Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wonderous and Triumphant Natalie. Silly and Detail-Obessed Mommy

Yup, Natalie has figured out how to sit all on her own. It is mind boggling to me that she can now roll off her back to her tummy, hoist herself up on her knees, then twist back on to her butt! She uses combinations of these moves to move all around the living room now. When I went to get her at the end of her second nap today, she was actually sitting up in the crib! AND in the bath tonight, she pulled herself up all the way for the first time. Natalie just seems so much more happy the last two days since she has figured this new trick out. She still gets frustrated that she can't crawl (or walk) over to me, and it looks like she is trying to stand up still, but she doesn't just stay on her tummy complaining. She gets up on her knees and gets a little forward momentum and then she moves back down on to her butt. How fast babies grow and learn is so amazing. I can barely believe that 8 months ago we were coming home from the hospital with a baby who couldn't control her limbs and couldn't lift her head, and now she is so close to crawling and walking all on her own. And to think, that back about a week ago, I was sort of bummed that Natalie hadn't met the goals in What to Expect the First Year. Now just a few days after her 8 month birthday, she can do almost all the goals, eve the "may even be able to" ones.

Just to bask in Natalie's awesomeness, here is a list of the things she can do (some of them are laughable):
  • bear some weight on legs when held upright
  • feed self a cracker (well, she hasn't had crackers, but she can feed herself other things)
  • rake fingers over an object and pick it up with a fist
  • turn in the direction of a voice
  • look for a dropped object
  • pass an object from one hand to another
  • stand holding on to something
  • object if a toy is taken away
  • work to get a toy that is out of reach
  • play peekaboo
  • get into a seated position from tummy
  • pull up to standing from a seated position (just the one time in the bath)
  • use pincher grasp
  • say dada indiscriminately (not sure if this totally counts, but she makes that sound a lot)
  • cruise (only done this a few times)
  • stand alone momentarily (depends on your definition of momentarily...)
And these are the things she hasn't done:
  • creep or crawl
  • clap hands
  • wave
  • understand no
But each of these things she appears to be on the cusp of getting. I saw her doing something very close to clapping today. She's twitched her fingers while holding up her hand when others are waving. And she looks like she is going to crawl any second. She creeps backwards. We aren't so sure on understanding no, because there isn't too much I've had to tell her no over. I mean, pretty much the worst things she does are put a few items in her mouth I'd perfer she not (library books, the remote, the camera), pull my hair and pinch me. The pinching is probably the only one that we really could make an issue over. We keep everything she really shouldn't be getting into out of the way. I'm sure though once she gets crawling "no" will make a stronger appearance in little Natalie's life.

So, needless to say at this point, Mike and I are very proud of our little girl. She has done so much in just a few days, in just several months!

Thinking about what she has accomplished always gets me thinking about what she will do next, and thinking about the future at the moment has me starting to plan the details of our next big adventure: Our week long trip to TX. I am excited for this trip, but also getting more anxious about it as it approaches. Now, in the past, I've always had small concerns about trips. The biggest is always food: Will I be able to eat things I like and when I like? Next on my list of travel concerns is: Am I going to enjoy the new experiences? This one particularly comes up when we are staying with people I don't know well, which is true in this case. I usually don't worry about the hassle of traveling itself. I leave those worries to Mike.

