The Best Big Sister Ever

It’s Monday morning. Okay –  well I at least know it’s Monday, because your Dad just returned to work after a nice quiet weekend, but I’m not entirely sure it’s morning anymore.

Emilia has been fussing for going on 30 minutes because she is tired, but she is refusing to nap. She’s drooling up a storm and flat out miserable because that tooth on the bottom left just won’t break through. I sing her lullabies, and walk a slow pace around the house with her in the carrier pressed against my chest. The only place she is somewhat calm.

I see you, McKenna, sitting on the living room floor, on your fourth episode of Paw Patrol, and notice the bag of goldfish crackers at your feet. “McKenna!” I say, “where did you get those? You know you are supposed to ask Mama.” You look at me with your big blue eyes and shrug your shoulders. “Sorry Mama”, and hand them to me. I then look at the clock on the oven and realize it’s not morning time at all, it’s 12:45 PM. It’s been hours since breakfast, and I haven’t even started preparing your lunch. I immediately hand back the crackers and give you a hug, that familiar feeling of mama guilt washing over me. I start preparing you your favorite – tomato soup and grilled cheese. You go back to your puppies, unphased by the whole thing.

These days are in the minority, McKenna, but they definitely exist. And I need you to know, that on these days… I see you. I see you sitting quietly on the floor while I nurse your sister, preoccuping yourself with whatever knick knack you can find because mama left the playroom (basement) door shut. I see you, sneaking in the pantry for snacks because your sister is crying and mama hasn’t made you breakfast just yet. I see you, playing quietly with your blocks while your sister is sleeping, even though we both know how much you hate being quiet.

You, my girl, have made me so proud these past 5.5 months. When I think about how much your life has changed and just how well you are adjusting to all of these changes, my mama heart swells to three times its size. Not only have you risen to the occasion of being an excellent big sister, providing endless cuddles and kisses, retrieving diapers and soothers when needed, and sharing your toys with E when she is crying, you have also managed to potty train, self wean, almost dress yourself, and navigate your way through Netflix. And even though you of course have your difficult days (and a span of about 10 days where you were just plain rotten), they too are in the minority.

I promise you, my wild haired, beautiful little girl, that I see you. I see you and I love you and am thankful and in awe of you every single day, even though I may not have the time to say it. Thank you for being the best big sister ever and a pretty damn great daughter as well.

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xo,

Mama

#100happydays

I cannot even BELIEVE it has been a whole two months since I have written a word in this space!

SO MUCH has happened – we took our family trip to Jamaica (which I still promise to recap), we continued and made huge progress towards our wedding plans (we are now just a LITTLE over TWO MONTHS OUT, people!), McKenna started WALKING and TALKING and made such huuuuge leaps in her development (she knows quite a few of her body parts and a couple of animal noises!), and I applied for, and received a great full time job to start a week from today.

Yes, that’s right.. I am returning to work as discussed and as promised. This was entirely my idea – Matthew was completely content, and even pushing for me to stay home with McKenna for a longer period of time. But as much as I love being a stay at home Mum and hope to be able to do it again in the near future, I felt a pretty strong need to contribute financially to the household (especially with the upcoming wedding). Two other reasons for my return – our feeling that McKenna will really thrive in a dayhome setting interacting with other children, and the fact that maternity leave is just too great a benefit to pass up the second time (here in Canada, we get an entire 52 weeks!).

I have a HUGE mix of emotions about my return, and depending on the day/hour/minute/second, I am either looking forward to my return to work ,or crying my eyes out over the moments I will truly, truly miss. It is going to be a huge adjustment for this little family of 3, but I think now is the time. I am also very blessed that should it not be the right fit for us, I have the option to quit at anytime and either return to being a stay at home Mum or search for something with a little less hours.

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I started the #100happydays project 2 days ago, as a way to help me look for the silver lining of each day. For those who have not heard, #100happydays is a personal journey to photograph and share 100 pictures in 100 days of something that is making you happy. I am an Instagram ADDICT so I knew I would have no problem committing to such a project, and I am so excited to see my results 98 days from now!

