Thursday, June 27, 2013

Has the Ship Sailed?

Have you found that other social media has usurped the time you used to spend blogging? We all tend to run to Facebook or Twitter or Instagram nowadays before we check our blog feeds. I suppose that's a reflection of the latest trend to absorb life in soundbytes rather than real, long, thoughtful conversation. In the fast-paced, busy-ness, face time with friends and family requires intention. I'm not suggesting that's bad. I'm merely making an observation.

I've found that intention to be much more difficult myself. I would venture to owe most of that to a desire to spend more time at home with the little one & the hubby. I certainly don't blow & go as much as I used to and it's not rocket science that some of my friendships have suffered greatly for it. I'm sad about that, but at the same time, I'm also very glad for the quality family time. I can say that I'm making a more consorted effort to make those connections now that M is older.

All of this is to say that my dedication, should you wish to go so far as to call it that, to blogging has fallen by the wayside. I have stories to tell. Oh yes. I'm merely debating whether I want them told or whether this storytelling venue, if you will, has run its course. Does anyone still check in here? Do you want to continue to see content? Or am I going to stick to two-second snippets on Facebook & Instagram? The choice is yours. I can be swayed either way.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Things

It's funny how you have preconceived notions about all kinds of experiences you've never had. Total case in point: Motherhood & Parenting. I made all sorts of bold proclamations that have, naturally, completely made me eat crow in the last 11 months. In fact, my friend Daon and I have, on a number of occasions, laughed about this very thing as I exclaim, "Who am I?! Some crunchy granola mom?" and she laughs and says, "Seriously!! Who are you and where's my friend?!" So it seems fun to walk through some of the surprising things I've discovered as I've stumbled along the parenting trail this last year. (I'm giving you fair warning to duck out here - oversharing is about to get underway!)

Things that have surprised me about Motherhood:

-I've found it hard to leave M, whether it's short trips or long trips. We have no shortage of willing and overqualified babysitters, don't get me wrong, but I still futz and worry anytime I leave him with one.
-We had originally planned to take a baby-free vacation back in Oct but I talked Derek out of it bc I found I wasn't as ready as I'd anticipated I might be.
-A 24 hr trip to the ranch back in June about did me in! 24 hours!!!!!
-Going back to work was a lot harder than I thought it would be. I'll never forget that first morning I left M at daycare.
-I was totally wigged out by breastfeeding but wanted the little guy to get the benefits of milk so I opted to pump from the get-go. That lasted about 6 weeks ... when I was so exhausted that breastfeeding then seemed not so oogy. (Yes, I just made that word up!)
-Once we started breastfeeding, I planned to wean him by 9 months - before Derek and I went to St Lucia. But when the time came, I wasn't ready. We are still breastfeeding now at 11 months. What can I say...this boy likes the boob! (What boy doesn't?!)
-Even though I said I was going to wean him just after his first birthday, I'm really having mixed feelings about that. I've actually enjoyed the time and special bond we've developed.
-I've really enjoyed being on a part-time schedule and I very rarely take M to school on an off day, opting instead to tote him along on errands and appointments most of the time or simply enjoy our days together at home.
-I had grand plans to cook and clean and be productive on my off days. I mean, the baby will just sleep, right? Ha! Wrong, wrong, WRONG! I'm lucky if I brushed my teeth much less showered, changed clothes, or ate anything in those first ... 6 or 8 months!
-Now that M is napping better and is content to play by himself for longer periods of time, I get more done around the house. But honestly, Mommy Guilt prevents me from really leaving him to play alone for more than about 15 min. Besides, he's also lots of fun.
-Mommy Guilt. I really never expected to have this. Or certainly not a serious case of it!
-I have a serious need to check on the baby. A lot! If I can't hear him on the monitor, I go into his room. Heck, even if I can, I often go peek. I just can't help it.
-I'm a little excitable about things that I read or hear about. Take, for instance, the crazy story I read about a 14 mo old mysteriously dying in his sleep. That renewed my fear of SIDS, even though the chances at his age are less than 1%. Now the monitor has to be up full blast and, if I don't hear him breathing, I listen very carefully until I do or go in and check on him immediately. Silly, irrational Mommy Fears!!

Hmmm, I know I'm forgetting some other really big ones. Perhaps Daon can chime in in the comments. :-)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Random Pic of the Week

Someone I know had his first haircut. I'm sorry to say but I think he's the cutest thing anywhere! ;-)



Friday, February 01, 2013

Things: Evaluating Life's White Noise

Today's Things post takes a very heady turn. Shocking, I know, considering most of my brain cells remain on hiatus post-pregnancy. But hang with me as I attempt to pen my thoughts on a topic that is very germane to our household and has been a topic of discussion a number of times in recent months.

Our pediatrician posted two interesting articles (here and here) on her website this week addressing the effects of white noise on a child's brain development. In one article she referred specifically to true white noise while in the other she spoke of more day-to-day white noise, like the constancy of media in various forms, i.e. computer, iPad, phone, radio, tv, etc. She discussed several medical journal articles dealing with these very topics of study.

Pardon me a moment while I give you a few snippets to ponder.
A study from the University of CA at San Francisco (UCSF) actually looked at baby rats who listened to “white noise” for prolonged periods of time. The researchers found that the part of the auditory cortex (in rats) that is responsible for hearing, did not develop properly after listening to the “white noise”.   
Interestingly, when the “white noise” was taken away, the brain resumed normal development. Again, this study was in baby rats, and to my knowledge has not been duplicated.  
-Excerpt from "White Noise" and Babies
The study from The University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication defines background TV as “TV that is on in the vicinity of the child that the child is not attending to”.  The research looked at TV exposure in 1,454 households with children aged 8 months-8 years. The study found that younger children and African-American kids were exposed to more background TV than other children.  Having background TV noise of any kind can disrupt mental tasks for all and may also interfere with language development in younger children.
 -Excerpt from Kids & Too Much TV
Aside from confirming my theory that any prolonged exposure to tv at an early age can affect child development, it has also led me to consider the effects that the constant barrage of media has on adults.

