hour from the moment I brought him into bed (he won't stay in the pack n play past 2 or 4 and we don't blame him! who would want to see us all toasty in the bed right next to him while he's in the baby box?). I hit a wall again about a week ago. While the free time between 8 and midnight was nice, I really wasn't getting any more sleep than I was before.

Finally, we agreed that I would nurse Niko at 12 and at 4, but that Buster would do all the co-sleeping and I would be ON THE COUCH. That first night, with the 4am feeding sandwiched in, we adult Bensons got 8 glorious hours of wonderful sleep.

I have been on the couch ever since, with similar success. Niko still wakes up very often after 4, but his dad gets him calmed down pretty quickly into sleep. Last night, with an aching back, I decided to creep into bed around 4:30. Niko was still in the pack and play after his 4am feeding (he went down so easy after that feeding, which is really unusual). Turns out that that was a BAD IDEA. When Niko ultimately woke up and we brought him to bed, he was really really ANGRY when I wouldn't feed him. If I'm even within eye shot during the night, I'm expected to pony up the boobs. He will absolutely refuse to go to sleep if I don't nurse him down if he sees me. If it's his father, no probs. He knows that the papa doesn't have boobs and is good for a cuddle.

I miss my bed. My back is killing me. I miss cuddling my son all night long. I miss spooning with my husband. But, dudes, I do not miss nursing on demand every half hour. I wish the situation could be different, but right now that's where it all stands! I am a much MUCH better mother this week than I have been in AGES. I get so much done that one would think I were snorting ritalin. Niko gets play groups. Niko gets more walks. Niko gets all of my attention and my attention is HAPPY.

Also, out of the blue this week, Niko has decided that I don't need to nap WITH him in order for him to nap. I think that this is due in large part to the fact that he is getting more sleep at night and isn't so overstimulated during the day. His daytime napping has improved so much with our new sleep situations.

Fuck yeah! But oh shit I might be screwed when Buster goes out of town on business in two weeks…. hmmmmm…..

***

In other, related news!

WE ARE MOVING!!!!!!! We have an beautiful apartment WITH ROOMS waiting for us on First Hill! It is 1100 sq feet of gorgeous amazingness with the original oak floors from 1910, a formal dining room, a cute kitchen, a large living room, 2 BEDROOMS, 2 bathrooms, window boxes, and a terrific land lord. This place has proximity to many bus lines, all my mom friends on Capital Hill, and all my other friends on Capital Hill. You wouldn't believe the price if I told you (that price does come with a hitch, but maybe more on that later).

WE ALSO HAVE A RENTER FOR THE LOFT!!! WHO IS INTERESTED IN BUYING (contingent on the sale of his house in the burbs, so who knows what that means)!!! SO WE ARE NOT GOING TO GO INTO FANTASTICAL DEBT (we don't think) DOING THIS!!!

Things are looking up, dear friends! Seattle is a little cold right now but about to have FAKE SPRING! If you don't live here, you should know that that means bulbs budding! Flowers flowering! Temperate air flowing! All in February. It is one of my favorite fake Seattle seasons, right up there with FAKE SUMMER, which happens in May.

Fake teaser seasons. Oh, Seattle! You are a funny place. I kind of love you. Which is passive aggressive PNW way of saying that we belong. In an awkward way. A little. You're sort of awesome.

Sleep

Jan. 8th, 2011 02:06 pm
kellianne: (Default)
It is really hard for me to read attachment parenting information on sleep. I was in complete agreement with all the information provided on them, and still feel as if it's so very important to soothe a crying baby.

But never letting an 8 month old baby who wakes up literally 20 times a night cry? I'm finding it to be impossible.

Lots of people ask how we're coping. I guess we're just doing whatever it takes with our "persistent personality/ high maintenance" nighttime baby. I am trying to gradually get our little crane to sleep on his own using baby steps. This week in particular, we've seen a lot of success (finally) when we put him down in the pimped out pack and play that's next to our bed and pat him to sleep. But sometimes, like today, he gets other ideas of how I should be playing with him when he is clearly ready to nap.

I let him cry for 10 minutes today. I hate doing it. I can hear his every little breath in our one room house, so you can imagine how connected I feel to his cries. He does not like to be left alone, ever. This is where the attachment parenting information really gets me... they talk about how your child will be so much more confident of your love and support through co-sleeping and never letting them cry... but I have not found this to be the case with Niko, at all. Niko doesn't like to be left alone, ever. He wants his parents, or anyone- really, to be at arm's reach. This isn't tough for us while living in our small space. But whenever I am out of eye sight for even a second, he starts to whine and cry. It breaks my heart that he would ever think that I am going to leave him there. I tell him all the time that I would never leave, but of course he couldn't understand.