You can follow me on Instagram to watch me take on this project, or you can visit the #100happydays official website to sign up and participate yourself!

I also plan to start writing again to get my thoughts and feelings about this new transitional time in my life into words. Writing always helps me sort my emotions.

So with that, I am happy to say A Little Baby Bean is back in action!Image

 

Fourteen Months

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It feels like these months are really starting to fly by. I ask again – weren’t you just born, like, yesterday? Anyways…

Sleep-wise, nothing much to report that wasn’t already covered this week. But now that you are sleeping like a rockstar, your nap schedule has become a little wonky. I think you are slowly transitioning to one nap and it’s kinda got you all messed up. You are exhausted by the time you take your usual morning nap but have SUCH a hard time falling asleep, so you stay awake until you are about ready to fall over at 1pm. I am letting you take the lead on this one because I feel with our upcoming vacation any routine that I may TRY and put in place will end in epic failure. So for now, you run the show.142

Food-wise, you eat anything we do and love MOST things. Things you won’t touch (a much shorter list than the stuff you will) include red peppers, strawberries, peas, and green beans.

We are down to nursing TWICE A DAY. You did this all on your own. You wake once at 5:30 AM(ish) and I nurse you then too.

The biggest news of this month is definitely that you are now WALKING. You can take upwards of 15 steps between rooms before settling down on your bum and crawling the rest of the way. I keep telling everyone that will listen that I’m sure you will take off running when you see the ocean next week (aka – give me a heart attack).

You know where your hair, nose, and bellybutton are. Three very random things, I know. But you are obsessed with the hair on my head (as in you love to pull it) and always reach up to yours when I ask where it is. Nose is a new development; until yesterday you were certain it was located on your ear. Bellybuttons are somewhat of an obsession around here.

You are still a little dancing machine, and love any upbeat songs that you can wiggle your bum too. You prefer when I have the radio on the pop station, but I can only listen to it for so long. You can handle alternative for a little bit, but my personal favorite, dubstep, does not seem to be a hit. Yet.

You LOVE dressup. If we leave ANY article of clothing on the floor you are trying to put it on your head, then you parade around as if you are doing a fashion show. You love to wear your Dad’s hat and my sunglasses most of all. Yesterday I witnessed you *trying* to put my boot on your foot. I look forward to many days spent playing dressup with you.144141

Your glockenspiel is still your favorite toy by far, and you bang on the keys until they fall off.

Still attached to your green fuzzy blankie, but thankfully any fuzzy blankie seems to do, as you quite often throw it on the floor outside causing it to be washed weekly. You also love pillows, and love being on your father and I’s bed and throwing yourself into them, laughing hysterically, until you are absolutely exhausted.

You are currently working on SIX TEETH at the moment, and who knows maybe more. You don’t let me get my fingers in far enough to feel if you are working on your molars yet, but we have definitely had a few difficult nights this month. Poor little bug.

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I’ll eat you up, I love you so. xo

We Did It!

A LOT of big changes are happening around here these days, and all occurred in less than a month:

  1. We are no longer co-sleeping;
  2. McKenna is sleeping through the night consistently; and
  3. She is down to 3-5 nursing sessions per day.

Whew. Even officially writing that down took a lot of emotion out of me.

Nursing and co-sleeping were definitely two of the main attributes I used to describe our style of parenting that first year. It was great – I loved everything about it.

Co-sleeping was one of those things that worked, until all of a sudden it just didn’t. And in true McKenna fashion, she never does things slowly. Instead of doing a slow transition from co-sleeping to independent sleeping, one day it just STOPPED. I slept in my room and she slept in hers.

I mentioned we had a slight regression along the way – and after reading many words of advice on Facebook and speaking with other mothers, I blame that regression on poor timing. I strongly feel as though McKenna was going through a growth spurt at that time, and it had nothing to do with our new sleeping arrangement.