As I went about my chores this morning while the little one was napping, I did so in utter quiet. I am not one who has to have background noise going all the time. In fact, I much prefer peace and quiet in most cases. My brain has a constant soundtrack playing anyway - be it music or a stream of thoughts or simply the grey staticky *shhhhhhhhhh* you might hear if your television suddenly loses its connection to streaming media. This morning, I was thinking about this blog post and pre-composing it while I worked on unloading the dishwasher.

When considering the effects of white noise of all kinds on infant and toddler brain development, I cannot help but think that, as adults, we are causing damage to ourselves, as well. While our brains are not developing in the same way as an infant or toddler, they still require moments of silence. Instead, we are inundating ourselves with a constant stream of noise through our need to be connected and entertained and are therefore denying our brains their much-needed periods of rest. I believe that this explains why, as a nation, we are overstressed and under-rested. We are not allowing ourselves (and our brains) a true period of decompression each day. As a result, our sleep as a whole is not restful, restorative, and healing as it's intended but is instead a more constant active period of sleep - used by our brains as a time of processing the day's events - something that should happen in smaller periods of time rather than our whole sleep period. I believe this is the brain's means of compensating for our overstimulation, for depriving it of its necessitated unwinding - something that should be done in quality time and conversation with our friends and loved ones rather than in front of the various forms of media that we cannot seem to live without.

So, for me, this is confirmation that we should unplug more. Spend more time with the tv off, the computer screen in sleep mode, the phone on silent, the iPad/iPod in its case. Let's be better about spending time engaging one another - in conversation, in play, in fun, in something other than entertainment behind a piece of technology! Let's step back a few decades to a time when we had conversations in person rather than through iMessage or chat or e-mail. I think we will all be amazed by the difference in makes in our day-to-day lives - in the quality of our sleep, our mood, our general well-being.

Ironically, I close this post as the the tv comes back on in my own house ... the hubby has returned home from work. As I said, this topic of conversation is germane to my own life!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Our Island Adventure - Part I

It seems pretty typical for us to have at least one tale to tell of every vacation. This one was no different. Well, other than the entire TRIP was fraught with tales. In the end, we had a nice time, but our vacation was a bit overshadowed by all of the hiccups.

Tale nĂºmero uno begins on Saturday night. I was out running a last-minute errand and picking up dinner when I got The Phonecall. The one every traveler dreads on the eve of vacation. Your flight has been cancelled!!!! But just for you, we've rebooked you...to leave on MONDAY!

Derek, being a seasoned traveler well-versed in last-minute cancellations, began the mad scramble to get us to the church on time. After an hour and a half on the phone with the AA booking agent, we had a new itinerary - on Delta. Whatever, we were just glad to be on ANY flight that got us to St Lucia on Sunday!

Sunday was a long day. Our car arrived at 230am to take us to the airport. Little did we know that DFW ticket counters, OTHER than AA in Terminal D, don't even open until 4am. So we spent about 45 min waiting on the first agents to appear at the Delta counter. We get to the counter and that's when the agent sheepishly asks, "you haven't paid for your tickets yet?"

That's when we tell the tale of the cancellation the night before and show her our original receipt for the booking that was cancelled and the new itinerary that American booked for us. She calls AA customer service to sort it out for us. The agent informs her that AA had not paid because they weren't willing to pay for first class, which we had originally booked with them and the agent who rebooked us got special approval from her supervisor to book for us on Delta. But they were happy to pay for coach tickets. *mouth agape at the audacity* There was no way Derek could spend 7.5 hrs in coach!

"Can you release the funds for the customers to use now? ... They're standing right in front of me here at the ticket counter." ... "Not unless they book coach?" *shake heads NO WAY* "But you can go ahead and refund the amount to their card?" *yes, please* "And they can call customer service with questions? Okay, thank you for your help."

So, we have to pay Delta in FULL for our tickets and fight with American when we get home. It was the only way to get going and not ruin the whole trip from the get-go. Little did we know that our entire trip would be peppered with pesky problems. Had we, we may have simply opted to stay home...except we would have eaten a sizable chunk of money and I'm too cheap for that! Besides, it had to get better we were headed to an all-inclusive beach resort, after all!

Stay tuned for the next installment of Vacation Spoilers.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Blogging Fail

So obviously I didn't do any blogging while we were on vacay. In my defense, the Internet connection was subpar. Oh sure, there was free wifi, but imagine a whole resort full of people using said free wifi. It was often molasses, which made doing anything more than random Instagram or Facebook posts virtually impossible.

For the record, it was a great trip. A bit longer than I would have liked - in hindsight. But it was a much-needed respite full of sleep, glorious sleep. And time with the spouse, of course. At some point, I'll blog about it in greater detail. For now, I leave you with the view from our balcony.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Leaving on a Plane

So...we're just a few short days away from our first vacation since M arrived. Not just a few days, mind you, but a full week!! Naturally, we go big or go home. M is staying home with the grandparents. I'm both excited and anxious. I've not been away from the little guy for more than one night at a time. Yes, I realize he'll be fine, it will be good for us, etc. But! A mom can still fret about things, right?? As you can imagine, I have begun making lists--check lists, packing lists, to do lists, shopping lists. Shoot, I think there's a checklist for the checklists!

Perhaps I might just get around to updating the ol blog here. No promises! A cute little umbrella in my drink and the beach may simply be too much. Ha!