Thursday, October 30, 2008

What a Champ!

Emma B., sitting pretty in shades of blue

OK, so I know I took, like, an unannounced two-month blogging hiatus without saying anything, and there's probably no one out there reading me anymore *chirp, chirp* -- but I have to admit that this blogging gig has never been a very consistent thing for me (um, as if I have to point that out...). And most of the time I can only really post something when I feel GOOD about it and what I have to say and can't wait to get it out there in the blogosphere -- either that or when I really need to rant, which of course has happened on occasion, from time to time... Ha!

But the truth of the matter is, it's not easy for me to talk about my fears, anxieties and concerns when it comes to Emma and doing my best in raising her. I know I have so much to learn, and I do hope most of it will come naturally and with some help and advice from those around me, but I have to admit that I SO wish I could avoid transmitting my neuroses and worries to her, even though in the end I know it's ultimately inevitable... They're just a part of my nature and one of the hardest things to change about me. And virtually impossible to disguise or smother, for that matter.

Emma has been a doll, truly an angel, and I know THAT will probably change a million times over as well, but sometimes I can't get over how wonderful she is... Smiling all the time like crazy, especially in the morning after just waking up, when she's just Baby Sunshine. In the first two months I really did worry about everything and anything, and I imagine that will more than likely continue for a while as well, but these days I'm settling into the whole momma gig a bit better and starting to gain a little more confidence in myself and my capabilities. I still need to learn to be better organized, but, well -- one day at a time! I'm thrilled that I've been able to continue with breastfeeding, especially since that first month was so damn difficult... And I honestly thought so many times that I was going to have to throw in the towel, give up and start doing formula, or at least mixed nursing. But I stuck it out, stuck to my guns if you will, and persisted in my desire to do only exclusive breastfeeding. Bizarrely enough, I never had a major "montée de lait" in the first few days after Emma was born, and that's perhaps where all my anxieties first began (wondering if I had enough milk and all...), because I worried so much about having done something wrong from the get-go, namely letting Emma be taken to the nursery the first couple of nights because I was so wiped out after the delivery. I know SO MANY of the books and experts say not to do it, but I was truly a wreck -- and again, sometime soon I'll try to write more about my delivery experience, so I can explain things in more detail. My experience was far from the most gruesome, truly, but it was far from easy too... In the end, though, my milk did gradually come in, probably much more gradually than for most moms, but the important thing is that I did finally have enough milk!

My little blossomed bean has been growing like a weed in any case, and we'll find out exactly how much she weighs and measures next week at her three-month check-up. Of course TODAY is her official 3-month birthday, so Happy Three Months Emma B.! While my parents were here she was a big show-off, smiling all the time and taking in everything around her. My older brother spoiled her like crazy and kept her constantly entertained with Elmo and Cookie Monster skits and conversations -- my brother is just the best uncle! :-) My parents were of course thrilled to spend so much time with her and only wished they could stay longer... As did I. My dad was particularly good at putting Emma to sleep on his shoulder, as well as making her giggle on her changing table. Speaking of which, how funny is the fact that that's one of her favorite places to be? On the changing table, I mean. Who woulda thunk it?! I know I've got to keep a particularly close eagle eye on her these days, as she starts rolling around even more, but when I lay her down there, she's almost always happy... She loves to be taken care of and to have attention showered upon her (she ain't a Leo for nothin'!), and she fixates on this poster that I have hanging on the wall right above her changing table, a print from a museum in Le Havre. Which always brings back memories of my boyfriend's mother...

Emma's also getting stronger and stronger... Aimée pointed out back in late September, when my parents and I stopped by l'OisiveThé for lunch, that Emma was already starting to hold up her head "like a champ" -- and she's been doing it more and more! She's constantly staring around her and is what the French call "très éveillée", aware of so much and crazy curious about everything. Her latest thing is talking to her buddies in her stroller as we take walks around the neighborhood. The other day I bent down to check on her and found her garbling away to Mr. Turtle -- once again, she made me smile like crazy!

I managed to make a return trip back to l'OisiveThé about two weeks ago, when I finally hauled the MacLaren into the city and realized that, in fact, it's not all that hard to carry around -- once Aimée showed me how to REALLY carry it, that is! And here I thought it was going to be such a hassle... But this is one of the main reasons why the Techno XT is so great, and I'm SO grateful to Aimée and Philippa for telling me about it. And here I thought I was going to have to carry the stroller separately while carrying Emma in the Baby Bjorn! Silly me... So thanks to dear Lauren and Aimée's generous help while balancing the business in the teahouse, I was able to get my hair cut in the adorable salon across the street and have a delicious lunch with the gals. It was a wonderful afternoon, and I'm so glad I braved it into the city that day -- especially since Aimée also showed me a new route for my trips back and forth into her neighborhood. So I hope to make it back again sometime soon! Thank you SO much, Aimée!