But now, DARE I say the words I at times I never thought I would? Dare I take it a step further, and write it down for the WHOLE WORLD TO SEE? That McKenna, is finally, consistently, sleeping through the night? ALL ON HER OWN?

Of all of the parenting challenges Matt and I faced in those first 365 days, sleeping was definitely the most difficult. It was SO up and down. We would have good months and bad months. Nights that had one or two wakeups and then nights that had sometimes upwards of 5. We struggled with what the books told us – that by 3 months, most children are fully capable of sleeping through the night (those children also likely fart rainbows). We struggled with what (some) of the experts said was the solution for those children who did not – the dreaded (in our household) cry it out method. We struggled with our own feelings of inadequacy anytime we faced a parent who spoke with pride about their babies who were in their own cribs, sleeping through the night at 6 months. It seemed nearly an impossible feat to accomplish, and as though it was nowhere in our near future.

But anytime the discussion was had, it was never decided upon that we should “Ferberize” McKenna. We do not judge those who choose this very effective sleep training method, because we are not in their houses when the sleep training occurs. We can only know what happened anytime we tried this method on our own baby – 3 or so times over the course of those twelve months in moments of severe desperation – and the result was terrified screams, shaking, and one dreadful, dreadful night when McKenna was ten months when she literally threw herself out of the crib. I thank God every day that our floor bed was beside to break her fall.

No, the Ferber method wasn’t for us. And thankfully, we were definitely on the same page when it came to that.

But yes, sleep. It was all over the place. I rarely complained – after all, I had an entire year off to nurture and care for her, and I had made a promise to myself that the first year would be all about McKenna. About establishing a comforting mother-daughter relationship wherein she felt secure and loved, and would truly trust me to take care of her needs. I still have no regrets about this decision, and fully intend to use this strategy with the next baby. And I honestly have to say I am amazed about how well I am able to function on broken up sleep. And Starbucks.

But at some point, that co-sleeping, nursing through the night relationship began to fail us. McKenna was no longer getting the quality sleep she needed, and instead of waking up and falling asleep immediately when nursed, she screamed and cried and reached for comfort, not milk, multiple times throughout the night.

That was when we knew it was time for the relationship to change.

I wish I could tell you an exact method we used to end co-sleeping, but there wasn’t really one. We simply stopped, and McKenna was ready. And trust me, we HAD definitely tried before, and she was NOT ready before. There was minimal crying (besides the growth spurt) and then there was just success. Continued success.

McKenna now goes to sleep every night at 7:30 PM after a consistent bedtime routine. She sleeps until 4:30-5:30 AM, awakes for a snack, and goes back to sleep until 8 AM. We are working at cutting out that last feeding, but if I’m being honest, I am in no rush.

Reason being is that although this is everything I wished, hoped and longed for.. I still miss those days. Those days where she was absolutely dependent on her Mama for sleep. I am really starting to think as motherhood as sort of a double-edged sword:  you are always wishing for something, and when that something comes true, you can’t help but long for those moments from before. In this particular situation, the moments I long for and will always miss are the late night cuddles. The nursing sessions, when it was just her and I awake in our quiet little household. Those moments of extreme bonding that I would never, EVER take back for ANYTHING.

But as I said before, my post about all of these FEELINGS (the feelings about the end of co-sleeping and the beginning of weaning) are to follow. They are too intense, and too important to not deserve their very own blog post.

But above all these feelings, I am so incredibly proud of my little. Proud of her father and I too, for never feeling forced to doing anything that was outside of our comfort zone. For sticking to our guns, listening to advice when necessary but only taking the particular parts of said advice and applying what we felt would work for our family to our real life situation.

Well done family. We did it :). Here is to many more nights of amazing sleep!

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Sending out an SOS (Save Our Sleep!)

Guuuys… I am sending out a bit of an SOS (SAVE OUR SLEEP!) here!