Anyhow, I had to let him cry a little to get my point across. This was after reading him three books, nursing him, rocking, singing several songs, and patting him for 15 minutes. He cried for 10 minutes and then I pat his back for 5 more minutes and he fell asleep for a whopping 40 minutes. Whoop-de-fucking doo because every book I read tells me that any nap that is under an hour doesn't count. Whatever. Mind you, it took me 40 minutes to even get that nap out of him.

But, you know, even falling asleep in the (pimped) pack and play after crying for 10 minutes is a MAJOR improvement over what he was doing even a month ago. He wouldn't even sleep in that thing for the longest time. We had to make a serious issue out of it for naps and general sleeping without us after he crawled out of the bed and landed on his little face a few weeks ago (I can't tell you how much that broke my heart). It's how to keep him asleep that is the bigger problem. He doesn't want to stay asleep for more than an hour at a time and if I don't nurse him back down at night, he'll completely wake up and think that it's PARTY TIME. I am trying to sleep between 2am and 7am on the couch downstairs while papa takes over co-sleeping so that he can't just have the boob at his beck and call whenever he wants it, every half hour or whatever. Mostly because this WAS NOT WORKING for me AT ALL after several weeks of waking up every 30 minutes. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I was contemplating jumping off our building regularly at 3am.

Anyhow. Gradual night ween. Some crying. This no sleeping thing the hardest thing I have ever done, by far. I truly do feel as if we are saints for coping with this as well as we are. I would be utterly thankful for a baby who only woke me 4 times a night. I feel HATE for people on parenting boards who write things like "my baby has slept through the night since she was 6 weeks old, but now that she is 6 months, I am SO READY to get her to stop needing to be rocked to sleep all the time!" WTF?? Do you even want a baby?!

And that, my friends, is how sleep is going over here at the Benson house.
kellianne: (Default)
The state of Niko is a pretty good one, lately. Except for sleep, really, which I am thinking of as a long term project.

I only have a few minutes, but wanted to jot a few developmental things down. )
kellianne: (Default)
I am somehow adjusting to this waking up every hour business. I'm taking a homeopathic pill (ok, full disclosure, I'm taking THREE) called Calms Forte every night before bed and essentially just staying groggy through all the night waking, whereas before I was waking up completely every time and then getting into a shambles of mental illness.

Things are somewhat better. I mean, he still wakes every hour... but sometimes he goes down in the pack n play next to the bed, which he was absolutely refusing before. He's also learning that he doesn't have to fall asleep with a nipple in his mouth, which is awesome.

I'm not sure why he's still such a poor sleeper. I feel horrible for the guy. It's obvious most of the time that he doesn't want to wake, but can't figure out how to stay asleep. He gets really frustrated.

He's learning how to crawl his way all over the place, which is making for crazy times in the bed. It's good that Buster is mostly sleeping on the couch, because Niko and I are all over the mattress through the night. He's rolling everywhere, flailing in his sleep, and forever impaling me with his toenails.

But! OMG! So cute! He's loving turning his back to me and wiggling his way into me so that I'm spooning him. It's to die for, honestly. I melt into a thousand little puddles every time.

Buster says that he's trying to pull himself up on the coffee table. I haven't seen this yet, but I believe it. It's funny that such a slow mover can still think his way around how to do things right on target. He's still miles behind all the babies I see on speed, but doing the same things they do. Just lumbering along, never wandering far from me like other babies wander... perfectly content to hang around as long as his parents are hanging around.

And LOVING walks in his ergo. He laughs every time I bring it out. Sometimes I disappear for 2 hours with him on his back and he just hangs there, babbling softly to himself and trying to hang upside down out of the carrier. He doesn't seem to mind the Seattle-winters wind and rain- so long as I'm carrying him. He still digs the stroller, too, but is not nearly as patient with it. I've taken to bringing the Ergo along in the stroller's cargo for when he lets me know that he's finished. Then the stroller becomes the grocery carrier...

I'm convinced that he's saying Papa. I say, "Where's your Papa?" and he looks all over for Buster. And he says pa pa pa pa. But ba ba ba is part of his babble all the time, so Buster's not convinced. Whatever. I should mention that his babbling is always soft. He never yells. Unless he screams, which is an entirely different emotion (the kind of emotion that needs to go to sleep, usually).

I haven't been consistent with signing, but do try to do milk and more a little. He's not picking up on anything other than a high 5. SO like a kid of mine. Totally concerned with being cool over being practical. Word.

Actually, he's looking just like both of us, depending on the moment... but he looks happier when he looks like me. Sigh.

Like mother, like son...

