The “Fussy” Baby

It’s been 5 1/2 years since I had my first child, my “fussy” baby. And it’s taken me that long to get my thoughts together for this blog.

When my first was born, most people saw a thousand pictures like this…DSC_0283 DSC_0034 (2)

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This was our first child and as such we took pictures all the time. I even bought my DSLR just to take the thousands of pictures I wanted of her. Everyone online thought she was the sweetest baby ever! However…

She was also a “fussy” baby. What is a “fussy” baby? It is a baby who mostly eats, sleeps…and cries. And being a first-time mom, I was so positive that I was doing everything wrong and that her general unhappiness with life was completely my fault. Couple first-time-mom jitters with a fussy baby, moving to a new place 1000 miles away from everyone I knew, and throw in some postpartum depression and you have a recipe for a pretty rough year.

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I remember 2012 as being completely different from what these photos suggest. I remember being more tired than I’ve ever been in my life, and consumed with the thoughts that this was hopeless. I loved this little fussy thing with every ounce of my being, but having a baby was far from what I had pictured. There were few if any sweet moments like what Johnson and Johnson had suggested. Instead there was almost constant screaming, constant jiggling and rocking, constant holding and consoling. I wondered if I had made a humungous mistake in becoming a mother. I wondered if this was what the rest of my life would entail. I wondered if I would ever be able to do the things I loved prior to becoming a mother.

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Car rides were horrific since there was no where to hide from the screaming…the best that I could do was to turn up the music as loud as possible to try to drown out the screaming. I rocked out some KLOVE during this time like you wouldn’t believe. Shopping trips were even worse. I always felt like I was in such a hurry to get somewhere and get done with my errand so I could get home and try to nurse her back to sleep. I read books and blogs. At first I thought it might be colic and tried gripe water. Nothing. Then maybe she had thrush so we treated her with antifungals. Nothing changed. Then maybe she wasn’t getting enough milk so I started going crazy with supplements to up my supply. As it turns out I had the opposite problem…too much milk and a heavy let-down that was choking her every time she nursed. It eventually evened out and I got help for it…but still, nothing changed. Then I tried elimination diets thinking that maybe there was something in my milk that she was reactive to. Nothing. Then I thought maybe feeding her solids would be the answer at 6 months, but alas she seemed hardly interested in them.

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When I was pregnant with her, the only things I read about the postpartum period was on how to loose the baby weight. In fact that was my biggest goal during pregnancy…to get my body back. However, after having a fussy baby, it became absolutely last on my list. The jogging stroller was used maybe 5 times before it was abandoned…she hated it and I couldn’t go jogging in a neighborhood with a baby screaming at the top of her lungs. What would my neighbors think? I was already failing at mothering….I didn’t need dirty looks on top of that.

I’m pretty sure that the majority of 2012 was spent binge-watching Netflix. My brother’s gift of a flat-screen TV was priceless, as I felt that was my only salvation from the harsh loneliness that having a fussy baby brought. I found it impossible to relax, impossible to cook or clean or exercise or do anything that had encompassed me as a person the year prior. All sense of independence was gone, as she was dependent on me, and I was dependent on my husband to do just about everything.

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Even as I write this, I find it difficult to find pictures of her crying. Because I didn’t take pictures of her crying. I only took happy pictures, smiling pictures. And perhaps the worst part of having a fussy baby was when I would lament to someone and they would accuse me of not having a fussy baby. Maybe because of all the pictures I would post of her being happy, or because they had a “real” fussy baby. This of course was like a knife to the heart. I was a first-time-mom, and I was obviously failing. If she was a “normal” baby, then I was just a crappy mom.

I write this all to hopefully give hope to someone out there with a “fussy” baby. My hope during that whole year came in 3 forms…Dr. Sears’s book on The Fussy Baby, Attachment parenting techniques, and a mom group. I became an “attachment parent” out of survival. My daughter never slept in the crib that I bought for her, though I tried and tried and tried. “They’ll cry themselves to sleep after about 15-20 minutes” the books said. 3 hours later, she was still crying. This wasn’t a one-time thing. I tried day after day. So I brought her into bed with me and nixed the crib. I never got another one. I traded in the carrying car seat and stroller for a grow-with-me car seat and sling. I nursed on demand, which was almost all the time. And twice a week, I passed her off to a childcare worker at church, who usually called me back after about 15 minutes because she was screaming so much that she would vomit. She even developed the nickname “the screamer”. But oh, how I lived in those 15 minute increments! For 15 minutes I didn’t have to hold or nurse or listen to screaming…and it was heavenly!

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It was Dr. Sears’s book that really gave me hope that I wasn’t a terrible mom, and that I didn’t have a terrible kid. I had a “more” kid. She needed more love, more nursing, more support, more hugs, more attention…just more.

My mom’s group was my restoration. Even if I couldn’t put her in childcare, I could count on my fellow mothers to pass her around, at least relieving my arms for a while. I could also count on them to listen to my wailing with loving hearts, free of the judgement that so often accompanies motherhood. In that group I formed some lasting friendships that will forever be written on my heart.

So if you’re reading this and you know of someone who is going through a hard time with their baby, please be a kind ear. Listen without judgement. Offer sincere help…cooking, cleaning, errands, or childcare are lifesavers, with childcare being at the top. I recall feeling like I was on vacation if I had the ability to fold laundry in peace and quiet. And offer that help for a while…like for a year or 18 months. Often, it seems, there is a community of help immediately after a baby is born, and then they are gone by about 6 weeks postpartum. The mom of the fussy baby needs help for months, not weeks.