The last week or so has been NIGHTMARE-ISH with regards to McKenna’s sleep. I posted here about how we have been making the transition from bed-sharing to independent sleeping – and it HAD been going great. She had even seemingly been putting herself to sleep when she woke up in the middle of the night, and on some glorious nights, only needing to be nursed once.

But then for whatever reason, this past week we have taken a HUGE step back and I am feeling like a Mama failure. She is waking several times a night, SCREAMING and unable to get back to sleep without nursing. I am not really for Cry It Out in our particular situation (but hold no ill will towards those who do use this method) but we have been trying it out, because at this point it almost seems crueler to step backwards and revert to old ways instead of pushing forward through this hard time and continuing with the transition. But the SCREAMING? It’s awful. And if I leave her for a few minutes, not even to cry, but to SCREAM it out, it gets increasingly difficult to go in there and calm her down. It’s breaking my heart because I feel as though I do not understand my own child and what she needs from me…. I fear she is in pain, whether it be gas or teething (she is definitely teething, she has 6 teeth that have broke the surface but are not fully exposed yet), although she shows no pain or difference in attitude during the day. She is her normal little happy exploring self during the day. She is also going to bed at her bedtime with no problems whatsoever, and napping routinely for 3 hours a day.

So I am asking you Mama’s for any advice you may have pertaining to our situation. I would rather put this post here, than a Facebook status annoying the two thirds of my friends’ list who do not even have children. We want to make this transition as easy as we can for McKenna ; and right now, it sounds like it is the most difficult thing in the world. It is breaking our heart to hear her cry so, night after night.. and scares me to death that I may be missing something. But as previously mentioned, we do not want to take step backwards, after we have made so much progress!

I should also mention that she won’t even LET me sleep with her anymore. As soon as I lay down next to her on the floor bed (she is otherwise sleeping in her toddler bed), she immediately thinks it is playtime. I just don’t see a resolution and am looking forward to any Mama insight I can gather!

Thanks for taking the time to read this post.. One of the main reasons I love having a blog so much is the wealth of information that is exchanged!

 

12 Months

Now that all the birthday excitement is starting to wear off (mind you, the party is not till the 15th so the celebrating is not over!), I have had some time to think about the fact that I now have a ONE YEAR OLD. And… I’m so excited! I spent so much time dreading this one year mark because it creeped up on me so fast, and was such an amazing year. But now that it is behind us, I am anticipating all that is to come. There are so many things you can do with a one year old that you just can’t with a 6 month old, and I look ahead to all these wonderful things.

So without further ado, here is a recap of the twelfth month:

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Things have been really good in the sleep department. Last month I mentioned that you had been sleeping poorly, inconsistently, and as a result we would be starting to transition away from bed sharing. Well, you must have been teething, or going through a growth spurt, because things have sorted themselves out again, meaning we are back to our 1 maximum 2 wakeups per night. Regardless, we started the transition into your toddler bed (yes, TODDLER bed. A post as to why I chose this strategy will come once the transition is complete) and it is going well, so we see no reason to move backwards.

The transition has been going rather smoothly, although slowly. This is as much for my benefit as yours – I love the cuddles. Currently, you start the night in your toddler bed, anytime between 7 & 8 PM. You wake up between 1:30 & 2 AM for a nursing session, and at this time I join you on the floor bed. You then wake up once more between 5:30 & 7, and after that we sleep until around 9 AM.

You take all of your naps in the toddler bed also, and you are still napping very well – except on the days that your Dad is home. For whatever reason, on those days our routine seems to go out the window, and you fight your naps until you are so exhausted you are crying. I guess you just love when he is home SO MUCH that you do not want to miss a single second!

On the days he isn’t home, you take two 1.5 hour naps. One around 11-12:30, and the second at 4-5:30. Some days you skip your morning nap; this always ends up with you sleeping from 1:30:-4:30ish. But most of the time you are consistent with your two naps.