However, I really haven't been thinking about these concerns much at all for this trip. I've been thinking all about Natalie. Here are my current worries:
  1. Natalie be totally screwed up because we can't keep a schedule. When you visit other people, you really need to do most things their way. I have this idea in my head that the household her are visiting is more chaotic then our home. Not only do they have a baby who might not yet have developed a routine by the time we visit, but I'm not sure if they are the type of household that has a routine anyway. At home, we have a set way of how we run through our days. While each day isn't identical, Natalie eats, sleeps, and plays at pretty much the same times. Plus, part of what you do when you go visiting is to go out to dinner and see sights. Taking Natalie out a lot for those things can mess up her schedule, too. Natalie goes to bed kind of early. I'm worried that our need to be home for the night around 530 - 6 will put a huge damper on our hosts and hence pressure on us to keep Natalie up. the differing schedules of two babies might also make it hard to coordinate times that we can even do anything. I also have a huge concern that when I insist on doing some things our way because I know it is what Natalie needs or is used to, that I will meet some resistance and that they will think I'm insulting how they do things. Its possible that I might disagree with how they do things, but I won't know until we get there. Either way, I want to continue to follow Natalie's routine because we've built it off of her needs and cues. But at the same time, Natalie and I go through our days only having to worry about ourselves. We will be going to a household with five other people with their own needs that have to be met. I'm worried about conflicts over that. For example, when I asked my SIL in they got Nick Jr, it hadn't even yet occurred to me if we would ever put the TV on for Natalie during the trip because of everyone else there. Lastly, I'm worried about second guessing myself. Most of the time, I feel like I judge Natalie's needs pretty well. But, with so many other outside factors possibly entering the mix, I'm worried that I will second guess what she needs thus leading to poor decisions for Natalie. Now, I'm pretty sure that it will be hard to do lasting damage to her on a one week vacation, but I really don't like to see her upset unnecessarily for any amount of time, and its stressful, which is not really the point of a vacation. Going to stay with woman I barely know who is a third time mom is intimidating. Everything that we go through she is going to have been through twice already. I'm passive and shy. The pressure to adapt to how she does things will be there even if she doesn't intend it to be, and I'm worried that asserting myself to do things our way will make me look like a bitch.
  2. Frustration and "no" overload for Natalie because the house we are visiting is not yet baby proofed and possibly cluttered due to two older children and two overworked parents. I really do not want to chase (because I really think there is a good chance she'll be walking, if not, at least crawling) Natalie around all day pulling her away from things and taking things out of her hands and mouth. But, I can't tell these people to change their home that drastically for us. I'm worried that not only will it be frustrating and tiring for me (making me grumpy and irritable, which is never what you want to be when visiting), but also be extra rough on Natalie, who, as I mentioned above, as of yet has had little experience with "no."
  3. Uneven time looking over Natalie between Mike and I. Often when we go visiting or on weekends, I still wind up spending the most time with Natalie. This isn't always the case. There are plenty of times that Mike will watch Natalie. But, Mike gets to sleep in because he doesn't have to feed her. And, lots of times Natalie fusses for me because she knows I'm around. Or, Mike will have other things to do, either productive (like helping his mom with her computer or mowing our lawn) or fun (like playing basketball with his cousins). Keeping number 2 above, I'm worried that this trip will actually be more tiring for me than being at home and that Mike won't either realize it or that he won't have the power to do anything about it.
  4. Natalie being overwhelmed by too many new people, things, and experiences. Natalie has never been on a plane. Natalie has only met my BIL and SIL once - when she was about four days old, which is also the only time I met my SIL. When we visit my parents, we bring all our own stuff with us. Our pack n play, our car seat, our high chair, our toys. Since we have to fly, we won't have those things and will have a limited number of toys (as opposed to the overwhelming flood she has now). I worry that she'll just want normal and home, plan and simple.
  5. Appearing foolish and insulting to my BIL and SIL because I'm trying to keep things as normal as possible for Natalie. I've already asked them if they have our brand of baby food and if they have Nick Jr. I got the feeling from Mike after he talked to his brother that they thought it was silly that I asked (but I didn't get this feeling from my SIL when she wrote me back with the same answers). Now, I don't want to ask anything else. I'm worried that they will think I'm being insulting when I want to keep things our way for Natalie. But really, I want to keep her food, her diapers, her wipes, the smell of her clothes, her routines the same because its what she knows. We know that things run smoothly when we do them this way, so why when we are on vacation would we go changing things around that we don't have to? I'm worried that we'll get different food and she'll dislike it or have a reaction to it. Or, that we'll do a load of laundry and she'll not like that our clothes smell different, or worse yet, react to the different detergent. I asked about this on Y!A and I basically got responses that people thought I had every right to be overprotective, but that they thought I was going to take all the fun out of the vacation. To me, this trip is really going to be more work than a vacation. Its a vacation for Mike because he won't be going to work. But, I'm pretty sure that I am going to be working harder to care for Natalie while we are away. Why would I add unpredictable variables into the mix when a quick trip to the grocery store would solve those problems? Is it really insulting to say, I just want to do it my way just in case?
  6. The other children and Natalie not getting along. Natalie has only interacted with other kids at story time. That's 30 minutes once a week, and she's really only be old enough to interact for the last couple months. On this trip, she is going to be with two much older kids and one younger baby for pretty much the whole visit. Not only will I have to watch out that Natalie doesn't hurt her baby cousin, but I will have to make sure that her older cousins don't accidentally hurt her or make her uncomfortable. I want Natalie to interact with her cousins, but the ensuing discipline is not really something I feel ready for or am looking forward to. At story time, I feel totally unprepared to deal with the issues of Natalie touching other kids and other kids touching her. Also, with Natalie so used to having a room full of toys that are all hers, I'm a little worried how she is going to react to toys that aren't hers. Will it be okay for her to play with all of her baby cousin's things? Will her older cousins be leaving things around that she can get into and even possibly ruin? Will there be tantrums from Natalie if she can't play with what she wants? Will Natalie be fussy because she is bored if there aren't many toys for her? (Of course we are packing some, but really how many is practical to bring? Yet another things to worry about looking foolish over is the number of toys for her to play with. If I bring a lot, will they think I'm spoiling her? Or that I'm just a generally ridiculous woman because a baby doesn't need that many toys?).
  7. Nightmare flights and trips through the airport. While high on Mike's list of worries, this is low on my list. These parts of the trip, though they might be horrible, are short in comparison to the rest of the trip. If she fusses and screams at times, well, there really isn't all that much we are going to be able to do about it. While I'm sure if that happens I will be a crying, stressed out, hateful wreck, it will only be a small percentage of the trip. Plus, odds are that she won't be horrible the whole time through the airport and plane ride. Chances are that most of the time at the airport she will be okay, even if it means me holding her or walking her around. That leaves the time on the plane, during part of which we hope she will nurse (and, fingers crossed, maybe even nap). I am a little worried that if she is crying the whole time that some other passenger will give us a hard time. I'm worried that I might say something rude (or very rude). But other than the stress of the conflict, I don't feel too bad about her ruining other people's flights. I mean, who actually enjoys flying? And doesn't everyone know that a crying baby is a possibility on a flight? Buy a $1 pair of earphones and deal. Just listening to it will be a lot easier than our job of trying to end it, not to mention holding her the whole fight.
  8. All my usual worries about Natalie not sleeping or eating well magnified because of the new environment. Probably my biggest worried here is that her baby cousin's night wakings will wake her up and keep her up or that being in a new place will keep her up when she wakes up.
Ah well, I think I have purged all my worries for the moment. It does feel good to get it all out, and thus this blog is doing its job. I still have about six weeks to work through most of these concerns. I know that I probably should just ask my SIL some more questions about how she runs her home so that I know what to expect, but at the same time I can't help feeling that I am the only one in this situation who feels the need to communicate about this. Hopefully, six more weeks won't intensify these worries, or at least not all of them.

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