Almost Two, Strong-willed, and Sweet Through and Through

If you’ve followed my spotty blog posts this fall, you may have gotten the feeling that parenting has been a struggle for me lately.  You would be right.

We had a super-smooth transition to part-time daycare. That continues to go well, and I’m completely happy with and confident in our care provider and her assistants. I am SO thankful for this.

But last week, I posted on Facebook that I felt like I was bringing out the worst in my daughter. I know, that’s a horrible sentiment. It’s just that her other caregivers – her daycare providers and her dad – just raved about how much fun they were having with her and how easy-going she was. But when we spent time together, I felt like I was trudging (blindly) through an endless storm of tantrums and tears. I have tried not to take it personally and tried to remain patient with her. And I’ve tried to stay positive, because we’ve had some good times together, too.

But yesterday, we had a near perfect day together. I saw in my daughter what everyone else has been saying about her. She was independent and creative, silly and serious. She marched around the house busying herself with projects. She brought things to show me, and we explored them together. She put together her train set. She choo-chooed! She sang songs quietly to herself and then loudly with me. Best of all, she read books – lots of them. I’m guessing she spent an hour reading on her own yesterday. No, I cannot be happier or more proud about this.

While I showered, Cee brought books into the bathroom, one at a time. She sat on her stool and flipped through the pages, giving her toddler-condensed version of the story. I heard from the shower:

“Mama. Yama. Mama. Yama. Mama? Yama Mama? Yama!”

(Surely you recognize this story! It’s one of my favorites: Is Your Mama a Llama by Deborah Guarino.)

Closing the book, she pronounced, “Tee En!” Then she marched back to her room for the 17th book she would read during the course of my shower.

Reading another of our favorites: Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert. Fabulous book celebrating the beauty and colors of fresh produce. Here, Cee is excited to identify “CORN!”

Thank you, Cee, for letting me see the very best of you this week.

Cee will be two a week from today. I know that the next year will bring lots more rough patches. I know. But I’m feeling confident and ready for the coming year. We’ll weather the rough patches, and we’ll celebrate all the sweetness of life, together.

 

A Dozen Things Reference Books Won’t Teach You About Raising A Baby (Guest Post from Kristine Wise)

I’m so excited to roll out ScienceofMom’s first ever guest post today! I love the idea that this blog can be a platform for the voices of other parents. In today’s sweet post, Dr. Kristine Wise touches on many of the joys and challenges of first-time parenting, and I’m sure you can relate! I met Kristine when we were both students in the doctoral program in Nutrition at UC Davis, and last year we gave birth to our first children about one month apart. She is a scientist, a teacher, a runner, an amazing cook, a steadfast friend (as in the kind who calls you up after 6 months have slipped by since you last talked and says, “ahem, we need to catch up!”), and now a fabulous mother. Her post is focused on the surprising lessons she’s learned as a stay-at-home mom. Any working moms want to weigh in with their experiences?

A Dozen Things Reference Books Won’t Teach You About Raising A Baby

Guest Post by Kristine Wise, PhD

Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a mom. I’ve always loved kids and years of babysitting taught me at least the basics of child care. I knew you had to cradle a baby’s neck, I’d changed diapers, and I still remember how important my blanky was to me for many (probably too many) years. I have a wonderful role model in my own mom who makes mothering look easy and fun, so I thought being a stay-at-home mom would be, if not easy, then at least a natural fit for me. In the short year since ET was born he has taught me more than I ever imagined, and I wouldn’t trade being a stay-at-home mom for anything. However, it’s not always fun, and it’s definitely never easy, and at times I still question my qualifications. Here are a dozen of the unexpected lessons I’ve learned and observations I’ve made. Continue reading

10 Things I Don’t Want to Forget About My First Year of Motherhood

BabyC turned 1 a few weeks ago. I have been in denial about this milestone. I’m still calling her my baby, even though she is acting every bit a toddler. It is bittersweet for me, this crossing of threshold from baby to toddler. I will be a mother for the rest of my life, but this first year of motherhood has been so full of joy, sometimes found in surprising places, that I don’t want to forget any of it. But already, it feels like such a blur. How many moments have passed when I have paused and told myself, “don’t forget this one!”? How many times have I felt so overwhelmed with love that I have wished I was a poet or a painter so that I could distill the way this baby girl makes me feel, so that I could somehow conjure up the feeling again, next year or decades later?

So, before I forget, there are a few things that I want to be sure to remember about my first year as a mother:

1. The way BabyC looked at me with instant recognition the first time I held her. Whether it was my voice, my smell, or my touch, she immediately relaxed in my arms and looked up at me, confidently. Me? I was a wreck. Continue reading

Grief and Motherhood

I tried to make this a Thursday Paragraph, but it turned into a little more.  Oh well.  I made the rules, so I get to break them.

It was January 8, 2011, and BabyC was not quite 8 weeks old.  After having a continuous stream of visitors at our house around her birth and then the holidays, she and I were finally settling into a routine together.  Her dad was working long hours that month, so it was just the two of us most of the time.  She needed to be held A LOT at that age, but that was OK.  I was prepared to give myself completely to her care, or so I thought.

That day, there was a horrible shooting rampage in our community of Tucson.  Six people were killed, including a 9-year-old little girl, and more were injured, among them our U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords.  Even though I didn’t know any of the victims personally, I felt overwhelmed with grief and fear.  My heart was knotted inside of me.  How would I protect my little girl from so much evil in the world?  That first day of waiting for more news updates, I held my baby tight and tried to hold back the tears that pushed at the back of my throat. Continue reading

(Re)Introduction and Intention

I thought I should take a moment to update the blogosphere on who I am and what I am doing here.  I started this blog last June when I was a pregnant postdoc, working in a lab at a major research university, where I was studying the effects of gestational diabetes on the fetus.  After a couple of posts, the blog fell by the wayside for about a year.  I got busy with trying to get as much work done as possible before the baby was born and with trying to get enough sleep, which has been a losing battle ever since.  Once BabyC arrived, my world of course forever changed.  I muddled through the first few months of being a mama, alternating (minute-to-minute) from being overwhelmingly happy to overwhelmingly tired to being generally overwhelmed.

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Stay-at-Home Mom Angst

Today was one of those days when I felt a little bit adrift and alone as a stay-at-home mom.  Maybe it was the heat.  Maybe it was the fact that BabyC, although she is super cute 95% of the time, spent the other 5% of the time practicing her high-pitched scream.  Maybe it was the food poisoning that had me up puking all Tuesday night and in bed with a fever and achiness all day Wednesday.  Today is Thursday, and I should be all better, right?  Lucky me that I don’t have to go to work and instead live this idyllic life of the stay-at-home mom, putting around the house and playing with my adorable child.

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What a difference a year makes

Yesterday one of my grad school papers was finally published. Yes, I finished my PhD almost 3 years ago. Yes, it took submitting to a few journals before this paper was accepted. And no, as you have probably guessed by now, this was not ground-breaking work with exciting results. But still, it felt good to see the neatly formatted PDF with my name first among the list of authors. Even with my love-hate relationship with science, that feeling of seeing your work published has to be among the best feelings. Never mind that I look at the paper and can’t help but see the shortcomings of the study design and execution glare back at me.

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