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You eat pretty well most days, however, when we went to your one year appointment on Friday, your pedi mentioned a food regression at the one-year mark. I’m pretty sure you heard him say this, and being your little defiant self you started to reject a lot of your fruits and vegetables and eating only your protein, dairy and grains these past few days. This is causing me to be a little more creative and hide veggies/fruits wherever I can. I sure hope this is just a phase and that it passes. Quickly!

As for nursing, WE MADE IT. We hit the 12 month mark without much difficulty and are still going steady. That being said, your nursing sessions have reduced dramatically to only about 4 times a day, due to your increase in solids. I have started to offer you milk more frequently in your sippy cup, and you do drink it, but not enough to substitute the nursing sessions just yet. I don’t know if this is the beginning of weaning, but I am kind of just letting you take the lead on this one.

You’ve had your bottom two teeth for months, but it seems your FOUR top are due to make an appearance any day. They don’t seem to be bothering you too bad this time around, thank goodness.

You have officially become attached to your green fuzzy blankie. Funny how it happened almost overnight, but now you take every nap with it and will not go to bed until it is grasped tightly between your two little hands. You also like to hold on to it for the first 20 minutes or so when you wake up and cuddle with Mum or Dad. Once you let go, it is game on and you are ready to take on the world.

You are still crawling, although you can stand unassisted for several minutes at a time, but ONLY when you don’t notice yourself doing it. I think at this point this walking thing, it’s all mental. You have the capability to do it but are still overcoming some obstacles in your mind, and your father & I are not pushing you in any way. We trust you will do it when your ready, and then it will be GAME ON for us.

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You are obsessed with Cat in the Hat. The theme song in particular. I could put it on repeat and you would be mesmorized and smiling, glued to the TV all day. You squeal with glee whenever it comes on and wiggle your bum to the beat if you are standing.

You have started to dance when an upbeat song that tickles your fancy comes on. You have a love for a song by the New Politics called “Harlem” and it really gets your bum a wiggling. It makes me laugh everytime! You’ve got some moves, baby girl. We also still dance around the living room together frequently, and when this happens you erupt into giggles. Some of my favorite times spent.

You give open mouthed, drooly kisses, when you want to. You still try every day to say puppy, moving your mouth but alas, no sound has yet to come out. You also try to say “book” in the same fashion. You understand the words “no” “bedtime” “bath” “water” “puppy” “kitty” (and many more) and you anticipate what is to come or look for said puppy or kitty when I say these words.

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You wave goodbye when we or someone is leaving, and every night you wave hello at the moon before bed as a result of the little rhyme I have been saying for months. This warms my heart.

You have an obsession with books. They are definitely your favorite toys. You will sit quietly on the floor and turn the pages, staring at the pictures. Sometimes you babble while you do it, as though reading out loud :). I love witnessing moments like these.

You notice almost immediately if things are different or if something is out of place. For you, out of place means tidied and put away. For an example, you were given a box set of books from both your Auntie Chrissy and Auntie Leah for your birthday, 24 little board books in total. If I go to put said books back in the box, you immediately crawl over and pull them all out again. Another example: anytime I have a towel, hat, or book (for fun) on my head, you give me an annoyed look, stand up, then knock it off. You seem to like things in their place (what you define as “their place” – often on the floor) and it really bothers you when things are different. It is an extremely endearing quirk.

Looking forward to all that lies ahead for you, little one.

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Love you forever,

xo

 

One Year (a video)

McKenna turned 1 yesterday! A full birthday recap, along with an amazing cake smash video, will follow later on this week.

In the meantime, I made a little video to celebrate the occasion. It was rather hard to put the very best year of my life into a 3 1/2 minute video, but I did my best :).

McKenna, your father and I love you so much. Our biggest birthday wish for you on your first birthday is that you continue to enjoy this, your childhood. Be carefree, be curious. Explore the world with the comfort of knowing you have a mother and father who love you so, who will always be here with open arms.