8:36pm Despite appearances we had a great day
kellianne: (Default)
Our sleep is still poor. )

If you've written me about anything and I have not responded, please know that it's because I just don't have a whole lot of energy right now. I am massively behind on all things internet-related, even email, and will probably never catch up.

I am currently reading The No-Cry Sleep Solution and am hoping to make some improvements with which to start 2011. I also bought the Ferber book out of curiosity and desperation, but don't think that crying will work for us.

Anyhow. He's a great baby, but a high maintenance nighttime kid. He loves his parents. I DO think that the co-sleeping is making for a sweet guy. He is never clingy during the day. We take him out all the time and he loves EVERYONE. He cuddles with anyone who holds him! He will also play for a long time on his own while I get stuff done. He is obviously very confident of his support system and I love that! He is so much fun during the day that I am thankful hour after hour. He seriously cracks us up, all the time. He's really wonderful.

Let's talk about something else...

Things Niko is doing:

*Rolling from one end of the room to the other.
*Push-Sliding backwards on the wood floors.
*Loving blocks
*Super responding to my request to "Jump Jump!" and always thinking that's hilarious.
*Trying to get up on his knees
* Constantly trying to hang upside down, which makes for hilarious walks in the Ergo. He's always cracking up tourists who walk behind me in the market by trying to flirt with them while hanging backwards from his carrier.
* Flirting with EVERYONE. He has a secret life that he spends charming everyone around me while I carry on a conversation. Every time we're at a restaurant, tables around us are randomly exploding with laughter.
* Loving when we make him dance, which looks hilarious... especially since he has a HUGE booty (size 5 diapers, WOAH).
* KISSING MY FACE constantly with his sweet open mouth. This is my favorite.

I think that crawling will still take some time, since he is SO big and still such a thinker.

Outings!
kellianne: (Default)
I nursed Niko down for a nap for the second time today. I did it yesterday, too.

I did it because, after a few days of trying to let him fall asleep on his own, he just looked depressed. I felt depressed. Buster, I'm sure, felt a little depressed. And things weren't getting any better. So maybe sleep training just isn't right for us, at least right now.

I feel like sleep training is something for families who have kids who have rooms. Houses. With. Rooms. Not one big loft, where cries echo and break your heart into a million pieces. And even then, if we had a house, could I guarantee that Niko wouldn't look lonely and sad after an afternoon of crying himself into every nap? Probably not. I think he's just the kind of kid who is extra loving, and needs some extra attention.

I'm exhausted. I'm getting horrible sleep. If Niko wakes up 4 times a night to nurse, that's a *good* night. But I was doing ok with his "good" nights before I got sick. I really was. It's only been since I got this terrible cold that I have had a hard time overcoming, well, everything. Very slowly, I am on the mend. Very slowly, my patience is rebounding. Very slowly, I feel like maybe it's not Niko that needs to change so much as maybe it's ME who needs to change.

Reading mommy boards, it really bothers me that people seem to think that crying babies are trying to manipulate their way back into your bed. How can a baby manipulate anyone? Babies are their essential selves. They speak directly of their needs. A baby crying? He's saying, "I feel alone and scared." I can't have Niko feeling that way. Especially not when he can see me, right there, in the bed next to him.

Now that I've nursed him down for a nap? He's been sleeping for a solid hour and a half. He just doesn't get sleep like that when he falls asleep on his own. His head gets so wound up that he gets rattled. Last night, after I nursed him down to sleep, he woke after 3 hours (typically the moment I started to fall asleep) from a pretty serious nightmare. I couldn't let him cry it out after that. I want him to feel safe and warm.

I haven't given up totally on having him out of our bed for a while every night. I'm working on creating a better sleep environment for him in that goddamn pack n play. I might even make it into a tent with some softy glowing lights. I do need some alone time with my husband at night. And damn if a queen sized bed isn't too small for three people. But I am giving up on this whole idea that I'm doing something wrong if my child doesn't sleep for more than a three hour stretch.

I have a very nice baby. He's sweet, cuddly, and happy. He has a beautiful attitude and loves being passed around my beauty salon like a loaf of bread. He loves his mum and his pop and his cat. He loves his wooden cart and blocks. And he loves being nursed down to sleep, over and over, every night. Life isn't so bad.
kellianne: (Default)
Niko seems to be getting better at lying down for naps, which is an terrific relief. Buster is really good at standing and rocking him to sleep, but he's just too heavy for me to do the same with. I tend to nurse him down for naps while we lay together, which is really nice, anyhow, especially because I know that our days lying down together and nursing to nap are limited. Anyhow, today, I rocked him and nursed him when we were interrupted by the diaper service at our door. I quickly put him into his pack and play (where he sleeps when he's not laying with us in bed) and expected him to fuss the moment I left him... but he went to sleep instead. Good job, little dude!