Oh, and I can't sign off without mentioning Emma's other latest discovery -- the THUMB! Yes, that's right, it's official: Emma B. has discovered the fascination and soothing powers of her thumb... I didn't know how to feel about it at first, as I've heard such horror stories about children sucking their thumbs into early adolescence, but what can you do, really? She seems so calm and happy when she has it in her mouth, and I can't argue with that, especially when she's having a hard time going to sleep... Then again, the funny thing is when she pops it in her mouth when she seems downright bored, or if she feels like she's not getting enough attention -- that's something that worries me a bit! Of course, she's never really cottoned on to the pacifier, which I was initially relieved about, but which is the worse evil? Thumb or pacifier? Therein lies the question... And I know there are two schools of thought, two opposing camps, and I have no idea where my thoughts really fall.

But one thing is for sure, Emma is on her way to becoming an enchanting baby girl! This coming from an entirely biased Mommy, of course...


afoos said...

I'm so glad to see how things are going and how big Emma is getting!!!!

When Gab was born, I lost it pretty much, but have to say that things started getting a lot better after a month when I totally decided to give up on breastfeeding. Good for you for sticking it out! I didn't really BF Gab and Louise only got the 3 days while I was in the hospital, but my attitude has shifted and I am really going to try and BF number 3, mostly because it bothers me to buy something that we produce for free. Now, I might be asking you for advice!

I am more pacifier oriented and both kids had them but honestly don't think that there's anything wrong with either and whatever works for you. I admit to kind of forcing Louise to take the pacifier and it was a great help at times. Now, she only gets it to sleep and we are soon going to cut it out all together.

Maybe one of these days we'll meet up at Aimee's café?! If you ever have any questions, please don't hesitate, I know the first child can be daunting at times, but if you do have any more, it does get much easier!

The Late Bloomer said...

Hey Andie, great to hear from you! How are you feeling these days? I've been so bad, I really need to try to catch up on my blog-reading, so I'm going to try to read all the posts I've missed on your blog over the past few months... I saw on Flickr that you've been renovating your kitchen in the apartment -- things look amazing! What a sense of accomplishment that must be.

Yes, the breastfeeding was definitely hard at the beginning, especially with all the mixed, conflicting advice and information I was getting from people at the clinic, and even from family and stuff, but I really, really wanted for it to work, so I guess that's why I tried to stick to it -- for once I was pretty determined! And even though I had some stumbling blocks along the way in the first few weeks, it seems to have come together. Now I want to try to breastfeed Emma as long as possible, whereas in the beginning I was only thinking for 3 months... If only I didn't have to go back to work in the early spring!

Well, my only hesitation with the thumb is that obviously you can't restrict it as easily as a pacifier... So that's how you end up with kids who suck their thumbs much longer! But I am hoping that Emma will limit it to bedtimes and naptimes later on... For the moment, she often puts her thumb in her mouth when she's feeling tired or distracted. But it's still early days, so I'm hoping things might change down the road!

I'd love to meet you at Aimée's cafe one day! I hope to go into town again in November -- maybe if we're lucky they're might be a brief period of nice weather at some point? I have to admit that I haven't been very motivated to leave the apartment the last 2 days in this horrid cold, rainy weather, but I know that eventually it will be unavoidable! Plus, I know it's good for Emma to get outside to get some fresh air, even if it's a bit cold, as long as she's bundled up in her combinaison pilote! :-)

Elisabeth said...

Don't fear - I have been checking your blog regularly, and I am quite patient, and fully understand how overwhelming it is to take care of a baby - even a good one!

Re. breastfeeding - it was no picnic for me either (we're talking 22 years ago, here!), but I, too, stuck with it, and breastfed my daughter until she was close to two years old - and I was working a highly professional job too.

Well, congratulation, Emma is really beautiful - what a smile!

Leesa said...

Hey there Alice!!

Great to see the pics!! Emma is sooo adorable! Understandable that you haven't posted in awhile... Let me know if you ever want to meet up at Aimee's! I LOVE her salads!!! Take care, Leesa

IceTeaForMe said...

Welcome back to the blog world. Emma sure is a cutie. You will be given a lot of advise through the years, just relax and go with what is right for you and Emma.

Kids are resilient, you'll do just fine.

joy suzanne said...

Alice! So glad to see a couple of posts from you. Emma is gorgeous and so funny... you are the luckiest!

You made me laugh, your conversation with Emma. I do the same thing when I talk to babies. "Oh, really? Well, sometimes. Yes, you're right about that!"

etc. etc.

Enjoy this time!