Love you forever, our sweet sweet girl.

xoxo

Mum & Dad

They Say it Takes a Village…

They say it takes a village to raise a child. As we approach McKenna’s first birthday, I find no words that could be more true.

Today also marks the 100th post on A Little Baby Bean (hooray!). How very appropriate that I intend to use it by thanking our own village.

I contemplated writing personalized thank you’s, because I am just so terrified of missing someone. But if you have been a part of this past 12 months in any way, be it a visit, a phone call, a kind word on Facebook, a read of this blog, or a like of a photo on Instagram, thank you. Thank you for being our village.

Now, onto the sappy stuff!

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To our Auntie Ethel….. A million thank you’s. Thank you for always answering the phone. Thank you for the warm lunches, for the offering of supportive words, for Band-Aid deliveries well into the night, and above all: thank you for giving me advice ONLY when I ask for it! I wish there were more people who followed this philosophy (see last post re: unsolicited advice). Thank you for always being such a constant in my life.

To our Uncle Emlyn…. Thank you for being you. Another constant. For your calm voice, warm hugs, and secrets whispered during cuddles with McKenna. You will always be Uncle Lemlyn to me, but I am so happy to be able to share you with my own little girl now.

To Nanny…. For your support. For the offering of kind words when I was frustrated with sleeping arrangements, for reminding me that every baby is different. Thank you for all the presents you shower McKenna with, the lunch dates, the help running errands, and for just being there whenever we need you.

To Papa…. for being the calming gentle presence that all little girls need in a Papa. McKenna is so lucky to have you.

To Helen/Auntie Helen… my big sister. I know you are going to be an ever present figure in McKenna’s life, and I am so happy she will have such a great role model to look towards as she grows older. I hope McKenna one day will have or become a sister like you, that she can also call a friend. Uncle Michael too..  another great role model. I am so happy you are a part of our family!

To her Auntie Chrissy, Auntie Nikki, Uncle Mike, and all of her adorable cousins… for surrounding us with the love of a family. For quality time spent. I am so happy McKenna has such a large family to grow up with, cousins close to her age, and so many houses where she will always be welcome.

To my cousin (and McKenna’s third cousin) Gillian.. thank you for always responding to my messages, answering my questions, giving advice and just for being there. Thank you for the hand me downs that we have put to good use, and always thinking of our little family. You have been a role model to me for as long as I can remember of what great parenting looks like!

To Lareina/Auntie Lareina… my sister in law. The abundance of information. Thank you for responding to my gazillion text messages, at all times and on all days, even when I started to find myself annoying for asking SO MANY DAMN QUESTIONS. Thank you for sharing and supporting me with my parenting choices. I find comfort in knowing someone personally who has adopted so many of the decisions that I too have made for my own little love.

To Vanessa/Auntie V…… My bestest friend. I love you so.. thank you for all the words, support and gifts (but seriously, enough with the gifts!) you have provided us with over the past year. You are not just a friend to Matthew, McKenna and I.. you are family. And your Mama. God bless your Mama and her sweet soul.

To Kelsey/Auntie DB… my childhood friend. I only hope that McKenna can find someone as precious as you have been to me all these years. I know it has been quite an adjustment on our friendship this year (from talking all day, every day, and drinking our faces off each weekend) but thank you for being my childhood, and now adult best friend. Thank you for all the advice and wisdom, and for always giving it to me straight (even when I don’t want to hear it!). I look forward to sharing McKenna’s life with you.

To Leah/Auntie Leah…. my never judging friend. Thank you for never judging – for being the person who, when you know I am having a down day, will send me an article about the benefits of co-sleeping and nursing just to make me feel better. It’s people like you that make this parenting gig not feel so lonely.

To Mike/Uncle Mike….. for always making the effort. Be it our lunch dates, the rides when I am stranded in cold weather, our text messages, or the likes of photos on Facebook, you have made your presence known this past year in both McKenna and I’s life and taken a true interest as my friend! It’s so nice to always have someone like you to count on.