I meant to write in my Niko News a few days ago that he responded to a request that I've been pestering him with for a week now. He's been figuring out how to use his fingers and his nails, and loves to grab and scratch rhythmically. I've been imploring him to "be gentle with mama" while he nurses or touches my face. I show him how to be more gentle by moving his hands for him. The day before yesterday, he totally changed the way his hand was grabbing and stroked me with his fingers when I asked him to be gentle. It was so sweet and wonderful!

Today I gave him a teething biscuit for the first time. I quickly realized that he's far too little for a biscuit, but not before he figured out that he LOVES how they taste. So I took it away and put it into his mesh feeder. He gnawed on that thing for a half-hour while I sang to him and did the dishes. It was hilarious.

Now that I am back to work for three days a week, these domestic housewife days have become precious. Especially when they include afternoons with awesome mom friends and their own incredible babies. Work, too, is precious. I love being at Vain. My favorite clients are all back and I am a busy bee! I feel as if everything is in perfect balance these days, and I am so thankful.

Now, to finish dinner prep while he naps, then get ready to whisk him off to child care at the gym so I can get in a blissfully alone yoga practice. I do much better as a mother and a wife if I have a regular yoga practice! I seriously need to meditate on some specifics of being a better person at least twice a week, while stretching. If I don't do this, I feel broken in spirit and WAY broken in the back. Weight training makes me super hot, but yoga makes me super lovely and puts space between my bones. I like the balance between the two, too. Strength of body and spirit so I can get everything done with grace... while looking hot. Word.

All that said, thank goodness for cheap child care at the gym. It's so awesome to just drop him there for an hour and a half and not have to worry about it. Totally worth the membership.

4 months!

Sep. 12th, 2010 10:25 pm
kellianne: (Default)


Niko started to chuckle during this last week! He's been trying to laugh for a while, but now the full-on giggles are coming out! It's so ridiculously cute.

Buster gets him laughing much more easily than I do. I can't figure out if it's just because Buster is inherently more silly than I am (it's true) or if it's because Niko and I have this different mother/son sort of relationship that is lovely in a more spiritual and nurturing sense. Maybe it's a little bit of both?

Mr. Crane and I still have staring contests when we nurse. It's my favorite to see him slowly start drift off to sleep while trying his best to keep his eyes on mine. It's incredible pay back for all the months of drudgery that is pregnancy. Pay back, even, for the crazy painful transformation of labor and delivery. Everything every crazy mother ever told you about falling in love with a baby being the biggest transformative love ever... is true. Everything. I swear.

And it's not just a hormonal response! I can honestly say that I now understand falling in love with a baby. I get why people just love babies and want to be around them as much as possible. Babies are so lovely, magical, wonderful creatures that remind you of what it is to be your essential self. Your self without all those stories you let your ego distract you with. They feel joy, pain, sadness, and contentment in such pure ways, and you can't help but feel essential right along with them.

Of course, like any mother, I feel like my baby is particularly wonderful. He's terribly cuddly and sweet. He'd rather rest his head on his father's shoulder or his mother's chest than just about anything else. Even when he's in his freshest mood, after the grogginess of a nap, he's willing to nuzzle in the rocker between smiles and language practice.

The language practice is hilarious these days. Two weeks ago, when his first tooth started coming in, he started yelling. That's when he really discovered his voice and now he is very much so concentrated on making sounds and speaking. He wrinkles his little brow, thinks and thinks, and lets out a bunch of alooowllleeee sounds. Eventually he gets frustrated that he's not in complete control of his tongue and everything gets down to yelling again. It's really something to watch!

A little while, we started with our bedtime ritual of bath, massage, book, and boob. It really seems to work. He's going down earlier and earlier every night, though. We now start the ritual at 7 because that's just really when he's ready to go. He seems to be ready to go earlier and earlier, as the sun sets earlier and earlier in the evening. At this rate, he'll be in bed at 4 for the winter solstice. Sometimes he wakes after 2 hours to nurse, and sometimes he wakes after 6. It really depends. On what it depends, I do not know. As far as I can tell, the sleeping is largely unpredictable except for the fact it happens largely at night with two substantial naps during the day. After 4am, he seems to half sleep. This is when his tooth bothers him the most, so he often starts waking me every hour to nurse. Between nursings, he's often kicking me repeatedly and occasionally screaming out in pain and frustrating until 7, when his father takes him away so that I can get a blissful hour or two of sleep on my own.

That in mind, I really should head to bed now so that I get a good 6 hours in before leaving in for work at 9 tomorrow.

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kellianne

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