You cannot pour from an empty cup.

If you have a fussy baby, please know that it does get easier, though it may take quite a while. It was around her first birthday that I really noticed a significant change. She has transformed from a “fussy baby” into a “spirited child”, one who still needs “more” and constantly challenges me to be “more”. I have become more loving and more patient because of her. And I can speak from the experience of being a mom to 3, that 1 fussy baby is SOOOOO much harder than 3 small children combined! Co-sleep, baby wear, and nurse on demand if that helps…or do the opposite if that helps. But most importantly of all, take care of yourself.

The days are so long but the years fly by

These moments will be nothing but pictures before you know it.

 

 

 

Falling in Love

I love this life. I love this season with every ounce of my being. But sometimes I forget to enjoy the other things I love. Nature being one. Photography being another. Blogging being yet another. I feel so fortunate to live in a time where I can combine all the things I love so seamlessly. So here I am…just rambling and taking photos…

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Yes there is a 3rd one. She was on my back. Don’t worry…she will be photobombing this site very soon! Next time I’ll be sure to blog on yet another love…leggings and coffee. Oh and fuzzy slippers and cool weather and red and orange and yellow.

Namaste.

1 Year Old!

I think I’m still in denial that she’s a year old. I cannot quite wrap my mind around that fact. I’m writing this blog from the very place where I brought her into this world. Wasn’t that just yesterday?

With my first child, we had an Elmo-themed pool party. We invited all our friends and I scoured Pinterest for weeks! I’m so happy to say that I’ve finally demoted my pin-worthy dreams a little bit. I’m now quite pleased with some pretty pictures and a good time. And she seems to be quite happy with dirt and fall leaves…

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I absolutely love having an October baby! I don’t know what it is about this month that is so magical. Maybe it’s the pumpkins, or the morning mist, or the smell of crisp leaves….or the fact that the bugs are FINALLY going away (can I get an Amen?!). It seems so bizarre that we’re done with the year of firsts….1st Halloween, 1st Christmas, 1st Easter. What is it about having children that makes the years go by so quickly?

And I think I’ll leave this blog now before I start crying those sappy mommy tears that my baby is growing up…

Dang it! too late…

 

Easy Make Ahead Breakfast Ideas – Bento-box Style!

Anyone else besides me not a morning person? My wonderful children wake up every day at 5am. 5. A. M. Then they creep into our room and say those 3 famous words that every parent loves being woken up to…”Mom, I’m hungry”.

I’ve started making their breakfasts in advance and keeping them in the fridge. I love this because it’s better than cereal (my go-to breakfast most days because, again, not a morning person) and it buys me sleep. At this stage in life, I would pay for sleep. I would pay a lot of money for sleep.

I have found bento boxes to be the best thing since sliced bread when it comes to getting my kids to eat. I’m not sure what it is about the compartment thing, but they LOVE having their food separated. One of them doesn’t care to have her food touching each other, the other one is somewhat gross and mixes everything together, no matter what it is. I’ll let you figure out which is which…

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Silicone muffin liners….yes yes and yes! Everyday, and in pink, of course. Whatever makes life easier, right?Screen Shot 2017-08-29 at 10.23.03 AM

This oatmeal is so yummy and only has natural sugar in it! AKA…fruit! I’ve even made the “overnight” version, which is basically putting all of the ingredients into a mason jar and let it sit in the fridge overnight to “cook”. I like actually cooking it better, but that is always an option…

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And yes, that beautiful, cute little blue egg came from one of my own Easter Eggers. I’m not getting around a dozen eggs a day from 14 chickens…and we are almost eating a dozen eggs a day as a family of 5! Does anyone want a coop tour?

I LOVE granola…and I love the way it makes the house smell when cooking! This was so easy to make! It could definitely cook longer if you like it crunchy, but I prefer it softer myself. I cannot believe I used to pay (a LOT) for my granola! This is soooooo much cheaper! It makes a ton too!

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Screen Shot 2017-08-29 at 10.23.33 AMWell I hope this inspired you to make some goodness! I’m on a roll lately with videos and blogging so leave me a comment if there’s something in particular you’d like to see/read about! Thanks for dropping by!

The End of Summer…the beginning of YouTube!

I’m so excited about both of these things! Summers are not my favorite, and this year has been no exception. It’s been hot and sometimes miserable, and the ever-present excitement of the new school year has been looming over my head…in a very good way. Kindergarten starts this year for my 5-year-old, and so our first year of “real” homeschooling begins!

And because that’s not challenging enough, I’ve decided to start a YouTube channel…mostly because I’ve been inside all summer thanks to the heat watching DIY videos, and I’m pretty super-inspired. And fall is on the way and so is school and fun and fun and fun…and yes, I’m pretty excited!!!!

So school is starting for us tomorrow! After testing the water for 2 years of preschool, I’ve determined that in order to homeschool we’re going to have to be year-round people. AKA…mama needs a break every 4-6 weeks, so we’re just going to shoot for small goals and go from there. I’m notorious for trying to pack WAY too much into our school time, something that I’ve had to learn the hard way this past year while trying to do school with a new baby. 4-6 time slots give me just enough time to cram in a whole lot, while giving myself a breather to rest and recharge. I’m pumped!

So a good ending to summer was a trip to a Sunflower Festival…pick as many free sunflowers as you’d like! It was wonderful! And while I know that we still have a solid 6 weeks left of summer, my planting guide is telling me to go ahead and plant some kale and broccoli, and the craft stores already have out their fall spread. So I’m calling it…goodbye summer, HELLO PUMPKIN SPICE!

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