To Clarissa and Jayda….. thank you for the text messages, for always checking in to see how our little family is doing. Thank you for making yourselves available to babysit. I know the door is always open at your house, and I am thankful for that! It is so nice to have a select group of people we can rely on to watch our girl, and you two beautiful women absolutely top this list.

To Sarah, Molly, Michelle, Tia and all the other mothers I have met (or reconnected with) this past year.. some who don’t read this blog. But it has been so nice to connect with other mothers with babies the same age as McKenna who are going through the same experiences I am going through. Thanks for letting McKenna socialize (and sometimes antagonize) your beautiful babies this past year! I hope we can all keep in contact as our little babes grow up! 

Thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts! We look forward to continuing to share McKenna’s life with each and every single one of you!

Things that Surprised Me About Motherhood

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I am nearly 12 whole months into this parenting gig, and I have been spending a lot of time reflecting upon this past year and my journey into motherhood. A lot of things have surprised me, and I am prepared to be continually surprised as time goes on. But here is a collection of things from the first year that had me caught pretty off-guard:

It can be lonely. Majority of my days I feel fulfilled, just by spending time with McKenna. But there are days that come where I crave adult contact. My days are filled of McKenna and my nights are spent hanging out with Matthew. Majority of days, this is more than enough. But occasionally.. occasionally there is that pang of lonliness and longing for the days where I was a social being, having lunch dates and working with adults and going to bars and drinking on weekdays. The lonely days are definitely difficult but they are greatly outnumbered by the happy ones, and for that, I am grateful.

Breastfeeding is really hard (in the beginning). But then it gets really, really easy. I remember in those early days, I was in constant pain and just so, so frustrated. I remember thinking “how on EARTH can something that is supposed to be so natural, be so damn difficult?!”  It takes perseverance, patience, and on top of that a bunch of other factors related to health that are completely out of your control. But we stuck with it, and after awhile it became the easiest part of our day, and easily one of my favorite experiences from the journey thus far.

Everybody has an opinion. Oh. My. Gosh. The amount of unsolicited advice that I have received this past year is unreal! I understand that people have the best of intentions, but really? It is soooooooooooo annoying. You definitely learn to take it all in stride and sometimes, just bite your tongue. But man oh man, it is just the worst.

Parenting is a controversial subject. Everyone has their own opinion, their own story, their own way they think is right. But the bottom line is that every child is different. I have met so many mothers, and people, who have been so supportive and kind to me.. and then there are the others who I constantly feel are judging my choices. At the end of the day, we are all working our hardest to raise our babies the best we can. At the end of the day, we should all be in this together.

NOTHING went how I envisioned it. I never thought I would be the mum who adopted such parenting ideas as bedsharing, extended nursing, and baby led weaning, but those choices are some of the best parenting decisions I have made. Every baby is different and mine made it clear from the get go that a more natural, attachment parenting style worked much better for her, making for a better family as a whole.

It takes a village. And I am so thankful for ours. I will be doing a special post tomorrow about all of the people who have been detrimental to the success of Matthew & I’s journey into parenting. We want (and need) to personally thank all of the people who deserve to be thanked. Without you, it wouldn’t have been possible.

I love her so much more than I could have ever imagined. You hear it all the time. About how you will fall in love with your child instantly and the attachment will be unlike anything you have ever experienced. To be honest, I LOVED McKenna instantly but I fell in love with her over time. I don’t know when exactly it happened, but suddenly, she was my everything. She was my purpose for being. She was my greatest creation, proudest accomplishment, and the absolute love of my life. And that connection has only deepened over time. Sometimes, I can’t even remember what life was like before her. Like she has just always been. But in a way, I am sure that is true, because she has always been a part of me, a part of my soul. A part of her father & I’s life plan long before we had even met, before I became pregnant.

To all you other mothers, what was your biggest surprise about motherhood?